The Art Of Forgetting And Forgiving

“I rarely suffer lengthy emotional distress from contact with other people. A person may anger or annoy me, but not for long. I can distinguish between myself and another as beings of two different realms. It’s a kind of talent (by which I do not mean to boast: it’s not an easy thing to do, so if you can do it, it is a kind of a talent – a special power). When someone gets on my nerves, the first thing I do is transfer the object of my unpleasant feelings to another domain, one having no connection with me. Then I tell myself, Fine, I’m feeling bad, but I’ve put the source of these feelings into another zone, away from here, where I can examine it and deal with it later in my own good time. In other words, I put a freeze on my emotions. Later, when I thaw them out to perform the examination, I do occasionally find my emotions in a distressed state, but that is rare. The passage of time will usuallly extract the venom from most things and render them harmless. Then sooner or later, I forget about them.”

― Haruki Murakami

Though the above quote resonates with me strongly, I am afraid I go a lot further when it comes to dealing with emotions and cutting people out of my life.

Out of a sense of duty which is one of the strongest propellers why I do things (and keep doing them) when it comes to people, I let myself be abused to the point of being a doormat, till I heard the click, and then no more.

Like I said before, I don’t cultivate any form of attachment to anything or anyone. Subconsciously, I must have learned it from babyhood leading a nomadic life and never unlearned it. Old habits never die, right?

So, when I heard the click in my head and decided to ban what causes me harm, that’s it, there is no way back.

The thing is, I don’t cut people or things from my life deliberately. It is difficult to explain. From one day to another, they will just cease to exist (in my head) as if they never been there or never been a part of my existence. And no matter what I do, how hard I try, I can’t bring them back.

It hurts indefinitely and I don’t forget but letting them back in, I can’t.

I did it with my family, my ex, my religion, and my daughter.

Speaking of my daughter, lately, she is reaching out. Perhaps the prospect of becoming a mother soon brought a little understanding in her head, realizing that being a parent is not as simple as she thought it will be. But though I love her dearly and I wish nothing but the best for her, what she all did in the past trigger the click in my head and I have no desire anymore to be part of her life. Not even for the sake of my grandchild.

There was a time that I will do anything to be included in her life but after hearing repeatedly in the past from her own mouth that she didn’t wish me in her circle and no plan to introduce me to her future children and will make them believe I was already dead because I don’t fit in her picture of what a perfect family is and compare to anyone in her immediate surroundings I came way too short of expectations. Her expectations. One day it finally sinks in and I decided maybe she is right, that I better disappear from her life and I did.

But not after she thrown me out from her place saying it will never work between us, simply because I didn’t agree with her unrealistic ideas. I cried and it hurt and still is but never again.

She invited me to her baby shower. I declined. There will be baptismal and God knows what in the future and probably I will invent excuses not to go but believe you me, the prospect of mingling with people she deemed qualified to be part of her life is so stressful for a lowly good for nothing me.

I don’t know if our relationship will improve in the future. If the gap between us could be bridge and wounds could heal. But even then…

At least we are on a speaking term now. Maybe that’s an improvement, but…

Time will tell.

As always.

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Dead Toad Scrolls

We tend to see ourselves through other people’s eyes. We respond to how other people actually treat us as well as to an imaginary audience of people who we presume are judging us. Even living in total isolation of other people, I would construct a sense of personal identity based upon how I thought other people would evaluate me if they could only see me now.

The road to self-improvement does not begin with the realization of other people’s scorn. Personal salvation commences with the determined excavation and displacement of a crusty layer of self-denial, which defense mechanism camouflaged my intensifying sense of self-repugnance for how I acted in this earthly life.

Enforced seclusion from society and personal introspection are not the product of brilliant intellectual insight or a calculated election. Escape was necessary when reality proved too harsh.

Self-examination requires time alone spent in thoughtful study. We naturally fear aloneness, which reluctance can stifle attaining self-knowledge. In her 1942 memoir titled ‘West with the Night,. Beryl Marham spoke eloquently why we must overcome our fear of aloneness and conduct a search for our inner authenticity. “You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself. You learn to watch other people, but you never watch yourself because you strive against loneliness. If you read a book, or shuffle a deck of cards, or care for a dog, you are avoiding yourself. The abhorrence of loneliness is as natural as wanting to live at all. If it were otherwise, men would never have bothered to make the alphabet, nor to have fashioned words out of what were only animal sounds, nor to have crossed continents – each man to see what the other looked like.

