138: 5 Conflicting Thoughts

All below came rushing into my head upon waking up five minutes ago.

1: Self-worth – Nobody can save you, except yourself, making you a nobody.

2: Reality – Anything imagined could be real to the person experiencing it, though reality is a shared consensus of experiences.

3: Fear – We are afraid of the unknown, because what has been known mostly hurt us.

4: Identity – Once you lose yourself, then you are found.

5: Recovery – The climb up is always harder than the fall from the top.

137: Where You’d Be

Where You’d Be

People say:“Behind
Every successful man
Is a woman”

I did not believe that.
Nor did I feel
I would be behind you.

(The only time
would be with my arms
around you)

Where you’d be
I have always hoped
Is by my side

Forever and always
Guiding me ahead
Pulling me back

Taking my hand
From flying too far
Or falling too deep

But you disappeared
Left me all alone
No longer next to me

I searched for you
I tried to find you
I thought I lost you

Until I looked
In a place hard to find
Somewhere I’ve hidden

I’ve kept you safe
Deep within me
Is where you’d be

136: Sins

How do you live with yourself, when you’ve sinned deliberately, despite knowing you’re not supposed to?

I’m an agnostic, so I do not believe in sins (until I experience some form of divine intervention, or someone I love convinces me enough to believe). But many people have a religious faith of some sort or another, and they have been brought up learning about all forms of transgressions, usually by threats of residing in hell. 

Yet, it’s these people who have faith that sin and continue to live comfortably, while people like me would surely experience a form of existential crisis the moment we go against what we believe in. It’s generally clear what they’re not supposed to do – get overly intoxicated / take things that harm your body / premarital sex and the infamous eating of pork for muslims – but people of different faiths still do it. I wonder if they think about the impact of their sins, or like how stereotypes would portray by simply asking for forgiveness the next time they pray.

If I could use the word sin to describe going against parental expectations, I have sinned and am sinning so badly.

I wish I could live with myself for disappointing my parents and all around me for my choices, but I barely can. I can’t continue to live at home, knowing I’m not the muslim my parents hope for me to be, coming back late at night reeking of alcohol and scents of women. I can’t continue to live at home, knowing the difference between a home and a house is family, having numbed myself from them for 7 years and counting. If I had a religious faith, I have sinned countless times, and if I were to ever ask for forgiveness, I have to stop doing all I’ve been for the past few years. 

I just can’t live with that.

135: I’m Old

Gonna be 22 this year.

Had a game of football just now finally after a few weeks out, and I feel totally different than how I was 2 years ago. Around this time in 2012, fresh from commissioning, I was released from the fear of getting injured and ready to improve myself. I played what I felt was my best football for the past 2 years, with amateur teams and playing the way I would like to – a goal-scoring (not a great goal-scorer, but a scorer of great-goals. If only I had video evidence to reminisce about them..) box-to-box midfielder. I was confident, agile, and I would never say that I’m “tired”, simply because that word did not exist in my dictionary.

2 years on, I’m barely a box-to-box anymore, only able to float around the field trying to make use of positioning. My goals dried up. I got lazy. I started taking things that would harm my body, and having irregular sleep certainly did not help at all. Just now, I only played one half in a very slow-paced game and found myself repeating the words “I’m tired” after it ended. I pushed myself to get 9:44 for my last IPPT, when I used to breeze a 9:04 easily.

Moments like this, plus the regular aches you get increasingly randomly, that made me realise the sad truth.

Holy shit, I’m getting old.

134: Revolutionary Road – Philosophy Now

Why I could relate to Revolutionary Road – very, very well.

“You suffer a setback in life – not your run-of-the-mill disappointment, but a game-changer, one of those epic collapses that forces you to take a long, hard look at who you are and what it means to be alive in a world that has turned against you;

a moment that makes you reassess a life-long dream and decide whether it’s time to give up on it for good – and you just need a little time and space to think it through.”

Philosophy Now – Revolutionary Road

The article explores the film Revolutionary Road through an existentialism POV. Check it out.

