Tag Archives: relationships

Single is not a Bad Word

“All the podcasts for singles out there are about dating, how to find love, how to meet people, etc. Why are there so little voices from and about people who are single and don’t feel the need to date?”

This was my gripe to a friend recently. I’m not sure where it is coming from, exactly. To be fair, it’s not that I haven’t come across content by people who are single and who extoll the benefits of singlehood. But, all of them seem to be based on the premise that they are single AT THE MOMENT. They are happy, yes. They are fulfilled, yes. They have meaningful friendships and relationships, yes. But their content seems to be generally based on the caveat that this is not a permanent thing. Their true destiny, eventually, is to be partnered.

And while that in itself is not wrong or something I judge, I cannot help but feel a stab of disappointment every time I come across a page or podcast about a single person, get excited that I have found my tribe, and then somewhere along the way I read or hear a line that goes: “When I eventually settle down with someone…” or “Being single prepares me for being in a relationship because…”

What I’m looking for, I think, is the reassurance that this is a legit way of life. Being single and happy on your own is NOT just a stepping stone to being partnered. Enjoying your own company is not sad. There is nothing wrong with you for not feeling the desire to be in an intimate relationship. There are other ways to get your emotional needs met outside of an intimate romantic relationship. I want to be reassured of these things. Yet, the messages I constantly get from society tell me that this is meant to be a passing phase, that I just haven’t met the right person, that I’m just afraid of intimacy, that there is a Yet To Come.

Who knows, perhaps one day I will look back on this post, turn to my partner and laugh about it.

But for now, I am an angsty single person who is tired of all the implied societal messages about what happiness should look like. I want to rebel by taking up my space as a self-partnered individual and not feel smaller or less entitled for it. I want to claim my identity as a single person and not worry that people might feel sorry for me. I want to say “I’m single” and not feel that I’ve just said a bad word.

The Self Remains

She misses the Self she used to be
The one in her tower
The one who hid behind walls
The one who trusted in blocks of independence and solitude.

She misses the nostalgic landscapes of her inner world
The expansive fields
The idyllic hills
The vast oceans of unparalleled depth.

No one in sight.

She misses being so sure of what the Self was so sure of.

Where is she now?

Learning new ways of being.
Uncovering new ways of seeing.
Discovering new ways of building.

She is grieving the loss that comes with change, even as they bring her learning and growth.

She realises she is still the same.
The Self remains.

From Life to Grief

Just before Monday afternoon’s session, I got a sudden call from R, the supervisor.

“I’ve got rather unfortunate news… Susan (not real name) passed away.”

To say I felt shocked is an understatement. The last time I saw Susan (one of the group), a strong-willed woman in her 60s in a motorized wheelchair, she was still in all her loud jewelry and clothes, singing her heart out, cursing and swearing to everyone’s amusement, and playing around with her iPad and cursing and swearing even more when she couldn’t get it to do what she wanted it to do. She apparently had a lung infection, not uncommon for people with spinal chord problems, and that eventually led to pneumonia, and her feelingly untimely death.

“Do you still feel up to having a session with Di?” The supervisor asked. “Yes… As long as she’s willing to come”, came my hesitant reply. In my mind I was wondering what could I do for Di, who was a close friend of Susan? I knew she would be distraught. They had known and lived together in the facility for at least half a decade, and had shared many aspects of their lives together. Losing Susan was going to be a great loss of emotional support and friendship for Di. R was very supportive in giving advice and pointers on how to approach the situation, encouraging me by saying that he trusts me enough to know that I’ll know the best way to go about it.

Finally, they arrived, we went into our room, and I sat down in front of Di. She spoke quietly, tears filling her eyes.

“It’s so hard,” she said. “I know I have to let her go, because if I keep wishing she’d come back, she can’t go in peace…”

We continued talking for a while. I knew there was nothing I could say that would take away the pain, and this quote came to mind, kindly shared by the Comrade a few days back:
I tried to do that, just being there inside the pain, with her, as close as possible. We then played an improvisation on the keyboard, a peaceful, lyrical attempt at depicting the journey of life and how we’re never sure when each journey will end, but how we’re fortunate to meet our friends and loved ones along the way, making our journey that much more meaningful and memorable.

As the last note faded away, she whispered, with a hint of tearfulness: “It’s a pity we have to stop.”

We sat in silence for a while more.

