To those who were loved first

It may be your parents, your partner, your family, your pets, your friends or even God. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll find someone who loves you first. And if you’re really blessed, you’ll be surrounded by them. Some might say, be with someone who loves you more. But I hope you find someone who loves you first.

And I’m not talking about the infatuations and high school crushes. I’m referring to love. I’d try to explain what love is, but I think it differs for everyone of us. And yet as cliché as it sounds, we’ll know when we experience it. It’s difficult to mistake that profound yet simple emotion for anything else, really.

To be loved first is euphoric. We feel cherished. We may have done nothing to deserve it and perhaps that’s what makes it even more valuable. We will feel accepted as we are. We are validated for our worth regardless of whether we need it or not. And just like innocent children, that extra sprinkle on our ice-cream adds that gleeful spring to our steps.

To be loved first is empowering. It makes us brave, knowing that there is someone supporting us. It liberates us because to some degree (and I do say this with much caution), that love is unconditional. It was given and professed without expecting us to reciprocate. It was given without us having to earn it.

It’s the people who love us first

That we will exploit, as if we wish to test the depth of their affections.

That we will take for granted, as if they could only love us and no one else.

That we will always return to because therein lies solace.

I hope you’ll find people who love you first, who courageously bare their heart for you with no strings attached. I hope you’ll experience love that is enduring, accepting and forgiving in whatever form it comes in.

And I hope one day, you’ll love first too. 


To the public self

We both know we can’t co-exist

One of us has to be hidden

When the other is revealed

But I wish the disparity

Between us wasn’t this great

As if we’re two separate

Entities entirely.

When you talk, I lie.

I shout, you write.

Your dungeon, my paradise.

My deeds, your crimes.

I know your compromising stance

Is to protect the selfish me

And your sensibility is to

Compensate for my inadequacies

Because you are you,

I can defiantly be me.

Because your forgiving heart is

Kinder than mine which is petty.

There are time when I’ll surface

Unexpectedly, but as expected,

You who is never shaken

Takes control ever so smoothly.

You conform to ease my rebellion

You laugh to erase my bitterness

You change yourself according

To who the world wants me to be.

Because the world cannot accept me,

You took on that responsibility.

But with my dearest ones,

You give me free rein.

I bask in the spotlight

As you walk off the stage.

And I can be my crazy

And sing completely off-key

I can break out in dances

And love unreservedly.

In the darkness of the night

As we slowly drift and out

Of consciousness, that’s when

We take off our disguise

Thank you for all these years

Of being my most trusted ally.

Let’s keep to our roles

Till the end of time.

To those with ugly and illegible handwriting

You can’t comprehend how the work of your friends with perfect neat handwriting still look significantly more marvellous than yours despite the multiple cross-outs and corrections they had to do. And you wrote yours accurately on the first try!

Some may be mistaken that you were in a rush to pen down the information. Others assume your scribbles are simply reflections of your nonchalant attitude. But you’d know best. It is neither a conscientious or hastened effort. Simply what it is.

Writing study notes can be a nightmare. Of course, the content matters more than the penmanship. However, aesthetically-pleasing notes would be so much tolerable to look at while studying so your horrendous writing is in fact, a deterrent from revision.

You’ve seen art pieces of inspirational quotes written in beautiful calligraphy and video clips of bullet journals designed with decorative handwritten fonts. And you can only dream of producing works of similar quality. You probably rely on digital writing and just have to be contented with the banal options offered online. Sure, there are various designs found online that you can choose from. But you’ll find that flawless artistry is monotonous and mundane in contrast to the vibrance of imperfect writing.

Even as you are surrounded by such gifted hands, you can’t be bothered to upgrade yourself and improve on your penmanship though. Sure, there have been occasions when you were tempted to try but you’d never quite make it there.

You possess a streak of obstinacy and an inherent sense of pride. You are unyielding and tenacious. Something as trivial as penmanship is simply not worthwhile for you to bend your principles over. You will not be changed unless you truly see the value of doing so.

So a calligraphy brush might be wasted on you and your writing might be dismissed as vandalism and an abomination to mankind, but hey, there are other causes worth championing for and better penmanship ain’t one.

To the heartbreakers

Let’s just start this letter by recognising the fact that there are different kinds of heartbreaks and thus different types of people causing them. The self-proclaimed sacrificial and altruistic ones, those who don’t make their partners their priority etcetera.

But this letter is specifically for the “bad boys” (figure of speech because gender equality, it could go the other way and I’m not going to leave myself wide open and vulnerable to the wrath of “social activists“). The ones who deliberately attract romantic and sexual attention, who overtly flirt their way into someone’s good graces, who have a streak of narcicissm in their blood and decided to run with it without truly committing to the relationship.

