If I Could Be the Sea

If I Could be the Sea is an exploration of the ocean as a place with its own jurisdiction, a symbol of freedom in its expansiveness and potential to foster life outside of oppressive government structures. It reflects my own wish to find community in the next chapters of my life--it is a call to gather at sea and build an inclusive home on the open water.

The research began with examining contemporary depictions of the ocean--series such as Our Flag Means Death and One Piece portray nonconformist, swashbuckling characters living on the high seas with their misfit group of friends. Setting sail from land into the open waters frees them from the constraints of societal conventions, thus providing a space to explore the depths of oneself, which like the ocean, are vast and multilayered. If I Could be the Sea is a manifestation of my desire to (re)turn to water, to become as vast and boundless as the sea.

I wanted my own work to embody the empowerment found in openness. My initial inspiration for the collection came from a quote by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, who said in her book Women Who Run With the Wolves, “When spirit becomes heavy, it turns to water... Therefore the way of the soul... leads to water.” From this, I imagined pants that were waterlogged, as if someone had stood in the ocean as waves rolled onto the shore around them. I wanted to incorporate the rising and setting of the sun that signified the cyclical passage of time, along with the coming and going of the tide dictated by the moon.