I wrote something about this on my Tumblr a few days ago just to remember the day when June turned into July, and that officially I've been home for about half a year. Sometimes it hits me in the gut when I remember that I've been away for five years, when there's an odd sense of disconnect - in my mind, street corners merge and shimmer, when a side road along Katipunan leads into Clementi Avenue 4, or the tunnel that connects Eastwood to C-5 suddenly terminates into downtown Orchard Road. Geography is meaningless. My mind still tries to make sense of two different cities, as if they're palimpsests from different books, forever attempting to make meaning with each other.
On my last day in Singapore, I didn't sleep. I was too busy packing away the remainder of my things in boxes, trying to fit my clothes and shoes and that one pillow that I refused to leave behind into a large red suitcase. (Incidentally, the same large red suitcase that I arrived with - talk about coming full circle.) A stuffed sheep sat on the daybed, observing my harried movements with a practiced eye. It had been about a month since I left my ex-boyfriend, since I decided that he was doing more harm than good by being in my life, and that there was no point spending my last few weeks in Singapore in misery and exhaustion by staying with him.
I think I was very lucky that time: I had someone to catch me when I hit rock bottom. Rabbit and her husband were nothing but generous and kind to me, and actually allowed me to figure out things on my own, and gave me a roof over my head and food in my tummy and just absolute kindness that, until now, I am so very thankful. I think this is why I have good memories about leaving the country, instead of bad memories: they were able to overshadow all the troubles that were trailing behind me, that were trying to take over my life and pull me down. Rabbit let me cry, gave me a bed to sleep on, and told me in no uncertain terms that if I felt like I wanted to go back to my ex-boyfriend, she was going to give me a well-deserved kick in the ass. (And I know that she has frighteningly high heels, which meant that she could actually kick my ass.)
And now, looking back, it feels like I was going through a dream-fog back then, as though someone else had taken over my body and was just controlling each and every movement I made then. It's only now that I actually feel like myself - like I've finally found that perfect space where I could fit in and feel comfortable in. And I'm not just talking about teaching, or the work that I do, or the friends and family that surround me - I think it's the knowledge that I'm now in control of my life again, after a long, long time of not being in control. And it feels good to be back in the driver's seat.
So what now? Well, I want to do a lot of things: I want to write stories again, to actually make a go of completing a manuscript and finishing it up and getting it ready for readers and possible publication. I want to stay in the university and teach and have fun with the kids. I want to continue with my freelance work and meet all sorts of awesome, interesting people who can teach me about the universe and everything in it. I want to travel again, to study again, to see what the world has to offer. I want to fall in love again - but this time, I don't want that love to dictate my life. I put my life on hold for four years because of a boy. I don't want to make the same mistake again.