Ep. 6 ‘My pain, Their pain’

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

28th December, 4am

I violently wake up from a nightmare and I recognize that I’m not in my own bed. I’m sleeping on my brother’s bed while he’s away at National service.

A deep gut-wrenching pain hits me and I clutch my chest with one hand while the other one supported my weak, hungover body as I push myself off the bed.

I open the door to my parents’ room and I crawl in between them.

Just like I did before when I was a child, whenever I had nightmares.

Wedged in between my parents, I feel my body convulse as I cried again. This time, I let it all out. I let myself sob as loudly as I could. My parents, abruptly awaken by my presence, quickly put their arms around me as they let me cry.

There, on my parents’ bed, my crying represented me begging for my parents to take my load off me. Even just for a second. I just needed them to hold me while I cried. I needed them to let me feel less alone – even just for a few minutes.

Before long, I fell asleep again, worn out from the crying. Later on, I would find out that my parents lay in the dark, their arms wrapped around me, their eyes locked on each others’ as they exchanged tormented glances.

I can only imagine the pain they were going through. After all, I was their “princess”. I was their daughter, their flesh and blood. My parents didn’t know how else to help – so they let me sleep. My mother soothed my crying as I feel deep into slumber, her hands coaxing over my forehead like you would for a baby.

I’m still angry, that I ever let my parents love a man like that.

Learning from Nature: The concept of mortality

Closest image I can find to what it looked like

This morning, right outside our bungalow hut on the island, we witnessed the magical moment of possibly hundreds of thousands of flies hatching at the same time, ascending into the world for the first time. Spring it seems, has arrived for these flies.

As we watched the beautiful moment of life being born into this world, I started imagining the adventures these flies will get up to now that they’ve just hatched. Perhaps they’ve been waiting to try Aussie coffee at Bubba’s! Or maybe they’re excited to check out the beautiful beaches their mother has visited before! Or maybe they’re going to just mate and die!

Either way, it was so fun watching these babies ascend upwards together, brothers and sisters off into the world, each on its own life journey.

Spidyyyy (if anyone knows what type this is please lemme know)

And then Marco decided to check out the bush where they hatched from, and he hastened me to go over. “Boo, come! Quick!”

I rushed over in excitement only to find a spider’s web full of trapped flies!!! Oh…the sorrow I felt. The spider was spinning the flies in a substance that we assume helps to preserve the flies so it can keep food for storage, much alike modern humans going to a grocery store to get supplies, or a farm dweller butchering their animal in exchange for dinner.

From feeling sad for the flies, I quickly became in awe of the wonders of Nature. Out of so many flies, this spider took only a few, its web spun for the amount of food it needs.

The concept of mortality becomes fluid. The death of a few flies in exchange for a longer lifetime of the spider.

It got me thinking, that perhaps this is why flies don’t live for very long. Some of them die within 24 hours even, after mating. A spider however, lives for between a few to 20 years. Perhaps, this is because it has learned how to create a sustainable lifestyle for itself as compared to the fly.

Spidy’s home, somehow protected

We continued observing Spidy as it shuttled between his kitchen and his living quarters, plucking a fly out from his ‘fridge’ and carrying it home to savour. It had spun a web of protection around a leaf and made it home.

I then thought about how easy it would be for us humans to crush it. To destroy its home and kill it. How many other species is Spidy vulnerable against?

Is this why Humans have become the top of the food chain for this amount of years? By learning how to protect ourselves against threats and maintaining a constant flow of food? Of course it has been so. But the explanation has never been portrayed in such a gentle manner.

It hasn’t been that long anyway, since we savagely crawled our way up by learning how to protect ourselves against weather and other species, and manipulating things to ensure our oversupply of food source. Now however, is a good example of how we’re part of Nature and not greater than it. The viruses, climate change, and many signs of threats towards Human mortality are all showing us that we’re not living sustainable lifestyles for our species. Soon, perhaps, some of us will evolve in adaptation and the others will become extinct.

The book Sapiens describes the historical evidence of Humans destroying life in our eagerness to survive and thrive.

Yet, what also intrigues me is to study the other species of this world. Are there more savage species around? Are there some who have adapted to survive with a deep knowing that their longevity is interconnected with other parts in Nature? What are they?

