Friday, December 10, 2010

Who Was I Kidding, Mexico?

Hi Mexico,

I wrote and told you that I wasn't coming, but I didn't tell you a couple weeks later when I was offered the chance to come down again. Why? Well, because all of a sudden I was uncertain. All of a sudden, I thought of a lot of other things I could be doing instead. All of a sudden, I wasn't so sure I needed you anymore.

But who was I kidding? I do need you, or someone like you. I need a place to go to recharge my batteries, and to remember those things that are really important to me and my life. For whatever reason, I have a hard time remembering these things when immersed in my life up here. Until I can learn how to incorporate how alive I feel when I'm with you into the life I have without you, I have to come back to you.

So, I'll be there sometime around the end of April. And guess what? I'm bringing a friend. She's amazing, and I'm sure you two will get along just fine. I just hope that you can offer her as much comfort and insight as you offered me.

Oh yeah, her name's Terri. :)

Love and spicy humid hot Mexican kisses

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sometimes, it just doesn’t get any better…and sometimes it does

I enjoy writing so much that I will do it in response to nearly any occasion or happenstance. I write when I’m afraid, angry, introspective, happy, depressed, or euphoric. Sometimes words spill out of me and onto the page for no greater reason than they need to be there; sometimes, I’m fairly certain the words weren’t even mine to begin with.
There’s a great talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) on Gilbert talks about the creative process for some of the greatest writers, poets and musicians, and how many of them feel that their creative genius is actually a separate entity. Gilbert talks about how the Greeks (or was it the Romans?) used to refer to a genius as if were a small elf that people had at their disposal that would help them with their artistic endeavors: no one was a genius, one simply had a genius.
Gilbert wants to make the general public aware that the creative process is not always easy, or creative: for a lot of people, it involves a lot of self-discipline and sticking to a schedule. It involves sitting down to write at the same time every day and dedicating a certain part of your day to the pursuit of your dreams, regardless of what else you might want to be doing. I can definitely agree with her and identify with her remarks, but man oh man, when that genius comes through the door, you know that she’s there.
I’ve written posts before where I called my genius Creativity and spoke about her as if she were a fussy adolescent who exasperated me with her inconsistency. Now, I think of her more as a perfect day: the day where you do everything the way you’ve always done it, but for some reason on this day everything goes perfectly and you’re left perched on the top of the world, wondering how exactly you got there.
Some days, the writing is like that. Some days, I get an urge to write and what comes out is so packed with emotion, so incredibly amazing, that I read it and wonder how on earth something like that came from me. Although I can’t ultimately control when those days occur, I have noticed that I get them more when I’m in beautiful surroundings, under a new moon, or embarking on a new adventure. My genius arrives when I’m reminded of all the amazing things that life is comprised of. Even though I can’t yet control how often my genius comes to me, I can make sure I help my circumstances to be exactly what she’s looking for when she stops by. Maybe that way, I can eventually convince her to stay.

Love and genius kisses

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SEX! (Now that I got your attention...)

Hi friends,

I would really appreciate your feedback on my blog subject matter and what I could do to build an audience. Please take this ANONYMOUS 7-question survey to help me get a better idea of what you'd like me to write about.

Click here.

(P.S. This is no guarantee that I will actually start to write about your suggestions...especially some of you that I anticipate are going to treat this survey like your own personal bathroom stall wall where you can write dirty jokes. ;) )

