Once the anger has passed and the dust has settled and the hurt has subsided, once I get over myself, it's clear that it's not about being justified, or getting revenge, or feeling self-righteous that you prevented yourself from deliberately inflicting hurt on another human being; it's about making peace with yourself, with the other human being, with the past, with the present, and with the future. The entire month of May felt like a vacation from issues I'd been diligently dodging on the questionable basis that I couldn't handle them, issues that I obsessed over by staring at them from the same angle every single time. It's easy to say, You have to take a step back and look at things from a detached, officious bystander perspective; but actually doing it is another thing altogether.
But if we have reached the same conclusion on our own terms, if we both know what's best for us and for each of us, who am I to lash out and to point fingers and to swear and curse? Who am I to say that I wouldn't do the same if the situation were reversed? Who am I to demand anything more than that the other person be happy?
After everything that has happened so far this year, I think I am better-poised to feel like I could be a good person without freaking out about it. It is alien to not feel hateful and vengeful, definitely alien to feel my vindictive urges fading into nothingness, and trust me when I say that I did freak out over it. But simultaneously, there is a sense of peace that settles subtly and gently over me, the knowledge, acknowledgement, and acceptance of marking that final period after the concluding sentence of the story. And for the first time in a really, really long time, I feel like I could be genuinely happy again.
It's never been about finding a replacement, or going on the rebound, or looking for another person to feel happy or feel good about yourself. It's about being happy again and feeling good about yourself again on your own terms, by yourself, independent of another person's opinion of you. And making peace with everything - him, his actions, you, your actions, your mistakes, everything you could've done better but didn't, all that you shouldn't have done and said but did. The fact that you hurt another person, the fact that you were hurt, the fact that you lost yourself somewhere in the confusion and pain of losing someone you cared for, and ultimately, the belief and knowledge that you have found yourself again, and that you're coming out of everything a stronger, more mature individual.
It seems like I'm always one step behind but I do get there eventually. The surprising part is how quickly it took me to get there. It doesn't mean I care any less; it simply means I have accepted, and that I'm ready to move on. Truly.
This year is about maturing, about entering adulthood. And that comprises of more than being legally able to watch R(21) films (something I'm really excited about and I suspect I'd stop watching PG films fairly soon) or to choose between nationalities or whatever other rights and responsibilities and privileges that come with turning 21. I thought it would be scary, I thought I would be reluctant, but I think it's been what I've wanted ever since I turned 18. It's been confusing, there has been a great deal of angst (see, for instance, years 2005 and 2006), but I haven't forgotten my wants and dreams and desires and aspirations, the things I fantasised about when I was 18. I still want my own apartment, I still desperately want to move out of the house, and I still want to live and work overseas. I've always wanted to strike out on my own, relying on no one but myself, and I've always believed that I could, too.
(Besides, when you don't have many connections, you really have no one else to rely on but yourself. Which is humbling, but also incredibly invigorating and exciting. Okay, I'm weird.)
The point I'm trying to make is, turning 21 isn't just about adding another candle on your birthday cake; it's about abandoning the pettiness and emotional stuntedness that moulded you through your teenaged years. It's about letting go of your cynicism, your bitterness; it's about getting past the defence mechanisms you would've employed, rising above your circumstances. It's about not feeling the need to defend yourself anymore, or going on the offensive, or reacting in a juvenile, childish fashion.
Because I am done. I am done being that kid who couldn't admit when she was wrong, who thought that the entire world owed her something, who shut herself off everytime something emotionally traumatic happens. It's really time grow up, once and for all.
So yeah. I'm good, everything's good, Taipei awaits and I can't wait to waltz into Starbucks and attempt to order a soy latte in Chinese (HAHAHA). In fact? I can't wait to attempt to communicate with my relatives and talk to salespeople and whoever else in Chinese, period. It's quite sad to know that this time last year, I felt like my Chinese had improved greatly (because I went to Taipei with just my dad and therefore had no one to speak English with and therefore had to survive on Chinese which was challenging but I got by), because right now, I think it's at the lowest and shittiest it's ever been. My brother and I think it'd be funny to talk to salespeople in English, which is rather mean, but yeah.
Anyway, I plan to pack tomorrow night because I do things last minute and some things just never change. I packed for my Bangkok trip last year at 3 a.m. on the day I was scheduled to fly off. Haha, how hilarious. Yep, okay, whatever.
I drank way too much this week and for some reason whenever I breathe I feel this slight tightness in my chest. I should google alcohol + asthma. The worst thing that can happen is my asthma coming back because it's incredibly inconvenient and I still have nightmarish memories of the various asthma attacks I had as a kid and how I could've died, or something. Like, this one time, the entire family was eating at a seafood restaurant and I was running around with my cousins. All of a sudden I couldn't breathe properly and my asthma attacked and my parents had to rush me to the nearest clinic because I didn't have an inhaler. Why did I not have an inhaler? I don't know either. I was like, eight or something. And remembering it still scares me.
And there's this other vague memory of me almost drowning in a pool due to an asthma attack but I can't remember what happened. It's strange that I'm not afraid of the water but yeah, weird things happen all the time.
Random thought: I hope I don't get my period in Taiwan. That would just SUCK.
I have to do something for my mom and she needs it today so I better go and do it.