Seeing the flies being born and die in a minute reminds me about the concept of Mortality.

We all live and die in this world. Mr M would say there isn’t a meaning to life, it’s just a bunch of random occurences happening.

But I’m a little more inclined to question this – Is there more meaning to life?

Journal entry: Seeing is believing

It’s cool to observe people’s body language, hear the tone change in their voice, sense the things they’re not saying. And just be a vessel of words to them , so it would set forth a phase of internal flurry. Good or bad, a force is just a force, good or bad is only the meaning humans attach to them.

Difficult things happen to different people, all to increase our level of empathy. Not just so we can become compassionate but to prepare for the moments we come across someone we can deeply relate to, and in that moment gain trust from each other and share information. The key is to create a desire to share information. That seems directly correlated to someone’s fate. Some people seem to have had a purpose to cause destruction so as to eventually pave way for unity to happen. The coming together of units is best facilitated by an equal amount of force in the opposite direction. Everything will balance itself out. Its not something we can control. Every action will have a consequence, whether big or small and its not up to us to stop it. But the more experienced we get perhaps the more we can decide where to devote our energy to, the liberated? Or the chained?

Who are we? And in which lifetime? Which form? Which color? Which planet?

Are we all one substance putting on clothing or are we stained clay that carries these stains with us for eternity?

Is there an air traffic controller in the sky? Helping us clear traffic as much as possible? Or is it more like a bunch of people just making sure we are following our soul’s intentions (that can probably change over time? Time not being linear??)

Maybe a bunch of beings that we can eventually become depending on our karmic paths? And anyway I feel the point is not to understand things we’re not meant to understand. Perhaps the point is not to know what life is like outside of the womb, because you first need to go through 9 months of changing before you can enter that world and be ready for that world’s challenges.

Is that our we ascend different levels? By achieving that stage of life’s purpose? So if we achieve its purpose our soul can level up, whereas if we don’t achieve our purpose in that lifetime, we demote to the previous level we came from? I’m so curious to study about this again, and find more answers by cross referencing the different religions and cross studying different cultures, species, cross check with nature’s lessons too. And law of physics, neuroscience, there’s so much I want to read up on. Study art history to understand the different bridges created for us.

Movies. Music. Alternative arts. Nature. Study these and learn. Learn another language, exercise foreign muscles. Make art. Experience art. Send good vibes. Allow good vibes to reach you.

Awakened

2 days ago, I experienced something phenomenal.

My soul awakened because I finally saw and believed it existed. I can sense the skeptism in me and yet there is a deep knowledge that I know my soul exists, I just don’t fully understand it yet. I was born into a Christian family and so the concept of soul was taught by them. But I never resonated with their ideas. In fact, after studying Buddhism for a while, their beliefs felt more right to me. Then after studying with the Bahai’s for another year, I felt that I resonated the most with them. But all of these different truths, all of these different languages, all tell us the same things, if only we bother to study more and piece all of them together.

Knowing and understanding feels so differently. The soul knows but the human mind understands.

Yesterday felt like I had suddenly understood a whole new language. I now have enough understanding of the language that I can begin to see the world through its lens.

Ego is not something big, but in fact a really small part who we are. It just creates a block in us, preventing us from certain truths. Anxiety is the basis of wanting to control, the false assumption that we can change our future, when we can’t and shouldn’t.

Love is the default of us all. We all know how to love everyone but because of things that happened before/after, we somehow develop an Ego to protect ourselves first. And that can sometimes block our love from reaching others.

I think before, I was always just grasping at figments of the truth, but once I connected with my soul for the first time in a long time…I felt pure love. Pure love that we’re all made up of.

All the knowledge I’ve been collecting over the years about different political systems, religious systems, about humanity, about science, relationships, parenting, education, everything……started to link up and make sense.

I started to see the vibrations, feel the energies. It was incredible.

And now that I’ve experienced it before, it’s time to answer that soul’s calling to a higher self.

It’s so cliche – but the more we know, the less we know.

My path forward is clear. To connect with my higher self even more. To learn and understand more of what I’ve “forgotten” and to find my soul’s purpose in this existence.

