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.

was it worth it?

Was it worth it bringing up a topic that we were both not ready to talk about?

To begin with, it was meant to be a discussion, a way to talk about our feelings and communicate but communication goes both ways and sometimes, not everyone gets it.

So was it worth it, bringing up a topic we both weren’t ready to talk about, not knowing that they wouldn’t have accepted your feelings and opinions because of how one-sided they were?

Was it worth it ruining something good just to talk about our feelings?

Recently, I expressed a feeling I had; disappointment and hurt — to someone I deeply cared about.

And it was about an extremely sensitive topic for both him and I; money.

What was meant to be a discussion about my feelings turned into an argument that went back and forth about him telling me not to tell him how to spend his money, and me explaining that I wasn’t doing that but rather upset that he was spending his money when he should have been saving up for a specific reason we both knew was important.

We didn’t speak for a week and when we did, he was cold and hostile.

I tried hard to talk to him about it in the next few days so we could fix whatever we had broken and he avoided it and stopped replying my messages after our short conversation.

I think it was worth it. A lot of people say the same because we know what his true colours are but some part of me wishes that I never brought it up at all because then I wouldn’t lose what we had over a conversation about my feelings.

Understanding that communication is essential to every relationship is important but having the ability to apply it in real time is completely different. Everyone can talk about how communication is important but when it’s our turn to communicate our feelings, it’s barbaric and out of line to them.

I wouldn’t call it narcissism or manipulative but rather egoistic and immature. Prideful and narrow-minded. A dreamer but not a doer.

Was it worth it?

Yes.

Do I regret it?

A little, I miss him but I could do without him.

He was perfect but perhaps he was looking for a way out of this relationship and whatever it was, he took it and ended it.

I think it was worth it because I did us both a favour.

punishing the good

This is not the story of how good deeds go unpunished.

This is not the story of how good people are always on the bad end of the lucky spectrum.

And this is not a story of the good being bad.

No, this is an experience that I, and millions of others have all felt and encountered at least once in their lives. This is the root and cause of all lack of motivation to aspire and inspire and this, unfortunately, needs to be addressed.

I went to religious school from aged 7 until I was 14 when I decided that I’ve had enough of it. Being raised Muslim wasn’t anything bad. In fact, I cherished the idea of being Muslim because I felt like it was a religion that made the most sense to me and one that God truly listened to.

When I was 13, I remember taking an exam for religious school. We were to perform a proper set of prayers with recitation in Arabic and everything else including what to do next such as prostration, standing and so on.

I was raised a Muslim but not religious. I didn’t know how to pray until I was 20. I could read the Quran but never finished and it’s been at least seven years since I’ve touched one. I have a hijab set at home but never wear one out.

In a normal Muslim’s eyes, everything that I am is worth condemning for.

During this particular exam, I couldn’t perform the prayer. I didn’t know how to and all I did was just guess what to do next. I didn’t even recite anything because I had zero knowledge.

The examiners watched me with frowns on their faces for about 5 minutes before one of them stopped me.

“You’re a Muslim and yet, you don’t know how to pray?”

Her question seemed simple but her tone was clearly condescending to me.

Yes, as a Muslim, I did not know how to pray. Was it worth something punishing over when all I did to do was learn? Why are such behaviours punished for? This was a religious school and I was being questioned on my lack of knowledge?

From 14 until 18, I was devoid of any thought for my religion. I was embarrassed of it because I felt like I didn’t know anything about it and was therefore unworthy of mentioning or thinking about it. I avoided it like the plague. No, I did not abandon God but I abandoned all my persistence and motivation to learn.

When I was 10, I failed a maths test.

I was smarter than the school average and was sent to a smarter class but as a result, I was one of the weaker students in the particular class. I failed my maths test for the term and received 4/10 for my grade.

Everyone was rejoicing over their grades while I hid mine in embarrassment. My peers around me knew how bad I was and asked what my grade was but I refused to reveal my grade so during break time, they snuck to my desk and by the end of recess, my whole class knew my bad grade and laughed at me.

I cried on the way back to class and my teacher said minimal to nothing about the situation despite being aware of what happened.

Why am I being punished for trying my best only to fail? Why do I get laughed at for being bad at something I didn’t ask to be bad at?

When I was 12, I was in extra after school classes that my mother paid for. They were for my primary school leaving examinations and I was doing badly in maths. I was often the weakest in any maths class and this was no exception. Because of my lack of knowledge, I was rarely motivated to do any homework and to be given extra homework outside of school? This was worse.

I remember sitting in class, being asked by the teacher of how I could solve a simple fraction equation. I knew enough but I didn’t know how to solve it. I specifically admitted to the teacher that I was unable to solve it and I didn’t know.

She waited in front of the class and asked me to tell her what should be done step by step.

