Estrangement: Why I Had To Cut Ties

If you’re in a relationship (with your boss, supervisor, partner or client) and you suspect that you are continually being used and/or abused, admit it – you’re eating shit. Without the courage to put an end to it, you’ll never create great work. Put an end to it. – George Lois, Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent)

After a year of no contact, my mother decided to make contact by emailing me, announcing of her impeding arrival and for me to make a wish list of things I wanted to get from my birth country, as if our year of total silence is normal. But I couldn’t shake the image of her glare of unhappiness over my childish behaviour boring down into my soul, like how people in her life kept constantly “reminding” me of how gracious my mother had been towards my ungrateful ass. Even her lawyer sent me an email (my mother’s brilliant idea was to let her lawyer talk to me instead of her telling me honestly what she had done with my father’s inheritance after 4 years of complete silence on the matter), chiding me by spewing nonsense that my mother was gracious and benevolent enough to part money in order for me to shut up and stop asking about the inheritance as (in the lawyer’s words) “she was still grieving her husband’s death” 4 years on. In others’ presence, I was the ungrateful bitch who caused her untold grief by living aboard or saying inappropriate things. In private, my own mother doesn’t even want to touch me, much less hear my voice. This very same person who once told me to shut up and forbade me to speak at home, simply because “my (shrilly?) voice hurt her ears”. In her world, I was ungrateful and a scum. But in the world outside my mother’s realm, I am nothing like what she portrayed me to be. I am jovial, intelligent, kind, cool, accepted and most importantly, loved by my friends. It wasn’t my intention to keep myself and my son away from her, I just needed to protect myself from her. I simply couldn’t carry on my life with her any longer. I simply can’t carry on with her lies, her rejections and her immense hostility towards me. It took me 38 years, I finally took my therapist’s advice and cut off ties with my mother.

My father’s dying put an end to any delusions about having had a normal happy family life. Growing up, I feared my mother most. Not because she was fierce, but because she was strangely hostile. If I bought the wrong peanut butter home, she would screamed at me and forced me to finish up that bottle of peanut butter (and I avoided peanut butter for the rest of my life after). If I had hung the laundry the “wrong” way, I would be cursed and sworn that my offspring would abandon me. If my relatives wanted to throw me a birthday party, she strongly opposed that and refused to even be in the picture of my last birthday party (I was only 13). When I was 14, she made it known clearly that I was to be blamed if she ever got a divorce from my father and that I should butt out of her family affairs. My mother dressed me so shabbily, my aunt and grandmother got me nicer looking clothes in order to dress me up more like a girl. And as usual, my mother would blame me for dressing shabby and announced to my relatives that it was my choice to dress like that. I don’t even have allowance to get my own clothes. If my father got mad at me, my mother forbade me from eating dinner with the family for a whole month. My siblings never got that treatment. I stopped inviting my friends over to my house when one of them noticed that I became a complete different person at home: outside, I was jovial, chatty and lively; at home, I was a terrified mute. I would be a poster kid for child abuse, except that I bore no physical scars of the terror I endured living under that roof. Internally I was a total mess. It wasn’t surprising I was suicidal as I had almost daily nightmares, partially resulting from my mother’s open hostility. The only saving grace was that I was too chicken to see through the suicide successfully. And so I rolled along with my inner demons until the age of 28, when I moved overseas. It wasn’t surprising I chose to move aboard when opportunity knocked on my door. It was a choice between life and death. And I chose life.

İlgili resim

My father had always been the buffer for my mother’s hostility. When she cursed at me, I would run to my father crying. He would tell me to stop believing in her. “Do good and gain good karma,” that was his motto. Sometimes, I would follow my father to his predawn, bimonthly trips to the temple to pray. I loved taking car rides with my father. When life throws problems at me, my father had always been the anchor of safety. When I got into troubles from schools or was too ill to go home alone, my father would come and pick me up, no matter how busy he would be. So when I and my father knew that his end was close, he struggled to let people know he wished to pass at home. But my mother stubbornly clung on to the idea that hospital was still the best place for him to be. I fought for his last wish: I endured humiliating screaming fits from my mother in a hospital public corridor. There she was yelling and accusing me, the ungrateful bitch, of wishing to see my father sooner end in his grave so that I could return to Turkey. I pleaded with my other relatives to talk some sense into my mother as my father was getting agitated with the passing days. All of us knew the inevitable was near. It was after my cousins made some necessary arrangement for my father to be taken care of at home that he was finally allowed home. I was comforted by the fact at least his last wish had been fulfilled: he passed at dawn the next day after he was moved back home. When he died, my whole world died together with him, including any delusions of a family life.

My mother pushed me away from my father’s bedside as she and my siblings circled around to say goodbye and sent him off. I could only watch my departing father from afar, like a bastard child. Except that I was the legitimate first-born of my parents. My mother continued her hostility by refusing to talk to me or sit at the same dining table with me throughout the week funeral. The only time my mother spoke nicely to me was when my signature was needed for some legal documents over my father’s inheritance. My mother’s lies finally was uncovered when my sister sent me a long email detailing all the trespasses and sins I had (not) committed and how much my parents had suffered at my transgressions (which I didn’t commit and my parents painted a different picture to me), and finally announcing her decision to never acknowledge me as her sister again. We never spoke to each other since. My mother had not only destroyed my relationships with both my siblings (we stopped talking to each other), but had also blamed my sister for being immature (she was already 24). It took me 3 more years and a couple of destroyed friendships which my friends heard a different spin of her story, to finally acknowledge that I am eating shit from her.

İlgili resim

In the past, I had made a lot of poor choice with regards to relationships: I took in whatever shit they dished out to me. I married a husband, who not only repeated the same pattern of emotional abuse and neglect I knew so well from my biological mother, he also used physical forces on me. I remembered distinctly the reason why I took in all the abuses was because I truly believed I deserved these. Like how I thought I deserved all the shit my mother piled onto me. Even though he beat the shit out of me, he never took the sense out of me. My life changed when I became a mother.

