A Love Letter to Me

A few weeks ago, I decided to take another route to work: a bit more expensive compared to the usual route, but with lesser potholes.

So I drove, with the GPS turned on in case I missed the turns. I missed the first one, and I decided to trust my gut feeling, looking at the ole signboards and keep going straight. I was nervous to the point of not realizing how long I drove – from the unfamiliar surroundings until a curved road brought me into a familiar road, at last – and it was indeed a different route from what I planned to take. At last, I arrrived at work safe and sound, despite taking a bit more time compared to usual, because I drove slower while I was nervous and losing confidence in myself.

Maybe…my life is like that, after all.

29 was the age I thought I would be happy: a great job with a great pay, a great husband, a great car, a great house, and a great family. Dream big, I used to think, for it would be the best way to motivate me to reach the so-called success. Until I learned the hard way that effort, no matter how great you thought it was, won’t always translate into success.

I was losing my marbles, I crumbled under the pressure. I was suffocating in the darkness. I hated those feelings. I hated…me. Me myself, the person whom I used to encourage with all my heart, was faltering. All because I just couldn’t see the meaning of the light at the end of the tunnel. All I could focus on was the darkness inside the tunnel. At last, I withdrew myself from the tunnel, but I took the darkness with me.

I knew my family was worried to see me like a living corpse, holed up in the dark room. There were days when the darkness felt calming, but there were days when the dark energy was choking me, trying to drag me away along with it. The only light in that dark room came from the screen of my laptop, playing dramas on it. Episodes were played, fingers tapping on the keyboard, the cupboard kept talking. My world revolved around dramas, because the light kept me distracted from the darkness around it.

Then, I decided to try getting out of the dark hole…by devoting myself to a job. I made up my mind to do the best in whatever I would end up doing at that time…and off I went to McDonald’s. I started working there, and I held on. One day, two days, three days…months passed by, but I was still plagued by the darkness. No matter how long I worked, pulling 12, 16, or even 20 hour-shift, it won’t go away. Of course, I did get better in terms of mingling with other people, but I would always be nervous around them. Years of dissociating myself from people turned me into an awkward potato: I was never truly there even in the outside world.

I wanted to break from the darkness, and perhaps, I was thinking that maybe spending more me-time would nurse me back into a somehow normal being. I quit the job, although I was already so close to become a Store Manager (I got picked into a fast track management program) and my pay was good. Everyone was sad about my departure, but they expected it; they somehow saw that I was different and won’t stay there for long, but somehow I’ve lasted longer than what they expected.

Breaking off from the darkness and the long hours proved to be difficult, because I only got more stress and more hours from the new job; still, I give it my all, because it was the only thing I could give,: my all. I believe that my parents’ prayers were finally being answered when I got a job offer, this time a desk job with normal working hours. I decided to start over with a clean slate, as usual, giving my all and learning the ropes without feeling shy to ask questions. I bugged people, asking them lots of questions here and there, but those questions helped me to learn everything faster as I picked up the new things I needed to know for work. I didn’t care if people saw me as a loser because of my past, because I can show them what I got in the present.

Darkness didn’t let me go that easily. Again, it came without any warning, strangling me using the hands of another person who is very dear to me. I wanted to hate that person, but I did not want that person to be consumed with darkness too should I started spewing hate. Soon, I found myself wrestling with the idea of running from the darkness again: will I make it through this time?

I went back to my parents’, at the same time keeping my panic self under control over the unexpected situation. I was angry at myself, at everything, at everyone…

Until I spent the time watching my parents living the life after retirement.

Their daily routine seemed almost boring at first: they would wake up early and tended their little garden, building and planting everything from scratch, cleaned the house, went out to buy groceries, cooked lunch while bickering about ingredients and food (at the same time commenting behind each other’s back while talking to me), and then sat over drinks muling over random things and making random comments at the TV shows. Their mundane lives was almost therapeutic for me. Although I was mooching off my parents at that time, they didn’t say anything. They fed me and took care of me, just like how they watched over me when I was drowning in the darkness. Though things changed, they remained unchanged; the only thing changing is their graying hair.

It was almost like a wake-up call for me to leave the darkness behind, to let go of its crawling presence, to free myself from its embrace. I…deserve to be happy. Only by finding happiness within myself could I make my parents smile instead of worrying about me. I had to part ways with them since the holiday was over and I had to stay by myself, but it was not the same anymore. Instead of the darkness, I chose to turn on the lights myself. I cooked for myself. I took care of myself. I tried to embrace this weird stick that is myself.

