To be Human Is To Make Mistakes

When I was younger, I developed a desire to overachieve. Reasons aside, I grew up to become self-conscious of what people thought of me, as well as how I can adapt so as to be more perfect as a person.

Over time, events have shown me again and again, that Life isn’t meant to be perfect and neither are we, as humans.

Still, I like to study what it means to be Human, all because I have been searching for what it means to be Me. Where does my identity come from? Where do my desires, fears and wants derive from? How should I find my way to living a fulfilled life? What can give me a meaningful purpose in life beyond enjoying it?

“I’ve always tried to make sense of things. There must be a reason why I am as I am”

Bicentennial Man, 1999

In the movie Bicentennial Man, when asked why he wanted to become human, instead of live forever as a machine, Andrew, played by Robin Williams replied:

“To be acknowledged for who and what I am, no more, no less. Not for acclaim, not for approval, but, the simple truth of that recognition. This has been the elemental drive of my existence, and it must be achieved, if I am to live or die with dignity.”

Before he made the full transition from Android to Human, he had a conversation with the woman he loved, Portia. She was about to marry another man because she couldn’t accept loving a robot. Yet, you could see in her the desire for him to fight for her. She was almost begging for him to make the decision for her.

Portia: Take chances, make mistakes. Sometimes, it’s important not to be perfect. It’s important to do the wrong thing.

Andrew: Do the wrong thing? Why? Oh I see, to learn from your mistakes.

Portia: No! To make them. To find out what’s real and what’s not. To find out what you FEEL. Human beings are terrible messes, Andrew.

Andrew: I see. This is what is known as an irrational conversation, isn’t it?

Portia: No, this is a human conversation. It’s not about being irrational, it’s about following your heart.

Uncontrollably, while watching this scene, my mind brought me back to a conversation I had with my ex-husband.

We were talking about him being in love with another woman, and he was trying to be truthful with me. I could see that. As hard as the conversation was, he was trying to tell me something I think neither of us could understand at that moment.

“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what’s right. My friend told me to follow my heart. And I told him that I was afraid to do that. What if following my heart means hurting you?”

When I first heard him say that to me, 2 whole years ago, my heart didn’t quite sink immediately. My pride got destroyed, but something inside me agreed wholeheartedly with him. I think we both felt that what we thought was love……was not true. We didn’t really love each other. But parts of us craved it so much we thought we could will it to happen.

At that time, we weren’t in an estranged relationship as we are now. Messy divorces destroy relationships. Many things were said and done between us, and we can no longer repair whatever bond or trust we had before. But back then…..when we still had that connection, I said to him.

“Don’t worry about me. No matter what happens, I’ll always be okay. If you choose someone else, I’ll eventually still be okay.”

Of course, as we all know, life is not as simple as that. The truth sometimes hurts. And in the coming 2 years, Truth revealed itself in many ways, of who, what, why and how. And it hurt. While dealing with pain and shame, humans do what their animalistic instincts tell them to – Fight or flee.

In the end, names were called, accusations were made and even more pain and shame ensued. For the overthinker and self conscious person I am, I struggle with both anger and guilt, always almost at once. On one hand, I want to acknowledge the wrongdoings done towards me, things said about me, on the other hand I want to be kind, understanding and focus on my own faults instead.

But that’s what being human is, isn’t it? As a species, we are so vulnerable and insecure, having risen up to the top of the food chain in just a short matter of time, when evolution used to happen over hundreds of thousands of years.

Being human is to have all of these contradicting thoughts and emotions, all clashing inside our minds at times of conflict. Conflict between us and others, conflict within ourselves.

The truth, although it hurt, is that I wasn’t quite sure of what I was doing back then. I wasn’t sure what I wanted in life. I let external factors decide for me. If given a choice between A or B, I never asked for C, even if I didn’t really want either A or B. On top of all of the uncertainty I had about myself and how I should live my life, I cared too much of what others thought. I unnecessarily sought people’s approval.

In his dying moments, Andrew’s life-partner Portia, played by Embeth Davidtz, asked why he needed the world’s approval – Why did it matter if the world viewed him as human if he was able to live a good part of his life as one?

“Old habits. I came into this world as a robot, I still like to be told certain things.”

This complete acceptance of who he is as a person, without needing to change or be perfect, is admirable. Now that I’ve started to understand where my people-pleasing/ fixer tendencies stem from, its easier to decide when to give in and when to reject them.

The movie follows Andrew as he slowly figures out the different desires he has, each arising at different stages, but all pointing to the ultimate goal of him wanting to become Human. From at first wanting to wear clothing, asking for facial expressions to later on asking for freedom, searching for his own kind and even going through the process of becoming human, Andrew spent a good 200 years exploring different facets of himself. The entirety of his being was constantly changing and growing, as he started understanding himself better.

Though he spends good effort in making permanent changes so as to be acknowledged as a human by humans, in the end, he passes away peacefully without hearing that his status has been converted from Robot to Human. “Maybe he didn’t need to hear it,” Portia told the nurse who was caring for them. Moments later, we witness the sweet ending of Portia crossing the end of life, minutes after Andrew.

Alas, pain is inevitable at times, especially in the pursuit of the truth. And just as Andrew discovers, loss, grief and mistakes are all part of the human existence.

While embracing who I am, I also realize that life as a human is incredibly messy and there’s no need for us to crave perfection or to be acknowledged by anyone else but us. We might want it, but we don’t need it to be happy.

The biggest mistake I made in life also brought about the biggest lessons. I’ve had other regrets in life before, but never the determination to learn from them. As they say, certain things take time to happen. Everyone journeys through life at their own pace, in their own time.

Writing to remind myself to practice Patience. That it’s okay to be imperfect because that’s the very definition of being Human.

Hello Jane, from your future self

Tioman, 2012

To my younger self,

I know you’ve always felt a little lost. And perhaps you’ve been used to feeling lonely too. You used to surround yourself with many friends and constantly traded your self worth for the approval of others.

One day, you’ll find out where your fears came from and why you’re constantly afraid of being alone.

Somewhere around your mid 20s, you embarked on a rather self-destructive path because the inner turmoil grew and grew, and you weren’t even aware that you were suppressing your frustrations. Amidst the parade and charade, you could barely even listen to your own cries. Your actions however, were obvious. You turned a blind eye to your dependency on alcohol and convinced yourself you were just “bored with life”. But you knew, you always felt the discrepancy between how you truly felt and what you told yourself.

One day, your heart will get so broken. You thought you had finally found someone who saw and loved you for who you were. You believed his lies when he said he would never leave or forsake you. And you gave him everything – every piece of your heart and every ounce of your trust. You saw in him what he couldn’t even see in himself. And you loved him. And so it will hurt. It will hurt like hell when one day, he looks your father in his eyes and say “I made a mistake in marrying your daughter, now I want to marry someone else”. He will turn out to be exactly what you always feared him to be and you will ask yourself why you ever fell in love with him. You would have given him so much of yourself, and nothing left for anyone else, especially you.