My maternal instincts kicked in when I realized how close my son was to death after a night of the ex’s trashing. My maternal instincts kicked in once more when I witnessed my mother yelling at my son to shut up and that “his voice hurt her ears”. I couldn’t save myself because I was once a child but now I am no longer that child. My son shouldn’t be that child I once was. There was no other choice, so I packed up and left. The last time I spoke to my mother, her words were, “she has only two children, my brother and my sister because they live in the same country as her”. My reply? “You have been treating my whole life as if you have only two children – my brother and my sister.” I hung up the phone, and wept long and hard. Unknowingly, my life changed since.

İlgili resim

Within a year, I am now living with my boyfriend who takes care of me and my son, and most importantly, makes me feel safe, like once my father did. I now have friends who support, encourage and give me sound advice. I also hung out with a couple of much older friends who treated me like a daughter/ younger sister. I now have a non-biological family who made me feel safe and less alone in this terrifying world. Family is not always blood related.

As usual, my mother’s recent email threw me into an emotional turmoil. Part of me will always yearn for a mother’s love, which I may never be able to experience in this lifetime. Part of me also refuses to believe that a mother can be that cold, that cruel and that hostile. Because society wants us to believe the fairy-tale of a mother’s everlasting love. But mothers are humans after all, and humans can be that hostile and cruel. Still a part of me was wondering if I had been too sensitive, unwilling to believe even in my own horror story. One friend whom I had reconnected, recently confessed that the reason she ghosted me was she could not bear witnessing how hostile my mother treated her own flesh and blood (ie. me). Her words snapped me out of the confusion and I am thankful that she made me realized I am not delusional, that what I had suffered was real. Still, she is my mother, how bad could she be if she wanted to visit? I turned to my other half and he replied, “why waste time keeping toxic people in your life?”

That’s how I know I have made the right choice.

cut ties images ile ilgili görsel sonucu

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If You Love Someone, Do You Really Want To Set Them Free?

I wasn’t looking for anything at all when I met you. Actually, I wasn’t planning on falling for anyone so soon. But then I met you. And that was it….. I guess things just happened. I found you and I found myself slowly wanting to spend time with you. It was simple. It was easy. And I think that’s how the best relationships begin. You’re not looking for anything and then suddenly, you realized, you have something. – Unknown

There is a saying, “if you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” But do you really need to let it go in order to prove its true love? Seriously?

If your heart is caught up and wrapped around someone, why would you let that someone go? Why would you say goodbye to them, only to watch, from a distance, as they fall into the arms of someone else? Wouldn’t that be foolish? Would you beat yourself up for “letting them go”?

Perhaps it was the romanticized idea that people who are meant to be in your life will somehow gravitate back towards you, no matter how far they wander, made people do stupid things like letting go. To believe that someday all the love you have given away to someone will one day find its way back to you and stay. Fly, love, fly. While on the surface you looked like you are letting go, deep inside you are desperately hoping against the odds that it will fly back to you, like a boomerang. But love is never always a boomerang. But what if love flew straight into the arms of another? There is no guarantee. How does it feel to meet the man of your dreams, who has mad feelings for you, only to simply watch him pretend he doesn’t feel anything for you, and yet hope that both of you would fall right back into each other’s arms? Now, that sucks big time.

You see, when you love someone, you don’t let them go. You’ll tell them. You’ll nurture the love. You’ll care for them. Most importantly, you’ll pursue them. In fact, a person who values you, wouldn’t ever put themselves in a position to lose you. Ever.

There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. It is simply an urban myth. Love is a choice. When the butterflies disappear and the true nature of the relationship begins to surface, that is the moment you will begin to evaluate your partner’s significance in your life. And you will be faced with the burning question: do you leave at the first sign of change or do you stay and make it work? It is true that we don’t have much of a choice in choosing who we fall in love with, but we do have a choice in deciding to continue loving them. Like I’ve mentioned, love is a choice.

When it comes to relationships, my concept is terribly skewed. Because I survived an abusive marriage and a terrible childhood, I never had an idea what a healthy, much less a normal, relationship would be. I was forever that one barking up the wrong tree, only to find out too late that the wrong trees do slap with their branches. And they slapped hard. Like a dog with my tail tucked between my legs, I scampered away to a corner, licking my wounds. With each successive disappointment, I built up walls around my heart and developed an irrational fear of people. And so I started to believe the saying, “if you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” I figured if I set them free, they won’t touch me nor hurt me. And I kept everyone at an arm’s length, refusing to let anyone come permanently into my life. I maintained crushes but ran away as soon as I realized they got too serious. I was too terrified to become serious in any relationships. Until the day when I decided to cut ties with the toxic people in my life and quit the toxic work environment I was working in. I was starting to see the truth of the words a brief fling had said, whom I had gotten involved in 4 summers ago. That I should value myself more, not my clients or my job or even my toxic mother. With that, I let everything go, without the expectation or hopes they will come back looking for me.

After picking myself up and dusting away the cobwebs of the past, I sat down at the breakfast table one morning with a couple of my close friends and announced that I was ready to start dating and would welcome anyone they care to introduce. So I started online dating, partly out of curiosity on what I would find out there and partly to understand the current dating scene. Of course, I had came across a couple of frogs before stumbling on a few interesting characters.

What I’ve learnt was that the best relationships are the ones that come as a surprise, when your feelings sneak attack you.

He texted me everyday. In fact, a few times each day. Without fail, he texted me good morning and end the day with a good night. Every single day for almost a month. He texted and I responded. Like a friend. It was that simple. Then we met, sparks flew and the next thing I know, a relationship just weaved into my life.

Of course, I hit the panic button when I realized it had became serious without me consciously knowing and I had tried to let him go but I wasn’t determined enough to push him out of my life, even though I was terrified of my own feelings. And so our relationship simply floated along.

It was only recently when I had to take the metro on the Asian side of Istanbul, that it hit me: this guy actually traveled from one end of the metro to the other end, taking him one and half hour per trip, just to spend time with me every single week. I simply stood at the platform, dumbfounded and in awe of his determination, trying to comprehend the information.

