(in your hands)

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in a bid to make sure i manage to snag a few relatively alright photos when i go to stockholm, as well as the need to be endlessly preoccupied by something mildly creative… i got myself a secondhand camera! i’ve wanted one for quite awhile because i’ve mostly been relying on my iPhone the past couple of years, and it seemed like a good time to pick up something brand new. reviews almost unanimously agreed that the fuji x100s was a great starter camera, so i got that for a spin!

i usually post these photos on my tumblr, but i’ve come to realise that hey these precious things are all too deserving of a space on my legit blog. a little strange because this blog has always been kinda formal (since 2013!), but i’m in love with the idea of posterity and the elusive idea of constancy through change.

some people i love 

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my mom and the mother’s day gift i got her — a cute commissioned piece from @redbeanart based off an actual photo for reference! funny thing was that my mom couldn’t tell it was us at the first glance and wondered why i got a picture of two random women for her. hahaha i do admit i’m bad with gifts but i’m not TOO bad

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my beautiful friend with the flowers drew randomly gifted me with

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about a year back, i wrote this in response to turning 21 — i was relentlessly missing my 19 year old days because it was a phase where i felt the most true, most blue, and most brand new.

19 year old shiyin: the soulfulness of jack johnson, archaic readings, pulling dusty books off shelves, the soft hand in mine, the emotions happy and sad and happy and sad at the same time, the confusion, the self-doubt oh so much self-doubt, grey bedsheets and muji pencilcases and the stolen armchair from the living room

it felt like progress as it should be, but i was merely moving in stillness.

i’ve come to realise that while whatever i was feeling back then were nevertheless conveying a convicted sense of poetry, it was definitely not a good place where i should be. fast forward to being 21 and i found that i lost track of who i was and what made me,  me — things that i’ve always held close to my heart, and things i returned to with a nuanced comfort knowing that was classically who i am. i was merely ‘worrying about things inconsequential still’, and it truly was. a quandary i was facing was the need for achievement (to satisfy that annoying singaporean part of me) and the need to feel like i was who i was once more. 21 was the age where i chased the paper dreams, and was strangely successful at it – i got most things i wanted, and a few of those were worth it. but i knew immanently that those things weren’t the ones i wanted for my soul.

come 22, and i realised that true blue happiness lies in warm moments, genuine friends who want nothing but the best for you, and finding souls who are so undeniably intertwined with yours. i’ve always chased after the notion of true contentment, and i do believe that it’s not so far-fetched to say that that stems from a conscious sense of gratitude for the big things, the little things.. and everything in between.

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22

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on the eleventh of March this year, i turned 22!

if i had to be incredibly honest here –  i turned 22 with fresh dark violet hair, sipping on a gin and tonic at The Great Escape at The Projector looking out at the rather average view from what is essentially a makeshift parking lot with someone i’d met only the week before. this person was the first one to wish me happy birthday, and i remember thinking to myself amusedly – this is how little i care for birthdays now. i mean, who spends their birthday with a person who was (still) navigating between the ambiguous coalescence of stranger and friend?

awhile later, the messages from my dearest friends and family streamed in, and i let myself feel a little warm inside. i went home that night feeling strangely calm with the knowledge that birthdays and occasions as such were all nominal, and that was that. i was happy spending time with one of my best friends the day before, and had a modest party my family was going to throw for me on the day of my birthday.

i turned 22 not expecting anything else. life was kind to me thus far. and… so it goes, as life always does. it follows its intended trajectory, taking me through the most difficult semester ever (and this ends tomorrow with my final paper i’m growing increasingly acquiescent to study for), bringing new happy elements of surprises – my one year in Stockholm seems good to go from August thereafter, i got the summer internship placement i’d always wanted, and somehow the pseudo friend-stranger turned into someone i truly and deeply cared about.

i guess… these are some funny things that happen when you turn 22.

