The Great Thing About Lists...

let's do the big postmortem!

  • Is that you can jumble up a bunch of points and call it The Aphorisms of This-Tragic-Intellectual

  • That suddenly my writing is On Steroids™️ because everything can come out like word vomit instead of nicely crafted strings

  • Speaking of nicely crafted strings, is this my version of a friendship bracelet to you, lunch box friend?

  • Mic check over.

Hey Lunch Box friends,

And…I’m back from my month long adventure in Europe! Things have been great. I’m sure we both had our fair share of sunshine and other good things. And if you didn’t, then get in loser we’re going to get some big dick energy.

So it’s been a little more than 6 months since I got hit with the big D¹. Looking back, I must have stumbled into the trauma tunnel. Walking through the dim tunnel was like stumbling into a kaleidoscope. Everything was fine if I didn’t move, but dilated into a visual shitstorm if I so much as took a step.

And there I was, only concerned about the woeful Me that was dead centre in my sad tunnel. I experienced intense peaks & dips in my internal world that led to episodes of ruthless procrastination and isolation. I externalised with the people around me of, and with the work I produced. I also ruminated over the past and the future, fixated on the light I saw on either ends of the tunnel.

Although there was light on both ends, I quickly learned that they were not shining on the same reality, or the same me. In some ways, this trip through the trauma tunnel simulated some sort of ego death² which allowed the Self a thousand deaths to arrive at its finest version. I feel as though I’ve been reborn with a new & improved bullshit detector.

The light from the past

was as innocent as childhood, because it was childhood. It shone bright, but in a superfluous and pretentious way. Sure childhood was a time of material abundance, but mentally and emotionally I was shrouded with ignorance. With the march of the middle class prerogative (go into Science stream, get into a good private uni with scholarship, maybe study abroad), my nervous system found ways to supress all the bad stuff, presently known as trauma.

Unknowingly, I’ve been dragging along my shame wrapped in ignorance like an excessive plastic wrapper.

Despite what happened, I still rated myself a 3/5 on ChildhoodAdvisor and instead chose to focus on growing up and moving out. I made up fantasies about grown up life and kept them pinned to my mental board. Making a living as a web designer, wearing knit cardigans, drinking hot coffee in cozy mornings….Those fuck off fantasies catapulted me into the working world pretty quickly, and I took bold risks that landed me in a home I could finally find peace in.

Arguably, moving away from my hometown also allowed me to move away from unwanted company³, and breathed air into my narrow mind that rejected growth.

Having that early advantage was important, because I at least wandered off into the trauma tunnel partially-equipped. Having all my supressed trauma surface at once was scary and shocking, but there were moments where I also indulged in the misery. Because I could.

When you’re miserable, it’s really hard to convince the ego otherwise. It’s always another puff of that cigarette, another swig of whatever makes you float, another bout of heaving because wow, that actually makes me feel a bit alive.

Being partially-equipped was better than watching my whole life go wrong without safety nets, and god knows lots of people are going through that right now. I was able to spend money on seeing a therapist, a life coach, and even got experimental with light & sound healing, reiki and sensory deprivation.

Each of these experiences played a role in getting me out of the trauma tunnel, each of them a snapshot of something strangely messed up yet beautiful. Not to mention, getting to stay in cozy Airbnbs that led me to meeting a now lifelong friend. I only have gratitude.

The light going forward

was not all truth and glitter either. Back in the tunnel, I looked towards a new me embellished with nothing but goodness & competence. Maybe if I did the work now, I would never have to revisit those painful memories again. I could take them off like rolling lint off a coat! Maybe even be clean and pristine, like Guanyin!

All I wanted was to be unaffected by the episodes that surfaced, not having to react to them anymore the way I used to. I hated speaking up for myself. I hated taking up space. Being third-dimensional freaked me out. I wanted to go back into hiding, so I didn’t have to choke and speak up for myself anymore. Clearly those were all signs of avoidance. I didn’t want to put in the self work, I just wanted to be a better person without all the challenges in between.

Of course, that’s all mindless banter. Our perception under duress can become painfully binary — not being able to appreciate life’s nuances between one extreme to the other was not only dull, but also meaningless. And that’s how my depression painted life for awhile, meaningless and dull.

I can feel myself aligning closer to my creative centre, my best self. I’ve made friends with my motivations and principles, and I can allow them to convert into a rich, subjective internal world that’s able to hold incomplete pictures without giving up immediately. Everything should flow uncensored. Gone are the days of, but it needs to be perfect right now, or it won’t make sense! Honestly, it’s so good to be back.

Some things I learned to do:

  • Schedule calls with friends, being committed to topics that promote mutual personal growth.

  • Reach out and make it clear when I need to rant, or when I need advice.

  • Schedule downtimes for different needs: face mask time, yoga time, workout time, home-cooked meal time, boyfriend time, social time.

  • Understand the value of time and place for everything, not holding grudges on myself or on my friends when things don’t happen instantly. Or even when they happen and don’t unfold expectedly! Just 👏 Let 👏That 👏Go👏

Really, it’s all in the scheduling! Having things to look forward to can have such an anchoring effect. Like a moving meditation that reminds us to stay where we are, and that good things will come round sooner than we think!

What’s In The Lunch Box

From this week on, I’m gonna attach a picture of something I cooked recently to share with you! Do you cook your own meals too? Send me a picture of one 🥰

…I, obviously don’t really know how to fold gyozas.

So that’s been a mouthful, and probably the longest edition I’ve shared with you. Lunch box friend, thank you for making it this far.

I hope the sun energy has helped with your Monday. And if you liked this edition, please click on the little ♥ below or slide into my DMs and let me know directly!

¹ ‘D’ as in Depression, as in the Big Dip. Tragically, not the same thing as being hit by a Big Dick.

² Sans psychedelics.