65%

6 months in

/screams into a void/ WHO IS THERE TO DOCUMENT MY GROWTH? WELL, DEFINITELY NOT ME!!!??? 

Here is a flimsy effort to salvage the past 6 months of swimming consciousness.

  1. Reads:
  2. Movies:
    • Favourite Japanese Movies: My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday, Your Lie in April
    • Favourite Western Movies: Big Fish, Little Miss Sunshine, The Edge of Seventeen, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    • Favourite Animation: In This Corner of the World, Only Yesterday, Wolf Children
    • Favourite Korean Movies: Miss Granny
  3. Films/Documentaries/Videos:
  4. Things that don’t really fit in anywhere:
    • Scotland. Just…everything about that place. It’s magical.
    • Brunswick Cottage, Bath. We stayed in there for 2 days and I’m still feeling “homesick” just thinking about that place. It’s the closest I can get to my imagined dream house set into reality. Absolutely gorgeous and quirky and wonderful.
    • This reddit thread about gay penguins stealing eggs and replacing them with rocks to fulfill their innate desire to raise children. I love it.
    • Korean makeup??? I’ve been really into the Peripera Airy Ink Velvet and the Etude House Contour Stick Duo and the Innisfree No Sebum Powder. Life savers.  I’ve also really been into makeup tutorials like these.
    • Wicked, the Musical. I cried when it was over.
    • Color Club. I love her style!
    • Wholesome Memes!!!
    • I’ve been preferring sketching to writing. Sad, I know. But equally cathartic.
    • Socks! And headbands!
    • Indomee~
  5. Music
    • All in this playlist. I named it 4:35 because that is the time of the day where I feel everything is the most surreal. The air a little bit thinner, the sky a little duller, gravity a little less forceful, and the mind in a hazy, dreamlike state.

It’s sad that I have to resort to a bullet-style form of blogging. I have a nagging sense that I’m missing something (like I do remember having this photographer/artist that I really adore, but his/her name escapes me?) so for now, this will do.

epiphanies

the thing about epiphanies is that you get them all the time. small ones, big ones, stupid ones, ingenious ones. you’re constantly realising things, discovering more about life and about yourself and about the way the world works, which can be a comforting feeling or a distressing one, depending on what clicks.

just the other day i had the “epiphany” that my grandma had lost her youngest brother when my uncle died. all this while, in the entirety of my nineteen years, i had always viewed my uncle’s suicide as an uncle that i had never seen before lost or a father lost or a son lost but when his name was casually discussed on the dining table, along with other phrases like “visiting his grave since it’s that time of the year”, hearing my grandma call him “my brother” just shook me to the very core.

disturbingly stupid, i know. perhaps its just me being thickheaded and unable to connect the dots, but such epiphanies do send me reeling from time to time, for inexplicable reasons.

in my two weeks travelling around united kingdoms, epiphanies do come knocking on my door quietly, and most of the time it’s a heartwarming visit. we have nice chats, and i feel good for an hour after, just having monologues with myself and unwrapping the gift which the epiphany had presented to me.

and then i forget.

just like some people have this habit of not finishing their entire glass of water because they believe that the water accumulated at the bottom are mostly just spit (i laughed at this), i have this stubborn belief that moments of epiphanies must be fully revelled in. i’ll soak in every emotion and thought and enlightenment that this moment of realisation brings me, regardless of its lightness or darkness, focus in the way it sends ripples, vibrations, tingles, within me.

by the time this experience is over, i find that penning down these thoughts become very much futile as i have failed to capture its very essence and the words that i have jotted down seem dull and meaningless and empty.

it annoys me to a great extent that this is the case because i do want to remember these epiphanies, to remind a future-me of how past jean’s mind is wired. but then again, future/present jean has never had a penchant for reading anything she’s written previously. (the cringe attack and secondhand embarrassment take over before nostalgia can).

hence, i can only take solace in the faith that these epiphanies have rooted itself in some part of me, subtly altering some fundamental part of me without me even realising it.

shrinking voids.

I.

The bubbles forming above my haphazardly-placed laptop stickers remind me too much of countless tears that can’t be wiped away. The variation of alphabets on my result slip remind me of efforts wasted and motivations lost and dreams misplaced. The restless buzzing in the still air reminds me of the solitude that is far too loud on a chilly night.

And you will consciously learn to forgive these misgivings, because every second spent dwelling on them is loss, surreality, a shadow creeping over the moon’s shine.

You will learn to unlearn the way you make judgements, the rhyme and reason of the world. You will decide for yourself what is valid and relevant, and you will fight for them. It’s a tough battle; when logic and boundaries are pressing in against you, and you are defenceless when tears suffocate your only weapon – your words.

