I’m reading day 6 of Daphne book now. Her biggest fear which prompts me to consider my fears which I have not fully identified yet. Although some of my writing may feel sad I feel it necessary for to mention to gain an understanding of how I come to my way of thinking now. Of how the use of my crazy sense of humour helped me through difficult moments and I’m glad to say “got my personality” back and more. Although my worst moments in life are now coming to an end I find myself reflecting and seeing just how I am beginning my own life in so many ways. Although some of the things I write may seem sad I felt it important to write honestly and to acknowledge something’s and how life circumstances can truly play a part in our decisions good or bad. My circumstances in life are like many others with nothing that is so different from many people. However, I like to give others some hope you can have a fulfilling life and be happy no matter what is thrown at you. And that we can try to change our own lives for the better despite whatever obstacles can be thrown your way.
I have travelled alone for approximately 1 and half – 2 year and not in the easiest of countries such as Brazil, Cairo. Panama, Mexico. India, Azerbaijan, China, Spain, Paris. In Mexico and Panama I did not live with anyone nor did I have any contacts there. I decided to come completely out of my comfort zone with this trip and book spontaneously on my phone as I travelled. I’ve became a “dab hand” on my mobile phone now. Now I want to take the bigger leap into the unknown and consider living in another country and starting completely afresh. So, what are my fears? Maybe it’s the fear of finally leaving what I had perceived as a ‘safety net’. My delusion?
I’m now back in the “safety net” of where I’ve always lived with further awareness of why I had to travel alone in the first place. To break my conditioning and expectations as a “former” wife, mother, sister, and now grandmother.
One of the biggest teachers in my life has been my son .He has Autism. His distress and difficulties in our Scottish system have driven me to action many changes. He inspires me every day seeing him so independent after so many struggles with our Scottish system which does not support Autism very well and the “fight” is hard. We have conquered many stressful and distressing situations leaving us both deflated and wondering if life can ever be easier. The system can be designed to wear you down, give up and conform. Our experiences in terms of Autism and the ‘system’ definitely remind me of George Orwell’s book ‘1984’.However, we did not conform, but this has its consequences on health and wellbeing all round. Our self-belief was strong and we had to rest, recover and step back up again when we got knocked down. It is amazing to listen to him now tell me to live my life and he thanks me for supporting him through everything. I will always continue to have my concerns regarding our ‘ Scottish system of ‘professionals’ in terms of inappropriate pride, pretence at no resources, and the continual repetition of telling families there are no resources which is not true of course.(Education, psychiatric, psychology, speech therapy to name but a few. I’ve seen and experienced it first hand and have supported others going through the same difficulties. Another very large blog I will get round to writing on the difficulties for families and autism due to our very lacking Scottish system. “The Games the system and professionals play in terms of Autism”).My son says he is ok, he is making his own life now, can speak up for himself and that he knows he can ‘what’s app’ me if he needs to grump, complain or tell me what’s happening with his Special Olympics. He is a diehard sports guy. Football mad. He encourages me now to consider changing life, living somewhere else for me now. I know he will be ok, for the first time in my life I now know this. He cannot conform no matter how many people try to make him. I am very proud of him indeed.
The other influence has been my mother but not in the way that you would expect. I suffered excruciating pain at the loss of my mother many years ago but not through her death, she is very much alive. This was surfacing for me emotionally in a way that is still very difficult for me to come to terms with but I have done now because I have matured. I am not so naïve anymore. My expectations of people have changed. I have a greater understanding of life and circumstances that cause people to make the decisions that they do. Her path could have been my path and I will be eternally grateful to her for indirectly showing me this and enabling me to map out a new way forward. There are many pressures on mothers to always have the answers and do the correct thing because their mind tells them so and that someone once taught them this was the way to do things. Unfortunately all too often we do not listen to our heart and body which may indicate another way. (Another blog for later)
Up until now I had a ten year divorce battle in court. It felt like I was being slowly crushed, with so many losses in terms of people, long illness and finally ending the bigger “fight” for my son’s (25) independence in terms of Autism and I was studying Law on fulltime. I also have two girls age twenty nine and twenty and a granddaughter aged seven months. So life had been busy trying to keep afloat amidst much turmoil, hurt, disappointment and many losses along the way. I realise now how my own emotional needs were cast aside for other things that had to be ‘kept together’ as I see it now.
