How to say Goodbye: Version 2018


A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I called it a day. Threw in the towel, tossed in a couple of hurtful remarks just for dramatic exit effects, left that to sink its roots into each others bruised hearts for a couple of hours, and then we did the inevitable - discuss the custody of the cherished bottles we each had in our possession. Conciliatory, and it seemed horribly contrived too, as if it's been in the works for a while now. At least the lack of clich├ęd emotional upheaval aided to ease the sadness.

This being the only piece of melancholy in an otherwise good run through the year 2018. Few hours into the crossing over and here I am, wistful, sentimental. But mostly, grateful. After all, it's been a wildly fortuitous year from being named World's 50 Best Tastehunter to the enthralling work trips to bustling Tokyo, fashionable London, cutting-edge Berlin and exotic Cambodia. In casting my nets further and wider, I've been blessed with a journey like no other. 2018, you've gifted me with unrelenting opportunity, fulfilment and unforgettable memories. Some of which I'll cherish for a good long time.

I admit. It wasn't all easy. In 2017, I entered the year, broken, that feign image of a normal person barely recognisable in the mirror. Every inch and every piece, every nook and cranny of my entirety, crushed into smithereens. There were the constant tears that fell thick and hot, and the relentless pain that never seem to subside, only blurring into the background with the encouragement of a good old friend - alcohol. I was careful - safe-guarded my heart with fortified walls like a guarded citadel, only lowering the drawbridge when a bearded knight appeared at the front.

Undeniably, my previous encounter left me a doleful creature. But just like Rose who clung on so desperately to the bobbing door frame in the icy seas, I latched on like it was the only air to my lungs. We had our good days, I learnt to lean on his level-headed nature for work advice and his chirpy nature as a docking hub to rebuild my wings. Still, my traumatic marriage (which thankfully was absolved in the eyes of the law) had inadvertently left me determined never to need anyone again, to never be a hostage to emotional fortune. Perhaps I'm to blame. This hardwired screen accompanied by incredibly wilful behaviour and a lack of accountability leading to a fundamental distrust. Our bad days took us through plenitude of silent treatment, blame and superficial apologies. And when this drags on long enough, even the strongest of communication highways and its weathered sinkholes will crumble to result in the emergence of two separate thought islands. Such was the story of us. The long distance didn't help either.

For what it was worth, it was real. I will not discount the fact that in the aftermath of such emotional devastation, his love and concern were the treasured crutches that got me back on my feet. He opened up this family and home to me, blending me into the hearts and minds of some of the kindest, most genuine folks I've ever met. However, it became evident that the both of us lived in fear of putting ourselves at risk. The months and the days passed mindlessly without further assurance, without future investments. I've never been in a relationship and felt so lonely. Perhaps that was for the best, the long drawn moments of quietude allowing for healing and self reflection.

We split up a day after his and my birthday. A move I considered tactful (I did foot my fair share of the bill), but he deemed cruel and insensitive on the wallet. At least there was no time for agonising, the distance forming a natural blister to protect the underlying layers from infection.

2018, thank you for closing some doors. Its gutting, but its paving way for fate to clear away what's not meant for us. Divy, thank you for co-writing this chapter of my life with me, one that involves transition, soul-searching and strengthening A part of me will always love you. Now, it's time to focus on the relationship I've had with this person I've known for 32 years of my life - Me.

And in the case that love finds its way to my doorstep again... I won't live in fear that letting myself be loved automatically means putting myself at risk. I will allow my heart to love completely - not simply in pieces out of desperate self-preservation. It won't define my worth, instead, its course determines the magnitude of my love for you.

A wise man once told me the thrill behind wakeboarding lies therein the fact that it commands a ton of bravery because it inevitably ends with a fall. Truthfully, most things that are worth it in life are required a little risk somehow. I'll embrace the imminent fear of pain, if only in hope of the rewards after. I won't carry all the emotional baggage I've been holding on to. I won't keep beating myself up over things about me that aren't perfect.

Next year, I will allow myself to be loved.