Thailand Thoughts

Some words that flowed from my soul during my time in Thailand.

 

Sun kissed skin wind in my hair a belly full of mangoes forests jungles and mountains of emerald temples glittering white and gold curious dogs and mischievous kittens rising with the sleepy sun to welcome the road stretching far and wide twisting and turning like a river running through the land smiles from strangers and shy waves from gentle children whispering and giggling hands pressed together with a soft bow of the head a soundtrack of sweet birdsong and chattering cicadas accompanies every moment firey hot springs deep cooling caves rushing crystal waterfalls inspiration bubbling up from deep within me fired by the wonder of the world around me feeling perpetually blissful entirely at peace wrapping around my creative energy like a supportive comforting blanket oh the love I have for this place is unprecedented views like nothing I have ever seen food like nothing I have ever tasted and kindness like nothing I have ever known

 

 

-Quiet Waters

At Last

Well I finally did it, it doesn’t even seem real yet. I feel like at some point I’m going to wake up and come crashing down from this dream land back into the real world. But I won’t. I have finished my degree, and at long last I have left the UK- forever. While I may return to visit family and friends I will never again have to live in my home country, a country that has never felt like home. My official last day of university was in early June, I returned home for 10 days to spend time with my family before my partner and I boarded a plane for the country we both love, Thailand.

This blog post comes to you from the sleepy village of Khun Yuam where we are staying in a beautiful room with a view like nothing you have seen before. We’re doing the Mae Hong Son loop with a rented 150 cc bike which is pretty much an oversized scooter. I love riding on it, however as the passenger I have to carry our huge, heavy backpack. After a couple of hours riding it really does pull on your back and shoulders. Tomorrow we ride to Mae Hong Son, then Pai and then back to Chiang Mai. We’re more than halfway through our trip now. It’s been amazing and when we complete our journey I’ll make an extensive post detailing the loop and the towns we stayed in, the hostels we used and the places we visited.

The craziest thing about this, is that while this is holiday, it is not one I will be returning home from. After this, we’re flying to Melbourne, where we’ll be for the indefinite future. We have working holiday visas for one year but we’re hoping to extend it to two. It feels strange knowing that I am technically homeless now. Of course, my family home will always be there for me. But I don’t live there anymore. Right now, I’m in some kind of limbo. I’ve left the UK but I haven’t reached Australia yet, I guess I am really, truly free. At last.

 

-Quiet Waters

 

khun yuam
My partner looking out at the unreal view from our balcony in Khun Yuam

At Last 

The first goodbye is to my life in Staines. If you asked me last year I’d tell you this would not be a difficult goodbye to say. But this year, everything changed. Something just clicked and now I’m so sad to leave the friends I have made here, my heart shakes with the fear that I might never see them again. 
The second goodbye is to my hometown, the place I have loved and hated deeply for so long. I spent my final night at my favourite place with my family and my dog, sea spray in my hair and sand between my toes. I can still hear the gentle lapping of the waves upon the shore, a sound that has always meant home to me.

The final goodbye is to my family, of course it won’t be forever but this time the distance will be like nothing any of us have experienced, social media will keep us close but even that can’t close the gap of oceans and hours. 

I’m so ready to leave, I have been for a long time now. Finally the day has arrived and as I am unbound I spread my wings and take flight.
At long last.
– quiet waters 

Tomorrow I complete my degree 

As my final exam approaches I can feel the earth preparing me for the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new. The last few days I’ve noticed little signs here and there from the universe reassuring me that she is on my side, that I can do this. And here we are the day before I finish uni forever and oh how it has rained, a heavy relentless cleansing rain that has not let up all day washing away the life I have lived and the person I have been for the last three years to allow for tomorrow when I will finally emerge from the cocoon of education that I have been swaddled in and suffocated by since I was just 4 years old. I can see 22 on the horizon now and I know the next couple of months hold so much in store for me and my heart aches for this. My heart has ached for this for so long and for the first time in my life I feel like I am not alone, I feel like the universe is supporting me and she always has been. It’s taken me all this time to realise it. 

I’m ready. 

