NaBloPoMo: Why I Stopped Posting

NaBloPoMo was supposed to go differently – I was supposed to write everyday for the month of November in the spirit of National Blog Posting Month, but  instead I stopped writing and posting on Day 7. The month was going to be about writing in the here and now, and my intentions were to write from Victoria, Vancouver, Bangkok, and some other Thai city.  I  managed to blog from Canada, but then I boarded an airplane bound for Thailand and something happened. There were a bunch of forces that transpired against me; I decided to give in to the here and now, and just live life without blogging about it.

So, why did I stop writing? Why did I stop posting for NaBloPoMo 2016?  Why was I able to post through my 2014 breakup and make it to Day 19 in 2015? What was different about NaBloPoMo 2016?  Why did I drop the ball on Day 8?  I’ve been asking myself these questions, and have come up with some reasons/excuses.

  1. I was told not to write.  On November 8th, while enroute to Guangzhou, I was told repeatedly to turn off my device.  I was mid-way through my post titled, “Giving up my seat for Love”, when the flight attendant spotted me. Stuck between a Bali-bound drinker and a China-bound meditator, I thought I would discretely get some writing in, since I no longer had the luxury of leaning my head against the window. The elderly man in front of me was now leaning his head against the window, as his wife rested her head on his shoulder.  Before the plane had taken-off, through hand-gestures and smiles, I had given up my window seat to this couple. No regrets, but I wasn’t going to just shut off my device with a smile. Well, I did shut it off momentarily, then she caught me again, and I reasoned that my phone was on airplane mode, but she countered that it could still receive calls.  I just looked at her, ready to continue the debate, but then she said, staring at me coldly, “It’s the law.”  With that, I had a flash of prison in China, and powered my device off, forgetting to save my work in progress.
  2. Jetlag hit me. I spent half the month of November in a jetlag induced brain fog. For my first week in Bangkok, I was up before 6am everyday, napping every afternoon, and in bed before 9pm. During my awake hours, I had no desire to sit in front of a screen. I wanted to eat Thai fruit, lounge by the pool, ride motorcycle taxis, hang out with friends, read books, and just enjoy my old Thai life.  Once back in Canada, I was hit with another week of jetlag, and just wanted to enjoy my life here in my sleep-deprived fog. I was a space cadet that was fit to decorate a Christmas tree, but not her blog, with random foggy thoughts.
  3. I felt that I had to censor my writing. I’ve never felt this way before.  My blog is quite tame — I think the most risqu√© thing I ‘ve ever written about was in Thailand Firsts. However, while I was in Thailand, I made NaBloPoMo Day 3 private at the request of someone close to me.  It was a heartfelt letter that sprung from the prompt, “If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?” Funny, I always believed this special person never read my blog. Turns out I was wrong, and after a sleepless night, I moved that post to ‘private’ and emailed her. At this point, I had already decided not to carry on with NaBloPoMo, but this just sealed it.  I want to be able to write freely on my blog.
  4. The heat made me cranky.  The Thai heat did not inspire me to write. I managed to get two 5-kilometer runs in, and then decided swimming would be my new form of exercise. Cooling off in the pool made me calm, but I had zero patience for trying to write a blog post on my cellphone. I could just imagine a bunch of posts that would start the exact  same way, “I’m melting….”
  5. Blogging was not part of my Thai life.  I lived in Thailand for a long time — it will always be a big part of who I am. I was never one of those expats that blogs about all the crazy things that happen living abroad. Thailand was my home, my life was there — it wasn’t crazy. It was when I moved back to the West that I felt off balance and started blogging.  In the spirit of revisiting my Thai life, I didn’t want to blog — I wanted to just be there. I visited my old neighbourhoods, took the bus out to my old university, caught up with my old friends, and enjoyed the simple things — eating fresh mango, speaking Thai, getting a pedicure, floating my krathong. Being back made me realize that Thailand will always have a place in my heart, but it is no longer where my home is.

Those are my reasons, my excuses, for not posting during NaBloPoMo.  Instead of being disappointed with myself because I didn’t post everyday for the month of November, I’m going to rejoice in the November I had to just be in the here and now.  In saying this,  my hat does go off to all the bloggers out there who didn’t stop posting.  It’s not easy — it takes incredible discipline. Well done — I will join you another yearūüôā.

