I ghosted him...Went through my phone blocked his number, blocked him on WhatsApp, unmatched on Tinder...I feel terrible because we had been speaking for about a week. It was...interesting, then dry...he was exciting at first, we texted for hours the first day. Then he called, his voice was deep, yummy.. like caramel sliding down your throat. I had butterflies. He said he liked reggae, but old school. I laughed because my Taylor Swift, sometimes Usher, sometimes Nickelback and Daughtry listening self could not identify. Then the dry texting started...I was confused, maybe a little traumatized. Snippets of my previous relationship floated through my mind, the disappearing, leaving me hanging mid-text, mid-conversation. Damnit I knew I wasn't ready, I should have given it more time.. But no he's back, texting me, not really calling, or asking to go out for lunch, for coffee. I delete his number on Thursday fed up. He does not notice until Saturday and asks me, "Did you delete my number? I couldn't see your profile picture." I roll my eyes, they say this is a mark of contempt and a sure sign of a dead relationship. I sigh and type, "No, my phone fell into a bucket of water on Wednesday, I lost many contacts." I giggle as I type because even I would recognize the lie. I hold my breath ready for him to call me out. Oblivious he proceeds to ask me, "When will you give me these kids?" "Huh?" I literally ask, confused because yes, one of our conversations had revolved around kids. He wanted two. Confused because he hasn't spoken to me in two days and I am genuinely baffled. Go with it, my conscience whispers. "How does one answer this now?" I text. "Just answer" he quips back. Now I can feel the heat in my stomach, the one that tells me I am getting mad. What is wrong with this man? Hold on am I in the twilight zone? Hmmm what to answer, "Heehehe, this type of conversation needs lunch or coffee first" I write nudging him towards a date, sigh please see it, see me literally begging you to take me out. "Oh yes" he replies..."Or should I come over for a sleepover already?" Hold on, my seething conscience screams. Did this man just say he wants to sleep with you and ignored the obvious date you were asking him to take you on? I take a few minutes because I am Zen now...I take yoga and I do slow breathing. "No, let's just have lunch first"....dead silence. Later I lay in bed and I block him...I feel cowardly, I feel bad...but where to start? Should I have said something? Did I have the right after two weeks of basically talking? The nagging feeling won't go away, that I did something wrong...
Do It With Your All
I can still hear my father's voice in my head, "whatever you do, it must be with your whole heart, your whole being.. otherwise don't even bother". I remember smiling, nodding respectfully, not really listening because I wanted to get back to my movie. But I see it now, effort cannot be replaced. With the benefit of hindsight, I see how effort can leave you with few regrets. Yes, even with effort a job might end, a relationship might come crashing down, a friendship might lead to betrayal.. trust might never be rebuilt and love might disappear.. but effort means you leave head held high.. even if no one acknowledges it you can say, even with tears and your heart breaking, "at least I tried.. I gave it my all"... and isn't that what we all want? to live with the "at least I knew" than the "what if I had only done this?" I see now my father had a point, life is hard, life is stressful, it is scary and terrifying and not putting in effort especially with no guarantee you will get what you most desire seems easier. This world seems to reward not putting in effort... people will disappear when the relationship is too hard, breaking others' hearts without a second thought.. you will lose a job even when you have put in hours and made soul breaking sacrifices..your savings will be stolen and the perpetrators will go scot free..yes it does seem logical, reasonable to not even try. But think about it, how sometimes when you gave it your all, when one thing comes to an end...somehow the universe makes a way.. even if you do not believe in cosmic justice or karma, somehow even in the sadness and the disappointment, you feel good, at peace because you know you gave it your best and that this was your karma..that unlike those who gave up without an effort, you chose to keep trying.. and somehow the universe sees it and rewards you sometimes with more than you could have dreamed of...
I am afraid...
