i really should be doing more preparatory work for my next class right now, but i feel a sudden urge to let it go and let my words flow from the innermost crevices of my mind and being.
i write this post with an outward sense of calm, confident in my abilities to grapple with most things that get tossed into my path without forewarning or caution. how people still believe in me during times i doubt myself the most. the happy surprise when i manage to get the things i don’t deserve.
the things i don’t deserve.
i feel, for the most part, i have always gotten the things i never quite deserved. things include: the friends i make, my college decision, the things i give my heart to. of course, the more devout of my friends would attribute it to the grace of God and nudge at me gently, prodding me to give praise and thanks when it’s due, and i guess it is through this omnipotent being from which i draw strength when i am lacking. however, why is it that it is only when i get them only then i realise… it really isn’t what i need, at all?
what can i say to that? i don’t even know what i need. i do know what i want — at least at this singular point in time — but how do we quantify what we need when we are frankly infinitely minute in the grander scheme of the universe? i feel that this is my greatest conundrum with my faith. we always have to attribute something — good or bad — to God’s plan. when things don’t go well — oh, we’re meant for better things, and He knows best. when things go well — oh, thank God. is it possible (and i ask this without moral judgement or a heavy heart) to let things just be?
this quandary truly frustrates me, and makes me ache with every fibre of my being, top down and bottom up. how do we know? i know, faith is putting (un)suspended belief in places you’re unsure of, in the things you don’t see. but to what extent, and to what end?
once someone told me i was stronger than i thought i was. how do you know? frankly, i think it’s amazing people can see the goodness in the self that we so sadly miss. how do i know i’m missing the things i’m missing?
the pragmatic side of myself would tell me to chill, and go with the flow. what does that even mean – do i let the good things pass me by, and just take where the tide takes me? i find that difficult to do. i want to grasp at the things i know will make me happy and make my life better. i want to do the best i can and be bold at knowing what’s good for me, and running for that relentlessly.
speaking of running, i should do it more often. i always run alone now, and i like it that way. my happiest tuesday & wednesday night combination would be the immense sense of relief after ending classes, having dinner, light reading / class prep, then going for a long run, and supper with a friend afterwards.
i feel like i’ve finally reached a new state in my college life where i do feel better with being alone and… independent, i guess. previously someone was always looking out for me, and i found that i depended a lot of that goodness. of course, as circumstances are always in a Herculean flux, i have to adapt myself along to the best of my abilities. funnily enough, i feel happier and more secure in this new freedom, the flexible schedule, the freed-up emotional well i found myself trapped in all too often initially, and i found myself better at being there for others. i find that i like being alone. this is quite strange, because throughout my schooling / brief interning life i was perpetually surrounded by my closest friends, and i guess that is a subtle dependency is a way… hm. i’ll get round to thinking about this.
which is one of the reasons why i’m slightly scared of being in Beijing. the loneliness. the knowledge that everyone precious to me is back here in Singapore. but ah, we’ll cross the bridge when we get there. working out accommodations is already quite troublesome, hahaha. but i look forward to it. :-)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!