You tell yourself it’s okay to believe in what you believe. It’s fine to hold onto these blinking half-truths you weave for yourself, because it keeps you safe, and it doesn’t hold any dangers to others. And everybody else is screaming CODE RED, and the more they do it the more you shut them out, like a body that starts to reject painkillers when the dosage gets too high.

Self-destructive, that is what you are. Bitter is the medicine, but oh so necessary. You should know better that too much candy will cause tooth decays and type two diabetes, but for now, you just want to wait until the cherry mint dissolves entirely, held between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

II.

My eyes follow the moon the way the moon follows the car the way my heart follows my childhood beliefs. For just that moment, I am invincible. The moon chases after me because I am worthy of chasing; because it finds something in me that’s worthy enough to seek out.

III.

In a white coat of purity, I plant myself in loose soil. I make roses bloom on my cheeks and tinted lies grow on my lips. I am the In-Between, the Neither-Here-Nor-There. The thoughts flourish, and the emotions ripen.

The beauty of youth is so fleeting, and the people around me have weathered three decades of elapsed seasons. Bittersweet like the Winter, Fresh in Spring, Passionate Summers, and Perpetual is the Fall. Somewhere deep in them, they’re wishing they can bottle up this miracle essence, but it has long passed its expiry date. They’re now emptied and filled with new contents, repackaged and branded anew: Mothers, Fathers, CEOs, Retired, Menopause, Grey Hair.

But in this habitat, they are immortal. I see these adult men morph back into the young boys they once were, with their pants tucked high, their gangly legs with knobby knees, thick golden rimmed glasses, and glossy hair parted 50-50. Their smiles are still the same, just with less yellow and wistfulness. They’re hiding in rental bookstores, holding in laughs as they read scandalised content under the blushing light. They’re flailing around with badminton rackets in empty carparks. They’re enjoying the night breeze on the school rooftop, singing off-tune to 70s music to amateur guitar plucking. They’re crushing on girls who will eventually become their wives.

It’s heartwarming, and I love to sit on the sidelines and watch these interactions unfold. I like to imagine the past in which I do not exist in.

That way, I become lightweight, like a dandelion seed that floats away with a breath holding a wish, a promise. No longer grounded.

Watch me fly.

IV.

This is the fluorescent light that flickers for a good few seconds before burning bright. We used to pretend it was a disco ball, and we would dance crazily to the flashes of white-black-white-black, giggling breathlessly as the whiplash hit us like the canings we received after.

This is the bed that was able to fit all six of us, big and small. We would play rock paper scissors to decide who would sleep by the edges, and who would sleep in the crack dividing the two beds. We would fight for an inch of the blanket, and we would engage ourselves in made up stories until the door opens and the light floods in and an adult head peers in. Someone would be kicked off the bed by morning, and someone else would be half slotted in between the two mattresses with numb limbs and a sore waist. Now we are all big, and now there is only me, and this isn’t my bed no longer. But the smell remains the same, and it smells of security and home.

This is the hand that used to stroke me to sleep. Calloused and thick and firm, rubbing patterns and giving pats on my back until my breathing evens.

This is the radio with the antennae bending out towards the window the same way the plant beside it reaches out towards the sun.  The voice that filters out is crackly and monotonous as it reads out lottory numbers, followed closely by screams of distress from  my ancient great-grandma as she mourns over her loss and could-bes, and it is almost strange to see her upset, when she has witnessed losses greater in breadth and depth than this.

This is the deck of cards that has been shuffled countless times as the elderlies entertain themselves with solitaire and blackjack. This is the deck of cards that has taught me how to add two numbers to make ten, and the deck of cards the kids used to pretend were currency.

These are the familiar voices I will never get tired of. As I pretend to sleep, I listen intently to their conversations involving me, and I smile discreetly to myself.

This is the smell of dinner. Garlic and onions in the pan, roasted chicken in the oven, painstakingly brewed soup over the stove.

This is the sound of the gates swinging open and clanging as it closes. It is never locked, and I used to sigh in frustration as I had to waddle through the sea of shoes till I reached mine, but now it is a heartwarming sight.

This is the apartment I grew up in. It is the noisiest one in the hallway, the brightest one in the night, and it is filled to the brim with love and warmth and I will always be in love with every corner of it.

V.

Step 1: “Wonder at something.”

