Wings clipped

The time: 11 AM. 

Mom gets a phone call. The kind of call that gives you some shivers even before you answer it. 

“She just passed on”

Death has never been a comfortable topic for me, but recently that discomfort has intensified. I’ve wanted to write about Agnes for quite some time. I wasn’t planning on doing it today, but last evening when I read a post about death, I knew I had to write about her today.

Agnes. Very beautiful. God must have been showing off when He created her. She indeed was a lovely woman. She was just 26 years old. She was a student at KIM, in the final year. She had recently got married, last August. She had vowed to have and to hold her husband, for better or worse. Agnes was ready for her happily ever after. But the worst was coming without warning and even so fast, just weeks later.

It’s hard to see someone finally happy in their life and it’s gone so fast. The week after her wedding, she became ill. It started with a complaint of headache. Then it got worse and worse till she fell into a coma. A coma that she never woke up from. Despite all the hard work of doctors, nothing could keep her alive. What pains me the most is that she never even got a chance to enjoy her honeymoon.

We are neighbors with her uncle. That’s how we know her. Mom attended her wedding. After she fell ill, the auntie informed her. Whenever she came from the hospital to visit her, she told Mom about her condition. So, I felt some kind of connection to her because they kept updating Mom on her condition. 

It might sound like cliché but I was devastated after learning of her untimely death. While the loss was not mine, I felt great heartache because I knew there are her loved ones out there whose lives had just been flipped upside down. Her friends who will never get to say that last thing. Her husband who now has an empty seat at the table. Her father who will never hug her again. I ached because I could relate to her as a daughter, a sister, a wife. I can imagine no greater pain than to lose a child. No greater pain than to lose your wife, even more unbearable just after getting married.

Her body lay in a coma on her hospital bed, for weeks. Death was lurking around her. It stayed behind the shadows. It was a matter of when and not if. They knew it was coming. But one can never be ready for it. It still was a surprise when she passed on. Like it had come without warning…

Her demise crushed my heart and made me reflect on life. It reminded me how much of a blessing it is to wake up in the morning and/or return to bed at night. While I have been to many funerals, I have never truly experienced the grief of loss through death. The funerals I have attended have been those of distant relatives or of relatives of close friends. I have so far been spared the loss of someone so close to my heart. But the fear of waking up one day to a gone loved one, still keeps me up. 

I have always felt grief and pain for the losses suffered by those I care about. Though it’s impossible to bear it all, I have felt sorrow for their families. I have felt that heaviness in my chest like someone laid a suitcase on it.

Even after she has been laid to rest, I’m still not over the fact that she’s gone. I deeply hoped that she would get better and they go on their honeymoon. I hoped she would finish her dissertation and defend it. Graduate and get a job. Have babies. Enjoy her married life. Cross that item off her bucket list. I hoped she would wake up to celebrate her 26th birthday, this November. 

But instead, death stole her. Like a thief in the night. It left pain and hopelessness. It brutally kicked her husband into a single life, again. Death robbed him of his love. Sad thing about losing a loved one, you are shaken to the core. He had known her for a not so long time. He loved her much. He wanted to marry her right after completing high school. But she asked him to let her go through college first. He agreed to wait and even paid her college tuition fees. Now that she was almost through, they got married. Then all of a sudden, death reared its ugly head. He had questions but no answers.

The only certain thing in this life is that it will end one day. Yes, it is a fact. No matter what precautions we may take, death happens. Sooner or later. And the best we can do is accept death as a fact of life. It happens. We can’t do anything to change that.

So, live for all the other days, for tomorrow we will all die. 

May God grant Agnes a peaceful rest and be with her family.

Don’t raise a kid who is an asshole

​I swore I wasn’t going to do this. But against my better judgement, I gave in. I was supposed to have written this months ago, but instead I’m writing this today.

Not long ago, we were graced with the presence of a bad child. Felly. In my life I’ve met and dealt with a number of children. However, I can honestly say that I didn’t completely know how to deal with this one. The most ill-mannered, annoying child I’ve ever met. 

Flashback: Mom went mu cyaro to visit and came back with this little girl (her mother was sick). Clo was her name. The little girl was an annoying crybaby. She knew how to get on one’s last nerve. She was extremely clingy. Wherever one went, she went. She never let one leave her sight. And pretty soon you would get so sick and tired of having a tail to you that you eventually just cracked… and hit her. She would scream! But because she was always crying and everyone knew about her; whenever they heard her crying, they thought “Ooh there she goes again!” 

