Category Archives: Relationships

An endless summer

There was no end to the summer of us
Even when the rain set in and the winds took hold
All we saw was the sun

“Time heals all wounds.”

It’s something that I’ve heard and read everywhere, over many years. While I don’t doubt its legitimacy, as I’m sure it came from a place of experience, and I’ve been able to grasp the concept of it, I never truly understood its process, until today.

I used to think that Time heals us by letting us wallow in our misery, commiserate in self-pity, and indulge in whatever self-destructive practices we feel necessary, until we wake up one morning with the miraculous sensation of having gotten all that pain out of our system. But over the last two months, I’ve come to realize that Time doesn’t heal us — not in the way that we expected it to.

These last two months — 9 weeks, to be precise — have been simultaneously some of the most difficult and most illuminating of my life; in some ways, even more so than the year that was Empire: Lebanon. The first week was, for obvious reasons, the most difficult, and it was during that time, followed by the second week, that I fully allowed myself to wallow and commiserate. But then, once the sheer exhaustion that came from it all took over, and I was finally able to get a full night’s sleep, I knew that come hell or high water, I would have to find a way to get my life in order again.

This is the part where Time, in its infinite wisdom, works its magic to help us heal. Two weeks after my initial descent into self-destruction, we were finally able to talk to each other like normal people again, only this time, we had the reality of not actually being in a relationship to stop us from falling back into old habits and old arguments. And after those first two weeks of virtual silence and careful small talk, we both acquired a new level of mutual respect, understanding and undeniable love that made us realize that if there was one thing above all else that we wanted, it was to be together.

A year ago, I wrote an updated post about what it felt like to be in a long-distance relationship, based on the expectation that we would be together again very soon. In the seven weeks since we renewed our resolve to make this relationship work, the concept of a long-distance relationship has shifted drastically. Where once the premise of being in a relationship like this was just patience and suppressing any insecurities, our dynamics are now centered on actively doing what needs to be done, for however long it takes, in order for us to one day be in the same country again.  And as difficult as the last seven weeks have been, they have also reaffirmed our commitment to each other, and to the goal we have set for ourselves.

And that is how Time heals us. It allows us to be sad for a while, and it gives us the space we never even knew we needed, in order to clear our minds, assess our options and reestablish what we want to achieve. Then, once Time knows we are ready, it opens our eyes and shows us its endgame that we were always meant to look out for.

Get up and try

I’ve never been much of a risk-taker. When I was a little girl, I learned to sing and dance from watching Old Hollywood musicals, but I was such a coward about doing it in public that my mother forced me to take proper opera singing lessons, join a choir, and go for ballet and gymnastics. When I moved to Buffalo, I was so terrified of failing the Royal Pitches and University Choir auditions that I wasted my first semester hemming and hawing about whether or not I should actually audition.

When I moved back to Malaysia and got a taste of working in public relations, I decided that I hated it enough to want to leave and finally become a writer, but I was afraid that publishers wouldn’t find my writing good enough to want to hire me. So I wasted three years whining about how much I hated my career and lamenting my lot in life. (In retrospect, I can’t complain too much; working in public relations taught me everything I needed to know about how to survive working in a country like this)

Then when it came to relationships, I was adamant that none of them could be a long-distance one, because I knew my own insecurities would never be able to survive a relationship that was defined by an ocean (or three). So few people would be more surprised than I am to discover that I am now in a long-distance relationship.

I, the most insecure and jaded person I know, am in a relationship, if one can call it so, that for the last two months, has been defined by a body of water.

It’s something I never really wanted to think about up until a couple of weeks ago, primarily because it’s something that I never thought would happen again after my last long-distance relationship went up in flames. But now that I’ve had two whole months entirely to myself, I’ve had more than enough time to think, absorb and process everything and put certain things about this into perspective.

People ask me how I survive this, how I go from one day to the next just waiting for a call or a WhatsApp message, or waiting for him to either tell me that he’s coming back, or to finally pack up my life and join him, when they know I’ve never been the most patient in all other aspects of my life. Half the time I have to wonder at it myself, as I never in my wildest dreams — or nightmares — thought I would be the kind of woman who would get into a relationship like this, especially one that involves me putting myself at risk of getting hurt every single day, let alone do it a second time four years after the first go-round crumbled about my ears. But I tell them that the waiting is actually the easiest part by comparison.

Because when you have to learn to set aside your differences in order to have a relationship that isn’t rife with resentment, the waiting is easy. When you have to learn to prioritize and focus on what is most important in keeping a relationship like this alive, the waiting is easy. When you have to decide whether certain things are worth fighting over or better off being left alone, the waiting is easy. When you have to tell yourself every single waking moment of the day that this is the life you signed up for and you don’t get to cry or rage over it because you chose it, the waiting is easy.

I don’t know where all my waiting will take me, and if I must be honest, I have to prepare myself for the possibility that it may not take me anywhere at all. But right now I know that as long as I never forget why I got into this in the first place, how I’m going to survive in it, and what we could stand to gain if everything turns out the way we want, I could wait the rest of my life.