Even when I didn’t know the answer, I guessed. I recited off steps that I thought were familiar to the question and she didn’t write any of it down. Instead, she stared at me like I was stupid and shook her head in disbelief when I was done.

“Out of all that rubbish you’ve just told me, you could just do this and this and this.”

She proceeded to write her own answer on the board, embarrassing me further after I specifically told her that I didn’t know what to do.

Why am I being punished for trying to learn? Why are my good intentions being punished?

In my eyes, the world is against us.

Stop punishing what you want to see. Stop punishing the good intentions of the people around you.

“Look who decided to finally join us for dinner.”

“You actually finished your work?”

“How can you study so hard but still get a C grade?”

I do not think that it’s right to punish good behaviour despite how much it doesn’t match your expectations. People are trying and motivation should be given, not taken away. You should reward, not punish.

If it wasn’t for the teachers who saw my potential in secondary school, I wouldn’t be here where I am today. If it wasn’t for the teachers who inspired me to do so much better, I would have still been trying to find that lost motivation somewhere.

But not everyone is as lucky as I. I didn’t ask for my inspirational teachers but I got them. Some people beg for them but never get them. I plead to this world to stop disregarding effort for lack of skill and knowledge because we are all trying to learn something and do something.

Don’t be the one that takes it away from them.

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.

to err is human, to forgive is divine

Every day, I spend some time to read and it fills me with an immense knowledge for everyday things.

The internet is a toxic space, that much, I admit. I am hateful of the company that fills the surroundings and many times, people find validation on the internet only to be disappointed and filled with more remorse than before.

However, in my reading travels online, I came across a post on my favourite forum website, Quora.

It tells of the tale of a man who was in an unrequited love with a girl who he hoped for, and tried to shower his love for her in order for her to fall in love with him and it took him over a year to realize and understand that she will never look at him that way. He was only hurting himself by continuing to pursue her, and that in itself is his fault.

When we pursue someone despite continuous efforts of rejection, we hurt ourselves in the process and it is never the receiver’s fault. They are not obligated to love you.

It is our own.

My mistake in my first and last relationship was putting in 100% before the commitment. I put in my 100%, and I loved him. I loved him to the point that I would have done anything for him, even traveled the world to see him. He was not from here, and we were together for a few short months before he had to leave. He was in no position to be obligated return my affections and I never blamed him for it.

It hasn’t been very long since he left and we last saw each other but I do not want to make the mistake of loving him even when it is clear that there is no hope for us. It is clear that he doesn’t return my love, and he has repeated that multiple times.

I am in denial.

I keep loving him in hopes that he will see how much effort that I put in for him, and realise that I would do anything for him. I wanted him to see that someone was capable of loving him this way, as much as I do, as he lacked affection and company from the people around him. I showed him passion, put in effort and loved him like how I would anyone I wanted to potentially spend my life with.

I wanted him to see his worth.

In turn, it made me forget mine.

I’m glad that I came across this Quora post as it had lit a bulb in my head. It helped me realise that sometimes, we give things up to make room for new, better ones. It made me realise that I deserved better than what he offered me and I was a fool to have thought that he could offer me the world. I was in denial.

Was.

Keyword.

Now, I realised something much more. I realised that it’s better for me to stop chasing after dreams and instead chase a better reality. I deserve someone better, and it took me a while to understand it. I thought that he was that better but I was wrong.

I was hurting myself in a continuous motion. He didn’t love me, and would often talk about his ex-girlfriends by putting them on a pedestal higher than me. He would point out my flaws that he couldn’t deal with and he would be the one who berated me for my lifestyle that I was accustomed to. In many ways, he tried to help me. In more ways than one, he couldn’t accept that kind of person that I was. He wanted me to change for him and it was impossible.

In more ways than one, he wanted someone who was a pushover.

I was opinionated. I was optimistic. I was open. I was none of which he wanted but I made myself available to him because I wanted him no matter the circumstances, the pain and the unrequited love.

That was my mistake.

When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.

I keep this in mind whenever I’m down. Whenever I feel like I’ve lost everything, I remind myself that when life is taken, another will be given. When we lose someone, someone else will come by.

It’s time for me to move on from unrequited love. I was a fool to think and hope that perhaps, I can make him see how much I love him but in turn, he took advantage of that love. He took it, knowing that I wouldn’t say no to anything. He exploited me, and he wanted my love to only be for him without returning mine.

We need to know when we deserve better and when we need to move on. For me, I’m moving on and moving along because I know that now that I’ve lost him, someone else will come into my life and take me.

That is all that I hope for.

It was completely my fault that I got hurt in the process of pursuing unrequited love. This is my punishment and whilst I welcome it with open arms, I accept that I need to forgive myself.

I like to think that he is my first love. I had never felt so much for anyone before in my life and this feeling, I love it. But it’s destructive for both him and I, and I prolonged it for as long as I could just for a few hours of happiness. That was my biggest mistake and I need to learn to forgive myself for it.

