Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hide and Seek....

Julie asks "Have you kept a secret or have you lied, directly or by omission, about something big? How did you make your decision---did it bring about justice? How did forgiveness fit in (or not)? Would you do it the same next time?"

Interesting question, of course. I'm not even certain how to answer it because the first thing that came to me is that I can't remember a time before five years ago or so that I wasn't living a lie.

Did I do it on purpose, for manipulation or deception? No. It was survival.

For many years, I held each thought, each belief, each experience to myself. Was that lying about something big? Absolutely. I was lying by omission about who I am... because I didn't have a me to share at that time.

The first 50 years of my life were lived in shame. How could I be such a misfit? How could I be so unworthy? My daily experience reinforced that belief. It took everything I had to believe I had a right to breathe.

Shame breeds secrecy. It wasn't so much a question of lying to protect who I am. The lying was to protect who I was not. I used imitation a lot. Since my own core was empty, I would imitate the people around me, even when I didn't like what I was doing. I knew nothing else.

Years of not knowing who we are, let alone how to live authentically, is something that becomes like the proverbial ball of yarn. The threads wind around and around until the core is barely accessible. I lived a life with alligator-infested moats around my true self, with a big drawbridge that flew shut at the slightest sign that the sandbags might get washed away. Because if they got washed away, the whole castle would crumble. To be exposed brought me to unspeakable terror.

If we're lucky, something happens that unravels it all, sometimes brutally, sometimes gently, but it is what finally lets us out of the prison of lying.

Still, the fact remains that I did harm to others. Each person, including my ex-husband, who got involved with me did not have access to the real me. They had access to the Potemkin image I'd created.

Eventually the Potemkin image was revealed. I groped around in the dark for a very long time to uncover what would become the me I am today.

Most of that occurred, of course, in Thailand. While I write and wax poetic about the place, it is also the place where a lot of my carefully constructed walls were broken down. I shed more tears than I like to admit while I was there but finally finding a place where the buried me felt safe to stop lurking led to a lot of healing.

The lying was the first to go. For me, finding a place to belong saved my soul. There was strength in the feeling that these are my people and this is my place in the world. This is where I am safe to be all that I am. What was born there in that place is what I brought back. The me that people seem to like and respond to in such a positive way was born in Khon Kaen. In that regard, my history has been rewritten.

So.. forgiveness. There's plenty of it to be had and to be given. Hurt is like anything else. It spreads like a virus and ultimately affects everyone it touches. Did my lying hurt people? I'm certain of it. Have they forgiven me? I doubt they even know.

This inevitably leads to the former questions of forgiving fate. In the final analysis, I suspect my life has gone just as it was intended to go, even the hard stuff. I don't feel the need to forgive it. My job is to accept it and grow from it.




heartinsanfrancisco said...

You were reborn in Thailand, and so it is only right that you claim it as your home.

I think that most of us struggle our whole lives to find the place that allows us to be who we are without judging us or attempting to change us. And others, the ones who follow religions in an attempt to find answers, comfort themselves with thoughts of a hereafter in which they will find their soul's home.

I think it is preferable to find it in our lifetimes, while we are still in bodies. There is probably a place for everyone on earth that feels utterly and indisputably like home, but most of us never find it.

You are so fortunate that you did, and that you recognized it as the place you were meant to be. It's clear that Thailand is your Heaven, and that being the case, you must surely have earned it.

You have so much courage, Chani, which enables you to completely dismantle your defenses and remake yourself to your own specifications.

It is a great pleasure to walk behind you and bask in your glow.

slouching mom said...

Powerful, powerful post.

And you've clearly been blessed with a great deal of insight. A good thing, too, because many live their entire lives "lying by ommission," and that's such a waste of a life.

slouching mom said...

oops -- omission, not ommission.

flutter said...

I opened up my comment window and SM already said everything I wanted to! :p

Christine said...

I liked this so much Chani. I think we all long for a place that we can be free to be our true selves, no lies. Like sm said, you have great insight here. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Lex said...

What courage. What peace. What life.

jen said...

50 years of not knowing who you are...and to think...many live their whole lives not knowing.

and the courage is in fighting our way back and figuring it out and owning up to it and making the changes. you lead by example, friend. against many odds, you do exactly that.

Laurie said...

You are an amazing woman, Chani.

Emily said...

Jen said it all. I'm glad you filled in that moat with gravel and then paved over it.

Snoskred said...

Wow is not sufficient. Again you leave me without worthy words to type. ;)

Anonymous said...

Most sins are sins of omission.

