After months of allowing this blog to die a slow death, I have now moved on and started a new blog hosted on my own domain. This is now the place that I call mine: Goddess-I-Am.com.
Hope to see you there! 😉
A long time ago, I dreamed. I dreamed for an escape from the corporate hell I was in. I dreamed about writing, traveling, independence, and being a free spirit, coming and going as I pleased. I dreamed about finding the love of my life, or at least, a man who was good to me, somebody I could love and who’d love me back. I even dreamed about Thailand. In short, I dreamed of a life that was better than what I was living.
And dreams do come true. I’m living my dream down to a T. I earn good money writing freelance. I’m having the time of my life traveling to places on a shoestring. I’m in love with a man who’s crazy about me and in a relationship where our worst fight constituted of me texting him in the middle of the night because of a panic attack. We even have the most perfect living arrangement for two people in a relationship imagineable – same building, different floors. In short, I’m living the life I was dreaming about.
It’s all so incredibly idyllic. I know I’m lucky. Not many people get the chance to live their dreams, but I was lucky enough to live mine. I’m happy, I really am. Too happy, in fact. So much so that I’m starting to feel a little bored, a little empty. I lie awake at night thinking that I want so much more, except I don’t know exactly what it is I want because I have everything that I thought I wanted.
I feel terribly ungrateful and downright horrible. Is it me? Is it my cynicism and infamous drama queen-ness that’s making me feel this way? Or is it human nature to be inherently discontended, to be forever looking for validation and the very vague and rather obscure concept of “something more”?
When you’re finally living your dream, is it time to dream of something else?
One of the many perks about living in Thailand is that it never runs out of noteworthy people. Indeed, some of the most interesting people I’ve met in my entire life, I met in Thailand. There’s the fabulous Filipino couple that got me here in the first place. There’s the Internet cafe owner who tirelessly persists on teaching me Thai phrases every time I walk through her doors, even when it’s a losing battle. There are the locals that I sometimes have long chats with on the bus, and tourists and backpackers whose brains I just love to pick.
Not the least of all these fascinating folks is the Lost Boy. Twice we’ve been in rather close proximity to each other and twice we’ve missed out on meeting up. I found him by chance while I was reading back issues of The Guru magazine and I just had to meet him. He’s a fantastic writer and a great buddy to have. Now he’s giving away $100 out of the goodness of his own heart. Who am I to turn down an easy buck? Neither can any of you, my loyal readership of 15, and fortunately for all of us, we all stand a chance. Throwing your hat into the ring is as easy as pie and is certainly not rocket science.
So there you have it. I’ve sung the praises and created the blog post. In poker talk, I’m all in! Now to make that list of the things I can buy with $100…
Some people are of the opinion that I am wasting away my brilliance by not having a real job. Am I really?
Is it a waste to do something that I love, which is to write? Is it a waste when I am earning good money, often more than the conventional 8 to 5 job? Is it a waste to work on my own time, my own pace, and my own space? Is it a waste when I can travel anywhere anytime without having to beg a superior for a holiday?
Wouldn’t it be more of a waste if I spent my time kissing ass and trying to climb the corporate ladder? Isn’t it a gross misuse of my talent to do something I have never been good at, like screaming myself hoarse in front of children in a classroom? We’ve always been taught that life is perfect when you have a stable job, that there’s no better way to live life than to be enslaved by wages until retirement gives you pension and then you can play golf. But is that really the best way to live life? Isn’t life so much more than work and money?
No, I don’t think I’m wasting away at all. If anything, I’ve never been so productive and so valuable. I’m living my dreams. Life is too short not to. Tell me, how can that be a waste?
Back in high school, entering into a relationship was a cinch. A boy would normally visit the girl’ at her house and ask her to be his girlfriend. If she says “yes”, a real relationship is formed. Courtship was as straightforward as the treaty of Versailles, and there was absolutely no room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
In college, courtship became less formal, but was almost as direct. You go out a few times, sometimes in a group, but often alone. Holding hands is always a good sign but never a sure thing. Kissing, however, always sealed the deal and you officially become a couple. And if you start sleeping together, you’re practically engaged.
