The Hard Parts

She always did pride herself on her strength, her independence, her resilience. Of course, she had quite the ego. Yet, she trained her mind to seek rationality, to dismiss any negative emotion that dimmed her light or made her feel any kind of discomfort. She wanted to be known as a kind of candle that radiated happiness with her every step, her every breath and her every heartfelt grin. If she felt even a drop of sadness, she feared a bout of rain and ran away for cover.


When she found herself in a long distance relationship, she readily took on the challenge. At first, it was rather easy. She boasted to herself about how good she was at it. How she was so busy that she didn’t feel a deep longing. No, she was beyond that, you see.

It crumbled shortly.

It took her perhaps over a month before she realised that she was falling short in meeting her own wild expectations. You see, her constant attempts at rationality had her questioning how she could possibly be so weak as to feel a longing. It took her a while to really admit to herself that there was a problem, that the tear soaked pillows every night for three weeks were indicative of something-not-so-right.

She looked for things to blame it on. She even found them. Deluded, naïve and caught up in her own mental judgement of herself, she continued this way. Those drops of sadness, so brutally dismissed brewed a storm inside her, violently erupting every time she was careless enough to start thinking about things. She became tired. The denial was too exhausting to keep up.

He left to go on holiday. Ten days he would be away. Largely, she was relieved. If he wasn’t there, then she would not have to miss him, then curse herself for missing him when she knew he did not, frankly, have the time to miss her in the same longing way. Relinquishing the newfound space to just be, she gained some perspective. For the first time in a long time, she looked inside herself and realised that she was being too self-critical. She realised it was acceptable to for her light to be dimmed once in a while.

She felt refreshed.

She keeps herself busy, and when she is busy, she maintains a penetrating aura of having her life together. And she feels together. She no longer feels the longing when she is busy, you see, she accepts that this is life, and that this is what life will be for the foreseeable future. She prides herself on her casual acceptance. She relishes the idea of her days being so full that the time rushes by, that she does not feel as though she is waiting for his next visit.

She tells herself that love is not so emotional or irrational. That she is resilient. She has, in her arsenal, the two vital keys to unlock the door to happiness in a long distance relationship. Trust, and communication, she muses, encompassing the general gist of all the internet forums she found herself poking around whilst he was away.

A single day may be all it takes to disrupt her steady breeze through life. Something so small and insignificant triggers a cascade of events, between which she gets caught up in her own emotion again. Fortunately, she takes the lesson from her last episode. That is to say that when she cries at night, she lets herself cry and hugs herself without judgement.

She recalls an article she recently read, about cognitive bias. These are essentially shortcuts, taken by the human brain, in order to make sense of the world around us. One such bias is the way in which we extrapolate events, making assumptions about things where we really have no grasp of the truth. For instance he says ‘I’m so busy’, and she assumes she has tumbled to the bottom of his list of priorities. She feels her heart sink. She stops. All he said was ‘I’m so busy’. She becomes acutely aware that her brain made up the rest in an attempt to read between the harsh message bubbles of whatsapp messenger.

Once again, she has stumbled upon her own irrevocable sense of rationality.

It is absurd, she reflects, that a single human being can have so vast an effect on her. That all it takes now is a few kind or funny words to make her face break into a smile, or the absence of such words to reduce her to tears?

She buries deeper into herself, foraging in her own heart for the root of her problem. She is fearful of relapsing into another episode of relentless tears, fuelled by all that cognitive bias. He can’t help, for what can he do from far away?

She finds herself in the middle of a patch where she is not dreadfully busy. That is when the thoughts pierce into her the most. Before long, she feels insecure. She feels sad that her life lacks purpose, she is adding no value, that she often is not good enough. Worse than this, she begins to feel something else. That he has purpose. He adds value. He is good enough. When he says he’s busy, she believes it. Then the small voice of cognitive bias chips away at her.

“He’s too busy for you”, it says.

She knows that if she finds a time where he is not stressed or exhausted, he will be receptive. He is, after all, wonderful. He will listen and soothe her and make her bubble with laughter, and they will jest about her silliness in a few days. But right now… he’s too busy to be receptive.

“He’s too busy for you”, it says.

I want to extend my hand of love to tell her that she is good enough. She does have purpose. She does add value. And he is not too busy for her- he just doesn’t realise how it’s affecting her because she hasn’t told him properly. The thing is… she won’t believe me.

Why would she believe me when I am her?




How could you do that?

boat drift

To me or to anyone. How could you just wash your hands clean of an entire chunk of your life that was us? It makes me question what it even was to you. I know you well enough to know that it wasn’t small or insignificant. I know it meant so much, that I meant so much. But it wasn’t enough, was it?

