Making Up For Lost Time

I’m a huge fan of telling people that beauty is but skin deep and I built a business around the idea that no matter what size you are and how you look, you are beautiful beyond measure.

 

Which is why when I burst into tears while sitting on the toilet the other night, it shocked me as to how easy those waves of worthlessness and despair washed over me. Even though I had spent a good part of my life helping others to chase those feelings away.

 

Ok, let’s rewind a little. Go back to the backstory.

 

I’ve had pretty ok skin all my life. Not great, but definitely low maintenance. I used my body soap as cleanser and slapped on the Laneige Sleeping Pack when I felt fancy. The sleeping pack started out as a gift that I didn’t mind using, and when relatives realised I used it, the gifts just kept coming.
So yeah, for a huge part of my life, this was it. Nothing else.

 

Then I started getting these cystic pimples on one side of my cheek. Usually the pimples come and go very quickly for me. Leaving no scars of marks. But this left cheek tho, had a tendency to leave very dark marks and spots. Only on the left cheek.

 

The days before my breakdown in the toilet, I had discovered 2 (!!) cystic pimples on the said left cheek and I knew I had to squeeze it. I kept telling myself not to do it, but I couldn’t resist because the last time I left one alone, it sat on my face for 16 days before I popped it. They just don’t go away unless I squeeze the fuck out of them.

 

So I squeezed and skin was broken, but the pimple was flat and pus-less.

 

I think it’s also important to mention that the week before the pimples appeared, I had started out on my china skincare (which had like 7 steps) and it was probably too rich for my skin.

Ok, so after squeezing, I slapped on the most expensive skincare I’ve owned in my life (mostly SKII cos my mum made me use it religiously in my secondary school days) and hoped for the best.

 

But it didn’t scab well and everytime I left the comfort of my room, I had to cover it up with 5 layers of concealer and even then, my mum kept asking why there was such a huge black patch (grey lah ma) on my face -_-

 

So the night of my breakdown, I was removing my make up and I think the friction caused the barely there scab to dislodge and my skin started bleeding.

 

It was like a huge hole on my face that couldn’t stop bleeding. Daniel walked into the room, shocked, and that’s when I burst into tears.

 

Even after my bath, I couldn’t walk out of my room to return Ellen her hairdryer and make small talk because I didn’t want anyone to see my face. For the first time in a long time, I was ashamed of the way I looked.

 

The next day, I wore make up at home, refusing to take it off even whilst I was cooking and cleaning.

 

It was only at night, when removing the war paint that I realised that I’d spent the last few years of my life trying to tell women that looks don’t matter and you can be of any shape, size, colour or assortment and still be beautiful, as long as you were able to feel that way.

 

But sometimes, it’s truly easier said than done. And when you’re the one dealt a bad hand of cards, the days can sometimes seem very much harder and longer.

 

I don’t struggle with my skin much, so this was a completely new experience for me. I’ve been fat all my life, so even though I’d have this feeling of worthlessness and insecurity about my size in the beginning, I’ve come to learn and know that it’s not ok to feel this way. That my body is beautiful.

 

Thing is, everyone of us experiences new insecurities each day. Sometimes, we feel that our hair is thinning, or that dandruff is obvious. Some days, we feel that our legs are too short, too long, too skinny, too fat.

 

Some days it’s our eyes, our ears, our nose.

 

Every day, something else finds it’s way to bring our worth down. But don’t let it. We’ve spent way too long having to believe that we’re not ok, when really, we’re perfect.

 

So feel down, but bounce right back. Take your time. To some people, a year is an improvement on a lifetime of self-hate.

 

To others, it’s a month.

 

But you know what, it’s never too late to make up for lost time. So begin now, today.

 

Coping Mechanisms

For a period of time when i first started school, I was known by my peers for disappearing from campus for days on end even though we were right in the middle of a busy semester. Every time I saw them, it would appear as though we hadn’t met for months. Truth is, I did come for classes (at least those that required my attendance) but I had begun to develop a penchant for skipping school on a whim.

There are mornings when you roll out of bed before your alarm rings and you’re naturally ready for the day’s torture. Then, there are days where even though you retired to bed early, you rise as if you haven’t slept and every inch away from your bed makes you want to burst into uncontrollable tears. Whenever I feel that way, I roll away from my responsibilities and transform into a burrito that’s incapable of dealing with that day’s worth of cruelties.

I’m not escaping reality. I’m coping. As much as I may sound like an irresponsible 5 year old when I take these unapproved absences from school, I believe they make me stronger. Find a way of coping. Even if it’s unorthodox, mildly irresponsible and occasionally involves white lies, find one and stick with it.

I’ve recently been trying out detachment and it’s been working out reasonably well. Unlike school days, I can’t roll away from my corporate responsibilities the way I want to. So after days of commenting on weather and falling into bouts melancholy, I’ve come up with a new way of dealing with the hard punches and brutality life tends to throw at us.

