This Christmas, I’m celebrating just being able to enjoy the simplest things — seeing Christmas displays, listening to Christmas songs, eating the homemade, too-big mince pies my mum made over the weekend.
This Christmas, I am being still.
Me, a teapot of lavender, solitude, alphabets, feeling quiet and grateful.
Above all, gratitude for reconnecting with all the many, many, many people I’d so fallen out of touch with.* They have reminded me of who I was at a time I felt hollow and filled me up again with infinite good things, they have reminded me of the person I was at the best, most joyous times of my life, they have taught me to laugh and live and love again.
So in that compassionate, joyful spirit of Christmas—that would surely even make Jesus get up and hug a stranger—I’m spending this evening celebrating these old, new, wonderful, warm-fuzzy friendships. (And I know all the space in wordpress wouldn’t be enough to totally love and honour every aspect of every one of you, but I will try).
Mum & Dad: I could never say enough but you know I love you tremendously.
Shantini: for all the hundreds of hours of tea. There is too much to go into here but know that every single minute, giggle, tear, lament, celebration is remembered by me always. Thank you for always showing me silver linings, shining the light at the end of the tunnel and buoying me up every time I have sunk.
Sarah: for all the hundreds of messages and emails, for knowing and understanding and loving me all the same, for seeing good things about me when I couldn’t see past sadness, for truth, for filling me up with confidence when I had none, for gifts, for wisdom, for just being there at the other side of the keyboard.
Sal & Anne: for always remembering who I really am and never forgetting, for love and healing and zaps in the middle of the night, for showing me that it’s okay to just feel and be, for (re)connecting me to Spirit, for being so encouraging of every tiny little step I take and knowing that it’ll take me somewhere.
Rachael: for 22 years of friendship, reconnecting across the world, lamenting about injuries, strength (the combat kind and the inner heart-gut kind), love, health, no problem being too big or too small.
Tashi, Joe, the other Joe, May, Wendy, Andee, Geraldine, Jeff, Bibi, Fang, YF: for being there and for everything else—you know why.
Nigel & Allan: for taking care of me; for listening and understanding; for extending help and pointing me in the right direction; for dragging me out of the house and showing me how to party again; for those big stomach laughs; for cake and sugar and cake.
Philip: for being unapologetic for who you are and teaching me that it’s okay for me to be too, for remembering every of my fears even after all these years and loving me for it anyway, for reminding me of the importance of staying playful, for living your dreams to their max and remaining so humble, real, loving and down-to-the-ground, for just telling me the other day that you were happy I’m happy.
Usha: for bringing me back to the joy of all those early days back in KL, for being a thousand laughs a minute, for being an example of someone so strong and self-confident and honest and true.
Vera: for never giving up on the person you always knew I really was, for never judging, for tuning me into higher energies and tuning me out of shitty feelings, for creating amazing, safe spaces for me to be me.
Suzanne: for always being 28 (!), for listening to all my stupid stories even after having not seen me for years, for not thinking anything was too big or small, for the whatsapp chats, for helping me feel beautiful again, for getting me out of the house, for manicures and cookies and shopping for fake-eyelashes
Rachel: for reminding me of the person I was at university, for silliness, for remembering that I should like someone not because of their bank balance but for “their kind heart” (hah).
Mabel: for non-stop talking days out, eating, being carefree, dreaming of youth, bouncing ideas, hours and hours of stories, rediscovering this crazy mad city we’ve decided to call home for a while. Exploring the better sides of KL really is more with you.
My girls in Singapore, Shilpa, Nivi, Tara, Pooja, Petya: for showing me such strength, for showing me what it means to find self-empowerment (Shilpa, Nivi – that conversation over dinner at Boat Quay!), for living unapologetically, for honesty and living big and following your dreams, just the way they had hoped for us back in the UWC days (!).
Tara: for being on the end of those many emails; for somehow ending up on the same path and understanding; for all those emails; for seeing brightness in me all those moments I feel dim; for the beautiful energy you bring in any and all of your messages.
Thouraya: for moving to Singapore! For always keeping me grounded, for being so damn smart, for being a stellar example of what it means to have your head on your shoulders and be all grown up, for being that one solid-as-rock friend all the way through university and 10 years on.
Karen: for talking non-stop the moment you got in my car until I sent you back home (!), for dating “advice”, for always bringing light-hearted cheer, for opening your home to me at my lowest points even though we’d be out of touch for so long, for being exactly the same, bright, silly, smart, caring friend you were when we were 12.
My Indo chums, Josie, Daven, Vonny, Mikey – for bringing me back to the joyous, worry-free days of being 16, for an amazing reunion in Jakarta, for remembering the person I always was, for bringing me back to that person and picking up right where we all left off 14 years ago.
Reuben (and Lish): for even just recognising me after over 20 years (!), for banana-leaf suppers and wine nights, for the bad giraffe jokes, for making me feel like I’m not past the age of 10 again.
AP: for good conversations, for listening to me, for believing I’m going to be okay, for strength and empathy, for many good times and mugs of beer.
Gerry: for giving me a job (!) and giving me a boost at a time I had nothing, for being so totally cool about me never meeting your deadlines but still having me on board, for just being real and f**king cool and kind.
Kher Tean: for remembering me after so many years; for being the first great boss in my first (great) job; for great conversation; for being someone to live, see, breathe the city anew.
There are so many more—friends who have come back in even briefly, many new friends, and many people I’ve known for years but who have only recently become closer and so much more important in my life. Know that I love you and that this Christmas, I am grateful for the greatest gift I have received all year—all of you.
You will never truly know the extent of what you have done for me this year and how, in so many cases, you have literally given me a new life.
* Gratitude also (or rather, overwhelming relief) that certain other people have left.
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