133: Help

I was thinking of the videos I’ve seen in hoping people open their eyes bigger and take note of the things around us. One video that went viral had this guy carrying a sign saying “fuck the poor” and people are filmed dissing him. Yet, when the sign is per usual “help the poor”, nobody really bothers. Then, as usual, an idea came to me. 

Many times we see old men and women with handmade signs sitting along pathways, some selling tissue paper while others begging. What if one day I were to be decently dressed, carrying a sign that says “help”, albeit through a tablet? 

Would people immediately judge and presume I’m asking for help financially? Or would some people actually take notice that maybe, just maybe, help may not best be in the form of financials, but just company?

One day, when I find someone willing enough to help, be it taking the video or being the subject.

131: Superpowers

“If you had a superpower, what would it be?”

I’m sure all of us kept wondering what would our own special abilities be, if we had one as depicted in cartoons and movies. I don’t know about kids these days, but the 90s would usually pick one from the gauntlet of DC and Marvel superheroes, from Superman’s flight to Wolverine’s regeneration. Then there are the more ‘modern’ superheroes, it’s no surprise one of my favourite series was Heroes, depicting everyday people finding themselves blessed with extraordinary powers. I’ve always thought Sylar’s intuitive aptitude was the best, the ability to learn anything instantly was an allusion to humanity’s constant thirst for knowledge. We can only dream of having superpowers, but I would like to believe we all already have secret powers within us.

I was asked that same question twice for camp interviews, and someone recently randomly asked me the same question again, and I would like to share my honest answer. Many people would choose those extraordinary abilities many would consider “normal” - flight, regeneration, teleportation, etc. I was pleasantly surprised that those I’ve answered have yet to hear the one superpower that I would like to have. While I usually answer in its simple term “I want to make others feel better”, the proper term would be empathic healing.

If I may, I would like to go into the ‘technicalities’ of it. I feel what makes us human isn’t the ability to feel, many would argue animals feel too, but empathy - the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Empaths are people with the power to fully interpret and replicate emotions, moods and temperaments of others. However, holding this power opens us to the possibility of emotion manipulation. This is a dangerous power to have, we could basically control how people feel and use it in the most despicable of ways. I would never allow myself to be exposed to such power, especially after being accused of it many times over. Instead, empathic healing would enable one to feel better, simply because I believe that nobody should ever feel unhappy, not around me at least.

We all know what sadness could do to us, especially if we can’t get out of it. I believe that as friends, we should do whatever we can to make our friends feel better, as long as we guide them away from a destructive path after. Personally, I strongly feel that if I can’t make myself happy, I might as well do what I can to help others feel happy. Of course, this is where the downside of empathic healing comes in.

The emotional pain one feels doesn’t simply disappear. Instead, it’s being transferred to the one with the superpower. While I do believe that nobody around me should feel sad, I also do believe that I can never be destroyed emotionally. Yes, I may fall, (this time I have fallen a little too far), but if there is anyone who could find hope in the darkest of times, it would be me. To know how to deal with suffering we have to experience it, and while everyone’s threshold is subjective, I’m learning in a lot of ways to live, and in fact, thrive in this.

My wish for empathic healing also comes from the fact that I no longer see interdependence the way I used to. I’m starting to feel that I must be independent, and I will learn how to be independent again, all the while balancing my openness to ensure I would never numb or hide myself again. It is a tall order, I am still finding the balance I admit, but the moment I do I can learn to love freely once again. I made a grave mistake numbing myself, and wrongly believed that interdependence could keep a relationship alive, completely disregarding independence.

I’m striving to be strong enough for another person, such that I could be relied upon all the time, while keeping myself open enough to allow them into where my demons hide. I have to learn to keep them under control, so they would never scare anyone away ever again if they ever visit. It’s not easy, we grew in a world where demons should be vanquished rather than kept, but I have faith I would eventually be able to do it and perhaps one day learn to love again.

