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  • Kamila Tan

Raindrops, Suffering, and Human Connection


Sunrise in La Jolla, CA

A few nights after I left the hospital, a full-blown thunderstorm hit San Diego. After hospitalization for almost three weeks, and only being allowed to go outside for a very short time each day, it was surreal to behold thunder, lightning, and an absolute downpour of rain coming from the sky. I felt like my senses had been re-awakened. My heart was filled with immense gratitude for the privilege to feel the elements again.


Instead of feeling the sheets of a hospital bed against my skin, I felt the cool wetness of rain drops. Instead of hearing a heart rate monitor throughout the night, I listened to the powerful rumbling of thunder and soothing sound of falling water. Instead of watching the cars go by on the freeway outside my hospital window, I viewed lightning that was powerful enough to flash across the entire sky.


Instead of watching the world from inside and only wishing I could be a part of it, I finally experienced it again. I finally connected with it again.

I wrote a poem shortly afterward, and I’d love to share it with all of you:


The Rain


I live within

A world of fear

Of loss, of aches, of pain

Tonight was slightly different

Tonight I felt the rain


I battle voices

In my head

I dread the things they shout

But tonight I heard the thunder

And he drowned the voices out


My heart longs for

A strongman’s arms

To feel his warm embrace

But tonight I felt the rain

And it left kisses on my face


I walk through darkness

Many nights

The day left me alone

But tonight the lightning lit my way

To guide my footsteps home


Tomorrow I’ll wake

And remember

All the pain I feel

But tonight I felt the rain

Tonight I felt like I could heal


©Kamila Tan

10/16/2018


I’m no longer in the hospital, but I am still spending a significant amount of time in treatment and therapy every day, learning how to fight this eating disorder. I am re-programming my brain, gathering new skills to combat anxiety and distress, and delving into a greater understanding of why I have used certain behaviors to cope with deeper, underlying pain. I’m trying hard to accept myself and my body for the way I am meant to be, naturally.


It is incredibly difficult, and sometimes excruciating work. It can be hellish to re-live past experiences that have caused me pain, and to understand how these experiences have contributed to thought patterns and self-sabotaging behaviors in my recent present. Sometimes, it is even harder to continue to show up for treatment every day, to make the conscious choice to put my recovery and my healing first. The weeks are draining, and on the weekends in my free time, I search for some sense of normalcy.


This isn’t the type of self-care that includes cute face masks and bubble baths. This is real, raw, healing that is exhausting. It’s about confronting my greatest fears and overcoming them. It’s about uncovering and exposing every single problem and emotion I’ve tried to bury for most of my life. It’s forcing myself to take a break from my favorite physical activities, because my body needs to rebuild from the inside out. It’s about relinquishing a previous identity that has brought me comfort for the past 3 years. I have never been so physically or mentally vulnerable and uncomfortable.


But I also know that each day I choose recovery, I choose to fight for my life worth living beyond this. I choose to put in the work, to beat an eating disorder that will no longer have power over me. I choose to have faith that the outcome will be worth it.


I have also been fortunate not to endure this painful and uncomfortable recovery process alone. There are others going through treatment with me, each fighting their own battles to regain their health. Each one of them is strong, beautiful, wonderful, and special. I am inspired daily by their commitments to show up, even though they are also struggling. I’m grateful for their willingness to be vulnerable with me in their suffering, and I’m thankful for their compassion through my own suffering.


I am unbelievably blessed by friends who reach out to me, send me cards and flowers that make me cry, and visit me on occasion. I am lucky enough to have family members who are supportive of this healing process, and give me warm hugs (also, bless up for my dad’s health insurance).

Every day, I give thanks to God for the gift of human connection.



Human Connection


share your story with me

so it lives in my collection

i’ll share all mine with you

this is human connection


there is suffering here

we all search for direction

we can guide one another

through human connection


take a breath - in the silence

it allows introspection

then unveil your insights

on human connection


there is more to your soul

than your body or complexion

there’s a heart underneath

that craves human connection


©Kamila Tan

10/7/2018



I CANNOT WAIT to reconnect with all of you whom I miss so dearly!!! I can't wait to step back onto the volleyball court, into work, and into school again. I wish I could speed up this healing journey, but it’s a long one. Some days are a lot harder than others.


I’m determined to kick this thing in the butt though.


One.

Day.

At.

A.

Time.


With love and gratitude,


-K

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Hermosa Beach, CA

©2018 by Kamila Tan