Friday, July 16, 2010

in transit.

In transit in Taipei and had a moment of being completely overwhelmed. A colossal meltdown of sorts, the smells, the languages, the craziness. Everything was so so different and for about a good 20 minutes, I just sobbed, and cried, and got completely overwhelmed and terrified. I was worried, and lonely, and so incredibly tired and whoa, there’s a hole in the ground and I have to pee in it and it smells kinda crazy and I just want to know how to use the phone but I don’t understand anyone and the instructions are in Chinese and I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m scared. I’m scared. I’m scared.

I flew Business, and it’s a luxury that I like to indulge in but not often. There are a lot of lovely things about it, like the extra treatment, being able to lie down, the extra luggage weight and amenities, but there’s also an uglier side to it....perhaps I was more sensitive, but the people are ruder, snobbier, over indulged and too entitled. I was annoyed as some guy snapped at the flight attendant for asking him politely to move as he blocked the entire aisle, I was pissed as another passenger threw a shit fit because he didn’t want the “economy passengers” to be able to put their carry-on luggages into our EMPTY overhead bins, I was uncomfortable as some man got more obnoxious as the rum flowed. There was an air of arrogance, an air of entitlement, of “I am better than you and we are better than them” and maybe just maybe, it was this air of “I don’t fit in” that lingered. That left a bad taste in my mouth as I deboarded in Taipei. That made me feel so uncomfortable and uneasy, and as everything unfolded, the magnitude of what I was doing kinda hit me all at once.

I didn’t know what time it was, my watch set on Pacific, Springfield on Central time, we were fast forwarded by a day when we changed continents and Taiwan was on a different time zone than to say, I was a little lost, might be an understatement. My cellphone wouldn’t work, the pay phones were in Chinese and I just wanted to talk to my mom or Joe or a friend, someone that could help me find my center again, someone that would remind me to just breathe, someone that would just say...everything’s going to be okay, really, really. So instead I locked myself in the bathroom and just cried. The Ugly kinda cry, the kinda cry you just sob and sob and sob because you have no idea what you’re doing or where you are or what to do. The kind that you shake and you feel so tiny and insecure and SCARED out of your freaking mind, the kind of cry that releases and lets go and confronts in the most terrifying way, all your little fears. But more than that, it is the kind of cry the mourns for all the things you have lost and all the people that you miss and all the relationships that are now forever changed. It is the kind of cry I knew was way past overdue, nipped at the bud every time I even came close to having “feelings” because I thought I had to be “strong”, to set the tone so no one would be sad. I was so numb the last couple of weeks, in a happy place called denial and feeling so incredibly surreal that when reality bit me in the ass, it bit me HARD. Like have-a-good-pity-party-sobfest-in-a-random-bathroom-in-the-middle-of-a-Taipei-airport-while-on-transit-and-sick-of-flying-next-to-a-hole-in-the-ground kinda hard. Classy.

And when I was done feeling sorry for myself, I sucked it up, put on my big girl panties on and figured it out. I figured out where my gate was, how to use the Chinese pay phone and the crazy phone card with a whole lot of Chinese on it. I gestured my way through a bunch of conversations, and hung out with some other strangers and stragglers. I figured out where I could find a Wi-Fi connection in the terminal, charge my phone, clean up, wash my face, brush my teeth, put on some mascara and feel somewhat human again. Then I scored a short connection on Twitter to send a brutally honest SOS and read the love in my mailbox. And that love, that sweet sweet love of support...that meant the world. And suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone, I didn’t feel so scared or lonely or nervous...I felt, just a little bit better. Just a little bit safer. And that, that was exactly what I needed. Those emails, and tweets, and comments, was the push I needed to stay sane, the push I needed to’s okay, it’s all going to be okay.

Thank you friends.

“I’m trying, actively, to renew my faith and my hope and my joy and my optimism. They’ve all gone missing, which is not okay with me.”