Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Body Hate


I'm not skinny.  My sister is, a lot of my friends are - but I'm just not.  Even if I didn't eat as much as I do, my legs still wouldn't look long and willowy, I would still feel self conscious in one of those tie-up tops; my waistline wasn't built to be shown off.  It doesn't matter if I have curves or if I have strength - I will never be able to try on one of those pretty little dresses with pinching waists, or skirts with tucked in tops, and look amazing.

I know big butts and muscle are meant to be in right now, but in my culture and my family they hate it.  Being slim and fair is considered beautiful, and although I don't consider the colour of a complexion an indicator of beauty, I can't help but feel a pang of unworthiness when a dress doesn't look right on me, or when my mum says, "I want to get this for my other daughter.  She's so slim and nice."

Being in Malaysia doesn't help at all.  In Australia I can fit into smalls, but that's because I'm short so I automatically look proportional.  Here, where I'm taller than everyone, the fact that I'm not model skinny already makes me look seemingly big, and around frank relatives who aren't afraid to state their opinions, it's scarring to the way I see myself.

I eat too much.  I know that.  I've noticed that whenever something it put in front of me, I gobble it up as quickly as I can, and while everyone else is still finishing, I can't help but reach for more.  The thing is, when you're eating so fast you don't take notice of how full you are until you're finished and can barely walk anymore.  That's me everyday, and although I'm not diagnosed with any kind of eating disorder, sometimes I become melodramatic and think I may as well have one.

One of my friends said to me once, when I was complaining, "Don't make your eating special.  It's no different from anyone else's." and she does have a point.  A lot of people suffer from this lack of self control and I'm sure you all relate to eating out of boredom and breaking down on a block of chocolate and feeling extremely guilty after.  This seems to happen to me everyday in different ways, and I finish my day feeling disgusting and motivated to change only for the cycle to begin again.

It's just so difficult when the cupboard is filled with chocolates and biscuits and those delicious creamy wafers, the fridge with cakes and the laundry room with all kinds of chips.  My family's just one of those unhealthy ones.  I don't have a mother who doesn't allow junk food - she buys them on sale, my dad eats fast food probably more than twice a week, and my sister is so skinny that my family feels the need to pile food into the house in a failed attempt to make her put on weight.  I know I should be able to work around this, but it's just so so hard.

Malaysia is like that situation on steroids - because I swear that in this country they don't know the definition of healthy.  Meals are just carbs with spices, and they seem to happen every hour or so.

I can feel the fat gathering in my arms, my belly and my thighs.  It's gotten to the point where I will feel around my waistline and try gathering all the fat in one handful at the front.  Is the remainder how skinny I could be if I tried?  Because it's not very.

I look at photos of muscled backs and bikini abs on Instagram, I watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, there's some girl with really nice legs on Justin Bieber's Instagram, and I want nothing more than to shed all that fat and have a 'tight body' as my current book likes to describe it.  And the thing about 'tight bodies' is that anybody can have them.  It's just muscle and not a lot of fat, so work out more, eat less: easy peasy right?

And I know looking after your body makes a real difference.  I know I feel amazing if I've worked out and stayed away from the junk - but that hasn't happened for a while and I feel like trash.  I feel like I'm just filled with toxins and I wish there were an easy way out.

Sometimes I tell myself that eating is worth it because I love it so much, and what kind of person would I be to deprive myself of something I genuinely enjoy doing.  So I eat and I eat and then afterwards I tell myself it wasn't worth it and I shouldn't have done it because I'm better than that.  I shouldn't feel guilty for every bit of food I put in my mouth, but I shouldn't overdo it either.  I have this stupid love hate relationship with food and it really shouldn't be this hard.  How do people stay healthy?  How do they do it?

And working out isn't even a problem for me.  If I tell myself to work out every day of the week, I will.  I will run as far and fast as I ask myself to, and I will do all my crunches, hold the plank for as long as the goal I set, swim all my laps - but none of it matters.  What you eat is what you are, or it determines 80% of it at least.  No matter how strong I make myself, if the fat is there, it's there.  And even if it's gone, my bones will be there to determine my shape and I can't do anything about that.

I know I should love my body for the things it's capable of doing, but I don't think I appreciate it enough.  It seems as if in my culture, in my family, strength isn't factored in as part of your body.  It's weight that matters, even if most of that weight is muscle.  My mum has said countless times, "I was smaller than you when I was your age."  And she was.  She wasn't able to run as fast or do pushups or burpees, but she was still smaller.

And maybe as we grow older I will still be able to go for my jogs while everyone else's metabolism goes down as they begin to understand my struggle, or maybe not.  Either way, I still won't be skinny.

Love,
M

Sunday, 27 December 2015

All the Lonely People




Christmas Eve was spent at a Japanese restaurant with a mass of relatives taking up 4 tables.  It was the first time we saw the Ls and at first it felt like an us and them - but soon I was joking around and experiencing one of the reasons I love coming to Malaysia once again.  I ate my heart out and joked about being pregnant, which I feel happens way too often nowadays, and we went up to the rooftop where we stood on a glass floor at least 5 stories up, looked over the skyline, and it was hot and sweaty and we took a very many oily faced photos.

I feel like the Grinch in the sense that I keep getting annoyed at all the Christmas songs on the radio and all those seasonal posts.  But then, I also feel like some kind of deluded elf, sending out Christmas messages to almost everybody and being overly excited for present-opening.  This year I seem to be more excited about watching my present recipients than actually opening my own presents - which can only be a good thing.  

I love how I never stress about Christmas because I know I'll be with my family and they'll be with me.

Something I've noticed about this side of the family, consisting of grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins who altogether add up to around 15 people, is that it's overly inclusive.  We can't even trek through the rainforest without taking my grandma along.  If one person is missing from one of our many group photos at un-airconditioned Chinese restaurants we have to retake the photo.  It's just so different from any other group I've ever experienced being a part of.  We didn't choose each other but we were born into this group, and because of that we will always be connected no matter what happens.  I will always have someone to spend Christmas with no matter what happens.  They will always love me even if no one else will, and that makes me feel content.

The other day I was joking to my mum about some article I saw in her Women's Weekly magazine titled, "How to Avoid Disappointment on Christmas Day," to which she replied that according to statistics most suicides happen during this holiday period.  It's because the expectation is that you spend Christmas with other people, specifically family, and when you're alone you're reminded of how lonely you are.

In some ways I feel incredibly smug that I have many someones to spend this day with, and I feel reassured that of all the annual celebrations I'm doing this one right.  On the other hand though, I can't imagine how it must feel sitting in a room all alone, reminded that you have absolutely no one.  I can't imagine what it would be like having absolutely no one, period.  And I'm scared that one day I might be on the wrong side of the world and I might have no one where I am, and then I really would be alone.  I don't want Christmas to become like my birthday: a day with a buildup of psyching myself up for disappointment.

I reckon being utterly alone is the most terrible way one could live.

On Christmas morning we followed my aunty and cousin to church, and while my dad is catholic, the rest of us don't really identify as anything - hence why we never take the bread at communion.  I do reckon it's arrogant for us to believe there is no form of higher being though, so I guess in that sense I do believe in God.

The Priest said something about how the point of buying presents isn't about giving a person exactly what they want, seeing as they're able to buy it for themselves if they really want it, but it's more about the idea that it's something from you.  It's the idea that you care enough about them to give them a gift.  I know I feel amazing whenever a friend gets me something - and I love whatever they gave me simply because it's from them.

