Faith in Life

It is now four in the morning, and I have been awake for about an hour or so.

It is really calming for me to see the blue of my blog. Sometimes this feels like the only & last place on earth I have to feel a sense of sanity.

I can’t sleep. I still don’t feel like I am really back in Auckland. I don’t understand my life. I don’t really get anything anymore. I feel like I’ve been around the world and back, and now I don’t recognize my life – my bags, my computer, my job, work, family… or what is not.

All I remember is Ponsonby. The pretty lights, the awnings, the quiet, the food. So much like Taiwan that it began to feel like home. But perhaps I am just hallucinating. I am only 26 and I feel like I am looking at life backwards already. I have spent the last year of my life (26) with Will and everything has felt so surreal. There were no landing. It’s a flight of uncertainty – my uni, my family, my friends, ex’s, current boyfriend – my life feels like it does not exist. My life feels like pieces of fragments strung together to make a thing called life, with time going only forwards… I cannot go back to make any changes.

I wished I knew what home feels like. If I knew what home feels like then perhaps all this would make sense. Home would be the centre of everything in my world. But I have no home. No family. That feels harder than anything because I am just drifting around in this world alone. Friends make things easier to bear, but friends are not home. I want a house. I want to have people to rely on. I want to have people who care. People that I can go home to…

I have one day to pull myself together. I have one day to work. I hope I am flying next to you, with you – but maybe one day I might need to fly on my own.

I don’t know. I don’t want to. I just want some everlasting peace. Peace is difficult to get these days. People have to work really hard for it. I don’t know why humans have created this world that is difficult for themselves to live in. More competition, more surreal advertisements, more money… I don’t know what I am doing here.

I wished I had someone to calm me. Comfort me. Talk to me. I can’t do that with my current boyfriend and I am not sure that is normal… I feel I have to hold out for everything – holding back for something else? People that matter the most to you are often the ones that hurt you the most. Because so much of what you see valuable in yourself is because of their relationship with you. Even if you have an inherent line of worth, if no one wants to relate to you, you are no one.

It’s strange. I have friends with whom I spoke to today. I have friends who I reached out to and replied to me. I am thankful for them, so thankful. But my heart does not heal one bit, maybe 1% out of 99%. What is the 99%, you ask? Well… I think my current boyfriend has everything to do with it. He makes me doubt myself, my life, my relations with others, my work. Because he is lost and I cannot get lost with him. I am holding onto myself tightly; I am smelling all the roses I have; I am keeping my gaze with all my friends’; and I try to remember what home is to me. I don’t believe anything he says: that he loves me. that he deserves me. that he is trying for both of us. I don’t believe in any relationship. I don’t believe a word he says, because I believe that he doesn’t yet believe or trust himself. It is like we are both flying but neither of us see land yet, and he is telling me we will both land together… I am so sorry, Will. I see the truth clearer than either of us do, sometimes, but it is difficult to admit, to announce, to state out there. The truth is that both of us are lost, wounded, in healing recovery. Both of us are hurt. Neither of us know our own strengths yet. Neither of us know in which direction we are going. We don’t know where our home is or where our destination is. The truth is that we are afraid we will fall apart & be apart. Because we have not yet learnt that it is our heart that matter the most: neither of us has learnt to have faith in life…

And I wished we have that. Because I do.

Afternoon

Three-oh-four in the afternoon. No one else is here, but me and my mind.

The summer sun has emerged to shine on this city. In my head I wonder where my heart is, because my heart is not home. My heart has gone out to explore, and I don’t know where it has gone or when it will return.

But I am somehow okay with that. As long as it comes home for dinner.

I also wonder about my reluctance to start working hard again, but soon I will.

And most importantly, to remember myself. I don’t belong to anyone. That is difficult to regurgitate, to savour on the tip of my tongue, and to remember to remind myself.
I am always so anxious that I will not belong to anyone – that I will be an orphan. Being alone had never meant independence to me but loneliness and abandonment – until I left home, which is self-abandonment. To know that your parents or adults can no longer look after you, at one point in life or another, you give up the fact that you will be looked after and safe, or be helped to survive.