We are conscious beings always experimenting with the mystery of becoming our ultimate manifestation.

If we cleaved ourselves in half to examine our daily mind chatter under a microscope, who amongst us would daringly display the sediment of their innermost thoughts for public consumption? A tattler’s tale reporting the silted musings resembling my tarnished soul is probably the most typical scorecard. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), an English novelist and poet declared, “If all hearts were open and all desires known – as they would be if people showed their souls – how many gapings, sighings, clenched fists, knotted brows, broad grins, and red eyes should we see in the market place!” My unsavory report card is indistinguishable from the blemished masses. Etched into the end zone of my life playing field are the horrors of gluttony, greed, failure, and humiliation. Recognition of my sinful life led directly to a rash act of despondency. Commission of a ream of sins is a reflection of my weak character. Guilt from leading a sinful life, not a strong character, manufactured the overwhelming despair that caused me to seek absolution. The willingness to grade myself as less than a satisfactory human being might be my only hope of ever achieving spiritual salvation.

A self-concept is fluid; it is composed of numerous ongoing self-assessments forming an awareness of a person’s physical and mental attributes. Our perception of self comes from our interaction with all of nature and is especially dependent upon social interactions with parents, siblings, spouses, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and other acquaintances. Self-identity includes an understanding of a person’s personality attributes, knowledge of their skills and abilities, taking stock of their values and religious affiliations, and tallying their choices for occupation and hobbies. Identity is a mixture of our resilience and our energy; it is the product of our aggressiveness and meekness. We forge an identity with the arms we bear to protect our territory and by the gentleness that we exhibit towards other people. Identity is weaved from sunshine and shadows. It derives from good and evil conduct; it encompasses a sense of love, wonder, and loss.

A person without a crystalline sense of self lives a mythless existence; they lack a definitive path to follow in life. Deprived of a solid sense of self, dispossessed of a connection to the past, destitute of a grounding sense in the present, a person leads a leaden and aimless existence.

None of us remains invulnerable to the demands of our physical survival or stands aloof and insusceptible to the shaping influences of society. We live in a social world and the prevailing cultural norms affect each of us.

Every step in life is a testing ground. Some active and perceptive people never stop blossoming regardless of what experience they encounter while other people seem to wilt with the slightest provocation.

The human mind is the artist of our mutable state of inwardness. External action signals to other people our inner composition. We control our present state of happiness. Each personal action taken or not undertaken subtlety or profoundly alters whom we were, influences whom we now are, and amends who we might become. Our shifting self-image controls our present state of personal happiness.

A strict self-image demonstrates a predisposition to maintain a rigid explanation and definition of a person. Our self-image becomes self-perpetuating because of the tendency of the mind to exhibit partiality regarding what we attend to and preference in what we are prepared to accept as true about the world and ourselves.

― Kilroy J. Oldster

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Fighting The Battle In Silence

“How can I put this? There’s a kind of gap between what I think is real and what’s really real. I get this feeling like some kind of little something-or-other is there, somewhere inside me… like a burglar is in the house, hiding in a wardrobe… and it comes out every once in a while and messes up whatever order or logic I’ve established for myself. The way a magnet can make a machine go crazy.” ― Haruki Murakami

Only those who are in the same boat (or those who made the journey) would understand what Haruki Murakami is talking about. Even immediate family close as they are could impossibly fathom out the full extent of how it truly is unless they walk in the shoes of someone who is suffering from mental illness.

Bystanders will never understand. How could they if you yourself cannot make sense of what’s happening to you. It’s difficult when you cannot explain because words seem woefully inadequate to describe what’s going on inside your head which prompts those unexplainable actions that society frowns upon and made you an outsider.

How can you tell them you feel like___

You are a warrior in a dark forest, with no compass and are unable to tell who the actual enemy is, So you never feel safe.

You are in constant fight or flight mode.

