Saturday, December 23, 2017

2017: of grief, mourning, growing, friendships and photography

As we enter the last few days of 2017, there are usually two things entering our minds: how time flew by so quickly and looking back on what the year brought. I am no exception. I find it hard to believe that yet another year is coming to a close already, it feels like yesterday that it just started with the preparation of my 40th birthday party.
As I am home surrounded only by fur-babies, when most people are busy getting together with family and loved one, it gives me time to reflect and look back. Yes the year has flown by in what feels like a blink, but at the same time, it was a pretty full year.

I kicked it off by gathering friends to celebrate my 40th birthday. It wasn't so much about the age than it was an excuse to assemble around me people I care about and who showed me it was reciprocal by taking the time to be there for my "crazy cat lady purple tea party". Friends from long ago and from more recent times came from near and far and it confirmed what I know to be true, friendship transcends time and distance.

I then embarked on my first (partially) solo trip to Bali. This year has taught me to be more and more comfortable in my own company and to actually enjoy moments of loneliness. I never used to appreciate moments alone, I used to dread them. But I have learned now to tame loneliness, step by step, moments by moments, to the point where I look forward to quiet moments on my own.

By spring, 2017 looked like it would be a good year, the grey cloud of burn-out was slowly dissipating and the actual weather was pretty gorgeous. I started my Instagram (@Taramel77) then, as I was so often catching my breath at the beauty in nature with the beautiful weather. I wanted to capture this beauty but also share it. Nearly 300 posts and counting. Like a dearly departed friend would say: the situations don't change, it's only the way we look at them that does, like changing the angle of the camera. So it's about finding the angle that captures the beauty and letting that beauty infuse you.

As I thought that I was really turning the corner, life took the first of the 3 people that I would loose this year. My godfather passed away, in what felt a sudden way to me although he had been having heart issues for years. Yet it was a shock, he is the first to depart of my parents generation. It's like the reality of death suddenly hits you in the face. Not that we don't know death is real, but somehow I think we all feel like our parents will always be around. It raises a lot of questions about life, death and after, whether an after exists. It also makes you realize that as you are now 40, you have possibly reached or passed the halfway point of your life. This is yet another event that makes your change the angle of the camera that you point at life.
A few months later, I would find out that a friend was taken by a brain tumor, in his early 50s leaving behind his 3 children and his wife. It seems unfair, it seems senseless, it seems like a mistake and you battle all these feelings as part of your grief. It was at about the same time I found out that another friend's cancer had returned and that she would not resume chemotherapy. Her days were numbered but she was very wisely at peace with her situation and decided to make the most of the remaining time left to her. At the same time, she started preparing for her departure by sorting out papers, making decisions about her funeral and writing a last book. She kept her smile till the end as well as her amused look on our world. She left us end of November and has left my heart in pieces. She was a beautiful (inside and out), wise, funny, intelligent, loyal, generous and kind person.

These deaths have left my heart broken, but at the same time I feel like it has grown. Almost like it could only grow by being broken, as if it was only by breaking the shell that it could grow and build a new one. A few days away from 2018, I feel like through 2017 and it's challenges, I have come into my own. There has indeed been challenges and there will still be next year, but there has also been lots of new: new hair, new tattoo, new people, new friends, new confidence.
 I feel like I have found a new voice, one that allows me to say my piece, my wishes and my needs. I have learned to be centered on myself and my real wants and needs. I have learned to say no to what I don't want and not feel like I am being mean to others. I have also learned to say thank you for lovely moments and to receive them like a gift. I am still learning to ask for what I want, but I know I want to learn. Being centered has allowed me to detach myself from others opinion and judgement. We have one life and no one lives it for us. So we must live it in a way that we can look back on it and don't have regrets for what could have been. Being centered on your needs and wants also allows you to be centered in time, centered in the present and not be constantly either projecting in the future or reminiscing the past. There is no time like the present. Fairly obvious point, repeated endlessly in songs, books, movies, motivational speeches... But I realize now that it is a point that only makes sense when you are ready. It's like suddenly opening your eyes and seeing... This new growth I feel, coming into my own, added to my natural tolerance has brought some very interesting exchanges and conversations into the night as it positioned me in a genuinely sharing approach. I have also developed and grown some amazing friendships this year.
Even with the sad times that came, I end this year on a very positive impression, impression of growth, of beauty, of pleasure, of contentment, of friendship and love, of discovery... Thank you Life

Saturday, November 12, 2016

On this day...

