Life is a balancing act of expectations and reality. When we’re thrown more balls than we can juggle, we tend to fall apart. But the most pressing question of all is: can love supersede disappointment; the inevitable fall? Forgive. We only have two hands.
I won’t let this hiccup devastate our friendship. I have enough confidence to trust that you won’t let us go that easily. You’ve made room for someone else- a new priority, perhaps, but I know what you feel towards us has not diminished. It takes time to find balance. And even if you fail, I’ll forgive… because we all leave someone behind at some point.
Meditation is not only about embracing stillness. It’s about absorbing the moment and being mindful of present sensations, like being aware of the interminent ticks of the clock and the snoring of my sister, the weight of my chin on my hand, the soft pillow beneath my crossed knee.
2005. My ‘second birthday’- when I made the official decision to commit myself to Jesus Christ. My family surrounded me and my aunt even bought a cake to commemorate this new life. As I watched the candles wink and envelop me in warmth, I thought to myself: this is unreal. Like a picture.
Euphoria. A dopamine/ endorphin rush. I’m on a high, with just enough alcohol in my blood. But Red Bull is most likely the culprit. There are certain moments when I say to myself: I will remember this. It’s the mental snapshot that I take. The boys are coming over to us, pushing through people with their necks strained above moving heads. I squeeze your arm and say “they’re coming now.” And suddenly we don’t care. We dance. We DANCE. And I get this feeling that I don’t want to forget. We’re illuminated in blue, weightless, smiling with our teeth and shaking our heads at each other. This is my meditation.
We have an exam on Monday… So wanna go out tonight? I’m half-joking, kind of contemplating it. I’m trying to seduce her with the idea and she hates me for it. “You’re just trying to make me say that I want to go and then you’re going to say that you’re just joking”. But we do go. She has her maths lesson and when we arrive it’s already 12:45. Straight to T I think (our new homebase). No Antoine tonight- although someone does look a lot like him. We get a few drinks (some free) and go to all these fun places. Then we push onto the platform. The lights are slicing through consciousness, we’re hogging the airconditioned corner, and it’s the same feeling as the one previously described. So happy. Elevated. Would die happy in that moment.
It’s a beautiful morning. The sun hasn’t taken over the sky yet, but it’s not grey. The sky is blue and purple-ish. The clouds hang dark and we’d have found the moon if we tried. Remember these streets, the padding of our feet along the middle of empty roads. We buy 7/11 food like we haven’t eaten for days and talk about the last time we did this. Could it top that time? On par. Top night.
Even though we have an exam tomorrow we’re listening to Jesse Mccartney and David Archuleta. We’re bringing back the babes of the last decade, so of course we’re listening to Shayne Ward. We’re shouting the lyrics to ‘Breathless’: if we had babies they would look like you, in flat tones and bursts of laughter. We’re flinging our arms wildly and smothering ourselves in sound.
Even though we have an exam tomorrow we’re buying marshmallows and cookie dough. We want to make s’mores. The chocolate digesetives look deformed and we’re poisioning ourselves with gas-burned marshmallows but the crunch followed by the sweet lava is so worth it.
SO PERFECT I LOVE MY LIFE.
- Cats are affectionate. I’ve always thought they were kind of standoff-ish but my cousin bought a 40-day old British Shorthair and it is the cutest kitty I’ve ever seen. I looked up social cat behaviour and found that cats do this thing called ‘bunting’, where they rub their faces against you. They have glands on their cheeks, and rubbing against you is a sign of acceptance and affection- you’re part of the feline community! Also, slow blinks are apparently equivalent to cat kisses.
- It’s awesome watching the baby learn and express behaviours that are obviously hard-wired in him. Muffin is adorable when he pounces on his feathery toy. His eyes narrow, never straying from the feathery tip, tail up and body hunched. He slinks closer to the toy and suddenly jumps, like a predator in the wild.
