August 18, 2018

Loneliness is a big part in the process of becoming


Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess!

I am an introvert. I like recharging my energy through quiet moments, lots and lots of alone time, and relaxing by getting lost inside a book or writing my heart out in my journals. However, I can also take on a crowd and socialize the night away at the cost of depleted energy levels, but with a full heart.

I remember the first time I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test when I was in my late teens. My personality swung from ENFP to INFP, but it finally settled at INFP since I was 24. Sometimes, a huge misconception people have of introverts is that we don’t like people; but it doesn’t mean that. Being an introvert simply means we gather our energy by engaging in activities that involve more introspection. I mean, I love people; I have been through quite a lot of tough stuff in life, and I feel that I wouldn’t be held together the way I am now if it weren’t for my friends and family. 

I feel the need to explain this whole introvert thing because lately, I’ve been feeling quite lonely. My senses become hyper-aware when loneliness nibbles into my emotions because I am usually one who shuts off these types of feelings. I guess it’s some defense mechanism that comes by instinct because I don’t function well when I am sad. 

And, as what is part of growing up, my social circles became smaller and smaller through the years. Having moved and lived in Singapore for almost three years now, catching up and being involved in the lives I am usually strung to become tougher and tougher. The fear of missing out is real, and the feeling of it hitting you can be brutally painful.

I have my personal reasons for moving to Singapore, but I still find myself having an internal tug of war with all the bits of my heart left back in Manila. I can’t deny the feelings of jealousy, of yearning, and of being left out. A lot of people tell me that I am lucky to be in Singapore and away from all the “Manila drama,” but there is also a part that people don’t understand about being away from home that can only be understood once you’ve experienced it.

It is a bitter pill to swallow, knowing that I won’t be home for reunions and celebrations, for the best girlfriend road trips, for quiet moments, for special milestones, for my grandmother’s famous Christmas Russian Salad. It all sounds really sad and mopey, but maybe it is to a certain degree; but also, it’s about recognizing that a new path in life is slowly being carved out. I know I am here for a reason, despite the loneliness. There’s a weird sense of freedom and maturity from being able to say that because I know I’ve got my big girl pants on by accepting what life takes away, but also appreciating what it gives.

I remember that this is all a choice and it becomes a part of the process of becoming. As we all get older, tough choices need to be made and these choices come with consequences. For me, deciding to make the move meant creating a lot of distance between myself and the people who I call home. The reality of it bites, and the acceptance that putting your relationships at risk because of big decisions takes a lot of maturity and adjustment. 

However, there is also beauty in feeling the loneliness; the recognition that big decisions come with opportunity costs, and despite the pain, there is growth. The yearning, the love, the missing—they become a cocktail of emotions that go on full blast whenever I visit Manila again. I see my country now with rose-colored glasses, because it means getting the opportunity to show my love more and to not take any moment for granted. 

I am at this place now where I am recognizing the trade-offs of big decisions, and how there is only so much I can control, especially from a distance. In an ideal world, things remain constant as if I have never left, but change is truly an ironically constant thing in life. Loneliness is inevitable, especially in my situation, so instead of shunning it like an intruder, I now welcome it as a friend. I’m trying to see it not as a negative emotion, but as a neutral one that gets me thinking and remembering why I chose this path.

The popular line from the song “Big Yellow Taxi” by Counting Crows goes, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,” and maybe this is a lesson from the universe about growing gracefully with grit, appreciating life and people more, and continuously moving forward despite the tough times.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.


Art by Marian Hukom

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Filed Under:

adulting, Bless This Mess, culture, family, Memories, Mikka Wee, relationships, Singapore

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