The Beating of a (new) Heart

We were dancing in the club. It was a normal night out for me and my three dearest friend. Laughs were exchanged, smiles wide on our faces. Fun was the order of the night and for once I was offering to be designated driver. I didn’t mind – the company was excellent enough for me to have a good time without a drink.

Later the evening Mienke (my best friend and nothing short of a sibling to me), and I were dancing on the dance floor. It wasn’t particularly packed, but the drunk youngsters around me were in their own universes. In our universe, Mienke and I were dancing and letting go after a stressful week.

It was as if we both combusted into a thousand stars when one of our favourite, and probably meaningful songs came on.

This song, Pumping Blood, was originally done by NoNoNo and was covered by Lea Michele in Glee. [Side note: I prefer the Glee-version]. Mienke and I stumbled across this song during a time last year where R had just passed away and I was looking for some form of hope. We both agreed that this song would play again one day when I was okay and every lyric would make perfect sense.

Music is an important element to my life. When the creative side of me is taking over a great span of my head, music calms me, quiets me, or silences me for a few minutes. When I need help, or a pick-me-up, music has always been the magical cure.

So, when this song came on, we danced like there was no end to the world.

In one part of this song, the lyrics go something like:

“‘Cause it’s your heart,
it’s alive, it’s pumping blood,
And the whole wide world is whistling.”

For some time now, these lyrics has signified the new chapter I’ve begun writing on in my life. After a depressing, troublesome and heartbreaking year, I’ve now come back to a point of familiarity. From here, I’ve now realised that my broken heart has been mended and that I’m standing taller than ever.

My blog over the past year has contained many entries about my struggle and continuous feelings regarding R’s suicide and how it’s hurt me in many ways. It’s been a journey that took me to where I am now and I’ve always tried to share the lighter side of every struggle with you all. I really hope I have.

Today, I want to tell you, that even in the darkest times, believe. In it’s purest form, belief keeps your broken heartstrings and pieces alive. When you heal and glue your heart back together and one day find yourself at the dawn of a new day, then you will pat yourself on the back for believing in yourself – even in the darkest of times.

There is nothing more rewarding than standing tall with your new beating heart after a punch that life threw your way. It’s satisfying and oddly cocky to stare at life and let it know you made it up that steep mountain.

I still remember putting my hand on my chest on 27 May 2014 and not feeling my heart beat. It was devastating and soul crushing at the least. But as I was dancing away in the club with Mienke, I felt my new heart beating faster than a speeding train.

The beating of my (new) heart has confirmed what I have suspected for some time now: I’m a survivor of Life’s dark side. And with that being said, I’m ready to start venturing into this new chapter of my life and share it with all of my fellow bloggers.

A huge thanks to each and every person who has commented on a post with kind words and encouraging messages. You all made me stronger and made me realise my full worth and potential.

Now.

Upwards, onwards and onto a new journey.

[My friend Mienke and I – It takes 23 years of friendship for someone to tell you: “I’m glad you’re finally smiling like the rays of the sun, my love.” ]

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Most importantly, just find yourself

As I was sitting in the room, I stared over at the couples who were leaning in to on another, whispering sweet nothings and cradling their hands in each other’s. Like many times before me, I felt the familiar feeling in my gut: You are missing out big time on this feeling. A feeling called love.

Later, as the party was in full swing, I saw a couple outside the ballroom fighting. The passion in their eyes alight like the fire of a thousands suns. Words being flung around carelessly. Anger making way for what use to be love. As I was staring at this fight, I realised how there is always that one person who will be left with nothing. Have it be after the fight has subdued or if the fight leads to a breakup. One person is always left with nothing.

It’s sad.

In these modern times, I have found too many friends running to me with the same crisis after a breakup. They suddenly disembowel the entire relationship and breakup to try and find why they are an empty shell now. A full autopsy is performed to see where the core of their being as a person went lost and how they can try and revive it. It’s almost an impossible task at times, while others sometimes have to start from scratch, having lost everything they were.

I’m more than happy to help them. Not because they are my friends, but because I was once/ am now where they are and it’s easier to have someone plot a course and trajectory for you than having yourself stumbling around in the dark, blindly.