Mama didn’t raise a quitter 

Never giving up is one of my biggest strengths, but in a lot of ways it is one of my greatest faults too. It means that I will see something through to the end regardless of how it might harm me, no matter what my gut is screaming at me to do. If I’ve already begun something, I will finish it. Although I must note, this doesn’t apply to my creative writing – I have countless unfinished novels in my documents. But with everything else, I am relentless. I know I should have left university back when I first wanted to, but I felt if I did I would have wasted a year and a half of my life, I would have wasted money, I would have failed my friends and family, and I would have failed myself. However here I am, about to complete my degree and I still wish I’d quit. If I had, I wouldn’t have had the bad experiences I had, I wouldn’t be on medication for depression and anxiety. I just couldn’t let go, I had to see it through to the end. The shitty school I went to, the shitty jobs I’ve held, shitty places I’ve lived, shitty relationships I’ve held on to, I couldn’t quit any of those. I left only when I have to, when things got so bad, it was my last resort. I allowed myself to suffer in silence for so long.At the same time, it makes me a strong person. I endure. I can handle anything, and I can do it with a smile. Nobody would ever know how I struggled. I trust myself, I know what I am capable of. And for that I am thankful. But what I’m beginning to understand is that sometimes it is okay to quit. You know what is right for you. If something doesn’t make you feel good, don’t do it. This is something I was thinking about back in January and it is harder than you might think, doing things for yourself. I never realise until it’s too late that I can just quit. I am going to continue to work hard to recognise times when I can say no, when I can close the door on something that does not make me feel happy. And I will be ruthless, from now on, no more mediocrity either. If something makes me feel bad, goodbye. If something makes me feel okay, goodbye. I have enough things working against me to make me feel bad, I gotta help myself out.

In three weeks time I will be finished with university. In two months time I will be in another country with my love. I will be living my dream. And I’m going to make sure I am always living my dream. That is something I will not give up on.

Thanks for being here

 

-Quiet Waters

On Friends

When I was in high school I had a very large, very wonderful group of friends. We were closer than you could ever imagine. There was a group of us from the girls school and a group from the boys who would meet up every weekend, and after school and just hang out, listen to music, talk and drink. In a lot of ways, my high school days were the worst of my life, but socially, they were the best. I loved my friends fiercely. While I’m facebook friends with most of them still, there are only two I still speak with, one of which is my closest friend. I made good friends in college, nothing like the friends I had in school, but still good friends. We lost contact when we went off to university. I have made a couple of friends at university but again, nothing at all like the school days. Nothing will ever compare to the friendships I had then. And to be honest, it has never bothered me. As school came to an end I felt the need to distance myself from those friends anyway, we began growing in different directions, at different speeds and for the most part, I wanted to be alone. I like being alone. In less than 3 months I am leaving this place forever. I know I will never return to this town, or this area. There’s a good chance I may never return to the country, at least not for more than a visit. I have been working at this place for around 6 months and at first I didn’t really like anyone. But over the months I’ve grown fond of my colleagues, I won’t really call them friends yet, but I enjoy seeing them and I enjoy working with them. Last night, I caught myself feeling upset that when I leave here, I will never see any of them again. A short movie played in my head of my days working with them, laughing, being grumpy even. I think if I stayed here I could create some really lovely friendships with these people, some individuals in particular. But it has been my dream to leave this country for many years now and the time is finally approaching. I am beyond excited, but I think I’m actually beginning to crave friendship. I’ll have to start over once we settle and who knows how much longer it will be until I have some real, good friends. I really didn’t expect to feel like this. But I haven’t had a deep friendship since I left school 6 years ago. I have the one friend from school, who is my soul sister. But she is all I have, I need to branch out and find a new group. I think I’m starting to feel lonely. And when I no longer have university to dominate all my time, I think I’m really going to feel it. I guess it’s time to make the most of the time I have left with the people I work with, the few friends I have here, I haven’t even left yet and I already miss them.
– Quiet Waters

In Defence of Millennials

Note: I was wondering whether or not I should start editing or proof-reading my posts. Then I realised I would only be doing so to ensure I came across as intelligent and coherent as possible. Honestly, thats not that important to me here. What you guys are reading here has just flowed from my brain at 1am after I worked a busy 10 hour shift, then came home and wrote a 3,000 word essay. If it’s a mess, it’s a mess. 




We are not a perfect generation, but neither was the one before us, or the one before them… or the one before them.

It is only since I decided to write this post that I have realised how many articles there are out there with the same title. It is however, most fitting. I think it is important to note, if you don’t already know, I am a millennial myself. Of course I’m going to defend my generation. But, just hear me out.