Thai house

 

NaBloPoMo Day 6: Vancouver Fun

NaBloPoMo Day 6, Vancouver, 11:19pm

I’m trying to get this in just under the wire. After a day of traveling, eating Peruvian food, and walking through Gastown in Vancouver, the last thing I want to be doing is blogging. It’s especially difficult knowing that an alfajor (Peruvian caramel cream filled  cookie) is on the nightstand waiting to be eaten. 

Remember I said this November blogging would be from the heart in the here and now? Well, right now I’m out of words to describe my recent happiness. I just want to soak up the next two days before I’m off to Thailand for two weeks. So, I’ll leave you with some photos from my dayūüôā.

On the way to Vancover…
Peruvian dinner in Gastown
Gastown Steam clock

Saturday Birthday Party?

Day 5, 9:41pm, Victoria

Here I am again writing from my phone. Love technology! I’m on my way to a birthday party for someone I don’t know. Why? She’ s a friend of my new guy. Yeah, I really like him. For an introvert, this is huge. 

I’m a bit of a stress ball right now. We’re going to Vancouver tomorrow, and then I’m off to Thailand on Tuesday. I’m not as excited as I should be….not sure why. I am all packed, but feel like I’m forgetting something. 

Ok…..off to the party. Good night, NaBloPoMo Day 5!

Friday Night

I’m writing a new story to my Fridays. Tonight I went to prison, but it’s not what you think. We went on a date; every year the inmates perform a play- this year it was the Sleeping Giants. 

Anyhow, the play is over and now we’re enjoying chocolate pudding and pisco at The Livet. I’m also being anti social because Im typing this as my date patiently moves a strand of hair behind my ear, and waits for me to publish this. 

Happy NaBloPoMo Day 4!

NaBloPoMo Day 2: I Wanna Go

Hello, NaBloPoMo Day 2! You’ve come so soon, and¬†all I wanna do¬†is¬†chill with my new favourite TV show, This is Us, but I’m here instead. My day was long and busy, filled with trip preparations, conversation club, and an 8 Km run with my run group. I’m ready for an early night.

Day 2, Victoria, 9:12 pm

NaBloPoMo Prompt: When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?

This is so subjective.¬†Since I’m nodding off as I type this, I’m going to do something brave right now. I’m going to tell that little perfectionist voice in my head to go to bed. This does not have to be a stellar post. You have had a long, productive day and deserve a break. It’s okay. You’re going to hit publish, then brush your teeth, and turn out the lights.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with my latest musical crush, Yuna. I wanna go……to bed.

 

Me, Myself, and My Running Shoes

It’s National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo)¬†again, and I’ll be posting everyday for the month of November. I know I only made it to Day 19 last year, but I promise this year will be different. It will be like 2014 when I stuck it out for the whole 30 days, but this time I will not be¬†dissecting my life abroad in Thailand and South Korea, or¬†my crippling (sometimes humorous) breakup in my home country. This year I’ll be writing to you from¬†Victoria, Vancouver and Bangkok, with no game plan. All I can promise is that I’ll be blogging from my heart in the here and now.

Day 1, Victoria, 7pm

NaBloPoMo Prompt:¬† “When you’re having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?”

I go to my running shoes — they understand. They don’t ask questions, they just hug my feet and push me out the door. Together we chase the bad days away. They remind me that I’m strong and that I can handle the road ahead. They¬†bring me to the here and now.¬†The¬†breeze on my face,¬†the tunes in my ears, the breath¬†from my lungs,¬†the¬†peace of mind, and the realization that everything is going to be okay,¬†all come to me when I’m with my running shoes. That argument, that rejection, that failed exam, those canceled plans, all seem somewhat trivial after some quality time together.¬†I’m inspired to move forward, not just out on the pavement, but on all the paths that make up my life.¬†My bad days suddenly turn a little brighter, even on those rainy runs.

And running doesn’t just brighten my bad days,¬†it turns my¬†good days to great days,¬†and my ‘meh’ days to better days. It’s¬†the best mood enhancer out there, and I’ve yet to discover any negative side effects.¬†So far the side effects have included new friendships, greater mental clarity,¬†better blog posts,¬†fewer colds, more restful sleep, and a stronger sense of self.¬† So, when¬†my mental health is not where it should be, I¬†lace up¬†and¬† run, run until I feel that I’m ready to come home and see my world in a new light.

Awesome Memoir on Running!
Awesome Memoir on Running!

 

 

Keep Going: It’s Supposed to Be This Way

” As painful as this all is, I know that in the end¬†things will work out how they’re supposed to, and I’ll¬†keep going.”

