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balance (2): January 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

island life


balance

phew! i can breathe again! i really think i might be suffocating to death on bus fumes in bangkok- wandering around in the zombie haze there, occasionally bumping into someone pretentious and damaged. having unavoidable dalliances with crazy drivers in crazy traffic, a casual brush with death on my way to the supermarket. forcing myself to hop from club to club and pour drinks i can't stand down my throat and talking to people i don't like for want of anything better to do. and occasionally the gym when i feel guilty enough... obsessing over situations i can't change and people i really shouldn't bother with, because once again, there is nothing else to do or no one whom i really relate to... it's not enough. i am miserable in that city! it's not so much that the past year has been bad but that it culminated in bangkok! city of (fallen) angels. a waystation at best, which was what i intended on my way to new york... but coming back to a place where i am woken up by birds and the lapping sea, where down to earth people hang out and muse in hammocks and listen to decent music (instead of comparing labels and photo shoots and crime stories), where i can do yoga and sit on the porch with the local cats and dogs, and take drives through the jungle- this is why i came to this country! not to sit and rot in the city- my life becomes the internet there, a desperate sort of grasping at life. i don't want it any more. i want to feel alive again!

the problem is, moving back to an island might not be the brightest move on my own. and certainly may not be good for my career (not that i really care if i am just riding out the recession). koh phangan is probably out (it's only rosy on the surface). not sure about other islands in thailand yet, maybe vietnam or indonesia for a change? gonna have to think about it, in an effort to recover my sanity and happiness. but whatever happens i will be glad to climb out of this very long rut i jumped into and have my real life back again.

Friday, January 23, 2009

yawn

i was really going to try to do a proper update today, but after staying up all night at a club with friends so that i could catch a bus to cambodia to secure a new visa at 5am, and getting no sleep whatsoever on the 10 hour trip, i am utterly exhausted. i am not finishing the piled up work i have to do tonight either. tomorrow i am off with my friends to the south again, for another great escape from bangkok to the islands, before said friends scatter once again and leave me bored and lonely in this (quite frankly) shithole city. in this week i hope to retrieve some of my self respect- as i have had an uncontrollable and mercilessly cruel hatred of myself of late, and have not been sleeping, eating, or exercising well, in addition to drinking and smoking an inane amount. i can't remember a time before when i have felt so self destructive- the cumulative effect of all the assholes who negated my self esteem over the past year, for sure, but where my own opinion got intertwined with theirs, i don't know! anyway, new years' resolutions, albeit a bit late, are to yank myself up onto my feet again and get back some of my spirit.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

seize the day

at 5 this morning my little brother woke me up with the sound of his messages to me online. it was a big emergency, he cried. i wasn't sure if i was dreaming or not- my family rarely talks to me these days and vice versa. turns out my stepfather was in a bad car accident- rolled 3 times, down a mountain. my mother made him go to the hospital, which checked him out, declared him ok except for a couple of broken ribs. gave him some pain pills and sent him home. he took a pill and went to bed. my mother woke up next to him this morning, and found him dead. she started CPR on him while my little adopted sister called 911. they brought him back to life. put him in an ambulance, and took him back to the hospital, where he is in a coma and will most likely not survive the week. [update from my sister: he has been pronounced dead].

my stepfather means little to me as i have not seen my family in twelve years, and have not ever met him. but the rest of my family is very devastated. my siblings had grown to love him as their father. he is the only man on earth who could have possibly put up with my very difficult mother. and if he does die, he will be leaving my mother with nothing at all- she will have to leave his family's gorgeous ranch and find work to support herself and my sister. and a 56-year old woman who has never been emotionally stable or an optimist, is going to have a very hard time starting a new life at this point. she just recently was thrown from her horse and broke 9 ribs, among other injuries, and has loads of medical bills from the resulting surgeries, on top of everything else. i know my mother and i know she is a high potential risk for being a suicide. she killed herself once when i was 16, in similar circumstances- i found her naked and blue with her eyes rolled back in her head and a trickle of white foam leaking from the corner of her mouth. she was brought back to life then, but i am not sure she wanted to be. not even her five children could bring her happiness, and her stare when she emerged from the coma was blank. her savior years later was my stepfather, and now he is gone.



my mother and stepfather

so though i am not grieving (yet), i am very sad. i can hardly empathize with my family, as the death of someone i love is thankfully one hardship i have thus far avoided in my life. but death is the most horrible and traumatic situation i can possibly imagine, and i know i would not deal with it well. and to think of how much suffering my mother must be going through really bothers me, and is forcing me to examine my feelings for her.

