Crisscross

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Yin to My Yang.”

How do you define the term “soulmate,” and do you believe in the existence of such a person — for you?

This is going to hurt. That’s my first thought when I read the prompt. I had a soulmate; perhaps I have one still, I don’t know. We climbed mountains together, and he always looked out for me. When I stared at the night sky and felt depression crash overhead, when I could only articulate “don’t you sometimes wonder if it’ll never end?”, he was there. He listened.

He never fails to answer my call, and he took me out for the ball. He has never touched me without waiting for me to initiate. I’ve never felt like anything less than a treasure in his eyes.

But the trouble is, it scares me. I wasn’t ready for it, and now I don’t want it. Despite everything, I don’t feel a spark between us, only a deep understanding. Is a spark really necessary for a relationship? I think it is. Is it necessary for a soulmate? No.

But is he still my soulmate? Can he be my friend without being my lover? And finally, is that too much to ask?

Hell. It would be good if we could just be the best of friends. It seems so petty, so transactional, after writing it. He did this for me, I should do that for him. Let me just end this way: love is a beautiful thing. But it has its ugly sides. Nuthin’ you never heard before.

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Instant Water

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “When Childhood Ends.”

Write about a defining moment in your life when you were forced to grow up in an instant (or a series of instants).

I come from the school of thought that believes we aren’t mature beings who know how the world works, or what the hell we’re doing now, just now, yesterday, or tomorrow. Really the majority of humanity is clueless while pretending otherwise, making it up as they go along. Most of us do a pretty good job of it, too!

Yes, there are instances in life which hurt us and leave their scars deep within. When a loved one dies or when our other half betrays us, we cease to trust. We lose a part of ourselves. We change.

But this is an emotional reaction; it’s cause and effect, almost a knee-jerk reaction. Who we are when lightning strikes determines how we react to it. It’s not a process of growth, it’s an exposé.

Rather, it’s the small things that make us change. When we snap at our colleague unprovoked, how many of us sit alone later in uncomfortable silence, and reflect on why we did it? Perhaps we were jealous. Perhaps we were afraid.

Self-reflection requires courage, courage to hear truths about ourselves that we would rather bury. It is not easy to confess, even to oneself, the ugliness that lies at the heart of the ugly things we do.

But it’s necessary. It isn’t self-debasement. When we listen with compassion to our ‘ugly’, neglected self, we come to understand that it’s just hurt, and lack of love. It’s a small curled up bit of nastiness that is really just the embodiment of our cry for help, for understanding, for love. When we can embrace all of who we are, we can listen to others with empathy, and understand when their bits of hurt act out.

That’s growth. That’s maturity. And it starts with reflecting deeply, not by reacting outwardly.

Courage

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pay It Forward.”

Tell us about a time when you responded to an act of kindness with one of your own.

I tend to repay kindness with awkward gratitude. Dude opens the door for me? Oh, thank you *nervous smile*. Best friend backs me up in a tight social situation? I’ll smile warmly through a rush of gratitude.

I enjoy playing the role of the damsel in distress; it’s easier, people look out for me and take care of me. I might even try to justify this by saying that my presence brings out the best in people. I give them an opportunity to demonstrate their kindness.

Of course, this is pure manipulation. I find the world a scary place, so I look for a protector. However, in the process of accepting this cloak of vulnerability, I also give up the right to be firm, be bold, and be brave. Fear quivers in my pores. It will continue to do so until I accept that I am not easily destroyed, and I do not need someone to shield me from life.

I’m not – not! – advocating that we should refuse all kindness. This is what I am saying: that I wear a facade that charms people to take care of me, because I feel I need that to survive.

And perhaps I did, a time not so long ago. Perhaps this was a mechanism I learned since young in order to keep my heart safe. But I’m growing now, and I can’t bud and flower unless I overcome this.

The last time someone was kind to me, I smiled shyly, grateful from the bottom of my heart. The next time someone is kind to me, I will smile and thank them sincerely. And then I will listen to the part of me that believes she is capable and strong, and from that part I will reach out and help someone else.