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Personal Insanity

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I only heard this saying recently, but it has struck a chord, and I find myself very often realizing that, according to this saying, I am in fact insane.
I have become increasingly busy lately, due to a number of factors. Primarily, I’ve been busy marketing my book, and doing everything I can to make sure it sells. I have done such a good job of this that I have already sold out of my first run and reordered. Obviously I am ecstatic about this, but it means that I am now putting most of the profits of the first run into printing the second run. Therefore, I still work as a substitute teacher to make ends meet, and I work for the local ski area, a job I thoroughly enjoy and that is starting to ramp up for the pending ski season. So basically, I have three jobs, one of which is my own brain child but makes me little money thus far, and two others that I enjoy but not as much as the brain child.
I am busy, and I am tired. However, this does not exactly make me insane: carving out your own niche is hard, and I am perfectly aware of that and grateful that I can have other part-time jobs that allow me to pursue my dream as well and help support me until I become financially solvent.
What does make me insane, however, is how much I try to do in one day. For as long as I can remember, I have been capable of packing a lot into a single day of work, and that has never been more apparent than now. While it is certainly helpful, there are many commitments that I make and many things that I do today that really honestly could wait until tomorrow. No one but me would notice the difference between today and tomorrow, and no one but me would notice that that difference would mean that I got more sleep, or more time for a run, or a healthy meal, or an hour to read my book. No one but me would notice that I was not popping Vitamin C like candy to make sure that my busy life wasn’t making me sick. No one but me would notice that I was successfully or unsuccessfully fighting off insanity.
On the days that I am running 100 different directions and juggling 100 different responsibilities and trying to efficiently handle 100 tasks, my heart rate is permanently elevated. My mind is racing back and forth as quickly as I’m driving from here to there, and when I go to bed after those days I have restless nights full of dreams of all the tasks I did or didn’t complete. Ultimately, these days don’t help me, and I usually don’t even get the satisfaction of feeling like I accomplished something because I’m too exhausted.
I recently listened to an interview on CBC with Timothy Ferriss, the author of The Four-Hour Work Week. Timothy’s premise is that you can whittle down your time at work by being more efficient, and that it is possible to get more done in a shorter amount of time by changing a few ways that you deal with your responsibilities. There were two that he mentioned in the interview that stuck with me: 1) don’t put things on your list simply so you can cross them out (guilty as charged) and more importantly, 2) pick one thing that MUST get done today, that will make you feel like you accomplished something if you complete it, and DO THAT.
Perhaps completing one single task a day will not quite work for me at this point, but I could certainly learn a lot from Timothy. I could learn, for example, that perhaps I shouldn’t substitute teach on days that I already have multiple prior commitments, and that even though I don’t see the money today for my efforts, it doesn’t mean that it won’t eventually pay off. To reach that pay off, I don’t need insane schedules and multi-tasking up the ying yang. For that, I need patience.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bad News, Mexico

Dearest Mexico,

I have some really bad news. For reasons totally within their rights that make complete sense, the people that I dogsat for in Mexico don’t need me this year. Despite the logic of their decision, I am heartbroken. Despite my heartbreak, I am now excited and curious about where I’ll end up instead.

I haven’t forgotten you, Mexico, and I may still end up lost in your huge expanse of spicy foods and welcoming people. I can’t help but wonder, however, if this change in plans was meant to be a shove to push me in another direction, one I haven’t yet determined.

Immediately upon hearing the news – curse those smart phones and their instant email updates! – I became morose and self-pitying. Well, now I would simply have to move, and settle into a more regular routine, and punish those around me for the fact that I couldn’t leave. Of course I knew that this attitude wouldn’t last, and that my life is NOT that bad simply because I have lost my trip to Mexico, but sometimes you just have to let the emotion wear itself out or it will start to eat at you.

My mother was not impressed. “You’ll find something else; you always do.”
She’s right; I do always find something else, because when you’re looking for opportunities, they’re always there. It is simply time for me to look for a new one.

I’m sorry, Mexico. I told you before that I couldn’t guarantee my fidelity, and it looks like fate might be pulling us apart. You see, I wanted to come back to you, but now that I’m going to be left more to my own devices – and more dependent on my own savings – I am very likely to pick somewhere else that I haven’t seen to see if the sparks fly. I can’t tell you what will happen, because I honestly don’t know, but I do know this: future memories cannot replace the wonderful things I have already experienced. I will never forget you, and I'm sure I'll see you again soon.

