I watch my mind tell me that I need to get up and help, be happy and smiley, be social and all kinds of other things to make myself feel worthy of this gift of a wonderful home full of love, family, food and warmth. I quickly am able to put that aside as I realize the magnitude of the experience I just had with the group and how emotionally I am exhausted which in turn feels like physical exhaustion, they are not two separate things for me. Giving myself the time I need to recuperate and process all that has happened over the last 2 weeks is vital to learning and growing from these experiences. If I do not take the time to rest and listen to my body I will be doing the same things that ultimately led me down a road of dis-ease, kaos, and unrest in my body and in my life. It starts small but every time I catch the old ways of thinking, being and feeling in action I am reminded of where it leads and it makes it VERY easy to say listen. In that moment I am able love and honor my higher self and the reality of my human needs.
After a few days of feeling utterly exhausted I decided to look into getting some much needed rejuvenation in the form of massage, pool, steam and sauna. Lucky for me I discovered these types of places are all over and there is one 5 mins away by foot, so no more need for a 5 star hotel. I have an amazing relaxation hot spot just around the corner. I spent the afternoon there going from cold pool to sauna to the pool to the steam room and also had probably the best massage I have ever had, all for the bargain price of 8000 RWF ($12 US).
It is no coincidence to me that I have access to this wonderful place as I know how I thrive and how to make that happen. I really had discarded the idea of water being a part of my time here in Rwanda but am more than pleasantly surprised by the apparent abundance and affordability of it. I feel as though the universe has guided me to this exact place and is looking out for my needs. I also found out today that there is a Canadian woman living in the house next to me. I can feel the moment building in terms of next steps being revealed and my heart is drawing me closer to finding a volunteer position at one of the orphanages in town but I will continue to be patient and see what happens next.
A pleasant surprise for me on my way home was seeing Bosco (our Bus driver for the group trip) and his nephew walking towards me, they were on their way to see me at the pool! It felt surreal to look up and see a familiar face on my first solo excursion away from home and Bosco’s sweet smile was a very welcome surprise. They took me out to a local bar for bruchette (meat on a stick) and I had my first, and much anticipated, ride on a “moto” which is a motorcycle taxi service here in Rwanda. It was as much fun as I thought it would be! More of Bosco’s family met us at “Papa Guiness” and I got to be a part of some very interesting conversation surrounding the fact that I am single and have no children. Apparently it is common here to have many wives, (unless someone is pulling my leg!) and it is much sought after to have a baby with a white woman to produce a “Milato” baby. Oh the things you learn when you begin to really become emersed in the culture! It was a fun time and I felt much more able to handle the type of conversation and comments that were coming my way.
I also had another experience with a young man at one of the local night clubs that Justin took me to after saying farewell to the second half of the group at the airport on Saturday night. The local people love to dance and I was pleasantly surprised to see more men on the dance floor than woman, by about 9-1. They have got some serious moves and they love the fact that as a “mazungu” I can bust out some awesome moves as well. So far I have received a lot of high 5’s, fist blasts and people eager to copy me on the dance floor! But a new experience is the insane hip and butt movement that they can pull off seemingly with incredible ease BUT the part that I appreciate the most is that even though this could be seen as an incredibly sexual movement and in North America be labeled as “Slutty” moves on the dance floor, it isn’t here. It just is what it is, a movement to the rhythm of the music and a deep part of the culture. I love that because for me dancing and sexuality have always gone hand in hand until recently when I discovered that dancing is a way for me to channel energy in general, not just sexual. Movement of the human body can have functions other than to sexual attraction and this lesson took me years to really embody.
For me the experience of simply allowing a man to come and but his hands on me was powerful enough but then to add movement like that plus the fact that the men are extremely good looking and it was quite an experience. For me, being a sexual being has always been a fearful, shameful, angry and manipulative thing that I was never comfortable with and found many ways in my life with which to mask those feelings, feelings which were put on me by my family, not feelings that I actually knew to be true. I went to extremes in order to be able to even talk about sex in my family and found myself portraying an image that was as far from what was real for me as I think I could possibly get. This path even lead me down some extremely painful choices in life as well including having major impacts on my career decisions.
Now that I feel like a certain amount of healing has taken place in this area I am able to experience sexuality in a whole new way. I have been practicing celibacy for nearly 3 years now and have no intention to change that but what this practice offers me most is the opportunity to experience sex in a whole new way. A way that feels more authentic to me. I get to see how I feel about things now with a new perspective, one that is not out of societal or familial expectations or limitations. I can now watch myself in different situations and experience my emotions and feelings and then make choices based on the present moment.
In this case, having an attractive, young black man put his arms firmly around me and feeling myself stop breathing out of fear momentarily and then making a conscious choice to relax, feel, breath and connect. Because I have clear boundaries for myself and the situation, I no longer feel like a victim in that moment and know that I can choose to stay or to go. I chose to stay and accept the healing that was there for me from a simple embrace. All of this on the tail end of receiving a letter from the RCMP stating that charges will not be filed against the man who sexually assaulted me. Thankfully for me I have come to a place of understanding in my life that the Universe gives me many opportunities for growth and I can choose to see the learning in everything. My response to this letter only proves to me further that I am healing as I was able to simply feel the emotion of disappointment and then move on.
Over the last 3 days I have had so many opportunities to see my own personal growth and it is apparent to me that I am really comfortable with who I am right now, “No matter where you go, there you are!” I am so happy to be the person I am right now and anything that comes from this experience here in Rwanda is buttercream icing on the red velvet cupcake of my life!