Friday, April 19, 2013

How are you, really?










All things friends who have opened up to me in the last 2 to 3 weeks, have experienced. Their own private hells.

Most of them were only sharing about it after the fact. And I felt like such a bad friend that I didn't know. Wasn't able to help. That I wasn't even aware of what was going on.

It never ceases to amaze me at what really goes on in other people's lives and how much people hide.

Whenever I have those rare moments where I can sit and people watch somewhere, I look at the passing faces, wondering about the stories that really lie beneath - like undercurrents in river that looks calm.

I have often thought that we are all like ducks. Floating on the lake as pretty as can be, little webbed feet  paddling for dear life just under the surface.

On rare occasions, I have had sudden surges of audaciousness, and just gone up to talk to random strangers about those fleeting moments of pain that I caught.

A girl once. Weeping while staring out the window on the bus. I offered her the only tools I had that would be of service, starbucks serviettes that I had hastily stuffed into my bag when I had grabbed a coffee earlier. And she told me her story on the ride home.

A blonde, rather ah beng man whom I thought I had glimpsed wiping a tear hastily with his sleeve like he was wiping his brow. He opened up about his life, and how he thought he had ruined it while we sitting outside cineleisure and we landed up laughing about the seemingly invisible birds crapping on cars on the opposite side of the road.

It never ceases to amaze me what sometimes people are willing to share with absolute strangers. Its fascinating. And it's made me wonder, why do people find it harder to share with friends?

Each time I cross paths with these people. Or see them on the street. I send a little prayer upwards. Hoping that they will be safe. That they won't give up.

I know that sometimes, when people are going through hard times many friends tend to shy away. "Whoa- its just too much for me."

"Wah. So emo. Better stay away man."

But those moments, where people share real slices of themselves with you. The moments when they share their vunerabilities. Where they trust you enough to bare their souls. To connect. Human to human. Real conversation. Even if it becomes messy.

Those are moments in life, that I find extraordinarily precious.

I'm not saying be a fool and let someone indulge in a self-pity party. Have them drag you down to their boggy quagmire.

But I am saying, if someone is willing to share their private pain with you. To share their soft underbellies, and be vunerable with you. If you count yourself a friend, then be there for them.

If you can't help- man up and say you aren't in a position to help. If you think they need professional help- suggest it to them.

All too many people these days are just fairweather, "only in the good times" type friends. And its just sad to see.

I have actually captured several photos of myself and different people over the last few years. Friends. Strangers. Moments when I see sadness in their eyes.

Sometimes, it is an instant. They can be sitting in a crowd. Others talking and laughing. And then you see it. That faraway look. Where their mind has strayed somewhere else.

I have snapped a pic sometimes, just seconds before they shoot me a dazzling smile.

Others, have let me snap photos of them while they are talking to me. Sometimes in tears.

Raw emotion. Real. Not always pretty. Is beautiful to me.

Because in life, it is so hard to find something real. That capturing these moments for myself, reminds me we are all equal. Because everybody cries, and everybody hurts. Sometimes.

Many of us don't talk about personal lives. Perhaps it's an Asian thing. We keep our cards close to our chest. And when we are in pain, we are like dogs. Run away. Hide. Trying to nurse our own wounds.

We don't want to bother others.
We don't want to be a burden on other people. Even those near and dear to us.

Be discreet.

Keep the family reputation intact.

Hide it all in.

Recently I posted a montage of me crying which I captioned with the REM song, " Everybody lies. Everybody hurts. Everybody cries. Sometimes."

"Drama Queen. So emo. Attention seeking." - might have crossed some minds.

"Is she ok. What's going on." - might have crossed others.

Some of you even messaged me privately, just to see if I was ok.

And yes. I am ok. I have gone through rough spots, just like you. Or the person sitting next to you on the MRT. There are some days which are good. And some days which are bad.

Your boss who just yelled at you. That pretty model on the cover of a magazine. The taxi driver who just took a wrong turn. All of us are real people, with real lives, and real problems that sometimes, we just feel like we can't share.

As much as I look happy, love clothes, and have awesome friends - there are things in life which do get me down as well. Which serves to remind me, everyone has their own private hell.

And it never ever hurts to ask, "How are you, really?"

Because you never know when it would make a world of difference to someone.

To my friends that I have loved, and lost along the way.
I hope that you have found rest in the land of no tears.
And to you X.
It's been a long time.
You've been missed.
And yes... I remember.