But deep down, somewhere in my heart, I know that I belong to no one even though I am constantly loved. That is the most starry thing I should keep in my mind. That in freedom there is safety. That in freedom there is security. That in freedom there is trust.

But where does the trust come from…? If there is no one there?

No one can take my freedom from me, & No one can take my trust from me.

I’ve had the most lovely day with myself.

I finished a difficult culture & ethics essay yesterday, which is one of the last assignments I have to do for my 7-year degree in psychology. I went out ‘window shopping’ in Newmarket this morning after an intermittent night of sleep due to W’s night shift… I thought I was going to spend tons of money but actually I was very practical and tried on tons of fashionable items that were more fun to look than to buy.

Anyway, I came home and did the laundry, the dishes, emailed my mother my favourite song at the moment – O by Coldplay – and emailed a few of my classmates etc.  In all fairness, if this had been me a month ago, I would have collapsed into the depth of depression – feeling like life had no meaning, I can do nothing, no one really cares about me and fate has been unfair.

I don’t know exactly what happened, or when it happened. You know sometimes in your life one day or one afternoon you wake up, you look outside to the sky to see the weather, and all of a sudden you realized you have left a chapter of who you are behind. Certain consciousness and hard efforts and tough situations would have occurred for things to change, but a continuation of self – the morphed yet ever-changing version of ourselves – is only a snapshot in time. If I take a photo of myself at this moment, the answer to the question ‘What does it mean?’ only takes on a reality depending on the current perspective of the listener or watcher.

If my therapist was to see me right now – would she recognize me? Does it represent a slice of me that she knows? This is the weekend I am supposed to write to her to let her know that I would not be coming back; incidentally W had found a therapist in the same centre who he will begin to see next week. Something feels right about this abrupt end perhaps to my therapist – because she cannot help me anymore, and I think she knows it. W said I could be very intimidating to therapists because I reflect a lot on myself.

I do find it difficult to say goodbye to my therapist – because to me, anything could happen in life, and perhaps we would meet again, rendering that goodbye meaningless – which is why I hardly ever say goodbye to anyone in this world, unless they are dying I guess. But I have never known anyone that has died.

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If

I want to breathe.

When I thought I couldn’t let people down, now I’ve learnt that I could. If I slowly think about how much I love someone, how much space, patience & time I could give them to allow them to grow, be a dick/make mistakes and still love – the more I rush, I sabotage, I push – the less of myself I give to them.

If I think back to last summer, when I first met this person who I now have gotten to know quite well, and enjoyed many things together – my heart has changed over the course of this period, too. I once was single & free, and I chose freely to enter into what could possibly become a relationship. That choice to love freely was the best feeling & thing I have known my whole life. The choice to love freely is not only romantic love, but friendly love, worldly compassion & love. I wonder if this is why so many people wind up in bitterness in marriage – because what was once free has now become chained, demanded, owed.
I ask myself again & again why did I choose to freely love. It involves enormous dedication, determination and compassion to love someone unconditionally. I felt perhaps I have found someone I could do this to. Love is an action. But why?

Have I ever loved myself? How would I know?

To me, it intuitively feels much easier to love someone else than myself. Why? Because while I could see all of my own faults, I forgive them in others much more readily. However, I am also less careful of the love that I offer them. Sometimes, perhaps, it is not as pure as the love I have towards myself. And what does that feel like? If you ask me the difference between my love for myself & that for my partner, I can tell you that I am a lot more intimate, gentle, wholesome, analytical, unconditional towards myself.

How would I feel if I have loved myself? 
I would feel calm; smiling; freely choosing; I would feel connected to the world; I can slowly down; I would not be afraid; I would be willing to give, to risk & advent; I would remember the reason I am behaving like this, love for myself: Because without knowing the quality of love for myself, I cannot love others the same; and they would not be able to experience me. I cannot rush. 

