I feel happy when I see Markus at the breakfast table.
He looks handsome in white.
I put my arms around him.
My whole being, including my face, smiles.
He feels so nice.
The only seat open at the table is by Martine.
I normally keep quiet while I'm eating but I give her a friendly "good morning" and tell her I'm open to talking if there was anything she wanted to talk about.
We finish eating and as a group, make our way to The Airport, our classroom in the jungle.
It's post Ayahuasca consultation time.
I was as eager to be called into the hot seat as I was to hear everyone's journeys, especially Nik and Markus's.
8 hours go by and we haven't made it through half of the group's consultations.
It's time for dinner, time for bed.
I was disappointed to have not been able to review my ceremony with the group as I wanted to share when I was still feeling the medicine and the experience was fresh in my mind.
We aren't allowed to talk about our ceremonies until we have shared first with the entire group.
I was also eager to tell my story.
I knew that I'd share at the perfect time.
Everything was exactly, deliciously as it should be.
I call dibs to take my turn 3rd the next day.
We go to bed.
The excitement turns to anxiousness when I finally reach the hot seat.
How do I sit to show good symbolism?
I down a glass of water and pour myself some coffee.
"What was your intention?"
"What If Nobody Likes Me, Grandmother?"
I tell Mikis that I worked really hard.
I tell him how I thought of my elementary school bullies, high school bullies, my first crushes.
How the bullies didn't like me but I didn't like them either, I thought they were fake.
I tell him about Markus's demons jumping all over me, the black panther, the sniffing dogs.
I tell him how I'm terrified but I know that these entities feed on fear so I shifted my energy to thinking about parts of myself I like.
"I like my ankles!" "I like my legs!"
Mikis is impressed with my work.
I tell him that I Love Markus so I was okay with his demons jumping on me and that Mark's process got me to go deeper into my own.
"You know Markus is unavailable."
I am aware of this but my heart still drops.
"You go for men that are unavailable. Is this the story of your life?"
I tell Mikis how after the ceremony, I was testing out the boys to see if they could be my anchor.
I was willing to chose one.
I tell him (and the whole group, Mark included) that I tried Nik but Markus felt best.
Mikis asks Nik what he feels about me.
He has nice words but it feels forced, empty, robotic and I don't have much care because I am fixated on the idea of Mark.
Mikis asks Nik to pull a chair up in front of me and we are to look in each other's eyes.
I feel vulnerable, in the beginning stages of life and am not yet comfortable with my new appearance.
I laugh a lot and cannot look at Nik.
Mikis is getting frustrated with me.
"This is your life! Do you think it's a joke?"
I look at Nik but don't see him.
I can't feel him.
This isn't working.
I tell Mikis that I see that this is me looking for my reference point and that I could see that I haven't had reference points (home, job, masculine figure etc.) for alot of my life, which has caused me to spiral.
I tell Mikis how when I'm asking the Ayahuasca, what if nobody likes me, I start to ask about my Twitter and Instagram followers.
What if they don't "LIKE" me.
"I see why you made it clear for me to ask LIKE, not love."
Mikis is extremely impressed by how hard I worked.
He slides his hands up the arm rests of his chair to support his weight and stands.
"I don't often bow 2 times in a workshop."
He looks at me, he's proud.
He takes the type of respectful bow you only see in the movies.
I am honoured.
So, What If Nobody Likes Me?
"The answer is simple."
"People like you when you are not real, not a human but a projection, a "cool" person that is not them, because they all hate their humanity, they are taught to hate themselves.
If nobody likes you, then there will be some people who will love you, be one with you because you will be a real person and not just an image.
It is more important to be loved by the people that matter in your life than to be liked by multitudes who don't really know you and don't really care about you.
You will never truly like yourself if you are constantly trying to impress people and gain their "likes" which bottom line, mean nothing to your life.
You will like and love yourself and others will love you too if you are a real person, proud of your humanity and not a fashion image."
ARTWORK BY LUIS TAMANI