Slow Movement

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Even having been out of school and adapting to the slow crawl of a mundane work life, I find that I still can’t seem to shake off the anxious energy of trying to be productive. Any moment not spent doing something, accomplishing something, seems like an absolutely unacceptable waste of time. Even when I’m not actively doing things, my mind almost always churns unrelentingly. Counting the hours and minutes I have left till the end of everyday, plotting and planning schedules and timelines. This need to always be hurrying is so pervasive.

Living in a fast-paced city like Singapore (as is with almost any other metropolitan city) the concept of efficiency has been deeply ingrained in me. Every step has to be carefully calculated for risks and rewards, every endeavor must be executed with swiftness and precision. Only so that we may not waste any time.

When has doing things just for the sake of doing them taken a back seat to everything else? Even when I strive to make deeply and slowly experiencing life a motto to live by, it’s undeniable that I, unfortunately, can never and may never be able to bring myself to simply sit on a bench in the park and just be.

The hum drum continuity of modern life has overshadowed every aspect of our lives. Sometimes I look at the strange faces around me and I can’t help but wonder: “Do they know why they’re doing what they’re doing? Does any of us?”

What meaning do we attribute to the routine of getting up at 6 in the morning everyday? We go to work or school or wherever it is we seem to “can’t” not be, and return home no more happy, knowledgable or exuberant than we were hundreds of days before.

My mom told me recently that we can’t all be dreamers… And it’s one of the saddest realities I’ve ever heard.

I think we’ve been taught to believe that our journey through life is simply to do what is expected of us. Fulfill responsibilities, contribute economically, settle down, procreate… So if everyone was idealistic and overly ambitious, then we wouldn’t have anyone left to do the back-end jobs.
But how is it fair that some people get to live “The Life”, a life they dreamt of building, while others slog away in the muck that essentially traps them in a never-ending cycle of self-doubt and resignation. I can’t tell which makes me more upset.

If you believe the universe to be a universe of abundance, then it will be.
- Milton Glaser

The dreamer in me optimistically (naively) believes that there are enough ideas and resources to go around. The problem is: do we believe this in ourselves?

The high-speed, high-efficiency, risk-mitigated way of life we’ve been inculcated with is an expertly designed blindfold. I truly believe that we have become obsessed with things of little intrinsic value (at the beck of powerful organizations that has more or less shaped the media), blinded with misconceptions of what makes a fulfilling life. After all, when we’re all running amuck at a thousand miles per hour, who has the time to ponder about something as “trivial” as what it is really, that makes us happy?

Our world values actions over thoughts; overvalues perhaps. So much so that shame fuels the much needed act of pausing to take a breather, a step back to evaluate. But really, everything that man does is in the pursuit of happiness. Wouldn’t it make more sense then to actually consider what it is we should do to get that happiness? Instead of running around like a headless chicken?

I don’t know. I may never know. These questions beckon a host of many other questions, too intertwined, too complex for me to make sense of as yet. Maybe this is why philosophy doesn’t ever lose it’s relevance.

Once more this has been a post that mirrors the mess that is my mind; more questions, no answers and utterly unorganized. It’s just been something that’s been bothering me this particular morning.

Talk to me!:
What would you do right now if you knew you could never fail?

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Just Do It (II).

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As of 9.36PM, Singapore time, I’m officially set to fly off to Paris on August 29th, all the way till January 20th!! 4 months and 20 days of immersing in culturally, historically, artistically rich and diverse places, living a dream I never imagined could come true. That’s not to say that all the fears and doubts I had before booking my tickets (see previous post) just magically disappeared. If anything, I feel them more acutely because everything feels so real now. So real yet so surreal. I can’t believe I’m really going to do this.

My tentative plans for this trip would be to fly into France, Paris. Spend about a month in France, then head to Italy for about a month, followed by Greece for a month, then Germany and Denmark, before finishing the last leg of my trip in enigmatic Norway and Sweden.