Step 2: “Invite others to wonder with you.”

in the wake of the fall 

feet digging into the sheets, legs intertwined with blankets, faint playlists muffled under pillows and the dim light of the screen seeping through. empty beds beside and a red night sky with a peek of a toenail moon between window grills. a mother’s padded footsteps across echoed hallways, the tug of chains and the chime of freshly wounded up grandfather clocks counting down to midnight. fantasy and reality intersecting in the fibre of thoughts, half awake thoughts drifting through synapses. the lonely whir of a solo fan, the lonely scratch of tired wheels against asphalt, the amplification of lonely thoughts in a lonely room with doors closed. mourning over miscarriaged words and aborted dreams, air heavy with pregnant struggles with late night worries and inadequacies. there’s something cathartic about re-enacting favourite scenes from fictional sources, a lapse and release from the grips of whatever bounds me to me, and me to him, and me to you, and me to the world. 

//

grey clouds draped over a washed out sky, casting muted sepia-toned shadows over the furniture. old crackly tunes spinning in the axis of new speakers. sprawled over couch pillows with work clothes still on, a day’s reflections churning in an exhausted mind. the world is as quiet as it is loud, homes being returned to, and a sun knocking off from work without anyone noticing. nostalgia is emotional duct tape, i once saw this somewhere, but i relish in it with appetite, like a young girl with stockholm syndrome.

//

Those dreams that overflowed in your hands, I hope they’re still tightly held in them

you’re an enigma to yourself sometimes.

you’re so afraid of confrontation and embarrassing yourself, yet you’re okay with singing loudly to yourself walking on the streets while pretending you’re in a movie representation of your life.

you do your nails for more than an hour, then you clean them off immediately after because they’re a neon eyesore.

the littlest things make you burst into tears, and you don’t exactly know why. it might be just looking up at your apartment and thinking about standing at the exact same spot ten years later, and this wave of foreshadowed nostalgia just hits you, and the saltwater just comes flowing out as you listen to songs with lyrics you don’t even understand.

it might be just looking at kids fight and then make up with a kiss and a hug. the innocence in their words, the sincerity in their smiles, it gets overwhelming sometimes, a rare phenomenon that summons tears into your eyes as if you’ve just witnessed the aurora borealis.

just today you cried to yourself while walking to lunch, because you’re suddenly thinking of how you’re spoilt for choice, while children across the globe are working for ten hours a day for a bowl of rice to feed ten hungry mouths.

you’ll cry tomorrow morning, when your cousins fly back to china.

you make promises to yourself every day that you can’t keep, and yet you do it again and again.

you’re always looking for something that doesn’t even exist.

you never finish what you start, but then you seek for closure still.

you’re forever a work in progress, something put on indefinite hiatus, a 65%…

tangents

it’s such a big world after all, and fate is as all-encompassing as such. varieties viewed and experienced with vividness, so it’s natural to veer off in tangents, isn’t it?

we might have grown up in the same neighbourhood, schooled together, watched the same tv shows, crushed on the same boys, but this intricacy of intertwinement will one day break apart and diverge. one cm difference, two cm, three. a space between, two fingers spacings, an abyss, a canyon, the rest of our lives.

or we might have been strangers all our lives, filled with chance encounters if we’re truly lucky.  i met have glanced your way one or two times, brushed shoulders with someone from another continent, flew past your house oceans apart, or you might have read one or two silly emotional pieces of myself cast out onto the web. but we are parallel, we will never truly meet, and our fates are not meant to clap together, not meant to harmonise. communications in different frequencies, all human and yet i might share more coincidences and similarities with a banana than with you.

and that’s sad, isn’t it? i might have looked at someone and imagined the lives we might have shared together. i might have heard someone else’s stories and romanticised on how the same plot might have played out in my context.

things have to happen perfectly in order for that one fateful incident to happen. it might have been less than perfect in your eyes, but in the birds’ eye view of fate, everything had been a perfect mission, a wonderful blend of time and space. you might have wished for something so hard, but only to watch with wide eyes as it fell nicely into someone’s arms. and maybe we just have to accept that it’s nothing personal, and there’s nothing really wrong with you. our fates are designed differently, and things will unfold when they are meant to and when its cue has been given and taken.

so be patient. life has something amazing just for you. it’s a gift that no department store or enterprise can ever re-create. a true customisation with no chance of replication, and i think that’s some sort of beautiful.

save your breaths on maybes and what might have beens and immerse yourself in the present you, and your present life, in this present moment. you will look back and realise free will and fate are tangential, but perhaps that point of tangency will be the climax of your existence.

sincerely,

the me of today – a believer of fates, a partially-blinded dismisser of reality

naked in all senses.

the first post of 2017!

i have no idea what is Society’s obsession with firsts, but it’s pretty contagious, even to the point where i’ve developed an irrational fear of it. the drive and the need to make any first experience just perfect sometimes even deters me from doing it in the first place, out of the fear that i will ruin that perfect moment or that perfect memory. it’s dumb, it really is.