The pain will shatter your entire existence. It will crumble the foundation you thought you was solid. And it will cause you so much pain you can hardly even breathe or eat. You will look at your parents and feel guilt for ever letting them love that man. And you will curse the day you said “I do”.

It will hurt. And it will keep hurting. The grief will never get smaller.

But then, because of this pain. Because of this unconceivable flood of agony that will overwhelm and plague your every minute, you will finally recognize that you have to put yourself first. Just so you can get through this terrible event.

For the first time in your life, you’ll be confronted with the fact that no one will be able to help you. The pain you’ll experience will simply be too much to bear. Everyone will be living their own lives and going about their day. But yours has already imploded. Your world doesn’t exist anymore.

For the first time in your life, you will start making decisions not based on what anyone else has done or thinks is right.

Mexico with Tim, Carlo and his family in Carlo’s hometown

You will meet strangers, people whom you’ve just met and you will relate to them so much. Suddenly, you will have found people who tell you stories that spark something in you. They will speak words that tug at your heart and make you feel instantly comfortable with them.

These people will make you feel like family right away, and help you realize you have always felt out of place in Singapore – lonely even though you’re constantly surrounded by people who love you.

You’ll start to understand that love is not enough. We all crave to be understood, to be seen. And you never quite felt understood – did you? Even from a young age, when you were just a child – you never quite felt like you belonged anywhere, did you? You never wanted the same things society wanted and never enjoyed the things others did. Yet, there was never another path you could see, or another way that life could be lived.

Baby sitting in England, April 2020

And so, because you’ve now seen it happening for yourself, you will start to follow that one and only one desire you have and have always had – To travel. To explore the world. To try and make traveling a lifestyle until you find the way forward.

Mexico, Jan 2020

Because of the people you meet, you’ll start believing there IS another way to live life. One that you thought was an unbeaten path but really – just an unfamiliar path to people you know. You’ll discover so many people who have chosen to ‘rebel’ against society and realize you’re not silly for dreaming the same dream as them. Your dream IS their reality.

Along the way, while trying to heal, you’ll discover so much strength and love inside you. And learn how to be happy on your own. How to eat on your own, watch movies on your own, read, go to museums and even laugh on your own. You’ll find out that being alone won’t make you feel lonely, once you can be honest and vulnerable with yourself.

While slow traveling, the mental distance will give you time to heal. I won’t deny that for a good part of 2 years, grief will be a big part of your journey.

Sometimes, the grief will be manageable and other times, it will plunge you into a deep pit of depression.

During this time, you will learn to lean on the right people for help and you will feel so so loved. These people will prove to be your angels and because of them, you will heal well. Along with therapy sessions, you will start reflecting on many things in your life.

Why you chose to do certain things, why you made certain mistakes, how you can choose to do differently in future and most importantly – what kind of life you want in the future.

Friends in Zagreb Croatia, Summer of 2021.
Split, Croatia. Summer of 2021

Slowly but surely, bit by bit, you will start to grow. Emotionally, intellectually and metaphysically.

Because of the people you will meet and the quality of conversations you exchange, you will start allowing yourself to dream of a completely new life. One where no one you know has lived before. No one to give you a road map; no one to guide you on where to go or what to do. People will inspire you all the time – but still you will be faced with a big challenge.

Guess what though? Because you have experienced piecing yourself back up, because you have plucked yourself off the floor again and again, you are ready for that challenge. You’re geared up!

The NC 500 highlands. Scotland, Summer of 2020

Soon, you will even find the strength to help others. You will happily spend time talking to people who think and feel just like you! You will realize that there were always people back in Singapore who felt the same way as you – you just never crossed paths with them.

While writing as an outlet to express yourself, you will also find opportunities to remote work. From water colour painting, learning Italian, how to work in the tech industry, to options trading and freediving, you will be learning LOTS.

Every country you go to, every new experience you go through will teach you so much. And your thirst for evolving will empower you to soak all of it up.

Croatia, Rovinj. Summer of 2021.

Your Ego will be bruised multiple times. Many events will happen to teach you more about yourself and mold you into a better version – one that is acutely aware that we are all part of a greater synergy. And that our actions can cause ripple effects. You will learn how to work with your ego, how to slow your thoughts down and calm your knee-jerk emotional reactions.

Because you have new found love for yourself and you’re healing deep old wounds that happened in your childhood, you’ll start to see our family in new light. You’ll start to feel more space to hold them with love. You’ll appreciate your friends more and want to spend time with people who matter. No longer will you tolerate gaslighting, emotional abuse or narcissistic relationships, even with friends.

At the same time, you’ll witness so much beauty in the way. Beauty in mountains, oceans and cities. Beauty in the different cultures. And in the way whole societies go through war and recover. Beauty in how people tackle poverty and come up with ways to help each other without selfish benefits.

Your traveling experience will inject so much optimism in you, inspiring you to be a part of that side of humanity. The side where people actively seek themselves out so they can give more in productive ways.

And yes – we do find love again.

We find love in the most wonderful way.

We find someone who sees us. All of us. And we find someone who puts in the effort to actively love you – not just with empty words but with action. You will test this relationship again and again because of your trauma, but one day, you will finally believe that this man loves you.

And you will love him too. You’ll grow into a person who can love him as he deserves. The two of you will live happily on an island and discover new parts of yourselves because you’re together.

And this fear. This fear of losing him. This tremendous fear of living life without someone else. Will start to fade. Not because he’s around – but because you have learned that life can be happy even without him.

You’ll accept that you might one day lose him and that his absence might leave a gaping hole in your heart. But you’ll know that it will still be okay. Life will still be good.

That….will be the ultimate freedom to experience.

Knowing that we can survive and even thrive….on our own.

And off we will go. Off into the world. Having finally found ourselves. For more adventures, experiences and lessons.

My dearest Jane, hang in there. Enjoy the ride.

Life is earnest and it is good.

What do you do in the face of Anger?

I can hear my heartbeat pounding in my eardrums. Literally. Doom Doom Doom Doom Doom.

My face is completely heated. I can feel steam coming out of my palms. I have a massive impulse to get revenge. To make her hurt. To fight back with all the secrets of hers that I hold. To expose to the world what a complete hypocrite she is. To show everyone the truth and retrieve back my dignity. To tell everyone how much of a fool she looked like, trying to gain pity from others. I wished she would experience all that I did, all that she made me feel, and then laugh in the face of her pain.

Has it only been a minute? It feels like hours have gone by. I’m barely breathing, my eyes can’t focus on anything. All I see in my mind……is rage. All I feel in my body is terrible terrible anger.

I used to fear feeling like this because I didn’t like the way I felt when anger attacked.