France> Italy> Greece> Germany> Denmark > Norway > Sweden

Other than the first and last destination (Stockholm, Arlanada airport where I’ll be flying out) nothing’s set in stone. But I can already see it in my mind as clearly as if I’m already there: mountaineering in France; the idyllic countrysides; the Gondola in Venice; nausea from Stendhal Syndrome at the awe-inspiring art my eyes will have the privilege of looking upon; surfing in Greece; skiing in The Alps; cycling through Copenhagen; reveling in the beauty of Aurora Borealis in real life instead of pictures. And the list goes on and on and on.

But I don’t want to be just another tourist. I want to do as the locals do. I want to live and experience their way of life. Just thinking about it has me bouncing off the walls! :)

There’s so much to do before the next 145 days are over and I fly off into the magikcal land that coined my favourite term: “Joie De Vivre”. This is my Joie de Vivre; my joy of living. I’ve now leapt from being on the fringe to truly being in action.

But my oh my, what a tedious task of planning I have to ahead of me now. Places to research, budgets to calculate, things to buy, documents to prepare… Not to mention that I haven’t even scratched the surface of preparing those college applications!

This is the worry at the forefront of my mind now: that I can’t get everything done in time. But more than anything, booking those flights have pumped me up and made me more determined than ever to square everything away so that I won’t have to needlessly worry on what is supposed to be the First Great Adventure of My Life!

So, first things first. Fill up my college applications, complete my portfolios, then onto making that list of MUST-SEES!

Talk to me!:
What are the places you’d give anything to see with new and eager eyes again?
Any advice for a novice backpacker? The must-sees, must-dos, must-eats.

Have as great a day as I am having munchkins!

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Just Do It.

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“Courage is not having no fear. It’s being afraid but doing it anyway.”

I’ve been looking through multiple websites all day trying to find the cheapest tickets for flying in and out of Europe for my backpacking trip. And I think I’ve found the one. But now that I’ve sorted that out I can’t bring myself to click on that orange little button book.

It’s irrational, I know. All I’ve been talking about since even before I graduated was how I was going on this great adventure to comb the magnificent cities, eat mouth-watering food and just having a bloody fantastic time. But now… Now I’m not so sure.

I’m planning a trip from August 31st till January 29th. 4 months and 29 days of being immersed in beautiful cultures and unforgettable sights.

But…what if I don’t enjoy myself? What if I get there and the “oomph” factor that I’ve read so many bloggers rave about just doesn’t hit me? What if I feel as numbed and lifeless there as I do here?

And then there’s the more legitimate fears. 4 months and 29 days?! What if I don’t have enough money to support myself? (Red alert! insufficient planning, I know) What if all throughout the trip all my mind can fret over is whether or not that college application got through? What ifs, what ifs and more what ifs!

“Worrying says more about the worrier than the worries.”

I’m afraid to commit to this decision because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull through. And of course that sounds so silly because the whole point of this trip is to let loose and just have fun. It’s not a blazing trail through purgatory! So I guess this whole post is basically just a boot to my own ass. I want to stop being such a worry-wart and if I don’t click that orange little button then I’ll forever remain the kind of person I don’t want to be. The kind of person that only talks about such great and grand things, but never actually do them…

“If you can worry, it means that nothing has actually happened.”

So. Pep Talk 101: Go out there and do it (whatever it is). Because when it comes down to crunch time, when you really have to, you’ll find a way to survive.

Once again, this anxiety filled post contains no interesting information whatsoever. I really do want to talk about my upcoming trip. When I’ve got the nitty gritties finalized that is. Do keep a look out for that if you’re interested (my as yet invisible readers).

Talk to me!:
What are your backpacking/memorable traveling experiences? What fears did you face and how did you overcome them?

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Back and bigger and better

So I’ve been gone from WordPress for over 6 months now; unintended hiatus because I just haven’t been writing anything blog worthy (oops). But I’m back now, and I plan to make it a routine to start writing regularly. Mundane updates about my life, poems, creative writing… hopefully some decent art I’m trying to learn how to make. Yikes.

So I’ll just start with the first: mundane updates.