About 11 months ago, when my boyfriend passed away after a battle with depression, I was the one who was disemboweling the relationship, trying to find the point where it all went wrong. It’s more excruciating than it sounds. Trust me – relieving every moment in your head, trying to put the broken puzzle pieces together, is not for the faint of heart.

At one point, I remember waking up one morning. It was a normal morning, with me having slept nothing at all that night. I had been up, tossing and turning, trying to make sense of it all. Questions still remaining without any answers. As I was slouching to the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror. Something like this, is a normal action for many each morning. No second guessing it. Automated. But this morning, I caught a glimpse of my eyes. What followed terrified me.

They were dead. My eyes were lifeless and hollow. I could see it shine through. Like that couple who were fighting, passion shining through their eyes like burning suns, the lifelessness shone through mine. Like a fist to my chest, it hit the wind out of me. I can say, it’s safe to assume it was then that I knew I had lost me.

Like the person I am, a full postmortem followed after this. Soon, it was becoming clearer to me, that I was the one who had to be left with nothing. Being the nothing, rather.

I think most people’s sadness after a breakup these days, are because of this reason. That they become the nothing when their something is ripped away. I resent that this even has to be something you have to go through, upon losing the one you had/have loved. No one deserves this at the least.

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Now, I want to appeal to you: You can find yourself again.

Even at the point of losing your everything, your core, your being, the thing that makes you, you… At that point you can start finding yourself again.

It’s not easy, but it’s doable.

When all is lost, you have so much to use again to build yourself up from scratch. Go out, explore life, yourself and do something unexpected and new. Life, cry, laugh, smile and disappoint yourself ’till you reach a point where you have found yourself again.

Knowing who we are in life, is one of our greatest strengths. When challenges and potholes come our way, this is what we use and fall back on to get to the point of ultimate conquest or strength.

If you are reading this right now, thinking that I am speaking about you or to you, then you should probably sit down and start thinking about things. Just know, you are not the only one going through this.

Will you ever find yourself completely? No. You do however discover yourself across your life. Many facets reveal themselves and equip you even more in dealing with things.

Just for now, be proud of yourself for conquering that mishap, heartbreak or tear in your life and still being able to stand.

But most importantly: just find yourself.

Travel.

Curate those words carefully

It’s one of those lessons in life that I had to learn the hard way. You know, those lessons that leave you so drained and wrecked that you literally question every moral fiber of your existence. A lesson that I certainly would never forget.

Words are the building blocks of history, society, people, relationships and evolution. So much as words and actions go hand in hand, words are still those powerful weapons in your arsenal that you have to look after carefully. While your mind is filled with thoughts, it’s words that make up these thoughts and hold more than enough power to devastate a small country at most… (Ed note: maybe I was being a bit too dramatic there… At least maybe a small community?!)

I had to steadily learn that in life you can’t drop words like hot potatoes and expect people not to run and hide for cover or hold out their hands to scoop them up like ice cream. First problem being that you shouldn’t drop them like hot potatoes, second problem being that you should always carefully think what you want to achieve with words.

It was the night before R committed suicide that I came to realise what purpose words really play in our lives.

We were out for dinner with someone he knew. (ed note: I refrain from calling her a friend, as the lesson of this tale is that you should curate your words properly and she is not worthy of being called a friend.) At some point during the evening he asked us both what method of suicide do we think would be faster: carbon monoxide poising via a hosepipe through a car window in a shut garage or a makeshift barbecue an enclosed space. I really didn’t think much of this, but didn’t answer his question. Our companion at dinner went on to elaborate her theory. I just sat there.

I waited till she left for the bathroom before I turned to him. He rubbed his face in the familiar way he use to when he was stressed. I was half dreading to hear what was eating at him, as I had been expecting for a few weeks now that he was ready to end our relationship. But, the comment he made seconds ago was picking at me and I dropped the words like hot potatoes.

“What’s up? Are you okay? One does not simply ask that sort of stuff and there’s not something going on. If you need to talk to me, then you should do it. I’m listening and I’ll help, but I refuse to entertain such talk.”

