Sunday, March 3, 2013

This, Or Something Better

I have had to come to terms with something lately that is more than a little uncomfortable to admit: I can be very manipulative.
Although I don’t necessarily do this on purpose, I will often present only enough information to make me look good. I fail to mention the pieces of the puzzle that will show that I have very little money, that I am afraid, or that I am not as happy as I think I should be in any given situation.
There is a huge difference between maintaining a positive attitude and drowning in your own hidden anguish. More than that, however, there is a very important difference between being authentic and  hiding the parts of yourself that make people wonder why you’re taking the hard way if it doesn’t seem to make any sense.
I have moved off the island, invisible audience. For all the positive things I presented that were my daily reality, there were many I didn’t mention. By themselves, they hardly seemed to add up to a legitimate reason to leave, and yet when I finally decided to go, I couldn’t even bring myself to stay one more night.
The decision has been coming for awhile, even as I wrote about the wonders of living there. I found myself agonizing about whether to stay, not because I thought I should be there, but because I wondered how on earth I would explain my need to leave.
Then I realized what I was doing.
I was walking around, scratching the bug bites on my legs and arms until I bled, waiting for the worker to show up to take me to the mainland for hours past when he said he’d be there, spending more money on transportation costs than I expected, and having less access to fresh fruits and vegetables than I needed. I kept thinking, “How will I explain this to all the people that I have painted such a beautiful picture for? How do I unspin the web I have spun?”
It’s my money, my time, my dream, and yet I was gathering courage to ask your permission, invisible audience. As much as I appreciate you, my decisions should have nothing to do with you. It is none of my business what anyone thinks of me, remember?
I have to admit that it’s hard for me to not incorporate other peoples’ opinions into my decisions. The volume seems to be turned up on hearing what others say, and often it drowns out my own ability to hear myself think. For this reason, I need more physical space than most; I need more time alone than many, purely to let my own voice fill the silence around me.
Part of my agreement with myself about coming here was to stop with the double speak and learn to live more authentically. It’s not easy, invisible audience. Its seems I’m going to have to keep practicing, but today is a large step in the process. Today, I will tell you that I am living in a hostel. I’m in a dorm room with 10 other people because it’s cheaper. I am searching for another place to live. I am hoping to find something that fits my needs: cheap, quiet, inspirational. I already have some leads, but no real idea on how it will all play out.
Before I left the States I went to listen to a speaker. She talked about how a friend tried to explain to her what life should actually look like; that God – or the Universe, or whatever you want to call it – wanted to give her what she wanted. “He doesn’t want you to suffer, Ellen,” her friend said. “Your choices are this, or something better.”
Boquete, Panama
I am now in Boquete, in the mountains near Panama’s only volcano, in a coffee-growing region. It is beautiful here: there’s a river that runs straight out of the mountains and through town. There are no bars on the windows – a rarity in a Central American town – and a lot of expats. I am not clear how my future will play out, and I’m slightly uncomfortable with this. At the same time, I am tired of staying somewhere, suppressing my desire to move away from anything that doesn’t serve me, simply because it will be hard to explain. I am experimenting not only with presenting myself authentically, but following my heart where it leads me, without fear or hesitation. In fact, I have found that when I leave others out of it, the fear and hesitation stay away, too.
So here I am, invisible audience. I’m not sure how long I’ll stay. All I know is that for now, it feels good to be here. Today, I’m going to choose this feeling, or something better.

Love and better kisses,