Self Sufficiency VS Dependency

My life has been one of self-sufficiency. My mother didn’t raise me holding my hand and protecting me from terrors. She raised me to do that for myself. She also taught me and my sisters at a very young age to cook, clean, study by ourselves and handle most things most kids wouldn’t. She taught survival. It was necessary. I didn’t grow up emotional and caring and sweet. I grew up building a tough exterior, layering it, protecting my soft insides.

Then you take my fiancé, an only child, who has always had his parents to hold his hand and guide him and provide for him and do everything for him. He’s lived life. He’s had friends, he’s grown up in relative comfort with very little hardship and the gift to be open and vulnerable and love and care with an innocence I had a very long time ago, but lost with every layer.

When you put two personalities like us together there will be fireworks and there will be bombs!

Both require love and attention. But one has never learned truly to give it openly. You should be able to guess who.

He brings the vulnerabilities in me to the surface and I expect the care from him, but the fact that I have grown up hiding these vulnerabilities and soft parts means I can’t show my care as openly or as freely as he is capable of. I expect him to be tough and handle things alone while demanding him be soft and available when it comes to me.

It’s a constant battle between my soft insides that trust him so much to depend on him and my tough exterior that doesn’t allow me to truly ever show how much I care.

I know I am broken and I have faults and I can’t always get the more emotional and caring parts of life right. I also know that I am one person who cares enough that if he gets hurt I would be able to feel it. I also know that I have blocked that part so well I no longer feel. Why is the question?

Life changes people in so many ways. Your experiences, your circumstances, the people around you, the people who are not. We die a little everyday and are reborn everyday too. How we are reborn isn’t always only determined by what we want and know. It’s determined by what happens to us. I lost someone I loved and I think that changed me forever in ways I am yet to truly understand.

Truth of the matter is some days I look at my fiancé and I cry, cause the love I feel for him is so immense. That scares me so much because I know that if I lose him I wouldn’t survive. I have been raised to survive though, so I do what I must for that. I hide my feelings, I build more layers of tough exterior and I keep him at bay.

How I truly feel about him though, that is there in those instances when he doesn’t see. The way I stare at him with tears in my eyes, feeling like my heart would explode, the way I want nothing but to hold him and never let go. The way I do small things for him, all the while complaining loudly, but from which I get so much pleasure. I care in secret. People who love openly don’t see secret care. They expect you to be just like them. Capable of absolute openness and love. No fault of theirs. They are the eternal optimists. I belong to the pessimists, the ones who never expect anything not to go wrong. Our lives are limited in so many ways.

Our love is so much harder because of our personalities and our different outlooks on everything, but it is a love that gives my life meaning and softens the hard edges. I am better for it.

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A Father’s Love

We call our father’s by many names. Appa (Tamil), Papa, Thatthi/Thathha (Sinhala), Dad, Daddy, Father (if we are being formal), Pere (French), Vader (Afrikaans – anyone thinking STAR Wars), Baba (most other African countries) – these are just a few and the ones I commonly know and or have used.

No matter what word we use to call/refer to our fathers, they have the same significance to all of us. They represent love, security, strength and safety. For those of us who have absent fathers we search all our lives for those things in other places.

I was a part of both, as in for a period my father was there and for a period he wasn’t. For some period though he was physically there he was not present in any other way.

I grew up like any other girl idolising her father, but in my case the fact that me and my father were alike meant I also felt we had a special connection that no one else was privy to. I loved that. I loved that it was something only I had with my dad and it needn’t be shared with my sisters (I have spoken before on sharing and life with three younger sisters), or even my mum for that matter. He would know how to make me smile. He’d make me laugh and distract me when I needed it and he loved very much the way I do, with his entire heart that sometimes, it did him no good. I loved my dad was a true enough statement.

Parents, we sometimes forget are human too. My dad was human, with insecurities, with faults, with weaknesses and when these manifested themselves in harmful ways to the entire family, I hated him as much as I loved him.

I was always at odds with myself, torn between loving my dad and hating him for his weaknesses. Blaming myself as a kid thinking there was something wrong or lacking with me for him not to change his ways. For him not to give up his weaknesses. I blamed everyone around him and blamed him too. I was hardest though on myself.

When my dad died he was so far gone. Alcoholism had taken it’s toll on his body and his mind. I was left with guilt and regret cause I never fully built the bridge to reconcile and I never really told him that yes I was angry with him but yes I loved him too. I think though that he knew. Little things he did. The way he looked at me and the way he cared. See no matter what I never doubted my dad loved me. I just always questioned why that love was not enough to change.

I am getting married next year. I always dreamed my dad would walk me down the aisle, give me away and I don’t have that. He’s not there. He’s not going to see me in my wedding gown and get emotional. He’s not going to cry giving me away. He’s not going to dance with me and twirl me around. He’s not there to make me okay when I am stressed with all the planning. He’s not there as my security and surety. I hope though that where ever he is, he’s happy and happy with how I have turned out and what I have chosen for life.

