It might be presumptuous of me, but I think I’m fortunate. Lucky. Blessed.
Whatever force you believe in, random sparks of life, or meeting of the fates, it’s really quite incomprehensible.
How could this be? For if I loathe myself so much, that someone else could find love in their hearts. The generosity of it all. That we could be so selfless to another being, when we are also so selfishly absorbed in our own machinations, that another could be considered.
Thus, what other response is there to give to the faith placed in you, except to give the very best of yourself in return?
I don’t really know what prompted my retreat from the sphere of public publishing. Some of it seemed to stem from how ephemeral the exercise was. Write a few words, share it on Facebook, get a few likes, maybe some comments, maybe none at all. Then something else comes along. Something shinier, more brazen, deflects your attention and it almost seems like the words you had just typed were already inconsequential the moment they ended up onscreen.
And yet, there was also a sense of freedom, that I didn’t have to log every little nuance down. I became, and am now more interested in living than in archiving. Something’s changed in me these past six months, and I feel more present than ever. I’m leading a quieter life, but strangely I don’t miss the old life. I do get scared that I’m not meeting my friends as much, or growing my network as much, but I figure those things will come in due time.
I’m happy, I’m sad, but I’m confident that I’m allowed to live life on my own terms versus the expectation of what people expect from the projected personalities on the Internet.
Perhaps I was looking for that thread of innocence amidst the clump of threads that I had complicated my life with all those years ago. Who am I? Do I matter? And sometimes the answer is “no” as much as it is “yes”. But the beautiful thing is that regardless of the answer at whatever point the answer chooses to manifest itself as, I know that I am both, and I come to this altar of publishing, and offer my sacrifice of words, that the God or gods would take them, and have their way with them. I will be judged, condemned and redeemed all at once. I will live and die all at once.
Despite all the time that has passed, and all the excuses I make for not writing, I find myself back here saying the same things, over and over again.
I’ll write again. I’ll be disciplined. I’ll find my groove in the process.
And the same excuse will always be about how uninspired I am with regards to writing in here.
To give myself a little boost, I installed a Markdown plugin to let me write these posts the way I prefer, but even then it’s a small change. The real change has to come from the inside.
Excuse me this little dog-ear of a post. I’m hoping 2016 will be a year where I’ll share more about my thoughts and opinions on the things that shape my being and my perspectives on the things I care about.
Sometimes I feel like a sodding mess, sometimes I feel like I could give it my all. Sometimes when emotions get carried into the workplace, I feel like I should create instead of manage, and sometimes when I’m resting, I think I should be working.
Life was neatly compartmentalised, until one day, compartments weren’t enough.
I didn’t title this post “How do I pick up the pieces”, simply because I know I have to, or I will; it’s in my DNA to face forwards, or meekly accept that I’m not so special that the rest of the world will wait for me. Everything moves forward whether you want to or not.
But some times, I wish I could just stay here in my own filth. To not move, and not become whatever new and improved version I’m supposed to become. Maybe I don’t want to rush it, because I’m still learning from whatever inertia I’ve been jolted out off. Ironically, by staying inert.
Maybe it’s a method to misery, maybe it’s putting my emotions under a microscope. Maybe it’s rationalising as a coping mechanism.
But let me tell you, music’s a lot more visceral now. Which is weird because I stopped feeling to stop hurting.
I stopped feeling to stop hurting.
And yet, when the zeitgeist takes over, when just the right notes go together, in the intensity that pulls the cord in your spirit, and the howls of madmen take over, it’s the type of empathetic agony, that while we’re alone in our filth, we’re not alone in dealing with filth. It’s there, all around, and try as we might, nothing we could ever humanly do could take it away. Except perhaps to be absolutely devoid of all that it means to be human.
Now there’s a pleasant, calm-sounding word.
How should I pick up the pieces? Not by filling the void, but by embracing it.
Last night, I accidentally dropped a glass of water on the kitchen floor.
I immediately knelt down to clear the large shards of glass that were on the floor, those were easy enough. I had some trouble with the smaller shards, and it was near impossible for just fingers to clear the “grains” of glass that were left behind. Picking up a wet cloth, I tried to wipe it away, or at least get it on the cloth so that I could wring it dry.
I was determined to clean this up right, because someone else might step on a shard and injure themselves.
And that’s when it hit me. That’s just like our hearts after they’ve been broken.
This then, is what it’s like to break up with someone.
After mutually agreeing to break up about a month back, my brain had pretty much intellectualised everything it needed to. There was a logical loop that kept playing in my scenario, that whilst she had broken up with me because she didn’t have feelings anymore, she still needed time to let go because feelings don’t just go away.
