65%

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.

motion

“you’re moving too fast.”

i can’t keep up with the number of times this had been directed at me.

“sorry, that’s how i’ve always been,” i say, not actually feeling apologetic.

it’s like Life is telling me something, through the mouths of different people. But you see, I need to. There’s so much to see, so much to explore, Time is hot on our heels and I have to run before the sparkler catches up and burns out.

i’m sorry to all the people that have felt that i’ve left them in the dust. it’s really not intentional. i just love the speed. as much as i like unwinding, the desire for the thrill of soaring through everything triumphs all.


 

did 2016 happen?

somewhere in the middle, i felt like the year was barely advancing forward. but on second thought, it really did whizz past in a blink of an eye.

what should i do with this sudden freedom? i don’t know. someone help me because i’ve never really been good with directions.

everything tastes better when you’re hungry. similarly, my craving for passion merely expanded the more i felt stifled. and now everything savours of bitter after-climax.

i wonder how long i can keep running away from this reality.

 

what i would do to write as well as you

and you

and you and you and you

and you

there’s always two or more conflicting emotions fighting for sovereignty. inspiration and envy mostly. i sigh with delight and i sigh with exasperation.

a billion gazillion other people with better characterisations and better dialogues and better ideas and better patience and better speed and better minds and better environments holy shit

maybe it’s futile trying so hard. maybe it’s futile even trying.

it’s clear who wins, isn’t it?

just dwelling on old thoughts like the sentimental i am

i always get a wee bit tender when it’s rainy.

i swear, just a second ago, the window was flung completely open because i wanted to let every inch of sunshine into my room and i wanted to see the azure sky with its amazingly soft fluffy clouds in its full glory and i felt so, so incredibly peaceful and good. and suddenly it’s like completely dark. not complaining, though. i still feel peaceful, just in a more solemn, introspective way.

why am you writing a useless blog post right now! go and study economics because you suck at it. 

(nah imma indulge in this for a little while just because.)

((manhi, my rosemary, is smelling wonderful today. i’m suddenly realising this as i’m locked up in the dark bedroom with it and its woody scent is just completely overwhelming the room. it reminds me of walking beside the lake just right after a rain. simply wonderful. I LOVE THE SMELL OF NATURE. i’m a little upset that it’s getting brownish on the edges. hopefully it’s just a phase and it’ll go back into its full blooming state again. stay healthy, manhi. ))

(((also, i’m taking a break from my usual poetic writing style because my brain is exhausted and it works funny now sobs and it’s really funny because i absolutely abhor people who write like this but guess who’s adopting it!!!!! hypocrisy at its finest.)))

i went off-tangent. where was i.

dreams!! dreams are important. i say this every time. i won’t get enough of it. i probably won’t ever stop obsessing over dreams. oh wells.

i’m really, really excited at what’s beyond these 8 days. freedom. possibilities. a chance of fulfilling whatever little or massive dream i’ve ever had. my fingertips are already tingling with adrenaline.

i like to imagine a world where failure wouldn’t change anything. in that situation, what would i dare to try out? that business endeavour (affectionally called 35%) that my friends and i have always wanted to try out? would i still try out a writing career even if my recent literature exam has been absolutely traumatic and convinced me a little that i’ll probably never be good enough?

(with that being said, i’ve come to the conclusion that regardless of whatever grades i receive for my favourite subjects, it does not diminish my wonderful experience and my love for them. i’ve learnt so much from just these literature books alone, it’s mindblowing.)

it makes me reel a little at all the things i would willingly plunge into. and at the same time, i ask myself this question: why not try them out now? i’m young. it’s okay to take chances, to be impulsive and selfish and adventurous.

i really enjoy daydreaming of all my alternate futures, all the possible outcomes and i’m always wondering which of these dream-worlds will merge together and become reality? it’s my favourite past time and it always puts me in a good mood.

at this moment of time, i’m convinced that everything is worth a shot. after these 8 days, i’ll be revamping this blog (maybe), definitely restarting my dayre, to document my attempts at completing my bucket list. at least to make myself accountable and motivated. i really really hope i don’t lose steam along the way.