I didn’t like feeling angry. And I would beat myself up about it. I would feel completely horrible for having bad thoughts of other people. The guilt of wanting to hurt them would engulf my anger and render me even more ashamed. I wasn’t this person, so why was I feeling that way???

How could I ever have those thoughts? I’m not a vengeful person. I’ve never been this angry, enough to have such thoughts. Growing up, I’ve never cared about what others said about me. I’ve had people do worse things to me and still I never felt this angry towards them. I’m not even this angry towards my own ex- who was the one who actually did the stuff to hurt me. Why am I so angry towards this person? Someone I don’t even know?

Why? I wanted to seek out the meaning behind my anger towards this particular person.

Twice when the triggers attacked and I experienced tremendous rage, I started hitting myself. I would bang my head against any hard surface, scratch my skin until it bled, pull at my hair, I would hit myself in the head continuously until Marco calms me down. And every time after I calm down, I would start crying immediately because of all the emotions I felt. I felt like the Hulk. I kept repeating to myself “I’m not the hulk. I’m not an angry person.”

Because of such traumatic experiences with Anger, I got afraid of it. So many times when the anger resurfaced, I would push it away. I would reject it, avoid it and completely deny it.

But Anger didn’t want to leave. It found ways to sneak back into my heart, small and big ways. A flashback, a memory, a song, a word, a type of food. It became so exhausting avoiding Anger, it felt like she was waiting around every bend, lurking around every corner.

So, one day. I finally had enough. I summoned up all the courage I had, marched up to her and said “What can I do for you so you will leave me alone????”

It was then, when Anger approached me calmly and placed a single finger on my stomach. The heat that suddenly coursed through my body felt so familiar, so haunting and yet……it wasn’t setting me on fire. I took a leap of faith and embraced the intense heat. Instead of harming me, it was trying to burst energy into me so I could feel my body better. I was….suddenly aware of knots that were in my body. Knots that seemed to pulsate to the drums of my Anger. I couldn’t feel them before because all of the heat used to concentrate around my mind, stopping me from being aware of my body.

I quickly learned that Anger……….was just trying to be helpful. Anger was just trying to tell me something. About who? Not about what we think of the person trying to hurt us, or people trying to get a reaction out of us. Anger doesn’t care about them. Anger doesn’t know them. Anger doesn’t want anything to do with them.

Anger wanted to reveal the cause of my pain and sorrow.

“I want you…to feel where it hurts when you pinpoint where the anger comes from,” My life coach, Rella, told me.

I went through the list of things my perpetrator said about me. One by one. I said those things to myself and I asked myself where the words caused a reaction.

Some surfaced in my lower back, some in my throat, most of them in my stomach and some of them in my chest.

“For all the feelings you’re experiencing now, as you’re replaying the hurtful things that were said to or about you, when was the last time you remember feeling like this before?” Rella very calmly and gently asked me.

At first, it wasn’t so clear to figure out where the source of my feelings came from. I had long ago detached from those memories. I had long ago put away the incidents that hurt me. With Rella‘s help and patience, she helped me navigate through my past and gave me actual solutions to my problems.

Slowly….and when I mean slowly…..I mean that it’s taking months and months, I’m managing to unearth so many things that happened in my past, things that hurt me deeply. I’m going back in time to remember what happened to toddler Jane, child Jane, teenage Jane, young adult Jane and I’m putting faces to many of the triggers I have.

For every precious skull of memory I collect, I place them gently into individual jars and from time to time, I now hold them close to me, with a sole intention to heal these wounds.

I hold closely, each skull that contains a memory of past Janes, and I let the ghosts of them cry out to me. I let them demonstrate what it felt like when those things happened. I allowed them to remind me how lonely, abandoned, hurt, betrayed, and dismissed I once felt.

I used to see such a thick layer of fog. A fog that covered up the meaning behind my anger. Why was I angry? Especially if I knew her intentions to accuse me were only in reaction to her own inability to cope with her feelings?

The minute I started realizing that her anger was not just directed towards me, but more towards her own self, the minute I also realized my own anger wasn’t just in reaction to her actions. They were in reaction to my own past actions.

I put her aside and I focused on my own actions.

I stopped feeling bad about things I’d done before. I started understanding why and letting go of the past. I stopped feeling guilt towards the past because I now knew that the reason I made all of my “mistakes” or “regrets” were because I had past wounds that were buried alive. Buried while they were still pounding alive, wanting to be healed, to be acknowledged, to be heard. My thoughts and actions were driven by the ghosts of my past, all rising to the surface whenever a trigger occurs, all demanding that their grievances were dealt with.

Soon….The fog started clearing and I could see so clearly. There was so much clarity.

I even started looking at my bully differently. She wasn’t my enemy. Although she intended to hurt me, it mirrored the amount of hurt she herself was feeling. However hard she was on me, it reflected how much more brutal she is towards herself. I was never her enemy. She had her own battles to fight. It was easier for her to direct anger towards me, than face Anger herself.

There was no forgiving needed. From either party. I just had to see her. To really see her. And just let her be. Not to change her actions towards me, or wonder why she had so much hatred towards me, but to accept that whatever she does or says is out of my control, and that I can decide to disengage and let go.

“Tell me who you are,” Anger once asked me to write down attributes that would describe me.

As I wrote down each word, I waited for a rejection from my body. If there was, I would re-examine the word and ask myself what the truth was. Is it a word that accurately describes who I am? Or it a word that describes the ghosts of my past? At the end of the session, I looked at all the words that described the person I am and I felt……..accepted. I was finally acknowledging who I am, all of it – even the parts that I felt ashamed of.

Then, I also wrote down words that described who I wanted to be, and I set an intention.

An intention to release myself from the actions of my past, be it good, bad, ugly, or sad.

An intention to allow inner parts of me that were once suppressed and denied, to express and be accepted.

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, but transferred.

And after the calamities that happen in our lives, it is up to us to recuperate and heal, and then seek to grow from within.

And this is how I know, that every single one of us, is capable of building ourselves back up. From the ashes of our calamity, we nurture our self-worth and allow nature to tend to our healing.

And you know what?

After 2 years of grieving, pain, anger, shame, and sorrow, I’ve come to accept all of it. Not to change them, not to wish them away. But simply to accept them.

Someone once told me that acceptance is a mutually beneficial agreement.

If you go to a shop to buy something, and they name you a price, you get what you want only by accepting an agreeable price. However much you haggle with the seller, both of you have to agree on a set price.

And once that price is agreed upon, there are no more hard feelings towards each other. Both parties simply accept and move on.

Accepting our past, accepting the people around us, accepting ourselves.

It all goes into helping us move past temporary disagreements. Not to judge, blame, or hold accountable for anything more. Just to say “look we once disagreed on something, but it doesn’t mean anything else. Let’s move on.”

