Disclaimer: Everything written is a stream of thought, not really grammar checking or spell checking. Yup. SO… sorry about that.
So I never thought making it to a coffee shop would be the highlight of my day. Not in the way that I’m bored and there’s nothing to do, in the way that holyshit I made it and ordered by myself.
Fear. I’ve have this overwhleming sense of fear that has taken over my entire body and mind. I haven’t really relaxed once since I’ve gotten here. I mean we’re all just people right. What’s to fear? Looking silly? Misspeaking? Getting lost? Those are all just temporary things, things we all go through even during our daily lives in our native countries. I guess that’s easy to say, easy to say those are just temporary things, but actually living the idea is quite hard. Well, it is for me at least.
Everyone has those moments when they have a little mental pep talk. Like when confronting someone about something, whether or not you are the boldest cat out there, you still have this mental dialogue, this .. okay, you’re going to say this and do it no matter what. I guess this where we all differentiate. The actual doing part. Some people stop after the mental dialogue and never really confront the person or fulfill the task.
A few months ago, I talked to a friend about how confident she was and how the hell did she do it, not only embody confidence, but make it look so easy. How could she be so sure of herself? She said she wasn’t. This took me by surprise. I had never once seen her doubt herself. She elaborated. She was confident and very sure of her decisions and actions, but she had momentary pauses where she collected her thoughts and talked herself into things, into confronting someone, into doing a certain task. She had those moments where she wasn’t sure of herself at all; the difference between her and someone who lacks confidence or rather who lacks her intense confidence is execution. She without a doubt will follow through.
I’ve never really pegged myself as a confident individual, but in recent years, I have improved my follow through. Doing things that scare me. My mental pep talks take longer than others, partly due to my indecisive tendencies, but if I say I’m going to do something or say something, I will. This quality doesn’t really marry up with my confidence level. So, I end up being terrified of something and doing it anyway. I wish somehow I could tame the fear and enjoy the uncomfortable.
Finding comfort in the uncomfortable. An idea that sounds so exoctic and perfect for someone traveling abroad. Right now, as I sit in this coffee shop, a couple sits three seats down from me. The girl has tried several ways to produce a selfie with me in the background. Uncomfortable. That’s uncomfortable.
*Another uncomfortable , unfair-to-those-who-want-to-eat-treats-but-do-not-have-amazing-thai-genes side note, THAIS EAT SWEETS ALL THE TIME and if it’s not sweet, what the hell, let’s add a pound of sugar to it. (Usually three little bowls accompany a Thai dish: spicy peper flake thingys, chilis, and sugar.) Having soup? Not sweet enough, three lumps of sugar, please. Three thin, petite Thai girls are sitting to my right. All three have some sort of chocolately iceed beverage and each have their own slice of cake. These aren’t small pieces either and one has another sort of cake-like treat along with her slice of cake. The man sitting next to me just ate four small cupcakes. It amazes me. Thais have good genes, man, good genes.
Out at Banana Pub bar, the night life society of Kampaengphet, a lesbian Thai couple asked to take a picture with me. Walking around the Ancient Market, a little Thai boy pokes his friend, points at me and chuckles. Wandering the streets of Bangkok, a lady boy tells me I look like a greek goddess repeatedly (in very good english). Looking different draws attention, draws curiousity. I’m not offended, it’s more like I’m embarrassed and awkward. Thais are lovely people, very genuine and helpful. I’d just rather no one look at me while I’m trying to figure out what to eat or how to eat or how to get my groceries into the tiny basket attached to the front of the moped.
Mostly everyone knows how awkward I am in the United States, imagine me in Thailand. I have a fear of people showing me any form of attention there. Here, I just wish I could walk around with my hands over my eyes until I figure things out.
I wake up in the morning here and instead of seeing an adventure; I fear walking out the door.
I guess it comes to the idea that I don’t want to be wrong or that I want some show me how to do specific things. But, major cliché here, life doesn’t come with instructions. There isn’t a manual. It comes back to the idea that even in a country that I understood (relatively) I still didn’t know what I was doing. Thailand isn’t going to be any easier.
I wish my eyes could hold on to the adventure, even when my heart is pounding and my mind is frightened. But lately, the adventure is blurring and fear becomes a blindfold.
Traffic scares me, talking to people scares me, getting on the damn moped scares me. It makes sense for all these things to be uncomfortable to me. Twenty three years and I’m still not comfortable in my own skin. It took me just about six years to be somewhat comfortable in Florida and I’ve been living in Florida for six years. It’s taken me just about the year I’ve been at my gym to be somewhat comfortable training in my gym.
*I’d say a large part of who I have become is because of Tampa Muay Thai. The people I’ve met, the family they became, shaped a lot of the person I am right now. Whether or not they know it, I’ve learned so much from the individuals who teach and train at KMT. Every story, every background, every tip, every piece of advice has not been lost on me. I absorbed it all. I know, without a doubt, I’m a better, more confident person than I was a year ago.
