Heartbreak: Two Years Later

I cannot believe it has been two years. 2018 seems just a few days away. I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. I felt so small, so weak, so vulnerable. I remember, even at my wits end, wanting to please and make you happy. Why did I do that? I wish I was angrier, more upset, less concerned with how this was impacting you and more concerned with my own well-being. I wasn’t. I was the last thing on my mind. As I sat there and cried, I didn’t think it’d be the last time I’d see you. But, it was. I didn’t see you again. I had taken all my clothes, all my belongings, and left. You didn’t try to come see me. Nor, did you contact me again. The only time you contacted me was a few months later, in September, when you texted me to say that you were getting engaged (I cannot help but, laugh at this situation now because, it’s hilarious to me for some weird reason lol). I remember crying in my office (the huddle room) looking at Confluence Park. Now, I look back and feel a bit of relief at that moment. I cried for many days after that. I have come to accept that I move a bit slow through life. I don’t make haste decisions nor do I rush into things. This is good at times but, at times – it makes things prolong for way too long (like our relationship, for example). So, I didn’t go into an illusion of “okayness” right away. I didn’t lie to myself that I was good. I did rely on some of my vices (working and studying something I have no interest in). I got into “law of attraction” which is frankly overused and oversaid 2 years later. I attempted to pray. After, studying and working and still feeling super lost – I did the most privileged thing someone could do. I booked a trip to Spain, France, and Morocco. The trip was fun but, the most important thing it did for me was that it gave me TIME to think. I wasn’t working 50+ hours a week and trying to learn how to fucking code so, I could actually sit down and think… I thought about a lot of shit apparently cause, I realized how painfully broken I was. How six years with you and whittled me completely. How taking care of you was exhausting. How affirming you for every single insecurity left me completely drained. I ignored these things before. I put you in some sort of an imaginary pedestal that I had created. How can someone I have loved be draining? My ego is the “size of  house” like Drake would say that someone I loved had to be a moral standard for a human being. I had also learned to live in your shadows. You always came first. Your work was always more stressful – your ambitions always more important than mine. I was working a full time job, helping my parents, studying part-time for a Masters, and still managing to take care of your physical and emotional needs. I did not deserve that bullshit. I realize that now. And, when I came back from my trip – I must have been on to something because, I seeked for help. I found a therapist and called her crying. I started seeing her every week. Every single week I paid $160 dollars (which was a fucking lot for me). I cried to her, I thought about my feelings for once, I started journaling, I still attempted to pray, and I cried the most I have ever cried. In the midst of this, you called. You called crying because the woman you married wasn’t here. I was still sympathetic – talking to you like you were the victim of the situation. I didn’t take long to realize that you only saw yourself as the victim. You weren’t upset about hurting me but, you just wanted reassurance that I wasn’t hurt for your own sake. You mostly complained about how you were having a hard time dealing with changes in your life. You defended your significant other to me while, talking her down at the same time. It greatly annoys me when a man talks negatively about a woman. Even if she is your wife – I found myself empathizing more with her than you. I didn’t give a damn about how you felt and your presence actually annoyed me. I care about how she would feel knowing she married such a coward of a man. I hoped you learned to treat her properly and I hoped you had grown up so, she wouldn’t have to do the work of reassuring, affirming, and building you up. Maybe not, as you’re older than her – hopefully more mature. Maybe I carried my burdens easily so, you felt good adding on to it without thought or care. You never saw me as an equal which made it easier for you to mistreat me. I understand this now and I don’t feel anger. Although, I don’t think there is anything to forgive – I feel less of a burden now. When you called me, I could have continued to keep in touch – to salvage a type of friendship or relationship (which, at the time, I so longed to do) but, there was no friendship there to begin with. Friendships are not one-way transactions where one person gives and gives and the other takes without regards. Friendships feel good and they re-energize you, they do not leave you depleted. I can be honest about my thoughts about you and my experiences of you now. For so long, I was defensive and wanted the memories to be “good” and wanted to avoid admitting that I got mistreated. It’s not a glorious feeling to admit as a woman but, I think it’s important to be honest to ourselves. We have all given too much to people who didn’t deserve us. We have been hurt, beyond words, by people who didn’t deserve our love. I am good enough to admit that I am hurt. I will probably continue for a bit more (remember, how I do things slowly!). I am getting there though and I know it’ll only get easier from this point forward.

 

May 13th: An Off Day

We all have off days. Today, I woke up with every intention to follow my to-do list and have a productive day. But, after my meetings ended around 1 PM – I found myself feeling off. I felt a bit anxious and worried. I did not want to do the things I had planned to complete that day. Instead, I ended up eating, watching YouTube, and scrolling through Instagram. This, in turn, made my anxiety even worse. I then forced myself to stop scrolling and take a nap. I napped for a good 2 hours and woke up feeling a bit better. Sometimes, we need to turn the mental windmill off by sleeping and that is exactly what I ended up doing. After I woke up, I did things that I had neglected to do in the morning: I read my Daily Stoic prompt of the day, I journaled a bit, and I studied for 1 and a half hours like I had planned. I wasn’t able to finish all my to-do list by a certain time but, I felt good that I had fulfilled the promises I made to myself. This I have realized is crucial – the more promises that you keep that you make to yourself, the higher your confidence grows. You cannot trust yourself to do great things if you cannot trust yourself to do the small things in life. This is why the completed task felt so good to me – I had promised myself something & I did it!

