Almost Drowning

Photo by jaemin don on Unsplash

By Einalia

Sometimes I think leaving a cult-like religion is like almost drowning. You drag yourself out onto the shore, choking and raw and stinging, lost in what you thought you could trust. Knees run red from scrabbling over rocks, hands leave smears on salty cheeks. For awhile you just…lay there. Settling the dizziness, getting to know the ground under your fingers. Remembering what solid feels like in your body, even if your mind is rocking from unseen waves. You eventually sit up, sand everywhere, bits of dogma stuck to you. It’s uncomfortable and you hate it. 

But you know you’ve just escaped something, feel the depth you sank to, entangled in the manmade net in the shallows of the divine. Can you see the emotional abuse better from the surface, can you see the manipulation clouding the water, what you never noticed before because isn’t that what’s supposed to happen? Your eyes hurt from the saltwater inside and out, the glare from the harsh reflection of truth is painful and you wonder if you’ll ever be able to look at that mystery again. 

You come back later, because deep calls to deep and your stardust body remembers the magic in the longest dive. Healed hands kiss the shore and the Mystery, the Midwife, reaches out past those nets and envelops you. Feel into the depths and put yourself back together, saltwater healing seeping from the cracks. Never wonder now how you can breathe underwater now, love. You were born for this.

How well you can see now the glint of the traps, sunlight on lies, a lure so well fashioned. What a thing to miss the first time, but forgive yourself for the time you spent gasping for air not knowing how close you were to She who is breath. 

Taste freedom and salt and love and death and the hard and the raw and the achingly beautiful depth of this life on your lips, and breathe deep. Breathe yourself into being, birth yourself new in this womb-water magic. Rub salve into scars from the hooks dragged through and love the you that stayed long in the grip of the lies. Speak healing and wholeness into the cracks, flooding them with the blood and water you are shedding to bring yourself into the world every single day.

*Love this essay? Buy me a coffee. It’s like a tip jar for our writers.*

Einalia is an exvangelical pagan who writes the blog “Einalia’s Hearth” in order to stay sane while deconstructing a lifetime of missionary/pastor’s kid Christianity and co-managing a household of three feral tiny humans with a long-suffering and much loved spouse. She loves the first shock of cold ocean water on her toes, the way garlic smells when it’s cooking, and pomegranate trees. Most days, she’s finding excuses to go outside, wading through homeschooling, and watching the sky for hawks. You can find Einalia’s blog at

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