Finally, this is what I’ve been searching for. To embrace and set aside the Ego. To embrace and understand the Self. And to make sense of what this life is for. Not because life isn’t good. But I’ve always felt there was a deeper calling than just enjoying life. I’ve always felt that my purpose is to help others. In what ways I don’t know yet. But I’m so enjoying this journey! I’m so excited. I can’t wait to learn and understand more that I don’t yet fathom.

Marking this date down because it was so significant for me. I actually experienced an awakening. Amazing. 25th April 2022.

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.

But Why Did You Have To Do That?

This post is for anyone who has wanted to speak up about something or do something, but you’re afraid to because of backlash. You can be wanting to speak up about racism or sexism at work, you can be thinking of quitting a job, freezing your eggs or even just breaking up with your long term boy/girlfriend.

I was chatting with my friend about “breaking societal rules” in order to challenge the status quo the other day. And he asked me a really good question.

“Why are you so open with your decision to leave Singapore?”

He was referring to the backlash I received from the public – people telling me I’m “privileged” and “ungrateful”. People warning their children against reading my blog and listening to my words, for fear their children would “go down the wrong path” and start becoming “lost”. Worse yet, they were afraid that I would convince their children or friends that I was ‘pro-divorce’ and against working in the insurance industry.

I told him this.

Without understanding what I’m really saying, people with a lot of fear will pinpoint only the negative parts of what they’re hearing.

They would make immediate assumptions of my intentions and turn anything I say into ill advice.

Why?

Ask yourself the last time you got into an argument with someone.

Out of 10 times, how many times has the argument actually been because of what you’re REALLY fighting about? And how many times has it been because of a misunderstanding? A misunderstanding that stemmed from both parties’ own wrong assumptions and insecurities?

Before I spoke out, I made sure I was clear on my intention. I knew what I wanted to say, which is why I was confident that my words were accurately aligned with my intention.

If anyone wanted to take my words out of context and spin it in whatever direction they desired, it wasn’t because of what I said, but what it made them feel.

That’s why – I ignored the chitter chatter. Why? Because they were just projecting their fears. Their words told me one thing – They’re having a reaction to my words. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. A reaction is neither bad nor good, it’s just a reaction.

The acknowledgement of fear is important. Having fear is not a problem at all. It’s asking ourselves whether we want to keep this fear that’s vital. It’s giving us a chance to explore our limits.

If I said – “I left a high paying job in Singapore because I wanted to explore the world and face my fears”

They would read it as “Aiya, she probably wasn’t doing very well in the first place that’s why she left. I heard she got divorced so she must have alot of alimony from the divorce. If not how can she afford traveling for so long.”

Or maybe they would say “I bet her parents are paying for her trip, I heard she went to NUS. NUS kids are privileged. How do you think she got into NUS? Her parents must have paid alot of tuition and enrichment fees”

Or even “she’s not going to last long. After a while, she will be broke and have to come back to Singapore. No way she can continue traveling like this.”

And so on and so forth.

How do you know when to ignore their chitter-chatter? When they are judging instead of being constructive with their comments.

Usually, when you raise a controversial subject, you get polarizing views on the matter. Either they agree whole heartedly, they’re intrigued and ask more questions, or they downright reject your opinion. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Because you can never target to help everyone.

I spend my time instead, replying emails, DMs and even taking on video meetings with the people who matter.

People who have always felt alone in their desires to explore the world. People who feel trapped in their lives because they have gone down paths they didn’t intend to. People who feel afraid to speak up because they know they will face rejection. These are the people I speak to. Literally anyone else, I don’t have to bother, because they’re not ready to even listen without projecting their fears.

Sometimes, these fears also arise PRECISELY because they agree but they’re afraid to lean in, afraid that if they accept my proposition, they will realize their life is headed in a wrong direction. In that case, the bigger their response towards my words is, the more I know this is a signpost. Not for me, but for THEM.

Because you know why? People who don’t have any other opinions of my words will simply say

“That’s cool, but it’s not for me. I don’t need to explore the world. I know exactly where I’m headed to and I like it.”

That’s how people who are secure in their own lives will talk. Not gaslight. Not make personal attacks. Not disagree for the sake of disagreeing. They might not even make a comment and just forget about the subject because it doesn’t relate to them.