i have hated my mother since i was small. she was the second person who betrayed me as a young girl, and the first and only person i was unable to forgive for it. she spent most of my childhood trying to kill my spirit, and only because i inherited her qualities of intelligence and stubborn endurance, did she fail. but there is a very thin line between love and hate, they say you can't hate someone without also loving them, and though i have purposefully blocked contact with her for 12 years, i wonder if i am truly ready to have her gone.

it's strange though, how much we as humans grieve over death. what is it about us that makes us rail against our natural fate? these deaths will be the first in a long line of eventual deaths of all those around me. all of us have it coming. why is that so hard to accept and why do people spend so much research and money on finding ways to prolong life?

i know for me it is that i feel that death is so final. i don't believe in life after death or reincarnation, and (though i am agnostic) i think most religions are silly as a whole, let alone their views on the afterlife. i have seen enough dead animals to know that when you are dead, there is nothing of you left but an empty shell. and without your body and your 5 senses, it is impossible that even if you did remain in some form, you would ever be able to experience life in the way that we do as humans. and that to me is terrifying and so so sad. i really love life, i think the world is beautiful, and though i can give or take most of the people in it, there are a few that i can't imagine never seeing again. and i feel such an urgent need to get out there and experience as much as i can before i am not able to experience anything else at all. again, i want to say to people- "wake up! carpe diem!" tell the people you love that you love them. spend time with them. get out and see the world! do all the things you ever wanted to do while you can! don't waste time chasing material possessions and getting involved in superficial relationships. LIVE while you can! because it is only a matter of time before you die or before death affects you. and unfortunately, because we are intelligent beings, we will always suffer at the possible loss of our consciousness and that of those around us.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

hmmm

i am often accused of being too serious and overanalytical. i am berated by friends for being obsessive and neurotic and for taking things too personally. as a pen pal of mine said recently, "all life becomes a dissection"... all of this is sometimes true, though overall i am a very laid back and open-minded gal whose conclusions are never unchangeable. being analytical is not the same as being judgemental. and if i create suffering, it is usually in my own mind, i am quite careful to be good to others and not hold them to unrealistic standards. yes i am serious, but you would be too if you had my past. it would be nice i suppose to take the buddhist approach of no attachments to things and people, or the yogic approach of emptying the mind and obtaining balance (still elusive for me even though it's been the title of my blog for about 5 years!). i simply was not born a simple person or into a simple life (and thus i will probably never really be happy).

still, i have taken issue with those friends lately for being the opposite. i love these people and appreciate them in my life, but i feel like an alien among them some times. they tend to live on the surface of things. they rely on outward appearances and superficial standards. they don't examine anything too deeply- religion, philosophy, art, music, culture... and their relationships with others tend to be very shallow. in fact, their characteristics are usually those that i avoid in people- i am not interested in the status quo or acquaintanceships, i like to go deep. when i care about someone or something, i do it all the way. but as i have mentioned before, thailand does not seem to attract people with much depth, and i have to make do with those i find myself interested in despite their frustrating aspects.

my ex boyfriend 'd' used to believe in the concept of 'old souls'. this is the idea that a person has been through enough suffering in this life (or a previous one) that they have learned lessons that others may not have been exposed to yet, and they have a deeper understanding of the way things work. old souls tend to grab life and make it into what they want. they have a heightened appreciation for beauty, having seen so much of the dark side. they tend to understand the motivations behind things much more easily than others who never bothered to look. they have more compassion and more curiosity in them than the average person.

thailand has few of these old souls. in fact, it is almost soulless. sometimes i want to strangle these people and say "wake up! start living! go deeper!"... but what can you do.

for now i am stuck here in thailand. i will surely never escape! i have an amazing amount of work being sent to me here in bangkok despite the recession, and zero prospects in the west now, so my decision has been made. i will be opening a creative division for a user experience consultancy in hong kong, and continue to live in and take freelance projects from bangkok for now. i mourn the fact that i can not go travel (my younger sister is making me excruciatingly jealous with her accounts of her current trip in cairo), but the goal is to save money, and so i will have to make do with hopping around asia for the time being. i am not especially happy about that but i suppose if i upgrade my house from a waystation to a home and make my life more comfortable, maybe get a pet, and keep on poking and prodding some life out of the friends i do have around, i can't really complain.

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