diary of a beautiful girl

I have a cracked reflection of things beautiful.
I lost the wonder beneath the things that once were.
Standing in the middle of my room, I begin to cry
Because of who, no, what I saw in the mirror.

I hate to admit this but I’m going to anyway. Realization is the start of discovery and maybe I’m hoping that by being honest, with myself, with you dear reader… I will start on the road afresh. I’ve been sitting by the side, wallowing in the dirt, heaping condemnation upon condemnation on my head. Not anymore.

Since a year ago, I’ve piled on the pounds. From a UK8/10, I now have to buy clothing in a size 12. It may not seem much, but it’s been enough for me to enter a state of horror and frustration because for the first time in my life, there’s nothing I can do about it.

I tried dieting. I tried exercising. I tried giving up. I tried to not care. I tried believing. I tried speaking. I, I, I. And each time I try something and it fails, I enter a deeper realm of self-disgust.

You’re pathetic, I said to myself. Others have more serious challenges to deal with, you have more important matters to concern yourself with. But faced with a closet filled with clothes I can no longer wear, comparing myself to the world’s lack or beauty only fuels the downward spiral.

‘I don’t think it’s just the weight,’ the Mother said. ‘When did the weight start to affect you so much? I remember when you first started putting it on, you were happy! You were fit and ready to do anything! You had a healthy self-image. You were running, and trekking, and going to the gym…’

‘I don’t know. I think it started in June. I have no inspiration to get out there, to care for myself anymore.’ I muttered at the computer screen. We were conversing via skype. ‘I don’t even write anymore. I don’t listen to music, I don’t read. I’m just… existing.’

‘It sounds like you’re mildly depressed,’ Mother said. Mildly depressed?

‘Was it after I left?’ Mother asked quietly.

‘I don’t know…’ I looked away because the tears were threatening to spill.

Mother was right. Ever since she left, I feel more alone than ever before. Yes, I am surrounded by love but nothing can ever substitute Mother’s caring for me.

And that’s when it dawned on me – I’m not facing a problem with my weight. It’s just a symptom.

I’d been eating to fill the hole inside my heart. I would walk to restaurants, just to order something that reminded me of her. I’d plan dinners that she used to plan. And every morning I’m alone, I’d sit at the dining table (where we used to sit together) and eat, eat, eat…

The oddest thing is, no one around me seems to understand how hard this is.

‘I miss my mom,’ I’d confide in my close friends. And after a nod, they’d change the subject to ask me how she’s doing.

Perhaps it’s hard for them to empathize with me. You see, it’s not just a mother-daughter relationship I have with Mother. She’s my best friend. She is my confidante. She’s the only person who senses my mood changes and is gutsy enough to go for the jugular and meet me heads on to question my belief system. She makes me a better person.

And without her… maybe I didn’t feel that good a person anymore.

‘You know I’m still here,’ she said. ‘I’m always here. You’re my daughter and I’ll still step in to help if you’d let me.’

And therein was the clincher. After she left, I thought I needed to be independent. I stopped updating her about everything in my life. I did my best to be her, to be like her as I handled the household affairs and family relationships. But I’m not her.

Deep inside, I was also struggling because I know why she needed to leave. I am in total support of her decision and at the same time, the selfish part of me was angry that she had actually left. That for the first time in my whole life, I had to face life without mother by my side.

‘I love you.’ Mother smiled at me, her face out of sync with the video feed. ‘I’m always here.’

‘I love you too.’ I whispered back, before logging off from skype and crawling into bed.

*

Something changed after that.

This morning, I looked into the mirror waiting for that sense of disgust to well up but it wasn’t there.

I had time to meet up with friends, enjoy a funny movie with the family and for the first time in months, lunch and dinner passed without the strange appetite I’d been fighting against.

At night, I walked over to the mirror and, summoning all strength into my articulation, I worked my lips and tongue to shape words I hadn’t said to myself in a long time.

‘Hello beautiful.’

*

Thanks mom, for loving me even at my ugliest. I love you… with all my heart.

Advertisements

the blank space

Been staring at this blank, white empty space for a long time.

