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.

reception to rejection

Thrice, I have been rejected by boys I sought after in my lifetime.

Rejected of the love that I desired in exchange for the affections that they might offer.

What is this in life? What is it to be rejected over and over again only to be told that it is useless, that I need to change myself?

I cannot garner such attitudes, This is the way I am, so deal with it. I am not changing myself for anyone.

But what if that one person that you so desired promised you the better life if you did change yourself? What if they promised the future of tomorrow, secured and steady in the event that our lives change?

Many of my rejections I took as an insult, a plague in my thoughts that I cast out to make myself mentally and emotionally stronger. Many times those thoughts are transformed into excuses to why I didn’t need to change.

I was my own person, and if they couldn’t deal with it then they didn’t deserve me.

Years pass.

I’m a better person emotionally and mentally. I’m strong, independent. I’m relied on a lot, grown up. I’m unique in my own ways. I handle rejection better now.

But I spent so much time depending on the expectations of other people that made me change myself that I forgot to set expectations for myself.

I no longer know what makes me happy because I spend too much time making others happy. I find it difficult to express and understand myself because I invested more time into empathizing with the people around me. I sought the approval of others that I didn’t think about whether I approved of the person that I was.

I realized that I hated myself.

I couldn’t love myself.

I was insecure of myself.

I couldn’t look in the mirror without pointing out the flaws rather than perfections.

What saved me from it?

Rejection.

I wanted to be better. I wanted to improve myself. I wanted change my lifestyle. I wanted to think ahead for my future rather than live in the now.

Now is relative, the future is planned.

Plans change but our goals remain intact. We set ourselves up with expectations, expect to compromise and keep working towards that bridge.

I got rejected by the first person I’ve ever loved but my reception to it changed.

He made me realize my potential that I never knew I had. He made me see that I was someone rather than a something.

He made me see that dreams are easier to touch if we tried.

Today, I frequent the gym to 3-4 times a week, and albeit for less than an hour because I’m still new to it, I still make the effort.

Today, I’m inspired to do so much more than the meager everyday work that we do everyday. Routines are anything but instruments of growth. What we need are lessons and challenges everyday and today, I challenge myself to do something different. Yesterday, I cooked dinner for my mother as she arrived home from work. Today, I went to the gym to work on my bum exercises when I was so shy to do it before.

Tomorrow, maybe I might work on my diet.

My love, the one who’s hurt me multiple times because he thought he was “teaching” me, he helped me to realise that life is so much more than before. I hate him for the things he said to me, such hurtful words that brought my self-esteem lower than before but in return, he wanted me to care for myself better.

He didn’t love me, but he cared for me. He couldn’t love me because I didn’t love myself. He didn’t love me because I wasn’t beautiful enough yet.

I might not be good enough for him now.

But I know that one day, I will be better than him.

And I know that I will come out stronger and better.

This is my reception to rejection.

strength of a thousand worlds

He thought I couldn’t do it.

I threatened to leave many times. I threatened to cut off all ties with him if he ever hurt me again, and every time, I couldn’t do it because I felt like I needed him. I wanted him, even if I had to watch him from afar 7000 miles away.

And many times, I would go back to him because I loved him far too much to completely cut him out of my life like he was nothing.

Even then, he relentlessly hurt me and I forgave over and over again because I wanted him to change and I wanted him to just accept my feelings for what they were instead of treating them like they were nothing more than a whim.

He thought I couldn’t do it.

One day, he hurt me again.

The next day, he apologized for the first time.

I was prepared to leave him but when he apologized, I thought that maybe, maybe he might change and this would work as after all.

We were past lovers who were trying to make it out as friends. It wasn’t going very well because of my feelings for him and because of his insensitivity to my feelings.

I told him that if he hurt me one more time, I would leave. I told him that I was his friend, not his punching bag. I wasn’t around just to let him emotionally abuse me like that. I wanted to help him because he was alone and had no one.

Or so he tried to make it out to be.

Weeks went past quickly.

He told me he was trying to date this girl and wanted a solid relationship with her.

