Apologies for the disappearance. I’ve been meaning to write since I got here, but haven’t had time. And when I do have time, I’m too tired to do anything but sleep and/or visit one of the many bodies of water around the island. I’m working right now, actually. I’m supposed to be doing dishes or frying samosas or something. Whoops.
I’ve been at Potager du Nebbio for a week now and it’s vastly different from my Barcelona experience. Potager is an organic farm and restaurant near Saint-Florent, Corsica. We share the property with donkeys, sheep, chickens, baby chickens, two dogs, a zillion wild cats, and enormous hornets that sneak into our cabins at night and spasm around the lights. On my first night, “Sage” and I bonded over our attempts to either kill or capture the two hornets that greeted us after work. It ended with us sprinting to our bedrooms and praying that they wouldn’t sneak between the gaps in our doors.
There are two cabins for the WWOOFers in the back and one by the owners’ house. Yesterday, I squatted to pee outside of the cabin and screeched when I looked up to see three donkeys chewing hay and staring at me, maybe five feet away. I’m fairly certain my fellow workers and WWOOFers have yet to meet a louder human. It’s strange being around non-Americans and realizing how fucking American I am — loud, brazen, blunt, etc.
This is my first WWOOFing experience. Technically, we’re supposed to work four-hour days, but it’s usually around 10. We work from 9 or 10 until 2ish, have a three hour break, then work from 5 pm until midnight. The morning is cleaning and prep work, the evening is cutting produce from the farm, and doing dishes dishes dishes dishes forever and ever and ever. It works out though — I have my own room, amazing food for every meal, and I’m in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. We have access to a car and sometimes drive to the beach, where the water is clear and warm and the sand is clean and white. “Sage” and I met a traveling Frenchman on the beach yesterday. He smelled rank, had hair sprouting from his ears, and insisted that American swear words are meaningless.
I’ve taken to being very naked or borderline naked when swimming. Yesterday, we went to a river that had a little swimming hole with a waterfall and I stripped down to nothing, my back against the rocks, and let the water pour onto my shoulders. And then I got a sunburn.
So you know how I said women terrify me? They still do, but as fate would have it, I’ve met two fucking amazing women at the farm. “Sage” is a Londoner and is about as crazy as me. We do dishes in the back of the restaurant for five hours per night, getting progressively more insane as the night goes on. Last night, we proposed to our German friend, Lukas.
“What would we do together?”
“Um, hold hands and send emails to each other when we’re all in the same room.”
“Why would we do that?”
“I don’t know.”
I’m happy here and it’s difficult to write when I’m happy. It’s not something I’m used to. I’m still neurotic and lost in my head and sometimes angry and emo, but I’ve been laughing more than I’ve laughed in a long time. This experience gives me faith that things will always work out, even when I’m terrified. After my ferry ride to Corsica, I wandered around the port town on the verge of tears. I missed the comfort of Petter and Barcelona. I didn’t know where I was going or what I would be doing. I was just waiting for a bus. But there’s a mentality amongst travelers that’s immediately comfortable and home-like. We connect over something fundamental — we’re all searching for something. And we bring each other closer to finding that something. We’re all technically “homeless,” but have learned how to construct the concept of home wherever we are with increasing ease.
I’ve had a few bad moments and, of course, a boy was involved. Basically, he flirted by throwing food at me, we kissed by the refrigerator, and then he literally ran out of the kitchen when my other lady friend, “Mo,” walked in. I went to bed, played some Candy Crush, fell asleep. Moments later, I heard rustling in my room. A rat? A raccoon? No, a boy. A boy was at my window, like in every teenage ’90s movie ever. And yes, we kissed through the window. And yes, he crawled through the window, cutting his stomach and maybe breaking part of the house.
Here’s where things went wrong. My friends and I came back from the beach the next night, smoked a spliff, and sat around the table chatting. The French boy had stayed in all day. The conversation drifted into something about bugs and other animals getting in through our windows and I said something along the lines of, “or a man.” And, because I had already “confided” (how much can a loud mouth actually “confide” in people? I don’t know) in my lady friends, we burst into stoner giggles. The French boy got up and left. I went to his room to apologize, still stoned, and we ended up having sex. And now he ignores me. I poured a glass of water on him and squeezed a lemon on his back today because I am a child.
I can be a real, fucking insensitive asshole.
BUT this is an opportunity for me to focus on something besides sex — like myself, for example, and like forging strong bonds with women and finding love in things beyond intercourse. That’s huge for me. It’s especially possible here because I don’t have the distraction of a big city. Sure, there’s loads of work to do, but the natural world always has a way of bringing me back to myself, whether I want it or not.
I’ve felt love in little things. One of the owners gave me a fishtail braid and her touch sent electricity down my spine. “Sage” and I hold hands. We have group hugs. We tell our secrets. We keep each other company when the dishes start to pile up.
But there’s still a part of me that’s on autopilot. A part that always needs a man to focus on. A distraction, really. And it’s totally a drug. It’s probably an addiction. A more complicated and borderline impossible addiction for me to rid myself of, but an addiction nonetheless. I want arms around me. I want to fall asleep next to someone. I want to be told that I’m pretty and lovable and blah blah blah… But even if they tell me that, even if we fall asleep intwined, I will never believe it. It works for a night, maybe a week, but I still have a fundamental dislike for myself that no one can cure but me. And I think that’s what I’m looking for — self love, I mean. I think that’s what my trip is for. It’s up to me to cut the shit and work my ass off to find that.
I’m tired. I’m tired from the drama of my own creation. I thrive (in a bad way) off of chaos. I don’t know how to sit silently and enjoy my own company because my body is constantly hyper- or hypo-aroused and my brain moves rapidly. I’m paranoid. Neurotic. Dangerously insecure and sensitive. I play the tough girl act with tattoos and lipstick and impossibly loud talking, but I am a little girl in a woman’s body. Because I am hurt and my hurt is unresolved, I look for people like this French boy who talks shit behind my back and goes out of his way to ignore me. I’m under the illusion that that’s what love looks like — that love is a process of convincing people who don’t and never will care about you to care about you. It’s what I know. But I also know the truth beneath it, I just need to fucking listen to myself for once.
I can’t tell if I’m getting better or staying the same, but I don’t think I’m getting worse. I’m learning a lot, with help from my friends. I am so grateful to be here, in Corsica and on the planet in general.
More soon. Just wanted to confirm that I’m alive and still thinking too much.
Here’s my leg.