BOARDING THE RESILIENCE

Today, as we’re boarding the Resilience, I think it’s time for our

first story time. In my previous post, I promised to tell you

what the Resilience is, and what my last great adventure

entails. Well, grab yourself a hot beverage and let me take

you on a little stroll down memory lane to a time and 

a place where I was rather deflated. To say the least…

Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, there was a girl – we can call her Evalena because that’s my name – who lived a very hectic life. She often felt like something of a circus artist, juggling far too many balls, and sometimes she even managed to make it look elegant and effortless. It wasn’t.

Something died inside her every time she was called amazing, strong, brave or brilliant, or whatever labels people liked to stick on her, because the things they saw and admired were the qualities and traits she’d been forced to develop. She would’ve happily forgone all of them to live a normal, peaceful life doing the things she dreamed of.

Raising her children in a safe environment with nature and wildlife around every corner. Writing her stories and helping other people get theirs told in some form. Evalena would have loved to have people staying over for a night, or a month, sharing the collective creative spirit, exchanging ideas, trading skills and indulging in each other’s dreams.

Alas, Life doesn’t care much for the dreams young girls dream.

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This particular young girl, Life had decided, had to learn a number of hard lessons before she could have what she dreamed of. Or some version of it, at least. So, rather than living in a remote place surrounded by nature and wildlife, she found herself in one of the bigger cities in the world, juggling three jobs, five kids and the neverending challenge of how to set a good example for the little munchkins.

She rarely allowed herself to do something just because it made her feel good, and she surrounded herself and her little family with a high-security fence to keep dangers and distractions at bay. But of course, there were things, moments and even people that slipped through every now and then. She figured those were the real lessons she was supposed to learn something from.

EVERY SHIP GETS A NAME

One night, after three weeks of especially tedious and gruesome Life lessons, Evalena was supposed to attend a seminar where a lot of ambitious people would gather to discuss spiritual and physical wealth creation. Don’t ask, it’s a London thing. She spent all day trying to talk herself out of going. She had been beside herself with worries, fear, guilt and every other negative feeling you can think of, and she didn’t exactly look forward to entering a conference hall full of smiling, successful people wearing her big fat loser badge.

“You’ve seriously been abandoned? Again?” She giggled mirthlessly at her reflection in the steamed up bathroom mirror as Frustration and Hopelessness fought I-Fucking-Told-You-So over who’d get to take the first stab at her this time. “You gotta be kidding me, you stupid fucking idiot!” She sighed, as she thought about what a weird concept déjà vu is. Yes, Evalena had been here before and she knew the only way out led forward, so she put the war paint on, donned her armour and made her way to the seminar. It was every bit as dreadful as she had feared.

During the scope of the evening, the host led the attendees on a journey through their minds. They were asked to think of where in their lives they were at that very moment. To think of their lives as ships and visualise themselves as the captains of said ships. “Every ship gets a name before it sets sail,” the chirpy conferencier said. “What’s the name of your ship?”

For Evalena, this was an interesting analogy. For years she had told her kids and students that she was the captain of the ship, but none of those ships had had a name. She’d never even considered naming them. This blasted evening, at one of the lowest of her lows, she was of course singled out to step up and tell the glitterati about her damn ship. And all she could think about was why people never get swallowed up by a floor in real life. Least of all when they desperately want to be.

Standing there, in front of a room full of attentive listeners with a microphone in her hand, Evalena did what she does best and put on a show. She smiled bravely and cracked a few jokes as she confessed that she’d lost her ship. That she was, in fact, ship-wrecked. After a few months of grey skies and uncertain weather conditions, she’d been hit by a hurricane and, like any Captain worth their salt, gone down with her ship. They laughed and applauded her performance. Her bravery. But she was dying inside.

On her way back home she tried to make sense of her situation. The night before he’d left he’d told her he wanted her to be happy. He’d said she needed more time to do things that would make her feel good, and that he felt his messed up situation was becoming too much of a burden for her. He had been under a lot of stress due to health and family issues and it had, indeed, been hard for both of them. But, Evalena thought, it was probably especially hard on him not to be able to be the man he wanted to be. The man he thought she deserved. With all his stupid ideas about what things should or shouldn’t be like, the bugger probably believed that him walking out was doing her a favour.

