I tore my leggings yesterday at a restaurant. There was a nail in the leg of the chair that stuck out, caught the back part of my calf and ripped a pretty good sized hole. I was pretty bummed. There’s not a whole lot of places to buy leggings in Asia, more so there’s not a whole lot of places to buy anything that will fit me in Asia.

Nepal has been such a weird experience so far. Being both that of completely new and like nothing before I’ve ever seen as well as having quite a lot of personal disappointments and errors. Nepal is closer in style to India than to my previous visited countries. However, Nepal is a very poor country and a lot of itself is not taken care of in a proper way. Roads, for instance, while they have some paving are mostly uneven and rocky. There are power outages all the time. Some scheduled, some not. The government doesn’t take care of its people equally (well, that’s no different from Western countries) and there is a growing problem with poverty.

Having a similar reaction in Cambodia – where I saw money that travellers were bringing in, yet locals don’t get rich off of that money, so that can be disturbing. Most travellers ignore it, I can go either way. Sometimes I find it embarrassing to haggle a price or to complain of something frivolous, while others do it openly and unabashedly. My thinking is – their thought is, that either they’re “helping” this foreigner become more accustomed to western style capitalism, or they think that haggling $2 over a scarf bonds them with this culture.

So I just sit and observe. I have a few friends here on this main street. However, I’ve always been much more partial to a life of anonymity. This lifestyle, of always flying below the radar is due to the fact that I am highly insecure. I have always been scared of sticking out – even if for positive reasons. Like in elementary school I was a “math wiz,” but that was okay because I was at an advanced school anyway. Then, my family moved to a small town in California. I remember my first week of school there and how I already knew everything the teacher was teaching, but had such a hard time making friends I eventually just learned to shut my mouth because their small town mentality was being challenged by a big city 2nd grader, riding to school on her high horse. (I mean, my dad drove a van)

Soon at this new school kids would be calling me fat. But not directly, in clever ways like, “Shut up, or Duffy will sit on you.” Meanwhile thinking, “I’m Duffy… I’m not gonna sit on them. I don’t even know them.” The sitting on thing lasted til 6th grade. I transferred into that school halfway through 2nd grade, and didn’t have a close friend until 4th grade. (Lisa R. still friends to this day! We first bonded because our birthdays our 1 day apart)

So through high school my goal was always – skate by undetected. Sometimes it was easy because I am a lazy student. However, things come natural to me that may not for others. For instance – writing. I never had to study for English, or even read the whole book, truth be told. I could write a convincing essay based on what the teacher talked about in class – she would ultimately give away the theme, and I would just expand on that. Bullshitting 101.

My mom just happened to be an English teacher at my school. She is a passionate woman about a lot of things, but please do not think we spent evenings gathered around the fire working on compound verbs. (I am not a technical writer. Grammar still eludes me) Yet one day in P.E. (gym class) we were talking about our essay grades and I had just received a B on another phoned in essay and a boy said “yeah probably because your mom writes all your essays for you.” I wanted to smack him. What an idiot. My mom didn’t even know I had an essay due! It was my week at my Dad’s! I kept my good grades to myself from then on, until I just stopped going to classes altogether. (I graduated on time, but had to take community college classes during senior year to make up credits) Oh, that was fun. In Speech and English classes with “college” kids and keeping par. No wonder I have such anxiety! I’m afraid to do bad AND I’m afraid to do good!

So, anyway, this relates to my current situation because my 10 day meditation retreat didn’t work out – I arrived, they said I didn’t confirm correctly, and that they over booked it by 8 girls. I saw the list, handwritten, my name was #4. Whatever. So now that I was going to be here in Pokhara, Nepal for 10 unexpected free days I figure I’d make the most of them. Eventually deciding on going white water rafting one day, para gliding and then signing up for a 4 day hike up the Annapurna circuit. The foothills into the Himalayas.

I am not in shape. I am over weight. I smoke. I’m not a big fan of nature. I’ve never been trekking before and I complain a lot. I told the guide all of this 3 times before we left. He said “no problem, no problem, it’s an easy trek.” So day 1 – suppose to be 8 hours. We start walking – the whole thing is uphill. It was going to be 5 hours uphill, 2 hours up 3,000 stairs and lunch in between. He started out very fast, like as soon as we started he wanted to finish. I’m not comfortable with that kind of pressure. Also, calm down, I’m paying you, we do this MY way. But nope, I would insist I needed a break in the shade (it was hot, hot, hot in the sun) and he would shrug, as soon as my face hit the shadow he’d start walking again. I didn’t have time to catch my breath, take a comfortable sip of water, or cool down my irish-blooded-apple-red face. Thus leading to more stops needed.

He continued to get impatient and upset until I was sure that he was talking smack about me to other guides we were passing. I wasn’t feeling it. I was already out of my comfort zone. So when we got to the accommodation for the night – he insisted we stay at the town beneath the 3,000 stairs of doom, so that we could eventually have “the talk.” Anyway, he pulls me aside and tells me he won’t walk up the stairs with me it will take me too long. He tells me it would take me 2 days to walk up the stairs and that I HAVE to hire a horse to haul me up for $150. (He didn’t say haul, but that’s what I felt like he was saying)

Those words just shattered me. I mean utterly shattered the shreds of self-esteem I’ve been holding onto lately. I was livid, and the 2 older English guys that I had been having tea and chatting with knew something went off in me. I had lost all hope, felt worthless and really just like a failure. With inner monologues to the likes of something one would rehearse saying to their biggest enemy – not to one’s self.

So the next morning when I work up, and couldn’t bare the sight of my guide, I quit. I told him I was going back, with or with out him. That was an awkward 5 hour walk back, as he was next to me the whole time. I have never attempted to do something I knew I really couldn’t do. I was prepared to do the stairs. I was looking forward to the challenge and the potential thrill I would have when I reached the top.

Even at the thought of the horse – I had spun it in my head to make it a good thing: I’ve never really ridden a horse after all, riding one up 3,000 stone stairs would make me kind of a bad ass. I had even considered tying my lime green micro fibre towel around my neck as a cape and taking those stairs as if I were conquering them. But no, my anger, embarrassment and overall lack of self assured confidence took over, and I quit.

The walk down I felt like turning around, I WANTED to do it. I WANTED that pride, that challenge, that wretched work out, but I didn’t want the guide and his negative, judgemental bullshit. If only I had had these words then, instead of now.

I’ve been overweight almost my whole life (noticeably more when I moved to that small town) (hmm) and have only been called on it a few times. It’s been something that has given me the illusion that I am gliding through life unnoticed – because women find over weight women less threatening and men (generally) find them less attractive. I’ve used it as a shield, a barrier, a protection for so long so that I don’t get called out on various things. Now I’m being called out on that, as if my magic force field is fading.

I can not vow that I am going to lose weight and get in shape and that will enable me to live more fully. I just believe that this is an awareness that has been brought to my attention that hasn’t before. It’s not like I walk down the street at home and people yell out “hey fatty” “fat girl on the loose” “hide your cakes y’all.” I just assume that’s what they’re thinking. So my point now is this – we make up these crazy things in our heads and THAT is what holds us back. It is not indeed the reality of a situation, but rather the perceived reality. So now I’m going to to spend some time trying to perceive a different reality. Matrix, loading.


This little girl, with her basket on her back, carried by her head, followed us a little while until I realized she wanted her picture taken. Her smile was bigger after the picture, than in the picture.
This little girl, with her basket on her back, carried by her head, followed us a little while until I realized she wanted her picture taken. Her smile was bigger after the picture, than in the picture.


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