A Belizean Love Story
I've spent the past two years writing and editing my first novel 'Sketches from the Heart of a Texas Artist.' This is the story of Mona Lamar's (my alter-ego and main character) journey toward light and self-actualization in the wake of sexual trauma.
After writing twenty-six chapters about Mona's adventures through Texas, the Caribbean, and New Orleans, I realized that I had been living life through the keyboard of my MacBook. I moved through my healing process by writing about the adventure that I had been longing to experience. Still, I had no idea how it actually felt for the warm Caribbean breeze to whip through my hair, or wake up to the saturated hues of a Belizean sunrise, in the strong arms of the man I love. I didn't necessarily understand that I was capable of embarking upon such an adventure.
Finally, last spring, I booked a flight to Belize, alone. When I arrived in Caye Caulker and stepped off the plane, and allowed the island breeze to permeate my soul, I knew there was no turning back. I had never been there before, but I knew I was home.
As I spent time on that provincial island on my own terms, and met new people and developed friendships, I began to realize that everything I had written about in the twenty-six chapters of 'Sketches' was beginning to unfold in my reality.
I carried my sketchbook everywhere I went and moseyed along the sandy streets, breathing in the slow rhythms that vibrated from the locals' energy as I captured what I could from the essence of island life. I had dived into my story and was living as Mona Lamar, first hand, rather than through a keyboard...
Several months after my return back to Dallas, I booked another flight to Belize, once again, alone. I stayed in the same condo as before and moseyed down the same sandy streets as I continued to immerse myself in Mona's life... little did I know that I would experience one of the most impactful parts of the story, when she falls in love.
After spending a day trip with my friends, who happened to be in Belize at the same time as I was, I met a boat captain who redirected the course of my sails as I learned what it feels like to fall in love unexpectedly and simultaneously learn more about myself than I had in years of venturing alone.
I recently returned from my third trip to Belize. This time, I went to visit the captain whom I unexpectedly fell in love with. Since the first day we spent together, several months ago, we've spoken every day, growing closer and closer. After several weeks apart, we made plans to spend a week together on the island and suddenly, I wasn't there on my own terms, as I had been in the past. Rather, I was there on the terms of unconditional love. Just as Mona had to surrender to her adventure and trust her love interest, Antoine, as he protected her and led her through the Caribbean, showering her with the kind of love that she deserves and teaching her about her strengths, I surrendered and trusted that my boat captain was there, unconditionally, to love me and guide me and help me understand my strengths.
I learned what it feels like to compromise and accept our daily adventures, just as Mona and Antoine did. I threw out any preconceived ideas of what our experience together would be like and learned that we were brought together by a force of nature to serve one another and build something beautiful. I learned what it feels like to have a partner and know that I'm not in this alone. I learned what it feels like to fall asleep with my love's strong arms wrapped around me, keeping me safe through the night. I learned what it's like to wake up and start my day in a passionate embrace. I learned that everything I wrote about for Mona Lamar to experience was real.
I'm in my Dallas studio now, awaiting my next journey back to Belize. This time, however, as I tap away at my keyboard, I'm doing so with the understanding that I'm not only being called to write stories about adventure, love, and self actualization, I'm being called to surrender to my ideas and accept and experience the words that innately pour from my soul. When I began writing 'Sketches' as a cathartic exercise to heal from the pain and darkness from sexual abuse, I wrote about the love that I longed for, but I didn't realize that it was meant for me. At that point, I didn't feel worthy. This time, however, I'm confident that my life is just as valuable as Mona Lamar's and I cannot wait to feel the trade wind breeze caress my hair as my love wraps his strong arms around me once again. I cannot wait to return home.