I used to say that I never wished to have a child like Clo. The naughty little girl who was always crying. Whenever she cried, I thought “That kid is just being a brat!” As a child, I was curious about how her mother managed when she was a baby. She must have been that crying baby that never let the mother rest that she had bags under her eyes. I hated her. But then I was a kid who didn’t understand another kid who was just behaving differently. 

Now that I’ve grown up and that I’ve met terrible Felly (thanks to her, I’ve learnt to appreciate Clo), I realize that Clo was never even a bad kid. For real. She did a few bad things because everyone makes mistakes, but for the most part, she was a good kid (minus the crying of course).
Felly is a bad kid, and her mother knows this. One time when my mom and I were visiting, Felly wanted to come over at our place. Her mother couldn’t let her and she was giving us a brief perception about how her daughter behaves, saying she is stubborn, blablaa… And we thought she exaggerated (you know how parents complain about their children but praise other people’s children?) But we were in for a big surprise. 

We thought everyone should be allowed to be stubborn (and annoying) at different points of their life, especially when they aren’t even old enough to understand how stubborn they are being. But Felly is not just stubborn, she is mouthy, selfish, rude, defiant, ill-mannered, and violent. But it wasn’t until she came over that we realized that she truly is all of those things.
The evening she came home, she was doing pretty good, except that she was talking more than we could listen. I gave her a 5 out of 10 (because she kept asking questions).
Here’s the interesting part…the next morning, as soon as she woke up, she came alive like a diabolical creature, hell-bent on destroying the house and wrecking everyone’s nerves. She tried to wake me up. Wow, a total brat! I wanted to snap her neck, in a Damon Salvatore style. My patience began to wear off and that’s where the true test of me standing her began. The 5/10 rating suddenly rose to 10/10. My mom heard her and told her not to wake me up (you don’t wanna see my morning face! Hehe)

She was sneaky, moving into every room just to feed her curiosity (I had to hide all my stuff). It was a damn nightmare. She was deliberately roughhousing. Felly took perverse pleasure in breaking rules. She could not follow instructions from anyone.

The other fly in the ointment for me was that she put on my shoes with her dirty feet. She had been walking around with the feet bare. Then she was trying on every pair of shoes in the house ― mine, mom’s, even dad’s ― with her filthy feet. Asked to remove the shoes, she refused. I froze for a few seconds, weighing my next move. Felly is out of control.

I was struggling with wanting to lay my hands on her. Well, I couldn’t because she is sick. She has this sickness that I didn’t quite understand well. Or it’s some witchy voodoo (I really don’t know. And that could excuse her behaviors, maybe a little bit).

Reacting in an unfit manner was the token of the brattiest behavior. She is, in truth, a very unpleasant child. So unbelievably difficult to deal with.

Let’s say that she grows up (I can tell) she’ll have serious problems later in life. She’s growing up to be an out-of-control adult.
I recall that when I was growing up, all of the adults in the neighborhood had permission to discipline us whenever we misbehaved. Back then there was a shared sense of right and wrong and a real sense of responsibility for the children next door. Unfortunately, you don’t see that very much anymore. Today, you’re not supposed to stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. What other people’s kids do is nobody else’s business. So, why open that door?
Well, every parent owes it to the world to teach their children manners. This bears repeating; every single parent owes it to the world to teach their children manners. Good manners are a way of life. A lasting education. It’s one of your jobs as parents. Manners matter. Period.
So how did we deal with the obnoxious kid we couldn’t handle? We didn’t. That’s her parent’s job. We just let her live it up until we took her back home.

Well if I could rate her bratty behavior on a 1-10 scale, I would give her 63 (since she doesn’t have ANY redeeming qualities).

Just don’t 

It’s a Saturday morning. I have just woke up. Time check: 9:43 AM. Early mornings are not for me.

10:05 AM, there’s a power cut. Musanze is blessed with power cuts which try my patience!

13:17 PM, still no power. Thank you EWSA or REG or whatever that it is now! Power cuts are something we are used to!

My phone notifies me that I’ve 15% battery remaining. The horror! I’m so attached to my gadget…without my cell phone, I feel dead. Unconnected to my friends and the world. I’m that friend who terribly sucks at socializing. I don’t like hanging out and stuff (because my social skills are very limited). I’m always making up excuses…Sorry, I can’t hang out. My great grand aunt’s cousin’s best friend’s sister in law’s uncle’s neighbor’s son’s bicycle is broken. Maybe next time… 

So, my phone (read: social media) is my way to maintain contact with my friends. The very existence of emails and texting is a lifesaver for me. I don’t have to sit and/or talk to another human being. 

