My (R)evolution, part 10.
When I wrote this it had been more than 7 weeks that Nicaragua, my country of residence, had been in a state of social unrest, political upheaval, or let’s just call it a revolution.
I’d been blogging almost daily for a while, feeling a strong urge to put my thoughts to paper, since there were so many, and sometimes it was so hard to make sense of my own mind.
My thoughts were swerving back and forth, left and right, sometimes like a drunken man winding his way through an empty street. At other moments more like a puppy, or a kid, always out to explore and figure out the world through play, trial and error. There’s a philosopher in there too, asking questions and giving smarty-pants comments. And an eco-warrior, never letting up her drive to improve the environment. Every now and then (but thankfully not very often), there’s a hunted deer, frozen in its fear.
I gave all of them free rein, letting the drunkard sway, the puppy and the kid play, the deer startle, the philosopher muse, the eco-warrior dream.
I let my thoughts unfold.
I watched them with curiosity, allowing questions to surface, even though some of them are scary. Others are downright hilarious.
Here’s an assorted sample of them.
Let’s start with that always hopeful eco-warrior, never losing her enthusiastic drive:
> We should grow more food! This is a great opportunity to encourage people to grow their own foods and eat healthier.
> If the boats stop coming and we run out of cheap soft drinks, the island population will go into a major sugar detox by default (could this cause a dangerous situation, when hundreds of people go cold turkey simultaneously, asks the philosopher?). By the time this country goes back to normal, they will not be addicted to that stuff anymore. This will mean better health for all of them, and soooooo much less plastic trash on our little island!
> If we run out of cheap soft drinks, the shops can start selling home-made lemonades and fruit drinks. These can be sold by the ladle, from a bucket, filling a bottle that people will have to bring from home. Forced by the revolution-induced shortages, we can start introducing some “green” practices that in times of peace would be much harder to establish. In times of scarcity, people will more readily adopt this new behaviour (actually it is old, this is how they used to sell drinks for centuries).
> No boats and no freight arriving to this island will drastically diminish the amount of trash we are generating here: nor more plastics and styrofoam coming in! Revolution is a blessing to Mother Earth.
> I should write about that.
The kid, always a happy camper:
> If we run out of propane, I can cook on wood-fire every night. I will have to make a little awning, to stay dry in rainy season. I will have to start collecting driftwood and dry it, I will go beach-combing and wandering through the woods again, now that I have plenty of time (curious question pops up in my mind: How long could the whole island population last on the amount of wood we have here? How long before this island would be deforested?)
I could even manufacture a solar oven and teach islanders how to make one as well. Revolutions are such wonderful opportunities to go green! (The eco-warrior loves to teach the kid.)
> If the boats won’t come with our food-supplies, I will have to forage even more than I already do. I guess I will have to start eating all those jocotes and guaves that are full of little fruit worms. I’ve been told they taste like fruit anyway, because that’s all they eat. There are loads of mushrooms too, in rainy season. I have to find out which ones are edible. I once read how to do that, when you don’t know for sure which mushroom it is. Now that will be fun!
> I should watch Castaway again and laugh my head off. No volleyball here though, but plenty of coconuts. I do have a machete, which is essential in survivaling.
> If the mainland becomes too dangerous to travel to, or if there are no more flights out of the country, and we run out of food, could we take a boat to go to San Andrés, a Colombian island 150 miles from here? We’d be boat refugees, wouldn’t we? (here the startled deer is nudging the kid with its fears).
> I will have a lot to tell to my friends.
The philosopher, musing:
> What will I take if I have to leave? What is really important enough for me to lug with me, if I can only bring one or two bags? Should I bring all my handwritten journals? That’s heavy. I wish I had written it all on my computer. Darn Julia Cameron and her Morning Pages, I bet she’s never had to suddenly pack up her whole life in two bags.
> It would be such an interesting challenge to let go of stuff. Letting go of that whole idea that just because it has cost me money or effort to get it, stuff has a lot of value.
> If I’d have to leave the country, where would I go? Which of my friends would take me in and take care of me while I’m getting my life back on the rails?
> If we run out of fuel for the town generator, the foreign owned café that is now mostly frequented by relatively wealthy tourists, would soon become the “phone charging station” for the whole island population, because it has a lot of solar panels and batteries. A small local social shift caused by this revolution, interesting.
