Category Archives: Random thoughts

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

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.

Your Life Will Not Change Until You Start Taking Action

People who are in love behave similarly to people suffering from mental disorders. – unknown psychological facts.

I have this colleague who has been telling me he wishes to marry and start a family for the longest time I had known him. After hearing him griped on his still single status for almost two years, he suddenly made this startling proposal last week: what if we, you and I, just simply get married to each other? To which, I  simply replied, “whaaaaaaaaaat!?” and shot him a horrified and shocked look, signalling: out of question! That was the easiest rejection I have ever made.

After my initial shock subsided, I am geniunely surprised at him even considering me as potantial partner because I have always been bullying him at workplace: I have lost count how many times I rolled my eyes at him, openly chided him for being incompetent and ocassionally threw sarcastic remarks at him (yes, I can be mean and love to keep people at a distance with my sarcasm. I am simply not known to be a warm person). But I am not cynical about love. I have friends who are in love with their partners and I am perfectly fine with that. After a failed marriage, my idea of love has changed. Life is too short to settle. I would like a passionate affair with the one whom I feel deserves my attention, to be with the one who makes me feel passion for life, the one supports me in every way, including my unexplainable urge to keep my 8-year-old cat pillow in my bed at all times. In fact, I have no intention to get married. Ever. Because I do not wish to be distracted, get drunk on love and become mentally impaired like those suffering from mental disorders. Most importantly, I put my career first. I love my life even more when I have reasons to wake up in the morning, which translates to work that fulfills my hunger for my purpose. And being in tourism or in love with anyone who couldn’t support my love for creating arts, couldn’t entice me to jump out of my warm toasty bed in the mornings nor keep myself up late into the nights. That’s when I realized one truth: your life won’t change until you take action. Action is the foundational key to all success. Knowing is NOT doing.

Like my friend who griped on and on of his single status, I have been telling anyone who have ears in the past two years of my wish to change career. Be your own boss and start bullying others, said my best friend, who often poked fun of my strong character in pushing people to get what I want. She reasoned that since I can’t change myself to be submissive and be the perfect employee (even though I’ve gotten romantically dumped once for not being docile enough and yet, I still couldn’t will myself to be less strong-willed), I should perhaps simply work for myself. But to become what? Since I couldn’t make up my mind, I have been stuck in tourism, running in circles for the past two years without any significant change. Neither did I see any growth, career wise or financially. It was starting to take a toll onto me. So when the tourism crisis hit Turkey the past year, I consider it a blessing in disguise, because only then it forces me to think more creatively. And I picked up my first love once again: arts.

Start by building. Pick one project and do whatever you have to do to ship it out. If you want to write a book, start by writing a post at least once a week, (I have been writing for the past six years, so now I have tons of materials to pick and compile into a book). If you want to become an artist, start by creating drawings and pick up that paint brush, (I went a step further by sharing my paintings on all my social media and created a public instagram which created awareness for my works. I have improved a lot since). If you want to be known for your handicrafts, start by getting those yarns and crochet something, anything that catches your eye. (I picked up my needles again to create handmade toys and bags because I was too broke to buy presents for all the birthdays my son had to attend every week). Anyone can do it. The best part is, it created a lot of attention and generated even more social invites for my son from mothers who wish to get my handmade gifts for their children. With each birthday party my son attended, I walked out with more projects that could keep me busy this summer.

Finally finishing my son's pet crocodile case, which he named it Buck😆😆#crochet #cartoon #art #handicraft

A post shared by sabineworld (@artsysabine) on

Deep in thoughts, Mr. Bear? #crochet #bag #gift #birthday #children

A post shared by sabineworld (@artsysabine) on

A gift for a friend's newborn baby #illustration #cartoonart #drawing #cartoon #decor

A post shared by sabineworld (@artsysabine) on

Once you start building and launching your projects, you won’t be able to stop. It is that addictive. Soon, building will become part of your identity. Even if your project fails, you will still keep at it. (I have created a partial colouring book which I had sent out to publishers but have yet to received news. Despite that failure to gain publication, I kept moving on and have already started painting projects for my friends’ bedrooms, at their requests). The steps that you take today will compound over time. All I did was picking up my pencils and started drawing again (and of course, posting up on social media helps a lot) three years ago. It helped that my efforts was met with praises and encouragement along the way. Friends and acquaintances chipped in their two-cents worth advice on how should I go on. And today I’ve gotten my first order to design and make a small gift for an upcoming birthday party for 30 children.

