You Are Not Here

Downing my glass of wine after a long day at work.

I’ve taken to liking wine a little too much than I already do. Not on the verge of becoming an alcoholic though.

I once read somewhere that you are not supposed to be too hard on yourself when you cry. On autopilot, we tend to beat ourselves up when we do.

Why are you still crying over this? You know better. You should not cry over spilled milk. You deserve better. You can do better. Stop crying. He is out there living his life and you should too. Do you think he is sitting there crying over you? No he is not. So for the love of god, stop crying. Do not let me down.

Now does this internal monologue sound familiar to you? I recently read ‘The Wisdom of A Broken Heart’ which is a total classic for anyone that is going through a heartbreak. One of they key insights I take away from the book is to think and treat yourself with grace as if you were with a crying baby. When a baby cries, you pick him/her up. You soothe him/her with so much love without a trace of judgement. And of course, the baby would stop crying after a while. The book advocates for broken hearted souls to treat themselves with compassion when they cry. To just let it all out without holding it against themselves. Just like with anything, the emotion and pain do go away. I mean they are more like waves, they go away and come back. The faster you learn to ride the wave the better.

I seem to be failing at it. I cry at every little thing. At the mention of his name, at the drama we used to watch together, at the food we used to enjoy together – literally everything. I sometimes cry out loud for him hoping that he would appear in front of me. It is also at this point that I realized I reached the point of no return. It is no fun getting over a breakup in the middle of a pandemic when you are isolated, anxious about your family’s safety, caught in one of the busiest season at work. No one has told or prepared me for this intense loneliness that comes as package with adulthood.

It is not always bad. Some days I feel on top of the world. I feel like I’ve got this. Other days, I am wrecked with anxiety that I cannot do anything. I just want to be in bed and sleep. Work used to be an effective platform of distraction. It does not seem to give me the same effect anymore.

Last week, I was trying to fill my void with the usual routine. Once everything was over and as I was getting ready to cry over the emptiness I swear I could feel physically, I received from my childhood friend who is now my colleague. She is getting married! It is monumental because she broke up about a month after I did. We were there for each other. She for me till 3AM in a KTV and I for her till 4:30AM after rounds of KTV that ended at a porridge & siew mai place with us half drunk and half asleep. I was and still am incredibly happy for her. I like being surrounded by people who are in love. It gives me hope that love does exist. I do not what prompted her to give me a call that night because she normally does not call me if not for work. She said to me she wanted to make sure I be the first one to know of her good news considering the things we went through. She told me not to give up and not to settle for less. Both she and I always felt that our professional success scared all these guys away because they are scared to love strong women like us. They are afraid that we would deem their light and that they would never live up to our expectation. She told me when you meet the one, it does not matter. He will support you with your ambitious. He will be able to handle it. You do not have to dim your light to be loved. You can shine as bright as you are and still be loved deeply for who you are. I always believe in guardian angel and that their job is to deliver us the message that we need when we need it most. In that moment, I truly and deeply felt that it was my guardian angel talking to me through my friend.

I did not cry that night. I went to bed with a heart filled with hope.

Yes. You are not here but I AM.

Till then.

N.

On Flying Solo

Okay so where should I begin?

It has been a while. But I am back.

I am back to writing. My safe place. My sanctuary away from my internal self-sabotaging thought loop.

I moved into my new apartment exactly a week ago. This is my first time living by myself. Though I moved out since last year, I was still sharing my apartment with two other housemates then. This time I got my self a big girl apartment. The lease is for 6 months. I figure it is enough time for me to figure out whether I really enjoy living alone and that I am ready to commit to buying my own place instead of renting. So far, I have been enjoying it a lot.

The thing is…I choose to live by myself. I consider it a great privilege to be able to have this experience. I believe it would help me in building my character and to become a very independent person in the future. But every now and then, I experience this intense loneliness. Today is one of those days. In fact, I have been feeling this way two days after I moved in. As an extrovert, I feed energy off people. The fact that the recent COVID outbreak happened coincide with me moving in, means that I am basically spending majority of my time working from home. I have been crying on and off everyday. I just feel so alone.