Millennials are often described by our elders as lazy and entitled, the phrase ‘special snowflake’ is used a lot. It makes me want to throw up. I’ve seen a lot of articles, interviews and discussions complaining about us, and our spoiled ways. Some have even suggested it’s the fault of our parents, coddling us, teaching us that we can do whatever we want and we are winners, even when we’re not. It’s made me wonder if these people throwing all these accusations around have ever spent much time with millennials. I have. I am in the presence of at least one millennial 24/7. And I really don’t know what these guys are talking about. Myself and those I associate with were never brought up like that. We were brought up to be considerate, forward-thinking individuals, with a sense of pride and respect for ourselves and others. We were taught from day one to work hard, to push ourselves. We were told that life isn’t fair and you can’t always get what you want. Any complaint was met with a reminder that there were thousands of people worse off who would do anything to be in our position. I’ve been working since I was 12, I worked part time throughout highschool, college and now I’m working full time while completing my degree. I expect nothing from others. Almost everybody I know is the same. Now, I understand that there are probably many lazy and entitled millennials, I specifically choose not to hang around with losers so it makes sense everyone I know is a badass go-getter. However people that are lazy and entitled are not so because they are millennials, they’re like this because that’s who they are and that’s who they were brought up to be. It has nothing to do with the fact that they are millennials. There are shitty people in every generation. Equally, each generation complains about the younger, obviously.

Millennials work hard for very little. Our employers ask for so much, they want our jobs to be our entire lives. Regular 9am staff meetings on Sundays, early starts, late finishes, 12+ hour shifts have become a norm, if you have 2 days off, they won’t be consecutive and it’s more than likely that you’ll get a call asking you to come in anyway. At least, that’s been my experience in the 7 different jobs that I’ve had over the years. My life has barely begun, I haven’t even finished education yet and I have spent my days studying and working. As a kid my parents encouraged me to work to learn new skills, develop a good work ethic, gain some independence, and begin building experience. Everyone wants experience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m glad I begun working at such a young age, I can’t imagine trying to get a job now with no experience and no idea what it is like to work. But it really does aggravate me when I hear my people being described as lazy, as not wanting to work. Fuck off. I wish I didn’t have to work now, especially in my last year of university, trying to write a really heavy dissertation while working full time is not good for my mental or physical health. But my student loan isn’t enough to live off, I’m trying to save money as well, so I don’t finish university with a degree and a maxed out overdraft. The £45,000 debt I’m heading towards once I graduate is enough for me. It would at least be nice to have enough money for a weekly food shop. I’m sorry, this isn’t supposed to be a rant about money. Maybe my next blog post will be on the cost of living in London. What I’m getting at is, we work a lot just to get by. 

More than this, everyone I know is suffering immensely. We are struggling through life on the bare minimum, battling various mental and physical ailments that really should be debilitating. There is no room for the weak in this world, so we carry on. Everyone I know is passionate and involved in politics and the environment. We are switched on. We see where this world is heading, hell, we’re not happy about where it is at now. We want to make a change for the better, the majority of us seem to be on the same page but much of the resistance we’re met with comes from the older generations. Dare I bring up, Trump and his supporters? I won’t elaborate, but you know what I’m saying. We’re living in a broken world, we’re just trying to do the best with what we have and to try and heal things for our own kids. I don’t even want to bring children into this world we’re living in right now! Again, perhaps a topic worthy of an entire post of its own.

What I’m saying is, just stop your bitching. We are good, hardworking, intelligent people. We are doing what we can with what YOU have given us. There are a lot of real problems in the world, and millennials are not one of them.
– Quiet Waters

Some things I have learned

I have learned a lot of things over the last year, probably more than I’ve ever learned before. And unfortunately, these lessons have been taught to me through a series of mistakes, bad decisions and whole lot of stress and anxiety. 
The first thing that I have learned, is something I have known all along and have always preached. However it is never something I have really, truly put into practice. And that is to listen to your instincts and follow your heart. I have always said you should listen to your heart over your mind but when it comes down to it I always end up doing the ‘smart’ thing, playing by the rules and making the ‘right’ choices. However these choices may be right according to the textbooks but when implemented into real life, each time they have turned out to be the wrong choices. My instincts have always been right and I have never listened to them. My first assumptions about a person, a place or a situation have never failed me but regardless, I have ignored them and I have paid for it immensely. From now onwards, I do what my heart and what my gut tell me to, no matter what other people say or whether it is considered the right decision by anyone else, my body knows what is the right decision for me and it’s about time I started listening to it.

