Look at me. Sailing, seas, sunburned nose.
I’m a sailor now. Full time. To be honest it’s more a combination of sailor, chef, tour guide, housekeeper, and mechanic/electrician/plumber, as CJB and I are the only crew on this boat. Our first season is behind us. We have sixty days off while our boat waits out the worst of hurricane season on the hard (dry dock) in Puerto Rico.
I feel like I simultaneously learned a lot and nothing at all. I had almost no experience on modern boats at all when I took this job, and even less of cooking fancy meals for up to twelve people. Our training was kind of trial by fire, trial by error, and sea trial. CJB and Idid it, though. Barely, but we did it. By the end of July I was able to handle all the myriad duties required of me in a day, and CJB was pretty good about pitching in where necessary.
It was a long hard road to get there.
This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Not the sailing. That’s actually not all that difficult on a modern boat in the Caribbean. Instead of hauling lines by hand and using the weight of my own body to force sails up, I push a button with my big toe. Rather, I’ve been forced to live the excruciating hell of living, working, and adventuring with a man I love with every piece of me but who does not feel the same way.
This blog is supposed to be about me healing from my past emtional trauma. About nurturing the tiny warrior inside of me. About learning to be whole on my own and not living at the mercy of a man who decides for me how happy I can be. I don’t want to go too into detail about the crushing loneliness and depression I suffered this year, nor about the suicidal ideation I experienced for the first time in my life. I may live in paradise, but I’ve been in a dark hole mentally and emotionally for most of this year.
And it’s not even all CJB’s fault. I’ve tried to date. Dating in the Virgin Islands is truly abysmal. The men are all running from their problems and this is as far as they can run without leaving the country. They cannot show up for me when they can’t deal with their own issues. I had my hopes up several times but in the end they mostly turned out to be garbage. I’m so tired of it. I’m tired of knowing my worth being coupled with others’ total inability to see or value it. I’m tired of being passed over, benched, ghosted, and put back on the shelf like some kind of generic brand snack food: probably fine, but just not what they want. Ugh.
Things with CJB remain the same. We live, work, and adventure together. We spend almost all of our time together. But he is constantly on the lookout for the next girl to put on a hook and he continues to push me away emotionally. He is still the fastest way for me to achieve my next career goal (that of becoming a captain and driving my own boat), and we are under contract together until August of 2021. I don’t know what will happen then. I’m doing everything I can to position myself to be ready to stand on my own two feet by then. Financially this job is a boon and walking away would be tough, but I don’t think I have the fortitude to continue living in a situation that might actually kill me just for money.
But things aren’t all bad. Box Girl is visiting much less frequently. The Caribbean is good for me. I’m able to take up more space there. Be more authentically myself. I’m learning to play the fiddle, giving in to my love of lingerie and buying myself things that make me feel pretty, discovering a love of SCUBA diving. I’m open water certified and hope to get my advanced diving certification when I go back this fall. I’ve become a powerful swimmer, found a beer I truly enjoy, and fallen in love with the beauty of the islands. It is, as Coulson once said about Tahiti, a magical place.
Maine, it turns out, feels less like home. The house I built that I was (still am) so proud of is rented and I have no plans to do more than visit my things in storage there annually. I have been here a week and visited all my favorite haunts. Been to all my favorite places. But it just doesn’t feel much like home anymore. I think maybe we’ve outgrown each other. This trip has felt like … permission. As though I was seeking approval to say goodbye to the life I thought I wanted, and Maine has obliged me. I will only return in the future to see my dog, who remains the best thing to have ever happened to me, and the only soul who truly loves me unconditionally.
This blog post is a bit of a downer, I know. I’m not “living my best life” as much as I was hoping I would be by now. But I’m not giving up. The pheonix doesn’t just rise from the ashes once. If necessary, it will burn that fucker to the ground again to rise up as something altogether different the next time. I will continue to fight to heal, learn, rise, grow, and bloom. It’s time I remembered that.