It was hard to imagine this day back then. Twenty moons ago, you embarked on your journey to serve your country. I still remember the tugging ache in my chest as I let you go. However, I knew it was something you had to do. These last twenty moons were filled with many emotions. Lots of tears were shed, lots of worries were ruminated, but most importantly lots of gratefulness were felt. In this day especially, I am thankful. You who have been protecting the country, you are back home, safe and sound. You are my protector now. I could not stop my lips from smiling, as I hold you gently in my arms this morning. "Welcome home, my love," I whispered softly into your ears.
I don't know who you are, but I know who I am. I am a woman. I am a woman who supports women. I am a woman who empowers women. Silly of me to think other women would think the same. After all, we still try to trip each other, aren't we? How can you put yourself down so low? My heart aches for you, it's pitiful to see. Never would I ever do what you did to me. Have some integrity and dignity. So let me help you save face, so you don't further embarrass yourself. How do you expect to be treated well when you sell yourself short?
Dear 18-years-old me,
How are you?
I hope things have been well with you.
I am you, 10 years in the future.
I’ve only recently turned 28, so I thought I would write this letter to you, maybe we can sit down and have a nice chat over a cup of hazelnut latte.
First of all, you’d still love this drink. However, you will also start to learn how to love earl grey tea and even cocktails.
Secondly, congratulations on making it into the start of your adulthood. I know you have gone through a lot in the previous years. Unlike what you thought back then, I can guarantee you you’d still make it past the age of 25.
I know you think you have learned a lot from life and you know a lot of stuff, but I will try to convince you to be humble and keep learning. Not just from books or online, but also from the people around you. It is okay for you not to know about everything yet, because we will never know about everything.
I’d also like to let you know that you will go through some soul-searching journeys. You will live freely and unapologetically, just like how you have always wanted. You would explore everything and colour your hair firetruck red, just like how you have always wanted. You will eat, shop, travel, and dance however you wanted. You will be amazed at how many of your friends actually would stick through your antics, because they are amazing friends.
You will also learn how to apologise, because sorry is the hardest word. But by the time you learned how to apologise, you have lived freely and selfishly enough. You have also hurt some people along the way, unintentionally. You will learn that owning up to your mistakes and accepting your flaws is incredibly difficult, but you will find that others are surprisingly very forgiving.
You will learn how to share and forgive others. I know, I know it’s hard. I mean, you never had any siblings close to your age to share your stuff with. You will learn how to have a sister – especially how to share, give, and protect her.
For the next few years, you will still have those insecurities about your body. I know, this one was a tough one. In fact, I’m still actively working on this one. But so you know, what if instead of hating on your body, punishing it, and wishing that you will be slimmer, you can actually learn to love it, and exercise because you love it. Shocking, huh? There are actually so many things you can thank your body for. For it’s sturdiness, flexibility, and strength. Until now, your bones are never broken, you never needed to be hospitalised, you can still enjoy dancing, and you will always be able to find your size in stores. You will learn that you are quite privileged, so you can learn to be more humble.
I know you have had your fair share of heartbreaks, but believe me when I say you will learn a lot more. You will learn that your previous feelings of love was only because you wanted someone to fill in the big hole you had in your heart. You were not crazy, you were looking for love in the wrong places. But, from the heartbreak you will also learn how to appreciate and respect yourself more.
Last but not least, you will learn how to love and how to receive love. Not like how you have always been trying to do, but to truly love. You will learn to sacrifice and to listen to others better. You will no longer need to try to survive by prioritising your needs over others, but you will learn to thrive and give to others. Remember what papa said, whatever you give will come back to you. I promise you, there is someone who will return your love. It does not grow overnight, and you will go through many hurdles to be with this person. But you will find that this person is worth everything.
So I would like to tell you to keep pushing through. You are a stronger person than you think you are. Throw away that knife and never take them again because they will do you no good and you will not find love that way. Learn to fall in love with yourself, flaws and all. I’ll be waiting for you in 10 years’ time.
And also you will be working at your dream job but hey I don’t want to spoil the fun.
You wake up to your alarm,
then get yourself showered,
have an egg on toast that tastes like nothing,
like you haven’t been able to taste anything in the last few weeks,
you try to put on a smile to kickstart your day at work,
but really you know you can burst into tears anytime over nothing,
you try to make yourself look cute,
but really you’ve hated all your clothes lately,
just like you’ve hated your body again,
but here you are, on your way to work,
not for the money,
but for the desperate hope that you can feel something trying to do good for others.