Even though my dad is not going to be there, another father figure who has been there for the last 11 years will be present. My step-dad who is also quite human (no inhuman parents out there), is there to walk me down the aisle and dance with me for the first time and cry at every moment and pretend he isn’t crying. He’ll make me laugh, he’ll act silly and smoke too much cause he’s sad to give me away, but he’ll be there.

I have been blessed to have two fathers. Who have both taught me so much. Not only on what not to do, but also on what to do. It took amazing parents, who have strived through heartache, difficulty, weaknesses, mistakes to raise me. And they will all be present that day as I wanted whether physically or not.

Raising a child is difficult, raising a child well is even more difficult. Raising a child when you are the farthest thing from perfect is an impossibility almost, but they did. Neither I nor my sisters can claim to say we have made too many bad choices in life. In instances where we have tried to, they have stepped in. In the instances we did, they have been there to pick us up.

Parenting is a lifetime job and sometimes I think an after life job too. You never rest once you become a parent and it is hard from what I have seen. You never stop loving though and you always try your best no matter how screwed up you may be or how much your children screw up.

A parent’s love for their child is the best example of humanity at work. Even though parents are human with all sorts of weaknesses and their children have weaknesses too, they still love their children as though they are all perfect.

A Father’s Love is unconditional and God’s love for us is that of a Father.

Hoping so much it hurts…

Have you ever hoped for something so badly that it physically hurt? I am in the middle of hoping to get a job that would fix so many issues that I am currently facing in my current workplace that seep into my personal life as well.

I have constantly been praying and I am close to tears with how badly I want this to work out and how much it will mean if it does.

The level of frustration and the feeling of being cornered is so strong at my current workplace that I want to scream.

Does a workplace have the right to make an individual feel so hopeless and worthless? Does anyone or anything? Yet we let ourselves be bullied and cornered daily by people, circumstances and situations that should have no power over us. Why do we do that? We need to make a living, we need to have the good things in life, we need to survive. We need to grow. We need to, we need to and we need to! The world judges if not! We all choose things in life even though we may not want them. What is the meaning of life if you go through it doing things that bring you no joy??

I am a writer at heart, I am dreamer, I want to help people, I want to do something meaningful with my life. But these are not goals or dreams that are accepted by the world. These are not jobs (unless you have already proven yourself in these areas). They are shunned, frowned upon. You are told, ‘do not be stupid’, or called crazy. Or asked, ‘how will you live? What will you do for a future?’

Our world does not support nor encourage taking chances. It would much rather we all fit into a box and stay there. Rebels, thinkers, they are not welcome. They cannot be controlled. They cannot be contained once the fire is lit. So they douse those flames before they start. Before the spark that could set the world on fire even starts they are doused.

We are all rebels, born into a world that has no place for us. Those of us who keep fighting to keep that spark alive are those individuals the rest of us look up to. No one ever succeeded truly by being in a box.

Embrace the rebel within you! Remember your strength and uniqueness. Never lose your spark or let the flame die!

Crossroads…

Life is a journey and we all come to many crossroads along the way. They are the pivotal moments that determine the next chapter and how it turns out. You never know whether the choice you are making is the right one cause you don’t have the outcomes listed out. You can’t see the future. It’s a game of chance and sometimes the decisions can be revoked and changed, at other times it seems they can’t.

They are scary and nerve wrecking moments and you feel the pressure of it all so keenly. For an anxiety riddled person like myself every crossroad decision is a struggle with a long time taken to decide on the road and a million what if scenarios that play in my head.

My crossroad now is marriage. I come from a broken marriage, a broken home. I have no template for a healthy relationship or a happy marriage. I have a million anxieties and very little comfort from anyone for them. People whether it’s those that love you or not don’t really understand or can’t relate to pain you have been through. They think it’s simple and straightforward when the reality is its the farthest from that it can be.

My anxieties are things I deal with daily. Some days I do well. But on other days I don’t. They get the better of me. I feel them closing in and choking me and I want to run. I have usually run into books and found solace there. I don’t have that luxury now. I have to be an adult and not get lost, not runaway. I however do need to deal with them now as they are causing extreme problems and recklessness.

I don’t know how to deal with it all though. I do however know I need to start. The question is though what will I choose now? Which Road will I take?

Who Have I Become?

There is always a confusion when you grow up. How do you know if you are changing too much, how much of it is really you and how much is what you made yourself to survive, fit in, belong or just had changed with no conscious thought on your part to do so?

I remember a little girl who always felt unheard, who always felt lost in a crowd with her family, who wanted something to call her own, her own identity; to be told she is special and never finding it. She withdrew and finally got lost somewhere along the way. Not without a fight though. She always fought for what she wanted. Never won.

I remember a teenager, lost and confused and full of hurt and insecurity, whose father had just left, whose mother she always depended on to be the rock was found to be human, who didn’t have any friends, who couldn’t confide in her younger sisters out of a duty of being the eldest, who was so lonely and confused. She craved for love and attention and to be told she was worth it; that she was worth the sacrifice of giving up drinking, that she was worth being listened to. She fought then too. She fought to keep her head above water in a life that was a sinking boat, she fought feeling unloved and unworthy and somewhere along the way she too was lost.

