If You See A Baboon, Get Out Of There!

I took the day off work yesterday. Monday was just too much, and I woke up yesterday morning with major anxiety. I was going to go with my business partner friend later that afternoon on a photography adventure, to go shoot the sunset further down the coast, about an hour’s drive away. So I decided to take the entire day off, and spent most of the morning in bed. So tired, and just wanting to hide from the world. I almost cancelled on my friend, but decided to push through. I wish I hadn’t.

When we got to the area that afternoon, we did some location scouting, which involved lots of walking and climbing. Usually I enjoy that, but not this time. My body was just as exhausted as my mind. My friend eventually found the perfect spot (she’s a professional landscape photographer), where she started setting her tripod and camera up. I wanted to wait a while because I saw a baboon come to sit on a rock a little way away from us, and I wanted to keep an eye on him. I told my friend a few times that we should rather leave. From the beginning I wasn’t feeling comfortable. But she wanted the damn shot. By that time there were a few more of those creatures, but they were further away from us and munching on the vegetation or something. She told me that they look peaceful enough so it would be okay.

Well, it wasn’t. The one on the closest rock started coming closer. I had my friends bag of filters around my neck. Before I knew what was happening the baboon leaped towards me, bearing his teeth and grabbed the bag, ripping the strap off. I jumped forward to try to grab it, but he was too fast and ran up one of the cliffs. My friend started shouting and screaming, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk in that moment, let alone shout. She stood at the bottom of the cliff yelling at him to drop it. Well, he did, but all her filters (that cost her thousands) smashed when they hit the bottom. My friend was running around trying to collect the pieces, and then I found my voice, because he was coming down again. I still couldn’t raise my voice much, but managed enough to tell her we needed to get out of there. She told me she first had to collect as many pieces as she could. Suddenly he was down again, lunged toward me, showing his fucking teeth, and I took a big step back or jumped (I don’t remember). He turned away from me and went towards my friend. She had her camera backpack on her back, and I saw he was going after her or it. I reached her and as he grabbed the backpack trying to pull it off her, I tried to hold onto it too, but he was just so fucking strong! He ripped it right off and ran up the cliff again. I just wanted to get out of there. I wanted to run, but I also felt stuck and could only rock back and forth. My feet wouldn’t move. All I could think and say over and over was “we need to leave now, please let’s go”, (I don’t know if I was saying anything out loud or if I was just saying all of this in my head) but my friend was waiting for him to drop the bag as her car keys and wallet were in there.

I don’t remember how it ended, how we got moving, but I remember us walking through mud, rocks and plants and slipping a few times because we weren’t on an actual path. But we got back to the car, with no baboons in sight. I just wanted to go home, but my friend first wanted a drink, and since we were using her car, I didn’t have much of a choice. So we stopped off at some bar, which thankfully was very quiet, only two other people there. I always make sure I have Ativan with me in case I need it, but I had forgotten it! The one day I forget it, is the one day I needed it more than ever before. I had a glass of wine, but I unconsciously downed it way too fast. Added to how I was already feeling, the shock, I was so uncomfortable with my wet jeans, shoes and socks on, but didn’t want to take the shoes and socks off as the floor was filthy and I didn’t have any other pants with me. That on its own is enough to make me lose it, but I got through it. I was so angry with my friend, and I still actually am, but she doesn’t have a clue. I’m mad at myself too.

It was a horrible experience, but at one point (maybe it was the wine) I just started laughing at how fucked up the situation was and told my friend we’d laugh about it in the future. We saw a sign on the wall of the bar “Do not take life too seriously, you will never get out alive”, and we both laughed as if it was the funniest thing in the world. But that quote did bring a certain sense of light comfort at that moment.

I’m glad I got to see my therapist today. I needed to talk to someone who would listen and respond with empathy and compassion, and not like my dad, make me feel even worse about the situation, or my friend, just complaining how unfair it is to be a woman (apparently baboons, especially the alpha males, don’t respect women). I’m aware this sounds irrational, but I feel as if my love of being out in nature has been tainted. I don’t want to go on a hike or even go to the beach, at least for a while. I was already wary being out among the world of people, now I’m also scared of being out in nature.