If we can constantly do this with our “enemies” whether they are people who’ve hurt us, or even ourselves, we will do better in our goals of pursuing happiness.

How does it feel now?

Lighter and happier.

It’s been easier to distinct between the voices of my past and my own voice now. Even when triggers come, they swiftly go and I’ve learnt to be patient with myself.

Stuck emotions no longer last longer than a day, and my dreams are no longer plagued with what “could have been” or “should have been”

After the calamity, there is Peace.

And Peace……is a treasured luxury. Peace is a gift. I’m grateful for Peace.

Trauma doesn’t have to win + how do we heal?

Chasing sunsets in Koh Phangan, March 2022

I fell off my scooter yesterday. It wasn’t a bad fall but it did split my knee open and because the wound was deep, I needed an X-ray and stitches.

And throughout the entire hospital stay, the only thing I could remember was how painful it felt during my last traumatic incident. And then I asked myself – why is that always the first thing I think about? Why does my mind always pull me back to that?

I remember before the divorce, my last traumatic memory was of my Uncle drowning in a ferry accident about 10 years ago. It took my whole family a good 6-7 years of not quite talking about it to heal. We got a dog, Pepper, who was the best therapy dog. And all of us just kind of buried our sadness and pain into him. We loved him and he loved us dearly. And interestingly, the year my father finally found the courage to go back to fishing, Pepper developed a tumor in his brain and had to be put down because of his constant seizures and suffering.

Since the divorce, whenever something painful happens, my mind immediately pulls me back to how it FELT – when things happened. Whenever that happens, it’s like I’m experiencing everything all over again. All of the emotions. All of the flashbacks. All the colliding impulses just come crashing in again.

Then I started reading about the effects of trauma and how it does leave semi-permanent/permanent damage to our brains. It majorly impacts the way we react to triggers or incidents in life. These last longing effects don’t give us much of a warning before they swing by and hit us like a wrecking ball.

And that’s just one episode. It affects me in ways that are so stupid. I can’t sleep well, I can’t eat well, I become severely depressed. But I refused to let it change who I am. So instead of focusing on how painful each episode felt like, I focused on healing. I told myself, that a series of things must happen if I want change. And 2 years on, I can proudly say that I can FEEL the healing happening.

Even when I get episodes nowadays, they don’t last more than a few minutes. I now understand why people say “Vibrate higher” because healing takes you to an elevated level of consciousness and awareness of who you are and what you’re made of. And because of that, even if the episodes happen again, you can acknowledge that the person who experienced all of that has grown up already. That person has evolved and so the past hurts no longer indicate anything of them.

Quite often, people write in to me and ask me some questions. And I thought I’d answer some of them here today, just in case anyone else was reading too.

“How did you heal from such a traumatic event?”

Traveling helped me the most. I needed the distance away from my loved ones. I was really wounded and really vulnerable, and being away from everyone allowed me to find my own truth and answers to the burning questions I had. I know alot of you who are going through tough breakups now are plagued and hammered day and night by these questions. And I would encourage you to just write these questions down. Not to answer them but to keep them on your mind so you can get a sense of which questions really intrigue you versus which are just there to hurt you. There are certain questions that don’t need to be answered yet, so leave them aside. Try to focus on questions that really bug you. And importantly, focus on questions ONLY YOU can answer.

There’s no point trying to get your ex to answer these questions. It’s very rare that they will give you honest answers, especially when now, all they want is to get rid/get away from you. Also remember, they don’t owe us anything. I know it feels like they do. I know. But they really don’t. They themselves are also on their own journeys to figure out what went wrong.

Just because they’re the ones who chose to leave doesn’t mean they’ve got their lives sorted. Many times, they leave because they’re equally if not more lost than you.

The other things that helped – going for long walks / exercising/ picking up a new hobby/ talking to new people/ THERAPY!!! So important. I’ll write another post about why and how therapy/life coaching can really help.

“How did you forgive your ex?”

You don’t need to forgive your ex to heal. You can just accept that their actions hurt you and there’s nothing they can do or say to ever make that go away. But remember that a marriage takes two to break and I’ve always said from the start that I have my fair share of blame to account for. My ex is also entitled to his own feelings and doesn’t have to forgive me.

Neither of us ever need to forgive each other. And that’s okay. At some point of your healing journey, you will be able to accept that that bond you had with your ex is poisoned and broken already. Because of the pain each of you feel (everyone’s feelings are valid), it’s something almost impossible and also unnecessary for both of you to like each other again – even as friends.

You don’t have to be liked by your ex and neither does your ex need to ever seek forgiveness (and vice versa)

The more critical thing to focus on is your own healing – and leave your partner to heal on their own terms. (I learned this from the hard way, and so might you. But I hope that in sharing my story you’ll know you’re not alone)

“How do you trust yourself again?”

You trust yourself by getting to know yourself again and most importantly, forgiving yourself.

It’s just like with anyone you first meet. The more you get to know someone, the more you trust them. Because you understand and trust that they would never hurt you intentionally. The reason you end up losing trust in yourself is because you don’t understand how you got yourself in a mess like that. You also have guilt and so instead of solely blaming the other party, you recognize there’s a part of you that wasn’t exactly sure of your own actions or intentions.

I lost complete trust in myself because I think I always knew deep down that I was lost in life already. Even before the marriage. But I waited until something big happened like my divorce, to finally shake me out of my coma and say LIVE YOUR LIFE. Stop staying unhappy and just go out there to search for what you’re looking for. We underestimate the effects of not living a fulfilled life. Bitterness sown into our hearts will only bloom into more bitterness. It will show in the way we treat people, the way we treat ourselves. The way we fall sick very easily. The way we get bored with just about anything. There are many symptoms that will show us we’re not happy. But unfortunately, we don’t fear being depressed as much as we fear getting cancer.

“My ex and his family/friends keep talking shit about me. How do I stop it?”

You don’t. Remember that no one will ever know the full truth, other than the people directly involved in the relationship. Anyone else is receiving third party information. Your ex’s family and friends HAVE to stand by them because they’re gonna be in each others’ lives. You’re not. They don’t need to sympathize or understand the basis of your actions.

Of course, it always sucks when we’re being painted something we’re not. And it also sucks when lies are being spread about us. So if you feel the need to say your truth, boast it loud and proud. And eventually, words don’t matter as much as your actions. People around us are not dumb as well. Actions always speak louder than words. If what you say and what you do match, people will eventually figure out who’s lying and who’s not. Not that it will matter by then. The more they hurl insults at you, call you names, spread rumours about you,(take you to court lol), the more you know you’re winning. Because they’re betraying their self worth to put another human being down. Only severely insecure and very helpless people do that. Answer to no one but yourself. As long as your conscience is clear, the truth will always prevail.