So here you are, again, trying just a bit more.
I dragged my feet today.
They felt so heavy,
like they were buckled onto steel weights.
But they felt like they were ready to jump when the train was coming.
No, no, you can’t do that.
It wouldn’t be fair.
There are people out there who need you.
There are people who love you.
I snapped back to reality.
The grey door was in front of me.
I opened it and whispered softly,
But there was only silence in return.
Bathing under the moonlight,
its shine glistens upon my skin.
Trying to feel your touch tonight,
but all I could feel is satin.
I could feel the warmth of my rug,
but it’s nothing like your hug.
I could feel the softness of my sheets,
but it’s nothing like your kiss.
There is this hole inside me that only you can fill.
So please, come to me and fulfil me if you will.
Let me feel your muscles tighten beneath my grip,
and sink my teeth onto your skin until your blood starts to drip.
Let me savour your taste,
I promise nothing will go to waste.
Let me devour all of you,
and take all of me with you.
This longing is burning me up inside.
When you said it feels lonely.
We’ve never wiped each other’s tears.
Like you said,
you only have me.
But you need to know,
I only have you, too.
So why aren’t we hugging more?
Hell, why aren’t we fighting more?
Why don’t we try harder and get closer?
In the end, we both just don’t want to get hurt.
Maybe I am trying to create a fight.
Maybe I am trying to piss you off.
Maybe I am looking for your attention.
Maybe I am wanting to be closer to you.
But I guess I’m not doing it right.
Because as far as I can see,
Your wall gets even higher than before,
surrounded by an unbreakable spell I can’t speak.
So what’s left for me to do?
I always thought I left you back in 2006,
but you’ve always managed to return to me even in 2008, 2014, and this year.
As much as I’m comfortable with your familiar presence,
I can no longer welcome you.
You’ve always managed to subtly sneak into my door,
then you take your storms inside my home.
Though sometimes it has filled me with something to hear and feel,
did you realise how many flowers you’ve killed?
I can no longer allow you to step in to my home.
Because unlike before,
I have everything I need in my home.
And guess what,
I have everything you wished for.
And I won’t let you take it from me.
As much as I know that 2006 was painful for you,
that is where your home is.
This time, I’m leaving you there for good.
And I’m going to enjoy my blessings.
So thank you for your company all this time,
thank you for being the force that puts me to where I am today,
but I no longer need your service.
With this, I will not let you partake in my future.
On the day I took my first breath of fresh air,
your love was the first thing that I knew.
I’ve taken it for granted at times,
not completely understanding your love and intentions.
I know I have unintentionally done things that angered you, annoyed you, upset you…
but the worst is that I have deliberately done things that I knew was going to make you feel sad.
I know, I’m selfish.
I’ve grown to be an adult who learned from things outside of your teachings.
I no longer like only the things you taught me to like.
I start seeing your flaws that I never noticed before.
Nevertheless, I still love you.
I know I have no right to ask things from you…
but I miss your smile.
I miss your happy smile as if nothing in the world can bring you down.
I miss your smile without your thick eyebags as if you’ve been crying for weeks.
I know only time can heal your heart right now.
So I will wait….patiently.
I will wait until your smile fully return.
After all…I will forever be your daughter.
I can’t understand your pain, but…
It’s not easy on me, too.
I realised how much I missed your voice…it made me so happy just to hear you on the background.
I pray that one day, I can hear you speak to me again.
I never liked hot days.
With the sun glaring at my skin,
darkening it at every second,
all I could feel was beads of sweat trickling down my skin.
Then cue sweaty clothes, sticky hair, and increasing consciousness of one’s own body odour.
All I could think of was how awful this hell was.
You pulled my hand and said, “Let’s not take things for granted,”
Today was sunny, but it wasn’t bad.
Was it because of your hand holding mine?
I could feel the sun lightly kissing my skin,
the wind tickling the back of my neck,
and the fresh smell of frangipani relaxing my mind.
I could see the joy in other people’s faces,
I wonder what is making them smile right now,
because I take one look at you and I know my reason.
Today was sunny, but I liked it.
You are my sunshine.