Being back

Bourganvila Koh Phangan

When I told people I was returning to Thailand, it brought a smile. They said words like “closure”, “going full circle”, “facing the past”. It was considered a brave journey, fitting neatly into the narrative of how best to heal one’s wounds – to go through the fire and come out lighter and brighter on the other side.  It was seen as a good idea.

That idea burned as I approached Koh Phangan. A decade since I received that call, and every urge within my body was screaming “You must get out”. “Don’t get off the boat. Go back. You’re trapped”. My mind tried to calm the body’s wails but the unease was buried deep. Like memories carried by scent, place is a pungent trigger.

The days passed on the island and among them were golden moments – smiles, laughter and joy – but the current of discomfort held its ground.

I faced it. I reasoned with it. I felt it. I let it be. I sat with it, held its hand and breathed through its buoying fear.

It did not leave me alone, but grew branches of a different shape. I did not have to fear the same fate. I would not receive that call – my Mum no longer around to return to. The now is worse than before. The closure does not come. You cannot cure a death.

Stories don’t always come in circles.

You can read the first part of this story – Going back – here.

Have you had any experiences like this? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

11 thoughts on “Being back”

  1. The last line. “You cannot cure a death.” Thank you for your honesty and the reminder that life is never tied neatly in a bow and deposited in the past. Keep living, keep breathing, keep feeling. Namaste xxx

  2. Victoria, I’m so sorry to hear that the return to Thailand has been such a struggle for you and not the positive triumph that you hoped. But you are absolutely write, that stories don’t always come in circles: sometimes they are instead filled with sharp jagged edges and the plot only seems to get more fraught. The truth is, we never can go backwards and some wounds we will carry with us forever into the future.

    Even if this trip doesn’t bring you the solace you had originally hoped, having met you, I know you are strong, resilient, a lover & a fighter… all things your mum would be so proud of could she see you now. The weight of the past may feel especially heavy where you currently are, but I know that you know there are places in this world where it feels a little lighter even if it never fully leaves you. Wishing you a safe journey to whichever of those places you next find yourself!

    • Thank you Steph. I’m not really sure exactly what I was looking for from the trip to Thailand. I always knew it would be hard, but I hadn’t really appreciated quite how hard the reality would be. That said, there were definitely some good moments. Another post coming tomorrow. Thanks again for your kind words and support 🙂

  3. Victoria, a short post that indicates quite well what giant imaginary suitcase stuffed with thoughts you have been pulling behind you. No matter if the circle finally closed or not, I still consider it brave to go back, alone, to stand at that very spot, taking a look around and listening to your own heartbeat in order to figure out what has changed. The weight of the suitcase may not have changed significantly, but it maybe was good to take some time to sit down and take a closer look at its content again, even if it may hurt…
    Not meant to overdo it Victoria, but I really like the photo! Not only the beauty in it, but also the poetry. You know, due to the perspective and your view towards the sky it seems like the flower is somewhat observing you. Who knows, it might be a special flower, carefully watching you from above and following your steps, requiring sun and rain alike to grow and blossom…
    Take care!!

  4. Pingback: Best Reads: June 2014 : Indefinite Adventure
  5. I was in Thailand too when I had a call from home similar to yours, I flew back and I never returned to Thailand since simply because I didn’t have the chance yet. I can only imagine how you felt and I think I can fully understand you, some wounds need more than time to heal.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.