The Church was filled with the singing and instinctive responses of a huge community of people from the same sector of the same city.  Although I may have found the allegations towards our obligation to completely worship the Lord a bit extreme, what matters is that this religion brings people together so that they are never really alone on Christmas day.  In the same way, believing that this day serves a higher purpose, and that a higher being is always with us, can make people feel less alone.

I actually genuinely reckon you can't be truly alone on Christmas day.  The people of this world are generally inclusive, and even if you don't have a built in family, there are always places you can go.  There will always be some open community to join or some other lonely soul out there.  And anyway, other people's happiness shouldn't remind you of your sadness.  Just rejoice in the fact that most of the world is rejoicing too.

Love,
M

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Dazed


The heat of the summer and the unimportance of every task has left me afloat.  My life has become a series of lying on the floor with my phone held above me, my room hot and stuffy, with things to do but nothing urgent to be done.  Nothing matters for the next two months other than the bags I pack.

My birthday is in 3 days but I wish it wouldn't come.  I enjoy the lead up: the presents, the food, the attention - but then the day comes with high expectations and many disappointments, because tradition puts so much weight on this one insignificant day of the year.  I refuse to pack on my birthday, I refuse to check my phone, I refuse to play the piano, so what will I do?  Why do I need this day to be so perfect?  Most people don't remember my birthday for the day that it is.  They'll remember the date of my party, what they'll wear to it, the photo they might post, but they'll never actually remember the day.  And that's fair enough.  I don't remember very many people's actual birthdays either.  I'm just not looking forward to the disappointment of mine.

The past few weeks have been a cycle of eating too much and then working out in vain.  6 years of childhood spent on ballet has trained me to suck it in for hours, and this fools me into thinking it's all okay, but when I finally let go I see my love for food right there in its physical form.  Tonight I went out for dinner with my long-legged friend in her tight shorts, while I was wearing my loose long shorts, having just returned from three hours of non-stop eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet.  My skin was oily, on the verge of a breakout, and I felt like absolute trash.  I feel so unhealthy and I'm worried because I know that once I leave for Malaysia there'll be no chance to make a comeback.

Justin Bieber's album Purpose has been playing on repeat as I wrap Christmas presents and slowly clear my room then mess it up again.  My latest hobby has been collaging, and it's extremely messy.  The desk feels gluey, the paper is everywhere, and yet I'm proud of the final result.  The last collage I made was 21 inspired.  It's this movie about some boring MIT kid who joins a secret society that counts cards in Las Vegas.  The movie's called 21 because that's the magic number in the game Black Jack.


My dad taught my sister and I how to count cards the other day.  As a bragging card counter himself, he's told me that counting cards in casinos does not lead to beating up and scary security guards, but rather polite ones who politely tell you to stop and leave.  Although the theory behind counting cards is fairly easy, I can't seem to count fast enough.  It's simple addition and subtraction, but my level of concentration nowadays is so low it worries me.

It seems as if the only thing I really am concentrating on is social media.  I'm so unhealthily self conscious, or maybe I'm bored.  I check Instagram, get bored and check it again, and refresh and refresh and post in order to make myself paranoid, and then check out what everyone else seems to be liking.  I feel the need to share all the fun I theoretically should be having on snapchat, but in reality I'm not feeling a thing.

I think I'm living for the conversations nowadays.  Yesterday we ate candy by a lake and told some truths.  Today we walked along unfamiliar neighbourhoods and had the materialistic yet honest chats that seem to shape our shallow lives.  We sat in a smothering car sharing 20 seconds of our varying music tastes without an ounce of embarrassment.

I'm beginning to feel as if there are real friends and some who aren't worth respecting anymore - some who, after talking it out, you realise aren't healthy to be around.  They may be civil to your face, but there they go talking behind your back again.  They may put on a strained voice that makes you realise they're even more insecure than you are.  They may bring up topics specifically to show you their one area of superiority, even if all it does is reincarnate unwanted drama.  They may just be fake.  But then, maybe everyone's fake until you get to know them well enough.

I read a snippet of the play This is Our Youth yesterday.  It was in something Jessica, the character played by the idealistic Tavi Gevinson, said:

"Everything you think will be different, and the way you act, and all your most passionately held beliefs are all gonna be different, and it's really depressing... Because it just basically invalidates whoever you are right now... that there's these huge swaths of time in your life that didn't register at all, and that you might just as well have been dead during them for all the difference they make to you now."

Judging from the amount my perceptions on everything have changed this year, I can't imagine how much they will change in the year to come.  It feels somewhat sad knowing that everything I think now could be wrong, and that in a year all this analysis and writing will be meaningless to me, because I'll look back and see a lesser version of myself preaching unhealthy untruths.  

I don't seem to want to go to sleep at night.  Yesterday I watched an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians from 2008 until midnight, and then planned on working on some presents.  Maybe excitement is what's keeping me awake at this exciting time of year.  Maybe I'm dazed because I'm happy and there's nothing to worry about.  Or maybe the fact that I've got no commitments has left my brain dopey and blank.

I don't feel very alive right now.

Love,
M

Friday, 4 December 2015

When I Grow Up

When I was 6 our class did a show-and-tell on what we wanted to be when we were older.  There was so much variety - from astronauts to ballerinas - and it leaves me wondering how our far fetched dreams become less and less so as we grow older.  Is it that we become more realistic as we get older and wiser, or is it that we lose hope?  I do personally think it's the former.

I wanted to be an author and illustrator.  As a budding reader, I was loving the Rainbow Magic series, and Go Girl, and Aussie Bites.  I couldn't see myself writing a full book though, because that seemed like the most tedious, difficult thing in the world at the time.  I did like drawing.  I liked telling stories.  So that's what I wanted to do.  Making little picture books about fairies and families were my projects back in the day.


I remember there being a lot of kids who wanted to be teachers.  Maybe it was because they were the people we looked up to.  At the time, the only adults we spoke to were teachers and our parents, so understandably we wanted to be just like them.  They were the only jobs we fully understood outside what we'd seen on TV.

I remember sitting in a park on one of our school trips - I was about 10 at this point.  These two girls were sitting on the see saw and one of them asked the other what she wanted to be.  She said she still wanted to be a teacher, the same job she'd announced four years ago during show and tell.  Is it possible that she still wants to be a teacher now, six more years down the road?  Is it possible for someone to have a calling like that?

I know I most definitely didn't have a calling.  My next phase was the architect phase.  My reasoning was that one, I enjoyed drawing; two, I liked the idea of designing buildings; and three, my second aunty who I looked up to was an architect.  One time, while we were visiting her in Sydney, she taught us how to draw up designs.  She taught us the symbols for doors and windows and walls, and how the measurements all fitted together.  I think the measurements were what killed the dream for me in the end.  As someone who finds geometry problems absolutely tedious and hair-pulling-frustrating, I couldn't imagine having to fit building parts together to the smallest millimetre.  I know that in geometry, when fitting angles and lengths together, if one part doesn't fit, or one part gets changed, everything needs to get altered, and judging from my lack of patience in maths class, I can't imagine how I would be in the real world.


As I was transitioning into high school at 12 years old, I just wanted to be rich and famous.  "A billionaire."  That was my ambition in life.  I wanted to be like the Hiltons, with my own successful hotel line, based all over the world.  I would travel via private jet and all the people who had ever known me would look up and wonder why they ever treated me the way they did.  My parents would be proud, my relatives would look up to me as the epitome of a good life.  They would brag about me.  I would go shopping in Paris.

DN and I had it all planned out.  She would own a boutique next door, and she would manage one of my hotels.  She was always the charismatic one who would be good with guests and people.  We would take my private jet shopping.  We would have the good life.  Of course it was all a fantasy, but I thought there was a possibility it would legitimately come true.