I like the feature from Facebook "On this day...", it usually brings a smile to my face as it brings back memories. However today it brought more of a bitter sweet one.

Here I was, a year ago, in the City of Lights for work and intent on having a fun night with a friend with some live music. Indeed we had a fun night, the jazz dinner turned into an all nighter around Paris and it was fun, the kind of spontaneous fun that comes from unplanned activities and good company, complete with laughter and walk back to the hotel in the wee hours of the morning.

Hard to believe that the next day would be such a dramatic one, hard to believe that the tragic events in Paris would enfold a few hours from all our fun and innocence and pretty much in the same parts of town we were that night. I have not been directly affected by the Paris shootings. I was driving between Luxembourg and Paris at the time and was unaware, until the phone call from a close friend asking if I was safe and nowhere near the shootings. I was indeed safe. From that moment, I turned on the radio and the ugly world of hate and terrorism came crashing down around me in the car. It felt unreal (still does). I don't mean to say that I thought Paris or Europe was safe from terror, that would be arrogant. But really, random people sitting at a bar, attending a concert, doing what we do on a Friday night, simply shot and killed? This is the stuff of movies, no? I remember this was my first thought when in September 2001, I was watching the towers come down on my TV in Singapore. Similarly when buses and tubes blew up in London, trains in Spain, bars in Bali. 

Then there was Charlie, January 2015. An uneasy feeling came over me and it hasn't left me since, it just grows with each sad and worrying event the world throws at us since. I wasn't Charlie, it is not a publication I read, but it was a publication in a country with freedom of speech and press. And yes, I did think they were pushing boundaries most of the time. But we didn't get killed for a cartoon in that country. That is until that January day... 

Then Paris happened. Again we were not a country where it was risky to go about your life, have a drink, go to a concert... And overnight, it was. And suddenly these actions lost all sense. Charlie, I could still sort of imagine that in someone's unbalanced and righteous mind, there was a justification of killing the artists behind the cartoons that offended that unbalanced mind. But Paris, there is no way in which my mind can see a reasoning to targeting random John and Jane Doe on a terrace. How sad that this country raises such unhappy, unbalanced youth that sees no other way than radicalism and terrorism. How terribly worrying... 

Since Paris, there was Brussels, Nice... And constant increasing levels of tension, hate, anger and extremes. The UK is exiting, the US elected a Donald that is not the one I remember from the Disney Channel growing up. We all laughed and joked that he wouldn't go through. Yet the world has proven us wrong. I hear the same discussions about France's equivalent political woman. I am dreading what May 2017 will bring. Yet I hope that humans as a whole will awaken to the good in them. But I have to say that currently each time I hear the news, I feel the world wants to prove me wrong in my belief that humans are good inherently, even if there are exceptions. It seems the exceptions have taken over and keep doing so. We live in a world where people have to decide that collateral damages are ok so they can destroy terrorists who would inflict even more damages. This was the topic of the movie I watched tonight.

May be not the best choice when feeling emotional about the state of the world. But on the other hand a very interesting debate on ethics and how to do the "right" thing. I use right lightly as war and destruction is never the right thing, but we are in a world where kill or be killed has become normal. 

Where is the tolerance, patience, understanding and love? Utopist? I guess, but I believe that it is possible to respect our differences, to tolerate others, to understand through dialogue. And above all, to love our fellow men and women. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

