Losing Things

Coming back to work after a 19 day holiday is like one of the worst forms of hell anyone can condense onto a blue Monday morning. Maybe that is the reason why my head is spinning and I feel like I am floating on cloud 21, the evil cousin of the adorable cloud 9. I also happen to only have $6 left in my wallet and approximately $21.54 left in my bank account, which leads me to telling you why I am at work today-its supposed to be payday. But of course, judging from the extra cheerful and positive tone of this post, you would have guessed that my net asset status now still stands at $27.74 (I found 20 cents at my desk) and my sanity at negative 58.

I have yet to find the crux of this post, or my messy stream of thoughts for that matter. I expected to have matured at least a good 20 years after spending some time away from this city and the people that I hate and love so much, but I guess I only gained 5 at the maximum, not too bad if you aren’t picky. You know how people love to shrug their shoulders and send you a nonchalant look while telling you “Bro, you lose some, you gain some.” almost as if they have looked past the frivolous matters of life and into the real essence of it? I kind of feel that way now, minus the fact that there isn’t someone I can tap on the back and deliver that quote to, except my boss who I think will take away whatever Zen feelings I have now.

It is true though, that life is this never ending cycle of losing and gaining. Perhaps the only constant. You lose a toy and gain independence. Lose a lover and it leaves a gaping hole in your heart. Lose a job and get back freedom. We are habitual creatures. We complain and whine about what life takes away from us, yet never once consider the times where we get back so much more (ok, maybe just equal amounts) in return. I sound so ridiculously clichéd talking about this, I’m probably going to regret it the moment I hit update, yet I need to remind myself that while life forces you to leave some things behind, and stealthily promises something else in return, there are certain things that are too important to give up. Things like your conscience, your integrity and yourself. These are things that you cannot give away in hopes you get something better in return. There will be no better you, than who you were meant to be.

Social Detoxing

I remember when my mother was having this yoga phase, she would do these monthly starvation routines where she consumed nothing but salt water and swallowed banana slices whole at the end of the day. She called it a detox and was convinced it would rid her of all the toxins and poison in her body, just because her best friend at that time swore by it. Whether it worked or not, I have no idea. However, the yoga mats have been neatly rolled up in their corner for quite some time now and I can no longer recall the last time she ate a banana.

I like Facebook. I like being able to know what my friends are up to without having to engage in a long and dreary conversation about how their pet cat died last month or how their so bored at work. I like being able to see exactly what’s happening to them-how they look in their new haircut, how they look at work, how their new boyfriend looks like, how they now look like. I like being able to snigger behind the shield of my computer screen and make wicked (but honest) remarks that would put Simon Cowell to shame. But I also dislike it. Facebook is like a breeding ground for drama. It is like a bubbling cauldron filled with all the necessary ingredients for an emotional showdown, it is a nesting spot for the bitch, bitcher and bitchiest. Facebook is Sparta, it is an arena for the worst and the ugliest.

So I have decided that I need a cleansing. A social cleansing to be exact. Even if it means that the cute waiter at the bar who sneakily asked for my name so he could run a search of me on Facebook can’t find me there. There are bigger and better things in life to look forward to besides the lunch your friend had yesterday, there are greater and more important things in life that you should occupy yourself with besides the silly little blurbs your friends post online. Take time out to really ask them how they are instead of inferring and convincing yourself that they are okay. Even if it means you have to tolerate the whining, the dramas, the hoard of irrelevant information, do it.

I guess I’ll be off the social radar for a while then. Maybe I’ll even take up yoga, make a few hipster friends and run off to live in a cave high up in the Southern mountains in Mongolia. (Wait, are there even mountains, let alone Southern mountains? Whatever.) And if you’re really bent on knowing how I am, or how I’m doing, I’m sure you’ll find a way. They have snail mail there, I think.

Courage and Faux Bravery

I smell like cologne. Like man cologne. And there are 4 new bruises on my hands and probably a few more on my legs. I am in the office with unwashed hair tied high on my head into a ponytail and a churning in my stomach because my colleague is talking about the delicious Bak Kut Teh she wants to have for lunch. But more importantly, I am trying very hard to recall the spark of brilliance I had last night which I vividly remember hastily typing into my phone but has obviously vanished in a puff of smoke. (Much like my sanity) The only thing I can remember is the title I so wittily chose for that epiphanous moment and am reminded that I wanted to talk about bravery.