It’s funny, she thought, how someone can get to know you so well they can read your thoughts in your eyes. Yet, when it really matters, and the stakes are the highest, they behave as if they never knew you at all. Déjà fucking vu. As a knowsy person, not knowing where things were and where she stood made her feel sick! Had she been dumped? Or was he under the assumption, like someone else before him had been, that you can just take an indefinite time out from a life that involves children, property and other commitments? The five text messages he’d sent her had not answered any of those questions, but they had raised a million new ones.

Evalena lived in a house where everything, literally everything down to the kettle and the last fork, belonged to him. They shared bank accounts and a number of responsibilities. Was she about to lose her home? Lose her business? Where, exactly, did she stand? And what, you may ask, has any of this got to do with that flipping seminar we were talking about?

Well, here’s the thing. Evalena had always seen herself as someone who gives and contributes to others, and when she couldn’t do that for some reason, her MO was to crawl under a rock and stay as far away from people as possible. And that’s why she really hadn’t wanted to go anywhere that day. She was drained and felt like she had nothing of use to offer anyone. Nothing to give besides a few laughs at her own expense. But as she was about to alight one of the last tubes to roll into Ealing Broadway that night, she realised that while she’d not been able to bring anything to that conference table, she had taken something of great value from it. A realisation that could change the course of her life.

Sod the ship - I’m Crusoe!

Let's board my ship and sail the seven seas

Do you remember what you used to dream your life as an adult would be like?

Yes, forces outside of her control had taken her ship away and left her stranded on a desert island. But she was, and always had been, a survivor. She’d live through this too, because her value was higher than that of any ship. In fact, she wasn’t defined by any of the ships she’d been sailing so far, and there was a reason for that. None of them had belonged to her. “Ha!” She said to herself as she put the key in the lock to her front door. “I’m gonna build myself a ship!”

It was a night of a full moon. A night of completion. She knew then that one phase of her life was forever over, and another had just begun. Yes, she was sad and heartbroken, but she was nothing if not resilient.

Storms and hurricanes may break ships, and relationships, but no force known to man could break Evalena’s spirit. She loved Life and all it had brought her, so she built her first ever ship on a foundation of all the joy and gratitude just being alive made her feel. With their words they had created a beautiful world. They had shared a dream and, in a profound way, he had changed her position on trust and partnerships. Indeed, the meeting of their minds had helped her find a new focus and reminded her that she had the uncanny ability to channel people’s energies into something spectacular.

In walking out of their home that morning, he had given her a looking glass through which she could see herself as he had seen her. Now she finally understood the oxygen masks on aircraft analogy. She loved her children with all her heart, and she felt great love and affection for the people in her extended family and circle of friends.

But she loved herself more.

Not only was she going to survive this blasted shipwreck. She was going to build a new flipping ship and name it after one of her most prominent character traits.

Resilience.

Now, if this had been a textbook fairytale, this is where I would have said: And she lived happily ever after. But this is no ordinary tale. Remember how I said Life had decided our girl had to learn many lessons before she could have her dream? Yeah, well, it wasn’t done with her yet.

Evalena did build herself a ship, and she did name it the Resilience. She was rather proud of it, and it did serve her well for a few years, but then there was another storm…

And that, my friend is where we are going to leave it for today. Yes, I will tell you about the second storm and what happened then. And, yes, I will tell you all about the adventure we’re going on, but for now, all I have to say is thank you very much for today, and see you in the next post.

Much love,

//Evalena 🖤🏴‍☠️

© Evalena Styf, 2022

MEET THE AUTHOR:
Evalena Styf
The Resilience

After 25+ years of anonymous blogging on a variety of free platforms, I decided to go pro and put all of my writings on a private wall. In this personal blog, I primarily write about my life; about living the dream; and about how to keep on living and loving when everything seems to be falling apart.

My ambition is for All of Me to become a source of inspiration, motivation, joy, lust and love; but I would also like to see my ship become a space where we can talk, teach and learn together. I’ll be throwing a wide range of topics that matter to me on the table, e.g. funkophobia, social exclusion, chafing societal norms, mental & physical health issues, racism, poverty, identity, creativity, sexuality, nerdiness, my zest for Life and the longing for death. But don’t worry, there will be a whole lot of more light-hearted content as well.

FINISHED READING? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO NEXT?

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

After each text I post, I tend to ask you a question or two to get us talking. Today, I want to know:

      1. What’s the name of your ship?

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