My words weren’t really that carefully curated. They just fell straight from my brain and I was left to just sit there and receive the backlash he was about to give me.

“Stop being such a freakin’ drama queen. Just keep quiet and stop worrying about things that aren’t really there.”

The words dropped on me like bombshells and pounded me. ‘Till this day I still don’t know if it was the icy stare or his tone of voice that hurt me, but all I do know is that both our words weren’t carefully curated at all.

So, the night went on and I was still left disturbed by the conversation.

The Monday afternoon was the last physical written talk we ever had. Our last texts were me joking about him still being alive and him joking back saying “it’s just as luck would have it”.

It’s only today that I am left to realise what importance words hold in our lives. When we do not attempt to curate them carefully, we drop hot potatoes to the floor and at the worst throw bombshells towards people we care about the most.

Words hold a powerful, significant and subconscious impact on our brains even long after they have been spoken. Not a lot of us realise this and as a result people have been left broken, hurt and shattered due to the wrongs words having been spoken.

In this day and age where hatred, sadness, hurt and pain are precursors to every day we roam this planet, we need to start finding a balance in curating the words we speak a bit more carefully. Maybe this is just me thinking wishfully, but I’d love to see us a human race curate the crap that comes out of our mouths at times…

*sigh* In a perfect world hey…

Dream a little dream of me…

[26 weeks]

There was an intense stare. The words reverberated through me. My heart was racing and my fists were clenching tighter. It was a fight that had started for some absurd reason, but it seemed like it had a purpose. Like it was happening for the right reason and that whatever was being said, needed to be said. His eyes hit mine again, trying to stare me down. I remember them, the same way as they stared me down the last time we had an intense fight.

I shook violently awake. It was a dream. A nightmare? It was a dream. I tried calming myself, but it was 03:00 in the morning and the darkness, tears rolling down my cheeks and the emotions flooding over me that was far more overpowering than me seeking refuge from calamity.

This was not the first dream I had of R. But it was the first dream in which we violently fought over everything that had happened. It seemed so real to me that even as I sat in the dark room, breath racing, crying, I felt like he was there beside me. Waiting for me to retort and him to dish out the next argument.

I laid my head back down. It didn’t help to lull myself to sleep. The damage had been done. I stared at the ceiling. I suddenly longed back to the glow in the dark stars I had stuck to it when I was younger. They always calmed me down…

The next morning I hopped onto the train. I could feel the dream still rattling on my cage. I couldn’t remember what we were fighting about. It was like I knew we fought, but my brain was somehow cocooning me against the already painful experience of a ‘fight’. As I sat down in the seat, and I looked out of the window, my tired brain lost it’s grip and I got a flashback from the dream.

I wasn’t fighting at full strength. The hatred was there. Anger was plenty and the resent was flowing over the cup. But, somehow I knew it still wasn’t the full capacity at which I wanted to fight with against R’s decision to end his life. Something was keeping me back. I also saw how I let him march over me and try and pilot my feelings and arguments. I shook my head as to physically try and force the flashback to dream out of my head.

An entire day was spent on the dream. Analyzing it. Analyzing it some more. Trying to put it out of my mind. Trying to remember some more.

That night, I got home and felt like I had just ran a marathon. Plopping myself down on my bed, I started once again at the ceiling.

Before I closed my eyes I took in a deep breath, jumbled the words I wanted to say around in my head and summoned the courage to talk to R.

Surely enough, I was choking the words out.

It was like a steam engine. At some point, I was gasping for air and I felt a bit stupid that I was talking to the walls and expecting my dead boyfriend to listen and hear me. But, I powered on.

When I was done, I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

This time, I dreamt I was walking along the V&A Waterfront and browsing the stores. Soon enough I spotted R in the dream. He was sitting on the docks looking over the water. I was hesitant to go talk to him. I didn’t go talk to him. I left him on the docks…

I still feel guilty to a great extent for not being there enough for R before everything went down. That he might have been throwing so much signs my way and been crying for help and I just chose to turn a blind eye. In a way, this guilt wracks me and I don’t know how to cope with it.

