Page 365 of 365, Chapter 2015

 
If there is one promise that I am intending to keep in 2015, it would be to write a (possibly very long-winded) post to wrap up the year. This post is probably one that I spent a lot of time writing – perhaps it is because I want it to turn out as flawless as possible, hah – because there is so much on my mind but at the same time, there is so little that I could put into words.

 
From all the writing that took place in almost every room in the house, the restaurant, coffee shops, car rides, airports, park benches, and in between the moments of waiting, here’s the last bit of 2015.

 

So, where do I begin?

 
Let’s just say that I am not quite ready to leave the year behind, but there are times that I had eagerly anticipated the last day of the year really badly.

 
2015 taught me more life lessons.
2015 thrown me to the ground and smashed reality to my face.
2015 made me laughed harder, cried too much, smiled excessively, and lost my temper too quickly.
2015 threw me too many curveballs, testing my resilience with each one.

 
2015 taught me how to appreciate the little progresses.
There is so much truth in “it’s the little progress that counts”.
It is amazing to see how far I could go by laying one brick at a time, only to step back and to realise that I have built a wall.
Every time I had an emotional relapse, I took it badly.
What I failed to see is how much stronger I came out from each mental breakdown.
I suppose this is the drawback of only paying attention to the bigger picture when I should have paid attention to the minute details.

It is truly a beauty in disguise.

 
2015 showed me the people who would actually be there
when they said “I will always have your back”.
2015 reminded me who my real friends are,
the ones who stuck with me through every thick and thin
regardless of how much I pushed them away
and said “I’m okay” when I am not.
2015 reminded me of friends who I should cherish more,
the ones who I neglected,
the ones who I overlooked
and took for granted.
Most importantly,
2015 reminded me how much I am loved
by the people around me.

 
2015 taught me to lower down my guard,
and to let in those who had fought hard to earn my trust.
2015 taught me to accept reality
with a bigger heart and an open mind.
2015 saw me opening up and talking to people about my emotional struggles.

 

2015 saw me at the prime of my game, physically.

 
I threw punches and kicks.
I lifted weights.
I squatted with weights. [Achievement unlocked!]
I ran more miles.

 
I am not too sure if it was the change of mindset or peer pressure that pushed me to start getting into better shape, but I am immensely thankful for that. Cardio workouts six days a week, followed by jogging and high-intensity interval training twice a week – boy, was I at a high. I broke my preconceived stigma about the gym and lifting weights when I bought a one-month gym pass, and I am looking forward to more gym sessions next year. I was fueled with motivation to participate in runs and completed my first ever obstacle course race.

 
At the same time,
2015 saw me hit the lowest of lows, emotionally.

 
It showed me that the strongest bond can be broken by something (or someone) in the blink of an eye – one small thing changes everything.
I failed the CLP examinations, a milestone that I aimed to achieve and my passport to the legal profession.
I argued and lost my patience far too many times with the person I hold the closest to my heart.
I lost friendships that I thought would last a lifetime.
I gave away too many benefits of the doubt and put too much of hope on people, only to be torn down over time and time again.

 
I lost a part of myself in the midst of it all, because that is when I realised how hurt I was. I almost always feel uncomfortable talking about how I deal with my emotional struggles, but it has been far too taxing this year. I see myself lose that tinge of optimism in me, succumbing into such darkness that I never expect of myself. I spent too many nights lying awake in bed, crying myself to sleep, jolting awake from endless nightmares and vivid dreams… it seems like a repetition of 2014 with more severity. It got to the point that I lost my appetite entirely, struggled to sleep and lost my drive to do the things that I love. It is true that a lot of people with emotional struggles had it far worse than I do, but it is such a ride through hell for me so much so that I reached to the brink of seeking for professional help.

 
I saw myself getting better, but I still have my worse days too. It is an uphill battle from here but each day will be easier to get by; amidst rocky roads, there are smooth trail roads too. I get to be who I am today and to see how much I have grown from these mess. The strength is not the the easiest to gain, but it is so rewarding to know how much stronger I get after each downfall. Emotional battles and relapses will continue to remind me that I can brave each storm, and soon I will see the finish line.