12 days long blank page

Here I am on the eve of my first real holiday in 4 years, the eve of being away in a strange city on my own for 12 days. Yes I have a friend in that city and I look forward to catching up with her after many years. But she has her new life to sort out and her children and husband. So I am on the eve of being by myself for 12 days, the longest I have ever done that. I am looking forward to relaxing, catching up on my reading and resting. God knows I need it... But I am also anxious... When was the last time I confronted myself. Probably never or I can't remember it. How often do most of us confront ourselves anyway in the kind of fast-paced, ever connected lives we now live? 
What do I expect from this time away? Rest, yes for sure. No alarm for this time away, no schedule, no plans, explore the city if I feel like it, read, watch some movies, day-dream... Relaxation, yes, looking forward to introducing some new routines to my live... Distance from conflicting and confusing emotions I have been experiencing with regards to a particularly unclear relationship... Renewed energy and motivation for my business, so I can get it out of the current rut it is in and take it forward...
Yes, i do expect all this and I am looking forward to it, but I am also dreading the loneliness, the solitude. I have been feeling lonely for a while now and I crave the sharing of discussions, emotions, affection, tenderness, sex, laughter, and all that makes a relationship. Sharing with someone who you care for and who cares for you. Felling like you matter to someone else than yourself, that someone makes a difference in your life and you make a difference in theirs. Knowing that you'd be missed if you disappeared...

"All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am

But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to"

The Story, Brandi Carlile

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Safe harbour...

"I will provide a safe harbour... You need a place to not be decisive and set agendas and rise to the level of accomplishments the world has come to expect of you. You need a place to fall apart. I will be that place"
This was a few weeks ago in the latest Grey's Anatomy finale and it has resonated in the back of my mind since. It somehow put into words what I have been feeling for a while. It comes on the back of difficult few, many rather, months and a growing exhaustion. A feeling of crumbling down from the inside out. That the strength to hold it all together has disappeared. Of crawling into a hole and forget everything. Yet that nagging feeling that this won't solve anything and will only make the pile of shit bigger by the time you crawl out of the hole. So constantly wavering between letting myself crumble for a bit, allowing myself to feel weak and keeping it all together because I worry it will only make matters worse.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

To have your cake and eat it too

More than a year has passed since my last post... Time just flies, there is work, there is life together, there are less times when you are alone with your thoughts. Less me time, so you write less... You also have less of a need to write.
I write again now as I am alone at home for once, as she travels for work. I miss her but yet I enjoy having the house to myself. It gives me time to think. And thinking is something I've been doing a lot recently since I started this entrepreneurship course. It seems to have gotten my brain working again. It seems to have gotten me excited again.
My mind is buzzing with thoughts for the future and wondering how to manage it all. There are different plans that we have, that I have. A place of our own is one. A business of my own is another. How to reconcile them both? Money is the crucial point. If you're starting up a business, you are not saving to buy a place. But if you are saving to buy that place, you put your business on hold and might miss an opportunity.
On one hand, it is important that we work towards our commun goal, a place to call home, stop paying rent. On the other hand, I long to have a job that challenges me, that excites me, that makes my blood pump. And I know in my guts that my business idea will give me that buzz, I know it can work and I know it will bring me satisfaction. So how to have both?
Work even more to ensure that when I take the plunge into entrepreneurship, our standard of living doesn't change? Take only half a plunge to guarantee a minimal steady income? or simply continue as it is now, which is boring but surely brings me towards this place in the future not so distant?
How I wish I could have my cake and eat it too, with an additional chocolate fudge topping!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

4 months later

This picture says it all I think about how we are. It's now more than 4 months that she moved and after the initial strangeness, we have fully adjusted to each other again.
It is a pleasure each day to be together. It is comfortable. We are confident in our couple and our life and our future.

Sweet Fairy, I love you.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

ready, steady, go...

In about 10 hours, my fairy will be landing in Geneva to make a life here. How crazy is this? How nice is this? It's such a strange mix of emotions, excitement, worry, happiness, anxiousness, hope, fear, confidence, doubt...
In reaction to her stress, I have been feeling a roller-coaster of emotions the past few days. I've known moment of pure joy filled with impatience, feeling like am floating 50cm above the ground. But also moments of extreme worry about her reactions. Will we pick up just as before? Will we be different? Different is not necessarily a bad thing if the love and attraction are still there.
Oh well, there is no point speculating, I can only wait and see. I'll be trying to catch some sleep and I'll keep faith that all that we've felt and lived before was so real, that things can only be good tomorrow and the day after, and the week after and the month to follow and so on...

There is no formulo or method. You only learn to love by loving.