To err is human, to forgive is divine.

Forgiving oneself is the most divine intervention they can ever give themselves.

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.

taking control of my life

I realised many things the day my father died.

One, I lost everything and two, my life was going to spiral out of control.

Both of which are true, and both of which made me fall into this pit of potential depression. I admit one thing; I had thought about death many times since then. And I always asked myself what would happen if I was gone, because we rarely imagine how life would be without us.

Would it be better or for the worse?

I digress.

I lost control of many things in my life the day my father died. I lost control of my emotions as I sit on the bathroom floor pleading for help in silence. I lost control of the way I acted around people, from being the person who always told the truth to everyone no matter how harsh, to being the person who accepted things and remained patient no matter how cruel the world was.

Many times, I find myself staring at nothing, wondering how all this came to be. I see nothing in the future that is worth living for anymore, and I think about giving up on my family several times as well. But I know I cannot, because they depend a lot on me for many things.

At twenty years old, I’m made to make calls to insurance companies, handle simple visa matters for relatives, made to deal with much and it suffocates me. I admit this much, and I know this much. I know that it stresses me out to the point that I’m tired of life now.

I feel like my life is spiraling out of control, and fast.

I fell in love, and as quickly as I did, he was quick to say he didn’t return my affections.

One of the reasons he admitted to, I can’t love someone who doesn’t love herself.

And it’s true, I don’t. I hate the person I’ve become in the short months since my father’s death but I refuse to keep blaming his death for everything that’s happened in my life. I refuse to let it be the reason that I’m failing.

I’ve always wanted to do many things, and I’ve never gotten around to it even before he died. I cannot be blaming him for things that I couldn’t do before and now. I cannot keep blaming him for the rest of my life. He is at rest, and he deserves the peace.

I’m taking back the control in my life. Even when times feel like I’m losing control, I need friends to remind me that I’m in control and it’s my life. I have perfect control over everything. I just need to start somewhere.

For me, I shouldn’t start with the people around me. I don’t have to make them happy or put them first.

For me, I need to start with myself and put myself first. I need to try and be a better person not for others, but for myself.

I’ve always been self-conscious of my appearance, weight and other small things and it’s time I took care of it.

I started coming up with a skincare routine; washing my face twice a day with facial, face masks once a day everyday, night cream and day cream. All of it essential to getting good skin.

My diet has always been a problem. Fast food and instant noodles are part of my daily diet, and that needs to change. I drink soda and soft drinks more than I do water, and it’s affecting my health that I can feel it.

Taking back control of your life doesn’t always mean getting your shit together straight away like in the movies. It means to improve that version of yourself to become something better, and to keep improving until you’re someone that you’re happy with. It means that you’re doing something with what you have instead of letting them crumble down to waste. It means amidst the support of family and friends, you’re heeding the advice that you’re given and accepting that help is essential in this part of your life.

I do not have depression. I know that I don’t, but sometimes, I feel like I go through this depression stage that makes it hard to explain.

But I want to take it away, to improve and take back control of my life that spiraled out of control so quickly.

I miss my life seven months ago when my father was still alive. Seven months without him felt like seven years. I cried daily for the first four, and in the last three, I met someone whom I fell in love with, who pulled me out of depression. He did not cure my depression, but he helped me understand that there is more to life than just sadness and darkness.

Granted, he sometimes contributes to my depression stage, he tries to help in small ways. He thinks that I don’t appreciate them but I do. I appreciate them, and it makes it hard to not love even more but that’s how I deal with unrequited love. I don’t try to appreciate something that isn’t meant to be as such.

Never be afraid to ask for help. Never be afraid to speak out to someone you know would listen. Never fail to understand that you don’t always have to confide in best friends. Never forget that strangers are better listeners than friends. Never forget that you are not alone.

It starts with yourself and how you look at life.

I’m taking back control of my life by starting to improve myself in ways that I never had before. Take care of yourself and you start to realise that difference it makes, the confidence it adds, the esteem that you needed.

What other people think or want doesn’t matter because it doesn’t help you. Let them help you help yourself, and that’s the furthest that they can go to help you.

For me, everything starts with what I want.

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.

be you or be your better?

I’ve spoken to many people in my life, many of which suffered from an envy-syndrome that drove them insane out of their minds. It was a mix of anguish, indistinguishable from failure with envy of the people better than them.

I quote some lines from a writer whom I haven’t heard of till the point I’d seen his quote which changed my life for most part of it;

“The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”

It is by far one of the most surreal quotes I have ever seen because it seems too good to be true, one of which I couldn’t believe was so relatable but yet, at the same time, happening all over the world. It is insane, on most of its part not because of its contents but because of its veracity that it is actually happening in real time.

