The thumb drive left me as soon as I found it a year ago. The one thing that had altered my life quite dramatically and sank me in the dee...

A year on...

The thumb drive left me as soon as I found it a year ago. The one thing that had altered my life quite dramatically and sank me in the deepest abyss - one that took me a year to claw right out.

I've been wanting to write this post, but... where to begin? At a lost for words and I still find it hard to write this post actually. I don't wish to go back to a tiring and trying time.

Yet, I want to write this from a place of strength. Because here I am exactly one year on since I found out about the dreadful news and standing tall and strong - re-energised and enthusiastic about life. I want to remember where I was and what I've learnt.

One thing I experienced, which I hadn't experienced before, was sitting in the darkness of my very being. To feel the deepest, darkest range of emotions. It was a time when I felt sadness gnawing at me day in, day out. I had never felt that sort of sadness in my life before... when living was almost as good as nothing. I had forgotten how to laugh heartily and had thoughts that ate at the very core of my soul. I think... I had even lost a bit of me.

By losing myself though, I was on a search to find and build on whatever that was still left of me. I began to see and notice things that I had never seen or felt before. Despite my very tortured soul, I started to see another side of the world - a beautiful one. Darkness shone bits of light in places that I never knew existed. Melancholy had in a way, afforded me a sense of sight.

And I read this off a senior's webpage (he shoots wedding photography and is pursuing film as a career). It's a passage that I think encapsulates a lot of what I'm trying to say:

"Photography is a bit like my public life while filmmaking is a bit like my private life. My photographs tend to be of happy things and my films tend to be about not so happy things. My literature teacher used to say that if you were never sad for a day in your life, you will never understand poetry nor find real happiness." - Ivan Tan.

He went on to make a point - One cannot exist without the other.

That was something I came to understand. Without negative emotions, you can never truly feel the most positive of emotions. I've learnt how to sit in my sadness and embrace it for all that it is. An emotion. A feeling, just like happiness and joy.

Even... anger.

I often struggle with my darkness. You know when people say you've gotta embrace your imperfections? I used to interpret that as things like smarts, talents and looks. So I never quite understood the meaning of embracing your self, your whole-hearted self. I've come to realise it's also about your darkness... To be able to sit in your darkness of jealousy, rage and hate. To know that you have those things in you, and that it is perfectly, completely normal.

I remember watching a couple of documentaries where they try to uncover what makes a human bad. Like when I watched a docu about Nazi Germans committing crimes against humanity. Why did they do what they did even though they knew it was evil? I can't remember the name of the documentary but I remember what scared researchers most was the fact that those "other" human beings.... they were not in any way extraordinarily different. They were not evil or psychotic. They were actually very much normal human beings like you and I... Who had loved ones, who liked to have a good hearty time and a barbecue...

Which says a lot about us. That as human beings, we all have a monster within us. That we have the capacity to hate, to lie, cheat, steal, be corrupt, you name it. A bad person isn't bad because he was born evil. No one is born evil. And guess what? Scary as it may seem - You and I, we also have the capacity to act on our darkness.

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.” - A Monster Calls, 2016

Us - you, me, we are all very complicated creatures, with thoughts that can be very wild and very dark. I no longer chide myself for having dark thoughts, because I've come to realise that they're alright. That I'm alright.

And not all is lost because... what you think is not important. It's what you do that's important.... You may have the deepest, darkest, most horrendous thoughts in the world, but believe me, they do not matter. What matters is how you choose to act on them. Some people choose to lean in on them, while others choose not to.

The fact of the matter is, it is your choice. And your life is dictated by your choices. Never beat yourself for what you think, for they do not matter. I repeat: What matters are your actions.

Once I came to accept that, accept all of my complexity, I realised what it means to really truly accept my self.. For all of my weaknesses, strengths, scars and darkness. They make me whole and I only need to embrace them.

I'm not gonna lie. I still struggle because there are times when I think that I'm going against my principles and morals. I try my best, and I try my best every god damn day. And to do your best... shouldn't that be the only thing that matters?

I still wonder why my friend took his own life. And... though I will never truly know, I believe that he did what he did because he struggled with his own thoughts. Thoughts that gnawed at him every day. That reminded him of how much less of a human he was, when in fact, all that he already was made him a very whole, wonderful and beautiful human being.

While I wish he'd never left, in a way, his death has given me something, made me bolder and stronger. I confronted my greatest fears and questioned the very reason to my existence. His death also reminds me of the values I hold true to my heart, and the beliefs I choose to pursue. That I remember what's worth fighting for.

But mostly, to enjoy the ride while it lasts~

That was something he'd taught me when he was alive.

Found this two months back
Little snippets and nuggets I find of him, would be like treasure to me. I'm glad we took this polaroid. He had one of us, and I have one of us :-)

It was the last picture I ever took with him, before I left his apartment and returned home from New Zealand...

This time, he left me. But he also left me with lessons. Lessons that I will take with me. And a part of me thinks that his cheekiness plotted it all out haha.

Kindness still lingers in his eyes from photos that I see and sometimes I feel like he's still here. And you know what Maya Angelou said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did... but people will never forget how you made them feel".

And I still, have not forgotten.

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