I was walking home from the bus stop and realized that I wasn’t freaking out at walking by myself in the dark. The realization came to me that I had, in a sense, grown up since 3 years ago when I’d want to call someone to stay on the phone with me while I was walking home. Then I realized that a lot of changes had happened as I “grew up”. I’m not scared of the dark anymore. I’m not afraid of bussing alone at late hours. Sometimes I even feel scared of how…emotionless or cynical I’ve become.
Leehom’s song Lose Myself really resonated with me. I guess there’s a good and bad of losing myself. Losing my old self who would worry about everything and be scared over every single thing. My old self who would ruminate over and over those depreciating voices, those regretful memories, those sleepless nights full of tears. My old self who had so many fears and worries that I was constantly in anxiety, unable to control my thoughts. Losing myself. Slowly putting the memories behind me, dissociating the strong emotions that used to come from every reminder I saw. Learning to lose my pride in times when that extra effort is needed, when I learn about how much I actually don’t know. Learning to lose my self-consciousness and just do what I need to do. It seems selfish in a way to lose myself, leaving the memories and tears behind, my cares and worries. But losing myself and not thinking about myself anymore allows me to further strive towards my goals and think more about the big picture around me. To focus on the “now” and “to come”, losing myself takes a load off my shoulders that I had forced myself to carry. The future is more than enough to deal with! So I need to make losing my old self a gain for my future. Not to just forget all the bad, but to learn from them and put them away.
Perhaps I have no way out
There’s something constantly following me
Day and night I can’t stop remembering
It’s the only perfection I have left
To leave countless memories behind
To lose countless teardrops
Endless loss Endless loss
I mustn’t think about myself anymore
I’ve got to lose myself
Like a forest burned down
Only deafening silence remains
I don’t want to hear them anymore
I mustn’t think about myself anymore
I’ve got to lose myself
– Leehom Wang ft Avicii – Lose Myself (Eng trans)
While studying for yet another exam, I began thinking of how I gave in to distractions when I studied and how I did really seem to make a lot of excuses as the senior I used to visit had told me. I don’t remember when or how it started, but I always tried to follow my dad’s most favourite phrase of doing our “personal best” in everything that I did. In elementary, I remember staying up to finish a poster project because I didn’t want my parents’ help in case they would make it less-than-my-ideal. Everything would always have to be “perfect”. My grades had to be perfect, my behaviour had to be perfect, my life had to be perfect. I changed my behaviour around people to make it “perfect” to them and changed my personality as a result. To be a perfect daughter, I studied to get that 100%. Little had I know that people could not be perfect no matter how hard we tried. So I grew up. My standards dropped. I faced the harsh reality of the not-so-perfect world full of not-so-perfect people. So I made excuses to make up for my imperfections.
Of course, in the context of the senior I visited, the excuses I made were to avoid doing things that she asked me to do. (Such as demonstrating how I exercise in her tiny bedroom) It was funny how she would remember I always found some excuse or another for many things. Anyways, it made me reflect on my usage of excuses conscious and subconsciously. By assuming the worst and finding or creating reasons for it, I could excuse myself from the disappointing result. But it also led me to find more reasons and cause more reasons for disappointments. Which then led to my depressed feelings of being a failure when it was all due to my stupidity. I would watch dramas throughout the night while studying, wasting my time. Then I would reason that my bad marks were because I watched those dramas. But in actuality, I had not tried it without. To be on the safe side, the cautious perfectionist me made it so that there would always be an excuse. An excuse to be a not-so-filial granddaughter, an excuse to be an ignorant sister, an excuse to be a horrible friend. Excuses are illusions of having a split path with a self-justified reason that allowed me to find myself in the same destination.
