T0 2016, with love

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This annual reflection of-sorts has always been something I’ve looked forward to — I find that I’m the kind of person who forgets the in-betweens, the details, the intricate stitching of what gives the year its own brand of softness, of lightness, of love.

I’ve always said that 2016 wasn’t an easy year for me, but if I were to look at it in a different light… 2016 was indeed a glass half-filled, a glass full of potential and things on a clean slate and a palimpsest in which I could rewrite/overwrite my narrative of being twenty. Ultimately, it was a really good year of growing up, learning from myself and from the people around me who came, stayed & left —  and from books, and a wonderful time of big scary changes and the little things that made it what it was.

I’ve loved, lost, felt the immense effect of the slow disintegration of what felt like love and the subsequent convalescence (this word was indeed a recurring theme of my 2016); changed my goals and changed my schools and refocused on what I wanted to do in the future with still a singular shrug of “err I’m not too sure oops anything?”, been to conferences and met interesting people and formed new connections, changed to a university hall and got cast in a musical production that involved a collective 200+ people, sang and danced and acted on a stage, and studied a range of strange courses that had me look at life with a sort of naive brightness and felt myself change and change and drift with an amalgamation of the nostalgic past and present, and to this end, I am brimming with a soft contentment and happiness.

To me: stop chasing that all too elusive idea of happiness — as though happiness is an end goal to be met on the daily. Stop letting yourself be taken with what on the surface to be golden, bright and wonderful, and in the process neglect what makes you want to glow from the inside, and what makes you smile with a softness and authenticity and quietness. Stop trying to make yourself feel small and stop holding back from what you want. Stop trying to do everything even though you’re a huge proponent for leaning in, looking forward, and taking where the tide takes you — even if you feel immense pressure in trying to be perfect, trying to look the best, study the best, write the best, and be the best in absolutely everything… you just can’t have it all, and it’s okay, it is perfectly fine, and it is supposed to be.

Again, I have to stop living as though the highest point in my life can be found somewhere on the ephemeral horizon, and I have to stop living as though days are meant to be trudged through, and I have to learn to lean back and be still and be quiet and know that my control on the universe’s motion is negligible and yet important all at once. I can in fact live my life with a quiet consciousness where I can experience and share fully without excessive concern of what others may think, where I find fullness in reading strange & wonderful things, writing about myself & other people & running running running, building something I can call my own, and just let myself live without expectation, and let myself enjoy this whole growing up experience without making myself feel like I have to do something and be someone and prove myself worthy… because at the end of the sunset I am already someone, and as long as I put in quantifiable effort in the things that are precious and important to me… it is enough.

I am enough, and there is no more.

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May 2017 be big and wonderful and unabashed for everyone. And may I study harder for both semesters and learn to love the pains & pleasure of project work, tutorials, and hall life. It’s been a great break, but it’s time to get back into the grind!

Update: March-May 2015

I feel quite bad that this blog has been left in a temporary lurch, so here’s a short update for my own benefit. My life has been oscillating around my internship + nightly conversations + much-needed meet-ups with my friends, rinse and repeat. And of course major things have happened – things I’m so excited for, things that was unprecedentedly unexpected, things that are definitely going to change what I intend to be in the future and how I’m perceiving the world right now. March and April were fruitful months and I hope May would be great as well! :-)

So things that I remember most vividly within these defunct months:

1. I got into my dream university… and even so, I’m doubting myself and my abilities – in addition to the hefty tuition fees that come along with it. To be incredibly honest, I’m second guessing my choice and I feel like choosing another university over it with a course I don’t really mind studying just because it’s way, way more inexpensive. I just hope everything works out!

2. I have 3 more weeks of internship left – until the end of May and from there, I’ve two whole months to myself! I can’t wait, and it’s so bittersweet because I’ve really learned loads where I currently am. And I’ve definitely met people who have irrevocably changed the way I see the world, as dramatic as it that sounds.

3. On Labour Day I went over to Rachel’s place in an emotional daze and her solution was to hear me grumble + give me a makeover… it actually worked out really well.

Obviously my daily face looks more like the picture on the top.

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4.  This happened:

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5. ThreeLittlePiglets – a collaborative blog with two of my colleagues was born due to a combination of pressure from our supervisor and imbued resentment for other similar blogs in Singapore. HAHAHA no, we’re not kidding. Currently it’s still a work in progress, but I hope it’s going to take off…. I hope.

