On that particular morning, I awoke slightly before mid-day from what felt like yet another beguilingly nebulous dream. I am no stranger to the realm of wildly enthralling somnolent visions, but this particular one— it was among those which stood out. Somehow, in all its haziness, it was more vivid still than most.
As I searched the airy room around me for clues of its source, I could not help but feel surprisingly different, yet so very much myself. I put my head back down. For what felt like an infinite instant, I lay motionless upon my flimsy and unnecessarily high bamboo bunk, staring up through my mosquito net.
The darkness of the room could not help but be perforated by the tiny rays of sunlight, sifting through the spaces between the vertical wooden panels, which formed the walls. Hesitantly, I accepted this invitation from the sun to emerge from my hiding.
My head and heart seemed to have agreed upon the synchronicity of their beats, and their pounding reverberated within me more heavily than most days. As I gracelessly disembarked from the previous evening’s resting place, thoughts began to aimlessly swirl around my seemingly empty cranium, like befuddled bats in the night.
I had been here before, many a time; dishevelled, recounting to myself the previous evening’s folly, scraping the corners of my brain in desperate search of greater recollection. But this time, the regret of weakened boundaries and nonsensical ceaseless chatter was accompanied by a sort of hopeful feeling of imminent transformation—an interior turbulence that was paradoxically distressing and inspiring.
I spent the day, as I often have, evaluating my life’s choices and considering my desired path. Somehow, amidst the shadows of self-loathing, epiphanies seemed to light up the darkness like shooting stars or electric sparks all around me. Self-awareness was growing.
Still, gazing upon the ocean’s infinitude, the mellifluously riotous sound of its waves crashing, only metres below my hilltop hammock haven, something remained unresolved. Electricity coursed through my veins, and all around.
A simple text message illuminated the screen of my phone. As always, my most faithful friend, the eloquence of the written word, brought me back. The memory of the dream came flooding into my mind like a reckless deluge, prepared to destroy anything in its path. All at once, recognizing that I was many things but never a somnambulist, it came to me that it had not been a dream at all.
Closing my eyes, I revisited the moment, the place, the people, the feeling, everything. The pictures danced behind my eyelids like a high-definition movie on a screen.
I was there. Eagerly disrobing in the dead of night and running into the tepid waters of this enchanted beach town. As I felt the almost distressingly perfect temperature of the water against my skin, I could not help but be humbled by the scene around me. The planets seemingly in syzygy, the fire and laughter roaring from the beach behind me, the stars above, and then—the stars below me, all around me, and in the eyes of a beautiful stranger. Bioluminescence.
Stars. Electric sparks. Bioluminescent plankton. Electricity. In my veins. All around.
I thought a lot about this ephemeral occurrence for the next day and a half, certain of its magnitude but unsure of its meaning.
On the day of my departure, at the premature hour of 0500, I was awakened by loud knocking on my door. My smiling taxi driver had arrived to take me to the airport, where I would catch three flights to go spend the holidays in a place which has never really been home.
I sat at the airport, somehow inspired; sunburned, exhausted, dirty, more sand in my faded fuchsia-turned-yellowish-pastel-pink hair than on the totality of all of the world’s beaches, eating a terrible veggie sub and drinking a vile aspartame-laden substance—making a significant life decision. This bioluminescence, the one for which I had been searching for years, that experience. It all was far too exquisite to be so hazy.
It occurred to me that, without my knowledge, my subconscious had periodically endeavoured to dictate my actions. As such, there were times when my intentions were hidden, even from myself. This is why, in these instances, it became imperative to delve uncomfortably deep and evaluate my true motives. In retrospect, my motive—the pursuit of temporary numbness.
Numbness: a solution to the fear of feeling; avoidance of intense pain or hurt; a reaction, a defence mechanism, perhaps, to loss, heartache, betrayal. Unfortunately, this numbness, it is not selective in its censoring process. Elation and magic often also fall victim to its effects, going forgotten, overlooked, and unfelt.
It struck me that I was avoiding allowing myself to be truly happy, living under the conviction that I did not deserve to feel real joy, the universe’s love. An occasional escape was a welcome solution. I had, at times, been running, but it ended there. No more running. No more numbness.
And so, as of that 3rd day of December, of one of the weirdest years ever, I made a promise to myself and to those which were catalysts for this decision. I made a promise that I would no longer allow myself to succumb to oblivion. I want to honour the souls and the experiences around me everywhere I go. I want to cherish moments, for they are far too precious to exist within a misted realm.
I release this nefarious presence in my life. I am grateful for many of the things it has provided. I deeply value the memories and the bonds that were concretized under its spell, as well as the experiences which I may not have had were it not for its liberating qualities. However, I go forward in the knowledge that I can be truly free and uninhibited without its assistance.
Bioluminescence. Freedom. Joy.
Uvita, Costa Rica, February 2017.