Today if you’re having an off day, take some time to readjust and come back to it.

May 10th: Suitcase

Rohan woke up at the middle of the night and heard a loud tap on his window. Tap! Tap! Tap! He rubbed his eyes and removed his blinds to look outside. He could see a few yellow cabs go by and heard a faint siren going by. Rohan couldn’t figure out where the tap came from but, he was too tired to try to figure it out. Giving up, he decided to go back to sleep but, right before he could close his blinds – he saw it. It was there. An object glimmering in the street-light. He couldn’t quite figure out what it was but, it looked gold and shiny. A box maybe? It was the dead of night but, the glimmering box was so tempting. Rohan thought he could quietly open his door, run down the two story apartment, cross the street, grab the box and get back to bed without anyone noticing. He put on his house shoes and a hoodie. He tiptoed to the front door to not wake his mother. He saw the eerie stillness of the hallway and almost turned back but, he had to find the mysterious box! He ran as fast as he could down the apartment stairs and crossed the street. He could see the box getting bigger & bigger as he approached it. His head was spinning and he was thinking of all the possibilities of what this box could be. When he saw the box, he realized it wasn’t a box at all – it was a suitcase! Who would leave a suitcase across his street in the middle of the night? And, what did it contain? He had these questions but, had no time to come up with answers. He grabbed the suitcase and started crossing the street. He pried open the front door of the apartment and decided to take the elevator to the second floor. He got to his front-door. Coast was clear & his mother was still asleep. He carried the suitcase to his room since dragging it would be too noisy. Once he got to his room, he could finally open his treasure box (a suitcase). He slowly opened the zipper of the suitcase. As the suitcase became ajar, it started moving slowly. Rohan was too tired to notice it moving but, could feel a chill coming from inside. After the chill came, he heard a slight grunt coming from inside the suitcase. When he finally opened the suitcase, a hand creeped out and grabbed Rohan. Tap! Tap! Tap! the hand tapped Rohan’s floor as it grabbed him. Tap! Tap! Tap! Rohan could hear his window tapping again. He tried to fight but, could not get away from the suitcase. Tap! Tap! Tap! The noise kept getting worse and worse until that’s all Rohan heard and disappeared inside the mysterious suitcase.

May 9th: Sleepwalking Through Life

There is a great YouTuber who makes songs for each Enneagram types. I am a type 9. If you don’t know much about Enneagrams, you can take a quiz here: https://www.truity.com/test/enneagram-personality-test. There is a great line in the song about 9’s that says “I have been sleepwalking since I was fourteen”. This line always gets to me because that is exactly how I feel. I am 27 now and I feel like most of my life has been me sleepwalking through it. My memories are foggy and unclear. I cannot remember a time I had clarity with a situation or pursued a goal because it was truly my own desire or idea. 9’s tend to please others and I feel like I lived up to the world’s idea of who I should be. I am slowly starting to get in touch with who I am. It feels like I am finally melting through a frozen box around my heart that I installed myself.

Maybe one day I will get to know who I am and what I desire truly. But, for now, I am letting myself make small decisions that help me get there. How do I start sleepwalking through life? The first step, to me, seems to be by figuring out what I want.

What do I desire in my life? What goals do I have that I want to reach? How can I use intention and action to get there? I don’t have the answers to these questions but, I will keep asking them to remind myself of who or what I want to become.

Take time today to ask yourself what YOU want.

 

May 8th: Incremental Progress is Better than None

The dread of not completing something can get so intense that we find ourselves unable to act. We freeze because, acting on it can seem too overwhelming. Let’s say you made a promise to yourself that you’ll study for 2 hours every day. One day, you have too much work and do not have 2 hours needed to study. You can let this change in schedule set you back often leading to self-judgement, guilt, and lack of self-trust. Or, we can take some time, guilt-free, to study. Instead of studying for the whole 2 hours, we can study for 30 minutes and still make compounding impact to our goals. The 30 minutes of work can help reassure your confidence & make you proud of yourself.

Take time today to make incremental progress. It doesn’t have to be for that long – just 30 minutes, 20 minutes, or 10 minutes.

May 7th: What Brings You Joy?

Happiness is a topic that everyone has tried to tackle in history. Jesus Christ, Buddha, Seneca, Aristotle and every remarkable person has attempted to find the key to happiness. I am not a philosopher or related to the Lord so, I don’t have an actual key or an answer that leads to happiness.