okie, all the best future jean. for now, let’s hit the books.

d-1

i had a little crying session today while i was sitting by my sunlit window, notes on my lap but eyes focused on elsewhere until my vision blurred. they weren’t tears of sadness or anxiousness or fear or anything of that sort, just a release of pure emotion that i’m pretty sure wasn’t in any way negative.

the beast i’ve spent two years attempting to tame is finally about to be unleashed tomorrow. i can’t tell if i’m relieved, resigned or…?

one part of me is indignant – angry that my future will be determined by a few papers that i’ll write over the course of the next seventeen days. i’m also angry at myself for taming something that perhaps was never meant to be tamed; something wild and natural being conditioned into a product of society.

another part of me is lost, too…i guess. the end is so near. it’s what i’ve been dreaming about for god knows how long, and i’m so close to actually tasting it. but perhaps dreams are meant to remain dreams, and corruption comes the moment one attempts to turn it into reality.

just like gatsby watching his “count of enchanted objects” diminish by one, a source of magic in his life irrevocably vanishes before his eyes as he attains the physical object with a beauty associated with his dream, only to realise that in the midst of materialising his dream, the beauty has disappeared. part of me is – ironically – hoping that the daylight will be longer than usual so that i can embrace the current me for a little longer, ground myself to the present instead of blindly looking towards a dreamlike future that has the potential to disappoint.

on a side note, i got myself a plant. it’s rosemary. i don’t know how to describe it, but it’s been such a big source of joy for me. keeps me calm and centered; just the presence of another living thing beside me, living for me, living from me, gives me more purpose than my life seems to be.

tomorrow begins the duel with the beast. no matter the consequence – to conquer or to let it free – it’s not a failure. i’ll have put up a good fight.

transit.

life is weird.

i mean—

when has it really not been weird. i don’t know. maybe it’s my sudden change in emotions and perceptions of things that’s made life seem weirder than it actually is, taking on an almost surreal and unnatural quality to it despite attempts to make my days as grounded as possible.

my life is a to-and-fro causeway. i shuffle between two ends of a spectrum, between depersonalisation and zen/surrender/acceptance/whatever-its-supposed-to-be. on the former end, it’s a mess. a horrible dark tangle of all things sad that i don’t ever want to fall into (but just wake up on some days feeling hollow and hovering and hiccupy-with-tears anyway). recently it’s been more of the latter.

i’m at peace. i’m okay. and that scares me. while everyone around me is freaking out because the biggest examinations in our lives are literally just around the corner (a corner known as 6 fucking days holy shit) and i’m just here, daydreaming. feeble attempts at trying to internalise some of my friends’ stress, take a big bite out of it, but i’m not digesting it. i try to inflict it on myself like self-mutilation but the pain is scaringly temporary.

like everything else is.

i feel like my life is a transition, and it gives me comfort but mostly i detest this stage in life and find myself constantly wondering when will it take on a surer ground.

i really wish i could just skip to the part when my dreams all come true and everything is happy and dandy. i wish it was just as easy as flipping to the last page of a book instead of writing and rewriting as i go.

everything kind of feels like white noise right now—white noise that i try to fill up desperately with my own form of reality. like waking myself up at 2am just to feel the rumble of thunder deep in my chest as i fill my senses up with the smell of midnight rain, sitting in the darkness and waiting for a bolt of magic to light up my room. like filling the empty spaces in my life with fictional writing, then filling my ego up with achieved praises.

constantly afflicted by my own form of reality and the reality that exists, you know? like there’s this tug and pull between the definition of “right time”. confronted by two voices screaming “there is a right time for everything” and “there will never be a right time” simultaneously. it’s deafening, and i need more claps of thunder to wake me up.

do not throw away the life you want over something momentarily rewarding but ultimately sabottaging.

but then again.

it’s a waste of time to think about things you can’t know.

the world through your eyes

my parents don’t think the lake opposite my house is much. probably to most of my friends that i’ve brought over to my neighbourhood, they’ll think the same too. probably to the rest of the world who resides in places with beautiful natural landscapes, the lake really isn’t much.

