Tag Archives: healing

Lost in thought

photo-1429305336325-stR

Summer came a few days ago, with me not quite knowing what to feel about it or want from it. I had been trapped inside myself for so long that I only knew how to be numb and confused.

Pawing through my own insides for the feelings I was supposed to have only created more questions and made me nervous, so I decided I would simply live as the moment dictated.

In between lunch and dinner dates I wander around on my own, trying to let every thought and perception touch my mind as lightly as possible. I reflect on the months that have passed, trying to reconcile myself to what has happened.

It’s possible to strive so much for control that you simply lose control. Perhaps that is what obsession means.

Everything happened so suddenly this year. It started with an inexplicable feeling of inner unsettledness, a feeling of something always running in the background of my mind, and I remember just feeling very tired all the time.

And then there came the empty weeks, lengths of free time in which I sunk into torrents of endless thought, letting the hours turn into days and weeks while I sat panicking and unable to get anything done. The more I thought, the more I felt confused, and the harder I fought to regain a sense of balance and coherence. In the end I completely lost both, along with my sense of place and my sense of self. And in the end, I was no longer sure what I had been trying to protect in the first place. I had become a shell of myself, barely human. And still, like an overturned bicycle with wheels still whirring, I couldn’t stop.

I wandered around aimlessly, sometimes anxious, other times weighed down by a blanket of emptiness that was about as close as I got to comfort. Other people seemed to me to be shining, while I felt my own presence dim and shrivel inside.

***

photo_2015-05-10_00-13-29

It’s warm and breezy outdoors. Everywhere on the streets and in shops windows are the colours of summer– fuchsia and turquoise, orange and yellow. I remember looking at a colourful display a few nights before and suddenly feeling like I wanted to put lots of flowers in my hair. It was one of the first times I remember myself wanting to do something for summer, and it made me shake a little inside.

Sometimes in my head I write letters, conveying these little thoughts or little victories to people far away, or not so far away. In reality, the value of these little moments is not easy to convey. But I carry an envelope with some letter paper in my backpack anyway, in case I suddenly feel like trying.

These days I’m feeling the waters recede. Almost, almost, I’m breaking the surface. I’m learning to breathe again, finding that I can. On the way home, the sound of the train soothes me as I lean by the coach doors, and I feel the warm six o’clock light wash over me from the window.

As I walk home everything smells green and warm. Birds chirp and fly from tree to rooftop. I feel like I can almost sink into the golden light behind the clouds. Almost there.

***

photo_2015-05-10_00-13-34

Sometimes at home I find little pieces of paper lying around. On them, scrawled in my own handwriting, are words like “Focus. Just breathe. Everything is alright”. I remember writing these things, and scratching them out, and re-writing them again, and again. Calming myself down didn’t work if I did it in words, because I could never get the words right. The words were always wrong. Even the simplest things had to be tweaked and rewritten over and over again. Why were the words always wrong?

I tear up these little papers and throw them away when I find them. It’s unfortunate. I know the words tried hard for me. I just couldn’t let them be enough.

It’s never enough.

Sitting by the fountain today, watching the light glint on the silvery surfaces of surrounding buildings, it occurred to me that our strengths can never be separated from our weaknesses. They are actually but one and the same.

***

“Hello, tiny star
Can you hear me call?
I’m so blind as everything at birth

If I could flow against these nights
Straighter than the string of light
I would lay these hands on time”

Advertisements

+65 for a day

Sitting at home in the short window of time I have in between one flight and the next. Today its been gray skies and lush green and me near my old school together with a friend. It’s late now and things are everywhere. I don’t feel packed. Tomorrow the madness of travel will begin again and make me wonder why I bother to do these things to myself. But for now, I am calm.

It’s been quite a year. I had a beautiful spring in London doing all sorts of crazy things, a sudden course change, and a return home to a new house, all the while slowly sinking into a sea of deep longing and unresolved emotion. It must have begun in London, this gradual opening of space, and the surfacing of hidden things, the things that have quietly been haunting my life. What began as a pervasive anguish turned into a low-grade but crippling depression, a pain in my chest that made it hard to get through the day. The week before my flight to Japan I seemed to have hit a new low. I felt on the brink of tears the whole day, and cried uncontrollably at night. In the midst of my trembling and sobbing I felt I finally heard some of the words my heart had been silently screaming all this while.

And then it rained, and I broke. I wandered out into the night, clutching my stuffed rabbit, sat in the dark, whispered a prayer.

After that night the feelings suddenly lifted. I felt a little numb, a little strange, but I got busy preparing for my trip and put my thoughts aside. On the first night at the airport hotel in Chitose airport, my brother and I watched snow fall in the window. I was struck by the peacefulness of the scene, one worthy of a children’s book – a boy and his older sister watching the snow.

Perhaps, it is about time I let the losses lie where they fall. 20 years I have hurt and hungered and in my hurt blocked myself from the very things that would heal me. I know not what to do with myself now. But slowly, slowly, perhaps I will breathe again. I do not know where the child inside of me has wandered to now. Perhaps she is sitting in a white world, watching the snow fall, quietly waiting for her world to come undone.

I have a story.

I have a story I need to tell.

It needs to be told, because words are so much of who I am. It was words, and the people who taught me to use words, that saved me, giving my heart a voice. And it would only make sense that now that I have words to say, that I should tell them. It needs to be told, because just as I have needed other people’s stories, someday someone might need mine. It needs to be told, strangely, because they story itself will not come to a close until it is told. It needs to be told because the telling will, if nothing else, give me courage.

There was an evening, sitting at my desk, where the gears turned in my mind, and suddenly I felt that there was no other way, except that this story must come to completion. At the same time, from my heart, came a desire to make sure the story is told.

But now is not the time to tell it. This is a story that is unfolding slowly as I move towards the day I can bring it into the light. By the time I am ready to tell it, I will probably no longer be the same person anymore. Everything will change.

Or will it?

Maybe you have a story too. When you look back to your past and you look into the mirror, what do you see? Are there traces of a narrative there? Is there something hidden, something broken, something redeeming? Where hide your dragons? Where is your sword? Are there any conditions that you must adhere to on your journey, and which benevolent spirit imparted them to you? What magic words do you use against the darkness? How many turbulent waters must you cross to come home? Does your story have a theme? What is your theory of everything, and where does your story fit in?

What happens at that moment we begin to look into the mirror for real, and understand all that we are and what we have become? A story begins there, I think. And with the beginning comes the trembling of the heart and the need to find new strength. Redemption begins there, I hope. When we go through the wall, what waits on the other side? I sure hope to believe it is nothing less than goodness and fullness – the end of a tale, and the beginning of one ten times better.

I have a story. Stick with me and someday I will share it with you. Whether or not you will remain my friend at the end of it, I know not. But whatever the outcome, it is my greater hope that you too, will one day discover the magic of a tale, of telling, of words and remembering. And maybe then, you can tell me your story too. Right from the beginning.

All tales may come true;

and yet, at the last, redeemed,

they may be as like and as unlike the forms that we give them

as Man, finally redeemed,

will be like and unlike the fallen that we know.

– On Fairy Stories, J.R.R. Tolkien