I don’t know what got to me last night.
I was back home. Back in my hometown where I grew up, back at my parents’ house, back in the place which brings deep reminders of where I came from and how I became who I am today, back in my childhood bedroom that held nostalgic memories and ornaments of mine, from a kid retelling the story of “Ugly Duckling” to an insecure awkward teenager. Parts and bits of memories that made me cringe. And then something urged me.
That’s when I started to pull open my desk drawers, where all my “treasures” are kept(seriously, I can’t believe my mum still haven’t throw them away!). CDs, movie DVDs, books, stamp albums..made me grin to myself. And then I saw them: my Teenage Journals.
I took one and flipped. And one of my high school crush’s name flashed before me. I read the sentence. Before I knew it I was being transported again to the early 2000’s. Journal after journal, it almost felt surreal to know that I wrote all that. I really did CHANGE A LOT. But it was something else that strikes me: Names Of The Opposite Sex. One after the other, every page I turned, there’s bound to be some guy that I drown my sorrows in: about how I wished he was thinking about me too, how he wasn’t acting the way like I thought he would, how I wish he would have looked at me the way he looked at her….and gloat about when things go my way. SO. MANY. DIFFERENT NAMES. I was crushing on more than one guy at one time, crushing straight on to the next fella after a failed one. And now at 28, I looked at these dozen of names, and I asked: Who The F*** Were These People To The Teenage Version Of Me??? When & How did I ever met them? Christ.
I flipped through all of them until my head felt dizzy. Then I put them away neatly again and plopped onto my bed, feeling Dazed. “WoW.” I thought to myself. Was it all that there is? All those years having my existence determined by boys? All of a sudden, the present just disappeared. And for that moment, I felt like an outsider looking in at myself, my life. Like my soul was being sucked out and I was there looking at myself. I wasn’t sure what period or year I was in. My past and present just all suddenly whirled into One. It felt like my world was spinning.
Then I slowly started thinking towards my recent years, the things I’ve done and achieve and I went: Really?? That was me? That same awkward insecure little/teenage girl? Where did that courage come from?- I Like That. But hell, I swear those journals are toxic. Tricking me into thinking I was that girl again. I lay there for a long time, staring into space. -story of my life
Still, those journals woke me up. Like a Revelation. I realized as I reflect back on my 28+ years of existence, my heart has always been craving for Male Attention. Acceptance of some sort from the opposite sex. Not necessarily out of love or wanting a relationship. It came from my adolescent years of insecurities as an ugly duckling; up till when I started blossoming and guys started to notice me, I marveled under the spotlight. Back then as a kid I was Desperate for a guy to notice me, to help take away my insecurities just so I could feel better, that maybe I’m pretty too just like the others. I let them interfere far too much with my emotional well-being, wistfully wishing on things that would never happen. Even the slightest attention from someone who doesn’t necessary interest me, makes me elated and thinking all kinds of what-ifs.
I guess it relates too as the youngest child in the family. I grew up in a sugar coated environment. Whatever I do, I have someone to back me up. There’s always people close to me afraid that I might fall. And I let them do it. I let them made me weak. I let them made me think that I always Needed someone. I left home for studies and got into my first(and only) serious relationship at 17 out of neediness, Not Love. Even after we broke up, I still yearned so much for his attention and care.
As I reached my early 20’s, I started to gain independence and I got stronger and bolder. I started thinking about my life choices and achievements more seriously. I dwelled on my academics and guys became much less of a priority at that point. All Was Good. Until a few years in I started to slip and lost my direction again. I felt that longing in my heart once again and let myself fall back into that whirl ball of emotional warfare. It always felt GOOD at the beginning but then things always fizzle away quickly in a way that I wasn’t ready for. Nothing ever felt real or here to stay.
I understand now that I had been using men to make myself feel Alive. I felt like I keep needing a man to fall back on emotionally. Someone whom I can talk to even though he’s basically still a stranger to me. Such a wrong approach. I did forgotten what friends are for. All those times when I could have save myself from all the heartbreaks and disappointments, I let them took a toll over me instead, and then went off sulking inside how upsetting life is. “All I needed was just someone to love. Is that so hard?”
Atlas, he came along and changed my life.
He, was my least expectation yet the First Guy that ever left such a Distinctive Mark in my heart. He Was Something, he really was. I never wanted to look at another after we started dating. Maybe if I had gone out socializing a little bit more I might have met other men like him, before him. But then again, it’s all written in the stars isn’t it? He showed me that I’m capable and worthy of real love and respect, by a good man, whom I love. He saw all my unique qualities that I thought no man will ever notice. That’s when I know I don’t have to prove or chase anything anymore because He showed me that I am lovable the way that I am. Just as you are who’s reading this honey.
Our break shook me in a way that was Devastatingly Calm. I didn’t beg for him to change his mind. I can’t comprehend much about it either. It felt like, after he was gone, my soul went along with him as well. If someone that shares with me such a Deep Connection like I never felt before could leave just like the rest too, Something Isn’t Right. No more hoping for the next one to come like I used to.
With that, it just happens. I started focusing on myself again. Picking up where I left from. Concentrating on my life. Shifting my attention to the people around me. Friends and family. To GOD. Whenever I came across a decent guy now, I don’t think much about it anymore. Partly because the last guy left such a deep mark that no other guy could ever erase it for now, and partly because I now know everything is down to fate and timing really, It’s Reality. It was never under my control or fantasies.
I have learnt that anything could happen. For better or for worse. It’s true what they said that Pain really does changes you. It humbles me. I’m just taking life as it is now, no more trying to change circumstances that I can’t control and just. Be Thankful for everything that happened. From now on, it’s just me and only me to fight for. No more trying to cry onto another person just because life doesn’t go my way and it seems like everyone is against me. Whatever comes, I will have to take the blow myself because if I don’t really start now, I will Never be that person that I wanna be. No more needing validations or reassurances from another person in whatever I do. No more making decisions based on another person, on how he might feel or how it might change our circumstances.
I felt Peace now, because my heart is finally free from assumptions, wishful thinking, expectations and unwanted heartbreaks. I realize too: Hey, maybe I needed this more than I’ve been anticipated for. All along when I thought I needed a relationship, when in truth all I ever really needed is This, this phase that I am going through right now. To really Be Single Whole-Heartedly. And especially after last night? -A new relationship can wait for now. That revelation couldn’t have hit at a better time. It’s not that I’m incapable of loving another but it’s that I’m still incapable of being a Whole Person all on my own.
Maybe someday I’ll have my heart back again. For the mean time, YOU, whoever You are, I guess the both of us will just have to wait a little longer My Love.
I didn’t write this piece just to blurt out all my sorrows and telling the world how pitiful I was. I wrote this, hoping to inspire anyone of you out there who could be facing the same situation as me, someone who once let men dictate her worth and validity, could also strive to start making these little changes too, and watch your life transform for the better. For me, I had been having a toxic relationship with myself. It’s something that we all know too well: you know it’s bad, but you stay on all the same, all because you think you wouldn’t have the courage or strength to make that change. But you can honey, We Can.
And so ladies, let’s make a toast.
Here’s to everyone of you out there who could be secretly struggling on the inside. Here’s to those of you who needed that extra faith and strength. Here’s to start making 2017 the year that transforms the rest of your life and here’s to Me Before You.