I just wish I could turn back time and make more of an effort.

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Choices are like dog poop…

[20 weeks]

Today, a memory from my childhood came up to me again as I was walking home from the train station.

A fond memory I’ll always have of my dad is that he loves reading. As a child, I would creep up behind his back and peer over the pages of the book he was reading, just to share in the wonderful wonderland he was constantly escaping to.

One school holiday, my dad had this book laying on his stack. It was thick and I knew I would never be able to finish it in time before he’d have to return it to the library. Nonetheless, I picked it up, perched myself against the wall of his study and started reading.

The tale was of a young Russian prince who was out exploring the kingdom on his horse. In the intro, he describes this bird made of fire and ice. When it was winter, it would heat up and burst into flames, protecting their land. In the summer, it would cool down and give shelter to the crops.

One sentence I’ll never forget from this prologue, was a phrase the kingdom had adopted to suit the behavior of this bird: Adapt to survive and stand tall.

So, for the last three hours this phrase has been stuck with me. Not being able to escape the maze that is my head. It made a lot of sense. After all, we as humans have been blessed with the curse of choice. Everything in life is a series of choices. Choices we get to control and make.

Whilst everything in these past 20 weeks has been the most worst experiences of my life so far, I’ve come to learn that we all have a choice when it comes to dealing with grief. We can either have it destroy us, or we can survive, adapt and stand tall.

Something that still baffles me is that we as humans have the ability of free choice.

We get to decide our paths, our futures and our circumstances.

I know my previous post was not a very positive one… Here I have to hang my head in shame to my followers and readers.

But, I’ve since had some time to be quiet, reflect and realise some things.

Sometimes, we are not left to deal with our own choices, but others as well. And it’s not sometimes a choice we necessarily wanted to deal with or agreed with.

As the quote said: Survive and adapt.

Just as the ever changing landscape of life with it’s intricate choices doesn’t allow much space for us to sit down and throw and hissy fit, we just have to buck up and adapt to survive.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: Never forget that the right of choice is a privilege is a gift life has extended to you. Although you might be roped into others choices, you still have the right to control what you decide after that.

Also: Choices come in various forms which ranges from Easy as Pie to Slaying the Basalisk-difficult. Life has not extended a manual to us which helps these choices to be made with ease. Some choices are made with good or bad intentions and can go either way. Yes. Life’s an asshole for not extending a manual, right?

Still, in this masterclass, learning a lesson through a bad or good choice, you’ll always get to carry a lesson with you. A lesson you again get to share with the rest of the world.

Remember: Survive and adapt. Stand tall and change your circumstances – you have the choice to lead your life where you need to be. But never sit back and exclaim you didn’t have a choice. You’re just screwing yourself over. Big time.

In this case, the choice is simple: Choose to be in control of your decisions.

Seemingly, choices are like stepping in dog poop. You either step in it pretty deep and you’re screwed, and you complain all the way, whilst stinking up everywhere you step once you get out of it. Or you face the fact that you’ve stepped in it, get out of it, scrape it off your shoes and avoid the next puddle of crap in your way…

🍃

Autopilot

[17 weeks]

I kept slamming at the dashboard. The light that indicated my plane was on autopilot had gone out and it was freaking the living crap out of me. Slamming the dashboard didn’t help and it sure as hell didn’t calm me down. It’s when the thought struck me: This is all on me now.

Using the metaphor of a plane on autopilot has been the best way to describe my life after R passed away in May. It was like a force of some kind had taken over my body and mind and had been directing me in the right way and making sane decisions that I wouldn’t ordinarily make under these circumstances.

Now, 17 weeks into this stint, my body had decided to leave the autopilot function behind. And it was becoming a torment and hell of its own.

Whilst on autopilot everything seemed more calm and collected than it was right now. Which to me and maybe to you could seem weird. Right after someone passes away, you shouldn’t be in the calm of the storm. The storm should be ripping you to shreds and tearing every inch of you apart.

Now, after I’ve been left to pilot my own plane, it seems to me like I’ve been thrown smack dab into the middle of another storm.