I am afraid of many things-beetles, lizards, capsicums, oily hair, dry hair, being forgotten, making new friends, losing old friends… If I made it my personal conquest to collate them all, the list would probably take its place on the Guinness book of world records for being the longest scroll ever. On a scale of 1 to 10, I probably place myself between a 2 and a 2.5. Courage the cowardly dog would be so proud of me. It’s hard to tell that behind the gungho façade and the daredevil image, I actually am a piece of silken tofu inside. I, like anybody, get queasy before a rollercoaster ride and try to conjure up a million lame excuses in an attempt to avoid getting on it (even though I suggested it in the first place). I, like anybody, feel like my heart is about to escape from my mouth before I address a crowd way too large for comfort (even though I clambered and clawed my way to that position). I, like anybody, feel like my legs are reduced to jelly when looking down from a height over 4 stories tall (even though I willingly climbed up there in the first place). This is also possibly how the epiphany came to me last night. Even when we’re not brave enough, pretending to be fearless sometimes help make us that little bit more courageous. Note my attempts at faux bravery in the parentheses above.

Faux bravery AKA pretending-you-are-completely-unfazed-when-you-are-actually-scared-shitless is an art. It is like jumping into the deep end of the pool before you’ve even learnt to swim. I like to think of it as letting my heart grab hold of the steering wheel while my brain has been dumbed down by either too much fear or too much alcohol. But hey, the good news is that while pretending to be brave, you actually do become a lion, or get a lion’s heart in exchange at least. Feigning bravery often means you end up doing the things you would never have done in the first place, thus making you that much  bolder. Try having to exterminate a flying roach because you have a younger sibling cowering behind you in fear. You have no choice, so take a deep breath, mumble words of comfort (which probably is meant for yourself rather than for your baby sister) and pretend that that thumb-sized pest isn’t your greatest nightmare. When you’ve won that epic battle between man and insect, pat yourself on the back and throw your arms up in victory. You’ve just faced your biggest fear and survived. You’ve also become the most courageous person to have ever graced this planet, because courage isn’t about being fearless. It is about being able to face your bête noir.

However, there are times you have to come to terms with the fact that there are some phobias you cannot overcome and likewise, there are some fears you cannot face. But we will soon come to realize that being able to accept that truth is in fact an act of bravura as well. Therefore, I shall continue to stare at that daunting green stalk of asparagus and calmly convince myself that I, being so brave and valiant, will acknowledge the fact that I cannot and will never be able to stomach such a repulsive vegetable, give myself a reaffirming nod and walk away triumphant and proud.

Perfect Fit

“And when the sun rose, she vanished, much like how dry ice sublimates into a thin fog upon contact to the air.”

Comfort is when you lounge around the house in your sloppiest shirt and your most rugged jeans, comfort is when you eat from the ice cream tub directly, comfort is when your hair is post bleached and you’re lying on the couch next to someone watching the telly. Comfort happens to find its definition in you with me.

I always thought it was a joke, a myth, or something your parents told you so you’d actively go out and seek for a potential candidate to marry, that when the story went “we were born whole, but made to split, so we spent the rest of our lives seeking the half we lost”, you were supposed to roll your eyes so far back into your head, they would potentially get stuck. But when it happened to me, when I saw the shadows of the other half I didn’t even know I was seeking, it was like Twiddledum found Twiddledee, except they left out the part of the story where you didn’t only find them in lovers. I found mine in someone I till today don’t know whether to call my sibling, my best friend or my doppelgänger. But one thing for sure, you find halves in soul mates.

Yet when everything falls into place too easily, you know something will eventually fall apart. What if like a puzzle piece, you could be a perfect fit for two people? Could you ever be soul mates to two people at once? Then why do they call them the missing half? Half and half make one whole. Three halves just make an abomination. Three halves just mean one has to be removed so two can make a whole again.

We clasp our palms in prayer in hopes that we would find the halves we lost, and when we find them, we arch our knees in thanks. But what we should really be doing is pleading every day that they would never ever be taken away from us again. Cos when they do, you’ll never feel more broken.

Aligned

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When I look into my mirror now, I have this urge to let out a hearty, deep from my belly laugh because my hair is ridiculous. But I am so happy with it, because it is such an exquisite, intricate mess. It is so out of control, whacky, odd, crazy, completely insane, but it is so me. And I am so contented, so happy, so childishly elated by the state my hair is in, because for once, I feel like everything is aligned.

