I apologize for the select few of my readers who’ve been bitching and moaning for another post. If I had a valid excuse, I’d be feeding it to you. The only thing that I can come up with, is that I’ve had a drought of actual introspection. That’s not to say that I’ve been without inspiration. I got plenty of that, scattered about, waiting for me to make sense of it.
The dose of reality this time comes from my roommate and best friend (same person)
Let’s roll it back a few months…like when I arrived in Asia, with sights set high of blazing through our TESOL training (teaching certification), and getting a job right away in Thailand.
Several blog posts of mine make reference to doing what you want, and taking big steps; getting out of your own comfort zone, for the sake of personal growth. I make statements to the effect of “live in the moment” and “don’t chase the dollar”.
A month or so after being certified, I received a job at a government prep school in northern Bangkok. I arrive on the first day of work after an hour and a half commute through the streets of this monsoon-seasoned metropolis. After receiving all the materials I’d be using for the school year, I panicked, like a runaway bride or groom on their big day. Deer in headlights, frozen, I manage to find a way out; just barely. Minutes before signing a year or two contract, I explain to the principal that I can’t commit to the job for reasons of transportation. It would be 2 1/2-3 hours every day, and I explained that it just doesn’t work for me.
While it was a quite a legitimate excuse (at least for me), it was purely of convenience. The fact remained, that I was just not ready. I came into Asia, guns blazing, expecting to take on whatever I came to encounter with an adaptability and perseverance that I’ve always claimed to have. So you’re wondering how the Kool-Aid tasted on the way down? Acidic and corrosive, to be quite honest. For another month, I made excuses for myself as to why I wasn’t hitting the ground running finding a job, trying to come up with something that jived with the reality I’d reconstructed. During this time, I clung to all that I knew, and have for the last 4 years: poker. I played 80 hour weeks, drowning myself in the convoluted logic that I was somehow being productive. The biggest problem was that poker was going so well that I focused on this magical number of earnings that I wanted to achieve that would allow me to coast for the rest of the year. I put everything on the back burner. I wasn’t job-hunting. I wasn’t exploring the city, eating new foods, and living the life that I told Abby we’d be living when we moved here.
So why did I have such a long blog-writing hiatus? In a word, capital S “Shame”. I had let down the person who means the most to me in the world, and more importantly; myself. Abby sat me down one day, and in a manner of speaking, asked me what I was doing here in Thailand? That if I wanted to stay and just play poker, she’d ride out 2013 and book a flight back home. “I came to Thailand with my best friend because I wanted to experience life abroad and the adventure of teaching together with you. I want to come home from work and have us share stories of our days teaching, and right now, I just don’t feel that connection or desire to share that part of my life with you. As it stands, you’re not holding up your end of the bargain and if this is how it’s going to be, I want out” Having lost the respect from the one I wanted to respect me the most, and who I respected the most, is something that still shakes me to this day.
I distinctly remember immediately saying “thank you” for telling me that. “I didn’t come to Thailand so that I could go teach every day while you sit on the couch playing poker in your pj’s,” she added. I’m not saying that playing poker is bad or that someone cannot pursue a meaningful life doing this. The issue was that it wasn’t the reason why I came to Thailand for. I had sold out. In retrospect, I realized that Abby saved me from myself. I’m not quite sure how I lucked out by landing her in my life, but I’ll chalk it up to winning the lottery if I really have to.
I simply needed someone to lay me out, and hold me to the same standard that I expect of myself. Before the conversation, I had intentions of amping up the job search towards the end of 2013. While she feared my sudden burst of confidence was simply a reaction of appeasement, I made sure she knew that it was indeed very genuine, and that I was very thankful that she had the courage to rock the boat in aims of holding me accountable to myself.
At the moment, I’m gainfully employed at Andrew Biggs Academy. I work English camps, and will be teaching corporate English to companies in Bangkok. I had my first couple camps early December, and they were incredible. I am very thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given by them, and for the push that my best friend provided me.
“So what can I take from your screw up?”
How about this? You know your brother or sister that keeps talking about going back to school, but drowns himself/herself in prime time TV shows and 47 fantasy teams instead? The friend who wants to quit their job and find one that makes them happier? The friend who has an abusive spouse, that you choose to ignore addressing?
FUCKING say something!!! Speak up and be heard! Pardon the language; it’s for emphasis and shock value. Anything I can do to make you think about this post for 2 more seconds than you already had to.
But seriously, you have a voice and you have an influence. If you don’t speak up in the best interests of your friend, family member, coworker, your relationship with them isn’t worth a damn. These disconnected connections are all around us. Fortunately, we all have the tools to splice these frayed wires.
Friendship without honesty is a facade, and only helps you pass the time. You might be moving; but it’s in circles, as the merry goes round.