Now that I'm a year older, life is not what it has been made out to be.
The truth has either been sugar-coated or toned down to protect all of us from the full exposure of society. All we focused on (when we were younger) was to work hard in the name of high grades. It didn't matter if we were close to sacrificing our mental health because our future was in the line. If we didn't have a well-paying career, we wouldn't have successful lives. Yet we missed the memo about exercising caution in the big world ahead of us. Not everyone is there to see us succeed. This includes those whom we call close friends and acquaintances. Some of them are there to remove the carpet from beneath our feet and watch us fall flat on our faces. Some of them are there to plot our downfall from behind the scenes.
In which time, their masks will slide off and reveal their true personalities. I feel that this has been a common occurrence in my situation where I see who are there for me only in those moments of great assistance.
Now that I'm a year older, this place no longer carries that air of familiarity.
Four years of biannual flights weren't enough to retain my memory of the places around me. What I remember is not what is now greeting me. Driving past those areas have left me with such ache that it is hard to describe those feelings. I still remember hopping to that cafe during my break time to catch a breath or to sink my face in their lovely honey lemon tea. If I was lucky, the person who always served me would be on duty. He would always take the initiative to remember my special order and serve the drink to me in the way that I like it: hot, honey on the side. I still remember running up to that quiet, but not so secret hide-out of mine whenever I needed a timeout or to clear my mind. It didn't bother me that friends were able to find me there - I just wanted a place away from noise and humans.
The faces that surround me are all faded remnants of the past. While they are still the same people whom I know, the bond that once held us together has been loosened and stretched by my absence. And the distance of time. I'm in a position where I belong neither here nor there. I don't feel welcome in both places - being here makes me reach out for the comforting arms of reminiscence and being there makes me crave for the stability that I grew up with.
Now that I'm back, how did I land myself in this situation?
Gone were the days when I'm the one having the loudest laugh and being the pistachio of the group. I am more contented with letting someone else steal the show while I nurse my boredom with a mug of coffee or a pint in the background. It's easier that way; I don't have the excess energy to pretend that everything is okay when it's not. Maybe it's because of what I was exposed to as a young child. Maybe it's because I never got everything that I wished for. Maybe it's because I decided to shed a part of myself to cope with everything that has since happened. What I envisioned for myself never turned out in the way that I wanted it to.
As they say, if you have never been in the person's shoes, never judge them for the actions that they have taken or will eventually take. This is applicable to that incident some Novembers ago. I wouldn't wish this on anyone because it takes a lot of strength to deal with the side effects. Although it's been such a long time now, I still don't want to talk about this on a public sphere due to its complexity. It affected so many people that we are forced to deal with it in our own way.
Yet it provided me with the insight of the other side, the part which not many people are aware of. The part that is forever subjected to people's judgmental viewpoints.