Anew

Growing up, I have come to realise that the people around you – it could be the people you love or the classmates/colleagues you see almost everyday – play a very big part in shaping you.

I believe that everyone has their own struggles through different phases of their individual life. I believe that everyone has their own story. It could be a relationship that broke you, it could be bullying that destroyed you, or it could be your own demons that ruined you. Through these experiences, you will find yourself in a very dark place. The people around you could either shine a light into your tunnel of darkness, or, take you further into the abyss.

I grew up with strict rules and high expectations. I grew up with fear of disappointing and the fear of disobeying. However, even with this fear, I disobeyed one rule. I was a good student dating a bad boy in secret. Despite this, I kept my grades up. And in the years to come, my perspective of life changed. I began to worry about my future – getting in to a good college. This was when I realised that my dreams and his dreams are entirely different. So that was when it ended.

College was a new environment for me, and this included the people in it. College brought on an opportunity. It was an open door, where I could leave all the labelings plastered on me behind as I step through to the other side. I revamped myself. It felt natural to seep into a whole new person.

One with a purpose. One with a dream. One who believes in oneself.

University came and I started out terrified and alone. Who am I without my loved ones back home? But it did not take me long to find myself surrounded by new friends. I began coming out of my comfort zone, putting myself out there and meeting new people. I found myself yearning to take a lead. And I did. I took on several leadership roles. I felt like I was doing something meaningful. I was learning management, how to deal with different types of people, how to be an effective leader and much more. Pretty soon, my name was well established.

This was when it all started.

While I had sincere friends, I had haters too. I found myself at the hands of cyberbullying. The first open hate message tore me apart. I could not understand what I could have possibly done to deserve such an awful message. And it did not stop there. It kept on coming. Eventually it numbed me. It hurt so much that it couldn’t hurt anymore. I took great comfort in knowing that my friends have been supportive throughout the whole ordeal.

Cyberbullying affected me much more than I thought. From a strong, confident person, now, looking back, I pitied the person I became at that point in time. I have let myself crawled my way back into darkness. As ironic as it sounds, I battled through the darkness blindly, unaware of my own situation.

So I left. I packed and I went to a new place. People may view it as running away. Whether it was an attempt to flee or not, it has been the best decision I have ever made. With family, friends, and again, labels, stripped away, I had the chance to reflect and rebuild myself. Through these emerging times, I learnt forgiveness, I learnt acceptance, I learnt true love.

I forgave myself. I accepted my past. I truly love myself.

While my past has been hurtful, my past is the reason I am who I am today. My past is the reason for my smile today, because I am reminded of my strength, of my endurance and of how I have emerged from darkness. I see things from a wider perspective. I am more sure of myself. And I am proud to say that I have found confidence in myself.

I would like to share something.

If the people you love are negative and don’t take time to understand you, or they see you from their own different perspective, it can damage you. Even in a loving environment, you can still be misunderstood, you can still have negativity in a loving environment.

Sometimes the people closest to you, the people who loves you the most can make you feel so low about yourselves and the people who are further away are the ones that make you feel that you have the capability and the potential. And that is okay. It is okay to feel like you couldn’t connect with the people you love at some point. It is because at times you just need people to listen. No judging involved but just listen without getting shot at. They shoot at you not because they don’t love you. It is because they care way too much about you and they worry. They may not have expressed themselves the way they intended to, but it is still love that drove them to protect you the way that they do.

When we see someone going through a rough patch, we must be sensitive, caring, and supportive. Questioning and accusing their every action may just push them further away. Because they are already having a battle on their own. Adding another one to the table is just too unbearable.

There may be times where we have to let go a little and let the ones we love go out and explore. Be trusting enough that the one we love will know what s/he is doing. And even if s/he doesn’t, just be there to pick him/her up when s/he falls. We would not want to see our loved ones fall so we block off any possible danger just for prevention sake. But we do not know what could happen. We cannot see the future. Let’s just be supportive and trusting, when it is time to be.

For those who are going through hardships, I would like you to know that it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to feel alone even when you’re surrounded by people. The first step to moving on is to forgive yourself for the mistakes you have done, for the choices you have made, and for letting yourself get hurt. You will come out stronger. You will fight through all the obstacles. And you will be a survivor.

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Change

You inhaled me in with your eyes,
The intensity gave me the highs.
As our familiar hands entwined,
Memories came dancing through my mind.

We seemed to have taken many steps,
Somehow we fell and collapsed.
When we tried to stand up,
The season for us only sped up.

When the time came for you to be gone,
The sadness seemed to drag on.
I could not find my way,
For I have kept my happiness at bay.

My rhythm of life was interrupted,
When you left my vision was obstructed.
The colours were stripped away,
All that is left is a blank gray.

It is time for a change,
Along that path it will range.
Here on out I will be taking measures,
It will be a good adventure.

Cyberbullying

People have this perception that when something goes wrong, someone must bear the blame.

There are situations where all the parties involved are at fault. But people pick a side and focus on one particular party, and publicly or personally,

Accuse.

Shame.

Attack.

Threaten.

Unintentionally and unconsciously, people become the hands of cyberbullying.

For example, the most recent uproar on the death of Harambe the Gorilla. The media circus pounced on this unfortunate event. Many condemned the zoo for shooting the gorilla. Many condemned the mother of the boy who fell into the cage. Just scrolling through your Facebook Newsfeed is sufficient to show you the number of sharp swords pointed at the involved parties.

There are so many negativity on Cincinnati Zoo for its action. But.

