Rock Bottom

“We all get stuck there at some point in our lives. You can’t help it. You just have to learn to swim through it. Like in Finding Nemo, ‘Just keep swimming’. It’s the only option.”

When you were a kid, you had a dream. A vision of who you were meant to be. You were too naive to figure out who you were at that moment, but you had a vision for your future – a famous actress, a pilot, a doctor, a model – and as a child, you never knew the struggle it takes to make it to the top. An actress was famous because she was an actress, not because she struggled for years to get there, audition after audition.

I had a million of those visions, changing every other day. But there’s something that stayed constant – I’m going to change something in this world. I’m not meant for a regular job and a regular life. My life has a bigger purpose. I was not born to be normal. There will be something different about me. When I die, someone that isn’t bound to me by blood or marriage will cry their heart out.

This feeling stuck with me for years.

When I read Steve Jobs’ quote – “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – I didn’t just feel inspired. I related. I knew what he meant, I just didn’t know why or how.

The older I got, the more I realized how difficult this path I’m trying to tread might be. But that just motivated me. Everytime someone mocked me, I thought to myself, someday you’ll be sucking up to me. It was an arrogance that I didn’t understand but couldn’t help but possess. Life had probably had enough of it because I finally got a reality check one day.

I was sitting by the window in my parents’ house and I felt it crash through me. Writers often define the feeling of heartbreak as someone shoving a hand inside your ribs and dragging your heart out just so they can rip it apart. But this felt worse. The only change I will ever make in this world is the one to my parents’ bank account as I empty it by living off of them.

I didn’t know how to express what I felt. I was afraid to cry. Afraid that if I let it fall, it’d never stop.

I told someone, “It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do to stop feeling like this. I don’t even know what this feeling is.”

She replied, “We all get stuck there at some point in our lives. You can’t help it. You just have to learn to swim through it. Like in Finding Nemo, ‘Just keep swimming’. It’s the only option.”

I couldn’t take it. I’m not everyone. I can’t just get through it. I was different. How could I have gotten here?!

Six months later, I put up a post – “I Feel Like A Failure

The day I wrote it, something shifted in me.

For the first time in two years, I felt motivated to change something. So I did. I changed the way I looked at it. I stopped listening to the rest of the world telling me to get through it. I always knew I was different. So why be normal now?

Why sit and wait for something around me to change while telling myself “I’m getting through it”?

Funnily, I still haven’t figured out what the great purpose to my life is. But I’m a lot closer to figuring it out than I was.

Because here’s the thing about hitting rock bottom. There’s only one way out of it..


I Feel Like A Failure

There. I’ve said it. I’ve said the words I’ve been afraid to say for weeks, months now. This is what I feared. This emotion that I do not know how to process. This emotion that I do not know how to rise from. This emotion that I can’t make go away. This emotion that consumes me from the moment I wake up. The one that keeps me from sleeping at night.

We all make plans. Long term plans. I made a five-years’ plan. I was going to graduate university, get a job at an advertising agency and work my way up to one day be the Creative Director. Get my own apartment. Call my mom when I missed her food. Have this life that was so perfect and filled with flaws that were sprinkled all over it like tiny little snowflakes. I was moving forward and there came a point when I could see everything I ever wanted right there in front of me. All I had to do was grab it with both hands and never let go and I almost did. But then..

..The Universe happened.

I can be naive and childish about a lot of things but the very big decisions, I put a lot of thought into and I insist about sleeping on it because I believe you always see things more clearly after a good night’s rest. So that’s what I did. After a lot of thought, I made the decision to drop out, not because it was the right thing to do for myself but because it was the right thing to do for my family. I told myself it was a temporary situation. What I’d forgotten was that my five-years’ plan didn’t have enough wiggle room for that break. Because when I made that plan, I told myself it was all or nothing. I aimed for All. Life gave me Nothing.

In two months, it’ll be two years since my life stood still. When everything around me came to a screeching halt.

I’ve written five versions of this post. Nothing sums up what I’m feeling. I have no words to explain this thin line I’m standing on. This feeling where the smallest of pushes will turn me into a crying mess. I have lived all my life with insecurities that I locked deep inside me and some time over these past few months, they’ve been set free. I avoid conversations. I ignore successful people. I refuse to acknowledge happiness. Not because I’m jealous or negative. But because I long for that. Because it was so close and now it feels like a faraway dream that I might never have. I am the Titanic right after it hit the iceberg. Filled with chaos. Falling apart.

The most success I’ve had today is that I swallowed my tears. I didn’t let myself cry like I wanted to. And that’s not ok. Not by a long shot. This cannot be my life. I have made so many mistakes but the biggest one so far was the moment I let myself sink.

When talking to my father about a potential groom, I always said – “He has to be the kind of person that started his life from scratch. He can have the smallest apartment and we could be saving not more than $10 a month and I will still be proud of him because everything he has came from his hard work. I will remind him everyday that he’s worth it. Because he is all that matters.”

This was the mistake. I had so much encouragement and pride towards someone I’ve never met and yet, I didn’t have it for myself. I didn’t tell myself it’s ok to fall. I didn’t take pride in having the strength to live through that. I didn’t encourage myself enough to want to rise from this and make a life for myself. I didn’t value my life enough to do something about it. I just let myself go.