I would engage in conversations that are meaningful. Like for example when people ask me

“What do you do for retirement planning? If you’re not in Singapore, how would you plan for retirement? If you’re constantly traveling, how do you deal with the loneliness or lack of community? What are the other lessons you’ve learned from nomad traveling?”

These are some of the questions that signal to me they’re actually listening to what I’m saying, but they have other reservations I didn’t touch on.

So back to the conversation I had with my friend.

I told him that I knew speaking out about this topic would be rather controversial.

But I couldn’t care less about the judgment, because they’re just fluff.

And if you keep paying attention to the fluff instead of building what your substance is all about, you’re wasting precious time and energy.

Instead, if you’re so easily triggered by people’s opinions and judgment about you, I would look into THAT.

Why do you care?

Why are you so easily disturbed by what strangers say about you?

What they said about or to you, is it true? Do their words hold any truth? And if what they said about you is truth, is your ego willing to accept it? If what they’re saying about you is hurting your ego, maybe this is a chance for you to learn from that.

Or if it’s a family/friend, ask yourself this.

Whenever you have a major decision to make, something that’s really important to you, would you ask them for their advice?

If you wouldn’t, you at least know now, that these people are not your ACTUAL role models in life.

They’re people you’re obligated to please. People you are afraid to lose. But they’re not people you actually want to take advice from.

This is what I mean……………by going on a journey to understand YOU.

Where do your fears come from? Where do your desires come from? Whose principals and values are you living by?

If we spend our lives…..and make decisions based on the judgment and advice of the wrong people….we will one day find ourselves very unhappy in life.

Unhappy not because their advice wasn’t RIGHT. It just wasn’t right FOR YOU.

That…is why I speak up. Because if you ever get a big reaction to what I say, think about the WHY?

I’ll give you an example. Growing up, I was born into a Christian family. Being homosexual was wrong. Accepting homosexuals was also wrong. But I always felt like this didn’t sit well with me. Why is being homosexual wrong? Who is to determine that?

Years flew by and I was sitting on a fence the whole time, unable to speak up about my own opinions in front of my family and also very confused on how I should actually think. Whose values do I take on? The Christian faith’s? My friends’? The society? What If I grew up in a different society? How would it change?

But as soon as I started to make big changes in my life, changes that helped me discover bits and then more bits of myself, (even including getting married and divorced was a big change that helped me learn about myself), I started feeling very affirmed in my own opinions and would speak up about them in confidence. I didn’t care anymore, what my family would think or say, because they didn’t matter to me. It didn’t make me love them any less, it just meant that their opinions wouldn’t sway me from mine.

Their guiding principles or values were no longer mine. I was finally on a path to set my own foundation in life.

The forming of one’s own identity is precisely at these junctures. When we can FEEL a strong rejection towards the opinions that are being forced down our throats. When we can time and time again, feel that we disagree. Even though everyone close to us believes in something else.

Now, I have to state very strongly. That this is not to say they are wrong.

Contrary to that, I’m saying that in life – it is extremely extremely difficult to determine what is right and what is wrong. Determining who is right and wrong will take centuries and sometimes, is not the battle to take on.

What I’m talking about today, is taking on the battles to figure out WHO YOU ARE as a person. If you have ever asked yourself questions like “Who am I? Why do I feel lost? Why do I feel empty? Why am I not happy? Why do I feel like my life is missing something?”

Perhaps, what you’re searching for…..is the definition of yourself.

Once you understand the WHY, you are one step closer to finding out who you really are, and one step closer to solving the big mystery of “What do I want in life?”

If anything, the more we raise controversial issues to discuss about, the more we also find out about ourselves. Because we can be aware of our own reactions towards other people’s opinions.

In fact, sometimes when we speak up about something, we might immediately get backlash (even from the people we are close to) that is telling us we are wrong.

Like for eg, if you one day spoke up and say that eating meat is wrong and everyone who eats meat will go to hell.

Depending on the backlash we receive, we will better understand how different we are with the people around us. Either way, we get closer to understanding ourselves better. Ego should be set aside for the greatest lessons we want to learn.

One key thing to remember is this: There’s never a need to judge.

We don’t have to judge the people who are judging us.

