Today I have a persisting wave of melancholy

It doesn’t make sense, that for someone who isn’t gainfully employed and has all the time on hand at disposal to do just anything the heart fancies, I have been experiencing this overtly overwhelming and heavy mood in me. I feel sad. I feel like crying. It didn’t even help I had an hour of exercise that is supposed to create endorphins? Or does anything ever make sense anymore?

I know, sometimes words that are spoken out of love can be blunt. But it doesn’t make the pain any less. Words that can cut deeper than any knife, straight into the heart and lingers for a long time, leaving yet another indelible mark – a sweep under the rug; a toss into the chest of painful memories to tuck again – but never removing them entirely from me.

Do I have so much past hurts and unmet needs, so much bitterness and resentment that I just am unable to find it anywhere in me to love? To understand where the intentions originate, and not stew on how they hurt me, not really letting go because they are not forgotten?

There’s also so much self-doubt that just obliterates every good thing anyone ever says to me. The esteem has dipped so low that nothing seems to be taken with a positive view for what it is, not seeing the self deserving of anything good. What happened to me? What was I lacking and needing that had resulted in a void this huge that’s been filled up by all these ugly and dark things?

A crippling and long-lasting fear

I read someone’s post today about how someone she knew had to see a psychiatrist because she was always worrying about not being able to maintain her relationships; or something like that. It brought to my mind something that I had been mulling on recently. To say recently is really undermining the rumination that has gone on all these years. Perhaps the dwelling just went on autopilot and it has become a backend process of sorts, running on its own.

On the last visit to my therapist, he made a rather conclusive suggestion, that I have a strong yearning for deep and lasting connections that I have not been able to find, perhaps arising from an unmet emotional need as a child, and a large part of me keeps trying to find ‘security’ in such connections that I have not been able to get. That may explain how I always seem to need validation from others, more specifically that I seem to need the approval and acceptance of others. Granted that I know full well that not everyone will like me (and vice versa, me, them), and I do not need others to like me, it still remains a very significant part of me to want to be liked and accepted.

That in itself may be why I am unable to arrive at a personal identity because I morph myself accordingly. It may result in me becoming a pseudo-hypocrite for I shift based on the situation, and as ironical as it may be, result in me not being liked for being someone who flip-flops around.

I tried to think back on the past, bringing myself back to childhood days, and wondered unsuccessfully what were the causes that led to such a destructive complex developing in me. My parents weren’t the best, although they did try their best with their abilities. I grew up in a typical lower-income family where both parents were not really educated, and engaged in labour-intensive work that took most of their time away from parenting. Maybe I had a strong need for their emotional support and validation which I never got as a child, and even then there were occasions I’d feel acute disappointment when promised something (by my grandma) that eventually did not happen.

Even as I went on to school and had friends, somehow I couldn’t seem to accept that friends come and go, and I was unable to let go when the season was over, so much so that a sense of abandonment grew in me. I was always afraid of losing friends and these occurrences only reinforced that fact, particularly when childish acts of “don’t friend you already” that really preceded the end of a friendship, or the sudden curse of silence, broke me completely. I remembered some nights lying in bed crying myself to sleep at such lost friendships. I did move on from them but I think I never recovered. I made new friends, but with each new friendship came the heaviness in me that someday that friend is going to lose interest in me as a friend and abandon me for a newer and more interesting person.

Was this how it all started? Was this how the wounds had been exacted on me that have left indelible scars in me? Will I ever recover and let go of this fear like how I can let balloons go and float away?

Is it a selfish act?

Today is the second day of the Chinese New Year, the first after the virus hit us globally. We last had a normal new year just on the cusp of the rampant spread of the virus. This year, everything was muted and visitations were curtailed to minimise the risks of clusters forming when more people gather. Reunion dinners were also vastly different due to the group size restrictions, leading more people to dine at home instead of booking big dinners at restaurants like in past years.

However, because most of us couldn’t travel due to a halt to leisure travel, perhaps it also meant that we get to spend more time with family and friends, albeit with some well-planned scheduling of with whom and when. We all adapt in our ways I guess, but people tend to be forgetful and if there hadn’t been the strict measurements announced just a fortnight ahead of the festival, I’m quite certain we’ll see a lot of “illegal” gatherings.

