To Whom It May Concern:
The way that Bahamas Air handled my recent trip to Nassau is horrible. My wedding performance was scheduled for Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 2pm. My flight arrived , albeit delayed, early Friday morning. We were informed that our luggage, including my $5000.00 harp, were still in Fort Lauderdale. I completed a property irregularity report and was informed to expect my luggage, including my harp, later that day.
My bag was the only item that was delivered to me at 3pm on Saturday afternoon. Customer service isn’t available on the weekends because the administrative offices are closed. I left for Fort Lauderdale, FL on Sunday afternoon without any word or idea about my instrument.
Since returning to Florida, I have contacted the following: Bahamas Air(Facebook/Instagram/emails/phone calls), Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority, Ministry of Transport & Local Government, and Tourism Today Bahamas.
The only reason why I received any information about my harp is that I had to pester Bahamas Air. I have had a nightmares about this experience and have lost potential business and money because I was unable to perform at the wedding. All of this could have been avoided had Bahamas Air been at the very least halfway competent in the services for which they charge people.
My harp was finally returned to me in one piece at approximately 3pm in Friday, December 28, 2018. My ancestors are from the Bahamas. When I say that this airline should be embarrassed to call itself the national flag carrier, it is a gross understatement.
Crystal A. Sawyer
It was the scene of a horrific accident. The police would not let me enter without warnings. I was placed in a car with my mother away from the sight of the large crowd. People were falling in the street with shock over the loss of their friends. Grown men sobbed in the street. A father stared into the dark night. As I looked around, I saw church women gathering around the broken hearted friends and family of the deceased. They were praying over them and stretched their arms to the sky at the same time. It was quite a sight to behold. Something amazing was taking place in the middle of chaotic pain.
They used their faith to help people that they did not know as they came to terms with the loss that overcame them. It was late at night in the street. There they stood until the last tear dropped. There they remained until people were able to leave. That is where the faith was. That is where the belief in God came into play. There was no hesitation to reach out to these people and love them as fellow creatures on the same planet. It was beautiful. For whatever reason, this memory crossed my mind today.
It was the second time that someone came to escort me to the massage room. This struck me as odd. The first time with the therapist was not as smooth as it could have been. It felt as if she was nervous. The massage was decent, and she told me that her English was not that good. That was forgivable and I simply allowed myself to sleep. However, the second time with her this morning brought to light my odd feeling.
I did not understand why she did not know what I meant when I pointed to my upper body as the area of focus. She soon informed me that she was blind. There lay the communication issue. This was my second time with her and not once did that ever cross my mind. That is how good she is. The session was fine after that. All sorts of things went through my mind while my body lay on the table. She lives in a world of darkness and functions just fine. She has to rely on her other senses to live in a world that includes sight. How many other people did not know that she was bind and felt as if something was wrong?
My intuition was not wrong. My next session is with her next month after Mother’s Day.
Normally, I do not see my family on Christmas Day because I am working for long hours. This particular holiday found me with time off. I contacted my mother that morning and told her that I was coming to spend the day with her. The response was ordinary enough, “I did not know that you had the day off. I shall prepare something..”. A text alerted her to my departure from Miramar to her place which would take at least half an hour. My phone rang as I approached the airport. “Meet me at Jessica’s house. Oh, and by the way, if you get there and you do not see me, its because I went to the movies with Robert.” Red flags flashed in front of my face. My mother already had plans when I called, and she conveniently kept that to herself until I was on my way to her. I calmly informed her that if she was already busy, it was fine. My home was waiting for me. She begged me to go to her friend’s house because I was welcome. When I arrived, all hell broke loose.
Upon entering the home, my mother told me that she was leaving. My anger boiled over as I asked her what would possess her to put me in this uncomfortable position. She saw nothing wrong with leaving me with people that were sitting down to Christmas dinner with their families while she went to a movie with her son. I read her her rights as two friends intervened so that she would not end up in the pool. There she sat. “I messed up. Someone has to let me off the hook..” I told her she could go to the movies but I was leaving. She wanted me to stay. Finally she spoke to her son and they stayed for dinner. Great.
While I was sitting there trying to figure out how on earth I was related to these people, a breath of fresh air revived my faith in humanity. My godmother texted me wishing me well. My eyes stared in disbelief. This woman was sitting in a hospital at her family’s bedside and she was worried about me. I got up from my chair and packed her plate. Soon, I was on my way to the very same hospital to be with her. She made me feel like someone did care about me.
