Letting go

‪I let go a couple of friendships in the name of leaving that “pretending” part of myself. It’s been almost a year; I’m still trying to live.‬

It’s not like I suddenly decided to desert these childhood-old friendships — it was a series of events or feelings or experiences that led to me disappearing without caring how I’d hurt or offend the other party.

I’m not gonna try to defend myself of why I did what I did but I did it because I felt I needed to do so. A year on, I’m still struggling. Struggling to not put on a facade.

What I’m gonna do is acknowledging that I have a problem. I have a problem keeping up with my feelings and my thoughts to appreciate the time that these friendships gave me. I have a problem expressing myself so I’m often misunderstood or ignored. I have a problem being too preoccupied with myself that I forget it’s a two-way street. I have a problem that I want to be a good listener but I end up not really listening at all.

I miss my friends, of course. But I often find myself, drifting. Feeling so alone even in a room full of good people. I was terrified. Was I a positive contributor in this room? Why was/am I like this?

What am I doing wrong?

So I disappeared. I turned off whatsapp. Turned off Instagram. Turned off Facebook. For almost a month. A friend did try to call and message me but I ignored her. She tried but I didn’t accept the call or replied the message.

And she was the only one who truly tried to reach out. Yet she was the final trigger for my disappearance.

I came out of hiding and re-socialised. It felt different and the same.

I was still struggling.

I no longer converse with old friends from school. I busy myself with work and good friends from university. I am bad with keeping appointments that I’ve lost contact with a close friend from high school now.

A best friend I used to have is no longer interested in keeping tabs ever since our misunderstanding. We are civil but things are not the same anymore.

I do realise that people change. Their priorities change. Lifestyle changes. And I get that. Everyone has their struggles. And you know what, I’m actually okay, not being involved in the struggles of these people I used to know. This is simply because we’ve changed and no longer need to pretend we could learn to care about each other. Our paths are not aligned. It’s not like we didn’t try to make it right. The river has run its course.

So I make new friends. I try to. I’m still struggling with my issues. But I’m trying to make positive changes. Clean slate. Past matters but not to be carried forward.

But that is in no way that the disappearance has set everything in stone. Far from it. Since you are starting anew, whatever you decide from now will define your future. I’m still working on that – it’s slow but it’s progress anyway. I would love to reconnect but I’m not ready…nor prepared if things go south.

So. 

Good luck to us all who feel alone in a room full of people who supposedly understand us but don’t. Good luck to all of us who felt the need to disappear and then have the courage to reinvent themselves. Good luck to you, trying to make meaning of your life. Good luck to you, finding yourself in this vast world of mixed emotions and all.

Good luck and God bless.

Advertisements

Online Connections

Few years ago, I stumbled upon this online forum for wanting to express myself, anonymously. To take a break from playing World of Warcraft (to spend time with the (ex) boyfriend) and from writing tons of essays for my MA, I started to write my stories on the forum. Stories of wanting to do a PhD after, of how much I cared for the (ex) boyfriend. Kinda like an online journal, blogging, or an obsessed Facebook status updater (haha). I was 23 when I wrote my first share in 2011. Feedback was sure to be had, and you can learn so much from how one writes.

Over the years, I shared music tastes, embarrassing moments, frustration, jovial times, deepest secrets…and read many stories of similar topics. It’s nice to be able to connect with other people around the world and find common interests. Of course, the Internet being what it is, there were a handful of unpleasant users out there who abuse the anonymity. Besides the usual perverts, there were trolls as well. The forum was meant to be non-judgmental and provide sound advice, when asked for. I remember being judged cruelly for one of my skeletons in my closet and took me few days to recover from the terrible feeling.

Funnily enough, I never really transitioned from that forum to other social applications like Whatsapp, Skype or emails. I guess it was because I wanted to stay semi-true to the anonymity feature. Yes, with some, I shared my name and where I was from, when asked, but never more than that, unless necessary. Unless I was willing to go there.

Five years on, I’ve shared about 70 stories; some anonymously, some penned with my profile. In these five years, I’ve exchanged messages with over 30 users, and, still with about 2-3 users only. I’ve experienced wonderful words of encouragement, enlightening conversations on Woody Allen’s movies, insightful thoughts on social and environmental issues, and, just simple hello-how-are-you chats. Most people I’ve had the chance to connect with were from the US, some from Australia, and a few from England, Italy, France, and Germany.

This forum is my online community, yet I don’t feel the need to log into it all the time, I don’t feel the need to “show” something or to grab attention. I like it because I get to share my stories and someone is bound to give feedback. I also like it because I get to read other people’s stories, and find that no matter where we are, we have similar experiences. The online connection makes the world seem small and big at the same time.

I also like this online community because there are so many good people. And despite what we’ve been through, where we are in the world, we all want the same things;

To give and receive love.

To live the life we want.

To give meaning to our lives.

I suppose that me stumbling into this forum, and then to have stuck with it this long, I wanted to know myself better. I wanted help with the disconnection I sometimes felt (and still feel) with the physical world. It’s amazing what you can read on online forums – you can find out so much about various behaviours and attitudes. I have found a place where I could interact with other truth-seeking individuals out there.

Sociology of Work

I wish I went deeper to understand this topic when I was in university. It is so useful to understand society and groups and behavior at work, especially if you work a lot with people! If you’re a Sociology student, do read more about the topic and you will understand it more when you’re actually working! You could also use all those research and put them to the test. The benefit to you is that you understand people’s behavior better and that knowledge is just so powerful!

A lot of people asked me what I did in uni and what I’m doing now for a career, and they get confused, “Sociology? What are you doing here?” Here being in an oil and gas or a construction industry. And I always have no proper (or witty!) answer to give them. What they don’t know is that I’ve learnt to understand people’s behavior, effectively, where I could anticipate their reactions towards a situation. It could just be my awesome upbringing by my parents, but I also believe that all those books I’ve read, all those essays I’ve written, have also contributed. I empathize with people I work with more. In that way, we could compromise and work things out together that could benefit both sides whenever there’s a conflict of some sort!

In my final year of my first degree, I wrote an essay on work transforming us into particular embodied beings. This was one of the essays that I enjoyed writing in my final year. Hochschild (1983) said that as the world’s work sectors are becoming more service-based and they place more emphasis on that, there is a requirement for individuals to become an “emotion worker”. What this means is that we are acting to perform a job properly. We hear this a lot that we have to be professional. From Hochschild’s understanding, this would mean acting because we are behaving in a certain way in order to perform our jobs according to what is expected of us.

Isn’t that so interesting? Haha. Being an emotion worker has two ways of doing it, and what I understand from those ways is that we are fighting against what we are expected to do and what our own self is trying to achieve. The individual versus the company we work for/with. I was just watching a TED podcast last night on individual association and group association…or solidarity. God, I wish I was still in university! Things make so much more sense now that I’m working and have aged a bit. Haha

Anyway, my point of posting this evening was to share about my current work experience. But I digressed, and I think I enjoyed writing this way. Hmm.

What I’ve learned about this life so far is that we could only trust ourselves and God. It’s become so confusing and frustrating to balance between trusting yourself and others that, in the end, people are just looking out for themselves because you’re the only person you could hurt when you’ve lied to yourself. And there’d be less guilt in that. And perhaps you’d forgive yourself easier.

How this post took different turns, I don’t know :P may you always be chasing your dreams, my lovelies.

/E