My outlook began to alter one recent night. Sitting on my couch, I could hear his melancholic, heavily British-accented voice floating towards me; he was reading my son’s favourite encyclopedia to him before bed. It was then I had the realization what real love is: he values me and most importantly, he adds to my life. My world is so much better with him in it. If I really love him and he loves me back, why should I be foolish enough to let him go?

That’s how I know he is the one.

İlgili resim

I Love You to the Moon and back

Scattered Clouds, 25°C

Fulya Mahallesi, İstanbul Turkey

I love you to the moon and back. Look what I’ve brought back!!!

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Just At The Right Time

You know what you deserve? You deserve so much better. So many things have happened to you whether it’s a bad break up, family issues, friends, whatever it is…. you pull through. You have made it this far and I’m proud of you. You truly deserve the world and since no one can give you that now, find someone that will. Apologize, forgive but don’t forget, find new friends. Ones that make plans with you and free their time to give you attention. You deserve all good things and don’t for a second think you’re not worth it because you remind me of the sun, you hide away but always come back even more beautiful than before. – unknown

“If you want to attract someone in your life, get a gold ring and wear it on the right index finger. The right person will come within three months,” advised my friend who sent me an article on how to use fengshui to attract love. For the past 6 months, I have been wondering what I should do with my life. Is my life going to be like this monotony pace until I cease to exist, always struggling and worrying, gliding in and out of companies like a ghost, never staying put in one place for more than two years? What do I really want out of my life? I kept asking myself this same question the moment I opened my eyes in the morning. But the answer simply eluded me.

So I started keeping a daily journal. The key is to write at least one page per day, first thing in the morning. You can write anything, (or in my case, I sometimes draw them out) – your dreams, your thoughts, or even questions you drive yourself nuts over. The practice is said to help clear out the mental debris stuck in my head, by clearing them out, I might find that elusive path that I have been searching for so long. I knew it’s time for a complete change – I no longer find joy in my career, despite slogging at it for the past 6 years without any significant financial rewards (I am still broke and have yet buy my own apartment); I want to grow old with someone when my son started living his own life (that’s my goal, for him to live independent from me and start living his own life and I need to learn how to let him go); most importantly, I want to know what it feels like to be part of a family, not just the two of us, mother and son. Yes, it sounds sad to even ask for the most basic stuff in human’s life but that’s what it is. I often felt guilty for not being able to provide my son the most basic foundation in anyone’s life. At the lowest point in my life, I had asked, actually begged, two of my closest friends to adopt my son, in order to give him the chance of having what I deemed a normal family life, a life I was deprived of since aged 9. One friend replied, she believed that I can totally winged it as a perfectly good mother and that I have strengths which I couldn’t see myself clearly at that point in time; the other friend simply dropped the bomb honestly, “Don’t go and die on me if I agreed to the adoption”. I gave up the adoption idea and simply trust that perhaps life might have something better lined up for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t grow up an orphan, even though sometimes I wondered if life would be less of a struggle being an orphan. I do have a set of parents, and a brother and sister. But I grew up with my grandmother and my uncles and aunt. I never lacked love and affection since I lived in a household of adults who loved me to bits. I was a princess in their eyes. Until I turned 9, when my mother decided I should move back to her home. That was when my childhood ended. My mother and my paternal family made it known very early that I was not accepted, and will NEVER be accepted, as part of their family. I had fallen from being the princess to being the rejected one. And it was a tough fall. From then on, I was always that spectator, watching humans interactions of love and affection, but never being a participant. It was so bad for a period of time, I had to cut myself in order to convince myself that I am alive (and transparent) and not dead (and transparent as a ghost). And I didn’t realized how much of a huge impact my mother had made in my life in the years to come.

I received my first epiphany at age 10 while sitting cross-legged on my classroom floor. There we gathered at the command of my English teacher, she sat on a small chair, and I craned my neck upwards, as if I was looking at the face of God, and it was as if she was staring at me intensely while dishing out words of wisdom: you, and you alone, have the strength to break the vicious cycle of your family’s problems/violence. Those words seared deep in my brain and I didn’t know how much influence those words had on me in the years to come.

My second epiphany occurred at the dining table alone with my grandmother at the age 12. She was concerned about the “complaints” she had heard from my mother and asked if any of the accusations were true. Like the Cinderella in the fairy tale, I wore clothes so cheap that people in those days assumed maids would wear (and the irony was some of my maids actually dressed better than me. I was once mistaken as the new maid when we went over to visit my mother’s friend); I did all the housework but was accused as the laziest one and the one who constantly “caused grief” to my mother (until today, I still couldn’t understand what grievances she had of me); whenever there were problems between my parents, I was the first one accused as the one who would cause their divorce (my father explained to me very clearly what problems he had with my mother and I was not even their the main argument and they never got divorced anyway); if I made my father angry (which was rare) I would be denied a plate (and a place, meaning no dinner for me) at the dinner. And that denial went on for a month. It was then my grandmother and I realized how much my own mother must have hated me. And all my grandmother could advised, when you grow up, move as far away as possible. There you can find your own happiness. I was 12 then. No one came to rescue me. No one came to adopt me away. What could I do? With her words and blessing, living overseas became a lifelong dream I cherished. And my wish came 16 years later at the age 28. I moved to Turkey in a heartbeat without warnings or saying goodbyes.

Because I grew up convinced I was unworthy as a human, I pursued relationships that were emotionally unavailable. I was always treated like an option, convinced that I was damaged as a person to begin with (one ex actually told me I must be so evil to be rejected by my own biological mother, so therefore he has the right to use me as his emotional support when his father died and since I had outlived my usefulness, therefore he has the right to say goodbye to me after three long years of relationship with me). With zero self worth, I married my now ex, who convinced me that I would not be able to find anyone better than him, or find anyone who would accept the damaged crazy me. He became the most violent person I have ever met in my life and stole money from me at night when I went to sleep. For a long time, I feared sleep, always on the alert that he might steal from me or woke me up from sleep to just yell and spit in my face. I made up my mind to run away the moment he almost killed my then two-years-old son when he flung things at me. It literally came down to life or death for both me and my son. At that moment of clarity, I chose life. With that, began my long journey in healing and finding myself.

