169: Alone

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view

- Edgar Allan Poe

Everything happens for a reason.

That’s what I, and a hell lot of other people, tell me anyway. I thought I didn’t have to worry about much finances and other shit about coming to ntu. How wrong I was. I’m supposed to be concentrating on studies, enjoying hall life, making plenty of new friends. Instead, I’m still having to handle a hell lot of paperwork and admin stuff that needs my urgent attention as they involve my finances.

Who would have guessed coming to ntu meant my subsidy would get cut to 50% because my sister got married and doesn’t count into the family anymore, raising the per capita income? Who would have guessed that getting a bike would cost me so much maintenance so early on? Why is money such an issue?

It’s hard not to think about it, as much as you would like to enjoy life, it appears happiness comes at a price. Outings with friends and such involve money, and it’s rare to find people who could appreciate just hanging around and talking cock the night away just for the company that would greatly help.

There’s no way I want a repeat of what happened in SMU. There’s no way I want to live everyday being burdened by the sense of loss which has definitely changed, and is still changing, me as a person. I wanted to be a better person, but honestly now, I think I just want to be a person who feels he’s alive and happy.

It’s also natural for me to start wondering if leaving SMU was the right option. I had it so easy then, with no worries about my finances having a 100% subsidy approved. I thought I had everything settled when I came into NTU, but now I’m feeling as though I jumped out of the frying pan and into the oven. I have to apply for bursaries, supplementary assistance loans and everything just to help myself and not burden my family anymore. It’s a hell lot of paperwork requiring help from my family members and everyone that’s willing. School has started yet my mind is completely not focused at all as I scramble to get everything settled.

Recently I have realised that I’m probably traumatised by being abandoned by so many people over the years. Loss and abandonment has been a constant theme in my life, and I’m beginning to reluctantly accept this. While I acknowledge that people come and go, I had hoped my friends would be different. Yet, someday, we all have to leave one another and perhaps we are all truly alone. I’ve had a history of panic attacks and I definitely do not want another relapse.

I came to NTU seeking a place I could find solace and solitude to call mine. I am honestly tired of struggling through life, happiness is something I could only say I’ve genuinely experienced in my 3 years being in a relationship, yet it appears this perpetual struggle is very much a part of me that I should learn to live with. And because finding someone to share this struggle with is that much more difficult, (who would be willing to throw themselves into this mess anyway right?) this is a struggle I have to face alone, no matter how much people tell me otherwise.

 

168: Free Spirit

“‘You don’t understand, you fool,’ says Yegor, looking dreamily up at the sky.

‘You’ve never understood what kind of person I am, nor will you in a million years…
You just think I’m a mad person who has thrown his life away…

Once the free spirit has taken hold of a man,
there’s no way of getting it out of him.”

- Anton Chekhov
About Love and Other Stories

167: Trust Trees

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers.

I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.

Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let faith speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is.

That is home.
That is happiness.”

― Hermann Hesse

166: Cigarette

Light it up
Take a puff
Take it all in
The sights and the sounds
The chemicals and the substances

Feel the cool wind in your hair
Feel the cool wind in your lungs
Your senses are one.

Each breath
Heals you a little
Kills you a little

Late post, backdated 13 July 2014.

ICT is finally *over*! Maybe I’ll save that for another post.

Being in camp for 5 days among new people (youngest in the battalion hoo-ah!), I am thankful (what?) that I started smoking which allowed me to better bond with people from different platoons and batteries.  One night, after making a small private talk with a fellow officer, I began to think if I would have been as sociable and would have connected with more people had I not picked up smoking.

Of course, those who knew me before would have probably heard that smoking is the one that that I would never do. I was so against the idea of smoking, wonder why the hell would I pay to kill my health eventually? Only recently that I’ve realised you could say the same thing about many other things – drinking in particular. Or perhaps a lesser evil would be, happy to say, I am a whole new person now.

No matter how much the government or people try to dissuade you that you don’t need smoking to be sociable, I have to argue that they’re wrong from my experience. I have met awesome friends smoking, and am sure I’ll continue to meet more awesome people down the road. Of course, luckily I’m still very much in control and know I need to balance this out by keeping my fitness and hygiene up.

