Words you never want in the subject line of an email from your travel agent 6 days before you are to board the cargo ship you have dreamed and planning and talking and saving for about for two years.
With sinking stomach I opened the email and read that someone had casually crushed my dream.
“I regret to advise that CMA-CGM have declined to carry you because your Medical Certificate states that you suffer from bi-polar disorder.”
It’s so challenging to shift gears this close to achieving a dream. When you’re this close you think you’re safe, no one can snatch it away, you can’t fail. But dear friends they can be taken from you up to the 11th hour. Damn that hurts.
It wasn’t just a little jaunt on the river, this was to be 23 days across the Pacific without internet! I was going to crochet my hands off, I was going to read, get into shape (ish) and meditate at the bow with the sea wind in my face. I would go for long walks around the ship, I might even crochet hats or slippers for the crew! This was to be my epic adventure! Even as I write this my heart pounds with excitement just thinking about it. I get horrible sea sickness and I wanted this experience so bad I was willing to push past that. Seriously, I have gotten nauseous watching the Granville Island ferries in False Creek on a really windy day.
I was going to sail into Singapore harbor on a cargo ship and then go to Raffles Hotel and have a Singapore Sling, how freaking amazing would that have been?
But no, I won’t be able to have those experiences because a corporation in France read some of my doctor’s words but didn’t care about others. I am bi-polar but I have been stable for close to 20 years. They never bothered to call me, they could have even insisted I go to a doctor of their choice to be accessed. Nope, they just wrote me off, threw me away. I wonder if the person who made the decision even gave a thought about me, the person. Not likely. I’m sure they are very busy with more important things than my little dream.
Sadly one of the repercussions of their decision was I was hit with a tsunami of shame and embarrassment. I have never been ashamed of my condition, at the time of the diagnosis I was actually relieved. Naming the horror meant others had it and it could be treated. I worked hard to make sure I learned to handle it. Years of therapy and medication has paid off and I am stable as the Rockies. But here I am ashamed and scared. I am scared that others will use this as an excuse not to let me pet sit or let me do something else that means the world to me. If I have been discriminated against in the past because of my condition I didn’t know about it. Gawd, how do people deal with this every day? Especially when they are trying to move down the road to recovery? At least I’m strong enough that this isn’t going to crush me but I think back to when I was just starting to learn to deal with it and I wonder if I would have made it if I had to face discrimination too.
I decided I had to write about it because I believe the only way to deal with shame is to drag it out of the shadows and the closet and share and shine light on it, to face it and say NO! I am not shame-full, I am not a monster. If anyone should be ashamed it is the person that rejected me for no good reason.
I am proud to say that it didn’t take me long before I got some perspective and was grateful that I have choices, that no one died or the hundred other things that is so much worse than being denied an experience, albeit an amazing one. Still my heart hurts and I am dealing with this shame thing. People have put up with me yammering on and on about going on a cargo ship for years and now I have to face them and admit it isn’t going to happen, it may never happen. (ouch ouch ouch). But I will survive and thrive.
I’m flying to Singapore on Sunday and I’ll spend those 23 days licking my wounds in Bali. When I put it that way it lightens my spirit considerably. I am well aware of how lucky I am!
But I’m still sad, really really sad.