Judgment is probably the only thing I would say is the most useless activity. Why? Because it doesn’t serve any purpose at all. Plus, judging others is also a way we are projecting fears.

There’s no need to say “Aiya these people are keyboard warriors, they don’t know anything.” or “My mother will never support me so there’s no point telling her anything”

If it’s your family that you’re dealing with, I would say Do more, Talk less.

Sometimes, the best way to convince others is by doing instead of talking.

On top of being useless, I am also proposing for a kinder society when I say we shouldn’t judge.

Not judging literally means to me = not assuming they will do or say something or/and thinking ill of them. I know it’s harder to do than to say, trust me. But I believe that if we aim for the moon, we at least hit a star even if we fall short hahahaha.

Not judging is also giving people a chance to change their minds. It’s giving them a chance to say “yeah you’re right, i was wrong”

Not judging is understanding that everyone is walking their own journey but at very different paces.

If our goal is eventually to see significant change within a society, the best we can do is knowing that whether someone is fast or slow in their process of learning, they will still eventually get there.

Obviously, the world is full of people who are on completely different paths with completely different goals.

And that my friends, is why wars still exist in 2022.

So, if you find yourself having a disagreement with someone, don’t be too hard on yourself.

If even on a world leadership level, people can’t agree on fundamental things, what we experience on a day to day basis, is completely normal. If we really find people who disagree with us to such a large extent, we either decide to part ways for good, or we ask ourselves if it’s worth it keeping them close to us.

Sometimes, people’s personal dealbreakers change and reform. And when two people hit a dealbreaker they can’t agree on, it’s better to part ways than to force a relationship to continue. That relationship will experience a lot of resistance and might often times lead to more wounds and regrets.

In summary:

  • It’s easier said than done when people say “Face your fears”. What we can do first is to find out what our fears are, and figure out WHY they have formed
  • Once we know where our fears lie, ask ourselves if they are valid. If they are, let’s spend some time to address these fears. Perhaps, some of our wounds need mending, some of our insecurities need tending to.
  • If our fears are not valid, ask yourself what’s holding you back? Sometimes we already know what we want to do, but we’re waiting for a big push or pull factor to decide for us. These people are called Floaters. I don’t there’s anything wrong with floating, but I would encourage you to think of Happiness as a journey, not a destination. If you’re not setting path towards Happiness, your happiness index will remain the same, until a push or pull factor comes in and changes things. If you’re happy with status quo, then maybe there’s no cause for concern.
  • If the backlash we are receiving turns out to be right, then our ego needs to give in and acknowledge that we have stuff to work on
  • People’s opinions of us will change constantly. We might even be changing constantly. Move on from worrying about judgment and absorb the benefits of these changes.
  • If we’re not taking advice from the right people, we will live our lives according to what we feel obligated to do, not what we really want to do.

For people who tell you “If we really just do whatever we want, then anyone can go out there to murder, rob, steal, rape and break all sorts of laws.” What would you do?

Type in the comments or DM me on IG (janetoryl)

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.

It’s not about right or wrong sometimes

A couple of weeks ago, I was running around the neighborhood. On my third lap, I was eager to hit base and end my run. As I was crossing a small road, a car signaled to turn left. He slowed down enough to make me think he was gonna give way to me. I sped up so he wouldn’t have to wait too long for me.

Instead, he honked loudly at me, enough for me to get startled. In response, I pointed my middle finger at him. I didn’t like that he honked at me and I couldn’t care less about being rude.

I continued running past the car, fuming. I recognised that I was getting triggered.

Why did he have to horn?! In that scenario, no one was right or wrong – I even sped up because I wanted to be considerate! Even if he had wanted to drive, and I had misunderstood his slowing down, did he have to horn?

Angry thoughts filled my mind so fast and so harshly that I had to stop running. I continued to brisk walk instead, feeling steam come out the top of my head. I was furious. Ticked off.

A few minutes later, a red car drove by me and stopped. Out came the driver, charging at me. He stopped about two arms’ length away from me and shouted “Why did you point the middle finger at me!”

“Why did you horn?” I asked back.

“My car turning left I cannot slow down, got driver behind me. You got no brain ah!” He yelled.

At this point, I got even more annoyed because he resorted to a personal attack. But in a split second, I also recognised that he wasn’t thinking logically – he was reacting on impulse, just as I was before.