Or really, if Taio Cruz’s ‘Break Your Heart’ was ever your anthem and best describes you(you’ve triple-checked the box!), this letter is most definitely for you.

A puppeteer of emotions and made them your playthings.

You get bored easily.

Relationships are just too complicated for your liking.

To any outsider, your partners were the victims in these short-lived affairs. How could you dispose of them without batting an eyelid? How heartless can you be? Oh all these upright humans. You’ve probably been called a jerk and worse names. You just accept it. You’re a gentleman like that.

You’ve always laid the cards out on the table from the start. That this arrangement was never for the long haul. And you’d assume it was mutual. Atleast you’ve managed expectations…right?

So why are you to blame for your partners, bless their pure hearts, who are in denial? Who think highly of themselves and believe that for them, you’d change? That they’d be the that special one? Like you’re a game they’re trying to win. Like you’re a prize to be claimed. Like you’re an item to be possessed.

So who is the egotistical one in this relationship? Knowingly playing with fire, they only have themselves to blame. But you don’t shame them the same way they do to you. You help to keep their reputation and dignity, only you take the fall. Pretty magnanimous of you, really. And yet such kindness goes unnoticed.

Someday someone will break your heart too and you’d be broken.

Someday you won’t be the player but the played.

Someday they will tell you “I told you so” and “You had it coming” and they’d be right. (But are they really your friends if they kick you when you’re down?)

Fact is, if that relationship isn’t meant to be, regardless of which character you play, heartbreak is an inevitable outcome.

The Northern star. The Mr. Not Right.

The stepping stone, leading them to where their happy endings truly lie.

Maybe that’s all you’ll ever be.

Just a phase to pass the time.

To the loved one who passed on

You’ve missed a couple of the recent milestones in my life. I had to learn to live without you. Without your anger, without your pain, without your warmth, without your love, without you. I’ve been through a lot since you left, but none was as exhausting nor as challenging as the period leading to your death. I guess that period really trained me well.

That month was a whirlwind and yet somehow I remember the details so vividly.

When the news broke.

When the doctors lost hope.

When we brought you home.

I lived in denial at first. You still seemed fine. You cracked your usual jokes, you nagged the usual things, you were your usual self. You were fine. Just weak, traces of fatigue. But you were fine. And so I had hope. Hopeful that you’d bounce back like you always did. That it was just temporary. Or perhaps it would be our new normal. I could deal with it if it’s like this, I thought. We could deal with this. But I was deceived.

As the days passed, I saw you getting weaker.  You still smiled but your smiles never quite reached your eyes. You still laughed but your laughter no longer filled the room. I started doubting, doubting that you would last another day. My steadfast belief began cracking, faltering, crumbling. I was losing hope, losing faith, losing you. I saw you shrinking, reduced to your skeletal canvas. And those hands, those hands that once held such warmth were so cold to the touch. And it pained me that I was so helpless. Pained me that we couldn’t reach a stable ground. That you were deteriorating so quickly.

Then you started forgetting. Forgetting names, faces, me. I knew the end was near when I looked into your eyes. There was no light in them anymore. Your eyes looked right through me, not quite acknowledging my presence. And suddenly it was as if all the years of love never existed. As if we were strangers who met for the first time. It was as if your soul was no longer and your body was just a hollow shell. But still I held on to that flicker of hope.

And then you slept, getting to ready to leave.

It was only a matter of time then.

A waiting game of when.

You started gasping for air.

I was right there.

And I whispered to you to let go.

That we could manage on our own. 

Don’t forget, I love you so.

But as you were laid to rest, and the undertaker preached the final rites, I broke down.

I guess it was my last attempt at turning back time.

That if I hoped, believed enough, come back to me you might.

That I couldn’t accept it though I tried.

But gone you were, out of my sight.

They say time heals. And I agree.

Time heals everything but not entirely.

There are times when I miss you more than others. But I am doing okay, and on better days, I’m doing great. I’ve grown a lot since you left. Though, honestly, you didn’t really leave me much choice. I’d like to think I’m a better person now. Even though I know that it’s only possible in your absence, I wish you could still see this latest version of me.

Thank you for not going gentle into that good night

And for raging against the dying of the light

I pray you’re up on Heaven’s boulevard

And I thank you for loving me in this life.

To the forgetful

Your lackadaisical attitude. Your distracted mind. Swamped at work. Sleep deprivation. Drinking habits. Or some just blame it on your entire way of life.

It’s as if everyone dismissed your attempts at remembering things, albeit futile. And that is unfair. You feel indignant for being accused on such unsubstantiated claims .

He said to remind him when it’s 3pm. Okay, 3pm, you told yourself. There is a trick to remembering they say. Associate it with something you’re familiar with. Of course you’ll remember it. It’s the same time as your tea break. And who can forget mini-cupcakes and sandwiches and Earl Grey tea? You got this. Mental note: 3pm!

