In my most stubborn fashion, I refuse to give my warring factions any more time or attention. They are ruining my trip, all of them. Why can’t I just live in peace and contentment like a normal person (I.e. Andrew)? “Fake it until you make it!” I always say. If I pretend to be peaceful and content for long enough, I will be peaceful and content.
I wake up, sip coffee in the cockpit and catch up on phone calls with friends back home. I work with Sonrisa to write a bit of the refit backstory because I have no idea what I can say about any of the rest of this given that I’m trying to ignore it. I read in the hammock until its time for my swim. One morning, Grin takes us on the “Belitung Selfie-Circuit" where we play among giant granite boulders,
...explore sand spits and white sand beaches with colorful tour boats;
...and visit a lighthouse constructed by the Dutch more than a century ago.
Thereafter, we go ashore for a late afternoon lunch of Belitung Crab in a savory curry sauce, island spinach with shrimp, iced tea and rice. The last few days, afternoon rain showers have been rolling in and today, we are chased away from our crab lunch to take shelter while the torrents of heaven pour down.
Each afternoon, we return to Sonrisa to watch the fleet of squid boats leave the anchorage like a flock of B52s just before sunset.
Whenever I sit down to write, I cannot think of anything to say about anything. The pen of insight has run completely dry under my “fake it until I make it strategy.” I feel guilty, ashamed, and embarrassed to admit that as a person tooling around tropical islands for two and a half years, I grapple with anxiety or darkness. Who am I to deserve success? Please! Who am I to feel down?
Somehow, these feelings are simultaneously related to, but disconnected with, my actual life. They exist no matter where I am. But, if there is one thing I’ve learned from all my friends in my sailing trip it is that discontent and poverty of spirit do not correlate to material achievements. Against all odds, so many of my friends who live in grass huts and dirt floors glow with the bright souls of happiness, whereas I mire myself in a fog of ill content.
Before you go to write a comment below to say “Leslie, this is rediculous just stop it!” Pause to consider that what I am saying is I’ve told myself this very thing over and over again. It brings no reprieve. Part of me berates me for being an ingrate when I feel down and lost (that’s Over-Tryer) while another part of me berates me when I relax (You are so lazy!), enjoy (You are so selfish!) feel content (You aren’t building anything for tomorrow!), or feel grateful (You are losing your edge!), that’s Over-Thinker. These parts of myself are at war for control, and they are using every tool of emotion, especially their most powerful feelings for control: guilt and fear. Am I the only person who experiences internal conflict?
I can’t sort this out. So, I ask my wise-self, Judith, what is to be done. She says, “There, there. I know it’s so hard. Let me try.”
I watch as Judith approaches the sniffling, unconsolable Over-thinker who has tipped sideways in her struggle against her hog tie. Judith sits down a few paces away from Over-thinker. “Hey, Over-thinker, are you okay?”
Over-thinker hisses at Judith. “Leave me alone, you.” At least that’s what I think she said. Hard to tell through the drool and tear soaked gag.
Judith says, “I will if that’s really what you want, but maybe you’ll let me untie you first?”
Judith has scooted slowly toward Over-thinker and placed her hand on the center of Over-thinker’s back between her shoulder blades. With her other hand, Judith unties Over-thinker’s gag and pulls it out from around her face. Over-thinker looks at Judith with a mix of surprise and sadness.
“No one appreciates me anymore.” Over-thinker almost whispers through her tears. Then, she yells, “None of you would be here without me! I BROUGHT YOU HERE!” Ms. Sensitivity perks up at this and elbows Over-tryer in the ribs, who, in this moment, is lounging with Ms. Sensitivity in her reading hammock.
“Like hell you did! I brought you here!” Over-tryer says. Ms. Sensitivity elbows Over-tryer in the ribs again. “Sorry. We brought you here. You boss us all around like the Queen of Sheba, then take all the credit. Not any more, Sister! Ms. Sensitivity has worn herself out trying to predict the future. I worked my ass off to go sailing and enjoy myself.” Ms. Sensitivity nods, sadly, then returns to her book.
Over-thinker struggles against her hog tie again. Judith gives her some calming pats and shooshes her a little. “Hang on, Over-thinker. Let me figure out how they’ve tied you. Judith kneels over Over-thinker and works her hands over the ropes and knots to figure out which must be let loose to let Over-Thinker go.
“Now, everyone, what if we are here because each played our part?” Judith asks as she surveys the hog tie. “What if our power is in balancing each other and working together?” Judith finds a good knot to untie and loosens it as she speaks. No one answers her, but Over-thinker stops struggling. Judith unties another knot.
“That’s how I feel.” Ms. Sensitivity says. “But, I don’t think that’s how Over-thinker looks at us. She says I’m too woo-woo.”
“She thinks I’m always out of control.” Over-tryer adds.
“Over-thinker? What do you think? Are these guys trouble to be controlled?”
Over-thinker sobs a little. “I don’t know. Yes, yes! I do fear they are trouble. If they don’t listen to me, they get us into trouble.” At this, Judith unties the last knot and Over-Thinker’s arms and legs sag with freedom. She sits up and Judith sits next to her with an arm around her shoulders for a few moments.
“Mmm…yes. But what happens when you don’t listen to them?” Judith asks this rhetorical question as Over-Thinker rubs a sore spot on her wrists where the hog-ties dug into her flesh. Over-Thinker sighs, then Judith continues. “Over-thinker, is your job is to fight trouble? Is that the job you want?” Judith asks.
“No, I want to make plans for something good! I like planning fun projects.”
“Okay, well, who is in charge of making sure we get the most out of current projects?” Judith asks.
This puzzles Over-thinker. She opens her mouth to say something, then stops herself. Over-thinker looks at the sky as if the answer to this question might be written in the clouds. Then she closes her eyes.