Or maybe, I was never normal; I was always the weird kid.

The kid who made herself pick up reading because she was curious about the content of the colourful books.
The kid who wouldn’t stop asking “Why?” to everything. (Yup, I was that annoying kid.)
The kid who transferred schools so many times because her family moved around a lot, hence causing her to always start her school year later than her peers.
Yet, she was the kid who would surprise everyone by emerging as the top scorer in the examinations held a month after her transfers.
The kid who would rather spent her holidays at the hostel instead of burdening her parents with the transportation fees.
The kid who never yielded her first place spot in the school except in two instances over the course of  five years in secondary school.
The kid who seemed to sleep all the time during the public study session but ended up reading the textbooks to sleep every single night.
The kid who made history of being the first recipient from her school to get a national award.

Also,
the kid who made the decision to quit everything despite being someone who would never quit anything;
and the kid who is still alive until today, despite those days when she would think of extinguishing herself to join the darkness.

Happy birthday, weird kid. You’ve done well hanging on, and you will only get better. Do well, because you will only do well in everything you want to do.

Love,

your 29-year old self.

12 thoughts on “A Love Letter to Me

  1. Lovely. So lovely Mimi. And so relatable. You don’t know how relatable this is to me. Thank you for sharing.
    Turns out we’re not that far apart in age despite me thinking of you as a super mature super seniorπŸ™ƒ. It only makes things even more daebak. All those Historical posts! Empress Ki recaps! Oh my.
    I’m relieved to see you were being a need-to-research-and-write-everything-down young lady just like me, a lot more than me!
    I too used to daydream, still am daydreaming, despite knowing how unrealistic they are, despite all the evidences against. My future life goal seems harder and harder to achieve, my efforts never seem to be enough, sometimes I don’t even know my “dream job” is my real favored occupation or whether I have a dream job at all. There are times I wish I were nonexistent.
    I’m very introverted and quiet, and sometimes my friends and I give myself the prep talk of “it’s ok to be an introvert! Holing up should be acceptable because it’s my inborn personality!”. I know it’s not simple like that. While being an Introvert is indeed a good thing, I know it’s not normal or healthy to like being quiet and inside my room 24/7. I’m not “adulting” enough for my age. Even though many say and I myself think I’m way mature than my age in my “head”, I dont have matching worldly experiences. Majorly because I refuse to have them. This quarantine situation only “appeared” to be heavenly for me but it must be destroying me even more, because I haven’t stepped once outside our garden for 3 months now except the one time mom dragged me to visit aunt and little cousins whom I love very much, but drained me heavily after mere 2 hours.
    I’m mooching off and getting fed and dressed by my parents who are retired and gardening. I’m deathly afraid of disappointing them. I’m also deathly afraid of future work life but also of the fact whether I’d get a work life at all. I see articles online all the time saying positive things like :It Gets Better we Promise!, but I don’t think I believe it.
    I however want to dream on there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and that I would be as lucky as you to be calm, kinder towards myself and somewhat at-peace at the age of 29.
    So
    Thanks again for this piece. It moved me a lot. Lots of hugs from this younger sister.πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—

    1. Even if this a virtual hug, I really hope that you can feel the warmth because I really want to give a huge bear hug! hugs

      I know, I know that feelings and emotions really well γ… γ…  I too was the kid who wanted to make my parents happy and did whatever it takes to please them, but I ended up neglecting myself. Things might be different with our situations, but I hope you will continue to believe in yourself and choose what you think will be the best for yourself. I too made the choice back then because I felt that my own self was slipping through, and I needed to protect myself. I stayed in the darkness, mulling over and over again whether it was the right choice. What if it was wrong? How do I fix it?

      True, there were thousands of times it felt so wrong and I wished that I could go back to the past, turn back the time, reset everything…or just forget everything. I even tried to run away, although I wasn’t even sure what was I running away from. I always ended up standing in front of our house, sighing at my failed attempts, but now I realize that it was me that I was trying to run away from. I hated myself and that made me hate everything. I was cooking up toxic thoughts inside myself and found myself hating the world without realizing it.

      I too spent time reading all those motivational books and quotes and articles but I just couldn’t find myself in those. Yeah, how do you promise that it will get better for me, dearest writer? How do you know, author? HUH? Even I don’t know it myself! I was angry and fuming, trying to find what on Earth is this thing called happiness.