Build and launch your projects. Use this process to hone your craft or expand to other areas, so that when opportunity knocks, you’re ready to take full advantage of it.

Luck always favors the prepared.

Image result for luck image

As One Door Closes, Another Will Open: The Beauty of Letting Go

And so we enter our lives as Fools – untapped potential, unaware of what we are stepping into.
We forge our identities as individuals from The Magician to The Hierophant. With The Lovers, we see ourselves for the first time in the mirror of another.
We move out into the world with this new knowledge and we attempt to balance what we now hold (The Chariot and The Strength).
We take what we have gathered and we move within to integrate it (The Hermit) , while preparing ourselves for change that comes on integration’s heels (The Wheel of Fortune).
We meet with reckoning (Justice), we sacrifice, or are sacrificed, for the decisions we make (The Hanged Man); we die to ourselves in order to be born again (Death).
We are given the opportunity to understand what it is to walk between spiritual and physical, sacred and profane (Temperance), before descending into the shadows to bring our darkness into the light (The Devil).
Through this experience structure, that can no longer support us are destroyed (The Tower); we re-connect with something greater than ourselves (The Star), and we learn to hear the shadowy whisperings of the soul (The Moon).
Through illumination (The Sun), disowned, disembodied parts of our psyche are reunited (Judgement); and as one door closes, so another opens.
It is at this juncture of closing-opening that we embody The World.
(From The World – A Door Closes; A Door Opens)

I have just recently inherited a deck of Archetype cards. I was visiting my friend back in Singapore when she opened up her storage room. There it was, the red box, sitting pretty on her almost empty shelves in that dark storage room. And it was calling me to pick it up. Even though I had picked up a bit of tarot reading when I was still in high school, these Archetype cards are very different from what I was used to. I was bewildered when I opened it to find there was very little instructions on how to do a reading, much less on how to use the cards. Still, I was intrigued by what I felt when I picked up the cards.

Rocking on the rocking chair, chatting with my friend, she was recounting her recent encounter with a friend of hers and it was apparent she was having some difficulties with her friend but she could not comprehend nor articulate exactly what was the problem. It was then I picked out cards one by one and explained her situation in context with the cards. It was as if the spotlight had shone unto her, illuminating her path. She was blown away by how precise and accurate the cards have displayed her situation. At the same time, I was fascinated by the cards, but also by myself.

I have always been interested in the supernatural stuff. My cousin too. I used to go to his house every week and read up on werewolves, vampires, ghosts but what intrigued me most was the topic on ESP (Extra Sensory Perception). That was the reason why I picked up tarot cards from a bookstore one day. As I was fumbling through the cards, I couldn’t undertsand what I was reading nor could I connect with the cards. Perhaps I was too young to understand or knew what I was doing. I threw away the cards when I found out they would inevitably absorb my own energy and I was spooked by what I read, and so into the trashcan they went. I wanted to have nothing to do with the non physical world. I thought that was the end of it.

Or so I thought. Until a few years ago.

Image result for prophetic dreams images

The friend who gave me the deck of cards knew of my prophetic dreams. I would dream of things that would come to pass – starting from my going to a particular high school; how I would end my relationships with all my ex-boyfriends, even before we started dating; my moving overseas to Turkey and marrying into a Turkish family; my own divorce before I even gotten married. It was as if my future life was being played out right in my dreams. And yet, I have a difficult time accepting this. My friend pointed it out it happened too many times to be considered a coincidence. But still part of me refused to accept it. My father used to say, “It’s all a coincidence.” I clung unto his words fiercely as they put me at ease. My father cannot be wrong, he is my father, I had tried to convince myself otherwise and ignored the signs. But they never stop coming.

After my father died, I returned to Turkey shortly after and started my new job in a new company. I was looking for a fresh start. Barely 6 months into my company, I saw him. I didn’t get to see his face, but I remembered clearly his back as he walked past my window. I looked up from my desk, my eyes glued onto his back. He seemed familiar, I knew him somewhere, but I couldn’t recall where I had met him. Somehow, deep inside, I knew he would play an important role in my life.