In my situation, I was stuck in limbo. I respected her decision to break up with me, and yet, was I expected to return those residual feelings? As I said, it was a logical loop by which there can be no answer, or there is a clear answer. Microsoft Excel calls this a circular reference, whereby you can either have it say ERROR; or you can program the spreadsheet to refer to this reference as a value of “0”.
Either way you lose.
My heart took awhile to catch up. Intellectualising a situation is my self-defense mechanism. It provides some sort of structure, or Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to deal with disposable emotions. Things we don’t mean to say at the time. Some might call it being reasonable. While I hold that in high regard, it is also an incredible illusion of security. If you don’t address the heart in time, it will crumble under the house of cards built by your brain.
For me, one of the most arresting things that I had to deal with in my heart, was at how irrelevant I had become. Maybe this is self-imposed, but when I was in a relationship, I found meaning in the daily grind, because I was doing it to build a future with someone. When I met up with friends, it was as part of a healthy dichotomy between meaningful one-to-many and meaningful one-on-one relationships. When I indulged in my hobbies or personal pursuits, there was an added joy to share life’s victories with a loved one.
When you break up, there is no one to share that anguish with.
but lady epiphany
whispered a sweetness unto me
what i had always known
‘you’ll have to do this on your own’
So after a month of still having our Facebook statuses reflect our expired relationship, I pulled the plug. I told her my plan to do it, and then I did it. I didn’t wait for permission, and did it as an independent agent. Consequences be damned. I asked later, why she had left it there for so long, and at the end of the day, it’s sentimentality. While that’s understandable, it’s a terrible yoke to live under.
They call it the burden of hope.
So it scares me that I’ll be alone the rest of my life, or that I’ll never find a partner quite like her. But I’m not going to let fear issue me a rebound, or to keep me from ever loving again. It’ll take time, but I’d rather roll with the punches, take the hits, and learn along the way; than to say that I’d never been in the ring before.
When a colleague asked me how I felt today, since I was looking particularly stressed (It was work-related), I didn’t just smile stupidly and say everything was fine; but I told him exactly how I felt, with the point about being irrelevant. It was something to confront, and I’m glad I did.
I told him as well, that the analogy was like being in either the mid- or late-game of a Starcraft match (popular real-time strategy game), and it was that moment when you had just lost your base and most of your units, and you didn’t know if you should graciously bow out (gg) or try building another base for Round 2.
He understood exactly what I was saying, and he joked,
You’ve got too many SCVs (resource gathering unit) and not enough minerals (resources)
We laughed. True that. I have all my life to live, and the opportunity to schedule whatever I need in my life again. There are things I have to rebuild, and things I’ll need to readjust. Whatever. The important thing is to keep living. And if there’s a lesson, it’s this.
If you can be honest with yourself, you can be honest with someone else.
And perhaps vice versa.
I don’t know what the future holds, but whatever it is, I’ll go down swinging till my last breath. That’s the only reasonable and rebellious response to an uncaring world gone mad. I loosed one final salvo to her about how I was feeling at the time, and how it seemed like in this entire aftermath, it felt like she was the one who had everything she wanted for herself, and I was left with nothing. She apologised, and I understood.
In the end, I wished her well and hoped that she would find what she was looking for. And my last words were to her and to myself were,
I hope when you find what you’re looking for, and if I’m invited to your celebrations, my heart would have healed.
It’s 2:08 AM in Sydney, Australia right now. I flew out from Singapore at 1:45 AM the day before, and it’s actually 11:08 PM in Singapore now.
I feel like I’m writing this from the future, but only because I came from the past. So many things in life feel that way, don’t they? Well, that’s just rhetoric.
I’m in Sydney because of my job, we’re running an event this coming Thursday. I feel so displaced, because one day I was at awake when they announced the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, and the next, just slightly less than twenty four hours later, I’m still awake cajoling myself to write, so that I don’t forget.
In my own ways, I have my own things to grieve for. Something deeply personal in me, not to do with Mr Lee, but something I will probably have to come face to face with very soon.
Cryptic, yes I know.
Mutterings and the littlest of words weigh the heaviest on my soul.
And I choose to deal by listening to things I cannot understand. To sounds and melodies that are dissonant, panged and not commonplace. To find solace in alien places, to find hope in the unknown.
I wish for so many things, but I don’t wish to be happy, if happiness was just a transient, fleeting, disposable emotion.
That changed after Sean died. [Nigel’s] attitude was, ‘Make this as lo-fi as possible.’ Looking back I think grieving had a lot to do with that. All those sounds make no sense when you’re grieving. Instead it’s lo-fi, gritty and just a bit ‘fuck you’ when you’re in a lot of pain
– Jonnine Standish (HTRK), Interview with The Quietus, 6 September 2011