Yesterday was the first day, and as with usual tradition, I visited my parents. It was with a lot of angst that I got to their place, no thanks to me being beholden to the elastic timing of my brother and sister-in-law who made me wait for about an hour, because I’d wanted to hitch a ride from them after my class in the morning. I had to psyche myself hard to let it go, that bitterness in me, because I only have myself to blame to want to rely on their transport right? No apologies were proffered from them, because I guess I’m still getting a favour from them.

We reached around noon, and my dad was asleep. Mum said he’d gone out early and came back, then went to bed again. It’d been about three hours and he hadn’t woken up despite that we had arrived and were chatting in the living room. At some point, his phone that was in the hall rang but he remained oblivious to it. I wasn’t so concerned initially as my dad has had a little hard of hearing with age, but as my mum went on grumbling about how he’s still sleeping despite that his phone rang for so long, my sister-in-law told my brother to go check on him. At that instant, my heart literally stopped and I could feel my breathing becoming laboured. My brother went into the room briefly and came out and gave her a reassuring look saying “he’s awake”.

Oh.My.Lord. Blood started to flow through me again as I began to breathe. I noted then how we’d all aged, and there’s no denying that day will eventually come. I thank God each day for renewing my parents’ youth and restoring their health but I also know in my heart that I probably wished I won’t be physically present when it does happen. I might berate myself for it to not be able to see them at the last, but I really don’t know how to deal with it and it just makes me so sad that I’ve been entertaining such selfish thoughts.

A bag of mixed nuts

Recently, one of my yoga teachers posted something on IG as she bade a mutual friend farewell. The post was accompanied with a caption describing a bunch of (us, I assume) yogis as a bag of mixed nuts, how each of us bring along our own nuttiness to the mix.

Which type are you?

I thought that was quite an apt description isn’t it? Whether it’s a bag of mixed nuts or a box of assorted chocolates, each piece within possess its own unique flavour, like how everyone of us is unique in our own peculiar ways, yet somehow we still contribute to an overall complete ‘bag’ – life / society in general. Just like how each of our fingerprints are distinct from another person’s, so too is our personality, our oddities, our idiosyncrasies, etc. There is no perfect being, and none of us will ever be ‘perfect’ / flawless / complete, in our own eyes because we are never ever satisfied with we look like, how our lives are, how our thought life is, and so on and so forth.

There really isn’t much of a point to today’s post, not like any of the past posts do, haha. I guess I just want to start writing more frequently here. Maybe it will help me get into a habit of journaling my thoughts, my mundane day-to-day life that are sometimes made a little more interesting with precious nuggets like the above that I hear/see from time to time.

Today is Chinese New Year’s Eve, a major festival for most of us who are Chinese. This year has been different from past years, just like every other major festival we have gone through since February 2020. We all just need to adjust and adapt because that is how life goes and I suppose, as long as we are all healthy and well, that is more important than age-old traditions that are sometimes a trifle superfluous and contrived.

Throwback

Tokyo, 2019

The last time I travelled before the pandemic set in, was in November 2019. It was one of the two cities I visit annually when I can, and I do experience the aching pang of being there. I wonder when would be the next time I’ll be able to set foot in Tokyo or Hong Kong, or when we are allowed to travel for leisure will I go and how different will things be? How is the new normal going to be like where leisure travel is concerned?

Memories exist for us to reminisce but sometimes they are accompanied by feelings of loss, emptiness, grief or forlornness.

I miss you, Tokyo.

In general, I’ve been having throwbacks to some trips I’d taken over the years, especially places I might not ever visit again like those I went when I worked for a German firm. Those quiet, peaceful, sometimes lonely or stressful nights in the hotel room, whether it’s sub-zero snowy weather outside, or a thick humidity shrouding the city, it was an experience that I do look back with a certain degree of fondness. I don’t suppose I would have such a life again, so those golden memories would stay with me as long as my mental faculties remain active and alive.