Getting away from "it all" was an excellent idea. The drive up was not entirely relaxing because we hit a snowstorm going over the mountain pass that we had to conquer before descending into Pacific Rim National Park in order to reach our final destination, Tofino. It was a good thing that we brought the four wheel drive truck, and not my Nissan Cube.
I can't think of a more stunningly beautiful and outrageously laid back place in March. Within just a few hours of walking the beaches and hiking the trails, peacefulness and serenity began to replace (my) anxiety and depression. Thankfully, Soul Mate doesn't get depressed, and is seldom anxious, although as of late, he has expressed some anxiety about my mental state. He thinks that how I feel, matters. Which says a lot about why I believe he is my soul mate. He is not a worrier, just a pretty happy go lucky guy who is rarely ever heavy hearted. I'm guessing that seeing me lighten up so soon into our trip was a good sign for him. Neither of us knew when we set off on our adventure if I was going to be able to pull off a good time.
In addition to lifting my droopy spirits, nature's healing power and the slower pace quickly did wonders for my creativity too. That, and a strong Americano at dinner Thursday night kept me up late thinking through and excitedly solving some screenplay storyline problems that I'd had no cure for previously. By the time that dawn broke on Friday, I had remembered that once upon a time or two, in my past, I had been convinced that I was meant to live in a small but beautiful, laid back town, like Tofino. I don't think at this point in my life that we will be moving to a teeny tiny town. I have a life, a home, family, and career in the small city where I live. But it was fascinating for me to reflect upon the fact that 25 years ago, when my dream of becoming a writer first surfaced, I had just moved to a house on the ocean in another very small, coastal community with First Born, Yoga Kid and That Other Husband.
Of course, Yoga Kid wasn't doing yoga at nine months old, but she could have used it, she was shaping up to be a terror of a toddler. Kind of odd considering how they both turned out, but First Born was a completelly mellow five year old back in those days. She's the lively one now, but still just as cute as ever. They both turned out very well, luckily for all of us. That Other Husband (he turned out okay too, but only years after I divorced him) did not really suit laid back life on the edge of the ocean at the time. Let's just say he was used to living on the edge, but not of the ocean. In any case, I wasn't paying too much attention to what he was all about in those days anyway.
My family didn't know anything about my writing dreams way back then. When I announced to our potential ocean dwelling landlord that "I am a writer," my mother, who was visiting at the time, tried not to laugh out loud and give my "lie" away. That Other Husband ignored my remark altogether, which says a lot. We got the house, and I had the opportunity to explain more fully to my Mom about my heart's desire to write. I honestly don't really remember what she told me, but I like to think that she would have said, "you can do it, of course you can." Mostly what I remember is that Mom was amazed at my gumption to declare myself a writer, when I hadn't written a word, for all we knew. She and my Dad always did like my gumption, I think. I remember when I decided to go into treatment just over a year later, my Dad said that I would do great in recovery, that it was going to take hard work but that I had the balls to do it. Thanks, Dad. That one has always stuck with me.
Well I bought myself a typewriter (god, who remembers typewriters) and I do recall sitting at my bedroom window, looking over the ocean while I pecked away and first learned that writing does not come easily. Who knew? I remember that First Born would sometimes sit behind me on my bed and write (it came easily to her) and draw quietly, while Yoga Kid napped across the hall. I think I have some of that early writing somewhere around here, I'll dig it up one day, when I have the courage. I can almost sense the feeling that I had, sitting struggling over word choice, trying to get down on paper what I was experiencing at the time. I felt so much joy thanks to my beautiful little girls and the inspiring setting, but there was a fair bit of confusion and pain too. Some would call it insanity. Hell, even I would have to call it insanity.
In any event, life took a few interesting and time consuming turns in the year after I landed on that beach and raised my writer's flag. In 1987 I raised the most important flag, the white flag of surrender to addiction. Some of my current writing (even here, in this blog) is about the years in between that time and place, and now. I'll keep filling in the blanks, I am sure. It's been an interesting life, this life of mine. I remember when I got into recovery, I worried that life would be boring. That I would be boring. Hasn't happened, yet.
Where I am trying to get to here, the point of today's narrative is, that as I stood overlooking the ocean in Tofino this weekend, things felt different and yet oddly familiar. I am not certain that it was the place that entirely made the difference, because I already do spend a lot of reflection time by the ocean where I live. No, I think it was moving at a slower pace that started to draw out memories, creativity, and a stronger sense of faith in my self. I have come to believe, again, that I have the balls to take care of myself right now, and I know that I am going to be okay. I don't think it's just gumption anymore, but gumption plays a part.
Gumption or god's grace, it doesn't really matter how I got here again. But I am a writer. No lie.
"We ask ourselves when we stopped believing in ourselves and when we stopped believing in anything outside ourselves. Through this process, our lost dreams may reawaken."
(It Works, How and Why, 46)