When my father died 4 years ago, I had lost all hopes and shut down my feelings. I could no longer feel nor plan nor habour hopes. In a short span of 4 years, I had lost my marriage, all my friends, my job, my family and most of all, my father, who had been the rock I always fall back on whenever I got into trouble. I had basically lost everything. All I could do was to get on with my day and be done with it. In the midst of this seemingly everlasting bleakness, I fell hard for yet another emotionally (and he thought I am not worthy of his status) unavailable idiot. I struggled for another 6 months, unable to accept that I might have feelings for someone who thinks so lowly of me. Only I and I myself, could break the vicious cycle of the family’s problems/violence. I could still hear the voice of my English teacher. The hardest I had ever done was to walk away from his friendship and the potential of rising in position in my career. I chose myself. And I chose happiness because life is short. It took another two years for me to fully walk away from my current career and plunging into the unknown.

Life gives us a set of keys when we’re born, and our job is to find the right one that opens the right door. We may get lost along the way, finding ways to jiggle loose doors open and finding ways to pick locks or miss handles that are blatantly there.

I believe all the mistakes I have made all leads to the main lesson I was to learn: to reject my mother’s poor version of me and build a healthy version of myself. I lost all respect for my mother the day she accused me of getting together with my ex husband (and I was divorced for 5 years with no contact nor news from him). The kicker was my mother admitted that she only has two children, my brother and my sister, for the plain reason that they live on the same soil as her. I figured I do not need another toxic figure in my life and I was getting sick and ashamed of always returning back to Turkey after each trip to see my own family, only to sob my heart out in my friend’s kitchen. I finally closed that much needed to-be-shut door and just put myself out there, waiting to see what the universe has in store for me.

Out of curiosity, I bought myself the gold ring in May. I figured I have nothing to lose anyway and I can actually proved to my friend if that fengshui tip really worked. By wearing the ring, I had unconsciously opened my heart to the infinite possibilities life could throw at me. After a month wearing the ring, someone new entered my life. He is so different from the men I used to know. He started texting me day and night, telling me the minor details of his life. This is definitely something new to me. I have never known anyone who is so willing to share so many details of his daily life. To be so honest with me. Intrigued, I responded. Events escalated rapidly and now we are planning to see each other regularly. After the first date, my big mouth just blurted that I will introduce my son to him, which he responded positively. I panicked. Will he bailed out? Is he like the previous men I had known? I don’t even know his last name and yet I am inviting him to my house to meet my son! I must be mad! chided my mind. My heart and my mind were constantly battling. Be careful! yelled my mind. But my heart simply replied, Chill out. We’ll see where this leads. My mind only shut up when I found feathers floating towards me consecutively for two days. That’s how I knew even my deceased father approved of him.

Every failed attempt at love and every episode of drama, no matter how much it impacts you in the moment, plays a role in leading you to the right door. Just don’t hold on to the broken keys, and remember that even the biggest hurricanes shrink to a light drizzle of rain. Every wrong turn and stumble and rise is meant to teach a lesson.

He came when I am in the midst of transforming my life. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, we will need to go through fire to emerge a new and better version of ourselves. He came at the right time when I had closed all doors to my past. He came at the right time when I am paving the way to a better me, to build a better future for myself. “You deserve love, you deserve to experience the joys of life”, advised my friend who has been patient with me for crying myself stupid in her kitchen each time I returned from my trip from my family. And I no longer cry in her kitchen. Not for more than a year. He came at the right time when I am searching for my partner in crime. He came at the right time when I was mentally prepared (even though I still sometimes struggle emotionally. I still panic sometimes. But I am getting there with his sincerity and certainty of us). He came at the right time when I needed healing the most. To believe in the good of humanity. To have hope. To accept me as I am, my past and my future. And to want to know everything about me, both known and unknown to myself. He is the rock I look forward to seeing (texts or in person) each day and the last thing I hear (or read) before I go to sleep at night. He came not a moment sooner, not a moment later. But just at the right time. And I am grateful for his presence in my life.

İlgili resim

A Journey Into My Past Lives

Sometimes people or things come into our lives that are meant to create a point of stopping for us. They will not allow us to move forward without realizing that change is needed. Nothing ever goes according to our plans but everything goes according to the Universe’s plan. – We Don’t Meet Anyone by Accident, 5 Types of Cosmic Connections by Shelly.

Buddhism is big on the concept of reincarnation and karma. I grew up in a Buddhist family so naturally my father would sometimes sprout words of wisdom and at times he would gladly entertain my one million questions of “whys”. But his answers were never enough to quench my thirst for knowledge. I was always spiritually curious, partly driven by my trying to understand the sufferings of being the rejected one in the family, and another part by my numerous prophetic dreams and a mysterious voice that seems to come from within myself. And no, I am not hallucinating nor am I suffering from schizophrenia. A dream I saw at the age 14 cemented my curiosity for past lives.

‘We were out at the sea on a yacht. The only people I recognized were my father and uncle. The rest of the party were strangers. Men and women, some with blond hair, others brown but we were all Caucasians, not Chinese. A few of us went swimming in the deep sea when someone screamed from the upper deck: “Jellyfish! Jellyfish!”. We quickly scrambled up the yacht. I turned around and witnessed the biggest jellyfish I had ever seen in my own life. It was as big as the yacht. It was a spectacular sight.’

I woke up and went downstairs to look for my father, I was so excited to tell him I recalled what I thought was my childhood memories, and my father looked at me as if a tree had sprouted from my head. Then it hit me: I had never been on a yacht, much less with my father and uncle. It was just a stupid dream. But it was so real. So real I couldn’t shake that feeling as if I had lived through it.

How in the world would a jellyfish grew to the size of a yacht? Isn’t jellyfish those tiny pretty little things that I see around the aquarium tanks. I was trying to convince myself I probably had a very vivid imagination. It was until more than 5 years ago I came across an article on Lion’s mane jellyfish, which can grew up to 2.3 metres in diameter. That knowledge convinced me I probably had flashes of images from my past life. Besides, I was never a blond woman in this lifetime. But in that dream, I was blond. And I was a kept woman and my father was my lover in my past life.

