My Paper Hearts
And one day, I shall pain-stakingly transfer everything on here to folded paper hearts and pass them on to you. Who you are, I do not know yet; what role you will have in my life, I am unaware of. But what is in my knowledge is that these were once the thoughts of a young and vulnerable girl struggling to grow up in an equally fragile world, and hopefully, one day, you will see how much I have grown.

From human heart to paper heart, this is the story of my journey, my struggle, and my happiness.
97. Sacrifice

       Today, my mother imparted a valuable sliver of wisdom within me, and though I did not realize it at the time, I see now that it was a moment that would stay with me forever.

       ”Ivy,” she said to me from across the room, and though her voice carried only a slight tinge of alarm, the quality of her manner seized me by the elbows and paralyzed my whole body. “You need to realize that sacrifice is inevitable, and there is no reason to be disappointed over it. There’s nothing you can do but to accept it, because you will need to give up countless things throughout your life.”

        The wisdom of her words seeped inside me, and I saw the forty-six years of pain she had endured for the sake of our family’s happiness, for the sake of me. Somehow, some way, I knew right then and there everything she had gone through for us: every drop of blood spilled, every night of endless worry over our well-beings, every moment of agony from my naiive, harsh words. Things I could not fathom before, I suddenly knew.

        I understand now, Mama. I really do.

97. Sacrifice

       Today, my mother imparted a valuable sliver of wisdom within me, and though I did not realize it at the time, I see now that it was a moment that would stay with me forever.

       ”Ivy,” she said to me from across the room, and though her voice carried only a slight tinge of alarm, the quality of her manner seized me by the elbows and paralyzed my whole body. “You need to realize that sacrifice is inevitable, and there is no reason to be disappointed over it. There’s nothing you can do but to accept it, because you will need to give up countless things throughout your life.”

        The wisdom of her words seeped inside me, and I saw the forty-six years of pain she had endured for the sake of our family’s happiness, for the sake of me. Somehow, some way, I knew right then and there everything she had gone through for us: every drop of blood spilled, every night of endless worry over our well-beings, every moment of agony from my naiive, harsh words. Things I could not fathom before, I suddenly knew.

        I understand now, Mama. I really do.

110. Dandelions: For Jordan.

       Note: No, I am not a crazy obsessed botanist. These following events were true, but they serve as the basis for an explanation—a metaphor, if you will—of a, well, insanely consistent rollercoaster of a romantic friendship between two people. It’s terribly long and I don’t expect anyone to read it; it was written for one person only. But if you do, thank you, because it’s horribly dull.

       In the beginning of autumn, I passed by the same cluster of dandelions every afternoon as I tread the beaten path from school. Day after day, I bent over and meticulously ripped the fluffiest dandelion of the bunch from its tangled roots, admiring the perfect, untouched spherical shape. I slowly puffed up my cheeks, squinted my eyes closed, whispered a myriad of reckless wishes, and exhale a rapid stream of air. I’d gaze up in wonder at the florets floating through the air, minuscule beams of sunlight creeping through the microscopic threads of hair on each fragile branch. I briefly asked myself whether it was possible that each fragile dandelion—whose stem could be easily ruptured by an unknowingly rough touch, whose florets could be crumpled by the cruel wind—held a dream within. Could it really be true that with every silver ball of fluff lay a child’s innermost wish, nestled between the emerald teeth? Hope blossomed inside me, and I clung to my faith in a wish come true in the future.

       One day, a few weeks into my consistent habit of dandelion murdering, I realized all the scattered bushes had vanished overnight. All that was left was a depressing, desolated plot of dirt and rock, scattered with patches of dying grass. Nevertheless, I hunted among the dry earth until I found one remaining shrub. I hovered fingers over the uninviting, prickly bush and yanked the last perfectly-grown dandelion from the ground. No sooner had it left contact with its roots than a hundred thorns pierced through my fingers. I withdrew my hand with a yelp and stared in horror at the beads of scarlet running down my palms. But it was too late; I was much too determined to gain what I desired, no matter what the cost. Desperation crawled up my spine as I spotted something: the last, ever so precious dandelion. It was truly a grotesquely pathetic sight: it was missing half of its florets, the remaining ones were deeply bruised, and the head was dangling off of a stem that was leaking sticky fluid. But I wanted it, I wanted it so much. With a wave of animalistic anger, I violently twisted it out the ground. But as soon as I finally had it gripped in my tight fist, a sudden gust of wind overcame me and swept it out of my palms. It was then that I gave up all hope of seeking another opportunity for a wish, for they were all wasted efforts.

