We associate sweet things with love.  I’ve recently developed a craving for gummy bears.

Nobody travels without getting sick at some point do they?  I rarely talk about it, but my last travelling adventure, to Mali..I think I might have…in a fever-ridden delirious state….accidentally…shat the bed.  We never really know where the virus/bacteria/parasite has come from.  In Mali’s case, I think it may have been the 3 second rule I applied to the piece of bread I dropped on the floor of a bus, only to discover a few hours later, that it also doubled as a transporter for cattle.

I’m three weeks into Bali, and have been struck down by something very lingering and debilitating.  And you know when you’re safely at home, drinking fresh water from the tap, protected by a claustrophobic level of health and safety laws and regulations, you STILL manage to convince yourself that you’ve been contaminated by some rare, incurable disease?  Well, I have Dengue Fever.  At least that’s what my early hour, online symptom investigation has come back with.  Rash, fever, achy joints, nausea, diarrhoea, lethargy, back and abdomen pain…Of course, it could, and most probably is, just a dose of Bali Belly, a particularly harsh period, and an overzealous mosquito trapped in the bed sheets one night.  Even so, I feel bloody awful.

Nothing makes you yearn for love and support more, than the vulnerability and self-pity felt when sick.  It’s like someone out there is thinking – Ha!  You want to be independent?  Find happiness from within?  Are you so sure about that?  Here – feel like absolute shit, no-one around – see how you get on!  And of course you recall every relationship you ever had, and wonder why you ever broke up with them.  Emotional retardation and two-timing aside, at least they could bring you a cup of tea and bung some soup on the hob.  You call your mum, email your dad, scatter bomb your closest, most sensitive friends with boo-hoo I’m sick emails, because to share your pain is to lessen it ever-so-slightly.  The incessant trips to the toilet become a source of emoticon humour.  A particular favourite of mine:

puke  this just came out of my arse”  Sorry Chris, it resonated too well for me not to put it in the blog!

Yesterday I woke up a little more sprightly than I’ve been for a while, and got a little bit carried away.  Went to town, did some shopping, ate some food!  By god – did I pay for that later.

By 10 o’clock at night, I’d decided to camp out on the cool, tiled floor of the ensuite – 4th day running.  All the humour I’d gathered throughout the day, slipped past my tired hands.  I pulled my knees into my chest, what a pathetic sight I must have looked, and started to whimper, “ok, ok!  I give up.  I’m sorry.”  I’m not sure who I was saying “I’m sorry” to, perhaps it was the power that struck me down to test me.  “I’m sorry.  I’m sick.  I’m not ok.  I do need people.”  My voice picked up a bit, “I can’t do everything on my own, I’m sorry.”  And then, out of nowhere, I realised it was me I was saying sorry to.  And finally it came.  That onslaught of tears all the yogis have been telling me about.  I’m sorry for never thinking that you’re good enough, I’m sorry for always wanting more, I’m sorry for telling you that you don’t need love…and more and more and more.  There were so many moments that I’d put myself down, hated myself, critiqued myself…

In starting this journey, this adventure, I was determined to steer well clear of the question of love.  Perhaps its the deep guttural aversion to Eat, Pray, Love (which I’ve not read yet), and all the social pressures back home I needed to get away from…but whether it be the unblocking of emotions in yoga or the cleansing nature of this illness, it was the craving for gummy bears that has given me some sort of answer.

Apologising for my self-hatred and forgiving myself for that, is my first real step since I got here, to self-acceptance.  And with acceptance comes love.  So perhaps that’s what my story’s about after all.

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