And if you knew me, then you would already know by now that my first instinct is to distract myself with people…which I did. But it does not feel the same anymore. Since my breakup in December, it has never been the same. Do you ever just get this feeling that you might have lost the greatest love of your life? That you let it slip right through your fingers? That this is it. You lose the love of your life and you are never gonna find him again. Nothing changes but everything changes. The void is just eating you up inside. You no longer find joy in what you enjoyed doing anymore. Self-love doesn’t seem to fill the void. You let time pass. You have no energy to get out of bed. You just feel depleted. All gone. Nothing left. This is exactly how I have been feeling.

When I decided to open my heart up to him, I was incredibly scared. I wanted to run. My mentor said I cannot keep running from love. I have to give myself a chance at happiness. So I told myself this time around, it would be different. I became brave. I did not run. I am glad I didn’t. I experienced the most loving relationship I have ever had. But then things changed to nobody’s fault. And once again, I am left all alone.

I remember having a crying session with my best friend for the 100th time. I told her I don’t know how people do this. Getting their heart broken over and over again. I can’t do this anymore. It is too painful. And what if there is really no someone for everyone? But then I also realize that I love myself way too much to not put myself out there again. So while I know I will eventually feel okay, I am also in no rush to find someone new. I think this is the first time that I finally made peace with the fact that I might not find love again or that I might even grow old alone. And you know what? I am really okay with that. No bitterness or anger. I accept that it is a possibility and I know that I will be fine regardless what will happen.

It is ironic as I am looking around my studio apartment and it just came to me that I might have chosen this place because it reminded of my ex’s place – from the window to the curtain to the kitchen. They say each relationship is supposed to teach you something. I think mine embodied everything that I’ve always wanted for myself. That is also what drawn me to him in the first place. A financially independent person, foreigner working in a different market, living alone, highly-disciplined, decisive, dedicated, hardworking, organized, having their shit together, etc. He touched and changed me for the better. He brought the best out of me. Even though now we are no longer in touch and I have no plan of reaching out to him, I am grateful that our paths crossed. I have been incredibly lucky to have loved and be loved by the most wonderful person. But it is over now. Although I cannot be with him, I can work harder everyday to become the person I love for myself.

Till then,
N.

The Grand Finale

I do not believe that a person can be one dimensional. There are so many facets in a person’s character that I refuse to believe that one can be labelled as “bad”. I always thought that just because one is a shitty partner, that doesn’t mean that one is also bad at friendship or is a bad son/daughter to their family. It is just two completely different stories. That is why I’ve learned never to remove or block any of my exes…anymore. I used to do it a lot when I was young and liked to play victim. I’ve learned to understand that just because two people aren’t meant to be together romantically, it doesn’t erase the fact that you can still care for each other deeply.

It puzzled me when I realized I was removed. It means this person doesn’t even consider me as their friend anymore. That made me so sad and disappointed. I always looked up to this person as the more mature one. What is more, I am supposed to believe that this is all done in my favour. I did not understand why it had to be that way. I thought we would at least be in each other’s life as friend. We are good people. I refrained from contact because I did not want to overwhelm this person with my feeling. What happened was unfortunate but it was nobody’s fault. We were simply caught in the moment.

I never thought I would say this but seeing that person there, on a date, was my final wake-up call. That this is really over. This is reality. This is how it would be from now on. Us seeing different people. Moving on. It finally sank in. Acceptance is a small quiet room. I no longer feel the longing pain in my chest. The pit in my stomach is gone. I don’t know how it happened but it just did. The tears have stopped flowing. It just feels…FINAL. No salvation.

I debated for a long time if I should write about this. I simply just don’t find it worthy of my time and energy anymore. But eventually, I think this is something worth celebrating for. Growth is always worth celebrating – no matter how small or how late.

