A Lesson in Independence

As I sit here writing this, 5 months have passed since I decided to take control of my life and leave him.  In that time a tremendous amount has changed in my life.  I did finally do it: I moved to the resort town on my own, unsure where I would be living, what to expect, or when I’d be starting work.  The main adjective that continues to flash in my mind is “independent.”  I wanted to thrive as my own person and do it entirely alone and I’ve begun the process.  Sure I need to rely on my brother or my father here and there but I’m beginning to finally look inward and reflect on the person I am and the person I want to be.  I got set up in my lodgings, staff accommodations, and couldn’t believe my eyes.  There were maybe seven of us living there at the time, but the place was in shambles.  Garbage piled sky high, concrete floors that looked as if they’d never been cleaned, holes punctured the drywall and stickers covered every surface.  The sheets they provided us with to cover our single bunk beds were the reject lodge sheets, often stained or ripped and way too big for the beds.  Don’t even get me started on the kitchen… and the stench, oh the stench.  Needless to say I rarely left my bedroom those first couple weeks.  That first day in my new digs I walked over to my brothers where he informed me that he had (through word of mouth) already procured me a potential home and bike so that I could get into town and get out of staff accom.  Both worked out marvellously.  When we went to look at the potential bike the seller suggested I jump on and take it for a test drive.  It has been over 10 years since I’d last rode a bike, the seat was too high, the back breaks non-existent and it had only 1st gear.  I teetered down the steep gravel driveway, my brother became concerned that I wouldn’t be able to ride it home.

“You know the expression ‘like riding a bike’?” I asked him, he nodded.  “There’s a reason people say it.”
I rode home on my bike feeling increasingly optimistic.

As more and more people began to move into staff accom, I began to feel more and more alone.  I felt left out when everyone would head down to the bay to surf, but without any gear (or money to buy gear) I felt helpless and too proud to admit I’d never surfed and was terrified of the ocean.  All my housemates knew each other and were young and hopeful, meanwhile I felt like a den mother.  I longed to go hiking and explore some different local spots, but without a car, any friends, or reliable local transportation service, I was relatively stranded.  Suddenly, being independent felt like more of a curse than a gift.  I became depressed and when an old co-worker visited and brought an 8-bak of cocaine, I fell into some familiar habits which sent me further into my self-loathing.  I yearned for a boyfriend, someone who was from the area and could introduce me to some cool people, teach me to surf and show me the sights.  I scoffed at myself for even entertaining such thoughts, but they wouldn’t stop.  A week later, some other friends from back home came to visit and we spent the night in their cabin smoking doobies and drinking wine.  When I jumped on my bike to head home I immediately fell sideways into a bush.
After all the horror stories I’d heard about people breaking their collarbones or jaws while drunk on the bike path, I made the executive decision to walk my bike home despite the fact it would take me that much longer.  Cars whizzed by as I stumbled along the dimly lit path, my arms grew sore with the effort of holding my bike straight and I felt foolish so I resolved to ditch it in a bush and retrieve it the following day.  I found a good-looking spot with a large landmark and pushed it as far into the brush as I could before carrying on.  About 10 minutes into my walk I heard excited shouts and saw, in the distance, a bunch of people running into the bushes near my hiding spot.  I couldn’t make out the exact words but thought I heard something about “it must have just got left here.”  I froze and began to contemplate.  Did I run back and try to re-claim my bike, while looking like a total idiot?  I could barely even walk let alone run and the odds of catching up with them were not in my favour.  I continued to stumble home, silently mourning the loss of my bike.

The next morning I awoke to the sound of pounding on my door, “Time to wake up!” my brother’s voice echoed, “You’re late for work.”  I had slept through my alarm and was now an hour and a half late for work.  Things felt like they couldn’t get any worst, I was on the verge of tears for the entire day.  I made up my mind that I would at least try and look for my lost my bike, perhaps the culprits had ditched it a little further down the road?  Or perhaps they had never even found it to begin with?  I started the long walk to my hiding spot and that’s when the rain started pouring, and pouring, and pouring.
I called Sendal and began crying hysterically, “I don’t know what I was thinking moving out here, did I honestly think I could come into this world and belong?” I moaned into my phone.
Sendal tried her best to calm me down, “It’s always hard when you move to a new place, it can only get better!”
I cried and sniffled into the phone, but continued to walk in the pouring rain, silently praying I would find my bike.  I rounded the corner and there it was!  My bike, right where I had left it.  I breathed a sigh of relief and swore to myself I would forever treat my bicycle with the kindness and respect she deserved.  Suddenly, things didn’t seem that bad.
That afternoon when I found my bike, I found myself.

Amazing things began to happen.  I started making friends and feeling comfortable in my surroundings.  I began getting invited to outings and parties and relished my time hanging out in the common area.  No longer was I just my brother’s sister, I was finally my own person with my own identity.  After a month passed and it came time for me to move into my new digs, I began to get bummed out.  I had just begun to get comfortable in my surroundings and now I would have to go through the process all over again.  I thought back to the book I recently read by Martha Beck entitled Guiding by Starlight and remembered her words that anything scary and unknown is a true “shackles off” experience that can only lead to good things.  I’m still working to find the confidence to follow my own true path and I’m getting closer.  People keep asking me if I’ve met any interesting men out here but I just shake my head no.  I can’t be tied down and there’s no one worth my precious time, yet I still hear the psychic’s words in my head “you’ll feel him coming to you.”  I’m not entirely sure that’s true but there is something great in the works, I know that in my heart.  It’s simply a matter of taking life day by day and finding joy in the little things and letting the universe unravel as it should.  Until then, I’ll be here, waiting.


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