Wednesday, July 30, 2014



Sitting top the field of the main stage over looking the gorge was epic and surreal. In that moment I sat on the grass and leaned back and took in the world around me. I have never felt so alive, and I didn't believe people when I was told that this event would  forever change my life, but it did.
 I made amazing new friends, built stronger bonds with the friends I already knew. I have never been in a place where I felt loved by every stranger.

There are people who walk in and out of your life, sometimes they change it for it the better and sometimes not. After eight long years in a loveless and mentally damaging relationship I met someone who change my view on the world, and on love. A single moment in Time forever etched into my mind, lost in a sea of people, I only saw him, and he saw only me. 

Paradiso, was a whirlwind of events, thousand of souls converged in one place, over looking the most breath taking view I have ever witnessed. Together in harmony our bodies moved to the sounds that echoed through out the Gorge. I was completely and utterly happy, living fully in the moment. For once I was not concerned about what was happening out side of this place.

I was truly living.....feeling the life in every breathe I took.

In this moment, I gazed upon the man I now call my Boyfriend and I had an Epiphany, this single and Beautiful soul, by a chance of fate, walked into my life and forever changed my world. He took my hand and carried me to places I have never been. Opened my eyes to the world around me. For so long, I was confined to a world filled with other peoples wants and needs. Consuming my soul as each day passed.
 Marco, set me free, freed my mind, my soul and my heart.

This picture captures that moment, as we sat atop the gorge across from the vineyard. This tiny Oasis in a vast sea of dry land, shows that even in the most arid and barren of places life continues to thrive.

 We looked out upon nature and let the beauty of this life consume us. Paradiso built a incredible bond between this Man and my self. I am forever grateful to have the chance to spend my life in his presence.

Some people say, that there are souls bound to living a life in constant motion, all ways moving, changing, exploring, learning. He is most definitely one of the souls, and I wouldn't have any other way.

The lessons I learned in the years I lost.

It has been a very long time since I have written anything personal about my self. Almost ten years to be exact.You all may be wondering why now, why have I decided to spill the beans to all of you on what has been happening in my life. Well a lot has changed for me, in more ways than I could have ever imagined. 
This is the first step in me Finding out who I really am. 
Please be kind, as this post contains my personal life and experience. If you have something negative to say. Keep it to your self. 

Have you ever felt that you were alone in this world, even when you are surrounded by people who claim to love and care about you? I have, on many occasions felt as if I was just a ghost drudging through this endless ocean of life. Invisible to the people around me, I got tired of life and the life I was living in. 
I don't want to go into full details on exactly what happened, or what exactly was said because Honestly.... I haven't healed those wounds inflicted on my heart just yet. 
However I will share a little with you....

Over the last eight years I have completely lost who I thought I was, and allowed others to place their idea's of my worth upon me. I allowed others to belittle, breakdown and destroy all that I was. 
I gave up everything I once had held dear to my heart, my friends, my family, my love of dance, school, work. If your mind can think of it, I probably gave it up, and for what you may ask. 
Well... for Love, at least what I thought was love. 

Like all Love Stories they have to start some where, Mine starts at a place called Tabella's. 
Almost 9 years ago, I met a man, (I will leave his name out..well.. because it simply doesn't matter.)
At first I was hesitant to give him my number, but he assured me that he was not like the other guys I had dated, and for some reason I believed him. Maybe it was his rich accent, or his dark skin and chiseled features, or the tone of his voice and the way he approached me. Either way I caved in and gave him my number.  

Our relationship was just like any other, we were young, careless and free. I was just 19 at the time, and he (quite a bit older) 30. I thought to my self, finally I have found a "MAN" some one who is done with the petty games boys play, and I need not worry about much. He had his life together, he had a job, a few cars, his own place, not that these things really mattered to me, (for those who know me on a personal level, and know where I came from and how my life was before this point... I will leave all that for another post.) I was just happy to be with someone who truly cared for me. After a year into our relationship I helped him open his own business, I had absolutely no business experience, no idea how to run, manage, pay, book-keep anything. Up until this point I had only ever worked retail, so I did research and helped him set everything up. It was a learning process for us both.  

Together we ran this business for a little over 7 years, but now I am getting ahead of my story....

There is a reason why they say not to go into business with your loved ones, its hard and put unneeded stress on the relationship...
 Don't get me wrong, as a person my significant other during this time, wasn't the only one who made the relationship hard. However our cultural differences made it difficult to see eye to eye on things. Our relationship was one filled with resentment, mistrust, and dishonor. I can not say that I was a saint in this relationship, but the amount of mental abuse I took from him, regardless if he was aware of the hurt he was doing pushed me to the edge. 