Who would have thought that Saturday night was also the beginning of something so wonderful that I have to keep from pinching myself to see if I was dreaming? This is so cliche but what I have now makes me feel like whatever that I went through up until now is definitely worth it. My heart is so full. I am beyond content, happy and grateful for the love I now have in my life.

Till then,

N.

Insomnia

I can’t sleep. I haven’t been sleeping well since the beginning of the pandemic. I do not know if I am thriving or surviving at work. It feels like both. It feels like you are coming out of the water gasping for air only to be submerged a few seconds later. And the cycle continues.

I hope I am not the only one that thinks better with Skrillex screaming in my earphones. I am blasting his song out loud while writing this with the hope that once I vomit everything out, I will be able to give my soul some rest. I have been so restless. My soul has been so restless. When I ended thing 3 months ago. I thought I would be over it by now. Who would have known that I still care so much for someone who would not give a flying f*ck about me?

To be frank with you, I also did not know the feeling I had was so strong till I got dead drunk one night and woke up in a stranger’s bed the next morning. You know what is even worse? That was the first but not the last time. I was desperate to get over you so much that I jumped from one person to another thinking eventually this – whatever this is – would wear off. That one day you would no longer be the first thought when I wake up or the last before I go to sleep. I look for you everywhere. Everywhere…Till I found someone.

I got in a relationship all for the wrong reasons. I picked him. A fugitive. An addict. An outlaw.  The complete opposite of you. So foreign but so familiar. You know why? Because you both are emotional unavailable. You both are still hung up on your ex. I did it on purpose. I was hoping my inflicted pain would make me forget about you. At least with this one I knew what was coming. It was in my control. It lasted for 10 days. I could not stand it anymore. I kept thinking of you every time I was with him.

I wanted to reach out to you so badly but then I remember what for? You would only be troubled by my presence. I could not give you what you were looking for and vice versa. Why are we so doomed from the start? I know I said it before that I do not regret knowing you. I take it back. If I could turn back time, I would rather us be stranger so that I do not have to go through this. I remember you asking me before leaving if I would be okay? What did you expect me to say? Would you hug me and not leave if I had said no I would not be okay and that I would be breaking apart without you? Would you? Would it be different? What good does it do to say that someone else will be lucky to have me when it is you that I want? It is like a slap to my face. A blow to my stomach. I know someone else would thank his lucky star to have me but it is you that I want. It is YOU.

In The Name Of Love

Those who are OG die-hard fans of Sex And The City would be able to sympathise with my frustration every time Carrie came running back to Mr. Big even though we all could see they were clearly not right for each other. He was emotionally detached and unavailable. He came and went as he pleased. She was never a factor in his decision-making plan. He played hard to get and broke her heart repeatedly. Don’t get me wrong, Carrie too had her own set of flaws. She was selfish, impulsive, confusing, lost, and emotionally manipulative. What these two shared was exhilarating yet excruciating at the same time. What most people don’t realize is that dating a toxic person or being in a toxic relationship is very addictive. When it is good, it is awesome. But when it is bad, it is as bad as it can get. You find yourself crying for hours alone on your bathroom floor and not wanting to leave your bed the next day. One moment you say you are done with it and the next you find yourself asking for more. You came to associate pain with pleasure and the two are mutually exclusive.

Let’s not kid ourselves. I went in with my eyes open. I knew what exactly I was getting myself into. Point blank. None of us is a saint here. This piece is not a blame game but rather an attempt for me in finding solace to my own self-sabotaging pattern. If you are reading this then I hope you are well acquainted enough to know that I have an exhaustive long history of falling for unavailable men. It is like I made it my life mission to unconsciously handpicked only those that are broken, damaged, and commitment phobic then make it a scene when I realized I caught feeling and they were no where near ready to reciprocate. It is a series of unrequited love leaving me feeling empty and depleted.

