No man is ever an island.

In the sense that we are community creatures and in this world today in which we are highly interconnected and especially in a city state like Singapore where we live densely and within close proximity with family and friends, we can’t really be hermits and not communicate with people on a regular basis.

This is particularly true for people who tend to be more verbose, like me. As much as I can and do spend a lot of time by myself, and need to in fact, I cannot thrive and survive when I go for long periods without social interaction that involve people beyond acquaintances. Sure, I can make small talk with random people such as food stall vendors or cafe service staff, but these are just not enough. Not for a protracted period of time anyway.

I always hold the belief that a person has a quota of words each day or week to use up in conversation that goes past the superficial “Hi”, “How are you?”, “The weather is crazy these days, isn’t it?” and the likes. I enjoy heartfelt, deep conversations with some friends that although can get quite uncomfortable and push all the wrong buttons in me, they provoke a certain level of further rumination on my part thereafter that sometimes can help me in my personal growth and development.

A friend of mine is progressing in her certification as a coach and I have always appreciated her perspectives that help me to get a more balanced view of areas that I may have been blinded to. Of course, some other friends have also offered up fresh insights for me to mull over, ALTHOUGH I must qualify that my initial reaction is always to turn up my defences and resist whatever new ideas they are throwing my way.

Sometimes, we just want the other party to commiserate and sooth our egos and emotions, but these pity parties aren’t helpful eventually even if there are times when they are sorely needed.

So… I do crave interaction with human beings who are my friends or family. Being unable to get sufficient amount of such interaction can get a little trying on my mental health, so I really need to think of how I can ‘schedule in’ such interactions on a regular-enough basis.

Also, even though I kept reminding myself I have also been ill-disciplined in staying on track in my original conclusion, preferring to give them the benefit of doubt. However, over the last few weeks, I have decided that my current colleagues are simply such – colleagues. I do not find any friend in any of them and do not think I ever will. Becoming friends with colleagues is not an impossibility. I have found close friends for certain seasons who were my colleagues, but in the office I work in now, I just feel that interaction is superficial at best and most people are either self-centred or selfish. I am also one of them, I figure.

slow breathing

Today… let me attempt a short post.

If I could, I think maybe it is a good idea to write daily? Yet, this would most likely cause this space become an overwhelmingly messy dump of mental somersaults that stretch endlessly. But it has been said, though I am not sure how well-proven or studied it is, that journalling has positive effects on one’s mental well-being.

Anyway, today I am thankful. For:

  1. The much-needed face-to-face extended social interaction. It’s been a while since I have met someone in person and had a few hours just to talk. Emails/texts make a poor substitute for interaction, maybe because I am old-school like that. Short hi-bye interactions with acquaintances at yoga classes, or with the cashiers at cafes, also do not substantially make up for the kind of interaction I need.
  2. A mini home-baked earl grey yogurt tea cake/tart. My friend whom I met (above) made it recently and gave me one, disclaiming that the earl grey flavour was not distinct and it might be too sweet even though she had cut the sugar used. Indeed, I couldn’t taste the earl grey notes in the tart/cake but nevertheless I am thankful for the thought and the gift!
  3. My friend was heading somewhere far and booked a ride there. Because it was pouring when we were about to leave where we were, she offered to drop me off at my next destination, which was really kind of her to do so! The rain was just pelting down in sheets, despite that it was scorching just hours earlier, needfully quenching the parched pavements but now it has left the air still and which hangs with a thick shroud of humidity.

 

一个人的精彩

I’m not sure if I have used it correctly but in any case, it doesn’t really matter.

I am not entirely incapable of positive rumination, I surmised. Does rumination always connote a negative meaning anyway?

It was a good weekend I had. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. In fact, it was just a simple and normal weekend like most other weekends, but yet I think I sort of enjoyed it.

I was supposed to meet someone on Saturday, a day that the other person proposed after a suggestion to meet sometime back wasn’t available for the other party. On Saturday itself, said person dropped me a text and asked if I could meet on Sunday instead. It wasn’t that I was trying to be difficult or inflexible, but I had sort of made plans for Sunday, which included yoga, followed by church and then visiting my parents. Eventually, the Saturday and Sunday didn’t exactly pan out as I had planned (I visited my parents on Saturday instead of Sunday) but I told the person I wasn’t free on Sunday, which was true as at the point when I responded.

I pondered and thought, did I want to go ahead to meet the person and what was it that I wanted from the meet-up? I know that friends don’t really need any express/explicit reasons to meet for a catch-up but sometimes I get reluctant to go through with such meet-ups. There are friends I love to meet regularly because conversation just flows naturally and deeply. But with some, it feels superficial and contrived, and end up mired in frustration because the other person doesn’t or can’t empathise or comprehend. It’s like when I share about certain things and the responses that come from the person generally fall into certain categories that make me feel: (1) I am not trying hard enough (to change the situation/achieve something); (2) I am thinking too much; (3) I am just being idealistic/unrealistic. The way such conversations go tend to invalidate and trivialise how I think and feel, even though, yes I know everything isn’t all about me. But it is not fair to imply that I have not tried hard enough and it is frustrating to be told that ‘maybe if it isn’t happening, it’s just not meant to be / the timing is not right – you should just stay where you are’.

What is it that I want to hear from them anyway? Maybe it is better then that I tell myself that instead of hoping to hear certain words from another’s lips.

