Sometimes living abroad is very walking pedestrian, and not unlike living in your passport country. But sometimes you become a different person and/or lead a crazy different lifestyle. I suppose like that computer game Sims.
I’ve never played it, but my friend is REALLY into it and has created storylines and a whole other world that she blogged about and I’m sure there are other people who have done the same thing. The way I understand it is you create a character or two or three and a life for them to live in, so the player becomes an alter ego and interacts in a realistic fantasy world.
Since I used to play RPGs (role playing games) when I was a kid, I totally get it. And since I don’t live in front of a computer, I totally don’t get it. But whatever. We live in a world that enjoys judging others like it’s a game to be played when we’re feeling dicey.
As I struggled to write my morning pages this atmospheric cool morning, I remembered wistfully what it was like to be in my old routine of sleeping regular consistent hours. You see, I’ve been busy. Some people like to be busy. I don’t. It just makes me crazy.
My ex discovered this when we were in Hua Hin. The phrase ‘lost my shit’ comes to mind. We had been traveling through Thailand together and thought we were being smart by discovering that we needed lots of breaks and restful periods between cities and such – but what we also needed to recognize was, I needed to be alone.
Now he thinks that whenever I get near large bodies of water I go crazy. This is so not true. Large bodies of water do not make me go crazy, large amounts of time spent with other people do. I start to feel the crazy crawl up my neck and throat region. I start to think, Oh god, what is wrong with me? I’m so lucky to have friends and be around wonderful people who want to spend time with me. I start to think, Oh, god, please make everyone go away.
I know what you are thinking, Poor Lani! She’s so popular and cute and funny. She’s amazing and special, I wonder if she’d like to have lunch tomorrow? But seriously. (I’m busy.)
Back in the States before I landed here, I led a quiet and not so busy life that consisted of me and the ex (who shall hereforth be known as Mr. MMA) moving from town to town. I suppose we were looking for The Answer.
During our 6 year run, I fell into the classic relationship trap: I spent all my time with him. So socially my world became small, my life contracted but life needs to contract sometimes, so I have no regrets. It was what it was.
Another lifetime later, my life is expanding. . .somehow here in Chiang Mai, I have made friends from all over the world, and all the things that I put away and shelved during that 6 year relationship I have taken down again to play with. You know, my sense of touch, taste, smell, hearing, seeing, balance and language. . .
Music was not important to Mr. MMA so I would listen to it when he wasn’t around, during my commutes, not as much, and when I started to, well, burst, I said, Look I’m going to listen to my music, sorry, you’re going to have to just suck it up. And when things started to go really bad, I started to do my own thing and that meant listening to my music and tuning him completely out.
Soon after I moved out of our apartment, and crawled my way back to independence, music found me. It started with a thumb drive exchange with Julia. Movies were next to follow since Mr. MMA didn’t like films outside of genres action and comedy. My brother claimed he had no soul because he didn’t like fantasy and well, Larry is a genius so…Yeaaahhh, we were very different and I lost a bit of Lani along the way but the good news is I’ve been on my own for 2 years and I won’t go back.
I don’t know how it is for men but for women I think this is common. I’m grateful though that I learned my lesson and will keep a close eye on Lani. A close eye. Appropriately I’m listening to “I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” by Nik Kershaw.
I won’t let the music, the literature, poetry, movies, or new found laughter and dancing that I seem to do now on a regular basis set on me either. And I won’t bleed into another relationship. I had to learn that lesson with work too. So I’ve become like a mama bear with my time and with my friends.
I owe so much to them, my friends. They picked me up when Mr. MMA left me shattered. In fact, they picked me up so quickly, I forgot to feel shattered. They reminded me of who I am by challenging me and being patient with me too. They even adore my writing and push me towards it. They understand that I need time alone. And oddly enough they still enjoy my company.
Thailand is just not filled with Sims sex-pats or even Sims-pats, it’s filled with amazing people who I don’t think I would have ever met had I not decided to follow my nose. Thailand is not where I decided to live out an alter ego, it’s where I found me, again.