“but you still didn’t have to horn right?” I made sure to lower my voice while I said this, trying to calm the situation down. Instead, he took my retreat as a sign of weakness and increased his volume.

“I horn because you just run past like that, very dangerous! You never use your brain is it! Use your brain next time!”

Seeing as he was in no mood to calm down, I left him in his fit of anger and walked away. I walked away because there was no point talking to someone who was already so angry and I didn’t want to partake in the conversation when it was going to be so heated.

Then, he started threatening me

“Anyway nevermind, I have it all on camera!” was the last thing I heard him say while he got back into his car and drove away.

I was doubly triggered. I’ve once received threats, wildly unnecessary ones, just because the other party had the wrong impression I had done something. They never bothered to clarify if I had actually done wrong but then again – they don’t owe it to me to do that either.

While watching him drive away, I whipped out my phone and took a photograph of said driver’s car plate. If he wanted to threaten me with ammunition, I’d better arm myself with some too.

For the next 2 minutes, I was left alone. Immediately, my first intention was to calm myself down.

“Deep breaths Jane”

After just 10 deep breaths, I asked myself this question.

“Do we want to have 2 people going home angry or 2 people going home proud of themselves?”

I still wasn’t sure of my answer, and before I knew it, my feet had led me to the carpark, where the driver had driven into.

Scanning around quickly, I didn’t spot his car and so I strode up a flight of stairs and within seconds, spotted him and his wife, carrying their belongings and walking away from the car.

He spotted me and I stopped, keeping a short distance between us. I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do, yell at him more or make peace? In that moment, I said to myself – “Give it a chance. Do the right thing.”

I approached him with a step forward. He started yelling again. “You know you cannot just run across the road, got car behind me I cannot stop. I horn at you for your safety you know! Then you still point middle finger at me!”

“Hey, you’re right, I could have let you drive past first” I told him.

He looked at me – shocked, not expecting me to agree with him. As he continued repeating the same few things he’s been saying, his voice started softening.

“You’re absolutely right. It’s just been a long day for me, and Singapore is a high strung environment so you know, I got caught up in the moment. I just wanted to tell you that I’m ashamed of myself because I wouldn’t have done that to you in my best self, and for that, I’m really sorry. I hear you, that you had interests at heart, and I wanna thank you man” I said to him.

As I said these words to him, I saw him process his emotions and check himself as well. He wasn’t an unreasonable person – I saw that right away. He was just someone whose feelings got hurt, and who had a long day as well. He understood how I felt and was making an active choice to listen to what I’m saying.

This man, a minute ago, was an enemy. But now, his face completely softened and his shoulders relaxed. Instead of an angry demeanor, he was quickly calming down to a softer tone. It helped me feel alot better right away too.

After I stopped talking, he paused for a minute, and then said. “Yeah, okay. I understand la. Everyone is stressed also, next time just be careful. Not everyone would have stopped for you. You are a person you know, you can’t fight the car,” he said.

The both of us broke into smiles, and I said, “yeah, you’re right. Thanks for this and again, I’m sorry.”

He apologized as well, and said that it was okay.

Before parting ways, we bumped our fists in good spirits and both of us left the scene feeling much better than we did just minutes before.

How different would things have been…… If we continued to react angrily to our impulses?

This incident taught me one thing – that most fights stem from misunderstandings and miscommunication. Without personal grievances, two strangers have little reason to be so hateful towards each other.

I’m glad that the day ended well, with two people going home happily instead of angrily.

At the end of the day, sometimes all we want is for others to say, I hear you and its okay that we fight, as long as we commit to being open to communication.

Then again, like Mr M says, “sometimes it’s also okay to tell people to fuck off when they really deserve it” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I suppose everyone has their own way of dealing with such scenarios, and on a given day, in a different phase of my life – I might have acted differently. But after all that has happened, I want to know that I’ve grown as a person. I want to believe that most people are reasonable and things can be solved nicely, without resorting to threats, personal insults and nasty remarks.

Some days are bad no doubt, we meet the worst of people and experience how selfish and evil they are. But that day, meeting that man, was a testament that most arguments and battles we get into, can be resolved without going to war.