“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” – Carl Jung

When my ex-husband left our marriage, he saved my life. My divorce was the little green devil that pushed me off the cliff and cheekily asked me “are you in control of life or have you just been a lazy spectator of it so far?”

I was on such a self-destructive path, losing sense of self more and more with every bad decision I was making. “Marianne” was right. I didn’t want to be married and yet, I said yes to marrying a man I hardly knew and barely liked. Regardless of his actions, I made a mistake when I agreed to get married. I wasn’t ready to, and I sure as hell didn’t know what I wanted in a partner. I wasn’t sure of myself and I couldn’t envision who my inner child was.

Marianne was wrong most of the time, especially when she was projecting unto me, but I’m glad I wrestled with my ego enough to admit she was right about enough things. After the anger passed and the ego calmed, I listened to her words objectively and sought out the truth for myself. I knew the truth bothered me. It was like a feather held gently right next to my face, irritating enough to cause me daily unrest, yet not enough to push me into fight/flight mode.

I’m eternally grateful that while traveling, someone taught me the concept of the “Feather, pillow, truck” analogy. For people who are so disconnected with their Selves, life before a certain age, tries to help them out.

First, it sends multiple obstacles, instances where they’ll feel anger, happiness, sadness, guilt, to tickle them into being aware. Sadly, when we become so fixated on pre-conditioned ideals of who we’re supposed to be and what we’re meant to achieve, we become accustomed to suppressing our reactions to events. We get used to denying ourselves our genuine thoughts and emotions about things. We start trying to convince ourselves that there’s a list of things we don’t deserve to have and are incapable of accomplishing. We get lost in chasing success and happiness, as if these are the real trophies in life to win. We forget that in life, you can think to yourself that you’re winning but you won’t experience victory until you find the Self that can truly enjoy the power that indivualization can bring. Seeking our Selves is a lifelong endeavor and the journey towards that IS the direction, the continual versions of the Self that we meet with IS the prize.

What a neverending movie our lives can be like, should we let go of control. Why would we curse artistic death upon life by envisioning how it can turn out, by flipping to the last chapter prematurely, or looking up spoilers to see how the end might come?

So while setting out to heal, I was acutely aware of the need to let go of control. It also became imperative for me to confront my darkness. Not even to show it compassion unnecessarily. Just to come face-to-face with it, as boxers would at the start of a fight, or as you would when you first meet your kindergarten friends. I knew I had to meet my darkness as an equal, not as an entity to “conquer”.

I knew that if I didn’t confront the sides of me I hold shame for, the next lesson Life was going to throw at me would hit like a truck, not as a feather anymore.

Carl Jung once said “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do”

I willed myself to focus on my own actions, my own thoughts and from there, seek a better understanding of my Self.

And wow.

The revelations. Countless of rebirths. Numerous incidents when my mind connected with my heart.

The chance encouter of meeting Jinger (my inner child now grown into a teenager probably) and truly experiencing who she is, then remember that she is me, and I am Her.

The realization that relationships in our life have different purposes, and understanding what Carl Jung meant when he famously said: “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: If there is any reaction, both are transformed”

It’s been SO SO SO fun. Life is fucking fun now.

And I want you to experience it. So I’m creating and writing. And I won’t give up until I create something I can leave as my contribution.

When my uncle died, he was blue

I remember when my father called.

            “Dead. They’re dead,” he said through sobs.

            “Who’s dead?” I whispered.

“They. 3 of them. I got back to the jetty and saw them lying there. All dead. I can’t find Uncle Jonathan. I lost him.” Dad continued.

There had been an accident. Their ferry had started sinking, barely 300 meters away from the jetty. None were wearing their life jackets. All their lives were risked. The captain had failed to warn them, then jumped over and swam to shore by himself, leaving his crew and passengers flailing about to save themselves.

A few days later, they found my uncle.

His body blue, swollen and dead. Very dead.

I didn’t feel like he was gone, although he must have been. His body was lifeless, but did life really begin in this body? I registered this thought as I stood by his coffin. “Where are you? I asked Uncle Jonathan. He didn’t reply. He was too busy being dead.

