327. Sojourn of Love.

I’ve just returned from a two-weeks trip around Melbourne and Tasmania, and it was such a rollercoaster ride. (More can be seen at my instagram for the time being). I was anxious about the trip, mainly because I had no idea what to expect. All my past solo travels were embarked from a position of pain and was a process of grieving and embracing loss. I knew this trip was going to be different, because for the first time, I’m making it from a good place. I have moved past the losses and am reveling in new beginnings. Yet, I fear the unknown, and how valid that fear was.

I visited a youth holiday camp today.

Today I saw a young girl have a panic attack in front of me. She clutched her chest, dropped to the floor, and started heaving big breaths while holding back tears. I saw her team leader run to her and hold her until the storm passed.

This same girl was the one who, when her teammate was crying because she was scared of doing a high element, went to her and held her to give her strength and courage. When asked why she did it for her friend, she’d said, “Because I know how she feels.” 

When she dropped to the floor, I wanted to run to her, hold her close, rock her in my arms, and tell her, “I know how it feels too. You’re not alone. Shh, child. This too shall pass. Breathe easy, and start again.”

But all I could do was pray from afar. May your pain always keep you gentle, child.

I grew up not feeling worthy or enough. I accepted abuse as a deserving recipient. I inflicted scars onto myself. But at 25 now, now I am slowly finding home. Self-love is a work in progress, and I often forget to be kinder to myself. In a world troubled with hate, to continue being a loving force is hard, but it is because of pain that I know (how to) love. I give so much of love to others because I know what it is like to feel empty.

There are many things I am not worthy of, but I am trying to teach myself to believe that I am worthy of love and affirmation as well.

It’s easy to make love with pain when that’s all we’ve known. Many of us question our worth. My struggles have changed. As much as I’ve been struggling with lost love for a while, I’m struggling to receive healthy and respecting love now. Some of us have been conditioned to believe that we are ill-deserving of any good. When good things happen, we begin preparing for worse things to occur, because that’s how it is, isn’t it? The good times let our walls down and then pain comes crashing in without mercy. So it’s always easier to keep love out, to not let people in, to hide behind a persona. But to sit quietly and let Love nurse our pain – that takes courage some of us may not have.

We think we’re protecting ourselves by blocking off; we’re protecting others too – after all, if we let them in, they may not know how to weather those storms that swell within us. We go on living unscathed, yet unfulfilled as well. We deny ourselves the abundance that He has promised.

We have all made mistakes. We have all had bad things done to us. Perhaps the measure is different, but we have all danced with demons at one point, perhaps more.

To those struggling as well, you are not alone. You are not a burden. You are not too much to handle. You do not come with too much baggage. You are not only your doubts, your fears, your wounds, or your mistakes.

You are the best parts of yourself. You are your hopes and dreams. You are the joy you spread to others. You are your infectious laughter that people love. You are the loving energy that people feed off. You are your kindness personified. You are your best day.

Because that’s also who we are. We’re not defined by the worst things that stir within us, but by the best things that we have grown. Our scars can be so beautiful if only we knew how to use them. If God loves us so very much & loves receiving repentance and giving forgiveness, how can we deny ourselves of His mercy? How can we keep beating ourselves up?

The past 3 years have been a long journey of forgiveness, healing, falling down & getting wounded again, struggling through healing again, finding self-love and God, and learning, unlearning and relearning about the human soul. The #tudungtravels hashtag chronicles this journey, and if I ever find the courage to trace it back, I know I’ve come far. I no longer operate from a position of pain, but I am still struggling. But struggling is good – it means I am growing, I am still searching to be close to Him, & I still have something to give.

This sojourn of love hasn’t been about healing. It was about changing courses. I keep ordering pain because I’m accustomed to its taste, and if it isn’t on the menu, I move away. Now it’s about having the doors of my soul opened so that the waters of love could flow in and out. I have so much love to give for the deserving, if only I allow for it. My heart is at ease knowing that what is meant for me will not miss me, and I am exactly where I am meant to be.

It’s been a long time coming, but I am slowly finding Home. For the broken-hearted, may we always see beauty in each other’s changes. ❤️

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