As I expressed in a previous entry, last year’s trip to Italy was a bit of a saving grace for me. First solo trip post “The Great Fall,” it served as a catalyst in helping me realize what was holding me back in (and from) life. I returned from the trip with the energy and drive to take charge of my situation and make some necessary changes.
Whereas the Italy trip motivated me to take initiative, embrace my newfound freedom, and declare my independence again (something I desperately needed at the time), my second solo trip (Sri Lanka) taught me to slow things down, relax, and return to reality.
Those who know me best can all agree that I’m a pretty complicated, stubborn little biatch; however, I’ve always taken responsibility for my actions and behavior, and I disagree with using some little head-bashing, brain-swirling, back-breaking, spinal-cord-bruising, leg/foot/toe/figure/confidence/pride-destroying accident (ahem) as an excuse. That being said, I do believe that I have had a very hard time readjusting to routine and work, and I will blame my accident for that! I lost my previous job in September 2009, and my ensuing period of unemployment was filled with depression (the curtains closed, sobbing and wailing, all-day wallowing in smelly pajamas and self-pity variety), surgeries, infections, wheelchairs, trashy Brit-Chick-Lit, and more highs and lows than a crack house.
Suddenly I found myself in a new job, up to my ears in stock market-private equity-funds-bonds-investments-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah financial mumbo-jumbo (I was a communication major for a reason). I was convinced that I could jump back into the corporate world where I had left off, hit the ground running, so I immediately immersed myself into my new job, promising to deliver above and beyond, trying to prove to myself and everyone around me that I could succeed, that I could be brilliant and smart and talented and a star employee, because “Hey, that’s who Tiffany Joiner is! Superstar at your service! Gimme what you got! Let me dazzle you!”. Expectations were high. Way too high. And it was all my doing. I knew I could do the job; however, within five months I realized I couldn’t keep up at the pace I had set for myself, I felt disappointed for not meeting the bloated expectations, and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t perform at an optimum level. Just as I felt the nervous breakdown rearing its head, I scrambled online, booked a ticket, and a few weeks later I was off to Sri Lanka.
As soon as I arrived, I removed the SIM card from my detestable BlackBerry. OOOooohhhmmmmm. I boarded a train for Kandy, where I spent three blissed-out days in a guesthouse in the rainy, foggy hills in my pajamas (curtains open, this time!). Apart from a few brief chats with the shy caretakers of the house, I had no human interaction. I read three books, ate copious amounts of amazing home-cooked Sri-Lankan food, and slept constantly. My shattered body, mind, and spirit slowly began to mend (Very unoriginal, I know, but it’s all I got).
As much as I love completely disconnecting from the world and closing myself off from other humans from time to time, I also love interaction. After three days of nothing, I was ready for something! I headed south to Galle (an old Dutch settlement) and finally Unawatuna Beach on the southern coast for some sunshine. I made some friends, had some fun, and even managed to lose one crutch in the ocean (a long story of behavior quite typical of me: stubborn and over-confident and refusing help when I definitely needed it. Not one of my finer moments, I assure you.).