When I started this post, it was going to end right here. But as I pour these thoughts out, I’m starting to see things with clarity.

And now when I look back, I feel like I’ve paved the way to my own depression and I’m afraid that if I don’t do something about it, this will be the rest of my life.

So this is where I will start. Today, right this moment I take an oath to myself that I’m going to turn this around. I’m going to pick myself up and dust myself off. I’m going to find a Plan B and leave enough wiggle room for a Plan C. My cousin is getting married in March. When that wedding comes, I will not hide behind a fake smile. I will not avoid conversations. I will not find excuses to not go. Because right now…

I feel like a failure. But it’s not who I am and I won’t let it be.

Failure J.K Rowling

Fear | What are you afraid of ?

We all have things we’re afraid of : Spiders, Cockroaches, Dogs.. I’m most afraid of lizards and snakes. When I see a lizard around the house, I feel like my worst nightmare has come true. I run from that room. But is that really true? Are lizards, snakes, spiders, cats and dogs really our biggest fear?

There is something in us that is more emotional than those. A fear that only we know. That only we understand. A fear that surfaces every time we try something new. Every time we take a leap of faith. Mine is Rejection & Failure. When I like someone, I want to tell him. When I do, I clench my fists, praying he won’t say no. It’s not that I can’t take it if he does. I can. But somehow, I pray he won’t. I’m afraid of the “No”. I’m afraid to apply for a job and never hear back from them. I’m afraid to apply to university and get a letter that says “Not accepted.” Even though, I can live with it, I fear it. I’m afraid of the first emotion that happens. That moment my heart falls.  And as far as failure goes, I wasn’t the brightest student in school. I hated school. I failed constantly, exam after exam, test after test. It didn’t bother me. I was completely fine with it. But there are certain things I’m afraid of failing in. Like keeping up my bucket list. Not doing all the things I want to do with my life. I am afraid that I might wake up one day and realize, I’ve done nothing with my life. I’ve wasted it. I’ve failed at it. And I don’t like failure.

Sure, there are quotes that make you feel like it isn’t the end of the world. Like the dialogue Rick Castle from the TV series Castle says. “Rejection isn’t failure. Failure is giving up.” It motivates me in that second. It makes me feel like it’s ok. It’s not the end of the world. Ten minutes later, I’m right back to where I was. 

But beyond emotional fear, there’s a fear we have. A fear that is more literal than emotional. A fear of future. Of life. We don’t want certain things in our life. We are afraid of it, every day. It differs with each person. A mother fears her child’s safety. A couple fears separation. A cross-cultured couple fear parents’ approval. A homosexual fears acceptance. A student fears exam results. A patient fears death. Like I said, differs with every person.

My biggest fear for the future, in life : Failed marriage. If there ever came a day when I have to be standing at a divorce court, I know my mind would rather be dead. Every time I think of marriage, I fear a failed one. No matter how safe the guy makes me feel, I know this fear will live on till the end of my life. Our fears of life are usually from our surroundings. We don’t want what we’ve seen happen to someone else. We don’t want our child kidnapped like the one in the paper. We don’t want our parents throwing us out for being gay like the other gay kid’s parents did. We don’t want to fail like that one guy in our class did. So we restrain ourselves. We’re careful with things. We tip-toe around our fears. We give our kids a cell phone to keep track of them at all times. We refuse to come out until we know they can’t do anything about it. We bury ourselves in our books until we know there is no possibility of failure.

Even the most rebellious kid on the block fails to realize – his choices aren’t purely made by him. His choices are dictated by his fears. But what if you faced your fears? What if you dealt with it face-to-face and said “Bring it on!” ?

I had a fear. It was something that scared me to the very depth of my bones. The fear of losing someone I fall in love with. I stayed away from love. I told myself, I’ll keep my heart protected. I’ll put up walls nobody can ever break down. Nothing can happen then right? But then I met someone who tore those walls down. I fell insanely in love with him. A year and few months later, he walked away. I loved and I lost. I remember that day. Standing outside my university campus with my best friend. I couldn’t cry. I was in shock. I felt like a dead person. It was like I had no emotions. When I was finally able to get my thoughts and my emotions back, I felt broken. My fear was here. It had happened. And it sucked. Time passed by.. A year. Two. I was able to breathe again. I lived. My emotions were fine. My heart still bore a scar but it was back to normal. I surrounded myself with people that love me. With friends who cared. I had hope for the future again. I regained my faith in fairytales. I’d had my worst fear come true and I’d lived !

It taught me a lesson. Something I will keep with me for a long time to come. It taught me to face my fears. It taught me that that was, in fact, good for me. It made me stronger. And here’s the bonus : Now I know what it feels like ! The next time I love and lose, I know what to expect ! Coz remember.. Fear is always of the unknown ! 

So, What’s your biggest fear? What are you afraid of ? Face it ! Once you know what it’s about, it can no longer scare you. And if you need someone to hold your hand while you enter that dark room, call me and I’ll jump at the chance..