I compare it with what one specialist said to me about my condition: That my body is like that of someone who is running a marathon but 24/7. I wonder what he would say if he could take a glimpse of what’s going on inside my head. I’m sure he will send me home with an instruction never to come back again.

I always have known that I would be an interesting subject for head doctors. I imagine some kind of role reversal happening. Me asking questions instead of the other way around. That would be fun I guess.

Like in real life when people always assume that I’m an open book but the truth is, I let them talk and I listen. Just listen. Without disclosing anything personal/private about myself. But they always come away with the same conclusion: That I’m an open person and we created some bond by telling each other our utmost secrets. I never correct their wrong assumptions. It is better that way.

Because___

“The majority of people dismiss those things that lie beyond the bounds of their own understanding as absurd and not worth thinking about. I myself can only wish that my stories were, indeed, nothing but incredible fabrications. I have stayed alive all these years clinging to the frail hope that these memories of mine were nothing but a dream or a delusion. I have struggled to convince myself that they never happened. But each time I tried to push them into the dark, they came back stronger and more vivid than ever. Like cancer cells, these memories have taken root in my mind and eaten into my flesh.” ― Haruki Murakami

How could I tell them the truth? How can I share to them what’s really bothering me? How can I disclose my utmost secret without scaring the hell out of them?

That’s why I never reach out to anyone and always decline offers of close friendships.

The very reason why I didn’t accept the invitations for coffee by that woman who lives across the street. I know for sure she is a good person. I see it, I sense it, I feel it. Despite my refusals when she saw that my husband hang a tarpaulin outside in honor of my becoming golden, she sent me a beautiful card and she didn’t even know my name. She just wrote Madam on the top of her message inside the card. She never failed to hand-delivered Christmas cards either. I see to it that I answered her effort and that is the only form of communication we have and she lives just across the street from me. It is a very big busy street with a lot of traffic but just across just the same.

Am I bad?

I think not.

In my eyes/mind, I’m saving her from oncoming disappointments, when I can’t/won’t deliver what expected of me. You see, any form of relationship is a two-way traffic. A series of give and take have to exist in order for the association to work out. It cannot be always coming from one side alone it’s understandable. And that’s why I have to keep a distance. To protect them from possible disillusionment.

Sometimes I wonder what she makes of me. If she takes it as a personal offense my continuing refusal to be closer to her. Does she have even a tiny inclination of how I really am? She must be aware that I like to be left alone judging by the lack of visitors knocking on my door. But I can say the same about her. At least I go out and work in the garden. I never saw her leave her place. She only comes outside to clean the windows and that’s it. Her husband is the one tending their front yard. Perhaps she thinks we are a kindred spirit. Who knows?

The truth is you never know what people think because like with every kind of illness which doesn’t show on the outside look could be deceiving.

If you are like me___

“You always look so cool, like no matter what happens, it’s got nothing to do with you, but you’re not really like that. In your own way, you’re out there fighting as hard as you can, even if other people can’t tell by looking at you.” ― Haruki Murakami

How to explain?

And even if you can, would they understand? Would they be willing to understand? Could you really open up about what’s really happening to you without being judged and your virtue torn to shreds? I think not. Our visually oriented society may not take the time to look beyond appearances. People tend to believe what they see; and if it can’t be seen, it simply doesn’t exist. Right?

Make that double when it comes to me. I made no secret of what’s going on with me mentally and physically. But I’ve warned you already about the iceberg theory. What you see is only the tip. There is a lot more going on underneath.

But that’s not for public viewing.

I’m honest about the skeletons in the closet and like I said I occasionally let them out to dance but I’m afraid you will never see them all at once having a ball. Not in this lifetime.

So what do I do with my self-imposed isolation?

Dream and fantasize.

I am a kind of expert in that. I’ve learned it early on when I want to escape the horror that is called home-where everything bad happens- done by the ones you trust and supposed to be having your back-family.

You see___

“The better you were able to imagine what you wanted to imagine, the farther you could flee from reality.” 
― Haruki Murakami

I don’t stay in my dream world. I’m too sober for that. I visited certain places in my head and talk to some people there only when necessary. Contrary to popular belief that those who are suffering from a mental disorder turn inwards because they don’t want to be cured- I do it to stay sane. To keep my sanity I have to go back to my core and get acquainted with who I really am so I can continue the pretense of being normal for the outside world so they don’t bother me too much.