And then poof. 3.42pm. And he starts rambling away about how you always do this. That you were supposed to remind him. But that’s not fair. You didn’t forget to tell him the time, you were so preoccupied you forgot tea time. And by extension, forgot to remind him. So is it really your fault the memory association system failed you?

And forgetting to buy soap on your way back. You only remembered it when you reached home. To your defense, you had that nagging feeling you forgot something. You really tried to recall what it was. You scribbled it on a post-it note somewhere and pasted it God knows where on your office desk but hey, A for effort.

You forgot the deadline was today and there is no way you can have an extension. At this point, does it really matter that you forgot? Why are they nagging at you about it now? They should leave you to rush through the task rather than take up any more of your time. Who is making life difficult now huh?

And anniversaries, oh god, these special occasions. More a nuisance, really. Okay, you get the deal with birthdays. Atleast there is an actual reason for celebration. Someone got older and may have reached another milestone in life. There is an actual significance so you’d be a tad guilty to have forgotten. And wedding anniversaries, okay, it would be better if you remember, especially if your partner is a romantic like that. And what’s important to your partner is important to you. But anniversaries like when you first met, when your first date was, woah, this is really stretching your brain capacity. Deep down, there is a teeny part of you that feels obliged to celebrate rather an actual desire to. Because that date was special in that year, that moment, that actual situation. Bringing it up twenty years later, it’s not like you’re not sentimental, you’re just a bigger picture kind of person now. If it’s the sentiment that counts, hey, you prize your partner everyday. All those small steps back then led to the current now and that’s what matters, right, right? Of course these are not excuses for forgetting, these are words from the bottom of your heart as you continually profess your love for your dearest ones.

People would have advised you by now, to write to-do lists or have a scheduler that can remind you. Or set an alarm so that you’ll know. Okay, these solutions have been proven useful on some occasions but they are not foolproof. These are not guaranteed successes, you try to explain to them. The flaws of this system are apparent. You have to remember to do something to remember another. Remember to write it down to remember to do it later. But you also have to remember to bring AND look at your scheduler to remember the tasks for the day. How can no one see the irony of this, you wonder.

By now, you may have already accepted that you’re a forgetful person and if you can be brutally honest to everyone around you, you don’t see your life being any worse off than your counterparts who are blessed with better recalling ability. You’ve accepted that it’s just a flaw you have and you think you’ve dealt with the cards life has dealt you with pretty well. So if you have adapted to your own forgetful ways, why is everyone else trying so hard to get you to change? 

Leave little space for the trivial matters.

Let your mind be filled with what’s significant.

To those who feel inferior

Once upon a time, you did think you were good enough. You seemed to excel effortlessly. You used to think you were gifted. Had a knack for it. Possessed skills others didn’t. You believed you were special at that point in your life. Or atleast, whatever it was, it gave you your sense of worth.

But then, as you grow older, you start to meet people. People who may deliberately chip off that self-confidence. Others who are just more gifted than you in your area of expertise. Unknowingly, all these individuals, they took away your something special. They took away a piece of you.

And suddenly you realize how small you are. Not only do you have nothing to offer to the world, it’s starting to look like you don’t even have enough to offer yourself.

There are a plethora of perspectives you can take at this point. And you’ve tried adopting them at various stages of your life.

That these people, these struggles are there for you to grow.

That there’ll always be someone better.

That you shouldn’t compete with other people, life is not a race.

But these reasons are meaningless to you. Because, consciously or not, you view yourself as the victim of a competitive society. This society dulled your sparkle. This society disadvantaged you from the very start. And I’m not going to lie, you might be right.

But have you ever wondered? Perhaps your sense of inferiority stems from excessive pride and self-confidence rather than a lack of. Your sense of inferiority may really just be desperate need for validation. Because you think highly of yourself, you feel small when others don’t share the same sentiment. You mentally placed yourself so high up, the discomfort of being positioned anything lower made you feel overlooked, unappreciated, unimportant. You keep telling yourself you’re not good enough but really what you’re saying is, “I am good enough but no one has yet to reinforce this fact so I really dare not”. Some may exude their confidence and are clearly evident but your lack of outwardly expression makes your supposed reverse hubris the worst kind because you refuse to acknowledge it for what it is. And just like a Shakespeare tragedy, you carve the path to your own downfall.

You thought it was because you were lacking.

But no, you were excessive.

Your greed, your ambition, your pride.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent?

No one can make you feel inferior but yourself.

Let go of that thirst for attention, for recognition, for validation.

Rewrite your narrative and be your own victor.

Dictate your own self-worth and live in humble glory.