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Submerge: Moving Through Water—A Post by K.Y. Robinson

Water has always been around me. I could never escape it. After all, it inhabits the world around me and vital to my existence. The Middle Passage is in my blood. I’ve been lowered in its waves trying to become someone new. I’ve stepped inside raindrops to feel more alive. I’ve cried enough tears of joy and sorrow to feed an ocean.


In all its power, water can leave you powerless. It can overwhelm you. Make you lose yourself. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fighting against the currents of loss, trauma, and mental illness. I explore these themes and more in my latest collection Submerge. In three sections (immerse, drown, emerge), I explore the trust, panic, and will to survive. How do you move through water and make it to the other side?

 

Immerse

Immerse is about trusting the water. It’s dipping my feet inside to test the temperature of things. Sometimes I pulled back because I didn’t know what to expect or kept them in longer to see where it would take me. It’s about searching for meaning in faith, love, and desire.

 

Drown

Panic set in, and I naturally wanted to fight. I was wading in darkness, and there was no life jacket in sight. I didn’t trust the waves to carry me back to myself. This chapter is about being taken under by loss and my own mind.

 

Trauma pooled around me and formed a ring I couldn’t scrub away. After a loss, the cracks inside my heart rattled when memories rushed in. Once I learned to accept things as they were and realized I wasn’t the sum of my suffering, the easier it became to see the shore.

 

I felt isolated and caught in the undertow of mental illness. I was drowning but didn’t want anyone to hear my muffled cries. When I began writing this book, I wanted to confront stigmas and peel every layer of my unquiet mind. It was the first time I was completely honest with myself. The more we talk about mental illness it will help others step out of the shadows of shame. It’s ok not to be ok. I’m not alone, and neither are you.

 

Emerge

The will to survive kicked in. I stopped fighting and searched for higher ground. The same waves that once crashed into me relentlessly now lulled me. I realized that healing is messy and doesn’t happen overnight. The shards of my hurt will soften and become sea glass in time. Emerge is a reminder that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

In life, there will be low and high tides. How you handle them is a testament to your survival. Trust the process. Float knowing you’ll find yourself where you need to be. When life becomes a swallowing wave, don’t fight it. Go with the flow, but don’t confuse it with giving up. Stay afloat. The weight around your ankles will become lighter than a feather. You will find your soft landing and emerge. This is how you move through water and make it to the other side.

 

Submerge is available wherever books are sold.

 

K.Y. Robinson is an introverted writer based in Houston, Texas. She received a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in history from Texas Southern University. She has loved words pressed against pages since childhood and has been chasing them ever since. Robinson draws from personal experiences as a woman of color, trauma and mental illness survivor, and hopeless romantic.