I think maybe I would be a better me without my cell phone. Maybe.

I begin to feel lonely. I feel the surrounding quietness suffocating me. I should probably walk to town or visit someone, or go to the market to kill time.

So, I jump out of bed and take a quick shower. One thing I really really hate about this place, is the water. The water is always ice-cold like it’s from the freezer! And when there’s no power, I can’t even heat the water. On such days, I have a cold shower, rocking like SHAKIRA!

I remember that my classmate’s baby is sick. I call her…hoping that she doesn’t answer her phone. Please don’t pick up. Please don’t pick up. Ahhh…

I asked her for directions and went to visit her. 

I walked into her house and had a holy-shit-what-is-this moment! I felt my skin crawl. A wave of repulsion swept over me. I was disappointed by her place. Her home was gross. The house was small but still it was a mess. There was stuff everywhere and that, made it look more or less like a garbage dumping site. Unwashed dishes on the dining table. Sofas stained with baby piss. It was very dirty that I kept wondering what she does during her free time?

When I am in a depressive period, my housekeeping will not win any awards. That’s when I look at my place and wonder if there could be a place worse than mine. But I’ve found it…A home that you never wish to visit again. 

How does someone live in such a place? How do you stay in a house with smelly garbage inside? How do they sleep at night? Why does someone keep dirty dishes and pots with old food in them that has gone mouldy, piling them day after day, instead of just washing them? How long does it take?

I honestly think some people take cleaning as an unimportant thing. Some people have grown up not understanding how cleaning is actually done. They clean like kindergarten kids, leaving a mess than when they began cleaning. They obviously don’t get the fact that the way that people get clean houses is to treat cleaning as an important thing that you schedule and spend time on.

I felt sorry for her poor husband, who lives in such conditions. It wasn’t until I met him that I realized that she met her match. Sigh! They are both filthy. She has been relegated to “someone I know”.

When the I’m-not-doing-shit-today mode (or call it laziness if you like) sets in, you have to really work at staying on top of it. 

When that “You can do that later!” voice kicks in, I have to say to myself “Or, you could just do it now, so DO IT NOW !” I am much happier when my place is clean. It’s often a seemingly small thing that sparks it, from then I make my bed, wash the dishes, wash the clothes, clean the shoes, clean up the house…and I don’t stop until I feel satisfied or good.

By some miracle, it starts raining but only a drizzle. I get a chance to escape from the filthy place.

The funny thing though, as I was leaving they thanked me for visiting them *rolls eyes* and invited me to come back. For real? Thanks! But I would rather stay home and stab my toe repeatedly. 

If you can’t keep your home in habitable condition, don’t invite people over. Just don’t!

Letter to my younger self

Dear Angela,

You aren’t sure what’s ahead, and the unknown scares you. There are times when you won’t know what to do. You’ll lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for what seems like days trying to figure out your life. You’ll wish you could sleep for 2 years and wake up with a degree and money in the bank. What you’re feeling is normal. It’s understandable.
Breathe in. Breathe out. You’ll be fine fine. You don’t have to have it all figured out. Relax, you’ll become an adult and you’ll figure it out. You’ve a whole lifetime.

You’ll fail not once, not twice but many times. Go easy on yourself. Know that anyone who’s ever wanted anything in this world most, had to take risks. Luckily, the failures will leave you with many valuable life lessons. Embrace the difficulties you’ll encounter and learn from them. Good and bad things happen in life, just keep living and do not stress over what you can’t control. Worrying is a waste of time.
You may lose the people you love. You may lose things you have. But whatever happens, never lose yourself.
And no matter how far you go on the wrong road, you can still turn around.

You’ll fall in love several times. Guys no different from any other guy will wander into your life. You’ll give them a piece of yourself, that they didn’t ask for. Just because they did something dumb like smile at you, and your heart won’t be yours anymore. Then you’ll get your heart broken. You’ll wish there was a pill that could protect your fragile heart.
There will be many times when you’ll wonder if you’ll be able to feel anything again or love again. You’ll want to shut down, crawl into your bed and never come out again. You’ll stop believing the love that you hear about in music lyrics and see in movie scenes. You’ll find yourself in a place that’s rather empty. But God will heal the open wounds on that gorgeous heart of yours and patch them up. And you will heal from the hurt and the pain. Each one will teach you a valuable lesson in love.

