Relationships are beautiful, but not all of them last forever. Sometimes they end in a fiery crash, leaving the two people involved injured and hurt beyond repair. They can end with a warm goodbye, a mutual understanding that the relationship is now over and that it’s better to go their separate ways. And sometimes, they can end with silence, a silence that’s deafening and suffocating and surrounds you on all sides.
And maybe that’s the hardest way to say goodbye. At least to me. No matter how many questions you may ask to your pillowcase as you bury your head into it at night, no answers come out or are revealed. Then you’re left with your imagination and sometimes that can be far worse than the truth. You see faults in yourself, faults in the relationship, faults in the other person. Everything becomes an arrow towards the end and you begin to contemplate whether you were ever enough. You begin to wonder what sequence of events could have occurred to have caused everything to go wrong. In your eyes, everything was perfect, but the ending proved that was far from it.
When it ends in silence, you’re left with a mountain of words and feelings that weighs down your heart. You wonder how you can express your thoughts in a way that someone will understand, but in the end, the words fade away into the darkness, never allowed to see the light of day. Sometimes those thoughts end up on a social media platform for the whole world to see. Sometimes it ends up on the wall of your favorite cafe, in hopes that they will see it and leave something behind, even if it’s simply “I’m sorry”. That alone would be enough. All you need is a conversation, a dialogue to get everything off your chest and to receive the closure that you so desperately desire. But all that remains are the words left unsaid.
It took me a while to understand why you felt the way you did. When you first came out to me, I took the route that most people mistakenly walk. I made the deadly statement that your life was a blessing in itself, that other people had it worse. That was my first mistake, the first sign that I did not truly understand at all. As the days crept on, you began to feel tense around me and I could feel it too. We began to tiptoe around each other, carefully constructing our sentences and answers for potential conversations that had yet to occur. However, we felt that it was necessary in order to maintain our friendship. Shared secrets became scarce, the way we looked at each other now tainted, our entire world shattered into pieces due to my insensitivity. Then when you confessed that you still harbored those feelings a second time, that’s when I took a step back. I tried to look at you as if nothing was wrong, but the sadness that was contained inside of your chest still existed. That much I knew. And because it didn’t disappear the first time, I was afraid that it would not disappear a second. The distance between us grew and I wondered if this was the right approach. I know now that it was not. But I took step after step after step back, until I couldn’t hear your shouts for help. For so many years, I couldn’t hear your voice and in the end, I thought I lost you. And that fear almost became a reality. Thankfully, someone heard your shouts of agony, your cries of despair. Thankfully, you are now so close to the word fine that it is almost tattooed onto your skin. Thankfully, you are alive. And that is something that I hope I can imitate.
Like you, I wish to remain alive,
Twenty-five different things that I have learned over these twenty-five years, in no particular order.
- Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
- People leave. And sometimes you can’t do anything about that.
- It is never good to soak in your own sadness.
- There is a difference between being alone and feeling lonely. And both can be easily avoided. Sometimes.
- Don’t let anyone make you believe that what you feel is invalid.
- Admitting that you have a problem doesn’t always lead to a solution. But it can help.
- Give it your all. Don’t be lukewarm.
- Falling in love is never easy. But you shouldn’t let one heartbreak stop you from loving again.
- Be comfortable with making mistakes. You can only learn more and grow from them.
- Building walls doesn’t mean that you’ll be protected. Sometimes the person you need protecting from is yourself.
- You need to decide what’s important to you.
- Somewhere in this world, someone is rooting for you.
- You make more of an impact than you tend to believe.
- Don’t lose sight of what you’re passionate about.
- Strive to be different. Strive to become the best version of you that has ever graced this planet.
- It’s okay to be sad.
- Reach out to people. They will listen.
- Be careful with what you say and do, before it becomes lost in translation.
- Love deeply and love fervently. Someone will thank you for that.
- Don’t give up on people.
- Don’t give up on yourself.
- Consistency is important.
- Late is better than never. Or so I hope.
- Everyone is born good.
- This is not the end.
You were always quiet, yet loud in your own way. With every passing day, your silence carried the weight of the world, while your steps were often light, and a smile was always etched onto your face. You didn’t allow yourself to sit and soak in your thoughts. The moment that you became idle and still, it was over. You were consumed by a darkness that only you believed that you could see. When others pointed this out and asked how you were feeling, you would brush off the help, thinking that telling someone your troubles would only burden them and cause them to run away away. But because of past experiences, you constructed a fortress around your heart, too traumatized to let anyone in. And that’s how you lived; at a distance. Letting people come close enough to see the pupils of your eyes, yet far enough to hide the trembling fear in your hands. You allowed other people to dictate how you should feel and whether what you were feeling was appropriate for that moment in time. But I hope that one day, you will have the courage to stand behind your feelings. That one day you will be able to truthfully confess if you are feeling sad or angry or depressed or that you want to disappear. Your feelings deserve attention, too.
