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reflections

your words are backed with intention, but without conviction

they’re merely words

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i am on my 7th day of work and my body is already showing obvious signs of fatigue; dry eyes in the morning, strange pimples on my chin and pronounced eye bags by 5pm. 

today my parents sent me to work which approximated to be $10 “still cheaper than a cab” and just wanted to write about how thankful and grateful i am to be so utterly spoilt and loved. i shared with char and wini on saturday that i really want to stay grounded in a spirit of gratitude even when things start getting hectic. i was briefly reminded of how a sermon at NCC talked about how we tend to forget how thankful we were for a particular situation in the past. eg. was thankful and felt fortunate to be able to enter a local university course after A’s but months into university, i would forget that lens of thankfulness and instead my thoughts would revolve around “can’t wait to graduate” 

and similarly, i realized that the same could happen so easily at work. 

i just wanted to remind myself to

– focus on the little nuggets of positivity even when work overwhelms me

– never to sacrifice or diminish my capacity to work on personal growth and development 

– continue to seek God in all that i do, even when it seems frivolous

witnessed for myself and have received feedback from two friends – char and sherrie – that they can see an obvious change in me. “you’re not weighted down by earthly situations” and i’m just so amazed at how my walk with God has accelerated so much over the past month. 
it’s gonna be a great 6 months left of 2017 šŸ™‚

clairezy and i were having another one of those intense TOG conversations that we have been having since she started reading the book and fell in love with it. then it spiralled into me realizing that she actually has a secret blog and then we exchanged urls, something that i realized is a first for me. i don’t think any of my friends my age actually has a blog now or maybe i just never asked. after all i think half of my close friends still don’t even know about this wordpress.

i ended up binge reading her dayre and then i felt inspired to write. i was thinking of how our friendship was so unexpected and i really love how we text so often, even if it always ends up becoming a TOG gushing marathon of how we need a love like rowan and aelin. if you’re reading this, please read the throne of glass series. it’s amazing and beats harry potter hands down, and this is coming from a true harry potter fan who already owns all the books but still paid $60 to buy another set because “i want to own the series with the kids edition covers” if you’re sick of male leads and are into female leads who don’t take shit from males and know how to stand up for themselves… this book is 10/10!!! actually why am i even recommending it when only maximum 10 of my friends know this blog hahaha

i went off tangent again. i am always rambling, it’s a consistent thing on this wordpress.

my shower thoughts consisted of me making mental lists of the friendships i have now and realizing that i’m so thankful for the friendships that i have in my life right now. i also realized that over the years i let some friendships go and placed less value in some, and sometimes i do think “maybe i should made more effort” or “i shouldn’t have been too quick to let that friendship slip away” but what’s done is done and i’m thankful to God for clearly putting some people in my life and letting them stay

primary school: none
secondary school: char and jo
karate: wei and ya ting
jc: rach bb, theo, lyndi, zihui, sherrie, haein
uni: zijie, syl, weiyun, clairezy, zit, emz and ezzy
internship: qianhua, qiantong, sam and chim

and it’s really not about lists or being cautiously selective, i think i just realized over the years that when people matter, you make time for them. and most importantly, that friends that you used to love and always thought would be there in your life forever could really eventually leave and end up being a stranger. i’m 24 this year and there’s only 21 on this list, there are some friendships there that are certainly stronger than the ones that are newer, but i think these are the friends that i would really want to keep in my life and i really hope to strengthen these friendships and that in 5 years time all their names will still be on there.

there’s been a lot of friendships that i’ve lost over the years, names that used to appear in this wordpress however vaguely or not and i’ve made mistakes before of putting my pride first / not making enough effort in friendships that i assumed would always be strong / putting my relationships first over my friendships.

i went for my first cell group in 11 years last saturday and it was a reflection session. one of the questions was “what are some areas that you want to improve in your personal life?” and i didn’t write it down then, but i would add now that i’m really going to strive to be a better friend to those who really matter in my heart.

last night was the first time i was honest with you. it’s strange how i always pride myself on being brutally honest but i realize now that perhaps i am no longer as truthful or honest as i used to be / think i am. i guess this is something i have to slowly work on and be conscious about.

so we sat on opposite ends of the bed while we thrashed out every single issue. i shared with you how i had doubts and felt that we didn’t bring out the best in each other and i questioned if you were good for me. my answer to the latter thus far had been a resounding no. but about 15 hours ago i realized that i had been a ghost with you. jaded about the possibility of another relationship working out and understanding first-hand that building a future with somebody could be easily broken down, i stopped putting in any effort. i used to be a giver. i used to talk things out. i used to take interest in finding out about the other person’s day. i used to confide. but for the past 16 months, i did none of that.