Lotusgirl80, November 25, 2014

I still remember when I wrote those words. At the time, I’m not sure I whole-heartedly believed them to be true.¬†My heartbreak was fresh, I was taking it day by day, trying to stay positive, but¬†losing interest in those life sustaining activities, like sleeping and eating. My days went by in slow motion, and life seemed to be a chore. I had lost a piece of myself, or at least that’s how it felt.¬†It took time, a long time, to¬†truly believe that things would work out, and¬†that I’d keep going.

It was the time and distance from my heartbreak that gave me a new perspective, and made me realize that all the pieces were already inside me.¬†The love we had was beautiful, but it wasn’t perfect. We both had our faults,¬†and I kept making excuses for him¬†and trying to change who I was.¬†I couldn’t see that when I was with him, and it took me a long time to realize that after we broke up.¬†Now that I have distance, I can admit to myself¬†that he was not the one that got away —¬†it just¬†wasn’t meant to be. Still, he’ll always hold a place in my heart, and the beauty of his faith and integrity will never escape me.¬†He taught me to always be grateful, and to ask for more — not to settle.

And as I keep going, it is with gratefulness and a desire for something more. And this is reflected in all aspects of my life, not just my¬†dating life. (I know my¬†stories here¬†have morphed into a dating blog recently, but¬†there’s been a lot more going on behind the scenes.)¬†In January, I started a post-graduate program, and after many all-nighters and internal questioning, I completed what I had started, and am now looking into new possibilities.¬†In May, I quit a job that filled my need for productivity and belonging to the daily grind, but was ultimately¬†no longer serving me, filling me with confusion and resentment. In June, I¬†began following¬†a dream that stemmed from my elementary school days, a dream to run long distances.¬†After an intense 16-week training¬†program, I ran my first half marathon¬†in October, and now I have plans to run a marathon….eventually. To be honest, I’ve had my doubts along the way, but I¬†have moved through these changes, thankful for the support of others, and my own¬†internal¬†drive that¬†has kept asking for more of myself.

And love. I’ve had my doubts. For a long time, I didn’t believe it was out there and was so reluctant to make¬†another connection, especially an online one. However,¬†I did get¬†back in the game, even created an online dating profile (hovering over ‘delete’ the whole time) before¬†settling for that good-on-paper guy who¬†totally didn’t get me. That didn’t last long, because¬†my inner voice kept speaking out and I decided to listen.¬†And I am so glad I did listen because I was shutting myself off to a real connection.

The real connection. I’ve met someone who gets me. I’ve met someone who makes me believe in love again. I’ve met someone who’s not afraid to share what’s on his mind, and I feel comfortable reciprocating. I’ve met someone who uses the word ‘love’ freely to talk about what matters to him, and¬† notices how guarded I am with that same word. I’ve met someone who makes me laugh to the point of tears.¬†I’ve met someone who appreciates my randomness, or peculiarities, as he calls them.¬†I’ve met someone who wants to explore the world and all the possibilities it holds.¬†I’ve met someone who has woken me up to the possibility of an ‘us’. ¬†And if you must know, we met on that feminist app, Bumble.

So, I’m glad I didn’t give up on online dating,¬†and that I¬†kept going, asking for more in all aspects of my life.¬†I truly believe¬†I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Before I die, I want to fall in love again....
Before I die, I want to fall in love again….

 

Dating Lessons: Trust that Voice Inside

For all of you following my dating life, this is the long overdue update. ¬†The adventures are over, and now I’ve relearned a valuable lesson. It’s one of those lessons that we’re taught at a young age, and revisit through various stages of our lives.¬†It sounds like this….listen to¬†your gut, follow your intuition, trust that voice inside. Spoiler: I don’t always trust that voice inside.

The last time I sat before these keys I was reminiscing about crushes and those butterflies that make new relationships so much fun. Truth be told, I was hoping that those feelings would stir in me again as I was about to embark on a third date. The third date made me think about the possibilities, but then I kept bumping into a wall, the voice inside.

On the second date, I held my introvert card tightly, but on the third date I loosened my grip.¬†I took control of the conversation, talked about my work, my passions, my writing, and we met half way, both sharing and getting to know each other a bit more. ¬†As we took in the art show, admiring and analyzing the paintings, I let my guard down, spoke my mind, and discovered that his ex-wife and I have something in common — we blog about him. I told him about my blog, he asked what I wrote about, and then that was it. I’m not sure I would have shared the¬†URL with him, but he didn’t even ask. As we hugged goodbye, I missed that someone who cared about my writing.

