240: Remember, Forget

Related – 14: Memories, 36: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


The cognitive symptoms for depression include:

1) Difficulty Concentrating
2) Distractibility
3) Forgetfulness & Memory Loss
4) Indecisiveness & Slow Reaction Time

The first 3 weeks was good, then the previous 3 weeks was absolute torture in trying to get myself back on track to no avail.

I conceded that I was going through another episode when I find myself being unable to focus nor remember things once again, after the initial path to recovery. It’s frustrating when you thought you were so close in pulling yourself out of the pit only to slip and fall right back into it. Studies are one thing, then dance too when I completely forget the sequence of steps after picking it up fast the first time around and being able to naturally remember for the weeks after.

Like all things, I believe there were underlying struggles that I managed to keep under control subconsciously, only to erupt and spill out all at once when triggered by a catalyst. I know exactly what was the catalyst – that nightmare I had which I can no longer remember – but the underlying struggles are slowly becoming clearer. I suppose the Valentine’s and CNY had a part to play, as it reminded me about the two things I have been struggling with forever in terms of love and family. Sure, I’m not a chinese but seeing . Being taken out of hall dance and the revelations after cemented the ideas further that I am spreading myself too thin, that I am destined to be a transient, and that I need to grow with people to forge close friendships and belong in a group. There’s also that excitement of finding a possible new hope but realising things can’t move naturally and I am not one that desires to possess. Also, choosing to be vulnerable at this state is too risky, but I believe that the universe would settle things by itself and give me the opportunity if it is meant to be. Thankfully, I can feel things starting to stabilise once again, and know the amount of work piled up which I have to somehow miraculously catch up on.

I guess I have to remember that I have to take things one struggle at a time, and forget the immense burden that awaits

I have to remember there are things I enjoy doing, and forget about the things that would do me no good either way in forcing myself to.

I have to remember my responsibilities that I currently hold, and forget the desires that I intend for the future.

I have to remember finding myself
And forget about finding another.

“Memory is the sense of loss. And loss pulls us after it.”

- Housekeeping
Marilynne Robinson

239: Love’s Secret

Never seek to tell thy love,
/ Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind doth move
/ Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
 / I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears.
/ Ah! she did depart!

Soon after she was gone from me,
/ A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly:
/ He took her with a sigh.

- William Blake

“Ever since I got into a relationship, I don’t write anymore. I feel fulfilled.”
“We write to express ourselves, to relate to things (to know we can still feel). When I was in a relationship, I didn’t write for myself anymore. I wrote for her, for us.”

“Don’t you think it’s ironic people like us, who appreciate poetry and shit, usually don’t end up with those who do? In fact, we usually end up with people who don’t even read poetry or write.”
“I know what you mean”

“Why do people move on so fast?”
“When the other party already has someone else, you know you just have to.”

“I would prefer to have someone I can exchange poems with. That would be really nice.”

The kind of conversations you have with someone who is as deep and derp as you are.

238: The Ones Not Meant For Me

CollegeHumor – Your Rich Friend Who Travels All The Time

It suddenly dawned upon me of one common characteristic all the girls who have played a significant role in my life, yet not meant for me:

They travel. A lot.

I think of my secondary school crush, who has travelled far and wide for the last 7 years. I think of her (no not my sec school crush), whom I could not bear to hold back knowing what I could not offer. She deserves to explore the world and I hope she finds happiness doing so with her family and another. Then there’s that other girl, the one we probably agreed that we met at the wrong time, disappearing from my life as quickly as she appeared.

I suppose material wealth is a key factor that enables them to travel, while I find contentment in making do with exploring Singapore to the best of my ability. I still believe, due to my adventurous nature and curious personality, I would eventually explore the world one day. And I hope when that finally happens, I hope that it could be shared with a significant other, although I know nothing could stop me from my dreams and I would still go ahead and travel (bar money – gosh why is the world run by money).

I’m starting to think that no matter how much I think a girl is for me, life is telling me that they’re not meant for me if they desire and are able to travel. I suppose us being transients play no significant role – they have the means to travel, unlike me, and I should not be holding them back from flying free. I’m actually quite sad about it, knowing my lack of material wealth is costing me. Yet, there is a sense of calm knowing that if someone is willing despite my incapabilities, then she would probably be the one.

