A Full Circle.
Today marks 13 years since my first journal entry.
I became aware of the date only when I dug into the archives of my life, last night, for a reason I cannot remember. I mine my memories every once in a while — for the fun of seeing what I was doing on a particular day 3 or 5 years ago. Usually I cringed at my poor sentence formation or mundane details. I saw an indulgence of self-pity and a record of my follies. At this point I would shut the diary and forget about it for another 10 months or so till I felt like going back again. Sometimes looking back was fun. I felt happy about how much I had grown, emotionally and mentally, how the once unbelievable dreams had materialised after all. But at times hindsight presented bitter truths. Showing me how some mistakes continued to persist, as the years passed without getting any wiser.
I don’t know what inspired me to start writing a daily journal. Maybe it was the Princess Diaries I borrowed from my school library. I’m not sure what motivated me to continue writing till today either. The entries begin with mundane details about my day but gradually progress deeper into my mind; recording emotions, feelings, thoughts and realisations. They progress from me being as the protagonist and others as extras to them becoming protagonists and sometimes antagonists, the roles reversing at intervals. The emotions, feelings, thoughts and realisations getting more complex until they became as wound as a tight rope. That’s what made me spill my thoughts through ink onto paper, I realised. When after overwhelming days or weeks, I would sit to write and finally feel lighter, as a burden was being lifted off, a block dissolving. Soon, I consciously began writing intending for my future-self to be the audience. To find the questions I’d been seeking all along, the answer which my older, wiser self would have found by then.
I’ve always felt like I slept through school, I don’t know how I cleared my 15 years of education. My maths is deplorable, geography a joke, science out of reach, history jumbled, economics a disaster, and social skills — that I certainly day dreamed my way out of. I guess English, a tool to communicate effectively, was the only lesson I gained from formal education. And how grateful am I! Writing pulled me through the worst years of anyone’s life — puberty, adolescence, coming of age, maturity — when impressions are formed, wounds are made, and sometimes permanent walls built. But it made me quieter. More reserved but observant of myself and those around me. Understanding not only what made me do something but also what may have led to another’s reaction. I may not have paid attention to the education I was receiving outside, but I was certainly studying the deep recesses of my own mind.
Last night was the first time I didn’t cringe, feel embarrassed, or regret. I wept, felt forgiveness and compassion for myself. It was an out of body experience of sorts. I felt like I was reading the innermost thoughts of a being other than me. I could almost hear her pleas to understand, and be understood. Like a child who was locked up, but continued talking anyway in the hope her echoes would be heard. At 13, when I decided I wanted to be an author, see my name on the spine of a paperback novel, not knowing what it takes, I had imagined my first book would be called, Bottled Emotions.
The extent to which I have captured the mundane details of my life — “Today we studied History in History,” one embarrassing entry reads — showed me how lonely I was — just how much I wanted to talk and be heard, no matter how senseless the words were. I’ve always been alone, keeping a limited number of people close to me, but I’d never known I was that lonely until last night. My biggest fear used to be dying alone, I remember. And realising that I was my own worst enemy — one that drove everyone away.
It was only in 2010, at 21, when I had completed formal education that I encountered real education — one that started answering some of the questions I had had. I’d often wished that life could have been better if it came with a manual like my phones did. I wish I could google answers like I seeked solutions to the problems my laptop gave me. I’d found my life’s manual and a long-desired mentor.
Mystically, this is the diary I picked up last evening.
If it was an earlier me, I would have not picked up something that had the word ‘hate’. I consciously stayed away from words and symbols that had negative connotations such as hate, death, skull prints, the colour black. I despaired at negative feelings like fear, doubt, envy, anger, jealousy, loss, and greed; often times feeling guilty, confused, and imperfect.
It’s only over the last month that I’ve come to understand the indispensable duality of life. Of balance. Of yin and yang. How one depends for one’s own existence, on the existence of the other. Two sides of the same coin. Light and dark, day and night, life and death, awakening and sleeping, spring and winter, cause and effect, black and white, sadness and happiness, love and hate. I learnt you cannot accept one and reject the other. What you resist, persists. I had to embrace both for what they were. Trusting that each existed for their own purpose, just like I did.
The pages were mostly filled with confused questions. Several entries end with disappointed words such as, “Why am I like this?” and later on, when I realised that others had somehow taken life lessons that I had seemed to missed, I exclaimed in despair — “I’m not good at this life thing.” Finally questioning the purpose of my existence.
Answers which I finally feel I have. Like a part of the puzzle is becoming complete, the picture becoming clear. A deeper understanding. Slowly, stumbling, falling and rising, I learnt, I’ve found my way to this moment. I feel my life has come a full circle.
And now, it’s time for fresh departures. Armed with wisdom, courage and compassion — for myself and others.