Creative Essay | Pulling Up the Anchor

An anchor’s sole responsibility is to keep the boat or floating object it is attached to, stationary. It is a weight that is necessary, always reliable and can last several years if the ocean floor allows. 

The only reason an anchor will not serve its purpose is if someone pulls it up using heavy force to counter the weight needed to hold it. I have learnt that people have their own anchors too. 

Having spent the majority of the first two decades on this earth in one place, with my heart and mind and body refusing to leave the serenity of ocean living, I consider this immobility a gift. A gift I have my parents to thank for. I have an anchor to that place where my fledgling years were. It is heavy and covered with the barnacles of childhood weekends and teenage memories. 

And then I left. Not because I couldn’t handle small-town living anymore, but because there was more that I needed to find. Even now when I hear airplanes and not the waves from my bedroom, I get sad and try to remember the reasons why. I’m not convinced I have fully pulled that anchor up, I have just made the chain longer. The Ocean is a big place. I think that’s what happens the more years you add, the more you discover the parametres of your own ocean, and how far you can travel and be able to come back to the same spot. 

Those are the types of anchors that are healthy and make you stronger – not because you are unable to pull them up, but because they have grounded you for so long and shaped a life to be unique and no one else’s. There were also anchors attached to people as well as places and these ones weren’t so supporting. Friendships that burnt out while I was sitting at the fire pretending that the dying embers were going to catch again and waiting in vain. It got cold. 

Pulling up those anchors took a long time, and by the time I realised it was time to leave them alone, they had already broken away and were tiny dots on the ocean floor. Pulling up the anchors that are slowly filling your boat with water are essential to staying afloat. It is essential to your survival. 

Letting go feels like the hardest part at the time, but with retrospect and a great deal of counselling there comes a moment where you unconsciously become indifferent to the location of those underwater moorings. 

And so that was the story of a little girl who held too tightly to the fish she was suffocating. That was the story of the little girl who got dragged down by the anchors she never pulled up. The people who controlled her and made her think that staying underwater where it was deep and unknown was okay and was nice to escape to where no one would find her. 

But one day, she realised when she looked up that the sun would shine through the water to reach her. And finally, she let go before it was too late, before any permanent damage was done and she finally began to float on the surface once more. 

When we anchor ourselves to the right things, to the places that are solid and trustworthy, they do not weigh us down. In fact, we forget they are even there. 

We no longer worry about pulling it up, because we are safe. And we are loved.

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