I can't think of any big lies I've told, but there were times when I should have spoken up or taken action, and didn't.

Like you, I didn't really start to get a handle on what this "life" thing is until I was more than half way through it.

Anonymous said...

"I suspect my life has gone just as it was intended to go"

Amen. I cannot find any words of my own.

thank you for continuing to write such insightful and open posts. I can only imagine how much it takes out of you and I hope you are getting back as much.


mitzh said...

"So.. forgiveness. There's plenty of it to be had and to be given. Hurt is like anything else. It spreads like a virus and ultimately affects everyone it touches. Did my lying hurt people? I'm certain of it. Have they forgiven me? I doubt they even know."

So true...

Living our life, making those choices, maybe hurting some people along the way and hurting us, as well. But in the end of it all when all those thing that we've been through, made us a much better person and much stronger, I guess there is no place for regrets..

Very beautiful insights! :D

Julie Pippert said...

Strawberry Fields Forever, Chani.

"Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out..."

I am both moved to empathy and understanding by all you have shared here.

Yes, lying that way...I get to that too. It's survival, protecting the last thing you have that matters.

How awesome (in the true meaning of the word awe) that you found a place that brought you the consciousness, understanding and safety to bloom as yourself.

How fortunate for us all.

ewe are here said...

An amazing way to look at what life hands us... and how we work through it and just learn to accept it. And you're right; forgiveness isn't needed. I think most of us just try to do the best that we can in life, and when we 'fail, accept it grow, and move on.

Again, amazing post.

thailandchani said...

Susan, I'm the last one who ever thought, not even for a fleeting moment, that I had a home, let alone one 8K miles away.

I do feel fortunate about that.. very fortunate. My life now.. can't even begin to imagine .. without that place in it.


SM, the interesting thing is that it was always my greatest fear to live that way. You know, I read "Babbit" in high school and it seriously scared the crap out of me. I even made some bad choices in my life ~ based on having read that book.


Flutter, isn't it amazing how that happens? I experience that so often when I am commenting around. :)


Christine, I believe we can all have that place. For me, so much of it involved being able to look objectively at the lies I'd been told all my life. So many of us are taught to fear other places.

When a friend suggested I go to Thailand, I thought he had to be crazy. I mean... Thailand? I thought the only things that place would have is prostitutes and reclining Buddhas. Oh, and not to mention the possibility of being killed by some drug-smuggling warlord's gang!

What I found was so different. Yes, those things occur there.. but it's.. you know.. home. What can I say? :)


Lex, I'm trying. Still have a long, long way to go... but yeah.. I'm getting there. :)


Jen, thanks. I've never thought of myself as a leader or an example.. in any way at all. If someone gets something of value from all of this weirdness, I'm happy for that. :)


Laurie.. no, I'm not. But thanks for saying so. :)


Emily, me, too! I wish I'd known much younger that the world is not as mean and cruel as I thought it was.


Snos, everything you say is "worthy". You never know... who needs to hear exactly what you say.


Thomas, I wonder how common that might be. You know, I know mine seems kind of dramatic because of the extremes I've lived.. but I'll bet most people experience something similar.


De, I'm not keeping score.. but I will say this: I am grateful to every single blogger who comments here and who write posts for me to read. And that includes you... very much so! :)


Mitzh, I've always felt regrets were wasted energy. We can't unring a bell.. so all we can do is learn and go on to the next lesson.


Julie, love the "Strawberry Fields" quote. I never would have remembered it. :)

Lying is almost always protective on one level or another. There are so few instances where it has any other intent.

And yes on Thailand. I will be grateful to Thailand until the day I die... on its soil. :)




QT said...

It has all been said, Chani. Wonderful post.

thailandchani said...

Ewe, thanks. :) So many of us worry way too much about balancing - you know, weighing and measuring the things in our lives and comparing it to others. That's a heavy burden to carry in itself.


QT, kinda sorta. :) Somehow I'm thinking there will always be more.




KC said...

Thank goodness for Thailand. To be at the right place for the walls to come's amazing.

MsLittlePea said...

Another great post. I love when you write about the concept of home.

amusing said...

Lovely post. Some things for me to think about here. Thanks.

Lucia said...

A very powerful post. It's got my brain buzzing...

thailandchani said...

KC, yes... thank goodness for Thailand! In many ways, it saved my life.


MsPea, thanks. It just makes me... happy... and I end up writing about it. I love having a "home".


Amusing, thanks. :) I'm glad!


Lucia, curious... what is it making you think about? Your post today really got me thinking, too. In fact, it grew into a post of its own. :)