Awake

This is the reality of things.

This is how I feel, this is happiness.

I could have never predicted that I could come to this stage. I am feeling happy, opening up, less afraid, more confident and optimistic. There are new hopes for my psychology internship experience, I am flying to a conference that makes me scared but excited also. I can slow down and think now.

I can slow down and think now. What a change.

Tap two fingers into my left palm; I am awake.

My words can speak softly
No longer pushed from behind
Scared?
No
Darkness is calm; Lightness is calm.

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Give

One day.

One day she finally figured it out. Six months after her internship began, nine months after her life had seemingly changed forever, Ria finally understood what was happening to her.

There is only one thing she knew now: Give. Give more than she could take.

At the beginning of the year, something unspeakable happened that reinforced the unconscious fear and idea that so many have: “What you say could one day be used against you,” despite it happening in the worst possible circumstance. An intern psychologist in-training condemned by a full-time therapist for seeking help when she was psychologically vulnerable and weak. Ria never took that person to court, because she believed in second-chances and mercy as the Italian congregation always had. She thought she forgave. She tried to forgive, and forgive.

She landed in a swamp, like hell, in a last place she wanted to be on Earth. She landed in an acute Trauma centre. At the start, she had the fire and best intention of an intern psychologist to do the best for her patients: to look the demon in the eye, and take it by the horns and defeat them one by one alongside her patients. Right at the beginning, she knew that more importantly than anything was to never lose hope in therapy; lose yourself in the painful process with patients, but never be taken over by the devil itself.

But what was she telling herself? There was so much going on in that workplace that was unspeakable. She had a fire of anger burning that she had to leave at the door before entering that centre every day: the secrets; the segregations; the breaking of confidentiality and privacy; the weak and passive attitude of so many therapist as if to give into the fact that sexual abusers are just born, not made. Because there are so many violent men and women, out there beating and raping children, every minute and every moment. People become desensitize to the horrific nature of it. Vicarious trauma is part of your role.

Ria never complained that she was once a traumatized victim herself. Because this was the circumstance, this was where she had to complete her internship.

Throughout this process, she told herself and did whatever it took to push through another day at the centre. She used the ideas of responsibility, guilt, gratitude, “of course this year is hard”, downward comparisons (“this is not medical school or a bar exam”), ACT, CBT, narrative therapy and reminds herself that there was only one more year and this was the last year to her registration. But none of this really took on the core of her unresolved problem: She felt that something was inexplicitly taken from her without her consent – her confidentiality as a patient and the inconsideration of her own psychological history. No one heard her or seen her or really took a step to help her survive in this hell. So she denied her reality: she tried to focus on her patients, and she tried to bury herself in their trauma and abuse and the stories they have to tell.

But there was only so much that she could care before she could not take it anymore.

It was chance. A trip to Melbourne with her family, an experience to ground and remind her who she was, where she was and what she was doing finally exposed to her the full extent of the hell of fire that she was burning and fire-proofing herself in. One night she finally cried in the bathroom shower, alone, as she should. It was as clear as the after-rain sky that night: she had so much of her resources, integrity, identity & strengths taken away from her. It was really no one’s fault: there are rapists and violent people out there who make these victims and they need help from mental health professionals to put them back together. But she went in like how most frontline workers storm to the crisis rescue: she momentarily forgot & put aside the scars, bruises and open wounds on her arms.

And she was completely new to this frontline.

Then one night, she couldn’t fool or lie to herself anymore. She felt things were taken from her in the dark of night, and no one could ever tell who did exactly what. But that also woke her up & opened her eyes: she cannot be forever a girl or a person whom is taken from if she kept giving more than she could take.

Not giving out of vengeance or righteousness. Give, because underneath all these hurt, wounds, anger, unjust, confusion, crises-filled world, I am whole: I am human. I am vulnerable to wounds. I am open to the air, my skin a thin layer of epidermis that shields me from many pollutants but not all harmful rays. I am also a soul that can empathize & feel; despite being wounded. I can care & think of other people. I want to provide them with the sweet and bright sunshine that every person deserves. Particularly in winter; Especially when it is raining.

