“To be accepted is not our job, it’s always about self-discovery and to know our limits. That is my sense of urgency.”
– Rubini (not necessarily a real name)
We always find meaning in life through other people’s stories. 2020. The year I bet everybody will not be able to forget. Death, fear, depression––all in one set. However, this is the time where we could see the importance of #togetherness in our lives. It is the time we become reliable for one another, knowing that we can’t stand alone in this world. Most importantly, we value our friends and family better. Unfortunately, to some, times like these bring out the truth that they take time to accept. As we are reminded daily to give attention, care, and love to one another, some people fail to show empathy. Without us realising, tough times also reveal true colours. Having said that, the time is now to make a change.
Indeed, only when we bleed that we know we are alive. Rubini (not necessarily a real name), is more than happy when asked for her story to be submitted to MulaZine. Honestly, I am lucky enough to be able to be someone she confided in when life hit her terribly. As many of us struggle to catch our breath throughout the pandemic, I’d never see her struggle any lesser than all of us. “We all make mistakes, but to allow them to trap us is not a good choice to make. It is now or never,” she responded when asked how she managed to take her first move to recover from the immense pain she had to go through.
Early this year, she discovered that she is a survivor. She never knew that her dreams were slowly diminishing (read: not anymore) when she found out that her best friend (read: used to be) slowly disclosed her true traits after knowing that she was HIV+. Surely, family and friends are the pillars of our strength. We need them to give us support and help whenever we feel low. As for Rubini, she expressed that it was her lesson in life. Her advice is simply to always be truthful to ourselves. She honestly knew that they were not meant to be together when she always felt uneasy throughout her friendship with the girl. “I should have trusted my gut,” she said contemplating her past.
Still grappling with depression and anxiety, Rubini reminds me to always respect people’s choices. Other than to be trusted, a friend should always know their boundaries. When she was first brought to a clinic to see a doctor, she was advised to keep her status confidential. It was her choice to whom she wanted to reveal her status since not everybody can be trusted. Sadly, what she feared most came about. She was forced to reveal her status to her ex-best friend’s boyfriend that she never believed in. Her excuse was that he deserved to know since they would be living in the same house. Not to mention, she even played victim when she said that she was scared that her boyfriend would force her to reveal Rubini’s health condition since it was obvious that Rubini had to always go to the hospital for check-up and appointments.
Nonetheless, I am proud of Rubini when she took her first step to get out of her toxic environment. She decided to go back to her hometown even though it was in the midst of a pandemic. She never stopped praising God for making it happen. Having to lose her job and friend, she always believed that something better will happen. Undoubtedly, she had to go through days when she had no strength to even get up from the bed. She knew it wasn’t HIV that made her become like that. It was depression and anxiety. Thankfully, she always had Befrienders (a non-profit organization) to call whenever she felt like she had to vent out. It is at times like this, we can witness that understanding and acceptance are crucial in life.
What I’ve learned from Rubini is that she never feels ashamed of what she had to go through. She knew that she was in a toxic friendship. She just didn’t have the gut to get out of it earlier since she always felt that she was responsible for her friend’s happiness, thus, she had to sacrifice many things to show that she was a true friend. Nevertheless, when she was at her lowest, she didn’t get the same support and respect for her choice. In fact, she was asked to “man up” since this was the road that she chose. Fortunately, blessing comes in many ways. Despite the struggle she has to endure, she knows that this is her chance to know herself better.
Self-reflection, though, a difficult process, is recommended when we want to get a clearer picture of what we were and what we want to become. Verily, nobody knows what the future holds. Regardless, that’s not an excuse for us to keep hurting ourselves. It is important to note that whatever triggers us, especially when dealing with the past, it is always okay to remind ourselves to take some time to cope with it. Therefore, being in the present might seem tough but it is the ultimate gift we possess. Certainly, only through hardship, we learn to appreciate victory.
Also, we must have always heard that “honesty is the best policy”. It is easier said than done, though. Anyhow, it is the most integral part of life. When we become honest with ourselves, we will know what to dismiss and what to prioritise. Life is a learning process. We can never be perfect. Hence, it is always good to check on our intentions of the dreams we aspire to achieve. The answer is within. In this case, we need to always put ourselves first. Never apologise for not being accepted. Know our worth and have courage. In the end, believe it or not, it always starts with us. To finish, Rubini says “To be accepted is not our job, it’s always about self-discovery and to know our limits. That is my sense of urgency.”
Believing that every and each of us holds power to our social growth, Zulkefli likes to share his views of support and encouragement through writing. He has a firm stance that by sharing our struggles, it makes us be more driven to improve our community. His passion to take part in mending our social issues by listening to struggling people so he could take up lessons from them has made him realised that only through unity we can prosper. He also aspires that he could make writing a career to show that it is a big contribution to benefit our passion to benefit others. (Featured Image photo is by the writer’s sister, Nur Zulaikha Zaidi)