The high school sweethearts have long since been forgotten. We now shudder at the thought of our college boyfriends. But if you really think about it, those were probably the best relationships of our lives. They were innocent, honest, and candid. Most of all, they didn’t involve the drama that we now go through on a regular basis in the search for something even remotely meaningful.
These days, a kiss is practically worthless. Sex doesn’t always mean anything. A relationship is harder to get into than Studio 54 in its glory days. When did love become so complicated, or more importantly, why? It has become a game, a tedious exercise, and a vicious cycle of disappointment and frustration.
Yet even the most jaded and the most cynical still go on first dates. We still lean forward to receive that first kiss. We all hope that the person we just spent such a lovely evening with might be different than the last. We hope that that person is looking for the same thing that we’re looking for. We hope that it’ll go somewhere, that it’ll have meaning, and that it’ll be real. We hope for butterflies, fireworks, and happy-ever-after.
Indeed, at the end of the day, hope is all we have – the hope that kisses will become sacred again and that sex is truly making love. Like a child, we never give up hope. And though most of us will never admit it, we really don’t want to because when we finally get that thing we were hoping for, it’s always worth it.
I haven’t disappeared, nor have I slashed my wrists in desperation. That’s way too dramatic, even for this drama queen. I’ve simply been lying low. I figured I’d let the hostilities die down before I write something new. It was a smart move, if I may say so myself. The last comments I received were positive and rather supportive. Indeed, the haters were bound to find someone else to hate, and I pity the poor soul that they’re devouring now.
It may sound like a case of sour grapes, but I can honestly say that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to me. I realized that teaching really wasn’t for me, so now I’m doing what I do best and what I love most. I’m now writing freelance full-time.
To be honest, it’s not really the kind of writing I’d like to be doing, but I’m making a decent living out of it so I can’t complain. It won’t make a millionaire out of me anytime soon, but I’m not exactly destitute either. I earn enough to keep myself in the lifestyle that I’ve been accustomed to. The best thing about it is the mobility it gives me. I can do this anywhere in the world as long as there’s Internet access, which is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past week.
I flew to Penang last Thursday to get my 60+30-day tourist visa. I stayed for a couple of nights, and I was supposed to head back to Bangkok on Saturday when I decided on the spur of the moment to head for Phuket, where I met up with my friend from Cebu, D, who’s visiting his sister in Bangkok. We were supposed to spend 2 nights in Patong Beach, but we decided at the last minute to go to the Phi Phi Islands and Ao Nang in Krabi instead. I just got back to Bangkok yesterday morning. It was my first taste of backpacking and it was surreal. I was doing exactly what I’ve been dreaming of doing all my life. And I wasn’t idle the whole time, mind you. I was writing almost half the time, trying to keep up with my deadlines. However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the trip as best as I could. I was tired, scruffy, badly sun burnt, and my legs were unshaven. I’ve never been so happy in my whole life.
I know I can’t do this forever. I know at some point I’ll have to think about security and my future and all those serious things that my grandmother keeps shaking at my face, but I have time. I won’t be in my 20s forever, after all. I want to look back when I’m old, wrinkly, and toothless and remember that I did exactly what I wanted to do, that I was free, and that I didn’t conform to the mediocrity that society demanded. These are my glory days. It doesn’t matter how long it will last as long as I’m experiencing it.
My life is nothing short of idyllic right now and I’m just enjoying the peace that comes with it. I’m doing what I love most and seeing places that I’ve only ever dreamed of. I’m also seeing a wonderful man who respects my boundaries, and for the first time in a long time, it’s something that might actually go somewhere. I’m finding a lot of things to smile about these days.
I’m pragmatic enough to know that happiness is fleeting and sooner or later I’ll be back in the muck. It’s perfectly alright. As temporary as happiness may be, well, so is misery. They’ve said it all. When a door closes, a window opens. When you’re down, there’s nowhere to go but up. When it rains, it pours but you can always count on a rainbow. Indeed, the comfort that comes with knowing and believing that is priceless.