Winter and the dark skies may make it harder to dream and hope and see the roads ahead. She felt like she has been driving through endless nights.

Give. For it is the only way you would receive.

4 (1)

Motivation & Pursuits

What led me to pursue things in the past?

From very young it was to be powerful – heroes – the solidification of whatever I could do. Everyone went through this phase. It was normal; to test what is realistic and what was not so.

Then it was to create context; I wrote from a very young age, and I kept thinking about the context of stories. Because without contexts or backdrops, life is just day to day living.

Then came the wanting of knowledge by avid and abundant reading. The more I read, the less I felt afraid and the more balanced I became in my ways and my thoughts. I did not rely on my own thinking anymore; why would you when you have consultants with crystallized wisdom over the centuries?

Then in college, before filmmaking, it was again creating context, creating theoretical worlds in which I could test & experiment with ideas, with personalities, with logic and sense and combine these with my understanding of the world from other books. I had no trauma then; it was purely experimental; everything was for me to try and test until I had a fruitful result.

Then came filmmaking, and it was achievement, to make something that was not only to impress but to showcase & explain my experimental theories.
My methods have always been scientific; but my topics of culture & arts.

The BA in Psychology was the first event in my life when motivation was to make money & have a job. I made up an excuse to motivate myself: that it would help with my writing of the characters. But characters did not come from psychology, obviously – they came from observations of daily life. Psychology provided a reductionist method of characters into collective motives, and psychology objectified humans. As far as I know, psychodynamic theories are the least & furthest away from this purpose. It wants to know what the soul is, not what we could reduce human functions to.

Now. Honours year & what drove me to pursue it was the goal of freedom – have money & to not be told what to do. I have achieved one of those; but not yet the other, which will only follow later. I wanted to be myself, and through Masters I also achieved this goal further. I knew I was soaring higher, and wanted nothing to be in my way. I broke up with my ex. I looked for adventure. I got adventure and enjoyed every moment of it.

But what of this year that motivated me to pursue? The experimentation of human reactions. But still my life is currently mostly extrinsic factors. I want knowledge, but I do not have context. I want to create context, and I still want to be powerful. But what context to create? Before, it was a possibility of context; then it was the experimentation of creating context; and now, it seems, I must surround myself in a certain context that will propel me towards my goal. But I still want to create. I know I cannot experiment forever; perhaps now the observation of the real world, of their lives, of their backgrounds & contexts. That should give me clues as to where I should place myself.

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Sunday

It has been a horrible feeling. This feeling that nothing is right, an existential crisis about my purpose.

What led up to this? Dissatisfaction from my job, from interpersonal relationships, from the possibilities of choosing in life, and new experiences.

What was I like before this? It’s hard to say. I know I definitely had my downs because now at least I feel more confident about my intelligence, but not my emotional intentions. I feel more confident about myself, but also less sure of others. I do feel that I am on the right track because I am opening myself up, to more experiences, but I feel I have completely lost who I am.

That’s the thing: I don’t know who I am right now.
I used to know. I used to have experiences, good or bad, to define myself. Now I don’t tie myself to events that have happened to me. I don’t want my past to define who I am. Then what defines me?

I am a lot less resistant to influences from others now. This society is great at making us doubt ourselves, from advertising to news examining possible mistakes to lecture halls telling you there is more you don’t know than you do. Uncertainty, I realized, is not something that I needed to get used to; uncertainty has always been in my life & the way I lived. It was how I lived – combating uncertainty.

So perhaps my next question is not “Now what?” My question now should be an analysis of what has my past led me to do & pursue. It is like, to find out my future motivation I must look at what in my own history has kept me moving forward. It may be scary, but exciting at the same time, because as we know nothing is more exciting than to create your identity and experience what it brings.

