solo but not alone

Some days I’ll entertain thoughts that can be so pessimistic and inward-looking, where I would tell myself of the importance to be independent and not expect to rely on anyone if I were to ever need any help because rarely would these expectations be met.

I thought that life is this journey that I’m on by myself, friends and family come and go, and I should not attach too much emotionally to anyone because I will only end up getting myself hurt.

There were also times I wondered if I’ve always portrayed a facade of independence or aloofness to the extent that everyone thinks I do not need emotional ties, be it family or friends. In my life thus far, I don’t recall if there were any occasions when I travel for work or leisure where my family would send me to the airport, waving me off as I walk through the departure gantries. Granted that these are short trips and not long goodbyes, there were examples of my brothers leaving for work or holiday trips where the family have sent them there, or made it a family affair to welcome them back. Am I worth less than them to not also receive these homecoming welcomes, or do they think I would not appreciate it at all?

But this actually means locking up my heart for the fear of hurt and denying myself the possibilities of receiving love, that could come from anyone and anytime.

It’s a limiting mindset that isn’t healthy and probably stemmed from times when I was disappointed by the unrealistic expectations I held. But I’ve been reminded time and again, whether it’s bible verses I read, podcasts I listen to, or simply other things I chance upon; I think the universe works in ways that aren’t coincidental or by chance. Everything happens for a reason and at the opportune time in our lives, and these are probably little notes to me that no one is made to live the journey of life alone. Maybe we can be alone and not be married or stay together with family, but we aren’t meant to go through life without close friends and loved ones.

The petulant childishness in me wants to reject this perspective and insist on that stubborn train of thought, struggling to stay where I am but it’s unhealthy. It doesn’t serve my mental well-being anything to continue with that kind of mindset.

We can be selective with who we would want to spend time with and devote more emotional time and energy to, but it doesn’t refute the fact that we all need to be part of a community. Family and friends may not always be around when we need them, and it’s ok. It won’t be the same people around all the time but at different times, different people will come and when the season is over, they will leave and someone else will come.

learning is continuous

It’s much talked about these days about lifelong learning and how this is a process that we need to embrace. Way before we were accosted with the way things are changing now, the Chinese saying already sums it up that we will continue learning as we age.

While not in the same context of maintaining relevance that behoves us to keep learning, I realise that we continually learn about people and also about ourselves.

Some people are not who they seem to be and as time goes by you start to get to know them a little bit more and more. It’s true that connections can be made instantly or quickly but not all connections last or become deeper and closer. There are times we have to learn to let go of those connections that actually aren’t what we imagine or hope for them to be. Like I heard on a podcast recently, there’s not an instruction manual for the connection between us where the other party has to adhere to for my expectations to live out.

As the years go by and we discern people more and become more discerning too about how we spend our time and with whom, the social circle inevitably whittles and it’s a new reality to get used to and even embrace. It isn’t about having a lot of friends or a very full and exhausting social calendar to make us feel fulfilled or popular. Time spent with the people who really matter and with ourselves, is going to be what will make a difference to the quality of our lives. And even if the other party we’re seeing is the same all the time, family or friends, it doesn’t matter. We don’t get bored of people who we value and love and it’s not a need to ration or limit time with them to a predetermined number that is based on nothing.

Defeated

When I try so hard, maybe not hard enough, to control what I thought I had control over and could based on what I was able to do before, yet the results are just moving in the other direction of where I’d like for them to be… I just feel like I’m such a total failure and loser.

What happened to my self control? What happened to that discipline? Is that the reason why I’ve slipped up and that’s why I’m not seeing the results?

Why is this happening? How can I rectify it?

All these… and more, make me feel like a piece of defective product that sits at a dusty corner of the shelf among the clearance racks of a department store, tucked into the dark recesses of the top and unseen section of the shelves that nobody is interested to prospect and browse through.

It doesn’t help that by society’s conventions and living examples around me, when I see myself in parallel with them, further cements the fact that I’ve fallen off the track and am nowhere along the path or on a route that is characterised with being successful or even just the simple fact of having a life that is considered a happy or fulfilling one. Saddled with dark and depressive thoughts constantly and persistently mired in self doubt, not having a job I could derive any single semblance of satisfaction or enjoyment in yet unable to find an alternative despite years of searching, not having a close circle of support, not having all that I would associate with how I had wished or envisioned life to be.

我真的好累。

I do know there’s much to be thankful for. The sheer fact of being alive, whether I really appreciate it or not seeing that I do not exactly wish to be around sometimes, it doesn’t remove the fact of my existence and that there are many others who would wish to have life but yet have it taken away from them.

