Speaking from the heart takes time

Last week was the first time I had told the man who broke my heart how his actions had affected me in silent ways.

Everyday, I would get up fearing the world and the perfectly beautiful strangers around me. Everyone seemed to be loved by somebody, and I hated seeing it for fear that it would cast a shadow over my own unlovable self.

Until the past week, I had kept silent, letting my emotions fester in their own pit of agony, with the occasional outbursts of anger. At work, I made multiple mistakes, was distracted and always zoning out. I carried myself around with as little energy as I possibly could, retiring to bed early and waking up late.

Truthfully, I was ashamed of being sad over something that wasn’t real. I questioned why I was angry, even told myself that I shouldn’t feel this way. I never told my friends or family how deeply it cut. Only downplayed my sadness.

Whenever I spoke to him, it was always in a friendly manner, as if I had to appease him for some wrongdoing I had inflicted.

Sometimes, my anger would come out, for small, petty things, like when he cut our meeting short, or if he seemed bored or inattentive.

This gave him the impression that I was always a temperamental person and only confirmed his decision about me.

I was afraid that confronting him would only make things worse, that I would lose him forever. So I always apologised for my short outbursts.

In truth, I was deeply hurt. Just kept pretending. Not knowing where or who to turn to.

But last week, the fear of losing myself to anger and sadness became far greater than the fear of losing him.

So I spoke out.

It took me many tries, a few angry starts, but I got to the truth in the end.

I told him that I had suffered mentally in the past few months by pretending that I was ok. I told him that time doesn’t heal wounds, only covers them. I told him all the above I have just mentioned here.

And then an unexpected thing happened.

By giving a voice to the shame I had felt for being in love, my anger and sadness melted away. Like watered-down glue, they peeled away from me and stopped lingering in the open wounds of my heart.

I started emerging from the brain fog I had been feeling for the last few months. I started caring about my work, my dreams, my goals, my life.

I am still tinged with sadness, but it is not the anxious kind that needs to be tended to straight away. It is more a calming sadness. A sadness that knows it needs not do anything. A sadness that knows that in time, it will heal. But this kind of healthy sadness only comes after speaking truthfully.

I have realised that speaking from the heart is necessary and always takes time. It pays off if the person on the other end is willing to sit there and listen to you patiently, without rushing you in any way.

But he is not that kind of person.

Even though I would still like to talk things through, I am not holding my breath.

I am excited for the future, humbled, and most importantly still not cynical of love.

Reflections

Everytime I think about him, I’m going to use the energy to finish writing my novel. I’m going to allow myself to think about him for a short while, but then afterwards I’m going to go on the computer and start writing.

That’s going to be my ritual for the next 6 months or however long it takes to get over him.

I heard that building your own self esteem and doing something meaningful to you is the only way to get over someone, as opposed to distracting yourself with random things.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

He was never really good at keeping promises anyway. I always had to remind him. So now I’m going to make up for that. I’m going to commit to the promises I’ve made to myself.

Things I’ll never grow out of

On my 14th birthday, I desperately wanted to buy Sinbad and the Seven Seas on DVD. It was a children’s movie that I had seen on TV, and everything about it catered to my longing for adventure. So I dragged my dad to the store and showed him the DVD. He frowned, “aren’t you a little too old for that?”

That Autumn, I was sad, because there were many things I would have to grow out of:

  • Reading children’s books
  • Watching Disney movies
  • Practising my badly drawn illustrations on the bedroom floor
  • Believing that anything can happen!

Even my silly personality, I would have to grow out of.

I worried about my future. Would people stop taking me seriously because I enjoyed those childlike things?

That Summer, I shed a couple of old leaves. I replaced all my old hobbies with serious ones. I thought it would be OK and sensible to lie low on land than to fly high above the clouds.

And one summer turned into four summers.

The funny thing is, I was still the same old tree.

I still longed for those old roots. They gave me an experience akin to being on top of the world, flying! I had magic right here, in me. And that was a special feeling to have.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t change the way I spoke. I couldn’t change the way I saw things, often with rose~tinted glasses. I couldn’t change the way I always looked for hope even though there was none. Subtle things like that, made up who I was.

I didn’t think these small things were important at the time. Regrettably, I shed the wrong things.

Today, I know that these are the things I shouldn’t have grown out of, but grown into.

I am trying not to punish myself for saying the wrong things, or wondering about the what ifs. Because if I was true to myself, how can it be wrong?

Our habits are like stars in the night sky. We don’t see the big picture until we observe the patterns and see a constellation in the sky.

A big decision

Last year, I wrote in my diary that I was going to quit my day job on the 25th March. Today is the 25th March. It’s also my birthday.

The funny thing is, when I wrote that little note in my diary, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to quit my job. I’d just bought a house, and taken out a huge mortgage, so I needed the money to pay for the bills.

I didn’t really think my little note was a remotely sensible or possible idea.

All I knew was that I wanted time. Enough time to work on writing a novel.

It wasn’t until the beginning of this year, when I applied for a freelance job, and got it, that I realised that this was my opportunity to buy myself some time.

If I quit my day job now, I will have time, say roughly a year to work on my novel. But if I quit my job a year from now, the freelance job might run out of projects for me to do and I might not get the opportunity of time to finish what I intended to finish.

Writing out my thought process has helped me validate my decision. I’ve actually taken a day off work today, so I won’t be able to quit today. But I could draft a resignation letter and hand it in this week. The thought of doing that makes me so nervous.

By no means am I quitting because I want to relax on the beach or do nothing. That’s a distinction I’ve been trying to be clear with myself about.

It’s a scary decision. I’ve been mulling over it for a while now. So many bad things could happen. The freelance job could run out of projects to do right now. I would’ve just quit a decent job. But on the other hand, good things could happen. So many good things if I promise to put in the time and effort I need to get things done.

I did ask for time. And I have an opportunity. Let’s see what I decide to do this week.

The secret cooking club

The secret’s out. I can’t cook.

How am I supposed to function as an independent adult if I don’t know how to cook?

As I’m entering my mid-20s, I can’t sweep all the unadult-like things I do under the rug anymore. And learning to cook is one of those transient touches towards a life of independence.

Ironically, it was a children’s book that ignited my desire to learn how to cook. As with most things in my life, I tend to draw inspiration from books, because they open my eyes up to all the impossibly possible things.

The secret cooking club, which is the name of this heartwarming little book, was one of those rare and lucky finds in the library.

What’s so special about this book is that it has heart. You feel it when the main character Scarlett, discovers a secret kitchen in her neighbour’s house, and teaches herself how to cook from a mysterious cookbook dedicated to someone nicknamed ‘the little cook.’

I’m trying to emulate the details and feelings in that book and bring it to my life.

Although I won’t be discovering a secret kitchen in my neighbour’s house anytime soon, I’ll have to work with discovering the inner sanctuary of my own kitchen.

And even though ingredients won’t magically appear everytime I turn to a recipe, that’s ok because I’ll just have to go to my local Countdown store and buy all the ingredients.

And even though there isn’t a special recipe book waiting for me in my kitchen dedicated to ‘the little cook’, I bought a special cookbook dedicated especially for my elementary level cooking skills. It’s called, The student cookbook.

I think that’s enough to tick off the checklist of similarities between the book and my secret or not-so-secret, one person cooking club.

I’m hopeful that as I teach myself how to cook, I’ll evoke the same magic and wonder that that book brought.