14 – Belgium: Seizing the Moment and Life’s Second Chances.

     I’m writing this on an airplaine, with less than an hour away from landing in Belgium: or also known as possibly one of my most favourite countries to visit yet 😄 and it’s probably no surprise to any of my friends back home that I’m travelling here: my friends got fed up hearing me gloat over how good Speculoos is 😂

    This is not the first time I’m travelling here: my sister decided to join me, making it our first sister trip together. But the last time I was here, I wasn’t on holiday with any family member, nor on a summer break with my friends. It was my first solo trip, and I learnt the news less than 2 weeks prior a project I was solely travelling for started! 

     For 19 summer days, I was sent to Belgium for a European Voluntary Service project to serve as an animator in a Salesian playground with other Salesian animators. It was also an opportunity to make friends with other international Salesian animators and youth wjo also participated in this project and some whom I still keep in touch with to this day!

     Although I still mention how great the two weeks I spent there were (and they truly were great), it was perhaps the most challenging experience for me personally. Firstly, spending about two weeks with children, youth and adults who don’t speak in your native language was an unexpected hard nut to crack! Yes, I was able to speak English to almost everyone, but some we’re too afraid to talk in English out of ridicule, which forced me to sometimes interrupt Belgian conversations in English. Moreover, most children didn’t speak English, and some also came from the French region, so they were only able to speak French! This took me out of my comfort zone to think of different ways of communicating with them non-verbally to get over language barriers!

     A second reason it was challenging for me to experience because of what was going back home. It’s not that anything bad was going on, but I did miss it, and longed for it badly. But looking back, the worst mistake I committed whilst staying in Belgium was that I spent almost everyday thinking about what was going to happen when I return back home instead of living in the moment. Although the experience was a tough one and didn’t help me not miss home more, it was bad for focusing on it because when I did come back home: the thing I yearned most for was no longer there. And I couldn’t do anything to bring that back, not could I bring back the time I spent in Belgium again.

     I might be travelling here to celebrate one special moment with a Salesian brother I got to know on the playground last year, but I guess it’s a second chance for me to make new memories and not fall into the worry about people and life back home trap and just live in the present moment – and I promise I will not waste this moment time round 😊

   

7 – 2016 [a nutshell… almost]

It’s here again: that time of year where as usual, the mind of yours truly enters a phase of reminiscing and finds a way to join all the dots between every single event which happened throughout 2016 – even if such connections aren’t meant to be there 😀 Because let’s face it: there’s nothing like being a naive girl who loves to wander off into the abyss of what was to recollect every memory that was created throughout a long yet ever-changing period of time. But guess what: that girl is me *insert sarcastic shocking face* (although I do hope I became a bit less naive than I was at the beginning of the year ><).

For the last few years or so, life has been an emotional roller coaster ride, which at times – if not most of the time – was a bit too overwhelming for me to handle. However, unlike previous years, 2016 didn’t go to plan as my 2015 self ingenuously envisioned it to be . In fact, most of the things I set out to do this year didn’t go as I planned, or  didn’t happen at all! This is strange to say the least: because people tell you to draw a mind map of what you want to be, what goals you want to achieve, where would you rather see yourself a year (or twenty) from now. And because of this apparent must, I tend to fall into the overthinking trap of anxiously guessing what will happen in the coming months or where will I end up being in the next decade, as though I’m some sort of fortune teller – and I failed miserably. Not only did I engulf my brain with self sabotaging thoughts and useless worry, I realised that the greatest moments in my life during 2016 weren’t even thought of in the first place – they just happened unexpectedly, in an organic manner. And for a girl who constantly wrecks herself in doubting what the future has in store for her, this is such a relieving reminder that I shouldn’t live in my head obsessing over what might happen if I do something: I should go out there and (like Shia LaBeouf says) just do it, if that’s what I truly want to do – in that moment: because I also need to remember that goals and desires, whilst at times being an important motivator in stressful situations, are never fixed. I can change my mind over what I want to eat for lunch within five minutes – so there’s a high probability that my mind map of where I want to be in a year from now will perhaps undergo some few (or a lot) of revisions along the way 😛 

2016 was a turning point on so many levels.  It was a year in which I’ve experienced every single human emotion possible to the maximum. That’s because it was a year of many firsts for me.

