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An unwritten love letter

22 May

Most times you write a letter to the one you love. But this time, I’m going to write one to explain why I cared for someone the way I did. Feelings, in an ideal world, don’t need explanation.

Why do I bother? The truth is I did the person wrong by allowing people to think that he was the only one to blame for my heartache; that he was a cad, a liar and a waste of time. I still care about him. I still call him friend. He still matters to me and so this post is a way for me to set the record straight and try to make amends.

When we met, we were both in the midst of separation. I’d given up on a man I’d loved for four years. He had his own issues to settle with the woman he was previously seeing.

We bonded, of all things, over music. He talked about how much music mattered to him, how he’d taken a chance and just explored what possibilities it offered him. Music was, for me, my escape, my solace and one thing that kept me sane through a rough childhood.

At a club, we heard a band playing the song from the movie, Music and Lyrics. He couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it. I couldn’t believe he hadn’t seen the film Once. “Now THAT movie is supposed to be the musical of our generation.” He smiled. And shrugged. I decided right there and then that I’d show him the video clip of Once’s theme song, Falling Slowly.

There was no intricate plan of seduction. No preconceived notions. Sure, there was subtle flirting going on but I’d just gotten out of a relationship. I thought that this new guy was cool and could be someone awesome to hang out with. We were like two kids together, talking about random things but mostly about music, or geeking out.

But that all changed after I’d finished showing him the clip. It was just supposed to be us hanging out and me sharing just how awesome Glen Hansard is. Which he is.

Still, two lonely people with a lot of shared interests cooped up together…stuff happens.

But then, as we got to know each other, things that weren’t apparent from the start became clearer.

He had a lot of past relationship baggage. He wasn’t looking for commitment or maybe if he was, it wasn’t with me. It was just a simple case of “He’s just not that into you.” You can’t force affection. So really, I couldn’t blame him even if I wanted to.

At the start, he was keen and I was reticent. As time moved on, he grew distant while instead I grew fonder of him. Beyond his eccentricities, he can be affectionate, kind, careful and one of the sweetest persons alive. Intelligent, rather talented and dogged once he’s got his heart set on something. Though there were times I was hurt by his actions, I know beyond a doubt that he bore me no malice and he wished me no pain.

He was there through one of the hardest times of my life.

He gave me encouragement when life turned the tables on my complacency.

He was my friend. Even if my other friends didn’t see that, I’m letting them see it now.

Maybe he was just what I needed then.

And my heartache over him ending the ‘dalliance’ wasn’t so much about him as it was about me.

I took it personally.

I felt rejected, unworthy, utterly incapable of sustaining a relationship. I felt that there had to be something wrong with me. That I wasn’t good enough. That I couldn’t measure up.

A breakup isn’t the end of the world.

I took it hard because I love to love. I love my friends like I do my family, my family more than all I possess and once I decide to love someone, I am a fool. I set no limits. And that means there are no limits how far I’ll fall when it ends.

I’m tired, really. I had one relationship last five years. The last one lasted four. More than a decade of having my heart put through the dryer. Because I give nothing less than everything. After all, I have nothing to give but myself. I have no assets, no net worth. Nothing but a heart broken so many times it still hurts.

So I give up and accept the fact that the dream is ended. If singlehood is my present and my future, then let it be so. Maybe God has other plans and if they don’t include my having a significant other, then I shall just say Not My Will But Thine.

I still have my friends but sometimes, I cannot endure their pity. I can barely endure the assumptions strangers make. Enough, please. I have never prayed for wealth. Nor for fame. Never for professional success. Not even for good results at school.

I have always been happiest being with the one I wanted to be with. Stupid, foolhardy romantic that I am. Simple pleasures. Holding a hand. Hearing a laugh. Stroking a cheek. Sharing a joke. Resting in the quiet. Feeling that right here, right now that I have all I want right then.

You are here. All is well.

And tomorrow, you will still be here.

Men come, men leave. Maybe God is just teaching me that sad lesson. That though humans are fickle and inconsistent, He will never leave me. I will always remain in His love.

