I paused today to ponder on 25 years of my life prior to coming to Cambodia. Tears streamed down my face remembering the life I once had. Would you believe that I devoted my life to becoming an ordain Priest with the Anglican Church back home in New Zealand. I did the whole seminary and bachelors of theology degree thing. I was ordained a Deacon in 1997 and continue to hold that role in the Church. I held back on becoming a fully ordained priest for many reasons. Mostly because I felt I wasn’t good enough for this role at the time. The role came with too much expectations of myself I knew I couldn’t keep. Although that thinking of myself has changed now.
But today I took a deep breath, looked out the window of my home, and remembered how far and wide things have changed for me. I am not that insecure person any more. The church doesn’t have that strong hold over me any more and I’m certain about who I am, who I love, and what I want. Some years of life’s experience, with a few hard-knocks along the way, has taken me on another course and journey in life enabling me to live in Cambodia for 14 years already. And so what about me now?
Living in Cambodia has helped me face my own truth about who I am and the people I have come to love. Ironically that was not the case when I first came to this country. I put up a wall in front of me to hide much of myself yet over the years it all came crashing down and I’m glad it did. Accepting myself was a daily sacrament I endured and even more so living in Cambodia. It came with a whole lot of different feelings, emotions and expectations of myself and the people I came to call family here.
The reason for this blog post is because I wanted to share with you what it means for me to let go of the life I had 25 years ago and embrace a new me in the here and now. I’m scared as hell because I don’t know what’s around the corner in my life. Love, life, and the future is a fragile uncharted journey nonetheless I’m optimistic with the possibilities out there. The worst thing is that I have to be realistic and get my head out of the clouds, especially when it comes to love, because there needs to be a balance to enable me to live in Cambodia. Living here is a challenge on its own.
I’m always told not to get my hopes up too high when it comes to love and relationships in Cambodia. The Khmer understanding of identity and sexuality is not clearly defined as we think and so my relationship with the man I love is surely a different kind of love. There is a cross cultural struggle at times and a misunderstanding of the expectations we have of each other and our world view. We are not always in sync with each other at times for many reasons. The other thing is that we are not public with how we feel with each other. There is no outing or anything and very few people know of our relationship.
But when we are alone we kiss, hold hands, make love, and open ourselves up to each other like no other love out there! We talk and remind ourselves of why we are here at this very moment sharing this intimacy with each other. Everything that makes us different brings us together and we embrace each other and smile in the face of doubt and adversary and to me that’s all that really matters. That’s what’s love is all about! I told him that whatever way we call or define our relationship is up to us and no one else. He has his life and I have mine and it is clear that love brings us together.
I am driven by my heart yet the rational insecurity comes from my head. I’m always told that I think too much and maybe this blog illustrates that. But if I am honest to myself it is my heart that still drives me with hope, faith and love. The greatest being love. So here I am sitting in my home looking out the window crying and pondering on the years behind me and unsure of the years ahead. If wishes were granted to me at this moment I’d wish that I didn’t doubt myself all the time and learn to live my life with love and integrity.
Without the love of God, my family here in Cambodia and New Zealand I wouldn’t be able to share these feelings with you all. Thank you.
Check out future blog post! Watch this blog!
- What Motivates Me In Cambodia
- Khmer & Maori Stories of Spirituality
- Forbidden Love