We became close friends very fast. In fact, too close. Some people have warned that maybe he could be interested in me and that I should stay away. In private, I could not deny the magnetic pull he had on me. I refused to accept I may could have habour a crush but I simply couldn’t figure out why. He is too young. I was horrified.

Image result for prophetic dreams images

The end of our friendship came the day when he told me he shouldn’t hang out with me anymore, simply because I don’t belong to his social class. In fact, I could sense his disgust at me. How could I fall for someone so much younger? He posed that question at me. I avoided him that day on.

I guessed he took pity on me or maybe he felt we should keep a cordial relationship since we were both working in the same company then. He was going to be the future boss afterall, so maybe he figured he should get along with everyone in the company. I couldn’t get past the humiliation of being told I was too low to be his friend, and so I quit soon after. I thought I could put all that behind me. But I was so wrong.

In the next two years, he kept appearing in my dreams: I saw him and his girlfriend in my dreams (a long haired, tall brunette girl); when the company got folded, I saw his despair in my dreams; I could feel his presence when he was in the country or his absence when he went overses. In fact, he kept appearing in my dreams every few months, as if trying to share his happiness, joy, sadness, despair with me. Telepathically. I almost went insane trying to get him out of my dreams. I simply wanted the messages to stop. But it continued for the next two years.

He is your twin flame. My friend tried to explain the concept to me. But I was too distraught to get it through my head. And so I kept running away, not realizing that I was in fact just running on the spot. I kept asking why I kept seeing him in my dreams. And it was starting to get exhausting.

Not every person we meet is ready to commit to us.

Each one of us is an irreplaceable, unique, complex creature, embarking on our own soul journey, born with different thoughts, feelings, beliefs, motivations, intentions, desires and needs. We may place unrealistic conditions and expectations on this person, and when they can’t or won’t meet them, we take it personally and are left feeling dejected or worse, unwanted. And we start to question if there was ever a connection in the first place.

In reality, we may not be compatible at the period in time. It is usually no one’s fault and for some unknown reasons, often hidden, something is causing relationship dysfunction and disarray, and the connections simply won’t flow. The only option left is to take a huge leap of faith and calmly let it go.

Yes, it is essential to work out how to release our grip and surrender so that whatever is meant to be can truly become, without us pressuring it to be something different. Sometimes, the bravest and most courageours thing we can do is to resist the temptation to cling and gently let all our attachments to this person go. Surrender.

By surrendering and letting go, we are replaced with an immense belief and faith in ourselves and also the person we are choosing to let go of. We are sending out a strong spiritual signal to the universe that we trust in our own ability to deal with what is and what isn’t meant for us – most importantly, trust the other person to make choices that align fully with what they want for their lives as well.

As we open up this channel and sweep clean of the old energy, fresh new energy flushes in. With it arrives opportunities and possibilties that we wouldn’t have noticed before. All our energy was so caught up in holding onto the past, that it was blocking us from any new beginnings in the future. In a way, it is like sweeping out the negative energy so that positive energy can flow in. And it takes a huge leap of faith. But it is worth it.

I always believe that each and every significant others, be it friendship, lover or family, has a soul contract with one another. As soon as I gave in and surrender, he stopped visiting my dreams. I had stopped asking why I found him so familiar in the first place, I had stopped asking how we were related in our past lives, I simply accepted that I recognized him on my soul level.

As I shuffled my newly inherited cards, and pulled out the Lover and Liberator cards, I knew then his role is to awaken my senses so that I can accept my gifts. Just like my father passed and was swept away physically from my life, my letting go ushered in new positive energy and new understanding of myself in place of the vacuum in my heart.

Letting go brings in fresh energy and revitalises stagnant relationships by allowing others to grow. Surrendering shows us the beauty that can be found in the present moment when it is not pushed, pulled or twisted due to our fear of the future or oppressed due to our regrets from our past.

When a door closes, another will inevitably open. We just have to keep our hearts open.

Image result for prophetic dreams images

Family May Not Be Blood Relatives

We are often let down by the most trusted person and loved by the most unexpected ones. Some make us cry for things that we haven’t done, while others ignore our faults and just see our smile. Some leave us when we need them the most, while some stay with us even when we ask them to leave. The world is a mixture of people. We just need to know which hand to shake and which hand to hold. After all, that’s life, learning to hold on and learning to let go. – unknown.