That night, as I lay in bed, I dug up all the photographs I had of and with him, and I pasted his photographs on my wall. I didn’t know that was a direct invitation for him to come to me.

It took a long time to fall into slumber, and once I did, I was transported into the other dimension. In this dimension, colours are more vibrant. And his body looked unnaturally blue, almost like a smurf.

He was still dead. But he must have crawled out of the coffin somehow because now he was right beside me, on my bed, wetting my pillow. I didn’t want to say anything, so I ignored my soaking wet pillow and sheets.

He didn’t say anything. His arms were crossed, and his hair was soft. His eyes gently closed, as if he were sleeping. He loved taking naps anyway, so I guess he came all this way to nap.

The years went by and I continued dreaming about him. It took a few years for him to stop sleeping wet in my bed. He finally woke up. I saw him in another recurring dream where we keep meeting each other in public. He doesn’t know I can see him. He looks lost and confused, unsure why no one can see or talk to him. But he is in no pain.

A few more years go by and now, he knows I can see him. We are standing across our family; he waves his hand at me to say hi. We both know he’s not ready to go yet, and so we go on our way, him doing his dead thing, me doing my dream thing.

Another few years go by and one day, I knew it was time. He walked confidently towards me. And gave me a big hug. It felt completely real to feel him, and know that we don’t just exist in our empty bodies. We didn’t talk. But in this world, talking isn’t needed.

When he finally let me go, he was there no more, barely a mist in the air.

My uncle took 6 years to go. And that was the year my therapy dog died.

Diary entry: July 2020

I’ve been trying to write. But I find it hard. So instead, I’m reviving old thoughts and emotions, to set these in stone. To remember. To forget. To unravel.

July 2020 –            

I know I should let you go. I’ve been trying. Every day, I think about you and me and where we went wrong. Every day, I imagine you must go through the same thoughts. Every waking moment, I fight the urge to call you and ask, “do you know what happened? Are you still in there?” I deny my impulses for 29 days in a month but by the 30th day, the thin thread holding me together breaks gently, and I pick up the phone with a sole intention to hear your voice again.

            I exist now in the phone calls you have with me during your coffee-runs. I imagine you sneaking out of the house, on pretext of doing a grocery run, waiting 10 minutes before calling me in the car. I’ve lost my privileges as your first woman and now I’m the ‘other woman’ you must bear with. Now, you’ve made me become the shadow crouching around the corner of your relationship.

            We talk about nothing. You tell me what a psycho she has been, but also tell me that you’ve no regrets. You tell me you feel sorry towards me, and that you will always love me, but not in the way I’m hoping. You want to remain as the good guy, and I let you. I let you because I love you. I don’t know why but I do.

            When the breaking dawn comes, I wrap a shawl around my shoulders. Shoulders I once wanted to show the world. I crave the smell of coffee floating around in our house. I crave the normality of our boring life. And I’ve lost that.

You’ve shriveled my dignity and confidence into a grain of sand – inconsequential. Undeserving. Nothing more than a thoughtless breath.

            And yet, there I bare my soul. Because even as sand, I matter. I would rather matter than be used by you again.

“Stay here, you need me”

Inspired by a true story

That feeling…….of being desired. That high I get from being needed and wanted. 

I don’t necessarily like it. But it exists within me. 

I remember the way he rolled over to face me.  I remember waking up in a blur, feeling his lips hot on mine. His hands caressing my breasts with the sound of the ocean purring in the background. I remember all my senses heightened, how sensitive I became to his every movement and sound. How his moans would melt against my lips, how loud they seemed to be and yet only loud enough for me to feel on my skin. 

He was a family friend, a year older than me. Our families would go to this kelong. A kelong is an offshore platform primarily made from wood. This one was big enough to fit about 100 people. There was a restaurant that cooked all of our meals, bunk beds that lined up next to each other, and toilets that were basically a hole into the ocean. I loved growing up going on kelong trips. I loved sleeping under the stars, lying on a hammock trying to catch a breeze. There was nothing else to do on a kelong except eat, sleep, play mahjong, and fish. 

