Lifeline

Writing is my saving grace.

I’ve forgotten what it felt like to see my thoughts in words. It’s too real sometimes, having to verbalize every pinprick of emotion I feel. Words are mirrors that reflect my emotional state. Even the toughest ones submit to pain, accepting that we simply can’t take another step. I’m probably not the only one that does this: Every devastating memory is pictured as a flesh-splitting lash. Carried out by whoever that wronged you. Sometimes we fight back.

Most of the time we don’t.

“I still care about you.” I whispered between the sheets.

Lash after lash, I bled forgiveness. Sacrificing like some self-proclaimed martyr “for the greater good”. Keeping my silence because a confrontation would destabilize the relationship. Saying “it’s okay” is like slapping a Band-Aid on a deep wound: Meaningless.

Eventually, I realized there is no good in avoiding problems. I’m talking about problems with emotional risks, those that come with relationship strains. The problems that demand you go all in with your chips: good times, fears, betrayal, and truth. And hope that the other is willing to do the same.

You cross your fingers, bite the bullet and talk it out. It’s nerve wrecking.

I wish I’d known this sooner: To talk about the elephant in the room, instead of pretending not to notice it. But I swept it all under the carpet, praying that the smoke clinging to his clothes would disappear if I held my breath long enough. Staring blankly at a far away object, hoping to see through that cloud of smoke. Ignorance wasn’t bliss; ignorance tormented.

“I don’t deserve you.” Came a faint reply

It took courage on both ends to point out the pink elephant and say “hey, this isn’t right”. I had to recognize a fundamental value: Work it out if it still means anything. Even if it meant piecing ourselves together every day.

We took turns. Some days I sank, some days he sank. But one of us would always be swimming upward. I learned to let my emotions flow freely, both misery and happiness. He was nothing but loving and understanding. Teaching me how to be honest with myself, though he needed it most.

Slowly, the pain lessened as we both swam upward. It became bearable to finish the race together.

For what it’s worth, numbing the pain was the best we could do.

“It’s okay. We’re gonna be alright.”

 

 

Written by Abigail Tan Sze-Xin. All rights reserved.

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