i think jealousy comes in all forms

Jealousy comes in all forms and I’ve just felt the most platonic kind of jealousy one can feel for their friend. It’s not the kind that makes you want to stab The Other Woman or cry yourself to sleep in bed because you loved them so much and the jealousy makes it painful to deal with the truth.

No, I’m talking actual platonic jealousy.

Last year, I met someone who I really wanted to date. I was moving on from a painful breakup just a week after — a bad idea, I know — but after three weeks of pretending like everything was sweet and sound, we both realised we weren’t cut out for the romantics. We decided to remain friends but we were close friends because obviously we knew each other on another level but the relationship remained platonic.

Months later, I asked him if he wanted to try at the dating scene again between us both and again, he said no, his feelings haven’t changed.

Fair enough and I accepted it.

So what is this jealousy I’m feeling recently?

He told me he was seeing someone recently and as happy as I am for him because he’s been single for far longer than I have been, I can’t help this feeling in my gut. I’m not in love with him as much as we wish we were because he is the perfect man for any lucky woman. He is mature, tall, proper and smart. He guides me in ways that I never had anyone guide me and he teaches me things that my dad would’ve wanted to teach me once upon a time.

I’m jealous at the thought that I lacked something that his new love interest had.

Maybe it’s the age. Maybe it’s the experience. Maybe it’s the maturity but all I know is that I feel this form of jealousy that a woman could be perfect for someone like him when I’ve struggled to keep my relationships close knitted for more than two months.

I’m jealous of the relationships he has because I’m still trying to find my own. I’m jealous of not being enough for the right person or wrong person and I’m jealous of having romantic relationships instead of platonic relationships.

No, I am not in love with my friend but I am jealous of these relationships that he has. Our relationship is so platonic that all I really want is something that he has because I want one for myself too.

There are different forms of jealousy — and not all are evil. Some are sad and some are just painful to deal with. I might cry myself to sleep tonight in bed but at least I know it’s not because someone is hurting me.

i’m glad i never told you i love you

To the man that I will always love, this is a letter to you that I write that you will never read but I hope it touches your heart one day.

You appreciated me from Day One and I should have appreciated you the same but my fear from my past relationship stopped me from letting you have all of me. I had all of you but you didn’t have all of me when you deserved more than me.

Whenever we were together, I knew I was Home then. I knew what it was and it wasn’t a place but it was you. I knew it when we first met and I knew it the last time we ever saw each other and I’m glad I never told you I love you.

You used to watch me on the screen like you loved me and I could it in your eyes, whatever it was. I saw it as bright as day and I knew then that I never settled for less. I never settled for someone who wouldn’t appreciate me and it was all I needed.

I suppose the right thing to say would be “thank you” because I never thanked you for showing me what it was like to be treated like how I deserved. To be in a healthy, happy relationship even if we were not in one.

Even as I have more lovers after you, all of them don’t make me feel like how I used to feel when I was with you. There is nothing wrong with them but my heart always turns back to you and I still lay in bed sometimes thinking about what went wrong and what I could’ve said to make you stay. But the truth is, nothing would have made you stay anyway because you were already looking for a way out.

I’m glad I never told you I loved you because it would’ve hurt me more than it already did when you did find your way out.

22

The day I turned 22, I realised that a lot of things have changed.

I realised that as I sat in the same living room with someone I tried to date not once, but twice, and how platonic it sat between the both us came the certainties of our relationship. I realised that while we weren’t together, we were in this together — how he took care of my heart when it was broken by other people over the course of almost a year that I’ve known him and how he searches for ways for me to leave toxic, co-dependent relationships around me. He takes care of me in ways that I crave but without the romantic attachments and I realise that I found a gem when I thought I lost one prior to meeting him.

I realised as I sat in the same car with a potential love interest that meeting people outside social media and dating apps is possible. The first and definitely not the last. As we sat listening to music and talking about nothing important in particular, I realised that relationships transcend beyond appearances, age and time. Being 13 years older than me had no effect and he certainly did not make me feel small for my age in comparison to his. He smiles when I say something outside of our generation gap and when we clash, he smiles because he accepts his age and I accept mine. The understanding that nothing will ever happen between us stands clear in our relationship and when we both understood it, neither of us broke each other’s hearts.

