The Seventh Chapter

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I bought a book two weeks ago entitled ‘Rising Strong’, written by Brené Brown. I know I shouldn’t buy a new book, given the stack of books I bought in the past months which remain unread ’til now. But I knew deep within that I needed to buy it.

I just finished the 7th chapter, out of the 11 book chapters. This section was by far the most difficult reading I had to do in my whole life because I was just crying the whole time. It feels like the author and my psychologist were good friends and have been talking prior to my reading since they have both echoed the same words. Wait… did you read that part right about seeing a psychologist? Yes, 2 months ago, I achieved an important life milestone because I was finally able to see a psychologist. In a span of an hour, I was able to tell everything to a stranger my life story. But due to prohibitive costs, I haven’t set my follow-up appointment since then.

I figured, why not write during the process? The last time I’ve consistently wrote a blog was in 2006 while I was coping with death of a loved one. For some reason, the process of having to express my thoughts in writing turned out to be therapeutic. And now, I’m back to writing again — for a wide range of reasons. In as much as I’m hurting and I don’t want to compartmentalise the hurt, I’m also scared that I’m missing out on taking note of the essential lessons because of having to go through daily responsibilities in life.

In 3 days, I’m turning a year older again. But before I get too excited filling another year with experiences, I want to ask myself first whether I’ve actually allowed enough time for myself to go through the process of what’s hurting me. The seventh chapter in the book talked about dealing with expectations, disappointment, heartbreak, grief and forgiveness, among others. And while reading and crying at the same time, I just realised how much of those I’ve bottled up in the previous years.

I went to see my psychologist in May with a handwritten list of my failures in life. I could say that I was carrying with me my emotional baggage, all written down on paper. After the session, she instructed me to tear it and chuck it in the bin. She told me all sorts of things about depression, about thought processes, emotions and behaviour all connected to each other. But I think the message which stuck with me the most was this: ‘Allow yourself time to grieve.’ 

And this was basically the heart of the seventh chapter in the book. I wouldn’t be able to rise strong if I’m always on the run. I’ve been running away from responsibilities for the longest time, because I’ve always been scared to deal with my greatest fears in life. I’ve constantly been in search of endeavours or activities which would give purpose and meaning to life, but in the end, I would feel empty and even feeling worse than when I started. I’ve been going from one activity to the next, setting high expectations in the beginning, then ending up in the arena of shame with half-baked accomplishments. Not only was I hurting myself, but also hurting and disappointing other people in the process. I always crave the feeling of starting on a clean slate, but I realised that at a certain point, I just need to stop re-writing my Chapter 1. I have to keep moving — ugly, messy, incomplete parts included.

I’m hurting so much at this moment. Oftentimes, some things just don’t make sense.

But I’m hopeful that this is just a phase.

This too shall pass.

You need to get back up on your feet, Jarl. Just keep on pressing on.

There’s no running this time.

We can’t heal if we can’t grieve; we can’t forgive if we can’t grieve. We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend. – Brené Brown

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