Most of the customers were men who brought their friends or families along. My uncle had brought my dad here first. Later, my dad would bring others. It was a recurring event for us to come here, and that’s probably why my idea of an escape is always to be close to the sea, or literally in the middle of the ocean. 

I first met him when I was 9. He was 10. 

We were children, and as children, all we cared about was fun and games. He taught me how to play ‘Big 2’ and for those few days that we spent together, each time our families went on holiday together, we were inseparable. 

From the moment we woke up, till we went to bed, he, his brother, me and my brother would spend all of our time together, except for when our brothers would go off to fish with our fathers, leaving him and I alone. 

We even needed to take our showers at the same time, splashing water over the divider onto each other. At night, we would all take our pillows out onto the platform, listen to the waves and talk. 

I didn’t see him again until I turned 16, and him 17. 

This time….we were older now. Teenagers in our prime years, just before we got old enough to know of consequences, yet not young enough to hold back on our impulses. 

When I first saw him get out of the car at the breakfast meeting point. My heart skipped a beat. He was so handsome. And much taller now. He had lost his baby fat and had a chiseled jaw. Immediately, I started feeling insecure whenever he would glance in my direction. Why did I wear my hair this way? Why did I not look more fair or feminine?

It took a while before we finally exchanged words. 

It was on the ferry that would take us from Mersing to the kelong. 

We sat next to each other, awkwardly glancing around to avoid eye-contact. I don’t remember who started the conversation but I remember feeling like nothing had changed between us in those 6 years of not meeting. 

Yet, everything had changed. 

Once we got to the kelong, a thought crossed my mind – would we be sleeping next to each other just like we did when we were young? My stomach turned over in nervousness at the thought but I brushed it aside. He’s already told me of a girlfriend he has. They’re in love – he says. He tells me that when they first met, they were enemies. He couldn’t stand her, she found him annoying. Soon after, they got to know each other more and have been together for a year or so now. Knowing he had a girlfriend didn’t quite affect me. He was a little more than a stranger to me now. Besides, I didn’t know him in “real life”. All my interactions with him were in this fantasy world where no pain exists – only peace and dreams yet to be fulfilled. 

After dinner, the few of us “kids” started playing cards. I observed his every move and facial expression. How his eyes would sparkle when he spoke about something he liked, how he would playfully nudge me with his shoulder every time I said something stupid. He would tell our younger brothers how to play a better strategy at the game too. 

The time came for everyone to take our night showers. 

On kelong, you had to fetch your own water. That meant lugging a 10-kilo barrel of fresh water into a pail, and then using a bucket to scoop water out. I couldn’t lift mine of course, and so he helped. Watching him lift the barrel so easily and smoothly, my eyes hungered over his strong arms and for a moment, I imagined his skin naked, his fair skin dripping wet…..beads of water dripping off his hair. With that image in my mind, I awkwardly thanked him for helping me and immediately realized my face was getting hot. We were in the same bath cubicle and it was all too much for me. I shoved him out of the cubicle and locked the door, pressing one hand to my chest, willing my heart to slow down. It was beating so loudly I feared he would hear it. 

All freshened up with damp hair, I step out of the cubicle in my pajamas and see that he’s just stepped out too, with no shirt on and a towel covering him waist-down. “Fuck me…..no,” was all I could think of then. 

I think he liked it – making me uncomfortable, watching me squirm about. I think it fed his ego. 

That night, the kids had all piled up into a row of beds side by side. Him and I took the bottom ones. We played cards with the others well into midnight. And that’s when things happened. 

We must have fallen asleep because I saw that I was still holding onto cards in my hand. The next thing I realized was his face so close to mine I could feel his breath. Were we kissing? He was kissing me so gently, it felt like a dream. My mind couldn’t react and I observed my body completely lean into his. I watched us from another universe, my hands combing through his hair, his right arm wrapped around my lower back. 

I don’t remember how long we were wrapped in this embrace, and I don’t remember how long it took for me to fall asleep again. But I remember lying on his chest, listening to his heart beating. I remember the scent of his neck, and him giving me forehead kisses. He was my first love, and I never even saw it coming. There was no way I wouldn’t have given him my heart if he had asked. 