“The music… Is able to take me away for a while”, she continued. I added, after some contemplation: “Yes… It reminds us that there is something bigger than ourselves”, thinking of all the times when I turned to musical expression to fulfill what the world couldn’t do for me.

“Well… Time will heal all wounds, won’t it?” Di spoke with a sad smile.

“But sometimes we don’t want the wounds to heal completely, do we? We want something left… to remind us of the one we loved.”

“… Oh, yes, that’s true.” And she said that in a more uplifted tone than she had since the beginning of the session. She turned to half-smile at me. “Thank you for that.”

We ended the session shortly after, with her saying that she did feel lighter. But I know the process of grieving is a complex one, never a one-track route. There will be days when one feels that the pain has passed, that life can finally move on, and there are days when the realization of losing that loved one hits you mercilessly all over again, and one feels thrown back into the depths of never-ending sorrow.

I feel bad that I won’t be able to see her over the next few weeks (due to the upcoming hospital placement), at this time when she needs the support and therapy more than ever. I suggested that she try to put her emotions to words, and perhaps we could work on creating soundscapes in the second half of the year. She seemed agreeable, and I hope it will be something that could help her cope over the next few weeks.

Praying for strength for Di to get through this period, and for wisdom to do what is right and best for her.

To Judge Not

A few weeks ago, a relatively young MT with a few years of experience, C, came to give us a lecture on working with adult populations from her perspective.

In one of the case studies she shared with us, involving a young lady with complex emotional issues, C said that one of the personal hurdles she had to face was the fact that this young lady took a long time to trust C.

“People generally trust and feel comfortable around me easily, and it’s important to me that they feel that way. It was very confronting for me to realise that here was a person who didn’t trust me, and it took me awhile more to realise that it stemmed from the problems within her as well, not just solely with me.”

I found that to be a rather startling revelation, as I’ve always thought C to be one of the most confident people I know. And when you are confident, you generally don’t care too much about whether people trust or like you or not, right?

Well, wrong. Upon some reflection and thinking, I realise that the link between displayed confidence and a person’s inner desire to be liked and trusted need not be related at all. It was just a presumption on my part, fed by years of social conditioning – “Be confident, and don’t care about what others think of you. And you will be a successful person.” How wrong could the world be.

In this field (as in other industries), it is of course important (to a reasonable extent) what people think of you. How else can the therapeutic relationship be established and beneficial? But I think the being liked and trusted should not be the goal – They should be the by-products of a sincere, genuine and authentic relationship. And that is what C eventually managed to achieve through her musical interventions.

I truly appreciated her honesty in sharing with us her vulnerabilities. While some may feel that it might diminish their professionalism in getting emotional, what it did was in fact make us respect the fact that she was aware of her own emotions and took steps to overcome them.

Overall, a reminder for me to not judge people based on what they choose to show to the world, and to be sincere and authentic in all relationships to achieve those important by-products.

Date Of The Someones

I’m not usually a romanticist.

I am, however, a sucker for words. Beautifully crafted and written words never fail to win me over. So, this article, about a guy who would walk someone home, and this article, about a girl who writes – set me off fantasizing about what might happen if the girl who writes met the guy who would walk her home.


They would sit in cafes together, comfortable in mutual silences, breaking it only to share random thoughts, spur of the moment thoughts, profound thoughts, confident that the other would understand and accept without judgement. And once the moment of sharing has passed, she would be happy to retreat back into the nurturing cave of silence, and he would be happy to bask in the same space of quietness. She might start a new page in her notebook, spinning an entry about what they had just shared, maybe turning it into a short story, a blog entry, a poem. He might take another sip of his coffee, and stare out of the window, maybe indulge in a book of his own, maybe even write down a few thoughts of his own.

And when her latte has run out, or has turned cold, but she still has so many thoughts left floating about in her mind, he would be able to sense them, and take pleasure in ordering another cup of latte for her. To refill her inspiration, to spur her creativity. And she might write about how happy and fortunate she feels to have someone who would order another cup of latte for her.

When the day is almost at an end, and the stars have reappeared against the dark sky, he would be happy to take her hand, to walk her home, under the orange street lights and cool night air. And they would part blissfully, knowing that the gift of the day had not been wasted, for they had shared thoughts, quips, ideas, fantasies and dreams. They had felt their souls expand, grow more entwined than ever, become more inspired to experience, become more grateful for life.


But of course, if the girl who writes is not meant to meet the guy who will refill her latte and send her home, she is equally blissful to get her own latte and indulge in solitary journeys of mind, spirit and soul…