live

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand, to have someone understand, I want so much more than they’ve got planned”

That’s one of my favorite quotes ever, and it’s one that’s found it’s way into my heart ever since I heard it. It’s like, someone has put the exact feelings I’ve been feeling since I was young, into words. And yet sometimes I feel like these words aren’t enough, that no words will ever be enough. I think as I’ve grown up, I’ve come to terms with this side of me, and I’m still working on embracing it. It’s a side of me that I can’t imagine me without, and yet it’s one that’s hidden in the recesses of my heart. It’s one that isolates, and can be so incredibly lonely. 

A restless ocean heart. 

This selfish heart that never stops wanting, and needing more. A heart that feels everything too deeply, a heart that’s somehow locked itself away and hidden its tenderness from the sharp edges of the Outside. And when you feel everything so deeply, when you feel with every inch of your soul, you need to feel alive. 

You need to feel a magic that isn’t there everyday, you need it because you know it’s there. You need to connect, every piece of you, you need to live- and I mean live, really really live. You always need more, more than what you’re given, because life simply isn’t enough sometimes. And I don’t know if anyone will ever understand this yearning, if anyone will understand the dreams that are too big, the dreams that aren’t even dreams but a constant, longing ache. Dreams I don’t always understand. 

Maybe that’s why I love the ocean, the mountains, the woods and the rivers. They give me what I need, make me feel whole again. There is so much all around, more wonder and beauty than most people see- and for a while, this heart is at peace. I am truly alone, but for once, not lonely. It’s my way of connecting to the world around me, to really connect, it’s my way of feeling alive. Exploring new cultures, new foods and cities and stories. And people. Meeting, observing different people, wondering. 

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I see the beauty in everything, and everyone.

But that’s as much of a blessing, as it is a curse. At some point, you stop looking out for, and surrounding yourself with those little things you once held so close. How do you explain all the things you see, that nobody else does? How do you explain, how the smallest things like the feeling on sunlight on your skin or looking up at the stars or holding a book and a cup of coffee makes your heart soar and how you get so immersed in anything at all. How do you explain how you’ve savored every detail because you’ll never get those moments back. How you need to stop- to feel, and capture, and connect with everything around you- but everyone seems to be moving along fine. How many times can you break before you stop seeing the beauty all together? 

One of my favorite teachers once told me, when I was 16, “You have a very kind and sensitive heart, and you’re going to get hurt. People are going to hurt you, but don’t let your heart close up.” It stuck with me ever since, because no one had ever seen through me like that or said something that hit so close to home. And yet, how can I not close up?

How do you learn to open up, to learn to see the beauty and love everything around you once again, to learn to live, so that this heart isn’t in such a constant state of struggle and yearning? How do you open up a heart that’s been tossed around and broken and tired of it all? I wrote the first half of this post far in the countryside of Japan, surrounded my snow-capped mountains and endless beauty. And for a while, all was well. It’s easy to live, and capture yourself in a state of love and childlike wonder, when you’re awestruck by everything around you. Those are truly precious moments, moments I treasure and moments I will always chase to create more of. But what about the rest of the days? When life simply goes on. Photography. Scrapbooks. Yoga. Art. Walks in the city alone. Friends. Family. Those were the tools that once helped me to live (not survive, but really live), that helped me keep the little things so important, that allowed me to be mindful and connect, to make something beautiful.

But depression takes it all away. Not just your tools, but it empties your heart and leaves you lifeless. Funny, isn’t it? How a mental illness can rob someone of so much. I need to feel alive. But depression strips you of the will to even survive, and when you finally escape the wreckage, you’ve survived, alright. And somehow, surviving seems to be all that’s left because you’re too broken to live anymore. Sometimes it gets better, those moments of life come by and you grasp at them, underwater, trying to capture those air bubbles that you hope might somehow help you live.

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One day, I will build a life I love, and I will live. I will be kind, and love, and travel. I will find adventures in the everyday, and I will find adventures in scaling new heights. I will give, and I will connect with the people and the world around me. I will no longer be ashamed of savoring the little things nobody else sees, and I will no longer be afraid of laughing too loud and loving too much and feeling too much. I will open this heart and find solace in my empathy, instead of my fear of getting hurt. I will make peace with this body, this broken mind and heart, and live. 

And maybe, that’s all I can do for now. To look forward, knowing that I will build a life I love someday, and keep going, and surviving the best I can for now.

Growth

Today, I realized

I think I’ve come to a point in my life where I know myself well enough.

Where when I’m faced with a situation that would have once landed me in the hospital, now I can take a deep breath and say that I know I can survive.

Where I’ve been through enough in life, to know that ‘this too shall pass’, and nothing ever means the end of the world because we can always pick ourselves back up.

Where I’ve seen enough conflict and love and laughter and tears to know how to handle relationships. To know that all relationships take work, and effort, understanding, compromise, trust, and communication. Not just romantic relationships, but I mean friendship, kinship- everything.

Where I can understand, that life is what we make of it, but things never work as planned, and we all need to learn how to let go, to step back and simply appreciate and enjoy what we do have.

Where I know, that hurt is okay. It takes work and time and self-love to get through. That it may hurt for a long time but it’s not going to hurt forever.

Where I can step back and really look at myself, and I see a work in progress. Still broken, still hurting, but I’m still here. I still struggle with fear and loss and hatred, but I also have love and faith and hope somewhere in me.

Where I’ve learnt that love means different things to different people, but to me, it’s when someone’s happiness truly makes me happy too. Love is giving and listening and compromise, and love is faith and strength. When I’m at my lowest, love is what I think about, and what keeps us going. And maybe someday I can love myself too.

But what I’m saying is that, I’ve just come to this point in my life, and honestly I feel old. Because I don’t think most people learn or understand these things at 17.

Sometimes, I look at my parents and wonder what they’ve learnt. I wonder what happened to trust and listening and communication and compromise? I wonder what happened to being kind to everyone and seeing the world with an open mind? Because I don’t ever want my little girl to grow up with a fear that one day she’ll become like mommy. To grow up with a fear of marriage and relationships because ‘what’s the point, when all you do is fight?’.

Twinnie always says, maturity doesn’t come with age, it comes with experience. So despite all the impossibly hard things I’ve been through, I’m thankful to be where I am right now, and I know I’m only going to keep growing.

12 Jan 2016

Be Patient With Me

I want to tell you about depression
I want to tell you how
it doesn’t really give a damn
not about anyone

How it numbs
and steals
leaves you alone, helpless
in the wake of only guilt

How it unsuspectingly creeps in
and when you realise
you’re too stuck to pull yourself out
it always comes back

At best, a haunting shadow
At worst, a harrowing pain
I want to tell you it gets better
it gets better but
it’s still there

Perhaps I’ll never find all the words
to tell you what it’s like
Just please
be patient with me