A masterpiece in the making

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You are a masterpiece.

Let that settle in your mind for awhile. It’s true.  Everyone has their own unique experiences in life – we don’t even see colours in the same way.

I struggled for a long time to see myself as worthy.

Worthy of happiness, worthy of being acknowledged. Worthy of love.

Heck, I was sure that if I suddenly disappeared…no one would even notice that I had ever existed in the first place.

Here’s the thing though, I was always surrounded by people who cared for me and loved me but I was so wrapped up in my own misery and sadness that I couldn’t see them or even begin to accept that there were people out there who cared.

My friends and family were always there for me in one way or another. Looking back and reflecting on these moments, I realise now just how lucky I was.

Sure, we had some really bad moments but these were balanced by happy moments. Mundane moments that were safe and healing. Moments that at the time were no more than a passing thought but now are treasured and loved.

I loved those early morning car rides to school with my parents.

The days when I was on time with my mum and we would sit in the parking lot for a little while and just listen to music or talk about this and that.  The days when I was always hopelessly late to school because my dad never left on time or would decide to take the scenic route or  tell me, “Five more minutes, I just have this one thing to do”

I ended up in detention sometimes because of my dad’s chronically late habits and at the time I was so mad at him and the injustice of it all. I wished my principal would send my dad to detention!

Today I can thank my dad for taking me late to school because I learned from that experience – I always make the effort to be on time.

I am also grateful for the that time spent in detention because it was a whole other world to me. I met and spoke to students that I would ordinarily never be brave enough to engage with and there was the slight thrill of being in the “bad” crowd even if it was for reasons beyond my control!

I loved those lunchtime hang outs with my friends.

I was so quiet in these groups. I seemed to always be absorbed by large groups of friends but never really feeling as if I were part of the gang. I missed out on a lot by not speaking up  but I gained a lot too. My listening skills and empathy were probably born in those quiet moments with friends who would confide their worries and fears to me.  I wasn’t lost in the group , they knew I was there and they cared for me.

How do I know this? Well,  later I am still in contact with friends that I had once thought would never remember me. I think back on all those moments when a friend would suddenly turn to me and ask my opinion or make a joke and marvel at how silly I was to ever think that I was not treasured or loved.

Sometimes we want to be acknowledged in elaborate and lavish ways, the most likes on social media, the loudest greetings, the most hugs, the most invites. That must be how I can prove my worthiness , right?

No!

You were worthy from the moment you were born. You were loved and will always be loved.

It might not always be in the loudest of ways but throughout your life, those little moments care and love are weaved in and out of your life. People will come and go , always leaving a little something behind for you to remember them by.  The same goes for you.

You have touched lives. You might not be aware of it but you have and will continue to do so.

You are a masterpiece in progress.

P.S. In losing myself, I found my worthiness.

 

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Breaking Free

 

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6 years ago, I made a decision.

It was done almost in a passing thought and sometimes I wonder if this was already planned out in the great grand scheme of things. If I was just following a path already defined and waiting for me.  This decision got me on a plane, had me living on my own for the first time, had me learn another language and eventually married.

So what was this earth shattering decision that deserves its own story?

I decided that I wanted to teach.

I was at a stage in my life where I was most unhappy but not aware of it.  My unhappiness was a coat I wore every day , it wrapped around me and kept me warm in my tears and sadness. It was all I knew and embraced. I was good at smiling and cheering others up and excellent at hiding my own darker feelings of despair and loneliness.

I had just come out of the break up with Rohit and my home life was less that ideal. I was a doormat that gave and gave until there was nothing left but tears. I cried every night, alternating between family drama and my break up. A break up that I had kept secret from all but my mother because I could not bear the cruel teasing that would follow from my sisters and father.

It was late afternoon and I was alone in my office, wiping tears away once more when someone came in. He was a slender Indian man with soft voice and he asked if I had a pen he could borrow.  Now , usually my natural instinct is to suspect the worst and to be on guard but something about the man’s relaxed and calming nature made me smile instead. He looked at me more closely and then said that I should smile more.

That nearly broke me as I wanted to yell out how can I smile when I feel so awful. Instead I nodded and slightly ducked my head. I expected him to leave but he pulled up a chair and sat across the desk from me.