I have heard that life starts at 40. But I think life truly starts when you knew how hard life can knock you down and at the same time, put the broken things back together to form a new life form. It starts the day you know how to enjoy, glide, sync, dance with the flow and rejoice in every diversity life that could bring you.

I have lived through days so dark, I could not even get up from bed at all. There are days that you are just having a hard time to grasp the reality of your life and accept that there is always a tomorrow. But remember this: tomorrow always come brand new.

Anger, pain, disappointments, doubts, grief, failures rob us from happiness and enjoying the life laid bare in front of us. This is natural. And it is okay to feel like the bottom of the food chain. There is always a first time and no one can judge you for feeling the way you felt. But life should not stop there.

I took my father’s death the hardest. It was four years ago. He came to visit me in Turkey just three months before he passed on. In his words, he relished with pride he had fulfilled his duties as a father by fully paying for my brother’s and my sister’s masters education in Australia, and for helping my brother start out his life by paying for the downpayment of his current home. Then he turned to me and asked, “what do you really want?” He promised it’s my turn that he would start giving me the attention I deserved. But he died before he could fulfill his promise. With his death, there laid not only the ashes of my father, who encouraged me along this journey of life, but also the graveyard of my two cherished wishes: to further my studies and a house to my name.

After his funeral, I uncovered a can of worms. With an email full of hatred from my sister, I discovered that my mother had been lying about me and that she had been poisoning whatever relationships I have with my blood family. And so I was forced to make Turkey my home since life is simply to hostile for me to live under one roof with my family. With that determination, I set roots onto Turkey with a heavy heart.

In the next three years, my mother had been trying to make amendments by being nice and supportive of me living abroad as a single mother by sending me financial support in order to send my son to a private school. With that promise, I enrolled my son to a private school. Until last year.

My mother started dropping hints that she will have to cut the payment to my son’s education because she might not be able to get tenant to her private apartment. Subsequently she made it known that I would be cut from my father’s inheritance simply because I don’t live in the same country as her so she decided that I do not deserve anything from my father, despite I had the rights to his inheritance. I was livid.

The last straw came when an old schoolmate started dropping cryptic messages on my Facebook about the “pitiful” plight of my mother. It was after talking to her that I realized my mother had started her lies again. This time, it didn’t just stop at my immediate family members. Her lies started to spread to my circle of friends and acquaintances. And it was getting difficult to maintain any friendly relationships with my circle of friends and acquaintances. I was getting paranoid at how low she would get. And so I hit back with the only fear I knew she had: my father’s inheritance. With a verbal threat of hiring a lawyer, which of course, I didn’t hire as I could hardly afford it. Then her lawyer replied and named a price.

In my mother’s heart, I was worth only 1% of my family’s value.  Her bitching, her mudslinging, her sarcasm, her curses towards me is only valued at 1%. With that 1%, she wanted me to shut up forever. And she had specifically told me I would “not get a single cent from her after her passing”. What hurt me was not the money but the wording the lawyer chose as it was written my mother had decided to part the money “out of her goodwill”. Out of “goodwill”? Whatever that means. I stored that email away and deleted her and the rest of my family members’ numbers. I never hear from her again.

There is a reason why people call those system “roots”. To have your roots fully pulled out and have your whole childhood (mostly bad actually) wiped out is not an easy feat. Festive seasons are always the hardest to endure since I live alone with my son. And so I sank down deeper into depression. I had lost all hopes of a tomorrow. I even started to let my son know of the organisation that looks after orphan children should anything happen to me. I was that depressed. I had completely lost all my confidence and self-worth. But neither my Facebook nor Instagram betrayed any of my dark thoughts. So all my friends didn’t notice anything odd with me.

Then an old friend decided to pay me an unexpected visit.