Yet… as I go about life I can’t help but feel more and more jaded about it and people I interact with. It’s always easy and quick and everyone wants to celebrate with you on your wins and triumphs, because it’s so easy and effortless, as people mindlessly or maybe thoughtlessly just click on the “Like” button on social media. But for people to really deliberate a measured response when you start talking and sharing about struggles and challenges, is an altogether different ballgame because it needs much more consideration and it involves a certain degree of responsibility for what’s being said, especially when it potentially could mean further engagement from me if I were to carry on the conversation.

I know that whether I heal and recover or not is mostly up to me, with the grace of God. But life is about interaction with people, and if only good times can be shared but difficult times independently endured and overcome, I really do not see the point of why we have friendships or families.

People tell me oversharing on my part can lead to fatigue on the part of the listeners and it’s possibly also a need for me to calibrate my expectations of their reactions and responses if and when I decide to share with them. Ultimately they can’t deliver the help I need which would necessarily require that of professionals which they aren’t. I get that but yet aside from seeking professional help which is however more about equipping me with the means to cope with the struggles, it’s another kind of help, the support and empathy, and a source of knowledge that I’m being supported and loved, that I’m seeking from these people I tried to reach out to. Yet the reality is that most people are preoccupied with themselves (me too obviously) and want not a single part of your drama.

Everything feels daunting and I struggle with too many things. Unhappiness about my job and colleagues, helplessness over my housing situation surrounded left right centre and above by inconsiderate neighbours, obsession over trying to control my weight by spamming my days with more yoga classes and trying to adjust what I eat that don’t actually help at all because yoga isn’t meant to make one lose weight and I can’t control indulging in sugary foods like chocolates and baked goods that are ironically negating any effort I make to lose weight.

I was told to let go and accept that some things are just as they are, and reframing and changing my perspectives would help. But my coping mechanism just isn’t letting up the need to want to control them although I have zero influence over it at all.

a sudden wave of melancholy

Like a thief creeping stealthily in the night, the wave of melancholy and poignancy quietly makes its way into the being, casting an otherwise non working day into the same gloom that shrouds the earth.

The rain from the night before rendered a cool atmosphere in the morning air, making one feel as though the much-loved ‘sweater weather’ is here that all hopes will be here to stay.

Christmas decorations that are being progressively put up in malls and along the streets form part of the package of this cool respite as we begin to anticipate the festive season. But what is it that we look forward to? Is Christmas a time of feasting, gathering or simply an overhyped consumerist event with excessive wasteful gifting?

We don’t want to have to force things and I don’t want to have to. I need to bring myself away from that and find my happy self back again.

questions with no answers

Seeking. What do I seek?

What is it that You want me to seek? Why am I seemingly never knowing what I’m seeking, if I’m actually seeking or am I supposed to be seeking?

Not knowing where I’m supposed to head if I am actually in the process of seeking is tantamount to driving with a faulty compass thinking that it actually works.

I’m lost. Confused. Tired.

Is this what life is about, because it’s a journey and therefore it’s the process that matters, regardless if this process eventually leads you nowhere, or maybe even to a dead end?

Words and images posted here, there, everywhere. Seeking and beseeching something but receiving deathly silence. The outreach and calls for connection but no one has that capacity for it. Not before, not ever.

Drifting

Sometimes it feels like a monologue that goes on in my head.

And so it doesn’t matter where the words go because as long as they get articulated for future references if I ever want to look back at what was going through my mind at certain points in time.

The trend has been pretty consistent actually. So perhaps I’ve just been moving around in circles, chasing after my own tail all this while.

As someone mentioned, the days are long but the years are short. To me, it almost feels like each day melts into the next and each year just dissolves into the other. It definitely hasn’t been a short ride I know but it’s scary entertaining the thought that my siblings and I have all moved into this particular decade of our lives which also mean our parents are getting older day by day.

The worry is now etched in me and even though I know I shouldn’t and needn’t worry, I just can’t help my human mind and heart from feeling that way.

Just more than a week ago, I literally felt my heart almost shatter into pieces at one particular instant when I observed how frail, vulnerable and helpless my pa appeared. The ache inside was so palpable; is that why heartache is such a painful thing to bear?

Is that also how parents must feel when they see their child ill? Or is it worse for children to see their aged parents becoming weaker because we have grown up used to their sprightly and strong demeanor that we can’t reconcile that with the reality that now faces us?

When I reflect back on recent events, I feel like such a selfish person as compared to the selflessness of some others around. Yet selfishness doesn’t equate to self love because I obviously don’t love myself enough. Sounds contradictory but I think they really are two separate things.