My head’s been all over the place since I got back. You know, jetlag + general post-holiday blues + extremely intense personal stuff I can never talk about here, and always, always, always interspersed with the fiercest longing for my mother. Yes, that old thing. It never ends.
Turns out there is a huge difference between feeling ready to go home and actually being home. The first time I took the bus I finally noticed and was surprised by how green the trees were. I’d grown accustomed to seeing red leaves and golden leaves; evergreen leaves, even though I’ve been surrounded by them my entire life, suddenly seemed…wrong. Abhorrent, even. They signalled home. Real life that is made up of bills, frizzy hair, and other such problems. Problems I was able to ignore for as long as I was away that I suddenly had to face and tackle.
As rainy and dreary and bone-chilling Dublin got at times, it was Dublin, Ireland, not – ugh – Singapore.
For one thing, I always had great hair in Ireland.
Three weeks on – and today is exactly three months since the day I landed in Belfast, too – I am still in turmoil. The jetlag and the post-Ireland blues are gone, but the other stuff is still very much causing chaos to what could have been a quiet, peaceful existence. That’s what makes me furious. It’s not even my issue, but because there is only one person on the entire planet it could ever affect, it’s my cross to bear and the burden I have to carry. I could be almost happy, if not for this. I mourn for what could have been every single day.
What has helped to keep me relatively sane and zen is going back to basics, and when one is a Muslim, going back to basics means to submit, prostrate, and supplicate. Say what you want about praying or religion but time and again I’ve discovered that when I’m at my absolute lowest, it is the only thing I can rely on.
And also of course my amazing aunt and uncle who offer unconditional support even though they have four children of their own. My aunt is like my surrogate mum. Not quite like the real thing, not in the slightest, not for a second, never, ever. But it is the closest to what I imagine having an adult relationship with one’s mother is like. Her mother died when she was 19 and her mother was 48, too. So she knows what it’s like and what she’s doing for me.
Today being the 24th of November reminds me that there is exactly one month left for me to be a twenty-something. Can’t believe my twenties are over. I’m not ready to enter a new decade of life. I don’t know that I lived my twenties well. I squandered it on useless things, useless people. I have a lot of stamps in my passport but I’m nowhere I thought I would be in the year I turn 30. It’s a scary thought, that I might have wasted my youth.