I guess the idea of becoming rich never left me, because from then on my ambitions became related to any white collar job.  It was between finance and medicine (which are incredibly different, and show just how little passion I was factoring into my lifestyle choice), leaning more towards finance.  That's what my entire family does anyway, not that I know exactly what they do.  They wear suits and live in all corners of the world - financial advisors, accountants, bankers, stock brokers, sitting on corporate boards, becoming a 'partner' seems to be everyone's goal in life?

My relatives' success in life is defined by how much money they earn.  That's how we measure how smart they are.  My mum says that in life you need to go to uni, then spend your youth (your 20s to 30s) working your butt off.  Then, when you're 40, you'll have the life you want. You'll be able to do what you want.  I was okay with this because these relatives got to travel the world.  My mum worked in Hong Kong for six months, then Japan.  They get transferred everywhere, and I figured that wearing business clothing with a big city hotel life was a life to have.  I didn't think of the job.  I thought of the lifestyle and it seemed appealing enough.  Even if I spent all my time in that new city working a job I didn't enjoy.


"Take actuary," they said, "Actuary science is studying statistics.  You'll be good at it."  Statistics and probability is another field of maths that isn't exactly my favourite.  Most of my conversations with my dad seem to involve grades and the future.  He talks about universities and the best courses and he acts as if he knows everything.

In some ways he does have a dream job though.  My dad is a scientist, because he's passionate about doing research to change or help the world.  As a water scientist, his goal is to help ensure we'll have sustainable water in the future, and help inform decisions on water distribution in all sorts of developing countries.  He travels to meetings and summits and conferences.  The only issue with all research jobs is the funding they need to do so, and sometimes a job that is a passion can become so dysfunctionally systemised.  Some of the reports they make him write up seem so pointless, and by the time that report is finished and unusable, he has to write another one.

Through our many conversations and considerations, I decided that going into finance had no purpose.  My life would be spent making money out of money, and although I may have been able to get rich, that's not the goal in life.  Although, my next option of becoming a doctor revolved around the idea of becoming rich too, just in a more fulfilling way.

So I scored myself a placement at the hospital for work experience, and as someone who has never had to stay overnight in a hospital, and doesn't really know anyone in the medical field, what I saw was an unfamiliar, interesting, shocking environment.

Nurses, physios, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, social workers, psychologists and doctors all work together on patients.  It's crazy how I never considered how patients actually lived, and all the steps involved in making their lives normal again.  I'd never really seen people that sick.  I'd kind of bypassed their existence in my brain, and meeting them was like meeting any other person.

The patients were lovely people, and as I got to know them, I found myself more and more curious as to what they had, as to what was really going on inside their bodies.  Dealing with people with strokes and infectious diseases, some were partially paralysed, weak, unable to speak and breathe on their own, seemed completely out of it, depressed, cynical - people in their most vulnerable state.

With practically all of them being well over 60, they had interesting stories to tell.  Even the ones who weren't able to speak had their ways of communicating to me, nodding and shaking their heads.  I talked to their families, their nurses, and when curiosity got the better of me I read their files.  Every case was different.  Every person was different.  And I understand now that most of the incurable people are old and having their lives lengthened for as long as possible.  I understand that when people say someone "died of old age" they don't just die one day, they have to die of something.  And dying in bed, surrounded by family, painless under palliative care - what more could you ask for?


On the last day of my placement I managed to tag along with some doctors doing their rounds.  There were the intern doctors, fresh out of uni and practically doctors already, deciding what they wanted to specialise in.  My main concern with going into medicine was how many years of university I would have to endure - which is commonly 6-8 years.  Seeing these interns, most at around 25 years old, I realised that it's worth it.  They're not old at all.  They have so much more life to live and they're already doctors making decisions and dealing with patients.

I could see myself in that position ten years from now - going from student to registrar to specialist doctor.  At 25 I would already be what I want to be, and then it would be a matter of going through different levels of superiority that don't really mean anything other than a little more responsibility.

The wife of one of the stroke patients was 87 years old, and she was a doctor back in the day.  She told me it was interesting, and I don't doubt it.  With every person and every case being different, you'd never get bored.  You're changing real people's lives, giving them use of their brains or other vital parts of their bodies.  They can go home, speak again, walk again, interact with their families again - and all they needed was an expert who understands the human body to help them do so.

I think that now that I know what I want to be, I think I now have a purpose.  I feel like I have an identity.

Love,
M

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Sad Stories


Practically my whole morning has been spent getting wet.  It started with dragon boating training - my bench partner described the boat as 'a freaking water park' which is incredibly accurate - and the rest of it was spent spouting waves of tears while watching the final episodes of the short-lived TV show, Red Band Society.

Being a hospital drama, I should have known there would be crying involved when I began the series on Wednesday.  I got attached to the characters within forty minutes of footage.  Kara, the cold-hearted ex-cheerleader who needed a new heart; Leo, the charismatic superhero who has almost survived cancer; Dash, the hilarious boy with a lung problem who wants to go out with a bang; Emma, the complicated, intelligent girl with anorexia and insecurity issues; Jordi, the cute Mexican boy with family issues and a whole lot of independence; and Charlie, the 9 year old in a coma who knows everything.

I must say, Red Band Society really won the idea of a hospital atmosphere over for me.  It's made me excited for my work experience next week, even though I'm sure I'll end up disappointed.  For some reason this show makes me feel like becoming a Doctor would be worth it, that helping people in serious need would be happiness enough, that hours spent in a hospital doing surgery and putting your brain towards fixing a body would be plausible.  Or maybe I'm just gullible and pathetic, basing real life decisions on some drama ABC concocted up.

The show was full of family drama, romance, love for Nurse Jackson, and then finally there was one scarring death that left me crying over every little thing after.  The saddest thing of all though, is that there is no Season 2.  After 13 episodes of a beautiful show, it's over.  I don't understand how the 'numbers' were apparently too low to save it.  How could people not watch this show!?

You'd think it's stupid to spend your time entertaining yourself by crying unnecessarily over fictional stories depicted by people who understand the medium, so why do we do it?  It's like when Day loses his memory of June in Legend, or Augustus' matter-of-fact death in The Fault in Our Stars, or when Tris dies.  Even the final scene of Mockingjay is melancholy, and neither Peeta nor Katniss died.

I reckon all must be right in the world when your only source of sadness comes from TV shows or books.  I'm currently reading All the Bright Places and I feel like I've spoilt it for myself.  I think I know he dies.  The beautiful, different, deep Theodore Finch is going to kill himself, and I am going to cry.  He's one of the first male characters I've liked more than the female, and one day he will be gone.

These stories feel so heavy, and I wonder why I can feel empathy for these characters but not for real people.  If anyone real were going through the same situations, I would feel awkward or judgmental.  I wouldn't know what to do.  Maybe it's because books and movies show us everything.  In real life it's not possible to know all these personal inner feelings of people, but directors and authors make sure we know when they write it or film it.

Or maybe sad stories are simply inaccurate.  Maybe this utter understanding and empathy doesn't exist in real life because we never really know what a truly real and complicated person is going through.  And maybe it's because sad stories are the only way to expose ourselves to the surrealism of watching sad circumstances in detail from an outside viewpoint.

The thing about sad stories though, is that they're always remembered in this melancholy light.  Every time you hear the name or think about it, every emotion comes back.  They're memorable.  I can't say the same about happy endings.

