Clearer skies

IMGP8772 Two nights ago I walked with my Argentine in Puerto Madero. The sun was falling into its nightly sleep and the shadows were strong and clean across the water. The sky was the clearest of blues. And I felt at peace: as we walked, I felt strong and clean too. In the last few days I have begun to sense that I am turning a corner. Maybe.

What do you hold on to when peace starts slipping away? As long as you have something to steady you one day at a time, there is always a way back, or perhaps to be more accurate, a way forward. And of course that is, as long as your mind allows you to hold on. Mine has. Here are  just five things that have helped me to walk, one foot in front of the other, over the last weeks. These five things have begun to lift me out of the ‘treacle’ and have played a part in guiding me into today.

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Spontaneity: a first swim in the dark in my tiny roof top pool. Here it is in the rain. Just to feel the cool water in the heat of the Buenos Aires night, just to lie back and stare at the stars, just to know that it is winter in England: for now, I know I am in the right place.

You: the countless messages of love and support that I have received, from my beloved family, from my friends back in England, from friends here in Argentina, and from many wonderful people whom I have never even met all over the world. They told me that I am not alone. They made me cry with relief. They gave me hope. They inspired me to listen to my fears, accept them and try to understand them. They inspired me to love myself exactly as I am. Once again I found out that honesty is powerful. I have been more honest in the past weeks than I think I have ever been in my life. Being honest with yourself and those who love you is painful, but I think it is worth it. I have stayed true to myself and so to those around me. Writing on this blog was just one part of that honesty. You sent me love and honesty in return and I felt it as a surge of energy.

IMGP8757 The new: it might not be such a new country for me anymore but there are many wonderful experiences waiting around the corner and because of who I am, they are an important source of strength for me. A last minute decision to take an evening walk led to the discovery of a beautiful ship, entry free, to be explored. I have been in Buenos Aires nearly 11 months, and I hadn’t yet ventured to Puerto Madero. On a summer evening it is spacious, the breeze over the water is cooling, and it felt just like being in London by the Thames. On low days it is easy to forget to keep appreciating, discovering. How fast a different environment becomes the ‘norm’, taken for granted, its hidden treasures ignored. I don’t want to fall in to that trap. This is a city that I have actively chosen to live in, and I want to keep reminding myself why.

A laptop. After months of no sound, and USB ports out of action: webcam and Skype an impossibility… I overcame my fear of buying in Argentina. In the last days I have been able to talk to and see my family back home and talk for hours for free. Why didn’t I do it months ago? OK so the keyboard is weird and the operating system’s in Spanish and so are half the other programs I am downloading, but I can hack it. In the end it cost me 500 pounds (is there a way to get a pound sign on this keyboard?!). Sometimes you have to just bite the bullet. I am saying thank you to my sister’s husband who said, “Why the hell doesn’t she just BUY the computer?” Well Nick, I did, and I owe you.

DSCF2744 My class with Ariel today. I think the fact my head has been so full of big stuff has let my body go off and do its own tango thing. I have stopped thinking much about tango. I have relaxed. Something in my body has released.  Ariel is smiling, making thumbs up signs, saying “Great!” a lot. I am smiling too. Actually today I shouted at him, “Hey, I can dance!” and I had a huge grin on my face, perhaps the first in a tango lesson for weeks.

Today I am feeling more connected with the world, and with myself. When I look back over the months past I realise that events have been huge. I cannot be surprised that I have wobbled and tripped. It is normal and possibly to be expected in one form or another for anyone who makes a dramatic change to their life, however much of a good idea it seems at the time.

I left my country in painful circumstances. I took decisions to live a different way: follow my heart, be true to myself, be more honest with other people. I intended to come for maybe three months, but ended up buying a home and staying. I made close friends who left and I faced periods of feeling very alone and isolated. I am way out of practice with new relationships but I fell in love with someone from a different culture, who had not before faced the reality of a free-spirited, fiercely independent English woman. I conducted this relationship in Spanish, a language I had never spoken until I arrived in Buenos Aires. I spent more time in my own company and with my head that I ever have before: sometimes I feel it has been the equivalent of a long spiritual retreat. I faced the arrival of the English who, through no fault of their own, dragged up painful memories and unleashed unexpected emotions. I ended up changing my plans to return to England, spend time with my family, sort out the practicalities of my life: even though I did it for good reasons I think my subconscious was expecting to be in England, but my body was still in Buenos Aires. Christmas and New Year spun their web of mystery in my mind. And something, somewhere snapped.

Into the peaceful mental space I had spent all year creating for myself, fear rushed and caused total and utter chaos. But, helped by some calming yoga, breathing, writing, reading, talking, praying and listening, I decided to take a good look at those deep rooted fears. They are real and they are a part of me. I have begun to understand them. I have begun to face them. I have also taken a long hard look at the things I need longer term to make my life in Argentina fuller and more tenable, and I have started to act on that knowledge. Already the universe is listening and I am being given new opportunities to explore.

I believe that in the past weeks Sallycat: tango dancer, writer, adventurer met Sally: small girl, lost in South America and listened to her, hugged her, and loved her. Who knows where these two will head in the coming days, but at least for now I think that they have stopped fighting and are maybe even holding hands.

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4 Responses

  1. Sal,

    Great to hear that you are making progress from the inevitable blip…

    I read your blog with much interest, even though I don’t respond much, but rest assured I am rooting for you all the way. Your story is so interesting, because it is such a human story. By circumstances and bravery you have been given/taken an opportunity that very few people have; to go on a journey to find out a bit more about life and about yourself. Even though you have family and friends back here, at least there are no kids to divert your attention. I sometimes wonder what I would have done with my life if I hadn’t got married and had kids. It’s been a difficult journey in itself, and it never ends…

    Your references to honesty make me feel that we could all do with bit more of that, warts and all. Can you imagine a world where we all told each other, and ourselves, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? The mind boggles.

    Thinking of you.

    Love

    Tony

  2. Sally,

    loved that you have reunited as one…

    look at all your have discovered about yourself. Isn’t that fabulous?? I am so happy for you and know you will press on and be the best Sally that you are!!

    cheers amica,
    Kate

  3. Dear Sallycat,

    Reading this post and your reflections on your recent struggles shows just how strong and adaptable you are. I’m glad that the cloud’s silver linings are showing through so quickly and that each day is brighter and better for you.

    hugs.

  4. Tony,
    How wonderful for me that you have commented here.
    Truly it is great to know that you follow my story.
    I will always remember how you guys back in England were there in absolutely the toughest days, and how your support helped guide me to the point where I was strong enough to leave my country and come here in the first place.
    And yes, if I had children, well that would have been a completely different story indeed.
    And as for honesty… perhaps being honest with myself about who I really am is the hardest of all, but then at least I can try to be true to myself… then when it involves telling those you love the truth, well I’m not sure that ever gets any easier!
    I hope that I see you guys when I am back in the UK.
    It will be an interesting time for me that is certain.
    A big hug to you till then.

    Kate and Tangobaby,
    Yes each day is at the moment a little clearer, a little brighter and my soul feels a little calmer.
    I am learning so much about myself, and I am determined to be the best Sally I can be, in my spirit and in my heart.
    Although the dark days were absolutely horrible, I know that they were for a reason. If they come again they will be for a reason. And at least I know that I can come back from them and feel more whole again, and each time maybe know myself a little better.
    In the end I guess the whole of life is just one huge journey, one huge opportunity to grow… it never ends!
    Thank you so much for your messages of support.
    They mean a great deal to me.

    SC

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