I’ve been pretty busy with school nearing the end of last year (A levels and all that jazz). Part of the reason for my disappearance. But now that that’s done with, I’m currently taking a Gap Year to try to explore my interests before heading off to university. And to travel. That’s really just the main reason. So I’m working now (I’d say to gain experience that’ll hold me in good stead in future but really it’s just for the money) to save up for my unfortunately far-away-and-as-yet-unplanned backpacking trip around Europe.

So… More about all the exciting things (to me) I’m planning on doing throughout this year in a later post. And with that I end off my most-boring-ever return to the Magickal World of WordPress.

Talk to me (one of my resolutions for 2014 is to start interacting with more people): So what have you been doing now that it’s been 3 months and 4 days into the New Year?

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People Who Don’t Want Saving.

Seconds tick by like a metronome of monotony. The white of the sun is harsh against the backdrop of black that surrounds Amy, and she wishes– more than anything– for the black to be literal, for the sun to shine a little less bright, for the contrast to not be so daunting. It seems unfair, that in the moment her life is to be so irrevocably changed, the world is simply moving on; it spins, still, on its axis without a care for her world.

 

Faintly, Amy registers the distant hum of voices– varying cadences of platitudinous uttering. But the ticks and tocks are overwhelming. They mock her, scorn her, scream out to her: wretched wastefulness! I am slipping, unstoppable, through your fingers; molten seconds disappearing into crevices of blackness. She blinks once, twice, seeing now more red and black than white. She feels the tickle of warm liquid caressing the side of  her head, down the sensitive skin of her neck. She watches the world upside down. In her predicament, stretching her fingers in time to the rhythmic ticking is all she can do– reaching out, as she best can, for something tangible to hold on to. Something aside from the black that threatens to engulf her.

 

“We’re… coming to..” — black.

 

“Open… open your eyes.” — black.

 

“It’s… going… okay?” She opens her mouth to ask — black.

 

She imagines how ridiculous she must look to the owner of that hopeful voice. Her gaping mouth, conveying with escaped breaths all she feared, all she loved and all she no longer lived for– her entire life story, encompassed in the sparse gasps of air– like a fish out of water. Imagining is tiring. She much prefers the black.

 

This time, more consciously, she registers a scream. Shrill and piercing, tapering off into a gurgle. She struggles to breathe, wondering how she could possibly be drowning on dry land. Maybe in this inverted world she swallowed a mouthful too much of air, and it’s choking her alive. Through the crack of her eyelids she sees, more silhouette than features, dishevelled hair and an immature beard looking down at her; grateful for the temporary reprieve from the glaring white that is stolen away far too soon.

 

For a moment she forgets being submerged in an imaginary ocean, forgets how to work her lungs and breathe in life; she could almost feel the peace of the black that she welcomes. But then hands, too close, too intimate for her liking are on her chest. She doesn’t understand, can’t comprehend how her own alien body is working against her. As her once-upon-a-time hero makes the incision along her throat, sticking a tube in, she watches obliviously as colour begins to seep into her world. When she feels her lungs expanding again, taking in oxygen, giving her life, Amy starts to sob. Painfully, because the tube can’t take in enough air to allow for her convulsive gasps. Desperately, because the tube doesn’t allow her to say what she hopelessly needs to get out. Mournfully, because the tube has stolen away the black.

 

The hardwood floor has never before felt as cold beneath her skin, as if freezing every pore of her being to staying grounded in this world. As Amy tilts her head further upwards, in the periphery the world is upside down, but all she takes in is the taut circle of rope, swaying in its show of contempt. And she sobs, vacantly, because the tube has robbed her of her way out of her horrific labyrinth.

 

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We Could Talk In Morse Codes

When I told you it was fine, I was hoping you wouldn’t believe me. When I told you that you needn’t worry about me, I never expected you to really do it. So when I stopped saying anything at all, the last thing I thought you would ever do is try to claim to know me so well.

There are no logical reasons for these lies that I have told. I’ve sown a mask to my face, that now have melted into my skin, so I can no longer tell where it ends and I begin. It’s like looking in a mirror but never really seeing, because what I’d need is a scalpel just to peel away this film that’s coated my entire being. Imagine gold, imagine greatness, imagine something special that lies beneath this plastic skin; but when I unzip my veins all that flows is a dull red. And nothing scares me more than being simply…  average.