—————–

I woke up with the sun shining in my face, my left arm outstretched on the bed as if I had been stretching it over something or someone – Him. 

I heard a familiar clanging sound on the pot and knew it was the call for breakfast. Sleepily, I got up and groped around on the mattress for my spectacles. 

The minute I put my spectacles on, his figure came into vision. I thought he would realize I had awakened, and come right over. I was wrong. Something about the tightness in his jaw and the way he was trying not to look over gave me a sense of dread. What happened? Did I do something wrong last night? 

On the way back to land, he ignored me throughout the whole ferry ride. I don’t know what I was expecting, but surely, not this? Where did that passion go? Where did that emotion I felt dissipate to? 

When we got back to Singapore, I tried contacting him but he said that he was going to forget about what happened. His emotions overcame him (more like hormones) and he made a mistake. He told me that he loved his girlfriend and requested for  me to forget about the incident. 

I was 16, and completely emotionally incapable of dealing with being used like that. He was an asshole and yet, my heart pined for him for the next few months. I replayed our kisses over and over again in my mind, trying to live through them if only for just a moment. 

You can imagine how I felt, when a few months later, my father told me we were going on holiday again with the same family. From the day I knew about the trip until the moment I saw him, my entire nervous system went haywired. My body felt so rejected but at the same time, my heart couldn’t stop hoping he had changed his mind. “Pick me! Why don’t you!” 

Once we reached the kelong, it became instantly obvious that he wasn’t interested in just “being friends.” He made several flirtatious comments, found my gaze on him several times and held eye contact with me in such a suggestive manner that I just lost all sense of morality. “He should be mine,” I told myself. After all, didn’t I meet him first?! 

That night, our conversation became so much more serious than ever. We talked about where we wanted to go for school, what we would want to work as, whether we were going to have children etc. “I’m going to marry Andrea,” he told me. I looked down at my hands and looked away, feeling the pang of pain on my heart. We were under such a starry night, the breeze was strong, the ocean calm….but my body was experiencing such a cacophony of emotions, each demanding my attention that I switched off and started disassociating. 

We started talking about other things, and for some reason started talking about our sensitive body parts (don’t even, i have no idea why). I told him that my gut always felt like my most vulnerable part. I was facing one direction and he was facing the other. In one swift movement, he stepped closer to me, so close I could feel my goosebumps almost touch his arm. The heat from my body was radiating to the top of my head and I felt my ears burn. 

“You mean….like this?” He placed a warm hand on my stomach, looked me in the eyes, and that was it. I fell for that motherf*cking smooth-ass shit instantly and we locked lips again for the second time. 

We picked an empty bed, this time one that was on the upstairs bunk and lay beside each other. We made out for such a long time I had to pull away one second just to breathe. The moment my mind recognized that it was him I was kissing, I started tearing up. “Why are you with her?” I asked him. “Because she’s perfect for me. She has all of the qualities I know I’ll need in a wife. I love her.” “Then why are you with me now?” My voice croaked. I couldn’t believe how embarrassed I felt but I also needed to know. “I don’t know. I can’t help it.” He tells me. I start pushing him away, trying to get off the bed, unhappy with his stupid-ass answer but he pulls me close to his chest, close enough that I can hear his heart beat and he simply says, “stay here, you need me.” 

That was the first time I gave my power to a boy.

“There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection.” – Carl Jung

From: https://scottjeffrey.com/shadow-work/

A while ago, I had to stand in court for a crime I didn’t do. Someone who was really pissed off with me wanted to sue me for harassment. Having no justification and no proper claims or evidence for it, she was asked to withdraw her case and not waste taxpayers’ money. The entire court session was actually really good for me because I learned so much about myself during the entire process. I wanted to focus on my own actions, how I could pick out the bits of what I didn’t like of myself so I could regenerate and improve as a person.

