Falling to Pieces: Excerpt from Memoir

 

This is an excerpt from my Memoir

Through the Woods to the Sea: A Journey of Becoming Me

It seems a long time time ago I felt like this. Life has changed several times. Life is changing now as I live day to day. Sometimes moments have these feeling but mindfulness and the changes I have been through help pull me back into the beauty of life. All I have to do is look out over the ocean to remember that life has its waves and flow and eventually the sea will be calm again.

Falling to Pieces

The outlook is shadowy and indistinct. I feel empty and non-existent. Nothing makes any sense and answers are lost in the distant fog. I have been wandering aimlessly for years unable to regain any focus. This confusion is unsettling. Inadequacy and doubt like vertigo distorts my balance. I fearfully wander in a vast and empty, yet deeply emotional wilderness.

As I wrestle with the darkness, a rush of panic rips a hole in my heart. I struggle to catch my breath as I drown in the depths of emotions that are rising and falling, like storm waves of a violent hurricane crashing against a rocky shoreline. An immobilizing lack of confidence and fear has forced me into a junction of significant change.

I find myself in a place where I have lost my sense of identity, questioning the structure and the rules of the world and my faith in God. I am standing in a time of uncertainty with negative thoughts, fears, and judgments escalating all the voices in my head.

My life is falling apart. I am watching my life fall away, piece by piece. I have even helped pack it up and send it on its way. I am about to become an empty nester. My daughters, Nikki, Sam, and Monica are going off to begin their own lives as young adults. It should be exciting to watch my girls all flying off to begin their lives full of new discoveries and adventures.                                                                        

Yet I am overwhelmed with fear. Panic racing through my body and mind. I am falling into an abyss. The only thing that has mattered in my life, my daughters, are now leaving me. The lifeline that held me together, my reason to go through each day is abandoning me. Being their mother has been my focus, the central core of my day-to-day life. I have been nothing but a stay at home mom for seventeen years.

Now I can get back into real life, go out into the real world. Time to get a real job and take care of myself. I dread real life and the real world. I explore job opportunities. Every resume I send out and every response I receive to my queries makes me nauseous. As I get closer and closer to landing a position that would take me back into the ‘real world’ – I get so sick to my stomach that I am throwing up.

I don’t want to live in this so-called ‘real world’ or live the way I am expected to live it. I have never felt comfortable in that world of corporate life and material things. I know that if I take one step in that direction, I will once again fill my life from a place of doing what I am expected to do, and doing what I think I should be doing. I will only be trying to please other people. I will be making choices and decisions based on circumstances and social expectations.

Most of my life I have built around a false sense-of-self or no-self. It was built from outside circumstances, events, expectations, and demands. If I stay here and rebuild my life from this empty shell, I will just reconstruct another false self and false life. I know exactly where this road will take me. I know that I will live in a void of emptiness inside. This thought scares the hell out of me.

I don’t want to continue living this way.  I have been trying to play the part I have created for myself and the part others expected of me. My whole life has become a play in which I have been pretending day after day. I have been a character in the play but have felt like I was in the audience watching my life rather than being a part of it. I fear I am being sucked into the direction of expectations and the responsible path. If I go that path, I will step into a world I don’t like and don’t want to be in anymore.

I know that this person I have been-have become-is a cover, a hard shell around my heart that I created. I fashioned myself from a core that was broken, pushed down and controlled when I was young. From that point on I hid who I really was. I hid in shame of who I was. I have lived my life with a deep-rooted belief that I am not good enough. Who I am inside is not acceptable in the outside world. I believed I had to become who I was expected to be. I never felt comfortable in that shell.

Yet the pull to get sucked into living a facade is strong. I am at my weakest moment. I have always tried to fit in, to make myself into someone who would be liked and accepted. Yet I have never felt accepted. Even the false creations of myself who were fashioned to be the person others wanted me to be, were not accepted. I have felt rejected and abandoned then and now.

This is the theme of my life, trying to please everyone and pleasing no one in the process. It runs through every choice, every decision I have ever made. Because of these deep-rooted feelings I have isolated myself from life, others and myself. Everything within me is telling me this is the moment to break free but can I? The conflict of following the ‘right path’ and following my soul is paralyzing me. All I can feel is fear and panic.

 My soul has been crying out for years. I have done what I can to pacify it. The thought of continuing to live with this emptiness inside is unbearable to my soul. I don’t want to do that anymore. It has become too painful. The truth of the matter is that I have wanted to run away from my life for years. I have wanted to get out and get away but responsibilities and obligations have kept me trapped. Fear has kept me from doing anything about it. If I stay here, I will drown in the sacrifice of myself. I’ve already given myself away but sacrificing myself knowing full well what will happen to my soul is suicide.

It is time to do some deep soul searching to go within. It seems scary to turn inside when it was in turning inside myself that forced me to live outside myself. How could doing the very thing that sent me into this empty chasm of a person be the solution and answer to becoming my true self? As confusing as this seems I am being drawn into this idea that this is the way out.