Whilst R’s death has its own set of crisis and issues I’ve had to deal with, my life crept on forward. And that creeping action brought along more and more layers of crisis’ and issues to deal with upon everything else. In this storm, I was swerving from left to right just to avoid hitting something or causing damage.

Let me not lie: this was tiring. Exhausting. Straining.

At this moment in time, I felt really defeated. It was not like me to just sit down and claim that I’ve been beaten to the side, but it was growing more harsher to get by every single day, fearing at the same time that something might happen to add to the growing pile of bulltwang.

My plane, with damage to its exterior, hull, engines and fuel line was still miraculously in the air. Despite all my problems and the storm raging on around me.

While I was claiming “defeat”, I’d not noticed my plane still powering ahead. Why was I so hung up over a stupid “autopilot” phase?

Fine, It might have been less painful back then and I was wrapped in layers of wool and cotton to be protected from the world. But, why would I wanted to hung up over a phase where I didn’t really register what was going on around me and act like a robot. This was not what life is about. Life is about living, through all the bumps and nicks.

Although I’m no expert pilot, I’ve managed to keep powering ahead in the storms heading my way and I have a sinking feeling that I will continue powering my way through these storms, till I’m back in the sunlight and ready to face the world.

Lesser to the fact that Indiana Jones has nothing on me, I know this chapter in my life will just be one I’ll look back at in a few years and realise what lessons I need to take out of this.

For now, I’ll get up on my feet and not admit defeat.

As for Life’s punches: She hits like a little bitch. I’m ready to hit back. Or even, while I’m on the ground, I’ll tie his shoelaces together and watch him fall flat on his face.

I won’t go down that easy.

fangirl me~

Let’s blog about this one, shall we?

You know that moment you stand still just to take a breath and feel like you are breaching the waves that have been rolling over you consistently? It’s like something out of a Steven Spielberg or Nora Ephron movie. You get to have your own little cinematic moment, where you observe that moment, everyone around you and the world as it is.

These last couple of weeks have seemed like one giant wave after another rolling over me. And I’ve not had my moment where I could take a breath of fresh air, yet. It really sad and maybe even pathetic. But at the least it’s kind of important to note that I’ve discovered that April is seemingly my month of great change, every year.

When I turned 18, I had already faced a great deal of challenges in my life. I had overcome them and stood tall, and so I thought to myself: Jeez. Things could only be easier from here on out.

Whoomp. There it was. The ultimate jinx that changed a lot.

And tonight, I want to tell past David: Things were not going to be easier.

(I take a huge gulp of wine and ponder my next sentence.)

(The thoughts were stuck in my head, so I took another gulp of wine… And another. The glass was suddenly empty before it hit me.)

It was April. Why was I even surprised?! The crap always hits the fan in April.

In recent times, to cope with everything, I’ve become a little too obsessed with Disney. And then my thoughts began to wonder about and soon enough I was stuck with the idea that I might be a forgotten Disney princess, stuck in this crappy world with a curse placed on me by some b(w)itch. I know this might send of alarms that I’m a crazy person, but at least I’m not really dressing up like a Disney princess and asking people to call me “Your Highness”…

And through my obsession with Disney, I found a song from Tangled. “When will my life begin” became the anthem to my life.

In that moment I listened to the song again, I had my cinematic moment where I gulped an entire breath of fresh air.

I was being pushed into certain directions by the cosmos. Through all these troubles and problems I was being led to a point where I was going to start my life anew.

(At this point I filled my glass with more wine…)

Too many questions were still filling my head and the answers weren’t coming. I felt frustrated by this. Why was there no answers.

But then, I sank back into my cushion, thinking that maybe I’m not suppose to have all the answers in life right now. Maybe I wasn’t suppose to hang onto the moment. Maybe I was suppose to just entirely let go. Have it be with any thought of the future, problem I was facing or thing that was bothering me. Letting go might just be the right thing for now.

Seeing as the cosmos was directing my cinematic moment right now. I didn’t want to be a drama queen and give it notes on how things were suppose to go.

So, now, I’m jumping into the unknown and letting the universe take things to where they should be.

I’m afraid and crapping myself, but I think I’ll be fine.

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