I look back at moments where I closed myself off in my bedroom dancing and singing to J-Pop music. At the time I didn’t really think much about it but some part of me wanted to escape. I didn’t want to be “here”, I never really felt like it was okay for me to be “here”. And while looking for something outside of myself to ease me, my childhood wasn’t stable, emotional games were the norm. Subconsciously, I wanted to attain the sense of innocence I believed at the time I’d “lost” before.

Deep down, I craved genuine emotional connection, intimacy, authenticity, and an overall sense of safety. Although I tried to express said needs, I grew up in an environment where the norm was to suppress them. The need to be understood, to be nurtured, to be loved was instead replaced by hostility, distrust, and constant infantilization. My father would instill the belief that the world is dangerous and that no one should be trusted. My mother on the other hand would dismiss any form of critical thinking. They were both a byproduct of the trauma they faced in their generation which was then passed down to me.

Not allowed to play. Not allowed to create. Not allowed to talk. Not allowed to cry. Not allowed to feel. It’s as if I felt like maybe I was not allowed to be alive. As if maybe being the way that I am was some sort of curse. Even if it wasn’t directly said to me, I wasn’t fully aware back then that I was taught to believe in a false narrative of what “love” actually was.

I discovered later on that love isn’t meant to be feared, for it’s the lack of it that we are truly afraid of. We’re scared to be hurt by love, so we continually run away from the possibility of that happening. However, in doing so, we also run away from ourselves, and our innate desire to evolve. Love is not “something” we search for – it’s already there within you. Even if our hearts break, a broken one is still an open one. It’s opening ourselves up to everything that the universe has to offer for us, providing contrast through “positive” or “negative” experiences. In turn, we can discern ways to learn how to love ourselves even more by accepting that reality and making decisions that honor us.

It’s okay for you to exist. You are meant to be here.

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