it’s hard to explain why a previous relationship that was so healthy and stable could have been easily let go, whereas a shell relationship of ours was so difficult to walk away from. i couldn’t explain it to my friends (thanks char and jo) who came over in the middle of the night to check up on me and i think the most frustrating part was that i couldn’t rationalize it to myself. self-awareness is so important to me and i realize that as a way of coping with hurting somebody (and myself in the process), i stopped being myself. i stopped working on building up my self-awareness because i didn’t want to deal with the guilt i was feeling.

i realize that there are still so many other things / issues about myself that i have yet to understand. i don’t know why my coping mechanism is so destructive. it hasn’t been like this from the start but i know that i was like this even with mj. past a certain point, whenever something went wrong, instead of believing in the person i’m with and trying to be honest or trying to work things out, i shut off my feelings and i allow myself to detach myself from the person / situation. and it’s as if silently i’m waiting (and willing) for the person to give up. i don’t know if this constitutes as “messed up” or “destructive behavior” but at the very least, i think i’m finally acknowledging that i have a problem. i don’t know if i hinted at this in previous blog posts but i realize that whenever i started becoming destructive, i was aware of it happening but i allowed myself to perpetuate such negativity. 

i am not this person. or even if i am, i don’t like who i am now. and it’s going to take some time for me to find myself again. i spent too long wallowing in self-hate and feeling ashamed for falling for somebody when i shouldn’t be. for the longest of times, i haven’t felt like myself because i turned the self-awareness switch off. being extremely self-aware was one of the things that i took pride in back in 2013 and until late 2014. 

it’s interesting because i started this post wanting to write about the first day of my relationship (i would like to think of it as the first day because we finally admitted out loud to each other that we were in a relationship but only a superficial one) but it ended being a self-reflection post. i’ve made too many mistakes and maybe i’m still not ready in terms of maturity to be in a relationship. but i’m going to really try to be myself again. and if it doesn’t work out, i won’t have any lingering thoughts of how i didn’t play my part to make things work out. 

anyway, if it’s your first time here reading this (i gave this link to a few of you) it’s my way of saying thank you instead of expressing myself through heart emojis. i really don’t like telling anybody about this blog because this place is more of a quiet place where i work towards improving myself – but i wanted you to read this because i turned to you or because you knew of the break up on Sunday. i guess this isn’t an explanation or my way of defending why i decided to work things out – but more of a way of assuring you that i’m not acting out of vulnerability and that i’m not making a rash decision out of loneliness. ok it’s very awkward i can’t think of a way of ending this post – see that’s why i don’t tell anybody. ok bye 

i am on a train again. i always seem to type out posts while commuting.

2016 has been an insanely long year for me despite it being only 4.5 months into the year. mid-february saw me going 100% independent from my immediate family, which entailed having a sudden urgency to find a source of income to pay for my daily living expenses, hostel bill and school bill. i was fortunate to have a family member graciously transfer me $5,000 to pay for my tuition fees as well as a portion for my hostel accommodation. but once that was paid for, the amount left in my bank account became a dismal number. although i borrowed from said family member, i wanted to earn my own keep to sustain my daily expenses because the ideal situation was that i didn’t need to borrow any money from anybody at all. so it began with taking on a f&b service crew part-time job at a rate of $7/hour which means that in a week, i needed to work minimal 8 hours because I needed to at least cover the $50 weekly expenditure on meals alone. however, after two weeks into the job, it was also clear that i should start sourcing for other sources of income (particularly ones that have better remuneration rates) because covering for just my meals alone were unrealistic. there were still looming bills to pay (phone bills, hostel bills for the next semester etc.) so i began looking for tuition jobs.

fast forward 2 months from then, i currently have 3 tutees (am tutoring primary school maths, science and english, as well as secondary 3 & 4 elementary and additional mathematics) and 2 f&b based part-time jobs. i juggle having 6-day work weeks (ie. i either work part-time at the f&b job or give tuition) with my academics and personal life etc.

i think of the state of anxiety that i was in 2 months ago when i had to fend for myself. and i remember how i resonated with the old adage of “Money makes the world go round” because it really mattered.

and i’m so thankful to God for giving me the strength and health (despite falling sick twice) to handle insane study and work schedules. the hell weeks this semester went by quickly without me feeling overwhelmed (as compared to the previous 5 semesters). of course, in retrospect, having to work every single day meant that i had to be even more disciplined in being more forward planning by starting on assignments a week earlier etc. but i know that God guided me through this madness and blessed with opportunities to find jobs. presently, my bank account is healthy and happy. any trace of anxiety or worry is honestly minimal. i am able to continue with my slated appointment at the national skin centre and order my monthly contacts. all by the grace of God. the best thing is that my first response was not to turn to Him – and yet, so much unfavored and undeserved grace.

actually the whole point of this post was not to share so much on the trial and tribulations that i had to go through. strangely enough, as the title suggests, i wanted to write about how i realized the importance of education and the opportunity to be educated.

