Monday, August 11, 2008

Stress (With A Happy Ending)

I won't lie, things have been getting heavy on me lately. We only have 2 more weeks left in the Amazon and I am still not even close to being finished with the project I'm working on. My stress is at a peaking level and I am wondering when I'm going to totally break down and start telling people that life would be better if I were an ant or something while I roll on the floor laughing and crying simultaneously. I'm waiting for the moment when somebody spills a drink and a trigger in my brain goes off that causes me to simply explode in a panic and heavy crying for no real reason other than because I'm so weighed down right now that I couldn't handle it anymore and my brain just went haywire.

More than likely, I'm totally exaggerating here, but I feel heavy. I feel like there is something on top of me and I know I'm the one causing it because I have a poor mentality. I've been working on this project for a while and haven't been able to make much progress for this reason or that. Whatever the reason though, I still blame myself and look at the impossible task of editing this and having it totally done in the next 2 weeks. Could it get done? Yes. Do I imagine it being easy? Not in any way, shape, or form. Will it require numerous sleepless nights and me screaming at walls for no reason, knowing they won't respond back? Probably. Am I going a little nutty? You better believe it!

Although, if I'm able to realize the bit of crazy that has attached itself to me (not that I was ever very normal), am I really that crazy after all? I think my stress is exhausting me and placing me into a state of delirium (which is when I write my best, interestingly enough). It probably doesn't help that I am on a lack of sleep right now too. I barely got any sleep last night. I'll take that into account with the crazy talk above.

For those of you reading this thinking, "well then stop putting such heaviness on yourself and weighing yourself down with this project," it's really not that simple. There is so much more going on here than just me wanting to get this project done, at least inside my own mentality of what this all means down here. See, for me, I can't see my being down here, with all the support that I've been given (thank you all again, I love you and am so grateful for your help) that I simply can't see anything else as acceptable for this outreach.

Basically, my mindset is that I either get this project done or my coming here was a waste of time and money. Is that true? Probably not, but for me, I view it as the utmost important thing. I don't really know why I can't see the good in my just coming down here. Why isn't it enough that I'm simply here to serve the people around me when they need me? Why do I have to have some big elaborate project done and ready to go so that I can show everyone what they helped accomplish? Do I want praise for it? Maybe a bit but I hope that's not it. I think I'm deciding what other peoples expectations are for me. I've made a decision that those who have helped me get here are expecting me to come back with some amazing stories and show them everything we've been doing and it has to be awesome or they won't accept it. It's not enough that I'm simply here to be here and serve.

Or is it? Is it enough that I'm simply just here?

I'm really not looking for praise with this project or anything, I'm looking to help. I want to help. This project means a lot to me and I want it to be something that can bring more help here in the future. It's something that broke my heart when I heard about it. That is all true, but I still have those expectations that I have decided others are expecting for me to present to them.

I still think to myself that, well if I don't have something this great to show, no one is going to be happy they helped me come here because I won't really have anything to show them. I won't have anything to connect them to what has happened, connect them to being down here. I won't have a way to indirectly make them a part of this outreach. They're going to wonder why they bothered even helping me and think it was more of a travel experience and vacation than anything. I am worried that I'll come home and not have this great project or video or story to tell and so everyone will be disappointed and I don't want that to happen.

I know I'm probably only getting myself worked up over something that more than likely won't happen. There are times though when you can't help it and this is one of those times for me. I can't help but think that my time here will be viewed as a waste if I don't have something really awesome for people to grab on to. It could be that such a mentality is there to push me and get things down. I don't know. There's more that goes into this as well besides just what I shared, but everything I wrote has probably the most to do with the stress I'm feeling right now.

This is how things are going right now for me though. Other than this, I mean, I'm good. It's rough but I'm doing what I can to stay positive. It's been raining the past few days. Heavy downpours, supposedly from how hot it's been here lately. We're in the dry season down here so it's clear skies, humidity and an ever growing heat. The rain brought out some animals that I didn't want to see though (snakes) and that has been a bit unpleasant. I only saw two (one big one and then a smaller dead one). I am not a fan of snakes so I wasn't really very happy when I saw them. An 8 1/2 foot Boa was found yesterday on the road to my cabin. Thank God I didn't see it.

I want to give you guys a positive update though, or at least leave you with something good. You went through my rant and my fear of snakes so I will talk about other things that happened this weekend. On Saturday, a large group of us went into the city to experience it some more. We didn't have anything to do there, we just went because we could. So we walked to the bus stop (2 - 3 miles away) and took a bus into the city. We walked around for a while trying to find a place to eat; I was starving. After about an hour of walking, we're finally taken to a small festival/park area where there are dozens of small food vendors lining the park and the street. One of the places had probably one of the best burgers I've ever had. I was so happy. A burger patty with a ton of sausage and bacon on top; it was huge!

For some reason though, this past week I have found myself with a huge craving for chocolate covered bananas. It was really very random but I really wanted them; I still do. After walking around the area a bit, we found a place that had Crepes on a stick. Interesting, I thought and sure enough, they had Banana and Chocolate filled Crepes. It was probably one of the best things I've eaten since getting down here. Not that the food here is bad, but it was really really good. I wish I know how to make them. Talked with some locals on the bus, including a guy who spoke pretty good english. We discussed a Mexican director who's work I love (Guillermo Del Toro - Pan's Labyrinth, Devil's Backbone, Hellboy, etc) and he asked about New York City, as he's going there in a few years. It was nice. It was nice to just get outside of the base and out of the jungle and hang out.


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