you know what else is contagious? perfectionism. i’m hardly a perfectionist – i even think that my perfectionism stems more from needing to complete something, which kind of deviates from the mainstream definition of perfectionism. but at the same time, every single time i embark on a single project, i’m just paralysed with fear. quoting one simple example: my bullet journal. i was so careful not to ruin the first few pages. perfect font, perfect straight lines, perfect template. all these were just too hard to keep up, because it just wasn’t something that was compatible to who i was as a person, and so the whole idea of bullet journalling was nearly abandoned. this, in turn, crippled me even further, because i become convinced that i literally cannot complete anything i set my mind to do. a half-asser.

by this time, you might have realised that this is word vomit. i’m trying to seamlessly segway into what i intended to talk about, but it’s hard, and i don’t know how to navigate my way around it, and this post has become way overdue because of this sudden writer’s block that has lasted since the start of the year. or maybe even before that. it’s really aggravating because the words are in there; they’re morphing into something more, something wonderful, and then it’s as if they just get lethargic and give up or something. i can feel them wilt and wither; the garden in me smells of rotten compost and dead flowers.

okay, having gotten those negative thoughts out of the way — life’s been treating me pretty well, in all honesty. maybe it’s because i’ve actually started to embrace the concept of letting go, so besides excessively hoarding unspoken and unwritten words somewhere in me, i’ve cleared up enough space in my mind, heart and soul and it’s just so much easier to breathe. there are many other factors as well, of course. (which actually brings me to illustrate my main point; things that have influenced me greatly in my blogging absence.)

Talking Personal

Getting a job has been one of the highlights so far in 2017. Dreary technicalities aside (eg. low pay, long hours, overworking), every day has been inexplicably blissful so far. I work at a playschool/kindergarten in the neighbourhood as a teacher to many wonderful, precious children. In the morning, I play with the 1-4-year-old nursery kids and teach the 5-7-year-olds. After lunch, I watch after napping kids while tutoring the primary school children that come in for afternoon study sessions.

There’s no sugarcoating it. Handling kids is an exhausting and extremely draining job. Not only do you have to be alert at all times because of how accident-prone children are, but you also have to learn how to balance sensitivity and strictness to be an effective teacher. So far, I still have much to learn. I get ‘bullied’ by the kids a lot, but it’s mostly because I’m so soft for them. I love all the kids in the playschool (albeit – cough cough – i love some kids more) and it’s so emotionally fulfilling to be spending my time with them. Working never feels like a chore, even when I get so tired sometimes that I’m ready to drop dead, but some cheeky kid insists I piggyback them or feed them or change their diapers. Kids say the darnest things too, and it’s really entertaining to hear their conversations, or to just be their listening ear. There are no words to describe the feeling that overcomes me when a parent drops off their sleepy child in the morning, and the first thing they utter is “Where is Teacher Jean?” before silently tottering over to me and stretching out their arms for early morning kisses and cuddles. I secretly love it when the kids grow clingy/attached to me, even if they can get demanding at times, like when this girl willingly sacrificed her play time with her friends so that she could talk to me while I was finishing up some mundane admin duties or when the kids fight to sit in my lap.

Also, being surrounded by children is a breath of fresh air. Kids do lie, but they are also open and honest most of the time. I get glimpses of them being selfless and kind to one another, like this 1-year-old that takes care of his 4-year-old Special Needs classmate so well and with such genuine love even without the teachers looking that I can’t help but swoon. Yes, there are a few Special Needs children as well, and I am incredibly happy to know they are warming up to me well. During my lunch break, I sit beside them in a corner and the way their eyes brighten up — I live for those moments. (I sound like I’m some self-important person lol! apologises!) I’ve learnt the importance of Listening and being patient when it comes to children, especially the special ones. They burst into tears sometimes, and they can’t tell you why, and you really have to think from their perspective and understand. Are they feeling left out? Do they want to pee? The special kids rarely get a chance to speak up; they’re always dismissed or talked over. But when I actually listen past their incoherency, I do understand what they’re saying, simple words like “sing a song for me?” or “sit with me?” They immediately stop throwing random tantrums when you bother to listen. 

Their innocence is invigorating as well, lacking the heart-clutter that one accumulates as they grow up. I think if you’ve been following my blog, you will know that I absolutely detest the Adult World, its twists and turns and betrayals and lies. I cannot, for the life of me, manoeuvre myself out of this maze. There’s really nothing better than being with little humans that wear their hearts on their sleeves, that speak their mind, that don’t hide their passions, that ignite the passion in me as well. Living with a kindled fire in my heart is warm and cosy and I sleep with the biggest smile on my face every night.

