And this is how it happened. All within six months.
I’m 33 years old; born and raised in Thailand. My biological parents left my half siblings and me when I was just a month old. They were in their teen years; I was literally a newborn being juggled around. I ended up living with my aunt, uncle and cousins who I consider mom, dad, brother and sister. Seven years of living a glorious life in Thailand with an amazing family, I was told to pack up my bags. I was going to visit my biological parents in Dallas, Texas for just two weeks. LIES. It wasn’t two weeks. I should have asked where the return ticket was! Well, there wasn’t one. On a cold, dark winter night in 1989, I arrived at DFW, lost and confused. The next day? I started school. Two weeks, my ass.
I met my husband when I was 12 on AOL 1.5. We’ve been together for nearly 20 years and going strong. I’m a true city brat, have a great career and I’m surrounded by love.
Amazing, right? Well …
What a lot of people don’t know is that my husband and I were caretakers for my aging parents for many years and the emotional rollercoaster of that finally took its toll. That and being ripped away from Thailand at the age of 7, I felt so many traumas went unaddressed. I didn’t really know how to cope with all of life’s challenges so I just kept going. I was an all-around go-getter. I never said “no.” I never gave less than 110 percent. It wore me out and I didn’t even know it. Honestly, I had a mid-life crisis at 33-years-old.
Something just wasn’t right. I was unsettled. But, honestly, how could that be? I was living a pretty darn good life. Tons of friends, amazing partner, vacays all the time and a pretty idyllic social life. I had my life together, I was mature, financially successful and pretty darn happy. But, my success was all just materialistic. I was always tired – mentally and physically, I lacked energy. I was just going with the routine.
I didn’t know how to have fun without going on vacations, attending happy hours and dining at the newest and hippest restaurants. I didn’t know what family meant. My priorities were all over the place. Working out? FORGET ABOUT IT! I didn’t have – nor did I MAKE – the time to put my health in check. I wasn’t overweight. But, I definitely could not walk up the CTA platform steps without huffing and puffing. So, this is what I did.
I packed only the important things. Well, OKAY. Maybe I packed more than just the basics. Old habits are hard to break! I packed me some quinoa, almond butter, Quaker Oats, Amazing Grass, all my “Chicago Girl” necessities.
Within a day, from Chi-Town to Bangkok, I became just Mananya. I was no longer Mananya the professional. Not Mananya the mega networker. I was suddenly … just … Mananya. I stripped away everything I knew. I suddenly landed in massive city where no one really knew me. I started over. And it felt unbelievable.
So, the next series of short stories, you’ll get a glimpse into my journey. What I went through prior to my own six-month version of Eat, Pray, Love. You’ll see my ups, downs, insecurities, joy and excitement. Be warned: it’s raw and it’s real. And it’ll be filled with curse words, puns and bad analogies. What you’re going to read in this series is some truth. The struggle was real. You’ll hear about my most inner thoughts, first-hand experiences, my take on life and how I’m making changes to create a better version of me.
Hang tight. You’ll see how I went from weak to warrior.