It was only when I realized I had a way out, that I decided to stay. I remember laying on the couch trying to figure out the way I was going to use to take my self out of this world. Which door would I open to free myself of the pain I felt by staying. I was desperate to make a change where there was none. I wanted to be out of Panama more than I wanted to live. It was a low moment, I will admit, but a true reality. The thing is, I know that I’m not the only one who has gone through this. Sometimes life is more intense than we can handle. As I lay there thinking what could I do and what would happen if I went?

Panama had already sucked the life out of me and had killed my best 4 legged friend Sailor. I had Jack now to take care of, but would he miss me if I went? Who would take care of him and would he forgive me for leaving him in that shit hole country. Then the light bulb went off in my head and I thought, “you idiot”, you have 2 large tanks of propane gas and a way to fill your house with it. I slowly sat up and looked in the direction of the kitchen and at the gas stove with its 5 burners. To say that I felt a sigh of relief is an understatement. It changed me at that moment. I had an ounce of control and that was what I longed for to keep myself here. I had a way out and that was all I needed to stay.

I know that talking about this topic seems heavy, but sometimes that’s how life is. It’s the hard lessons like moving to Central America  and being financially stuck, with no hope and no way out, that wake you up. What made me think about this difficult time? Maybe it’s because I’m grounded now. Maybe it’s because I watch the state of my young soul country growing into its awareness? Or possibly because I went to a movie yesterday and watched a new film called “No Escape”. I think that was the trigger. A man and his family moved out of the country and relocated to Thailand for work. The next day a war broke out.

There were times that I felt like that could happen in Panama. It’s a 3rd world country no matter what anyone tells you. The rest of the world is being lied to about what happens in Panama. The corruption is thick and the stench of power oozes from the men women in the government offices. The was corruption in full view but nobody did anything about it. You never knew when there would be a protest that closed roads and they burned things in the streets. Protesters threw rocks at innocent people trying to live out their daily lives.

The last two years I was there, I was late going out of the country. On a tourist visa I was required to leave every 180 days. Unless they changed the law (as they often did) and put it back to 90 days. You never new what would happen at a border crossing. Would they shake me down this time or let me go. Would they require a pay off to get back in. Shit shit shit I never knew what would happen. That’s not so bad, if you have some coin in your pocket and can afford to bribe someone but I was a broke ass mess, until the sale of my guest house went through. The buyer of my place was the salt in my wound. Nickel and diming me down, he made the last seven months absolute hell. I would have much rather done business with his wife but that is frowned upon in the Latin American way.

Women are not allowed to take the lead in something important like buying a house. Oh I’m sure there are cases where the opposite happens, but for the most part it was my experience that the men believed they are the end all be all, Gods chosen ones. Honestly I cringe every time I hear Spanish being spoken. I know the truth of that place, not the lie the rest of the world is fed.

As I look back on that time in my life, not so long ago, I feel relief. I can breathe again and heal from the deep wound that Panama carved into my soul. I’m alive and able to help not only myself but others. The thin veils of dramatic illusion that I allowed my soul to experience were just that, thin veils. I couldn’t see it when I was going through it but I’m glad to be on the other side now. Still alive and breathing. I will admit that even though it wasn’t so long ago I contemplated leaving this plane of existence, I’m glad I stayed.