      I can’t say anything as a guarantee, but I realize that believing in myself was probably the best thing I’ve ever done. I was a proud young lady who seemed to have everything set for my life and things might have changed, but I know that the trust I have for my own self has never changed. If believing in yourself feels like an impossible thing to do at the moment, maybe you can start trying to understand yourself better. Do things YOU like, things that make YOU happy, as long as it’s not harming yourself or anyone else. Even if it takes years to come and there will be times you will doubt yourself, hang in there and you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

      Lots of love and hugs from me, a (slightly) senior at life (but I’m not that old, really…) <3<3

      1. Thank you! Thanks a lot.
        And I’m so sorry I was too focused on other things in your letter that I actually didn’t realise it’s your birthday! I read it but somehow it didn’t register in my head, I can’t believe myself.πŸ˜… I’m sorry for being rude. Wish you a VERY happy birthday. May all your wishes come true, and may things only get better and better in the years to come. *sends positive vibes across the continents.πŸ€—πŸŽ‡πŸŽ‰πŸŽˆβœ¨πŸŽŠ

        1. Awwww please don’t be sorry! It’s just a birthday, but I am still surprised and touched that so many people are wishing me happy birthday ❀
          It’s a very happy birthday indeed, thank you so much for your kind wishes~ Sending you lots of love, hugs, and warmth from here! <3<3<3

  2. I’m sorry to learn that you’ve been struggling for all this time, dear Mimi.. Big hugs to you.. πŸ€—β€ I’m glad that you’re doing better now, and that you’re being kinder to yourself. I’m sure your parents are proud of you, for all the progress you’ve made. I’m sure your future is brighter than you think! Happy birthday, dear. ❀

    1. Awwww don’t be! It was my choice to keep it hidden despite my multiple attempts to write about it here…I guess it was a good thing I didn’t post those drafts, because all the sob stories would have made me wallow in self-pity much longer!

      Thank you so much for the wishes kfan ❀ I feel loved today, and this might be one of the best birthdays ever to me ❀

      1. I’m so happy to hear that this is one of your best birthdays yet! You ARE loved, dear Mimi.. very likely a lot more than you would imagine. ❀❀❀❀❀ Enjoy your special day, and may each day going forward, be brighter than the one before it! 😎

  3. Dear Mimi, I am sending you lots of love and virtual hugs. I was truly touched by your story and it reminded me of myself when I was younger. I am sending you infinite blessings on this special day and and blessings for an abundant an joyful year ahead, as well as blessings to give you the strenght and courage to create the future that you deserve and dream of. Dream big!

      1. Hi, I came back here after a long time. First time commenting here.
        Reading this post makes my eyes brim with tears, that’s just how much it resonates with me.
        Dear Mimi, our life journey is almost the same: high achiever, top scorer with supposedly a promising future. But after all this while, I still don’t think I can be proud of myself. My past was so splendid that somehow I can’t accept the ordinary, or dare I say, pathetic, present me. I have always being hard and critical of myself, and that makes me wallow in unending self pity. It feels like no one can understand me, because they don’t have the bad luck of falling into the same predicament like mine.
        Thank you for letting us into your innermost, intimate thought and feeling. Thank you for showing us that under that turbulent emotions, there is a beautiful person who yearns to rise again, who wants to believe in herself again. That was very inspiring. I wish I have the same courage as you do, and I pray that from today onwards, no big grief will befall you, no circumstances will fail you. Whatever you do, you will always emerge victorious, and whenever that happens, you will be a better version of yourself.
        I might be late to the party, but happy belated birthday to you Mimi.

        1. Dear cheonjae-nim,

          I hope you aren’t being too hard on yourself. hugs to you and I hope the warmth will reach you, no matter where you are ❀

          I truly understand that feeling…I understand really, really well. I used to compare myself with others, wondering I couldn’t be like them when I was seemingly putting more effort in everything compared to them. I beat myself while hating how the world is just an unfair place to me…but I came to realize that the world will always be unfair. There are people that will get the short end of the stick, or sometimes no stick at all. It’s up to us to take care of ourselves, nurturing our hearts to accept the harsh reality and perhaps, making the world a better place to live in for our own selves and other people.

          I hope whatever it is, you will continue to believe in yourself until the very end. If everything else fails, do it for your own self, as long as it doesn’t bring any harm to you or other people.

          Also, thank you for sharing a piece of your own life γ… γ…  And thank you for the encouraging wishes! ❀ It might take a long time for me and it might be even longer for you, but always remember that you are worth it.

          Love,
          mimi ❀

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