After my father passed away in 2013, I returned to Turkey to start a new life. I was in the process of a very traumatic divorce and was looking forward to a fresh start in my new job. The moment I walked through the company’s door, I knew I would meet someone important in that company. It came in the form of a young man.

He walked past my cubicle but I did not catch his face. I was staring at his back, trying to figure out why he looked so familiar. But we had never met. I asked around who was he. They whispered back to me that he was going to be the future boss, he was here to learn how to run the company I was working in. A voice told me we would later become friends. True enough, we were introduced by my Japanese colleague.

When I looked into his eyes, I saw my own soul. He was familiar. I knew him somewhere long time ago but I couldn’t understand what I was seeing or feeling. We became close friends and my clients started asking me if we were more than friends. We were not but he was so familiar I couldn’t comprehend where I knew him. He also found me very comfortable to be around with. Until the day I made a foolish mistake by telling him of my blog and writing about him in my blog (which I later removed and was remorseful for being mean in my writings). He threatened to harm me and my son, which threw me in an uncontrollable fits of fear. I couldn’t sleep and sought help with a psychologist to process my fears. Despite his subsequent apologies for being too harsh on me and my therapy, I still couldn’t shake off the jittery fears. Subsequently, I sent him a message telling him I needed someone who could support and protect me, and so I quit abruptly and left the company, hoping to sooth my fears. But the fears did not go away. I saw him regularly in my dreams. Dreams of his future. Dreams of him trying to communicate with me. It almost drove me insane. I was overwhelmed. I went to countless fortune tellers, tarot readers, coffee readers, trying to help me understand why I am seeing him in my dreams. No one could give me an answer. He lived in my subconscious, that was the reply. Thank you very much, I would like to know how to get him out of my consciousness, but no one could give me a solution. And so my sufferings continued. And no, I was not in love with him. I just want to know what role he had played in my life. The dreams kept coming and it was overbearing and overwhelming. I needed a solution. I asked the same question for over two years. But the Universe was never silent. This time, he came in an even weirder dream.

‘I was a painter. He clumsily packed up all my paintings and was throwing me out of his house. His father never approved of our relationship. They were the wealthy family and his father couldn’t accept me as an artist. He couldn’t stand up for love, he couldn’t fight for me and so he bowed to his father’s wishes and threw me out. He couldn’t even look me in the eye. In the process of throwing me out, he destroyed my paintings and I was left with no means to support myself. I was left penniless, broken-hearted and in utter humiliation, I was simply left on the street. An even more powerful and richer man took pity on my plight and took me in as a kept woman. I had to live with the shame of being the other woman for the rest of my life. I lived upstairs and yet he still couldn’t look me in the eye.’

I was starting to see more of my past life because I constantly asked for it. But I still couldn’t figure out why he was stuck in my subconscious. It had to be more than that. Indeed, it is.

Around the same time, I was starting to read about people with near death experience. One particular lady named Anita Moorjani, who had cancer and died but came back to again with a strong message on knowing the purpose in your life. (You can hear her talk on TED Talk of her story: Dying to be me!) At the same time, I was researching more on Akashic records – everyone of us has a soul record of our past lives and our lessons we had learnt and those to be learnt in this lifetime. I had to know who he was. I had lost contact with this guy, but I needed to know why he kept coming into my dreams. And I was starting to sound like a love-sick girl who couldn’t get over a crush. But I am 100% sure I am not in love with him and I know I don’t sound very convincing to others. In my desperate attempts for my search for answers, I sought help from an intuitive healer, Kate Strong. She claimed to be able to read Akashic records and this is what I have got.

This lifetime was 50AD in the East Coast of the US. I was a male aged 20. I was an authoritive figure, a gifted native American man. I was a seer, gifted with vision and inner sight. I was sheltered because of my gifts and so I never became a warrior. He was a clan member and had a lot of darkness in him. He came to me, seeking my help. I used the Light to heal him successfully and so I was moved into the realm of a healer. But I was frightened by what I saw when I healed him. I was then killed in an attack, perhaps by another tribe, simply because I was singled out as gifted. I attracted attention to myself when I helped him. And I died because of that. My soul couldn’t get over my fears, overwhelm feeling and feelings of being trapped. I was angry. Why didn’t you protect me? Why couldn’t you protect me? I never learnt to be a warrior. I never knew how to protect myself. And I died saving him.’

My life now makes sense: the prophetic dreams; my ability to read the energies imprinted onto objects and photographs and thus the intentions of the carrier; I was told by two different people I could be a healer – my hands carry a lot of energies. My abilities carried over into this lifetime. It now makes sense why I felt fear, overwhelmed and trapped in that guy’s presence, and why I found him so familiar. My soul recognized him and it changed my life completely since. I also understood why I had to marry my ex husband, who went on to become alcoholic and abusive towards me (he probably was the one who actually killed me in that lifetime), why I sensed deep remorse on my ex part, why I suddenly developed nummular eczema only in my ex’s presence, how I am free of eczema for the past 8 years, why recently a coin-like scar appeared on my chest (most likely it was the imprint of being speared to death) and why I had to come to Turkey – to seek closure. In the process, I have learnt to take care and protect myself. I had learnt to be independent. In both lifetimes, I trusted him to fight for me but in both lifetimes, he let me down. In the process, I became a warrior instead – I chose to go solo and became a single parent. I learnt to take responsibilities for myself and my son, and I am doing beautifully well at it. Most importantly, I learnt to let go of the attachment and desire of him protecting me. For many years, I was seeking answers, I needed to find healing and closure. And I found them through my traumatic experiences in Turkey.

I always had that sense of uneasiness that I had somehow died unnaturally in my past life. I just knew it but at the same time, I didn’t want to find out. Until recently.

Sometimes a journey into your past lives helps to bring closure. At the same time, it provides a sense of acceptance (in my case, my abilities and it was a relief to know they are not all made up in my head), and learned of my earthly lessons and my purpose in this life. Knowledge may not be a bad thing after all. And I am grateful for all the experiences, good and bad, that made me (and helped me accept) who I am today.