Surrender

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There are days where you feel invincible, days where you feel as if the mere tipping of your toes will hoist you high enough to pick a star out from the night sky. These days, everything you do is adequate. Even the mere act of breathing makes you revel in the fact that there’s so much you can do, will do and have already done that you will one day compile into a heaping list that’ll give meaning to your existence. Days like this, you wish will never end.

Then there are days where you feel like a sail boat on windless sea. Days where hours spent relentlessly working amount to nothing, like scribbling with white ink on white sheets, like dusting cupboards during dry storms. Days where you try so hard but get no where. Days where light blinds and darkness suffocates.

Sadly, today is one of those.

I don’t have pearls of wisdom or words of comfort because most of us have these days that nothing can turn around. Reassurance stings like swabs on wounds and advice falls like bitterness at the back of tongues. Bad days remain bad despite all the good in the world.

But it’s alright, because like everything else, days too shall pass. Good ones, bad ones, they’ll all fall into the valley where we’ll forget to pull them out for scrutiny so even when we look back, we look pass them, through them, away from them as if they never even happened.

So just hold on tight and keep your knees a little too close to your chest for comfort. Let this bad day reign over you, will it away and celebrate its passing. Oh, and admit defeat. The earlier you surrender, the less it hurts.

Image credits: Daniel

Ideas are Bulletproof

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School makes you appreciate the lesser things in life — like showering at absurd times of the day and seeking refuge from the scorching sun beneath the comfort of your blankets and artificially chilled air.

I just spent the afternoon curled up in the fetal position on fresh bedsheets when I should have been halfway across the island, stiffly sat upon a lecture chair fighting sleep. I tell myself sacrifices have to be made in order to retain whatever’s left of my sanity on a stuffy Monday morning and guiltlessly enjoyed my midday nap. A 10 hour work day is way too intense for the second week of school.

While waiting for the train in the sweltering heat and mindlessly scrolling through my Tumblr feed, I realised we fall in love with the idea of things like a moth helplessly attracted to a burning flame. We repost images we see online of people we’ve never met and rolls of cigarettes we’ve never really tasted. We fall in love with the simplicity of an image and the endless possibilities of perfection it brings. Flowers that never have to wither, balloons that rise without limit and love that’s captured infinitely in the summer.

I once asked why he never bought me flowers, insisting that I was being denied the one thing I truly loved and brought me immeasurable happiness. (Peonies particularly. Others not so.) In return, I was told what I loved was the idea of receiving and not the actual act. That I fell in love with the images of bouquets with the pastel hues against the flushed skin, the smiles and joyous laughter I was conditioned to expect when I held a stalk between my hands. In reality, I wouldn’t know what to do with them the moment the excitement faded. I would trouble with where and how to dispose of them, I would fret when they gradually lost their elegant disposition.

We fall in love with the idea of things because we can’t help it. Because things are always so covetable, so beautiful, so flawless when we only see them in a two dimensional world. We replay scenarios in our heads, convinced that we’re irrevocably smittened, until one day ideas become reality and we begin to grasp the unfathomable knowledge of why and how ideas are and will always be better kept in fantasy.

Excusez-moi?

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After owning this blog since forever, you can now find out who I am by clicking the page link right below my header. Or alternatively, visit www.braintango.wordpress.com/who-am-i.

Also took the chance to do some doodling since being trapped indoors with deadlines pretty much turn your brains into mush. A little cluttered, a little maniacal and a little too abstract to understand. Don’t ask me what it means, because I most likely have no answer too.

Happy sunny days guys, the skies finally cleared up.

Summer Dreams

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There are so many things I would like to do, so many dreams that have already begun to sprout. But sometimes dreams remain in the depths of your imagination because reality gets in the way, and after you’ve awoken from this hot summer haze, you’ll realise there’s a reason why they’re called dreams in the first place.

Of Politics, Transport and War

Tomorrow will mark my 16th day in school. And out of these 16 days, I’ve spent 2 and 2/3 days travelling to school. That makes 64 hours.

I live in the far east (or more specifically, Pasir Ris) and that’s a whopping 27 stops away from the nearest train station to school. On good days, I take 4 bus rides and 2 train journeys to complete my voyage from home to school and back again. On bad days (really horrifyingly bad ones that include tastings at inaccessible places), it takes me 6 bus rides and 4 trains. Cringe.

Money aside, travelling sucks away your energy in the most unfathomable way possible. You’re well rested, excited about school, board the bus/train at 7am in the morning and you’ll realise that there’s a mysterious force in the universe of public transportation that’s slowly but definitely siphoning your energy away for its own use. I call it war. PT (public transportation) war.

