“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.”

:’)

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Mar 2016 / an update

I haven’t been on this space for a long time, not since 2015 ended. And oddly enough while most of my life has been constant, many things have changed. I yearn so much to lean on various constancies, but perhaps inwardly I crave for movement and disruption and change and grow through them.

Semester 2 has been surprisingly okay, and I’ve been doing decent despite not putting in as much effort. I’ve taken a more relaxed stance towards my academics and channelling my energies into reading other things instead, and it seems like it’s been paying off in more ways than one. I’ve also withdrawn most of my commitments, and I’m only playing netball now. But I do believe it’s really what I want — this semester has been for me a semester of undefined crossroads and decisions made / or am making, and while I dislike how nothing is set in stone, it’s enabling me to take a less cautious step towards everything I do.

Letting go has been a common theme so far this year, and I can’t really decide if it’s good or bad. Whether is letting go and letting God (a concept I am honestly still struggling with), or letting go of the things you thought you couldn’t live without, or letting people decide your future academic and career choices (it’s such a scary thing to realise that everything you might want to be is hinged upon that administration, but then I acknowledge that it’s a common societal discontent)… at the dusk of it all (almost) nothing lies within the realm of your control. And effort, as I’ve come to realise, is important but hardly determinate.

I’ve been running a lot more, and for longer distances too. I’m really really enjoying it.

I’ve also gotten an internship placement this summer, and will be flying off to Beijing for two months! So that’s one thing I’m really excited about because I never really thought I’d be able to get it. But I’m quite pleased. :-) :-) So many things, great and little, to be grateful about.

I’ll be turning twenty next week. It’s funny how I don’t feel much about that, and while hitting the big two-o is attached with all the usual conundrums of growing up and its pains, ascribed with adult responsibilities and a preparatory step towards the 21st… I don’t know. I think the greatest thing so far I’ve realised is that I’ve become exponentially less idealistic, and am very much of a pragmatist now. I feel that it’s very very very much reflected in my writing, and well… I don’t know how to feel about that. But perhaps it is this descend from my initial idealism that would be a certain turning point towards how I should govern my life.

 

re:me / an anthology

re- me (2).png

Last semester I found myself losing a semblance of who I wanted be. I found myself in the fast race towards something I couldn’t put a finger on, and I found myself lost in the midst of new landscapes, new people, new knowledge, all things new new new moving so quick and I couldn’t find a way to slow down, pick up my pen, and just write down what was happening. I did try, as evidenced by several sloppily penned entries on this WordPress. But I wanted to do something different, I guess, so here it is.

re:me is an ongoing diary-thing detailing things I’ve been thinking and wanting to write about. It’s really just a journal of thoughts and possibilities, and I find that it helps with this (self-absorbed, heh) bildungsroman as I trudge through college life. It’s definitely not the most well-written because I aim to write in a loose (but structured, does it make sense?) stream of consciousness kind of style and that means translating whatever occurs to me at that moment, right there and then. This is also the first time I’m putting things like that online because I’m always a little insecure about my writing, so here goes nothing.

Here’s the post, and the rest will be up whenever on lievesun (highly dependent on my college schedule and social life, or lack thereof.).

2015

re- me.jpg

I’m finding it increasingly difficult to put words in places they should be, or grapple with them in a way that best and accurately reflects my experience throughout the trajectory of this year. I guess that is indeed one thing I want to try to fulfill — my personal narrative made universal in the sense that I can transcend these precious things beyond myself in a manner that ensures its self-preservation placed in the grander scheme of what once was.

A great deal of things happened this year, some good and some bad. But as all things in life, we win some and we lose some. I am not going to begin comparing what I’ve went through with what others, for I know I am incredibly lucky and I want to continue counting my blessings. I know that there’s so many things to be grateful for, it is only by taking a little step back and understanding your insignificance in this abstract concept we call life in the universe, it is then we realize what we have — little or too much — is beautiful.

