Hope

Being sad is normal. We all have days like that, and some of us have more days like that than others. This sadness descends like a fog, shading the world in grey and weighing your body down like steel. You drag your feet to the needful, but your heart is breaking or numb. You’re angry that the world’s a mess; you’re angry at yourself for being a mess. And no matter how hard you try, you don’t know why you just can’t. shake. this. off. 

I understand how it feels; if you are there, you are not alone. You can diagnose a condition, attach a label. But whatever the name, it stems from a similar root: a sense that there is no point to anything, anymore. A prolonged emptiness and hopelessness.

Hopelessness is a very scary thing, lurking at corners waiting to swallow you whole. But however you feel, never, ever close yourself off to the possibility that there is still hope and meaning, no matter how slim. We tend to reason ourselves into hopelessness, tossing over and again in our heads how pain is real and justified. This tossing stems from our deep fears and hurts about specific issues, which are hard to face in every way. But that kind of self-talk doesn’t help or make us better; in fact, it makes us sink even deeper away from reality and recovery. 

But - and this may violate every bit of what you're feeling right now - if there’s just one reason why you should hope, cling onto it like a madman. Cling onto it, desperately, because it will save you. If the reason for hope fails you, shift your eyes to something you can hold onto realistically, and hope again in that direction. 

For me, hope that I could grasp tangibly in the midst of a trying illness lay in the small things: pushing myself to sit up when I could only lie down, then standing when I could, and then walking steps. Attaining each goal helped me feel more hopeful about the next; “think big, start small”, so they say. In another scenario, however, a previous relationship simply had to end because it exhausted me beyond normal functioning. It was better to have let go, to trust that life will go on, and that I would heal.

Hope doesn’t always mean charging through a wall - it means casting your eyes further sometimes to know that even if things are not okay, life as a whole could still work out. Sometimes hope requires a fundamental shift in what a reasonable dream for you is; sometimes it requires fulfilling the littlest steps towards recovery. You don’t have to let a failure or your weakness at this moment define you or your entire life. You will be okay.

And even if you don’t feel okay for the moment, a little bird told me life has always been a cycle of ups and downs anyway. You may be down now, but there will be ups, and then downs, and then more ups again. You are not powerless about it, and you always have choices. Give yourself another chance at winning, and work on things if you have to - but never give up hope. In the bigger scheme of things, everything will be alright. ❤️

 

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Letting go

W A L L S //

It’s not easy to let go of the walls. After you've grown a certain outer shell, shedding it makes you feel raw and vulnerable and liberated all at the same time.

For far too long have you hidden yourself that you’ve lost a sense of you who are. You've buried emotions so deep that you've forgotten how to feel; held your tongue for so long you start stuttering everytime you speak. You don’t know if people are going to accept you when you let yourself be real, because you've been rejected before. 

People - as good-hearted and willing as they are - are never going to be perfect, and may not accept you fully, even as they try. To be honest, many can’t even accept themselves. We are all broken people, conditioned to shun failure and judge imperfections (and feel judged). It may not be reasonable to expect that society will accept every part of us -  because everyone is fighting a battle you don't know about.

But we should accept ourselves first. You have a special role to play in this world, and there is a reason why you've gone through the things you did. There are unique strengths and myriad gifts you bring to the world, as much as you have flaws and imperfections. Only when we start to love ourselves are we free to grow; consequently, we also start loving others better. And when you start loving others better, others start loving you back too.

Love is brave, even love of your flaws. Healing comes with being real with yourself and others, because hidden things fester. You are who you are, wondrous and special, and you’ve got so much to give.

“Let go, let in; something is waiting”

 "Walls", by Ann Png.

"Walls", by Ann Png.

You are good enough.

C R O W N S // When you feel like you’re losing your entire life in a moment, it’s easy to lose yourself to despair.

Barefaced, you see yourself in a mirror - stripped of all the trappings. Who are you, apart from the things that made you? Can you look at loss in the eye say that it is well?

The questions are key. In that burrowing, you realise how silly you’ve looked all this while, clutching onto robes like they could cover your nakedness. In that emptiness, deep in the eye of rage, you come to realise that it’s okay. It’s okay to be emptied of the gold. You don’t need to prove anything - you are good enough.

When you no longer care much about losing your crowns, you don’t lose yourself to them anymore. Crowns have lost their mastery, and you start to live. 🌤

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Lost and Found

C R O W N S // "All that we've lost; one day will be found"

Losing everything was hard. By my mid-20s, I’d lost my health, a serious relationship, and the ability to do what I love, like work, travel, sing. As the months went by, even the strength to breathe well, walk, and eat escaped me. I lost social contact for long periods of time, and with that, the ability to think and talk normally. 

It was a dark place, but what surprised me was that through it all I’ve gained a tenacious ability to hope. Not the kind that sails into the sky with rainbows, but one crushed in despair a multitude of times and still comes back stronger. I have grasped pain, looked unfazed into its eye, and become clearer about who I am through and despite it.

Life doesn’t end when trouble starts; it ends when hope dies. When there is hope, you edge for the better each time, and hopefully, one day, get to taste a little of that fruit. ‘Crowns’ is a glimpse of that fruit, along with many things that came back in 2016/17 as the divine clock turned its hour. There is still some way to go - but when you’ve lost everything once, a little can taste like heaven. Thankful.

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