During these times when I supported my family alone, I hosted international students while studying as a mature student which helped me financially. I was to discover that this was one of the best things I ever did in my life. It then opened my opportunity to have visit many people in the world who had lived with me. Treasured lifelong friends who opened my world to further culture language and enabled me to change many things. I will be forever grateful for this. We had tremendous moments together socialising, travelling, going to the bar, and singing much laughter and some very interesting discussions.
Hosting people from all over the world was very challenging for people around me. They didn’t understand these “young strangers coming to my home”. “Wasn’t I scared? How can I let these people live with me”. These were the milder of the questions and obstacles people tried to put in my way. Members of family and ex family did not approve. But did I care what they thought? No. I had to support my family because there was no income coming from anyone else. Many of these new friends helped restore my faith in that what I was doing helped us all. I learned much about myself and it opened up my whole world literally. A way of being that I had always felt comfortable with but felt stifled in my environment of closed thinking having eventually “fitting” in to be accepted I guess. It’s been sad to observe this reflection of how I lived in many others that I can see with such clarity now. Many people live in this way and do not live true to who they are because then they do not belong to the “tribe”. They have to suffer isolation and rejection if they step out. I was finally breaking down conditioning and being me but not without its consequences of course. It felt horrible and negative at the time but I now see it as a huge gift indeed. During these trials and endurance tests I had felt a loss of people, purpose and health. I now think differently, maybe this is me now on a journey of discovering it.
During this time a tall, handsome, well mannered, exceptionally polite Brazilian man brought two very lovely Brazilian girls, Victoria and Luiza to my home. He was checking if I was a safe person to host them lol lol…lo and behold I ended up dating again and we had a relationship for a while. We sneaked around for a while not wanting the students to discover our secret. Buy hey ho, they had already guessed and used to give us little smiles when they saw us together. Thank God I didn’t need contraception anymore lol. I was forty five and having a ball or two, literally (chuckling loudly).
I met the girls again twice on my return to Brazil and had the privilege of attending Luiza’s graduation ceremony in Vilhena, Rondonia, Amazonia. And what a great party, there can’t possibly be any graduation ceremonies that compare to Brazilian ones. I learned to ‘shake my ass’ properly. I was forty nine and my ‘bunda’ (ass) was in full twirk mode. This brought me to have my first experience in Brazil which was to widen my world and take me back to Brazil a further twice. He was another person to thank in so many ways. For his amazing relationship with my son and for so many of the people I have met through him over the years and how this has grown from these first encounters. My heart remains strong in Brazil in so many ways. I saw many people again and I will continue to return I guess for many more years to come. I think there is a possibility that I was Brazilian in a previous life or so my good friend Simone from my favourite place (Amazon) in the world tells me. (Photograph above with her and her children).Near to the end of this relationship due to his return to his own country is when I was becoming ill with contracted virus while on a study trip in China. He went back to Brasil. My body got ill and this took me on another new journey of people and new experiences.
ORBA AND MASSAGE
I’ve now read the end of Daphne Kapsali ‘100 days of Solitude’ day 6. What a coincidence, we both end with the talk of cats lol lol…we both talk to our cats although a different type of cat I guess. And I have named my cat Peggy Sue. She is shining brightly now with a new image and she ain’t lonely wooohoooo. She is a very happy kitty.
Now that I’ve shared a bit of the sad side of things to let you understand me the fun begins again. I realised that there appeared to be only one thing working in my body (after suffering paralysis of my legs and loss of much cognitive functioning) My MOJO was in fine working order. The virus had not got to her thank goodness. Little Peggy Sue was in fine working order. She maybe just needing RE oiled and given some attention. I decide the cat needed creamed, given a new image, makeover and head to Orba in Spain for a long, healing, massage weekend. She was ready to be rocked. She was shining so brightly I could almost see my face in her. I was on another new journey. Massage waits…but not just any old massage.
I’m now at Daphne’s Kapsale’s ‘100 days of Solitude’ knight in shining armour on her 7th day. I laughed when I visualised her headless chicken” dance. That moment of OMG, your brain goes crazy lol lol. I experienced a moment like that In Thailand in 2006, standing alone in Siam square wondering what I was going to do when my phone broke, my email wouldn’t connect, my bank card wouldn’t work and I was having problems at my hotel when they wanted all my exchange money back. I remember jumping up and down a few times in frustration then realising it didn’t matter, I needn’t be embarrassed. People were rushing by me so quickly. It was Bangkok after all. Busy and fast. Ten minutes later I felt better. I would overcome these issues somehow. Coffee first.
