Friday, June 28, 2013

Workplace Abuse is Not All About Suffering - Parasailing in the Laguna Madre

Ever been near the ocean and watched people parasailing up in the air?  A canopy directly above their heads, the water quite a ways below?  Attached only by a rope attached to a boat way, far below?  The air is clear.  It's almost like being in a swing - except for being up in the sky.  You can see for quite a distance in any direction - if you're brave enough to move your head.  The higher up you go, the more the view changes.  

Just for today, I'm not going to write about the narrative of workplace abuse.  Just for today, I'm going to take a rest from the hard word of both recovery and writing about recovery - and what caused the damage.  

Just for today, I'm going to write about a pleasurable experience.  One that happened on the road to recovery (what I now call phase 1 which is before the workplace abuse in situation #2 escalated to the point where active recovery had to stop for the time being with the primary focus being on survival).  One that would not have happened had I not been on the road to recovery.

From the beginning of the recovery phase in October 2006 until sometime in 2010, I was on a road of active recovery.  Working through lifelong challenges and fears.  Working on relationships.  Life became a series of adventures.  I never knew which one would be waiting for me just around the corner.

In 2010, My beloved spouse and partner in these adventures and I went on a "memory lane" trip back to South Texas where we first met in 1980.  Back to our very beginnings.

Part of our beginnings were day trips to South Padre Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico.

So, of course, we had to go back to that part of our history.

Roaming around the island we found a bird sanctuary, lots of sand, sand dunes, a road that stops abruptly, high rise hotels and resorts, and parasailing.  Double parasailing to be exact.  As in, my beloved spouse and I could experience this adventure together.  

Ahhhh ... togetherness.

I could not pass up this opportunity to confront my life-long fear of heights.  It became a "must do" on my list.  So, we made the appointment, arrived at the appointed place at the appointed time, and climbed in the boat with three other couples.  It was only then that I began to experience the familiar pangs of fear coursing through my body.  

As luck (or fate - or whatever) would have it, we were the last of the four couples to go up.  Each one came down with exhilaration etched all over their faces, their voices and their bodies.  I asked them to describe their experience up there.  The men were, for the most part, bolder and more enthusiastic in their experience.  The women, usually, a bit more timid. Yet, all had had a good, fear-free experience.

My anxieties, while still there, lightened.

Finally, it was our turn.

Note the look on my face as we're preparing for lift off.  I think the exact thought in my mind was either:  "Is it too late to back out now?" or "Am I outta my cotton pickin' mind?"

Both would have been appropriate.  Notice also, how my faithful companion is grinning, ready to take off.  Totally unafraid.

Notice also how just feet off the boat, I'm starring fixedly ahead while his attention is focused on me.  Still grinning.  Having the time of his life.

Regardless of the expression on my face, I wanted this adventure.  I wanted to push my envelope.  I wanted to conquer my fear.

And I wanted to say to my children and grandchildren:  "I went parasailing."  I gave my camera to one of the crew so that I would always have the pictures to prove it, as well.

Once up, it was exhilarating.  It was like being on a gentle swing way up in the air.  Far above the causeway.

I have to admit, in a sense it was also boring.  Once you're up there, there isn't much to do except look around.  And maybe talk to the spouse.  Since we were in the Laguna Madre which is the strip of water between the mainland and the island, there wasn't much real estate for the boat to maneuver in, so we covered the same territory, the same scenery over and over.

Yet, it was fun too.  Exhilarating to know that I had done something that I would never have thought of before.  That only a few years before I would have thought was impossible.

Would I do it again?  I don't know.

One thing I have learned in this adventure of recovery is to seize the moment.  I may only pass this way once.  I may only have this opportunity (to parasail) once.

Tomorrow might well be another adventure, another challenge.


For those of us on the road to recovery post workplace abuse, and those currently stuck in workplace abuse, tomorrow seems far off.

Like a dream.

We're working hard just on surviving today.

So today, I want to encourage you, dear readers, that there is a tomorrow.  We can do it.

There is life both during and after workplace abuse.  And it can be good.  Very good.

The traditional lowering of the parasailees and dipping their feet in the water shot.  However, at the lat moment, the crew realized that my beloved spouse and partner in crime had shoes on so they didn't dip our feet in the water - much to my dismay.   (Note to self:  if there is a next time, check companion's feet.)

This experience lives on both in my memory and my pictures.  A jewel to be brought out, savoured and treasured.  An experience which shines brightly like a beam of sunshine against the sombre background of workplace abuse making it all the more precious.

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