I do not celebrate Christmas. For me to make time to spend with my family on this day only to be treated in this manner has not left me. My view on the holidays is already sketchy. Thanksgiving and Christmas are wonderful times for people to come together and say hey, life is grand. I now spend Thanksgivings performing in a nursing home followed by dinner at the homes of friends. Christmas Day is spent watching Netflix. What will this Christmas bring? A nice meal I hope…
When faced with adversity, you have decisions to make. More than likely they will be major decisions that affect your daily life. Where should you start? What should you do? How do you process everything? You may want to throw yourself on the floor and have a complete and total nervous breakdown. This is perfectly normal. It is better for you to honor your true feelings as opposed to keeping them bottled up as a toxic bomb awaiting explosion.
At some point the dust will settle. The stress will even out. The chatter will stop. Everything will stop coming at you if only for a minute. That is when you have to develop a game plan. Life does not allow anyone to rest on her laurels. There is too much to be accomplished. You have to decide for yourself what falls into the primary and secondary category. Develop a plan of action and then execute it. Sounds simple enough, yes?
Well, on paper.
Life is very much like a body of water. It does not always stay the same. The beach may be calm today but once hurricane season arrives, you are told to evacuate for your own personal safety. It is cleaned and finally cleared for relaxation once again. It is beautiful and lethal all at once. If you are able to place the different facets of your responsibilities and goals into these two categories, your list becomes easier to manage.
My phone rang at 12:18am and immediately hung up. I checked the number to see what was happening and instantly recognized the caller. It was the sister of my former bff. Former because she used and abused me for years until she crossed a line from which our “friendship” never recovered. I banished her into another realm along with her jealousy and insecurities. Why on earth would her sister still have my number to call me by “accident” at that time of morning?
I reached out to a neutral friend that had background information. Apparently, she received a phone call approximately three months ago which began with a reference and then turned into a book about me. The sister was suddenly put on threeway to discuss me. My sexuality was questioned with rumors and the sentiments about me needing Jesus were made. My friend chose to respond by saying that she kissed a girl before and like it. She also went on to say that I live my life in a manner that makes me happy. I am free spirited and will continue to do what I want. No information about whom I am kissing or worshipping.
It was 2009 when this dysfunctional friendship was deleted. She was causing major problems in my life because of her jealousy. My weight loss brought up a lot of ugliness out of her. Here it is 2017, and she has not released me yet. Why isn’t there anything in your life that is consuming you so that you are not worried about what I am doing? On the one hand I a flattered that you find me so interesting to the point of obsession. However, it is also a rather pathetic state of affairs that you are still so taken by me. Is perhaps your sexuality in question? Do you need Jesus? You do not go to church so shouldn’t your religious views be taken lightly?
At this stage of the game, there are certain things that I will not tolerate. This is why you never heard from me again. You are not relevant or conducive to further growth on my part. Your mistreatment taught me so much and gave me most of the material for the sisterhood. We do not have any place in each other’s lives anymore. You did exactly what you wanted to do with me and made a bed that you obviously have trouble laying in. Well, I am still here living my life, doing what I want. There are nicer people around me now. There isn’t anyone that is trying to use me or stab me in the back. My existence is celebrated. I get the opportunity to have deep conversations with people and genuine feelings are shared. Some experiences are good. Some experiences are not so good, but they are all mine to reflect upon. Maybe one day, you can also heal from the trauma that you call a life and be happy for yourself.
After spending two days stomping the pavement, I was tired. I told myself that if I get one performance out of all of my efforts, gratitude would be at the top of my list. While praying at the river, my phone rang. It was a number that I did not recognize. The voice told me that we had a conversation yesterday, and I told her how I played the harp. She was engaged and wanted to receive a quote for her wedding ceremony. I was overjoyed. Home soon found me furiously typing away the numbers to email to my potential client. A week later she booked her date, and sent me the information for her planner.
This experience taught me a lot and inspired me to think about the next step. After all of the work that I did: preparing the print media, introducing myself to different venues, emailing follow ups, and updating all of my social media outlets, I was able to get a client. How can I increase my booking possibilities? Paid advertising has never worked for me. Word of mouth has always been the solution. However, people like Instagram a lot and seem to truly connect with videos. People are able to easily understand the full scope of what is being offered in addition to learning more about the vendor. I am currently looking into making a promotional video in addition to mapping out new ground to stomp. If I was able to get one client, what if I aim for another?
This is not to say that I do not have friends. There are associates, coworkers, friends, and dear friends. A best friend is not in the cards for me. There have been love interests. However, as of this moment, I am unable to say with certainty that there is a single person on this planet that considers me a high priority. Unless I am functioning with one of my work capacities, no one is looking for me. That is because everyone has their own entourage to deal with and enjoy.