Love and new adventure kisses

Friday, October 22, 2010

Striving for Mindlessness

Since I finished my cookbook – really finished it: sent it to press, got a proof, made the order and began to sell it – I’ve been having wrestling matches in my head. My brain – all logic and no nonsense – has been keeping track of the ever-growing list of things to do to market the cookbook: finish the website, pre-sell books to local retailers, send press releases to local news media, etc. My mind, (I realize it’s a minute difference, but I’m going to call it my mind after reading an amazing book that changed my life called The Power of Now), on the other hand, has been trying to sabotage my brain at every step.

Here’s a typical conversation between my brain and my mind:

BRAIN: “Okay, today you’ve got to contact the people who you think will want to carry your book. Let’s make a list…”

MIND: (interrupts) “Make a list? What the f*ck is the point of making a list when there’s only one person on it, your MOM?” Who the f*ck else is going to want your mamby pamby book? You know anyone could have done it better than you could…it’s probably going to come back from the press with the cover on upside down…”

BRAIN: (quietly reciting the list in the background) “We should go to Wenatchee and see if anyone will carry it there, and oh, we need to remember to call Amazon to see if we can get it on there…”


BRAIN: (stops dead)


BRAIN: (smirking, continues calmly) “Then we’ll start a Facebook page…”


Thankfully, I have been able to continue on with the lists and going through the motions to making my book a success despite all the doubts and my own attempts to self-sabotage. While I hope to one day get to the point where I can gag my mind and throw it in a dark room with no sunlight, at the moment I simply have to focus on taking the steps to get me there and hope it will shut the f*ck up.

With the realization that I self-sabotage, however, came the realization that there are many things I can do to stop it or make myself feel better. These are things that I’ve always done, but the difference now is that I do them to combat the feelings of failure or inadequacy instead of letting myself cycle into a deep, dark depressed mood. So, without further ado, my list:

1) COOK! Okay, I realize a lot of us (women especially) self-medicate with food, but there’s something incredibly soothing about actually making myself a meal before eating it to feel better.
2) Read. Having a good book to delve into, especially on my front porch, always takes the edge off.
3) Take a bath. With a book. And eucalyptus bath salts…
4) Go outside. Bikes rides, runs, kayaking trips, a walk…anything that remind me that it’s beautiful out there and out there no one cares if I’ve gotten anything done today.
5) Yoga. It makes my body feel better and always improves my mental state.
6) Call my friends. It’s nice to tell someone your darkest fears and have them remind you that they are all unfounded.

I told someone recently that I realized that most – if not all – of my problems are in my head, and that it both enlightened and depressed me. With that realization, however, came the realization that if the problems are in my mind, so are the solutions…if I can just shut my mind up long enough to find them.

Love and striving for mindless kisses

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Writer's Block

"Abstract concepts aside, the single most effective laxative that I’ve found to combat textual constipation is stubbornness. You just have to storm past it, treating it as though it isn’t even there. How do you do this? By never allowing yourself to stop writing, even if you fear that it’s a load of hooey that will culminate in kindling; even if all you’re writing over and over is, “I’m a hack,” you must keep on writing. Sure, your output might look a little like Jack Torrance’s in The Shining from time to time, but you’re a writer; you’re allowed to be a little screwy."

Caroline Hagood is a poet and writer living in New York City. Blog: Twitter: @caroline_hagood

Love and stubborn kisses

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Leap, and The Net Will Appear

There was little else I could do. I had a book to finish, and its end was inevitable. I was not forced by anyone but myself, but I had to come back just the same – perhaps I had to come back even more because I was the only one making me.
So I did. I left Mexico and leaped back into my life in Washington. I have seen friends and family, gone to funerals and concerts, and fought in vain against trying to spend money. Because, you see, it’s hard to make money when you’re working 12+ hours a day trying to publish a book with the thought that you will be paid in the future for all your hard work.