 I recently came across an old journal of mine, from the beginning of my relationship with him. I guess at some point fooled myself into thinking that things were fine between us. However when I read over what I had written just two years into my relationship I was ashamed that I stayed as long as I did. I was ashamed that I had allowed some one to take over every faucet of my life.
I spent seven long years believing I loved this man, but in reality I was just so far in, so comfortable, that I just let it all slide. 

Starting about a three years ago, at age 25, I decided to change that, I enrolled my self in community college, I started engaging in my community at school. I made new friends, and a glimpse of true happiness began to shine through. Then the most unimaginable things happen to me, to my family.
My Father passed away, I was completely heartbroken, the man who had raised me, cherished me, was gone. It had been three months since I had last seen my father, the news of his death stripped every thing I had just built up away from me, and I was tossed back down in the pit of darkness and depression once more. 

I know that it seems insane to most, but during this time, I seriously contemplated killing my self. I wanted to escape all of my pain, all of my worry, all of my sorrow. I knew that if I had gone through with it, I would have only hurt my family more.
My relationship at the time did not help either, all though at first my ex supported me in my time of need, he slowly began to tell me that I needed to move on, and get over it. This coming from a Man who had also lost his own father, destroyed me. One can not easily forget or move on from a parent dying, that pain lingers in the heart for eternity.

This is when things started to get really bad for my relationship. The trust issues came once I returned to school, mind you while enrolled at Edmonds Community College I was taking 25 credits a quarter and didn't have much time for anything.  I took hybrid classes, if I wasn't on campus, I would be on my computer. That alone caused most of the issues, "Me" being on my laptop all the time working on home work. Which is what I was doing, but "He" thought I was on Facebook, or something else talking to other people. No matter how many times I reassured him that I was faithful, and guilt free of talking to other behind his back, it made no difference to Him.  

Anytime we were invited to a friends get together or outing, he would decline, stating that he was too tired to attend. He would tell me that I could go if I wanted, but that if I went he might go out and do something on his own. It put me in the position where I had to choose Him, or my friends. 
Many people might think I made the wrong choice, but I choose my friends. They have been here for me long before he was, and they are still here now.  Things progressively got worse for us, our relationship was hitting rock bottom. He constantly threaten to leave me, stating that if I didn't change that he would leave. He had done this a number of time, but only once had I actually packed my things and prepared to leave. He begged me not to go, saying we could work it out and that we shouldn't waste the 6 years we had been together. I agreed to stay, but I had warned him that if he continued to threaten me by saying he would leave that he would have to be prepared to do so. 

Even our intimate relationship started to suffer, and to be plainly and painfully honest, I just didn't want to be intimate with someone who didn't trust me. I felt that his jealousy, was a cover up for his own wrong doing, and I didn't want to take the chance of getting something, since it was impossible to know if he had been with anyone else.   

He started going out more to the clubs, and would be gone all night, no phone call,  no nothing. He would walk back in smelling like booze and hard liquor. Claiming that he had left his phone in his friends car all night. I didn't want to argue so I let it go, and just went to sleep.  We grew further and further apart, and he started doing more and more things on his own. Then it happened, he started accusing me of cheating on him, every time I went anywhere. 

Things continued on like this for the next two years, I finally graduated from EDCC in 2013 with three degrees in Business Management. During all of this we still had the business running, I originally enrolled in school, so I could help make sure everything at the business was legal and on par with Washington state operations laws.
 Shortly after graduation I applied to University of Washington and Seattle Pacific University. I was  accepted to SPU and I decided that I would enroll during the Fall to work on my BA in International Business. My relationship started to break even more, now that I was commuting to Seattle from Renton, every day for school, I worked full time at the Business we ran and attended school full time. Towards the end of the first quarter at SPU, Ante Up was formed, and I joined and became a founding member. 

I was super excited about joining and going to practice every Friday night, however my significant other was not so thrilled. He claimed that I was building a new life with out him, and that I had all these new friends he knew nothing about. He told me I joined as an excuse not to be home with him. 
Which was not true, We worked together, car pooled together, and did everything together, I just wanted one small thing to my self. 

This single decision, is what set me on the path to planning my escape from my relationship. It sounds horrible I know, Plotting an escape.. you might be asking why didn't I just up and leave. Well if you scroll back up to the top of this post, you would see that I had nothing, Everything I had, my house, my income, my car, my life, revolved around this single man. I had to start setting stone for me walk across to be on my own. 