And sleep.

Sleep is my cure for everything. I don’t get much that’s why maybe it becomes a sort of a treat. Everything is possible after I sleep.

But it seldom comes naturally. Most of the time if I’m lucky___

“I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. But it was not until much later that I was able to get any real sleep. In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment.” 
― Haruki Murakami

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Mr. Right

If someone would ask me which part in a movie I would like to play, that would be of Bathsheba Everdene, the heroine in Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd. And like Carey Mulligan, who insisted and got what she wanted, I would love Matthias Schoenaerts to play Gabriel Oak. Heck, I would play any part opposite him. Physically, the guy has everything I don’t fancy in a man but there is something about him that makes him so irresistible and he is a Belgian which makes him more accessible to me. Dream big right?

On the other hand, the storyline isn’t new to me. Move over Bathsheba, if you got three suitors vying for your attention, I once had five if not an entire basketball team.

But that was once upon a time.

Dreaming of Matthias Schoenaerts is what’s now left of my once technicolor life.

Still, dream big right?

And keep dreaming…

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Thoughts To Ponder

Michael Jackson wanted to live for 150 years.

He appointed 12 doctors at home who would daily examine him from hair to toenails.

His food was always tested in the laboratory before serving.

Another 15 people were appointed to look after his daily exercise and workout.

His bed had the technology to regulate the oxygen level.

Organ donors were kept ready so that whenever needed they could immediately donate their organ. The maintenance of these donors was taken care of by him.

He was proceeding with a dream of living for 150 years.

Alas! He failed.

On 25th June 2009, at the age of 50, his heart stopped functioning. The constant effort of those 12 doctors didn’t work.

Even, the combined efforts of doctors from Los Angeles and California too couldn’t save him.

The person who would never put a step forward without the doctor’s suggestion for his last 25 years, couldn’t fulfill his dream of living 150 years.

Jackson’s final journey was watched live by 2.5 million people which is the longest live telecast to date.

On the day he died,i.e. 25th June ’09 at 3.15 pm, Wikipedia, Twitter, AOL’s instant messenger stopped working. Millions of people together searched Michael Jackson on Google.

Jackson tried to challenge death but death challenged him back.

The materialistic life in this materialistic world embraces materialistic death instead of a normal one. This is the rule of life.

Now let’s think.

Are we earning for the builders, engineers, designers or decorators?

Whom do we want to impress by showing expensive house, car and extravagant wedding?

Do you remember the food items at the wedding reception which you had attended a couple of days ago?

Why are we working like an animal in life?

For the comfort of how many generations do we want to save?

Most of us have one or two children. Have you ever thought how much do we need and how much do we want?

Do we consider that our children won’t be able to earn much and so its necessary to save some extra for them?

Do you spend some time with yourself, family or friends in the week?

Do you spend 5% of your earning on yourself?

Why don’t we find happiness in life along with what we earn?

If you think deeply, your heart might fail to work. You will suffer from slip disc, high cholesterol, insomnia etc. etc.

Conclusion: Spend some time for yourself. We don’t own any property, it is only in some documents that our name is written temporarily.

When we say “ this is my property ”, God passes a crooked smile.

Don’t create an impression on a person seeing his car or dress. Our great mathematicians and scientists used bicycle or scooter for commuting.

It’s not a sin to be rich, but to be rich only with money is a sin.

Control life or else life will control you.

The things which really matter at the end of life is contentment, satisfaction,  and peace.

Sadly, these cannot be bought.

~Khmerfeed via Facebook

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How can be a potential disaster looks so inviting? 

“In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”
— Mark Twain

Everything in nature is early this year.

My flowering trees are flowering whole year! And deciduous plants become evergreen! Even my sage survived the frost and snow but died when the sun hit it during those exceptional winter days that felt and looked like late Spring or early Summer.

How can be a potential disaster looks so inviting?

That’s why perhaps no one except a few think the seriousness of global warming?

It’s nice to see plants waking up this early and those that never sleeps is like balm to the wounds during cold dreary dark winter days but still…

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Low Maintenance

My father once told me that I need to marry a rich man.