But how? I don’t even have to mention the great deal of loss and tragedy that encapsulated much of this year. I don’t even have to string these poignant morphemes of loss, cause and effect, because I do not have the right to. And I don’t claim otherwise. But I believe in the little strands of good and bad, right and wrong, the sense of morality and heavy weight of the love and the world.

I’m sitting in a little cafe with white wooden furnitures and full-glass windows, and there’s so much natural light streaming through. A light, a sheet of incandescence, a small indication of hope. People passing by, smiles on their faces and shared inside jokes. Angus and Julia Stone playing, quiet and reverent and calm and peaceful. We all know of the axiom detailing the intrinsic complex nature of a single arbitrary person that walks past us – and it’s quite incredible to think of the huge and immense-beyond-belief coalescence of narratives one can have in a single room.

At this juncture we would all be tempted to write down our new year resolutions, and I am no different. The notion of a blank lucidity and a white empty space appeals greatly to me. The happy chance to begin anew. My inclination towards this chance manifests in small, viable ways – changing my hair, decluttering my room to feel some semblance of lightness, rereading old letters and surprising myself with how much I’ve seemed to change from back then. All that being said, though, I realize all I really want to achieve is to be more in touch with my authentic Self. Though it’s on the verge of sounding vaguely new age, I do believe it’s really the most important quality a person can have – by disregarding various external influences and stimuli and staying staunchly to who we want to be, and taking active steps to get there.

Maybe that’s what each year is about. Resoundingly finding our authentic Self and living our lives through that. Taking one day as a place for renewal and keeping in touch with what we really yearn for in this life. Taking small baby steps of faith that what you love will lead you where you’re supposed to be, staunch and safe.

An education?

During times like these, I’ll always try to take a step back and recall why I ultimately chose my current college. Despite the workload and stress, the uncertain nature of how our curriculum is going to be, despite the incessant pressure at the back of my mind going what are you going to major in? What are you going to do in the future? And similarly drawing a blank when well-meaning people ask you the same thing and furrow their brow when you say “I’m not sure” and they give you a coalescence of an in-between smile and grimace… during times like these I always retrace my thoughts to that fateful day in 2011 when I was fifteen.

I was probably procrastinating on during Additional Mathematics or something, but I chanced upon someone’s blog. She was in an all-women’s college at that time, and was going to graduate in a few weeks or so. To say the least, I was entranced. I was inspired by her words, her conviction about the importance of education being a journey in itself and not a destination we painstakingly must complete, and the ease of how she seemed to tell her story.

From that day onwards, I read up about a liberal arts education. At that time, I didn’t know of The YNC Plan, so I figured the most feasible option was to go to the US. Then I glanced through the financial fees. And I decided to let that go, though I never quite stopped dreaming.

Why am I here now then? Was it a combination of my own unsureness of what I wanted to study, the exclusivity, or perhaps the four year guaranteed on-campus stay? Maybe it was the financial aid. Maybe it was how everyone seemed to have their shit together and being able to hold their own. Maybe it was an amalgamation of all of these things. Maybe.

I’ve been thinking about it, and maybe the most enduring explanation goes back to the sentence I’ve read when I was fifteen. An education is a journey. And that’s exactly what a liberal arts education attempts to bring to you — the privilege of being able to study a variety of disciplines without restriction in attempt to broaden your mind and teach you what and how to think.

It helps, I believe, to know that I’m on this journey I’ve wanted to embark on since four years ago — and every troubling inconsequential detail would fade away.

When the birds are sleeping, that’s when the trees sing.

   

Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge, the United Kingdom

Often (as we all do), I tend to scroll past old photos and photo edits, recounting the past as it was and will always remain.  This quality sometimes makes for the reverberating ache that spreads — which is very much unneeded yet yearned for at times — because you’re stuck in the recesses of the past.

But as we learn, we are, as a consequence, living in the shadows of our past. It may light and glimmer at dusk,  and it may fade out in a subtle hue of tales of the time being. What is here now is what I was and what I gained and what I lost.

