Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Think I'll Have To Pass On The "Tsunami Roll", Thanks

Despite this beautiful photo, I have to admit that this trip to Hawaii is feeling less like vacation than I thought it would. 

It might have been the emergency evacuation that occurred our first night due to the tsunami threat from the earthquake in Japan. Thirteen of us were torn away from our evening of drinking and eating when we saw the news flash come across the television. Watching those waves sweep over Japan was something just short of surreal. When they zoomed out and showed Hawaii, my breath caught quickly in my throat for just a moment. We looked so small and helpless. Granted, we were thousands of miles away, but if there is one thing I know for sure, it's that you don't fuck with Mommy Nature. 

We didn't wait too long before going back to our respective beach houses and gathering our things, repacking quickly and without any kind of concern for who's stuff was going in which bag. I think it was probably that process that frightened me more than the sirens wailing in the sky or seeing our neighbors pack up their vehicles in a race to higher ground. This sounds a little dramatic… there was no line of cars or people running desperately. Just a quick, calm evacuation process that somehow still managed to scare the shit out of me. 

Once everyone was accounted for, we made our way inland with our five car caravan where the property manager of the beach houses we were staying in set us up in a six-bedroom house that was probably only a few square feet short of actually being considered a mansion. We all quickly gathered in the living room and watched the events unfold on television. We weren't going to know for a few hours how badly Hawaii, and specifically our island (Kauai), was going to be affected. Steven and I spent this time connecting with friends and family via text and Facebook to keep them posted on what was happening. It was a strange feeling to be a part of the natural disaster, not just watching with concern from the comfort of my desert-locked apartment. 

Lucky for us, the damage to our island was minimal. There was definitely some flooding and the groundskeepers at our beach houses worked all the next day clearing sand that had been washed up all the way to the front door. But, comparatively, we didn't have any problems at all. Some of the other islands found themselves with trouble in that they lost a few homes and vehicles. However, it was nothing like that wave that charged over Japan, destroying everything in its path. Like I said… Mommy Nature…. certainly a force to be reckoned with. 

The next morning - yesterday - we left our stellar accommodations on the mountain to head back to the beach. We spent all day frolicking about, playing in the waves and laying out in the sun. This is what vacation feels like, right? Two other friends had just come into town, happy to have missed the drama from the night before, and the four of us along with Jeremy and his girlfriend decided to head into town and enjoy some mai tais and sushi. Definitely a vacation-y kind of thing. 

We sat at the bar, joked with the bartender and enjoyed some delicious food (I almost said amazing but have to admit, the sushi was not as exceptional as I had hoped… perhaps my standards are higher since we are on the beach). Steven insisted on umbrella flags for all our drinks and took pictures of everything he could. We were laughing, joking and planning activities for the remainder of our trip. In short, things were going along quite swimmingly. 

And… then they weren't. 

I don't know exactly what went wrong… it's probably safe to say the combination of very little food, quite a few drinks and my overall apprehension regarding thoughts going on in my head contributed to the u-turn. Perhaps an elaboration on item three is in order… 

I've decided to go back to work. As in… one of those job things. I'm not thrilled with this idea, but making the decision to do so has actually brought me some relief. Over the past month, I've been stressing out quite a bit about the dwindling of my funds and the idea of job searching again. Not to mention the overall disappointment that I haven't managed to create a source of income with my writing. Agonizing thoughts about this subject have consumed me. Therefore, deciding to at least make a move has broken me of my analysis paralysis about the whole writing thing. 

What has tortured me the most is being completely stagnant in my search for a writing gig. I've done very little to market myself as a writer. I have sent my blogs out to some publications, but seeing as these blogs are small pieces of a big puzzle that I'm putting together, I don't think I know how to market them. Plus, this is the only kind of writing I've ever done. Me. Me, me, me, me. Even after I turn this into a book, what would I do next? Write more about... me? 

I've said this before… but the whole reason I started writing was to find an outlet for my consuming thoughts. I hadn't planned on doing anything with it as a way to create financial security. Jeremy's enthusiasm about what it could become convinced me that I was on to something big and that somehow, magically, I would just become "a writer". But I am discouraged. Maybe I would feel more confident in sending out resumes or completing applications for writing gigs if I had an education in the field. My degree is in visual communications which basically means "I make things look pretty." I'm not sure if I'm allowed to call myself a writer just because I tap out my thoughts once or twice a week and hit publish. 

Steven says I'm being negative. I can understand where he is coming from… I see it more as being a realist but perhaps he is right. Maybe I just don't have the same faith in myself and my abilities as other people do. I've received some great feedback on my writing - how it's been inspirational, motivating, relatable and touching. These are the exact emotions I had hoped to evoke when I started publishing my thoughts so publicly. And I'm not convinced that all of this might not become something big one day… but sitting and stressing out about when it's going to happen or why it isn't or who I need to be and what I need to do… it's killing me. 

I think this is the main reason why this trip has felt less like vacation for me than I had hoped… I've been on vacation since the beginning of October. I've spent the last six months doing the things I've always wanted to do. And it has been great - but not, I think, what Jeremy had in mind when he gave me that money and told me to "focus completely on my writing." I don't know… maybe I would've felt differently if my relationship with Jeremy had been successful. Now, I just feel like I'm in debt to him and everything I do to "pursue my writing" - other than simply blogging - seems obligatory. 

So, back to work I go. The more I say it, the more I am okay with it. Tina with too much time on her hands isn't necessarily a good idea anyway. And now that I can pass a drug test, maybe I can get a job somewhere that is actually enjoyable. I thought that by NOT working, I would be inspired to do whatever I could to keep that lifestyle going. I think maybe I need to work in order to be reminded of what it is I'm working for. 

It is quite beautiful here… my sense of smell is in heaven and everywhere I look, it's as if I'm seeing a beautifully planned out photograph. Today, we are traveling to the other side of the island to check out Waimea Canyon, known to many as the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. Today, I plan on capturing the beauty that awaits and using it as gratitude fuel. I am grateful for the opportunity I was given, grateful for the people I have attracted and for all those that do read what I write and enjoy doing so. I am grateful for my relationship with Steven and while there are some repairs that need to be done after last night's mess, I know the effort is worth it. Love can be challenging… especially when all you want for the one you love is for them to be happy. 

We come home Tuesday. That gives me three full days to get over myself, appreciate the gifts I've been given and express my gratitude for what is. 

Reality waits at home… a reality filled with a man I love who loves me back, a new adventure in the world of working and the next round of surprising turns in this unpredictable game of life. When I say it like that, it almost sounds better than being in Hawaii. 

Then again… maybe not.

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