Often the most dangerous part of climbing Mt Everest is the descent. By the time the climber begins her descent she is exhausted yet exhilarated. This is a dangerous combination. On the one hand the climber feels invincible. On the other hand, she is really too tired and overwhelmed with emotion to make rational choices.
Some people dive right in. They are certain that they have conquered the mountain and have no worries ahead of them. Others get stuck. Perhaps it occurs to them that while they have achieved their ultimate goal, the summit, there is just at much danger ahead of them. Descending the mountain can not be done carelessly if the climber wants to survive.
This is where I’ve found myself for the better part of the past year. I am stuck at the summit, knowing I can’t go back-wouldn’t want to go back-but afraid to start the descent. Unfortunately, I have no Sherpa to guide me in this phase. This is the part of recovery that requires me to take a leap of faith.
I am currently in Mexico. I came to see the Day of the Dead celebrations which, it turns out, don’t really exist. There are some resorts and tourist attractions that put on shows about the day of the dead, but those who truly practice it do so in the privacy of their own home. I had an eerie feeling that this might be a failed mission at the airport while waiting for my cab. I started talking to a Mexican who wondered why I had come to a family celebration without my family. Good point. He told me that the people who honor the day do so in the privacy of their homes, with only family around them. Not to be deterred I still sought out the parks & locations google told me were hot spots of celebration-so far for nought. There is still tonight, but I suspect I am running a fools errand.
On the plus side, I have successfully navigated Mexico all by myself. I’ve learned to read the maps, figured out the busses, discovered how to avoid the venders desperate to sell me their tour or trinkets. I’ve also found peace and security doing this alone. I’ve had to put aside long standing beliefs, like the fact that I can get lost in my own backyard, and rewire my thought patterns. It turns out I can navigate this city with no trouble at all. I’ve also learned that making margaritas teal is easy & yummy!!😋
On the minus side, I’ve found myself extremely happy to be alone. A few other travelers have looked at me, wondering if I might like company and I’ve quickly looked away. Happily looked away.
So here I am, ready to begin my ascent off of my Mt Everest yet terrified to do so. The reasons are clear and substantial. Like the fact that someone can lie to me about everything and I will buy it all. Or the fact that I can quickly give up who I am for the presence of another. At least, I did these things in the past.
I’d like to think that I know better now. I’ve learned from my years on the mountain that people do lie. I’ve learned that there are psychopaths out there parading themselves around like hero’s. I’ve lived with the covert narcissist who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, including wearing me down to a shadow of myself.
The question is-have I learned enough to prevent it from happening again. Have I come to understand what it was in me that enabled me to spend 20+ years in psycho-land, doubting only myself the whole time.
The only way to know for sure is to dive in to a new relationship. Unfortunately , I’ve just spent 5 days reinforcing the fact that I’m fine on my own. Oppps.
I suppose there is always tomorrow.