essays by shé

Impact Zone

I tried to surf the impact zone this morning. I paddled beyond it without much trouble, but the bigger waves outside scared me — double overhead. So I turned around, aiming for the waist-highs closer to shore. It was rough, like a washing machine. Got tumbled a few times, chafed. Thought, this ain’t fun.

It was harder getting out of the ocean, I couldn’t even catch whitewater, the currents were so crazy. Finally, feet touched sand, so I unleashed.


High tide, sistah, and whoosh, a big one knocked me down. Rosie (my 6’1″ twin fin) raced for rocks, and I chased after — quick quick. Grabbed her in time.

Walking back to my bike, I was disappointed. No rides, what a loser. But as I’m changing, it occurs to me how familiar living in an impact zone was for me: battering boyfriends, ramming relatives, disrespectful neighbors.

Beyond the impact zone, outside, the waves are smoother. You’re not a skipping stone bouncing over the backwash. Closer to shore can be more dangerous. The familiar isn’t necessarily beneficial.

Recently, I gave notice on the abode; it’s not a healthy environment. Panic visited, demanding to know where I’m going and how I’ll get there. I do not know. Yet. The options are unlimited. So I pack, divesting myself of nonessentials.

Courage and faith are necessary, confidence. I try again: watch, assess, breathe, stretch; and when I feel able, paddle out. It’s only surfing. It’s only life.

"Impact Zone" by Shé, 12" x 12" acrylic on canvas, 2021
Impact Zone by Shé, 12″ x 12″ acrylic on canvas, 2021





2 responses to “Impact Zone”

  1. Kevin Avatar

    Love this piece and the art really evokes the feeling you’re writing about–hope you find a new abode easily and it’s a good one 🙂

    1. Shé Avatar

      Thanks so much. Appreciate the moral support.

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