Saturday, October 13, 2007


Being empathic has always been something that I take pride in.

As much as I feel that my life lacks the dramatic experiences that some of my peers have been through, even at this young age; somehow, when people come up to me and divulge their stories to me, I tell them solemnly, "I can understand what you're feeling", or "I can imagine what you are going through". And I mean it.

True, so many times, these words reverberate in the background; even I have to admit that it sounds fake, a try-hard attempt to get on the good side of the storyteller.

But I genuinely can put myself in their shoes, and I could honestly feel what they are feeling; I could even envision what they are seeing, what they are thinking.

Maybe that is why that even from a much younger age, people tend to find it easy to confide in me. Even people who are adults. In fact, I was aspiring to be a psychologist/psychiatrist. But interestingly enough, I have never stopped and wonder why I am emphatic in nature.


I lied in my bed today, lodged stubbornly between my covers, despite having the time
13.00 displayed warningly on my mobile phone screen. Screw it, sleeping-in days are far too precious.

I wasn't sleeping sleeping per se, just keeping my eyelids firmly shut, in oblivion to the clanging of pots in the kitchen. My mind started wandering... Swoosh, swoosh, it went, fleeting, moving, fading, between images, blocks, lands. And I settled on one of my self-concocted mental stories... One of a young, loving wife, with a cold, hardhearted husband; just think of the song "Superwoman" by Karen White. :)

And it hit me.

When I was younger, and bedtimes were imposed upon me, I used to lie in bed, and let my mind wander; a rebellious strike against my parents, for they could force me into bed, but they sure couldn't make me sleep. And I would play a little game with myself. What I did was, I made up different stories in my head, stories of a single mother; of a cheating husband; of an old, wrinkled woman who has lost her husband, the man that she has spent her whole life with... And I put myself into the character.

I become the one who cheats, the one who gets cheated on; the one who leaves, the one who gets left; the one who tries, the one who stopped trying; the one who wants to spread his or her wings and fly, the one who tried to cling and claw to whatever that is left. Heck, I have once even imagined myself as the lonely Mafia head who has all the power, but when night falls, is the loneliest man ever. And I felt the emotions, I felt the pain, I felt. In fact, I cried sometimes. There were nights that the last thing I could remember was tearing, and before I knew it, I had drifted off to sleep.

It sounds pretty self-torturing; why would I want to make up tragic stories, and make my heart churn and twist in pain. It sounds morbid. But I guess there is a hidden sadist in me. But what I never realised was, by making myself feel all those emotions, it has make me so much more sensitive and perceptive towards people, and their feelings.

I have stopped doing that already, lying in bed, with my little stories playing in my head before I go to bed. Though, once in awhile, I may visit these characters for awhile, a brief encounter with these creations of my mind.

I miss those moments. 'Cause those were the times that helped me grow.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes you and I are so alike, its scary. I don't claim that the stories I made while trying to force myself to sleep made me empathic or anything. Though I know you once told me you did the same thing, I just never realised how eerily similiar they were. I never was the mafia, but I was other things,...and I too have cried, or laughed with joy at my stories. I've stopped doing them, coz I'm supposedly a grown up? But the last few days I've been trying to make these stories in my head - and I can't!! Then you go and write about this - very scary man!!

Suet Li said...

very very nice *big wet eyes

i do that sometimes too. there my secret is out wtf.

smallswong said...

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

and that is why, you are a truly unforgettable :)

Anonymous said...

yea, we need more empathy in our lives, then hopefully people will stop being such bastards/bitches to others.

it's "empathetic", by the way :)

and if you don't mind, you can switch to imageshack for picture hosting. :) no bandwidth limit!

revel in me said...

ran: Aww, that is why we can be best friends. :) Besides our old love for romance novels wtf. Haha... But yea, it IS scary that just when you were thinking about it, and I wrote this entry! Soulmates much? :P

erin: Haha, now I feel more comfortable that there are more freaks out there! :D

suet li: Thank you dear! :P And I am beginning to think that EVERYONE does it too. -_-

smallswong: :) :) :) :) :)
You won't have any reason to forget me. And that's a THREAT! :P

entwined: Yea, we always stress on so many qualities of people: confidence, kindness, generosity, optimism... That we forget that empathy should be high on our agendas too.

And oh, I think 'empathic' and 'empathetic' are both acceptable-- I double-checked with :)

Anonymous said...

oh ok! you wrote "empathic". my eyes need checking hehe. i thought it was "emphatic". -_- sorry!