This is my courage, and this is my pride.

Disembodied

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Out of Reach.”

Write about the one X that got away – a person, an experience, a place you wanted to visit. How much would you change about your life to have it within reach again?

One of the things that came to mind when I read this was childhood innocence. Innocence is a very loaded word, and I’m not in a hurry to stick it in anywhere, least of all in my infant blog. But my childhood was not filled with the naïve happiness that characterizes baby albums. I remember the days I’d walk home from school crying – over what, I can’t recall. And I remember sitting at the stairway of my flat, shoveling in Twisties. The empty packets would litter the floor when I was through.

I ate compulsively. I hid it from my parents. The day the school nurse told me I was borderline overweight, I learnt I was fat; I learnt what that meant and more importantly, what it implied. I exercised and watched my diet. I lost weight, but remained chubby. When I turned sixteen, deciding to have it over and done with I obsessed over food and exercise. I lost weight, turned underweight, but also lost some of my sanity.

Eventually I had a long talk with my parents, and slowly began to eat normally again. Now I eat like any other person. My weight is normal, but a little high, as such things tend to be post-recovery. I nearly always win the fight not to purge – a battle made easier by the fact that the last time I tried, I vomited blood. No more after that. But this isn’t a blog about eating disorders.

If I could have it back again? I want the body I had post-junk food. I want the body that responded to food with happiness instead of anxiety, that didn’t cling to fat because it had known starvation. I want a body that is free and light, swift and strong. I would give…too much to have it back again. I would give (anything, anything, but that is too cliché!) nearly anything.

The funny thing is that my desire is as palpable as the air leaving my nose, and yet the solution is simple. Eat right and exercise, 80-20 in importance respectively. That’s all. So why haven’t I got it yet?

Because my body rebels when it’s hungry, because the bad habits from starvation – not being able to stop eating once I start – are hard to break. And yet these things are not insurmountable: I could stop snacking, since one snack inevitably turns into a plateful; have full meals and not snacks.

I could plan my meals, since I do follow plans once they’re made. It’s not that hard to cook good food! I said I would do anything, so I can certainly cook! I even have a maid to help me.

The 20% of exercise is, I believe, pretty much fulfilled by all the running around I do in the wards. And hell, there is a lot of standing and walking. Probably why doctors are usually thin.

Well, it seems like I have a plan, doesn’t it? It goes something like this:

  • Eat well (80%) and exercise (20%).
  • Plan your meals and eat full meals instead of snacks.

And voila! This post has turned into a life changing first step!

Love,

Y.

We’re Not The Same

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Night and Day.”

“Have you ever had an experience that was amazing the first time, but terrible the second time around? Or vice versa? What made it different the second time?”

It was an exciting tale of love and passion, both undying like the main heartthrob – yes, it’s Edward. I confess I read that elementary story when it came out 10 years ago, and was spellbound. I was fifteen then, an incurable dreamer who longed for her own vampire boyfriend as she read.

I left the book in a corner and didn’t pick it up again until recently. I was bored, you see, and remembered its reputation (amongst teenage girls, admittedly) for being fascinating, swoon-worthy, and the rest of it… So I read.

You can tell this isn’t going to have a happy ending. I mean, how did I ever enjoy those pages? It was bland, predictable, and I shut it after a few cringes. Twilight has been lambasted so much that, like Bieber, it’s unfashionable to hate it now. Just tolerate.

It goes to show how much we change. It’s as if I’m a different person than I was then. We don’t notice this change second-by-second, but as weeks, months, and years pass… we become someone different. The change is mostly subtle, but if I were to meet my fifteen year old self now, standing in front of me, I wonder what she would think of me? And would I know what runs through her mind?

To tell the truth, I don’t quite like where I’ve ended up today, at the ripe age of 20. It’s a good reminder to strive to be a better person. Every second. Now. 🙂

Ciao!