6. I learned that talk can be extremely cheap.

7. We had a gander at nightlife. It didn’t work out too well… but it made me love my friends even more.

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8. My mushroom lasagne is ready so I’m going to stop writing and eat it now. I’m just incredibly excited for the future. :-)

9. But before I go, a short piece from my Dayre:

Last night’s three hour long conversation encompassing life, our future plans and successes was such a great motivating one and really made me realise what I’m focusing on now isn’t consequential.

It’s really so great to meet someone who shares the same ideas and dreams as you do and is willing to learn and sacrifice everything to achieve it. I haven’t quite figured out what I’m willing to sacrifice entirely, but I know what matters to me now and what is simply a huge waste of time.

I’ve a goal and I want to embark fearlessly into it.

10. A last motivational piece from Mavis:

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(By the way, I really adore Telegram Desktop. THANK YOU TELEGRAM.)

11. Uncovered this gem of a conversation from last year:

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(Thank you Joce.)

There and back again

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It just occurred to me that I’ve never written a reflection about 2014 as I scrolled back to the 2013 archives – this post in particular. The Belle Jar. It was in essence a post serving the dual purposes of reflection and me bemoaning my lack of remembrance in 2013. My jar is still resting on my desk, pristine and untouched, for a pretty long time. Needless to say I haven’t been putting happy notes in the jar religiously – though on hindsight I wished I did because it may have helped me see the mellow light in the bleakness that was 2014. I’m acutely aware of how melodramatic I sound… and I wish I was being melodramatic. Not that nothing ever came out of it though; I’ve learned loads on how to be a better person, a profoundly bigger person than myself and other important life lessons that can only be effectively conveyed through experience.

So here’s a part of what I wrote –

Every day somehow felt like a dream, minus the connotations of positivity and irrationality. It was like a palette of pastel colours; pale yellow, bright blue, ochre-red and purples splayed out in wisps across a blank canvas of a year.

A year later I see what I wrote as laughable. That was the primary reason why I began the Belle Jar in the first place – because 2013 (was, to me) nothing much to bleat home about.. because it was incredibly smooth-sailing and brimming with the gaze of an unnoticeably prominent happiness. I wanted 2014 to be different in the sense that I could remember it properly, that memories stuck out easily and I could learn and grow.

Except… I realised I didn’t need the Belle Jar to do all of those. All I needed was pain, self-loathing, and plenty of mistakes made in the process. I won’t go into details of what went down – if you’re close to me you should already know (and I don’t think anyone else reads this blog anyway!) – but it was really a trying time for me, haha. Add the prospect of A’levels into the complex amalgamation and yep – there you have it. My 2014 in a nutshell. I’ve glimpsed through my 2014 posts and I guess you can see a little bit of this unhappiness seeping through.. hmm. Overall, not the best year! But oh well, it really was needed. Plus it got a lot better by the end, so that was a tiny blessing in itself.

(I just felt like I needed to do a post like this for my own notion of closure, two months late. I wouldn’t say I want to go through something like that again, but heeeeeyyyy what’s life but a series of lessons and an excellent story teller?)

Mavs

Graduation day!

Yes!

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I’ve decided that I wanted to write a little bit more on this space now that A’s are FINALLY over & done with! But it’s mostly gonna be rather lacklustre and mundane events of the daily trajectory but I think I will personally enjoy it *narcissism*. Ah well.

Anyway, A’s ended on the day of the Jason Mraz concert itself so I was SUPER stoked and pleased. Got my single ticket off a seller from Carousell for a good price so I was quite happy. But I’ve got to admit — the concert I went in 2012 at Gardens by the Bay was much, much more exciting because I felt quite out of sorts singing every song sitting rigidly on my seat while everyone else seemed to be silent? I don’t know, man. But as always, his music & his message remained constant — spread love, stay positive, ‘create your own rainbows’ (haha, you’re so cute), be love. He threw out some fresh avocados off his own soil, too, which was really really endearingly adorable. AHHHHH.

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‘Be cool, baby. Be cool.’

JYAs

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Got a job at Sunday Folks and I’m not sure how well I’ll fare… I’m not exactly steady with balancing plates & stuff. But I’m quite excited!!! My first proper job :-) Also signed up for yoga off a Groupon deal with Mavis so I’m really excited to start getting fit again.