“I’m from India. I’m a guru and I read …people. I would like to do the same for you. No charge”

I was already violently shaking my head. Great. A quack and I let him in here and I’m alone.  “I’m  fine and I have no money to pay you. I can’t accept this for free” I protested.

He simply smiled back at me and said.. “Well, how about this pen?”

“The pen as payment?” I asked, eyeing the cheap plastic pen in doubt.

“Yes. That will be payment enough”

” O.K, sure”  He smiled at me and I blushed, realising that my tone was less than enthusiastic or appreciative. He asked me to hold out my hand and he held it palm facing upwards. He traced the lines and then started to say things.

Now, this has been years and years ago . I was emotionally drained and already had a bad memory to boot so I can’t accurately remember all that he said and I really wish that I had taken the time to write it down somewhere but I didn’t. I listened with as much of an open heart as I could and I can honestly say that I remember that point as being the next moment that healing began, after my sweet mother’s kind words.

After he left, a strange sense of peace washed over me.   A feeling of renewal and hope was starting to grow inside me. The next smile I smiled was a genuine one and the tears that fell so often started to slow down.

A few weeks later, a dear colleague and I were whiling time away  in the office as we waited for clients and in passing I mentioned my dream of wanting to teach. It really was just meant to be something to say to fill the quiet room but she lit up like a Christmas tree and started telling me about her son’s friend who had taught English in Thailand. Suddenly she scribbled down his contact number and handed it over to me.

A little taken aback, I gingerly accepted the tiny piece of paper and then when she wasn’t looking, laid it back down again.  I wasn’t ready for something so drastic. Was I?

When I got home, she called and said not to worry, she had texted the number to me as well and that she had contacted the guy. So all I had to do was call.

So I did.

And it changed everything.

As for the guru…he apparently did come back to my office one last time but I wasn’t there. He returned the pen.

P.S Sometimes all it takes is a pen.

 

The Haunting of Hill House

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Well, by now the popular Netflix series is trending and everyone who is anyone has already posted in depth reviews on the show…so now its my turn!

But guess what? I have no intention of giving a review – just my thoughts on a show I enjoyed watching. So enjoy the ramble.

I was already primed and ready to watch this show because I am a fan of the horror genre but my husband is not, so it is a real treat when I find a show that both of us willingly want to watch…not just me strong-arming him into watching a bad show with me.

It just so happened that this show was based on the novel The Haunting by Shirley Jackson and that the 1963 film adaptation of the book was my husband’s all time favorite horror movie and the 1999 film adaptation was …well it existed and I watched it.

He had introduced me to the 1963 movie on one of our date nights and I loved it as well though probably not as much as he did. He would constantly quote from the 1963 movie whereas my only contribution was  “Catherine Zeta Jones played Theo in the new one…I remember that”

So there we were,  two fans – one of general horror (good and bad ) and one a fan of that specific horror.  Prepared to watch episode 1 and maybe enjoy it. Fast forward to us finishing Episode 10.

Blown away.

Just figuratively blown away.

You know, I love and hate jump scares because I am easily startled and I grew up loving the Freddy Krueger franchise but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy more subtle horror and this certainly delivers on all fronts.

It gets under your skin, wraps around you like a warm , comforting blanket that slowly suffocates you as you delve deeper and deeper into the haunting of family.

I loved that it was a very intimate look into a family – instantly relatable. Families can bring you both pain and happiness and I am always drawn to shows or stories that honestly reflect this. This show does not shy away from the anger, fear, disgust or frustration one can feel but neither does it push away the love and bonds that are forged between family members.  We will always love our families but no one ever said that we have to like them.

The other aspect I really enjoyed in this series was the technical side of it. The use of the camera, the casting and the general tone that was established and then lovingly enforced. The director knew what he wanted and was confident in following it through. I love to re-watch shows and movies and this one encourages my habit and rewards it.

It also got me to read the original novel. Its a short novel so I would encourage anyone to pick it up and give it a read. It’s atmospheric and chilling. I love Shirley Jackson’s attitude – she felt no reason to talk about herself in depth, about her motivations and inspiration, rather she felt that her work would speak for itself and that was  all that was needed. Sassy. I like it.

The show reminded me why I loved the horror genre, opened up another avenue of discussion between my husband and I and got me back into blogging so I would call that a personal success for this captain!