Your feelings are not a burden, they are what make you, you,
You always told me to be selfish, that the rest of the world didn’t care about my well-being, and that it was my job to ensure that I pursued the things that would benefit me and only me. There were nights when you constantly told me that I shouldn’t choose you, that you were not someone that I could trust, because like everyone else you could suddenly disappear and leave like smoke being carried away by the wind. You told me to become cold and unfeeling so that if the ground started to crumble from beneath my feet, I would not be harmed from the imminent fall. Throughout our conversations you would remind me that dreams were dangerous, that my mother and father were always right, that I should aspire to become stable and happiness will naturally follow afterwards. And not even once I’ve challenged you. I’ve never told you that you were wrong, because you were absolutely right. I wanted to become stable and secure and safe so that I had something to fall back on. But as the routine began to seep in and the days started to mesh together, I realized something important: I was not happy. I was not happy with who I became, I was not happy working in this unrelated field, I was just simply not happy. And I wish I could say that after a while, things changed. They didn’t. As of right now, in this present moment, I don’t care whether I will be able to feed myself at night, because honestly what’s the point if I don’t want to wake up to live another day. At the end of it all, at the end of this I want to make one thing clear. I don’t want to be safe. I want to be free and happy and I want to breathe a sigh of relief. I want to feel like I’m skating on cotton candy clouds while I’m doing something that I love, something that makes me happy. And in the end, I will choose you. Not them, not me, but you.
I choose you because you make me happy and by your side is the only place I want to be,
I’ve heard you cry out, although your lips only tremble and you refuse to let them move. You’ve always been like that, silent and timid, yet brimming with an abundance of ideas that the world ought to hear. At first, you were a mystery, a question mark that I tried incredibly hard to answer. At the time, I didn’t stop to think that maybe I didn’t need to find an answer. Rather, I needed to only understand and sympathize with how you felt and when you felt that way. Because that’s what you did for me. You held me tight and close enough that I could feel my heart beating in sync with your own. You did not say that you would fix me, but instead, you constantly reminded me that we were in this together and that we would be able to figure things out together. But now, that season of our life is over and we’ve learned how to live without the other. Surely, if the stars were to align and we were given another chance, I would take it without a second thought. But I know that right now, this is where we need to be: as just friends. So as your friend, as someone who cares about you deeply and truly, do not tremble in fear of speaking your mind. Do not hesitate to call out to me, so that I can remind you that you are not alone and that I will try my best to understand. I may not be able to provide the answer that you are looking for, but I will listen to what you have to say. I will love you, even when you wholeheartedly that you are not loved.
Because when I look at you, I am inspired to be an example of love,
It is the second week of May, but we are practically six months into 2017. Half the year has come and gone in the blink of an eye and eventually, we’ll be going through the stores buying pumpkins and turkeys, placing Christmas lights onto rooftops, and watching fireworks sail across the sky while we wonder where the year has gone.
As I sit at the table and look out the screen door, watching the clouds routinely glide across the almost summer sky, I think back on what has already happened and what is to come. It is almost unbelievable that the older we become, the faster time seems to soar on by. Like the Shinkansen (bullet train) in Japan, time zips right on by and in a flash, we arrive at a station ushering in the new year.
Of course the city that I live in has changed. But other than my hometown, many things have changed for me, on a very personal level, in a matter of six months. I’ I noticed that I’ve become more quiet and reserved, saving my words for the right time or locking them away in a safe in my mind. However, I make sure that when I do say something, it matters and has meaning and weight behind it. I realized that my family needs me more than I ever imagined. To take care of them, to listen to them, and to be an example of love, a role model they can look up. Becoming close to my family was something that I’ve always wanted as a child. But I am also starting to realize the importance of putting an equal amount of time in family, friends, and work. Perhaps I am missing a few things, perhaps right now I am on the verge of uncovering a great lesson that will shed light onto which path I should embark on next. But right now, I choose to believe that what has happened so far this year, needed to happen and that the person I am right now, is the person that I need to be. In this place, at this exact moment in time, this is who and where I need to be. I choose to believe that with my whole heart.
So as summer comes upon us and the days become longer and the nights start to be filled with memories, I will look forward to the later half of the year. I will look forward to the next six months as a time of continuous growth. And I hope that by the last day of this year, I will look back on 2017 and say with confidence, “This was my year.”