I realised when I sat in the same room with my family that we break apart but we don’t abandon each other. We seek for our own personal space and companionship and if it means finding ourselves by ourselves, then we do it. I realised that if it meant sacrificing our own sakes for the sake of others then so be it.

I realised how much I’ve grown. Over this quarantine period, I’ve almost sent text messages to my ex-boyfriends and I stop myself — a feat almost impossible in the months before I turned 22. This is the growth that I didn’t think I needed, the path to another form of redemption for myself because of the things I did and hardships I put myself through over the last few years. I had always tried to go back to toxic relationships and this time around, I have the strength and discipline to tell myself that I deserve better than someone who doesn’t want to be with me.

22 is the age of luck, at least to me. It reminds me that as we grow older, we grow up and make better decisions. It reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned over the last years. I wish I could describe the things I’d learned from the start to the finish but it wouldn’t be enough to express my feelings and the journey I’d undertaken.

I’m excited for 23.

where am i now?

At age 19, I lost my father to an accident that changed my life forever.

At age 20, I received two book offers from independent publishers to independently publish a book that I had taken three years to write — and I turned them both down.

At age 21, I became a business owner along with my mom for a famous American franchise and we are currently one of the top performing stores in Australia.

At age 22, I still do not have my diploma.

A lot of people say that education does not define where you stand in life and I agree, it doesn’t. Where I am now, I never needed a diploma or a degree but it doesn’t take away any credibility of those who have achieved those certificates. They worked hard — so did I and together, we form a society.

So where am I now?

I don’t have a diploma and yet I run a business beside my mother with a lot more potential to go further and I beg that the rest of society awakens their hidden potential as well. Where are we now and are we on time? We are never on time unless we run because when you stop the hustle, you stop your growth. That’s where I learned that we never stop growing and we never stop learning.

Am I still hustling to receive my diploma? Yes, I am still going to classes for it and every day that I think about giving up, I think about how close I am to the finish line and I think about it everyday that I work hard for it. I have all these dreams that are unrealised and they take nothing but time so all I can do is take it step-by-step.

After all, I turned down two offers to independently publish my book because I wanted to do it traditionally.

After all, I am a business owner beside my mother and I have learned so much more this year than I did in the last decade.

2020 was the biggest learning point for me. I think about all the trivial boy problems that I have as a growing young adult and I think about how little value they add compared to what I’m doing as a life career.

My next goal is bigger than what I am today. I want to be able to create jobs in lieu of the recession from COVID-19. Am I able to perform this act? I believe so, because after all, I am where I am today because I hustled.

the effects of having ‘money’

Money can either bring the worst out of people or the best. But most times, it brings out the worst. Money can make people say and do the most horrible things out of spite, jealousy or in some instances, expect.

Why is the word expect in italics?

I can’t emphasise just on how many relationships and friendships were ruined because of expectations. These expectations caused the downfall of our relations but I can admit that these downfalls were needed because without them, we would still be living a toxic life.

My family is not by any means, rich. We do however, live a comfortable life. We do not have to worry about where our next meal is going to come from and we definitely do not live pay check to pay check. So we live comfortably. We have nice, comfortable cars and we live in a nice comfortable home.

However, after the death of my father, the true faces of relatives and friends come to surface. The inheritance from the death of my father prompted these people to develop the mentality that my family was ‘rich’ and to be fair, I understand their sentiment but at the same time, we are not ‘rich’.

We live comfortably. We don’t spend more than we need to and we make sure we can afford something before we do something.

A relative of mine once expected my mother, the holder of the inheritance, to pay for the adoption of a child for her. She expected us to buy him new clothes, new luggages and new everything. While we were kind and would love to extend our help, it only goes so far to a certain extent. Our help is not limitless.

My mother is a single parent now who is widowed. She needs all the money she can get and if this money is all that she has now, then she has much reason to deny anyone help.

A ‘friend’ of ours who we barely know and barely knows us pushed us to open our own business and hire her as one of our own because she refused to look for her own employment. During the coronavirus crisis, she expected limitless hours and refused to settle for less than what we could afford. She often told us about her financial problems as if looking for financial help and not once did she appear concerned about the decline of sales during the coronavirus as she had the perception that we had money.