At first, I was surprised because I didn’t know he was seeing someone, somewhat. Then, I felt upset. I had some right, because I loved him and he knew it, and didn’t hesitate to tell me about this wonderful girl he wanted to be with.

I told him I was upset even when I should be happy.

I wanted to leave him. I made the resolve to. I gave him the reasons why I wanted to, and it came down to the fact that he had used me for his own personal, selfish reasons and had allowed me to fall in love even when he didn’t want me to. I was angry that he kept seeing me even when he knew that he had to break my heart one day.

He asked me to stay.

I was the only person he trusted, he said. I never hurt him. I was the only few people who cared about him. He didn’t want to lose me over his pettiness.

But I was so angry.

He wanted me to stay, expected me to be his friend even through the hurt he caused but he told me not to expect anything out of him.

But I said I didn’t care anymore. Do anything you want, I told him.

We didn’t speak for days, until one day I thought about him again and got angry again. Every time my mind goes to him, my thoughts are clouded by this shroud of anger and madness because of how he hurt me and used me.

We fought again.

I told him everything I needed to, everything I’d been keeping inside of me for the past few months.

He threatened to leave me if I kept doing this, kept getting angry for things that happened in the past but these were things that he did to hurt me. I couldn’t forget them as easily as he could since I never hurt him.

He thought I couldn’t do it.

I threatened to leave countless of times but never did it so he threatened to leave me instead.

Then came the last straw.

“I’m going on a date with this girl this weekend. A second date.”

He knew it was my trigger point. He knew how much it upset me before and he used it again to spite me.

To make me jealous.

To shove it in my face.

It was the last straw.

I completely cut him out of my life two minutes later.

I’ve never felt so happy before. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders after cutting this toxic person out of my life.

He thought I couldn’t leave him.

I’m happy I did it.

This was the strength that I was given and I used all of it to leave the one I loved because he hurt me and I wasn’t going to destroy myself just to keep someone who didn’t love me enough to stop hurting me in my life.

I am prideful because I did what he thought I couldn’t.

I am thankful for the strength I garnered for the months that I couldn’t.

This was the strength of a thousand worlds.

the words to my love

I remember meeting you that Saturday afternoon.

You moved so flawlessly and it was insane seeing you for the first time because it was like my world was suddenly filled with colour, contrasting with the black and white that I’d been seeing in the past few months. It was insane and crazy, because I thought that I was only meeting you for the now and not the future.

I remember the things we talked about, from every conversation to every fight we’ve had. They were all important to me. Every single bit of it and every word you said stayed, good and bad but somehow, I can never bring myself to hate you enough to leave you.

We were like children hiding in the bushes and keeping secrets of crushes. We sneaked around like it we were teenagers doing nothing and I still remember the first time that we kissed.

It was on a hot, sweltering Sunday afternoon and we’d spent the morning having coffee, reading a book and then going out to the waterfront where we sat in the shade of a tree talking about things that didn’t matter to us. I remember every word you said, and everything that we talked about because that day was important to me. We took a walk back to my car and had the windows wound down when you turned to look at me with the mysterious look in your eyes.

“Can I kiss you?”

That word itself made me nervous.

We kissed. I still remember everything that I felt that day. Nervous, embarrassed, shy, happy. All of it rolled into one and yet you managed to keep me sane just with those lips. You tasted like the Big Mac you had for lunch, and you were warm, a feeling that meant that we were both alive.

To all the kisses and the ones after that.

I remember when you called me at 10:30 at night just to tell me goodnight. I felt like my mind would explode because no boy had ever put that much effort in for me. I remember when you first held my hand the night of our second date, when you just held me and caressed my skin with your thumb because that’s all you could do while I took the time to get used to it.

You were patient and you were beautiful.

My best memory of you was the day we went to a park the first time and sat side by side reading a book. You smelled so good and when we went to read in the car instead, I thought you were so beautiful. It was insane seeing you read a book because I always thought boy readers were pretty. That same night, we sat at the back of my car and we talked about the stupidest things we could think of.

And then all of a sudden, we started talking about your last relationship, and how she hurt you. Oh, your ex-girlfriend, how she did hurt you so bad that you just broke down and cried in front of me. And it still haunts you to this day, and I know that much. Because when you think about her, all you ever did was let a tear slip to let me know just how much it still affected you.