I’ve lost several words through the course of my brief life. “Happy” was the first to go, but to be honest, I still haven’t truly felt it’s impact. “Sad”, though, was a word that’s hard to live without. So I’d stutter, with my speech impaired, trying to find a way about. I devised all sorts of cryptic ways to convey this one emotion— as if the world gave out prizes to whomever who could find the most immense ocean of ineffable puzzles in which one could drown. I lost “no,” and “help,” and “stay,” almost concurrently. I lost “hello,” and “pain,” and “family”. And then I lost “me”. So all I’ve ended up saying is “please,” and “thank you,” and “sorry”— Please look at I; thank you for looking at I; sorry you had to look at I— no one understands an impaired speech.

Later on I found out that I felt less like choking if, to I, the words didn’t have a meaning. Instead of inhaling all that salt underwater, I could keep, at the very least, my head above the surface. My lungs were lighter anchors. Now you see, a lie is ten times easier to keep afloat. I haven’t just stopped saying what I mean out of fear; I found, above all, a new life buoy.

These lies… they keep I from being simply average.

 

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The Ultimate Multi-Taskers

No, two things aren’t going on concurrently. Its three and four and five, fighting for the same head space. And in that claustrophobic finite space the noise is overwhelming.

Chaos, waxed lyrical, tugs at the neurones in my brain. Like an intricate dance it stretches my tendons, beautifully, it moves through my body; my arms and legs a sinuous liquid, gushing with a force I can’t control. But bodies weren’t made to take shapes of containers. It is cramp, and my limbs are bent in places that weren’t meant to be. So my bones start to grow at perpendicular angles and my inelastic bands of fibrous tissue. . . begin. . . to. . . snap.

My cells have rearranged— my hands are my feet, and my eyes are ears that can neither see nor hear— all flowing into the same head space. Every force is triggering the wrong reaction: my fists move in tandem with this whine in my chest; the ringing in my ears are harmonies to that rhythmic pounding in my head; those words tickling my vocal chords itches my heart. Direction has become an irrelevant concept because everywhere I look, the mess I see is all the same. A disarray of fetid liquid, stuck in a box, left to fester and rot. You see, tangent to my sanity is a normal that exists entirely on an imaginary plane. So in the real world, a push is no different from a pull. In the real world, no matter where I move, my position always stay the same. Air… What I need is air. And tangible space. I need warm hands to ground me. And a voice to guide me out of this box… Because my cells need to rearrange.

Each new anchor joins the rusted sunken ones in this tiny, tiny box. The ripples on the surface are negligible. Tearing through the liquid in its conquest to be buried deep; to rest at the bottom, dormant, where it’s too far down for the sunlight to reach. By the laws of nature that dictates all that shall come to pass, these foreign anchors and this box will, for certain, disintegrate.

But I doubt it would be in my time.

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Not Everything

I wish I could tell you there is a point to all of this.

 

Some higher purpose,

Some greater function,

But—

 

Sometimes, some things just are

Some times, some things can’t

Have a deeper meaning

 

And so there are days like Today, where

Nothing feels right in the world and

I wish I could find a way

To let my story unfurl,

 

That even though we both know

There’s only one dimension

We’ll still stick it in a goddamn bottle

And make a kaleidoscope.

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There have been others before me, and there will be many more after.

“I am sad” sounds so silly. It sounds, so much, like a grown up with a paper cut, crying out for bandages. It sounds like that kid who cried wolf —except, being eaten alive might’ve hurt much less.

“I am sad” makes me sound like an imposter. Like if I could say it, then I couldn’t possibly mean it. Like talking about it means I couldn’t really be all that sad. Like I must endure in an unspoken oath of silence. As if I needed to prove my melancholic state. As if it’s perfectly acceptable for a complete stranger to sweep right in and pass judgement on how and why I feel what I feel.

“I am sad” sounds so infantile, so insincere, so repulsively desperate. But it also sounds a whole lot like three honest words I would never dare utter.

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