It’s been an emotionally challenging past two days, and I’m exhausted. I’m going to do over Day 14 and 15 again because there was literally no way I could have tried to accomplish any of my goals today or yesterday.
When incidents happen, I’m usually able to take a step back and provide a different POV to help ease the situation. I’m usually the guide, the mind-opener.
This time round, I just wasn’t able to anything.
I alternated between angry thoughts and bouts of crying, and even the smallest discussion with Alex (as I try to process what happened) triggered breakdowns.
I cried in my room. I cried in the car. I cried while walking. I cried in bed when I woke up at 5 in the morning.
It’s crazy how triggering this whole experience has been and my eyes are so tired from crying. I have a migraine from crying the whole day, and just trying to keep things together has exhausted me.
I’m really grateful for my friends who’ve really helped me process this, especially Steph who summarised it eloquently:
It’s a big deal to you because it’s violating one of your important boundaries. It’s one of those things that you never had growing up, and it feels like crap when you still have to keep fighting for it.
It’s ironic to say that, I suppose, as I write about this. “How could you possibly mean privacy, if you’re sharing about this?” goes the critic’s voice in my head.
The difference lies in it being my choice.
I am choosing to write these words. I am choosing what I say.
Growing up in Singapore in a HDB apartment means there’s no room for privacy.
Every Singaporean (unless they’re living on a landed property or happen to be the only child or live somewhere with enough rooms) has experienced having to share rooms with their siblings.
Our 5-room apartment in Woodlands wasn’t that small, but privacy is still a luxury in a land-scarce country.
I remember when I was younger, I used to dream and dreeeeeeam of growing up old enough to finally get my own room. It never happened, nor did like my letter from Hogwarts 😂
Then when I was 21, I finally experienced what it was like to have my own room.
That year, I lived in San Francisco and shared an apartment with my classmate Chris. I couldn’t really decorate because it was a sublet and the guy would come back after summer, but it was still fantastic.
My second experience was when I moved to China for a year, and got to decorate my room for the first time ever.
I wanted fairy lights? I got it. I wanted matching bed sheets? I got it. It was awesome, even if I missed my family.
But as you know, I met Alex shortly and now we live together and share the same room.
My private room experience ended.
I’ve never been an open person growing up. I know. I never had friends or classmates over to my place, except for my closest friends — and even rarely then. Steph can attest to that.
It’s changed a little bit now that I’m older, but the reasoning behind it remained largely the same.
To me, my home was my safe space – my only place – where I was free to be me. Where I could drop all my barriers and worries and finally relax. This was where I could protect my family in our safe space here.
But it also wasn’t a safe space.
The home in my memories is linked to pain. Fights. Arguments. Fear. Shame. Oh, the shame and fear that if I let someone in and they saw how ugly it was, I would be rejected. Again.
Shame shame shame pain growing up adulting before my years independence loneliness anger shame.
So when that boundary was recently breached, it triggered all these underlying emotions that even I hadn’t expected. Emotions I thought I had processed.
It unleashed a maelstrom of tears and I didn’t know how to calm things down. I wanted to run away, but I couldn’t. So I hid. I retreated. I cried. I couldn’t do anything, because they just surfaced and surfaced from depths unknown.
Now this doesn’t mean I don’t love my parents. It just means that:
- They did the best they could, raising us while dealing with their own traumas;
- I did the best I could in the circumstances;
- That I absorbed some of their trauma and pain and unknowingly made it my own;
- And that I still have unprocessed issues around my childhood that I haven’t worked through.
I don’t remember much of my childhood because I actively chose not to remember as I was growing up. When I try to remember, it’s just a lot of blanks and vague, fuzzy details.
And clearly, a tsunami of hurt and grief and feelings.
When I’ve been hurt, I retreat. When a close friend hurt me a few years ago, I retreated from that friendship and haven’t talked since.
Retreating was my only form of control. Is my only form of control. It gives me power back in a situation where I feel like I have none.
So I guess this update is now an unexpected therapy session for me, where I’ve gone into more details than I normally would have shared. But this is also how I’m reclaiming my own power.
I’m doing this because I’m trying to be brave.
To live my own truth. To process this inner, wounded child and grow stronger. To choose my takeaway and narrative. To be honest to myself and be okay with not being perfect spiritually. (It’s fucking hard writing this, okay?)
To tell younger me that it’s okay. To tell current me that it’s okay I didn’t succeed with Day 14 and 15. To tell younger me, current me, and future me that it’s okay – that I have all these emotions I haven’t fully processed.
It’s okay to feel the way I feel or felt, and to remember that there is no truth in the now. This moment is all there is. There will be a next.
It’s a reminder to myself that things will get better. Because I choose to get better. I choose to work through my blocked inner child. I choose to work on myself. And that’s all I can do.
I know I’m not perfect. I know I’m not there yet. I know I’m trying to get there.
And that’s all there really is, isn’t it?
All I can do, each day and each moment, is to try.
The rest will sort itself.