What do you see when you see me? Do you see a girl who left her family, friends, culture and life for a half-planned adventure across the world? Do you see a girl who is living frugally but fully? Do you see the girl who cannot ask for help because she lives in a language bubble, struggling in silence through most confusing situations? Do you see the way I eye you with envy as you order your coffee with ease? Do you see how I count my baht and arrive late? I have more time than money. What do you see when you see me?
Or do you see a girl born in the lap of luxury, because of the color of her skin? Do you see a girl with every door in the world opened wide and inviting to her? Do you see someone who never struggles to pay the bills because clearly she comes from money, she is white? Do you see a girl who was privileged to speak English from birth, the language of opportunity and travel? Do you see a girl eyeing you with distrust because she cannot understand your offer of help?
Do you see a girl who cries as she realizes you’re about to sell your children for their youthful bodies? Who wishes her own culture didn’t supply a demand for this horror. Do you see the girl who wants to break down all these divisions of class and skin and just ask how you make your soup? But cannot, because the language barrier stands there. A brick wall.
Do you see the girl who is most saddened because she does not know your story? But she is angry because she feels you don’t want to know her story. Do you see the girl who envies you your family, and their proximity? Or do you see the one who knows nothing of family values? Leaving them far behind as she arrogantly wanders the world.
Do you see the girl who is confused and vulnerable, unable to communicate her isolation? Or do you see the girl who has fought hard for her place in your land, who looks like a warrior but feels like a child? Do you see her hard stare as she dares you to suggest she doesn’t belong? Or do you see her hurt features as she wonders what she is doing in this strange land?
Do you see her joy in this adventure? Or do you see her exhaustion and pain in this long journey?
What do you see when you see me?