Ruin

As a young boy I loved delving into our bookshelves at home. My parents didn’t love me rummaging through our prized set of encyclopedias, but I didn’t care for much of it.

I remember how one particular day, a typical Cape Town-storm brewing outside, I was hunched in a nest of blankets and pillows in my room pouring over the pyramids of Egypt. For hours I stared at the pictures, trying to imagine how these behemoth structures were erected and ’till this day stand tall, peering over Egypt’s deserts and cloaking the tourists in their shadows or bathing them in sunlight.

One piece from the caption an illustration still stays with me today: “These ruins stand preserved as beautiful structures, being one of the most enigmatic, yet breathtaking modern wonders of this world.”

So, my fellow bloggers, ruin… How can ruin be beautiful?

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The realisation

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You’ll remember a few posts ago how I was telling you about the new person I met. The person who was able to restore my broken heart after the superstorm of R who took his own life and left me to deal with the aftermath of it all.

J… The one to put a flicker in my dying heart.

As the story goes, J and I both had a huge falling out and things just continued to spiral out of control. It was something ugly – tearing our hearts apart. Neither one of us meant it, but neither one of us really knew how to really deal with this.

So, this past weekend, J came to Cape Town again. After I pleaded one last time for him to fight for me, he hopped onto a plane to come fight for me.

Seeing him again, felt good. It felt like I was back home, in a safe space. Like I was where I needed to be. Where I was meant to be.

This all didn’t last.

As later the evening, during a Halloween party, I got a little bit drunk and saw him talking to someone else. A jealous rage swept over me like a red mist and before my tongue could stop itself, I was lashing out towards him. Blaming him for the mistakes of R’s infidelity (a story I will get to another time). It was irrational. He saw it, sat me down and tried to break through the walls I had built around myself these past months. After telling me how hard it was being around me when I was closed off, shutting people out and hurting people by being a stone wall slowly crumbling under the pressure of everyone’s troubles on my shoulders and more importantly my own troubles that I reflect inwards… I realised how bad it really was.

It wasn’t ’till he told me how R’s cloud had followed us from Day 1 and that he couldn’t compete with a dead man anymore, that I lost it. A little something inside me died and I got up. Luckily, my two friends Ancomien and Mienke, were at hand to intervene. Mienke stayed behind to talk to J and Ancomien swept a frantic, panicked me away.

Guys, I don’t remember much. All I know is that I had what could best be described as a meltdown. Soon, my friends also started telling me how they were tired of me not relying on them and slowly fading away in front of their eyes… I on the other hand, kept crying hysterically, feeling every emotion in me slipping away.

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The next 24 hours was spent with loved ones intervening.

On Sunday evening, J and I made a mutual decision to not force anything now, and that it would be best if I went to heal myself and that I stay away from him, to stop hurting him on the jagged edges of my heart. This on its own hurt me beyond words and broke the last broken pieces of my heart into dust.

Ultimately, as I laid in bed that evening, I realised that I was never okay. I was not over everything. I had never accepted what had happened to me. And I was losing a lot more than my life… My friends were ready to call quits on me (even though they love me too much to say that me).


And now?

I’ve been on pretty strong tranquilizers since Sunday.

The emotions are all gone from me for now. I think they symbolically left with my tears and washed away. I really do feel empty, for the first time in a while, I really am scared of how empty I feel.

It was one huge mistake. Me, taking everything that happened, the unresolved issues, emotions, pain, hurt, sorrow and plastering them up behind the walls in my head. The biggest lie I have told myself to thus far hasn’t been that R might still be alive, but it was that I was okay with everything and over it all. I was so desperate to be okay again, to be someone who I once remember in passing or even remotely a version of something that I could be okay with. In plastering all those stuff up behind a wall in my head, I did the greatest injustice to myself.

After my friends and people who love me walked in with sledgehammers, looking for that one wall where everything was hidden behind, I’m literally left in ruin now. I needed to be saved from myself. Guys, the worst thing is having being saved from yourself by friends.

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Ruin

Hi everyone, I’m David. And my life is in ruin.

The first step to me getting better and healing is for me to admit this.

Right now, like those pyramids in Egypt, I’m in ruin, but still standing. I’m a beautiful mess. And the great thing about a beautiful mess is that you can either choose to gather your mistakes and carry on forward and be who you are now or you can wipe the entire slate clean and start a new.

As I mentioned, my blog is going to go onto a new course. And I still stick to that promise. From here on out, no more bars hold. I’m opening the doors of my life wide – it’s time for a major spring cleaning and I’d like to invite all of you to walk with me.