I am afraid that I will never achieve my life's purpose.. that this darkness I feel inside me will one day take over and I won't have the strength to fight it... I am afraid of this sadness I sometimes feel, that the hole in my heart will never be completely filled... I am afraid that I will never find my forever person.. I am afraid I wasted too much time, sometimes in that space between the laughter, my pain will come through and I won't be able to bear it... I am afraid that I have no one who truly understands, no one who hears my pain, no one who wants to listen to my tears... I am scared that life is passing me by and that I have truly not achieved anything with my life...I am afraid that even as I celebrate others' achievements, I am aware of my deficiencies, my lack.. I am afraid this makes me less of a good person.. I am afraid that even as I work my fingers to the bone, I still feel like I have nothing.. I am afraid of love, of putting in effort and disappearances without a word..I am afraid of hoping only to be disappointed and to feel the crushing sadness again...I am afraid that the light at the end of the tunnel is taking longer to come than I want it..
It’s me here to speak to you and ask you to send me grace for these tough times. I could use a break from the worrying, the constant stressing and the anxiety. I know I oscillate alot, one minute I’ve managed to convince myself everything is fine and I am at peace. The next I am up at 3.30 a.m wondering how I will make rent. Universe, I pray you teach me to find the right balance. I’m not quite sure the path that life is taking me on, I mean I had a plan and everything, but here we are. Be patient with me as I question you, question myself, it’s not that I don’t trust, it’s just that life has knocked me down a few times and well, my trust could do with a boost. I’m working on it though and it’s hard but I think I’m getting the hang of it.
Send me love Universe, kind love, peaceful love, happy love, accepting love. Send me love that teaches me to accept myself and be ok with not always knowing. I’m working on loving myself and you know how this is a daily battle. So send me a sign every day if you can that I am doing well. Teach me to be happy and be alright that some things didn’t work out. Could you also stop doing that thing where you send me someone, we have a connection then you snatch them away? Please and thanks because it’s getting a little exhausting and I just want to jump straight to the reason why they come into my life without all the heartbreak.
Take care of my mother would you? She drives me crazy but I love her so very much and I just want to know that she will always be alright. Thank you for giving me such a kind and caring mother and thank you that we are friends. I am aware this is indeed a rare thing. And while you are at it, would you take care of my sister too? Don’t tell her I told you but I truly wouldn’t be me without her. Would you remind her that she deserves all these good things happening to her and that no, I do not forgive her for always snitching on me when we were kids.
As you can see Universe, my list is quite....extensive and so I hope you hear me. I know that I am not here because I am special but rather because I still have a purpose to fulfill(help me find that too). And if its not too much to ask, can I always have a supply of mint chocolate everywhere I go?
When I die...
Say that I was kind. That I was honest. That I was imperfect. Say that I tried my best to care for those I loved even at my own expense. Say that I always tried to see everyone's goodness even when the signs were evident that they were not. When I die, say that I did not always say what I felt, but my face certainly did. Admit that this was a toxic trait because it led me to be passive aggressive. Say that I should have been stronger, made better decisions when it came to money, to love, to making friendships. Agree that I allowed my heart to rule my emotions, when my head would have clearly led me down a better path. Tell everyone that I put my heart and soul into everything, even when it broke me. Say that I was a mama's girl but also that I loved my father. Agree that losing my father must have destroyed me to some extent. Say that I was always the girl who never sat down at a party as I was always running around making sure everyone else was fine. Say that I believed in God even though my church going skills needed practice, but hey, the Bible on my work desk with coloured in passages must mean that I had Christ in my heart right? Agree that I was always worrying, often over things that did not even happen but this was something I was working on. Agree that I worked hard, that sometimes I should have given myself a break. Agree that I gave excellent advice but I did not always follow it. Say that I was a good friend, a good sister, a good daughter, imperfect, flawed, scared, unsure but always present.
It Shall Be Alright..
You are going to be fine. I want the universe to tell me this. Sometimes I feel lost and so very afraid. I try to hide my fear in mantras and prayer and sometimes it works. But in the middle of the night, when I can no longer push aside my demons, I can hear the fear coiling in my heart, like tendrils choking my heart. Sometimes it feels like I do not have a clear life plan... I know the things I want, a family, to get married, to own a house, to finally be debt free.. but the how is a cloudy, often misty path that is not always well defined. Sometimes it feels like everyone else has uncovered a secret, their lives seem so smooth and everything seems to have fallen into place while I just feel like I'm flailing in water, often struggling to remain afloat. Some days I manage to hold on to my prayers long enough to convince myself that it shall all be well..my path is undefined but it does not mean that I am behind. I even manage to feel that yes, life is not a race and I will get there, wherever there is, at the right time as this is what is always told..The universe has the answer, just wait. But most times, it feels like I wish the universe would give me a concrete sign, an indication that everything really will be alright. That everything that has happened really was for a reason. That every heartbreak, every sliver of happiness, every tear, every friendship, every relationship was meant to be even if it was not...I'm waiting universe, please tell me that everything will be alright...