> Until, of course, the dictator cuts off all telecommunications. That would give us all another great opportunity to detox, now from our darn phones!
> I should write about that.
> What would the island population do when food gets scarce? Share, and take care of each other, or steal and loot? Will this island stay peaceful, or will scarcity drive us to violence too? Only time will tell.
> I should measure my waistline and see how skinny I might get during times of scarcity (revolution as a recommended way to lose weight? Utterly bad joke).
> I am curious to find out with how little I could survive. Actually, we can shoot a “revolution survivor” series here, on Facebook-live. No kidding. The world will go insane when we run out of power or phone signal and can’t continue broadcasting. This might be our best rescue option.
> Thank god for revolution, now I have a great excuse to postpone sanding and varnishing the whole Karma shack inside and out. Phew. Should I still work on my garden? What if I have to leave this place for good soon? I decide to keep doing all those things that give me joy and keep me uplifted, but not those things I do out of a sense of responsible duty.
> The meaning of things shift, when life becomes uncertain. The meaning of concepts like “responsibility” and “priority” definitely changes under the pressure of a threatening revolution.
> I should write about that.
The startled deer, shooting short flashes of fear through my brain:
> I am safe here.
> Am I safe here, in the long run?
> Will people come and loot my house? Should I hide stuff? But what? (never done that before) Where should I put it? (I never hid anything after all).
> I can always leave, if necessary.
> Will I still be able to leave, when things finally get unbearable here too?
> I should leave!
> Would the Dutch government send a boat or helicopter to save me if I was truly stuck here and my life were in danger?
> I could totally write a story about that, but I don’t want to.
The drunken man, swaying back and forth:
> Glad I just build a tower with a water tank on top to collect rainwater from my roof. At least I won’t have to worry about drinking water, since rainy season is starting right now.
> What a waste of those five hundred bucks to build a waterpower, if I’d have to leave soon.
> I should buy an extra propane tank, so I won’t run out of cooking gas soon.
> It would be a waste to spend $50 on an extra propane tank, if I’d have to leave soon.
> Darn, no tourism for a long time most likely. No income. I will have to eat up my savings.
> Yay, no tourism for a long while. I will take a sabbatical, use all my savings and write and study. Paint that Mandala on my wall. I thought I’d never finish it, but now I will!
> Darn, now I will never finish that mandala, if I’ll have to leave. I had officially named it a project that doesn’t need to be finished, with the idea that I can always keep adding to the mandala. I guess I jinxed my life saying that. The Universe must have missed that last part of the idea, that I could always keep working on it, and just manifested the “unfinished”-part of that thought.
> I should write about that mandala again.
> I need to plant those seeds and seedlings, rainy season is starting. I will have plenty of fresh food in a couple of months.
> No need to put those seedlings in the ground now, is there, since I will probably have to leave soon.
> I should put those seedlings in the ground, someone will want to eat those veggies.
All of them, in unison:
> Should we stay or should we go?
(We already wrote about that.)
So many thoughts that sway back and forth.
It makes it so obvious that there are always more sides to a situation. Depending on our mood, our emotional state, our optimism or pessimism, a situation can cause us to think up hilariously funny stories, or sink into a miasma of fear-filled despair.
I allow the negative thoughts and fears to surface, because they are real, and part of me. But I don’t feed them.
I allow the hopes and dreams about a future here, but I don’t pump them with false air either.
I enjoy the jokes and funny stories my convoluted mind comes up with, because the humour brings me down to earth in the middle.
The situation in this country is at this point totally insecure and unpredictable, quirky and volatile. And so are my thoughts.
Not letting fear drive me to panic and rushed decisions, nor letting false hope blind me for the reality of the situation, I trust that in the right moment I will be able to take the right decisions.
Until then I remain in the mad entertainment hall of my thoughts, reporting from a country in chaos, trying to make sense of my own mind.
This is part 10 in the series My (R)evolution. If you missed any of the other episodes, click here to read them all.
PS. I wrote all this 10 days ago, when I had not made any decision to leave the country. Since then, many things have happened, leading up to my sudden departure. These hectic events have kept me from writing daily, but in retrospect I will continue the story.