The second thing I have learned is that I must stop putting others before myself. It is okay to be selfish. And starting this year, I am going to be selfish. I have always put others before myself, hell, I put everyone before myself and all it has done is cause my pain. I have never been appreciated for being so considerate (which I bloody am and I don’t care if that sounds conceited, I’m the most considerate person I know!), I have gone out my way, stretched myself thin, I’ve almost fucking killed myself for other people. I have never received a thank you, verbally or physically. Nobody has shown any appreciation, instead they have continued to walk all over me. Still, people have fucked me over to get ahead themselves. Now, I’m not saying I’m going to become like that. I’m not actively going to try and cause others grief but if something that is right for me is going to cause hassle for someone else, so be it. I’m putting myself first, I’m doing what is right for me and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

Similarly, the third thing I have learned is that I am in control of my own life. I can choose who I want to be, who I want to surround myself with, what I want to do. And so on. If someone isn’t adding positively to my life, I’m not going to make the effort. If I am not enjoying something, I am not going to do it. This is my life and it is too short to spend it doing stuff I don’t want to do. Right now, I’m working towards a degree I have no interest in. But that’s okay, in less than 6 months it will be over. I’m also working a job that I don’t like as well, however it’s convenient for me and its enabling me to save the money I need to travel when I finish university. So I’m not going to be stupid, I’m going to be careful with my decisions.

Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is that this year, everything I do, I’m doing for myself.

 

A belated happy new year folks. Take control and do what feels right for you. You are the most important person in your life.

 

– Quiet Waters

Dealing with Anxiety: Medication vs Meditation

I took somewhat of a big step recently. I made a doctor’s appointment, to ask for medication to help with my anxiety. This is something I never wanted to do, but over the last few months my anxiety has gotten so bad that it is affecting my studies and both my mental and physical health. I need something to help me get through these next few months, the final 6 months of my degree and then I will be able to put my focus on natural healing. But for now, I may have to take the ‘easy’ way. I have found that yoga helps to calm and centre me, I find it grounding. However, I can’t do yoga all day, every day – though I wish I could. Although, I have been looking into meditation, which comes hand in hand with the yogic practice.

I can never quieten my mind, so I always assumed I would never be able to meditate. I tried when I was a young teenager but to no avail. I can sit cross-legged in silence for hours on end, but all the while, there’s riots going on in my mind. A few days ago, I tried meditation again, guided meditation this time, which is something I hadn’t tried before. To my surprise I successfully meditated for 10 minutes, keeping my mind focused on whatever the guide asked me to- my breathing or how my body felt. Afterwards, I felt strange. I felt sad. My heart was heavy and my chest was tight. A couple of hours later I found myself in uncontrollable floods of tears. Part of the reason for my distress was and still is because I feel like I am very slowly experiencing a spiritual awakening, and it is making me feel alone. It is making me feel less and less like I belong here. This in itself is a big topic and should perhaps be reserved for its own post. Anyway, I did some research and I found that such reactions following meditation are not unusual. It was, in a way, a somewhat intense experience, which allowed an emotional release. I am well aware of how much emotion I have suppressed within me, so thinking about it, my reaction is no surprise. Once my tears had stopped I felt lighter, although some sadness about my lone awakening remained.

I’ve begun to wonder if meditation would be a successful remedy for my anxiety. It would be ideal but can I truly heal myself through yoga and meditation? I am most definitely going to try, but at this moment in my life I cannot afford to play with trial and error. I am going to speak with the doctor next week, I would like to try meditation and yoga to combat my problems but if this doesn’t work I will be trying medication. It will be interesting to see how each affects me. I’m scared to begin taking medication and if it weren’t for my university responsibilities I would throw myself into my yogic studies instead. But right now, I have to consider medication as a serious option, at least until June. Nothing is fully decided yet, I’ll see what the doctor can suggest.

Thanks for being here with me.

