It’s Only Time

I am not who I used to be. When I was younger, people scared me. I latched onto my dad’s leg at any family social event; I always chose a corner to stay in when I was with kids my age. But as the years passed, I gradually grew more comfortable with people. It was like learning how to swim. At first I stuck to the strokes I knew best – the close friends and topics of conversation I could handle – then I went further and further into the deep end, experimenting and learning new techniques, even if it was awkward and scary. Now, with introversion still my constant companion, I don’t mind speaking to strangers or large crowds. I really enjoy it, sometimes.

I planned to make this post about my physical illness, but changed my mind at the last moment. Just know that I was so sick I went on a retail therapy binge and bought these two beauties - The Moon and More is signed!

I planned to make this post about my physical illness, but changed my mind at the last moment. Just know that I was so sick I went on a retail therapy binge and bought these two beauties – The Moon and More is signed!

But that’s not why I felt like I was fading away a few days ago. Do you know what it’s like to disappear?

My close friends in high school literally kept me alive. Some gave me the console my traditional Asian family never could. Others provided me with a place to stay when my house wasn’t safe. A few kept me company on and off at the strangest times, always available for support. Now, with almost none of my friends going to the same college as me, it’s time to say goodbye.

I visit my little cousin at least once a week. We talk about books, sing random songs together, and play candy crush. This has been the routine for the past four or five years. I introduced her to several of her favorite books and felt such relief – like learning I didn’t have a chronic disease – when she told me she knew it was okay to be gay. She knows me and my weird habits better than almost anyone on this earth. With only a month left together I know I won’t see her for the longest time, even with the occasional break from school.

My mother has hurt me and inspired me in equal amounts. The one person I am genuinely happy to get away from, she told me she would have me sent to hell for being gay. All my life, every single day, I’ve wished, yearned, desired, and craved to leave, leave, leave her abuse. Now that I’m so close to gone, for some reason I can’t give myself the full satisfaction of knowing I’ve survived these long 18 years. How are you supposed to feel, flying away from the person who granted you life with her body and beat it out of you with her bare hands?

I am not who I used to be. It hurts, viscerally, to know that I will have to cut the physical connections I’ve made with people who have changed me so profoundly. But it is thanks to them that I will work my hardest over the next few years to learn as much as I can to become the best teacher anyone has ever known – to become someone who can make a change. Even though these people will blur in my memory, their faces fading, their voices losing clarity; the impact they’ve had on me will stay in my heart forever.

As one of my heroes once said: it’s only time.

Is it sad that I took a selfie with the first page of my WIP just so I could post it on this blog? Blurred and filtered because I'm, I mean, it's, kind of ugly at this point.

Is it sad that I took a selfie with the first page of my WIP just so I could post it on this blog? Blurred and filtered because I’m, I mean, it’s, kind of ugly at this point.

Well, that was extremely personal and sentimental and melodramatic. Has anyone else had to cope with any huge life transitions involving moving away or leaving family and friends and all of that heartbreaking, horrible good stuff? Advice or commiserations would be appreciated, we can get past it and recount our lives together! Because that’s what the internet is for… also, as a side note, due to my illness this past week, family drama, etc. I’m throwing in the towel for Camp NaNo. Even though I’m disappointed, at least I got to 25K – and I plan to finish it by the end of this year, so it’s really not a loss at all! 25K is the highest word count of any of my WIPs yet, actually. Hope you’re all doing well and have a great upcoming week! Also, you can check out my thoughts on Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez here.

About these ads

30 Comments

Filed under Personal

30 responses to “It’s Only Time

  1. It’s so sad to move on, as humans we tend to resist change. Most people see resisting change as natural but I think there’s a quote out there somewhere that mentioned it was change that was natural and that we are un-natural for trying to cling on to things in a forever moving world. I really wish I could find that quote/discussion whatever it was again, it was so profound!
    I remember feeling the same way about moving to university last year in September, it was terrifying, I am definitely a nostalgic person! All I can say is, I still have the same strong connections with my friends. Maybe it’s easier because I live in a smaller country but thus far we have managed to continue to pep talk each other, and social networking makes it so much easier. :)

    As Dr Seuss said: Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

    Good luck!

    • Love that Dr. Seuss quote, and yes, the idea of change as natural is quite intriguing – perhaps I will search for that discussion too. You’re right thought hat social networking simplifies long-distance communication quite a bit. Thank you for your support!