I can also say that getting a job has allowed me to get out of whatever hermit life I am accustomed to living, and to really get into a routine that I enjoy. I get to wake up early in the morning, water the plants while watching the sun rise, and actually get things done instead of sleeping my life away. I feel motivated to make good use of whatever spare time I have by taking driving lessons or even picking up a new language (soon!) In between the cracks, I fill it up with books and dramas and friends.

Friends – I’m so happy I’ve found the support system that is so crucial and important to me, kind of like they’ve already fossilised themselves in a part of my spine. You should know who you are if you’re reading this, because you guys are literally my biggest stalkers (biggest fans?) but, yeah, you guys really make my life so much better. Communicating your feelings and flushing all that negative energy out of your system is so vital to one’s mental health. Thank you for being so non-judgemental, understanding, wise and inspiring. You guys know how much of a noob I am in the worst and best of times, and I really depend on this support system so much to ease me into Reality.

It’s good to be busy as well. There’s less time mindlessly drifting into the Internet Space. I’m spending significantly less time on social media, which is literally the bane of my existence, and I’m weaning off even virtual conversations. I do try to sustain the important online friends I have, but at the same time, I learn the value of maintaning and keeping only the healthy and essential friendships, and allowing myself the time to myself. Oh, enjoying time with myself is an understatement. I have a whale of a time being alone, to be very honest. There’s nothing more eye-opening than walking through crowds and doing things by myself while listening to soundtracks that I’ve curated for my own everyday movie experiences.

On Internet Inspiring

Here are a few contents that I’ve stumbled upon on the web that has struck raw nerves in me, touched me so deeply and has, in its own way, positively impacted my life.

  1. Speaking of Internet Soul Sisters, I definitely cannot neglect the advice Rookie has provided me over the years. If I allow myself to dream big, perhaps I can aspire to become a regular content creator for this empowering online magazine as well. Articles like How To Not Care About What Other People Think of You and On Taking Yourself Seriously avoid the cliches and are brutally honest on their words, which makes their advice digestible and relatable.
  2. Rosianna is my new self-appointed Big Sister. Her videos are so deep and mind-altering in a way that helps me – who struggles with forming my own opinions – to get a clue on issues that I should be dwelling on, while consciously not letting her views mold my own. I do disagree to some things she says, but I still do admire her courage on putting them out there anyway. She speaks with clarity and articulates her feelings so brilliantly and I’m always a little wiser after going through her content. Of course, she has some pretty fantastic stuff that are simultaneously lighthearted too, and my recent favourite has been her views on being single which really spoke to me on a spiritual level as I find myself agreeing to every line she says in the clip.
  3. This little answered ask on tumblr from one of the biggest writers in the BTS fanfic community on getting better on writing got me reeling for a few days.
  4. This is pretty random, but this veteran actress from South Korea called Ra Mi-Ran has been my beacon of hope for a while now. Her path to success had been so rocky but her determination and perseverance so inspiring, and there’s that unwaving quality in her eyes that makes me kind of want to be like her, in my own soft, small way.
  5. Lastly, credit needs to be given to La La Land for shaking/stirring me up to tears both times that I had watched the movie. On muses, on aspirations, on being true to yourself. This is a unpublished draft of what I wrote on a sleepless night, titled “Here’s to the mess we make”.

in an earlier edition of the lala land script that i’ve recently unearthed and desperately sobbed over, mia says this to seb:

You were so true to this…this idea…

And now… I don’t see that idea anymore.

I just see someone who’s begging to be liked.

it’s probably not in the final cut of the movie (i think it was edited to “when did you care about being liked?”) but i do remember the feelings that had swarmed in me while witnessing that scene unfolding before my eyes. the sympathy clouding over, the angstiness seeping in…the guilt.

it was as if mia was saying this to me.

2016 had been a year where i mourned over the loss of my words, and then simultaneously gained it back in the later half of the year. gained an audience, even.

i have to admit that i’m struggling, though. i’m battling this internal conflict, a tug-of-war against wanting the support of this audience, and wanting to actually like what i write.

simply put, i don’t like the content i’m putting out there. there’s a subtle sickening sensation that rises in my throat as i see the views climb, because a part of me is happy. of course i’m happy. people are liking what i’m writing and complimenting me and what more can i ask for? 

but of course, a bigger part of me is just resigned. i don’t think the words and the ideas that i actually pour my heart and soul into will ever see the light of day, simply because i don’t have the confidence of revealing them to the world, and i’m pretty convinced they’ll be overlooked anyway.

just get over it, jean. you’re not that good of a writer anyway, so stick to supplying whatever the people demand for and just make them happy. 

i think i’m losing touch with my words once more, and all i want to do is strip myself of this silly identity, delete all my works, and start afresh. anew.

but i won’t, because i’m a coward that is begging to be liked.