Plus, sometimes people just rub each other the wrong way. We can never please everyone and we never have to justify ourselves to people. Focus on you. Focus on your healing. Leave everyone else out of your mind because trust me, you’re not on theirs for very long.

If you still care about their opinions, ask yourself why? Maybe the truth is that they’re right and that you DID actually do some horrible things. But this feeling of guilt or shame is a signpost to tell you something. Everyone has the choice to live differently and be better people.

Choose then, from now on, to become a better person and vibrate higher so that your past mistakes no longer weigh you down. Instead, they serve as lessons and memories for you to look back upon and say “Yeah, i’ve grown and I’m proud of myself for it”

“How can my ex say they loved me but then eventually leave me? Did they never love me before?”

Here’s an unpopular opinion. You can love someone and not be able to live with them. I think we always feel that love is all it takes. But a relationship takes alot of WORK. And love is simply just not enough.

Say for example you have always enjoyed working in an industry. And the first few years turn out great and you feel happy and lucky you’re working there. But years go by, the company stays stagnant and you don’t feel yourself growing anymore. Would you consider staying just because you once loved your job so much?

I really don’t consider a successful relationship to be one that needs to last forever.

There are just so many factors that can change a person and that’s completely fine.

I always don’t believe in getting married to have a false sense of commitment. The high percentages of divorce all around the world should already show us that it doesn’t do shit. The only reason I would ever get married again is to have a legal child together or to be able to live together in a country.

Even if you really do find the love of your life and end up getting married, it still takes years of work and commitment (not just being faithful to each other) but willingly compromising so two of you can have a better life than without each other.

The last reason you’re asking yourself this is because it hurts to be abandoned. I get it. It hurts when someone who promised you an eternity just walks out on you. It’s worse when they abandon you for someone else.

But I’m happy that you’re now free because even though you’re in a lot of pain now, this pain will not last forever. This horrible ache, this tremendous sense of betrayal….It will not last. I promise you. How long will it stay with you? I don’t know. But I know that our value is not based on whether someone else wants us or not.

Similarly, if we ever start dating someone and we eventually find that we’re not as in love with them as they are with us, they will feel rejected too.

The chance of finding a person who’s for you and who will always choose you is as unpredictable as gambling. So you already know what I’m gonna say……

Make your own happiness. Be happy on your own first, and if someone else comes along, you’ll be even happier. But not dependent on them for your happiness.

“He physically abused me and I cheated. Technically we both did something wrong so how do I fight for what I want in the divorce?”

Ps: before some people get overly excited and think that this is related to me. It’s not. It’s a question I get from other people who have gone through this scenario before.

This is really up to you to figure out what you want.

The tricky thing about marriages….is that finances are often mixed up during a marriage.

And more often than not, someone was contributing more than the other financially. But let’s also not forget that a person’s life is not valued based on money. If you can’t put a price on your life, or your time, then know that it’s very hard to split anything equally in a marriage.

As much as possible, focus on the main goal. To be divorced as amicably as possible. No one wins in a divorce. Only the lawyers do. If you can afford to lose some money but get divorced quickly, why not? You can earn money back again but you can’t put a value on peace. It’s gonna take you a while to regain some peace in your life so try to focus on that instead of the money you’re losing.

But if you really feel that you suffered more than them, and you deserve to get what you want…then fight for it. And when you finally get tired of fighting, you’ll know then…how valuable peace is.

Lastly,

How long does it take to heal?”

It took me 2 years to feel 90% healed. But I know it’s not dependent on time. Healing is a process. And the definition of a process is “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.”

It took me a combination of active reflection, meditation, long walks, sessions of therapy, talking it out with friends, relying on family for support, breaking down, feeling better, breaking down again, meeting people, dating, breaking up, dating more, breaking up more, but always coming back to asking myself ‘ what kind of a person do I want to be? what kind of life do I want? and how can I heal to live a more meaningful life?’

In this process of healing, I also realized where the root of my negative attachment patterns came from. I figured out where during my childhood – my inner child felt hurt and abandoned. I sought to seek her wounds so I could heal us both. I sought to be the caregiver she didn’t have. I sought to give her the love and freedom she always yearned for.

I knew I was healing well when I started agonizing over other problems instead haha. And it dawned on me one morning that I was no longer so tightly chained by the misery of my trauma. Once in a while, I still get pangs of anger that surges through me……especially when triggers occur. I’ll sit with those emotions for a few moments….breathe in…and then breathe all of that out again.

Lol Mr M

And then I’ll remember how fucking awesome my life is now. I’m really grateful for it.

I tend to forget how lucky and privileged I am to be living this life – but then again, I saw an opportunity, reached out and grabbed it. So GRAB YOURS TOO.

Back when I was 25, I never imagined my life could be this amazing. But I really am living my dream life. And If I had to go through all I did to get here………………well. It was worth it.

“If he didn’t really want me, why did he marry me? – Part 2

In preparation for an article I was writing, I had interviewed 9 divorced women – each with their own tale to tell. While writing the article, I thought of every single one of them and would hold them in my thoughts while I grieved for them. This is a series of fictional stories, inspired by their lives and strength.

Any resemblance to real persons or other real-life entities is purely coincidental. All characters and other entities appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, dead or alive, or other real-life entities, past or present, is purely coincidental.

Part 1 here

6 months ago

It was a Thursday and Olive had just arrived home from a long day of work. She works as a teacher and it was nearing the examination period so her work days had been stretching past 12 hours from Monday to Friday.

“Dear? she calls out to an empty living room while taking her shoes off. She sees a packet of unopened instant noodles on the kitchen table and heads to the study room where she found Danny, her husband.

The study room was Danny’s man-cave. It had three monitors, loud speakers and a comfortable gaming chair where he spent most of his time from morning to night. “Dear?” Olive calls out to her husband again, this time knocking on the door. She knew he didn’t like it when she came in unannounced. Danny had his earphones in and was playing a game, chatting merrily with someone, laughing away. He had no idea that Olive was standing there.

“Thanks for sending me the photo, you look very cute. I don’t usually compliment other girls but you’re really very cute.” She heard her husband say. Her heart dropped and she took a few long strides towards him and tapped quickly on his shoulder. Very abruptly, he spun around and faced her. Shock momentarily flashed across his face and Olive registered a look on his face that didn’t sit right with her. It quickly passed as Danny put on his poker face and immediately said to her, “Oh! You’re back. Wait ah, I’m just finishing the game. You go out first, I’m coming already. Help me to turn on the stove can? I haven’t eat dinner, very hungry.”