ClubMed Bintan, Indonesia

Michael Mathews Coffee & Teas (made that up but he was really Michael Mathews and he sold coffee — grounded or roasted — & teas packed in plastic bags), Cambridge Market Square, Cambridge, the United Kingdom 

Nowadays I try to hinge on the brink of acceptability, but it’s so strange to yearn for people and singularity at the same time; it’s akin to a thought at the back of your mind screaming for escape which it prosaically cannot obtain.

It’s always the time to begin anew!

The Incomplete Drafts

a couple of things i’ve written over the years but came to no conclusion – and i don’t think i’ll ever finish them. but it’s interesting to see the way i thought and wrote about things before, and how things have, or haven’t changed.


today, a year ago

a brief break before my very very last paper on the eighteenth of november, so i figured i’ll write a bit. these few weeks have been expectedly annoying, but it was at the very least rather cathartic. i was so sick of the same old routine of getting up early, hitting the books, break for lunch, rinse & repeat. i wouldn’t say i was FULLY prepared (far from it, actually) but i’m so so so glad A’s came when it did. and during this period it was so… carefree? how strange, i know. but i was super relaxed during which.

i was talking to Tiffany about it today when we were (not)studying in a cafe, but i felt that i had a really bittersweet year. it was kinda tough to get through because i learnt so much about things — people, myself, the way things were supposed to work, but didn’t — all that. those emotions resulted in a strange duplicity in my being; i would be my usual okay self in the days, but come the times when i was either

– – – 

and here we hark back to the longstanding existential question of what is real. what keeps us going onwards and forwards. i always thought i knew what i wanted to do in life. man, i was so extraordinarily convicted about it. and i feel the basis on it hasn’t changed one bit. and ultimately to get there we have to work hard. but i used to know, and now i don’t. but

 – – – 

today, 3 years ago

2012/11/30

I’ve finally realised why most of my hopeful stories scribbled on the inside of numerous pretty notebooks or typed out neatly on the front of white screens often, very quickly, die off. Many of them are germs of ideas, and many are very good. But the lack of drive and conviction to finish them is due to my lack of interest and want to find a conclusion, a sort of self-revelation to find out the purpose of writing those.

So many times I’ve written a perfect parallel universe kind of writing, where I’d make up brilliant scenes with seas as blue as a robin’s egg, waves rolling and crashing with the air saturated with salt. Or alternatively I’d write about the forest, clean and green and the crunch of the dried leaves as they rustle in the wind. I’d make up characters, and make them all Mary Sues, about girls who used to be able not to, but now can, because of a change they’ve been through. Many of them end up blissful, happy & perfect, and what I write often resembles a poor man’s version of a Sarah Dessen novel.

But I’ve realised those will never work out, and those will never have me sweating over it for days and days until I manage to get them into novellas. I’ve even given myself some sort of motivation by signing up for NaNaWriMo but they always fell apart. NaNoWriMo is going to be over soon, and my lack of result speaks deafeningly of the lack of meaning I find when I write those. Indeed, admittedly writing them is enjoyable and leaves me in a happy, contented daze, but thing is I lose the plot and point when I’m not even a quarter through.

Then yesterday, I started reading The Help. And I was able to relate to Skeeter, her yearning to be a proper journalist and nonexistent interest in getting married, as it was the norm back in those days. She had to begin somewhere right? And she did. However along the way she got some sound advice from someone who knows it, and this line hit me like a hurricane: “Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else.” I know what does exactly that, and today I’m going to be brave and take that first step – write those on paper while trying to handle the rising guilt that will no doubt come onto me. I hope it works out, maybe. It’s going to be a long, gruelling process, but I must try.

I wrote this nearly a year ago last year, and I find that


what i see there are bubbles of positivity and a confidence i feel has slowly disintegrated over the years. i wish i still possessed just a little bit of that self-confidence and happy conviction. however in its place i find a quiet certainty of what lies uncertain, and a slow reworking of what i’m used to writing, style and content-wise. i hope this lasts – i’ve been writing and running more recently and it has been very therapeutic.