I have a girlfriend that is currently living in Thailand.
I was speaking with her on the phone this evening.
And she said that sentence to me.
It’s something that the Thai’s are constantly saying.
And I am too.
“Same, same…but different…”
But what does it actually mean?
Well, it means different things to each of us.
I am a thinker.
As my readers are well aware.
And that comment this evening, got me thinking about those words.
One year, and one day ago, I had days earlier just attended one of my best friends weddings.
It was the second wedding I attended after having separating from my long marriage.
My ex-husbands family were present at this particular wedding.
And I was on my own.
Old friends that I had since been estranged from equally both by choice, and circumstance, were also there.
In my near constant anxiety ridden state, I made sure I wore a beautiful dress, and showed up as the confident women I not only am, but also the one that I pretend that I am.
I got up and did a reading at the church.
Where I clumsily, and nervously stumbled, and tripped through my words.
Where I swallowed back tears.
Because I pretend to be much stronger than I allude to.
And I personally believe that so many of us do.
At the wedding reception, I made sure I spoke to the people that were a part of my life for twenty of my most important years.
With the help of a little “liquid courage” of course.
When I left the wedding that night, upon seeing my best friend and her new husband ride off into the sunset, I came home to my empty house.
To my reality.
I was no longer married.
I was going to bed by myself, yet again.
And I slipped into a momentary depression about what was now, my life.
A few days later – a year ago yesterday – I had a brain snap.
I drank two glasses of wine, and with my alcohol induced bravado, I booked a flight to Thailand to go and see my friend.
I remember her words to me as I contemplated whether or not I should go and visit her.
“What are you staying for?”
And my God, it’s hard to be brutally honest with yourself.
But then in my mind, I answered that question.
I had nothing to stay for.
There was nothing keeping me where I was. Nothing, except for me.
And isn’t that so often the case?
So I went ahead and booked a flight to leave just 4 days later.
When I arrived into Thailand, after having been there just 2 and a half months earlier, I had a realisation.
Everything was “same, same…but different…”
It was not that anything about the place that I was visiting was different.
In fact, it literally was, “same, same”.
It was ME that was different.
I had new eyes.
New experiences to draw upon.
New bravado to display.
I had a new vulnerability about me.
I was open to new experiences.
I was open to meeting new people.
It was then that I had the realisation that everything was now different.
Not on account of any of my surroundings having changed, but that it was ME who was different.
I was somehow more resilient.
Less naive. In a way.
More able to truly be “alone”.
Which is something that so many of us don’t know how to do.
So many of us don’t know how to truly be “alone”.
And I do not mean being lonely.
Because everyone experiences that.
It’s something totally different.
Loneliness is absolutely NOT the same as being alone.
Feeling lonely is very different to being alone.
I find it difficult to find the words to describe the difference between the two.
I guess it goes something like this.
I have felt truly lonely in my life at times.
It has come from a real, or imagined sense of abandonment.
That someone else is meant to be there to help us pick up the pieces.
And then our bubble is burst.
When we realise that we are not a child.
That no one is there to “make it all better”.
And then we feel lonely.
Knowing it is up to us to “sort it out”.
And it’s a place filled with loneliness.
Because its’s left to us to figure out how to deal with it.
And the recognition that all we truly have is ourselves.
But being alone?
That’s something completely different.
And something that a lot of us don’t know how to do.
So many of us don’t know how to be alone.
I can say that I both fortunately, and unfortunately know how to be alone.
And often times, I prefer my solitude to that of the company of another.
What does it mean to be alone?
To be comfortable in our own presence.
To know how to comfort ourselves.
To be grateful for what is.
To appreciate the silence.
To love ourselves so much that it doesn’t matter if there is someone else sharing our space.
I attach the video of my church reading at my #BFF’s wedding to this article.
And I will also take the words of the reading that I read out that day, and make sense of it what I will.
Because that’s what we do.
We do our best to make sense of everything that is presented to us:
“Be ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them.
If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.
Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous;
Love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful.
Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
Love does not come to an end.”
What do I make of this?
It says it all really.
That all I need is to be WITH love.
And be ambitious for the higher gifts.
Whatever that means.
Because only then, am I “same, same…but different…”