Love,
M

Friday, 13 November 2015

Coming of Age

This girl today was telling me about how her English class were doing their orals based on the theme 'Coming of Age' and I guess you could categorise the books I've been reading lately under that general heading.  As you probably already know, the jump between the lengths of the third Harry Potter book and the fourth go from short and sweet to long and increasingly complicated.  So after enjoying the tedious journey through the Goblet of Fire I decided to take a break by reading some teen book, and never really got back to it.  I will return to the fifth book after finishing my current book though - don't you worry.

I've seen a change in my book and movie choices lately, from revolving around chick flicks and rom coms to focusing on more relatable aspects of life - because in case you haven't noticed, there's not a lot of love going on in mine.  Although the majority of the texts we read, hear or see nowadays depict a romantic relationship as the centre of life, I think we need to realise all the other more important individual aspects as well, because friendships and personal feelings are way more complex than what we deem as 'cute couples'.


Even in Paradise - Chelsey Philpot



The second YA (young adult) book I read -I think?- was this one about Charlie, an all girls' private boarding school girl, who falls in with this classic John Green character-type, Julia.  Julia's family is dazzling, larger-than-life, mysterious, adventurous, owns this palatial beach house, and contains her hot brother, Sebastian.

If I remember correctly, Charlie gets so deep into Julia's life that she begins to neglect all her previous friends.  She doesn't seem to care either.  It's like she's dumped them for someone she deems as better and they're not good enough anymore.  In some ways, I feel as if she wanted to be more like Julia, go on adventures like Julia, be rich like Julia, and I also understand how easy it can be to see people who have qualities you wish for, and immediately think they're worth more somehow.  I know it's horrible to neglect your friends, even when there's all those quotes about surrounding yourself with people who are already who you want to be.  I just reckon that while it may be easy to get caught up with certain people, the friends you're close to always deserve all your respect and attention, or at least some sincere apologies if you stuff up.

But then, I read this article today where the writer said something about how as you grow up, you stop seeing your friends in this hierarchy from closest to less-close, and you begin to see them as separate relationships or just influential beings of sorts.  Maybe once I start seeing people as names rather than closeness ratings, all these 'ethical friendship dilemmas' won't apply anymore.

Charlie was also this artsy sculptor character who kept this memory box throughout the whole book.  At the end of the book she uses all the little memory trinkets - sea shells from the beach house, the rock from her first encounter with Julia - to make this sculpture, and I just think that's so cool.  Memories are the most influential things, and turning them into a piece of art would actually represent something real.

There was also this quote: "You don't judge people do you, Charlie?  You just kind of watch them." (p148) and it epitomises how much I liked her character.


13 Reasons Why - Jay Asher



I've read the blurb of this book quite a few times over the last few years, but I never picked it up because I thought it seemed too depressing or boring or not cute enough.  After a friend recommended it though, I thought about it some more and even went through the trouble of buying it rather than borrowing it.  That just goes to show how much other peoples' opinions can impact mine, even though it was definitely worth it.

The book is written in the point of view of Clay, about a girl named Hannah Baker who commits suicide and leaves tapes describing the thirteen reasons why she did it.  The reasons go over many different aspects of high school and friendship and respect, and to be honest, I reckon Hannah was incredibly stupid at many points throughout her story and Clay knew it.  It was like she was just searching for reasons to die, instigating them, and then finally acting upon it.

It's crazy how rumours can spread, how they can go from something seemingly innocent to something warped by other peoples' opinions.  The thing is though, when you do something you think honestly won't matter, even when people begin talking about it, it still doesn't really.  People talk about other people and what they do daily as a way of small talk, or as just another conversation.  It doesn't matter to them, but if it's about you or something you're part of, it seems so much bigger than it really is.  And while these may be seemingly meaningless conversations, they still impact how people think of you and your reputation, and therefore how people treat you.

Hannah writes all this 'bad poetry'.  She goes to this garden cafe and writes her feelings in incomprehensible semi-sentences in her notebook.  She talks about how people change for other people, and how daunting it is to sit in the diner where everyone hangs out alone.  One of the people who constitute as a 'reason why' is the publisher of this lost and found zine, filled with the things he finds on scrap pieces of paper people leave lying around the school.  While what he publishes by her isn't right, the idea just seems appealing.


Never Sometimes Always - Adi Alsaid



This one's about an 'artsy' pair who want nothing but to go through high school originally.  As freshmen they write this 'nevers' list of all the cliches they refuse to do throughout high school, and at the end of their senior year they decide to do them all.

I just love the 'artsiness' of it all.  They people-watch on this bench at this beautiful harbour, the girl dyes her hair pink, they take a road trip to watch some indie band (this was actually a cliche), they build a treehouse in the middle of the night at school, they bring cupcakes to a notorious party house, the girl recites an inappropriate slam poem as a joke.

I dog-eared quite a few pages in this book and here are some quotes I'll share from them:

I start thinking about exactly that: how people can edit a thought before sending it out into the world.  They can make themselves seem more well-spoken than they are, or funnier, smarter.  I start thinking that no one in the world is who they say they are, then my mind goes to how I also edit myself, not just online but in real life, except for those real instances like right now where I'm ranting - even though that's a lie because I've had this train of thought before and damned if I didn't tweak it in my head a few times to make it sound better - and then my mind starts racing so furiously I can't control my thoughts, and I start thinking about robots and wondering if I'm even a real person.  Then I have to watch cartoons to shut my brain off. -p81

I know it's weird to even say or think this, but that book has made me who I am... But certain lines felt like they were thoughts I'd had my whole life that just hadn't taken shape until I read them.  'A little better than you found it' is how I see everything now.  Not just the world, but everything.  People, too.  I want people I know to be a little better off than when I found them. -p111

'How's your day been?' Julia always hated the question.  It had always felt to her like a question asked between people with nothing else to say -p236

It was lazy.  Love was lazy as hell.  Love laid around in bed, warm from the sheets and the sun pouring into the room.  Love was too lazy to get up to close the blinds.  Love was too comfortable to get up to go pee.  Love took too many naps, it watched TV, but not really, because it was too busy kissing and napping.  Love was also funny, which somehow made the bed more comfortable -p229


Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac - Gabrielle Zevin



This is the book I'm currently reading and it's basically about this 17 year old girl who loses her memories from the last 6 years.

It's haunting the way she wonders why she's friends with the people she's friends with.  When she asks her real best friend why she even likes her boyfriend, he tells her honestly that it's because she likes being seen with him, the same way she likes being seen with her 'friends' in the cafeteria, who she realises she doesn't enjoy the company of.  It's crazy how being seen in certain ways can affect how we spend our time, and I'm trying to make my actions more genuine than to have anything to do with reputation.

She's also the co-editor of her school year book, and when she asks her best friend why she likes it, he says it's because the year book is what people refer to in the past and the present.  When you're young, you look at the people in the Yearbook to see who you aspire to be, and when you're older the Yearbook is what you take out to remember that time: the people, the activities, the school year.  So the Yearbook is basically a community memory bank, something people truly do refer to, an impact on reputations and school and the creator of nostalgia.

Reading this made me think of my own failures at becoming the sub-editor (and then editor) of my own school's yearbook, which I found out about earlier this week.  Sure I was disappointed, but at the same time, the girl who did get it deserves the position just as much as me.

...

I reckon we gain so many ideas from reading books without knowing it, and there are also so many books I've read in the past that have had a huge impact on my worldview, and so many I would love to reread to fully appreciate this time round.

I think it's time I got my life sorted out, so that the only problems I have are the ones happening to the characters in my books.

Love,
M

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Poetry


I've always had the stigma that poetry was all metaphors and analysis, full of flowery words that were a complete waste of time and made no sense.