I didn’t come to Thailand with delusions of grandeur. I didn’t come here to get rich or to become famous. I was just another girl trying to make my way through the world, daring to go beyond the confines of my own backyard. I’ve been brave, yes, and I take pride in that more than any other.
Teaching has been something I dabbled with for the past year or so. There were the unsuccessful forays into corporate training and the unfinished professional education course. It was something I always wanted to do, but it never came naturally to me the way writing always has, so when I was offered a teaching job in Thailand for the first time, I left my comfortable office job and took the challenge. I knew I had a lot to learn but I was determined to succeed. With the constant assurance and encouragement of the person who hired me, I believed that, given time, I would become a great teacher. Everyone around me kept telling me to take it slow, that I’ll get used to it in time. How was I supposed to know that time will be cruelly taken away from me? I never really had a chance.
For the past couple of weeks or so, my blogs have endured an upsurge of criticism. What used to be two obscure little websites with barely 15 visitors per day suddenly gained immense popularity – and not in a good way. Along with my loyal readership of good friends and family, strangers have found their way into my little sanctuary, strangers who dare to judge and hate somebody who have never done them or anybody wrong. I have suffered the indignity of being labeled some very choice words from the English language, but I didn’t care. After all, to each his own, right? These are my blogs. I can write anything that I want on it and anybody can comment as he/she sees fit. That’s how the free world supposedly works.
Imagine my surprise when last night I received a rather cruel email (didn’t even bother with the courtesy of calling) from my employer terminating me from the school after a week of labor because of an article I wrote days before I got the teaching job. My lifestyle apparently does not conform to the acceptable teacher’s way of living (if there’s such a thing). They were afraid that at some point I’d start writing about the school and tarnish its precious and rather inexistent reputation, and I wasn’t a good enough teacher.
For one thing, why would I write about a school? Who wants to read about some stuffy private school in Phahon Yothin Soi 37? The thought of writing such a piece is enough to bring me to a kind of stupor. For another, I was not aware that teachers were not allowed to have private lives. If they were worried that students will come across my blogs at some point, they’re gravely mistaken. The Thais are so ingrained in their own culture that they really can’t be bothered to read 2 obscure English blogs from an unknown person. They spend their time reading Thai comic books and perusing websites in Thai, for crying out loud. Honestly, most Thais don’t exactly exert extra effort (The 4 E’s were not intentional.) to make English a part of their lives. Why do you think we’re here teaching English in the first place? And as for my capability as a teacher, I made it clear right from the start that I was virtually inexperienced in the field of education and have had no proper training, but I was told by the person who hired me that with my language skills, I can do it and I will be given enough time to adjust and prove my worth. I wasn’t even made to do a teaching demo, he just hired me outright. Looking back, a teaching demo could’ve saved everybody a lot of grief.
Though these were the surface reasons given for my immediate termination, reading between the lines of the fateful email suggests otherwise. The person who hired me is a farang. I believe he and his friends took the article I wrote as a personal attack on farangs. That is simply unfair. The piece was written about one person and one person only. I have nothing against farangs. Heck, most of the friends I’ve made in Thailand are farangs. I find most of them intelligent and interesting. Conversation is never dull, which has always been something that I valued. The world is a huge place and I believe people from different races and cultures have a lot to learn from each other. When I wrote: “Honestly, is there still a farang in Bangkok who isn’t just out to dip his wick in as many Asian crevices as he can?” it was meant to be a question (question mark, duh!) and not a generalization (as my boss labeled it on his email). It most certainly isn’t a concrete statement saying that all farangs are scum because they’re not. Though I may not have met many, I know there are still some good guys out there. And contrary to what most of my detractors believe, I am not here to have sexual relations with every farang in Thailand. I date, I have fun, and if I feel its right, I consent to sex, which is not often at all.
