Day 348/365

Sometimes people keep tabs on you not because they care but because they want to make themselves feel better.

Sometimes they just want a source of amusement, as my friend dubs it.

I block people out of my life, not because I stopped caring but because I know I shouldn’t. I don’t want to be reminded of their presence nor do I want the memories to come back. I close that door because I know I can’t go back.

Some say it’s a malicious act. I call it protection.

I don’t need them to see that I’m in pain.

I don’t need them to see that I’m struggling.

I don’t need them to laugh alongside my demons.

My life is not their entertainment.

The soldier knelt down to the child huddled in the corner.

Hey kid, look at me.

Can you smile?

Can you laugh?

Can you move?

I can’t fight these demons without you.

If I can’t protect you, what good am I?

What’s my purpose then?

-b.

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Day 346/365

Patience is a virtue.

Sometimes I wonder, if situations would be different had I not given in to my own anxiety and jumped the gun.

People like me, to the world, we look put together. But on the inside, we are so scarred from our past that the emotions we feel scare us, the actions we take, they can’t be controlled and when we look back, there’s guilt. At least in my case.

Nobody tells you this but the second move is the hardest.

Moving to Hong Kong, it was exciting, it was fun, it was easy. You get so caught up with being in a new city for the first time, the excitement helps to offset the anxiety, the fear, the loneliness and the self-doubt.

But the move to Singapore, it hit hard. There was not much excitement to balance out the negative emotions.

You think things don’t hit you hard because you’ve been taught all your life to repress and walk on like nothing happened. But everyone has a threshold.

I was learning to deal with it, slowly picking out demon by demon, out of Pandora’s box. It was not an easy battle but it was bearable. I had an anchor in the form of daily good morning and night texts, some form of consistency that reminded me I wasn’t drifting off to the abyss alone.

But this past week, the lid blew open, the demons flew out, the anchor was gone and all the repressed emotions, trauma and fears, they crashed down.

And that’s when I came to the realisation that I didn’t have an anchor.

When I was in Toronto, my good friends and I, we never talked or saw each other everyday. But there was some consistency and the knowledge that if you need them, they were there. Their presence was felt even when I was dealing with trauma alone, and that helped to calm the anxiety.

When I moved to Hong Kong, it was the excitement that initially became my anchor. It was short lived and I ended up in entering an unhealthy relationship to build that consistency. It was a hard lesson to learn. Thankfully near the end, I found consistency in the form of work, my colleagues and friends.

I’m still trying to find an anchor, and unfortunately things are all up in the air. Friendships take time to build and I can’t feel anyone’s presence.

You’re just sitting in the dark with your hand open, hoping for someone to grab it and tell you they’re there for you. But no one comes.

People ask why I am so willing to share online. They don’t realise that I have a very difficult time opening up to people in real life. It’s a pride thing, I don’t like sharing my weaknesses. But writing it down, it helps to gather and articulate my thoughts. It also acts as a medium of hope; hope that someone out there is willing to sift through the posts, both the hopeful ones and the depressing ones, to try and understand me a bit better.

At the end of the day, people like us, we are difficult to deal with. And with our society today, it begs the question, is anyone patient enough to stick it through?

-b.

Day 289/365

羅說機槍

There are times when a memory is triggered and you suddenly remember someone, their voice, their face, their behaviours.

But does this mean you still miss them?

I’m not sure, to be very honest. Maybe I miss parts of you, but not you.

I remember when the door lock code needed to be changed, you reminded me to get a screwdriver while you unlocked the panel with keys.

Tonight, the washer broke and I couldn’t get to the release valve because the casing was screwed on and the keys didn’t fit.

That’s when I remember you reminded me once to get a screwdriver.

No, I don’t miss you.

I miss being reminded.

I miss being annoyed.

I miss 羅說機槍.

-b.

Day 285/365

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This used to be the house I grew up in, in Shanghai. It was dilapidated, crowded and the washroom was outdoors, an outhouse if you will.

It’s important to remember where you came from.

For myself, it’s really about my parents.

They sacrificed their comfort and lives in Shanghai to move to Hong Kong. Without knowing the local language and forgoing their degrees, they worked four menial jobs to afford a marriage and subsequently, enough to buy a house. Finally when they finally started to see the fruits of their labor, they left everything again and moved to Canada. For the purpose of giving my siblings and I the notion of freedom, an education system focused on creativity and fostering change. So for the second time, they packed their bags, left stability and had to rebuild from zero again.

Growing up, I had a hard time processing this and in hindsight, I was quite immature.

At the time, I was immature, wondering why other kids had new clothes, summer trips abroad and new gadgets. I, on the other hand, worked after school and during summers, saving up for university expenses. The jobs were not ideal either.

Would you believe me if I told you I worked as both a trash lady and a toilet washer?

One of my first jobs was to move trash from shops in a mall to the general trash room through the food court alley. Back then, I was more afraid of tripping and falling face first into the bloody mats where they cut meat. On top of that, I had to clean the toilets at a restaurant.

But now, looking back, it helped me appreciate my parents’ humble beginnings. Two chemical engineering graduates, giving up their degrees, to clean houses and be a pizza hut wait staff in Hong Kong, all for the purpose of giving their future kids a better life. That’s a sacrifice not many are willing to make.

Growing up, we didn’t have much but we had enough.

Because they were always working, their style of parenting was vastly different. Rather than guiding us, they simply gave us a checklist and the freedom to achieve said checklist.

That’s how my life was always run.

Checklist after checklist
Goal after goal
Tick boxes

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But what happens when the checklist becomes empty?

That’s what I found out earlier this year.

The goal I set for myself before I hit 30, I’ve achieved it already.

But, what happens next?

I decided to focus my energy on making myself happy, something I neglected because I was so focused on my goals.

When it came to happiness, I did not know where to start.

Emotions were a whole new territory for me. At times, I felt guilty for taking time to myself, especially at the beginning.

But now, I decided for the next year, I will be spending more time and money on myself to better manage the stress, to take better care of myself and to avoid burnout.

-b.