Bangkok, the city of light. The city of love, angels, Buddha and every hedonistic delight you can imagine or afford. However, it is also the city of bitterness, darkness, and loneliness. This town can open its arms and embrace you into the fold like a long lost daughter or son, or if you are not strong willed enough or if you don’t have the openness of mind and heart that this city demands, it will chew you up and spit you out. I have seen both sides, and I have lived both sides.
Expatriates flock to Bangkok for many different reasons, but you can place them in one of two categories; the ones that are running away from something and the people that are running toward something. I have met both, I have seen both, and I find myself comfortably straddling the center line with a foot placed firmly in both.
Options, or the lack thereof
A few years ago I found myself in the unenviable position of being alone, confused and without options or possibilities, as well as little resources, clarification of mind or motivation to change any of it. For the first time in my life, I honestly and comprehensively understood what “down and out” meant. I was so dejected that I could not see straight. The number of truly terrible decisions I made during that time still haunts me. I knew with every fiber of my being that something had to change, but I was incapable of figuring out how I could even start to do that.
Moving ahead and moving on
So, how did a South African woman end up in Bangkok? Why did I leave every security and comfort I have ever known? How did I manage to pull myself out of the dire straits? How did I end up living, thriving and loving again?
My story will follow, as well as stories of many other women that I have met in Bangkok over the last 3.5 years that I have been living here. That is the aim of this blog, to highlight the stories of women in Bangkok, local and expats alike. To give voice to the voiceless, to lend gravitas to stories, and to give a full picture of the women that indeed make Bangkok the City of Angels.
We are same same, but different
Over the last 3.5 years of making connections, making friends and collecting stories I have found that our stories are not that dissimilar. I have realized that we as women are not alone; we have shared experiences, thoughts, aspirations and sufferings. However, many of us do not understand this, as we never speak out and never share our stories. Instead, we prefer to hold on to our suffering. Preferring to think that we are alone, that no one will understand and that no one will care. The truth is that we are not alone, people do care, and it is in sharing that we empower the next generation of women.
So if you are a woman and are reading these stories, I hope you find them inspiring. I hope they bring solace in knowing that you are not alone and more importantly, I hope that through these stories the realization that survival, the strength of character and pure grit comes naturally to all of us when the situation demands it.