I AM NOT ASHAMED

You know… there have been times on this blog that I’ve choked on something I’ve written out of rum-soaked pain. I’ve regretted saying and writing the things that were destroying me inside.

Today I went back and un-protected the passworded bits of poison. The coin has two sides and I am not ashamed. There have been battles and bruises and bludgeoning in this war toward my authentic self and the opposition has been surprising – internal and external.  To disguise the wrong would be to hide who I really am and be just as much a hypocrite as I have fought hard not to be.

Welcome to the Singlestream. Home to a woman called Bushlings who accepts that she is flawed and is no longer ashamed to feel.

Have a wonderful day with yourself! I’ll be doing me right alongside you doing you. LOVE IT.

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Ready to start again…

My hair is now a decent length, able to fit in a ponytail or a french braid like the best of them.  Like my locks I’ve come a long way.  And this is no relapse.  It is now safe to say that after a few false starts I am now ready.  Months of work and seeking, healing and venting, laughing and growing have flowed in a single stream.  These labours of love will not be wasted, not be put into the foundation of just any old thing, or be invested in the future of any old person.  My pearls will not be cast to swine.

He would have to be a star to pull me out of my paradise and into his heavens.  His heart would have to be made ready and swept clean of any other woman’s stuff.  No residue.  He would have to be prepared.  Prepared to adore every strand, even the three grey ones.  Prepared to hold me high and say with pride “she’s with me”.  Prepared to ride out tough times and bad moods, cramps and cravings, bad jokes and busy days.  Prepared to be part of my support system and be fiercely supported.  To worship my God with me and love me second only to Him.  To husband my home and father some of God’s masterpieces.

No small job description.  Big shoes.  But who’s waiting?

The Singlestream will continue untainted.  My essence is what it is no matter who is nearby and no matter who I love.

5 Little gems…

… dug out of me in Life Coaching sessions that have surprised me.

  1. I am not a commitment phobe as I have always thought, but quite the opposite.  I am a commitment junkie.  Totally addicted to the stuff.  But, as with all addictions, this one is terribly unhealthy.  I over-commit and then drive myself into the sick-bed/the grave/some form of insanity in order to get the impossible done.  The worse thing that can happen to me in these commitments is for me to succeed.  Because then I set a new, stupidly-inhuman goal and go all out to kill myself to meet that one too.  And succeeding this, there is always a new level of insanity to conquer.
  2. I am hiding myself in work.  There is no balance.  Time poverty has been taught to me and accepted by me as a virtue.  If I keep this up there will be no humanity left within me for other sentient beings to relate to!
  3. I hold on to hurts.  Doing this only succeeds in hurting me longer.  This is not a surprise to me as some of the other five gems have been but I have historically had No. Clue. At. All. how to let things go.  It isn’t natural for me to forgive and forget those who do not actively and contritely seek my forgiveness and forgetfulness.  I have to teach myself how to do it.  Follow a difficult and disciplined process to purge myself.
  4. I am in love with my own essence!  Falling in love with myself and my own gifts, my own unique reflection of God himself, is a process that is bringing me much joy.
  5. I have let myself go.  My wellbeing is way down on my list of priorities.  Something has got to give.  Panic attacks and migraines, drinking and breakouts, insomnia and weight fluctuations are all pointing to abject neglect.  My neglect.  Of me.  And this has to change.

Some things already have!  Friendships, pastimes, focuses have all started to shift.  But more will come and I am very excited!

New Ray Rising

My birthweek is over and a new year in my life has begun.  It was beautiful, this past week of rest and no obligations.  I had some very special moments.  Setting up my back patio with my dad, shopping for new plants and pots with my mom.  There was a good long snorkel with my cousin Joe along the reef where he and I spotted a massive lobster hiding under a coral head and two huge trumpet fish as well as the usual suspects.  I got a kiss from a stingray at Stingray City and chocolate wine and beer schnaps from some of my dearest friends at the party my parents hosted.  There was the hanging of my new hammock and the arrival of family members from overseas.  There were dinners and lunches with friends – I am blessed with truly amazing ones – and a Happy Birthweek call every day for the whole week until the big day from my big brother mentor on the other side of the Caribbean.  Monkey came back from Honduras to dance with my all night long to “I’ve had the time of my life” by the Black-Eyed Peas. (Two-year-old loves to dance!!) I had pig-ear salad for the first time after thinking of trying it for months.  I planted out flowers and tomatoes with a friend of mine and we made my patio more of a jungle than it already was.  There was grilled conch, conch soup, Cayman-style beef, carrot cake and chocolate layered cake, my mom’s macaroni-and-cheese (like NO other) and loads of lovely drinkies.  I had an Eat. Pray. Love. moment with my jeans and a sunburn-turned-tan my girlfriends in London would pay good money for.  It was drama-free time, restful, full of love and beauty and sleep.  Just what I had hoped for.