Also, smoking is the one thing an individual could do while alone, anywhere (for Singapore i.e. outdoors). Nights out alone indoors is simple, usually it’s lighted and a book, handphone or a laptop would be the best company one could have while sitting down alone. However, once outside, say spending a late night at the beach or park, it’s too uncomfortable for you to watch a movie by yourself, nor would it be viable to read a book using whatever street lamps there are. Smoking allows you to literally do nothing and take everything in, feeling quite at peace with that solitary moment.

Though I would attempt to stop smoking, until I attain inner peace with myself, a cigarette would always be a friend there to rely on whenever needed, especially during lonely nights outside alone.

“I thought you were social?”
“Yeah, but I quit.”
[confused look as I'm taking a puff]
“Quit social.”

164: Why Must We (re)Serve

Being back here immediately reminded me of her. From the relief of entering artillery that meant I probably had more time with her , to that fateful night when she left me a message of “what if I don’t want us together anymore?” that led to a series of extremely unfortunate events, to even more joy that I was posted to fa which ensured an extra Friday night and Saturday mornings to spend with her. And of course, that numbness I felt upon returning from Thailand and subsequently genting.

I still wake up at 4 am in camp, just like how I always did during my last few months in cadet course at Khatib. Worse, I woke up to a torrential downpour yesterday very much reminiscent of scorpion king. Naturally, I started visualising how I kept our photo in my helmet, taking it out and putting it by my side for inspiration, a miserable layer of talc protecting our faces from the mud, sand, rain and tears. Each time that I was tired, all I had to do to find motivation was to look at how happy we were, and how proud she was of me, giving me that little boost of energy for another 10 – 15 minutes of digging. Many times I took our photo out from my helmet, wiped the endless speckles of rain off it, just to get a glimpse of us to make myself smile. As I’m typing this now, I was endlessly thankful that no matter how tired I am then, I always had someone to look forward to contacting at the end of the day (or rather, night) and make myself feel the shit I gone through was that much more meaningful. Now, I rush back to bunk to nothing but csi mobile game, not sure who would appreciate me talking to them in the middle of the night nor entertain me during these trying times. If I was unsure whether I missed her, I am now.

Ict is a shock, it’s not slack at all for officers, but at least we are all going through it together. Despite being new to this unit, I’m lucky to have awesome specs helping me with other fellow officers. It’s the unit life that I never gotten, being relatively more independent during my service as an officer. Thankfully, I’ve yet to fuck up badly but things would only get harder with each year’s ict, and especially during the high key Ops.

Only a few days to go, before three more camps in ntu!

“Everytime it rains, you would think of her”
– Neil Gaiman

163: Begin

july2014

 

My schedule for July 2014:

7 – 12: 295SA ICT2
14 – 18: NBS Camp
21 – 27: NTU Sports Camp
28 – 2: Hall 13 Camp 

I totally signed up for this.

Yet, all I keep thinking about is…

HOW MANY EXTRA UNDERWEAR DO I NEED TO BUY?!

#whymustreserve #becauseweloveourland #ntuloh

“It makes me so happy.  To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing…
A door like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs.
It’s the best possible time of being alive,

when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.” 

Arcadia
Tom Stoppard

162: Brave New World

Best read in conjunction with 161: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Image

 

This is no prank.

It’s a weird feeling, there’s no happiness nor sadness when I saw this e-letter. It was simply relief.

Relief, that I do not have to resort to working overseas just to stay away from home. Relief, that I can have a whole new beginning after a year of suffering and learning new things. Suffering has always been the best teacher.

There’s so much to say about this that I realised I would end up not posting this out, so I’m rushing it through. I do not like typing depressing stuff when I have happier posts planned, revisiting the pain doesn’t simply make it disappear instantly.

Maybe I’ll start by finally explaining why I want to leave SMU, why I want to leave a place I wanted to go in the first place, a place I had so much faith and hope in. A place that taught me so much more about myself, and allowed me to actually do things I want to do – where else can one play soccer, learn dance and mixing while juggling studies? SMU has been my dream place since the start.

Unfortunately, somewhere in between the first sem and last, I lost my way. I got disillusioned with everything, not helped by missing out on all camps in my first year bar soci camp, and I only registered at the very last minute after my break up. I know it is my fault for choosing not to go camps and ending up alone, but your priorities are different when in a relationship, and back then I felt I didn’t need anyone else as long I had her. It was an obvious choice not to go camps back then, but who am I to know my relationship would end out of a sudden, who am I to know you could fall out of love for the third time?