I will never understand how you were able to just walk away. Sure, the fear was there. But you closed up. You stopped letting me in. You didn’t tell me anything… you didn’t tell me how you felt, you didn’t properly explain to me why you did what you did. It’s a good thing I know you. I know you and therefore I was able to accept it in a way that someone who doesn’t know you might not. When other people ask me why it ended and I tell them… they don’t believe it. They say it was something else… a hidden agenda, a commitment thing. Partially maybe but I am the one who knows you, not them. And I do know why you did it… I just don’t really know how.

You were scared and you didn’t feel as though you could handle it. Handle me and what I was asking of you. That it was too much. You couldn’t give me what I wanted and so the quickest and easiest thing to do was to leave. To not be in my life because it would be easier without you. Do you realise that I actually understand that despite how ridiculous that is?

Did it all dawn on you that relationships aren’t quick and easy? That sometimes things get really really difficult and it takes courage and strength and a convicted and deep desire to make things work? The part I find so sad is that I would have done it for you. If I knew there was something that made you unhappy, I would muster up every strength in me to correct it for you. It was all too much at once, wasn’t it? I know that.

I guess we are wired differently. Very differently. So differently that even though there was a spark there, somewhere along the line, we were bound to short circuit.

The worst part is that you were able to run away from it without even facing it. Facing me and my tears and my questions. And look at you now- you’ve never had to face it. All I can do is write and write, streams and streams of paper where tear drops have smudged the ink or splashed the keyboard. You never got to see those tears because you got to escape that. I am not writing this out of contempt, misery or revenge. I am writing it because I know that once it’s all typed out, I will have asked my questions and though the words wouldn’t come out properly if you tried to answer them, I will at least have asked. I can answer most of them myself anyway- not all of them, but most of them. I will have granted myself some kind of justice that you just couldn’t give me at the time. That’s okay though, I forgive you.

The hardest part is accepting that that person is you. I saw such a side to you that made me realise that as long as you are that person and I am this person, we are not two pieces of a puzzle that slot together like I once hoped. It’s a good thing we’re both strong, right? That we never needed each other, we just wanted each other. That we are able to get on with our lives without it dragging us down.

I reckon deep down somewhere I knew something like this would happen. That there was a voice inside my head that I just chose not to listen to because I was too busy laughing and munching on cheesy fries with you.

You are a brilliant person and there is so much about you that I loved. You have a heart of pure gold, and I know you would never ever hurt anyone intentionally. The roots of your actions are anchored in how much you care and love people. You never want to hurt anyone. You are so kind. I still see all those things, and I won’t forget those things either.

I think about you all the time. But I’ve done this before… this whole breakup thing. It isn’t all that new to me and I know it fades with time and we move on to what is right for us. In fact, my positive filter has always been switched on throughout all of this and I am so relieved and happy that this happened now. It kind of all fell together at a perfect time when we were both beginning new chapters of our lives. I am so so happy that I have learnt a little bit more about myself and about what I want. Any opportunity to grow is something I will seize with both hands and an open heart so my cup of tea is most definitely half full. Full, even. Brimming over.

But there are always going to be those moments where it hits you like a ton of bricks and you fall over. And it’s in those times when I fall that I wonder how you did it. I marvel at how you walked away and walked without facing it. Maybe you will face it. Maybe one day. I am patient enough to wait for the shock waves to subside, to move on, to keep seeking happiness internally because I know it doesn’t come from anywhere else.

I want to wish you the best with your life but there is a very small and irrational part of me that wishes, just a little bit, that I could be in it with you. Then the bigger, bolder, truer part of me kicks in and says… hey, sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. Actually, I didn’t even say that- the Dalai Lama did and he’s a cool guy, I trust him.

I’m not deeply wounded. My vision is not obscured by a constant stream of hot tears. Sometimes that worries me even more. I worry that I should be more heartbroken than I actually am. But during those moments where it hits me, I know there is nothing more raw and real than that hurt. But when life knocks us down we get back up and get happy. And I am very very good at bouncing back. I am a bounce-back professional and I have handled far worse than this.

Now I hope you know me well enough to know why I wrote this. But I don’t think you’ve ever known or understood me all that well, so I’ll spell it out for you. I wrote this for myself. Not for anyone else. Not even you. In fact, I am largely indifferent as to whether you read it or not. This is my heart and mind speaking and they are my two best friends. They have supported me through this more than anyone on the outside. My support comes from inside. I don’t intend on suppressing them.

That’s all.