Yesterday night I was talked into going to this slam poetry reading (I know. How hipster does that make me?) and I found that the poetry wasn't 'poetry' at all.  Each reading felt more like a life rant, rife with metaphors and descriptions, but seemingly full sentences that made sense all the same.  These poems were eloquent, somewhat relatable and absolutely intriguing.  They were like spoken short stories, but extremely personal ones.

I don't think poetry can be said or read or written without being meaningful in some way.  The words are so specific and limited, and I guess the entire purpose of writing poetry is to convey some form of inner emotion or thought that's been eating up your brain.  I can't imagine being one of the girls who stood up in front of the staring eyes, against the backdrop of the pristine bookshelf behind them, sharing something so personal through a beautiful medium.  They were so brave.

...

The first girl I saw spoke of the young being the old.  If I remember correctly, she said We are the young with grey hair.  She spoke about how we are so so stressed, and we drink caffeine, and we have all these issues that the previous generations never seemed to have - or at least that's what I think she was saying.

She spoke about how we comply to the walls the other generations have built around us, and how we need to learn to say no.  I somewhat get this, but maybe you'll get it more than I do?

...

I'm not a humanitarian type, and when it comes to the less fortunate they have a tiny place at the back of my mind, but I don't acknowledge them very often.  I know.  That makes me sound like a terrible person.

This girl recited this poem that sounded like a rap, entitled Welcome to Australia.  At first I thought it would be funny, rife with Australian puns and shrimps on barbies; but it was about the refugees in Syria, yet another neglected and rejected group of people I'd prefer not to acknowledge.  Her poem was so emphasised and intriguing and heartfelt, and I think that's what poetry is meant to be.  She used her writing to send a message of awareness, and maybe I should be more humanitarian than the cold-blooded human I seem to be.

...

The most relatable poem of the night would have to have been The Price of Doing Well At School.  I've been considering the issue of the repetitiveness of school for a long long while now, and it's gotten to the point where I can't believe this is my life.  She spoke of a memorised timetable and how tests are just tests and she knows it, but why does it seem like the make it and break it of life?

Some will become doctors and lawyers and businessmen, and some will just fall.  According to her poem school is an institution where they test sixteen year old girls on how well they cope with anxiety.  Every test was another battle, and it's like these stupid answers and questions are the bane of our existence.

I know I used to feel the same way, where I would measure time and dates by which assessment I had or had already had.  But now I feel nothing but absolute worry at the lack of stress and care I feel for these tests and assignments.  I would never half-heartedly do an assignment, but I don't feel particularly motivated either.  Studying for tests never involves taking those detailed notes anymore.  I use material from class and read the textbook.  I have so much confidence in myself and that will be my eventual downfall.

...

One of my friends recited a last minute poem on anxiety.  It was one big metaphor that finally made sense at the very end, like some kind of mystery novel where the final chapter reveals everything.

As a human being who undoubtedly feels emotion, the idea of having anxiety trapped inside oneself is obscurely relatable.  All those times you're dreading an event, dreading the people you're about to see, anxiously awaiting the encounters you've been imagining in your head; it's like the feeling is trapped and you just. can't. get rid of it.  I tell myself 'normal people do these things' 'normal people would be doing this.  There's no need to be nervous.' but I just am, and I guess that's the only reason I'm ever constantly unhappy.  I'm so busy being anxious about whatever the next event is, whether it be someone one-off or even a weekly activity.

I'm getting better though.  I've been talking myself into realising that there's absolutely nothing to be worried about, because nothing is ever that bad and I'll always be able to talk my way through whatever the event is, no matter how awkward or inferior I may feel.  If I decide I don't want to feel that way, I won't.

...

There was this girl who was so immensely brave who shared a huge piece of her identity.  She was so eloquent and her metaphors were personal perfection and I feel like she could be one of those inspirational speakers or a writer in Rookie or something.

...

Here's the first poem I realised I somewhat liked.  It's from Stuck in Love and yes, I realise that this is the second post in a row where I've mentioned it, but it's a really good movie.  You should watch it.

Anyway, a poem by Rusty:

In the sea of desks
There is talk of bags and games
And long pipes that leak dreams
With the strike of a match.

And there's a loudness to the whispers I hear.
Whispers shouldn't be that loud, should they?

There's a girl over there who everyone knows
And men without ears who will stand at the door
For a price.

And long hallways; there are always angry mobs of dwarves,
and rats

And 
One
Single
Angel.

I mean, I can't say I know exactly what it means - but it just sounds so so nice.

...

Maybe I'll attempt writing some poetry some day.
Or not.

Love,
M

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

On Creating


Every personality test I have ever taken has told me that I'm more logical than creative.  According to them I'm more inclined to live a life of logic than one of vibrant art and ridiculously exaggerated meaningfulness.  But then, maybe that's because I always give answers that I know will lead me to that outcome.  My entire life has revolved around the basis of maths and science, and it probably will continue to, but I think I'm going through a phase where I'm so sick and tired of it all.

While writing that previous paragraph I moved to five different locations, looking for a place where I could write in silence.  Downstairs there was this clock which just. kept. ticking; outside there was this immensely irritating fly; and from everywhere in the house I can hear the subtle noise of a drill coming from some form of construction a while away.  It's strange how you don't hear these noises under normal circumstances, but when all you want is silence, every little sound becomes irritating.  I need the silence because I feel like creating accurate streams of words relies on concentration.  I guess in that sense I really am more logical than creative, because I can't spurt streams of meaningful, artistic words on a whim without thinking.

Lately the cliche idea of being artistic has been strangely appealing.  There's those excessively tumblr, aesthetic, minimalistic themed looks like Brooklyn Beckham's instagram account; there's the girls in hoodies and doc martens with their hipster glasses; there's the deep and meaningful people who write oh-so-deep-and-meaningful works of art; there's the indie people listening to their indie music; there's the seemingly intellectual people who pretentiously 'love' the classics - but when I think of this all I think is fake.  Even if it's not fake, all I see is a try-hard mechanism because each of these supposed self-expressions seem like such a cliche.

This morning I took a science test before coming home to watch Stuck In Love, which is a creation about creators.  Even though I don't know what they mean, those last lines of the movie are absolutely beautiful.
I could hear my heart beating.  I could hear everyone's heart.  I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.
I just think it was the perfect way to end the movie.  And when the screen went dark, I didn't move for a while, because I was thinking about the 'not one of us moving' bit.  I mean, how genius is that?  Something about the noun 'human noise' also sounds so honest.

Now, if anyone were to be the perfect example of creators, I'd say it's the fictional characters in that movie.  I love the idea of living on a beautiful beach, being able to write outdoors or inside the topmost wooden bedroom with a lovely view.  The only problem, I guess, is that to be a writer you actually need to be good at writing.

The other day my mum brought home a copy of the latest Vogue Australia because Taylor Swift is on the cover.  I love the profiles Vogue writers do on influential celebrities and models, because they're always so perfectly written.  That's the thing when it comes to writing: you need to be able to convey your message wholly and eloquently.

In my case, I can't help but think that my words aren't smooth enough.  I'm not telling you what I mean.  I don't know if you understand because it's so difficult to put ideas and complicated concepts into words.  It's even harder to convey feelings.  Maybe that's why people write poetry - because it's a way to show feelings without having to be specific.  They list words to create an overall mood, and the rest is up to the reader to interpret.  But I don't think I'll ever become a poet, because there's a fine line between feeling real and feeling stupid.

Flipping through the rest of the Vogue issue all I saw was fashion, and more fashion.  I love the glossy look of the magazine, and I love the words they use, but I can't say I understand much.  I can see myself being someone who could love fashion, but I don't.