My bully was a person with many insecurities. But she also played very dirty, with little conscience on her hands. Amongst many accusations she made about me in court, she took one of my blogposts and submitted it to the court as evidence that i have a “violent nature”. In that post, I was describing about the one time my triggers were on high alert, and I flung a glass against a wall while acting out infront of Marco and our friends. I also shared that after the incident, I broke down crying because I knew I had reacted in a manner that wasn’t reflective of my best self. As I was crying, Marco asked if I had scared myself. It was in that moment, that I felt he understood me. He could see my anger being played out because I had so much repressed anger, anger I should have displayed when I was being bullied in the first place. Anger from my childhood, teenage years that I didn’t work through.

I wanted to share that incident to show people that anger is a part of the grieving process and the more we suppress it, the more it comes out unexpectedly, especially when our emotions are on a high and we aren’t able to control ourselves. I wanted to show people that it’s necessary to understand our “dark side” and befriend it, so we can dispel it and move through it, instead of being afraid of it.

Now that I’ve been studying psychology and philosophy for a while, I also know this to be called Shadow work.

What is the Shadow?

(taken from another site)

The shadow is the “dark side” of our personality because it consists chiefly of primitive, negative human emotions and impulses like rage, envy, greed, selfishness, desire, and the striving for power.

All we deny in ourselves—whatever we perceive as inferior, evil, or unacceptable—become part of the shadow.

Anything incompatible with our chosen conscious attitude about ourselves relegates to this dark side.

The personal shadow is the disowned self. This shadow self represents the parts of us we no longer claim to be our own, including inherent positive qualities.

These unexamined or disowned parts of our personality don’t go anywhere. Although we deny them in our attempt to cast them out, we don’t get rid of them.

We repress them; they are part of our unconscious. Think of the unconscious as everything we are not conscious of.

We can’t eliminate the shadow. It stays with us as our dark brother or sister. Trouble arises when we fail to see it. For then, to be sure, it is standing right behind us.

Shadow work for me, was a game changer.

To actively seek out your shadow takes courage, and I hope to sow in you courage by proving to you that when you get past your fear of confront your shadow, you really do get a better idea of you are.

And knowing who you are…..is a superpower. Knowing exactly who you are – for all the things you think you should be ashamed of….things you are proud of….things you want to be grateful for…..is an ability we can ALL cultivate. Because it’s when we know ourselves, that we lose the idea that we need to be spectacular. We lose the concept of needing validation. We lost the fear of not being loved or wanted.

And of course, we are able to genuinely love ourselves.

We treat others the way we treat ourselves. When we don’t have love for ourselves, we won’t know how to project love for others. Love that they really desire and deserve.

What Happens When You Repress Your Shadow

So what happens to all the parts of ourselves we sweep out of view?

Whatever qualities we deny in ourselves, we see in others.

In psychology, this is called projection. We project onto others anything we bury within us.

If, for example, you get irritated when someone is rude to you, it’s a good bet you haven’t owned your own rudeness.

This doesn’t mean the person isn’t being rude to you. However, if rudeness wasn’t in your shadow self, someone else’s rudeness wouldn’t bother you so much.

This process doesn’t happen consciously. We aren’t aware of our projections.

Our egos use this mechanism to defend itself—to defend how it perceives itself. Our false identities of being “good” keep us from connecting to our shadow.

These psychological projections distort reality, creating a thick boundary between how we view ourselves and how we behave in reality.

Integrating our shadow into the concepts of ourselves is imperative if we want to fully grow into who we can be.

Understanding our Shadow is Understanding our Strength

You know what true strength is?

True strength is when you know you have the power to impact someone in a huge way, like the way you have power over a child……but you use it wisely. You control your own emotions by not letting them project unto them.

And how can you stop your projections from happening if you’re not in control of your emotions? Being in control means having a strong relationship with your body (the body often responds before your mind does) and being able to feel the wrath….feel all of that fire in your body, but snuffing it out so you don’t light someone else on fire.

That takes true courage, something that your bullies don’t have, which is why they hide in the dark, they fear people’s judgment of them.

Next time you’re being bullied, stand up for yourself with courage, and give them exactly what they deserve. Nothing more, nothing less. Show them the consequence of their actions, but pardon them the rest of your fury. Leave them be……and work on conquering your own Shadow.