Olive didn’t know what to say or do but she followed his bidding and went outside to boil a pot of hot water for him. Without thinking, she started preparing the instant noodles just the way her husband liked it. He always preferred to have half of his noodles soft and the other half hard. While cracking two eggs into the boiling broth, Olive felt sadness creeping into her heart but it was such a familiar feeling that she was no longer surprised at it. She welcomed it like an old friend. This wasn’t the first time she had heard her husband compliment other women. “I’m just making friends right, I need them to be friendly with me so I can learn how to game better. Aiya, you don’t know one la, you also don’t game.” He had brushed her off again and again, each time she caught him flirting online. “I haven’t even met them before in real life. You scared what? Not like I can cheat on you with them.” The way he used the word ‘can’ instead of ‘want’ or ‘will’ didn’t escape Olive. She hadn’t dared say anything during those arguments. She didn’t want to seem like a naggy old wife. Her own father had left her mother because he found her “old and naggy”.

After cooking the instant noodles and dishing it out on a bowl for her husband, she waited for a few minutes but Danny was still in his room. Refusing to care whether he was coming out or not, she went to take a shower instead. Barely 5 seconds out of the shower and not even wrapped in a towel yet, she heard Danny yell at her from the kitchen. “Eh why the noodles so soggy already? You know I don’t like my noodles to be all soft one. How to eat now like that? That was the last packet somemore leh.”

Olive faced the mirror and saw her reflection come through as the fog slowly cleared from it. She could feel how tired she looked. It suddenly occurred to her that she hadn’t looked in a mirror for a while now – not since Danny mentioned her face looking chubby. She wouldn’t have minded it if not for the girls her husband were chatting up with. They all looked at least 8 – 10 years younger than her. She knew how they looked because her friends had cyber stalked them for her.

As she held onto the towel wrapped around her body, her feet rooted to the bathroom floor, unwilling to step out, she heard the front door open and close.

“Dear?” she opened the bathroom door and called out to Danny meekly. The silence reverberated around the empty house and she knew she was alone.

She walked towards the bowl of uneaten instant noodles and sat down at the table to eat it while still wrapped in her towel, hair dripping wet from the shower. She didn’t mind the drops of water from her hair dripping into her noodles because they accompanied the tears that were silently rolling down her cheeks. She forced herself to finish the entire bowl of noodles that were perfectly cooked and not even touched. “How are these noodles soggy?” She thought to herself as she slurped down the remaining soup.

That night, Olive slept on the sofa but her husband never came home.

So, why did you do it then?

Sometimes I get people telling me their life stories.

This particular time, Charlie* (not his real name) confided in me about his impending divorce. His wife had cheated on him and he was struggling with his grief. He had so much rage and yet, also carried a decent amount of guilt.

We talked for abit, and then he finally asked me a question I could tell he’d been wanting to for awhile – he was just afraid of offending me.

“Why did you ask your ex-husband to date other people? Did you yourself want to cheat on him and get a free pass?”

I asked him why he asked me this question. Was he merely curious or was he looking for comfort in my answer?

He pondered for a bit and to encourage him to find his own truth, I gave him mine.

I told him this –

“I don’t think there is solely one reason why I did that. Did I want to cheat on him? I didn’t want to. But I was feeling very unloved and unappreciated, as I’m sure he felt too. And that desire to be loved and seen was so big and demanding. I kept craving to be loved by my husband and he probably felt like he was already trying very hard to as well. Our love for each other was just not right? Or maybe, not enough? But I remember thinking that no matter the outcome of that experiment, at least we wouldn’t be stuck in limbo anymore. If anything, I just wanted an outcome to occur. Whether we stayed together or split apart, I knew deep down that I could handle whatever the outcome and be happy with it. But what I couldn’t stand was the limbo – the feeling of uncertainty and not knowing. Not knowing why we got married in the first place. Not knowing how my ex husband could love me if he never bothered to really know and understand me in the first place. Not understanding why, if he didn’t love me, did he ask me to marry him? Was I just a toy to him? Was I just a trophy he could collect and dispose of when he got sick of it? In the same way, why did I say yes to marrying him if I didn’t want to be a military wife? Why did I think I loved him if I hadn’t really felt we had anything in common? How could I have said I loved him if I kept trying to change him? Did I really love him, or did I just love his attention and affection? I treated our marriage with disrespect and I made it an open one, even though I knew he wasn’t keen to. I did what I did – out of anger and a lot of hurt. And I regret it terribly for sure. Someone once told me, that when you follow a broken compass, you’re going to feel lost even if you’re on the right track. So even though we were bound to separate, I don’t think we were actively and consciously heading towards that direction. But I don’t regret the outcome. Because at least now, the both of us are free from a marriage neither of us really wanted to be in anyway. 2 years on and we’re both happier with other people.”

My companion looked at me with so much intensity I thought he was pissed off with me. Then he said,

“You know. 2 months before Laura and I got married, I met this lady. And she left such a deep impression on me that I never forgot her. We got to know each other through a work project and for the few weeks we worked together, I felt attraction towards her like I had never felt for my wife. Nothing happened of course. But I would masturbate to her. I asked her out for drinks on the pretense of talking about work. I even secretly kept a drink coaster she once used. I sound crazy I know, but she was so intriguing and I felt like I was in love. Yet, it never ever dawned on me to not get married with Laura just because of this. The marriage was something I felt obligated to do. I loved Laura. I still do. I knew I loved her. But I was just so curious about my emotions for this other lady. Of course, after I got married, I tried to forget her but I just couldn’t. I even asked my wife to dress a little more like her. Laura isn’t stupid of course. She grilled me about this. And I guess, I was always lying to myself. I don’t really know why I married Laura. I loved her but. Did I want to marry her? I really don’t know. After we got married, I kept trying to love Laura the way I promised to. But I didn’t feel sexually attracted to her anymore. I couldn’t bring myself to pretend as well. So I just kept doing other things to please her – make her breakfast, buy her gifts, offer to do things for her. But I think she could feel I didn’t love her the same way anymore. But what could I have done? I didn’t even understand what I was feeling, how was I to explain it to her?”

I told him that I understood. And that I fight with myself all the time. I’m caught between feeling guilty for all the mistakes I made in my marriage and angry that my partner just gave up on us. But I also told Charlie “You can’t keep score on who did more right and who did more wrong. There isn’t a point system to measure who was more at fault. All you can do, is attempt to understand why you did what you did, so that you can find the root cause of your actions, which clearly confuses you.”

“Yeah. I just don’t understand why I was so infatuated with her (the other lady) and I don’t understand how, overnight, my love for Laura could just fade away like that. I knew I no longer feared losing her when I imagined her in another man’s arms. I used to know that Laura was the one for me because I couldn’t imagine life without her. So, it really scared me when I COULD imagine life without her….and even wanted it? I actually felt relieved when Laura told me she had cheated on me. I felt angry of course but I could also sense that it was just my ego that was bruised. There was that part of me that felt excited at the thought that I could now consider a possibility to not be with Laura. ”

I could see the fight within him. On one hand, he felt so much guilt towards Laura and on another, I sensed that there was a part of him he didn’t quite understand and yet, wanted to explore.

