January 27, 2013
By , Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Dear the past me,

Tonight I am writing to you in memory of the many nights I have spent alone in bitter cold and darkness, wrapped in the embrace of everything I was taught to stay away from as a

child. I am writing to you in memory of the mornings I have woken up in the desolate void of my own mind, with colourless skies, distorted images and clouds so heavy they

could withstand my weight. I am writing to you partially as a forewarning of what is to come, partially for the sake of future reassurance.

Allow me to begin by telling you that one day, you will fall.
You would expect it to be on a night of rainfall and rumbling storms, but in fact your fall will take place on an otherwise ordinary Sunday afternoon. You will not remember this,

however, until later on in life, and for a long time you will be unable to recall a moment in time this fall had taken place.
Your fall will take place in a pond that you’ve come to know throughout your entire life – a pond where rebellious children used to dip their feet in, resulting in mud stains,

accidents or twisted ankles. Adults will see this as childish behaviour; as an action immature youngsters use to seek undeserved attention. This pond will be labelled as a

forbidden destination for the entire town, although it is clearly accessible and often visited by the outcasts of modern society.
The afternoon you fall will be on a winter day that was too cold for snow, and if it was not for the weight of burden and blame put on your two shoulders, you would have never

seen the need to walk outside for some sort of release. Today you will decide to take a stroll along the lake in perfect solitude, in hopes to calm the stormy gale in your mind.
Today as you inch your way along the frozen pond, you think of all the moments in your life where you have underestimated your surroundings – the weather, your abilities – the

weather’s abilities. It is rare that you’d ever underestimate something beneath the soles of your feet, but by the time you realize today is an exception it is too late. The sky will

moan. The ice beneath you will break like shattered glass and the cracks in between will swallow you whole. You will see the teary-eyed reflection of the setting sun as you beat

your fist against the solid ice above your head. You will wait for the end that never arrives; you will endure the sting of breathing in liquid; the ache of the cold. And eventually,

you will go numb.

The next day you will wake up in a place you have never known – an upside-down world with the absence of gravity; a world with common sense flipped inside-out.
Universal logic often dictates that under normal circumstances, pedestrians walking by would have shouted when they’d see you in the pond, shaking in the shivering cold and

surrounded by ice. Under normal circumstances, instead of whispering from ear to ear, people would offer help; people would shout, “Are you okay?!” and call for assistance.
But this world is different – this world you have never known. In this world, passers-by only exhibit indifferent expressions even as they notice you, pale and shaken in the

middle of a frozen pond.
In this world, people who you once claimed to love will be completely blind to your situation – you will engage in conversations and occasional merriment while simultaneously

be trapped in the freezing water, watching from a distance. You will exist in places yet not be present half of the times.
In this world, the wind laughs at your weakness and the skies mock you. The wind will haunt you with the things you cannot fix – spirits of all that you’ve seen and people you

have wounded with words. “She has done this to herself” they will say. “She does not have a right to ask for help.” When you hear this that is what you will come to believe as well

– that your circumstances are too common and insignificant to merit any urgent attention or care. And that you are alone.

In time you will subconsciously wrap yourself in a shell, shielding yourself against everything that hurts or will hurt you – from people, from disappointment, from rejection. You

will stop caring merely because it hurts so much less that way.
In time, you will seek comfort in the bitter cold. Beneath the water, creatures and plants will grow along your skin. Under normal circumstances, you would have found this

sickening. But then again, this is far from ‘normal’.
In most cases, the stinging sensations you inflict on yourself would be white and make you faint. Yet your emotionless act will exhibit no such attachment towards reality. You

will hang onto your scars as if they are all you are worth; you will hang on to your broken skin in hopes that it will dye your pond red, and prove to the world that this is your

reality. You will seek comfort in these roots of bitterness that nobody else can see; that nobody knows of; that nobody can ever take away from you. This will be your little secret

– your value. This will become a part of you.

Let me tell you something else: For a long time, you will not walk through life. Instead life will mercilessly run past you, and you will be put on a stand-still, forced to watch on

the sidelines.
You will be so engrossed in withdrawing yourself in anticipation for loss, shielding yourself from emotions, that you will not realize that whatever this fall is, it has cost you

everything you once had, in spite of everything your illusions have clouded you into thinking you ‘gained’.
At one point, you will want to scream for help, but see the fragile edges of the ice surrounding you and change your mind. To think that somebody would have to risk falling into

the same trap you have put yourself in in order to rescue you is overwhelming. You would hate putting somebody in the same position as you are in, let alone allow somebody to

intrude this little space of comfort surrounding you. People will approach you as if they are walking on egg shells – so careful and cautious as if somewhere along the way, you

have earned the label of being intangible. You have become an alien in your own home; the stain on the carpeted floor everybody sees but doesn’t want to clean up; the turtle who

outgrew its own shell.
One day you will drift away from all you once claimed to love, and one day you will stop caring about yourself.
But I promise, the day will come – when you stop fighting altogether.

Ironically enough, this will also be the day you begin the longest fight of your life – the fight that will shape who I am now, who I will be. This day will come out of the blue – it

will not be your decision, but perhaps a decision of fate, or faith, or a mixture of both.

On this day you will find your voice again, the courage to speak, and the audacity to call for help. People who cannot be fooled with a smile still exist. Initially, you will struggle to

trust again, in fear of risking falling further into the lake, but don’t let that stop you.
One day, you will be able to see past numbness and feel all the emotions you were once incapable of feeling – yes, it will hurt seeing yourself, naked and exposed and vulnerable

towards everything you have been shielding yourself from. But these first steps are always the hardest, I promise you this much.
One day you will finally let go of all your wasted ‘gain’. The leap of faith going from a wrong, familiar world to an ‘ordinary’, unknown territory will take more bravery to

accomplish than you assume you are capable of. The cold beyond the pond will be even colder than what you anticipated, but I promise you your thoughts are more terrifying

than the actual matter.
Making your way out of this pond means grabbing on to whatever you can. This will be your fight – hanging onto the words people say; hanging on to songs and quotations and

things that make you wonder - and pulling yourself upwards.
You may fall or slip during this fight, and it may hurt more than the sensation your original fall caused, but this time you will no longer be distant and unseen.
Getting better means reliving every single moment that has brought you to this point, but you will learn that your scars are the maps that guide you home.

Allow me to end by telling you: I have been lying.
There will never be a night too cold for snow; you won’t even fall into a lake of any sort. The scenery I have described to you above does not even exist, but will only take place in

the midst of your head. You will never drown in a lake – you will only drown in the chaos of your own mind.
The day you will break free from such an invisible and powerful part of you will be the day you realize this:
You are always going to be too heavy for clouds of fate to carry. You will always be too lovely to be completely alone. You will always be too strong to die from the cold, and the

English language is always going to lack the requisite vocabulary to explain just how this could be.
The life I am writing to you from is worth every wave that is heading your way. So good for you, girl. I promise you, you’re almost there.

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