        It was only a few weeks after this incident when I passed by the same area again. To my surprise, it did not even remotely resemble the previous landscape. Lush green grass now covered the area, dotted with wildflowers, and, of course, new clusters of dandelions. I happily went over and picked handfuls of them, wishing happily on the destruction of every one. But by now, I had learned to be skeptical of what lay before my eyes. From that day on, I only allowed myself to cautiously venture over every once in a while, for I was afraid of what I would see. What would I confront: another battlefield of rotting corpses, or a sun-drenched meadow? The dandelions and I held a terribly inconsistent relationship: one day, I would gently pluck them from their stems with a heart brimming full of optimistic wishes, the other, I would mercilessly tread over them.

        But it was not until today that I saw a truly horrific sight. I passed by the area once again, only to see that everything was dead. It was a tragedy to witness: the rock-hard dirt was dried up in uneven patches, the grass was reduced to a few sprigs here and there, and the dandelion bushes were no more than decaying grey bundles of thorn.

       It was then that I finally realized no matter how much I wished for things to be otherwise, I could not escape reality. I had weighed all my hopes on something that could truly never exist, for how could a few dandelion florets ever embody what I so dearly desired? It was time for me to let go of nonexistent beliefs and frivolous thoughts, for clinging onto them only hurt me even more. The two of us will have to forge two separate futures for ourselves from now on, but I know we will be alright, wherever we end up.

93. Wolf Eyes

       Today, I conversed with a beautiful stranger among chandeliers and piles of scarves and mittens, in the city of golden bridges and salted piers. 

        I was nonchalantly overturning mounds of cotton and wool when a voice rung out from a distance to the right. I looked up, startled, to see a pair of gorgeous ice-grey eyes boring into mine, shaped as delicately as those of a wolf’s. For a frenzied second, I wondered if he were raised by a pack of wild beasts in the depths of the snowy arctics. But no, though his eyes were cutting and intense, the curve of his full lips revealed an underlying kindness. I quivered for a moment, wondering why it was such a beautiful creature was so much as uttering a single word to me. My lips seemed to be in discontinuation with my scrambling mind, and breezily continued the conversation with such nonchalance that for a moment, I had even fooled myself into pretending I was someone other than an awkward five-foot girl from the suburbs. It’s probably just a ploy of his to persuade customers to buy mounds of merchandise so that he can earn loads off of commission, I thought bemusedly to myself.

        We spoke of cameras and photographs, of fashion and art. I carefully analyzed his expressions throughout our conversation, noting every genuine smile and meticulously scrutinized the light brown stubble over his perfect chin. I studied the luscious wavy blonde hair framing the elegant contours of his delicate cheekbones and jawline. He was much taller than me, and exuded an air of amaranthine grace, his fitted clothes radiating sophistication. I awkwardly picked up and folded the same scarf numerous times just to remain there, as he distractedly folded sweaters onto the shelves. Pushing aside my doubts as to what ulterior motive he would have to speak me, I asked of his name; he smiled warmly and said in his beautiful drawl, I’m Jonathan. It’s nice to meet you. He extended his hand, and for a moment, I hesitated, thrown by his gentlemanly composure of which I could never imagine of measuring up to. Then I grasped his palm in mine and beamed, stating confidently, I’m Ivy. He returned my wide grin and murmured, Ivy. I love that name.

       We exchanged more small talk, even speaking of our own hometowns, until he was whisked away by an fellow employee of his. I nervously waited for him in the small alcove, but after his disappearance was prolonged for a while, I returned to my friends and nervously babbled about nonsense to distract myself from what had just happened. I caught glimpses of him around the store for the next hour, but never drew up the courage to strike any further conversation. After our group had made our purchases (and much whining, pouting, self pep-talks, and implores for confidence and encouragement from a friend), I finally drew up all the courage from within my five-foot stature and walked up to where he was organizing clothing onto metal racks. ‘Goodbye, Jonathan! It was nice to meet you,’ I chirped cheerfully. He straightened and, again, returned my smile, 'It was nice to meet you too. Happy New Year.' 

       I walked away with a brightened spirit and a my lips set into a permanent smile. True, this occurance was nothing near a phenomenon, and I hadn’t assumed anything from our solely friendly interactions; but it was just such a strange occurrence for an average girl like me to hold such a decent and comfortable conversation with a complete stranger. I had even contemplated contriving a plausible excuse to garner any form of contact information from him; but I decided that sometimes, it is the most intriguing and extraordinary creatures whom we meet, that we choose to walk away from, simply because a beautiful stranger is meant to remain just that and nothing more.

77. Eyes

       Today, I witnessed the world through another pair of eyes.