This is Love...
I don't believe in soulmates...not anymore. But I do believe in connections, I believe in feeling comfortable around a person, in knowing that they do not judge you. That your quirks and 'strange' habits are not something to be frowned on but rather interesting puzzles that when put together make you whole. Is that love? I don't know but I do know that it's not feeling scared or anxious. Love does not make you feel inadequate. It does not learn your vulnerabilities to use as a tool for destruction. I am learning that when you can spend time with a person and their scent, the way they smile.. the questions they ask, when they remember that you like salt and vinegar flavoured potato chips.. when they can feel your sadness and just hold you without expectation, when you can laugh in their presence and when they leave you with a sense of peace, that's love. I have been instantly attracted to a person I met online but our conversations, the way he made me laugh even though he could not see me have sustained that connection. Sometimes these connections do not last but I would not exchange that feeling of connection with another soul for anything..
Feel the Fear... and Do It Anyway
"Feel the fear and do it anyway"- Susan Jeffers. The first time I read this quote I was fresh out of a long term relationship, scared out of my mind about the future. I had given my all to this relationship, sacrificed many dreams and myself to make this person happy. In the end, it did not work out. I was starting over and the fear was debilitating. All I wanted to do was run back to the safety of my old relationship, regardless of the fact that it had been slowly killing me... I was a shadow of myself, so far gone that I all I could see was a stranger staring back at me every time I looked in the mirror.
I had to start over, the thing is no one gives you a manual on how to do this. The moving on is a darkness, a tunnel you have to go through alone. It seems never ending, the pain a constant reminder of your failure, the regrets constantly churning in your mind. I knelt down in my fears, tears streaming down my face, the anxiety a vice around my heart and I said to God, "What now? What do I do? What should I do about this fear that is pushing me further into darkness?" He didn't answer me because unlike what the movies would have you believe, you really do not hear a voice speaking back to you when you cry out to God.
Instead I slowly began to feel this strong desire to move away from my hometown, a place I had lived in almost all my life. I knew this place, it was a piece of my heart, held memories I wanted to keep. But still I knew I had to go even I had any hope of moving on. What was here was now gone.. no matter what my heart was telling me, the hope it held for love, I had to go even without savings, to a place where I would likely have to start over, make new friends, meet new people, form a new home. I had to go even with the fresh anxiety blooming in my heart that moving would mean really saying goodbye and acknowledging that my love, my dream, my efforts were really over.
And so I did... with sweaty palms and a beating heart, with little to my name, I built a new hope... I " felt the fear and did it anyway".
Grief is a tricky thing. You can never be sure when it will sneak up on you. It could be a song playing on the radio, a subtle whiff of a cologne that triggers a sense of familiarity, a color that sends your mind on a spiraling trip filled with despair.
Today it was Kobe Bryant’s death. I didn’t know the man personally, never even been a fan of basketball but everyone knows Kobe. I turned on the television to the news today morning and it was the first piece that jumped out. I saw the images of the smoldering helicopter, stark against a dark grey mountain. Immediately my heart squeezed and I felt the tears bubbling up from inside me. But it was not about Kobe even though I could tell he was much beloved. It transported me back to that moment when the doctor stood before my mother and I and told us my father was gone. I recalled the numbness, the complete shutting down of my body, the utter lack of feeling at first. I remember placing my headphones in my ears and listening to Casting Crowns “Praise you in this storm” over and over. It was dark and rainy then just as it was when Kobe’s helicopter went down.
The thing with grief is all the questions you are left with... what were the last words I said to my father before he died? Did he know how much I loved him? Was he afraid when he took his last breath? Did he feel pain? Is it really going to be alright? Why does everybody keep saying it’s God’s plan? What am I supposed to do with all these I’m sorries? What now?
I imagined Vanessa with these questions, or a version of them... and I thought of my father... his soft hands and how he used to lay on the sofa reading a newspaper, a cigarette always on his hand... I thought of how I used to discuss the weather with him and how I fought with him…I thought of hearing his voice on the phone and laughing when he kept his bowl of fruit salad in the fridge… and I thought about how I would never see these things again.