After 8 months of fun accompanied by agonising pain of wanting to be more than just friend with someone, I did it. I mustered up enough courage to break my own heart – yet again. How did I do this you may ask? Well, I sat him down (literally cause he insisted on standing), told him not to laugh or said I know, then spurted out the words with my body all trembling from nervousness and fear. I told him I realized I am starting to like you and I think we should stop seeing each other cause I know you are not ready. To which he responded with agreement saying it is not looking good and what I suggested sounds like a good idea. We hugged goodbye and he left. I started sobbing violently as soon as the door was close. I understand in principle that I am making the right decision but the thought of never getting to see him, spend time with him or hold him again was crushing!

Now that it is all said and done, everything is playing out in my head like a silent black-and-white movie from the 30s. I realized I put up with a lot more than I normally did. Is that how it is supposed to be like when you really like someone? You make excuses for them as to why they treat you so horribly. Oh because they were raised to be tough, or because they were so busy or because they just recently got out of a relationship. You overlooked all the red flags. The other person didn’t even try to mask who he was. If anything, he has always been forthcoming that this is who he is. Take it or leave it. But you chose to see what you wanted to see anyway. You put him on pedestal and it all started going downhill from there. You want nothing more but to bask yourself in his presence but the luxury of his time is something you rarely get unless it is for the purpose of pleasure. You knew you wanted more and every time he walked out the door you found yourself wondering if this is the last time you would be seeing each other. At one point, enough is enough.

I certainly do not like this version of me when I am in love. I suddenly turned incredibly stupid. It is like I left my brain at a pawnshop and operated solely based on my emotion. I have never felt more exposed, vulnerable or humiliated as I sat there confessing my feeling. It is like time froze. My internal monologue just went on stupid Neath, stupid Neath, stupid Neath…When will you learn?

At the end of the day, I am glad I let him know how I feel. I regret not one bit of it. I would do it all over again. It would be such a waste to run and hide from my feeling. We are here to enjoy the whole human experience. Yes, all of it!. Heartbroken, crying your eyes out and all. I was brave and that should count for something, right?

A big shout out to my best friend who drove to see me right after I gave him a call sobbing telling him to just come. I didn’t even have to explain myself or give any contexts. 30 minutes later and he was there knocking on my door, watched as I gathered my stuffs then fetched me back to my apartment. What would I do without you, K? Thank you for putting a smile on my face and for always loving me despite the mess that I am. Also a special shout out to my friend who is very far away and still managed to pick up the call and listened to me bawling for a solid 10 minutes before I could compose myself. Thank you S for your kindness, patience and understanding. I wish they all could be like you. Joking! And last but not least, M, for staying up till late listening to my ramble without any judgements and now again sitting there doing your stuff while I am writing this. When I cried and swore I will never ever allow myself to fall in love again, thank you for reminding me that it is not true, that it is not on me – it is just the wrong person that’s what it is. You are right. I didn’t mean it and I will probably find myself falling in love and having my heart broken all over again. I guess we will never know.

I am not a cool girl. I said this before and I will say it again – I am not a cool girl. I am just a softie, harmless, heart-broken girl. I just want to love and be loved just like everyone else. I know my biggest task right now is to not be too hard on my self and learn to find compassion for myself on this journey. My time will come and hopefully one day soon I will be able to look back and laugh at whatever I am going through now.

I am ending this with a poem that really resonates with me right now. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

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Till then,

N.

Circles

I saw you in my dream the other night.

Something has been gnawing at my chest since the day I walked out the door in a state of what seem to be a mixture of despair and confusion. I remember you standing there silently with the doorknob in your hands. I wanted to ask if this is it but from the look on your face, I figure it was unnecessary for I already know the answer.

How do I begin to tell you that my heart was shattered that one November night with the words that came out of your mouth? I cried all the way to the airport and 2 days straight after that. I guess I wasn’t as mad at you as I was at myself.