Yes, a big part of my decision was based on my previous relationship. But if I were to put it down to percentage, I suppose it’ll be 40% relationship 40% family and 20% based on my experience in SMU. I have already dedicated a post to the chain of events in SMU in the previous post here.

 

I’ll start with what has always been simmering within me – my family.

I have never felt belonged at home, even when my parents have (reluctantly) supported me throughout, and my sister too, working hard in a bid to lighten the burden upon them and thankfully I could get along with. Unfortunately, home never felt like one to me, it felt more like a house to stay in rather than to live in. Ever since sec 3 I decided to numb myself from my family, tired of feeling the hurt seeing my family suffer when that guy has his periodic relapses. Looking back, it affected my family dynamics terribly – my sister’s teenage life was haunted, my mom went through much emotional trauma and my dad had to carry the burden for the family. It was about finding happiness amid suffering since I was 4, and no doubt it has shaped in forming my different perspective on life. Thankfully, we are all turning out quite alright.

While over the past few years there were no relapses, I have always felt happier being away from home still. I stayed away from home for my A level period, after a bad experience during my O levels resulted in me starting my nightly roams. I went through the A levels while bunking at my cousin’s house, oblivious to the fact he had yet another relapse, and managed to do better than the effort I put in should grant me. While army was difficult, I managed to feel I breezed through it for two reasons – my (then) girlfriend and me being away from home.

Also, I’m reluctant to admit that I am nowhere near the good muslim boy my parents hope for me to be; I have lost faith in religion and would not allow myself to be accountable for their expectations. I have realised that we are not born to be indebted to our parents – especially when life is supposed to be a gift. When we give someone something, we should not expect anything in return, and what more the greatest present of life? I feel constricted by my parents’ expectations, even if they have loosened them somewhat, yet I do not want them to blame it upon themselves for the man that I have came to be. They obviously dislike me staying out until late at night, and neither does it feel good to come home in the middle of the night smelling of lies.

Transferring to NTU gives me the opportunity to stay away from home. It affects my concentration that everyday I step into the house to feel numb, not helped by my newfound understanding of love made me realise my parents probably have stopped loving each other but just staying together because it’s convenient and they’re legally married. I mean, I could never imagine not wanting to sleep on the same bed as my wife, or continue to surprise her in different ways or bringing her out to dates. Not that they have stopped being awesome parents, but I’m just disappointed that this is the marriage life I’m supposed to learn from. I think it’s best I take myself away from home to focus on my life and allow myself to live freely without guilt. It’s a shame really, but I can only hope I could hold my family close when I have my own.

Next is the hardest part of all I have written over the past year – my relationship.

I broke up before entering SMU. It’s been almost a year, yet I’m still affected by, and reminded of, it. I’m a romantic – some might say a hopeless one – but that’s who I have learned I am. For all my partying, flirting and shit I do, I am a romantic at heart (hard to believe isn’t it?). I believe in love and I have faith in it, having had the chance to experience what love could do for people.

But, as I have mentioned consistently throughout my posts, I am haunted by the ghosts of the lost future. I need not repeat what dealing with these ghosts have done to me, but SMU just doesn’t feel like my place anymore, when it was supposed to be ours. Every single place, every single moment and every single day only serves to flash images of the past and imagined future in my head. I am a very visual dreamer, and these memories play in my head so vividly that I can feel them as I’m typing them right now. I know of people whose lives are changed upon a break-up, and unfortunately I’m part of that.

Leaving SMU means I did not have to resort to hate/anger, nor especially numbing myself, while moving on with my life. I know that time would eventually allow me to deal with the pain and suffering better and find balance in taking the pain without numbness, but time definitely waits for no man. As much as I’m not concerned about GPA, it has to be something I’m proud of with. There is no way SMU would wait for me to get my head right, nor would I allow my future to be once-again limited based on my choices today.

Nevertheless, I have realised that breaking-up has given me the freedom that I crave as I forge a new identity. For those who knew how I was like the 3 years I was in a relationship understands my identity is very much integrated with that of hers. It’s with this new identity that I cannot bear to be reminded of the person I would possibly turn out to be had I not broken up (pun intended), and I could never bring myself to imagine if I could be a better person. I celebrate this new identity with a new start.