And more.

God sent me two special gifts, just for me, that made me smile and whisper up to Him “thank you Father for delighting in me!”

The first was a rainbow against a dark cloud on my birthday.  The only one that week.  I had rolled out of bed to be greeted by Lola and Julius (Did I imagine it or were they giving me kisses in more of a frenzy than usual? Could they know?), to leash them up, throw on a pair of shorts and some flip-flops, don a baseball hat and go out for our usual morning walk.  We three stepped out into the cool morning air and they tugged eagerly on their leashes.  I looked up and there she was… my promise in the sky.  It said “There will be no flood this year my darling Bushlings.  This year you will be happy.”

And then there was the ray.  On our snorkel trip we made a stop at Coral Gardens, said by our boat captain to be 8-10 feet deep.  We had figured out early on that 8-10 is his favourite range of numbers – he used it on all three stops.  One was maybe 8-10, one was surely 6-8, and this one, Coral Gardens, was definitely closer to 12.

As we swam silently over gorgeous coral heads of many colours just teeming with a rainbow of little fish my cousin Joe and I would take the occasional dive to the bottom, exhaling little bubbles to equalize and get up close to the waving purple and yellow sea-fans and yellow-striped Sargeant Majors.  He and I drifted to the outer edges of the gardens, more experienced with fins and snorkels as we were the only islanders on the tour, and we got to know the lay of the ocean floor.  Coming to the surface we’d make sharp spits out the spouts of our snorkels before continuing on.  On one dive down, a good 8-10 (or 12) feet, I looked out of the gardens and into the open sea and caught a fright.  Joe was just out of reach and I couldn’t grab him and show him.  But hovering gently, just about a foot off the blue-tinted white-sand ocean floor was the most graceful ray I have ever seen.  He was very black with pointy wings and a very long tail.  Not your everyday stingray, this beauty.  Oh no.  This was an Eagle Ray.  He rose gracefully to the surface before my bulging, goggled eyes, flipped his tail and disappeared.  I could feel pounding in my ears and I rose my head above the water spitting out the mouth piece and yelled EAGLE RAY!

But he was gone.  There were no less than 50 people in the garden that day and no one saw him but me.

The closest shot I could find on the internet of the amazing view I had.

Ten years ago I was 19…

Time is ticking to the 29th anniversary of my arrival, hale, hearty and hungry, into this world.  This is probably bigger for me than my 30th will be because it is the tenth year anniversary of my adulthood.  Ten years ago I started university in a country far away, I started drinking, I fell in love for the first time, and I began to make important life decisions like where I should place my faith and what career I should pursue.

Over the past ten years nothing has gone to plan.  My 19 year-old dreams were so pure, so untainted, and my will to fulfill them as they were was so strong and my wisdom complete.  But I learned that no matter how much I tried, no matter how resolved I might be, no matter how hard I worked, things would never happen the way I expected them to.

A man’s heart plans his way,   
      But the LORD directs his steps. 

Proverbs 16:9

In the last ten years I almost died twice.  My first love and I fell apart, and so did the second love, and the third and so on.  My body lost its lithe athletic look in illness and I have fought daily to get it back.  I have seen loved ones die, have tested my own faith, and have battled bitterness.  In the last year alone there have been many mistakes and much sadness.

I wonder, what would my 19 year-old self think of who I am today?  Would she be disappointed in where I am?  There are things she would be proud of, certainly.  My financial independence, my career changes and successes, my choices in faith.  But would she be proud of my visits to bitterness?  My frequent alcoholic beverage intake?

Over the next little while, as the day approaches, there is a lot of self-examination to be done. What can I do to make that 19 year-old proud of me?  Where have I surpassed her dreams?  Where have I failed her?

I owe it to her to get it right – it is her life too.