I was looking
for the key
for years
but the door
was always
—Aravind Adiga

[ Click to play recording ]

I heard myself whispering some words with a voice that was not mine. This place. This space. It’s empty yet filled. This floating path inside my head reveals the things that I encounter each day. Windows. Doors. Still, they are not quite the same this time around.

I am just but a passive wanderer looking into a window. Ah. It offers me a glimpse of what takes place in that moment. I am merely just an outsider; a spectator being offered a view from a certain angle. I have seen enough.

But the door.

Oh, the door. One step, two steps. And passing through its doorway, it invites me in of what lies beyond. You might call it an entity that guides the arrival and departure of a being. Should such potential not lie in its grasp, the door might as well be windows, or even walls. Breathe.




I am still here. So is my heart—a door shut so tight. So is yours.

Our doors remain closed. It tells me of my rejection or of your seclusion. What if we open our doors? Will it welcome us into each other’s lives? Or will it engulf and imprison each of us? I have seen them frame farewells, joyful reunions, tearful reconciliations… But I can’t remember why mine is closed. Give me a moment. Let me recollect my memories here.

All right, I remember now.

I slammed my door on you. Like periods at the end of scenes of anger and frustration. Again. My door. It seems to be telling me something here. Almost as if it’s beckoning me to a haven now that the world around me has regressed in a state of too much demanding and wearying. Now I am feeling cold. It’s freezing in this nothingness. How I wish that your door would enclose me in love and warmth. How I yearn for your door to guard me solidly from perils and harsh weathers and the unknown. If I, if only I could open my door…

Will it admit surprises? Delights? Of fresh air, new beginnings for us, my dearest long-lost lover? Damn. Damn it all… I have lost my key somewhere. Counting my blessings, I have not lost my memories. I will find a way to open your door. For I have not given up. Once, I saw a door opened before me. Seductive and promising. That’s when I discovered you, I found you. I am also remembering that my doorways were never used to exclude or divide feelings; they had always been arranged in a way to bring focus on some vista of grace or beauty beyond… a glimpse of a rose garden, an enticing succession of rooms, or the upward spiral of a staircase; they reveal prospects to me—they led me to you.

Now I am no longer in my head. I am right here. I am right in front of your house, your doorstep. I must surely feel still the irresistible pull of what lays behind your door. Scattered thoughts of our youthfulness, your smile in the rain, the grace of your fingers touching the roses… I no longer want to be afraid of opening your door and mine, those small hidden doors in the deepest sanctuary of our souls. These doors inside us, if we fear too much of passing through them, we will be prisoners no matter which side of them we stand.

So please, will you open your door for me?

My voice trails off as I see your door open before I could knock on it.

This marks our moment of truth, a new point of our contact. And from here now on, we will go from one passage of our lives to another, retreating, arriving, departing, returning. I can confidently say this now, from the bottom of my heart, this has been an extraordinary, unforgettable moment for me. I believe what follows are not so much of the heartbreaks and hurt we have been through, of our frustration and anger—but of what our regained vulnerability set free, in our hopeful and pulsing heart, with every tear that washed down every happy face.

We are home—and together once again.

Free at last.

I have seen too much feelings poured out on my timeline. Seeing friends closing off their hearts. Sometimes I can't help but think that being vulnerable goes hand in hand with trust and acceptance, akin to being open to life and everything that comes with it. To feel no guilt and regrets in spilling our souls... I haven't reached that stage yet, but I don't wish to close off that possibility for me. Perhaps it is the perception that being vulnerable makes us more receptive to pain in misery. This isn't completely wrong... but learning to be vulnerable for me now, I think it makes me way more open to happiness. Today everybody takes calculated steps. People have stopped trusting others. Intentions have become questionable. Afraid of being hurt, everyone masks their vulnerabilities... I, for once, would like to live without any mask or filter. It's the best way to feel alive.

Forgiving myself.

Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

Ask a person what their interests are or how they like their crush and they can tell you in great detail. But ask them about self-forgiveness, it’s not only something that would throw them off, it becomes personal. In some cases, you’ll probably get a blank stare or a change of topic.

The path to forgiveness is a long one; so long it drives you to give up too often. It’s even harder to fathom that some of us deserve forgiveness. We are always a suicidal person telling another suicidal person to let go of the past and forgive ourselves, and yet—

And yet, we are still killing ourselves every other day.

Much younger, I was sexually coerced, and other things happened. Then gaslighted, then made to tolerate the verbal abuse. Being when everything he did for me was love when it was just narcissism. Nothing was the same for me again. I spent the next few years feeling guilt. Feeling sick looking at my reflection and thinking about how I might have made different decisions. Decisions that could have prevented what happened. For the first time, I felt as if the word “no” had lost its meaning.

And I tried.

I really tried.

For years, I tried to do all the “right” things to help myself through the trauma.

So where did this leave me? It’s insane. I’ve always kept going, kept pushing, but the only reason why I had been able to go far wasn’t for the right reason. That’s what damage does: Verbal abuse changes you beyond recognition. You don’t even recognize yourself. Once you awake to this abuse, you can no longer go back to sleep. You are forced to evolve and transform. Get stronger. I had a lot of anger and compulsive desire to fix what I had lost. Revenge was the only thing that motivated me to do better. For years, that person became the focus of my pain. But that was all there was to it. I was holding onto resentment; setting myself on fire and hoping the other person chokes on my fume. Dousing more gasoline each time.

Eventually, I chose to let it go.

I was hurting a lot. Hurting because it was tiring to have anger residing in the heart. It ate away a huge part of me. Forgiveness isn’t something one forces or pretends to show. Forgiveness happens only when one opens their heart to it. The smallest steps to recovery takes place when we believe it is possible for us to heal. Even now, I am still learning what it’s like to forgive myself.

I forgave him.

Then chose to reflect on the other things I’ve done in my life, to see what else needed forgiveness. When I did, I wasn’t sure because I didn’t know where to start. There were too many things bottled up. Too many unresolved feelings. Too many questions unanswered. And just too much disappointment. But I wanted to change that. I didn’t want to believe the made-up stories my inner critic might tell me. So I did it, I chose to be quiet. In the silence, I thought out loud in my head that I deserve forgiveness, that I was worth something. It felt uncomfortable. Of course it did. Because anything worth fighting for has the tendency to be uncomfortable. And I am absolutely worth fighting for.

And so are you.

You are absolutely worth fighting for.

Some of us are in a dark place, some of us are still healing—some of us aren’t necessarily surrounded by love. Self-forgiveness is something else. But also, forgiving ourselves isn’t something magical. Not one where you suddenly find all your problems vanishing. No, but it gives you a chance to fix those problems. And what’s beautiful about it, you start caring about yourself— even if it’s just a little day by day.

And I know it’s easier said than done. It’s also not impossible. We all have some point in our lives where we messed up (big time), it might have affected us and even the people around us… that only means we are human. We don’t live in the past anymore. Why do we still beat ourselves up over it and let it dictate our own self-worth? There is no time machine here. We can’t go back and make things different. But, we can forgive ourselves. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. If it’s too hard to forgive yourself at this point, try making peace with the situation. It happened. You are human. You deserve forgiveness. You deserve peace. You deserve to be liberated from the fetters that hold you back. You are worth so much more.