For all my understanding of love, I have this feeling that my perspective is skewed. Maybe I don’t need money to buy more opportunities for my loved one, but that’s what I learned from experience. I believe that I’m still able to learn to love again, and maybe I’ll find someone who’ll teach me a whole new way to experience love. Until that happens, I will continue building myself and learning on how to be a better person. I will continue to learn to love myself, and balancing that with loving another person when she comes along. We can never stop learning.

 

I kept thinking what was it that would’ve made me stay? Definitely, if my first year experience in SMU had been better than it had been. I am an extrovert, and I knew missing camps would mean knowing less people from the start. Now, that would’ve been no problem at all, I’ve always chose a path alone and ended up meeting awesome people, even if I don’t get close to them (Serangoon Sec, SAJC, posted out of Arty to Transport… Maybe I’m destined to live a life of solitude). Yet, knowing less people forced me to reevaluate myself and find strength in solitude.

I asked myself as well, what if I had found the one thing that saved me back in 2010: love? Fortunately, I have learned that love is not about possession, and going after a girl just to call her yours is exactly that. I realised I am in no state to give love as much as I would’ve like, and there also lies in another problem that someone could love me at my worst. Love, as much as it could’ve been the answer, could not be the answer this time.

As I mentioned in my previous post, it was a series of unfortunate events that ultimately led me in confirming this decision. I believe everything happens for a reason, and me going to NTU could possibly be the best or worst decision of my life – I just don’t know it yet.

I can’t wait to find out.

 

“Ending is better than mending.” 

- Brave New World
Aldous Huxley

161: A Series of Unfortunate Events

“At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey.” 

― Lemony Snicket

Naturally, people are curious about why I left SMU. I’ll save that for another post.

Perhaps what’s more important now is what happened in between that led me to making this decision. I’m sure we all have studied History before, and realise that though there are underlying factors that laid the foundation for a huge event, there were specific things that set the wheel in motion, resulting in a chain of happenings which ultimately resulted in that huge event.

I thought back of what led me to start considering getting out of SMU, and definitely it more or less started when I received my first semester results.

November/December 2013: First Semester Academic Results

Although I was honestly okay with my results, considering my level of focus and thus effort, I felt I could surely have done better. It was only natural for me to compare to her first sem results, and can’t help but to feel a tinge of disappointment that I had a hand in helping her attain those results even though I feel she deserved it. I remember feeling only obliged to help her with her schoolwork when she sacrificed time out of studies to spend time with me, and the most notable one was planning my birthday while her exams were nearing.

I guess pride disallowed me from ever being satisfied that I would do worse than her, especially since it was a course I chose and she followed me to. While back then thoughts of leaving did not cross my mind, it only meant I pressurised myself to attain better results – which was against my will to not do things just to get one over her. If I want to do well, it would be for myself, and not to prove that I’m better than her. This dissonance troubled me quite a bit as the start of the second sem came.

December 2013/January 2014: Failed Photography Project

This greatly disappointed me, as I couldn’t find anyone willing enough to be the subject of a photography project. This was the period of time when I was in desperate need to do something that I’m inspired about, anything, having felt trapped under a spell. While I have been free for 6 months, I felt I wasn’t truly flying until I do something that allowed me to express myself fully.

The inspiration for a photography project came when I started imagining scenes while listening to songs. I wanted to capture the essence of my favourite songs through my eyes, and the ideas came easily thick and fast whenever I listen to them. I already have the images in my head, yet, there was only one major problem – it requires the help of a female.

I asked around, and found myself empty-handed because nobody was willing nor free to help out with my ideas. I was ready to spend whatever little savings I had on this project, to rent a room for some shots and even a car to travel around. I already had everything planned out and all I needed was just one willing soul who’s comfortable enough to work with me. I couldn’t find her. Worse, I knew this was the kind of project she would have dreamt and knew that I could come up with, with her naturally being the subject, for she had believed in me. Sadly, I couldn’t get out of numbness fast enough, and it haunted me that I couldn’t get inspired faster.