I remember whispering my insecurities to you, where and why they existed and I remember how you held me as you cried a tear. When I asked why you cried, you said something that made me want to fall in love with you.

“You are just so goddamn pure.”

I knew then that I was falling in love.

We talked about a lot of things. One thing I could never forget was how you told me that you might come back for me. It made me feel loved. It made me feel like maybe, maybe there was something worth living for in this world.

That same night, I remember driving in the dark just the two of us with the music playing so softly and I remember as you held my hand that night. We were quiet. Nothing needed to be said because just being with you made me feel so happy. I remember feeling the europhia that threatened to break me when you looked at me through the flashing lights of the passing cars and this was the moment that I completely let myself to fall in love.

“I’m serious about this.”

And I knew you were. I could see it. I could feel it. And I knew that you were serious about me.

You couldn’t sneak back into base that day and spent the night out in the my car instead until you could call a taxi back to base at 3 in the morning. You asked for a last goodbye kiss before you left for the field for a week.

I missed you.

These were the moments when we were at the prime of what we had. They were special moments that I will never forget. And these are moments that I will remember you by, never for the bad but for the good because of how you made me feel.

You were worth it.

You don’t love me. You don’t like me anymore either, I know that much. I know that I’m not someone you care for anymore because I’m just someone who fell in love with you when you didn’t plan on making anything long-term.

And it’s your fault for allowing it to happen.

I hate you with everything I have. I hate you for not taking responsibility of my love and instead the best you could offer me was a simple, “sorry” because you had nothing else to give me while I had given you my everything.

I never asked for you to love me back, not once did I beg you to love me. But all I wanted was for you to accept my love, instead of pretending that my feelings were nothing more than a whim. I liked you so much that it transcended beyond my understanding and it took me so long to understand what it really was.

All I wanted was for you to smile at me and say that you know how much I love you and you appreciated it.

You knew that I was in love with you before I did. You knew that I was falling hard and you allowed it to happen. You knew that I was in love, but you pretended to be blind to it.

To say that I would stop hating you would be too far out in the future to predict but to say that I won’t would be too spiteful so this would be the words of my goodbye instead.

These are the words of my goodbye to you, my love.

Words that you will never reach you but I hope that you will read one day.

I love you, and I know that I always will even if it might not be the same anymore. I hope that you find what you’re looking for, and I hope that she treats you better than I could and I hope that you treat her better than you did me.

I hope that one day, we may come across each other again in between oceans and continents and in that one day, we’ll both realize how stupid we were.

But don’t fret, my love. I have never regretted a single moment with you because if I did, it would mean to regret falling in love and you were someone I would have crossed oceans for.

Now, you are no longer worth it.

as i sit here

As I sit here in this cafe writing stories of my life, I start to wonder of how my life miraculously came to be.

Sometimes, there are questions that you ask yourself. Things that don’t seem anything out of the ordinary or odd but when you really question them, you start to wonder if it’s by fate or something else that things happen.

I believe in predestination and I believe in fate. I believe that everything has been planned out accordingly for us and all we have to do is follow the path set out because if we stray, we lose who we are.

As I sit here, I wonder how I met the people I did and how they impacted my life. I’ve met people who held me as I cried over grief and loss, I’ve met people who smiled when I told them jokes as part of my daily humor and I’ve met people who negatively impacted me to the point of bad consequences.

These people, no matter how big or small, affected me as a person and as I sit here, I start to realise that they shaped me as a person and how I came to be.

I once thought I was in love, a long time ago. In turn, it made it hard for me to let go of him even when we barely knew each other all too well and in turn, it made me difficult to love anyone for years. My standard for boys became too high that I turned anyone and everyone away, comparing him to them. It made it hard for me to find anyone I could call my significant other.

As I sit here in this cafe writing this three years later, I can only say that I fell in love once again, for the first time since him. Only this time, it’s real love and not one that was fantasized out of what I knew of him.