- A stuttering problem when speaking in a native language can be lessened by speaking in a foreign language. Actors tend to lose their stutters when in character, and there are a surprising number of actors who stutter (Marilyn Monroe included). For some reason, an alter ego helps and people aren’t sure why. ??
- I was talking to dad over dinner, learning about language acquisition. I love it when he talks like this and I always wonder if he’s going ‘lecture mode’ on me. Anyway, he talked about the semantics of an ‘or’ statement. Usually, when people say “do you want to watch the movie on Monday or Tuesday?” we assume that it’s either one or the other. Logically speaking, it should mean one or the other or BOTH. Perhaps the common assumption takes precedence as the ‘both’ option seems unnecessary.
- Correlation between people with high IQ’s and illegal drug use. Why? Possibly high EQ and impulse control, possibly novelty seeking behaviour typical of intelligent people. Intrinsic motivation- a desire to learn for the pure pleasure of it.
White noise is the overlap of multiple frequencies- like the way white light is a combination of light waves. Black noise is effectively, no noise. There is pink, blue and purple noise, which sound like drones of different pitches. Blue is likened to the sound of sprinklers.
- I’m not good at visualizing words. When I spell things out loud, I pretend I’m typing. Somehow the letters come easier that way.
- I hate the sound of sloshing water – added to the long list of sounds I hate. Ironing is the WORST.
- When I fantasize about a happy place I always imagine having a child. My happy place is me telling my child a story that happened to me last year as if it happened 10 years ago. It’s my child telling me how school was. Or he/she is rambling as I’m trying to read or cook or something. Or that I’m slightly jealous that I’m not as good with kids as my husband is. Seriously that was what I was thinking before we were allowed to turn over the exam papers.
- I stand by the idea that more sleep > more revision.
Prom consisted of walking back and forth from the bathroom to the tables, lifting up our dresses as we did so to prevent from tripping over our hems. It also involved tired feet, chair-sharing, compliments flying and shutters clicking. The money for makeup, meticulous hair and unique dresses was all spent for one night. If it weren’t for the money (and sentimental decor for my future room), I wouldn’t have scrambled for so many photos.
There. Immortalized: my ladies.
Although most of my excitement for prom came from the expectation of great food, I had the shittiest appetizer. It was some sort of mushroom leek cake; they tried too hard to create a gourmet delicacy and failed miserably. My date (best friend) commented on the fancy napkin holders and joked that his mum would most likely have taken them home with her. I must admit that the hotel itself was beautiful. Gold everywhere. I was particularly impressed by the amazing bathroom with its full length mirrors and cushioned seats. Chair seats.
Then it came time for a compilation of embarrassing videos of people. We weren’t in it, though it’s safe to say that our videos are tucked away on YouTube and set on ‘private’. I found myself in tears watching our tags and skits the day after… We were such embarrassing children.
Also, I always have such awkward conversations with teachers… It starts off fine, but once everything has been said, how does one say goodbye? How should one exit the situation? I always wish for someone to kindly interrupt and take me away.
One teacher challenged us to stay after 12:00 am to dance with the teachers. We didn’t. But I did think about what she said: “I hope you’re enjoying this as much as we did when we had our proms. It’s the last time you’re all going to be in the same room at the same time”.
As it neared 11:30, we threw off our heels and whipped our clothes off in the hotel room. I recall such a comical image of BT feeling his way to the beds with his eyes closed. I searched for shorts but couldn’t find any, due to the misplacement of a bag of stuff (long story). I only brought spandex. So I was pulling on my white T-shirt, relieving myself of the gown, when Kwix asked “why don’t you just roll those up? They look like disco pants”. So I did. I was HANDS DOWN the most comfortable one out.
We split off into our taxis and I reflected upon the fact that the night was already happening. Our prom had just finished and after-prom had just begun. As I’m typing this, the day after, I think to myself that even that has ended.