I’m glad I came back, but there was a point a couple days ago when I bent double with the momentousness of what I had just done. On that morning, I took one final look at my book’s proof and pressed a button to send an email asking who in town wanted to carry it. I nearly threw up when the confirmation came back that it had sent. What was I thinking??? Despite the fact that I keep coming back to Chelan, I try to keep a low profile while I’m in town, but that was immediately blown out of the water. I was going to have to go around asking who wanted to sell my book, asking people who have known me – or my family at least – for a long time. There went anonymity.

I can’t quit this job. I can’t leave this business, because I am this business. Certainly I can escape, but it’s not like someone will take me out to lunch, lament the fact that I’m leaving, then hire someone to take my place.

I have been fighting a panic since I hit SEND. It is the kind of panic that comes from knowing that you have just stepped firmly on the right path, your path, and there is no going back. It is the panic of someone who has always had a way out, who has always been good at follow through but not long-term commitment, and I am afraid, utterly afraid, that I will fail.

It has all led me to this: the jobs in retail, graphic design, my journalism degree, my travels, my Spanish, my sales experience. I know what I’m doing, and anything I don't know I can learn. I know the steps I need to take to succeed. I have started taking them. Now I stand on another ledge, however. It’s the ledge where I commit to all the things I need to do to sell my book and sell it correctly. It is where I decide that I will not be wishy-washy about my writing, and use this book to launch a name for myself. This is the point where I decide that I can actually do what I set out to do when I left my job in Bellevue almost 2 years ago. This is the point where I have to start acting like I belong here, and that will take courage; courage I still have yet to muster up. As I said, I am at least aware of the steps I need to take to get me there, and the first steps have already been taken. Now, however, I’m staring at empty space and I have to have faith that the step is there and sturdy and can hold me, whether I can see it or not. I have to have faith in myself, and despite all my talk, many times that is the hardest thing for me to find.

I have learned recently, however, that you have to start acting like the change has taken place before it actually does: you have to act like you’re going to make it before you will. So here’s to the actions that speak louder than words, and to the Zen saying, “Leap, and the net will appear.”

