On the last full day I took a tour to Yaxchilan ruins, accessible by boat on the rapid, wide Usumacinta River, which is bordered by jungle and Guatemala. I misunderstood the time to be back at the boat, so spent an hour sitting on sand-covered rocks, eating a mango and watching the river and the boat drivers waiting.
A fellow ‘sola’ woman chatted to me in Spanish and we decided travelling ‘sola’ is just fine. A boy sold me a bracelet made of seeds and told me his teacher was away today, and he likes mathematics. We had lunch in a restaurant pavilion and drove to Bonampak, where some Mayan men wear white robes.
Beside the road back people were conducting their nights, chatting outside their houses, walking along the road, waiting for transport. Little piles of rubbish were burning
At the bus station I madly bought a late bus ticket to San Cristobel. Practiced Spanish with my fellow sola amiga, and then a Belgium guy from the tour showed up and started to tell me about his life. The bus wound through the night and arrived at 4am. I checked into a hostel in desperation. Woke hours later and went to the market.
Bus back to Tuxtla: rust coloured dirt cut from the mountain, conifers and pines growing singularly and greenly into the sky, green without light. Mist, and grey sky.
The flight was delayed, then a little boy cried taking off. Watched Spanglish movie on the bus. Very cold on return.
We went to an international fair, downtown and played pool, the next day, ran 10km at the lake, shopped, ate sushi and had a drink downtown, exhausted.
Today I watched Brene Brown’s TED talk Listening to Shame. She says, not verbatim: Shame is the swampland of the soul. Shame drives two big tapes, never good enough, and if you can talk it out of that one, who do you think you are. Shame for women is this web of unattainable, competing, conflicting expectations about who we’re supposed to be. Shame needs to grow: secrecy, silence, judgment; and cannot survive with empathy. The most powerful words in struggle: me too.
I am also re-reading Gretchen Ruben’s The Happiness Project (it’s hard to find English books). Gretchen talks about failure, and recently something hasn’t worked out the way I’d hoped. I’m sad, but I think also that outside of the perimeter of control is where life is. I remembered JK Rowling’s Harvard speech about The fringe benefits of failure. And of Rilke’s idea of sadness as a moment of transition.
In The Happiness Project blog Gretchen quotes Blake’s proverb: You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.
(The trouble with dreams is a song by The Eels.)