I moved both of us into a family members house, because I knew if things ended I would have at least a place to stay, I applied for a job on campus, and luckily got one fairly soon. Due to Business and legal issues one of my significant other cars was under my name, I legal possessed the car. 
Then one night it all came crashing down, a small little argument pushed into a full blown attack on each other. 
Then those words came out of his mouth " Why don't we just end it then!"
I agreed.
 He stood there dumbfounded that for once I actually meant it.  I told him to take his things and to leave. I was done, done with all the belittling and mental abuse he put me through.
I finally found the courage to stand up for my self and no longer allow a person to dictated my life and happiness.
It was by far one of the hardest things I had ever done, but I could no longer lie to him, or my self. I just didn't love him any more.
I watched him pack his things, and leave. 
That night I went to sleep no longer afraid, no longer ashamed.
That night.. is night which held all the lessons I learned in the years I lost. 

-That Girl Rika

Feature Post: The day I was told my worth... By Kaylie Renee Wilson

The day I was told my worth..

“I will pay,  mai bpen rai ka” I said, as to confirm that I would be more than content to cover the cost to take our friend to see a movie with us that night…

As a dancer myself and being blessed with teaching dance here in Thailand, I love the ideology of taking something that others can twist to have a negative connotation for those trafficked and turning it into a healthy release or coping mechanism. Therefore, when our team had heard that the new Step Up movie was actually being shown here in Pattaya, there was not a question of what our family night would entail.
We began our venture by heading down one of the dirt roads that would lead us to our destination. Lined with bars and brothels, we heard faintly, that one of our names was being called out as we passed a specific establishment. A familiar voice, we turned to be greeted with the sweetest smile. For protection purposes, we will call her Hope. Due to unfortunate past events that are only hers to tell, Hope was stuck working within these walls, day and night. As it was still early and costumers were scarce, she asked us to come in. So excited to catch up with our friend, we bought her a sprite and began to paint some of the girls’ nails as they painted memories in our hearts. As the conversation and laughs continued, Hope began to move to one of the songs playing in the background, exclaiming how much she loved to dance. Seeing my happy heart, my friend Pu explained to her that I was a dance teacher and that we were going to see a dance movie, in which her eyes immediately lit up. We all looked at each other with butterflies, waited for the okay, and asked Hope is she could join us.
Working within the bars, brothels or strip clubs is obviously, unique. Two days off of a month is what the individuals get and if they dare get sick or need personal time off, they must pay. This is on top of compensation needed for their food and rent, which is also usually just above their own work place (Very normal for trafficked or exploited victims). Knowing this, we had two options- to allow her to continue to work for the night or…to buy her…so she could innocently hang out with her friends and see a movie.
(Now, I first want to caution that with all the stories being told, we have been trained and competently educated on how to handle and respond to these situations. It is so important that through this work, we are able to showcase to these people that we do not believe they have a price tag, that they know we do not agree with the barcode of their bodies and that with us, they do not need to be in work mode. That we are not there to take their stories and pictures so that we can unintentionally exploit them more in the hopes of bringing “awareness”. This coincides with making sure they understand that although we have built these friendships which can include hugs and cliché things like skipping while linking arms, that they never and I mean never…have to hold our hand or hug us if they do not want to. We will never…buy their friendship.)
Proverbs 3:15 “She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”
After bringing this to her attention once again, I instantaneously told Pu that I was more than happy to cover the brothel cost (as my other friends happily agreed to help with the other costs as well). A breath later, I had a diminutive worldly panic, hoping that I would have enough bhat in my wallet as I started to argue within my mind at what the price could be… “Obviously she is priceless but what was the dollar sign that they nefariously branded her with? Maybe a couple hundred…hmmm well I mean they say Pattaya is known for cheap prostitution (stomach turning)…okay maybe like one hundred…if I need to borrow from some people I can its fine…okay..okay…”
I smiled and nodded at Hope to ask her mama-san (in charge of all the girls for the pimp) how much I owed her. She looked at me and stated calmly with normalcy, “Sam Roi baht ka”
Sam Roi Baht…Sam Roi…
three hundred baht…nine…
nine dollars…
Nine dollars for this beautiful precious ruby in which other individuals pay to do whatever they would like with her…..
The mama-san basically told me that my sweet Hope was worth less than a movie ticket back home…
Matthew 10:30-31″But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
I swallowed my judgment immediately and handed her the money. We then bowed, said our goodbyes and journeyed to the theater.  My heart fluttered to watch as she giddily engaged in the whole experience, slowly but surely figuring out that she could be herself and turn off the individual she had prepared herself to be that night. As we headed in the theater, I casually asked her if she would like something from the snack bar. She shyly nodded, smiled and as I upgraded her orange fanta to a large, she did a little shoulder dance of excitement. We continued, proceeding carefully but happily through the night and as she grabbed my hand to squeeze in approval of a difficult dance move completed on the screen, my heart began to hurt…literally…
Mark 4:24 “And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.”
I tried to focus but I was immediately drawn to my hand in which my sweet friend hand hers in its grasp. As if the Lord’s whisper traveled from my heart to my finger tips… I once again was struck by the reality that dinner and a movie may be something she is use to…just with a very different ending. That it truly was necessary to remind her every so often that she owed us nothing…no hand holding…no pretending to act like a girlfriend or piece of meat…that the only thing expected from her was to hopefully enjoy the company and movie and get to go home after without any obligation or bargaining (or lack of) for sex.
I am so blessed that Hope had become a close friend and we are continually and prayerfully working on showing her, her true worth and getting her out of the brothel.
Sadly though…her situation is not a rare one…..
“no no no too much,” he sternly stated to the two girls.
We were bringing food to a girl on beach road (a strip of the beach less than a mile long, where more than 400 girls are watched by pimps and stand, waiting for a costumer to approach), when I noticed a man pointing to his watch and bargaining with two Thai girls. They had rebutted his price and he was not having it.
“I will not pay that, my watch is worth more than you two”
I could not believe my ears but also knew that it was not just  these Thai girls that were being belittled daily.
In my earlier blogs I had explicated that many Russian and Indian girls were now being introduced in the bars and strip clubs as “available” and new “talents.”  That each girl in this city whether a tourist or a worker, are looked at as if the individual viewing, had already done the deed in his mind 50 times and 50 ways without their consent. I myself as well as my friends, have been approached, grabbed, and tried to be bargained for. I have been told where I apparently stand in this world…what I am “good for”, and have been whistled and hollered after with prices ranging from $10 to $100 in which I kindly…declined.
“why are you wearing a one piece sexy lady” he asked
“ Because I like to and I feel more comfortable covered,” I responded nonchalantly
“ Oh well, you are pretty but how are you going to get a husband in a one piece?”

