I’m back in Bangkok. It was fine and all of my stressing out was unnecessary. But so what? Learning that my fears were unfounded doesn’t exactly stop me from having those anxieties.
You know, hearing about the passing of Naomi Judd was very difficult for me to swallow. I don’t need to know the details of how she died to know exactly how she died. The Judds first became famous the year I was born, and my mother absolutely loved their music. I grew up hearing it all around me, and one of the songs that I learned to sing first was one of theirs. My voice changing during puberty was disorienting because I couldn’t sing that song any longer… one of the reasons I trained my voice so hard for so long was so I could sing that song again… and I can. And I will. For many years.
It was disorienting to deal with my own realities that my depression was back at the same time someone whose music I cherished lost her battle with depression and anxiety.
Now that I’m back in Bangkok, much of that tension has left my body and my spirits are much better… but when I look in the mirror, I can see exactly how those things have ravaged me. I am much, much thinner than I should be… and I have a very skewed idea of what my body should look like. My cheeks are sunken in, I’m at the lowest weight I’ve been in my life. I lost an additional 12 lbs during April, which is not good because even when I was what I considered fat while I was in California, I was still the healthy range for my body (the upper end, but that’s because fat sits differently in a stretched out six-foot-five-inch frame).
So where do we go from here?
Something else happened while I was in Phnom Penh. I made friends with someone while I was there, I met him on my first night. He took me around the city and showed me all the fantastic things there were to see, but he kept groping me and making unwelcome advances. When he got annoyed that I wouldn’t have sex with him (mainly because my PrEP ran out and I couldn’t get a refill until I got back to Thailand), I said something that actually turned out to be true, at least for me.
He said, “Who would want to be around you if you don’t have sex?”
I answered, “Well, that’s the point. I want to be with someone who likes me and has fun with me without sex.”
Plenty of people like having sex with me, but they don’t actually like being around me (not that I’m exactly a joy to be around when I’m going through one of my anxiety attacks).
There was quite a bit of clarity from this huge life detour. Now I go back to the reality of la vie quotidienne. I haven’t really gotten too much done, mainly because I’ve been catching up on all the sleep I missed during April.
I had a long talk with my mother yesterday. It was actually fairly pleasant. I’ve always said that our relationship is best when we’re thousands of miles away from one another and that is definitely proving to be true once more. She actually complimented me, and hearing words of encouragement from her was like being dropped into this strange parallel universe. She gave me the update on my little brothers, who are both thriving. In fact, when I wished Cameron a happy 26th birthday (fuck, I’m old) while I was in Cambodia, he asked how difficult it would be to come visit me in Thailand. I would love to see them again.
Cameron got an honor reserved solely for retirees at his job with the city. Ironically, my stepfather has not received this honor yet. And Chuckie, who has joined both my stepfather and Cameron working for the city, is already making waves. This was the point when she started praising me.
She told me I had so much strength to pick up and move to another country, build a life out of nothing, and make it work. She kept talking about my strength and courage and other such nonsense. I call it nonsense because it wasn’t strength. I was dying. I was being drained of any happiness, love and compassion in California. I had lost everything and staying there, trying to find happiness amongst the rubble wasn’t going to be easy. I made the lazy choice. I know how to start over. It’s the only thing I’ve really ever been talented at. The only thing that came easy to me. Even singing took years of practice, I’m not naturally talented at that.
And coming to a foreign country where I didn’t have to talk to anyone because nobody spoke my language wasn’t a hardship, it was a blessing. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to go to France. I might be good at French, but my vocabulary on personal trauma is very thin.
The strength it took was leaving behind the people I love. Leaving Cameron and Chuckie, leaving behind my grandfather, Richard, Katie and the wonderful people I’d met who were kind to me in years that can be easily described as “not my best”.
I just wanted to be a functional human being again. And 10 months later, I’m almost there.
Last updated May 09, 2022