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Will You Love Me?

If love is your goal, learn to love yourself first. Understand that you will never find peace through someone else, because peace comes from learning trust, understanding, and love within yourself first.

If people treated you like an option, leave them like a choice. – unknown.

I was walking down the Istiklal Street in Taksim, on my way to pick up my son from a birthday party when I strolled past this tiny bookstore, opposite the Old Tunnel Station. What caught my eye was not how tiny and cozy this bookstore was but this fat cat, lazing on its stomach in front of the window display, staring at it. I followed my gaze towards what the cat was staring at, and the book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, jumped out. Maybe it was the orange cover (orange is one of my favourite colour) that dazzled me, or maybe because I have been pulling out the Alchemist card the past few days when I was practicing my reading. A voice nudged me inside. That was how I ended up bringing the book home.

Like the protagonist in the book, The Boy set off in search of his treasure in Egypt, as foretold in his recurring dreams, while I set off to Turkey, in search of God and my purpose, following a recurring dream, which foretold my destiny lies in Turkey. Why do I believe in my dreams? Because they foretold my future. And so I left Singapore with faith.

Needless to say, I was feeling lost before I came to Turkey, and extremely unhappy with my life. I had promised myself if my relationship failed, I will move aboard and it failed the following year – my ex dumped me because I was not docile enough for him. Two years later, I left Singapore for good.

The main reason for my departure was not my ex. He was just a convenient excuse for me to move my butt into the unknown. The main reason was I couldn’t comprehend what I had done to incur the wrath of my mother. For the whole of my childhood, I couldn’t remember any time she had ever hugged me, much less praised me. Growing up, I saw my mother as the Sun, but no matter how hard I tried, I was never under the Sun. She never smiled at me or talked to me. I was constantly told to shut up because “my voice was hurting her ears”. And so I did what I do best – study. And got myself into a prestigious school. I thought I had done her proud, but the demand was constant. I never hang her clothes the right way; if I didn’t do the dishes immediately after dinner, I would get complained to my grandmother who would began another series of lecture as to why I should help my poor mother; when I fell ill, my father was the one who brought me to the doctors; once I was so sick, I couldn’t get out of bed and yet my mother accused me of faking it and left with the whole family to my grandmother’s. I was left in the dark house all by myself without dinner that evening. I was simply too sick to even get up to switch on the lights; when my parents quarreled and my father didn’t returned home, my mother yelled at me and accused me of being the one who would cause her divorce (my father disappeared for almost two years but he told me the main reason was my mother insulted him). I stayed away from home as much as possible. In school, I was the cheerful, talkative girl, but at home, I was the mute. Even friends who came over to play noticed. One particular friend was so spooked by my mother, she stayed away from my house, and me (years after I moved to Turkey, only then she confessed why she stayed away was because she couldn’t comprehend why my mother loathed me with all her soul). Since I couldn’t get myself married to get away from home, I figured by putting the distance between us may do us wonders. It did us wonder, but not in the happy ending sense.

Yes, I was the scapegoat child.

The cultural myths about mothers would not allow us to have other notions besides all mothers are loving and instinctively nurturing. No one believed me. “You are too sensitive“, I was often told. Everyone believes all mothers love each of their children equally. No one believed my story. My ex even commented when he dumped me, “perhaps you were harder to love, perhaps you were the devil to have caused your mother to reject you, her daughter!” I have a hard time struggling with my self-esteem. No one believed me.

Except my grandmother.

My grandmother took care of me until the age of 9, when I was forced back home. My mother deemed my grandmother unfit to parent me. I was afterall, her weekend child and I avoided my mother as much as possible. Even at the tender age of 9, I started showing signs of distress whenever I had to go to my parents for the weekend. My grandmother knew me as the mature kid, the old soul, the sweet kid who needs no parenting, who would automatically do my own homework and put away my books and toys before the day was up. So imagine my grandmother’s horror when she started hearing horror stories of me from my mother. Thus started my weekly lecture on how I should behave. Until one day, my grandmother started asking my side of the story, that was when the whole truth spilled out – I didn’t do whatever imagined accusations my mother made up and has been the one who did the family dishes and household chores since age 10 every single night (according to my mother, I never helped out and she had totally exhausted herself because I was simply selfish). It dawned unto my grandmother, and me, that my mother has been spreading lies about me. But I was 12, and helpless. And so my grandmother planted that first seed – “when you grow up, move as far away from your mother as possible.” That’s how I knew, I am fighting a no-win battle. Every night, I prayed to God to let me die and cried myself to sleep at night. I was dying inside.

According to Peg Streep, Parental Differential Treatment is very common, it even has its own acronym, PDT. The reasons a parent favours one child over another could be as simple as “goodness of fit” – the degree to which a child’s personality fits a mother’s own. Studies also show that the child’s developmental stage may also spur differential treatment; for example, a more authoritarian mother may be more comfortable parenting a younger child as compared to an older one who talks back and challenges her.

Perhaps this was my case. My sister and brother are favoured over me. This went on for a few more years until it got so obvious that my sister once asked my mother why was I treated so differently (that is, badly) even though all of us are her own flesh and blood. My mother refused to answer. From that day, my life turned even more hellish. I slowly realized whoever was close to me will ultimately cursed me or got angry with me, all for the same reason – I had caused my mother grief. But I had no idea what I had done.

My brother yelled loudly and told my mother not to pass me her old handphone, and called me the stranger, when she was due for a new handphone (her subscription plan allows her to get a new phone every two years). My brother protested when my family moved house and later found out my father allowed me to move in with them and into his room on the second floor while he had to move into the room on the first floor; he started yelling and arguing with my father over why he had to give in to me. My sister told me to move out because I was causing obvious grief to my mother, even though even she couldn’t understand what I had done to cause her rage. My mother docked my pay because she felt I was not motivated enough (even though, I had asked her to teach me the family business but she kept brushing me off, saying “can’t you see I am busy?”. Every single fucking day. In the end, all I did was shifted the papers into the files, vacuumed the floor and washed the cups. When it comes to pay day, my salary was cut to half because her royal highness decided I did not deserve that much money as I didn’t come to ask her enough?!). When my father got angry, I was the first to be blamed for his anger. I hadn’t had dinner for a month because my mother punished me by excluding me out on dinners. No matter what I do, I was always in the wrong. That was the last straw. I sank deep into depression – I slept in the day and woke up at night. Some days, I forgot to eat. That’s when a friend drove over to my house every afternoon to make sure I eat and pulled me out for some fresh air. And my mother hated this friend who became my only pillar of support.

