Both exciting and scary times are ahead. I am about to graduate from a degree I was so enthusiastic about starting. Naturally, in my case at least, that calls for some reflection. It seems like just last week I was notified that I got accepted to Fudan University in Shanghai. The degree is called Chinese Philosophy, and it came at a time in my life when I desperately needed direction. I am now seeing a glimpse of the new coping mechanisms it has taught me, in order to deal with trauma reaching dark depths I could never have imagined. Through an internship with Freeland Foundation in Bangkok, I learned too many things about the shaded side of humanity that I wasn’t exposed to before. Freeland works on the frontline, combatting illegal human and wildlife trafficking. I have so much respect for my colleagues from that time who fight this exhausting battle to this day.
My sensitive personality couldn’t cope with what I now know to be the extent of the dark world, which sadly is created by other human beings. If you think I may be too sensitive, too involved, too caught up or too weak, I ask you how anyone who doesn’t contribute to this suffering but tries to help it, can feel otherwise. And if you feel the need to judge me on my ‘how’, I strongly suggest you give this information a try and immerse yourself in it. The fact is that it is extremely distressing and awful, and different people cope with it in different ways. At times I am able to see and feel the humbling side of the bad experiences. I have learned about the fucked up part of the human world. It is both a blessing and a curse. I couldn’t and wouldn’t have known what would come after this experience, either. From my side, it is a cauldron where feelings of disorientation, loneliness, fear, sorrow, and anger are mixed and are often actively boiling. But I am not able to pour it out of this massive pot and give it a place, and so it sits there. And I am continuously stirring it with a tiresome effort to not let it boil over. I couldn’t have known how it would affect those around me either. They saw a sad pile of a confused girl not able to put into words how horrified and small she felt. I needed my family and friends to pull my strings like a puppet and show me again how to be a human being in this human dominated world. Only I couldn’t tell them, because I didn’t know.
I think using words such as darkness and light is rather cheesy and cliché, but I can find meaning in what they represent. Especially how it relates to so many things I have learned in the last 2 years. Dark and Light. Yin and Yang. Two opposite forces that flow from the one into the other. It is because of the one that the other one exists. I don’t quite know yet how it fits in with what I’ve experienced and learned about the dark, the bad, the negative. Perhaps I need to be another light to balance out the dark. Perhaps we all need a bit of both, so that we are yet another balanced unity that participates in the balanced natural world that already exists outside of us. As I am about to graduate from this degree I feel grateful for it and I am afraid that I will miss it. It opened up my eyes to a segment of knowing people who maybe knew of or experienced the same or similar things as I did. Or who speculated and theorised. Or simply assumed this truth. The knowledge I have gained and books I am reading have provided a framework for me in which I can puzzle together a healing process for me now, and a framework with which I can continue to shape the rest of my life. I am so happy and excited to continue learning from these great minds and their realities.
I feel quite safe, sharing this with you. I didn’t think that I would, but I have done a lot of work to accept my own reality. And regardless of you fully understanding me or taking me seriously, I am happy to know that in the very least I am still trying to better myself, and positively contributing to the people and natural world around me. The reason I am sharing this is in part because I need to push myself on a little bit towards a more joyful and peaceful existence and by writing this, I am holding myself to a promise.
Some weeks ago after talking to my friend, my fellow intern at Freeland, I felt empowered again for the first time in a long time. Together with many other personal attempts and attempts from my loved ones, I have started healing. I want to thank you, Cha, for being the person you are and sharing your strength and love with me. I hope my words do you right, too, because you are on your own journey and I want to send you nothing but love and strength in return.