Did people take time to understand why the zoo shot the gorilla instead of other methods like using the tranquilizer in the event of emergency that they had to take immediate action? The zoo made their decision to protect the boy and put the boy’s safety a priority, whether the boy seemed to be at risk or not at that time is another grey area.

Did people take time to talk to the staffs at the zoo and recognize that they are grieving for their loss too? After all, they are the ones who have fed, loved and looked after Harambe.

The mother of the boy is being threatened and has received endless of hate bullets. Her motherhood was being put in question.

Did people ask themselves if they have gotten lost before as a child at least once in their life? I do not have stats to prove, but, have not most, if not all, parents lost their child at least once before, be it in the shopping mall, or anywhere else for that matter.

Parents try their utmost best to supervise their kids but we are humans and unfortunately, accidents do happen. Yes, parents are at fault when accidents happen but ask ourselves, are we looking into making a bigger hoo-ha of the whole thing, making it our life’s goal to make the poor mother feel worse and that she didn’t deserve the title of being a mother?

I would like to say that I am not siding any parties. I’m merely suggesting that people should stop attacking at one another. Harambe’s death is a tragedy and one we will hold close to our hearts. Everyone is grieving the death of Harambe. Instead of attacking someone, publicly shaming someone or threatening someone, let us learn from this and focus on building a better and safer environment for everyone.

Misunderstood

We often feel misunderstood. Be it by a friend, a sibling, a relative, a parent, or even a stranger. At some point in life, we have felt misunderstood.

We meet people from all walks of life. Some bring you light and joy. Some bring you darkness and doubt. Some bring you a little bit of all. But these are the people you love and who loves you back. Yet, we can still feel misunderstood.

To avoid misunderstandings, the most common advice given is communication. But what do you do when you can’t seem to express yourself? What do you do when whatever comes out just seems to give the wrong message? It is frustrating. It is disheartening. And it is lonely.

It is a constant struggle to keep one’s emotion in check when one is trying to explain oneself repeatedly. But expressing and explaining it out in a flustered state is no help at all. It only burns the already overbaked cake.

So we learn instead. We learn to swallow our anger, our frustration, our hurt, and our disappointment. We learn to listen. Despite being accused, misunderstood, and backed into a corner, we choose to listen instead.

As one who often gets misunderstood, one begins to put on different lenses to try to understand how it looks like from a different perspective. One learns to slip on someone else’s boots to try to understand how it feels like to walk in them.

One learns to see. One learns to listen. One learns to understand.

Darkness

How does one unconsciously turn into a pushback tractor?

What circumstances makes one’s choice to be blind when it comes to others?

Why does one become an archer when they speak?

When does one turn deaf towards sensitivity?

People hurt others first so they don’t get hurt. With fences built so high, tearing them down would be seemingly impossible. Every word comes with an arrow. And fear hides behind every ignorant action.

Who wouldn’t be afraid of rejection? Loneliness? Loss? Or the feeling of being unwanted or just an extra.

Why would one put themselves in a place so dark, they forget who they are. Maybe it was a traumatizing past, a breakup, a loss, or lack of affection. So they dig, and dig, until it is dark enough for them to curl up and stay.

Fearing that caring too much would only lead to being taken advantage of, little by little one stops caring, stops loving, stops believing, stops hoping. One just stops.

I believe that it is just a phase. A phase where one feels that everyone and the world is against them. In reality, the only one who is against them is themselves. The state of being vulnerable places us at risk of being let down, again. Hence, we run the other direction and switch off our emotions.

Don’t turn on yourself. Don’t build barricades. Don’t separate yourself from your feelings and your heart. Because by doing that, yes, you don’t get to feel hurt, sad, or emotionally broken. But you also don’t get to feel the highest of the high, you don’t get to feel true bliss and the fuzzy warm feeling that comes with love.

To be loved, you have to first love.

Bridges

In every stage of life, you’ll meet new friends and at the same time, you’ll lose good friends. Some due to losing touch, some the distance that cost the friendship, whereas others, from unresolved problems.

There was someone I had the pleasure of meeting who taught me many lessons about life. She encouraged me when I was down, guided me when I was lost, and be present when I felt alone. She showed me that friendships go beyond the door. We shared many interests and thanks to her, I have picked up new ones too.

Our friendship is no different from any other; we print some of the best and worst memories. Each of us have our own individuality, our strength and weaknesses and as flawed as we both are, we truly cared for each other at one point in life. We allowed the cracks to widen, as mistakes and misunderstandings come in between us.

Through mutual friends and Instagram photos, we are both living our separate lives filled with love (and yummy food). I am happy and proud to know that she continued to grow into an extraordinary person.

Despite the disappointment of having the door slammed in my face when I tried to reach out , I understand she was not ready then. I miss you, dear friend, and I will always be here with arms wide open, should you miss me too. Who knows, perhaps ten years from now, as how the television always portrays it, we would bump into each other along the streets and have our second chance to start anew.

Dear readers, if there was ever a mistake or a misunderstanding that cost your friendship and if the friendship is worth keeping, salvage it. The longer you wait, the more the bridge will smolder. Just know that sincerity, apology and acceptance go a long way.

Picture

The waves bawled to the sands,
As the sun glared down on it.
The rocks held me unwaveringly,
As my hands grazed upon it.

The clouds lingered on the horizon,
And awaited the night to invade its way.
The birds danced around the heaven,
In harmonic to the insects’ hums.

The sequence of these animation,
Does not hold significance.
Because when you look at it altogether,
They make one beautiful picture.

You see, in everything that we do,
We can choose to be the flare or the holler,
We can choose to be a beam of support,
We can choose to be a teammate.