The Turning Point

Out one night with this friend, lying on top of a children’s playground at the park, I could see the stars that night. I remembered the times when I accompanied my father to his morning visits to the temple and his stories of the stars in the sky. After that, I had a dream that I would be moving to Turkey. Dreams are the language of God. It’s the possibility if having a dream come true that makes life interesting. I was thinking perhaps my destiny lies in Turkey. It took two years but I finally moved. Of course, it caused a huge uproar and disapproval from my mother. For my whole life, I was searching for the truth. The truth to why my mother rejected me from birth. And it brought me to learn and earn my degree in psychology, to learn the world’s religions, to learn about past lives and reincarnation. When none could satisfy my search, I followed my dreams and move aboard.

But moving didn’t provide closure. In my 11 years in Turkey, I was nowhere near what I wanted to be: I married an abusive husband who carried on his abuse, just like the way my mother did except this is more physically abusive; I was broke and still financially dependent on my parents; I wished to die but wondered if my husband would beat me to death. I couldn’t see I was repeating the same pattern of abuse I sustained in my childhood.

It changed when I gave birth to my son.

Having a child made me realized what a mother should be. That my mother was not the loving mother I had imagined her to be. That it was wishful thinking – wishful thinking that if I do a bit more bidding, I would win her love this time; that if I were to give in more, my husband would not turn to drugs and alcohol and we could finally have our happy endings. Being a mother woke me up to reality. Rudely awoken to the realization that my reality was pure shit. This is not the environment I want my son to grow up in. Being a mother kicked in my instincts to protect. Since I can’t or haven’t learn to protect myself, that instinct to protect my son proved useful in propelling me to change. So I moved out and got a divorce.

In life, not all relationships will flourish. It take a lot of courage to recognize that and to move on from toxic relationships, or those that don’t contribute to your growth or well-being. To cut out my ex husband is easy because he is abusive and toxic. To cut out friends who demeaned me or threatened me takes a bit of work, some psychological counselling and a few years, but I am cutting out friends and companies I used to work in who couldn’t contribute to my well-being. But what if that toxic relationship is your mother? That was my litmus test.

The realization that my mother is toxic took place on the chair of my psychologist. I was treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from my previous marriage but was stunned to find out it actually stemmed from my childhood. That was the hardest therapy I had to go through. I wasn’t ready to deal with my almost forgotten childhood and so I quit. I continued going back to my mother but was unable to live with her for more than a week before I started running back to Turkey. I kept her at a distance. But I was still hopeful that perhaps, I could still win a place in the Sun. This went on for two years. And each time, after talking to my mother, I would be a total wreak for a few weeks, before I could even recover any shreds of sanity. Yes I was that naive.

Closure was never certain. I could not tell if I should commit to reviving the relationship or begin the process of moving on. Sometimes I wanted it to be final so I could recover from the mental abuse and create a new life where self-loathing would be replaced with self-love. It took me so many years and only recently I finally accepted that perhaps my mother has narcissistic personality disorders and to stop carrying her blame by myself.

We only accept a truth after we have wholeheartedly rejected it. 

Just when I was running out of ways to self-destruct, I hit a new bottom. My mother, in trying to get me out of Turkey, proposed to buy a house in Australia. For me? She has used that ploy before by telling me she had gotten me a house in Singapore which in fact, the actual house materialized but I was never given a chance to move in. It was given to my brother and subsequently, my mother took over. What can I do in Australia? How will my son adapt? I asked but my mother would simply brushed off with a reply, “we will see”.

“We will see” doesn’t cut out for me. It means uprooting to some place I have never been to. My son had just adjusted very well to his school and his environment, I have no wish to rock the boat. I was aiming for stability and stability to us means, a home we can call our own. My father had promised to help me with the downpayment for a house but he had passed on before he could fulfilled his promise. And so my mother did the same promise and I held onto the hope for the next three years. Until the day she told me she bought my sister a new Mercedes and I later found out the cost could easily translate into two-three apartments in Turkey. And my mother flaunted her generosity towards my siblings and my cousins, and rubbed it in my face. Like, she would buy an electric lunchbox for my sister while telling me my sister didn’t use it. And all I got was a set of cutlery that came with the lunchbox. I couldn’t understand why she was telling me or giving me that.

Closure came in the form of a lawyer telling me I couldn’t inherit anything from my father and my mother telling me “her priorities are towards my brother and sister”. I screamed at her (or did I?), “her priorities were always with my brother and sister”. I always felt she favours my siblings over me but to hear those words out loud is beyond words that could convey my despair. I felt nausea.  Ironically, my mother helped me achieve the type of closure I have been searching for and upon hearing those words, I fully accepted I could never hope for a space under the Sun. I deleted and blocked her number and all the numbers of my family. I am truly alone this time and determined to go alone. That was six months ago.

That night, I had a dream – I dreamt of filling up my cup from the tap but the water was full of worms. And so I emptied it over and over until I got clear portable water from the tap. I drank that cup of crystal clear water, it was refreshing. It was a sign of regeneration and a new life.

I began the life-long process of retraining my brain, engaging in self-love and self-care. Giving myself what I needed when others couldn’t. I needed to fill myself with the clear drinkable water. Finally I was able to get myself to a place where I understood and accepted my (lack of) relationship with my mother. Some days it comes easier, there are days where I want to dwell how much my life sucks. On such tough days, I am learning to go inward. I go to church every Tuesday and pray. I count my blessings and am grateful for the peace I have now. I lit a candle for the guy who kept coming into my dreams and remembered to lit one candle for myself. When I give to others, I am also learning to give to myself. I pray for others, I will also pray for myself. I remind and congratulated myself on how far I have come.