If you have an old school friend who “gets” you in every way, you are considered extremely lucky. This is the very friend, whom I had known for 22 years, whom I can talk anything, including spiritual stuffs. Along the journey of life, we have encouraged and helped each other grow, mentally, emotionally and most importantly, spiritually. I have come to recognize her as part of my soul family since we would inevitably experience the same challenges and growth in almost similar time of our lives. Most importantly, you know they would always get your back. Despite our falling outs and we had once stopped talking to each other for 7 years, we would resumed our friendship just like where we had left, minus the negative emotions from our last fallout. (With me often the one to run away from people and relationships and they, being the initiator and patch up our friendships.) I had learnt the lesson of truly forgive AND forget. And it seemed my soul had been calling out to her, that’s why she had the sudden urge to fly half the world to see me. She helped me reconciled my grief for my father, my grief for the loss of my roots, and most importantly, my grief for the loss of myself and self-worth.

Sometimes these dark things were allowed to happen for us to experience life. For us to appreciate the nothingness and abundance. To love, to patiently wait and to give. It is for your gain. It is for your betterment.

If you lost something or someone, you feel like a failure, you feel disappointed, or even disillusioned, just always remember that these things happened on time, and for a reason. It is allowed to happen because there is a new that will replace the old, to discover who are really cheering on your side. Your family may not even be your blood family. Your real family are your soul family, encouraging you every step of your way.

 

 

 

What is the use of regret?

I left him in the past, but he is still present in my heart. – unknown.

If I live every moment
Won’t change any moment
Still a part of me and you
I will never regret you
Still the memory of you
Marks everything I do  – Jordin Sparks, Tattoo

Recently I read a post, when your parents choose their religion over you, somehow the descriptions eerily reminded me of a distance past life I was desperately trying to erase. In that post, the author described how he was forced to leave his entire social network, support system and his identity when he decided to leave a strict religious group. Religion is a topic I would avoid like plague. Whenever people asked about my faith, I would give such vague answers, I believe they will start to wonder about my mental instability. Not once I gave a straight answer. In fact, I surprised a friend who had known me for a number of years when she found out that I do sometimes go church. On my own time. Without the congregation. Even fewer people knew I was baptized in the year 2002. My closest friend doesn’t even know this.

My ex boyfriend brought me to a church that considered itself as “non-denominational” or “fundamentalist”. It was cult-like. Even though the congregation was small, the church’s seating would be clearly divided into half: the men would sit on the left while the women would sit on the right. Sundays would mean I had to wear skirts. Pants were frown upon. So it was a struggle for me to switch to wearing skirts since I am always the pants person. My family had been trying to get me to parade in skirts with hilarious results. No amount of praise or flattery could get me to wear skirts. I could tell my family were edgy, worrying needlessly over whether was I a lesbian, or worse, a butch. It all changed when I met my ex. Let’s assume it’s the power of love. Come Sunday, I would dutifully donned on a skirt and go for my Sunday service. I was a changed person. It was a miracle.

I was considered a controversy. Simply because I was brought to church by my ex. So they questioned my sincerity in coming before Christ. I would occasionally be grilled over my knowledge in Christianity by my cell leader. It came to a point whereby it felt that they were trapping me with their bible knowledge to “prove” that I was a fake. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, frolicking among the sheeps of the feeble young minds, the offsprings of the seasoned true Christians who fought their right to believe in Jesus. Sometimes it felt like they were afraid I would poisoning the young ones with my worldly ways. I was a fucking target board. Did I forget to mention that I was trained professionally as a psychologist? And according to them, the study of psychology is against the word of God (Oh please!). Let’s assume it’s the power of love on my ex part to continue his relationship with me. I was afterall, a perfect walking, breathing live target board and by miracles, we went on for the next three years.

Towards the end of our three years, my ex received a brochure from a sister church in Malaysia entitled, “How to find a godly wife”. It listed a list of criteria that signified that God showing which kind  of woman should be chosen as a brother’s future wife. And one of the criteria stated that the woman and man should meet while in the service of God. The problem was my ex and I met while we were in school at the age of 12. It took us 10 years to muster the courage to confess our crush with each other then. So we didn’t meet while in the service of God, or rather we met while in the throbs of getting our education. Subsequently he developed nightmares of being locked out of heaven and being left behind on Judgement Day. So he dropped the bomb and told me I am definitely not a choice by God (according to that stupid booklet he received). That was the end of us.