It was then that I began to feel the magnitude of missing camps before school started – my network of friends was little to none, and I have little chance to connect with anyone over the semester period. Somehow people are more reserved and closed during the semester, and hopes in making friends during mods and project groups came to little success. I think of my project groups from the first sem and I could only think of two people I still keep in contact with, and one whom I could really chat about random things. Of course, camps do not guarantee the chances of making friends, but being an extrovert, it definitely would have helped me expand my chances in making more friends.

Not being able to carry out my project really hit my confidence hard, as I began to withdraw into myself for the first time in a long long time.

February / March 2014: Sports Camp Rejection / Failure to Apply for Arts Camp

Having missed camps for obvious reasons (partly due to work, though I could have easily made an arrangement that allowed me to go for camps), I thought I could chase and create my own freshman experience by applying for camps. I wanted to fill my summer with camps that I missed, hoping being a facilitator in many different camps would allow me so.

Sports/Arts camp were two camps that were very much talked about and appreciated, and being in soccer and dance allowed me to apply and be a faci. Unfortunately, these two camps made me realise how important it was to go for camps to establish friends that could help you as well as helping them when they’re in need.

Though I hoped not knowing anyone in the org comm for Sports Camp wouldn’t work against me, it was quite expected that I didn’t get in. I still remember a friend promising me a spot if I had applied last year, not realising the magnitude of those words could come back and haunt me. It’s very important to make friends everywhere we go, because we never know when we would need someone’s help. Similarly, it made me reconcile with how involved I wanted to be in everything when I was younger, mainly because I know I could be in a position to help someone if they would ever need it.

For Arts Camp, it sucked when I was stuck at the part where we needed a partner to apply with. Back then I was barely close with the dance people, having entered late, and remember nobody replying my queries for someone to pair with. I wanted to ask someone else, only to realise there are only so few people I know that were in an Arts CCA (one of the pre-requisites), which basically meant I had zero chance of applying to be a facilitator. It was frustrating, and I realised my summer would not turn out as how I envisioned it to be.

Though getting rejected nor being unable to apply did not really feel so bad, the fact that my past decisions based on a premise that no longer existed continued to haunt me were taking a real toll on me. Yes, I did sign up for FTB and ICON camp successfully, which could have more than made up for my failure to be in Sports/Arts, but the damage to my summer plans had already been done, as I began to feel more and more the impact of my decisions based on a non-existent future.

April/May 2014: Depression

While there are other ways I could subtly put this, I decided not to. Nobody knew that I was in depression (or perhaps they believed I was well), and I’m revealing it all today.

I see no reason why I should hide this fact, neither do I feel it’s to gain sympathy points because it is over for now. As much as it is difficult for me to type this out, social stigma coming to mind, I’m putting it bluntly for all to see. I believe nobody should go through the same shit as I did, and if anyone reading this is – you are not alone.

Somewhere, I started to get disillusioned with everything I once believed in – especially people and love. It’s a shock to me when people weren’t as friendly nor open as I thought, it’s a disappointment to me when professors aren’t really as unbiased as they could be. I began to doubt my faith in love as well, the one thing that has kept me going in an otherwise faithless life, wondering if I could ever experience love the way I had, and if anyone could ever make me feel loved again.

What started out as an innocent insomnia turned into a living nightmare, as I began to fall out of touch with what I used to enjoy – soccer, dance, gaming, reading, writing, everything that made me continue living. While I took medication for insomnia, apparently only the stronger ones seem to work, as I find myself being able to be cooped up in my room for days with little to eat/drink, which meant I started to skip school once again, and the only reason I pushed myself to complete group assignments was that I would not allow myself to pull others down with me. Thankfully, through all the panic attacks in the middle of the night, desperately messaging the few friends I trust in the middle of the night hoping they’ll be awake to keep me sane, I pulled countless all-nighters for group projects to ensure I was not a burden.

I know exactly when everything started crumbling, academic-wise, that led me to skip all exams. While the signs that I was losing hope were there; coming late for classes, skipping school/getting MCs and especially last-minute assignment submissions. Getting a 5/20 for my PolSci presentation – because I stayed up all night to complete it (and probably did not sleep the previous two/three nights as well), only to find myself in no state to go for an 815am class – was the start, and I had AW Assignment 3 to complete that week. I know that was the last of my group presentations, and the disappointment overwhelmed me terribly, resulting in failing to motivate myself in completing Assignment 3. I knew my life in SMU was more or less over – that was 20% of the final grade for both mods. Instead of completing Assignment 3, I spent the night at one of the beaches staring blankly at the light from the ships and hearing the lullaby of waves crashing onto the sand to sleep, one of the rare times I could find peace during that period.

