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.

Advertisements

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.

My Greatest Blessings

My life has not been an easy one. I spent a  lot of time thinking on this fact and lost out on a lot of good. Now however I live to embrace every moment and aim to make the most of the time that has been given to me.

No matter what life has been like, no matter the struggles, or the joys of it, I have always had one sure foundation to rest on, and that is ‘I am not alone’! I have been blessed with three younger sisters. With an age gap of one and half to two years between each of us there were times when we have tried to kill each other. We have annoyed each other to tears, blackmailed each other, fought like cats and dogs, even hated each other at stages! Thanks however to my mum’s wisdom and raising we have always stuck with each other, even when we were mad with each other.

There is a lot to be said about having three younger sisters that are completely different from me and each other. The clashes are plentiful. There is always disagreements and arguments. Very rare are the instances all four of us agree. Usual scenario is some agree and the others adjust. It teaches a valuable lesson of compromise having siblings. Also teaches sharing, putting someone else’s needs over yours and co-existing.

There is of course those rare occasions we are one unit, we agree, we sync, we almost seem one being with different parts. We compliment each other’s short-comings and differences and we stand together to face the things life throws at us. Those are beautiful moments for their rarity but also for the sense of solidarity one gets when they happen.

They are my greatest blessing cause at the end of the day no matter what happens I know they will always be there. That even if life takes us to four difference corners of the world, we would still be connected. Not through mail, facebook, insta, skype etc, no, these are just a means to an end; but through love, shared experiences of suffering, joys, highs and lows! These things no one can erase or take away and therefore are the strongest things binding us together!

Wishing you all the same blessings on the third day of the new year!

Thinking…

​The end of an year makes one think. There is no doubt on that. I have been thinking about the past, of the present and the future to be. Deciding what I need to bring back to myself from the past, what I need to keep from the present and change/remove from the future. The thinking has been on who I am!

Who we are cannot be described in a few words. Who we are is a lifetime of existence, filled with experiences that shapes and moulds us as we go along on this journey of life. That is why whenever I get asked the question, ‘Can you describe yourself in a few words?’ I freeze. How am I to describe the whole of “ME” in a few words?? The whole of me is made up of a lifetime of experiences. How do you pick which parts define you when they all do? 

Who am I…a daughter, a sister, a niece, a grandchild. I am also a girlfriend, friend, shoulder, listener, advisor. A rebel, a heartbreaker, a heart mender, compassion and love. Cold hearted, a angel, a devil, nice and nasty. Patient and impatient, hateful, hurtful, hurting and kind. Dark and light, confident and selfless, yet also selfish and lacking self-worth. A worker, a dreamer, an accountant, a writer, a bore and fun and I can go on!

The point I am trying to make is. There really is no point putting ourselves in a box, drawing lines and limiting ourselves to who we are and what we can do. We are not a defined thing. We are each I believe a possibility and possibilities are endless!!

This New Year I dare you to change, take chances, be bold and make a new path, make a whole lot of them! Step out, step up and make a difference in your life. Who knows maybe you’ll inspire someone else to do the same…

Hello…After Ages

I have been silent. That is an understatement. I can however also say I have been living. Not the ‘life is perfect’, ‘everything is peachy’ living. But the messy, chaotic, life-changing decisions living.

I used to be the sit in the bleachers type of girl. The observer. The commentator. Now I am the game player. The one who makes things happen, the one who makes the news.

The biggest thing that changed was I found my heart and soul. The part of me that completes me. That has made me bolder, stronger, more confident in facing the world. However it has also made me dependent, submissive and vulnerable. These latter emotions are, I am learning, not negative as we are taught. There is a certain strength in dependency, submissiveness and vulnerability. You cannot be any of these things without courage and a whole lot of faith.

As women we are asked a lot of; without anyone ever acknowledging they are asking a lot. There are pressures on us from all sides. Be it parents, boyfriends, husbands, children, our jobs, society as a whole. Everyone has an opinion, a viewpoint. Everyone expects something. What makes women so special and therefore an important cornerstone, if not foundation for everything on this earth is we do our damndest to be what everyone needs of us. Be it a daughter, a girlfriend, a wife, a mother, an employee, an example. And we do it our own, individual way with no apologies.

I don’t believe there is a set recipe that all women can follow to lead her own life. There are no paths already laid out. We pave our own way, walking through unfamiliar lands and situations, facing the giants and monsters along the way, meeting the people we do, choosing who stays and goes. What works for one woman may not necessarily work for another.

I guess what I am trying to say is, I have learnt to accept myself. My choices, my decisions. Where before I was hesitant, I am now sure. Where I felt I wasn’t enough so I never tried, I now try and see before deciding. I have grown; some more. I have also realised there is a lot more growing to do. Now though it no longer feels such a challenge. Now I no longer am feeling alone.

L.O.V.E

Love…

Poets have written odes, writers have given stories, musicians all have at least one song about it, actors try their best to portray it, religions preach it, humanity yearns for it; but what is love really?

In my life, love is my mother who sacrifices all her desires and dreams for her children. Love are my sisters who stick by me even when I am at my worst. Love is the pinky promise to never leave and the eyes that still look right into mine with love even when I have messed up. Love are the friends that know I am a drama queen but still put up with it and laugh. Love are the children in the Sunday school who have a light that never seems to dim. Love is God who sees all my imperfections and still chooses to never leave.

Love therefore, isn’t a feeling or an idea. Love are the people. Their actions. Their reactions. Their choices. Love isn’t to be found without, somewhere out there, it’s within, waiting to be used. You and I are the definition of love, because you and I are the ones who can show love and therefore open up others to do the same.

Love is all we really need, all we really want, everything else is just extras. Love provides everything else.

So I end with the lyrics that I like best on love from one of my favourite artists – Matt Maher.

“Love will hold us together, make us a shelter away from the storm. And I’ll be my brother’s keeper, so the whole world will know that we are not alone…”

Be LOVE to someone today.

Experience

Every experience we have, shapes us, moulds us, so that we are not the same person we were before said experience. The truth of the matter is there is no usual you, cause you are getting added onto each day you spend on this earth. Every event, be it the death of a father that was absent, or falling in love and giving of yourself more than you knew you’d ever receive back (twice) or having people you trusted let you down, or people you didn’t trust show they were trustworthy; they all change us.

We can get so lost in the feelings and emotions of the events that we sometimes forget that life is bigger than one single event, that it is an accumulation of a series of events, some pleasant, some not so much. We choose those events and sometimes they choose us, but how we process and react to them are always our choice. That does not mean we are expected to not feel whatever emotions we feel. It means we decide when we move on and it differs for each person. Some people take longer because they’d rather feel everything and get it out of their systems, others choose to bury the feelings and “fake it till they make it”. Neither is wrong, we are all just human. Sometimes though it is hard when you take the time to mourn and someone seems to have moved on in a heartbeat. The thing though is, we are all different and if we hold that against each other we’d never find peace.

So we all live life, each day changing, till maybe one day we can finally come to the end of our lives, and hopefully we look back and smile. Then we can leave the cacoons we were bound to, spread our wings and fly like the butterflies I love so much.

As Alice said in Wonderland, “I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” So I look forward and follow the road that is before me, not the same person I was, growing each day with every step.