For a second there, I felt like there was something fundamentally wrong with me. Why couldn’t I be the person I want to become? Why couldn’t I be the person we both know I am destined to be? All I needed was a bit of time, patience and understanding – all things of which you weren’t able to give. I wept at the fact that I failed myself and that we are losing each other. But at the same time, I breathe a sigh of relief with the knowledge that this isn’t love because love is never supposed to make one feels like this. Love will never make me feel like I am going to war with myself.

Have we been fooling ourselves all along? You for thinking you could be someone you are not and me for thinking I would be able to keep my boundaries in check. I saw that you were really trying your best to make me feel safe. You did all that I asked and for that I am really grateful. But I guess it wasn’t easy for you, was it? Having to do things against your nature. In the end though, what really matters is that we tried. Was I naive for thinking this could work? Did the same thought cross your mind too? I guess I had my reservation at the beginning but I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt. I was there once too – broken and unavailable. I empathised with you and even believed in you when you said you will care for me. I caught a glimpse of hope and clung on to it tightly.

When those words poured out of you, I felt the first slap of reality. Were you just pretending to be nice and caring all along? How could I be reduce to just some sort of flesh that you could dismiss so easily?

I remember asking you to spare me for I know the ending would be too much for my fragile soul to endure. I realized now that instead of asking you, I should have taken matters in my own hands and leave right then and there.

The ending of a story doesn’t always have to involve a bad guy, does it? I don’t think neither one of us is a bad guy in this one. It is just that the paths we are on are not aligned and I have learned to come to term with it. I deserve to be met with unconditional love, patience, kindness and understanding. And you too deserve love and light even when you think you are not ready for it.

So for now, I let you fly.

Take care.

Till then,

N.

 

 

The Show Must Go On

I have something on my mind…something that has been keeping me up at nights.

Aside from a few of my colleagues at work,  I have been ordered not to discuss this with anyone in or outside of the company. For those of us who know about it, the past week has been very heavy and emotional. All we can do now is exchange knowing glances and heavy sighs. The four of us have different ways of coping with the news. I for one have to refrain myself from tearing up everyday during lunch or team meeting. My other colleagues? Well, some are trying their best to make everything light and fun by cracking up jokes here and there, while others even fell sick cause they were also reading too much into the situation that they couldn’t fall asleep.

Unfortunately, not much is known but from what we gathered, what happened was very personal and uncalled for. It was not only sudden but also very unjust. We wish we could fight. We wish we could stand up. We wish we could give back the protection and support that we have graciously received. But we couldn’t…

I swore I would never get attached to a job again but 3 months in and I am already having a hard time accepting this truth. Without knowing, I have came to look up to this person as not only a mentor but also as a father figure. And you already know how I am like with the people that I consider as my tribe…I want to shield them from pain. I want to protect them from the harshness of reality.

I guess all we could do now is to put on our bravest face and do our best in running the show so that there is nothing for him to worry about. Maybe this is the only way for us to pay back all the kindness, patience and opportunities that we were given. I am hoping that in hindsight, he will be able to look back and see this as a blessing in disguise. I am hoping that as a family, they will find the strength to pull through.

A wise man often reminded me thatnone of this is personal, because at the end of the day it is still a business decision – as per usual’. Maybe he was already preparing me for this day…maybe he already knew then that it would come down to this…

Till then,

N.

What You Want Is Out There

This is probably an unpopular opinion but I don’t think you can mess things up with the RIGHT one. Growing up hearing and reading so many tales on what to-dos vs. not-to-dos around men so that you could hook them in, it exhausts me frankly. Why are we women made to believe that we don’t deserve to be loved for who we are?

I hope you know that the right one knows you are imperfect and still appreciate you for who you are despite your flaws. That with the right one, you don’t have to worry about being too crazy, for moving too soon, for speaking your mind, for being loud, for being successful, for being needy, for wanting to be spoiled or even for wanting to be loved wholeheartedly. The right one will be able to keep up with you spiritually, mentally, intellectually, and physically. He will know relationship is hard work but you make all his efforts worth it. Being with you should make him feel like he just won the biggest lottery prize.