One thing I know is that we can control what we do to increase joy. What actions brings you happiness? For me, I get joy from nature (put me by a lake or an ocean and I am a happy woman), writing in my journal and reflecting, praying, and making progress on my goals. When I set time aside to do these things, I am more joyful. I notice that I am more available to others. I feel a sense of purpose. When I haven’t done these things, I am more selfish with my time and more resentful.

Write down a list of things that bring you happiness. Try to eliminate anything that brings instant gratification (i.e. social media, television, YouTube etc) and include things where you are in full control (i.e. going for a walk, writing, journaling etc).  Try to do these things every single day and see if you feel better.

Take control of your happiness. Take small actions everyday to increase your joy and purpose. 

May 6th: Ask for Help

When we are buried in our problems, it seems like there is no way out. We may be tempted to put on a face, to appear brave, and to want to handle it all ourselves. I have been there. I am a proud person and it is very difficult for me to ask for help. As I get older, I realize how much of a weakness that is. I pride myself on my independence but, sometimes – we all need a helping hand. When you’re buried neck deep in stuff, ask for help. Speak up about your circumstance so God can provide you a way out! Oftentimes, our ways out are in people. People who have seen our work, people who can vouch for our character… people who are placed in your path for a reason. Ask ask ask like the answer will always be a YES.

Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock, and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. 

May 5th: Seek Joy in Friendships

I am not the type of person that is surrounded by friends. I am a self-proclaimed introvert. I like my own space and I live according to my own means and often in my own world. I have no problem spending time alone. But, I am also a human being. Human beings thrive in friendships, social circles, and a community. Although, my nature is to be an introvert – as human beings we’re naturally designed to seek social support. This means that no matter how comfortable we’re on our own, our brains can actually benefit from friendships! Friendships and kinship brings us joy, comfort, and even good health. It also gives us the opportunity to care for, listen to, and spend time with others. 

Take a solitary activity that you like to do, like drinking coffee, and ask a friend to join you tomorrow (even virtually through Zoom). The conversation and togetherness is guaranteed to bring you joy. If you don’t currently have a friend (trust me, I have been there many times) – try a sibling, parent, or even a pet. Anyone will do! 

Take time to enjoy those around you.

May 4th: Do the Difficult Things

How many of us have felt anxiety on a Monday morning? The creeping sense of dread amplified by procrastination and work we put off last week is debilitating and paralyzing. I have found myself in this position countless times in my life. I procrastinate on things that may take me 10 minutes to complete and find myself filled with dread for hours and sometimes days over that 10 minutes of work. Currently, I have been procrastinating on studying for a certificate at work. I put it off for so long that even thinking about it paralyzes me and fills me with dread. This dread will continue to consume me until I take action. Yesterday, I chose to take action. I put aside my emotions and started studying. 10 minutes passed which turned to 30 minutes and turned to 2 hours. The monster of work that was in front of me now felt manageable. 

Sometimes, what relieves anxiety and dread is to take the first step and do the work. Once we get past our emotions of fear, anxiousness, worry, and regret – we can start working. Once we begin, the anxiety minimizes and the dread disappears. Only through action is this possible. 

Override your emotions of dread and take the first step towards a project today! Do the work no matter how fearful or anxious you are. 

May 3rd: Dopamine Detox

Do you ever feel foggy in your mind? You have a million things running in your head and you feel a sense of not being present or lacking clarity?

I feel this way a lot of times. I am the type of person that needs constant stimulation in my brain. I am comfortable when there is a podcast, YouTube video, or music playing in the background at all times. This habit is so extreme that I never spend more than 30 minutes in silence (which feels horrifying to admit). Even my showers are occupied with podcasts in the background and my cooking is supplemented by a good Netflix binge. Although, this can be momentarily gratifying – it is terrible for my brain and my mental health. It makes me feel foggy and distracted. It also makes me feel like I have no free time (scrolling in social media and watching content eats away at my time).  It turns out I am not the only one that has this issue. Talking to my sister and my friends, I noticed a lot of us are addicted to our distractions. We cannot turn away from our phones for too long without reaching for it again and again.

This is way, I decided to do a dopamine detox.  Dopamine detox or a fast is a day where you do not have access to anything that brings instant gratification: social media, content (Netflix, YouTube, etc), television, porn, alcohol, drugs, etc. It allows for certain things such as journaling, reading, and walking. 

I personally allowed myself these things:  I can write for this blog, I can journal for myself, I can eat healthy foods, I can study and work, and  I can talk to friends and family. 

I feel a sense of clarity that I haven’t felt in a long time. I actually feel like I have free time rather than just letting the day get away from me. In moments where I have been tempted to reach for my phone out of habit, I have been just staying still or writing in my journal. It has been a really great experience so far but, it has also made me realize how many hours I spend on mindless activities. 

If you can, please do a dopamine detox for one day. The clarity you will feel will be worth the efforts. 

Be comfortable with silence.