If my time can be divided into ten equal portions, 1/10 is spent actually being decently happy of me for being me, and 9/10 is spent putting myself down. I have caught myself saying stuff like “I am the worst” or even making self-deprecating jokes to my mom (who tunes out) whenever I watch dramas with her, such as “I need to find a Goblin and become his bride ASAP or I will never be successful in anything in the future because I suck” or “Lol why is literally everyone except me pretty” or even “Ma, I’m never going to make it, in anything I do. Wanna bet?” Insert nervous laughter to fill in the awkward silence as my mom rolls her eyes and tells me to shut up.

2017 needs to be a year where I need to stop being my own worst critic. My writer’s block is a manifestation of all these negative hateful spiteful feelings for myself and my words, and similarly, my self-deprecatory nature is a product of worshipping everyone but me, giving everyone heart-eyes while not even giving a flicker of attention to my own attributes and good points. As if there’s some kind of filter in me, I’m only capable of seeing what others are doing better than me or what others have that I don’t, and I’m honestly so sick of it. I’m trying to stop by adopting the matra of “say nothing if you have nothing good to say at all”, which includes gossiping, of course.

Wow. I’ve spent two hours on this blogpost, and I should be getting some sleep before I turn out like some zombie in tomorrow’s lessons and fall asleep before the kids do. But here’s to 2017, here’s to whatever tumbles out of its mouth and here’s to a kinder, truer and more passionate Jean.

outer space.

i will never know why i have always been so fascinated with whatever lays out there, up there, far far away. the multitude of universes, beyond our planet and our solar system and our galaxy.

why am i so obsessed with a bunch of dead things?

it isn’t more liberating out there. there are still laws, many unwritten laws, that govern the immensity of everything, like how you will keep going at the same speed forever and ever and ever unless something crashes into you; but then, of course, it’s likely you’ll die.

and you won’t even shine when you die. you won’t be some glistening ball of hope winking down at a desperate, lonely kid looking out of his window on a sleepless night.

you will be so small, the smallest of them out. thrown out of orbit. debris.

your favourite colour is yellow because it reminds you of sunshine.  but the sun is red and hot and it will burn you to crisps.

another morbid mention of death.

see? outer space isn’t really that cool after all.

the space you take up, in your bed, under your covers, where you can feel where the sheets start and where the sheets end, where the walls cave in, and where the edges of your pillow are – they are enough.

safe.

sometimes when i talk too robustly or i laugh too loud, i feel like i’m taking up too much “outer space”. keep it small, keep it in. 

and then i think of just how big everything out there really is, a ratio that can’t be distinguished by numbers and time and distance in its full entirety. unknown variables.

and i say fuck it, and i throw back my head, and i let myself free.

merry christmas, i guess // the days thus far

i don’t know how to live a 100% life. i’m 99%, and then 98%, and then 87%, then 65%, and then 11%, and then red leaking out of the battery, scarlet screaming at me, quick pluck me in, i’m dying, i need some energy. inertia. lethargic. limpid.

now when i charge my electronics, i can’t help but make a conscious effort to cut it off before it turns fully green. almost like i don’t deserve it.

oh yeah, and. merry christmas. i don’t celebrate it, but this year was nice, in a simple and cozy way. short bursts of laughter and simple xoxo messages. warm wishes and the knocking of tiles against each other. porridge white as snow. connecting with individuals that aren’t the closest to me, but somehow felt as though they might as well have been. it’s nice. waking up to emails, some comments touched with tough love, others with a softer edge of concern, of gratitude. fills me up and lifts me up.

a time of giving.

it’s almost just over a month but i’m doing well.

i made a promise, sort of, to myself. to document every day of my life. but alas, that just isn’t me. the diary i’ve reserved just for that purpose has been neglected and discarded into the dusty corner of other Abandons.

there are some memories, however, that are etched in me dearly, days that almost feel like they could be a 100 percent.


it’s 3am and we are coursing against the currents of time, the salty wind slapping hard against my cheeks with the tanginess of the sea. inky blackness above and beside and below. tires against asphalt and comfortable silence. the growing soreness on the underside of my bum and the burn of my thighs. the city unfolding before our eyes, never asleep. a side of my island that i’ve never been awake to witness. so this is what it is like, to be allies, explorers, superheroes, comrades, without the burden of silly school politics and the world or whatever. this is what it is like to be on top of the world, to be more aware, for once, than anyone else. with the smell of impending rain lingering in every damp vapour and every sweat particle. to have stars knitted into a blanket, mother earth’s fond scolding of go home, children, it’s way past your bedtime. 