So there are things to be thankful for despite that things didn’t go as planned. I had a quick and simple brunch by myself on Saturday, then in the afternoon I went for a second yoga class. I don’t know if I wasn’t feeling that great/well then or it was simply too warm, both outside and inside the studio but physically my state was bad. I struggled in class, and after that stumbled out and slumped onto the floor unable to get up without compromising my balance/consciousness. Some kind lady saw me outside the studio and offered to help me refill my bottle because I was parched for sure, and I had no ounce of energy in me to stand up and fill my bottle. I was so thankful for that helping hand.

Then my mum called after I showered and informed me that my brother and his family were heading home for dinner and asked me if I was going (and why not, she asked lol). So it turned out eventually I headed back for dinner with them and it was almost like a feast my mum cooked. It wasn’t anything extravagant like lobsters or abalone (I am not a fan anyway) but the amount of food she cooked had all of us filled to the brim.

Sunday came and went, again with classes (and some twist that also eventually turned out alright) and church service – where I sort of couldn’t concentrate at all and kept wanting to doze off.

Although I did spend a bit of the weekend on work, it was generally done voluntarily. Maybe I will talk a little more on that in the next post because this is getting a tad lengthy. Overall, it was a good weekend anyway.

Detachment

It’s something I have to constantly challenge and remind myself to practise. Be it from people or from things, I think it’s the only way for me to be able to gain some semblance of peace within, yet innately for the last few decades that I’ve been living, it is almost an ingrained part of me, no doubt I guess due to circumstances I’ve grown up in or experiences I’ve had when I was young that have led to what I am today.

It is perhaps telling, that the more I try to detach myself the harder it seems to be and the more bitterness I feel, whether it’s with myself or the people I try to detach from, when I can’t get to the state envisioned. I don’t know if it’s what I would call ‘soft-heartenedness’, if I just have a natural soft spot for these people that at the slightest hint of any positive showing of affection/friendliness to me, all earlier thoughts of detaching myself from them go out the window obliterated and I invest and dive fully headlong into it and somehow or another emerge with even deeper wounds when things again start to go awry.

I told my friend that maybe I’m just the ‘all or nothing’ kind of person, but yet the inability to practise and stand by the concept of ‘nothing’ has resulted in bitterness that in all reality has only affected me and left my heart in shreds and my mind in constant turmoil, the other person oblivious to whatever suffering I’d inflicted on myself.

The idea is to detach at an appropriate moment and not grieve, or stay too long in grief, when a relationship goes south or becomes that of an acquaintance sort of connection. The key is to understand that people come and go, and friends are made for a season and a reason. It may be true that some stay longer than others and maybe there may even be some who linger for an almost lifetime, the ‘evergreen’, underlying bedrock of friendships that somehow always remain, visible or not. Yet the truth is that there are and will be many who will come and go, and it is important to recognise and acknowledge that, appreciate it when they come and accept and celebrate it even, when the time comes for them to make an exit.

If I could only accept that graciously, even if the exit happens in circumstances that I least expect, I need to gird and ready myself for such situations and be ever ready to cut loose when it doth occurs.

I want to be happier and more at peace. I don’t want to keep on like this and exhaust myself and people around me – those that are still around.

There are so many things in life that need the mental capacity to deal with that it is needful to conserve the bandwidth for the most fundamental ones so that the candle doesn’t burn out prematurely.

Food enjoyed with another almost always taste better…

happiness can be simple

It may seem like the most complex concept yet simultaneously the way to it can be amazingly simple.

I understand that it is a state of mind that we have the ability to influence and change but far too often, we are given to a multitude of external factors that impair our perception of this and make us feel so worn and tired that it is far easier to succumb and submit ourselves to the defeat.

Happiness, joy or perhaps contentment – it is never a constant unwavering state, because even the Bible says that we will have trials and trouble. That is why we need our saviour. But it is also easy to speak thus while practising it is another totally different ballgame.

I cannot fathom and comprehend the unkindness that some people are capable of. The frequent alternating of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde treatments just leave me completely exhausted and taken by surprise. I cannot anticipate such situations and have zero defence against these that leave me bewildered, befuddled and fundamentally, hurt. Maybe it is part of my schema that I am wont to return to such unhealthy relationships/friendships, even though I know these people are just not good for me and they are not worth my time and effort. Yet time and again, I have let myself slide back into the comfort of their friendship when they are in a good mood or when I am in their good books. Then when they decide to cut me off one fine morning, I have to suck it up and deal with it.

I wrote this to myself and I hope it is something I can always remind myself of, like a permanent sticky to adhere to myself in my mind/chest/forehead:

“Dear self,

Do not let someone repeatedly make you feel like a worthless piece of shit. You are more than enough.

Once is enough so please, I beseech you, please learn. Do not keep committing the same mistakes and allowing these people to treat you so badly as they wish and fancy. You are not responsible for their mood swings and if they do not see and appreciate the value of your friendship, so be it. Do not grovel at their feet. Learn, please! They are just not worth it.

Ironically, it isn’t what people whom we frequently complain about (at the workplace) who make it hard for us to carry on. It is the people who we were supposed to be closer with, the ones we spend more hours and days commiserating about our woes and complains over lunch, who drive us to leave eventually because of the emotional abuse they subject us to, because of the callousness with how they treat us, because of the disregard they show when they take my heart of friendship and trample on it like it is dirt.

Love, Me”