Of course, this realisation has to come from one soul who had impacted me more than I ever thought, despite her glancing my life only on a few unfortunate and eventful occasions. She has taught me exponentially more relative to her time in my life, and made me learn much about myself. It’s a shame we would continue to live as friends apart, but I suppose that is how it’s meant to be. I wonder if all those I have left ever thought of me the same way.

For the one who has been a constant source of quiet inspiration.

237: Love Is Not About Possessiveness

Related – 3: The Lover and the Beloved

I learned the subject above over the year from two books mainly: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Why We Need Love by Simon van Booy. Going through suffering over the year made me realise that fact, and made me wonder about the premise of relationships.

When I first thought about it, I thought how absurd it was to not be able to possess the one you love. Isn’t that why we get into relationships? Isn’t that why one pursues so hard over the beloved, just to call him/her mine? Isn’t that why we marry, to bound legally the ones we love and belong to one another for the rest of eternity?

Sadly, I realised this wasn’t the case when my heart still beats (‘moving on’ is not equivalent to ‘letting go’) for the one that’s not meant for me, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Love is freedom, it exists within and without; you can love without being loved in return. Think about the most basic form of love – familial love. Parents love their children even when they’re incapable of love, let alone understanding it. Tell me that a baby – up to adulthood for some – are capable of returning the love that parents bestow upon us. My parents love me without seeking to possess me, i.e. controlling my path in life. They let me run free, even if they disagree with my life choices, and that is one of many reasons I know they love me.

Similarly, in a relationship, we’re so used to the idea of the chase that we forget the core fundamentals of love. Boy meets girl, boy is infatuated with girl, boy pursues girl, girl sees potential in boy and they get together. How many times we see such stories fall to smithereens if they do not learn to love one another over time? Such relationships are volatile because they’re blinded by the idea that love equates to possession. I’m here to say that one could love without possessing the other. We should give but not expect. It is cliche, but love is definitely more than just a game and a conquest.

If one finds themselves desiring to possess the beloved, then he/she still lacks an understanding of love. If one finds themselves fearful of being possessed – in terms of accepting love – then he/she still lacks an understanding of love. I would rather let love run free all the while respecting if one is not ready to commit. No, this is not about being fuck buddies or friends with benefits: you genuinely love one another yet know that a relationship requires more than love.

With this, I figured one virtue that is essential to a human being, yet immensely underrated, is patience. It doesn’t count when one should consistently pursue someone without giving the other space – that is not patience but desire to possess. Patience comes in granting the beloved space, respecting their wishes while letting them know you are there for them. I never felt it was foolish, nor should I be wary of being toyed with. It’s simple, if the beloved is one who uses me for the sake of comfort, then it is obvious that she is not the one for me. Someone who could handle being loved is difficult to find, yet that person makes it all the more worthwhile.

Two people can love each other without being together, and the quote by Joan in The Imitation Game strengthens that further. However, I’m definitely still finding the balance that could explain the desire to get into a relationship, and I suppose that could only happen if I could find someone in the near future who could teach me. Until then, here I am expressing my love without a beloved, both within and without.

236: Incomplete

“You know why you will never feel complete?” she remarked, with a look as though I already knew the answer. “You want to let someone else have that honour. You know that if you really want to, you could find all of your flaws and fix them. But what good would completion be then? You would just simply close yourself up and nobody else could reach to the very essence of who you really are. You would be depriving them of yourself.” He could not bring himself to meet her gaze; she was right and he knew it.

“Besides, I don’t think you could ever be as complete as before. You’re broken, and you need someone who knows what it’s like to be broken. You need someone who could offer a part of them to fill in the spaces between the pieces, and the only way to do that is to have someone who can’t put themselves back together neither.” She took a deep breath and sighed heavily. “The pieces – pieces of you I’m talking about here – that could no longer fit you could very well fit them.”

“But why would someone broken want someone else who can’t put themselves together?” I could sense she has already anticipated my doubts.

