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.

if your child ever breaks down and tells you “maybe i’m just stupid” do you choose

(1) to realize the severity of: her losing her belief in herself, self-doubt and feeling useless just because she started failing in her subjects. build her up slowly, encourage and tell her you believe in her? 

or 

(2) mock her. chide her. imitate her pathetic crying voice and repeat “maybe i’m just stupid. maybe i’m just not good at anything”. continuously rub (2) in her face at every possible turn such that it eventually cements a thought in her mind that willingly sharing with you a moment of raw vulnerability was a mistake? 

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you shouldn’t be afraid to be vulnerable and you shouldn’t discount anybody’s vulnerability or make anybody feel any lesser than they already do. no bitterness. just a sudden sadness.

as i was sitting on the bus, i recalled how i read that people of our generation just can’t seem to put our phones away. we are unable to sit still without using our phones, scrolling through our various social media pages and we don’t allow ourselves time to get lost in our thoughts or get bored. i then put my phone away and it felt really refreshing. the 20 minutes bus ride felt like an hour of self-discovery. i thought of so many things i wanted to write about and i also realised that by having an urge to write, it was a big step (and sign) that i am moving forward and closer to finding myself again.

before i had put my phone away, i was rereading my old blog posts all the way until my pre-university days. it was strange and it was (and still is actually) rather disconcerting that i didn’t remember writing some posts. i read a few posts in 2014 and i realised that i used to be mistaken about being in a rut. there were so many things that i wanted to achieve and i wrote about this over the years and i finally realised that i have actually achieved a few small milestones that i set out for myself.

i wanted to learn how to sew and this year, i sewed two sets of clothing for a dance competition i entered. i won’t claim a 10/10 for my sewing skills, but at least i’m no longer a complete idiot. on the same note, since i was 12, i had always admired dancers and felt embarrassed about how wooden i was when i tried to dance. i remember feeling a tinge of jealousy and even bitterness when i was one of the few in council who was not selected to be in any other dance item for our council teacher day’s item. i wanted to improve and not feel that entirely useless. last year, i joined my hall for a short dance performance during the cultural night and this year, i joined HOCC – something that i’ve always wanted to try earlier but i allowed my fears of not being good enough to get in the way.

i also said in november 2014 that i wanted to learn 3 languages and as of now, i’ve still only learnt thai. i dabbled a bit in german but i gave up halfway. i plan to pick it up again one day. i also learnt to master one language at a time. last year, i completed thai level 2 at ease possibly because of my 2.5 months in bangkok and next year, i’m excited to take thai level 3. i plan to also self-learn because i can’t just sit around and wait for the next level. after thai, i plan to learn malay because my family members know the language so at least i get to practice the language with them. it was actually a plan over the summer break to learn malay by myself and relearn finance basics because i had it with feeling dejected about my weakness…… but i spent 11 weeks slothing around. if i could write a CV regarding my past 11 weeks since exams ended it would be this:

summer break experiences:
(1) big bang theory seasons 5 – 9
(2) orange is the new black season 4
(3) rewatching the hunger games movie 1 & 2
(4) finding nemo
(5) finding dory
(6) the last ship season 1

…. and there is definitely at least 10 other bullet points of shows or movies that i have watched but i can’t seem to recall right now. i don’t know what happened to my ambitious summer plans and i don’t know if i should actually feel guilty. question: is it really that wrong to be a sloth? after reading all my old posts, it got even more apparent that i am always fighting an inner war of keeping myself busy and feeling bad if i allowed myself to rest.

anyway i guess it also relates to the title of this post. i don’t know if sometimes i’m just being overly hard on myself or not. but certainly i don’t celebrate the small wins that i’ve managed to achieve nearly as enough.
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i also wrote about how i stopped reading and drawing but i picked up the latter a few weeks ago. i also took time off yesterday to do up a card for my aunt because i wanted to show her how appreciative i am of her love and support to me. not sure if it counts as a subset of drawing but i shall take it that it is. i haven’t really picked up reading again but i started on a few pages of a book that i started on new years eve while waiting for watch night service to start last year and i plan to complete it before internship starts.

i don’t think my enthusiasm shows in this post but it feels like a fresh start. it’s been less than 6 hours since my previous post, but i feel like a new person. perhaps it’s because i finally came to terms with all the emotional baggage i’ve been carrying. i’ve had way too many negative and heavy posts in this wordpress. there are so many other things that i thought of writing and i typed them down in my notes app. for the first time ever (or at least for the first time in a really really long time), i feel excited about all the time i still have to continue to work on myself.

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