was thinking of how there’s so much left to learn and improve on.
i finished reading my fifth book last night and i have been keying in unfamiliar words that i come across in my notes app. i think i got comfortable with the language and i always took it for granted that my english was good but i think it can be even better. it’s about time i expanded my vocabulary. i also got my 15 year old tutee to teach me some bahasa tonight so now i know how to ask her helper to get me some water.
there are so many things i want to do and i feel a little handicapped because the reality is: time is needed to indulge / pursue these things. i’ve had a relatively tough july and august since i started working (was probably still riding off my gung-ho high from conquering feb-june’s back-to-back tuition-f&b-academics and thinking that work-tuition was going to be nothing) and i got rather blind-sided in terms of losing sight of my other intangible goals because most of my time and energy was channelled into being a workaholic and giving tuition after being a workaholic.
i guess a slight progress would be how i’ve been carrying a book with me and reading it while commuting instead of being another technology enslaved swiping drone on public transport. then again, it could be because my data has been on the verge of exceeding since the first week after it resetted. i think i’m truly starting to grasp the concept of making the best of what little time you have every day. and also, to not let the 9-5 (or 9-730 in my case) system have a limiting effect on personal development despite how challenging it is.
this is an odd post; my writing is choppy and my thoughts aren’t flowing nearly as well as they do whenever i decide to type out a post. ah well.
and then i think “you, again.” it has been a while since i last saw you and i am wondering why we are meeting again. my emotions are the same and they haven’t changed for years; dread, disgust and disdain. but this time you are different and it feels strange to hear your voice. i don’t remember what the first words that left your mouth were because i am not listening. i am indignant and i am disinterested. the words that leave you mean nothing if they aren’t an apology.
and then i realize that you have strung her along. i think “she looks better in person” but i won’t let myself admit it. i wonder if she knows what you did and i wonder if she would look at you the same way that i do – a coward. i am angry and there is always a bitter aftertaste when you are the subject. i look at her; i see kindness and perhaps even a little naivety that i used to have. what was it that my mother called it? young love.
but i see past the kindness in her eyes and her genuine curiousity at the aggression unfolding on my end. i am indignant but i am at a loss for words. i am fighting a war of my own as i try to think of what to say to you. i have brought up this hypothetical situation over and over in my head but nothing quite cuts it when it happens in reality. but then you break the silence before i can by telling me that she is better than me. and what surprises me is that it hurts. why does it hurt?
immediately i lash out and point out your most glaring physical flaw. the pits on your face are greater in number and they cover your entire face now. i spit out a “at least i look better than you” and instantly a bad taste forms in my mouth. the words hang heavy with regret on my tongue. why is it that even in dreams, i seek to win?
i get up. i realize that i have woken up before my alarm. i am shaken because of how alarmingly aware and conscious i felt i was. i still feel anger coursing through my veins and i feel out of control. i think to myself that i am not this bitter resentful person. i am not. but there i was looking and feeling visibly affected and maybe if i convince myself long enough, i can tell you that i am better than this. that i am better than you because i have forgiven you. i am better than this. but i think we both know that i am not.
i found myself in the most familiar of places; the popular at compass point. it has been over 4 years since i last came here because i entered university three years ago so frequenting sengkang mrt and then the mall became a thing of a distant past. i walked in idly because i wanted to wait a while before i returned home. i didn’t have a purpose to be there and so i naturally gravitated to the books section. then i saw the return of the little prince beside the lang leav collection. i didn’t know her books were close to $30 and i don’t know if the cynist in me is willing to pay for a book that seems a little too deliberitely marketed as the next indie sad lovelorn poem book to read.
so i found myself reaching for the return of the little prince instead because i remember reading a few pages of the little prince back when i was a kid and i didn’t understand why my mom said “this is a really good book to read, unlike your meg carbot (am i even spelling her name right) book” because i couldnt understand it or i didn’t want to. i found myself reading the whole 150+ pages of it – just standing near the shelves that had the HIGHLIGHTS banner and lost myself in the sea of words. i don’t know how to compare it against the little prince since i consider that i have never read it, but it was quite a blatant life lessons kind of book which was quite entertaining because of how in-your-face it was. but the book also included themes that i resonated with about forgiveness and humility, and these two values (..lessons?) have been at the center of my life for this year. i found myself agreeing and appreciating the book once i moved past the surface flagrance. i was also vaguely aware of many people reaching out for the book and reading snippets while i read the whole thing (and this saving $17 if i had bought it to read at home) and it felt quite like a….. move poster lost in transition moment; where everything is moving, life is in a constant state of moving and unwaiting. but there i was, standing albeit slouching and feeling as if i am at a momentarily pause.
i thought briefly of how transient this life is. i thought of the families and couples that walked past me and i wondered what conversations were they having or why they even were in the bookstore. this life is so short and it’s so easy to get caught up in the worldliness of your own. it’s so uncommon to even stop to think and wonder how the person on your left and right is feeling. did he/she wake up today with a heavy heart or one that was filled with anticipation? i don’t even know where i got these thoughts but i can correlate it to reading. there’s something about immersing yourself in words that aren’t your own thoughts that make you start to consider the world outside your own.
with that said, i finished reading 4 books in 9 days despite the insane deadline at work today. i borrowed my secondary 3 tutee’s divergent series and felt a little embarrassed to carry it around on public transport as i read while commuting to tuition and back home. i have truly forgotten the joy of reading and i think of all the time i have wasted thumbing through my iphone for the past few years when i could have spent the time reading. but if there’s one thing that i’m sure of is that it is never too late to pick up an old habit up again.
a lot of quiet moments spent abroad are ruined by excessive phone usage – particularly with the inane need to take photos of literally everything
when is the next time you’ll be looking at the poorly taken photos of random signs? or flowers outside your hotel? or buildings? i’m not saying zero photos – i’m saying “you don’t need to take a photo of every single thing” so, sure, go ahead and take that photo of that something that has piqued your interest. but i hope you also take some time to look at it closely beyond the screen. too many attractions and beauty in this world are ruined by overly enthusiastic tourists struggling to capture that perfect shot. and of course, to each his own, but i would like to think that the beauty of the moment is that you are in it.