Wow. What a day! What a week really. I’m in London after all, it’s a city where there is a lot going on and things happen quickly!
I can officially declare that I have adjusted to the circumstances. I have stopped bursting into tears when people ask me how I am. The band aid has been completely ripped off now and the soreness has almost disappeared. I have been doing lots of meditation and breathing exercises (until I got my first cold in over a year) which has helped me gather perspective on my current situation. I am looking at London from an outsider’s perspective and being in awe of what I observe.
Last week, (at least I think it was, I’m still totally disoriented to time, just like I was on the sea…), I went into my old office to fill out paperwork in case I am so desperate my only options are prostitution or doing sessional work for them. I’m still not sure which one I would chose if I get to that point. I’ll write a blog on the thought process if I find myself faced with that decision. Anyway, I was sitting on hold with Human Resources, staring out the window and watching London go by and my mind started drifting. It started drifting to how I use to do this regularly and being on hold use to stress me out because I had a million things to do and probably other people to talk to. I would sit with my shoulder holding the phone and catching up with emails or the report I had to do or the holiday I was trying to book so that I could try to salvage my sanity. After 20 minutes, I would become increasingly angry and anxious that HR was wasting my precious time. How dare they! I would start swearing and complaining to my colleagues about how ridiculous it is and they would of course join in and offer sympathy.
I looked down the office room, which since I’ve been there, has been converted to hold more desks and people. I saw people on other teams sat at their desks typing away, making phone calls, sounding stressed, trying to get something done and getting impatient down the phone. No one was laughing or joking or having a regular conversation. It was all about getting stuff done, stuff that’s impossible, stuff that is so incredibly important because if they don’t do their jobs as well as they can and someone re-offends, they could lose their job. Not to mention the guilt if another victim is created. Of course it’s not their fault, but the system makes it out to be.
After 30 minutes on hold, I was lost in my peaceful thoughts and my colleague was getting mad for me. “Jesus! How long has it been?? That’s ridiculous!” I just looked at him and said, “Yeah, I don’t have anything else to do, it’s alright.” Then I stared out the window again and watched people literally rushing to and fro, looking stressed and dishelved. I looked back in the office and then I looked inside of myself and I smiled. I used to be one of these people rushing in the street and being stressed out in the office, but I escaped. After 53 minutes on hold, I put the phone down and just made up the answer to the question that I needed in order to complete the paperwork. I put the phone down knowing that I wouldn’t have to deal with this again and that since I have escaped, there is no turning back. Not unless I want to kill my soul again and stop living life. I finally discovered how to live, no way am I going to give it up. Excuse the bad language, but it’s fucking awesome!
I have been busy catching up with friends. After two years of not having friends, it feels great. It’s amazing to know there are so many options of people I can call to have a laugh with and talk about nice things. Everyone has been so supportive of me, so giving, so loving, so encouraging. To be honest, I’m very surprised and feel so fortunate. On my bike today, I realised that these people were always here. Always. I just wanted to live life alone because “I am strong. I can do it. I am an independent woman. I don’t need anyone’s help.” All of that is true, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t need other people from time to time. Well, all the time to be honest. One thing sailing life has taught me is that life is about teamwork. Helping that stranger who is struggling is just as important as helping the ones closest to you because it really all does come back one day. Trust me, it’s happening to me now.
After a lovely lunch catching up with a good colleague of mine, I couldn’t open my bike lock. I just bought the thing nine days ago. I had been having problems with it before, but normally I would take a deep breath, do some yogi magic and Voila!! It would open. Well, this time it wouldn’t. I was there for an hour and a half. I recruited the security guard to help me, while he went in to do his real job, a stranger came up to me and said, “You’ve been here for a while, can I help you?” What a kind kind man. He couldn’t help me either. Another ex-colleague found the maintenance man who came out to help me and he said it was a faulty lock that was poorly made and the best thing to do was cut off. Unfortunately he didn’t have the necessary tools. I was nearly in tears. I was so ill with my cold, so tired and just wanting to be out of the cold. I have no money to travel, so my friend gave me £10 to get home and to a training I need to go to in the morning. I was sitting on the bus wanting to cry and then thought, “Why? What is really the problem?” Ok, the problem is, where I’ve left it, I’ve left it before in broad daylight and parts were missing when I returned, but really what is there to cry about? Instead, I looked out from the top of the double decker bus and decided to enjoy London from a perspective I hadn’t seen before. I put in my headphones and listened to my Latina music and enjoyed the ride. I decided that it was all going to be ok whether or not I got my bike back. London truly is a beautiful city and I sat back and soaked it in. Why stress about my bike when I can’t control if someone is going to steal part of it or not? It’s not like I’m going to sleep next to it!
I got home, grabbed the spare flat bike that needs a lot of work to function and walked to the bike shop where I purchased the lock. I was expecting them to say something ridiculous and unhelpful, but after calmly describing the situation, the manager said, “Just get the lock cut off, get a receipt and bring it in. We’ll reimburse you for the locksmith and I’ll give you a new lock.” I then asked him if he could look over the bike I brought in and if he had a spare lock. He adjusted the bike so it was usable short term and gave me a spare lock. You know why that happened? Because I trusted. Because I went in expecting nothing but to tell him that he should warn other purchasers about the lock so they don’t lose their bike too. Because I asked for help. Simply because, the world is a beautiful place when you can step back, remove the stress and discover what living really means to you.
I have very little money, I have no job and soon I will have no home other than the kind offers of numerous friends. The good thing is, I have everything else. I have love, support and a huge cheerleading team who want to see nothing more than for me to carry on living in a way that suits me. What a wonderful world I have built myself. So really, if I lose that bike, I’ve actually lost nothing at all. There really is nothing to be stressed about for if I fall, I have a nice cushy landing of smiley, loving faces who will just push me back up again.