When he said this, I didn’t quite grasp what he meant or what he was trying to imply. It took me five decades to understand where he was coming from but it doesn’t mean I agree with his implication.

True, when I was young they had to coat me with baby oil before I could walk the six kilometers wasteland between our house and the only primary school in the neighborhood. I was or rather my skin was and still is allergic to grasses of any kind among so many other things. Even to these days, my naked skin cannot have direct contact with any surfaces that meant for public use like park benches, restaurants tables and chairs, buses seats and so on. I get itchy bubbles on my skin the very minute I come in contact with I think full of germs surfaces even though at first glance they look spotless. I bruise easily as well.

Oh…yeah
My skin is like a map, where my heart has been
And I can’t hide the marks, but it’s not a negative thing
So I lay down my guard, drop my defenses, down by my clothes
I’m learning to fall, with no safety net, to cushion the blow
I bruise easily, so be gentle when you handle me
There’s a mark you leave, like a love heart carved on a tree
I bruise easily, can’t scratch the surface without moving me
Underneath I bruise easily.
No, just kidding.

Prolonged contact with hard surfaces always resulted in bruises that never fade but turn into leathery skin like an elephant hide.

And I don’t know why.

I could not help our mother to wash our clothes either for I was allergic to any laundry detergent, liquid or powder. They made my hands look like raw meat. Which reminds me of the time I was on a cruise and tried Yves Saint Laurent products from the ship’s cosmetic sections. That was a big mistake. My eyes looked like someone had punched me and my lips will pass for a Botox treatment that had gone horribly wrong.

Another thing is I cannot sleep with someone next to me. Not then, not now. I always get the only bedroom in the house when we were growing up. That or I stayed awake whole night fiddling with the priceless possession of my father, the radio. Two husbands and I never managed to share a bed/room with any of them. I can’t stand the smell of another person on the pillows and bedsheets. I can’t stand them breathing next to me. I can’t stand their presence in the room. In short, I want to sleep alone.

Someone once remarked that I remind her of the story about the Princess and the Pea because I can feel every single tiny grain of whatever on the bed whether it is particles of dust or one single crumb.

How much I love working in the garden I could not do it without surgical gloves under ordinary garden mittens. I can’t stand the feel of soil between my fingers but not as much as I hate dust under my feet. Anywhere but not under my feet and between my toes.

Again, I don’t know why.

You might say my father is right. I have to marry a wealthy man, but let me tell you the other side of the story.

I am low maintenance.

Lower you cannot get.

First of all, I don’t like bling-bling or branded items. Don’t get me wrong I have them for sure but I hardly or don’t use them at all. They are given to me as gifts, from people who thought like most women, I wanted to own few if not all. I don’t go to the hair salon. I cut my own hair using ordinary household scissors that meant to be for papers. I do it in just three moves. I bend down, cut my hair straight, then trim both sides to frame my face. That’s all. I don’t wear make-up and just discovered lipstick when I was forty-eight. I don’t polish my nails, either. Heck, I don’t even shave my legs.

I don’t even need sex.

I don’t go out, rarely drink alcohol, I hate restaurants and dislike parties. I don’t even have to tan my hide, literally. I know… I know… I am already tanned by nature, so…

I don’t gamble or smoke, no expensive hobbies because my hobbies are reading, walking, writing and gardening. The last one is probably the only thing I splurge money on. When it comes to plants… I will gladly skip dinner.

So, how can my father say I have to marry a millionaire? I refuse to believe that was the (only) reason why he sold me to the highest bidder. That bidder once told me that simple things make me happy, and that is the most difficult thing to achieve because simple things are hard to come by. For him at least. When another bidder who outbid him confirmed this, I begin to consider the possibility that probably there is some truth in that claim. I am not convinced so far.

And I don’t know what to write anymore because it is a full moon and I can’t sleep and my thoughts are muddled and I want to take a bath but it’s midnight and my hair will not dry properly and I’m against using a hair dryer because it dries my hair and if I lie down with semi-wet hair I will wake up with semi-dry flat hair that is so brittle I have to take a bath again.

That’s all for now and till the next full moon.

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