When things go wrong … (part 2)
So, following on from yesterday’s post, there I was – struck with the shock of it all. I was in a foreign country, I didn’t know anywhere or anyone else in this town, I spoke little of the language, and it was after 11pm. The worst shock of all was that someone I liked and trusted had let me down like this. My body was immobilised for some time apart from the tears falling down my face …
What was I going to do now?
My spirit was trying to look for solutions, but my head, my conscious and my subconscious human ego, kept interrupting it with thoughts of “How/why did this happen?”, “What did I do to deserve that? I did nothing to deserve that”, “They’re such an asshole/jerk/(insert whatever derogatory description you can think of here, I probably thought every one of them)”.
I could feel the adrenaline and cortisol, hormones produced by fear and a sense of panic, coursing through my body, When this happens I know it isn’t going to end well. While the fight or flight response was designed to protect us, I have come to know it as a precursor to intense fatigue and pain. Much of my learning over the past few years, many of the tools I have learned, such as meditation, EFT tapping, positive thinking, has been with the aim of controlling this automatic bodily response, with varying degrees of success.
However, this was a new situation to me: I was not in, or near, my comfortable home, to where I could retreat and shut out the rest of the world and concentrate on me. This was an emergency situation: I had to take effective, practical action. Sitting for an hour or two tapping, listening to a guided meditation, and drifting off into a nap was not an option at this time, unless I wanted to spend a chilly Spanish night in a hired car. While the adrenaline was keeping me awake for now, but wired and filled with anxiety, I knew it wouldn’t take long for narcoleptic sleepiness to take over (I could feel the stinging in my eyes and heaviness in my eyelids), and for the cortisol surge to start griping at my fibromyalgic muscles (my toes and neck were already feeling the familiar vice-like grip that would come to meet as it spread throughout my body), and I needed to be in a safe and comfortable place before that happened.
After what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was only about 20 minutes, the friendly but commanding voice that said “Di, you have to get through this”, began to take control. I started the car. I used to visit Nerja, the next town about 10 minutes along a single road along the coast, quite regularly. I knew a couple of British bars there that would probably still be open. So I headed for there.
Along the winding coast road I realised only the sidelights were working on the car, but when I turned the knob, instead of the headlights coming on, the lights went out completely, so I turned it back again. I realised I did not know how to work the lights in the unfamiliar car which I hadn’t driven at night before. So, hoping not to bump, literally or figuratively, into the Spanish police, and hoping there were no traffic cameras along that stretch of road that would catch me with inadequate lighting and result in a 100 euro penalty being deducted from the £300 deposit I had paid, I slowly and carefully progressed along the road, careful not to go over the ridge at the side into the Mediterranean ocean.
I got to my favourite Irish bar in Nerja, and was welcomed by the same owner and barmaid I had known on my previous visits several years before. I asked for a coffee (‘wired’ was definitely a better state to be in than sleepy at this point). I was still visibly upset, and although they were empathetic and tried to be helpful, they didn’t know of anywhere open this late at night.
A brief visit to the English bar around the corner, and a chat with the owner, whom I also knew from yesteryear, also yielded no suggestion of a place that would be open at this time, now after midnight. I returned to my car and again the tears flowed. By now, I was thinking I may have to sleep in the car, but also worried that if I did so, the pain which was spreading rapidly, would be unbearable the next morning and would likely result in the need for Spanish hospital attention. And, I would be needing the bathroom very shortly as the coffee made its way through!
I remembered a discovery I had made just the day before: my old Kindle had a free 3G facility on it. I had only used it for Facebook but I wondered how it would fare with searching on Google (it’s not the Fire type, it’s the e-ink version that doesn’t show any graphics but just plain text). I searched for hostels, and found one that said it had a 24-hour reception. The thought crossed my mind, “how fortunate that I discovered this feature on my Kindle just at the right time, thank you my angels”. Armed with a map I was given in one of the bars, I made my way to it, just a couple minutes drive away, but the difficulty was where I could park the car nearby. I ended up parking illegally, but had to be close enough to walk to the hostel with the tightening vice crunching on my feet and legs, and the crushed-glass-like feeling beneath my soles, my neck and shoulders screaming that they would make me pay for forcing my arms to pull this suitcase along a cobbled street, every stone shooting an agonising lightning bolt through me.
I rang the bell of the Hostal Bronce and a young man emerged from a room and opened the door. “Do you speak English? Can I get a room here now?” I croaked from a throat barely open enough to speak. When he said “Yes”, the relief that surged through me accompanied a buckling of the knees, and a torrent of tears and sobs. He gently touched my arm and guided me into an office, where a young lady appeared and kindly offered me a cup of tea.
After showing him my passport and eagerly paying for a room for the night, the gentleman showed me to my basement room, which was homely and perfect, and had it’s own bathroom. I could not have felt more relieved and grateful if I was in a luxurious palace. Then he carried my suitcase down the flight of stairs for me.
Collapsing onto the bed, I reached into my bag for my painkillers, which I took with the most delicious cup of tea I ever tasted and, fully clothed, I closed my eyes and thought “I am safe!”.
I knew it wasn’t over yet. I would have to decide what my next step was, how I was going to move forward from what had happened. How was I going to deal with the anger I felt at having my much-needed and eagerly-awaited ‘relaxing’ holiday ruined and, even worse, my trust broken? I’d think about that tomorrow, but I reminded myself that at this very moment I had everything I needed.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you are trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit –
Rest if you must, but don’t quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns;
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won, had he struck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow;
You may well succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the Victor’s cup!
And he learned too late, when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are
It may be near, when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit,
It is when things seem worst you must not quit.
Author : Unknown
Read Part 3 here
When things go wrong … (part 2)