The trouble with starting with gold is that everything else seems so dull afterwards. Listening to other female sailors, I knew that I struck gold with CC. When I showed an enthusiasm to learn, he showed an enthusiasm to teach me everything about sailing, from manoeuvres, maintenance, electrics, engine works and more. I was an equal and not seen as a vagina who should stay in the kitchen.
Personality wise, CC was very easy to live with. He made me feel like the boat was my home immediately, he respected my space and privacy, always made sure I was fed (it’s part of the deal!), taught me how to use the dinghy so I had my freedom and as we have the same philosophy in life, he engaged in great conversation. Most importantly we seemed to know when the other one needed quiet and respected it.
Captain Wealthy is none of these things. I dread the evenings because it means that I have to hear him talk about money, stupid people (who is everyone), how women are always out for money, sex and racist and sexist comments. I have nothing to contribute. Well, I have a lot, but I think it will fall on deaf ears and would rather not waste my energy.
CW is overweight, smokes 40+ cigarettes a day and has very unhealthy eating habits. In fact, it’s clearly a large problem for him that I need to eat. You see the deal is, he pays for all expenses and I help him with his boat. So far, he is getting a bargain…
The second night I was here, we went out for dinner and were invited to a party that started at 1 a.m. He asked what I thought and I said my bed was calling me. He said ok, chatted in Italian with people for over an hour, while I sat there searching for toothpicks to keep my eyes open.
After this, I thought we were going home, but no, he takes me in the car to another club and says that it’s Saturday, we have to do something. Never mind what I think, it’s all about him. He insults people and makes racist comments about the locals. I just want to hide in a corner. Well, more accurately, I wanted to go to bed.
Then I am called a square because I don’t want to dye my hair bright red. He started this after I had enough of his shit and he kept pouring wine in my glass despite saying I didn’t want any. It’s like he’s trying to control me, ask my parents, that never worked. The harder they tried, the harder their life became.
My internet connection doesn’t allow me to connect with friends outside of wifi and the lack of privacy in the flat doesn’t allow for me to cry, which is usually how I cope with things before getting the strength to sort things out. I went back to the flat angry, frustrated, desperate and utterly alone. I just wanted to speak to CC and I couldn’t.
So, I turned to my beliefs and thought what would a yogi do? I vowed to wake up and do a very spiritual practice to help give me guidance. I woke up at the usual early 5.00 because when I can’t see outside, my body is all confused and won’t sleep. I went outside and it was raining. I wanted to shed water too. Instead I took it as an opportunity to read some of my yoga scriptures. I read about how the mind is more powerful than the body and if the mind is in the right frame, it can take enormous amounts of pain. Something I knew, but needed reminding. I applied it to my situation of wanting to be positive.
I asked Mother Nature to please hold off on the rain for a bit so I could do my practice and meditate on the scriptures. 15 minutes later, she listened and I climbed up to the roof. I sat and meditated asking for what I needed and allowing a mantra to come to me for my practice. The words ‘strength’ and ‘positivity’ came to me. With each exhale I said strength and each exhale positivity.
This was probably the most powerful yoga practice I’ve ever had in my life. For I really want this. I really want to see the good in the captain and sail across the Atlantic enjoying it, not always trying to avoid someone. I want to stop letting the negativity of other people creep into me and eat at my soul. I am very good at this and I know people who don’t do this and I admire them.
I imagined my barrier that I use to protect myself from negative energy when I teach. I visualised CW’s negativity and anger being deflected. I visualised my passion for life and everything in it, emanating to him. I vowed this was the day that I stop letting other people’s negative energy contaminate mine.
You know something? It worked. I bounced to the dry dock energetically greeting the workers on the boat. CW seemed less angry, I set some boundaries to make my life more pleasant. We went out to dinner together and I enjoyed the conversation. He made one sexist comment, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. He taught me about the sails and how the boat runs and how things will work when we cross. I was engaged and in the moment.
I spoke to my best friend who sympathetically listened about my struggle to adjust. She said, “You have to stay on the boat, it is great writing material.” She has a lot of the yoga philosophy in her and she reminded me this is a small part of my journey. She gave me the best title a book could have, so it’s given me motivation!
I believe that life is too short to waste. When I’m in a situation that makes me unhappy, I do one of two things; change it or learn/grow from it. Maybe this opportunity will make an author of me, maybe I will finally learn how to manage other people’s energies, or maybe I will meet someone along the path who changes my life. I don’t know and it’s not important right now. All I know is that the universe pushed me here and I need to hold out a little longer to find out what the lesson is.
With this new found strength and the support of yoga, I had a great day. My first day that was better than awful since I arrived. I laughed at the cute little goats running around, made friends with the marina staff and finally after one long week, was back on the deck of a boat gazing at the stars. I felt close to the sea (we’re on the dry dock), nature and CC and remembered that there is so much joy in life.
Life will always bring squalls that shake us up a bit and require us to wear our wet weather gear for protection. Sometimes it even throws us overboard. It’s ok to lose yourself for a while. Just remember that life has many boats to climb back on so you can once again peacefully sail off into the sunset.
Photo: San Blas from the plane
I miss CC with all my heart. I am grateful for finding this pot of gold and having the incredible year we had together. I am grateful for the strength it created to allow me to take this opportunity. An opportunity I’m not going to waste. For I wouldn’t only be letting myself down if I didn’t cross the Atlantic, I would be letting down a very important man in my life.
I know I will have days where I go back to thinking I should leave and that’s ok. I will remind myself it’s just a squall that will pass and the calm will return once again.