So please, dear God, let that be enough.

I don’t know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can’t react
And games that never amount
To more than they’re meant
Will play themselves out
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You’ll make it now
Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can’t go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I’m painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It’s time that you won
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You’ve made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I’ll sing along

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When only change can set you free

17 May

As a lot of you know, I’ve been spending a lot of time healing my battered heart. There’s been anger, recrimination and a lot of stupid going on. I’ve said stupid things, hurt more than I’ve helped, attempted to find solace in all the wrong things and all the wrong places.

Where are things now? I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’ll always be broken. My heart will always bleed, my emotions will always hit me hard enough to bow my knees and I will still cry more often than not.

But that’s okay. I’m tired of always putting on a brave front, letting people believe I always have it together when I don’t. I’m not always strong. And though there are times I like spending time alone, I can’t always do or be on my own. I need God. I need my loved ones. I need to allow myself to be weak and to believe that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay.

Tomorrow is a new day and it will take care of itself. Thank God that every day, I can wake up and give thanks for a brand new day.

What binds is inextricable

30 Apr

I used to be the queen of breaking ties. Because there will come a time when I’ve reached my absolute limits. When I’ve given everything I had until there was nothing left.

Then, when I know it must either end or get better, I end it and walk away. Friends or lovers become distant memories. I do all the agonising before and never after.

But I find, sometimes, that life has other ideas. God has other plans. The person I most want to avoid keeps appearing everywhere I go to the point I feel, in my self-deluded moments, that the universe is mocking my pain.

I ponder on this as one of my favorite people has a birthday coming up. And another, more recent acquaintance, has a birthday exactly a week before his. Both have met the other, but have pretty much just me in common.

The former, I remember how I kept wanting to bail and he would coax me right back. Friends don’t walk away from each other, he said. The latter, I don’t know. I take some of the blame for it, for allowing something to start knowing that if it turned ugly I would have to live with the repercussions unless I either moved out of the country or out of my industry. Neither two options are feasible right now so I suppose I really should have though it through in the first place. Or chose not to ignore all the warning bells and horrid pricking doubts.

Though I’ve managed to move on with the former, it’s back to square one with the latter. Do I really want to go through the pain, the uncertainties, the horrid slog, the emotional rollercoaster? With the first, at least we had so many shared memories. With the second, it’s just resonating interests and mental chemistry.

Friendships are things you work at just as much as romantic entanglements. It’s not about numbers, it’s not about just keeping in touch.

In the end, you must think about the people who matter most to you. And actually make it a point to show just how much you do care. Not necessarily every day, but in what ways you can. That’s why I celebrate birthdays because Happy Birthday really is just another way to say:

”I’m glad you came into this world. I’m lucky to have met you. I’m happy that you’re still here today.”

Happy birthday, monkeys.

Is Les Miserables the cure to my misery?

28 Apr

I love musicals but I have a confession:

I’d never listened to the Les Miserables soundtrack before Susan Boyle.

Quite an oversight, really, when I grew up listening to West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera. Why not Les Miserables? Because I found the backstory plain miserable. A convict on the run? A heartbroken prostitute? A maltreated orphan? I preferred my musicals of a much lighter vein, thanks.

But maybe I’ve changed. Or maybe I’m just dogged by this persistent sorrow that won’t go away. I’m just escaping into the music all day, every day. Much like when I was growing up in a home where singing was my only solace, music the only escape from the madness of my parents’ marriage.

Is it loneliness? Is it recurring depression? Is it just me feeling too much of everything the way I usually do? I don’t know. But I find myself listening to my favourite showtunes – As Long As He Needs Me (Oliver) and I Dreamed A Dream (Les Miserables) on repeat. Now my new obsession is Les Miserables’ Bring Him Home. It resonates with that dull ache I thought I’d put to rest last year. The terrible hollowness and painful longing to just go home. A permanent home where there is no more pain, no more loneliness, no more having to feel or care. Where there is peace. Where there is quiet.

I feel parched while in the middle of an oasis; why is the blackness returning even as I have good people around me and life, though not perfect, isn’t at all awful?