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If you feel discouraged or fed up with putting yourself out there, just know that what you want exists! Don’t let anyone (yourself included) talk you into settling for less than you deserve. Sometimes they do wish with all their might they could give you what you want. They know what you are asking for is NOT too much. But you can’t ask for something from someone who doesn’t have it. You can’t ask for love from someone who doesn’t have love for himself.

Please understand that it is not your personal project to heal or change someone. You will only end up losing yourself every time. So next time someone makes you feel guilty asking for what you deserve or even for the bare minimum, remember that you are not asking for too much…

you are just simply asking the wrong person. 

Till then,

N.

The Verdict Is In

…and I am definitely not the brave one.

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I don’t like losing control. I don’t want to lose my cool. I just can’t afford to be in love or even in “like” with anyone at the moment. The stake is just too high.

And to realize I STILL found someone who is obviously emotionally-unavailable attractive is beyond me. Why do I never learn? I should have listened to my gut and not let it get this far. It is always better to be the heartless one.

I hate feeling like a teenager gushing about my feelings so I am going back to my man cave and hide there in the meantime. I will go back to doing what I do best, which is, drowning myself in work of course.

In case you are reading this (which I am sure is very unlikely), please bare in mind that I don’t believe in second chance. You should have done it right the first time around.

Till then,

N.

 

On Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone

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It is Monday today!

The first day of the working week which also happens to be the day some of us dread the most.  

I, too, were one of them.

This morning though, I found myself waking up strangely excited for work. I even made it to my office (which is really far, mind you) a few minutes before the actual time that I was supposed to clock in.

There are many new things that I need to learn, information to catch up and people to network with. I’ve been hopping around quite a while now, enough to realize the first 6 months to a year will always be a sprint. Despite this, I am still taking a different approach. I am trying my best to keep a good momentum as I view this journey more like a marathon rather than a race. I definitely do not want to burn myself out like last time.

I am not gonna lie. Though I am extremely excited and grateful to be doing this, I am still shit scared. Yes. I show up with fear everyday. I know. The impostor syndrome never seem to leave, does it? Neath and her impostor syndrome locked forever in Neverland.

One prime example from this afternoon, I was having this meeting with our regional CMI expert and I raised a question in which I felt like I shouldn’t be asking in the first place because I should have the answer to this question already. I felt really stupid afterwards. I missed being the ‘expert’. I missed contributing value to the discussion. I missed being hands on. I missed applying what I know to my craft.

Some days I feel inadequate, small, and really really stupid. Then it hits me. THIS IS WHAT GETTING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE FEELS LIKE!  I am being stretched beyond my normal working capacity. I am constantly challenged to see things from a different perspective. It is so uncomfortable for someone like me who would rather lose an arm than to look stupid in front of people.

When I have days like this, I remind myself of just a few years ago when I was in similar position – when I swore I could never drive. In fact, if you scrolled down far enough you could still find it in my “50 Facts About Me” post. And look at me now! A badass driver if I dare say so myself. I drive to work on a 50km round trip every single day. But it hasn’t always been like that. It took me 6 years after getting my driving license to actually drive. It was pretty damn scary at first. I always sweated a bucket whenever I was on the wheels. I didn’t know where I was going. My friends had to draw me the map and told me the directions over the phone so that I wouldn’t get lost. I remember making a phone call to my then best-friend the first time I was at the gas station not having a single clue what I should do. I still don’t know much about car now but I know enough to feel confident being on the road. I know enough to qualify myself as a driver!

It also helps to know that I have supportive colleagues who are more than willing to give a hand. I know I will never know everything and that I will always have times when I feel like I don’t know enough. But everyone has to start somewhere, right? I just need to end each day knowing I already give my best and my best should be good enough for now.

Till then.

N.