P.S.  Theo rocks in all versions.

 

Nothing is ever truly broken

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I can’t talk about happiness without talking about heartbreak.

My first love.

Crushes were a regular thing for me, I used to think that I just fell in and out of “love”  easily.

Then I met Rohit and we were convinced that there was no greater love than ours. I loved everything about him and he was earnest, sweet and loving. Incredibly cute and attentive. He was from India and working in a restaurant, saving money and sending it home to his parents.

That was a huge positive sign right there to me. A guy who takes care of his family.  My mother liked him as well. She had met him and was impressed by his manners and kindness.

He always held my hand tightly and made me feel as if I were the only girl in the world. We had a language barrier at first. His English was limited but after spending two years dating him, we understood each other almost perfectly.

Sounds pretty average so far right?

Well, when I say we were dating…I should clarify that we went on half-dates.

He worked restaurant hours and never wanted to ask for time off. I worked nearby so I would dress up, walk over the store in anticipation of a date. We would spend lunch hour together, upstairs on the 2nd floor of the restaurant. Talking..making out and then back to work.

I would wait for Saturdays to have a proper date with him..and sometimes we did but more often than not, he would cancel.Afraid that his boss would fire him if he asked for time off.

Usually I would get there only to get turned down at the last minute with hasty kiss and apologies.

This continued for a long time and in that time, I would imagine our future together. I started making plans for us to move in together but…there was a small nagging voice and a picture I couldn’t see.

The voice questioned his lack of ambition. the half dates and the sadness I felt more often than not. He had very traditional views on marriage that I didn’t agree with but “compromised” on.

The picture…well I always wanted a family of my own and for some reason, I could not picture us walking down the street with a pram. I couldn’t picture him as the father of my children.

It seemed a small and trivial thing and I tried to put it out of my head but it bothered me more and more.

I won’t bore you with all the details leading up to it but one day I decided to break up with Rohit.

I geared myself up and headed to the restaurant. For a change, the manager was not there but had asked Rohit to be in charge and I had to wait for him to close up before we could have a conversation.

While I watched him work and interact with the other waiters, a feeling of love washed over me but I was still determined to end it for both of our sakes. Then a girl sat with me. She worked in the restaurant as well and she commented, “He never smiles, always just says OK”

I looked over, trying to see what she saw but I could read his face by now. I could see the pride in his eyes and the confidence. His shoulders drooping with fatigue but that smile..he looked over at me at that very moment and smiled at me.

I loved him.

Really loved him, I felt it , in that moment. This could work. I felt it in  my heart.

Fast forward 6 months later, we broke up.

More specifically he broke up with me.

Even more specifically, he cheated on me.

The pain I felt was almost too much to bear at times. He was not a brave person and he had chosen to ghost me ( this was before ghosting became a well known term). He had moved to a different town to work in a different branch of the same restaurant. Before the move happened, I had tried again to break up with him because I was sure long distance relationships didn’t work.

He cried and told me how much he loved me. How much he needed me.

He bought a ring and proposed. Or rather he gave me money for a ring and told me to pick one…yes that really happened.

And then 3 months into his new job, the phone calls suddenly stopped. The messages slowed down and I felt something was wrong.

So I called him and lo and behold, a woman answered.

“Who are you? ” She asked in a sweet voice.

“Rohit’s fiance…who is this?” I answered back but my heart was already in my throat. I could barely breathe as I tried to focus.

“His girlfriend.” she replied

I laughed almost hysterically and cut the call.  And I cried.

Hours later, he called me. Not to explain. Not to apologise.

To berate me, in stilted English, ” Why did you call? I love her too much. She is my everything”

Words he had used to describe me.

My heart ached.  It burned. It broke. I wanted to scream at him, instead I said ” Don’t call me again, go to hell” and then, ” I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. But don’t call me again,please”

I just wanted to make it all go away. The tears wouldn’t stop falling and the humiliation and blame followed swiftly. I cried in secret that night so that my family would not know. I couldn’t let them know that I had been dumped in such a way. So I smiled outwardly while I died inwardly.

That night or a night later, my phone rang. I was still crying myself to sleep and when it rang and I saw his number come up…oh my heart. My hands shook as I answered the call.

