Photo was taken during my Junior High School days.

healing is never linear, and that’s okay.

I’ve been fighting a battle, a monster, worst than any villain in a movie. It will eat you up, feel you dead, and make you wish you were never here in this land. I think everyone is with me because our greatest enemy is ourselves.

I remember spending a significant portion of my Senior High school trying to get my life together. Junior high school was tough for me. I was insecure for a long time and pretentious so that people will like me. I was trying to fit in so I wouldn’t get nitpicked by a group of people who seemed to have an inferiority complex all their lives. Junior High school was torture for me. It made me feel that I wasn’t enough. So I wanted to change for Senior High School.

Not until I reached the last year of my junior high. I swore to myself that I would get on track and change not for others but myself. I’ll do me; I’ll go out of my comfort zone, and I will not pretend. I was very driven to be who I am. After how many years of being someone who’s living under a mask. A woman who’s faking a smile so the crowd could love her. A human who’s pretending to be someone that she’s not. I was ready to break that part of me.

And so, I started with my 4th year of Junior High. Little by little, I tried not to compare myself to other girls. I tried to find something good in me. I stopped thinking about others who are constantly having high grades and started focusing on my progress. It was a challenging journey, to be honest, but I was proud because I was finally doing something for myself.

Until moving up happened, and I was sad to part ways with my friends, but I was delighted and excited to start a new life. It might be cliché but having that “New year, new me” mindset was a booster. I was very eager to enroll and enter a new school! I got into a good university that was kind of far from home. I got a larger environment with very diverse people. I can’t contain what I felt during that time, but I felt every vessel in my body rushing. I can’t explain my emotions. I was very excited.

And finally, Senior High came. I made new friends. I think I’m trying to be more comfortable in my skin. I’m not afraid to show who I am, and I feel no judgment with every action I do. Not being 100% genuine is inevitable, but at least, I’m trying not to fake it anymore. Everything seems genuine and great, and I finally thought I was okay. Like fully okay. Until it struck me again, I felt like I was never good enough. Comparing began again. I was insecure, and I was back to zero.

I was feeling shitty for months and felt terrible for myself. I doubted myself because I thought I was okay. Am I lying to myself the whole time? Or did I not really made progress in the first place? I was so frustrated with myself because I felt like I will get grounded in that situation. I was actually afraid that I would not get over it this time.

But every day, I reflected. I talked to myself with my mind. It may sound weird, but I know all of us do this, right? When we’re alone, our thoughts are louder. No words are being spoken, but you can understand and comprehend every feeling. I do that almost every day, and fortunately, I was fine again. Until I realized, maybe, this is how it goes.

In life, it feels like we are constantly pressured to be okay, pressured to feel fine, and pressured to heal so we can feel deserving of anything. When we are at our lowest point, we feel like we don’t deserve happiness, love, and comfort even though we are yearning for it. We feel like we deserve to be in that shithole until we get our life together. I’ve always thought that it should be like that. Not until I realized that a journey to healing isn’t linear, and that’s okay.

When we travel to places, we don’t even take a straight route to get to our destination. We go to every curve and dodges to get in there. We will turn in different directions to see the endgame. That applies to healing as well. There is no one-way healing because it will always be a zigzag or a doodled line. It will always be complex, messy, and tough, but the journey is worthwhile.

We will also encounter bumps on the road we’re taking because of the lapses we experience. We might feel like we are going back to zero, but it’s just a reminder that we’ve come so far. We might go back to the same bumps, but we’ll look back and see the cities and streets we’ve already passed.

The complexity of it makes the healing process more meaningful.

That’s why it’s valid to feel and continue to heal from the things you thought you’ve overcome. Don’t ever feel like you failed on this journey. You might be a slow driver in a shortcut route or a fast driver in a long bumpy road. But either of the two, you’re still moving forward.

Never rush things and be kind to yourself. After all, there’s no deadline for you to get to the finish line.

sanctuary of thoughts