Pao once asked me to put myself in a hypothetical situation: if I don’t have all these people around me that I love (and love me), would I be okay?
Well firstly, I think that that hypothetical situation is a little bit too harsh. Instead of trying to deny basic human nature (needing people around me), I rather choose to imagine a gentler situation, which is to say that it is guaranteed that there will always be loving people around me regardless of where I am in life because 1) God is kind; and 2) I do attract that cosmic energy.
Of course Pao has good intention. She doesn’t want me to be dependent on people, especially when I can get really attached to some (namely Pao and Michelle). And it gets unhealthy too, when whatever these people say or do affect me more that they should.
I am a person who loves, Dani. The most beautiful moments in my life revolve around human connections.
I remember the non-profit days where Yee Eng would hardly be at the office. She was always so so busy so I never had much hope that we would have much face time. But there was this one time where I followed her to meet a client, and we all had a good conversation. Then on the way back to the office, as Yee Eng and I were walking under the breeze, I just felt blessed. To be walking next to her. To had that happy moment together.
I remember the Burma trip with Safira that I really fell for (romantically). I never told her then about how I felt (though I’m sure she knew), and I was so afraid that I might mess up the trip. But I didn’t. There she was, sleeping right next to me in the 9-hour bus ride, and I just felt lucky that I got to travel with this person that I love. At the same time there was no longing at all. I didn’t wish that she could be ‘mine’. I love her, and that’s enough. Nothing could take that away, not even Safira.
I remember the agency days when some colleagues left the company, and the seats next to Pao were vacant. So I shifted my seat to sit next to her, partially because I have changed my role to Content, partially because I was just really, really excited to sit next to her. For the second half of my stay in the agency, I was sitting next to Pao every single day. It was so comforting to know that I only need to turn to my right and I would see her. She was my safe haven. She was home.
I can feel so blessed just being next to somebody I love, it overflowed through me at that moment, and it lingers for years to come. And I don’t ever want to dampen these feelings away, Dani, because to be able to love is a gift. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.
But now I realized that as much as I love this people, I have forgotten this one person that I should’ve cared about a long time ago. Someone that I know the best, someone that I’m most capable of helping, someone who has also been suffering – myself.
And that will change from now on, Dani. I will put myself as high as I put people that I love. I will be emphatic to myself as I would to them. I would love, care, and be around for me.
And as much as I have amazing people around me, I am as amazing. I am the most personable person I know, I put people at ease, and I strive to be kind (I fail often, but I am resilient). I am smart, funny, and I strive to do good. I know my place in the world, and I’m gonna keep on playing that role.
It’s not like I shouldn’t put people on pedestal, Dani. It’s just that I am also standing on the same pedestal.
Pao did tell me to love myself first before I can love others. I have always known that to be true, in fact there’s a lot of things I have always known to be true. But it takes time to muster enough courage to really understand what it means, and to act on it, Dani. But now I think I can finally do so.
I will love myself, Dani. And even when that fails, I will remind myself that God loves me. God loves me.
I have a good feeling that this phase will end pretty soon, Dani. And even if the wave of sadness gonna come again in the future, I won’t have to suffer as needlessly anymore. I have a good feeling.