Despite the doctors questioning me countless times, I refused to entertain the notion I was depressed, and began to roam the nights that much more, finding myself sleeping at the airport, parks, anywhere, for the night just to get myself out of the house. Yes, I did consider going to the school counsellor, but I had very bad experiences with school counsellors bar one (they tried to change me instead of giving me the space I needed), I decided not to after checking out their website and how they simplify common problems many students have, as though the pain and suffering we had went through are supposed to mean nothing.

Having known of suicides lately, I would not lie those addictive thoughts long played in my mind, and the only thing stopping me from jumping into the sea, from a height onto the road, flinging myself in front of a fast-moving vehicle… was the fact that I have parents who still love me and have suffered long enough, no thanks to their other son, that they would not be able to handle another of their son going wrong.

I forgot what exactly shocked me awake, but the moment I realised what has become of me, I knew I had to give myself a whole new hope to survive. I began to realise that I no longer had hope in SMU, and the only way to get myself back was to get myself out. While I have long contemplated dropping out of studies altogether, even considering applying to work as an air steward based overseas, I thought hard about what I truly wanted and NTU offered a way out, and gave me the hope I desperately needed to create.

 

PS: For the few who read this, know that you’re never alone, and there’s always hope to allow yourself to continue to live. While suffering has allowed me to find strength in solitude, it may not be the same for everyone else (knowing of two suicides over the past month). Yes, it is difficult to find help – I was there scrambling around for friends to be there but they can only be willing to be there for so many times. Even the ones I love, or claimed to have loved me, left – leaving me to fend for myself. While I went through torment alone, it doesn’t mean you, or anyone else, should. If you ever think of someone who needs you to be there, probably while reading this that person pops up in your head right now, pause, grab your phone, and drop them a call or message, reminding them that you are there for them and you do care.

You never know how much establishing a simple connection could do for a person in need. 

 

Brave New World (Preview)

After all that has transpired, as mentioned above, I am quite thankful and proud to say I am recovering quite well. Somehow I have gotten myself out of what I experienced, and hopefully into a stronger and better person. No doubt, getting myself away from Singapore for 2 weeks had helped, finding inspiration to do photos and videos for my OCSP. Preparing for Ardiente’s production thereafter gave me something to look forward to as a way to mark the end of my SMU life.  Through the anxiety of applying to NTU considering my circumstances, I am endlessly thankful that I have dragged myself into a second opportunity at a uni life, and I am that much relieved when the acceptance email came in.

This time, I’m entering a new environment with a whole new hope and a whole new pair of eyes, and I dare say I’m generally at peace and more prepared for what challenges are to come. Nevertheless, I hope to list the core factors that led to me creating a new hope that I embodied, and made me seriously consider going to NTU.

It’ll be a brave new world, for a brave new person.

[REPOST] 148: These Streets


These Streets – Bastille

These streets are yours, you can keep them
I don’t want them
They pull me back, and I surrender
To the memories I run from

Oh, we have paved these streets
With moments of defeat

These streets are yours, you can keep them
In my mind it’s like you haunt them
And passing through I think I see you
In the shapes of other women

Oh, we have stained these walls
With our mistakes and flaws

All that’s left behind
Is a shadow on my mind
(Oh, a shadow comes upon a wall – is silhouette and nothing more – but it’s all that’s left behind)
Is a shadow on my mind
All that’s left behind

But even if we won’t admit it to ourselves
We’ll walk upon these streets and think of little else
So I won’t show my face here anymore

I won’t show my face here anymore

If leaving is what it takes to keep my memories alive.
I’ll leave.
Because these memories are the only happy ones I have.

[repost]

All that’s left behind, is a shadow on my mind.

I have been listening to this song on repeat for the past 2 days, and would probably continue to (along with “For Reasons Unknown” by The Killers) as the reality that I’m no longer an SMU student is slowly sinking in. I could relate to every word this song is about. Every repetition for the verses serves to drill into my stubborn subconscious that this is the beginning of the end.

Wish I could find the inspiration to complete the video I have for this song inside my head.

I won’t show my face here anymore.