Love and leaping kisses

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Monday, July 19, 2010

My New Relationship with Me

Six days after I got to Mexico, I wrote a blog called "My Relationship with Me." The blog was my way of admitting that I knew there was something missing – something that had been missing for a long time – and that I was hoping to find it. It was a blog about needing to work on my relationship with myself, and being glad I had the time to do it. It’s now six days before I head back to the States, and I think it’s probably fitting to write about how my time went.
When I lived in Spain, I remember telling my friends that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to remember all the days that I spent there and all the things I had learned – that I would have to summarize my experiences, and in doing so, I would leave a lot of stuff out.
Well, of course that’s true. When people ask you how your time was somewhere, they’re generally looking for a one-sentence answer, something along the lines of, “Oh man, it was so awesome!” or “I had a blast.” At the time I was worried about this, but it’s not something I worry about anymore. What I worry about instead is not whether or not I’ll be able to summarize my experiences to tell my friends, it’s about whether I’m ultimately going to remember more than a summary of what happened to me.
Mexico is a great example. I’ve been here a little over three months – not much time in the grand scheme of things – but I feel like the things that I have done and learned here should have taken years of mental and emotional energy to have experienced. Ask what exactly was so great about it, however, and I can’t exactly tell you. Was it the women’s group I started going to every new moon? I know that was part of it. Was it the yoga class I went to three days a week, and Pilar, the yoga instructor who became my friend? That was part of it too. Was it my new friendship with Pamela Bishop, all the time spent around her pool, and the fact that she made me read The Power of Now, which I probably would never have picked up at any other time in my life? Yes…but that’s not all of it either.
I expected that a lot of the time I was going to spend in Mexico I would spend alone. I expected that my days would be full of walks on the beach with the dog, writing, and keeping in touch with my friends back home via internet. I didn’t expect that I would learn so much from so many other people, or that I would even get to know that many other people. I didn’t expect a lot of things, and I think that’s why my time here surpassed my expectations so incredibly.
So, what did I learn about me, you ask? I learned that I am tired of being angry, at others but mostly at myself. I learned that my writing is not as funny when I’m really in touch with how I’m feeling – I hide behind my sarcasm and my funny stories so I don’t have to tell others or myself about the pain. I learned that I can let go, and the whole world won’t fall apart. I learned that I don’t have to have it all figured out, and that you can learn a lot from people who have one part of their life under control while the rest of it is falling apart. I learned that it’s okay to fall apart, and that the sun will still rise and set despite all the things you think you have to do to keep it moving. I learned that despite what I always thought, I am my own worst enemy, and that I am incredibly, horribly insecure: any impression I’ve given to the contrary was just a way for me to protect myself from getting hurt. I learned that I have the ability to poison relationships in a single sentence, or save them with one sincere compliment. I learned that I am deeply, deeply afraid of letting people know who I really am, and I lead people to talk about themselves so that I don’t have to share anything about myself.
I learned that I am not afraid of many things that others fear…except for spiders. I learned that I actually like earthquakes. I learned that I am like a child when the waves are big, and when they crash I get an adrenaline rush, even if I’m just watching from afar. I learned that I sleep best when it’s raining outside, and that thunderstorms are as beautiful to me as a night sky sparkling with stars.
I learned that I am really bad at catching waves when trying to surf. I learned that there are some people that it’s best not to be friends with. I learned that there is a fine line between my gut instinct and my insecure ego trying to destroy my happiness. I learned that German Shepards can learn a trick in three tries. I learned that Micheladas have Worcestershire sauce in them, that I love Oaxacan cheese, that I can eat quesadillas for most meals without wanting anything else, that I don’t like swimming in really warm pools, that it’s not as scary as I thought to drive in Mexico, and that I should never be hired to translate about cars, car parts, car problems, construction or paint materials. I learned that chipotle guacamole is one of my new favorite concoctions, that I am no longer capable of drinking all day long and lasting all night, too, and that sometimes it’s best just to let go, even if you don’t want to. I learned that regardless of where I am, I am addicted to sleeping in a cool room, swimming in cold water, spicy food, laughing so hard it makes your stomach hurt, and knowing people that you can show your worst to and they simply shrug and bare themselves to you in response.
I learned that you can get great cheap haircuts in Mexico, that some places are worth coming back to, and some places you will carry with you always. In three months, I learned that there is always more to learn, and that I can’t wait to see what else the world has in store for me.
So, you ask, did I find it? Did I find what was missing? I’m honestly not sure. I think I found part of it, but perhaps not all of it. Regardless, I feel a lot more whole than I’ve ever felt before, and like a I know myself a lot better than I ever have. I know there’s more to learn, but I’m no longer afraid to find out what it is. Like any healthy relationship, I’ve realized that it can’t be all good, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all bad. I like the person I discovered here, and I can’t wait to get to know her in the time we spend together from here on out.

Love and me kisses

I'm consolidating my blogs! All my new posts will be at Confessions of a Travel Addict!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Where Has the Flavor Gone?