She had called me.  “Is Rohit a good person? ” She asked me in a soft voice.

“Please…don’t ..call me” I managed to choke out before throwing the phone down beside me and crying into my pillow.

Over the weeks, I pictured the girl in my mind. She was prettier than me, taller, sweeter, kinder. The perfect angel with soft skin and perfect brown eyes. She haunted me. In every random woman I met or passed by, I saw her.

I lost weight from being unable to eat. I cried and cried. Eventually I caved and told my mother who raged against Rohit and comforted me night after night.

My favorite memory was of us eating at a MacDonald’s. My mother was treating me to some of my fav junk food in the hopes of cheering me up.

But it wasn’t the food but what she said something that  changed something in me.

She said that if she could speak to Rohit, she would tell him that she felt sorry for him because he was losing the kindest girl in the world.

I cried again but this time it was because i was overwhelmed by love for my mother. That she could think of me in that way.  I was so grateful to have the unconditional love of my mother.

I started to realise that I did not have anything to do with Rohit cheating on me. That it was not my fault but rather his choice.

I want to say that I got over that heartbreak in a matter of days after that but of course it doesn’t work that way.

I was 100% certain that my heart had shattered into a million pieces.

Today I am happy to be wrong.

Time does heal all wounds.

I learned that the heart, my heart, has space for many loves. Infinite love. no matter how many pieces get given away , you will always have room in your heart to love.

Love for lovers, family, friends, animals, plants and the universe.

You will love. You will be loved.

P.S In breaking my heart, I learned gratitude.

 

 

Infinity War

pexels-photo-277052.jpegLet’s be real, by now you have scoured the internet looking for answers and consolation after the latest Marvel cinematic adventure…drama..saga?

You are going to find none of that in here.

Just my random thoughts.

Brace yourself. Spoilers…well vague references that possibly are spoilers. GO WATCH THE MOVIE!

I loved it and I would love it even more if it continues in the same vein. Don’t get me wrong. I cried buckets of tears throughout the movie. I sobbed my eyes out and when it was finally over, I cried just a little more.

But how amazing would this be if the stakes mattered?  As the credits rolled, I watched my SO barely blink. He stared intently at the screen as he was certain that it was not yet over. There had to be more.

In fact, as we left and I continued to mourn, he brightened up even more as he confidently said that they would all be back. There was no way Disney would let go of their cash cows.

I agree with him on that begrudgingly because for the first time ever, I truly understand what “pay off” and “stakes” mean in a movie. I have always been the kind of audience who is in for the ride, be it good or bad, be there a pay off or not. If  I enjoyed it, I accepted it.My friends on the other hand, constantly talk about the stakes involved and how death in a movie has no meaning and this usually ends with them being ultimately disappointed in it. I was always happy that X was back! Yay!

This time as I watched beloved characters fade into ash, it felt heavy and real and meaningful. There were no last goodbyes (apart from one cheap move – I’m judging you Marvel). If the next installment reverses this…then what was the point?

I want to see the effect this devastating event has on the remaining characters. I want to see new characters take up the good fight and I want to see a completely different universe flourish from the ashes.

This was a huge undertaking that started 10 years ago and will continue it seems as there are 20 or so Marvel movies lined up after Infinity War so there is a grand plan at hand but I hope it is a daring one and not a safe one.

BREAK THE WHEEL.

I love Mondays!

SAMSUNG

A fire had been lit but let’s be real. I wasn’t about to dramatically quit my job and begin a new chapter.

I still had bills to pay.

And yet, I still felt excitement. I felt alive and I wanted to keep it that way.

I did have a few obstacles in my way though. Some I couldn’t tackle immediately but there was one that stomped up to our open plan office every morning and made me feel like shit.

Let’s call her Anne. ( Sorry to the Anne’s out there) Anne was in charge of Customer Service and most of her day involved being on the phone a lot.  I was part of the accounts team so pretty much the direct opposite. I needed peace and quiet, she needed to soothe customers.

Our desks were set up so that we sat directly across from each other with just a small half divider between our desks.  If I looked up  I could make direct , uncomfortable eye contact with Anne. I could breathe in her coffee , we were sitting that close to each other.

This might not have been such a problem, if we got along but, such was not our luck. We didn’t.  Anne hated being there. She hated every moment and made it clear every single moment of the day.  The worst part of it was Monday mornings.

