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JustKhairie

My blog on self-development and emotional health

Ghosts.

I have never believed in ghosts.

Sure, a horror movie stresses me out just as much as the next guy. But if you tell me about a place that’s actually haunted, I’ll probably just laugh.

Ghosts don’t exist. Period.

At least that’s what I thought until I met my ex.

I’ve talked about my break up way more than I should have, so I’m not going to repeat it here. If you don’t know about it, feel free to browse through the early chapters of my blog.

I do want to tell you about a particular instance though. It happened during the dark days of the break-up. I remembered it like it was yesterday.

It was the moment I started believing in ghosts.

One afternoon, I was on my bed, crying over her. We had just broken up a few days before. I was broken – mentally, physically, emotionally – everything had been exhausted.

I was on the verge of collapsing when suddenly, I heard her.

“Yang,”

That was the nickname she used to call me by. I had heard her voice, clear as day. I jumped up, searching for a woman I knew couldn’t be there.

A ghost.

That was four years ago. Just last weekend, she got married.

My rational side knew it was coming. We had been moving on with our lives, drifting as far apart as two people can. We hadn’t spoken in years, but I’d get the occasional updates about her from Instagram – she was hospitalised, she’s engaged, she’s married.

These updates stung, but I thought of them as happening to someone else. These were the stories of a boy and a girl who died a long time ago.

Ghosts.

I dismissed them as minor inconveniences. When people asked, “how do you feel?” I’d say I was completely fine. And I believed I was. It was irrational to be upset about it, and I don’t do irrational.

Still, ever since finding out, I’ve had dreams about my ex. Fantastic scenarios where we were still together, or we’d just broken up, or we had been broken up but were friends. I’d wake up feeling confused and disoriented. “Which timeline am I in now?”

Then reality would slowly sink in.

Is this where ghosts come from? People think of them as spirits of the dead who have a grudge against the living. But what if ghosts are spirits of the living who have grudges against the dead?

‘Death’ is metaphorical. People die all the time, even when they’re still breathing. An old friend who just doesn’t gel with you anymore is dead. That school bully now married with kids is dead. A previous lover who’s indifferent to you is dead.

Things die all the time. It’s their ghosts which continue to haunt us.

When you think about it that way, it’s funny. It’s the living who create ghosts, and we live in fear of a being we created. They have only as much power as we give them. To exorcise them, we need to do one thing – let go.

To my ex – Jas – I wish you all the best. You look happy, and you deserve all the happiness the two of you can possibly get. You’ll no longer be a ghost, but a memory, and one I hope to remember fondly.

After all, there is no place for the dead among the living.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO MY FUTURE EMPLOYER

Dear Future Employer,

If you’re reading this sometime at the end of August 2017, you’ve likely arrived here from my C.V or cover letter. Let me just preface this with a huge ‘thank you’ for visiting my site. Seriously, you rock.

But let’s start with introductions – hi, my name’s Khairie, and I love writing.

I write articles. I write fiction. I write funny Facebook posts hoping to someday make something viral (one of them actually did). When I feel strongly about something, I think about how I’m going to write it in my blog, so even when I’m not writing, I’m… kind of writing. In my head.

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DON’T WAIT.

I’ve been consoling this friend of mine who recently went through a “break up”. I added the inverted commas, because by definition, you’d have to be in a relationship before you can break up with someone, and this couple never made it there – they’d been doing couple-y things for a year, but neither has ever broached the subject of what exactly they are (were).

So, of course she was upset. For context, this was supposed to be her first real relationship, and I’m sure she had high hopes for it when it first started – but as months passed, we were noticing that he just wasn’t doing the things that boyfriends typically do, like showing up for birthday surprise parties, doing something special on valentine’s day, and other things you’d typically see a boyfriend doing in a blossoming relationship.

So we asked her what’s up.

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Religion 2.0

“Sure, I’m an atheist, but I don’t think we’re different at all,” she said. “In fact, I think religion and atheism are rooted from the same feeling.”

What? I ask, incredulously. No they’re not. They’re completely different things. Like, I believe in a higher power, in a grand design, but you… don’t. We’re earth and sky.

She laughs. “Okay look, I’ll prove it to you. Think about all religion. Every religion that you’ve ever known. Are you thinking about them right now?”

Uh-huh.

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Chapter 1

10th August, 21:00 (I think).

My best guess would be that I was abducted on the evening of 9th August 2016, sometime around 9pm. I have no way of being sure.

I was in the changing room of my regular gym, having just finished my workout. As I took off my shoes, a sudden, sharp sting pierced my lower back. I cursed out in pain, thinking some insect had stung me. Turning round to inspect it, I saw a suited masked man instead, holding what looked like a gun in his hands.

It was the last thing I saw before passing out.

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ADDICTION

It creeps up on you unexpectedly.

You’re at home, in front of your computer, on some idle Friday night in. You browse Facebook, scroll Instagram, read about Pokemon go. Tired, you sit back and take a breather. A moment of retrospection creeps in.

Hey, it’s been a while since I had my fix.

That’s great, you think. XX days, not bad at all.

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THERE ARE NO BAD REASONS FOR A BREAK UP.

A good friend of mine just broke up recently, and when she announced it, I naturally asked “What happened?”

I could almost see her mind racing through the answers. “Well, it was the distance, and he’s been really stressed out at work, and he says he can’t really be there for me as a boyfriend should, and…”

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STOP DOING THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HATE YOURSELF

One of the things that went viral a couple of weeks ago was this clip of Lebanese TV host Rima Karaki cutting off this Islamist guest who was rude to her on her show. If you didn’t watch the clip, he basically rambles on in his answer during a live interview, going into needless historical accounts and rhetoric. He starts losing his shit when Karaki tells him they have limited time and that he needs to stick to the present, at which point he tells her to shut up. He comments that he’ll do whatever he wants, and says “this interview is beneath me,” at which point Karaki says to him,

“Just one second. Either there is mutual respect, or the conversation is over.”

…before promptly cutting him off.

Karaki is interviewed after the show where she explained why she rebuked him (as if that really needed an explanation) and she said this –

“Had I not answered, I would have hated myself, and I don’t want to hate myself.”

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ZOMBI (CHAPTER 1)

Pak Din hobbled through the empty street in the darkness, his path lit only by the pale glow of the half-moon. In his arms was a little girl, barely ten, dressed in a pink baju kurung, its left sleeve torn away. Her head and limbs hung limp over his shoulder, a bleeding wound agape on her left arm.

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THE FOUR QUALITIES EVERY WELL-ADJUSTED ADULT SHOULD HAVE

Last weekend I’ve had some time to myself from a self-imposed, ‘don’t-go-out-and-spend-unnecessarily-you-dumbass’ house arrest, and I spent it reflecting on how 29-year-old me compared to 22-year-old me. There were plenty of things I felt was different, but these four were probably the biggest lessons I’ve learned as an adult.

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