I hushed that voice, we spent a week apart, I rationalized the little stuff, and we¬†met again for a concert in the park. ¬†The swing music was good, but he was more interested in showing me pictures of his new house, and¬†I didn’t mind that. After the concert, we went for ice cream¬†and¬†reclined in the field next to the petting zoo. As he twirled the¬†blades of grass between his fingers, he asked¬†me, “Where is this going? Do you always take things this slow?” The questions caught me off guard. Was I taking things slow? Why am I still uncertain? I managed,¬†“I’m still getting to know you. I would like to see you again.” Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, that date was sealed with a kiss and a few dancing butterflies.

That was the turning point.¬†We started dating without such long intervals in between. I guess it was unfolding into what could become a relationship, but I still was harbouring some ambivalence. And the butterflies were beginning to clash¬†with the voice inside. Maybe¬†I don’t know how to date anymore? I wonder what he’s doing; is he thinking of me? Why are we still playing “who texted who first” ? We really are different.¬†Maybe I’m not ready to date again. He is the opposite of that someone, and that is……a good thing? You don’t have to¬†agree on everything. We can balance each other out. He’s all about efficiency, I’m about taking my time. He likes numbers, I like words. He ¬†wants kids, I¬†don’t. He wants to find his “missing piece” and start that family.

Then that voice inside could no longer be hushed. I’m not that “missing piece.” I’m not going to complete his puzzle, and he’s not going to complete mine.¬† I knew this after our first coffee date in June, but I didn’t trust my voice inside.¬†I let this go on into August.¬† That morning I knew¬†I had to stop fighting with the voice inside, I told the butterflies to settle down, and put¬†my lipstick courage on. I gave myself a hard stare in the bathroom mirror. I remembered being¬†here before. That was when my heart was aching, and mascara was running down my face. That was when I was trying to get over that someone, but just couldn’t. This time was different; my heart wasn’t aching, it wasn’t feeling anything. My voice inside was speaking up. This just isn’t right. I’d rather be alone than with someone that doesn’t get me. I was going to ask the hard questions this time.

“What are we doing? What do you really want? ” His reply was blurry, and I told him this isn’t working.¬†It wasn’t fair to either one of us; we were closing ourselves off¬†to real connections, and someone was going to get hurt. He started half-heartedly back pedaling, making excuses for us to continue dating, but I stopped him.¬†The voice inside had had enough¬†and wasn’t going to be ignored again. This wasn’t what I wanted. ¬†That was the bottom line.

*****

It’s been a couple weeks since I trusted that voice inside, and I’m so glad that I did. I’m still single, but that’s okay. I¬†want those butterflies and someone who gets me. I¬†want someone who is a work in progress, just like me. I’m not going to settle for a guy who looks good on paper, or online.¬†I don’t want to play it safe anymore. I’m going to trust that voice inside.

trust-the-voice-inside-2

A Soundtrack for Crushes

Do you remember that first crush? Maybe you were in high school, and it never amounted to anything more than a flutter in your heart. Maybe¬†he didn’t even know your name, but you wrote your initials beside his¬†in a little heart on the desk, in your notebook, and on the bathroom mirror. You knew the way he walked, and the sound of his laugh. He thought he was cool, and so did you.¬†You imagined what you would say to him, if he asked to borrow your pen, and¬†smiled at him behind his back.¬† And then when your eyes eventually did meet, he was the first to smile before¬†you looked away, blushing.¬† Maybe it became more than that, maybe it didn’t, but you’ll always remember that crush.

And as you got older¬†you still had those crushes to varying degrees. I still remember those butterflies, and how the world would stand still when I was with you. My hand fit in the crook of your arm just so, and you even sat beside me when we ate. You said it was easier to share that way. ¬†I remember staying up till 2am and then texting that same morning to tell you I was on cloud nine. Or was it you that told me that? It’s a bit foggy now, but I do remember I forgot to pay my rent. You were the only thing on my mind. And I remember sitting there waiting for you,¬†then the¬†warmth of your hands on my shoulders when you did arrive, and finally that smile. Even though you were late, it was impossible to get mad at you. That was just the beginning –it all started with a crush.

And if you’re still trying to recall those sweet crushes, let the smooth vocals of¬† Yuna and Usher remind you.