The thing with grief is it never really goes away… it hides after a while like a scab that has formed over a wound... then its peeled away when another reminder of death is thrust in your face… grief remains with you, hidden like the darkness when the sun comes up...it is a constant reminder to love, to hold, to laugh, to forgive.. It is also a reminder that you will never get the answers you seek because as cliché as it sounds, life really is to be lived.
“I dreamt about Mark last night,” Christine said as she moved to the coffeemaker and poured herself a cup. The rich smell of coffee grounds settled into her nostrils and woke her up in a way only coffee could. She turned at her sister’s sigh, steeling herself for the inevitable criticism against Mark.
“Honestly Christine... it’s been a year... I mean you’re still thinking of that idiot? But why? What happened to you moving on?” Julia said, drawing out a chair and sitting down with her own cup at the bright blue kitchen table.
“No... You don’t understand... it was different this time... I felt… nothing,” Christine said with a smile as she sat down.
“What do you mean you felt nothing?” Julia said, concern tinging her voice, eyebrow raised. Christine understood her concern, the break up had been bad and for a time, the very act of getting up every morning had been a task she really hadn’t wanted to do.
“Exactly how I said it… I woke up this morning, lay in my bed, remembering the dream and I didn’t feel the sadness or the longing or the anger I’ve been feeling... I felt nothing. Ok maybe not nothing but I felt maybe relief, like a weight was off my shoulder," Christine said, tracing circles around the rim of her coffee mug.
“Do you think you are finally letting go?” Julia asked in a lowered tone.
“I don’t know... is it possible to let go of six years of loving someone, having dreams about them, planning and hoping and seeing this future?” Christine sighed, feeling a twinge around her heart. God it still hurt to think about Mark, hurt to consider that he really did not want her, that she truly was single.
“I spent all of last year hoping and praying that the time apart would make him miss me... that he would see how much I loved him and how much I had sacrificed for him all those years,” Christine felt the tears thickening her voice. “I was always there for him Julia, without question... I put him first, I gave up my dreams... my life revolved around him and now maybe I’m realizing that maybe while I was all about him, he was all about him.”
Julia nodded, “I remember how you always refused to move even when it would have meant better opportunities.”
“I loved him… at least I thought I did but maybe what I felt for him was attachment and fear of being alone. Do you know that I broke up with him so many times? But I always went back, “Christine sighed. “Do you think it was that I didn’t love myself enough? I am really afraid of being single Julia…of being with someone else.”
Julia nodded, “There’s nothing wrong with being afraid Chrissy... I don’t know about the loving yourself part... maybe you were just stuck in this cycle that you never had the courage to get out of... you were not wrong for loving him or wanting things to work out.. And wanting him back is not a crime either, “she smiled, “no matter what I have told you… I mean he is an idiot for not recognizing how lucky he was to have you, but you also should not beat yourself up for wanting him to love you.”
Christine nodded, she felt strange- on one side she was not sure the feeling of betrayal and hurt would ever go away, but the other she felt strangely liberated, almost like she had a chance to feel again, “maybe you are right Jules... maybe it didn’t feel like we had broken up because he technically did not do all the wrong things that people do to break up, I mean he didn’t cheat.”
“He hit you once, “ Julia said, her voice taking on a hard tone, “ and what about all those times you said he put you down, spoke about your weight in a condescending voice or didn’t include you in his decisions.. He became a cop without telling you for God’s sake… and remember when he didn’t show up for dad’s funeral even though you had been dating for months?”
Christine nodded, recalling the sadness and constant fighting they always used to do, the need she always felt to be heard. Funny thing was Mark never thought he had hurt her feelings. Even now he suggested that they were only broken up because she had left... nothing was ever his fault, “I was always apologizing and saying I’m sorry even when I did nothing wrong just so the fighting would stop,” she sighed, “ I never thought of how much it hurt my heart until I was no longer around him 24/7.”
“So what now Chrissy, what do you think the dream meant?” Julia asked looking into Christine’s eyes.
Christine laughed, the sound echoing through the kitchen, her heart a little lighter, “Damned if I know...”