I was in Melaka over the weekends, visiting my dad and my grandma. Stepping into the melaka house reminded me so much of my childhood. Seeing my dad's stuff all over the house, with his need to "improvise", with the Chinese posters, prayer alter, wind chimes, crystals and ornaments I've seen growing up pre-divorce... the messiness and simplicity of everything... it just felt like home. Even at 28, I don't think I've ever told anyone, or had anyone understand, just how traumatic it was going through years of being in the centre of my parents' non-marriage marriage. As a child, all you yearn for is a happy family where your parents love each other. We lived in a small apartment, and they managed to not speak to one another for a solid couple of years. Can you imagine that? Meals and outings were with either one at any one time, and never together even though we all lived under one roof. My dad ended up moving to the study room and they lived separately together... I'm surprised I could not see the absurdity of it all. But what I sensed was an undercurrent of tension, mistrust, anger and spite.. something which I still feel today on my mum's part.
Anyway, being at that house made me feel the peace, love and nostalgia I haven't felt in a while. Pops cooked breakfast for me, taught me how to drive, bought popiah for me. Simple gestures, but from the heart and done with real love. I love you dad.
I'M BACK! Half a month ago, I found myself mysteriously drawn to seek ghosts and shadows of my younger self - to find hints mostly - that I wasn't like what I am now... lame, misguided, uninspired and partly dead inside. As I absorbed the entries I put out when I was 22-25, it is strange to say but I began to draw inspiration from the younger me. GOD I was so enthusiastic about life! about learning! I craved experiences so deeply, felt so strongly about being in the moment and saying YES to everything... it's almost laughable how much of the opposite I am at the moment.
I'm not going to waste time wondering what happened because I wouldn't know. Maybe it'd be simpler if I blamed it on the "age thing" where your spirit mysteriously dissolves. My reason for return was triggered by a conversation I had with my mum earlier. I remember vividly pounding the keys and pouring my thoughts out in this little blogspace when my parents were going through their divorce. So the conversation I had with my mum just now, about me visiting my dad over the weekends, brought me back to the similar place of unease and tension. And the same need to relieve that tension through blog diarrhea came back almost naturally.
Well some updates for no one! I've been travelling alot since the last entry which was.... 2013! I've had the privilege of visiting beautiful countries like Norway, Nepal, Mongolia, Japan, Philippines etc and have inadvertently fallen in love with the whole trekking and camping thing. From my travels, I've learnt that hauling a 13kg backpack is not smart and also Very Not Fun - so my newest obsession is going Ultralight without sacrificing function. Have been going slightly gear-crazy recently researching sleeping bags, tents, backpack... aka the "Big Three". MORE ON THIS LATER!
Job wise... don't balk when I say this... I'M STILL AT THE JOB I BEGAN 4 YEARS AGO. LE GASSSSSSSSSP. WHO WOULD HAVE KNOWN? NOT ME!
It's very comfortable there to the point where it scares me a little. But it's like a beanbag which you fall into. The feeling of sinking into this very safe place where everything else moulds around you and you become one with it. This is what I'm feeling and it's very very very hard to retrieve myself. Which leads me to think if I'm uninspired and also lazy. The answer might be yes and yes and oh no but I don't care. There's a saying: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. These days I'm full of shitty excuses.
One thing that struck me when I was reading younger-me thoughts was how I kept wishing I could be happier. Finding "happiness" seemed to occupy a large part of my younger years and I really do wonder why. These days, I think it's getting a lot better, and I'm rarely at that point where I wished to be happy. It's pretty disconcerting, to think of it. Was I discontented with life then? What was I really yearning for when I wanted happiness? I wish I wasn't so vague in my blog posts! But to be able to say all these now means I've achieved what I hoped for - to be contented to the point I can't even remember my past sadness. For that I'm proud... of how much I've grown, how much I've un-grown, and how much I'll continue to grow.
Is it possible to lose your personality, even when nothing traumatic has happened? Ever since work begun, I feel like I’ve become much duller. Less funny, less interesting, less eccentric. I’m less fun to be around, and I don’t feel as sharp as before. Could it be just in my head? I really miss my old colleagues. They’re awesome to talk to, spontaneous, non-boring, and just as nonsensical. And being around such energy pulls similar feelings out.