Boom Boom Box

Remember how in Inception, Cobb told Ariadne that 5 minutes in real life translates into an hour of dream time? That’s exactly how I’m feeling right now, like I’ve awoken from a dream far too long, unable to grasp that in reality, only a mere few days have passed. Overwhelmed would perhaps be too inapt a word to describe my current predicament, I feel like an old soul in a young body, like I’ve already lived a lifetime when it has only been less than 2 decades.

Even when looping your favourite playlist, you’ll get bored. The beats suddenly feel too familiar for comfort, the melody that once had the ability to make you walk with a bounce in your step now sounds like an infinite drone. So much so that you feel like ripping the earbuds out of your ear to the welcoming sound of silence. These few days have felt like a remix of anger, heartache, disappointment and helplessness. Almost as if someone pushed open the windows at the crack of dawn to let in the sunlight that although brilliantly beautiful, also blinds you.

It would be a lie if I were to say these few days have been plagued only by negativity, because despite having some very bad days, I have experienced happiness, relief and at some point, alarming content with what I have in my life. I have also never felt better about myself, or prouder when I looked at my results slip and saw exactly what my hard work had reaped. It is true you know, that when you plant the seeds of a magnificent raintree, you don’t get a beansprout. I’m not going to go on about how results don’t define you as a person, and how that slip of paper says nothing about your character, because it does. Somehow or rather it does. No matter how much you try to tell yourself that of doesn’t mean anything, it does. But the most important thing is to accept it and then move on. There will always be greener pastures and wider roads. The most important thing is letting yourself believe that you are better than this. Its okay to let it bring you down, but make sure you get back up.

On a heavier note (as if whatever written above wasn’t heavy enough), I have to learn how to place my trust in the right people. Once, someone asked me if the reason behind her failing friendships were because she couldn’t handle commitment. Today, after witnessing how friendships had the ability to crumble in my hands like the pastry of my mother’s pineapple tarts, I’m asking myself the exact same question. Things have taken a turn for the worse ever since I’ve decided to embark on a whole new lifestyle which includes a tad too much alcohol and a tad too little inhibitions (and sleep), which have resulted in me realizing that sometimes people who say they will love you for who you are only say so because…they don’t know the real you yet. Its heartbreaking to know that while you would have loved that person through vomit, snot, tears and even the sound of your own heart breaking, they wouldn’t do the same. In fact, they have already left.

But I don’t regret anything. I will never be as carefree as I am now. I will never be younger than I am at this moment. Sometimes we just have to learn that when the world comes crashing down, nobody can do a better job at protecting you except yourself. I was naive enough to believe that it could be you and I against the world, but somehow it seems I’ve already lost you, and this battle now has to be fought alone. This life is an infinite playlist, and its melody only I can hear.

Here And Now

I don’t know if its because of my extra heightened senses from my P, or the recurring chatter about friendship recently that has spurred this post. But if you’re tired of reading about fading friendships, about losing someone you thought was an extension of yourself, know that I am too.

Perhaps its because we can no longer use school as a legitimate excuse to meet up, or that everyone now has different commitments ranging from cleaning up dog poop to changing diapers that friendship becomes so damn insignificant in comparison. Or maybe its because in a world where everything seems to be beyond your reach, a friend that seems to always have your back is the last thing you’ll ever pay attention to. Afterall, no matter what happens they’re supposed to be there right?

I don’t want to be anybody’s safety net. I don’t want to be the one that everyone turns to only because they realise there’s no one else there. I don’t want to “have your back” all the time and then become the last priority on your to-do list. I am not your mother. I am not selfless, I am not. I try to be, but I am not.

They say you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. Yet in the end, you will come to realize, you have no say when it comes to the people who actuallt mean something to you. You can’t choose the people you fall in love with. You cannot pick the joy and leave the sorrow. You cannot choose to take and never give. You cannot have the happiness without the heartache.

You cannot choose the people you love, but you can choose how you love them. And sometimes, you have to let go before there’s nothing left of you.

Risk Everything

Its annoying how I only seem to be able to recall what I wanted to write about after I shut down the computer, therefore resulting in my dark room being illuminated by a spot of light originating from my phone screen.

