30 Days Till 30— Daily Video Blog. Ep#15/Ep#16. "Living In The Storm"
“Write long and hard about what hurts.” Maybe it’s Hemingway who said that. Maybe Poe. I’m not sure, but letting go through words on a page is what I cling to when life feels so messy that I can’t breathe. It’s what you do when stuck on an island in the Philippines—here still because a typhoon threatens your determination to stay positive and hope for safe travels.
Write is what one does when there isn’t much to say out loud, but much to feel inside. Write is what one must when someone will not respond. Write is what one does when no tours depart, when the signature smile is faded, and when the pit-pat of tropical rain beats down from a cloud-covered grey sky.
Write is what is needed in many a situation.
This three week trip to the Philippines has been the hardest, most-trying adventure that I have ever orchestrated. I wanted to do this, so why has it been so difficult? I’m here because I am almost thirty. I am here because I wanted to be. I went because travel is what I do, and it makes me happy. Why am I not so happy in the place then?
My heart is far away, and being here in paradise feels like a mistake. My being here is like a polar bear living in San Diego, although they do that, but it’s not natural. No person or no animal is ever meant to be caged. I don’t feel bound, but I feel like I’ve entered the wrong home.
I've craved freedom, escape and adventure. That's part of why I travel. I believe we all crave a deep sense of freedom, covered with peace, surrounded by love. It’s why being a flight attendant has been so appealing. For me, it was the vehicle that helped me become who I am now, however lost I may feel in this moment.
Dear God, I think— I pray and plead no less— get me away from my mind. I can’t change the past and the future is more uncontrollable than the weather in this place; weather that makes its own chaos, adding to the crazy that I feel within me. Will flights go and what will happen is a question. Where will I stay and will the clouds clear?
I forget in the mess of logistics and inconveniences that typhoons are a real and a dangerous thing. To the people here, I catch myself whining about a refund, a room, a flight departure, or if there is vegan food, to which they give me the universal smile and I-don’t-understand-stare that translates to, “Shit girl! Aren’t you acting like an entitled bitch? Why would we have that here? Go back home for catering blondie.” That’s the thing about my problems and my heartbreak. It’s real and it hurts, but it’s first world-level one issues if it was compared to the challenges that many face in this world.
These people on this island have seen the damage that weather can cause. They have lived it and yet they continue to live without being dictated by it. Storms are a part of life that is anticipated, accepted, and expected. It’s not that the local Filipinos don’t take tropical storms seriously, it’s that they continue to navigate their lives as if all is normal— without worry, fear, or concern. They smile and chime, ‘M’aam-Sir’ with the same enthusiasm and positive energy as if the skies were blue and the sun was shining. It’s because they know that the storm will come and the storm will go and what will happen will happen. They simply choose to live.
When I go back home, I’m sure I will eventually look back and say, “Oh that’s what happened there. I’m grateful for the experience. I’m glad I took the trip to the Philippines,” but currently, I teeter closer to regret than gratitude. My tears are falling in unison with the rain. I feel comforted by the water droplets, as if the universe is crying with me. The universe needs a good cry every so often, for after, the land smells fresh and new, and the rainbows say, “Look how much color and magic can be created from chaos.”
I know, for I have seen my own-self recreated from chaos.