Dancing into Becoming a Writer

I have been writing all my life. As a little girl it was mostly poetry where I expressed the feelings that were buried inside me. Emotions I couldn’t express from fear and not allowing myself to feel. Afraid to feel anything I wrote words on a page yet I didn’t “feel” them. They were words on a page that were inside me but not allowed to surface from my subconscious mind.

I gave up the dream of being a writer as a teenager when I was told I had to prepare for a practical job like teaching.

For years my only writing was in a journal. When my kids were little and I was lost, I wrote a story that poured out of me. I hand wrote it in notebook after notebook. One friend encouraged me to write loaning me a computer. That manuscript is still in a box in my closet.

Then years later after my children were grown I was telling my story of my journey to strangers in a dining hall and was encouraged to write my story. When I began to write it I was struggling wondering if I could write it, finish it and actually ever publish it.

Another friend challenged me to write a short book and publish it. She even gave me the title, ‘Dancing on the Beach‘ because I never walked the beach I always danced down the beach. And so Dancing on the Beach was the first successful step into being able to say I was a writer.

I wrote that Memoir and published it. It changed forms many times through the process but I completed it. Sharing my story has had effects I hadn’t imagine. I now stand strong in myself. I now try new things. I now follow my heart wherever it leads.

My writing too has shifted more from the interpersonal to living in the world and real life adventures.  Still it is all personal, it is still my stories, it is still me as I evolve and become more of myself.

Sisters Travel Adventures has taken route and cruising and travel have grow in my passion. It has always been a hidden passion but now I am free to be and explore passions I once hid from myself. I am no longer bound by the past or what was and now I am stepping into what I can become.

Life evolves, I evolve and so does my writing as it should.

So come along on my adventures- through my writing or in fact you can join an Sisters Travel Adventure sometime.

Coming Soon My New Book

Taking to the Seas/The Next Journey into Being Me

Sisters Travel Adventures Series

Announcing My New Adventure

As you may have noticed, I have been making some changes to the website pages and there will be more to come. Since my Cruise to Cuba and my Hurricane evacuation life has been going through some shifts and now I am into realignment mode.
It is a little overwhelming but I do crave change much more than most people. The shifting really hasn’t finished but I am working on realigning the pieces that are in full shift. I expect that I will have more realigning as more shifts begin to manifest into real form.
I do want to get the changes done and get back to writing but at the moment I am focused on my new adventure and I do still have more learning and training to do. Now I am ready to step more fully into my NEW Adventure one that I hope to take you along with me!

Announcing My New Business Adventure – Cruise Travel Planning!

It’s No Secret I LOVE CRUISING!

I started cruising with family and friends as a teenager and fell in love with the ocean even while cruising through a hurricane. And it was a hurricane once again that sent me sailing into a new business adventure.

Last September I went from Cruising to Cuba to being evacuated from my island community with Hurricane Florence. Finally returning home I felt a stirring within myself, a change in direction maybe stirred up by the unsettling seas of the hurricane.

I am excited to announce that I am adding a new title alongside of being an author, travel blogger, cruise loving traveler as an Independent Cruise Travel Agent/Consultant.

It is only natural that I would choose to help and assists others to experience my passion for the ocean and ships. I have been writing about cruising and traveling on my blog, www.beachwisdom.com with my series Sisters Travel Adventures for several years now.

Why it has taken me this long to share my passion of cruise travel beyond writing about it to actually helping you experience a cruise adventure for yourself, I don’t know. Actually I have been inspiring others and encouraging and even helping others choose a cruise line and ship for a fun exciting vacation most of my life in one way or another. If you know me you know I love talking about cruising and traveling so much it probably can become annoying!

Now I can help you find not only the best cruise ship and destinations but the best prices too. As an affiliate of Cruise Brothers one of the premier travel agencies in the country, I can offer you specials that only Cruise Brothers can offer you.

I specialize in cruises and the Caribbean areas I know from firsthand experience as well as with ongoing training.

*Extensive firsthand experience as well as training with Carnival

*Princess Academy Commodore Graduate

*Extensive personal experience in the Caribbean, Caribbean beaches, and Bermuda

And I am continuing training with individual cruise lines, destinations and land vendors on an ongoing basis.

In addition to my own knowledge and expertise, I have the knowledge and expertise of an experienced team of travel professionals all who have their own areas of expertise available with only a phone call or message away. So you have the help and knowledge for whatever vacation or travel plans you are making.

My services are free of charge. There is no extra cost to you.

The next time you are ready to take to the seas and cruise or take a land vacation to the Caribbean, I would love to help you plan, book, take care of all the details as well as provide you with information, tips and advice to make your dream cruise fun and relaxing!

If you love cruising or traveling

Follow me on facebook @beachwisdom for cruise and travel information and special deals!