Schools teach irrelevant things, but not how to cope with real life. They teach how to solve an equation but not how to handle heartbreaks. I would love for you to learn self-love and why it’s important. It’s not only loving others that matters, loving yourself also does. You’ll spend so many years of education but nobody will teach you of self-love, yet loving yourself is an essential part of living. You are worthy of your own love. Take the love that you have for others and turn it back toward yourself. Learn to love yourself so much that when someone enters your life and treats you negatively, you’ll stand up for yourself and let them go. Know your worth so that you won’t be a slave to apologies and not be afraid to walk away when not treated right. Let people in your life who treat you with the love and respect you deserve. You deserve the most pure, whole and authentic love. The biggest mistake you can make is losing yourself in the process of valuing someone too much, forgetting that you too are special (you’ll only understand when you get there).

Do not let loneliness lead you to the wrong person (again). Do not let your past make you shut down on true love. Be proud you risked your heart. And get ready to do it again because that’s the only way you’ll find real and lasting love. Love won’t forsake you. Do not harden your heart entirely. Take the time to heal. Don’t be scared forever. Love will still be out there, hiding somewhere and you’ll find love again. You’ll just need to be patient. Sooner or later someone who fits will come along. Someone who will not be afraid of how much you love and won’t stay on the shores but will meet you in the depth. Someone who’ll accept all of you, the dark, the light and the blurry in between. Someone who’ll be attentive and kind and humble. Someone who’ll not make you sad, someone who’ll never hold you back from the life you’ve always imagined yourself living. Never will he hurt your feelings or make you feel that you’re not good enough. Rather he’ll build you up. Because love is many things but not deceitful. Nothing toxic comes from love. And love liberates.

You’ll get to a point where you’ll get used to everything. People driven by ego and money. Good souls ruined daily. People hurting you and not caring that they did. Promises broken even though they were promised. People you used to talk to often that you’ll never speak to again. But always be thankful for the bad things in life for they open your eyes to see the good things you weren’t paying attention to before.
Hate no one, no matter how much they’ve wronged you. Think positively, no matter how hard life gets. Give much even if you’ve been given little. Forgive all. Always pray for the best of everyone. And give love like your life depends on it.

Enjoy every moment for it’ll never be this way again. Live your life fully. It is far too short to do otherwise. Always find time to laugh.

Love,

Your older wiser self

If Only It Were This Easy

A truly compassionate world would have looked different from the one we have today. People hurt each other and don’t even care that they did. People have become egoistic creatures stepping on each other and only think of themselves. The world would be a better place if we developed empathy.

Empathy: the ability to comprehend another person’s emotions/feelings or problems without experiencing them at that particular moment. It’s to experience the world from another person’s view. To experience life from their living conditions and feeling what it feels like to be that person. It’s complicated at times to understand what someone is going through, if you haven’t been through it for yourself. But once you experience if for yourself, your point of view changes and how you feel about those facing similar situations.

An old lady in our umudugudu must receive insulin injections twice a day. She goes to the health center for the injection, but they refuse claiming that she doesn’t have her insurance (mutuelle de sante) card, even though she had the prescription. She forgot it at the hospital when she was diacharged. She walks back to the hospital and returns back to the health center for the injection. Another incident happened when she forgot her prescription at the health center (blame it on the old age). The following day they inform her that she couldn’t get the injection, on claims that she didn’t have the prescription, which is just crazy. She’s there every day and they know her. She tells them she forgot it there and asks them to check. They say they can’t find it, so she won’t get the injection unless she goes back to the hospital to get a new one. As she’s leaving, she meets this other nurse who agrees to inject her. And he finds it there on the table. This poor woman would have died. This whole thing could have been avoided if they simply treated her like a human being that is sick and needs medicine. If they were compassionate, they would know how it feels to be in that position and give her the injection, then straighten the issue out afterwards.

You pretend to offer someone something that you have no intention of actually offering. You make the other person think that they have a chance with you. You told them things that made it seem like you liked them. Everything was going great (at least the other person thought so). You knew how they felt about you but you used their feelings. You knew they considered you special and knew that you’d never feel the same but you manipulate them into a one-sided relationship. You knew how they felt, but you knowingly played with their feelings. Or someone who cheats on their long-term partner. They claim they weren’t getting enough attention. That their significant other was too busy when they needed them, so they turned their time to someone who gave them all the attention. They didn’t put themselves in the other’s position to imagine how they would feel if it were them being cheated on. There’s no way to sugar coat it, it’s disrespectful and mean. Making an active choice to mislead someone makes you just a user, a liar, a coward. Did you ever think about how that makes the other person feel? How would you feel if that happened to you? How would you react? It breaks their heart. It kills their self-esteem. It emotionally ruins them. You don’t use someone like that. They don’t deserve to be played. Odds are, they tried to be a good partner. They deserve better than being manipulated. If you’re not interested in someone, just grow a pair and tell them. It hurts but being played hurts even worse. The more people are played and hurt, the less likely they are to want to get serious with anyone else. The next time you hit on someone and they push you away, remember that it’s people like you who are killing real relationships. Don’t do it unless you’d be fine with it happening to you. If you were compassionate, you would know how it feels to be played/manipulated and hurt, and you would not do that to anyone.