She sees all our comfortable cars and strives to buy one just like ours even when she cannot afford it.

None of my family show off our wealth. We don’t drive upper class cars like BMWs or Mercedes cars. We drive average middle class vehicles and yet, people look at us as though our wealth is all but nothing.

There is a saying that comes in different forms — don’t show off your wealth because at the end of the day, we all get buried in the same coffin.

But what protects us ‘wealthy’ people who do nothing but remain modest? How are we supposed to treat those that treat us as ATMs even while we live a comfortable, but tough life? We are surviving but not for long.

No one sees it from our point of view. Our wealth is not limitless. It does not live on forever. We may have ‘money’ now but what about the next 30 years?

The effects of having ‘money’ can cause you to lose relationships because of how people treat you. They say that people treat you better when you have money but I say the opposite. People treat you worse especially when they’re comfortable enough.

i hope this is my last

This is a great day to remember, of all the days in my life.

I’m sure of this one, not because he is the first person who genuinely wants to be with me and isn’t because of other childish reasons that I would’ve come up with many months ago to convince myself. I’m sure of this one because of myself — the one thing that had been pulling my past relationships back and this time, I’m sure of myself and this time, I’m sure with him.

These last two years have been a whirlwind of terrible times, relationships and friendships. I’ve had to deal with so many toxicity that when I removed them from my life and left them in 2019, I feel like I’ve never been in a better position than I am today. I’ve molded my very being into a woman that I didn’t think I could be.

I hope that this relationship is my last. I hope that I never have to find someone else again because I’m sure of this one. I once said that I wanted to marry someone I only knew for a month but if I knew what I know now then, I would’ve thought differently. Not because he was a bad person but because there was someone out there who was willing to give me more.

Before today, I never knew what it was like to be wanted by someone.

I was always on the chasing end of a one-sided relationship but this one is equal on all grounds. We both want to be with each other and we both want to make things work. I was always open to the idea of a long-distance relationship but he was the first of us both to suggest to me that we should give it a shot, even when I tried to deny all possibilities of it because I was afraid.

He’s not embarrassed of me as how my past flings have been. To say that he would show me off is an understatement because I know he’ll do more than that. I think of him as someone important to me — a treasure that I want to keep forever and a gem that I want to protect from this world.

I have had my bad share of relationships before and I couldn’t heal from the trauma of my first boyfriend. It affected all my relationships after and I couldn’t learn to function in a healthy relationship but this time, I feel like I’m at my best. I thought I couldn’t unlearn all the toxic traits that I had picked up from him but I have and I am learning everyday how to pick myself up and be a better woman.

The woman I was 10 months ago, begging for a boy who showed me my first healthy relationship even when I could not live in it has now evolved to a woman who understands what she deserves and what her partner deserves.

I think a “thank you” is in place for some people.

jan 1, ’20 — happy new year

It’s the new year.

I still find myself wishing for the past to come back even though we’ve finally reached a new year and sometimes I wish that I can reset my memories so that I can start afresh but that would mean losing what’s important to me. It would mean losing the memories that I still hold so dear to me and it would mean losing what I have left of someone I deeply care about.

As we step into this new year, I can say a lot of things have changed since the start of 1st January 2019.

Exactly a year ago, I was still begging my abusive ex-boyfriend to stay in my life, hoping to turn things around or be given another chance at love. I was in one of the worst places of my life and this was only the start to subsequent heartbreaks from the trauma of my past relationship.

I had grown so much over the last year. I learned to set standards for myself and that a man needed to deserve me before I gave him my all, and I learned that what happens, happens. No more begging anyone for attention, no more self-doubting. No more settling and no more feeling sorry for myself.

2019 was a test of my courage, bravery and mental strength.

I am so goddamn strong for being alive right now because it had tested me enough with the betrayal of my best friend and so much more. It tested me when the people at work had so much to say about me behind my back and it tested me at home. It tested me in the last months of my wavering relationship with my ex-boyfriend and most of all, it tested me in losing the one man I would’ve wanted to marry.