This new person in my life doesn’t return my affections but he claims to equally care as much for me. I love him as I could someone I potentially wanted to spend my life with but his happiness comes first to me, and if he’s happy with being just my friend then I will be just as happy. I believe that he belongs in my life better like this than to completely lose him over my selfishness to keep him to myself.

He shapes part of what I do with my life.

My happiness is co-dependent on him among other things, and he makes me want to be a better person. Granted there are traits about him that I immensely dislike, I learn to ignore the bad of the people around me and instead focus on their good because one or two bad traits do not make a person bad. Their worth is more than what we think when we look down on them.

This is what shapes me as a person. I choose and learn to appreciate the good in people because that’s how we should live our lives; as someone who sets out an example to appreciate the goodness in people than the bad.

As I sit here in this cafe, I think about my friends whom I’ve never met in my life. I have known them for three years, and I know that three years ago, I was at my prime.

A girl I’ve known since she was fourteen, lives in the USA and she has had meaningful and important conversations with me about political movements across the world. Her knowledge transcends that of her age and it inspires me to want to know more, to remain knowledgeable and that there is no limit to what we can learn. She in more ways than one, reminds me that there is nothing to stop me from doing what I can and want.

My best friend who resides in Croatia, whose journey from his first year of college to his graduation continuously supports me in ways that while it holds no meaning in my life, it molds me to remain true and never lose myself. He keeps me real and grounded, to always remember my roots and to never forget what I was before. He never listens to my rants about boys, he was bad at listening about my pleas for help in lieu of my father’s death and he loves talking about himself but despite everything, he is someone that understands me as I understand him.

And we fit together like peas and carrots.

The people around us shapes us in ways if we just think about it.

As I sit in here in this cafe, my mind wanders to things that don’t seem significant to others but they are to me. People are significant no matter how big or small because they influence our minds, actions and personality. They shape and mold us to become what we are, and it’s often up to us to decide how we take the impact they make on our lives.

I appreciate the comings and goings of the people around me and as anyone should, they should equally appreciate life as it is and see the good side to people instead of the bad.

We live a full life when we make people feel good about themselves for the things that they are rather than the things they are not because that’s what makes them appreciate you as much.

experiences

We meet strangers who come and go, some who stay longer and some whom we truly connect with. These people are what makes us who we are, and they help us define the kind of person who choose to be.

Through experiences, I have met many who shaped the person I am today, and I am still being molded into a perfect form. I am nowhere near but I aim to get there one day.

Some of the people who come into our lives change us in ways that we never expect, and sometimes, we have to let go of them.

Like everyday in our lives, I met someone who made quite an impact in the short period of time he was in my life. We only knew each other for three months, and in those months, he changed my life in ways that I had never expected him to.

I fell in love for the first time.

It seems impossible to fall in love so quickly, but I know that it is love. It is not infatuation or lust, and it is real.

It was an experience of a lifetime, one that truly took much out of me. I received nothing in return, and I don’t want anything but to keep feeling this love. Loving with the expectation of being loved back is a waste of time because love is about appreciation, not possession.

We had a blissful few months together, and now, he goes home to America.

Sadness would be the best way to describe my feelings now. I cried telling him that I didn’t want him to leave no matter how much I knew he wanted to. I know that I will miss him but I know that I appreciated him enough through our time together to make it last a lifetime.

Our experiences together, the journey and adventures we undertook do not go in vain as I remember all of them perfectly like the back of my hand. I remember the memories like they happened yesterday and that is all I need to understand that I need to let him go.

Three weeks ago, I had a last date with him. It was the last day that we were going to officially be boyfriend and girlfriend, and it was blissful. It was the expected expiration date that we were waiting for. We knew that we would come to an end and we did. Oh, how we knew and we did everything we could think of in that one date to make it the best date.

Yesterday, it was the last time we saw each other and we parted goodbye as friends instead of lovers.

I still feel the lingering sadness in me. It bothers me and I want to take this pain away but I know taking the pain would mean forgetting and I want none of that. This was the best few months of my recent months and I appreciate him for doing what he did.

What did he do exactly?

Almost seven months ago, my father died unexpectedly from an accident.