I find it hard to believe that people don’t know when their actions are hurting another person. Deep down we always know right from wrong thing, but we ignore doing the right thing and we find reasons to excuse that. The I have to think of myself or else I might suffer kind of reasons.

Imagine that sick old woman is your loved one, your mother. Imagine the person being played, cheated on is your brother or your sister. Imagine they are the one going through that suffering. Imagine the suffering in as much detail as possible. Reflect on how much you would want that to end. Reflect on how happy you would be if another person acted upon it, and did something to help ease the suffering or end it completely. If it were you, what would you like someone to do to end that suffering?

We should recognize our commonalities and ignore the differences. We are all human beings. We need food, shelter and love. We all seek happiness. We all try to avoid suffering in our lives. We all seek to fill our needs. We have all known sadness, loneliness and hopelessness. We all feel the same thing. This realization allows us to feel compassion towards one another.

You walk by a stranger who gives you a dirty look. Try to imagine the mood that person is in. maybe they’re having a bad day. Or someone steps on you but instead of apologizing, yells at you to “watch where you put your feet”. It angers you. Try to imagine what that person is going through or what kind of bad things happened to that person. Maybe he just got fired from work and still has debts, or his business is falling. Maybe he’s going through a nasty divorce. Imagine the suffering he must have been going through to treat you that way. Understand that their action was not about you, but what they were going through. They hurt just like you. They feel joy just like you. They worry and feel scared sometimes just like you. They have bad days just like you and have amazing days just like you.

Do something to help end the suffering of others, even in a tiny way. Even a smile, or just talking about a problem with another person.
The golden rule being: treat others as you would want to be treated.
Get out of your own head/mind.
See with the eyes of another.
Hear with the ears of another.
Feel with the heart of another.

GAME OVER

Born of a virgin, Mary and immaculate conception, He was placed in a manger. Mary was suspected at one point or another, for conceiving out of wedlock. His human father, Joseph, was a carpenter. He was of royal descent. At birth, He was visited by wise men and shepherds, guided by a star. During infancy the local dictator, Herod, slaughtered innocent babies in an attempt to kill Him. His parents fled. Mary and Joseph stayed in Muturea.
The poorest were not afraid to approach Him. Even little children loved to climb and sit on His laps.
He became a carpenter from the small village of Nazareth. He walked among us. He performed innumerable miracles…He restored sight to the blind, healed the sick suffering from all kinds of diseases, cast out indwelling demons, raised the dead…He demonstrated God’s love for us and His desire to heal us both spiritually and physically.
He entered ministry at about age 30. He selected disciples to spread his teachings. 12 disciples. He confounded the most knowledgeable men. He opposed corrupt leaders. He was criticized for associating with sinners.
He preached the Good News about the Kingdom to the masses. He taught us to love our enemies, help the poor, care for orphans and widows, and tend to the sick. Large crowds followed Him.

Judas Iscariot, one of His 12 disciples betrayed Him and handed Him over to the chief priests, for 30 silver coins. Judas had given the soldiers a sign: He kissed Him and they arrested Him.
He was mocked, spat upon, beaten violently, and led away to be executed on a hill outside of Jerusalem. He silently bore our burden of sin so that we could have the choice between Heaven and Hell. He was hammered to a wooden cross, in Golgotha.
His mother, Mary, who had seen Him play with toys, who had watched Him run around in the neighborhood with His siblings in all the joy of childhood, who had raised Him and watched Him grow up into a man, now watched Him as He was physically destroyed. She watched Him in agony on that cross as He bore the sins of the world.