I think the complexities of being in relationships is such that we were never taught what to do in them. In school, we’re literally given examinations and tests to show us where we’re headed – whether we understand what we’re learning or if we need more help to. At work, there are feedback loops within teams to show us how we’re doing.

But in relationships, whether be it within a family or a couple, how we’re doing and how we’re feeling can only be understand through open communication. And this communication has to be made openly between all parties. It can’t just be one person talking and the others being uninterested and nonchalant. It also can’t be one obnoxious person insisting on their way the whole time and expecting the others to just go along.

But what’s the basis of open communication?

I’d like to think that it’s empathy. And the knowledge that everyone deserves to be heard. Everyone’s feelings are valid.

Relationships really are very tough to navigate. But we keep trying anyway, don’t we?

Every chance we get, if we stop and reflect, if we pause and understand where our actions stem from….I think we will see them start aligning more and more with how we feel. And then we won’t be so ashamed of ourselves anymore because there will be less regrets and more conscious living.

It is when we react unconsciously that I think leads to us being controlled by our emotions, instead of the other way around.

Either way, Charlie is now on his way to discovering himself a little more. His divorce changed his life. He finally took up boxing – something he has always wanted to do. He sold his car and got a motorbike – something he never dared to do because Laura didn’t like the idea. He even started yoga – because he wanted to do something out of his comfort zone.

I don’t think anyone can tell Charlie he isn’t living a better life now 🙂 This is the beginning of the next chapter in his life and I’m glad he managed to close a big and necessary one – in order to learn certain valuable lessons.

“What does it mean to Vibrate higher??? ?”

October 2021, I wrote this in my journal. I was so so so angry. Angry with my ex. Angry with the situation. Angry with myself. Angry with all the negative things that had happened in my life.

My therapist Rella, would help me through all of my frustrations. And in almost all of the sessions, she would tell me to “vibrate higher”

I was in such a state of fury and even though I noted her advice down, I was thinking in my head the whole time. “How the fuck do I vibrate higher? When all I can think about is harming myself or ending my life?”

In times of helplessness, when the magnitude of emotions becomes so tremendous, one person can’t possibly deal with all of it. They either choose to hurt/harm others, or they do it to themselves. They abuse substances, they abuse their loved ones, their emotions manifest in small or big ways. The more they feel close to someone, the more they take it out on them – because they feel like they can (either because they take them for granted or because they feel safe enough to be vulnerable)

The more I surrendered to the process, the more the process took me through what felt like a century’s worth of lessons.

I faced alot of my past – experienced and felt the shame, the guilt, the agony, the pain, the sadness. But I also once again, relived the happy, the joy, the love and the relief.

I started having flashbacks of memories I had kept, locked inside time capsules that were frozen deep beneath the ground.

From only remembering all the lies I was fed and injustices done towards me, I was confronted with how toxic my behaviour was at certain times during my marriage.

I remember nitpicking on small things.

I remember feeling unloved and making a big deal out of unnecessary things.

I remember kicking up a fuss about stuff that probably caught him off guard.

I remember blaming him even though he did try to be better.

I set an intention – that after letting my inner child trash around and letting her fully express her emotions, I wanted to transform. I didn’t want to be stagnant and be the same as who I used to be. I vowed to become better. If not for me, the people around me.

So instead of hanging on all of the anger and hurt, instead of replaying all of the scenes that cause my heart to hurt, I now focus on my own self. To forgive. To grow. To love better.

Very often, I would still think of the past and my mistakes would haunt me. If only, if only, if only? But when I catch myself doing that, I take a deep breath in and say “let it go, you don’t need to know the what if, because it doesn’t exist anymore, just focus on what after”

And so, I’m happy to report that my depression has come and gone. And though I know depression can come back anytime, I also know that I beat it twice. From feeling depressed and suicidal, I started setting aside all the things that would rile me up and focusing on things that make me happy.

I spent alot of time with my family and friends, I started learning new things. I dedicated 3 or 4 times a week to exercising and practising handstands. I tried coding and failed. I started learning options and Marco got hooked on it with me.

Day by day, week by week, my reliance on sleeping pills or substances to sleep faded away. Slowly, my dependence on alcohol is reducing.

Now, I hardly ever get those same recurring nightmares or dreams again. I sleep blissfully and dream happily.

I wanna write this as a testimonial – that it IS possible to Vibrate higher. It just takes practice, dedication and a strong intention. The practice of focusing inwards and shutting out self – doubt and self – destruction. The practice of saying “Yes, I too deserve to be happy. I too, deserve to be forgiven.”

The practice of loving oneself IS in fact the practice of loving others too. Without attachments, without judgement.

Loving ourselves just take a whole lot more energy, especially when we feel like we don’t deserve it.

It’s been 2 years 2 months since the start of my journey, and my Goodness. I’ve come so far. But I’ve faltered so much along the way too. I’ve scaled mountains and dived into oceans. I’ve said Hellos and a ton more Goodbyes. I’ve hurt others and also hurt myself. But I’ve also learnt to let go of anger and learn how to control it more.

So please, don’t be so hard on yourselves. Day 1 can look drastically different from Day 10. Just take it day by day.

You’re a fucking rockstar.

“If he didn’t want me, why did he marry me?” – Part 1

In preparation for an article I was writing, I had interviewed 9 divorced women – each with their own tale to tell. While writing the article, I thought of every single one of them and would hold them in my thoughts while I grieved for them. This is a series of fictional stories, inspired by their lives and strength.

Any resemblance to real persons or other real-life entities is purely coincidental. All characters and other entities appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, dead or alive, or other real-life entities, past or present, is purely coincidental.

Olive sat at the table opposite Charlie, both of them fiddling with wooden chopsticks the waiter just brought to their table, waiting patiently for their ordered items.

They were eating at Sushiro – Charlie’s favourite Japanese outlet at Tiong Bahru plaza, for the 3rd time this week.

“Oliiiiii, you’re sulking again,” Charlie playfully knocks Olive’s elbow off the table, the one she had been using to prop her chin on.

To Charlie, Olive is an open book. Whether she was upset, frustrated, tired or happy, her mood of the day would be completely written on her face. And all Charlie wanted was to make Olive smile – even if it was just at a lame joke. Her smile….. Was the most beautiful thing.

“I’m sorry….im doing it again, aren’t I?” Olive said sheepishly, as she straightened her back and sat up straight to face Charlie.

“It’s just that…. Its been 3 days since he’s been home. I’ve tried messaging him, calling him. I’ve even called his two friends Ben and David. It just feels like he’s avoiding me.”

“Of course he’s avoiding you. You’ve just told him about me. No man likes to find out his wife is cheating on him” Charlie says with measured words while taking a plate of salmon belly sushi off the conveyor belt.