However, mostly revolving around the lives of the people around me, I become aware that they are too consumed by this need in them to prove themselves better than a person better than them. It is not by their subconscious that they are aware of their doing but it is a human need to establish the alpha-mode on that certain something.

My friend, whom I had met online and am still in good communications with him even though we live two continents away, suffer from depression. I understand his situation no matter how much I have never experienced it, but we were deep in a conversation earlier on today about how weird it is to hear someone call our names only to be meant as someone else.

He then tells me that he’s used to it – used to having people call his name only to mean someone else because there was once another person of the same name who was the on basketball team in his school, a straight-A student in his AP classes and had been president of several clubs.

I noticed the envy in the tone of my friend’s, one that dripped with so much jealousy it wasn’t easy to hide – a need to prove and be better than the other person. He admitted to wanting to be president of the clubs he was part of, wanting to get straight As in his AP classes and just wanted to be the one people meant when they called his name just so he could be better.

To him, it was an envious feeling of someone who was better than him.

To me, it seemed like someone who only wanted to better the other person out of spite.

It seems that we are all so obsessed with trying to be someone who is better than us in many aspects – an idol, as most would say – but it is not what we are most of the time. My friend, whose name shan’t be revealed, hated the idea of being himself. Despised and disgusted by the aspect of being who he was because he was unable to find something he was good at comparable to society’s needs and standards.

I reached out to him from afar, telling him that there is no point trying to be someone he was not. People are different in more ways than one.

Why do we spend so much time trying to be the person we are not when we can spend our time doing the things we are good at? We shouldn’t try to apply our skills that we had separately learned from our upbringing to the same thing that the other person had learned from a different upbringing.

My main point is this; it is better for us that we accept ourselves as who we are, no matter how much we are embarrassed of it. Why, some people ask?

I had done a social poll once, a long time ago on a social networking website; Twitter – regarding our self-reflection of the kinds of people that we all were.

I had asked, “Would you want your child(ren) to be the exact same kind of person that you are now?”

I had not expected many to vote no because of how people were so confident in the things they said or did without much remorse or thought, but it showed one thing that made me certain: People, especially teenagers and young adults, are not happy with who they are because they know they can do better than what they are doing now.

The question is how? Or even so, why?

I had always told people to be proud of who they were even if others may try to bring them down emotionally and mentally. It is a good idea to live by but sometimes, I take my words back. I do it in circumstances where it seems apparent that the person could do better than what they were.

Some people, those who are not emotionally as strong, like my friend who had thought that he was not good at a single thing because he spent half his life trying to be another person who wasn’t a single bit like him and stronger in other aspects, was and are pressured into thinking that something considered popular or within societal norms are the only things that are important when it is not true at all. He was pressured into thinking that what he was wasn’t enough to fit into what we considered “socially acceptable” and as a result, could not get over his depression.

He could do better than aiming for someone who was diagonal to the person that he was. He could do better than someone who was just as capable as he was, only that he refused to embrace who he was. The most important thing was; he barely knew who he was in the first place.

To me, knowing who you are is always the most important step to success because you know what you’re supposed to do to achieve what is most reachable for yourself, rather than reach for something that is already in someone else’s hand. I have had many experiences of trying to be someone I wasn’t, many of which I had failed in. But I take no regrets in the time I had spent because they were footsteps to leave and show me that I wasn’t ready or that I wasn’t meant to be. It pushed me beyond my limits and reach for something that I could do – writing.

Never in the entirety of my life have I ever looked into the bowl of achievements of someone else in jealousy, but rather in good will. I took it as the motivation that if he or she was capable of doing something, so was I. I never took it as a stepping stone to try and challenge someone who was already good at what they were, because what if I had failed? It would only bring me down and convince myself that I was not good in anything.

Our desire to become our better is a distraction for who we really are. We do not become our better – we are empowered by our better. I am empowered by a Malaysian writer who used to be an average girl three years ago, and over the course of her writing and aspirations, she now writes columns for a Malaysian newspaper online. I do not plan to write columns for newspapers nor do what she does, but I take it to heart that if she is capable of doing something that can inspire the minds of many, that I can do it too. I convince myself that I can become the writer and author of many books, and to add a bit of fun to my bucket list; possibly write an article for TIME magazine.

People confuse their betters as someone to compete with rather than someone to be inspired by. To be in a situation as such is compromising and difficult to get out of, especially when your mind challenges you to such desires because you never want to stop. To me, stop and think what you’re really doing and if the success of being better than your better is worth it, because once you do, you stop because you’ve accomplished what you need to without the passion of it but rather in the spite.

Always, always remember that everyone is different, but our betters are who make us the people we are because they push us into doing what we need to, rather than what we want to and it is them who will always look into our bowls to see if we have enough, rather than to see if they have as much or more than us.

And never forget it.