Nov 25, 2015: When the Odds are Against You

Loy Krathong and Yi Peng are happening simultaneously this year. There are a few clouds partially obscuring the large full moon. A column of floating lanterns lazily rise up from Maejo University of Chiang Mai. Isolated fireworks explode sporadically over the city, infuriating dogs and small children alike. The people of Chiang Mai (along with dozens of tourists) are releasing hundreds of floating lanterns in the hopes of bringing themselves good fortune in the year to come. Water lanterns are also being released on the canals and rivers around the city, but in appreciation of the water goddess instead, and to help those releasing the lights let go of grudges and thoughts of ill will. I could really use some of the latter tonight.

But, I am not there. I’m sitting outside our flat, smoking a cigarette and angrily cursing my body for robbing me of tonight’s celebrations. I scan the sky and watch the lanterns swirling up into the atmosphere, and stragglers that aren’t built quite right catch fire and plummet back to earth.

After nearly an hour of jealous sky watching I retreat indoors. I don’t have the energy to fight off the bugs anymore and watch my hopes of a magical evening float away.

This is what having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is often like. Watching from the sidelines while others do the things you were planning on doing. For me, travelling is an effort to quash some of that awful feeling of being left behind. And it usually does, because when I do feel well enough to do something, I get to do it in an exotic foreign country. But specific events still are trying. Hoping my body is going to function enough to get me out of the house while something is actually happening. It’s a gamble that I often lose.

Friends have told me that I cope well. And perhaps I do, usually. But, like everyone else, I can’t keep it up all the time. There are nights like tonight, when I get angry and frustrated and give up: hiding inside, “resting” and hoping that by writing all these thoughts and experiences down, someone out there won’t feel quite so frustrated and alone when it’s happening to them.