Classes that begin between 9-12pm can hurt my sanity, because even when I’m taking the train from the depot, the fucking thing arrives half filled. Why? Because Singaporeans have mastered the distasteful art of bouncing. Residents of the next few stops (ranging from Tampines to Tanah Freaking Merah) take the train in the opposite direction so they’ll be able to sit comfortably to work. Even if it means wasting an extra 10-15 minutes bouncing from station to station. I live in Pasir Ris. And during peak hours, I can’t even get onto the train that supposedly starts its journey from this station. I cannot even fathom how many trains others have to miss.

The congestion, the rush, the heightened senses and magnified grumpiness — it can hurt sense and sensibilities sometimes, and it can bring out the worst in people. I’m not really a fan of politics, because I come from a country I’m proud of for being safe, efficient and wonderful to live in. But there are some small things that’s easy neglected in a forward looking nation like ours. Tiny little things like how people like to have both feet planted firmly on the ground.

With a population density of 7252.43/square kilometre (that’s about 7 people per square meter), we have gotten so accustomed to spending most of our lives upon the cemented floors of our HDB homes, or the glass panelled surfaces of our latest malls, forgetting that these are not set upon solid ground. I don’t need much space. I don’t think we all do. I only hope that one day, we can stand side by side on real solid ground and not feel the sound of our nation whining beneath our weight. I only hope that one day, this nation will be able to comfortably fit us all.

Back to Basics

A few months ago, my life spiralled out of control. And as quickly as I rose to what some people may consider the pinnacle of academic success, it took me just as fast to tumble back down. But I am glad to announce that I’m back in school. 🙂

These few months have really been a journey for me. Law School drop out (LSD) turned amateur writer, I had to pick myself up and brush off the dust from my mighty fall, apply for various jobs and finally walk out of the nights I would spend burning mindlessly through readings I did not understand and days in which I would end drowning in my own tears. Its not easy walking out of your comfort zone (when has it ever been?), definitely not easy having to pursue your passion when your skills don’t back you up, and worst of all (applies to me only lah), having to experience a change of environment over and over again.

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Its my second day at school, and although I’m not quite close to being happy again, I think I will be soon. I can feel opportunities bashfully hiding in corners of my lecture halls, and seedlings of comfort eagerly awaiting blossom. I cannot say I feel right here, but I think I will feel that way soon. At least I hope I will—and that’s a great start.

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P.S: I’m the new food writer for Poached Magazine, so show me some love when you spot my reviews!

To New Beginnings

There will come one day where you will forget the sound of keys chattering beneath your fingers, the feeling of fullness when words fill you up, the satisfaction of seeing black ink on blank canvas. There will come one day where you cannot remember how, what or why. There will come one day where you hit rock bottom and have to start all over again. And what will come as a surprise is that you’ll actually feel okay.

Letting go of everything that keeps you anchored is scary. It is more than scary. It is frightening, petrifying. It is the first time someone took away your safety blanket. But letting go of everything that validates you also makes you hungry. It is a kind of hunger that reeks of desperation, and desperation is a good thing. It makes you want to learn, it makes you want to lap up knowledge like a starving stray cat. It lets you put yourself out there with zero remuneration, it humbles you, liberates you and reminds you that as much as you are something, you are also nothing.

It is okay to start over. It is okay to leave things unfinished and start brand new even if it means you spend week after week wallowing in tears, hopelessness and unworthiness. Because when they begin fade away, you are fearless, famished and so much better than you ever were.

Hungry For More

I’m starving. Logically I know I am. I can feel my stomach clawing for food, I can hear my head telling me to fucking eat something, but I can’t.

The empty space has become my best friend. Everywhere I go, I know I have company. It fills up the voids between our conversations and it plants itself in the gaps between us on the couch. Sometimes, when I feel like I am truly alone, it creeps along the edges of my feet, tickling the very tip of my toes like a salutation from a friend that never leaves, a compellation from an enemy that never goes.

I cannot feed myself, because I am feeding it too-this emptiness that seems to grow every single day. In good moments, it cowers away in fear, its normal composed disposition undulated by the positivity of my laughter, the warmth of my toothy grin. In others, it consumes me from the inside out, like a fetus trying to break free from the restrains of what used to keep it alive, like a predator discarding its carcass after a full meal. I am its full meal. My good thoughts, my better thoughts, my sanity, they have all fallen prey, willingly. But there is beauty in this distress, not unlike how there is always beauty in death, in burial. There is beauty in this course of putrefaction because there is weightlessness in being empty. Hate rushes past you, jealousy walks through you, anger dissolves within you and sadness evaporates around you. And love, love leaves you. The love we spend our whole life seeking and hating leaves you, because it can no longer manifest within your warm body of soul. You are barren land, and love happens to be the crop. Dearth and famine replace the empty space as your new best friend and you will be hungry. You will always be hungry.

I am starving. Every piece of my soul is breaking from the hunger and I want to eat. I want to feed myself until the throbbing goes away, until the hole in my chest is filled. But this is a hunger you can never quell, this is a hunger that will never wane. Because it only grows stronger with every bite.