Here, I’m at square one again. I wish I could believe in myself the way Dan believes in me. But everywhere I go, I draw attention. Attention isn’t comforting to me; I shy away from it, but can’t escape here. There aren’t many blonde haired blue eyed Thais walking around in Kampaengphet. If I can’t start my moped, everyone is already watching. They already watched me walk out to the moped and are already one foot on the ground in my direction ready to help the poor strange foreigner who cant kickstart their own moped. An officer of somesort helped me when I left the bank the other day and two thai students, even with Dan standing next to me, stopped to watch and make sure I got my moped started today. I can’t escape watching eyes here. Maybe that’s why the trivial everyday things seem so scary here. No matter what, I feel like someone’s watching me.
I always say that I’m a contradiction. Part of me hates change. I like routines for the most part. I like having my family near me, friends close. Tradition. I am opposed to change so much so that when I was younger, my mom had gotten a jump start on decorating the Christmas tree while I was at school. Upon seeing the tree even partly decorated without the whole family, I promptly took all of the decorations off. I didn’t want to miss anything. That plays a lot into my hatred of change, not wanting to miss anything. But then there’s this other whole part of me has this desire to explore, taste, touch, feel anything and everything new. To see all of the world. To meet new people and hear their stories. To love change and adapt. To make new traditions. To be not just unafraid, but comfortable being uncomfortable.
This journey, however it may turn out, will drive these two sides of my personality into each other. Every day I try to push myself into doing something my mind is scared of or unsure of.
Break from routine, why not warm up for sparring with a round of soccer? Break from routine, why not have the coconut sweets? Dan reminded me, no matter what at the New Year I’ll have something to remember this year by. What I want to have to remember, what new experiences, new stories, new people, new traditions, that’s up to me.
Many of you know I’m the most feelingest feelings girl in the whole world, I’ve got a lot of them feelings and it’s usually hard to convey them. I won’t be writing all about feelings. Promise. Just some thoughts I had going on over here on the other side of the world.
This may seem a bit heavy and like I’m not liking Thailand at all, but that is not the case at all.
Things I LOVE about Thailand:
1. Simplicity. Even though I previously said I’m afraid of basically everything here.. the small things I do accomplish feel AMAZING. I just got my bike started and made it home without falling over. Or being attacked by a stray dog. BIG CHECK in my book. But that’s not the only simplicity I’m referring to. The food, the life, the nature, all simple. Beautiful in it’s simplicity. Flowers are brighter, grass is greener. When the sun shines, it feels electric on your skin. Now I know the sun is the same as the one you’re feeling over there, but it feels electric when everything else around you feels simpler. Driving down a dirt road with the sun shining, rainbow flowers sprinkled along the road, overgrown grass breathing into the wind. The sun feels electric. And the ruins. I haven’t read much on them yet, I plan to get to know the situation here very well while taking a tour of them.. but I have some bit of knowledge only from what I googled. The awe factor is what makes everything else around them so simple, even day to day life. They have existed for so long, beautiful, strong, living cliché of “standing the test of time”. Whenever you really take a look at them, at least for me, my mind focuses only on what’s in front of me. Something much bigger than myself in so many ways. The history here, the beauty in each brick, every patch of ground surrounding them holds some sort of story, some secret. It simplifies your everyday thought process and allows your mind to wander through the lines your imagination sees written.
2. Food. Okay, I’m picky, only in the I’m-a-bit-of-a-health-nut kinda way, but none the less picky. But the food anywhere you eat it is fantastic. (healthy or not) It’s frustrating for me not to know the words for veggies or chicken, but I’ll pick it up.. eventually. I have come to realize I have a passionate love for fried bananas and a new obsession with grilled bananas. I didn’t even know that was a thing.. grilled bananas, but they are deeelicious. Som Tum, papaya salad, is one of the better things to ever be put on this earth(sans shrimp or crab for me).
3. Gotta say it: how affordable everything is. It’s actually insane. We went to the market the other day and got: a bag of garlic, mint, onion, snap peas for under two dollars. Three meals at a restaurant, four dollars. And those meals aren’t fast food dollar menu kind of meals, they are fresh, veggie filled with protein of some sort and noodles.
4. Coconut water. Enough said.
5. The people. They are genuine. Kind. Always smiling, offering to help in some sort of way. Dan introduced me to one of the teachers he’s become friends with. She’s SO NICE. I don’t think there is a mean bone in her body. She took us to a water fall the other day and I wasn’t feeling so well. She offered me food and water while her friend played guitar and we sat on the tailgate of her truck. She made sure to check on me later that day and the day after.
Short list for now. More to come. Figured there was enough to read. 😊