I can now say that I dressed up as Ursula for a Carnival weekender, and that I ended up in a bitch fight even though I usually avoid drama. I auditioned for a main role on two occasions but didn’t get the part. I became drunk with 3 glasses of white wine in front of my crush. I anxiously and abruptly confessed my feelings to that crush, not anticipating that I would end up falling for a completely different human being who also happened to see me get drunk with 3 glasses of white wine. I felt calm for the first time in a very long while. I wasn’t overthinking it too much. I ended up experiencing the most serene yet intoxicating infatuation during a stressful period of exams . I allowed myself to open up to someone: to feel beautiful, fearless, and confident. I shared; I laughed; I kissed. In a span of two weeks I ended up travelling on my own for the first time to Belgium. I managed to get lost by turning the wrong way whilst trying to get to a foreign town. I became friends with people from across Europe, a few of whom I still talk to today. I made children smile, drank good cherry beer and took Speculoos home with me. I came back to Malta only to get heartbroken. I wrote about it. I cried, I got worried, I became scared, I was hurt. I became bitter, hopeless and negative in a split second. I began healing but I still thought I had to put a person who hurt me on a pedestal because of the good they had given me. I thought people are who they appear to be. I learnt that such people aren’t who they appear to be. I got angry, I lost hope, I cried again. I whined and nagged about all things which appeared horrible. I felt ugly, useless and helpless. I felt alone. I took part in my first acting production and got to work with and share a stage with talented women I look up to dearly. I began healing again, and I moved on. I created this blog to express myself. I slowly began to trust God again. I became closer to friends, I drifted apart from others. I met new people and I’m getting to know them better. I learned not to feel guilty for cutting negative people out of my life. I spoke and wrote my mind out more often. I doubted myself and my abilities. I cried again, I worried again. I prayed more. I relapsed into grieving for irrelevant people. I got to speak to influential people. I danced and sang my heart out at gigs and at clubs. I ate good food. I saw great theatre shows and films. I got inspired. I shared again, I laughed again, I smiled again. I started to feel better about myself.

Certainly, there are other things which I haven’t mentioned that happened over the past year. It was not easy, life is still not easy. I still struggle with my mind to stop worrying about unsolvable hypothetical problems. I still can be pessimistic. But I am grateful for every single moment within 2016, and I still wrap my mind around such moments. I am fortunate to have a family which supports me, friends who stuck by my side even when they’ve seen me in my worst, when I least deserved it. I still keep dear the memories I shared with people I’m no longer close to nor talk to as much. I am thankful for this blog, for having the ability not to refrain to share what I truly think and feel and I owe it to those who have influenced me enough to write about such experiences. I am thankful to God for always being a shoulder to lean on, even when I didn’t deserve His mercy. I am grateful to 2016 for being another fruitful lesson.

I don’t know what 2017 has up its sleeves for me, but I’m happy to say I’m a little more hopeful and a little less worried to what’s coming up next! When the clock strikes midnight and dives into a new year, I will not become a new me, but I hope it will be the continuation of becoming a better me 🙂 Bring on 2017 ^.^


2 – The First to Fall [a short story]

It started with an instant risk: you being the first to fall. At first, I didn’t even realise you were doing so because it was a turbulent sky in a dark May and so was my heart, in its normality failing to navigate through the confused labyrinth of thoughts my brain failed to control. But noticing you fall startled me – it didn’t freak me out nor scare me, but it did feed my curiosity. Although I did not know where we would end up, I still wanted to join you. So I closed my eyes and leapt into your atmosphere. I squeezed your hand as we descended through June, through the forces of exam stress, work load and last-minute studying coming our way – yet somehow, we didn’t let each other blur out of sight.

