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  • Sharon Uy

#2. Bugs and Other Distractions from the Now

Updated: Aug 20

Welcome to issue #2 of my newsletter! Or maybe it's just a letter with art and musings in lieu of news. An art museletter? I am moved by all the lovely love from issue #1. I'm also reminding us (okay, myself) to not have any expectations. I just want to write and draw or paint and not think of how it compares to the past or the future. I don't consider myself a perfectionist. After all, one of my life mottos is, "Good enough is good enough."

And yet I always hope my words reach someone's shore. Anyway, swaha!

And thank you for reading <3

Do you ever think about what you really need to sleep soundly at night?

Back home in LA, for me, the answer is: no.

I mean, I know what helps me sleep optimally (a hot shower, pitch black darkness), but I don't ever really think about it, much less obsess over it.

Here, in Costa Rica, the answer is: yes.

In fact, I think many times throughout the day and the evening about what I need in order to sleep soundly enough. I need a rolled up blanket to cover every millimeter of open space between the front door and the floor. I need to check under and around the beds for regular-sized cockroaches and tiny-sized cockroaches and large flying ant-looking things. I need to remind myself out loud a few times, as if I'm chanting incantations and affirmations, that Wilbert (at my request/insistence/pleading) sprayed my apartment with pesticides two days ago and he said it lasts 15 days so by the time I leave there will be 8 days left on my inner peace warranty which seems like a safe cushion of time to try to chill out (all of a sudden I can do math). I need to buy a can of Raid and keep it under my pillow or on my nightstand like it's a firearm and I'm so pro-gun that I keep my gun under my pillow or on my nightstand, just in case, but don't want to go overboard even though not only have I already been there, I'm now the mayor.

At this point, it's comical, embarrassing, and annoying.

I have never been more on edge than in these last two months. At least 15 times a day, a wayward or shed strand of hair from my own head touches my arm or my leg in such a way that if I could jump out of my skin (and hair) and into the jug of nuclear waste that Wilbert sprayed in here, I would.

I like to think there's a lesson in everything, but I can't figure out the purpose of bugs or my increasing paranoia about them. It's only certain bugs, to be clear, and in certain locations (i.e., here in this particular jungle).

Ladybugs and dragonflies and butterflies, they're obviously here as messages from the Great Source of All that everything is beautiful and fine, here to serve out their life sentences upon this earth as bug totems upon which we humans make wishes or connect to our dearly departed.

Cockroaches and cicadas, no. Doesn't one of these feast on shit and the other's close cousin was used by god in one of his world-famous plagues? There was a time I thought I could totally be on Naked and Afraid. That time has passed.

I wonder if these bugs are nature's way of telling me to go home.

Themes emerge from big trips. Europe held my aching heart, India shattered the barrier blocking my acceptance of myself without makeup and in general.

And Costa Rica has been illuminating every fear I did and didn't know existed within me, some new, some old: bugs (of course), growing up and becoming a real adult, the ocean and surfing, horses on gallop speed, my work, my life purpose, my relationship, aloneness, togetherness. The fears around these things are sticky this time, and the gooeyness of it makes it difficult to stay in the present, if I even make it there (here, rather). Yoga and breathwork help, and I guess edibles do, too, but the truth is that I need more than whatever is on the outside to access the treasure trove of answers deep, deep within.

All of these things, and I realized it's not death I fear. It's discomfort.

There's physical discomfort, like the potential for a broken limb or needing to be resuscitated. There's also the discomfort of disharmony. Of disrupting.

Here, there's a two-lane highway on which all manner of vehicle (motorcycles, sedans, semi-trucks) speed up to pass you on the left. It's truly never malicious, though I'm not sure what the rush is. Especially when it's nighttime and raining, it's inadvisable to drive fast, as there are often mudslides as a result of the heavy rains. When I see someone's headlights quickly grow brighter in my rearview mirror, my first inclination is to speed up to keep pace. (My second inclination is to jump out of my moving car and onto their windshield screeching like a banshee for them to slow the fuck down.) But then I remember that I wouldn't feel safe driving as maniacally as others trust themselves to do, so I slow down enough to let them pass.

I'm learning to do that here - to listen to myself.

I sometimes (often?) look to others to tell me what, in all actuality, only my heart and my body truly can. Whether in the ocean, on a horse, on the road, at dinner, or in the overgrown garden maze that is life, I must go at my own pace. I'm learning to not let my fear of discomfort and disruption deter me from risking embarrassment unto myself for my slowness and my idiosyncrasies and strange new neuroses.

It's a work in progress. I'm not thrilled about feeling like I'm disappointing others or being a nuisance or too much of this or not enough of that.

But, better you than me, for this round anyway.

There's been death lately (as always, perhaps), and yet the shock of the inevitability never seems sufficient to tether me to now for very long. But it's always lingering in the background or the foreground or the middle ground, beckoning me to live the rest of this life as honestly as I can.

As I said, it's a work in progress.

Until next time-

<3 SBU

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