I’m also really glad that my friend and I got out in one piece and weren’t seriously injured. I wasn’t sure we would. At a certain point I was convinced we were going to be killed. Thankfully, the other baboons just watched and didn’t approach. The crazy thing? She wants to go back for that shot! I told her I’m out. This is the last time I’ll stay in a situation where I’m not comfortable. If I feel uncomfortable, I don’t care if I lose a friend, I will get out of there.

Another thing I’m grateful for is that I had my camera equipment on my back as well, and it remained safe the entire time. It’s strange, but I’m not complaining. In the moment when all this was going on, I didn’t actually care whether he took it though, as long as I made it out alive.

And I did.

I’m glad it’s over. It’s going to take my body and mind a while to really believe it though.

Adult Children

I had another great night’s rest. I’m constantly tired (the story of my life), but for most of the day, much less than usual. Wow, I really needed all the sleep I’ve been getting. So I was in a good, healthy mood this morning. I had a few not so good moments, but they were bearable.

After work I met up with my business partner (let’s call her Kim) and Jasmine (who helps us with our marketing) to take some photo’s of ourselves for our new website and Facebook page. We had such an amazing time. Kim took photo’s of me, I of her, and Jasmine took some of the two of us together. I set my camera to auto mode for her, and gave her a quick tutorial on how to work it, as well as some composition tips. She took some good shots, and seemed to be having fun. She was just snapping away, even when Kim and I were fooling around in between our “professional mode”. We were running around, semi-climbing the trees. Just being big children. I felt happy. I was having fun, and it felt so damn good. I’m at my happiest when playing with children. My inner child feels free during those moments. I connect better with children than I do adults. I’m that person who you’ll see running around with the kids at an event or party, instead of sitting at the “adult’s table”. Kim, who is young at heart, is also a real adult child. I tell her that all the time, and she loves hearing it!

She’s 58, which I found out today! There’s no way! I thought she was 50! She’s one of those happy, full of energy, extroverted, and confident people. I always enjoy spending time with her and Jasmine. Even when we have our meetings over a cup of coffee, we have fun. It’s laid back and easy. Jokes abound. I’ll give you an example of what a character she is. She has these white sneakers that flash different colours when she walks. She wears them often, even in crowded shopping malls, restaurants, etc. She certainly draws attention. The first time she wore them when we went for dinner, I freaked out when I saw them. But she made it seem cool! Seriously! The next time we went for lunch and she was wearing those shoes, one of them stopped flashing (apparently it was flat- shoes going flat? Who knew). When we got to the restaurant, I asked the waitress whether they have a charger lying around so my friend could charge her shoe. Jasmine went bright red. But Kim and I (and the waitress of course) just laughed. Now that’s the effect Kim has on me. When I’m around her, I feel confident and couldn’t care less about what people think. Her energy is contagious. After a couple of hours with her, I’m left feeling happy, but exhausted.

I’m coming off that high now. I don’t have any of the strong feel good emotions I had earlier, but I’m not feeling bad either. Just tired.

It was a good day, and I’m so grateful for that.

Kindness & Gratitude #1

It’s so easy to get stuck in the darkness, and feel that we’ll never get out of that place. To feel like the whole world is against us. Which is why it’s so important to notice the kindness and compassion that exists, and focus on those things for which we are grateful. I’ve decided to start a series of posts to remind us that there is hope. I don’t know how often I’ll write a post for this series, but I’ll try to do one at least once a month.

A little while ago, Jasmine and I went for a walk through one of the many forests in the countryside. On our way back to the car, a guy came running after us. I froze, my heart pounding. Until I saw what was happening. My driver’s license had fallen off my key holder, and he had picked it up to give back to me. I was so relieved. And exceptionally grateful. I had my driver’s license stolen in a smash and grab last year, so I know how much of an inconvenience and hassle it is to get a new one. The kindness of a stranger.

After our walk, I drove Jasmine back to the clinic where she was staying. Sitting with her on the bench just before I left, so close. Not talking. Just feeling. I felt sad. She wasn’t feeling too great, and lay her head on my shoulder. It was a bittersweet moment. I realized that we might have lost some of the things we had being in an intimate relationship, but the connection and love is still there. It’s the simple things that are the most important. Not taking anything for granted.

