Warning: if you are body-stuff sensitive, you may want to skip this and read next week's post. I'll try to write about something nice and easy.
Settling into the very, very comfortable bus (think first-class airplane seats), I casually opened the medium-sized plastic bag that housed the very, very nice headphones.
Six hours later, my companion would tell me that he thought I was preparing to watch a movie at some point during the trip.
As a kid, I pretty much always got car sick. I remember my grandmother skipping any taxi with a soft suspension like the famous Citroen DS because my stomach just could not take it. School field trips, when I absolutely had to attend, gave me anxiety days before departure.
Nausea is its own form of nightmare for me and I have never made peace with its shenanigans.
In fact, the moment a whisper of nausea comes my way, most likely clearly announcing that there WILL be an episode of throwing up in my near future, I become a full-on Statue of No.
I freeze, I refuse.
I refuse my body's message, its request. I refuse to go through the (to me) counterintuitive trip backward of whatever I may have ingested. I try and distract myself, I whimper, I plead.
Of course, because the body is so wise and unlike the mind does not waste time with toxic invasion, it always wins. That's when I find myself moaning, snotting, possibly losing control of my bladder while I ungracefully surrender to the dreaded reverse flow.
Afterward, almost immediately feeling so much better, I relive the event. Its horribleness. I moan for a good while longer, I talk about how awful it was, how glad I am that it is over, and again how bad bad bad it was.
The whole thing can take hours and I am guessing is no fun for someone to accompany me.
So, the bus.
5-6 hours of traveling coming my way, I know the road and I know its curves. While it has never gotten me before, something about the quesadilla I just misguidedly chose to eat tells me that yes, opening the little bag is a judicious idea.
Off we go. Out of the jungle and into the hills of agave fields. I decide to try and sleep through the curves and mostly succeed. When I open my eyes, I take in the beauty that always puts me in a state of awe. So many greens, so much land.
I love this country.
The window is huge, the AC is working well and I know how lucky I am to be traveling. On the other end of the trip is the city and it always thrills me to visit it.
Also, I know that something has started inside my body. It's not very loud, not demanding. Just making itself known. A gray-blue color of quiet dis-settle that takes very little room but makes no promise of leaving.
I breathe. I inhale my mentholated stick. I breathe again. I don't talk.
And then we get to the outer area of the city. Not the part with the cathedrals and the street vendors and the hundred-year-old buildings and the cobblestones. Not that one. We get to the part where traffic is slow, stop-and-start, and the streets are lined with all manners of industrial supply stores.
There is so much to read, so much to see. I read, I see. And everything I read and everything I see seems to foster some thought inside my head. Some comments, some questions, some memory. It is as though while the angst in my stomach is making itself more and more known, my mind chooses to go on overload and this overload itself makes me more and more queasy.
But I cannot stop. My mind is feeling poisoned, unable to stop ingesting nauseating information. I am so full of so much and everything feels out of my control.
I am quiet. I try and "witness" all of it. In some way, I do it. I gain a little distance.
And we keep going. Slowly, bumpily.
We are about 10 minutes away from the gigantic bus station.
By now there is no denying what I have been trying to deny.
I WILL be throwing up.
Shifting from denying to preparing, I ask my companion to please hand me the six pesos I will need to get into the bathroom. God, I don't like public bathrooms. And now that I have said the word bathroom, The Beast has kicked things up a notch.
It has been acknowledged and I can feel It plump Itself up and stand up straighter, finally taking Its due place in my day.
Six pesos. The bathroom. Almost there. Breathe.
The bag. The headphone bag. Right there in front of me.
I pick it up, I turn towards the window, and with barely one little retch, I surrender into it all the acidity of my universe. Three times.
There is no moaning, no crying, and thank god no urinating.
"Except for the smell, no one could tell." I am later told. Good god.
I don't spill, I wipe my mouth each time. I am not quite lifting my pinky finger but we will later comment on how very French of me the whole thing was. Big-time good manners and my grandma would approve.
I am handed an extra bag for good measure (second set of headphones) and a few minutes later we exit the bus, me holding a small plastic bag full of something that could just as well be a serving of delicious horchata, and sweetly relieved from having to carry my own backpack.
Right there in this big comfy Mexican bus, I have met a new me. I have somehow transcended some old agreement about "how traumatic vomiting is for me." I have met a new way of letting my body do what it needs to do without getting in the way. A bunch of fear has vanished.
Now, just writing about this makes me feel slightly ill, and I can't say that I relish the next opportunity to test my new skill set. But, yes, something has shifted, something decades-old and I love when that happens. when we can feel ourselves bend and flex and grow.
Ready to board the bus alone for the trip back a few days later, I am gifted a plump lime cut in half with the loving instruction to smell it if I start to feel nauseated. I can't help but notice that it comes in a nifty little plastic bag.
SCARED OF THE SACRED