       It is quite chilling to read another’s words and thoughts and realize how perfectly congruous they are to your own. But I suppose it shouldn’t be too much of a shock to discover one parallel soul among a world of billions, is it? Still, it is a bit earth-shattering—and terribly humbling—to see someone who speaks in the same matter as you do, someone who utters the same grief-filled sentences and identical heartfelt words. Nostalgia tugs at your heart as you live through the life of this stranger whom you do not know, but feel as if you have already become a part of. This is a feeling much deeper than empathy, something that exists on thousands of dimensions. It is as if you have peered through their eyes and are walking in their footsteps, predicting their every next move with such ease simply because you have already done it all before.

        And in a way, it’s so, so comforting. Like a warm blanket on a freezing Winter’s night, the thought of another soul out there who suffers and struggles in the same way you have done your whole life envelopes you with solace. You are not alone, nor have you ever been. There is no disease like one of loneliness, and to realize you have completely assuaged that illness is an enormous burden lifted from your shoulders. There is no need to feel as if you are the only one walking along this isolated path anymore because chances are, there are thousands out there who, just like this stranger, have spun identical webs as you have throughout these seemingly empty years. 

70. Two Years

       Today marked the two-year anniversary of the separation between my soul sister and myself.

       Our friendship did not merely consist of late-night slumber parties frequently interspersed with insane giggles, of silly immature inside jokes that would rival those of kindergartners, of sharing our deepest and darkest secrets with one another, and endless hours upon hours spent in the presence of each other. Rather, it was all that, and infinitely more. We burdened heart-bearing, soul-sharing memories, feelings, and life stories into our enduring relationship (Because friendship is much too fragile of a word, so weak compared to what we possessed), interlaced our leaking souls together, filled in the areas that were colorless and empty, and made each other feel whole again. To say that we were best friends is a true understatement, but to throw out the word sister would be entirely incorrect. So, I think that for now, I shall settle with the word soul sister—two individual souls who trusted and loved another enough, that they were able to merge into one.

       Then one silly, trivial thing came along and destroyed it all; or rather, it was the fuse which set off the ever-accumulating mountain of issues from the past into an explosion of flames, an ever-growing mass of heart-wrenching problems that were drenched in kerosene and gasoline, threatening to erase the very existence of our love for one another. And I was stupid and naive and selfish enough to let it threaten our sistership, our bond. I betrayed her trust in the end, and it is only I who should be blamed for the disappearance of a one-of-a-kind, truly beautiful relationship.

       I’m sorry, love. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to see you finally become a cheerleader, something you’ve always wished for. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for your Sweet Sixteen, something we had both looked forward to so intently. I’m sorry I won’t be there anymore to giggle into the night about wombats and chinchilla, to point to our weenuses and teenuses and laugh like hyenas, to sing and dance our silly made up little dance to Here in your Arms, to mindlessly talk about Andy and Daniel and Abram. I’m sorry I won’t be there to witness your first kiss or see you finally with your first boyfriend, and I’m sorry I won’t be able to part from you to embark on the bittersweet journey to college. I’m sorry I will never see you grow to be a strong and confident woman, abolishing your insecurities that should not exist in the first place, seeing how insanely gorgeous and beautiful you are. I’m sorry we will never regain these lost times back, and I’m sorry the future will not be any different for us two.

       But most of all, I’m sorry for betraying you. I’m sorry for being the one person you have trusted throughout your dangerous and abusive life, the single person you’ve cautiously let into your heart in the hopes that she won’t be a shadow of former friends and heartless relative. I’m so sorry that I did the one thing I promised no one else would, that I promise I wouldn’t. I’m so sorry my act of anger was so horrid and despicable that you could not muster the courage to forgive me months later, when I finally gathered up all of the shreds of bravery and expelled all ego from my system, and sent you a heartfelt apology months later. I’m sorry we pass by each other now, two strangers who were once so inexplicably and permanently bound together. I’m sorry that I tore and mangled and broke your poor heart, and I’m sorry that mine became shattered as well.

       But through it all, I love you, I love you, I love you. No one has come close to to the position you have held in my life, nor will they ever. I will never forget you nor the now slowly fading memories I cherish to my heart. It’s been two years, I love you, and I don’t think I will ever stop.

61. I Adore You

       Today, in the sleepy AMs of the night while I painted silver onto my fingernails with a Snow Patrol song blaring in the background, I rediscovered my true feelings for you, feelings I had persistently pushed down in the futile effort to cast you and our memories from my conscious mind. It is simple: I adore you.

       I adore your eyes and the way your smile touches them, making them curve and crinkle in the most endearing way. I adore your genuine grins and how I’m able to hear them through your voice and your laughter, and that I am always able to detect a smile within the sentences you utter during our long and blissful conversations. I adore your husky voice, and even though you claim to abhor it, I know that if I ever see you one day, I will be able to tell it from a crowd of voices within seconds; but above all else, I love it most when you use it to tell me what you are really thinking at the moment, allowing me to take a small glimpse inside the man of few words. I adore how—and forgive me for the upcoming barrage of clichés—my knees become a little weak and my heart melts a little when I hear your deep laughter, when I know I have brought even an ounce of happiness and humour into your life. I adore the few photographs I have seen of you, the same very pictures that stirs a hunger inside of me, causing me to yearn to finally witness the gorgeous subject of them face-to-face in the future. 