Back to Spain and reminder from Daphne about what I saw as my knight in armour in the form of Pablo, my good friend. I made my way to Alicante airport with a plan to get to Orba for the weekend of massage. As said previously, my body had been given a long overdue defuzz and my little friend Peggy Sue the cat was shining brightly, smooth and saying ” thank f___ “I thought you forgot about me, illness no excuse lol. I thought” Peggy, keep quiet for a while eh.. you will get let loose sometime. “God help the person who meets you just now, be patient or I will buy a big pair of Bridget Jones for you instead of the pretty ones your wearing now”. She scowled, went in a huff but was quiet for a while purring quietly in a feel sorry for me type of way. I’ll talk to her later and get back in her good books.
Anyway, I did not want my feeling unwell to stop me trying to get to Spain. I had taken ill after a trip to China having picked up some unexplainable virus which causes leg paralysis, severe head and pelvic bone pain. I also had great difficulty keeping balance and I would chronically sleep. Walking and doing most things became difficult and I was exhausted. (Still recovering now three years on but glad to say I am so been much better prompting to many life changes which challenged me no end.)I had to let go didn’t I and accept.
So, back to Alicante. My knight in shining armour was in the form of Pablo. My lovely friend whom I had met as a mature student who came to live in my home while learning English. We become good friends and I visit him, his husband and family in Valencia often and get to live with them in the beautiful mountain area of Santa Barbara and Valencia City. This area is breath-taking area and helped much in my recovery to be in such a peaceful place. (Just one of the extraordinary friendships with people who lived with me in Scotland over the years. Pablo, Barto, Cesar).
I learned so much about myself with these friends and adore going out with them. Pablo and I like to sing. He plays piano, guitar and has his own band. I always like to dance with Cesar when I hear ‘Baillando’ and we try to communicate with our little language as do both Barto and our broken Spanish and English when we go to the mountains. We manage to communicate very well. It is amazing how much communication you can gain through getting to know each other’s ways, body language and gestures. I love to go shopping with Barto in the little beautiful butchers shop in this area and lie at the very quiet pool at the top which has the most beautiful views around. I am spoiled by all of their wonderful cooking and attention. I look forward to further trips with him in the future exploring surrounding areas. Their openness, acceptance and wealth of cultural and life experiences have enabled me to expand in my own thinking and self-worth. They have spoiled me and given me something that was very much lacking in my life at that time, Fun, laughter, joy and to learn to love myself as I did in Brazil also. Or, as I see it now, maybe something that I had never experienced too often, true acceptance, value and respect. Divorce and family issues were taking a hard toll on me at this point. I had a false perception of who I was due to the belief system I had developed with the continual dysfunctional accusations thrown at me by ex-family members and dealing with court. It felt such a destructful, brutal experience that did not have to be this way. However, unfortunately when dealing with narcissm to this extent you cannot have a reasonable way forward. It is designed in this way to destroy and humiliate and unfortunately I was feeling very deflated and worthless in these moments. I had very little family support at this time and had to reach out in other ways to maintain stability.
However, it was so refreshing to learn and observe from Pablo and his family a very different way of dealing with family issues and that it did not need to be so distressing with more openness and honesty. I admire them greatly for sharing their life with me because I had only known conflict within these contexts. If I spoke my mind within my own family there were consequences such as isolation or dismissal, rejection and abandonment. Pablo, Cesar and Barto may never fully realise what they did for me in so many ways. I love them dearly.
So, back to Orba. II never realised how grateful I would be for Pablo’s help as the massage centre hadn’t told me I couldn’t get public transport to this place if they didn’t pick me up. Pablo arrived from Valencia to Alicante as promised, to collect me from the airport. It was a great feeling being spoiled by these two men. I felt I was a lucky woman indeed. We arrived in Orba. What a beautiful place. Peaceful surrounding by hills. Orange and lemon trees outside my window and much food being grown all around. There was one cafe / bar. Perfect.
Now for my new experience yet to come. The experience that would begin a healing in my body. I had researched this as something I felt could help my condition having no other answers or treatment as yet. I was in the land of the complete unknown now. I was apprehensive, excited, and looking forward to discovering about something I had flippantly read about in the past and it obviously filed somewhere in my subconscious and was emerging now.