Then it’s the same dancing and riding through the night. It was fun, I guess, but my inner homebody longed to be HOME. And I couldn’t stop thinking about food. Eat sleep no-fckin-rave repeat.
That was it.
I love days consisting of Starbucks coffee in the early afternoon. She gets a spinach muffin and I don’t understand. I get a blueberry muffin (clearly the more sensible flavour) and laugh at how late we’re going to be. I’m completely inconsiderate about time. I need to stop being late. I was late to my own birthday – half an hour to be exact, and it could’ve cost me a table. In order to compensate/apologize for my tardiness, I promise to buy Katie a vanilla latte.
After the fashion show, we decide that no, we don’t want to go out. We want to stay at home, sprawl on the chairs and slouch in our clothes. It’s just too much effort to move. We call up a sushi place, check Ebeneezer’s and McD’s but they either don’t do delivery or they don’t answer our calls. Finally, we settle on KFC and order wings, crisscross fries and chicken rice. To top it off, I open a bottle of white. Then, we feast and talk because there is never a shortage of words and comfortable silences to share amidst bites of crispy chicken.
– – – –
It’s my birthday. I go for a run for some alone-time before dinner and thank God for life. Running just makes you more aware that you’re breathing; my muscles tell me I’m here.
He calls and says he’s close by, deciding to bring me the letter himself before I meet the girls. I try to piece the letter together (it’s cut into squares) but the wind is determined to wreck my life. So I have a quick look through the sections of photos he’s printed out (on the flip-side of the writing) and tuck them back into the envelope. Safe.
I’ve booked a table at a steakhouse when most people I’ve invited don’t even eat red meat. My bad. The salmon and chicken are delectable but the poor vegetarians have only potatoes and steamed vegetables to eat. My besties are late but I let them off because they have something planned for me- I can’t wait for the cherry on top of my birthday when we finally come home.
The waitresses come out with a cake and candles, and everyone starts singing the birthday song. What is one to do in a situation like this? Sing along and smile because there is nowhere to hide. But I’m officially embarrassed, surrounded by the eye of multiple iPhone cameras and making an appearance on snapchat stories. As we dig into the slice of tiramisu cake, I take out the puzzle pieces from the envelope and arrange them into the letter. I’m touched by his fatherly tone, the protective, caring voice in his words. “He’s in love with you”, my friends say. But I know that’s not true. He’s just one of the more sensitive, sentimental guys I have the pleasure of knowing, whose friendships with people are more like the friendships between girls (because somehow girl-girl friendships are different from boy-boy ones). I reach into the envelope and find the USB that he mentioned, stocked with a plethora of high quality torrented movies. Sweet.
“ID”, he gives us his best poker face. We show him with arrogant smiles and I can’t help but laugh at her memorable “HA!” That playful, mocking tone is exactly what he deserved. Yeah we’re 18! #served
The very best thing about my 18th was the words I received. How crazy it is to think that some people appreciate me the way I appreciate them! How lovely it is that some people think I’m one-of-a-kind, that I’m a loving person and friend. I could not ask for more. I hold the letters close to my heart, strapped to my chest, and hope to keep them forever. My incredible friends have a way of making me cry happy tears… Nothing can explain how blessed and humbled I am.
If I hear ONE more tinder-related thing, I’m going to explode.
Which reminds me… Yesterday I was sitting by a table backed up against the wall, sweating and ready to combust. Some guy called Ted talks to me and I really could care less. I say “ugh, it’s so hot. Like, don’t touch me, I’d actually explode”.
He replies with “that’s what women always say”, wearing a stupid grin on his face.
And that makes me want to vom. Ya nasty!