And I cling to Pratchett’s reminder that you do not die for a god: you live for one. Every day of my life.

 

God on high
Hear my prayer
In my need
You have always been there
He is young
He’s afraid
Let him rest
Heaven blessed.
Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home.
He’s like the son I might have known
If God had granted me a son.
The summers die
One by one
How soon they fly
On and on
And I am old
And will be gone.
Bring him peace
Bring him joy
He is young
He is only a boy
You can take
You can give
Let him be
Let him live
If I die
Let me die
Let him live
Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home.

Under Pressure

26 Apr

I admit that twice at work I almost burst into tears at my desk.

The first time was due to personal drama that came out of left field and upset me to the point I took refuge in my favourite Japanese restaurant. Unagi and sake are the next best thing to a shoulder to cry on. Rather than make a scene, I left the office promptly at lunch, ate, drank and sniffled into a napkin and then came back able to work. I don’t do emotional displays at the workplace though my ex-colleagues do know that when I’ve reached point break, I scare even my boss.

The second time, I was buckling under the strain of three accounts. Trying to do followups on one account, finish prepping for another account’s event the next morning and then a third account suddenly demanding attention NOW NOW NOW.

I was stressed to the point I could barely function. The thing is: I can be easily distracted but once I focus on something, I tune everything out and focus on it with laser intensity.

It’s a whole different ballgame from when I was an editor. My job was sorted with a tasklist and each task had priority queues. The tasks would be done in order and by priority. I would also make it clear that someone’s priority might not be mine and if he had issues with it…suck it up.

So now I have to be a bit more flexible and determine just how to manage all the things on my plate.

My line manager gave me advice: “Sometimes, it’s better to overcommunicate rather than not say enough.”

I have to be more clear about what I’m doing and what I need to get done. Even if someone wants something now, I’ll just have to justify why now is really not possible.

Another friend of mine is doing his best to play mentor. He told me “Just understand that rather than hand in a piece of crap work to meet a deadline, make sure you give in your best work even if it takes more time.”

Now, more than ever, I’m glad I have good people in my life who will take the time to listen to my woes and help me address my foibles.

Hopefully the next week will be better. I like my role. I love my colleagues. I just hate feeling lost, inadequate and rushed.

Time to find my own tempo instead of crying when I can’t hear the beat.

Leave me alone already

23 Apr

Once upon a time, a girl dated a guy. She really liked him. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough. Girl was me, if you need clarification.

It took me a month to get over him. I cried every other night, lost my appetite and couldn’t sleep.

I’m over it though I don’t feel like dating anyone for the next, I don’t know, FIVE YEARS?

But it hurts to get old scabs picked at. For old wounds to be reopened.

I don’t want to talk about, think about it or do anything. Besides cutting off all my hair and retiring to the Himalayas.

Am tired.

There's no saving you

15 Apr

Sometimes, I don’t get you at all.

You love the thrill of the chase – getting that job, that girl, that deal.

But once you get what you think you want, you decide you don’t really want it all that much at all. You coast, giving as little as you can get away with or just casting it by the wayside. Just like a child with a new toy. So fickle, so covetous, so easily bored or distracted.

You could be so much more than that. You’re talented, smart and with a mind that can do so much with so little effort. But you’re so not into making an effort, aren’t you? You want instant gratification. You want everything, for next to nothing.

In some ways I’m just as fickle, flighty and allergic to exertion. Which is why, sometimes, I understand that part of the reason you’re where you are is because life has hurt you too much. You’ve dreamed – those dreams were dashed. You’ve loved – to find nothing but betrayal and disappointment.

Though you hurt me so bad, enough that I want to hurt you, I can’t. I don’t know why I care about you, baby. I want you to do more and be more. To live more.  But I can’t save you. I can’t change you. One thing’s life taught me is that the only person I can change is myself.

I can pray for you. I can still care, more than I ought. And why aren’t I just telling you all this, to your face, in a letter, in an email? Because, baby, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about you is that you’ve never been good at listening. Especially to words you don’t want to hear.