I feel much. But my mind is like this void, which I don’t know what to fill with.

Random thoughts.

Sudden tears.

Breathe. Normal again.

Get busy.

And the cycle repeats itself.

*

‘How have you been?’ the Amazonian texted me just two days ago.

‘Well, I discovered something new today.’

‘Which is?’ she asked.

‘It’s very difficult to brush your teeth and cry at the same time…’ I replied.

‘Shit. I felt that,’ the Amazonian texted back.

*

‘How are you?’ the Sister asked me.

‘Aside from breaking down at weird moments for no apparent reason? And being a total emotional-ass? Pretty good,’ I replied.

‘Me too… darn it! I’m starting again,’ she said.

*

‘Hope your mom is good and well,’ the Visitor texted me.

‘She’s good…’ I answered, and began detailing her travel plans, before ending it with, ‘I miss mom.’

‘Even after all these years, I still miss my mom,’ the Visitor said, explaining that his mother had passed on years ago… and this time… I felt it…

Reminding me that we both are our mother’s children… and what we miss most about them, their strengths and unique abilities, are what we’ll find surfacing in our lives, over and over again. Truth is, they aren’t ever that far away from us.

*

‘I’m doing my best to encourage myself,’ Mother wrote to me. ‘I was having a conversation with Obachan and to tell me something, she took me from the north pole to the south pole, to Timbuktu and Iceland… and I got lost somewhere. I miss living with you all.’

And all this while, I thought Mother was doing fine without us. Little did I know…

‘Did you cry?’ I asked her during our skype conversation today.

‘Yes… on the plane. I did.’

And from that point onwards, we could barely make out what the other was saying amid the sniffles and shaky voices.

*

Standing there during the service, it was hard to raise my hands. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to. No. I was afraid that if I allowed the words to enter my heart, to sing with abandon like I usually do, I would crumble. I didn’t need to let anyone else see how messy my insides were.

‘But you understand, don’t you?’ I asked the Dream Maker. ‘I mean no disrespect.’

‘Yeah, I do,’ He said. I felt His hand gently hold mine that were tightly clasped together. The love almost made me start crying.

‘I’m losing it!’ I whispered to Him through gritted teeth.

‘Right,’ I heard Him laugh softly.

*

‘What did the Big Boss say?’ the Mother asked later.

‘There was so much! Hold on…’ I grabbed my notebook and began reading out the lines I took down. Oddly, after letting the words pass through me again, I felt better.

Ahhh… I gotta go. Obachan got up and says she’s hungry. Tomorrow?’ Mother asked, Obachan’s voice beckoning in the background.

‘Tomorrow.’ I replied with a smile and shut down the connection.

*

‘I made you some lemon bread… and lemon bars,’ Kitty smiled a little bashfully.

‘Oh my… thank you so much,’ I replied. She knew that lemons were one of my favourite fruits. And I was always griping about how it’s hard to find the perfect lemon-y tart, cake, bread…

But it was more than a lemon-y thing that Kitty made. I felt her hug through the items she made.

‘I’m just glad they made you smile…’ she said.

*

Then there was the newly-wed couple who were just there. Knowing, and ready to be, well… there for me.

Spike who didn’t want to ask too much, but who wanted to show he too, understood.

Cutesy and JapGirl who took over my work while I was gone.

The Husband who sat by my side, quietly, patiently watching over me even when I wanted to be alone.

The little boy who climbed onto my lap and cried with me.

The little girl who held my hand, committed to being there for me.

Signs of love written on the wind. They were every where I turned.

I am not alone.

*

‘Well, at least this shows things are getting better. CNN/BBC etc are all reporting on other news now, like robbers and politics,’ a fellow Japanese twitter-er posted. He was of course, referring to the deluge of Japan-related news that dominated the headlines of every news agency the past week.

And all I can say is, I am likewise doing better.

I know it because the blank space that imprisoned me for the past few days isn’t quite so blank anymore.

Life is interesting again.

*

Thank you dear friends for just being there.

For sharing your stories.

Those few minutes helped. More than you probably knew it.

And the Dream Maker? He never stopped reaching out to hold me.