“can you see where is the orion? the three stars connecting…just about there…”

“i think those are satellites. no wait they’re planes.”

“oh.”

tranquillity and adrenaline mingling in my veins like a lethal dose of the strongest drug. we laugh softly for no reason at all and then head back. home, to family.


packing away two years worth of studying materials. i’m sorry for all the trees i have sacrificed; you deserve more than to be an assessment book barely flipped. i’m sorry for all the water of the earth that has been sacrificed; you deserve more than to become liquefied salt rolling down my cheeks. in another life, you will be the shade that saves one from a scorching sun, you will be the drop of salvation for a thirsty child.


i remember pouring over my literature texts and all the poems we’ve read so far and shedding a tear or two. this one, especially. it has morphed into a tender nerve in my heart.

“Love After Love” by Derek Walcot

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.


rekindling fires, dying embers that were barely a spark no more. it’s a wonder how with the right breaths, they can come alive again, like they were never sputtering out in the first place.

a lot of self-interrogation as well, self-doubt. am i as important in your hearts as i once were? do i deserve to be thinking about this? should i even care?

and also much more on self-love and self-care. spending time by myself has never been more invigorating and liberating.


is it encore or encore?

i guess it’s wrong of me to be a pronunciation nazi at that point of time, but oh well.

the bass shaking the ground beneath me, the voices shaking the heart within me, the flow of the crowd shaking the energy coursing through me.

you two are so young, and yet, so talented. there is a cross between admiration and envy in me, but nevertheless, thank you.


simple days, cozy days. the smell of hair dye, turning myself golden. the feeling of being brand new. cooking instant noodles and getting way too invested into monopoly. legends on repeat in the background, hits boosted.

i am eternally grateful for friends like you: rare days when i feel 200%.


of course, how could i forget — travelling.

but that is for another story, another time.


the heart…is a scary thing.

back when i had 5 views, i wanted 10. and then when i got 20, i wanted 200. now i have almost 2000 views each time i update my humble little works, and there is only one thought at the back of my mind, haunting me.

i want. more. 

it scares me, the greed. i can’t tell if it’s coming from up there or from my left chest or from some dark primal instinct deep within me, but i can’t make it stop.

the art of gratitude is so extremely difficult to master, and so is the art of balance.

once again, i am tipping off the scale.

there are too many ideas, but too little of everything else. time, energy, commitment, will, hope, capability.

and sometimes, too much doubt.

i guess this is how villains get to where they are – by feeding off the hunger. from clawing at the emptiness of knowing there’s someone better out there that they want to destroy.

the heart is a scary thing.

i shut it out sometimes.


this song grounds me.

“though we’re scattered in the wind,

please don’t lose my hand.

we’ll go anywhere.”

zitten is a hidden gem, and in his music, i find myself.

Lessons of 2016.

Occasionally you stumble across a sombre experience that gets your heart beating fast and your mind racing fast and your stomach churning fast and suddenly your body is a tornado that is consuming you from inside out and to get out, you write.

Today has been a great day, like many other days of the past has been, but something that has happened (of which shall not be named and hopefully can be cast out and forgotten in the currents of time) and it induces the kind of sinking feeling like you’re struggling against quicksand. Nevertheless, it got me thinking and reflecting and looking inwards upon myself and I thought that this might be a good time to jot down some of my lessons from 2016.