Sushiro is Charlie’s favourite restaurant because customers can see exactly what they’re going to eat before they select it. The restaurant puts servings of sushi and sashimi onto coloured plates, and a conveyor belt that goes around the restaurant parades the delectable items across the customer’s tables.

“I’m not. He’s the one who’s been cheating on me with her since who knows when,” Olive felt heat rising to her face. Immediately, flashbacks of when she saw photographs of her husband kissing and hugging another woman invaded her vision. The images were so clear. When she first confronted her husband, he had denied it and said the woman was just a friend and they were just fooling around.

“Can’t I just be so comfortable with a friend that I can be physically close with her without being attracted to her? Our friends dared us to kiss so we did. I just didn’t want to tell you because I knew you’d make such a big fuss about it.” He had glared at her with such intensity and made her feel like she was the unreasonable one.

After that fight, Olive’s husband stayed out for 3 nights and didn’t come home.

Her initial anger waned into desperation, and she gave into the gaslighting. “I’m sorry dear, I shouldn’t have doubted you. It’s my fault for being so insecure. Come home please? I can’t sleep without you around….” She had pleaded in a message to her husband.

Over the next 8 months, Olive’s husband would repeat this again and again, spend nights away from home and make Olive feel as if she was the one at fault.

Pulling her mind away from her memories, Olive looked up at Charlie to see a pair of eyes furtively looking at her.

Charlie was trying to ask her a question, and she knew it. “What is it?” Olive asked.

“If you say you’re not cheating on your husband……then what is this? What are we doing now?” Charlie asked, now looking away and fiddling with chopsticks.

Somehow, Olive knew this question was coming. She knew she could no longer avoid talking about them. What was….them anyway? Did she have feelings for Charlie? Or was she just lonely?

“I don’t know Charlie. I really don’t. I really enjoy your company….and I know that I like you enough to want to get to know you more. I’m just really…confused. But either ways, I don’t think this is considered cheating lah…..because you know.” Olive ends her sentence awkwardly.

“Because what? We’ve spoken on the phone every day for the last 3 months. We’ve met each other’s friends. We’ve even….been physically intimate. Because what Olive?” Charlie asks, now looking directly into her eyes.

When Olive didn’t reply for what felt like an eternity…..Charlie asked a question hoping Olive would disagree with.

“Is it because, I’m a woman?”

Happiness is not a destination but a way of life

Before the divorce, I had certain uncertainties about life.

After the separation, I had one main focus – to heal. Over the last 2 years, I stayed abroad with that intention and was fueled by desperation to survive.

Depression trawled me through the depths of despair and after accepting many harsh truths I had to face, acceptance came around the bend and relieved me of terrible agony.

I think back on my heavily depressed days and feel almost embarrassed that I once felt so agonized over something so silly as a heart break.

But logic tells me that I was experiencing loss. And because I grieved so deeply, I now know with a strange certainty that I must have really treasured what I had in my marriage once – enough that the loss hit me so badly. No love – no loss.

I had to handle a decent amount of guilt and regret for not being able to hang on to my marriage, not being able to show love as much as I felt. But time has picked up all of those “could have”s and “would have”s and the winds of change have blown them away.

Whether my ex loved me once, or never before – that question doesn’t plague my sleepless nights anymore. The journey full of peril I once forced myself to go on – in pursuit of the truth has ended. It didn’t end abruptly, but rather slowly, taking its time to allow emotions to draw out.

“Instead of love, give me truth” – was what I held onto for the last few months of the healing journey. I just wanted to know the truth. Beyond anything. For I was served so many lies before….that knowing the truth mattered the most. Then again, whose truth would it be? And to whom would it matter? My truth might not be his, and neither does his need be mine.

These days, it doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore. Because once the pain has served out its purpose, it fades away. What was the pain trying to tell me? Why did it hurt so bad? These are some lessons I hold close to my heart.

After the storm has passed, certain realities are coming back into focus again.

I am not the same person I was back in 2019. I don’t think the same, nor do I feel the same.

A friend reminded me of how I used to drink myself to near-death back when we used to hang out together. He knew I was probably going through some hard times but never knew how to broach the subject. After all, on the surface – I had a happy life.

Did I know I was unhappy? I remember – feeling a certain emptiness and searching everywhere around me for an answer. The trouble is that the answers were never close to me. I did manage to find some of them by traveling across the world and spending time in places completely out of my comfort zone. And now I continue searching….while the adventures continue unfolding.

Am I – right now, leading a happy life? I would say that I have no real troubles, but I still seek a source of fulfillment.

What does it mean – to be happy? Someone once said that happiness is not a destination, but a way of life. And that made so much sense to me.

What I feel I want is to be a person who can live a fulfilling life – while helping the people around me find answers to their questions.

I don’t yet know how this might happen but I dream of many things sometimes.

Sometimes I dream of opening a little B&B. Sometimes, I want to organize tours for youths. Other times, I think of opening a small private dining place, where conversations can flow and people can be brought together. When I dare dream big enough, I envision people reading my words – perhaps in a book that I want to write. I dream that they read my writing and find answers to their personal questions, or at least be triggered into thinking about things they don’t normally think of – just like I do when I read.

Dreams are made of bravery and those who dare take action. And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about myself over the last few years – you don’t get better at something by dreaming about it. You get good at something by doing it.

I don’t yet know where I should go – or how life will turn out. But that’s the fun of it all – finding out where the river flows, just around the river bend.

Someone has to break the cycle first

I now understand why people say forgiveness is for yourself, and not for your perpetrator.

I think that forgiveness is really the key to getting over trauma. The power of love is always greater than hate. And love can create what hate can only destroy.

I had a dream the other day.

That he and I met. And in that dream, he looked the same as when I first met him. I could only remember how kind, loving and genuine he felt. In my dream, we spoke very openly about how everything ended up so nastily. He finally told me about all his grievances and I spoke very openly about how hurt I was too, after everything that had happened.

In my dream, we forgave each other. We decided to put everything in the past and just wished each other well. In that moment, I felt such power in that act of love. That act of generosity. There was so much light, in that one act of connecting and empathizing with each other.

I woke up, and felt a little sad. That reality isn’t such the case. But that feeling of love stayed with me. And i want it.

So i’m working towards fully forgiving him, just as I ask for forgiveness for ever hurting him too.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean we have to forget. But it does mean that we look beyond, and recognize that everyone makes mistakes. Forgiving someone else, is also one step further to forgiving yourself.

I want to get to a point, where I can one day look him in the eye and truly wish him all my best. And all my love.

Because at one point in my life, I genuinely did love him a lot. Enough to be this hurt. And maybe his actions were the consequence of being hurt. Maybe by me, maybe by his past. Maybe he has so many welled up insecurities. Maybe he was so badly hurt in his childhood, that he’s not even aware of how they have manifested into his current adulthood.

I choose to forgive.