Owh, those were three great years at Pearson! Truthfully, it did zilch for my resume, but oh my god, I grew so much as a person. People sometimes knock at me for “slacking” for 3 years, but ultimately I feel I had the longer end of the straw. Working there gave me enough time to decide what was most feasible for me career-wise. It let me see (some parts of) the magnificent and breathtaking world. It also allowed me to fix and maintain other aspects of my life (relationships).
It gave me the best thing in the world- time.
The flexibility allowed me to live in the moment. The marvelous feeling of not needing to fear about consequences. I didn’t have to plan very far ahead because I was able to do everything I wanted without overthinking.
But now, I have to think thrice before staying out late on a weekday! I might get too tired tomorrow, I might not be able to concentrate, what if I fall sick? Can I wake up??
Travel? Will my leave be approved? What about the piling work when I get back? Who’s gonna cover for me? Who’s gonna do it if I’m not around?
It makes me sick that my freedom has been compromised, in return for more resume fat. And it makes me sicker that I’m doing it willingly. I want to be out there seeing things, trying, learning, experiencing, and above all, growing. But is it possible if I’m on a timer that limits how much I can move?
With freedom and flexibility, the best things I used to have, gone, how will I be spontaneous? No wonder I feel bland and boring.
One thing I like about this job is the lack of need to dress up. The designers here have tshirts/ shorts/ khakis as their work uniform, so anything I wear seems considerably neat and appropriate, even if I wear jeans and tees myself sometimes.
I wonder what am I going to do 2 years from now. I know I'm suppose to concentrate fully on the present, but I can't help but wander into the possibilities of the future. Maybe I'd get sick of the "creative trade" and go for corporate firms where my roles and responsibilities have been spelt out since day 1. That could happen. It's not that bad.
Two months and one week has passed since I began full-time work at some design and editorial firm. Dear No One in particular, I've been working as 'writer' since the middle of March, and I just don't know what to feel (trust me though, I feel an assortment of things).
The day I signed the contract, I was elated my 2 month job search was over! After two agonizing weeks of interviews and awaiting confirmation, I was ready to be crowned new employee. But on that day, the visualization and feeling of heavy metal chains snaking round and round my body and limbs, starting from my leg up, felt realer than ever.
And that burdened feeling hasn't shaken off since. More dramatically, I'd say the job has clipped my wings. Gone are the days of flexible proctoring... week long adventurcations to off-beaten countries... sleeping in on dark, thundery mornings... fun colleagues to talk to... afternoon naps... MY AUTONOMY.
The feeling of entrapment certainly did nothing good to my moods. On different days, I was either tired, gloomy, unhappy, anxious, even more anxious, irritable, self-pitying, ungrateful, furious or very simply negative.
No matter what I did- read books/ listen to music/ spent alone time/ gave myself pep talk/ complained... I still felt negative!
I'm bringing this up now, because it's a glorious Sunday night, and I've repeated at least 4 times about how work is such a bummer. What can I do? What can I doooooo?
Thank god I still have enough fight in me to whine though. I suspect people who've stopped complaining ("life's like that, accept it") and hatching plans to get out of society's grasps have given up.
I won't let myself become numb, even if it makes me an angsty one.
Hordes of listless faces that are plastered onto numbed heads and propped upon lifeless bodies shuffle into the train everyday.
I see them and see myself being one With them.
Today I strike rush-hour lottery and caught a lady tearing up with a pained look on her face. Eyes squeezed shut with her lips pressed tightly together, she leans back with her earpiece plugged in. I imagine there are a few causes:
1) she's listening to an emotional audio podcast 2) she overhears a song that reminded her of a sad moment 3) nothing audio related, she was just reminded of a regretful moment
I was struck by her indiscreet reveal of vulnerability and mentally urged her to keep it in.
Beneath their poker faces, people will judge, and they will sneer a motionless sneer. In the morning rush, there is no place for someone to display any form of human emotion. But she did.
This song has never resonated more with me than right now, since I'm quite sure somebody's leaving.
I dedicate this to personX, who although wasn't in my life for long (she's not dead nor dying btw!), I'd willing admit and credit her for not only bringing me so much joy, but for also opening up my sallow heart to aches and vulnerability.
I've already gone way beyond my ego and made plenty of first moves, apologised to the point of begging, hoped to make nice, played nice, was nice... but sometimes you just don't know what the other wants.