“It’s simple,” she stated matter-of-factly. “You can’t fix yourself completely alone. You’ll forever be incomplete.”

235: Listen

Overjoyed – Bastille

Oh I feel overjoyed
When you listen to my words
I see them sinking in
Oh I see them crawling underneath your skin

You lean towards despair
Any given opportunity you’re there
But what is there to gain?
When you’re always falling of the fence that way?

Words are all we have
These words are all we have
We’ll be talking

And I hear you calling in the dead of night

Oh I feel overjoyed
When you listen to my words


It’s such a simple thing to say, yet so hard to do. How many times have we been told to listen throughout our lives? Since young, from our parents to our teachers, from coaches to friends. Maybe it has been so widely used that the word listening has lost its charm and effect.


I wrote this post 4 months ago, and I realised how much time gives the opportunity to change the perspective I had regarding listening. Then, it was about listening to myself. After so long, I decided it’s not so relevant to me now typing this. Instead, I’ll type about the need to listen to others. There’s a difference between hearing and listening, and I’m sure many people have already realised that. Yet, with love a main theme of my discussions with friends lately, it’s sad to see how listening is often lost in a flurry of emotions and egos, combined with a storm of insecurities and fear.

While I could offer level-headed advice since I’m not involved, I wonder if I would react the way I say in the case I experience such things once again. I suppose it is difficult when one has their rose-tinted glasses on, and to be able to listen without getting emotions involved may constitute to numbness. Definitely, numbness – the absence of emotions – is the cancer of relationships, once it takes root, it would spread slowly and kill the relationship soon enough.

Nevertheless, I guess I’ve been through enough to know the value of listening and deal with difficult situations concerning people I care about. Patience is the virtue which enables careful listening, and empathy allows your presence to be felt. Sometimes when things get too heated up, some things have to be said just for the person to know, even if we feel there would not be a point to it. When one person invests so much energy and the other does not respond at all, it creates a void of wasted energy. I have learned that it’s better for a person to be angry with you rather than not care at all – the former still expresses energy through feelings, while the latter is simply apathetic. Apathy leads to silence, and silence breeds insecurity.

Learn to listen not to the superficial words offered, but their intention which lies in between.

234: The Imitation Game / Difference

The path of difference is the path of aloneness.

Imitation Game

I caught The Imitation Game by myself two weeks ago on my free Wednesday, and it supplemented the belief I have about being different. Alan Turing was well-portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, and beyond the main storyline, the theme of difference is prevalent throughout the movie.

Of course there were a few interesting thoughts on topics such as violence:

“Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes… hollow.”

and the wonder of words: 

“When people talk to each other, they never say what they mean. They say something else and you’re expected to just know what they mean”

but I’ll focus on the theme of difference. I’ll sum my takeaway from the movie up in 3 points.

1) Difference enables speciality

(Source: artemisinmysoul@tumblr)

The quote above is prominently featured throughout the movie and in its promotion. It was difference that allowed Alan Turing to come up with something special to crack Enigma.

Similarly, it was simply because I believed I was different that led me to where I am today. Although I keep thinking how insufficient I am, sometimes I just have to be reminded that I have indeed went further than what so many people expected of me. Nobody expected much of me since secondary school, but I proved them wrong by finding a way into sajc. Nobody thought I could get out of A levels, but I did well enough to get into the course I want. Nobody could fathom my decision to transfer, yet I did in hope for to be a better person. Each time I consider myself insufficient, I think back about what I have achieved – soccer, dance, photography – and though I do not receive a similar level of credit others do, I probably would have surprised others at what I could do.

However, being different does bring a host of other problems which leaves you very much alone, which brings me to my next point.

2) Being different is a path of aloneness

snaxo(Source: snaxo@tumblr)

“They’ll take him away form me
You… You can’t let them do that.
You can’t.
You can’t let them leave me alone.
I don’t want to be alone.”

I have realised, much thanks to Letter From A Young Poet, that aloneness is the price of difference. Alan Turing was bullied since young, and when he started out with his team, his experience with people led him to be quite stubborn and snobbish to his colleagues. In turn, they ridiculed him and did not trust him initially. Even his superiors were growing impatient with him.

