Facing the fear


“So you begin the process of spiritual healing by listening to your unconscious.
Examine your dreams.
Explore your pain and anger.
Face up to the terror of your inner loneliness.
Find strength in your weakness.
Overcome your fear of losing your identity by giving it up willingly.
With devotion and discipline, you will discover the ability to give up your pride, forgive those who have hurt you, and give of yourself in pure love.
And then you will be on the path of life and healing.”

Another jump

“Jump first, fear later.” – SK the potato-lover

I did a lot of jumping in 2009 and landed on my face more than my feet.

So here I am, bruised, broken and about to take another jump. Maybe I’ll fly. Maybe I’ll fall into the sea again.

I lost my faith in many things in 2009: God, my capabilities, love and people I once cared about.

But I made new friends. I learned new things about life and myself that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

All the fire and pain burned away illusions and left me with new truths.

And as always He has been waiting, holding out a hand.

I take it and dance into a new day and a new beginning.

All I want

I got asked a few days what I want to do.
And I had no answers.
I don’t really have any goals or dreams left.
Too many shattered hopes.
Too many disappointments.
I don’t dare dream now.
What is there for me to hope for, really? That the next day is a little better than the last?
I just want to go home. Home to the Father. And find that eternal, elusive peace.
I just want to find and be home.
I want to go home.

My dad is my personal Chuck Norris

After two weeks of happily bumming around and having faith that God would provide, I got a job.
Starting Monday, I’m joining the alternative press. I texted my dad about my leaving PR and jokingly added “I’ll try not to get arrested.” He texted me back and his SMS reply was so made of win, two of my straight male friends declared they want to marry him.
My father said:
“Well, people don’t see the same truths most of the time. But freedom is the foundation of a civil society. You should strive for a higher calling, not mere dust of history. Good luck and god bless….”
I think I almost cried.
It wasn’t always easy being my father’s daughter. Growing up, I found him stern and distant. But I loved him. I was my father’s daughter and I aspired to his ideals. He has the most moral integrity of any man I know. Once, he had to choose between compromising his moral standards or losing his job. He chose to resign rather than feed his children with ill-gotten gains. Always he chose the high road.
It’s hard, sometimes, having a father like that because the men I meet just don’t measure up. I don’t want them rich, successful or handsome. I want them good, honourable, truthful and courageous. I want to know that they would fight for what is good and true, even if it meant I would play second fiddle to the community or the higher good.
My father’s also done something few people are willing to do. He became a better man not just for himself, but the people he loved. He became a better husband and a better father. For love.
On my 25th birthday, he told me “No matter what happens, or what you do, you will always have my love.” That was my best birthday present. Ever.
For more gushing about my father, here again is the tribute I wrote to him for his birthday.
You’ll always be my hero, Pa
I am my father’s daughter. And that is all I aspire to be.

Of the zombie who thought he knew how to live

I remember once when you used to fascinate me. Excite me. Entertain me.

You were all about living life to the fullest but, darling, you took from life and begrudged giving anything back. You wanted to be a free spirit, unchained, unfettered and not tied down.

Women loved you. Adored you. Fawned over you. Now you no longer have women queuing at the revolving door of your bedroom, you’re feeling unwanted.

I’m not sorry for you. It was always, always about you. You never gave of yourself freely. Oh, you were generous with stories and the random joke. But you didn’t understand what it meant when a woman loved you. You treated affection like candy: sweet, cheap and readily available.

So now you’re all alone. It scares you, perhaps? Maybe this time you’ll learn to live and care like you mean it. Being alive means being open to hurts, being able to give as well as take, and fully appreciating the people who help you understand what it means to be truly alive. To feel pain as well as pleasure, to take sorrow’s cup as well as the wine of joy.

I have no time for the living dead.

Somebody, hold me too close,
Somebody, hurt me too deep,
Somebody, sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware
Of being alive,
Being alive.
Somebody, need me too much,
Somebody, know me too well,
Somebody, pull me up short
And put me through hell
And give me support
For being alive,
Make me alive.
Make me confused,
Mock me with praise,
Let me be used,
Vary my days.
But alone is alone, not alive.
Somebody, crowd me with love,
Somebody, force me to care,
Somebody, make me come through,
I’ll always be there,
As frightened as you,
To help us survive
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive!

This troubling absence of desire

'Tis true: there's magic in the web of it

I haven’t wanted to eat for awhile.

Since November actually.

See, there’s a difference between wanting and needing to eat. I eat now when I know I’ll be incoherent at a meeting. Or once my stomach is making loud, painful demands.

It troubles me because I used to love food. Then it starts to dawn on me that my favourite dishes all had associations with feelings and not so much taste.