  2. I will pay you to have your copy of The Moon and More. I honestly will.

    Anyway, l agree with what Becky said, moving away, leaving everything that has changed you and helped you is tough. It’s heartbreaking and sad, you’ll remember it for a very long time and everything you’ve been through is incredible and inspiring and it sucks that you’ve had to face such horrible shit for being yourself but I guess that’s life, right?

    Nice post and have fun in college!

    • Oh, how I’ve echoed your sentiments for all of my life – books are just too precious. Do you own any of her books?

      You’re right, it is life, and I guess it’s important to just keep moving forward! Thanks for reading and commenting. (:

  3. Elayna

    Thomas,
    I would love to give you a big hug. Your words are so powerful and I deeply admire how you eloquently express your emotions without bashing at others. I feel your pain, disappointment, and frustration when you say, “How are you supposed to feel, flying away from the person who granted you life with her body and beat it out of you with her bare hands?” I’m still bitter about being at home and i’ve been away for six years–I live in freaking Hawai’i! This is something that I really needed to read now, and I am encouraged how you channel your energy into motivation for your self-growth. College will rock your world. It’s rocking mines and I look forward to reading all of the experiences you will write about. :)

    • Thank you Elayna! As a fellow INFJ I think you might understand how, no matter how hard life gets, it’s all about growing as a person and giving back to the good parts of society and the world at large. If you get a WordPress blog I really want to read about your experiences too – and, thanks, your support makes me look forward to college even more.

  4. Obvious commiserations here, my dear. I know you’re going to go so far and do it so beautifully, though, and can’t wait to see it in its happening! You’ll make everyone you’re leaving behind very, very proud. And, if I can offer a piece of excitement – it’s not only saying goodbye, but also greeting an entirely new life that’s sure to offer such brilliant and wonderful things!

    Oh, and congrats on your NaNo! That’s an EXCELLENT count, lordy :)

  5. Feeling this very strongly right now. I’m afraid I can’t tell you that it gets better – at least for me, even the year of school underneath my belt hasn’t helped the feeling of disappearing. Right now, it’s a bit like not being able to call anywhere home or anyone a real friend. Retail therapy is a good distraction though!

    • I’m glad you can empathize, but I’m sorry it hasn’t gotten better for you. ): Perhaps we can both take steps to ameliorate the feeling of disappearing altogether, whether it be through keeping our minds occupied with other things, or making an even stronger effort to communicate with those back home.

      But, yes, retail therapy -> effective to the last cent. (:

  6. I’ve haven’t experienced saying goodbye to people who have made an impact on me as a person, as I’m not going away to college or anything like that, but I can imagine it. And I can’t say that I would be happen with saying goodbye. I’m the kind of person who gets really, really attached to people and things (seriously, it painful for me to even separate with a toy. Or a pet rock), so I would become very sad for a while if I had to be away from people I am close with… Anyways, I hope you will be able to become happier, Thomas!

    P.S. Your little cousin sound so adorable ^_^

    • Oh, gosh. Just noticed some typos >_< Okay, um, I meant happy instead of happen. The rest are just small errors O_O

      • I guess goodbyes are hard at first, but we can use them to motivate us to succeed further in the future! I understand – I make emotional attachments pretty easily as well (especially to fictional characters, as you probably know by now). My little cousin is adorable and quite astute, thank you for your support and for commenting Lottie!

  7. This post is really powerful..it makes me heart ache to hear that you have had to go through that..with your Mom especially:( There is a sadness in letting go but also the idea of a fresh start..and there is always a fresh start in life no matter what anyone says!

    • That’s true, letting go also leads to new beginnings and fresh starts. I suppose the quote “all the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on” applies here. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  8. I adore this post. I’m not moving away to college, not yet (though I kind of wish I were), but I can really relate to this line: “It hurts, viscerally, to know that I will have to cut the physical connections I’ve made with people who have changed me so profoundly.” I’ve realized as I come out (veeeeeery sloooooowly) that I’ll probably have to say goodbye to some people. And I don’t want to. I’ve gained a good group of friends over the years but now it feels like I have to start all over again and rebuild, figuring out who in that group still are my friends.

    Oh, and congratulations on Camp NaNo – that’s 25K more than I wrote this month!

    • You will get to college sooner than you think! Also, I know how you feel – I guess the silver lining is that no matter what these friends that we’ve made will continue to impact us forever, whether they are physically present or not. What falls apart does so for a reason, for greater things to come together. Thank you for reading and commenting and for your support!

