Monday, June 11, 2012

The Fear of Being Taken Advantage Of


I loved the feeling of giving whole hardheartedly and without expectations. It made my day when I saw a smile on people's faces after having handed them a gift or flowers in their favorite colors, sent them a card or helped them with their university papers no matter how stressed out about my own studies I was. I loved surprising them or offering them my undivided attention whenever they needed someone to talk to. 

Many times, my nature was appreciated and I have made many solid friendships that are based on mutual respect. But I have also been at the receiving end of insensitive actions and hurtful comments. I have been hurt when others revealed to me their selfish self-centered behaviors. And despite my mother’s advice, those actions and words rarely dampened that giving and forgiving part of me. 

My mother warned me that such actions will hurt if they were not reciprocated. She was continuously worried that I was being used and that the only reason why many of my acquaintances were contacting me was because they needed help for some reason; that I was remembered only in time of need because I never refused them. She advised me to taper down my giving nature to protect myself from getting hurt. Being a giving person herself and having been hurt many times before, she advised me to give those who are worthy of my generosity. But I never took her advice. 

I should have…

because she was right about the hurt that came with sharing a piece of my heart with undeserving people. She was right about the confusion that I felt after having thought of unresponsive others placing them ahead of myself. Being the protective caring mother she is, she was always worried about me getting hurt by others and changing because of it.

After over 15 years, I started to realize that she was right about the hurt; it does blur one's vision and turns them sour. I was stupid not to notice things early. Immature at times to let such incidents slide passed me, not paying close attention to the details of relationships, never thinking about the true intentions and selfishness of unworthy people. I never thought about it before, never even thought that I should give them the benefit of a doubt because I NEVER doubted their intentions.  

After realizing that this was indeed happening to me, I began to develop a fear; the fear of being taken advantage of. For many years after ‘the awakening’, I began to build a fortress around the walls of my heart especially with new acquaintances. I constructed it brick by brick, stopped going all out and worried about protecting everything I had; my emotions being one small part. I mean, who would want to get used again? I kept telling myself that I would be a fool not to learn from my past mistakes. 


This fear only screwed things up for me. I stopped being the all-out person. I ceased to generously share a part of me and my worldly possessions with others no matter who they were. I sometimes escaped that protective barricade and returned to my old giving self again but was later pulled back by invisible hooks that cautioned me about the hurtful wave which might crash into my walls soon after. It sometimes made people feel a little uncomfortable asking things of me and I would only hear that from my husband. It made them a little cautious approaching me, something that I never had to think about before as people knew the answer to every request or question was a yes. 

My husband is of the same giving nature and is many times confused by my attitudes towards others. He understands my fear and the history behind its birth but he says that it is never bad to always be the giver and be good even if I get hurt. I am still fearful of being taken advantage of but I am just starting to let go. It will take time to bring down that wall brick by brick but I know that I must persevere as the feeling that lingers, after I deny my giving self a chance to show its true colors, is way worse than actually being hurt.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Self Re-Discovery Trip

Our first camp site where the scenery was breath taking

I needed this trip to reconnect with my inner self and, well to be honest, my old self. I have been on camping trips with my son before but have not had a chance to do so ever since I was a few months pregnant with my second, touring around British Columbia in an RV. I was not allowed to hike or camp on a hard floor because my pregnancy was at risk. This was four years ago and now the chance had come for me to breath in the pure mountain air which would clear my head allowing me to connect with nature again. 

What a feeling it is to experience new adventures! I love that stimulating effect it has on my soul. It sparks me up as jump cables recharge a car into life. The train ride there was an experience in itself. We were a little late starting due to a derailed train up North and so instead of the 13 hour train ride duration, it took 17.5 hours. Honestly, with all those children providing us with entertainment, it wasn't that bad.

The first thing I did when we got to the first camp site was to stand on the top of the camp site and breath in the clean air. I closed my eyes and let nature engulf and embrace me in its arms. What a feeling to be free and fearless! Students, both female and male, were screaming every time they entered the insect infected bathrooms as they were not used to it. I took it as a chance to meet new creatures. 

The trip plan was to raft from the first camp site all the way to the second and then third camp site. Our second camp site was in some of the local villager's log cabins with their primitive bucket showers and toilets. I love the sound of rain in a forest. Because these log cabins were made of wood, the sound of the rain was so loud it forced me to listen to every drop that hit the planks. Birds chirped, toads crocked and the sound of water buffalo filled the night and broke the silence of the dark.

Students' toilets and showers

Teachers' log cabin
Unfortunately, there weren't any wild animals; the crocodiles were all hunted, the elephants were broken and the water buffalo were owned by farmers. The only wild creature that we saw, a snake, was killed by a local and was dangling on a stick. 
Water Buffalo in the background
Elephant in captivity
I was introduced to reed rafting. Well, I did not do it myself but I got to watch the rafters pass us by in our rubber rafts. There were so many International tourists who were standing on reed/bamboo rafts while locals were doing the paddling. I would love to do that even though they would not have gone through class 3 rapids on those and so would miss out on the fun. 

A bridge that was constructed in 2005 and demolished a few months later due to cheap construction and corrupt engineers.BUT you can also see the reed rafts in the forefront. You can also see an Albino water buffalo in the background (the pink one).

After our first rafting trip, part of my left sandal broke off and then on the second rafting trip, the next day, the right foot broke. Luckily, I could still wear it and discarded it before we drove to Chiang Mai to catch the train.

We also went on a 3 hour hike through a forest the last day and before we jumped on a train back to Bangkok. I love hiking because I can touch the soil, rocks, trees and vegetation and feel their energy seep into my system and revive me.
It was such an invigorating trip, one that I was much in need of.  I needed to find out for sure that I am still the kind of person who loves to be in nature and experience new adventures. I needed to know that I am still young inside. I needed reassurance that I can still appreciate nature and be in the wild. I wanted to know if I can still withstand to use primitive facilities. I wanted to discover whether or not I am stuck in the same routine every morning, noon and night or whether I am up for a jumble. I finally reconnected with my younger self.

I feel pumped about the summer.

Here are a few more pictures from my trip.

A dragon snake at an entrance to a small temple in the middle of a small village in a forest.
A temple at the beginning of our journey into the forest.
Local ploughing equipment

A local woman in her traditional everyday garb.