but i love it. as i’m typing this, my eyes flicker outwards through the windows, towards the distance where a peek of the shimmery waters reflects light back into my eyes. it’s shrouded by my favourite pine trees and the whole dusty green scenery just puts my heart at ease. i feel happy just looking at it.

so what is my point, really, in this—

it’s just…

sometimes i read reviews on movies and novels and art before i even have the chance to perceive them through my own lenses. and i’ve come to realise how superficial and narrow this habit of mine is. things like books and art and music and movies, they’re subjective. it’s quintessentially important to form your own opinions on them, precisely because of their subjective nature. just because one person, because they’re a professional critic or someone famous in that particular industry or just a person that seems to know better says that it’s “bad”, it is just opinion.

it’s weird that it’s the first time i’ve properly sat down to think through this in blatant terms, because somewhere in the back of my head, i know i’ve always been bugged by this social dogma. even in my own realm of fanfiction, i segregate two identities of mine, and now i know how jarringly contradicting my two personas are, and basically i’m kind of beating myself up over it. as an avid reader, my eyes automatically directs themselves to the reviews. on ao3, they’re mainly the number of hits, kudos, comments, or if someone “famous” in the community wrote it, and i base my judgements on that. it’s the first criteria for me to start properly reading a book. and even if the book turns out to be kind of meh, i psycho myself into thinking, yes this wasn’t too bad. 

here’s the hypocritical part. as an author, pretty new into the writing community, i absolutely resent that the entire “hits/kudos/comments” system, because it sets you so far back on the racing track, and as much as i hate metaphorising writing as a race, it’s basically true.

just because a piece of art gets slighted, or just because it’s being praised to the heavens, should mean nothing to me. but it does. and i hate this side of social conditioning that transmits itself into my everyday life, seeping through so insidiously that there is no way for me to cut off the source of prejudice unless i’m being hyperaware about it. and even with much effort of channelling consciousness to stay open-hearted and open-minded, i’m bound to be shackled to preconceived notions. a movie is almost always going to be a bad movie if you actively look out for the source of its “badness” just because someone tells you beforehand that it’s not going to be good, you know? i hate that.

i need to stop taking reviews and social hype as gospel. many of the favourite books that i’ve read often doesn’t have the best reviews. my favourite disney song is god help the outcasts, which is pretty unknown even among my avid disney fans; it’s not highly raved about or anything. some of my favourite pieces of online writing that i’ve come across in my lifetime are buried under the millions of other internet-famous posts. it’s a pity.

how technically good something is has no direct correlation to how much you enjoy it. even if people around me are saying that something is terrible for xyz reasons, i need to learn not to shy away from saying how much i actually love it. my enjoyment for it does not take away their reasons for disliking it.

what i look for in enjoying and appreciating art is just to feel something. if it’s purpose was to make me feel sad and i cried, it’s done its purpose and i enjoyed it.

people are made up of different lifestyles, memories, pasts, opinions, cultures and so much more. they’re bound to feel differently about things. my favourite part of writing is when someone takes the time to comment on what my words invoked in them, whether is it an emotion or a memory, and i thank them profusely for letting me know, because that means so much more than a kudo or being highly popular. it’s knowing you’ve subtly changed someone’s day, for the better, and now a piece of me will remain in them, however small that may be.

likewise, i need to be more conscious that my indifference or dislike does not influence another individual’s enjoyment of something. if you like that kpop group, go ahead. i need to learn to stop making snarky comments about them just because it isn’t my cup of tea. guilty as charged.

i guess a good quote to sum this up is: yellow is not a bad colour; you just don’t like yellow. banana is not a gross fruit; you just don’t like banana.

((this is highly relevant because yellow and bananas are my favourite colour and fruit respectively and they’re for some reason, highly controversial.))

everyone’s opinions are just as valid. listen, take them in, but don’t internalise. i need to realise that the world is a much better place when many different vibrant, contrasting ideas can bounce off walls and be heard without being put down.

this is pretty applicable to life as well? just because someone says something critical about you, about someone else, about your work and your ideas, that does not define you or the subject of discussion.

take everything with a pinch of salt and have the the courage and zeal to experience everything firsthand.