In recent years, I was always drawn to women with a similar past as mine; difficult childhood, struggles with mental health and a somewhat broken family relationship. As a result, those relationships were always missing an emotional connection that I have longed for in my adult life. Intimacy with them was non-existent and I often felt anxiety in my body whenever I spent time with them (warning signs that something wasn't right). There was a push-and-pull feeling where I'm drawn in, then pushed away, leaving me with doubt in myself. Yet I held onto those relationships, feeding into my own anxious attachment style.
Small steps, Jason is what a former mentor and CEO once said to me when I was feeling frustrated from a series of failed test trials at work. I never forgot that even though the words are so simple, it resonated deeply in me coming from someone who leaned on me for the success of the project and had complete faith in my efforts. Every now and again those words pop up in my head especially when I reflect on how far I've come as a man over these last 5 years (and change). Not only am I talking about my mental health, but as a dad, friend and much more. I struggled before with managing my anger. I was the guy who cursed in traffic, worried anxiously over little things beyond my control such as the weather and other people's decisions, and was fragile when it came to my self-esteem.
Healing is a word we sometimes use loosely without much thought to its profound power and value. Externally, we are constantly healing, replacing dead skin cells and old hair follicles. Internally, healing takes place in a different way. It requires a lot more self awareness and motivation.
Inspiration strikes sometimes when we least expect it. It can come from any direction and could be a chain reaction of events that sparked the ideas. As I rose up from my bed, I picked up my journal and began scribbling down ideas on what I want to do next to promote mental health awareness.
When I made the promise of being the best dad, I took it seriously and still do! Naturally, I stumbled along the way from time to time, being a dad who was impatient, selfish and angry, mirroring many similarities to my own father. However, I always managed to self-reflect after I faltered, hoping I wouldn't repeat the same mistakes by trying to identify any recurring patterns. By self reflection, I mean working with counsellors, meditating, journaling, and doing the work.
I woke up this morning feeling a greater sense of calm. I still only got my usual six hours of sleep (give or take), and my cat Inori still caterwauled the night away, but for whatever reasoon I felt present. I climbed out of bed and sat on the floor, staring outside, listening to the sounds of the 7am morning with a warm inner glow. I then proceeded with my usual morning meditation and eased myself into an even greater state of peace. My morning coffee that followed tasted richer and more aromatic. My eyes beamed at how beautiful my 900sq ft apartment was and how nice the warm morning shower felt on my body.
I've always carried a sense of creativity ever since I was a kid. I used to love writing short stories in elementary school for the class to read out loud. Throughout the rest of my school years, Art class was by far my favorite outlet, followed by Creative Writing to release my sense of quirkiness and ambitious imagination. Fast forward to adulthood and I chose the road more travelled, becoming a scientist, or more precisely a Food Developer. It's an enriching career filled with rewarding experiences, learning the science and development behind food manufacturing that most of us take for granted. But, after long days of repeated trials, I go home and relinquish myself of the title, "certified Foodie", devouring my microwaved dinner with great ease. Then, as the evening wears on, I gladly turn to my true passion; learning something more about who I am. The artist in me. The creator. The writer. The True me.
Facing our fears is perhaps one of the most terrifying experiences a guy can have. Why is it so painful and daunting to look deep into that abyss? Is it because we're afraid we'll discover things about ourselves that we'll reject? It's painful enough if the World rejects you, so why would I delve deeper into myself and run the risk of rejecting myself? Why would I walk straight into a burning house?