[04 November, 2013]


Two thoughts have come into my mind recently that are making life a bit more bearable, or I should say, manageable. It sounds melodramatic, yes, but somehow this is how I tend to approach life: as a long-long walk through the mud at sea in low tide. There are some beautiful moments, rays of magnificent sunlight streaming through the ominous clouds. But the day-to-day is tedious and there is always the threat of a wave to wash over and engulf all of your efforts. I think I'm in need of a shift in perspective and these are some things that are helping me do that:

1. Life is a Rorschach test. It--that is, life--doesn't actually mean anything in and of itself. Its meaning comes only from the projections we place on it. There are many ways to say this ("you are in control of how you view the world," "your life is what you make of it," etc.), but this is the way it made sense to me. Therapists try to get people to take this perspective all the time, but it is indeed incredibly difficult. We tend to look for meaning externally and make generalizations about it based on our own internal experiences. Sometimes when I am feeling particularly glum and pessimistic about the state of the world, I remember that it is only a Rorschach ink blot. Where I normally see a menacing monster bat, in a different light I might see a butterfly.


It all seems a bit basic and obvious, but it was in fact a deep realization for me. Just the understanding that the way I feel about the world comes from me and not the world itself was particularly freeing.

2. "Accept the things you cannot change" is an expression often used in recovery, but here is how it suddenly became relevant for me. I've been known to go through life angry at how it played out back in the day, when I couldn't give consent or indicate a choice about the things that were happening to me. I'm angry that I was plucked away from my family and dropped into a totally foreign, totally unsupportive world across the ocean. I'm angry that I couldn't keep in touch with my dad, and that I don't really know where home is. I'm angry that I've built something here now, like a traitor, and that with being in this deep, it's hard to leave forever. But you know what: it is what it is. Those things happened to me and they are my past. They brought me to where I am now, but I can't let them control me. This is another one of those easier-said-than-done scenarios, but it's doable. Now I try a different approach. Whenever I feel myself becoming angry and sad about being here, without family, losing touch with my culture, I try to remember to accept those things I cannot change. And focus on the ones I can.

All of this is a work in progress, with the hope that progress leads to a more peaceful life.

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