I did find this article on Kate Winslet and her new movie The Dressmaker though.  She says something about always being driven by the creative, about having the desire to act in works of art, incredible projects.  I feel like eventually all actors get to this stage - according to a lot of their personal interviews anyway - because once they get over the idea of being what they are, they begin to see what they can make of their chosen career, how much deeper they can go.  The same goes for the rest of us and everything we do.  We begin to get attached.

Kate also talks about needing experience to be able to invent the characters she plays.  I guess in some ways acting would involve a whole lot of experiences in itself, because sometimes playing make believe can become real if you're doing it right.  Bill, the father from Stuck In Love, says something similar: "Flannery O'connor said nothing needed to happen in a writer's life after they were 20.  By then they'd experienced more than enough to last their creative life." he said, "A writer is the sum of his experiences."

That's what I think creating is.  Creating is just what people do to show their experiences, the feelings they've felt, the things that mattered to them.  We notice so many different aspects to people and culture, and I feel like we all deserve to use what we observe to create a message, 'a window to our soul', which is another line from Stuck in Love.

So when it comes to creating and cliches, I reckon what's real is when people mean it and understand it.  Creations are made when people put their full excitement and knowledge and logic behind a work of art.

Love,
M

Friday, 23 October 2015

Failure, Social Anxiety and First Generation Migrants

Over the past two weeks I've gone from completely uninspired to bursting at the rim with trains of thought.  Every day I would have a new topic to ramble on and on about, but I never had time to sit and write.  My diary entries have become mere paragraphs every few days, and my stress over every little thing has soared through the roof.  I just want to relax.


The social anxiety began as soon as school opened up again - specifically when I realised that I would have to return to band rehearsals.  It's not that the people make me nervous, but it's that they always used to.  Band was the dreaded hour of every week for two years, and I can't seem to shake that perception.  Now I spend the night before worrying about it, so much so that sometimes band even sneaks into my dreams - and they say what you dream of is a sign of what you're dwelling on.

I got moved into the highest band this term, and I feel like such a failure because I feel like I don't deserve to be there.  I hate being bad at something, even though I haven't really practiced.  I hate being humiliated when I can't follow the rhythm or I get all the notes wrong.

In the same way, I hate that my grades are slipping, and I hate that I may not win one of those end of year awards.  They say that it always comes down to how hard you work, so I should just work harder, right?  That's what I've always done, what I've always been taught to do - so why have I stopped caring as much when it comes to putting in the effort?  Suddenly my grades are sub par and I've been denying it.  I can't accept being somewhat mediocre.  I want to be successful again.


My mum has been extremely difficult lately.  I pity my sister.  As the younger, supposedly lazier one, she's been forced to study science for weeks by a dictator who doesn't understand how the curriculum works, who doesn't acknowledge that other assessments may be more of a priority at this point in time.  I say I want to relax, but my sister hasn't been able to relax for two years now.  I took a two week holiday of doing nothing, and she's been forced to do worksheets every single day.

My mum is a tiger mum.  She's an unpersuadable, unreasonable tiger mum who doesn't understand that being a student isn't a full-time job.  This may have been how she grew up, and she may have studied ahead of her class in a corrupted country, but it's completely different here.  We're not cramming to pass exams four years ahead of us in order to leave the country.  She already did that for us, so that we could have the life we have now.  She needs to let us live it.  Yes, we've inherited the knowledge of the importance of school, but similarly we've also been exposed to the knowledge of a work-life balance.

My dad can't comprehend our school lifestyle either, because while he may understand how our final percentages are calculated, he has no idea what learning these subjects is like, what our teachers are like, what our friends are like.  My dad is a competitor.  He looks at the girls in my year as competition, identified by where they stand in terms of grades.  He looks through my school photos and identifies all the Asians, and remembers them, and asks about them - and sometimes I don't know whether it's curiosity or if he's just putting faces to names on the ranking inside his head.

They live in a purely school-oriented lifestyle, where we're simply reenacting their childhoods in a different country.  Maybe that's why my dad is also so enthusiastic about whatever sport we play - because he used to play sport with his friends every afternoon, just a different kind of sport.  Their parents were controlling, they had limited freedoms, and that's how my mum thinks of us.  Earlier today she told me she has complete control over everything I do until I'm 18.

They don't understand how I can have a job and study at the same time.  They don't understand every time I try to explain my relationship with my friends.  They don't understand why we wear makeup at this age.  They don't understand school dances and carnivals and houses.  They don't understand a lot of things, but at the same time I admit they're getting better.

As a second generation migrant I have it easier, but even then I'm still different.  I'm separated from their culture, as well as somewhat separated from my own, in terms of appearance at the very least.


It's like I'm always stressing about something, and it's never the thing I should be stressing over.  I have conversations with myself every day, and they become so real that I begin to mouth the words as I walk through the house or stare out of the window in the car.  I imagine what I might say to someone at work, or what I might say to someone unexpected in class, or even what I'm going to say to a friend I'm about to see.

I'm always socially anxious about the next event.  Time has flown and the boys' formal is in exactly a week.  The closeness of the event has finally hit me, and as the week goes by I will get more and more anxious until finally the three hours of formal will be over, and I'll be wondering what all that worrying was for.  In preparation I'll be having more imaginary conversations, and I'll be trying to mentally calm myself down, telling myself that if all those other girls aren't worrying, I shouldn't be either.

I've begun to care less about who I'm seen with, and more about the quality of our encounter.  I'm learning that there's no point trying to make other people think your life is great when you don't believe it yourself.  I think this has been a big step in my self improvement, but I still have a long way to go.


There's this graffiti tag you can find all over our city if you look hard enough, saying "IRUN".  They're usually found on the side of tunnels, or roads, or fences, but the other day my sister and I spotted one on the brick wall of a house and for some reason we thought it was the funniest thing.  Are they allowed to do that?


Everyone seems to think that they're so deep, and I'm sure they are, but what we all need to realise is that we're just as deep as each other.  We all have complicated thoughts because we're complicated beings.

Love,
M

Sunday, 11 October 2015

An Infinitely Uninspired Mood


I feel like my iPhone4 camera quality keeps getting worse

It's the holidays so theoretically I should be posting a lot more than I have been, right?  I should be updating you on adventures, or contemplating life with all the free time I have, and I really have been trying.  After scrolling through my blog I realised that my latest posts weren't the usual ramblings.  I don't know about you, but those are definitely my favourite kind of posts - so I tried to make some more, but I just wasn't feeling it.  Writing here felt so forced, and I never thought that would happen.  I never thought I would view blogging as anything remotely similar to a chore, or an assignment, or a musical instrument to practice.  I tried to fit it into my day as I would with any of the tasks listed above.  Blogging used to be spontaneous.

I think it's because I'm not thinking anymore.  I'm not trying.  I used to force myself to be friendly, but now I find myself waltzing in and telling myself not to care.  I'll be pleasant enough, but I don't force myself to start conversations because I'd rather work in peaceful silence unless they want to make the effort.  I don't even think about what I'm doing anymore.  I don't contemplate whether this is the best way to go about things as I used to.  I don't calculate and analyse moments.  And because I'm no longer observing, no longer always thinking, I have nothing to write about.

Today I lay on the bed for an entire hour, from noon to one, staring up at the ceiling.  I never thought I'd be the kind of person who could literally do nothing.  I let my music switch from Kelly Clarkson, to Katy Perry, to Lana Del Rey, and after a while they all sounded exactly the same.  Under normal circumstances I'd skip to a song of a completely different genre, but at that moment I was perfectly content to listen to the classic sounds of female pop music.