It left me emotionally scarred and traumatized, and I could feel myself falling into a pit of depression that I never had before. I had wanted to give up on school, work, life and family. It was the worst few months of my life and I prayed to God to give me someone who could help me through this.

A week later, I met him.

He pulled me out of this depression stage that I was in, and he taught me to get back up on my own two feet. These experiences that he offered me made realise that there was still more to life than just the past. There was the now, and there was the future.

And I was perfectly in control of all of it.

I fell in love for the first time.

He took my breath away when he kissed me for the first time. I remember the first time he held my hand and smiled at me through the dark in the twilight. He made me smile in a way that I hadn’t for months in lieu of my father’s death. I never wanted any of it to end.

But now, we are friends and that’s the best thing that he can do for me now as I fix myself.

Learning to love myself is a step forward. Learning to take back control of my life is another. Learning to plan for my future is the next. Learning to love another would be the last.

I still love him through this breakup and I don’t hate him for telling me that he doesn’t love me back because I understand that love is relative and uncontrolled.

We saw each other for the last time yesterday. We said our forever goodbyes, smile without tears not because it’s over but because it happened. Accept that we will never be but forever remember that we were once.

My experience with him changed my life.

I fell out of potential depression, took back control of my life, laughed for the first time in months, did new things, and fell in love.

Experiences change who we are and it shapes us to be the person of our destiny.

I’m still finding my destiny, but I know that he helped me realise that I’m more than what I think I am and that my destiny is far bigger than what I thought.

I’m still finding my purpose and the universe works ways to help us find it.

grief and loss

Here’s a story that I never forget, of a time long ago witnessed by yours truly.

I was young, unknowing and at that age, completely clueless of the world around me. As someone who was protected by the world, I sought to discover much on my own only to be taught that this world is not always rainbows and sunshine.

Over a decade ago, I was with family. At the shopping mall just minutes from our house by train, we were roaming around and browsing through shops like little tourists on vacation. There was much shopping to be done.

I stood outside a store, waiting for my parents to come out when I see a little girl, much younger than I was, running out a store. She trips and falls flat on her face. She stays there for a few seconds and looks like she’s going to cry.

Her father comes up to her, stands beside her and without bending down or crouching to be at eye level with her, he only extends his hand down to her with two simple words uttered.

Get up.

To me, they’re as simple as they can get.

Without another word, the little girl grabs her father’s hand and together, they walk off hand-in-hand.

A simple lesson was taught to her that day.

When life knocks you down, you get back up.

Simple, but effective.

I was taught to be independent from an extremely young age. I was taught to do things on my own without expecting help from anyone else but what about grief and loss?

What should be done to help me get back up on my feet?

Loss is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone because of the underlying meaning behind it.

Loss means forever.

This April, I loss my father in an accident. He died as quickly as it happened, unknowing to me a week before it did that I would be fatherless.

I grieved for months.

Grief helps us cope with loss but what does coping really mean? Is it means of forgetting or accepting?

I questioned that for a long, long time.

Given my work and occupation as a student, I was given a lot of encouragement and love from colleagues and teachers but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t ready to get back into the field and I wasn’t happy with how things were as opposed to before.

I blamed my unhappiness and failures in the past five months on my father’s death. And I kept doing it because I was unable to be strong and to cope.

How do I get back up on my feet?

Grief and loss turned me into a moody, lifeless person. I once had the world in my eyes and all that was left is now emptiness and sorrow.

I had almost wanted to give up on life, work, school and family.

I prayed for a different outcome in life.

To give and receive, to be given life when one was taken.

In turn, I was taken on this whirlwind of journey with someone who showed me what life truly meant from a different perspective.

What was it about this person who gave me meaning to keep on going, to live as life has offered me and to do best rather than do enough? He showered me with compliments, crude advice, and drove me to insanity before bringing me back down to help me understand that I was strong enough to handle it.

Today, I no longer grief and blame loss for many things.

I realize the control I have over my own life and it was a great portion of it.

When I wake in the morning, instead of feeling anguish and sadness, I’m filled with the drive to do something greater. Instead of expecting hope and happiness to drop onto my lap, I strive for it.