       I adore your kindness and your compassion, and how you never cease to lend a helping hand to those who deserve it the least. I adore your modesty when it comes to your physical and inner beauty, though there are obviously so many out there who blatantly disagree. I adore how you are one of the few males I know who have never let shallow compliments inflate his ego, and how you put so much stock into personality, rather than into the superficial aspects of those around you. I adore your intelligence and your motivation to better the world in your lifetime, and I can truly say you have driven me to create higher standards for myself. I adore how you’re one of a kind, and I don’t think I will ever find anyone else like you.

       I adore the way my heart is set into mini palpations every time we converse, for nothing has changed from the beginning of our rocky relationship with one another. I adore how butterflies explode at the pit of my stomach, causing me to become a little schoolgirl immersed in deep infatuation again, so innocent and naive despite unpromising circumstances. I adore how no matter where the course of our relationship bends and twists, something between us continues to give me a flicker of hope, no matter how dreadful and dead-end the situation seems to be at the time.  I adore your sweet words to me during those fragile, precious moments where everything is perfect; I drink it up gratefully and feel as if those genuine words from you mask over all wounds from the past. I adore how no matter what has happened, we cannot erase each other completely, and we always return to one another.

       But most of all, I adore how far we have come: from strangers, to cautious acquaintances who were afraid to reveal too many feelings to quickly, to friends who acted like a constantly bickering old couple, to two estranged people who still held immense feelings for one another but knew a separation would only benefit us, to two people who have finally discovered some kind of middle ground, albeit an unsteady and shaky one. Perhaps the calm after the storm is finally here only because we have not spoken in so long, or maybe it is because we have set our differences aside and found a way to communicate with one another.

       I adore you, I adore everything about you, and as of this very moment, I would not have it any other way.

60. Autumn-Winter

       Today, I discovered there are myraid unnoticed things you and I will never see during this fragile time between winter and autumn, sights and sounds that completely escape us admist our busy lives.

       Do you notice the delicate crimson and golden leaves dangling off of bare tree branches, signalling the fine line between the end of a rubies-and-citrine-induced autumn and the pearly whiteness of winter? Do you see raindrops cascading down frosted windowpanes after a heavy downpour of sparkling rain from the overcast sky, at a speed so great it seems as if they were racing with one another? Do you stop in your rushed footsteps to inhale the sweet scents of dampened earth after a heavy shower and the thicket of firs nearby? Do you heed the dancing flecks of translucent snow that swirl down from the infinite sky above, fluttering over your chilled fingertips and settling in between your eyelashes? Do take a respite from your repetitious monotone routines and immerse yourself in the steady crunching of frozen maple leaves and ice on the ground, a different form of iteration that for once, you do not feel is dull and meaningless?

       These are the little things we often glaze over while focusing on the insignificant and mundane details of life. Perhaps it is time we take a moment to soak ourselves into the repose that Nature has provided us, and completely submerge ourselves into Her calm beauty, a much-desired alleviation from the daily stressful afflictions that overcome us. I can only hope that one day, you and I will consciously drown ourselves in all the sensational phenomenons that are often glimpsed over by passersby, exchanging wry smiles of understanding that no one else will be able to comprehend.

42.

       Today, I collapsed underneath my skin and longed for things I did not even know had existed.

19. Erased

       Today, I wanted to erase myself from everything that has ever held a record of my existence.

       A fire erupted inside of me; it set my eyes ablaze and my teeth gnashing with fury. My fists curled up and itched to hurl my pictures depicting my vulgar self inside very same fiery flames that devoured the demon inside of me; I longed to tear out the pencil-engraved pages of my journals dating from the time I could grasp a writing utensil in my hand, destroying cherished moments and memorable events in the process. My fingers clawed swiftly over my keyboard, erasing every ounce of personal history I had ever spewed across endless virtual pages. Gone, gone, gone. I wanted to not exist through these mediums that I felt my mouth foaming at whenever I came across them. An insanity I could not describe ate the insides of myself; vestiges of it still lingers across the air.

       But it is of no use. None of it is. No matter what I tell myself or how violently I act out, I will never be able to forget who I was, and what I have become. No matter how I try to blind myself when I look at faded pictures or read my naive scribblings, I will never be able to extract that part of myself I so ferociously loathe from my own being. Nothing will ever be able to change the Ivy from the past; all I can do is to is put my best efforts forward and try to fix the current one.

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