At 18, you’re full of hope. Even when life hits you with its gut-wrenching realities time and again, like when you watch that street dog get beaten to death, or when you don’t score as much on some important test, or when some really precious people in your life slip through your hands; hope is something your soul desperately holds on to. You manage to find hope in the tiniest of things, like in one of those sweets that your dad gets you from his business trip, or in the rush of adrenaline you get walking on the streets at dusk while “Another one bites the dust” plays in the background.
At 22, you somehow find yourself sulking beneath the sheets, in a state where confining yourself within its darkness feels like the only safe space to be in. There are days when no amount of junk food, cute puppy videos, or Shahrukh’s music videos from the 90s will make you feel better. You’re listening to “Nothing new” by Taylor Swift and it makes you ask questions to yourself that you simply cannot answer in the present moment. So you dread the present. You want to be anywhere but in the present.
You can feel your heart sinking down to your stomach after each painful event that triggers your emotional wounds. Your existence sometimes feels like this nihilistic pile of molecules waiting to be disintegrated at any moment.
And before you know it, you realize that you’ve stopped looking out for hope. You’ve been let down so many times now that there’s nothing but nothingness inside of you. That void within your subconscious gets bigger and bigger each passing year, so much so that it has evolved into a giant black hole-like substance where things fall, never to be regained again. Even screaming into that void isn’t going to provide an ounce of momentary relief, so you sit back, and watch the pain come and go. This hopeless pain is a different kind of pain, you no longer cry, scream or beg. You just take a deep breath and accept what is.
From what I’ve heard on the internet and through wise older people, although it takes time, these wounds do heal. Maybe the scars persist but like some birthmark on a part of your body you rarely pay attention to, they will eventually stop affecting you.
In my dreams, I have met the future me. This 35-year-old woman has tiny wrinkles on her forehead and dark circles that are the hallmarks of what resilience is to her, as they come from years of expressing emotions and sleepless work-life, respectively. She walks around in heels and wears outfits that scream Haute. Although she hasn’t had her entire life sorted out yet, to me, she came across as a sage of wisdom, perseverance, and most of all— love.
She never stopped believing in love. In fact, she finds love in the littlest of things, like in her puppy’s eyes, in the taste of ginger tea mom makes for her every weekend when she pays her a visit, in the smile of her best friend’s first newborn, and most importantly— in herself.