I had a much needed connection with my friends, Jeff and Ken. I am now off to Florida to visit an old friend of the family, Wayne. He was actually my sister's boyfriend for a period of time. Chaos hit, including some prison time. I always viewed Wayne as a free-spirit and living within the confines of the traditional box, i.e., school, job, etc. is what caused him to have trouble. If he had been given the opportunity to not live in such a fashion, put into non-traditional school situations, etc. I think he would not have had the trouble that he did have. The details of those long ago happenings aren't important. They are his life story and life lessons.
I have mixed feelings about seeing him. It has been years since we have connected, although we have seen each other since high school. He was a truck driver for many years and he would visit the Boston area, giving us time to catch up.
As I am driving the several hours to his home in Pensacola, FL, I think back about my childhood and how far I have come. Will Wayne recognize me? What are his memories of me and who I was back then. I know that I am much different, and I too have embraced the 'free-spirit' lifestyle, or at least that is my goal and I am making steps to have that as my foundation instead of only periodically.
My car starts to act up as I drive. Not a good sign. Worry and fear creep in and I start to imagine the cost of the situation. Money issues arise again in my mind. Do I have enough? Frugalness is too much a part of me since I do not have a steady income. I want to relax about it. I say affirmations knowing that I can create a situation that I don't want if I stay in my fear.
I arrive at Wayne's who says he wasn't expecting me so soon....umm...didn't we just have a conversation about this? Ugh...not the welcome that I had hoped for, and it puts me in a precarious situation. I don't want to intrude nor put anyone out. My gut says leave, but now the situation is much too awkward.
I stay, but I only end up staying for a few days. Wayne has changed. He has bonded with my mother over the years due to her loving support during high school and beyond. He feels as though I am hurting her by my travels and lack of contact. He can't conceive that my relationship with her is different than his, nor comprehend the toxicity of it. I wish he wouldn't intrude, but he does and makes calls to my mom for me. I try to explain, but it is much too complicated and I don't want to focus on the negatives of my life. I have done a lot of processing of my childhood and have let go of the anger. But, that doesn't mean that I need to do my life differently than what I am doing just to meet the needs of someone who remains toxic to me, someone who challenges me in the way that I am living.
Wayne starts to take on the role of my mother. He becomes worried for me as I travel and explore Pensacola. This is not the Wayne that I had known. Maybe he has seen too much and feels that it is different for a woman solo traveler. Or, maybe he is absorbing or acting on my mother's concerns.
Wayne questions everything that I do, a familiar situation which elicits my insecurity, feeling the lack of support. My body image issues arise which are triggered by conversations with Wayne. I have had weight issues since childhood, yet, in retrospect, these issues were not accurate, and were put upon me by others. As an adult, I realized that I had not been overweight all those years, just not as skinny as my mother and sister - my body type being different than theirs. I learned to put opinions of others before my own knowing that I am okay, no matter what I do or how much weight I have.
I have released much of the weight that I had gained during my intense and draining last year as a teacher, so I should be feeling light. And, I was traveling lightly...sort of. But, here with Wayne, I felt heavy, emotionally and physcially. This isn't a good place for me even though I feel such joy being at the ocean, and am pleased to meet up with Wayne again - I did consider him family. This reconnection is not what I had planned. I start to think of my next step.
This past fall is when the hurricane Katrina hit the area. I was on Kauai at the time and it all seemed so far away. Now, I could see the result. I know that lives were lost, property and material things were too, and it must of been devastating for them. But the destruction and removal of all those hotels and condos on the waterfront made the beach much more beautiful and natural - the way it is suppose to be. I know that many would not agree, especially those who lost property, etc. But, for me there is a sense of peace as I walk these amazing beaches. I do not feel the negative energetic remnants of Katrina.
When walking the beaches, I decide that I want to help - to volunteer, to support those who need some help with the clean up of Katrina. I am willing, I have the time and want to contribute. Oddly enough, after some research, I discover that a single person is not able to find easy access to volunteering. I have to be a part of a larger group. This seems ridiculous, although I understand the need to be organized and it is easier to do it with groups. I am a bit disappointed wanting to be heading towards doing something productive. I am not accustom to such lack of structure, which may be prompting the need to get involved. I decide to trust that when I continue my travels I will find my opportunity.
Wayne struggles to let me go without a planned next destination. He can't fathom this lifestyle for me, although he has done it himself. It is an odd paradox. I have to leave. I so need encouragement and not doubt or arguments. I get in my car.....and I am off.....feeling the freedom. Luckily, my car shows no signs of problems. I am grateful.