I've been cutting up pieces of teen magazines I've been meaning to throw away to stick on the empty white wall by my bed.  I'm making a collage.  In the process I've managed to dig up all sorts of old creations, such as the family newspaper issues made in 2012, or the brochures and tickets from France I collected in 2012, or the letters to and from my grandparents written in 2012.  It seems like I was extremely inspired in 2012.

The other day we were sitting on a bench by the lake, daring each other to cause havoc among the fellow perfect strangers nearby.  One friend asked a little boy if she could play soccer with him, but he said he was too busy chasing away the birds.  Another friend asked a girl if they could be friends, and she found that the girl is my sister's age and goes to a school almost like ours.  I went up to a man and his girlfriend picnicking, and told him he had a very nice man bun.  I don't think I get the same kick out of talking to strangers as I used to.  I used to be so interested in people in general, but now I feel too uninspired to take notice.

I was craving oreos yesterday, so I ate them.  And then I had a caramel TimTam for the first time in ages as well.  I'm scared of feeling bloated, but it seems that as long as I suck my tummy in it'll never happen.  Maybe those workouts with my friend-neighbour have actually paid off.  Two years ago I actually prayed to God, asking Him to give me a friend who lives within walking distance.  Now I have two.

After lying on the bed for an hour I went downstairs to play the piano.  I picked the first piece of sheet music off the top, and it was Skinny Love by Birdy.  The piece was fairly easy, considering it sounded right the first time I played it.  Under normal circumstances I would have forced myself to learn it fluently.  An easy, beautiful piece like that should've been mastered by now, but I'm so tired.  I played to the end before placing it back on top of the piano.  My sister is playing it right now.  She seems to love playing the instrument, and I know I can too, but I feel so uninspired.

I wrote in my diary that I feel like a time bomb, because I got mad at my dad this morning in the middle of the mall for supposedly no reason.  There was this cute boy looking at me, and I looked at him, before transforming into my temperamental bitchy self and grumbling to my dad again.  I embarrassed myself in front of a cute boy, and I feel like that's set the mood for the whole day.

I should be writing an obituary on Iago or translating a passage of Latin right now, but maybe I'll leave that for tomorrow.  I just feel so unmotivated.  School starts tomorrow so maybe I deserve to spend a day doing whatever I feel like before being forced to think again.

I guess when you're uninspired there's nothing more to write about than whatever decides to come to the front of your drowsy, dead mind.  My Religion and Philosophy teacher is always saying that you can let the birds fly over your head, but you don't need to let them build a nest in your hair.  Maybe by putting these thoughts into words I'm letting them build their nest.

Love,
M

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Conversation


In some ways I admire my dad.  He's the kind of person who will talk to anyone and everyone he encounters.  When I was younger I always thought he was embarrassing, weird, and I just wanted to leave; but now I wish I were as brave as him.  I wish I could make conversation with waiters at restaurants, or talk rugby with the uni boys kicking balls in the park, or simply find out more about people because they're fascinating.  I wish I were able to sit in a bar and talk for twenty minutes with a stranger, with no clue of who he is until he reveals that the concert he was at was in fact his own, and that he happens to be a singer your wife is a fan of - true story.

What I've realised lately is that people have problems with talking to strangers.  It's so unusual and this generations tends to relate strangers to kidnappers and rapists.  We can't accept that sometimes people talk for the sake of having a conversation.  You don't need to want something or be friends, or colleagues, or even have a mutual friend.  Not too long ago a conversation simply depended who was at the same place at the same time (from what I've seen on TV anyway).  So what happened?  Why are we all so rigid and awkward?

My koong koong (grandfather on mum's side) came to visit us from Malaysia just a few days ago, and I found that my dad isn't the only one.  Leave Koong Koong alone for a few minutes and he'll already be asking some family where they're from.  And the funny thing is, the families are always super friendly.  As soon as a country is mentioned he rattles off knowledge of the place, crafting the conversation around their culture, in the same way my dad does with every single waiter who's ever served us.  I don't understand how they became so worldly, but I know I want to be like that too.

I've decided I'm going to try.  I'll never be able to go up to any sort of stranger and spark a conversation, but there's always the people you want to say something to but don't, because they're a stranger.  For example, the girl in the bookshop who's looking straight at your favourite books, wondering what to buy.  You know you could give her the perfect recommendations and plot sypnoses, but you're too scared.

It's like Vincent, the non-Asian/Asian stranger from last summer.  We had a long running inside joke about what shouldn't have been that big a deal.  Even he made it seem like a big deal when he sat next to us.  What shouldn't have been weird at all was perceived as extremely weird because that's this generation's mentality.  We only talk to our family, friends at school, people at co-curriculars, and people we work with.  Nobody makes a friend by going up to them in the middle of the mall, and that's fine, but we shouldn't be scared to talk to each other.  I think I want to be a Vincent, no matter how strange it may seem.

The last conversation I had with a stranger was my hairdresser.  This was unusual because normally I awkwardly sit while whoever's cutting my hair goes about their job in silence.  But you learn something from everyone, and she taught me the logistics of getting a tattoo, which is information I may need in the future.  In the same way, I learn a little from every new person I meet at work.  I learn what life is like under their circumstances, new things to enjoy doing, and all these people are still within my demographic.  I wonder what life's like for those so different to me.  Maybe this is how my dad and Koong Koong became so worldly.

With what I learn at school being predictable as hell, and the amount of new experiences available to me limited, I guess talking to people is the best way to gain knowledge.  I'm aware that my true self is pretty socially awkward around new people unless I make a conscious effort, and reading articles and blogs could suffice, but I reckon we should all make an effort to talk to more people.  We all want to expand our minds.

Love,
M

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Sacred Items


Today I discovered that my dad has thrown out two boxes of toys - one of Fischer Price doll house pieces and another full of Barbie dolls.  Despite the fact that I haven't opened either of these boxes in over a year, the thought of them gone forever makes me feel like crying.  Within those little plastic pieces was the essence of childhood and nostalgia.  Those pieces had distinct places in a house, those Barbie dolls had personalities, and attached to every single piece were countless forgotten memories.

Not too long ago I read a lovely little piece on this topic, which can be found HERE.  It's all about the idea of holding onto physical items and never letting go.  We relate them back to memories we had with them, fabulous experiences.  They're tangible reminders that live close to our hearts, and once they're gone we feel a consuming sense of loss.  Even though it's not, the memory seems to be gone.

I remember the personalities of those Barbie dolls.  Rapunzel was always the perfect protagonist, the Bratz doll the mean girl, and the horse riding Barbie would always have to be the boy, because we never had a Ken.  Perhaps if I could hold them in my hands I'd remember the pathetic stories we used to tell with them, but I don't anymore.

I do remember the people though.  I don't know why, but I always relate the people to the thing and the thing to the people.  I remember when we transitioned from innocent 5 year olds to somewhat sordid 8 year olds.  I remember SH laughing at our inappropriate role-plays, and LC and I reenacting scenes that could rival Mean Girls.  My sister and I would spend hours of our never-ending down time moving around our gorgeous dolls, changing their clothes and organising societies, and the symbol of all these hours of simple entertainment is now gone.

I reckon people are part of the reason these items seem so sacred.  Even when these significant characters leave your life, you'll always have the items they left behind, the symbols of your memories.  That way they're never really gone.  I still remember that igloo tent we would hide in, or the kitchen set everyone enjoyed role-playing with.  These items seem like real beings, breathing living beings that don't deserve to live in bins for the rest of their lives.  At least I can say I gave the kitchen set to one of said role-playing friends.  Maybe now when she looks at it she thinks of me.  Maybe those memories have been enough of a reason for her to keep it.