Faith and patience have been my themes for this year. Faith that I can reproduce in spite of my feminine woes and patience to create that family structure. I have no intention of being a single parent. While my mother has encouraged me to adopt instead of carry because it will be difficult, I say that it may be difficult but not impossible. Women were giving birth during late stages of life for centuries before medicine started dictating standards through the mouths of men.
My time was being spent developing me. The nights of picking up my best friend to spend a fortune on food were no more. Cooking had to become a constant activity because of the detox that Pilates was causing. After work, I stopped going to hang out with her at her job because I had to go home to research topics that interested me. The phone calls that I would normally make on her behalf suddenly became her responsibility. Her insecurities continued to rise to the surface. When she could no longer control me, she tried to change how someone else saw me; she took it upon herself to share personal info about me with my mother. Shortly after that incident, I banished her from my world despite attempts to keep me. The best part? I did not miss her. Wow.
Pilates and bellydancing continued. After a beach photo shoot, new information about me began to unfold before my very eyes. It became evident that all of these years, my tragic private life was spent with the wrong type of person. It took some years before I could accept this for myself. My spiritual views were very encouraging of my new found tastes, and also rather encouraging. My mother on the other hand remained ever negative against me. Never approving of choices that I made for myself and always overly critical and generally negative.
This scene played itself out in my 30s. I was the champion of womens circles and being able to do what I want whenever I want without having to check in with a significant other. There wasn’t a baby waiting for me or even a dog to walk. Freedom was mine to dance on the beach naked whenever the moon beckoned. Then my father passed away.
My mother was devastated. His death made me see her in a completely different way; she was going to be round II someday. It was not long before I realized that maybe, I should have a family of my own. Other people had their own units to claim. How many times had friends canceled on me because they had to take care of something for someone that they loved? Even now, the fear that I could vanish without anyone noticing is a credible threat. Prior to my 40th birthday, it was apparent that there were many things in life that were no longer fulfilling and something else was required. I wanted my own family. A complete entourage. Maybe even a dog.
When I come home with a high from an amazing day, there is no one to share it with. Saturday mornings find me waking up to the sound of my insane neighbor talking to himself. If I get sick, there is no one to run to Walgreens to get Nyquil. Most of the time, I am alone. This probably comes as a surprise to people that know me, but it is true. Weekends, week nights, and even most holidays, it is just me. While it used to be a pastime, it is now a borderline fear. It is quiet and deafening.
I never fit into the norm a single day in my life. As a child, unicorns and animals interested me. Art and music soon followed. My mother spent most of her time making sure that I did not explore anything. She also insisted that I attend church with her which never made sense to me. While invitations to social gatherings did arrive, there isn’t a single friend that stands out in my mind. Everyone was temporary. Middle school was a social nightmare filled with rogue boys and friends that were not friends. The only thing that mattered to me then was music.
High school was much the same. Music was again the central theme. Friends came and went. I often sat alone during lunch. My parents were not fond of my first boyfriend to say the least. My prom date refused to dance with me, and my cotillion date hit on a friend of mine. I did hang out and have good memories of the weekends. My family was a good support system then. After high school, everything changed.
Since I was attending a local university on scholarship, I remained at home. This is something that in retrospect should have been avoided entirely. As graduation approached, cupid pulled back his bow and I found myself in love with a guy. It caused a huge crossfire in my family. My job fired me, and depression took over my life. Darkness became my world. From the kettle into the pot I jumped. Living with the guy was more than what either of us had bargained for. Needless to say, rock bottom soon ensured. No friends. No family. No boyfriend. Everything was lost; but, there was my degree. My family did not attend my college graduation.
As my new job began, it was obvious that my current living situation was going to have to change. Paycheck after paycheck was tucked away so that I could look for a place to own. Once my home was purchased, a new boyfriend was in the picture. He was another epic mistake of all time, but he did help me move. Break up after break up simply could not keep him away from me. We did not have anything in common other than the fact that he loved me. He was shot which put me in another state of grief for a long time. His assailant was never found. In the middle of it all, I completed my second degree and left for a memorable trip to Jamaica.
Time passed. One summer found me dancing. I pursued it with everything that I had because it made me so very happy. There was a strong connection there for me. Rehearsals, performances, classes, and general fun became all the rage. My instructor suggested a Pilates class to me which changed everything. My mornings were spent in Pilates while my evenings were spent dancing. New friends became my sisters as we formed circles and explore the concerns of the moon. My discomfort level with organized religion was at an all time high as the need to belong vanished as other women centered spaces seemed natural to me. My core became empowered and people began to take notice.