I applied for my passport the same day I voted for the 2016 presidential election. It was a wonderful day because I thought things were definitely going to go “the right way.” First female president, the perseverance of good and rational thought, women breaking that last glass ceiling. I felt like I was taking control of my life and opening doors for myself as well by applying for my passport. I didn’t have any clue how things would unravel. I applied for my passport at the encouragement of my then boyfriend who suggested we go somewhere warm the upcoming winter. I though that sounded amazing especially being easily affected by Minnesota winters. I finally took on what I thought was going to be a tedious process only to find that it wasn’t so bad. Obviously you need your original birth certificate which I didn’t have a copy of, and my mom who had continued to say “oh it’s around here somewhere,” finally admitted she didn’t have any clue where it was either.
So after notarizing the correct documents, scanning them and sending off the digital documents to Los Angeles County Vital Statistics, the ball was in motion. My paperwork showed up and I headed down to Dakota County to complete the rest of the application process, wanting to avoid the offices in the Twin Cities, figuring it’d be a DMV type of experience. I was the second person in line, and it was so easy and they were so helpful. I couldn’t believe I’d been avoiding this process for so long only to find that there was no resistance to be found.
Well, as you can guess, that evening turned out to be one of the most traumatic nights of my life as I watched the election results pour in, refreshing and refreshing my news feed hoping something was wrong or about to change the direction of what I was witnessing. It was supposed to be a night of celebration, lighthearted banter and champagne.
I stayed up watching until the very end and as soon as Mike Pence and his family took the stage I started sobbing. People say politics don’t matter, that their life isn’t affected by who is in the role. I completely disagree because I find that I identify with who my leader is and when it feels like the absolute wrong fit or altogether wrong message to be sending to the rest of the world- if feels gross. The results of the election left a pretty big crater in my mind and changed the way I view my country but that’s all for another time.
Most people call themselves introverted these days. I consider myself shy and need a connector whether that be a person who can start the conversation or a role that’s very clearly established such as my job as a hairstylist. Then I’ll chat your ear off however deep or surface level you want to go. I’m not a hugger either but I like when I get them. I don’t know if I’m supposed to aspire to be more open or if I’m at a point where this is just me. Flying has made me very aware of the horse blinders I throw up as soon as I enter a large group of people or when I have to sit two inches from others. But being on the plane is a very prescribed role, once again. Eh. Just some stuff to throw out there. Enjoy this photo from my flight to Tokyo of my very comfortable neighbor.
Bangkok is riding me pretty rough. I’ve found things that I like such as the people, the variety and the scale. On the other hand it’s caused me to recall another time in my life where individual air condition units kick on at their own time, and the air stays dense and warm with or without the sun. I had a friend who lived on the University of Texas campus in a student dormitory in a room that was very small and down a carpeted hallway. We mostly were there on our way to somewhere else, but we’d always sit out on the balcony which was about 18 stories up and smoke cigarettes and either recount all the ways our other friends were messed up or how the people we were about to hang out with were messed up. Each balcony had its units air condition unit sitting outside and they would kick on about every seven minutes and run for awhile. I hated the noise but it kept you humble. This large mass of people were all seeking individual comfort while living severely close to one another and wanting peace and distance from each other as well. Bangkok feels the same. Hoards of people all seeking what will validate them next while simultaneously living like ants following the same trails as one another. It’s not romantic or exciting, it’s bake in an oven or drown in the rain. I don’t love cities unless they’re beautiful and by that I think I mean clean. Well constructed, not thrown together with miss matched sidewalks and asphalt that doesn’t make it to the curb. This city feels haphazard or not cared for but life’s too fast to take the time to do it right. Quick change or expansive growth followed by bars that maybe have five guests all night. I know I’m being short sighted or not appreciating the beauty of alley way entrances, I’m just expressing that so far this place isn’t for me. I’m not seeking to buy anything, I don’t need a massage or shock value. I do like the soft rock covers of all the top 40 hits from the last five years, however I also like good infrastructure and urban planning. The fact that they have a skytrain does kick ass, but the constant hum and cranking of air conditioning units plus the bwap from the exhaust pipes of every motor vehicle make this city feel loud and massively unplanned. Tomorrow is a new day, maybe I’ll fall back in love.
In the past month I’ve been jolted out of sleep several times with a sudden understanding or what feels like heavy clarity. This morning at 2:30 a.m. the wallop of a thought was that I am grateful. Grateful to have been shoved out of my routine by my then partner. Grateful to have felt secure enough to purchase several plane tickets into the future guaranteeing that I was making every effort to physically be there for him. And now he’s gone. I don’t think I was needed anymore once he found friends abroad. I could dwell on the feelings of being left, rejected or disregarded but those feelings have evolved through releasing my anger and hurt.
I’m solo traveling though not initially by choice, but now here I am. I would never have done this on my own. I didn’t even own a passport before I met him because I thought the paperwork process would be too hard, and I figured I couldn’t afford to travel anyway. So now as I boil water while the sunrise tames the humidity in Thailand, I’m present and pretty fucking happy about it. Do I know where my life is headed? No. But the direction I was forcing it to go in for the past few years is now dismantled and it’s liberating as hell. I know I have five more round trips booked, I know I have an amazing career that gets better with each passing month and I have a family that will roll out the repair kit literally and figuratively to bolster me up.
So, big heart eyes to those who have soothed my burns and thank you to the universe for gut punching me into the direction of a more fulfilling life. I didn’t expect to see the silver lining of losing my favorite person so quickly, but there often times seems to be more at play than just my own free will. It feels good to let go and see the potential in the new path ahead.