Dear Diary | Self-Reflection Getaway ☁️

14 December 2020

When a one-month visit turned into an indefinite stay due to the 2020 pandemic.

It all sounded just like the perfect plan.

How many people (especially those in LDR) want to be in my position? To have a valid excuse to be 'happily stuck' together with your partner away from home, especially for most of these years you have been in an LDR.

Everyone tells me to be grateful.

But I guess the mindset since the beginning when I first flew here from home 10 months ago did not help my situation at all. I was not prepared for this sudden change in life. This was never my intention. All I was ready for was to go home and continue with my life back home - my jobs, family, friends, my daily routine, my facial, nail, hair appointments, my favourite roti canai in Kepong, my regular visits to 1Utama, PJ Uptown, SS2, and the list goes on.

I only packed for a month-supply of (summer) clothings and toiletries, 

I intended to go home to pack up my room as my family was going to move to a new house,

I was ready to welcome my brother's first baby into the world, and

I was going to attend my best friends' weddings.

I couldn't seem to let go of all these important things that I had to miss out on even though I tried really hard to keep telling myself to be grateful just because my life is not as terrible as others.

Things slowly fall out of balance when you struggle to find your own position and build your own life in this new society that you never intended be in (at least not so soon).

From a high-spirited girlfriend who was excited about the seemingly perfect 'new duo life' in where he calls home now, I slowly turned into a lost soul. 

Holding a 'visitor' status means no working rights here. Most part of my stay here at the beginning was spent in lockdown. I had no one else but him. 

With the intention of taking good care of me while I am here, he does all he can to make sure I live 'comfortably'. He supports me so I don't have to worry about any living arrangements. I have been familiarized to rely fully on him since the day I came. To many, he's the perfect partner.

All went well until I started having regular breakdowns, I started feeling awful about myself and questioning my own worth, we started seeing sides of each other that we did not know of (and all those problems that won't come up until after you move in together), we started having major conflicts especially regarding our expected future plan that can't seem to work out due to the pandemic, it was a combination of everything that was thrown to me all at once without me being prepared. I began having millions of doubts about myself, my life and even our relationship, and all these repeated in a vicious cycle.

I could never feel like I belong here. Relating myself to living here has been hard. I feel intimidated by everyone around me. I totally closed myself up. I see myself as just a purposeless living object without any sorts of connections with anyone/anything around me.

Typical depression and social anxiety.

It's been overwhelming.

So many times I wish I could book a ticket and just fly home, to escape from all of this and to take a break. But it just seems impossible with the border restrictions and all. As much as I am a very emotional woman, I try to remind myself not to make any big decisions out of anger because once I leave the country, I will most likely not be able to return here in the near future (with my current visitor visa). Being physically apart from each other is the last thing we want.

I became not just physically, but also mentally trapped.

I didn't know how to get myself out of this. Or to be specific, I knew exactly what the problem was but I just could not bring myself to make a change. When you are living in denial, you will lose the ability to deal with problems you are facing. It's self-destructive.

Nothing had changed until last week when our relationship tension level was reaching its limit. We knew we HAD TO have our own space, literally physical space.

Staying out of the house was what I needed. The truth is it took me a while to decide on booking an accommodation. One - I wasn't sure if it was wise for me to spend 'unnecessary' money. Two (definitely an excuse) - it would be my first time heading out of the house by myself after 10 months and I wasn't sure if I would manage (yeah I can see your judging face).

During times like this, I would usually tell myself to think rationally, i.e. not to spend 'unnecessary' money. (Later proven to be necessary)

Sometimes listening to your heart is all you need.

I then booked a backpacker's hostel, packed a small bag and left the house with this new spare house key that I requested from him only a month ago. I lugged my bag along the highway and walked to the nearest train station. Staring at the signboards at the train station, I was clueless which way I should go. (Embarrassingly) it was my first time taking the train in Perth.

That surreal feeling when you finally step into the train and start observing everyone and everything around you like you've never seen all these before. I was mesmerized, probably too much that 15 minutes later I realized I had gone in the wrong direction.

Thankfully it's not too hard with trains in Perth so I finally managed to make my way to the city. Upon reaching the main station, I felt like I was transported to a side of Perth that I didn't know exist even though I had passed by the exact same place many times in a car. 

It was a Friday night - streets were full of people and vibrant night lights, bars and restaurants were loud and happening.

Walking amidst the crowd, I felt 'different' and I immediately recalled pleasant memories of me exploring cities alone whenever I was on layovers during my Emirates time.

When was the last time I did this and had this great feeling?

Wtf have I been doing for the past 10 months?

My hostel (single room) was located in the busiest street in Northbridge - where I’ve always been told to avoid because it’s dodgy. Everywhere was full of blasting music, drunk party people, homeless druggie, and overly sociable mid-aged men who tried to be friendly.

I had a single room but my bed wasn't big and comfortable like the one at home, I had to take shower in a shared bathroom situated far away from my room, I didn’t even have shower gel with me that I had to shower with just water and handsoap.

It didn’t seem like the best place and the best life, but I started feeling myself again.

I explored the city alone (bf rarely brought me to the city due to parking inconvenience), I went out with a couple of my new friends, I actively connected with friends and family back home via video calls and texts, I talked to people, I started becoming familiar and comfortable with these so called ‘dodgy’ streets and growing my sense of whereabouts which I did not have (unnecessary because bf has been 'my brain, eyes, hands, and legs' since I came - all my rusty functions are finally working again). 

Suddenly it all felt so refreshing. I felt alive.

To be on my own feet, to have a purpose, and to feel less intimated.

On the second night, while praying for guidance before sleep (even those who don't believe in God call for his help at their lowest points in life. I only started having faith recently but that's another story), for the first time ever I could see Jesus - he was gently caressing and comforting me, and assuring me that this was to make me grow. I couldn't hold back my tears, tears of joy and peace that I've never had before.

Pure blessing.

I woke up the next day feeling calm and revitalized with a clear mind. I remember it being an extra gorgeous day with lots of little joys happening - bf finally got in touch with me, I had insightful video calls with sis-in-law, baby niece, sisters and a good friend, and I won a $20 lucky draw at a restaurant for 麻辣烫 (basically a free satisfying dinner)!

The same Perth, the same me, but a shift in perspective seems to have changed everything.

For the past 10 months, these two birds that have been tied up to protect each other were getting stressed out about flying higher. Sometimes you lose your own sense of autonomy while feeling you can depend on each other. It will be reflected in your relationship when you give up your independence and abandon things that used to make you happy.

Be interdependent, not codependent.

Often we put blame on others, that we don’t take a step back and look at ourselves. How often do we actually jump out of the situation, evaluate it from third-person view, and reflect on it?

This accidental short 'trip' of 5 days 4 nights has taught me more than many other substantial travels.

Be it relationship, marriage, career or study, when you feel stuck, listen to your body, pay attention to your thoughts. Break your routine with something new. You'll be put in the right perspective to fight and make the right decisions.

Conquering denial takes time and it's okay to move at your own pace as long as you try.

Nobody knows what the future holds for us.

But this is a journey for both of us to grow as individuals and as a couple,

and I believe we are all being prepared for something greater.


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