Friday, 24 February 2017

Retreat from Hell

This was when I just lost my job (AKA got fired) & I decided to use my time to volunteer. Losing my job truly was a blessing in disguise although it didn't seem like it at the time. A retreat weekend for the Anglican Diocese came up. The theme for this specific retreat was “Justice.” You will see later why this is seriously dumb, ironic and a total joke. At least here on earth it is, God will have His justice when this world is gone. Anyhow I volunteered to be a ‘cookie.’ Yes. That is what they call kitchen helpers/assistants. How so very ‘cute.’ Not. So I went in the situation thinking it was going to be a relatively good experience, you know since they are all like-minded ‘Christians.’ Wow, was I ever off base. (This is also an unfair stereotype as we are all broken Christian or not).

Not only was it a weekend from hell but a girl, not a woman, who I thought I knew betrayed me in the worst way possible. This only solidifies the fact, for me anyways, that you simply CANNOT sit down & chat a couple of times with a person; then go on to think you ‘know’ the person. This is simply not possible. You are only challenging them in the intellectual sense. How do they react when they are under a line of fire in certain situations? That is the real question because that is when their ‘true colours’ start to show. I think this is great! I would rather see a person fail miserably than fake it perfectly. I don’t like people who act ‘fake.’ Anyways on to my story.

Since I was a helper in the kitchen that is where I was most of the time. I got introduced to 4 other ladies who were also helping. Half of them were nearer to my age mid-teens to mid-twenties. The other half were older, way older. They were about the same age as the cook, we shall call him John, since I don’t recall his name. This was a major factor in the issues, the age difference, since the other females took it upon themselves to adopt a very inferior attitude; as if they were better than everyone else simply because they were old hags.  It was only 3 days I believe but they were the longest of life, it seemed like that at the time. So let’s get one thing straight I didn’t even attend the retreat. I spent most of my time in the kitchen. This really wouldn’t have been a bad thing… if the cook wasn’t the most angry, mean, abusive, control freak that I have EVER met!

This cook would call us names, yell at us, make us do jobs that were HIS responsibility as a cook. Basically he tried to make our lives in the kitchen as miserable as he humanly could. Now before I get into the specifics there was a silver lining. The two ladies from the kitchen, Nicole & Darian, and the maintanence helper, Shawn were awesome! We just clicked. Almost as soon as we met we were inseparable. It was the only reason putting up with John’s antics were bearable, even funny. I had my own comradery with them when he would rant & rave. We would make faces and share knowing looks. It made it all worth it; NOT that I am condoning his behaviour because I am NOT. One time he left the kitchen in a PMS storm cloud, like some 5 year old who can’t handle rejection & failure. Age does not equal maturity, clearly.

Okay so one of the tasks he wanted us to do before snack time came around was to make popcorn. Now, he wanted this done perfectly with no instruction at ALL. Not even the INTERNET. Okay or a cook book. You could probably guess the outcome. I shoved a ton of kernels in the biggest pot ever & 15 minutes later we still had no popcorn. The next thing any rational person would do is: yell, scream & get me to dump burning hot, scalding kernels into a plastic garbage bin. Yup, sounded good to me too! Hahaha!! NOT. Needless to say I apparently almost got in trouble for that. Yup just blame the cook. He was abusive to the nth degree. 

Let’s also add in here that he yelled at myself & another worker because we went out to the outhouse at the same time. So he brings it upon himself to yell in front of everyone else, “You don’t need two people to go to the washroom.” Yeah thanks, Captain Obvious.

You haven’t heard the best part yet! I met this real piece of work there too. Her name was Cora and she had many chances to rectify the situation as she was in a position of power and responsibility to possibly make it better just by standing up for people and being a decent human being. Well, she didn’t. I brought the situation to her attention as a friend, as someone who knew her before going into this hell on earth, and she let me down. Yeah, we held a meeting but it didn't do ANYTHING. Like dropping a very delicate, intricate piece of art and shattering it into a million pieces only to have the person simply glance in that direction and continue to walk by as if nothing significant happened. Better luck next time. I don’t do well with these kind of people, they make me sick to my stomach. I’m not going to poison myself with her disgusting perfume. I refuse.
There was even one point where I was so angry that I made my injury on my thumb worse by ripping it open because I needed to release the deep emotional pain of betrayal I was feeling inside. Most likely after seeing how dead, empty and disgusting Cora really was inside. Let me say it isn't my usual coping mechanism at all, usually I laugh it off, but to have all this happen in the midst of losing my job? It's a bit much. Even on the way to camp she was a crazy person, passing vehicles in a  reckless, unnecessary manner with two passengers in the car and listening to disgusting, vulgar, sexually explicit mainstream music.

Enough with all the negative things, situations and people. I couldn’t control that part anyways. There were also some good parts as well. The first night I remember taking a walk to a campfire site that I was invited to earlier to see what was going on. On the way there I noticed that it was a beautiful clear sky with a very bright and beautiful moon. Looking at the shallow water reflecting the moon’s rays I was in awe of the beauty of it. It was a wonderful moment in contrast to the terrible events that had and were going to pass. The thing is we can’t just have all good situations, good times and good conversations. If we didn’t experience the terrible we might not appreciate the beauty when we find it. Believe me you find it in the midst of the unexpected.

When I got to the fire there were some girls and a guy who was Diesel’s owner, who turns out to be a key player later in the story. They had the wood fire sauna going as well so we alternatively went in the sauna and went swimming. On repeat. One of the girls, and yes I say girl for a reason NOT a lady, when we were in the sauna, said something really peculiar.  Rather sad actually. We were all sweating up a storm and she is wearing this revealing bikini, looking down at herself, well her boobs really, she says, “It’s a real shame there isn’t a guy around to admire this.” In my mind I'm like, " Kay, whaaat!? Am I the only one hearing this absolute ridiculousness? Really? No, I mean for real?" Really? Like seriously? Does she have no self-respect or self-worth or know that she can do better than  looking to another human being for affirmation, happiness and well-being?? Like here let me hand you the key to my happiness, well being, thoughts and current mood. Sadly, this is probably common. That's not how it has to be! 

Another positive is that I was able to take amazing pictures of Diesel that was there. He was gorgeous. A mix of a lab and German Shepard, as a photographer I was in complete enjoyment of hanging out with Diesel! They ended up turning out really well. Not that I was planning on that anyways…

So to wrap this story up when we left, by boat, I completely, totally forgot my Sony DSLR camera! Trying to get back in touch with camp the following days was a complete nightmare. They had no idea who I was, very doubtful that they even knew what they were looking for and they said they already talked to my mother, who was right beside me during the phone call and never called them or vice versa. The only reason I got my camera back was because Cayden and I hung out like 3 times. Since he goes to camp a lot he said he would get if for me & voila! Camera on the last time we hung out. Thank goodness! So happy ending-ish. 

***NOTE: there are people who come and go only to serve a single purpose, clearly Cayden was one of those people. It's good to differentiate between those who are here to stay and those who aren't. Because those who aren't in it for the long haul they don't deserve you if they are only passing by.

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