DO YOU REALLY KNOW ME?

Do you really know me?

 

Do you know me beyond my name?

Know me beyond my culture?

Beyond my age

or what I plan to do in the future?

 

Do you know me beyond what you see?

Know me beyond what you hear?

Beyond where I am right now

and how I even got here?

 

Do you know of the thoughts

I have at three in the morning?

The things that rummage through my brain

that to you, may act as a warning.

 

Do you know of the scar on my arm

and the story behind it all?

How I was able to rise

after I’ve just taken the fall.

 

Do you know of my dreams,

my aspirations, my goals?

The plans I have to get there?

To connect the dots and fill in the holes?

 

Do you really know me?

Let me introduce myself.

 

I am more than just a name,

more than just my age,

more than where I am

or where I stand on the stage.

 

I am the music I listen to

and the songs stuck in my head.

I am the films I decadently watch

and the lines that they have said.

 

I am the photographs I take,

the intricate patterns of nature.

I am the stories behind my favourite books,

the characters and their behaviour.

 

I am the clothes I wear,

how I choose to present myself.

I am the books I read,

and the ones that are resting on the shelf.

 

I am the things I have experienced,

the good and the bad.

I am the child of my immigrant parents,

my mom and my dad.

 

I am the way I crack my knuckles

during times when I am nervous.

I am who I am inside,

deeper than what’s on the surface.

 

I am my thoughts,

the ideas I have in my brain.

I am more than what I suffered through.

I am more than my pain.

 

I am my passionate heart

and the way it beats to the drum.

I am the fears that I have

and the ways I choose to overcome.

 

I am the words I can string together,

the meaning behind the text.

I am the places I’ve been to

and where I’m going next.

 

There is more to me than what you know;

far beyond what you can see.

So now I’ll ask again:

Do you really know me?

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WRONG TURN

I once read a quote by Beau Taplin that said:

Sometimes a decision you might consider a regret or failure can turn out to be a catalyst for something extraordinary in the end. Some of life’s wildest journeys begin with a wrong turn.

With highschool graduation fast approaching, I can’t help but reconsider and think about my past choices as well as the ones I’m making now, and the ones I will be making in the near future. It’s scary to think that the things I think are good for me now, won’t be good to me in the long run. I admit I still have these thoughts. What if I do something that won’t benefit me later on? What if I think I know what I want and when I finally get it, it doesn’t satisfy nor fulfill me like I thought it would? What if this entire time I’m not really sure what I want for myself? And then I think about me in the future where I’m looking back at my decisions and am not happy with how my life turned out or I have regrets with my life. That’s the thing, isn’t it? Regret.

Somebody opened up to a few months ago about his life; how he feels like he passed up such a great opportunity when he was younger and is now paying for it, and due to him passing up that said opportunity, it lead his life to another path that he feels is not satisfying him. He talked briefly about it because it was the end of the day and I had to go home, but it’s been on my mind since he told me. I don’t think he’s happy with his relationship and who he’s with right now and I’m trying to be understanding of both parties.

One of my biggest fears in life is marrying somebody who, later on, I realize I no longer love, or vice versa. Or that I realize that it was a bad move or choice to marry that said person. But it would be too late when you realize it. You’ve already moved in with them or you have a family together. I’m not sure if it’s true when they say that you never really know somebody until you live with them, but I don’t want to take that long to finally get to know how someone is really like. If I realize that I not longer feel anything for my partner, I want to talk to them about it, and somehow come to a conclusion on what we can do. But I don’t want to realize that kind of thing when we’re all settled down.

I think regret is a big fear many of us have. In fact, I have never met anybody who doesn’t have regrets. It’s such a big part of our lives that it has the power to hold us back and refrain us from doing what we want to do. It chains us and makes us back out. There are constant thoughts inside our heads wondering if you’ll regret something later on in life. We become afraid of change because we might regret that it won’t be as fulfilling or good as what we had in the past. But change can be a beautiful thing too, right? Sure we regret things about our lives and how some things turned out but we still have the future to look forward to. I think it’s just a matter of how we face what is ahead of us rather than focusing on the past and having the past play such a big role in what is happening to our present that it refrains us from the future.

I don’t know how to not have regrets because I’ve always had them. I’ve always dealt with regretting things after doing them. I admit I’ve backed out of many things due to the constant worry that I might regret doing that thing later on. And it sucks, it really does. Because it holds me back from truly and fully experiencing what life has to offer me. There’s always that fear of being humiliated or getting my hopes up for something that won’t be as rewarding as I hyped it up to be. Often times, instead of learning from my mistakes, I focus on them so much and the fact that I hated that I did it, that I end up not doing things to make myself improve. Instead I just sulk in self-pity and blame myself for getting my hopes up for nothing. So I hope I quit doing that.

This is just an open letter to myself, and to anyone who reads this.

Life is great; not always, but for the most part it is. Life is, in fact, simultaneously the shortest yet also the longest thing that has ever been given to us. It’s too short to have regrets. It’s too short to focus on the regrets that you already have. It’s too short to have those regrets stop you from improving yourself – from going out there and making something of yourself. Everyday I try to forget what I regret in my past; the things I did and didn’t do, the things I said and didn’t say. I try to improve and use those past mistakes to better myself. It isn’t easy because life isn’t easy, therefore trying to forget your past mistakes and the regrets that were results of it are difficult to just brush off. But try. Try until you’re able to go out there and do what you will. The saying “live life with no regrets” will always prove false, because you cannot possibly live a lifetime without wishing you had or hadn’t done something. So just live as much as you can. Learn to move on because better things are coming. And like Marina Nemat said, “somewhere beyond the stars, the sun is rising.”

IT’S CHAOS; BE KIND.