Mexican oranges are not orange. They’re more of a mottled, green-orange that does not exactly inspire confidence in the first-time buyer. They’re also a little small. Basically, Mexican oranges have very little in common with the very same fruit sold in the U.S. that is, actually, orange.
However, looks are not everything. As much as the oranges look pretty in the U.S. – being huge and perfectly round and orange – they are nothing compared to the juicy, dripping-with-flavor sweetness of the unorange oranges found here.
The same is true for limes. And mangoes. And papayas. And avocadoes. It is not simply that I have more time to savor the flavors here in Mexico; the truth of the matter is that there is more flavor here, even if it comes in an imperfect package.
Among many orchardists in the States, the Red Delicious is considered the potato of apples. This is because – according to my father the orchardist – there was a point where they began marketing Red Delicious for their color: for having a perfectly red exterior. Soon, demand began to reflect this genius of marketing, and consumers were buying the biggest apples with the best-looking exterior. In turn, tree growers began selling strains of trees that grew this perfect fruit, and growers began to buy these trees to grow the apples that were in such high demand. The apple’s taste was secondary to how it looked.
Obviously this was not the first or the last fruit or vegetable that this has happened to. The oranges are a perfect example. Unfortunately, in the land of the grocery store, where there are no seasons and the fruit and vegetables are bought and sold based on their looks, much of the flavor goes by the wayside.
It’s not just our food, however. The States has become so involved in how something looks that all the flavor has been leeched out for the sake of the image. Yes, we drive nice cars and live in nice houses, but we also work weekends and are always attached to our work email. We are so exhausted making the money to fund our images as successful fun-loving people that we don’t actually have time to be those people. We are so caught up in having that beautiful shiny exterior that our insides suffer, our souls shrivel, and we live for the two-week vacation where we can forget that the rest of our lives are all about work.
Obviously there are people out there who use their credit cards because they can’t afford food and diapers, but there are many more whose debts come from buying non-essentials because everyone else has or wants them. For myself, it has always been eating out: I love to do it, even when I can’t necessarily afford it, and I love to cook; I certainly don’t need to eat out. How much debt would we have if we just bought what we needed?
Mexico has holidays all the time. They work hard, make much less money, yet are much more likely to smile at you on the street. Their lives seem even more full of life than ours, despite all we do to fill them. As for us, we are perfectly round and perfectly colored, but how much flavor do we have inside?

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gringa Faux Pas Part 3

The maid tells me I am very brave for staying out at this house by myself. She is not the first person to tell me this, and I'm sure she won't be the last. Americans and Mexicans alike have said the same thing, although truth be told I'm not sure why. I am living in a beautiful house surrounded by an (almost) invincible wall, with my own guard dog with a deep ferocious bark but cheery disposition, a night watchman, and, for good measure, a big ass machete next to the bed. (The machete was already there, mind you...I would never actually pick a machete as my weapon of choice).
So anyway, she tells me how "valiente" I am, and I tell her all the things stated here about how I really don't feel that brave, and then this supposedly kind-hearted woman throws it in my face: "Bueno, valiente, sí, pero con miedo de arañas."
So okay, it wasn't that big of a spider...but it was a pretty f*ing big spider just the same. I mean, as far as big spiders go, this one was not that big...but if it attacked me, say, it could have easily gotten ahold of and bitten into my big toe.
So what if I'm bad with spiders? So what if, when the maid came in after I'd scaled the wall, the first thing she saw was a tupperware container on the stairs, upside down, with four cans of tuna fish stacked on top so the wily creature couldn't escape to find its way onto my face in the middle of the night? So what if I was going to leave it trapped there all day until the night watchman came back and took care of it? SO WHAT, PEOPLE? WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE I'M CRAZY?

Gringa Faux Pas Part 2

I take the dog on a walk in the mornings, usually after the night watchman has left for the day. I lock the gate in the wall around the house, and usually carry the keys, the leash and my ipod with me on the walk. This morning, however, I decide that I could hide the keys somewhere so I don't have to carry them. I could hide them...on a ledge inside the gate. So I reach up, put the keys on the ledge and try to move them back so they're harder to see. Farther...farther...until they fall down the other side where I can't get them.
The night watchman has a key, but he's gone.
The pool guy, who's coming in about two hours, doesn't have a key.
I am supposed to meet someone for breakfast in two hours.
I don't have the truck key, my phone, any water, or enough sunblock.
I do have the dog, his leash, and my ipod.
I go for a walk (why not, after all?)
I come back and walk all the way around the wall surrounding the house.
I find a spot where I can -- albeit awkwardly -- climb over.
I climb over.
I am opening the gate from the inside -- covered in dirt, leaves and probably bugs -- when the maid walks up...a day early and five minutes too late.