I remember a girl who fell in love deeply with a boy who made her feel everything she always wanted to feel, special, heard, like she was the only one in the world. Who treated her like an equal in spite of an age difference. Who never missed an opportunity to be there. Who made her life a little brighter, a little less lonely. He was everything she wanted till the day she found out she wasn’t the only one and she would never be the one. The tears she cried were endless it seemed. And she tried, she truly did. She too was lost along the way, so were the tears.

I remember a girl who came back to her homeland as naive as can be. A ball of innocence dropped on a hard, harsh, unforgiving ground. Who fought hard to be herself and remain the way she was. She too was lost…

I remember a girl who lost her father. Who lost the one man she wanted to save. A girl who wasn’t there when he died. Who was left alone in a harsh world with guilt, and regret and a broken heart. A heart that had taken so many beatings but this was it. She lost her heart. She lost her fight. She lost.

I remember a woman who fell in love in spite of all the odds being against her. Who took a chance on love again and who learnt that even a person who had completely lost her fight, her heart; could be restored when someone else loves them enough to stay through the good, the bad and the ugly. That someone would have to be very special too.

I know the person I have become. I know what has made me who I am. I know the hurts, the joys, the regrets, the lessons. I still wonder though what if I never felt lost in a crowd as a child would I like people more? I wonder if I was never betrayed by my parents as a teenager would I be more trusting and open to believing the best of people rather than the worst? If I never fell in love that first time would I have loved differently now? If I never came back would I have been happier even though a future was not guaranteed? If my dad hadn’t died, would I be less broken-hearted and more optimistic? If I didn’t take a second chance at love would I be happy alone?

What ifs… We know they are impossible but we still think them.

The truth of the matter is I am who I am today due to a culmination of events throughout my journey in life. If one tiny thing above hadn’t happened a different person would be writing this blog now on a different topic too probably.

You cannot predict life, but you have to accept that there is a greater purpose to everything. That the whole universe isn’t necessarily out to get you, it’s out more to build you. And those versions of you that presumably disappear, well that is a metamorphosis. They blend one into another and every version of you is like a level up. You choose how you turn out. The universe (in my case God) just sets the challenges to get to the next level.

Remember who you were, accept you are and keep growing to be the best you to walk this earth because there really is only one you.

I Still Go On…

I read a beautiful quote on depression today. It goes like this:
“If you are chronically down, it is a lifelong fight to keep from sinking ”
Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

For those of us who deal with depression we have all probably heard the question, “What is wrong?” or, “Oh you’ll be okay.” Or some of the other 1000+ well meaning lines that are told or asked us.

The truth is most times we don’t know what is wrong. There is no explanation as to why you feel like all the colours in your life were getting washed away to leave a gray picture behind. That you just had the happiest day of your life, but now you are feeling like you are in the deepest, darkest hole of hopelessness.

People do think though that just because you are depressed means that those happy moments didn’t mean as much. That is the farthest from the truth. They are everything. They are that light that shines, tiny at first but then growing as you focus and they guide you back. We need those happy, bright light filled moments to fight the dark that always is around.

It’s not easy this fight. It’s never ending, constant, and some days you lose and some days you win. What needs to be understood is that we fight. Everyday that we are alive, we fight. The strength that takes, the amount of effort, the amount of uphill going to sometimes only slide all the way back down, the courage, the bravery, that is not as recognised as it should be.

In spite of all the misunderstanding, all the difficulty, the judgement, all the well meaning comments and questions I still go on. As do more illions who fight this unseen illness that plagues us. We still go on. And we will continue our fight, for we are worth fighting for.

Maybe I am wrong…

I don’t usually admit I am wrong as a rule, it is a bad habit formed from always being right. Or at least in my mind. My over-confident attitude and cockiness sprung from the fact that as a child I could watch a person, their actions, reactions and figure out they were bad and I was always right. Of course it could be there are very few good people in the world and I never had the opportunity to meet one of those.

The point is when I convince myself I am right I will defend that to the end. I will fight for my ‘right’ and I will hold on like Rose did after the titanic sank. Like a lifeline.

However I am now left to think that maybe I am not always right. That maybe what I perceive or judge to be right isn’t so. Maybe I am human, very human, and I make mistakes, and unless I admit it I won’t grow. I have been holding on for so long convincing myself that what I am holding onto is what is meant for me. It has made me unhappy and I still hold on cause I tell myself there are ups and downs and that is life. Honestly though, if my belief was not there I would never let myself be tortured and made to feel like crap for so long. I convinced myself that hey there are good times. There are moments when things are perfect and I am dreamily happy. But those are rare and in between a lot of sadness and heartache that I can’t handle anymore.

It’s not like I wasn’t without fault. There is a lot of fault and a lot of things done wrong on my part. However I really thought that it was a new start. I was trying. I really was. Maybe doomed things can’t be fixed. Maybe I was wrong and it’s time I admitted and let go…