We spent our time making up inside jokes that strangers would never get, and we bonded over common joys, bad puns and food – doing spontaneous and unusual things which felt so right. However, the most surprising part of it all was that free-falling felt different to what my physics teachers taught me at school, because nothing – not even one sabotaging thought – was acting upon me. So we shared; we laughed; we held each other; we kissed, not allowing an ounce of gravity seep into the ambience we moulded together. Being someone who experiences constant adrenaline rushes, free-falling with you was the epitome of serenity! It wasn’t an intense roller-coaster ride, nor was it a perfect dream, but I did not faint from anxiety. Instead I floated from cloud one to cloud nine in awe of you, and for the first time I felt safe within danger – I felt calm within mayhem.

July came in a flash and even though we had to be apart for a while, I kept in touch with you amidst the distance. For the next 19 days, I was prepared to send paragraphs to you through satellite connections across approximately 1151 miles. And in doing so, I suddenly flew up above the stratosphere thinking of you. I sketched blueprints of what life could be with you, petrified that my feelings for you were shifting but still craving to see you again and dive into the ocean with you in hopes to sink into the beauty of your underworld. Finally the time had come to latch on to you again – but you were unresponsive. I found out that you invited gravity to part our ways. You were the first to land on the ground, and seeing your feelings drift away, I lost my balance.

A few hours later I woke up to the sound of reality, finding myself below a rocky landslide. There was no one around but my own bruised heart questioning what went wrong with us. Why did such an adventure together end so soon? Why did I draw too many constellations of hope for us every night before tucking myself to sleep? Why did you leave, when you were the first person I refused myself to hold back from? When you were the one to see beyond my frizzy hair tooth-crooked goofy self and call me beautiful, the first to finally succeed in making a very neurotic me feel calm in spite of the chaos I thought I had stirring up in my life!  Why did you decide to land first, when you the first to fall – for me?!

I’d be lying if I said that none of this mattered to me. I’d also be lying if I stated it was the easiest thing to let go of what we had because it surely wasn’t:  it still isn’t – it still matters to me! However, in the presence of tears and anger and hopelessness, I can’t stop being grateful for you! Being mad at you or bitter for your decisions is futile, for what you’ve left me with is more precious and life changing than words could describe. The time we spent together is now a reminder that sharing is beautiful and something which one should never be afraid of. I use the care you gave me to love myself more and spread the wings I didn’t know I have. I’m still weary to take flight but when I do, I’ll soar higher than any other eagle and break through every rainfall, every hailstorm and every hurricane coming my way.

Every now and then I think about the last time I held you: my head being cradled in your chest, your heart making music to my ears, the same moment a rush of glee inhaled my lungs and painted a smile on my face. Do know that it was your beating heart which helped me breathe again after years on end feeling suffocated in my cynical worry. Furthermore, you are still wrapped up in my thoughts, even after having to lose all that you meant to me. It’s because you are the first boy I allowed myself to truly fall for, and you’ve pushed me to rise into someone I never thought I’d be.

A girl who had been locked up in my dreams since forever is now living freely since you’ve bailed her out of that wishful prison cell. And yes, she sometimes still struggles not to listen to the thoughts echoing disruption in the walls of her mind, but she now peeks out as I glance at my own reflection, her eyes gleaming faithfully for what the future has up its sleeves for me. She is now learning how to move forward without letting all of this weigh on her shoulders, so instead she uses it as a pedestal to stand taller, to show everyone her strength and beauty!

I had no idea that such an instant risk could unfold itself into a bitter-sweet melody, but it doesn’t make it any less worthwhile to listen to. This has been the first one I’ve composed, and you couldn’t have been a better person to create this beautiful short lived harmony with. You were the boon I had been anticipating my whole life – thank you for finally coming true!