(Big Exhale…hhhaaaaaaahhhhhh) Well hello, everyone. It has been quite a while since I have blogged. Or at least it has felt like a long time for me. It may have something to do with the fact that this past month has earned the title of “hardest month ever.” My patience has been maxed out, my trust in the Lord has been put to the test, and who I am as a person has been questioned and dissected until I have just wished I could start over- praise God that in Him we are new each day.
Unfortunately, I am going to be vague about some of the recent occurrences in my life, out of respect for the people that are wrapped up in those events, but the point is I have been in “stormy waters” and wanting to “jump ship!” But I have grabbed my lifejacket, reported to my muster station, waited out the abandon ship signal and I’m moving forward (slowly) a stronger, better person.
Amongst the emotional chaos I have experienced, the unusual and hilarious encounters I have had onboard have remained constant. Let me give you an update on my favorite absurdities from the past month:
Someone pooped on the bathroom floor. Like really pooped- a real human poop. Full. Complete. About 6 inches from the toilet. And left it. For me to find.
I had a man put his finger in my face and tell me to “Shush” when I was telling him he couldn’t have 4 needle-point kits… “Only one kit per guest… oh…oh… ALRIGHT.” He grabbed four, waved them in my face and said “HOW MUCH” It’s amazing to me how entitled people can be simply from having a checkbook in their back pocket.
We had to skip a port in Cambodia due to a storm coming in that made it dangerous to dock the ship. Outrage ensued (of course) and I had the following conversation:
Guest: I have a suggestion for you.
Me: Sure! How can I help?
Guest: You need to put a helicopter on the ship.
Me: (literally laughed out loud) hmmm… Where exactly would a helicopter go?
Guest: I don’t know, I guess that’s the problem isn’t it?
Me: Yes. That’s the problem… isn’t it?
Guest: Well anyway, then on days like today, you can offer to take people to the port they don’t have to skip it.
Me: But we didn’t port because the weather was bad…. So the weather would prevent a helicopter too…
Guest: The weather is only bad in the ocean, not on the land.
Me: (Ignore that DUMB response) Ok… but a helicopter could only take like 6 guests.
Guest: That’s why you would auction off a ride for a few thousand dollars. People would definitely pay two thousand dollars to go on their excursion.
Ok Sir, let me sum up your current problem and solution. Problem: Being on a 5 star cruise line where you are cared for, cleaned up after, fed, entertained, and pampered for one extra day is UNBEARABLE. Solution: To avoid this extreme inconvenience we should cement in the pool for a helicopter pad (because that’s the only place it would fit) so that we can offer a helicopter ride on the 10 days a year that we have to cancel a port. This helicopter ride should only be available to the 6 elite guests who would like to pay 2000 dollars to get in said helicopter only to find out that it couldn’t fly anyway due to the storm, because (surprise) storms happen in the air, which in fact affects both the ocean and land.
You can’t make this stuff up.
BUT OF COURSE, amongst the bigotry, idiocies, and down right vile interactions we never seem to be able to escape, there are the AMAZING and WONDERFUL guests and experiences that make it all better. Here’s a few shout outs:
Rosie and Kim. Hands down the best guests of the month. Just picture a kick-ass 64 year old woman who rocks 5 inch sparkly stilletos every night and who’s favorite thing to say in her thick New Jersey accent “I love to bust his balls!” Oddly accompanying her is Kim, a beautiful young black woman who is intelligent and funny. Well the “refined” people of Oceania just did NOT know what to make of this couple and whispers went round the ship of the scandalous lesbians. Ha! Truth be told, Rosie and Kim met working on the fundraising board of the New Jersey Children’s Hospital. Rosie’s husband doesn’t like to travel anymore, so off she went on the cruise with Kim. These ladies brought life and light into my life right at the perfect moment, promising me I would get through this tough time. They loved to spoil the four of us with drinks every night as we all danced to Ke$ha, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars in the lounge. Trust me, this was a much-needed respite from 5 months of Motown and Elvis. At the end of the cruise, they treated us to a beautiful Thai dinner, of which I’m sure you all salivated over when I posted the pictures. Hehe.
We got to meet up with some of our other favorite guests from a previous cruise, as they have retired in the Philippines. Not only did Dina and Sean treat us to massages and yummy Indian food, but they too were just some of the many people who surrounded me and promised I would get through this. On our way out the door, Sean grabbed Chris and Savannah and said, “Now you take care of your friend, you understand?
I have been able to continue doing my own Cabaret which has been amazing. (that’s where my current cover photo is from) Last cruise I got guest ratings of 103%! I am also now hard at work on an original cabaret where I’ll be doing all of my own compositions. I’ve had a lot of emotional inspiration for new material and I’ve been a writing fiend!! It’s been great.
I’ve done a crazy couple of things, like in Bangkok I rode off in the sunset on the back of a motorcycle taxi. Flying through the traffic of Bangkok, I was all by myself with no cell phone service or identification and probably could’ve died or been sold into the sex trade or something but #YOLO. It was so thrilling and amazing. If you know me at all, then you know that anxiety-ridden-worse-case-scenario Suzanna would NEVER do something like this- and that’s what was so cool about it.
I’m working really really hard on my weight and my fitness right now, and I feel like I’m on my own episode of Biggest Loser. Eating healthy and working out have always been sprinkled throughout my life, but I’ve never had any success with consistency because the second I have to deny myself of, oh I don’t know, fries, I swear I’ve been put in a concentration camp. But somehow I have miraculously (praise God) had a big mental switch and I’m just doing it. Like fruits/veggies/P90X-all of it, all in. No cheating. And it’s been totally empowering.
So now for my personal sh*t that you’re probably like “what was she talking about earlier?” Well, I still am going to keep most of it private. But basically, I’m going through a big transformation right now. I have had a lot of time by myself, which has given me time to self-reflect. I think sometimes part of the reason we go-go-go is because we’re scared of what we will find if we really hang out with ourselves. I’ve given up TV and movies, so my free time has left me free to journal, write music, read, and learn who Suzanna is. There have been some things that I have learned I LOVE about me, and then there have been some things that weren’t so fun to find out about myself. Isn’t that so hard to realize? When you’re sort of slapped in the face with a big old wave of BLECH. Is that really me? I’ve realized some unhealthy thought patterns, and bad, negative habits I had fallen into. Now if you’re thinking “Suz! You’re way too hard on yourself!” Don’t worry about me! It’s simply been an introspective time and it’s actually been really great. Why? Because I’m learning that the good news is that all of those things are choices. You can chose patience over snapping, you can choose acceptance over judgment, you can choose trust over doubt, you can choose peace over anxiety, you can choose optimism over pessimism, you can choose confidence over worry, you can choose joy over hopelessness, and you can always always choose love, no matter the situation (you can even choose to love someone who poops on the bathroom floor).
Ultimately, it took what happened to me to sort of shake me out my slumber, and wake me up from the mental patterns I was living in. And as hard as that event was, I will always thank God for the way it rattled me. It’s been painful, but it’s only been labor pains- birthing new life, new joy, new faith, new peace, new confidence and a new love of myself, and who I am in God. And THAT is worth it all.