It is a vicious cycle, a person who is different tends to be defensive for survival, and that in turn would only lead to others ostracising him more. I learned that throughout life – especially in secondary school and ocs. Aloneness is very much a part of difference, simply because people find it hard to accept a person who’s unlike them. They want stability and assurance, and someone who is different would disrupt the natural order of things. I find it very much ironic that it is our ability to empathise that differentiates us from animals.

I find it poetically pathetic that I am writing this on the weekend of Valentine’s, but it only highlighted clearly why I am still single and find it so difficult in learning to love another again.

“Of course machines can’t think as people do. A machine is different from a person. Hence, they think differently. The interesting question is, just because something, uh… thinks differently from you, does that mean it’s not thinking?

Well, we allow for humans to have such divergences from one another. You like strawberries, I hate ice-skating, you cry at sad films, I am allergic to pollen. What is the point of… different tastes, different… preferences, if not, to say that our brains work differently, that we think differently?

And if we can say that about one another, then why can’t we say the same thing for brains… built of copper and wire, steel?”

3) It takes someone different to appreciate difference

tornposters1 tornposters2 tornposters3 tornposters4 tornposters5 tornposters6 tornposters7 tornposters8

Source: tornposters@tumblr

Alan Turing had Joan Cairncross (and to a lesser extent, Winston Churchill) to appreciate his difference. But, what I found even more interesting is that Alan was the one who was initially intrigued by Joan in the first place, giving her a chance to participate in his challenge when others wrote her off (they were probably accurately sexist then).

This is something I’ve realised about my close friends, as we are all different and nowhere near the ‘mainstream’ crowd of people around us. It’s because my friends themselves are different that they’re able to appreciate my difference when I have pissed off so many others, or even scared them away.

Understanding that it takes someone different to appreciate difference has granted me patience in learning to love again. It is frustrating when people shun me away or turn the cold shoulder as if I’m such a weird monster, but I know they’re not meant for me neither. I admit while I’m happy for those who have found and expressed love, especially over valentine’s, there is a tinge of bitterness I’m unable to express mine.

Perhaps I need someone who could appreciate poetry rather than finding it weird, being able to reply my letters with a story, my poems with a sonnet, and my verses with a song. Perhaps I need someone who finds it beautiful to think of things abstractly, wondering the many possibilities of life and has a willing sense of adventure, even if they’re afraid. Perhaps I need someone who could look beyond what I could offer materialistically, understanding that spiritual and personal developments to be a better person are worth more than any item could bring. I wouldn’t deny it is difficult finding someone like that, but I refuse to settle in any way. I would like to quote Joan on something that echoed what I figured about love – and why it is possible to love each other without being in a relationship.

“But we’re not like other people. We love each other in our own way, and we can still live the life together that we want. You won’t be the perfect husband? I can promise you I harboured no intention of being the perfect wife. I’ll not be fixing your lamb all day awaiting your return from the office, will I? I’ll work. You’ll work.

We’ll have each other’s company. We’ll have each other’s minds. Sounds like a better marriage than most. Because I care for you. And you care for me. And we understand one another more than anyone else ever has.”

Such wishful thinking huh?

Yet, I believe this person is still out there. I guess I have understood love to the point that infatuation with looks are only a gateway to love. Attraction, pure passion, could only bring one so far until we learn to settle and learn to love another for their flaws. This is the natural order of how many relationships go, but I believe one should learn to love their flaws from the get-go. None of us are perfect human beings, and we know that (which is why we do not look for someone perfect), yet we desire to be perfect for our significant others. Until we learn to not only accept, but love, our own flaws then only we can strive to be better people. Better people for not only ourselves, but for others too.

I need someone who’s different.

“Now, if you wish you could have been normal… I can promise you I do not. The world is an infinitely better place precisely because you weren’t.”

233: Choices

Related: 65 – Everything At Once

“I’ve lived with the threat of death for a year now.
And because of that, I’ve made choices.
I alone should suffer the consequences of those choices.”

