This last Wednesday was a meaningful one for me. I often feel that I don’t make enough effort to be a good friend to my friends, and that I tend to take family for granted. I know that after I was diagnosed with ED in 2008, many people who I regarded as friends drifted away from me. I don’t blame them. They didn’t know how to handle my illness, or to deal with a friend who had a disorder that they couldn’t begin to fathom. As a result, I hold on dearly to the friends who have stuck around and treat me the same way they always have, who treat me as Natalie, even though I probably don’t see them as often as I should.
Late morning on Wednesday, I met up with Sher and Eunice for coffee at this new cafe, Monument Lifestyle. We initially intended on brunch but I didn’t think I could last until 11am without a bite and lunch was a no-go because Sher had to take their dog to the vet. So it ended up being just coffee and chit-chat.
I had a Piccolo Latte and they gave out free samples of their Sourdough Bread topped with Salted Caramel and Sliced Green Apples. Yes, I did take a piece to try. And yes, I finished it, as well as the mini Oreo cookie they served with the coffee. Nat 1 : ED 0.
Sher and I have now known each other just over half our lives! We used to sit next to each other in class, skip the Geography classes we loathed (funny how she now teaches Geography!) in favour of the toilets where we would munch on childhood tidbits or bags of fried wantons thinking we were so cool, or just while away our lesson time SMS-ing on our old Nokia phones hidden beneath our desk back when we typed using the dialpad and didn’t have to even look at it to know what we were texting. I’d like to think we’ve grown up a bunch since then!
We didn’t really keep in close contact during University days but in the last couple of years, we’ve started making time to catch up with each other. We can go for months without hearing from each other and when we finally meet, it’s as though Time never passed – which was exactly how it was when we met up for coffee. I think sometimes, it’s the simple act of making time for each other, no matter how short or long, that shows just how much you mean to the other person.
Eunice and Sher have both been wonderful to me in that when I was going through some bad patches, they would drop me a text to ask if everything’s ok. I appreciate that and I have been trying to do the same with them too because I can see how a small act of caring can mean so much!
With regards to family, I think I tended to take a lot of my frustrations out on them especially when I lived at home. Whenever Grandma and Grandpa visited from London, I didn’t really spend a lot of quality time with them simply because they were around home and I felt that our close proximity was sufficient. Since moving out of home, I have come to value the time I spend with my family.
On Wednesday evening, Mum, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma came over to our place before we went to the mall under our condo for dinner.
We dined at Paradise Dynasty, feasting on Xiao Long Baos and a few other Chinese dishes.
They were especially touched that Flo treated them (well, all of us) to the sumptuous meal, being running down to buy some fresh Putu Piring (Palm Sugar filled Rice Flour Cakes with Desiccated Coconut) from the famous stall at Haig Road Food Centre for the family to try.
Mum texted me later telling me that Grandma shared with her that she has never seen me happier – back to my old funny and witty self which she loves. Sometimes, being stuck with ED closes me off to the fact that my negative energy may emanate further than I realise. That is, even with Grandma and Grandpa living so far away, they’re able to feel the darkness that ED shrouds around me. It’s not only Mum, Dad and Flo, who feel the brunt of the disorder. Once again, another reminder that ED is selfish and inward-looking, and I am more than that – I am more than ED.