  9. I love your blogs the most when you really speak from your heart. I’m so glad you’re moving on and can get some comfort from that. I guess it shows great strength of character to endure these things in your childhood and come out the other end a better person.

  10. Your blog is great, it speaks from the heart and I love the way I can relate to some on the things happening in somebody else’s life and knowing that I am not the only one such as being a shy little kid :P
    Keep up the great work :D

  11. Reblogged this on homepage of yasmine1221 and commented:
    really how about now do you still feel the same

  12. Who says that leaving for now means that people will become a distant memory? If they’re really close, it’s possible to stay connected for the rest of your life; I’m looking forward to being at all my close friends’ weddings, despite how far off that seems right now :)

  13. Yup, it can definitely be scary, taking that step when you know it’ll change everything as you know it. But what other people have said on here are true also – just because it’s the end of one part of your life doesn’t mean that the things you’ve learned, and the relationships you’ve forged can’t make it into your new one.

    It’s natural to be frightened about it though :) I felt the same, and still do, when I think about the next stage. However, it is only natural that some relationships might not make it, and maybe that’s what you’re worried about? A lot of people say that that’s ok, and they only end because that’s how long they were supposed to last – but honestly, that doesn’t really help when you’re in the thick of it. Even now, I’m a little bitter and sort of childishly sullen that some friendships I had ended, but yup, that’s life, and when you look back, I guess you’ll say “It was only time.” :)

    On the other hand – aaarrghh!! How exciting! It’s also what you’ve always wanted! A little bittersweet yes, but that small step into the next part of your life can really lead to a huge number of amazing things. I know you’ll do great, and I look forward to hearing more :D

    • You’re right – some parts of our past lives and relationships we just have to hold onto as we progress right into our futures. In the end, it is super exciting, and I can’t wait for it to begin… in a way, it already has. (:

  14. Jenny

    Oh, dear. Time. Congratulations on NaNo! (Also, good luck at college–because everyone needs luck, you know? I get three more years with my friends before we say good bye and head off to college–it’s a terrifying thought, really, as we’ll have spent eleven hours a day together (breakfast + school + commute + extracurriculars), five days a week, for six years by the time college happens. I can only begin to imagine what it must feel like for you, having to say goodbye. :-| Then again, it’s worth it, you know?–I can imagine that years from now you’ll be an absolutely amazing teacher. The world needs passionate people! (And the world needs great teachers!)
    Your post inspired me to go back and read the first and only Sarah Dessen book I’ve ever read (Just Listen). It wasn’t as good as I remembered it being, which makes me kind of sad. It’s like you said, I guess–time passes. Things change. That’s what the book was kind of about, too, I guess. Time passing, and things changing. Rereading it, I can still see what I saw in it when I read it half a decade ago as a nine-year-old. It’s just that I’ve read hundreds of books since then, and I’ve changed–both as a reader, and as a writer. I hated writing when I was nine. If someone had told me back then that in five years I would be editing for two literary publications and interning for another one, I would’ve laughed in their face and said “In your dreams.”
    Anyways, your WIP is beautiful. It’s also 20K longer than the longest thing I’ve ever written. Good luck with it! (And happy writing!)

    • It may be onerous to spend so much time with the same people, but you’re right that the goodbye may be difficult – all of your hard work and perseverance with them will be worth it though! I’m sorry you didn’t love Just Listen upon your reread (I’m curious as to whether how I would receive it upon rereading it now.) But, it’s great that you learned from your experience, and you’re correct that time truly does change and so do our thoughts, personalities, etc. with it.

      Congratulations on editing two literary publications and interning for another one, that sounds so fulfilling, and it will bring an extra punch to your future applications. Thank you for your support!

  15. Nano really helped me lengthen my WIPs, each year they get a little bit longer! Of course I can never bring myself to finish them. :-( I bought Eleanor and Park the other week – it’s got so many amazing review, I hope we both love it! Good luck at your new college; just remember the nicest people in the room are sometimes I ones who fade into the background, introverts like your natural self, search them out! <3

    • One day we will finish our WIPs, NaNo is a great external motivator for what will hopefully turn into our full-length works! Ditto on Eleanor and Park, and thank you for the advice – you’re right, because when I went to a month-long study program at a university last summer, the closest friends I made were all introverts (though we talk a heck of a lot when we’re together). Thank you for reading and commenting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s