August: On Life

by The Dreamer


(Credits to: fromtheimaginist )

Currently, my life is like this rusty door. It’s full of mixed signals, corruption and confusion, yet in a way it’s artistically beautiful. Like, it makes people want to inspect deeper, to analyze every single detail. In a way, what I’m trying to say is, my life has been a little rough this past month, but it has made me more aware of every single action and decision I make. It has made me more clearer about everything, kinda like how how ripple in a pond makes you notice the water beneath you, makes you wait out until the water is smooth and peer through the surface. Do I make sense?

My prelims is finally over, but I don’t feel liberated. This glaring 38 days stares at me through my phone screen, reminding me of how little days I have till D-Day. Yesterday, I really wore myself down so much I fell sick and had to sleep it out. So I made today a rest day, and I’ll continue pushing through from tomorrow onwards. 

But small talk aside, I would firstly like to address some things about my life. Maybe it’s a message for myself, but somewhere deep inside me, something keeps urging me to write it out, to spill everything out. Hopefully I’ll just feel much better afterwards. 

I put… a lot of trust in my friends. And sometimes I fail to see that perhaps some of them are making use of me? Or don’t cherish me the way I do? On Saturday, I was so full of anger because of something that my friend did, and that slowly softened to disappointment and confusion. She was a friend that constantly pointed out my flaws – my height, my eyes, my teeth, my face, and sometimes made me quite inadequate. But she was also a friend that made me laugh, got me into stuff that made my Secondary Four Journey so much more enjoyable, and treated me to so many things. I used to brush off her comments as jokes, tried to look at the times that she made me happy. You can joke about my appearance all I want, because as long as I have a certain extent of self-esteem, I don’t really mind. But in front of others, you judged my character and intentions? Woah. Step back, buddy. My other friends told me to distance myself from her – that she was in a way, just making use of me and not treating me like she should. 

I don’t know. All along, I’ve had this instinct to “watch over” her I guess. I wanted to motivate her to do better in her academics, to guide her into finding real purpose into life, but when I failed to do that, I felt like I was really insignificant and I felt really bad about myself. 

Then, I chanced upon an interview with Rebecca Solnit, and her words really just lifted me up. 

“Even if social media wasn’t filled with nastiness, there are more-important things to do than check your phone every three minutes. That’s not conducive to productivity, depth, a strong sense of self, or peace of mind.”

And my aunt also said to me, “There is no use being angry. Instead, feel sad for her. Feel sad that she has caused people hurt, and remind yourself never to do that upon others. You’ve been through the hurt, you know the pain, so don’t let others go through that misery. This way, it’s not about you,you,you. It’s a chance of reflection and self-improvement.”

Sometimes, I think my family knows me best, and their unknowing comments are literally gold. 

I’m not angry anymore. I’ve unblocked her on WhatsApp, I’ve forgiven her, but I think I have built a thin barrier that is impermeable. I will still think of the times she has made me happy, because technically it’s our last year, and I want it to be more sweet than bitter. 

On another note, the very same aunt that has spilled out made me feel better, is the very same one going through cancer. One of the unspeakable C word. The fact that she realized about her tumour during my Prelim period made it even more tough. Even though she told me not to worry about her and just focus on her studies, I couldn’t do it. All along, cancer was something I read in books, a popular sob-story plot for movies, and I thought I would never encounter it face-to-face. So when she broke the news to me (in a smiling way, nonetheless), I felt my insides crumble. It was like my whole world was turned upside down. It wasn’t as dramatic as the books and movies I’ve devoured, but to me, I felt as though I’ve lost my equillibrium in life. I struggled so hard to just put my heart and soul into studying, because in my head, I was thinking, “Really, Jean? What is more important at this point of time? Family or studies?” My examinations just felt secondary to providing support to my aunt at that point of time. 

I know I probably won’t do very well in my examinations this time round. I could feel my focus drifting away from me and the panic kept entering no matter how much I tried to block it out. I just felt so helpless. I’m stronger now though, and my aunt is recuperating well. But I’ll never be able to forget her ashen and bloated face after her surgery. I went to visit her after a paper, and she was so weak she couldn’t even open her eyes. She was thirsty, but after taking in a sip of water, she vomited it out. She rated her pain at a level of 8 even when it was clearly a 10. They took out 11cm of her kidneys and tissues for heaven’s sake! 

August has been a month of re-evaluation. of new experiences and of finding out who and what really matters to me. It has been a shitty pain in the ass, but undoubtedly made my 16 year of existence a bit of meaningful.