The waves will pass, let them be. Let the fire burn through you, let it destroy you inside out. Let the water surround you, let it drown you. No, you will not catch your breath. Let the darkness settle from above, let it bring you fear. Do not struggle. Let the waves make you feel like they’re killing you. Let them be. Because they won’t. When they’re done they will subside, and you will feel strands of hope emerging from within. Millions of stars will glimmer for you tonight.
Something we all writers should ponder about before starting on any of our writing
Last week, I finished reading Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, a collection of writings by author Cheryl Strayed in her role as Dear Sugar, an advice columnist for TheRumpus.net.
In Tiny Beautiful Things, what’s most impressive isn’t how thoughtful or insightful Sugar’s replies are, but her uncanny ability to make each question seem so fragile and universally human. As a writer, it’s her columns on creativity, art, and the art of writing that stand out as little nuggets of artistic wisdom.
I teach memoir writing occasionally. I always ask my students to answer two questions about the work they and their peers have written: What happened in this story? and What is this story about? It’s a useful way to see what’s there. A lot of times, it isn’t much. Or rather, it’s a bunch of what happened that ends up being about…
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The world we live in today is conquered by fear. Fear of possibly anything. Fear of falling in love, fear of being alone, fear of losing, fear of being ostracized and most importantly; fear of death. We are all afraid to die. As sinners we often fear that we aren’t worthy enough to go to Heaven when we die. We fear that we would spend eternity burning in the flames of hell, and as for those on earth we fear death as we are afraid of losing our loved ones. We are so afraid to lose them, but yet so many times we tend to take them for granted. We lose ourselves at that point in time, and we forget the mortality of the people around us, the mortality of ourselves as well.
Like they always say, nothing lasts forever. I stopped believing in fairytales the day I lost him. I didn’t know that day would come. It felt like one minute my world was coloured by the beautiful rainbow, the puffy cotton candy-like clouds floating in the blue skies, the reddish orange sun shining as bright as diamonds with sunrays that would hit your face the first thing in the morning, the happy birds chirping and building nests on the branches of umbrageous trees; all gone in a heartbeat, as one took his last. All replaced with thunderstorms, catastrophes and grey skies. Where did happiness go? Was this hide and seek because the world was too good in a game that I didn’t want to play.
For the very first time I watched myself fall to my lowest point, the deepest pit. I was at wits’ end. I hated the world and I couldn’t seem to find something worth clinging onto but ironically, myself. I always had someone who I could turn to. My dad was my mentor for basically almost everything. What would he say if he saw me hurt this way? If he saw his little princess falling into pieces, struggling to hold herself together? Then, there were people trying to comfort me with the “I know how you feel” thing but honestly, HONESTLY how would they know how I felt if NONE of them had their dad, bestfriend, everything vanished from the surface of this earth in such a short time? What nonsensical cow dung were they telling me?
The days were long and all I wanted to do was anything that could eradicate the pain and emptiness; probably a hundred shades of complication and ambivalence were mixed up like sugar, spice and everything not so nice. My life had a 180 degrees turn. Everything was so different, and I needed time to get used to it. It was odd at first, coming home to an empty house without annoying my dad with the quotidian question that goes; “what’s for lunch today?”, having someone to always remind me to take my afternoon naps at 3pm, someone who would cook the best food from the kitchen with his secret recipes, someone who would tell me about the world and its people, someone who would enjoy rocking to Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” as much as I did, someone who never failed to tell me everyday that I am loved, someone who at some point, knew me more than I knew myself. That someone was gone. And never coming back. All I had was memories. Memories that can I assure myself, would last a lifetime.
No one ever mentioned there was a limitation to dream or to wish for something. With pieces of a broken and empty heart my dream had always been to fulfill my dad’s unaccomplished tasks that he didn’t have enough time to do so on earth. He had so many hopes and dreams, some even written on papers. He had so much work done half way, there were papers all scattered around the place without any instructions to continue. It makes you feel like you’re lost in a maze and battling yourself out of it. I believe treasures were hidden for a purpose whether unintentionally or intentionally and the one who seeks the treasure will always find it. Sometimes you’ll never know the treasures you may find in the most unexpected places. It has been almost 6 years since he left, and everytime I clean up his stuff I tend to find treasures in the most unexpected places. Every one of them is like a clue and instruction in helping me to complete the things he left behind and I promise myself that one day I will. One day I will find all the missing pieces to this puzzle. I WILL make him proud.
I am beyond grateful that I had the most wonderful and splendid childhood any child could ever asked for. I have the most amazing parents that never fail to shower me with love, and that is why I got up from the deepest pit of all and I’ve rised to become who I am today. It wasn’t an easy step but they were baby steps. I had to begin somewhere and nothing happens in a speed of lightning. We all need time. Broken hearts need time to rebuild no matter how resilient they are. Eventhough at times I tend to think, I would have been a better cook if he was still around, I would’ve had a daily coffee buddy, I would’ve excelled in my studies instead of struggling and flunking my papers, I would’ve been a better writer, I wouldn’t be so cynical when it comes to love and I would still have someone to turn to when adversity strikes, but I know everything happens for a reason though the reason may still seem as vague as ever. It takes a great fall to know where you stand in this world. It takes the deepest cut and the most painful heartbreaks to appreciate the significance of the little things in life. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to know your weaknesses and it’s okay to fall. But most importantly, we must always pick ourselves up when we do, and not let ourselves stay in that pit. When someone knocks us down, the ground is never a place where we should stay. Life is a tapestry woven by the decisions we make. We can choose to move on for the better or we can choose to wallow on the sorrows of the water under the bridge. The choice is ours to make. Change is inevitable and we grow each day by learning new things as we make mistakes, by falling again and again and picking ourselves up as many times as we fall. That’s what makes life a mystery to us all, an enigma. We will never know what is coming our way, we may not know why things happened like they did but we should always be ready for the worst, we should always build our armor and be ready for any battle that’s yet to come because there will always be a sunshine after a thunderstorm and every cloud has a silver lining. Always.
“To hold on strength, but to let go is wisdom.” like you said.
So in conjunction of Father’s Day this coming Sunday, I would like to wish all fathers and especially, of course my Daddy a happy and blessed Father’s Day! I’ve missed shopping for boxers and pens for you, Daddy; and most of all I miss your presence. I wish you were here but I know you are in better place and paradise. You may not be with me physically but I know and I believe you are with me in spirit and watching over me like an angel every moment of my life on earth, until we meet again some day. We are the promise land, Daddy. Forever and always ❤