To receive email newsletters and special promotions send an email to cruisewithcathyt@gmail.com

Thank you for letting me share with you my exciting new adventure into cruise planning,

 

Cathy Teoste

Author/Blogger/Cruise Travel Agent

Website www.cathyteoste.com

Blog www.beachwisdom.com

Email cruisewithcathyt@gmail.com

facebook @beachwisdom

facebook @sisterstraveladventures

Twitter @CTeoste

Instagram cathyteoste

Discover Yourself through Discovering the World

Sitting here in homeport watching the sunrise over the ocean on a cold winter day, I dream of cruising in the warm Caribbean sunshine. I live in Paradise. I dive the dream of living at the ocean. I am blessed beyond anything I would have believed 10 years ago. And yet I dream bigger dreams now.

My dad instilled the love of ships and sea in my. The beach became my sanctuary when I couldn’t get out on the sea. It lets me imagine and see the possibilities that are out there beyond the horizon of my everyday life.

I have wanderlust. I long to see distant shores. To discover beaches in every port. More than that I long to see other places, to have new experiences, to meet new people. In learning and exploring the world and what others know and live I develop more of who I am. I open doors within my self that I never knew existed.

I become more of who I am. I step more and more into who I am. I am more understanding of others, and of myself. It allows me to step out of my comfort zone, to stretch myself, to be comfortable with the unfamiliar and unknown, to conquer fears, to discover what I am capable of, and who I can be. I become more of who I am.

Travel is the ultimate mindfulness pursuit. It makes me become present in my surroundings, with what I am doing, experiencing and what I see and hear around me. When you are out of your eliminate, out of your everyday routine you become more aware, more alert to your surroundings, more present to your experiences. It happens almost naturally if you let it.

Travel is transformational. Travel shifts my perspective. It shows me not only possibilities of life but it connects me with myself and with others.

When I travel with someone it allows me to experience them in new ways. To develop a closer bond, to appreciate our differences and share our experiences. It teaches us how to be together and respect each other’s space and time.

Travel is an inner and outer journey. It is in discovering other cultures, other places, other people and the world-even the world right outside your door- that you discover yourself in the process.

 

Storms of Life

It has been a long time since I have posted anything. I had made a resolution once before to post every month but life gets in the way. Once I finished my memoir I spent time resting, then enjoying the summer life on the island.

Finishing a major project that had been years in the making was amazing. It made me not want to take on any major project anytime soon. I took on teaching some personal development classes. Mostly I reacquainted myself with the beach, the ocean, my friends and my community.

My sister and I were overdue for a Sisters Travel Adventure. Even planning that became a logistical adventure in and of itself. Finally we decided on a cruise to Cuba.

The cruise itself was wonderful. Experiencing Cuba amazing!  I spent a great deal of it following in Hemingway’s footsteps. The writer in me couldn’t resist. In doing so I was able to experience Cuban culture and experience the openness of the people. I discovered that they had a love affair with Hemingway way beyond my interest in seeing the places he spent his time writing and drinking! (That’s another blog in and of itself that I still haven’t taken the time to write)

And while on that cruise my life began to take a turn I didn’t see coming. As we explored Cozumel, I heard rumblings of a major hurricane heading for the east coast- the Carolina’s to be exact. The next day on the ship I heard people talking anxiously about this hurricane.

I met people who lived around me concerned about getting home and what they would do when they got there. I still wasn’t concerned but I was alert. Then I met a women who lived not far from where I lived, she had talked to family back home and she was  very alarmed about what they had told her.

I finally tuned in – when I am on a trip I unplug from my phone, the news etc. I watched the news and saw this massive storm heading straight for where I lived. So I went from vacation to evacuation.

The month of September just went by. It seemed forever before I was able to return home. And when I did life was off kilter as every one tried to pick up the pieces.I was lucky as the damage in my life was contained and manageable but it shook me up.

It sent me looking for my next step-my next project. I craved a new direction. So in the midst of clean up I made a decision to step into a new direction with my career.

That has kept me out of circulation as I restructure and rearrange my thoughts, my development, my directions and my projects. I am excited about this new avenue. I am trying to interweave and blend this new project into my life.

I actually came on here to see about making changes and restructuring my website and blog(s). And instead I find myself writing to you- here. I am not sure how it is all going to come together yet, it is still a work in progress.

I am good at turning corners, in fact  I crave the adventure of change, new learning, new possibilities, new discoveries, exploring new places and meeting new people. I guess that is why I love travel so much! And it is another travel component that is the new path I am adding to my projects.

One of the Amazing things about traveling is through discovering other places, cultures and meeting new people I have discovered and uncovered so much more about myself,  who I am and who I am capable of being. Stepping out of my comfort zone, reaching out and connecting into the world has taught me more about what lies within me.

I have seen my passion of travel be reignited several years ago and wanderlust has taken me by the storm! And more that just sharing my love of travel through my series Sisters Travel Adventures- it is time to take that a step further and help you Discover the World and Yourself through this amazing world of cruising and traveling!

It is time for you to Come Along on These Amazing Cruise Adventures or to Have one of Your Own!!

So are you ready to take to the Ocean of Possibilities and Set Sail to Discover the World!

 

Author, Cruise Consultant, Travel Writer