2 Corinthians 12:10 “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
And we have only gotten a taste of what these women, men and children whom are for grabs, go through every……
I have had many days here where I was told what my worldly worth was and I have witnessed as many men have stripped a women or boy of all worth and dignity with a single sentence, even before the purchasing and physical stripping could occur.
People have asked me if I have questioned my worth here. I can say that the Lord has definitely protected our minds and hearts in this manner but that we are not desensitized to the reality that these jewels go through daily and even more so, have had conversations about how we so many times, in different forms, had let others define and price us, even back at home.
I so badly want those enslaved, both men and women, both pimp and prostitute, to see their true value but in order to do that, I must know and believe in mine.

Ezekiel 33:11  “Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live”

You see, someone wise once told me that…free people…free people.

Ephesians 5:29 “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,”
How many times have I let a guy lead me on, only to blame myself and let my perception of my worth be damaged when I find out I am one of a hundred that this is occurring with. How many times in my past have I then continued to talk with this person, hoping I would one day be good enough for them to change. How many times have I accepted, been silent or even have apologized for being cheated on or treated incorrectly…figuring that I must have done something wrong…that I was not good enough or that I was not worth being respected and protected. How many times have I verbally or non-verbally showed these individuals that what they were doing was not only okay but a distorted true definition of my very being? How many times have I belittled myself?
It is easy to blame the abuser, the user, the manipulator but there comes a point where we ourselves become the problem because we set ourselves and now them (because we do not correct their behavior or walk away) up for failure. We deprive ourselves and them of a necessary reality check which could help ourselves and save others from enduring the same… and on a more vital note…how many times have we ourselves been the person to belittle somebody’s worth and try to justify it?
How many times have we believed this lie but then loudly preached to others not to…
Telling others that they do not need make up to make them beautiful
That you do not have to show skin, have abs, a tiny waste, big boobs, etc…to find a companion
That choosing at any point no matter your past, to now wait till marriage to have sex, is not weird or something to be silent about in fear of judgment.
That you are not for sale physically…mentally..or emotionally…
While us ourselves then cover our blemishes so that they will think we are pretty…While we fear summer because we do not have the ideal bikini body…While not getting another purity ring because of your past.
While allowing cheap compliments leaving the lips of a manipulator to put a metaphorical price tag on you that states your worth and dignity can be shaped by their false depiction of love and the need for affirmation….
I have had barcodes pressed upon my flesh in too many ways and I will no longer allow that temporary tattoo to stay there when the Lord has already washed it white as snow. I will no longer let myself see that a guy asking to pursue me and not holding my hand out of protection for my heart and respect, as rejection…due to the world telling me physical touch and compliments of outward beauty means love and acceptance.  I will no longer let someone state that flesh is worth nine dollars…
I want to be free so that I can free others and allow them to know that my words to them are true.
The day I was told my worth was the day it was written “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”

The day you see your true worth is the day you take off the lenses of societal defined yet disfigured regulations and look upon the one whom states you are priceless…
Jesus already paid the price so why are we allowing the world to bargain for flesh…
1 Corinthians 7:23 “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.”
Revelation 5:9 “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,”
Instagram- Kaylierne