Never have I been placed in a difficult year, with the exception of 2018 when I lost my father but I feel like the years get tougher and tougher as I go out into this world each passing day.

I want to say one thing — 2019 was full of lessons. They were lessons that I never knew I needed but it was enough for me to learn.

2020 will come at me stronger than before and I know I will be tested against my own wits. I will contemplate life so many times that it’ll look suicidal but I know that these are just tests. I will look to the sky so many times that I’ll ask God why he does this to me and maybe, I’ll get an answer for my strength.

Maybe, something might go my way this time.

But one thing I learned in 2019 was that with losses come great success.

to a friend

I must express my anxiety in writing this. This has been no easy task in the last few weeks but to reflect is greatly beneficial and this episode did not disappoint.

I had known her for almost two years now.

We were not close in the first year, and only grew closer in the last year of our friendship. We were on the opposite sides of the spectrum when it came to having anything in common and the only thing we ever bonded were over boys.

However, that didn’t stop us from having weekly lunch meetings, talking the latest gossip and generally having fun. The two-year age gap between us didn’t stop much and we were at some point, at the best of our friendship.

There were so many traits of her that I ignored over the course of our friendship because she was my friend — so many things that should have been an indicator that she was far too immature for this life but I was at odds with myself.

This girl, this child, was far too immature and I watched from the sidelines as she made bad, selfish decisions over and over again. She hurt the feelings of so many people around her and I watched all of it and whilst I tried not to control her decisions, I could do nothing more but to advise her on things that she would not listen to.

While she constantly hurt her friends with her bad decisions, she continuously came back to me for advice to make herself feel better and yet, she followed none of it. I found myself growing frustrated with each day but I could do nothing more than watch.

I watched as her long-distance boyfriend broke up with her because of her constant fighting and arguments over nothing. I watched as she found a new man as a rebound less than a month later at a club, and she fell in love. I watched as she cried when she found out that he was married. I watched as she continued this relationship with a married man knowing that he had two children waiting for him back home for the next four months. I watched as she swallowed the promises that he would leave his wife for her. I watched as she slept with three different men in the same weekend, each not knowing that they existed and each thinking that they all had her to themselves.

Her friends watched her from the sidelines as she made all these bad decisions and so did I. And those decisions never stopped there.

I watched as she left a boy for four hours while on a date to meet with the married man and sleep with him. I watched as she broke her best friend and another boy’s heart in the same night as she got together with the same married man at the clubs. I watched her cry to me the next day and ask for my advice to do better only to not listen. I watched as she left another boy at the clubs by himself on my birthday and leave with someone else.

And I watched as she stabbed me in the back and ruined my relationship with the only person I saw a future with.

She laughed as I expressed my disappointment with her. She didn’t heed my words seriously but then again, she never did. I watched her handle the situation immaturely and without hesitation, I cut her out of my life.

I do not hate her. I don’t, but I cannot see myself to be acquainted with her again. Not with her betrayal and not with her immaturity. She needs to grow up and sometimes, people don’t do it at all in their lifetime. I can only hope that she is one of the lucky ones.

Maybe one day, we’ll be friends again.

But today is not that day.

untitled

I’m sitting here at the dining room table during Ramadan, a holy Muslim fasting month, thinking about what I could name this post but I couldn’t find one that was apt for what I’m about to talk about.

Just recently, I’ve been having these thoughts in my head about what life was worth and how it’s been changing right in front of me. I can imagine myself watching my actions, words, thoughts and feelings as if I were watching a movie of my own life, and weirdly enough, things are happening; things that I never thought would be happening even at the worst or best times of my life, all working out in my favour.

Ever since my toxic ex-boyfriend and I broke up, I’ve been down in the slums. It felt like all meaning to life was being sucked away from me, and considering he had been my first boyfriend, I felt like I was truly losing all of life.

My ex-boyfriend wasn’t a bad person. He isn’t, in a matter of words. But in some ways, he was so bad, so, so bad that it made my mental health deteriorate. It made me doubt my self-worth to the point that I couldn’t think of anything good about myself except that if I lost him then I would have lost everything. To think about it now, it was mental abuse.