On the cross above His head they put a “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” notice. People mocked Him “Save yourself if you’re God’s son“, “He saved others but He cannot save Himself
At noon, there was darkness that covered the whole country till 3 o’clock. Before dying, Jesus cried out loudly “My God, My God, why did You abandon me?“. The Father had turned His back on Him as He became sin on our behalf. He felt spiritually abandoned and that was the greatest extreme. When He died, the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in 2 from top to bottom, and the earth shook.
In the evening, a man named Joseph from Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. He took His body down, wrapped it in a linen sheet, and placed it in a tomb. He then rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb. After being dead for three days, He rose from the dead.
Sunday morning the women went to the tomb and they found it empty. They didn’t find Jesus’ body. The stone was rolled away from the entrance. Not to permit Christ to come out, but to enable the disciples to go in. Two men told the women that He had been raised as He had said. And He ascended into Heaven and took a seat next to God, the Father. 

We had all sinned and deserved God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, loves us so much that He took the punishment we deserved. For Jesus, the way was a costly one. Though He was God in the flesh, He traveled the road of sorrows and it ended with His death on the cross. It was to redeem us that Jesus suffered and died. He offered his life as an act of love, so perfect, so pure and so valuable that it paid for all our sins.
He became a Man of Sorrows, that we might be made partakers of everlasting joy. God permitted His beloved Son, full of grace and truth, to come from a world of indescribable glory, to a world destroyed with sin, darkened with the shadow of death and the curse. He permitted Him to leave the bosom of His love, the adoration of the Angels, to suffer shame, insult, humiliation, hatred, and death.

Three nails. Two thieves. And one broken body. From the Cross to the grave to new life and to Heaven, our lives take on the very quality of His. The Son of God joined Himself to humanity so that we might be joined to His divinity. We were buried with Him and shared His death, and just as Christ was raised from death by the Father’s glorious power that we might live a new life. Our old being has been put to death with Christ on the cross, that the sinful self be destroyed so we can no longer be slaves of sin. Christ lives in us, and we live in Him. 
It all begins at the foot of the cross. When you come to Him in faith, His love and mercy sets you free from the things that have held you captive all your life.

If we could grasp the enormity of God’s love for us, our faith would rocket heavenwards, bursting through the clouds into endless sunshine. God doesn’t just love; He is LOVE. God knows each of us individually and loves us personally. His love, is a mighty love that has no beginning and no end. The wonders of God’s love! We are not able to grasp the height, and depth, and length, and breadth of the love of God; for it passes knowledge. God loves us because of who He is: LOVE! God is love. Sometimes in the busyness of life, we forget just how crucial Christ’s death on the cross was to our freedom. If He hadn’t died, we wouldn’t have a relationship with God. As an outcome of His death, God’s wrath was satisfied and we walk away free. Jesus opened the way for us to have eternal life.

His earthly life was one of a kind. He lived a sinless life. His life was perfect. He wasn’t simply a history maker; He forever altered history. The most exceptional thing about Jesus Christ is that He is God’s incarnate. He became a human of frail flesh yet He remained fully God. He is indeed the Son of God.
Jesus Christ died for us. He chose to die to offer Himself as a sacrifice to pay the debt for the sins of humanity. Truly, to die for another is proof of love: “The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them.” (John 15:13)
 
Easter Sunday is the day that Jesus rose from the dead. He looked Satan in the eyes and said, “GAME OVER

Happy Easter.

Yes, I’m melancolic…but I’m staying POSITIVE

Yesterday night. 8:39 PM. Reading on my phone, a Gmail notification pops up. I click on it…

Hey Angela. Happy New Year. I thought you might use another guest post. Feel free to publish it. Anonymously.

Since I learned about what happened, my friend and I haven’t talked. Yet. I find it difficult to have a conversation about the topic. I guess she writes (guest posts for this blog) as a way of communicating.
I think she needs help also. But I don’t know how I can help her. Or what help to offer. Giving out advice at this time may not help at all. And I don’t have the words to make things better. I can’t say anything to take away her pain. I don’t know when things are going to get better. In the meantime, the one thing I can do to help is to publish her e-mail. Anonymously as she asked.

And if you’re in the same place right now, this post is for you. You’re stronger than you know. Keep trying to get through it. One day you’ll be on the other side of the pain and things will be better again. 

***

It’s been 5 or 6 months since my 2-year boyfriend cheated on me.
*deep sigh*
I’m still deeply pained… Fresh like it was yesterday. As much as it pains me, I haven’t talked to anyone about this. I want to talk to someone, but I don’t know what’s stopping me. Even when such kind of conversations come up…I find it hard to open up. I know they would be concerned. I feel that love and it reminds me that I’m cared for and not worthless.

