95%. 

(Slightly delayed post but my eyes still hurt, my mind still processing and my breath still trying to catch up to my heartbeat.) 

I surprised myself to say that I would stay. 

Bringing up reasons of youth and being career-driven, it was an amazing opportunity to leave. A reason that was completely unjustified and a betrayal big enough to walk out the door. Never looking back. 

Lying, and betrayal are never justifiable. 

It was insane for something like this to trigger a landslide of emotions. Perhaps it was also my being thrown into a state of disbelief. After all, I would have never expected him to lie to me. Maybe I was a complete fool to think that handing my trust so freely is the best thing to do. And that me only giving honesty would allow the same space for the other to do the same. 

Guess I was wrong, and learning it now is better than never. That, I will forever be grateful. 

The weekend was painful. Walking down the river, breaking the more I walked and crying for almost 24hours is not even funny anymore. My breath couldn’t catch up to the crying. My eyes shrunk in size as the tears were messing up the face. My hand permanently clenched, shoulders locked and teeth biting my lips. 

A contradiction of giving up. Feeling tension all over but spirits drunk on misery. 

The questioning is always the worst, and I did all that to myself. Somehow this is one habit that never really goes away. 

Possibilities of other lies came up. Insecurities screaming in dead silence. Accusations, insults and blame accumulated in my mind, with some spilt.

The noisier my mind, the more I needed silence. 

So why stay? 

This is a risk worth taking. Maybe it will turn out to become a “told you so” moment, but at this point in time, I find my feet planted and my heart still somewhere else. Because I let it be there. 

If I was hurting so much, maybe there is something there – a feeling, a comfort and a person I still hold onto. Maybe the pain in that moment was the perfect illustration of me needing this other being, in some way that cannot be rationally described. And I knew, my hurt was not alone and was fully coupled with his. 

Maybe I am staying because I recognised him. 

Leaving has always been easy, for me at least. Learning to stay is the difficult part. And maybe my definition of “need” has to be further thought about and reflected upon. Maybe I need people in different ways that they need me. 

And I need to find that, instead of cancelling every relationship I discover. 

But I draw the lines and I know, anytime it gets too much, too cruel I can walk away. Only after trying. 

I have to sit in this fire. Let it burn and go through this process to come out alive, in a different way. Perhaps with someone else’s hand to hold. 

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Goodbye, 2016.

(I have been delaying this post since the beginning of December for many reasons. Plenty of things have happened indirectly, or directly, to me and it just takes time to admit them to myself, before actually keeping a typed record of how the year went. Events occur, and life happens. I obviously cannot lie to myself through this. Just doesn’t help. Now that it is December 30th, it is now or never. So I choose now, as a promise to myself and this little data waste of a space.) 

2016 is a year of great disturbances and discoveries. 

For the world, we have reached the point of confrontation on plenty of issues – healthcare, poverty, gender inequality, sexuality and of course, politics. There are heartbreaking moments that I doubt anybody would forget when the elections happened, the constant terrorism and on-going plight of refugees. 

Sometimes, I really question what there is to live for when human-beings no longer save each other, but only ourselves these days. Or if dreams and passions can still be grasped when chances only seem to come by with money and who you seem to be on the outside. Or if the future will happen before my eyes when the earth is dying and innocence is spilt everyday on rubble. 

But I’d still like to believe that with conflict, conversations may happen. Important conversations that start revolutions, spark change and serve as reminders that we shouldn’t lose ourselves, or forget. 

And in my own way, I think I try to live that. Change myself, remember who I am and where I come from and keep going to the place I want to go – hope. 

2016 made me question everything about myself, and what I think my life is built upon. 

My parents are going through a divorce, but with that, us kids will experience it too. The emotional turmoil and the distancing from the situation just to not lose it. Empty spaces in the house and objects that no longer hold much meaning when one is gone. Suddenly remembering sounds, smells, habits and behaviours of the one that supposedly left us for change. And the rest of us wondering when did the change begin. And then discovering how much we ourselves have changed. 

How little it meant to live in the same house when we never really did grow together with time. 

Presence and absence is like the subtle tugging of the heart whenever you breathe. Always unnoticed but there, in the space between. 

Friends I went to school with mostly spent the year on their overseas exchanges. So while I was regretting not being in university to go through this, I surprised myself by how much I do place my heart in people. Solitude is a friend, but sometimes knowing that you have people to care with is a beautiful feeling. 

In the distance, I found my loneliness and it was an intimate process of letting go. My close friendships last for years on end with low maintanence, but it was a good reminder to always see them for who they are and not what we were when together years ago. 

So in the midst of losing some friends, I rediscovered them again along the way. Chances may be precious, but I am glad it worked both ways. 

It is so easy to forget all these little big things. Always something out there more exciting, more distracting, more frustrating and I lose my way back. 

School… it took away a lot from me. My time, part of my youth, my hopes and my perspectives on certain issues. There were many questions, doubts, frustrations for the institution, individuals and myself. With that, I took away lessons learnt, when I should stand my ground and reaffirmed who I am at the core of my being. 

No longer do I actively seek validation, because I have learnt to validate myself. Who’s to say that being younger means inferior? 

As long as I am certain of what I am doing, and that I own my actions as well as their consequences, I think I am ready to be seen for what I am beyond my age. 

I am also thankful that I met teachers who have given me nothing but kindness, space and safety to question/hone/develop/own my craft. To guide and remind me that I do have power in my two small hands to mold the world I am in. It is in darkness that you see the light, and they were mine. 

Along with other aspects besides these I have mentioned from the top of my head, I think I have changed quite a bit. From all the experiences, lessons and memories, I have gained and I have lost as always. 

But I would like to think that I kept everything I have always held dear to me – values, beliefs and people. 

Goodbye, 2016. It’s been quite a year and it is time to move on. 

Thank you to everyone that stayed and left. Thank you for always showing me what love is. x


Photography: Darren ‘Merovign’ Tan