For the one thing that ties all of us together is that we all feel pain. We’ve all been through hardships, broken hearts, loss and grief. And we’ve all stood up from ruin to either rebuild our lives.

Let this serve as a reminder to us all – never, EVER, convince yourself you’re okay and then try to bury non-resolved feelings and emotions. Face your demons, fight them and move on to the next battle.

And this time – I won’t lie to anyone again. I refuse to be the Boy Who Cried Wolf. I’m not okay and I’m okay with that. Because I know I have amazing people in my life and supportive readers who will see me through this hardship.

Upwards and onward.

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*365 days later*

Denial. Bargaining. Anger. Depression.

The four friends I have come to known in the span of year’s time. Sucking the life out of me at times, infuriating me beyond compare, driving me beyond the edge of sanity and letting me dwell in the darkness…

It was the four friends I have now come to say goodbye to. I no longer need their company. They have become strangers – isolated from my life.

These “friends” are also four of the five stages of Grief.

Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross created a model for grief years ago. We all know the story – she was surrounded by patients in a hospice who were terminally ill and she noticed how everyone had these four “friends” by their side. These stages were also noted in people touched by death.

Now, a few hours shy of the anniversary or my former boyfriend’s suicide, I have come to terms with four of the five stages of grief. After a troublesome, tumultuous and sorrow ridden year, I am now at a space in time where calamity seems to be surrounding me more and more.

If you ask me if I knew this day would arrive… I will blankly stare at you and say: Nope. I gave up on that hope the day I stood beside his casket.

Life has since passed and time has not stood still for me. Time seems to be the only constant that has moved on with me for now – other things are still to come. Change is on the horizon. Peace is knocking at my door. A new me is dawning and acceptance seems to be introducing himself to me.

Confession: I have been afraid of this day for some time now.

Would I be ready? Would I be equipped to face acceptance and feel strong enough to pursue it? Was it worth all the tears, pain and broken pieces of my heart to come to this point and not leave this chapter of my life satisfied?

Well. Guess what. Not ready. Far from ready.

I still hate him with a fiery passion. People seldom try to understand it all, but they rarely understand why I am so quick to hate him while all his other loved ones still scrape together love for him.

I hate him for calling quits on his life, friends, future, loved ones, family, soul mate and…me. No one ever expected anything from him, but only to live and share his sorrow with other’s. He never did. He kept it hidden, like many other secret lives he led. The secrets upon secrets that tore him apart has tore me apart. And not just me… Everyone else who gave a damn about him.

I’ve fallen out of love with him and this hatred has grown to become an overpowering emotion to help me through each day.

Where I thought it wouldn’t be possible to even remotely survive, hatred has powered me through a day with the constant reminded that I can’t give up hope or call it quits, even if I wanted to. I wanted to prove to him that it’s possible to go above and beyond pain, without giving up.

You might stop me in my tracks and reprimand me that I’m far from acceptance. Right so. I won’t fight you on that.

I am however going to challenge you on the points that I am ready to step into the dawn of a new light.

As this sullen day passes, I’m no more the boy who’s boyfriend killed himself. I’m no more the widow. I’m no more the grieving son, the friend with a bag of sorrow on his shoulders. I am a new person to take on the world by storm. A new dawn is waiting for me and as far as I’m concerned, I’m ready to embrace that.

I might not have come to terms with most of R’s death, but I have come to terms that we are not longer an “us”. It’s only me now.

Me.

Only I can move on now and make my world a fantastic place to live in. In this lies the acceptance I speak of. I have accepted the pieces of my broken heart, the lies that tore me apart, the hole and huge gap left in my life with R’s passing and the sadness that has taught me how to live closer to my own fractured pieces of my heart.

Acceptance. It comes in different forms and as grief has different stages, I’m ready to close this chapter in my life.

Stepping into the light of this new dawn, I’m ready to say goodbye to him and hopefully, soon enough, drop the hatred and keep him in a special place within my heart.

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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…

Caution – Landmine ahead

In a blur, almost 31 days of the first month of 2015 had passed by and I was still reeling and trying to hold on for dear life. This year had started with a bang and
I was probably still in perpetual bomb shock from the event. It still didn’t seem like a month later. Wasn’t it still New Year’s Eve?

Facing a stark reality, I was facing another one that was looming around the corner: Valentine’s Day. February the 14’th was less than a month away and in my current state this was even more of a shock to me. The day I had been fearing is rapidly approaching and I had no idea to cope with with might come, follow or happen on that doomed day.

A year ago I was in a relationship, happy, content and enjoying the company of the most wonderful guy. Now, I’m “widowed”, alone and partying up a storm around town. What a stark constrast and a prospect that could have anyone facing Valentine’s Day in the face think of emptying a bar just to numb the pain.