The double standard is appalling. They say the world has come a long way from the middle ages, but to be honest, it hasn’t. When a man sleeps around, he’s a bachelor or a playboy, but if a woman does the same thing, she’s a slut, a whore. If I was a man, I would be having my hand shaken and my back patted right now. I am, however, a woman, so having casual sex makes me a pariah. And as if being a woman is not bad enough, I also happen to be Asian, which puts me in the lowest possible minority. If I was a white woman, I probably would’ve gotten a warning and an option to shut down my blogs. I have been insulted in the worst possible way, and though I’ve been encouraged to reveal the school’s name and the person behind all this, I will not sink to the same pathetic level of disrespect that they have shown me because I, at least, know how to respect without judgment the choices that other people make to live their lives. That alone makes me worth ten of them put together.
But I will say this to a Ben Thomas (the person who sent my boss the links to my blog via email) and Aussie Jake: It is people like you who will never amount to anything and I pity your sad, sorry existence. I also want to say something to Melody, the jackass Aussie’s girlfriend, who supposedly discovered my blog. So we come from the same town and you’re possibly my age, feeling just as lost as most single girls our age are, but really, why do you put up with your pig of a boyfriend? Look at how he and his friends treat Southeast Asian women in general. You deserve better than this chauvinistic Neanderthal. We all do. And that’s what I’m here to advocate.
The piece I wrote was meant to be quirky and funny, the way most of my pieces are. It’s just too bad that some people are too backwards to realize that. I will not shut down my blogs. That will be like asking me to cut off my limbs. I will, however, protect my posts, my babies from those who wish me ill. Some of my pieces, especially those that are sexual in nature, will be password-protected and may only be accessed by a select few. To request for a password, email me at irisgodd3ss at yahoo dot com and I’ll decide if you’re worthy to enter my private domain. It kills me to have to do this but this is for survival’s sake. I made the mistake of speaking out and baring my soul in a place where people are not ready for it. But no, Iris and Wander Girl are not going anywhere.
So here I am in this foreign land with no job, no prospects, and very little money. I have a choice. I could cower, get on the first flight home, and expect my mommy to fix everything for me. Or I could lick my wounds, gather my thoughts, and keep on fighting until all hope is lost. I know I will never forgive myself if I admitted defeat and went home now. Things are looking bleak, but as long as I still have a single baht to my name, I’m not going anywhere. I may have been beaten, but I will not lose.
I may not be a particularly good teacher but by God, I can write. If I ever doubted that before, all this fuss has just confirmed that I can be a very powerful writer if I want to be. And yes, I want to be. I am actually quite flattered more than anything. Thank you for the comments, nasty or otherwise. Thank you for getting me fired. And most of all, thank you for finally giving clarity to what it is that I’m supposed to be doing with my life.
I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive. Not in the counting-to-99-before-I-close-the-door or putting-my-deodorant-perpendicular-to-my-lotion sort of way. More like the computer-files-are-neatly-organized-in-folders and my-filenames-follow-a-format kind of obsessive-compulsive. I periodically go through everything in my computer and go crazy when I see something out of place. I used to own an iPod and it was so perfectly organized that even the song titles were capitalized in the right places. It sometimes drives me crazy.
Now I’m positively itching to change a few things again. I was going through my blog and I realized that I have a lot of posts that are out of place. I started this blog with the idea that I’ll only write about my life’s breaking news, mostly about sex, love, relationships, and work. I never planned on writing about Bangkok here. I know it’s not a big deal but I’m dying to start a blog dedicated solely to Bangkok. So that’s exactly what I’m doing. Everybody, meet Wander Girl in Thailand, my newest little niche in cyberspace.
Of course, I will still be updating this blog. The things that set Iris on fire could still be found here. The Foreign Mystique will still host the sordid details and the nitty gritty of my fascination with foreign men. And yes, I promise I will be updating that site soon-ish, as I am 5 stories behind.
I hope you, my readership of about 15 people, will enjoy the adventures of Wander Girl in Thailand. And please, keep those comments coming.
This is one of those rare occasions when I will admit to making a mistake.
After further research, I found out that the sinister spice that seems to be in every single Thai dish is not parsley, but is in fact cilantro, more commonly known as coriander. It is, however, still part of the parsley family and is also known as Chinese parsley and Mexican parsley.
Cilantro apparently prevents Salmonella bacteria from manifesting itself in one’s food. That still does not score cilantro brownie points in my book.