From the beginning, my girlfriends knew something was wrong. It was like their femme sense went off the second the heartbreaking text showed up in my text box – like it was a female radar, from miles away. They could even tell by just taking a look at me…I lost weight, I didn’t talk as much as I did…I told them it was stress from school and work.
Being cheated on is the worst thing ever. I didn’t know how to digest the pain. It’s funny how when heartbroken, all you want to do is talk. Talk, talk, and then talk some more. But sometimes the timing is not right. First of all, talking while melancholic is already difficult to begin with. Sometimes someone will be talking about something intense when you’ll feel the urge to cry. Of course you’ll try to suppress it, but that just makes you want to cry more. You weeping uncontrollably while your friend is talking about their wedding preparations, will leave your friend dismayed and will probably freak them out. So, you’ll just sit there and listen, smiling to avoid crying.

And when you finally get the courage to tell them, your girlfriends see you in a whole new compassionate way that will possibly make you cry. They will probably put their hands on your shoulder, or will probably hug you telling you, “You didn’t deserve this”, “Everything will be fine”, ” You’ll get over this” blablaaa…and tears will come out. You’ll be sitting there crying so hard you can’t breathe, thinking, “Oh God, please make me stop crying. I feel like such a baby!”
People should never say such things. Not because it’s not true, but because it really, really doesn’t help. We know it’s true that no one deserves to be cheated on. No woman deserves to cry. But saying that to me in the early stages of the healing process, doesn’t help. It’s hard to believe in the midst of heartache and pain.
And that’s the reason why I’m not yet ready to talk about this to anyone. And presently, I feel like my sanity is deserting me. Therefore, I need to let it out before I lose my mind. I mean, really, really let it out. So to take the pressure off myself, I write it out. I write in the hope that I’ll be able to find a way to release the anger and pain. Writing is a refuge. It’s something I can turn to, that never lets me down. And music.
To begin, I wrote several letters to him (letters that will never be delivered), telling him all the things that I was feeling…pain, anger, grief, you name it. The first letters were full of anger and were horrible. Really. Horrible. I put every angry thought I had in them. And amazingly, after a while, things started improving. The letters slowly turned into loving and forgiving letters.

After he told me the bad news (which he did through a text by the way), I felt an explosion of emotion that was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. There was just so much of it. I had a lot to say, to him. Lots of questions. I was literally boiling with words. I needed to talk to him. I was driven mad by the pain that I would have said hurtful and damaging things to him. Things I would now be wishing to take back. Thanks to him, I didn’t because we never had any discussion. Besides, it’s not easy for me to communicate in person when I’m sad.
Rather, I put it in the letters. It was like talking to him, telling him all the things I wanted to tell him in person, telling him how mad I was at him…
While writing the letters, I ugly-cried those kind of tears that come from somewhere inside you that you didn’t even know existed. The letters helped to alleviate the pain.

Ever since then I’ve embarked on the journey of letting go of the pain. Letting go is much easier than holding onto bitterness and anger. I always tell myself that because it’s SO painful, I have to let it go. I then started forgiving and experiencing relief. Forgiving means accepting what happened, honoring the pain, and putting it away. Do I still feel pain? Yes. But I got to escape from the negative effects that come with anger and hurt. I could have behaved something like an obsessive mad woman running around doing every crazy thing I could think of to win my boyfriend’s affections back (as if it was all up to me!) and that could have only worsened the situation. I could have literally turned the world upside down to win him back…but that’s for him to do. Never did I think of devising a plan of revenge towards the other chick. Harassing her, threatening her, name-calling, criticizing or belittling her would only put me on the wrong side. Besides I don’t blame her, I blame my man. I’m very glad that the anger didn’t drive me to confront her. And I won’t because now I get to enjoy each day with complete freedom from guilt, blame and fear.