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glad i got to spend your birthday with you, too 
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set in motion :~)

 

January 2018

haven’t been in this space for awhile, and i guess it’s because i’m feeling increasingly reluctant to share my thoughts on a space so public, but maybe it’s also because i find myself (gradually) being harder to understand and read, more so than usual

ah of course, the ever perennial millennial indulgence of not being able to understand oneself

but truth be told… it scares me. not being able to understand my own underlying motivations, why i do the things i do, why i want the things i want. i feel like the past 2-3 months have been life changing, enlightening. but not in any grandiose way that points me to a singular reason – but in small, gradual doses coalescing into a strange disparate whole… oxymoronic as it is. i haven’t been thinking properly about me. i haven’t been reflecting. the whole semester + winter passed by in a blur, and mentally i’m still trying to play catch up.

to recap y2s1: it was good. good academia-wise – i took interesting mods, met great people in my classes, and did quite well in the end for my standards despite being real busy with hall. i got the internship programme placement i’ve always wanted, and will be heading to stockholm for a year next semester if all things pan out well! i learned cool things about business, consulting, leadership. i felt kickass and super motivated. i met great people, had the best conversations, had a lot of kronenbourg blanc. usually at the same time. a huge theme over the semester + winter was the realisation that i was no longer who i was, and i’m not exactly sure if it remains a good thing, or not. people wouldn’t believe it, but i am naturally quite shy (i can see my friends rolling their eyes) though i am pretty outgoing, butttt honestly going out on most days mingling with people isn’t a thing i would usually do. but this sem showed me that i could, and on good days i genuinely enjoyed it.

though i feel now it has reached a peak, and right now i’m just extremely tired.

i think it was the semester that i forced myself to try new things, be open to new things, and withhold judgement over the things i deem to be irrevocably black and white. to be present – do now, think later. not the best sagely advice, but i can’t say that it wasn’t fun. i was never really this adventurous, and on my end it really scared me because i felt that i was becoming a person i didn’t recognise – not saying that it was a bad thing per se, but i felt myself losing an anchor that i always relied upon, and i’m not sure if i want it back.

y2s2? i feel so confused. i’m trying to get ahold of my bearings and my motivation, but as with all things it takes time to come to terms with the changes and the drifting and the constant

now i feel quite lost, i must say. i’ve lost the touch for writing, reading, running… things that have always sustained me no matter the seasons. i’ll slowly try to get these back and build myself up again…! i’m never at the stage where i can safely say that i’m the person i really want to be, but at the very least, i can say that i’m trying. and i suppose that counts for a lot

that being said, i’m still incredibly grateful for the things i have and the people i love. people who come into my life with no judgement but a keen sense of understanding, tolerance, love. accepting me the way i (was) and loving me the way i am. i’ve read somewhere that love is nothing but steadfast & constant, and i do hope to cultivate that sort of love with all whom i love.

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“I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.”

:’)

A wave tossed in the ocean

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Today is strangely & ostensibly the day I caught the blues after numerous weeks of calm and contentment and joyfulness – and while I thought I was secure in the knowledge that my happiness came from within, it just took a few damning (& unwarranted, & unjustified) thoughts in the middle of the night to tear down this gleaming façade (?) of joy again. And that made me question… what is the source of this joy? What is the root of my cheeriness and my smiles? And why can it be torn down so easily?

I know more than anyone else my motivations, what I desire in my life, and what I yearn for. At the same time I know what my failures and flaws and regrets are, and how shameful I find some of them to be, and how I try to hide them away from the faces of the world

But do these things make me who I am – who am I? an individual, independent, bubbly, cheerful, yet mellow and too-quiet at important times of the day. Someone who desires the bigger, better things life has to offer, but also finds comfort in the simple, the still, the constant.

In my personal search for myself & in my journey of a bildungsroman over the years, I have never came to a single conclusion – I am, I am, I am, and I am always changing and changing and sometimes when I think about vestiges of my old self I can never be fully sure that it is who I was

Who am I, that the bright and morning star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart?

A single thing has always remained constant through the years, the struggles, the heartbreaks, the painful notion of having to pick myself up again & again and swallowing my thoughts and emotions for the strength to carry on, to be let down & disappointed by my own sky-high expectations, to give chances to the wrong people, to let myself down again & again… and that is You. I am undeserving, so so so flawed, so temporal, so fleeting, a wanderer in Your kingdom, but I always find myself going back to this golden relationship that is quite simply Ours. Amidst these things that make me blue I am still incredibly blessed and grateful for the big and the little things that make such an irrevocable difference. I will always be brimming with gratitude.

I want to – through my life, through my work – seek to glorify You and Your kingdom.

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I’m calling