Envy is a funny thing. I don't think it's always a bad emotion to feel, and I credit it for a lot of things in my life. Five years ago, as I watched the winner of Master Chef stand under a shower of champagne and confetti, I thought to myself, 'Damn. I wish I had that too'. Over the next several months I spent hours in my kitchen obsessively practicing recipes, auditioned for the show, and made it on. Though I didn't end up winning, I have to think that envy played a part in motivating and propelling me on the track I find my life to be on now. Going down a facebook rabbit hole at 3am and feeling Less Than when you see that seemingly everyone your age is on the socially acceptable life trajectory of marriage and children- that's the bad kind of envy.
This wasn't my first time in Tulum, and the first time I went there I stayed at the incomparable and fairy tale land that is Azulik (which you can read about HERE). So when I saw that they had built a restaurant, Kintoh, a jungle treehouse with bridges and dining nests that seemed like it was built in another universe like Pandora or Neverneverland, I knew I needed to go back for a dining experience like no other. While on this trip, and while in this restaurant in particular, I received a few messages from people saying they were jealous, they wish they had my life, etcetera. The flight attendant life is always so glamorous from the outside looking in, so envy is something I hear about almost every time I go somewhere. In reality, I spend most of my days showing perfectly capable adults how to operate a lavatory door (hint: it's not a touchscreen). That said, looking at these photos, one might not know that in this stunningly gorgeous restaurant, I had an experience so humiliating that I think my brain blocked out most of it for a solid month. It was just that incomprehensible to me that I went it to full self-preservation mode. Even now, it's just a blur of a meal punctuated with sniveling glares (mole sauce), dismissive looks (quail egg), 'shhhhhh' coming my way several times, deciding not to talk at all because everything that came out of my mouth was wrong (beef), being told I was boring as a result of the not talking (soup) condescending chuckles at my expense when I called sparkling water 'bubbly water' just like the waiter did, in an attempt to make him feel less self conscious about his english (a croquette of some kind) , a decidedly not under-the-breath statement of "you're embarrassing", (I forget), and finally- an empty seat where she had been sitting (chocolate mousse with gold flakes).
Afterwards, I found myself not wanting to tell anyone about this trip from hell-I actually ended up packing up and leaving early, something I have never had to do- lest they think my travels were less than perfect, and get some kind of satisfaction from that knowledge. I definitely didn't want to write about it here. Yet two months later I find myself tapping away on a keyboard, albeit not completely fearlessly, but going through with it because I do think there's an important conversation to be had here. Is the over-curation of what we show the world affecting our mental health? I suppressed this entire event and kept the truth from my friends because I didn't want other people to think my life was less than sunshine and rainbows, and as it comes bubbling to the surface months later, I'm paying for it ten-fold. I certainly don't want to fill this space or any other social space I occupy with a bunch of sad sack tales of heartbreak. A lot of social media and the internet is fun because it provides escape, fantasies, and pretty things to look at; nothing wrong with that. I'm not sure what the solution is here, if there even is one, or if there has to be one! I guess I just wanted to put it out there that sometimes, everything is Not Amazing! The best! Puppies and Unicorns! Even if someone is in a paradise that is Tulum or the Maldives or the south of France... and that's ok.
I honestly don't remember what any of this tasted like, so good thing I have photographic evidence!
Luckily for you, if you head to Kintoh now they have since changed their ridiculously snobby dress code. It's a restaurant. On the beach. With floors made of uneven wood. Women should be able to wear flat sandals and a breezy dress! Or the very least this information should be communicated when reservations are made. When we walked up to the restaurant, our outfits were inspected head to toe and after a hushed walkie-talkie conversation they were able to make a special exception for us pleibian scum. Not my favorite way to begin an evening (espcially since we looked nice, just beachy!) but what his restaurant lacked in experience it sure made up for in beauty.