To know in what direction I should project my modus operandi I must first understand my own past. That would be a glorious thing to do.

 

The Door

Five months.

After five months I return to my blog; I looked around, I walked around. I didn’t recognize it. I didn’t realize I wrote up until Feb this year. I thought I had abandoned this place after October 2013.

The truth is, I stopped writing publicly. There must be something that happened within me to become more private, as many people are, who would never put their hearts and sleeves on the internet – where everyone could be searched these days.

But I am so grateful for every piece I had written, everyday. It brought me back to a place where I realized how I have grown – and what a biased brain we have! Everything happy is from the past; everything terrible was also from the past.

Tonight, there was something important that I realized Federick had said to me a long time ago, and if it wasn’t for this blog I would not have remembered: “You have always known that you are loved, but you never believe it – you would not allow yourself to cross over that line, into that world.”
That was the feeling I had been searching since February. I don’t know how it went away or disappeared; maybe because W was gone and I had to learn to survive a different ball-game. Now that we are together, it is giving me hope again: to see the reality clearly, and nothing but the truth. They say there is no one reality, but there is – the version that we can see clearly, which holds both uncertainty and faith. Faith does not alter uncertainty; but it will tell us who we are.

One thing that I have learnt over the past few months is that suffering is terrible. There is no justification or rationalization for it; suffering is a terrible, horrible experience no one wants to live through. It is painful when we live through it. It is painful when I am anxious, depressed, psychotic, helpless, mad. So it matters naturally that I would do all to prevent these courses from happening. “It is not what we do when we get our wishes; it is what we do when you don’t get the wish.” Faith and Love.

Tonight, I might have someone who is learning and discovering how to love me, to see if he could love me. He promises nothing; this universe promises nothing. But I have myself and my beliefs to help me push through times of uncertainty. It is vital for me to learn that even if he doesn’t love me, even when there is no one there to love me, that I am loved.
It is vital for me to learn and remember that people, as imperfect as they are, do love me and can love me as imperfect human beings.

It is a terrifying thing for me to realize that I am loved. It is a reality; at the moment I have difficulty accepting that reality, so to me reality feels like ‘I might be loved’; like Federick said, when I am ready to cross over that line, into that world – a whole new perspective and door will be opened to me.

Under Water

To _____,

I am under water kicking on my own. My oxygen is low. I tell myself not to give up even though it’s all dark around me and no one knows I am running out of oxygen. I have been hit by the storm while swimming and have been under water for a while now. My feet are tangled by something but I can’t see what because it is dark. I have been like this for days. I have tried kicking really hard, and I have tried being calm and just tried to detangle them myself. But I cannot untie the knot.

And I am feeling scared because I feel I am beginning to lose hope.

I have been thinking positively to myself – thinking of the people who always loved me and hoped for me and the friends and family that I have who support me. I think of them in my mind to help myself push through this difficulty. I think of you and how you always believed in me. I also think of people who have terminal illness or cancer and how I don’t have either of those. And then I think of myself and I know that I don’t give up easily on myself. But I have been like this for almost a week now. I just want to get to the surface yet I am stuck, and I feel it is beginning to drive me towards insanity.

I am all alone here.

I try to remember something from my childhood and my life that will be my motivation, to help me fight harder. But each day I get tired more easily, each day I feel more diminished. Sometimes I can feel myself curious, glancing into the dark abyss, but I tell myself not to and stop myself before I plunge away.
At night sometimes the darkness and the absolute silence is comforting.

I have been having strange dreams. Yes, even strange for me. I dreamt that one my my parents is actually a homosexual and when I woke up I wondered about the latent possibility of this being true. I think I am beginning to lose grip on the world, on reality – whatever that really is.

I am writing this because I feel you are my last string of hope. I don’t know why. My therapist is crap. I don’t know what she is doing and I doubt she knows. I don’t like feeling hopeless with others but in the last few days I think maybe it is not so unrealistic to feel this way.

That’s all I can think of right now.