Gringa Faux Pas Part 1

I go into a store to buy "saldo" (minutes) to recharge my cell phone, and it turns out they can do it immediately online by simply entering your phone number and the amount you've added. All you need is your phone number...which I don't have and can't find in my phone. After about 5 minutes of holding up the line, the guy behind the counter takes my phone and calls his phone to find out my number for me.
Oops. :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Relationship with Me

The moonlight is bright outside, illuminating the waves as they beat against the shore. There are birds calling from the water’s edge, and I imagine they are feasting on their kinsman with a broken wing that the dog wouldn’t stop bothering on the walk today. I should be disturbed by this, but I am too busy feeling the breeze’s fingers through my hair, still damp from my afternoon dunking. My ears are full of so many sounds I cannot yet discern – I think I hear frogs, now and then a gecko, once in a great while a Mexican song, whistled or sung. I am here to heal, and these sounds will become a mother’s hum to me, rocking me to sleep.
I am here to heal, but I am fighting disappointment in myself that I need it at this point. I have had a year of complete bliss – of living on an island in the Puget Sound, followed by time far up a river valley, with only the mountains and the fresh pine air, followed by this: the beginning of three months next to a beach in Mexico. I am not coming off of a drug addiction, out of a bad relationship, away from a death in the family. I am not alone and drifting without direction, regardless of what it may look like to some. In many ways, I have gotten to know myself more in this past year than I ever thought possible – gotten to know what I need to be happy and begun to strive for it. Yet, despite all this, I am still here with open wounds.
In the past few months, I have been working too much with the idea that I could rest in Mexico. I have forgone sleep, healthy meals, time alone and exercise with the idea that I will get to do all or nothing that I desire in Mexico. The problem is that this is a recurring theme for me: work too hard with the idea that it will all be over soon. If it will all be over soon, there is no need to spare myself, my heart, my body, my sanity, because one day soon I will have the time for all of it.
But that’s not what I want. I don’t want to live for the times I get to escape – the times that I pick up my bags and leave my worries behind. I want to own my worries and take them with me – to appreciate and pack them along with my favorite books. I want my worries to be things that make me excited to get up in the morning, not something I am looking forward to leaving.
I want to be able to maintain something constant and healthy. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and wish for my responsibilities – to be able to leave them alone or scoop them up like sand dollars and take them with me to the beach. I want something that I think is falling farther and farther away in American society: the kind of serenity in my everyday life that most people only find on vacation.
Am I crazy? Of course I am. Is it possible? Of course it is. I’m not sure – I’m new at this, remember – but I think the secret is to work on your relationship with yourself like you would with anyone else. People who have been in long marriages, relationships or friendships for that matter always talk about finding the time to be together – reserving time for the two of you to remember why it is you like each other and why you’re important to one another’s lives. This doesn’t have to be as touchy-feely as it sounds: a nice dinner out, a barbecue, a ski date, a movie night with take-out. Enjoying the things you love to do together, together. Why shouldn’t you have to do the same for yourself?
However, I think I may need more time than most. A friend told me once that I probably didn’t really need human interaction more than once a week. This might insult some people; I was relieved that someone finally got it.
Between leaving Chelan and getting here via Mexico City, I heard it many, many times. “Just one person?” “Only one ticket?” “Are you here alone?” “Many people wouldn’t do this alone.” “I admire people who can travel alone.”
The thing is…I don’t get lonely. I enjoy my time by myself. I don’t feel alone…when I’m alone. Which is perhaps why I feel that I have been missing my time with myself – because there have been too many distractions, people, places, things -- and I haven’t been able to enjoy my time with me.
So here I am. Like any good relationship, you can’t fix it once and expect it to stay fixed just because you said so. I feel like I should have discovered this about myself already, but there are some things that you must continue to practice, even after the lesson has been learned. I will continue to spend time with me, heal the rift that has grown between myself and who I am, and spend some time – much needed time – on my relationship with me.