Before the incident, I was living in a fairytale. The boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl live happily ever after. But then reality slapped me in the face and opened my eyes. After learning about my boyfriend’s disloyalty, I remained numb and in shock for weeks. Shock and disbelief were the first feeling. Then denial. I hadn’t expected him to cheat. Slowly I realized that I wasn’t dreaming. I felt intense anger and pain. I sometimes still can’t believe he did it. Though I may not admit to people, but there were moments when I blamed myself for my boyfriend’s cheating. I asked myself what I’d done wrong, what I didn’t do that I was supposed to do, what was wrong with me, what if I’d did this or said that…my mind constantly played the only-ifs and what-ifs. One of the reasons I blamed myself was that I compared myself to the other chick. The self-doubt set in and it felt like darts stabbing me in the eyes. I assumed she was more beautiful, more affectionate, adorable, I imagined how happy she was…but I could never know how she really feels. Maybe she’s struggling with a disability. Maybe she’s coping with family problems. I never know. I don’t assume anything now, because it’s a waste of time.
I overanalyzed the situation, only to drain myself out. Then I realized that I had nothing to do with his cheating. I know that there is nothing wrong with me. I know that I’m enough. I know that his choices had nothing to do with me. I am not responsible for what he did.
He knows that I love him with every single bit of my being. I tried to be understanding, as much as I could. People do make mistakes. No one is perfect. He made a big mistake but I thought that we would recover from it. Maybe. I offered him a second chance. I was focused on getting everything back on track. Why? Because I valued our relationship more than anything. That’s why I wanted him back. And I love him, despite his terrible mistake. I didn’t care how complicated it would get, I still wanted him. I sometimes lost it but I did a lot to try to keep my temper in check. I wanted us to fix our relationship but I feel he doesn’t. And I can’t make everything right (alone), when he’s got one foot outside the door. I don’t understand his line of thinking. But I don’t blame him. I have to accept my heart knows what it wants while his is unsure. I don’t try to make sense out of nonsense anymore.

Keeping up with my routine was one of the hardest thing to do after what happened. I felt like locking myself in my room and watching movies for the next few months. It seemed impossible to return to my day-to-day life…studying, work, helping out at home. I turned to the internet. I spent hours reading articles about infidelities, trying to understand WHY he cheated. The internet is oversaturated with stories of people who have suffered exactly the same and reading such stories was remedial because I no longer felt alone. It gave me hope that I too could survive the heartbreak. And somewhere, deep within me, I managed to find the courage to believe that things would be better again. I believed that life would not forsake me. I manage to carry on my daily routine. Doing all the work took my mind off of the hole in my chest and I would spend all day without thinking about it. I began leaving the past behind and finding contentment in the present.
I read somewhere that the real breakthrough happens when you’re able to change your emotional response from seeing yourself as a victim, to seeing yourself as a survivor. I’m a survivor. This has surely broken me but I survived. And it’s time to embrace being the kind of woman I am. Who has a hopeful attitude. Who is spending time working on herself and maturing. Who asks God to help her to be a better version of the person that she actually is. Sometimes in life it feels as though things are so bad, that even God can’t do anything or say anything to help. Those are the very times, when if you do go to Him, miracles take place and indeed He does carry you, when you cannot carry yourself.
The bible constantly says over and over again to trust God, He’s already got it all figured out.

For what he did, I didn’t I try to get even. The thought never even crossed my mind. To some people getting even may make them feel better in the moment, but it is not the solution to permanent healing or relationship improvement. Cheating on him to get even would bring me nothing, but more pain. And regrets. I wouldn’t want to live a life with regrets. Besides, his choices don’t dictate my actions. His cheating doesn’t mean I should cheat too. I always say that if you wouldn’t want someone to do it to you, you shouldn’t do it to them. Pretty simple! That’s the rule I live by. Going through this experience, I would never cheat on him (or anyone) even though he cheated on me. The pain is excruciating. It’s something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Not even him.
Some may even feel tempted to do things to change the outcome. You may think you can win his heart if you just slightly change who and how you are, or maybe act or dress like more attractively, or perhaps somehow can make them jealous, or whatever other sh*t you might think of. But none of that sh*t works. It only shows how you’re willing to go to absurd lengths to be with him. Which implies you don’t believe it will happen, so you’re willing to do dumb sh*t to control the outcome. Rather, you end up looking desperate.

To this day, I’m still not entirely sure why he cheated. What I do know, however, is how it felt. I had invested so much of myself into the relationship that it felt like the end of me. One can never truly understand, until it happens to them. You know when someone’s everything you’ve ever wanted in a partner, and you would do just about anything to remain in the relationship with them for as long as possible (if not forever). You think you can overcome any obstacle. You believe love conquers all. But then you learn the unthinkable. It’s a wave of confusion and pain. The future you’d treasured has gone up in smoke before your eyes. You thought he loved you. You thought he appreciated you for who you are. You know how amazing he is, but he doesn’t know how amazing you are. You thought he knew but he doesn’t. You think that if he knew, he would be surprised at what he found.
I felt helpless. But I certainly don’t want to live my life with the label “brokenhearted” on my forehead. There are opportunities for me in these miserable, painful, difficult untraveled roads of life that I’m journeying now. I am in this, I can and will make it through this. I can either choose to come out bitter or come out better. I choose better. And stronger. Stronger and better.

What comforts me is the saying that this too shall pass. Indeed, it shall pass. Nothing in life lasts forever, whether positive or negative, even if it sometimes feels as if it will.