i started working part-time at the second f&b company yesterday. during the lull period, one of the full-timers started a conversation with me and i found out that he has had a wealth of experience in the f&b line. it was also his first day at the company and he told me that prior to this, he worked at a supermarket, a japanese f&b chain, a crepe store and many other f&b related jobs. he was sharing with me how he actually went for interviews at the neighbouring f&b shops and i asked him if his pay at our job was the best (hence the reason why he chose this job over the others in the end). he told me that the pay was average and not fantastic but it was due to the job scope and having sundays off from work that cemented his decision. naively, i asked “is youe pay 3k?” and he replied that it was far from that – it was only at $1,254. and that’s when i got a shock while simultaneously kicking myself internally for even asking about the 3k since 3k is a starting pay for university graduates.. i thought of how i am currently earning about $800-$950 per month to meet my basic living needs (no shopping, all meals capped at $10 daily etc.) and i couldn’t even imagined how an adult could survive with $1,200 a month. it just seemed absurd considering how i expect an average of $3,200 – $3,500 salary upon graduation at my first job.

then he shared with me that his dream has always to be a make-up artist. he told me how he regretted not studying hard enough to go to the right polytechnic course that would open up doors for his ambitions. he shared with me that money was also a factor towards eliminating the possibility of this dream because attending make-up courses, getting professional certificates and investing in basic quality make-up tools were extremely costly – and he just didn’t have that amount of family support or monetary capability to fund his dream. of course, questions surfaced in my head such as “why didn’t you slowly save up to work towards your dream?” but i realised that perhaps he has his own difficulties (after all, his average $1,200 salary was before CPF deduction) and he may have decided that not pursuing his dream would be a better choice.

through this conversation, i felt as if things were put into perspective. while it has been a difficult two months juggling work and studies, i was still given the opportunity to continue studying. i didn’t have to quit school or put my studies on hold. and although this semester has been the best semester in terms of coping with the workload, being up to speed on assignments (with the exception of the B- i received earlier in the year for a 2,000 word assignment which i rushed out in 2 hours because of my lack of time management when i joined dance) and having enviable sleeping hours, i am reminded of how the past 5 semesters haven’t been the best in terms of managing my time, being prepared for classes and really understanding my seminars etc. i regret how i felt like i floated through my first year in university because i was seduced by the new found freedom after 19 years of living with strict curfews and lifestyle regulations. could i have been better at my accounting module? could i have actually excelled at my finance module? after all, i have always loved maths and i love tutoring the subject because of my genuine love for it. so many questions but it’s also a timely reminder to focus on the present and prevent past mistakes from happening again.

i don’t know if i went off tangent. but all i know was that after hearing his story, i felt… grateful and even empowered to be in the position where i could shape my future. there i was, feeling afraid of job prospects after graduating; will i get a job that is fulfilling? has a decent pay? career advancement opportunities? all these concerns whereas there are many others who have to content themselves with a $1,200+ monthly salary.

with only one more semester to go, and finals next week, i’m glad that i had that conversation because it was a timely awakening for me. it has been 16 years in a formal education system, and that was the very first time i thought “i am so fortunate to be educated.”

I am sad. and most of my writing is always fueled by sadness. I am sad and I feel that I have been sad for a while.

tonight I told you all the things I have been feeling. demons that I have wrestled with since late 2011. he really did a number on me, and his ghost still haunts every relationship since he left in January 2013. I am convinced that I am a slowly ticking time bomb and that eventually the people who say they love me will leave. I hate the whole “I love you” phrase because it is such an easy commitment to profess but it’s one of the easiest to break. I am convinced that I am not a good person to be with. Sometimes I feel great being alone; I relish in the feeling of being in control, being independent and having freedom. But mostly I feel vulnerable because I am waiting for the day where you discover all the demons I wrestle with in my head and decide that they are too many for you to handle.

and I am so negative that I am the spokesperson of pessimism. now I realize that I have became exactly like his ghost; negative, pessimistic and absolutely tiring to be with. 

tonight i walked down the long sheltered pathway – you know the one from my old block all the way to the sign that says NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION – with a heavy heart and the last time i took this route feeling something like this, it was after i walked away from our last confrontation. for the past five months i have done my best to suppress these memories; to forget the way you grabbed my arm when i wanted to leave, the way you looked when you told me how much I’ve hurt you and basically how broken you looked that night and the nights before that. 

so tonight i am thinking of you and I try not to because whenever I do I just feel like an awful person. I feel wrong for feeling happy. so perhaps all I’ve been is selfish from the start. if you’re reading this, thank you – because I guess a part of you still wonders how I’m doing even after everything that has happened – I don’t deserve your care or concern. I hope you’re doing well and I’m sorry.