Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The West Indies-Wind Writing Chapter 6: The Fight

2 weeks
6 people
200 miles
38 feet
1 big fight

     The reason for most arguments is usually lost once anger takes control, but I wouldn’t forget the start of the family fight that ensued on the next part of our Caribbean journey simply because it was so ironic.

         It all started when we took our dinghy over to an island made of conch shells in the late afternoon. Yes, it was an island made of conch shells. A few Rastafarians constructed it in the seventies, called it Happy Island and have been living there, smoking weed and running a restaurant and bar ever since. 

     The drinks were strong, the music was blaring out of some really crappy speakers and the view was one I’d never imagined I’d see. We were out in the middle of a harbor overlooking rolling Caribbean hills on an island made out of seashells. It was a lawless paradise in my eyes, but what my mom felt was the exact opposite. She tasted way too much alcohol in her drink, heard deafening music and witnessed illegal chaos. It was an unhappy island for her. After our second round of piƱa coladas we left. 

     I remember just before that moment when I could tell my mom was getting really uncomfortable, I looked over at two college age girls laughing, talking and double fisting two drinks each. I wanted to be them. I wanted to be drunk and silly and family free for a few hours. I think this was the point where being confined to a 40 foot sailboat really began weighing on us all. 

  There was no place for your emotions to hide on this trip, unless you had an enormous amount of practice at hiding them, of which my female family members and I did not. No, we seemed to be experts at showing our emotions to each other, on our faces, in our words, in our actions and especially when tired and hungry. That's the blessing and curse of family I suppose, you can let your hair down, be your true self, and often times really piss people off with your lack of filter.

     Although my mother attempted to hide her off mood when we were back onboard the sailboat, my sisters and I were on to her and tried to coerce her into talking about it. It wasn’t Happy Island that was truly bothering her, that just started her mood off on the wrong foot. It was simply her turn to give in to the frustrations surrounding her.

     She had a right to, after all, each day she identified with the moods of each family member; she wore our emotions and carried them as if she were wearing our clothes to see how they fit. She did this to understand us, to help us be our best and to keep the happiness alive for everyone on the trip. Like I said in the beginning, she was the supporter and with this role came this burden of feeling everything around her.   
     Now it was her turn to feel her own emotions. She talked to us about little things that were bothering her. It was a domino effect after that. What was bothering her was bothering someone else, and the fact that this was bothering anyone annoyed someone else until we were all mad.

     So there we were, raw and vulnerable, sitting around the table on the back of the boat showing and telling each other how life made us feel while the boys swayed back and forth on the front of the boat drinking beers and keeping out of the storm going on out back.

     As much as this is going to sound like I'm just trying to put a positive spin on things, somehow in this moment where I felt irritated at all of the people around me, I also felt a strong understanding of what I loved most about them. I loved my sister Danielle for her passion and sincerity, I loved my sister Maddie for her empathy and compassion, and I loved my mom for her patience and devotion to her family. I also felt an appreciation for family vacations and their ability to remind you what was in the hearts of all of those you loved. I realized as we covered topics like responsibilities, insecurities and irritations, that family vacations are the perfect occasion to let your guard down and release the heavy things you carry through life. Whether the purpose of doing so was seeking a lighter heart or a closer bond with those listening, you usually got both.

     The night was clear with a welcome breeze that attempted to cool our sticky, tense skin. I felt that breeze on every inch of my body. All of my senses were as heightened as my emotions. It surprised me to no end, how these moments made me feel the most alive.

     Once our frustrations and angers were free from us they drifted off into the darkness with the wind. This storm had passed and our rightful roles came back to us. Danielle gave of herself, Maddie comforted, Scott was optimistic, Dad was in charge, Mom was supportive and I was there to write the story, knowing that it already meant something. And all around us was that vast ocean, accepting us for what we were. 

<< Chapter 5-New                                                                        Chapter 7-Departure>>

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  1. even with a fight it still looks/sounds like a fantastic family trip :)

    great photos!!

  2. I have been reading, I just don't comment.. I think I just get so depressed because it's just SO winter & not a beach in sight:)


  3. OK, I have a family trip coming up this summer (first time we've gone anywhere together in over a decade) and this post was the perfect preparation. When we all start voicing our emotions (which we will I know it) I am going to remember this post and try to channel my irritation into remembering the things I love about my family members too! So thanks.

    And also, amazing photos!

  4. @shaylynn hang in there it's almost spring :)

    @Heather thank you :) I hope your trip goes well! I will think positive thoughts for you.

  5. We are going to Hawaii with my parents and little brother in May and I am SO worried about hurting feelings, stepping on toes, or getting in fights. I love my family but Eric and I are definitely going to want our alone time and have our own little adventures... I hope it doesn't cause any fights!
    They pictures are BEAUTIFUL! What an amazing location.
    And you are seriously HOT, haha!

  6. thanks for stopping by my blog girl! you are an amazing writer and what an incredible trip!!! so so cool.


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