“You are the star of a movie. This is the part of the movie where you get your heart broken. Where the world tests you, and people treat you like shit. But it has to happen this way. Otherwise, the end of the movie, when you get everything you want, won’t feel as rewarding. There are assholes out there, but in the end, they don’t matter. Because this movie’s not about them. It’s never been about them. All this time, the movie’s been about you.”

Life has not always been kind to me, that I realized late 2016 and all of last year. I entered a new school with a lot of anxiousness since I was a new kid. At the time I thought it was just something that new students feel when entering a new school, but this was different. I couldn’t seem to make solid friends because everyone else has already established their friendship circle so I often ate lunch alone. I enjoyed it for a while but there comes a time when you crave having other people around. I worked on doing that, making friends even if it’s not long-term, even if it’s just as simple as having somebody to sit with during class. But during that time that I was getting better, I lost someone who I really cared for. Nothing like death or whatever, just that we stopped being friends just like *that*. I beat myself up over it (and still do sometimes) asking myself if it was something I did or if I wasn’t good enough or if I became a toxic person to them. I don’t know the answers to those questions still, and so that entire situation pulled me into a deep, deep pit of self pity and self hatred. I hated myself because I never understood why it happened the way it did, or if I had any fault in what took place. But I started meeting new people and getting close to some and I eventually started feeling better about myself again.

Then last year was… rough. I don’t want to go into too much detail about that because I no longer want to think about it. But what happened last year took such a toll on me that I was pulled down to the pit again, even deeper this time. So many months were spent sulking and wallowing in self pity and self hatred at the same time. I couldn’t figure out why relationships never worked for me and why it is that when I start establishing new relationships and becoming happy again, something bad has to happen and if it was as if I wasn’t allowed to feel good. I started thinking that maybe I was the problem. That maybe I’m just not meant to make friends or be involved with other people. That made sense to me because I’m an only child and have been alone most of my life, so I always felt that I had to be independent and do things on my own. There were days when getting out of bed was difficult. Days where I didn’t eat and days when I ate too much. Days spent crying in the shower beating myself up over things I couldn’t control. Days where I never slept, and days where I slept too much. Days that getting out of my room became a task. Days that I felt like my body wasn’t my body and that I was just a person in charge of navigating it but didn’t know exactly how. Days spent dissociating in class and zoning out. I knew that I wanted to stop feeling that way, so I tried my hardest to feel better.

Late last year I started getting close to more people and meeting people who make me feel better about myself and about the world. People who put a smile on my face. People who don’t make me feel like I’m less than them. I got closer to people who I didn’t even think I’d get close to. I met people who understood what I was feeling and people who knew how it’s like to feel that way. And they helped me feel better and happier.

I can honestly say that I’m a lot happier now and a lot more confident in myself. I’m not necessarily good with my self-esteem just yet but I will get there. There are days when I still question whether I’m actually happy or if I’m just distracted from the sadness that weighed on me for the longest time. I still get sad and depressed from time to time, but I’m glad and thankful that it isn’t as often as before.

I don’t know why bad things happen in life, but I do know that it’s possible to get through them. I don’t know if I’ve fully recovered, but I do know that I am a lot happier now. There are things in life, situations even, that have to happen before we get to where we need to be, and I’ve learned to be grateful for the bad things that had happened to me because I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for them.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with people who make you happy. Hang out with people who make you laugh and people who put a genuine smile on your face. I’m still working on being more open about myself, but I recommend talking to people about your problems. There’s always going to be somebody willing to listen – a friend, a family member, maybe even a stranger. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up, write, it’s what I do. Write what bothers you, what angers you, what you feel. If you want you can crumple it up after and throw it in the trash. Just understand how vital it is to talk and how important it is that you don’t keep to yourself.

Talking about myself, as surprising as it may be (LOL), is not my greatest forte. I don’t really know what I’m good at or what I’m passionate about. When I have problems, I don’t open up about it, and that’s a really big flaw of mine. I hated knowing that other people have problems on their own, and the thought that by me telling them or venting to them, I may be adding to the burden they already have to carry. I’ve always been scared of telling people how I feel even if it’s a good feeling because I feared that they might laugh it off or hold it against me. I hated being vulnerable and looking weak. I still do.

So to whoever reads this, I want you to know how important it is that you talk to someone about how you feel and what you’re going through. Nobody on this earth should ever feel like they’re going through life alone. Ask for help or guidance. There is no need to be ashamed of how you feel because your feelings are valid and so are you. You are more than the struggles that you’re facing and the problems and demons that you deal with. Your path to improvement is not going to be like everyone else’s and that’s okay because you are still going to get there. Healing is not linear, remember that. There are times when you will slip up and maybe even fall but keep working on yourself and keep trying to get better. Your mental health should be prioritized above anything else.

And for the others, allow yourself to offer a helping hand. Support and help doesn’t always mean that you have to give somebody advice. It’s not always telling someone “things will get better” because I know from experience how annoying unconditional optimism can be. Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate it, but sometimes just being able to validate somebody’s feelings is enough. People who are sad don’t always need a pep talk. Sometimes it’s enough to just tell them, “hey, I understand you’re sad and you are trying your best and I’m here for you”. Learn to listen and understand. Don’t invalidate the feelings of others just because you can’t relate to it.

I’m thankful a day like #BellLetsTalk exists where we can put the spotlight on mental health and bring awareness to it. We are all affected by it, some more than others. And it’s only when we understand that and when we help eachother, that we can move forward and live a better and healthier life. Mental health is no joke, suffering from it isn’t either. Life can be shit, we all know that, but we can make eachother and this planet a better place if we listen, understand, and support one another. Life will throw you a shit ton of curve balls, it’s scary, but if you believe that you can be better and you want to be better, it can be so.

In the wise words of Michelle Eileen McNamara (1970-2016): “It’s chaos; be kind.”