How did I cope with the grief and loss?

I let someone into my life and he pulled me out of my depression state. He showed me his side of the world and I showed him mine.

To be protected from the world, from its losses had made me weak. It had taken my energy and brought me down but one person pulled me back up onto my feet.

Today, I have accomplished much more than I had hoped for in the past score of my life.

With this loss that I had felt, it had made me stronger with the help of someone who made me realize what life was truly about. He, who helped me understand the future and he, who taught me how to think for my own.

He, who helped me grief over loss of family while learning to stand up from it.

If I had to do the same with my children, I would do what my own parents did to me. I would protect them from the world, raise them to be independent and knowledgeable.

Before releasing them into the wild.

The Past, Present and Future

My past has always been a shadow of the being that I am today. Regardless, I learned from it well despite the fluctuations of fortune as well as problems that arose in between then and now.

When I was younger, I took pride in the thought ingrained in me that I was the only one who mattered and that I came first before anyone else. It was a mentality that grew from habit fitly from my being the last child and daughter between my parents who pampered me much more as opposed to the harsher conditions that my two older sisters had to endure due to the early years of my parents young marriage and simple wealth.

Reading in between the lines, I was not prepared for what laid ahead of my years when I stepped into primary school at 7 years old. I learned from the good and the bad, meeting different people from different walks of life but as I was young then, I still hadn’t quite thought about things not pertaining to me too much. Throughout the years, I grew to learn the people who were good for me made me know who I wanted to be. I grew up to meet newer people who stood by me in circumstances that I had once stood alone and I met people who had a greater influence on my life.

Now in the present, the same people remain but it was, however, quickly decided that I store the ones I had met and are good people but bad for me somewhere untouchable yet reachable whenever necessary. Strong words, harsher life. I live in the moment of the present, as how I am writing this article now but as each minute passes, I grow wiser than I was before because of the thoughts that enter my mind as I think about the next chapter in life.

My present is ever-changing, because of the people who come and go easily but where does it lead me – how does it affect my future?

The future is unwise to predict. As I always say to those who question the future, that it is always better to strive for what you want but never expect that it should happen lest it fails.

It is, however, expected that the future will continue to persist as will time but what is our future? We think so selfishly for ourselves that we forget that we will not live forever.

I was, yet again, walking down the streets in the city when I witnessed an elderly man in his 60s beside a young woman of about her late 30s walking. And holding her hand was a child – presumably her son. They walked past me without a simple glance in my direction, one of which I was not bothered by, but it was however, in that moment, that I realised something befitting.

The epiphany came instantly.

That child will be our future, as how the other children of this generation will. They are the kings and queens of the future because when the time comes for us to grow as old as the elderly man in our later years, we step down to allow the younger generation to become the kings and queens.

My conclusion is simple and comes in two forms; Our parents are the past, we are the present and our children are the future. Our parents were the kings and queens once, we are the kings and queens now and our children will be the queens and queens in the future.

As I write this, my thoughts stray to another – how will the future of the people around me fair? How will my future of my own child be when my future is his present?

I am, by all means, stricken by the ideology that we are consumed by our own lives, too engrossed in the insight of our businesses that we don’t understand the veracity of the truth; we never stop to worry about the future of the others around us. We live in the moment, the present as how it is, with the people we are with, rather than stop to share our plans with someone we don’t know.

Our lives are intertwined and each day, we share our future with different people as how we did our past and do our present but we never notice because we are only consumed by ourselves.

You never know that the man sitting next to you on the train could be professor of one of your classes in university, or that he could be the man who saves your life when you’re in a dire need of help. We share our moments only with ourselves but never together, only focusing on individualism that should, while exist, coexist with others.

The past, present and future are ours, but we should share it between ourselves while we are still the kings and queens of our time. When we allow the next generation to take the world on, we are no longer but followers of their reign as they take on positions that once used to be ours.

My past has always been a shadow of my being today, but my future will always be good because of the things I’ve learned the hard way before. I stand now in this time and moment with the hands of only a few beside me but as time progresses, perhaps more will be there or less will but it is always good to share my future with someone I perceive to be good for me, no matter the time or place.