My Search for Personal Independence

One of the things I have always prided myself on is my independence.

I have never felt the need to go along with the most recent trends (as teenage Britta proclaimed more than once with much disdain, “Ugg boots are so appropriately named…because they’re soo ugly”) or to go along with societal ideals that make little sense or seem soul-sucking (there seriously has to be a more productive and effective method of working than the 9-5 job construct). I am a firm believer that we have built a society around ourselves that is much too complex, and the idea of having to participate in it is, really, somewhat maddening.

I listen to my heart and do what feels right, regardless of what other people think.

I mean, this is how I ended up in Thailand in the first place. That independent spirit, that desire for adventure and, quite frankly, the desire to avoid our ever-complicated society for as long as possible.

Seemed simple, right?

In fact, for me, it was almost too simple.

When I tell people about my Thailand experience, I often hear, “Oh, you are so brave. I could never do that.” Meaning, they could never move to a different country with a completely different language and culture.

Well let me tell you, it was hard. Living there was hard. The country and the culture were so exhausting to me and, as much as I wanted to become more comfortable there, to call Thailand a long-term home (because, oh, I did want that), it eventually became quite apparent that that wasn’t going to happen.

So, yes, actually living there didn’t work out for me. But–getting on a plane and actually moving there? Geez, that was almost too easy. Too easy that I barely even thought about it. And you know why? Because once I got there, I didn’t have to Continue reading “My Search for Personal Independence”

Twenty-Three

Today is my twenty-third birthday.

Today is my twenty-third birthday and I am not in Bali celebrating with TESOL friends as I had planned; I am not off having wonderful travel adventures after the close of a semester of teaching English, as most of my TESOL friends are by this point.

No. Today is my twenty-third birthday and I am in Nakhon Chaisi, my Thailand home, very much alone…taking time for myself.

Really taking time for myself.

Not thinking about classes or school–school finished last week; not worrying about the future–that will come in time; not investing so much time in what other people think of me and how I’m spending my time–because I’m so tired of that; not expecting so much of myself–because I keep pushing myself to do things that won’t serve me…and that needs to stop.

— — — —

Last week, I was crying in a Thai hospital after a doctor had just diagnosed me with the early stages of pneumonia. I was crying because of the inconvenient timing–how I was supposed to administer exams the next day and how I was supposed to fly out of Bangkok to Bali on Monday. The doctor told me I could still go to Bali–as long as I didn’t spend any time in the water on beaches–but traveling is exhausting and I didn’t feel comfortable exerting myself in that way while sick (not to mention that spending time in the water on beaches was something I wanted to do…and I didn’t want to travel all the way to Bali if I couldn’t make the most of my experience because of illness). I was crying in this hospital because this was only the latest in what seemed to be a continuing list of physical maladies that have been plaguing me in Thailand and I was crying because I was angry at Thailand for doing this to me; more than being angry at Thailand, I was angry at my body for not holding up in the way I wanted it to in the face of adversity. I was crying because, dammit, life has been really hard these past couple months; when I’ve just wanted to make the most of my time here in Thailand–both on my own and with my TESOL friends and new friends along the way–my body and soul have consistently been telling me Continue reading “Twenty-Three”

Late February, 2016

Currently feeling: Vulnerable and confused.

Vulnerable because I’ve been doing things and having conversations with people and just generally putting myself in situations that are outside my comfort zone pretty consistently these last few weeks.

Confused because I’ve been constantly questioning myself lately–who am I and what am I doing in this life and what do I want? I feel as if I’ve having an identity crisis of personality and ideology and values. Am I really an introvert or do I just have social anxiety? But can I call myself an extrovert–that goes against everything I know about myself. Maybe I’m somewhere in the middle because I do need my alone time but also have discovered over the past few months how much I thrive with people. What do I actually want and how will I accomplish that?

Thoughts and feelings and ideas are racing through my brain at lighting speed. I don’t know how to silence them. I’m struggling with concentrating. With just sitting still.

I’m eager to go home, yet want to make the most of my last month and a half abroad. Do I really want to spend all of March and half of April traveling? Honestly? No. I’m so exhausted from everything that my time abroad has taught me and I just want to go home. But plane tickets are bought and budget airlines aren’t about convenience and getting your money back in ticket canceling and I don’t want to lose that money. I want to go to these places and I’m going to go to them, even though I don’t really want to right now…because I know I’ll regret it if I don’t.

I’m in a weird place right now. A place that is really hard in some respects, but I also know it is serving me so very well.

I don’t shy away from vulnerability and I guess it’s natural to feel confusion now and then, especially at 22.

So that’s me.

How have you been lately?