But that’s not the end of the story. I was harrassed by my congregation. I was constantly accused of having committed a great sin, so much so God is punishing me simply because the guy DUMPED me. They urged me with terrifying fervency to come to God and confess my sins. Repent, girl, repent. Ask for God’s forgiveness. Wash your sins with His blood.  I was even accused of being the evil one, simply because my mother rejected me. What the hell! My mother has always preferred my siblings simply because I was born a girl and I am the eldest. My paternal family made sure my mother remembered her shame of producing the first born GIRL, by sending me away to be taken care of by my maternal grandmother. But what the hell did I do? The guy dumped me over a booklet of some random criteria thought up by men. Simple as that. Finally I was asked to go away to another church because, in their words, I was an embarrassment to the church. That was the only church I knew, the only social support I had because in the three years, my ex had successfully isolated me from my friends, my social life and my greatest love of my life, ballet (because he sees ballet as a sin and I should stay away from sinners, that means, all my friends). I had simply dropped out of Earth.

Things weren’t easy at home. My mother, convinced that I must had transgressed with so much sins from my past life, that I am paying my karma in this life. My parents were convinced something is seriously wrong with me for the guy to dump me at the age of 25. I was considered beyond hopes of ever getting married in this life. It was like a funeral had taken place at home. Permanently. The atmosphere was dark and heavy. With everything in my life falling apart, I was seriously suicidal. It took a close friend who visited me everyday and kicked me out of my house, to get me to my senses.

One night this friend brought me out to the nearby park late after midnight. I lie awake on top of the playground, with the dark sky enveloping us and the stars scattered above, it was that moment I began to have a spark of hope. To harvest a dream. To explore this world. To discover if God exist. To finally understand we are all connected. It started with a butterfly in my heart and grew rapidly into a phoenix. Within a year, I moved out to Turkey to explore my destiny.

*******
Seven years, a divorce and a funeral later, I returned to Turkey and started work at a new company. Soon after, a tall young chap walked into the company. My first instinct was, this guy is familiar. It’s like I had knew him before but I was sure then we were total strangers. I didn’t know why but I just knew then I had to know his name and that he would play an important role in my life.

I got introduced by a colleague and we became fast friends. We clicked instantly. We could talk hours and hours. It’s like time had became water. He could read me and I could read him. Looking into his eyes, it was as if I was looking at my own soul. He confessed that he was surprised at the ease of our conversations. He could confide his deepest secrets to me. He doesn’t know he also held some of my deepest secrets, despite we had known each other for only a few months.

I had made the mistake of telling him of my blog. He knew I would reveal more when I write rather than when I talk. So he checked in with my blog. And he was pissed over one of my posts (which I later removed). And so he threatened me. Threatened to harm me and my son. Accused me of being a spy, prying him out of his deepest secrets. I was so traumatized by his threats, I lost sleep, I wept daily, and I was exhausted from “running”. And so I entered therapy. He didn’t know he was the catalyst for my healing.

He made sure I knew I belonged to a lower statue than he. That remark slapped me hard in my face. I didn’t recover from that shock. Not ever. I shot him a random message and proceed to resign from his company. I packed up and left. I don’t know why I had to go. But I left.

As I lie awake on my bed, waiting for the gods of sleep to descend upon me, I mulled over my past mistakes, trying to make sense of my recklessness. What’s the use of regret? Did I ever regret anything? I don’t regret opportunities taken; they were the catalysts forcing me in a new direction. The only regrets I had were the one I had never done: I didn’t stay to work out my problems with that guy. I didn’t finish my masters. I didn’t take up my father’s offer to enroll part-time in an arts school. All the what-ifs creeped from underneath me, sat on my chest, squeezed the air out of me and clouded my mind with the sour acid of regret.

Then what?

Is this what the church meant by dropping down on my knees and pray? To ask for forgiveness? Kierkegaard once wrote, “The self is a relation that related itself to itself.” We are all given the task of relating ourselves to our past and to our future. Days passed are not an issue here but to interpret major missteps in the past might prompt a person to lose faith in himself. That is the challenge that shapes who we will become.

Kierkegaard observed that you don’t change God when you pray, you change yourself. Perhaps that is the function of regret. I can’t retract my past actions but I definitely can change who I am in my act of remorse. Henry David Thoreau put it well: “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”

To live afresh is to be born again. I can’t erase regret but at least I can admit I do miss people.