Fuck.

It’s 8 months later since R passed away and after a brief hiatus I’m back on the blogosphere to type away my feelings. Since my previous blog, lots has changed up inside my head. The emotional rollercoaster I’m still on seemed to have reached a brief pause and everything I was feeling has slipped away into thin air. The anger and resentment has now moved out momentarily and made place for a little of the Old David to just reclaim some normalcy and stability to his life. My life.

Somehow this had become my window to the world around me, magnifying it’s gaze on the empty shell that has been left to fend for itself since R comitted suicide. For the first time in a while I was asking myself: What is it you’re planning on doing now? A question with no easy answer, but one I was willing to investigate for sure.

This whole new outlook had something to do with the fact that it was a new year where I could embrace some sort of new beginning and leave a huge chunk of what had happened last year in the past and start writing off that chapter as a loss. Although I have not made much progress on adopting a new plan, New Year – New David, I had begun thinking what it is I want to get out of this new year and that alone seems good enough to me. The actual challenge was now to put this over in actions…

But why was I mortified by Valentine’s Day, you might wonder. Well… It’s not the fact that I’d be spending it alone as so much as being reminded of the fact that I was with R last year and now I’m not. It felt to me as if this reminder alone would halter the plans I was trying to put into motion to move on and reclaim a bit of my life back.

In each time period, there was a certain event or date that would seem like a landmine in my road to reclaiming myself, that would pop up and blow up in my face and also blow up any progress I’ve made. Each time I was left to just pick myself and the pieces of my heart that I had been carrying around and just try and venture on again.

You might notice why I’m scared shitless of Valentine’s Day aproaching… This progress I’ve made, that was so valuable to me, was going to be blown to smithereens and I would have to head back to the drawing board again, just to have the next big reminder and date explode in my face.

Another startling realisation: I’ve hence become scared of living. Hideaways and secret forts has become my solitude, keeping me safe and cushioning the nasty blow
each time. But, being so safe each time is what has been irritating me and pushing me to start making new plans and think of myself again. Was I being a misogynist? Was I doing this to myself and was I stuck in a viscious circle?

What I knew was: I hated being safe and hiding, making excuses and lying.

All I wanted and needed to do was to wear my scars with pride and keep my head held high. And with each landmine, I just need to keep going and leave whatever plans and progress I’ve made that’s been blow to pieces and just keep rolling with the punches.

It was maybe easier said than done, but I was done of hiding from life.

Life, with it’s drama’s, up’s, down’s and flair was something I was missing out on and the one thing I cried about really hard these last few weeks. I’ve mourned a dead boyfriend – I didn’t want to mourn the loss of my life as well.

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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I miss him…

[23 weeks]

I’ll never be able to feel his arms around me. Hugging me so hard that it almost felt like he was trying to put all of the broken pieces together again.

I’ll never hear him laugh again. Never hear him jokingly calling my name or sucker punching me if I made a lame remark.

I’ll never see him again.

It may be five months late, but the pain still hasn’t lessened and it hasn’t lessened as much as when I come to realisations like these.

And to make matters worse: As much as I hated R for leaving me behind, I still love him so much. I’ve watched countless Disney movies, but none of them have ever had a curse as powerful as this: one where you could hate someone with everything in you, but at the same time be able to love them with every last shred of light in you.

Of course, the second I heard he had passed, I started missing him. It was like all the cells in my body were inching to be with his and started aching when it couldn’t find his. And about 23 weeks later, it’s still not much less of a challenge to control the surmountable pain I experience when I accidentally think of him.

What isn’t much of a challenge though, is making the words: “I miss him”, become background noise in my head. Even when I think of him and the longing to be with him flares up, it’s not as bad as when I realise that he’s not here and won’t be returning anytime soon.

23 weeks later it’s becoming more of an occurrence where I started feeling him drift into the nothingness inside of my mind. In clinging onto him and his memory for dear life, my own mind had begun fooling me by shrouding some of the memories of him into becoming vague pieces and fragments my mind couldn’t conjure up anymore.

This in it’s own was a longing I couldn’t explain. A longing to just have one good memory that wasn’t cloudy or vague.

Even though I keep building sandcastles in my mind, imagining him to be alive and living his life, there are times Life has a funny way of reminding me that he had passed away and then I was stuck with this new, all too familiar feeling, of missing him.

After 5 months, I don’t know what else to do but miss him.

Crying won’t bring him back. Being angry wouldn’t bring him back. Hating him wouldn’t help. Would missing him help me?

All I know is, I’ve never longed to touch his hand or hug him one last time more than in these last few days. And I hope he knows how much I miss him.

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