I can safely say I'm a hoarder, so that kitchen set would probably have never met the bin in my hands.  Maybe this hoarding nature is the reason I create physical evidence of memories, such as diaries or this blog.  Maybe this is the reason I refuse to throw out crumbling phone cases or various random monumental artefacts of my past.  Maybe this is the reason I still let the past dictate who I am now, because I have problems with letting go.

This year I took a huge step in getting rid of all those stuffed animals.  First they were collecting dust in my room, then they were stored in a box, and finally, one day, they were just gone.  My sister and I used to throw parties for them.  I used to kiss every single one goodnight so that none of them would feel left out.  I feel like I've repeated Toy Story 3.  I'm a little late, but I'm letting go of the sacred items of my past.

Although I feel like those Fischer Price pieces and Barbie dolls could've been given to a new owner to make memories with, maybe it's a good thing that they're no longer here to clutter the house, to haunt the person I've become and am becoming.  There'll always be new memories and items to treasure, and I can't keep everything or there won't be enough room inside myself to allow new things in, to grow.

Love,
M

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Little Miss Pretentious


This post was originally supposed to be entitled "How Disappointing", because lately it seems that I'm able to identify some sort of flaw in every single person, including the people I used to think were just so great, and that's a little disappointing.  But then I thought, maybe this outlook has more to do with myself than other people.  If I'm looking at everyone and thinking about how wrong they are or how disappointing they are, doesn't that mean I must be up here on my high horse?

I used to be one of those extremely unconfident kids who thought everyone was awesome, and I was the only one who wasn't.  If, for some reason, I managed to identify someone as not-awesome-in-any-way, then I wouldn't be their friend; simple as that.  But now that I've grown into the older, wiser and more self-respecting person I am today, pretty much everyone has begun to seem less than perfect.

Not even a year ago I used to look up to this particular friend of mine as pretty much the kindest person I've ever met.  I couldn't imagine her being mean.  I even wrote somewhere deep in one of my many notebooks that I aspired to be her.  It's just disappointing when someone you used to have this opinion of proves you wrong.  It turns out she has that immature mean streak in her, where she intentionally says something she thinks will hurt you in the spur of the moment.  She can turn something insignificant into a rivalry of sorts, and the petty politics begin.  It's sad when you realise someone you thought was perfectly kind is actually just shy, even though it was inevitably going to happen.

I've had so many friends who I used to be so comfortable with back when I hadn't realised people could actually be condescending.  As we've grown up within the short space of two years I feel as if everything's changed.  I look back to the time when we used to act like 8 year olds at 12, prancing around like explorers.  I can't imagine her doing that now.  I remember the time when we were sitting on the wall and she said to me, "We're normal right?".  I barely talk to her anymore.

The amount of conversations I've had about how aloof people seem is alarming.  I used to blame their loftiness on the influence of those around them at the time, but the fact that they now do the same whether others are there or not mitigates that blame.  I still reckon they've become these people due to influence, but it's sad that the influence has managed to change them to this extent.  It's sad that I think this is who they are now.  The old them is never coming back.

But then, maybe I've become aloof too.  Maybe I'm the one who thinks I'm too good for everyone.

I feel so disappointed by the unintended fake attitudes people seem to put on.  They don't know they're doing it because nowadays saying what others want to hear is our default, even if we contradict ourselves with the next person.  One girl I know has told me countless times that she loves the honesty of my blog.  But then, in front of those who had been critical about it, she put it down.  She made something that means a lot to me out as something negative, to be joked about or made fun of.  She did say sorry, but comments like these still sting, and I don't particularly care if she recognises herself in this because my immediate forgiveness was an example of me saying what she wanted to hear.

There's this girl I used to think had amazing social skills who bases everything on 'groups'.  The only reason I thought she was so great was because she was trying so hard.  We had time to kill and she insisted we sit in the vicinity of other people, just in case they wanted to talk to us.  When I brought up something I'd overheard she immediately jumped to the most outrageous scandalous conclusions because she seems to think people actually do that.  I think she wants to be part of something like that, and this attitude disappoints me.

Girls who I thought were so funny are actually attention seekers.  Every time we see each other she does the same thing, and it's just not funny any more.  When we were kids she used to change our many performances at the last minute, while we were on 'stage', just so she could be even more the star than she already was.  At the time I never got frustrated.  I thought it was just her, that she was awesome like that.  I can't imagine thinking that now.

In class there's this girl next to me who laughs at every bad joke, because I feel like she just wants to belong.  It's another example of giving people what they want to hear.  Sometimes while I sit there in silence I just want to roll my eyes, but how pretentious is that?

I see so many flaws in so many people, because I'm only beginning to apply the knowledge of 'nobody's perfect' to life.  But if I refuse to be acquainted with anyone with problems, then I don't think I'll be left with anyone to be friends with.  There's no point in trash talking people's behaviour in my head when I'm just as flawed as them.  There's no point sitting there thinking I'm better when I may as well join in and I may find that I'm completely wrong.

I reckon everyone's fake and somewhat attention seeking, so there's no point in being a pretentious bitch when I'm exactly the same.

Love,
M

Monday, 7 September 2015

An Eye Fetish

It seems that the only thing within my drawing capability is eyes.

I'm going through an undoubtedly irritating lazy period of my life, where studying is not a priority and neither is eating healthy.  School is the most tiring and bothersome experience, and I find myself doodling in my books too often - and it always starts with those eyes.  This is the first time I've found myself not caring to this extent.


On every page of my Religion and Philosophy booklet is a new eye.  I look forward to moving through the booklet, because as soon as we turn the page I have an excuse to not pay attention again.


People are evil, people are good, people are pointless; true or false?  Apparently all are true.


When our purpose in life is no longer to survive, we turn our human nature of acquiring things towards money and expensive cars and houses - according to the video playing while I was drawing this.


The lyrics to some song from the 60's called Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds is on the right.


I don't understand patriarchy.  It's so stupid.


Why do people prefer darkness to light?  It's easier ?

I like the idea of loving your neighbour.  If we were just nice to every single person we encountered, in theory wouldn't we be happier?  How does being condescending make us happy?


Drawn on the yellow parchment of my tearing commerce folder.  My teacher was explaining civil and criminal law.  It seems that decisions are made through debates, and arguing is the only way to solve our problems.


Drawn by the enviably perfect AM.


Accompanying a witch made of parabolas, exponentials and hyperbolas.


I'm just a little bit sad that I will no longer be taking Latin next year.  I love the idea of translating poetry and stories written years and years ago.  History is all about human opinions of the past, and it directly correlates to human nature today.  Latin sounds so romantic and intellectual.


I want to live in a big city when I grow up.


A failed attempt at colour.  Could this pass as abstract?


I used to think maths was common-sense, but after this year I realise it's so much more difficult than that.  I almost gave up.  I think I like maths again though.  The other day I turned on some music and opened the textbook for the first time since term started.  After a few questions the logic became relaxing once again.


Drawn the day my laptop was confiscated.  I didn't know what to do with myself.


Back in 300BC, Aristotle proposed the geocentric model, because we actually thought we were the centre of the universe.  It's a pity we're just one planet, orbiting one star, located on the edge of one of many many galaxies of stars.  We're so meaninglessly insignificant, and that's just a little beautiful.


I didn't know this before, but black holes are just incredibly heavy remnants of supernovas, their gravity so strong that they attract everything, even light.

Wouldn't being an astronaut be such a fulfilling life experience?

Love,
M