dad father's day sofia chang

    13.08.2017

    Middelkerke, Belgium. 10pm.

    Second Sunday of August, Father’s Day in Brazil. I thought I’d be okay, but there I was, rolling in bed from midnight til 6am because this dreadful day had begun and I miss my dad.

    I went out for a walk in the morning and ended up sitting on a bench by the beach to write, as words are how I deal with tangled up feelings. This couple of seniors sat next to me, and the man asked what I was writing about. “Mon papa”, I replied.

    We talked for a bit. Why is it so easy to talk about my dad in a lighthearted way, say “It’s okay, thanks” when people say “I’m sorry”, even make a sarcastic remark or two, when all I want is to cut my heart open and show them the huge hole I carry around with me?

    This has been the toughest Father’s Day I’ve had to endure since dad passed away.

    Mum isn’t a 50-minute drive away to offer me comfort. I couldn’t just take a bus and head to my grandparents for lunch. The one proper conversation I had today was with a couple of strangers. I can’t just hug my dog hoping that she’d fill in the void in my heart. Does my dog even remember me? Seems like I’ve been away from home for so long…

    I promised mum I’d be okay today, that everything was fine because I am great at the whole solitude thing – in fact, I need it to function properly. But there was no solitude today, only loneliness. Having the time and the silence to think and work were not a luxury anymore – they were an utter nightmare instead. Going out for a walk and not seeing one familiar face on the streets no longer meant freedom and relaxation, but meant isolation and displacement. It seemed as if Augusten Burroughs’s words from “Dry” were being carved into my skin – I felt lonely, lonely in some horribly deep way, and for a flash of an instant, I could see just how lonely and how deep such feeling runs. “And it scares the shit out of me to be this lonely because it seems catastrophic.”

    I thought maybe going through old photos of dad and focusing on the happy memories would help.

    Instead, I cried until my stomach started hurting and I could no longer keep the apple I’d had in the morning down. I tried calling a friend back in Brazil but my voice wouldn’t even come out, because if I opened my mouth, I’d only cry some more. To be honest, I didn’t even want to talk, I just wanted a friendly hug while I bawled my eyes out. I spent hours considering whether I should just pack everything and book the first flight to Brazil. Things would be so much easier if I just went back home…

    “Okay, let’s see how much a plane ticket to Brazil would cost me if I were to leave tomorrow.”, I thought as I opened my laptop. First notification I get when the screen lights up is from a human who’s just read dad’s letter and left a comment on my blog. “God, this letter was everything I needed to read now I’m quitting everything to become a digital nomad.”, it read.

    Dad’s letter, the one he wrote to my cousin going on exchange about 20 years ago. I’d completely forgotten about it. I re-read it. Again, and again, and again.

    Because of that, you also don’t need to worry about always being happy or cheerful. Sometimes, you’ll feel down, you’ll feel solitude and think that you’re wasting your time. It’s not like that. Solitude and feeling down also help with self-discovery. Because of this, don’t run from experiences just because they might seem frustrating or lonely. (…)

    Goddammit, dad.

    You and your wise words. Thank you for everything. Thank you for the memories, for all you’ve taught me, for being my favourite human. I’m so grateful for the 15 years I had with you. I’m sorry I’m such a mess sometimes, and I’m sorry I often wallow in self pity – life gets rather tough every now and then. I love you, et tu me manques beaucoup.

    Feliz dia dos pais ♡

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    Middelkerke and a lil’ annoyance during summer break

    It’s 3am in Middelkerke and had you told me a month ago that I’d be in this place, at this moment, writing a blog post, I’d have said, “Middel-what, now?”.

    I’ve had one too many cups of tea and coffee today and, yes, I know these sentences usually have ‘whisky’ rather than tea/coffee, but, hey, it’s a caffeine rush like I haven’t had in forever… And, well, alcohol has never been my drug of choice.

    While talking to a friend earlier today, I realised I’ve created a pattern with regards to how I deal with relationships in general, which is:

    1. Meet human
    2. Open up and share a great deal through sarcastic remarks
    3. Become close friends with said human
    4. Friendship is well established, can slowly reduce the amount of sarcasm and start sharing ‘with my walls down’.

    Now, I don’t see anything wrong with that, because, well, look at my friends. Look at how amazing they are. I love them with all my heart and am ever so grateful for having them in my life. But, then, I realised this is also how I’ve been avoiding romantic/intimate relationships for over a year now. Hehe. Befriend everyone and that’s it, that’s the closest you’re gonna get. It hurt too much the last time I went through a breakup, and, honestly, who needs that heartache/headache, amirite.

    Anyway, suddenly, there’s a New Human.

    One that sees right through my sarcastic remarks, and, after a short period of time, I found myself sharing ‘with my walls down’ because Human was there. It went from step #1 straight to #4, howdoidealwiththat. Human is still there and hasn’t shown a sign of being shocked or scared by my weird little self. The toughest stuff to talk about comes out and, hey, Human isn’t running away yet, whattheheck.

    It’s a “I’ll be caught me if I fall” situation and I find myself allowing to feel things I hadn’t felt in a long time. I never gave much thought about it, simply decided to go for it and not care about what happened next. After all, isn’t it the best feeling in the world, when you know people care as much about you as you care about them?

    Except people are people and they change their minds. In my case, it was because Human ‘thought things through’ and realised that because I’m not staying in the same country forever, why even bother.

    Or maybe this was just an excuse. How would I know, I can’t read minds.

    It doesn’t really matter, now that I think of it. There was a lot of wonderingwhy in my mind the past few days, but I’ve concluded that my need for an explanation was rooted in the belief that if I understood why, it’d hurt less. As if, haha. I needed to feel the hurting, though. Because I’m human and I shouldn’t shove negative feelings to the back of mind to let it all pile up ’til it exploded in my face one day.

    There was hurting, yes, but I couldn’t even bring myself to get mad. People are people and they are allowed to change their minds. There is no point (or energy in me) to get mad at such ordinary part of reality. Moreover – my expectations were mine to deal with, and not to impose/force them onto someone else.

    Reminder: it’s okay to feel hurt. If I hadn’t allowed myself to let it all sink in, I wouldn’t have understood my feelings in order to deal with them. Then, I went from feeling hurt to slightly annoyed that I wasted time and energy dealing with someone who didn’t show me much consideration, to okay, it happened, things are fine now, the end. It’s not that I wasn’t good enough, or anything like that, it’s just that people are different and want different things. C’est la vie.

    It’s taken me a few nights for me to process all this, but I’m okay now.

    Staying true to myself and always being honest about everything has helped me through all this. (Actually, I think it has helped me through everything ever.) There’s nothing I said that I regret saying, and in the end I had said all I wanted to say.

    As for how I go about my relationships in general, I think keeping a good level of sarcastic remarks around me has been a great way to filter who gets close to me and who doesn’t, hah. I only have amazing people in my life, so I’ll keep it that way… But, well, note to future self: stop adding more sarcastic remarks around you whenever a New Human wants to get closer. Let Human in, even though Human might walk away.

    It’s all gonna be okay, regardless of what happens. 

    Ps.: how do you deal with situations like this? Do you wish you could rub the person’s face against the road? Is it easy for you to let it go? Let’s chat – you can either leave a comment here or tweet me @sofiachangx.

    Pps.: thank you, @alvaro_bernart and @itspatriciasn for proofreading this post before it went live.