I love it, I hate it, I love it, so how about you? – 9th January 2020

I am a masochist. I am completing a test.

I’m sitting here in a hot classroom with about thirty 10 and 11-year-olds dancing, screaming, shouting, crying, punching, singing, banging doors and hanging out windows. And this is on a good day.

But it is a good day. I am in the zone. I can hear and see the cacophony whirling around me, can feel the rush of air as little ghosts dash past. But I don’t notice it. Is this what a meditative state is like? I don’t know (yet).

I sat and listened to a meditation the other night. It had some special name and special components; it was interesting but made me very anxious. After relaxing into a quieter state you had to imagine yourself climbing a steep hill and huffing deeply, gasping for air. OK, I can imagine that. But this went on for what felt like 5 minutes. Huff huff. I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t getting too much air, or too little. Huff huff. I felt dizzy. Huff huff. Nauseous. Huff huff. Anxious. Huff huff. Muscles wound tight, I tensed my stomach, itched my arms and kicked my legs. Fuck this.

Of course, I understand the purpose and I’ll check this again – maybe in a morning before I’ve had any coffee. The feeling of reaching the top of a mountain after extreme exertion will always have a relaxing satisfaction. It’s a long journey. Next time.

I’m jealous of those who enjoy the benefits of meditation and it’s not that I don’t think I can do it. I fill my time with many things and meditation hasn’t found its way onto that list quite yet. Well, it is on the list, but never ticked.

Recently I have been able to tick a lot of things though and I’m quite proud of that. Everything around is about a challenge at the moment. A challenge of change. I’ve pondered if I’m having my mid-life crisis now. I think I had a minor one when I was about thirty but on reflection, it doesn’t seem like it was that critical. I want to get that long story written down one day, perhaps just so I can still remember it or enjoy it again when I’m going senile. Who knows when that will be?

If I can tick off some little challenges and form some good habits out of them I think they will prepare me for the bigger challenges that may be ahead. The unexpected challenges, the ones that you don’t realise are messing with your head and your happiness. I’m looking for better reactions and outcomes as I know I am sometimes my own worst enemy. I want to change.

I’m in a place right now that I consider a little precarious.

Moving from Australia to Thailand didn’t feel like much of a big deal and I have been particularly happy since making this move. No longer being in such a financial struggle has allowed lots of spare time to read, listen to music, write and learn more about myself. I have never needed to be surrounded by lots of people to maintain happiness and now I am far away from those that I have made friends with around the world. So, no big deal, I can make new friends here in Thailand.

But here’s the rub. I’m very conscious of some of the nefarious reasons that people come to live in Thailand, and how many Thais can exploit that. I didn’t come here to get sidetracked with other people’s ridiculous dramas. That rules out getting involved with the more visible of the English speakers where I am. Those people make themselves known.

I understand the comfort those people find drinking, gossiping and fornicating together. In a different time, I would’ve happily joined in. I don’t want to judge them too harshly. I just don’t want to be around them.

Now, myself not being the most outgoing person in the world, I am struggling a little bit because I would at least like the opportunity to make connections with more people. Not superficial acquaintances but connections like I have made in the past.

I can now look back at the feelings my ex from Japan had as she found it difficult to maintain friendships in Australia with her fellow countrymen as the nature of migration is most often temporary (not made easier by some countries’ inhospitable attitudes towards migrants).

Now I find myself with similar feelings.

I am attempting to connect as much as I can digitally and I am mostly happy in my little kingdom at home but outside those gates is starting to become a little scary and precarious. I feel like the rug could be pulled away at any time without any hope of control.

I started to think more about this because I set myself a challenge to talk to a stranger every day. That’s when I realised that I am the stranger now. Whilst I can communicate with a Thai person on a superficial level it can rarely go deeper, rarely connect.

Otherwise, I rarely see any other foreigners where there is an opportunity to talk but now it is in my mind. I tell the students here that they should run up to any foreigner they see and just start talking. Now, I have to tell myself to do that. It may be nothing…. No, it will never be nothing – there will always be something gathered from that challenge.

A friend may not be made; a connection may be forged; but a lesson will always be learned.

Now, I really should get back to studying some Thai.

Can you tell me
What it is?
Does it hurt you
When I do this?

I love it, I hate it, I love it, I hate it too
I love it, I hate it, I love it, so how about you?

Can you tell me?
‘Cause I don’t know
Why don’t you tell me
Why is it so

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that I can think through things better than I could before. Even though I haven’t been severely tested yet, every little piece of learning is helping to prepare me for any difficult situations in the future.

I’m quite envious of my students sometimes when I watch them laughing and playing together. I can feel the joy and excitement – it shines through their skin. It takes me back to those utter joyful days of excitement and wonder. Nothing else mattered except the fun to be had.

It has just struck me that the event that changed me was when we were at school at night time, to perform a play. All the students were there and lots of parents too. I had such a feeling of joy and connection that I wanted to kiss everybody. I was the same age as the kids in my class now.

When I wanted to kiss boys, I was mercilessly ridiculed by some of the more sexually advanced kids and they then gossiped to other kids and I left that once joyful night totally humiliated. Hmm. That night played on my mind for a long time and is obviously still clear to me now. Fucking kids.

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