– Quiet Waters

Why I Wish I’d Never Gone to University

When I made the decision to go to university, I did so because I simply didn’t know what else to do. I was terrified of getting stuck in my hometown and never doing anything with my life. All I knew was that I wanted to travel. I had no idea how to get started or what options were available to me, as far as I knew it was either university, apprenticeship or working my dead end fast-food restaurant job for the rest of my life. The night shift manager I worked with had started at the restaurant when he was 16, 20 years on he was still there. ‘You’ve been here 2 years now, you’re a lifer’ he laughed. Prompted by that horrific notion and encouragement from my family who really wanted me to go, I enrolled for university. I got my first choice and in 2014 off I went, full of excitement and anticipation for the adventure that lay ahead.

I’m going to be honest, I have had some fantastic experiences at uni. I’ve met some lovely people, I’ve travelled to Asia, I’ve met my wonderful partner and I’ve gained a lot of independence. Perhaps at some point I’ll make a comparison post, listing the good experiences I’ve had. However, unfortunately the negatives far outweigh the positives.

Firstly, I do not care about the degree I am pursuing. I picked something I am somewhat interested in but I am not passionate about. For anyone reading that is considering university, you have to choose something you really, really care about. People told me this when I enrolled and I didn’t take it seriously. Now I realise. You have to live and breathe your degree subject, especially in your final year. If you don’t care about what you’re doing you’re going to struggle immensely and ultimately, you will not get a good grade. I didn’t know what to choose, my priority was getting out of my hometown, the actual degree didn’t matter to me. Now, with the unbelievable, completely unmanageable amount of reading I have to do I’m really struggling to make myself to do it. I just don’t care.

When I finish university, I will be in roughly £54,000 debt. I have struggled to live these past three years, working a lot to fund myself through university, I get the larger loan due to how much (or rather, how little) my parents earn and this still is not enough. Tuition fees are constantly rising and in my first year I paid £9,000 per academic year for 8 hours a week of lectures and seminars. A friend of mine, at the same university paid the same amout for 25 hours a week. The prices I paid for my student house were extortionate, particularly considering the landlord never saw to any of the problems we contacted them about including a shit load of mould, a leaking toilet and various other issues. This landlord is also set to charge us almost £2000 for having the house professionally cleaned when we move out and other such fees. The house did not look like it had been professionally cleaned when we moved in, that’s for sure! This landlord has also turned out to be a racist, sexist, homophobic, elitist, megalomanic who is making my life hell but that’s another story entirely. The new place I have moved to is not a student property, it is a flatshare, the bedroom and bathroom are much larger than those in my previous house and I pay almost £100 less – all bills included. The landlord is much kinder and quick to see to any problems we’ve had. Why is student accommodation/landlords so much more… unaccommodating?!

I have no spare time and no money to do anything anyway. I wake up, I do uni work, I tidy the flat, I go to uni, I go straight from uni to work, I come home late at night, do more uni work, briefly talk with my partner when he gets in from work at around midnight, and then I go to bed. That is it. That is my life. And I know its not forever, I know there’s only 6 months or so left, but living like this makes me so miserable.

And now, the stress. This is the worst one for me. I never really had anxiety issues, no more than the average ‘worrier’ until I came to university. Now, as a combination of university itself, an unpleasant situation with the aforementioned nasty landlord and somewhat due to some shitty ‘friends’, I am suffering every day. I have a permanent sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, meaning I’ve completely lost my appetite. I’m exhausted all of the time, I can fall asleep at any moment, not only because I am so tired but also because sleep is my only release. The only waking time I feel almost okay is when I’m doing yoga. I have regular anxiety attacks, my brain and my gut are working overtime constantly, I feel like someone has pressed the fast forward button on me. I can’t relax, I can’t stop thinking. There’s always something I should be doing, everything I do is never good enough. Whatever I do is never quite up to scratch. I don’t remember the last time I felt good for more than 5 minutes before some university related issue brought me crashing back to reality. I’m considering taking medication to calm myself down, let myself space out for a little just to get away from the stress.

All in all, for me, university has not been worth the stress or the money. I am tired, I am weak and I have had enough. I do not want to live like this. I wish I had dropped out when I considered it at the end of the first term of my second year. I stuck with it because I had gotten so far. I should have quit back then. I cannot wait for it to be over because right now I hate my life.

I’ll make a reflective post on my university days in the future. It will be interesting to see if I feel different later on.

Sorry to be such a drag.

-Quiet Waters