I went to Thailand with only the knowledge that a lot of people like to visit Thailand. What I also did not know was the “rules to traveling guide” (made up by some guy I met while traveling) lists “do not fall in love” as rule #1 (and also again as rule #3). as far as rules go, I am not one to follow any (not even my own). and as other sayings by other people who don’t like rules (or authority or being told how to live their lives) goes: break rules. wait, no, it’s like “rules are made to be broken” so, who cares about rules.
most of my trip to Thailand was spent inside my own mind. there were times when it was so hot all my brain could think was the most obvious thing (“it’s REALLY fucking hot”) because it was probably frying from the sun. but all other times–night time, in front of a fan, eating food, sitting by a/c, laying around, reading, listening to music, looking at the ocean–my brain was preoccupied with a laundry list of worries, concerns, alternative universes, over-analyzed flashbacks, hypothesis, dreams, hopes, wishes, confusions and bewilderment. it was almost like I was a scientist discovering a cure for the future. if only we could find a cure for a WOMAN’S UNREST.
I accidentally fell under a love spell/curse and was side-swept away in the most surprising connection of my life.
a concept I enjoy thinking about is how much you can learn about yourself from who you love. if I lined up all the people I have been love-struck by, it would be a miss-matched rag tag group of guys that would have nothing to do with one another. I think most of them could strike up forced conversations about nerdy interesting things, as they are all passionate people. but when I line them up in my mind, I am seeing a mixed up reflection of myself.
who you love represents yourself, in one way or another. why do we fall for certain people? some of it has to do with watching our parents and how we were raised. I think other attractions have to do with accumulative experiences that fit together like a puzzle, but might be missing some pieces. maybe we love people who we want to be like. I used to believe I wanted someone exactly like me (because I really liked being around myself) but you can’t grow or learn if you’re around a mirror image. something has to be different.
up until I went to Thailand I thought I had a firm grasp on what I wanted/needed in a partner (we 20 somethings always think we got it all figured out). but then I met someone I wouldn’t suspect to have anything in common with. he was a Burmese fire dancer with not much more on than a pair of rolled up jeans, throwing fire around to entertain dinner guests on the island of koh tao.
was it love at first sight? I don’t remember, because the moment I saw him my life changed. before even interacting with him, I was falling into a messy spiral of self loathing and suddenly thought that I didn’t deserve happiness and life is easier not going after what you want. that was also a new experience, because I have never been through hating myself like that. something came over me like a black cloak of doom. if anyone thinks I deserve everything I want, it’s me.
after a lot of hesitating, complaining, foot dragging, over-thinking, slouching, face-covering, fretting and wanting the earth to swallow me whole, we eventually interacted. to make a long drawn-out awkward (but decidedly amazing) story short: I had an experience connecting with someone so beautifully, that it could only be portrayed in a way that master painters can paint, directors with great cinematographers can film and poets with all the right words can pen. it was raw, real and unbelievable. it all boiled down to the most simplest of needs and attractions, like animals in nature docs. with just his body language, he made me feel like the only girl in the world… and every girl in the world probably wants to feel like that.
In Seoul, I fall in love daily with strangers I pass on the street. but it’s all shallow notions of attraction. In this encounter there was no judging his style decisions, no clever pick up lines, no nit-picking, no worries or concerns or doubts when I was around him. the moment we separated though, that’s when flood gates of mind matters broke loose. but when I saw him again, the entire ocean of brain thoughts dried up with one look. one smile. one gesture. I was completely under a spell. air left my lungs and I forgot to inhale again, I was dizzy and hypnotized. engrossed and obsessed with his every movement.
I was stumbling around in a murky haze after we left koh tao. It feels surreal and unlikely now. my own thoughts reliving the same moments over and over, I feel it falling farther and farther from reality. maybe these memories were a dream, something I caught on TV or read in a book. I feel like I’m re-reading these moments in a worn-out paperback too much and the ink on the page is starting to fade. I almost feel disconnected from it all. there was one picture of us taken together, and I barely recognize the person that is supposedly me in the photo.
I left Thailand in agony, wondering if knowing he exists was worth this trade of being apart. how happy in ignorant bliss I was, not knowing what it was like to have such an experience. so, that’s what learned on my trip to Thailand: how to lose your mind without drugs.
that, and toilets are flushed differently.