I was sitting on the beach a few weeks ago, enjoying my alone time, and watching the sun set. These words came to me:

If you can look at a sunset and feel the beauty of it in your heart, there’s still life and hope inside you.

sunset-journeytowardhealingwordpress

The Calm…

The past couple of weeks I was in a bit of a “crisis mode”. You only need to look at my last few posts to know that.

But yesterday that slowly started to change. And today… Well, today is different.

I had a few moments of reflection yesterday and earlier today, and learned a few things about myself which I might post about at a later stage. I’ve been working on something from my past, as well as deciding that it was time to let go of my last relationship completely. A weight seems to have lifted. The darkness, the negative energy I had been holding with regards to that, has dissipated. I can breathe…

I indulged in some self care this morning, which is something I desperately needed. I just didn’t know how much.

My mind has slowed down. No more racing thoughts tumbling over one another. Complete peace. I can’t remember the last time I felt so… Calm.

No overwhelming emotions. No anxiety. Not happy. But not sad. An inner stillness…

Decided to go sit outside on the balcony for a little while. The sun was veiled behind what looked like mist that had taken over the sky. It was pleasantly warm. Not a breathe of wind. Just still. Quiet. Is my environment reflecting me, or am I reflecting it? Maybe it’s both. I feel at one with the world. I smiled at a stranger walking down the street. She smiled back and waved, and I felt a warmth deep inside. I could hear her singing as she continued walking past. Connection. Moments. That’s what life’s about.

I would love to just hug someone right now. And have them hug me back. But not just anyone. Someone I have a connection with. I’m having a “spread the love moment”. Maybe you can do that. If you’re near to someone who you have a special connection with, and even if you’re angry at that person, go give them a hug. No talking, just being mindful of the moment. It’s about pure, genuine connection. Take it in completely. It might just change something.

And there’s something else surrounding me too…
Hope.

The calm before the storm? No. The storm has passed.

(Decided to do some quote searching and found these gems. Click on them for the full image)

The Ocean In Me

I was recently featured on a beautiful website, Broken Light Collective, and thought I’d share it here too. Photography is an amazing art form, which helps me find the beauty in life and this incredible planet we call home. It’s also a great way to express and explore our feelings.

I wrote a little something that I feel ties in with this photo of the same name “The Ocean In Me”:

A calm and beautiful ocean lies in front of me
But today, today she has other plans
Clouds gather in the distance
Close, closer
The light breeze not content anymore
Sweeping over me, blowing faster
Running from the intensity to follow
Thunder rages, announcing the storm

They don’t understand, they can’t
Waves crashing over one another
Emotions rising and falling
Fast, faster
Sweeping me up in the current
Struggling beneath the waves
Desperate, coming up for air
Only to be swept up, and away again

A calm and beautiful ocean lies in front of me
And today, today she is content

Broken Light Collective

Please welcome first-time contributor Rayne, a woman in her early thirties who was recently diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, as well as Borderline Personality Disorder. She’s struggled with depression her entire life, and never felt that she truly belonged anywhere. Passionate about photography and helping others, her goal is to start studying psychology as soon as she is able to.

About these photos: “You can be staring out at the ocean, on a beautiful cloudless day, and all of a sudden the wind starts blowing, clouds appear in the sky, and a storm approaches. That’s what happened the day this photo was taken. The wind had just picked up, and the clouds were starting to come in from behind us. This photograph reminds me of my own emotions. How quickly they can change, and how it can feel like an unstoppable force at times. It also represents loneliness, abandonment, and the…

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Refreshing The Soul

The threat of gale force winds looms
Ocean waves rising higher and higher
Rain battering against the windows
The glass doors shaking and rattling

Safe inside. But my soul is asleep.

Stepping out of the warmth and safety.

I stand in the rain, letting it pour over me. Oh so refreshing. Cleansing.

The wind now forcing me to hold onto the railing. It got worse so quick. Fear spreading through me. I used to be afraid of the wind. But then, the fear turns into exhilaration.

Ice cold. Shivering.

I stand there until I can’t feel my body anymore. Numb on the outside.

But deep down inside I feel alive again.

rain