Walter White
Breaking Bad

I have been thinking about choices over the past few months, especially after realising I’m no longer able to do everything at once as I could in the past. I don’t know why but I felt it apt to write this during valentine’s day, having no valentine for the second year running which feels perfectly alright to me. The most recent realisation came when I had to be taken out of hall dance due to various reasons, but mainly because I chose to commit to DSA to pick up from where I left off, remembering my dance roots are ingrained in latin.

If we think back hard enough, I’m sure there were key moments that forced us to make choices – choices that we know would cause our lives to take a different turn. What if I didn’t choose to leave SMU? What if I didn’t choose to join Ardiente? What if I didn’t choose to give up on my relationship? There are so many what ifs that would have made my life different. Furthermore, as I believe in the butterfly effect, I knew that my choices would have affected the people around me as well, in some way or another surely.

After another episode last week, I thought being taken out of dance was the worst of all considering how much hope I had for it, but realised it actually granted me time and space to go for SurfNSweat and cover IHCC. I learned that “When one door closes, another would open”, and these two events gave me the opportunity to rekindle with what I enjoy – photography – and sparked creative moments within me which are such a rarity these days. Watching my hall’s cheer team definitely made me reminisce about my own soccer journey, and the struggles I’ve faced regarding disappointment. Getting behind the lens, for IHCC especially, reminded me photo/videography is something I identify myself with, and I shall focus my energy in rebuilding myself back up through soccer, dance and photography.

More importantly, the reason I chose to write this today is because I have chosen to finally walk away from the burden I’ve carried for the past 1.5~ years. I thought I have lost faith and hope in love, but I believe I have only learned to be more cautious about giving a part of me away so easily. It’s not easy to love, and I’m sure it’s a hell lot more difficult accepting love. I need to learn to love again.

Nonetheless, I’m clear about what I choose this time. I figured I do not need someone to express love to. Love is within and without, and I shall choose to lead a life of love, even if I do not have anyone to share it with but myself.

165: Say Something

Say Something – A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’ll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I am feeling so small
It was over my head
I know nothing at all

And I will stumble and fall
I’m still learning to love
Just starting to crawl

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I will swallow my pride
You’re the one that I love
And I’m saying goodbye

Say something, I’m giving on you
Say something.

I should have completed this 7 months ago, but it didn’t felt right then. Neither did it feel right for the past 7 months, until one stupid nightmare led to yet another episode after what has been a wonderful 3 weeks in school. Now I’m facing two weeks worth of studies to catch up on, on mods I have grown to suck at when I told myself I hated numbers 4 years ago. (Ironically, I’ve typed 5 numbers already, including the last one.)

Something in me clicked since that nightmare that I have completely forgotten now, yet has affected me to the point I knew what needs to be done. I was against it for almost 2 years now, but this, as I’ve learned from Breaking Bad, is about survival. It also means that from here on out, the numbing process has moved to its final stage of settling down. No matter how much my subconscious tries to dissuade me through the recurring nightmares, all as intense as it had always been, deep down I know the end is near. Somehow I know, that the last depressive episode that ensued symbolised one last desperate attempt of my subconscious at keeping the memories alive, and that finally I’m walking away from them after carrying the burden it has brought for so long.

I no longer wish for her to say something, nor to say anything at all. I have grown to embrace silence having once feared it, and I guess also have ruthlessly dealt with a few others through the same medium once used against me to much effectiveness. This marks how I would be the one to choose to return, whenever that will be it 5, 10, 15 years (or even on my deathbed), closing all doors to every possibility and leaving things as they are for now. I guess if there’s one thing I know about myself, is that I refuse to let bad blood dry on its own. No matter how long it takes, I would eventually give others one more chance at making things right before leaving for good.

Maybe it’s the season of love that I have been subconsciously counting that triggered it, maybe it’s the revelation how alone this path of difference would make me feel. I admit I have been feeling a little uncreative lately when it comes to love – regardless of the posters/photos I have come up with. I hope poetry isn’t something I end up giving up on as well.

And I hope I especially do not end up giving up on myself.