 

I’d lie if I say I am not one of the people who claimed “2015 is a shit year”. But the bottom line is, 2015 has been nothing short of a wonderful year.

 
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2015, thanks for the memories and life lessons.
2016, I am ready to welcome you with open arms, an open mind and a bigger heart.

 

While I am out eating and drinking the last day of the year away, I hope that each and every one of you will stay safe, be merry and usher in the new year happily (and soberly).

 
Have a very blessed and happy new year, everyone.
Here’s to 2016! 🙂

 

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Enouement

 
For me, the biggest life lesson of 2015 is learning to let go.
One and a half years on, yet I am still learning.

 

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Think of it in a similar way to the seven stages of grief: shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, reflection and loneliness, the upward turn, reconstruction and working through, acceptance and hope. I suppose the battle was made tougher because I was caught up in my own bubble of beliefs.

 
What we had was not something that lasted very long to begin with,
but that does not make it hurt any lesser.
That does not make the quality of it lesser.
That does not make moving on easier.

 
It is a punch in the gut to realise how things have to end the way they did. I was tormented with the what ifs, the whys, the hows, the could have beens, the would have beens. I realised how much of a mistake it was to skip the grieving and to get down to the grind, busying myself in hopes of forgetting you when all it did was to make everything worse. I was battered with immense self-doubt and I was always swarmed with the thoughts of how I will never be good enough, never smart enough, never attractive enough – losing all my self-esteem in one go. In the midst of living with an idealised image of you, I forgot to reflect on my actions and decisions. To top it off, I was too engrossed with the distractions of you that I do not know why everything went down south until it was too late – I cared far too little about myself and was blindsided. The key was to have rational, good, and realistic idealised images of you while fighting the cynic in me, but it is quite a balance to strike and I admittedly failed to see the better side of things.

 
When you said that we are better off away from each other and not in talking terms, it hurt. It hurt, but it was something that was needed to be done. What I know is that you have earned a special spot in my heart; what I don’t know is whether I am someone equally special to you, or whether I am just another addition to your jar of hearts. I always wondered if you flinched at the thought of losing me, but I suppose that it did not matter – at some point in our lives, we are just the other guy or girl to someone else. It made me feel belittled and it tore me down. The rejection felt like the whole world rejected me, but heck it was a breathe of fresh air upon realisation.

 
You know what they say that the only way a wound can heal is if you stop touching it? The thing about this wound is that it itches almost all the time and you’d scratch it more often than not. For me, the wound is healing bit by bit. There are still nights that I have relapses: I wallow and mull over it for hours before falling asleep, only to wake up feeling a tad better than I was. It has not been the best healing process, but it is a healing process nonetheless. To my surprise, I feel a surge of relief that you have been minimising me out of your life. Perhaps it is better that you no longer speak to me at your own accord, perhaps it is how you do things, perhaps it is a wise move. Perhaps it is for the best that now all we do is have occasional exchange of text messages. What I know is that I am slowly but surely doing much better without you, physically and mentally.

 
In the end, I accept that we have to move past this. I respect your decision and despite being bitter about it, this is something that I have to live with and focus in working towards other goals. I decided that it was about time that I focus on my self-improvement. Soon enough, I stopped measuring how much you fought for other people against how much you fought for me; I learnt it the hard way that it is different, and it does not determine how I ‘deserve’ you or how you should love me.

 
A lot of well-intentioned people tend to trivialise things, sugarcoat the truth and coddle me with the whole “you will find someone better” / “you deserve so much more” thing, in hopes of making me feel better. But it is time and several people facing the same struggle that understood me, helping me put everything into context and to validate my love for you.

 
In a moment of surrender, I want you to know that my love for you knows no boundaries and no condition. Someone once told me that one’s unconditional love for another is a beauty that we rarely have the privilege to enjoy. It is the saddest yet somewhat satisfying kind of love, because all you’d want is for the other person to be happy. Despite not getting anything in return, it is the satisfaction of seeing the smile on their faces and how they are genuinely happy that is truly rewarding. Only this time, all you can do is to love from a distance. It is ridiculous that sometimes we are not allowed to care, love and give to the person we adore so much any longer that we want to.