Anne would stomp up , slam her bag down beside her desk and growl in response when I would greet her. Of course, I would hunch down further and refuse to make further eye contact because I would take that negative vibe and wrap it around myself – it must be my fault, she doesn’t like me.  I annoy her.  I felt this was certain because the moment the phone rang, her voice would immediately brighten and she would practically sing and chirp with the blue birds…until the phone call was over. Then she would revert back to thunderstorms and gloom.

This was the case for 2 long years. I know that I should not have projected my insecurities over her actions and behavior…well I know that now. At that time I was miserable and welcomed misery.

But the fire had been lit, remember?

So I wanted to change things. I wanted things to change.

The most tangible change I could make right now, was to enjoy each day. Starting with Monday.

I wanted to embrace Monday. I felt that if I could learn to love it, the rest of the week will follow suit. I woke up every Monday and told myself – Yay, it’s Monday! A brand new day. Nothing has gone wrong. Its the start of a new beautiful week.

It wasn’t as easy as snapping my fingers and BOOM! I love Mondays!

It was a slow process but I had a small goal and I wanted to see it through.

How does Anne play into this?

Well, I started coming into work with a big, bright smile on my face and I would sing out ” Good morning! Happy Monday!”

Anne would glower back at me.

My greetings got more chirpier.

Anne stopped acknowledging me.

I continued to embrace Mondays. It stopped becoming a task and more like a feeling inside my heart. I began to genuinely love waking up on a Monday. The possibilities seems endless and I started smiling more naturally.  In fact, I couldn’t stop smiling.

Happiness was in sight.

P.S. I found happiness while annoying Anne.

 

 

Fiery Beginnings

Stress.

Just looking the word conjures up a list of things that might happen, might not happen, things I have to do, things I want to do but feel overwhelming.

At one stage in my life, stress was my only way of existing. I breathed it in, embraced it and let it take over my decisions. I was constantly crippled by what if scenarios and deadlines, some of it self-imposed. I worked long hours and spent very little time cultivating relationships with family and friends.

The incredible thing is that I didn’t even know there was another way of living. I envied those who seemed to smile so naturally whereas my smile felt as if I were cracking my face in half.  Those people who seemed to bounce through their days with so much energy and happiness. Happiness that had eluded me for so many years.

I had begun to feel as if a moment of happiness would be immediately followed by sadness and misery and I rarely let myself enjoy it. It did seem that way  at the time, but not because the universe was out to get me. It was the direct effect of certain people that surrounded me that had contributed to this feeling of gloom and unhappiness.

It got so bad that I got a mild form of Bell’s Palsy and didn’t even notice until a colleague had looked at me in alarm. During our coffee break, I had made a steaming cup of tea but couldn’t feel the boiling water drop on my hand.

I started experiencing numbness across my arm and part of my face. My right eye was also affected. The tear duct was damaged which led to me constantly using eye drops to keep it lubricated, but I couldn’t even feel the eye drops which would fall down my face just as tears would. I had a nervous tic, I was numb and I was deeply unhappy and believed that this was all what I deserved. Just another day in my sad, pointless existence.

Naturally I continued in this cycle until the next glorious event. I cracked my kneecap.

But not even in a dramatic way. Nope.

I tripped over some power cords and landed on my knee. I didn’t get it treated and fast forward a month or so, I was limping up and down the staircase, still wrapped up in my misery. Another month, I am using crutches and still believing that all of this on par.

Until one rainy day.

It had poured that day. Work had ended and all of my colleagues had escaped as fast as possible, leaving me to hobble my way out to the entrance to wait for my transport. There I was , standing in the rain, resting on my crutches and thinking about what our accountant had said, earlier that day.

Jokingly, she had remarked, “Well, I guess that fills our quota. Disabled, female, and of colour”

What the hell am I doing here? I am more than just those 3 words. She had probably not meant anything mean by her comments but the words just bounced around in my mind. It made me feel something. I felt alive and indignant for a change. This wasn’t my last stop. This wasn’t even full chapter. I wouldn’t let it be.

As the rain fell softly around me, a fire lit up inside me. I am more. More than this.

It had begun.

 

P.S. I found the first stirrings of happiness in raindrops.

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