What better place to spend a post-mock-exam Tuesday night than in SOHO? We go to this place called Peel Fresco because Tuesday nights feature live music. And there he is breathing into the mic, with hair falling in front of his closed eyes. He’s completely absorbed in his creation, in the flow of the music carrying him from chord to chord. We wait for our drinks, alternating between listening and throwing each other a comment or two about his voice. “He’s really good”. We watch his hand pull his hair back. ‘You didn’t caall’, he suspends the note. The black man beside him is feeling the beat, bobbing his head, flicking his fingers as they glide down the strings of his bass. Sway. They’re on the same ride, floating somewhere we can’t touch. We both have a pint of Heineken beer in a tall cup; cold, bubbly, sweating.
We have to say something to those cuties. She tells me I have to request a song to sing. As much as I hate to admit it, I can be shy and can only recite the lyrics to Happy Birthday with ease. She goes to the bathroom and I see that the cuties are about to leave. If I don’t say anything now, there won’t be another chance. As he comes close, I go “hey, leaving so soon?” He smiles, deepening his dimples, and says that it’s late and that they’ve been playing for a while. He introduces himself as Bambi (he’s French) and his friend (whose name I now cannot remember) comes over. We have a chat and they think I’m Columbian… which is new. Not long after, she comes out of the bathroom and I can tell she’s glad I said something. Trepidation takes you nowhere. What did we have to lose? Bambi yelled after us “see you girls next Tuesday!” And we have yet to go there again.
– – – –
We get two packets of extra buttery popcorn and a massive Cadbury chocolate bar. We browse through YouTube videos and best friend tags, and it doesn’t take long for the bowl to empty, save for a few disappointing kernels. We decide to watch old movies from the 2000’s, finally settling on The Pacifier. Helga is still the freakiest bitch. I’m happy. And I let myself feel the moment, with my fingers sliding over the keys of her laptop that give way to the pressure. Smooth. Bouncing.
– – – –
We get a huge jar of jelly. We’re so wild.
I’ve been through enough to not feel devastated whenever something vaguely embarrassing happens. But because I’m clumsy, I’m prone to mishaps and curry-stained shirts. I’ve only just dug up this list that I made two years ago, hidden away in ‘Drafts’ on Tumblr.
Here it is:
- Tripping on nothing.
- Shattering cups or being caught doing something silly.
- Like dropping a packet of noodles and kicking it away, thinking no one is watching. But someone is always watching.
- The guns come out. The hand guns… I only do it when I’m nervous saying hello to someone (like a crush) and yeah, it’s not very normal.
- I’ve fallen off beds a couple of times.
- I’ve had my shoe stepped on and flung away… So I’m left behind in a group to find my shoe.
- I’ve gotten my school bag straps stuck in lockers and hooked onto gates or stair-handles. People have to wait for me to untangle myself before they can pass.
- Mid-sentence voice cracks. It’s worse when performing a song.
- I’ve almost knocked down a shelf of antique ornaments in a coffee shop.
- I’ve had balls smash me in the head. LOL. Sports.
- I say ‘Oh crap, Oh shit’ out loud when I run to imply to whoever’s around that I’m running for some urgent cause.
I guess cringe is a better word. And it’s pretty cringe when this happens:
Me: “lol don’t you think Kermit is such a terrible name?”
Friend: “hey, that’s my dad’s name.”
Once I was shopping whilst holding a bowl of noodles. I rested the chopsticks on the rim of the bowl and walked around, when all of a sudden, a boy with crossed arms fits one of the chopsticks between his fingers. Unknowingly, I go in for another bite of noodles but discover that one chopstick is gone… And in the hands of some poor, unsuspecting guy. What. I don’t think he meant to nick my chopstick but I was so embarrassed. For him or myself, I don’t know.
Once I was shopping for heels in ALDO in my school uniform, wearing crappy low-quality flats that were on the verge of breaking apart. I was with my bestie and they sort of treated me like her slave. Basically, they spoke to her about the heels I WAS BUYING. They did however, hand me the bag… Please, stop assuming that I’m merely the shoe-holder.