Today, while meeting a friend to pass him a portable charger meant for Bo to use in camp, I came across a scene that made me feel like we were all growing up too fast. For once, I turned up early for the appointment and thus had the opportunity of seeing the entire family tumbling out of a silver car only to spend a few more moments with the tanned boy who was about to return to Tekong island for a week. But what surprised me was that besides family, someone else stumbled out of the car looking a little less cheery than her normal disposition. Then it struck me. Wait. Did his girlfriend just step out of the same car his entire family was in? What happened to relationships being kept a secret from the prying eyes of nosy parents? What happened to parents finding out about a budding love story being its greatest kryptonite? Have I been out of this dating arena for way too long and thus not being informed regarding the change in dating protocols?

I used to think that love in high school was an idealistic but unrealistic dream. I admit it is a little too cynical for a child only 18 years young, but heck. What are you supposed to think of relationships when the ones around you only lasted weeks at length? A friend and I used to describe the dating patterns in school using the analogy of a football championship. Its basically a mass exchange between the competing teams. Well in this case, players. You play, you ditch, you swap. I must admit though, whether true love or fleeting love, the mere idea of being submerged inside it is amazing. The nights you spend on the phone contented listening to the sound of silence that puts a tangible distance between you and the one you love, the lubdubdub of your heart which you’re convinced is a special melody only played when you know the one you seek is within sight or thought, the eternal promises fiercely whispered to overcome all odds and be in love forever, that is not something mere mortals like us can resist. But what I witnessed today was more than the euphoria or the surge of adrenaline one experiences when a lover utters the three words we all long to hear.

In fact, there was no hand holding, snogging or even a word exchanged between them. Yet during the short moments I spent with them, I could barely look anyone in the eye before I awkwardly said goodbye and scrambled away. Perhaps it was how there was no hiding, no awkwardness between them that made me feel like I had walked into an intricately woven web and upset its delicate balance. And then as I walked away, I thought to myself; she’s not just his girl, she’s family.

I don’t know when it’ll be my turn to meet the family of a certain boy whom I’ll be able to call mine. To me, love remains at the stage where my parents should be kept in the dark and milestones were celebrated in weeks, not years. But the few seconds I spent with that family today really made me realise that as we grow up, the way we love changes too. Instead of playing a game of swap or merry go round, we’re looking for someone who keeps us grounded and as cliche as it sounds, someone to spend the rest of our lives with.

And that, is a very frightening thought.

New Life From Within

I don’t like to think it is true

The distance came between us like a knife and cut right through.

I suddenly miss someone badly. You know how sometimes when you lose that magical connection with a friend, you can never get it back? It is surprising how losing someone you used to love so much could be this easy. That forgetting the way we sat side by side, head on shoulder could be as easy as leaving a hairpin behind on the bus. That letting slip of the looks we exchanged and the laughter we shared could be as natural as losing sight of your childhood. I can no longer see or feel the remnants of that tether we used to share, yet occasionally I hear the strangled call of someone on the other end. I am guilty, because I dismiss it, almost as if I never heard you whispering my name, never saw you reach out for me through the fog that has become our common memory. I am guilty, because despite your repeated attempts at trying to reconnect, I never reached for your outstretched hand. I am guilty, and for that, I am sorry.

Would you stay just a little, my love?

Would you sway just a little, my love?

’cause the hole in the middle of my heart needs filling up

If you stay just a little, that’s enough.

Darkness In The Valley

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I think if I met myself, I wouldn’t want to make friends with myself. And I think I’ve said that more than once. :-/ Just listening to my voice is enough to irk me. So kudos to those who are still gungho enough to be my friend, I applaud your inhumane amounts of courage, tolerance and good taste. 😀

Fishing with the 12 usuals today, and we reaped more than we could ever expect. Sometimes you have to go with an empty heart and a willingness to try new things in order to be rewarded with the good stuff. Besides the blue spotted stingray and the two abnormally huge Patin fishes, we walked away with a little bit more appreciation for nature and a little bit more valuation of the quiet times friends can spend together without technology or luxurious food (with the exception of a $22 sushi set and frantic uploading of our catch on Facebook). Sometimes we just have to step away from the crowded hustle and bustle of the city life and into the quaint and relatively more rural suburbs to be reminded of the finer things in life. Sometimes its not the things you do, but the people around you that matter.

I’m lucky to have such friends.