I was told by him that he was unable to love me because I wasn’t beautiful enough. I was told by him that if I just grew up, then maybe people would start to respect me more. I was told by him that if I did something a certain way, or dressed a certain way, or looked a certain way then perhaps, I would find love. It was he, who made me feel awful for walking out of the house with my mediocre newly-learned makeup skills by saying that my makeup was “heinous”.

He made me feel inadequate on so many levels. He compared me to ex-girlfriends, citing that at some points in his life, he wanted to marry all of them but then he would blatantly tell me that he saw no future with me, and yet, he still continued to date me just to boost his own ego and use me for his own selfish reasons.

Oh, I was a fool for letting him abuse me like that.

Never again.

I clung onto him for months after we broke up because I was madly in love with him. I loved everything about him and when he hurt me, I would make up excuses for him no matter how much I knew that what he said and did was wrong. I hated him but at the same time, I loved him. And it was toxic behaviour coming from me.

At this moment, I haven’t spoken to him in a month. It’s considered to be an achievement because whenever I tried to leave him, I would go back to him within days to a week. I would find myself craving for his attention and a conversation, even if it would end in heartache.

But now, it’s different.

Now, I stop writing him the letters that I will never send. I can look at his pictures and not imagine myself crying for him anymore as how I did all those months ago. I realise the standards and worth that I set for myself, and if a man is unable to fulfil that then he is not a man worthy of me at all.

Now it’s different because every day, I look in the mirror and I see this beautiful girl staring back at me. I never understood her beauty before. I was convinced that she was everything but beautiful but now, I see it more clearer than ever. I see the smile that always struggled to be beautiful turn into light, I see the hair that had grown out so becomingly after his criticism of its short length months prior, I see the olive skin that tans brown instead of pink under the sun.

And I see where the pain has healed slowly but surely. 

The beautiful glow that illuminates beyond physical appearance – an inner beauty that never struck me until now.

Some day, I wish I’d never met him. 

I would find myself in a daze, thinking about how he could lie to me so easily, to use me and abuse me in different ways and never bat an eyelash. His manipulation still haunts me and the sickening words he used to make me commit such heinous crimes never fail to make me tear up. I would feel my heart swell up in pain and the lump form in my throat but then I remind myself that the time is over. I remind myself that he’s so far away from me that he cannot hurt me anymore. 

I remind myself that even though he had hurt me, I had the support of everyone I loved and he had no one; the only reason why I never wanted to let go of him. 

He is a sad, lonely boy who can never understand why no one likes him. He will never understand how his words and actions impacted me even when I’ve tried so hard to convey my pain to him. He will never understand the trauma he put me through. He will never understand the sacrifices I made for him just because I loved him.

And he will never understand the true meaning of being free and beautiful, because he is not free.

And neither is he beautiful.

a letter to you

It’s been a year without your guidance.

How did one year manage to pass so quickly without a stray of thought aligned with the days of the week? How did I turn twenty as quickly as I am about to turn twenty-one in just short of six months?

So much has happened; so, so much that it’s unexplainable.

I got my heart broken for the first time by someone real, so real that when I touched him, I felt not only his skin but his soul.

I went through the stages of losses, suicidal thoughts included and depression being one of the side effects.

I got in and out of fights with members of family, friends and colleagues because I was at the stage in life where nothing could have hurt me more than your absence.

My heart aches for your presence again. I sometimes find myself staring at pictures of you wondering how it was possible that it’s been a year now since I’ve last spoken to you. A year since I’ve last heard your voice, a year since I heard your magical laughter.

A year since I’ve seen you at all.

I think about the day I last saw you. The last thing that I ever said to you in person was “goodbye” but I didn’t mean for it to be forever. I think about how I shouldn’t have let you go up on that plane. Maybe, you should have missed the flight and skipped your much needed holiday. Maybe, we could have done something else as a family instead.

All these thoughts swirling in my mind never ceases but a year has passed and another year will go on, for many more for the rest of my life and I’ll think about how lucky I was to have known this amazing person in my life once upon a time.

My father, my best friend.

A letter to you because I can no longer speak with you so I can only address my words in hopes that one day, I can convey them to you.