Stickman Readers' Submissions September 29th, 2014

A Period Of Innocence – A Period Of Change

Inspired by Hoboken – 25/09/2014:

I'm not sure if there is ever just one period of innocence – there would probably be many such periods that we can all recall from various times in each of our lives – yet one period remains vivid in my memory. That period was before I ever went to Thailand or even had any plans to do so – and I guess you could also call it a period of recovery. The time of which I write was the years 1997 and 1998.

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This period began with optimism after coming out of what mystics call "The Dark Night Of The Soul" – and it begins with a feeling of emerging from a dark tunnel that seemed as if it would never end. Some may know it as a period of depression – but it is much more than that – more closely aligned with a state of mind that stems from a cry from the soul to be free of the chains that are holding you in a place where you do not wish to be. It is a time where you seem to have lost values that were once what comprised core values that were "you" – the person you always believed you were.

Sometimes we need a new start, irrespective of the age when it happens – for me, it was a new beginning after total devastation resulting from my failed second marriage. The strange thing is that the catalyst involved in that change was a simple TV series that I identified with because of the simplicity of the truths that were written into the script of the series. The characters were larger than life and crazy in their own special way – and I was totally captured by the masterful writing of the creator of the show – David E. Kelley. The man is a former Boston Lawyer and an absolute master in understanding human emotion and how people relate in specific circumstances.

You could say that this is not particularly a submission based totally on Thaicentric issues – but it is directly related to how I became involved in Thailand and how that new start was what, unknowingly to me, made me go that first time to Bangkok – and to hold onto the beliefs that now hold me steady.

The TV series to which I refer was "Ally McBeal" (played by Calista Flockhart) – a masterpiece of writing by David E. Kelley. Of course, being appreciative of talent by others in writing, it was much more than that what drew me to identify with the principal character in the TV series – Ally McBeal – a young Law Graduate from Harvard, who worked as an Associate for a fictional small, Boston law firm called Fish and Cage. I am on my third time running through all five seasons of the TV show – 111 episodes – and each time I play each episode, there is a pearl of wisdom that I find in that episode. In those early days of the series (series 1-3), all of the Partners and Associates were young – and a sense of innocence prevailed – perhaps even naievety.

I said that I identify with Ally – mainly this is because I share the same values that drive Ally on her journey through life. Essentially, Ally believes that there is just that "One Special Person" for each of us in life – and that, having found that person, you will never be totally happy if you are not with that person for the rest of life. Some people have said to me that I am Ally because I hold her life values with the same high regard as she does. Sure, she is often totally screwed up in her head – mainly because she is trying to make sense of ongoing difficult situations that present themselves as a real challenge. The same things are happening for me – but I know her character is that of a good person who cares about other people – and I hope that I do the best I can to do, just as she does in everyday life.

Like her, I am not always successful – but the most important thing is that we realize the mistakes we make and try to learn how to avoid those same mistakes again.

Thailand is probably the worst choice imaginable to be if you are trying to stabilize issues of emotion centred on the heart – the reason being the enormous distractions that can draw one off the course one is trying to steer in order to gain control of who you really are. The submission by Hoboken (Petchaburi Shadow) is a good place to start to draw analogies in thought patterns that are an illustration that there are some people, who make such an indelible mark on our very soul, that we search to try and find that person again – probably for the rest of our life.

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I guess, for some people it is comforting to have that belief that it may be possible to find that person again – but, what if you know where she is and you cannot contact her because you know it would only cause problems for yourself – but, more importantly, you do not wish to complicate her life any more than it already was? That is my situation – and, given that I am way too old to be even contemplating such an action, what would it achieve to do so, even if I were younger?

Ally loved the boy (Billy) that she grew up with as a child who lived next door – she always believed they would always be together, marry and have a family – but things do not always go to plan. The strange situation was that, even though Billy left her after graduation to suss out a better job in Michigan – and married another – both Billy and Ally always continued to have that deep love for each other. The belief stayed alive in both of them – made more difficult by the fact that Ally, Billy and his wife (Georgia) all now worked for Fish and Cage.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book titled "On Death And Dying" back in 1969 – and she set out 5 stages that we all go through: Denial and Isolation – Anger – Bargaining – Depression – and, finally, Acceptance. These 5 stages do not have to specifically apply to the event of someone's death – it can also be a symbolic state of loss that can be every bit as strong as the death of someone very close.

The evolution of the character Ally is interesting to observe – because, although she appears to have gone through all of the 5 stages, I believe that she still believes in the enduring love that she holds that will never die for Billy. In Season 3 – (Disc 5) "Boy Next Door" – Billy dies while addressing The Judge in Court as Litigant for his client. He simply says he has to sit down – then sits on the floor of The Court, lies down on the floor as Ally rushes to his side, trying to revive him and he dies in her arms from a brain tumor. Ally was shattered and I do not believe she ever recovered from that event – it changed the whole course of her life. She seemed to lose her belief in ever finding true love again. Mind you, I'm not surprised because she did encounter a few "toads" along the way.

Comparing this situation to my own – way back in Chiang Mai, in what seems like half a lifetime ago – I did not have to endure a physical death of the one I love but having to leave her was the equivalent for me. I have never recovered from being separated from this person because I have always believed that she was (and still is) "the one" – that one "Special Someone".

Like Hoboken, I also think about the other ones I have known and often wonder what has become of their lives – are they happy? Did they find what they were looking for? Do they remember the ones who cared about them?

Hoboken writes of a Studio on Petchaburi – and I also have memories of a Studio on Petchaburi, although I doubt it would be the same one. My experience was in 2004 and the young lady was Daw – way too young for me and all we experienced together was the normal Thai massage and a few outings for dinner with her sisters and on our own. I was drawn to her by her peaceful nature and a desire to do something for her that may just possibly make her day a little bit nicer than the normal mundane. She wanted me to go back to Udon Thani to meet her family – but I declined while telling her I was on my way up to Chiang Mai in the next couple of days.

It is strange, but only last year, I went back to look for Daw's Studio on Petchaburi – but it was gone. The whole building had been demolished and replaced by a newer structure, opposite Panthip Plaza. Although it was only a Platonic friendship, I still think about Daw – and I guess I can understand the way Hoboken thinks about the loss of some part of our soul unless we care about what happens to these people who we encounter in our travels within Thailand.

My "Cross" still lives in Chiang Mai – and she is still my "Special Someone". Like Ally, I will never know the joy of being with her for always – 2010 was the last time we had together but each and every day I wake thinking of her – and she is the last one on my mind before I go to sleep each night. I don't know if that is a curse or a blessing – but I do believe in everlasting love with that "Special Someone". Without beliefs, we have nothing.

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