The first time I traveled to Panama, I learned a lot. About myself, about a species, and about a culture I never knew existed. The second trip to Panama, has had an interesting start so far. I’m going to gloss past a lot of what happened the very first day, because it was frankly quite awful and I am choosing to learn from the bad, but then move on and focus on the good and finding the lessons to take from each moment.
My taxi driver (I don’t even know his name and I spent 2 1/2 hours with him) was talking to me earlier, while we sat in a road block (specifically some cars drove down a one-lane bridge when it was our side of traffic’s turn and we were all stuck in the middle of the bridge for about 15 minutes until the cops showed up), and we were talking about my job. I had mentioned that I was traveling for work, to work with Smithsonian, and that I have a job in a zoo that does a lot with traveling and paperwork. He asked me if I had a family, or a boyfriend, and before I replied he said “Probably not with how much you travel huh?”. When I told him I had no kids, and I was single, he was shocked, asked why a 32 year old woman wouldn’t want to have a family-said that I needed to enjoy my life and at least have a boyfriend.
I brushed off his insistence that I needed to have a kid because until I do I just can’t understand the joy involved with that, or how I could cry the first time my baby says “mama”, but the dating thing is still sticking with me. And after a very long, exhausting day, I am raw and emotional, so I am choosing to write in a very raw and real way tonight…because I know that the rest of this week will go by much better. I mean, it could get worse, but ultimately, I know it’ll be ok. Sitting in the hammock on my balcony, of my gorgeous room, I can enjoy the sounds of the rainforest and it is very relaxing. It helps ground me and help me find home, even in a foreign country surrounded by strangers. And that is what I need right now…to find home because while I enjoy my independence, I do wish I wasn’t alone in this strange place. Well, and in life as well.
I jokingly said that maybe something was wrong with me, and that was why I’m still single. He looked at me and asked if I was serious, if something was wrong with me. I know there isn’t, I truly do, but it does make me occasionally wonder what is in store for me in the future. I enjoy being alone, I thrive on being quiet, but on the flip side, I also love the company of my friends, talking to them, and I sometimes have a thirst for activity. Just as a piece of paper has two sides to it, we all do as well. Sometimes my desire to be social (and by social I really just mean not alone) overrides my quiet time. And then I find myself not wanting to leave the hammock because the sounds of the frogs is addicting, and the few last bird calls of the evening are keeping me in place…despite the fact I feel like mosquitos are eating me alive.
I was enjoying my first meal in over 14 hours and staring out at the panoramic vista of rainforest and fog drifting down over the canopy when a large flock of parrots went flying past. They were squawking, and enjoying flying in loops around the resort, and did a few passes over the next twenty minutes. Every time I looked up I saw either the parrots, or a married couple standing on the balcony overlooking the range. Each view caused a different feeling inside of me. On the one hand, independence, freedom, and a sense of rising above it all as a parrot, and on the other hand, the feeling of companionship, having someone to lean on, and not always having to be so strong alone. Though each could on the flip side mean something else. For the birds, being a part of a flock and feeling safe, having a mate that you’re with for 70 years, that’s what their natural instinct drives them to. And for the couple, well they had a child sitting at the table while they stood and stared out over the landscape. Could they have been thinking of how different their lives are having someone who depends on them for everything? Perhaps they were watching the birds and wishing they could fly away…I’ll never know, it’s not like I went and asked them anyways.
Why am I alone? Why are any of us where we are in life? Why do some people find “true love” at 17 and 80 years later they are the sweet couple that young kids admire? These questions may be good for starting an internal dialogue and some introspectiveness, but they aren’t healthy in my opinion and can easily lead you down a rabbit hole that doesn’t actually help-it just shelters you in a wonderland world that isn’t really real. Coming back to what centers me, and breathing slowly through the suffocating feelings reminds me that life is more than “finding the one”. It’s about finding yourself. Once you start on that path you realize that you are capable of so much more, and worth so much more. You begin to put a value on your relationships and yourself that you didn’t before maybe, or maybe you said you did but in truth you were just pretending.
I keep writing in the hopes that I’ll have some lightbulb moment, in truth, I’m writing to distract myself, to keep my brain focused on putting the way I’m feeling into words and not fixating on an indescribable feeling. I started writing poetry again earlier today, while on the flight where a kid peed on my foot and in my shoe, and the 6’6″ guy behind me kept kneeing me in the back and kicking my feet because his legs were so long, and between the poetry and the drawing that I did, it was oddly very therapeutic. I say oddly because when I fly, I have every good intention of working on my writing, or drawing, or ready, and in truth I wind up spending the entire time playing stupid games on my phone. Getting back to my roots isn’t always easy, but it does feel so much better when I can manage to do that.
“I’d like to see your skin a glow int he soft light of fireflies. Every inch of you, every sweet kiss, every little broken piece of you fits in so well with every broken piece of me. The way your body responds to mine, I crave you int he most innocent of ways. I am captivated by the sounds you make when I brush my fingertips across your skin. SOmehow you feel more like home than these four walls I live in. I long to use my tongue to write a sonnet on your body that’s for you and only you. A sonnet detailing the way your love raises me up and makes me feel as if I”m in heaven, if only for a moment.”
The truth is, I am alone. But not really. I always have me, and maybe that’s the secret, is learning that being alone is the best way to be whole. (Or perhaps I’m beyond exhausted and this raw and emotional writing will sound like nonsense once I am well rested!)