In the book, The Alchemist, the author wrote “in order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that He left for you. Everything in life is an omen.” I left Singapore on the faith of my recurring dreams that my destiny lies in Turkey. Recently, I spotted a dragonfly outside my house (which is not possible since I don’t live anywhere near a pond or any body of water) and a bee rested on my chest. They are good omens. That’s how I know I am in good hands.

 

 

 

The Younger Guy

But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the ‘normal people’ as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others.  – Timothy Leary.

All my past relationships are of the same age except for my ex husband who was two years younger than me. Older guys somehow eluded me, no matter how hard I’ve tried to seek them out. My friends and I seem to have this common notion that older guys will take care of their younger partners. After going through relationships where I was the main caretaker and them the giver, I was curious how it would feel like to be switch roles for once. And my prayers are answered when I met that French guy. Partially.

I had just returned to Turkey from my father’s funeral and was not in the mood for a real relationship when the French guy entered. At that time, I was in between jobs and had time to kill, he came into Istanbul for some business trip and he wanted to meet me after chatting with me for some time online. I had him interested enough to know that I am intelligent enough to hold a deep conversation with him, therefore he wanted to meet me when he first arrived Istanbul. He was one year older than me, but because I look way younger than my usual age, he couldn’t believe our age difference was only by a year. And he looked at least 10 years older than me. But we clicked.

On our first meeting, I had made it clear that I wasn’t looking for anything long term. I was still at a grieving stage and would give anything to make me feel again. I had him interested enough for him to keep asking me out. Every day. So interested that he cancelled his appointment with his other potential date (and pissed her off permenantly but that’s not my problem). After a week, he went back home and I went back to my normal life and started my new job. Three months later, he came back to Turkey to look for me again.

In my head, I always assumed it was just a summer fling. Having a fling. It was one of those bucket list of things I have always wanted to experience so that at the end of my life, I could look back and said to myself, I have truly lived a rich life. I definitely did not factor him in coming back to visit again so soon. Being the nice asian girl I was brought up to be, I couldn’t say no and let him stay over at my house. But it was dreadful. And yet I kept up my cheerful self, playing the part of a geisha the whole time, while racking my brains trying to figure out what does he want from me. He had made it very clear that he is not looking for a relationship but I have no idea why he came. This dragged on for one year. Until one day he made a request: come to Paris and spend a few days with him. The catch? I have to leave my son behind in Turkey. Arrange someone to take care of him, he said. I never responded. To my relief, he never came looking for me again. That was the only experience I have with an older guy.

During that time, I met a younger guy. We have a 10-year gap between. And yet, we connected like no other guy I have ever met before. It was only much later I realized I had met my soulmate. But we were never romantically involved, mainly because I was not emotionally ready to accept anyone, and partly because he was way too young for me. But his mannerisms speaks of an old soul, someone way mature beyond his years. I was impressed with his intelligence and wit. He could get my dark humour and I could understand his quirks. We were fast friends. Until the day when he thought I haboured a crush on him and threatened me and my son with harm if I ever stalk him. But I didn’t even thought of or wanted to stalk him. It is not my character.

Evetually he did came around and sort of apologized for his harsh words, only to rub mud into my face by telling me I should be ashamed of myself for falling for someone so much younger than me. I wasn’t even that interested in him in dreaming of having any romantic relationship with this guy, in addition, I was busy getting stability into my life after being estranged from my biological family followed by my grief for my late father. Relationship was the last thing I was looking for. I lost all respect for this young chap that moment, so much so I needed to get away from him as fast as possible. By breaking all contact, I thought I could save some dignity of being insulted by this younger guy. But the weight of the shame when he threw those words at me haunted me for the next two years. I needed time to lick my pride and process those disgust swelling from my stomach pit. I swore to God I will never date any man younger than me by even a day. Perhaps, that’s why I am still single.

That is until recently, I saw this news on my Facebook feed last week.

“The next French President is 39 years old. But that is not the news.
He is married to a 64-year-old, that is still not the news. His wife was his class teacher 24 years ago…..not still the news.
His then class teacher had a daughter who was his classmate….everybody including his parents thought this teacher’s daughter was his girlfriend….nope they were wrong. He fell in love with his class teacher when he was 15….she was ‘happily married’ with 3 kids….now the ‘happily married’ is relative in this context.
At 17, he promised to marry her. She was at the time 42 years. They got married in 2007 with our man now 30…. well she was almost 55.
Next month he is going to be sworn-in as the President of France 6 months to his 40th birthday while his lovely wife who has 3 adult kids and 7 grandchildren (her first child is two years older than her husband while her second child, the former classmate/sweetheart is the same age as him).
His name is Emmanuel Macron (39) and he is the next President of France.

So if you’re single, relax. He is not born yet.”

As of yesterday, he was formally elected as the President of France. That’s when it hit me: Love is not a number. It’s a respect you have for the other person, no matter which age you are in. It is maturity, respect, sincerity and take tons of guts to go for smeone who is not of society standard of beauty and relationships. This story reminded me of a young man I met 14 years ago. He was telling me of his foreign girlfriend who had to return to her home country, and what he was attending the course I was attending in order to move to her country to be with her. And she was the older one. I encouraged him to go for it. I was moved by his certainty that she was the one for him. “Love is not a number”, I encouraged. He left soon after.

Two years have passed and the sting of those careless words now weigh less. After knowing the French President’s love story and getting to know a friend who is now dating a man younger than her by 15 years (and they are still going together after 8 years), it gave me new respect for the men who dare to break societal conventions and go after what they truly want. And set new standards for the next guy I want to be with: maturity and respect. They spell true maturity beyond their years.

Besides, my life is anything but normal. I take pride in being an independent single mother and am now more emotionally well-balanced. That in itself is already a success story. Perhaps it’s time for me to accept other unconventional experience if they come. Perhaps I should also follow my own advice, “Love is not a number”. So now I take comfort in these words – “So if you’re still single, relax. He is not born yet.” Maybe he is still in school. I can wait. I am not in a rush anyway.