I could go on and on and tell you how beautiful Squam Lake is, how yummy the food was, how wonderful my teachers were...blah blah blah...but all that feels pretty generic right now. You can read about all that stuff somewhere else if you want to. I want to talk about how Squam made me FEEL.
For a long time I hadn't felt much of anything except sad, depressed and disconnected so real feelings are a pretty big deal for me. I usually spend my time trying not to be noticed, keeping my mouth shut and never asking for help or showing any sign of weakness. In my past experience being noticed or showing weakness equaled being a target, a victim and I really try to avoid that path.
Why am I telling you this and what does it have to do with Squam? It has everything to do with Squam and the ways my experiences there cracked my protective shell, allowing so much pain, lonliness and sadness to pour out and so much love, caring, support and understanding to flow in. For whatever reason something in me felt that this was a safe place, a place where asking for help and being vulnerable were ok and those things I had fought so hard against were the very things that drew me to others and others to me. I was safe letting others know my pain and sadness and it wasn't used against me.Instead I was offered understanding and comfort. I was safe asking for help and others were eager to assist. I even allowed people to hug me and felt comfortable with that because I did not feel judged. Maybe it's being naive or wishful thinking but I felt people saw me for the person I am inside not what I am on the outside.
For a few days I was able to let go of the feelings of disgust and self hatred that I usually carry. I learned that when I am not living in my head and berating myself I can be a real, engaged human being who just may have something to offer the world. I cried alot while at Squam, multiple times a day but they were not tears of sadness. Instead, tears of cleansing, release, letting go. I left behind my feelings of regret about the past and took away feelings of hope for the future.
None of this would have been possible without all the wonderful, loving souls I met. Each and every one of you played a part. Thank you.
Michelle and Elizabeth
some of the wonderful women of Eldorado without whom I would not have survived
When I tried to tell my husband all about my Squam experience I could only cry alot and get out a few words because there was no way to explain to someone who was not there how amazing it was. He came to the conclusion that I had a good time. Talk about an understatement...
I know this is rambling and a bit disorganized but hey, that's me.