At around 9 years old, said bestie and I were obsessed with The Lizzie McGuire movie. We sang all the songs and knew all the lyrics off by heart with mics (combs) in our hands. When it was already too late, we found out that our brothers were peering in and giggling through the door. At the time, this was embarrassing. Now it’s adorable.
A more recent scenario was when two friends and I figured that we’d make the most out of waiting for an elevator. Determined to make it a good night, we start breaking it down. We dance and pull out all the ugly moves. We’re convulsing and flicking our hair when the elevator doors open with a group of people in it. We immediately try to cover our faces and stifle our laughter. “Well, you girls had a good night,” one guy says as he passes us. The night had just begun.
What is embarrassment? The feeling that others are viewing you as inferior to themselves? The fear of being judged and thought of as less awesome than you are? It’s impossible to feel embarrassment without other people being involved, isn’t it? It’s a social reaction. Seems to be a no-brainer that the more confident you are in yourself and your actions, the less embarrassment you feel.
Just a thought.
Emotional intelligence and control over one’s feelings is in part dictated by a sense of self worth. Achieving a healthy state of mind is difficult when it is so easy to be offended or frustrated when the world doesn’t answer to our demands. Why can’t things be like this, why does it have to be me, why are people so mean? We’re always taught how people should treat us, how things should be. And these expectations puts us at the mercy of things that we often cannot help, control or change.
I totally see the appeal of self-help books. They stimulate and motivate changes from the mind to behaviour, using ration to better process situations and ultimately change our reactions. There is so much potential in believing that we are greater than our environments. That is the very first step. We don’t have to feel this way. And although we feel entitled to certain things, we must accept our current situation and the past that led up to it, even when we know that the situation is not ideal. We accept that it’s not what we want but it no longer has the same sort of control over us. This does not mean rejecting how we initially feel. It does not mean repressing our emotions or pretending to be unaffected. But it does mean believing that things can change- beginning with our thoughts and attitude. I’m trying to cultivate adaptive thinking in my life and I’m ready to reap in the benefits ~~~
So, one evening, I walked to a friend’s house. When I arrived at the door, I realized that I had forgotten what floor and flat he lived in. Naturally, I asked the security guard for a bit of guidance. “Sorry, but do you know which floor a guy called T lives? He loves riding bikes… like, all the time? He’s quite tall?” And the security guard refused to help me. “I’m already being lenient,” he said. “Why don’t you go and call him?” He said. I couldn’t though, without a phone and without his number memorized. I grew increasingly angry at the security guard. “Can’t you at least give me a clue as to how many floors there are in the building? Maybe it’ll jog my memory”. He said no and showed me out. Let me tell you, I was ENRAGED. I had to go all the way home in my leggings, call T, ask for the details, then walk back through the heat and humidity. Even though I knew it was the guard’s job to not let random girls into the building, I let my emotions get the best of me. I told T to give the guard the stink eye… even though the whole debacle was my fault.
How should I have handled it? I should have breathed. Calmed down. Laughed at my idiocy! Such misplaced blame… I should have thought of it as a lesson- a lesson to make sure I know where I’m going before I set off. I can’t always expect things to magically fall into place. Even if I had accepted that it was my fault, I didn’t have to stay mad at myself.
On Wednesday night, I embarrassed myself. With a few drinks, I let go of pride and dignity. In the morning, I made a decision. 1) I shall not let any guy or person make me feel less worthy. I will not let my confidence be affected by people I barely know- why should their opinion matter? I know what I believe to be true. 2) I will not put myself in a position where I am desperate for someone’s attention and/or approval.
When I think about it, I’m still embarrassed now. But I’ve accepted it in the sense that I’m no longer wishing with every fiber of my body that Wednesday didn’t happen. I’ve learnt something and I stopped the castrophosizing before it got too bad and that’s what counts. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn and I learnt to trivialize.
It’s easier to break and stay broken than to heal. My last post was about how people are fragile and easily swayed by people. But why do we have to be?