So it has been a full three years since I boarded the plane from Melbourne to Singapore.
I will always remember my trip back. I was in tears and I couldn’t stop crying. I felt that it wasn’t time for me to leave.
Three years on…. I realized I have grown a lot. And it’s really a lot.
Let’s start with the physical changes.
This year, I embarked on a weight loss program. And I have lost 18 kg since 1 Jan. I feel so much healthier and fitter. It amazes me how I can find climbing the stairs or chasing after my morning bus to school so much easier. Of course, it brings much joy to discover that I can finally fit into the clothes I could not wear previously. And the joy of buying clothes that are no longer plus sized! Oh what joy!
Job wise, I took that leap of faith in God and changed jobs from a renowned school to a less renowned school. I haven’t regretted changing school since the previous school had such a toxic work culture. The new school is very disorganized and lacks direction. But the big difference is at least I get to go home every evening peacefully and not having made to feel that I am walking on egg shells. The students in this new school are also incredibly affectionate and they really reciprocate the teachers. They are unafraid to express their love and I really feel very appreciated.
There is also less power struggle here and I get to seize opportunities where I could fight for what I want to develop myself more professionally. I guess the non-competitive (or maybe lazy) work culture is beneficial for me as well. Not many teachers are keen to improve on themselves and to work harder to get better at teaching. So since there is no motivation, I get to do things and experiment with teaching strategies at my own time and pace. For example, I am currently conducting a research study. And then I took a giant leap of courage and applied to present at an education conference in Hong Kong in December. I really do hope I get the opportunity and I trust in God’s timing.
I find that I have grown up a lot. I have really really learnt how to love myself so much. I guess, when people tell me that they see me being “comfortable in my own skin”, it means a lot to me. It meant that I am not answerable to anyone. I am confident of myself. I am confident to be myself. I love myself. And I am unapologetically me.
I am also recognizing more of my strengths. Like how I am really a versatile and competent teacher; I have a huge capacity to love and to give; I am so organized and meticulous; I am so resourceful and independent; I am Street smart; I am strong; I have high emotional quotient; I am wise; I am incredibly kind; I am perceptive and intuitive; I am sharp; I make people feel comfortable; I have grit and resilience; I am determined; I make things happen; I am financially savvy.
And I think because of this, because of my personal growth and development, I am thankful for the near-death experience I had in May 2015. It was the biggest turning point in my life when I choose not to die but to fight to live instead. That was also that point of enlightenment that I am indeed smart, having scored a high distinction on the overall despite suffering for severe depression, back ache and suicidal tendencies. And that was the point when I discovered that God had a reason for keeping me alive.
I know that He has called me to education and to teach and inspire the lives of many students. And I know that my dream to do my PhD is ever more real, especially when I still think and dream about it after three years and when my family still thinks I am crazy to pursue it. Well, when people say that you are crazy in pursuing that dream, it is a sign that you are on the way to achieving something big. I guess, this dream must be real then.
I can’t make sense of how meeting Erhard and falling in love and then breaking up with him relates to why God kept me alive back in 2015. I know I have made a significant impact on Erhard. I know that he misses me very much and I miss him very much too. The pain and hurt are still there and I have been praying for God to ease the pain. But I still can’t relate this whole thing to why I chose to fight to live.
If there is anything, I have really really learnt the power of love. Love is so powerful that it can transform. Because of me, Erhard has been working very hard on his articles. I wonder if there will ever be a day when he decides that he is going to quit smoking, start saving money, clear his debts, just because of me. I am not expecting him to do so but I wonder if that day will ever happen since I have made such a significant impact on him.
And because I am courageous enough to allow love to enter my life, I really experienced the warm fuzzy feeling of love. It is great; it is empowering but it really really hurts so badly when the love is not completely reciprocated.
Did I regret loving him? No. I know my love is a gift to him and he has also transformed my life in some ways.
Am I thankful to have met him? Yes. Even when he has hurt me so badly.
I didn’t regret taking the plane to Paris to see him. I was brave enough to face the consequences. I was brave enough to walk away from a man who couldn’t commit to me. I was strong enough to make that decision, knowing that it will hurt me so bad.
If there’s anything, this whole experience taught me that I am human. I get hurt. I need love. I am not made to be alone. I am vulnerable and I am not afraid to show my vulnerability. I am only human. Made perfect in my imperfections.
So yes, my dear girl, you have grown so much.
You love yourself so much more than last year.
Take good care of yourself. Protect yourself from people who are not building you up. Protect yourself from people who are going to hurt you, do not cherish you or are unkind to you.
Give yourself so much love because no one is capable of loving you that much.
You deserve all the love in the world.
And that’s why you don’t need him to complete your life. You are already complete. Promise yourself that everyday, you will find the courage to keep walking and walking further away from him. You need to open another door for your happiness.
You are enough. You are far more than enough. You are capable of getting up from any setbacks or falls. You are that strong.
There isn’t anything you will change because you don’t do things you regret. And that is a clear indicator that you are smart and intelligent. You don’t do stuff that you regret. You think that hard and that thorough before making a decision.
So set your sights on that PhD. Set your sights on Australia. You realized that you have been unhappy for the past three years and sooner or later, you just gotta stop traveling every school break cos it is just not financially sustainable!
Be brave. Be very brave to step out of the boundaries and get what you want. No one understands you better than yourself. So listen to your inner voice and heart.
You are able. Able to get out of that abyss of pain and hurt. Able to carve out a path towards that PhD scholarship and to Australia. Able to allow yourself to heal so that you can allow love to enter your life again. You are able.
Fourth year in Singapore. Don’t make it a fifth complete year. Set your sights on what is beyond and now what is to come.
You know it is the right time to move on.