  1. You can’t have everything in this world, and that’s okay. Your palms are 15.5cm small, so hold what needs to be protected and let go of the rest, the inessentials. If happiness sometimes came at the cost of perfect grades, if a stable mind came at the cost of productivity, weigh the consequences for yourself and make a choice (though your priorities should already be clear by now. Connections/Yourself > Grades, always.). Sometimes I hold onto things because they remind me too much of things of the past that, washed by time, became shinier and more sparkly than they actually were, like seashells. Most likely, they’re former shells of what once was that you can’t force yourself into, so let go let go let go.
  2. Perspective. Life is all about interpretation. An object will look differently from different angles. The sky looks different when you’re suspended in it and when you’re looking up at it and depending on where the sun is hanging at different times of the day. Similarly, stories will unfold divergently from different mouths. The best outlook to adopt is open.
  3. The world is one big mess and things are unfair sometimes. What used to be a distinct line cutting across Right and Wrong are in fact more complicated than sea territories. Tread carefully.
  4. Measure everything, not in terms of money or validation or effort, but in terms of time. Is this worth your time? After all, time is the best equaliser. Everyone, regardless of status or gender or race or lifestyle, has 24 hours.
  5. The words of others are NOT your words. Please repeat that 10000 times, Jean, and carve this in your heart. No matter how hard you wish that beautiful sentence was conjured from your mind, it was the ingenuity of others, so suck it up and move on. Create your own beautiful words, it’s in there somewhere. It’ll feel so much better when you get praised for it.
  6. Don’t be too quick to write people off. We are all imperfect individuals, but we are also constantly changing and growing. Just as you abhor people holding it against you and defining you by that one mistake you made as a snotty, immature brat, don’t impose your own self-perceived prejudices on others. Forgive, forget, move on. The faster you realise that everyone is in a way “problematic” and flawed, the easier it is to breathe. Learn not to make judgements that no one even asked you to make.
  7. Please always be honest. To others and to yourself. Never compromise on your morals or go against your conscience, even when people call you rigid or silly. Trust me. You’ll feel like the shittiest person alive and it will EAT YOU ALIVE when things fuck up because of your actions. The world is already lacking integrity, don’t contribute to the horror.
  8. With that being said, remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learnt from the worst times and from the worst mistakes! Be kind to yourself.
  9. Sleep is important and sleep is great. Even if you feel anxious about sleeping your life away, don’t screw up your body clock just to fulfil your frivolous desires to finish that fic or manga. Don’t use live life to the fullest as an excuse to avoid listening to your body.
  10. At the same time, you will find that the most spontaneous of choices are often your best memories, times when you feel genuinely happy and peaceful.
  11. If someone has a story to tell, listen. Be the living archive and write those stories down someday. Don’t let them die out. Isn’t a pity how many stories are trapped in so many lonely souls, begging to be heard?
  12. Communication is so important. Don’t let misunderstandings and suspicions fester into a Cold War.
  13. Write for yourself. Your creations are valid and worthwhile. You are worthwhile. You will realise that validation is secondary and often unnecessary.
  14. Your dreams will change. Don’t be afraid of their volatile nature, don’t be afraid to dream big and as much as you want.
  15. Emotional connection is so important. When you live in a world where “logic” and “common sense” is the only thing that seems to matter, it’s all the more essential to hold onto moments when you can express your feelings and someone gets.
  16. It’s never about quantity.
  17. Grasp onto what you love and shout out just how much you love them even if it sounds dumb. If it keeps you sane, it is valid. Passion is often stifled, and society is so afraid to convey just how much they love what they love. Don’t be muted.
  18. If someone looks at you weirdly because you are expressing yourself, they’re not the right kind of company. YOU DO YOU.
  19. Adults are not always right. Parents can be ignorant about some stuff too. Bring it upon yourself to forgive them and to gently educate them. Also, everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
  20. The sky is your best friend. It teaches you how to breathe again. Wake up every day just to catch the sunrise, even if you fall asleep again later on. It’s so worth it.
  21. Be fascinated. Don’t let the monotonous rhythm of society dull your spark.
  22. Talking to a plant or your doll can be oddly de-stressing and just what you need after a tiring day.
  23. If you can’t sleep or you’re having a bad day or you feel like everything is falling apart, there’s always See You at Harry’s and Reply 1997 and Zitten’s December here to welcome you home.
  24. Remember the day you were so upset because your sister got called “the clever one” and one cousin “the pretty one” and the other “the sporty one” and all you got was “the kind one”? Turns out, that’s the biggest compliment you can ever receive. Please always strive to be kinder than you feel. And no, that’s not called being phoney or insincere.
  25. You know you’re doing it right when everyone’s first impression of you is “friendly and easy to talk to” because that’s all you ever want. To make others feel comfortable and happy.
  26. Learn from your father and be generous….in fact, just stop shutting your father and learn from him. There’s so much wisdom in him, in spite of his shortcomings.
  27. Be as strong as the women in your family.
  28. Don’t let these things affect your quality of life: FOMO, being too busy trying to document every single millisecond of your experiences, when your friends and your family are crumbling and you can’t do anything to save them no matter how hard you try.
  29. Being alone and being lonely don’t have to be the same thing. Things like getting into a relationship don’t have to be an important milestone that you are competing with others to achieve in teenhood if you don’t let it be. Instead, make your own milestones and be proud of them, even if society don’t deem them as significant milestones.
  30. Kids are the best kind of medicine. Laughter is the second best. Words are the third. A mixture of all three will keep you strong and healthy.

I have a few more but I think I will reserve them for next time?

And alas, writing really heals the soul. I feel much better.

Till next time.