It’s finally done. The shop is closed, I’ve moved my crap into storage and the end of the Westy experiment. Damn near killed me. But as always there is a lesson(s) in all we do, especially in the more trying endeavours.
Last week I was bemoaning the lack of support I felt in my community, and so of course the result of that post was a lot of offers of support. To be honest, my biggest beef was with my best buddy, who really seemed to have his head up his ass. After the job was done I approached him to explain how I felt. Of course the situation was much more complex than I first thought: he might have been absent as a friend, but he had a lot going on in his personal life that was greatly distracting him.
He felt bad and took responsibility for his self-absorption, but I knew it wasn’t all about him, and I pressed him about what I might have done differently. At first he couldn’t imagine what issues I was bringing to the situation, but after some thought he suggested that I had a propensity to being a martyr: throw out a few hints that I need help, and if that doesn’t work, go off on my own feeling abandoned and alone.
He’s right about that; I really do hate to ask for help. Part of that is self esteem stuff, part of it is a traditional upbringing, which means self-sufficiency. What we all often forget is that asking for help is intimacy. Asking for help is announcing to others that we have a need, and that’s a risk. Not needing anybody means not having to risk being let down, not having to be vulnerable, not having to show a weakness.
Choosing to be aloof means it makes it easy for others to say no. Which of course only reinforces the need to remain aloof. Isn’t it amazing how we construct our realities so that our experiences fit our beliefs?
I’ve decided that I’m going to risk asking for help more often, not as a manifestation of neediness, but because I want feel part of community, because I want to give others the chance to show they care, and because it’s the healthy thing to do.
This summer is not going the way I had hoped: I had plans on sailing to Haida Gwaii this July and August, but I had arranged crewing by my brother and friend, both of whom had to back out. The trip north takes about 3 weeks, 2 weeks on the archipelago, and 3 weeks back. Because of scheduling constraints, Tracy can only join me for the 3 weeks north.
That means exploring the Islands alone and sailing back alone. Over a month by myself in the wilderness doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. To put it in perspective, Hawaii is only 3 weeks away. I could do it of course, but exploring the world by myself isn’t how I want to do life; when I see and enjoy incredible things, I want to share the experience with others.
I’m also very tired and stressed and it all feels like pushing the river right now. Generally, when I go sailing, it’s to reach for the horizon and see how far I get, but it seems that this year it will be more like loafing around on the sea. Desolation Sound, the Broughton Archipelago. Perhaps we will make it a way up the coast, even if we don’t get all the way to Prince Rupert.
I doubt many people will shed tears for me; I know being able to sail at all is a fantastic privilege. But this is a reminder of how when one chooses a non-traditional lifestyle, you can often run up against the reality that most people’s life’s are far more regimented and have a great deal less flexibility. Going your own path often means going alone, irrespective of my earlier post above.