 
I believe that I had my fair share of persistence and giving endless benefits of the doubts. I believe that I have done enough to fight for a spot in your heart and busted my ass to becoming the best. It has come to this inevitable point in our lives where we are falling out. As much as I hate to say this, but now I believe when you said that you did not appreciate me enough, that you are the one on the loosing end here, that I will find someone else when I am ready to love again, and that there is someone who would definitely appreciate me more than you did. I believe your assertion that I should find someone who appreciates all my qualities.

 
I trust that you and I both shaped each other to be who we are today in some way. We could have done it ourselves, but we had the privilege of having each other as support systems. I may not be the best to give you what you are looking for, but I hope that it was what you needed at that point in time. I’d like to think that I helped you in your lonelier days when it was too overwhelming for you, but I never needed a reciprocal return. It’s just how I love – wholeheartedly, despite differences in every aspect, because I chose to love you; it is not the kind of love that everybody can give and receive. From all that has happened, the only things that I can keep are our memories, tinted with slight melancholy but forever special to me as long as the stars remember to shimmer. I will always remember that you are the best thing that happened to me two years ago. Remember that all I ever want is the best of everything for you, and that is why I let you go, so that you can truly be happy with whoever you want, wherever you are.

 
I am glad for the torment that you put me through. I saw the beauty of what we had despite the colossal mess and that made me appreciate you more, whether as a friend or someone more than a friend. It forced myself back on my two feet and fight the pain. I hope that someday I will be able to look back and to be proud of who I have become.

 
There is still a long way until this storm passes
but one thing is for sure:
someday, I will be dancing in the rain,
happily,
and without you by my side.

 

Where the heart is

 
I was on my way to the airport to pick up a very good friend who is coming back home for good (at least, for the time being) when the innate thought hits me – the difficulty of settling back at home. People often talk about the difficulty of leaving home, but rarely anyone talks about the part where you come home for good after year(s) abroad.

 
It may come off as an over exaggeration – heck, I have only spent one year of my life oceans, continents, cultures and time zones away, so it is definitely no comparison to those who spent years away from home – but how do people settle back home once they are back for good? Do they struggle as much as I do? It has been a bit over a year since I came home, but there is so much about home, the people and most of all, myself, that has changed.

 
Living back at home initially was not the easiest for me. The bulk of the problem was my freedom to do anything and to go anywhere at my own time and expense. I came home to a culture that was all too familiar yet distant. I had to be more wary of my surroundings and my belongings – something that I did not have to worry too much when I was in the UK. I came home to mediocre and less friendly customer service. (Also, where do I find Primark and £1 pack of ham here???)

 
On the other hand, it definitely was not a walk in the park for my parents too. They had to deal with a now-rebellious kid (their words… HAHAHA) who saunters in and out of the house at any hour of the day to her own liking. They struggled to see eye-to-eye with my thoughts and opinions, claiming that I am ‘too westernised’; at one point last year they even claimed that I forgotten about my roots and grounds of belief!

 
I found out that it is only normal to feel that way, but I saw how easily most people fit in back home. I don’t know why settling back at home affected me so much. Maybe the independence and freedom I had made it difficult, knowing that there would be unwritten rules to abide at home. Maybe it is the change in everything, from people to places to routines, that instils some sort of fear in me. Maybe it is the inevitable next step to adulthood and the real world that I have to take scares me. I feared feeling out of place and being unable to blend into conversations. I feared the changes in myself that I have to come to terms with.

 
I guess the initial bigger part of the reason was because of the anticipated change in a particular friendship when I am back home. It is knowing that the short-lived moments came with an expiration date, and being back home shifts the nature of it. It is the fear in letting go of the one happiest, heart-fluttering, butterflies-in-my-stomach times that I had.
 
[This is another story altogether, and I’d rather not talk about it.]

 
Coming home entails embracing changes,
accepting the changed person I am,
and facing the reality of growing up.
Despite all of that,
I am glad to be home.

 
 
… Ah, jeez. What a rant-y mood I am in today.