"We cannot simultaneously hold up the banners for both victim and victor. We must choose which one we will be." ~Unknown
A couple days before departing for Thailand I was getting a pedicure and could hear a talk show on the television in the back room. I'm not sure which talk show it was or who the guest was, by I heard her say the quote I placed above, and it really hit home for me. Her words sat with me for several days; in fact, they're obviously still resonating today. What a fantastic way of phrasing the glass is either half empty or half full and applying that well-known phrase to the struggles of our own lives. We cannot be both the victim and the victor. We must choose. Profound!
Why am I writing about this now? I sat down this morning to write about my first day in Bangkok, which by the way felt nothing short of magical. I set out to go see one of the temples I had heard a lot about and was stopped by a tuk-tuk driver who told me that today was the day of prayer in Bangkok and all taxis and tuk-tuks charged half price to take people to the temples, something the government rewarded them to do he explained. All I thought was oh what luck! as I enjoyed an almost two hour tour around several of the temples in which I paid only $2 USD for. I was also taken to the Thai Gem Export building because it was the final day of the special sale that happened only once per year where gems were sold at wholesale without the 195% retail mark up, or so I was told by my tuk-tuk driver and a fellow "chance" foreigner from Singapore whom I met at one of the temples. I was encouraged by both men to purchase a complete jewelry set (as it was explained that I would only be allowed to buy three pieces so I could return through customs without looking like I was exporting gems to my country), and then return to the states to sell them to the jewelers for a substantial profit. I enjoyed looking at the beautiful pieces of jewelry (what female wouldn't), but didn't make any purchases as that was not what this trip was about for me. I'm not here to profit. I'm here to heal and find myself again.
My final stop in my tuk-tuk tour was at the canals where I could hire a boat to take me on a ride through the canals to the final temple. My driver told me he would negotiate the price of my ticket for me so I was paying the thai price and not the tourist price which seemed awfully nice of him. Thinking nothing of the price I was subsequently charged, I jumped in the boat and enjoyed the peacefulness of the ride thinking how cleansing nature's gifts of wind and water are as they both rushed by. By the end of the day I felt almost as if I had been witnessed by the universe, as if whatever being watching over us sent a message ahead of me saying hey guys, this girl is on a mission to heal; be kind to her and help facilitate that healing for her however you can. The entire day felt magical walking through the temples and standing in the same place hundreds of thousands had stood before me in worship.
As I sat down to write about all of this I looked up the name of one of the temples I was taken to, which I only knew as the Lucky Buddha, because I wanted to call it by its Thai name. To my surprise, I discovered tons of articles about the Lucky Buddha scam describing basically my entire day including the half priced tuk-tuk ride, the gem export building, and even the chance foreigner from Singapore that I met. Since I didn't play into the scam and buy anything, the final attempt to get money from me was the ride through the canals where I read I was severely overcharged for the trip.
Reading about this stopped me in my tracks, and I didn't know how to feel about it. Suddenly I realized my confusion came from the fact that despite reading that I was involved in a scam attempt, and knowing my past self would have been saddened or angered by the knowledge, that wasn't at all how I felt and none of the magic of the day had been taken away from me from in the slightest. That scam attempt was the best first day in Thailand I could have imagined, especially for this trip in particular.
Even better, I was given a very enlightening reminder that we cannot be both the victim and the victor. We must choose. The saying that the glass is either half-empty or half-full is so much more than simply choosing an optimistic or pessimistic viewpoint. It's about choosing to be the victim or victor and not allowing life's circumstances to take anything away from the innate magic and beauty that is life itself. Due to the unfortunate turn of events of my last trip here, I left feeling like I was a victim in need of healing. I struggled the following nine months with post-traumatic stress that affected everything including my sleep, my health, my friendships, and my career. However, in reality, while that was a very traumatic and stressful event, I accomplished some amazing things while learning some priceless lessons about parts of myself I had never met before. I saved a man's life by choosing love over hate, something I have yet to explain fully, and that is an extremely powerful lesson.
I returned to Thailand to heal and in the very first day of my trip I was provided the exact lesson I needed to do so. A gift wrapped in a scam attempt. I could have chosen to hold up the banner for victim and allow my entire experience to be ruined, but instead I remained in the victor stance knowing that the scam attempt didn't change my emotional experiences throughout the day. Standing in the places of worship surrounded by healing energy, riding on a boat with the wind in my face and the water rushing past, and the pleasant conversations I had with my driver and the chance foreigner outside of the scam attempt were all still very real and very pleasant experiences. I don't need to heal, I just need to polish my memories a bit and remember the identity of victim or victor is nothing more than a choice.
A lover of words, magic, and the idea of changing the world by encouraging the pursuit of one dream at a time. Living the dream myself as a professional boxer, kickboxer, and MMA fighter.