Stickman Readers' Submissions April 30th, 2008

I Have A Million Titles For This One

Hello, how are you? Thanks for reading (or not as the case soon maybe).

This is an emotional post for me; I genuinely have tears in my eyes as I write. This is the story of a loser, England, Thailand and a never-ending search for happiness.

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A brief history of our loser.

I’m male, 31, overweight, going bald, no job and recently arrived back in the UK from 15 months in Thailand. I come from a deprived background; my mum has been a habitual heroin user since her late teens and has had various stays at her Majesty’s
finest jailing establishments. My father, bless him, left when I was 2 or 3 and since then I have had 2 subsequent replacements whom my mother decided to have children with and both were pieces of xxxx who only ever cared about the next fix. I
have 3 sisters and one brother and all 4 of them are drug users with children also, either in local authority care or going. I’m considered a shining moral beacon in my family.

The Story

Throughout my childhood, as you can imagine, my family and I have lived all over England in many properties, some as long as a year. When you have drug dependent parents, such things as schooling, diet, adequate clothing even love seem to take a back
burner. I cannot even remember all the schools I went to; let’s just say that it was a lot. I was always considered “bright and capable” as one teacher I remember put it. I never finished school.

At 15 years of age I left home (to this day, I have never gone back!) and I lived with a friend who had a room in a shared house. To survive I had to steal from shops for money. (This was about 1992; please remember, even then, England was not in the
shape it is today). As you can imagine, I started to accumulate a criminal record.

Shoplifting, theft, driving without a license and insurance. You name it, I did it! (No drugs though, I hate them!) I was lucky not to get sent to prison.

After drifting around for 3 or 4 years I finally started work “on the roads”. Where I come from this means roadwork, asphalt, concrete, pipes, you know what I mean. From then on, I kept out of trouble from the law.

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At the grand old age of 21 I had a son, I was determined not to be like my father and take responsibility for my child, this lasted a couple of months. As the novelty wore off there was always a reason to be in the pub with my friends and not with my
new family. Their welfare always came second, maybe I was too young to be a dad, I certainly did not know how to cope emotionally. (Am I trying to justify my actions to myself and others? Probably.) As you can imagine, she did not suffer this
forever and not long after my son’s 1st birthday she left me and found someone else. I cried like I never had before. Drink and work took over my life. (There have been relationships in-between, none more than six months. Emotionally I’m
still a child. I just don’t have the skills or tools to develop a serious relationship in such a manner.)

The Thailand Bit

At work there was a Thailand-old-hand who has a wife, children and a big house in Kanchanaburi. He is self-employed and spends the winter in Thailand and as the year went on, he would revel in delight in the telling of tales of the mysterious east. I
was intrigued. In the end I took up an invitation to stay at his house at Christmas for three weeks. My life since has changed forever. (This was the Christmas of the tsunami. I did not realize the devastation until I got home.)

Before this trip, the furthest I had been was Spain; you can imagine my reaction for the first few days. I just did not understand. I was lucky to have a guide who was genuinely pleased I was there and welcomed me in his home. We went to Koh Samet and
all around Kanchanaburi and Bangkok. I think I saw every temple, waterfall, safari park, boat trip and shopping mall Thailand has to offer. I never partook in the nightlife; I was with my friend and his wife and children, the trip genuinely was
not like that. To say that was a special holiday was an understatement!

When I came home I was not the same, I felt happy for the first time in my life. This was just a 3-week holiday and I felt so revitalized. I have suffered from depression in various forms all my life and from that first holiday I can honestly say the
change in me was clear to everyone. Was it Thailand really or a well needed break? I don’t know. I booked again for the next Christmas and away I went, this time the inevitable happened and I met someone. Let’s just say, even in
Thailand, I was still unable to hold down a steady relationship.

Up to this point in my life I have had limited contact with my son, my mother and my brother and sisters. I have no family. I think the last time I actually spoke to my mother was about four or five years ago. There was no official falling out, it’s
just she seemed to be wrapped up in her world and me in mine…

I decided to leave England and live in Thailand. The decision was easy, no money, no home, no family and a limited amount of friends. The kind of expat Thailand wants. What was I going to do for money, am I that conceited to believe I could pass myself
off as a teacher? This is a man who never finished school.

To all my pupils, I hope I taught you something worthwhile.

All in all I stayed in Thailand for 15 months, teaching, learning and generally feeling alive and new. Do I have the right to gain happiness at other people’s expense, namely my students? No, no I don’t. Please believe me when I say that
I’m truly not proud of the decision I made and I apologise wholeheartedly. In my time there I learnt Thai to a good standard, both written and spoken, through a very good school I also attended for the whole time of my stay.

I can imagine, as I write this all the experts on Schoocher’s sharpening their knives ready to have a go at what a prick I am and yes, they are right. If what I have written is full of spelling mistakes and is grammatically incorrect I really am
sorry. Then again, am I that vain to think they will even care….maybe.

I came back to England because I realized that I am not helping myself or others in staying In Thailand, I am NOT a teacher and pretending I am is hurting myself and the people I “teach”. It was a hard decision but I know with hindsight
will be correct.

In Conclusion

Where has this led me? As I said at the start I am unemployed back in the UK but this time it is different. I have brought a little knowledge back with me. I am training for a position in a local social welfare group for people with drug and alcohol issues
and I am also studying English at college and then a diploma of teaching. I am also trying to revive my relationship with my son (if he feels I am worthy of his love). I feel as if my life is finally on track and have been given another chance.
I brought Buddhism back with me and I am now a regular attendee of my local Buddhist centre.

All my life I have felt a victim. The Dhammapada (verses uttered by the Buddha) has given me a new lease of energy. This is from “Pairs”.

Those who entertain such thoughts as “he abused me, he beat me, he conquered me, he robbed me.” Will not still their hatred.

Those who do not entertain such thoughts as “he abused me, he beat me, he conquered me, he robbed me.” Will still their hatred.

I no longer have a victim mentality and take responsibility for my own actions. I can and will be a better person and mindful of others.

Will I end up back in Thailand? Yes, I think so. This time though I will be older, wiser and most important of all, qualified to teach. Will I be able to hold down a relationship and relate to people in a healthy and productive manner? I hope so.

I really could have made this 50 times longer but I have tried to keep to the bare facts. (It’s hard to put your life into a short story)

For all those, who kept with my little tale and stayed for the duration.

Thank you.

Stickman's thoughts:

It's fantastic to hear that you have managed to turn your life around. All the best for the future.

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