The best lasagna I ever had was in a small cafe where I would hang out after school to attempt my Add Maths homework. Alone with my books in the midst of the smells of the kitchen and the comforts of a cushy booth. School was hard but right then, right there it was all good.

The best kurma I’ve had is my mother’s. But then I also remember the care she’d take with her cooking, the times she’d take a mouthful of rice in her hand and feed it to me. Every time I eat with my hands, I think of her.

The best pastry I tasted was in Copenhagen, Denmark. The danishes in La Glace don’t crumble – they melted in your mouth. It wasn’t at all what I expected. But then I never thought I’d be holidaying in a little flat on Istedgade, cooking kai lan in oyster sauce and seeing the street walkers come out after dark from my window.

All the food I loved all were associated with memories, with feelings.

Then I remember I had a breakup in November. Aah.

I remember telling you I loved you more than life.

I recall never being happier in my life than that long ago summer in Denmark.

I remember when I first saw you I stopped breathing. So cliche but really, I was frozen to the spot. Right then, right there you were all that existed for those few seconds before I came to my senses.

I have never wanted nothing more than I have wanted you.

So now I gave you up, I have nothing left to want. I pick at my food. I have no cravings, no longings to fill the void.

There was a temporary moment when I played with fire, when I momentarily attempted to rekindle whatever passion I hadn’t given over to you. The trouble was my matches fell on damp soil. It’s painful to hear within the walls of your own home the words: “I keep thinking of this girl and I don’t mean to offend you but you aren’t her.”

It hurt but at least I felt something. Now I’m back to feeling and wanting nothing.

I gave you everything, it seems, and kept nothing for myself.

As the Fool said to Fitz: I have never been wise.

I have been, and always will be your friend


Image by palestrina55 via Flickr

When my entanglements ended, as was their wont, I would sever ties and walk away.

It seemed pointless to ‘remain friends’ or ‘keep in touch’.

It’s over. Go.

Yet now I find myself eating with and greeting old lovers.

There is no self-consciousness.

No need to play act or pretend. No anxiousness. No fear of being left vulnerable.

It feels so good now to leave behind expectations, recriminations, real or imagined sins.

“Remember this and do not abuse it,” I said to one last night. “No matter how angry I might get at you I will never stay angry for long.”

There is no talking about the past.

We move forward as former intimates getting through the rest of life as friends.

It is far too easy to mistake physical proximity with real intimacy.

I believe the truest connection between two people is one forged with care, effort and honesty. To genuinely have real affection, to give real consideration is far harder for some than stealing a kiss or moving in the dark.

There is nothing to hide. Nothing to be afraid of.

Not anymore.

When too many worlds collide

Some people separate aspects of their lives, compartmentalising to better manage them all. Work, family, religion – all have their different boxes and rarely intersect.

But sometimes you can’t help when your personal life spills over into work or vice-versa. The results are never pretty, though.

Nearly 4am in the morning and I’ve just experienced that collusion.

Does it feel this way when a truck runs right into you and you’re numb from the shock and the pain?

Will it make it better to have the truck driver visit you in hospital or while you’re doing physical therapy?

I wish the truck had just run me over so I wouldn’t have to feel anything for anyone ever again.

Really just being me

Was bemused as I listened to a client talk about online personas and the “Online Me”.

On the Internet, I’m fairly comfortable because what you see there is me. Unembellished, with no pretense or affectations. I prefer not to use handles and when it comes to my online identity, I want the first thing that comes up when I’m Googled to be something that came from me.

Now, in real life, it’s slightly more complicated.

The Internet strips me of my facade and lets me bare what I am at the core. Something that I can only define with one word: me.

In real life, too many people know or see different sides of me.

To Irene, Anis and my juniors, I’m the dotty, overly but funnily frank grandma in a 30-year old body.
To PR reps in my past life, I was the brutally direct, cold glacier that newbies quailed to climb.

To my closest friends, I am the one who is accepting of their foibles as much as they are accepting of mine.

To my lovers or significant others, I am the Stepford wife who would clean for them, wait for them, put up with all the crap I get from them and suffer silently till I explode.

I am different things to different people and while I do have a multiple faceted personality, I also try too hard to be what I think they want me to be.

My editor persona is not something my friends will see. She came about as a survival mechanism to get through the stresses of publishing. Editor Erna is insular, prone to keeping her own counsel (keeping other people in the dark in the process), authoritarian, scary when angry, suffers no fools and the only thing that makes her tolerable is the fingernail’s worth of writing talent.

I thought I was comfortable in my own skin. What I really am, though, is someone who tries to change her skin too often. I want that to change.

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An unwritten love letter

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