If you think about it, maybe love is a superpower we all already have. Some of us have been blessed to experience a glimpse of how love could empower us, others have been unfortunate to be on the wrong side by its immense capability for destruction. I think I had a little bit of both. Perhaps after reading this you’ll reconsider the notion of superpowers, and now it’s my turn to ask:

“What’s your superpower?”

130: The Simple Truth

Please don’t say I never tried.

When I told you, before our parents, that I’m transferring to ntu, I have already, like how I always do, predicted a particular response. I knew you wouldn’t understand, or even try to, and attempt to impose your values upon me. “Y wld ntu be any different? Its a shame”

Yeah, that’s what it has always been about for our family isn’t it? Face. I don’t even get who we are trying to impress, really. Somehow we have this skewed notion that people must think we are normal when obviously, after everything that has happened, we’re not. Not that people have to know, but why do we have to attempt to portray that outwardly?

And yes, you suffered worse than me, yet each time came out strong enough. I still remember how you completed a degree while juggling a full time job, sure many people have done that but to do so in the face of the shit at home is something extraordinary. You suffered much hardship, especially this year, and have a strong enough faith to pull yourself through. I’m always proud of you, even if I rarely agreed with your choices in life. Nevertheless, I respect that it is your life and as a brother I can only guide you in accordance to what I believe in, and whatever your choice I have always supported you and hope you would end up happier than yesterday.

Maybe ntu wouldn’t be different, and I am already realising what I’m giving up to simply give myself a whole new beginning. But I need, more than anything today, a whole new hope. To get away from places that trigger the hurt and give myself the chance to find happiness again. 

I’m not looking for understanding, sympathy or even empathy from you. All I’m doing is what you hope a brother, or any person, would always do – tell the truth to those who love him.

If you can’t even handle this simple truth, how could I start to share even bigger things? 

129: The Girl In the Bus

You know that moment you could look through a crowd, and the gap opens up just nice for you to observe a particular someone?

I don’t know you, but I wish you would stop adjusting your hair. It’s so distracting, and I wish I could tell you that you looked fine after the second time you adjusted it, but I’m three seats away and there’s 6 people in between us. It is just too troublesome I suppose..

No. You look beautiful just that way – I hope you didn’t hear me, you’re staring right at me. Time to look at my phone for a few seconds and out to the window, people naturally do that don’t they? Oh, god, stop adjusting your hair, really, it was just perfect then. I bet nowbet you’re gonna… yep you did it again.

There’s nothing in your eye, gosh, who are you trying to impress? You looked kinda cute anyway trying to get something out of your eye, when obviously you’re just impatient about something. I suppose something’s on your mind, the way you fidget in a crowded bus, constantly turning to the front hoping the bus moves faster than it is. I hope you realise it has been at a red light for the past few seconds. Evidently, your fingers rhythmically tapping the pole, from your pinkie to your forefinger, suggests you can’t wait for something. Is it meeting your boyfriend? Or perhaps he isn’t your boyfriend yet. Maybe, you’re having an affair and you’re afraid someone might spot you. Aha, I did, I think.

Maybe you’re just late for an appointment with friends, not everyone’s life is as exciting I suppose… though you do look kinda exciting. I like what you’re wearing, that pink top really complements the colour of your tanned skin. I guess I’m still a sucker for beautiful eyes, they were what that caught my attention after the initial distraction of you adjusting… you just had to do it again.

I’m reaching my stop soon, it’s such a waste you’re not looking here again. I would take my chances and just smile at you, but I guess from where we come from it’s more creepy than friendly. I gotta get up my seat in a few seconds, I guess this is where it ends huh. Once the auntie next to me gets her ass up, I’m almost obligated to move and squeeze my way past this man and this couple.

We were only inches apart then, but unfortunately the card reader on the left was free and you were standing on the right. It was only natural for me to tap my card out there, rather than face to your side, using it as an excuse to drop a smile or a laugh and “excuse me”.

I’m sure someone else would be blessed to know you.