It’s so easy to make and come up with excuses. Life happens. Excuses could absolutely be legit. However, most excuses I find myself thinking of usually don’t have any substance to them. Everyone goes through life. What makes me different that the same thing happening to someone else was handled better by them? What gives me the right to blame my shortcomings on my choices and not myself? If it was a choice that I could have changed, I am the one to blame. Rather than blaming on the circumstances, my reaction to those circumstances are my own. Some old habits really are hard to change, and I still find myself watching dramas then guilt-ing myself into depression for my marks, but no one said it’d be easy. The harder and less traveled path really does seem to be the “right” one in most cases. I just hope that the little choices to choose the path less traveled will make it easier to choose the hard path as life goes on. I don’t want to fail life, look back, and realize how I could have lived in a totally different way.
It’s raining, as normal. And its quite the sight seeing all the people walking to and from classes with umbrellas of all sorts of styles and colours moving about. Confession: I seem to have an obsession with umbrellas. I sort of tend to hoard them, frankly speaking. I just really dislike getting wet and have once cried because it was just a bad day and in Raincouver, I got rained on and yes I acted like a little kid all upset because I got wet. Therefore I began keeping an umbrella in my backpack no matter the day, the weather, the season. It started a few summers ago when I found out that my bag was super heavy with just one folder of paper due to having 2 umbrellas in my bag. You know, just in case it rains in the summer and I need 2 umbrellas to cover all my bases. I’d keep forgetting that I already have an umbrella resident in my bag and would take another just in case. So I kept ending up with 2 in my bag, grabbing new ones as I walk out the front door. Then my mom began to question where I’m losing all my umbrellas since she keeps giving me new and different ones. I know I wouldn’t have left them anywhere because I’d be wet and it’d be the end of the world. So I thought it must have been my dad leaving them on the bus with his frequent forgetfulness. Needless to say, the culprit was me, the umbrella-crazy-person. I was cleaning my room the other day and found 3 umbrellas in my room along with the typical 2 in my bag. So now we have an abundance of umbrellas for me to start hoarding again at the front door. Due to the rain and frequent use, I have been good with using and keeping just 1 for now. But when the weather starts changing…I don’t think I can guarantee I won’t end up with more umbrellas than I can use.
Umbrellas are not only an amazing invention, but they are my favourite. You don’t get wet, you don’t have to dress for rainy weather, and you can even block the wind. However, it can only cover so much. My pants and shoes get wet from the angled raindrops. And when you share it, you’re bound to get one sleeve wet. It’s like my safety net from the raindrops, and also my comfort zone. Do I want to share my umbrella with a stranger and end up getting wet? No way! But if it was a friend, then I’d rather be a bit wet than have them get drenched and possibly even catch a cold. How willing am I to get my feet or pants wet? What is my comfort zone? With this analogy, it seems like a pretty small comfort zone which is true. I’m not saying I’m going to go walk around without an umbrella and get drenched just to get out of my comfort zone, but it’s a good reminder for myself that it’s okay to get a bit wet sometimes. It’s okay to be uncomfortable for a while. Specially if it’s for a friend. Rain won’t kill me and neither will getting out of my comfort zone.
Where does this strength come from? It’s a different answer for everyone. For some it may be their loved ones, their family. For some it may be their ambition. For some it may be that they believe in the hope of the joy that is to come beyond the trials. For some it may be the wish to prove themselves worthy. And for some, it may be for fulfilling the dreams of others. I remember when I was asked for reasons that I could tell myself to live on for. What would keep me from suicide? What is the reason for me to live on?
It was hard to think of an answer at that time. However, as I live on, I find that the answer seems to come slowly, as if to tell me to keep living just to see more and more reasons to live. The future is quite the painting beyond this tiny snapshot we see. I want to live to fulfill my childhood dream. I had given up on the dream to be a teacher from the blunt reality of life spoken to me by my parents. The teacher career isn’t going to get you anywhere, blah blah blah. However, as I interact with kids, it is just so…satisfying, seeing their innocent curiosity, their eagerness to learn about this wonderful world through their eyes. This drama I watched recently said how people are most beautiful when they do what they love. And I am so excited to begin volunteering with the One to One program in reading with kids and helping those who have trouble reading. I remember how reading brought me into new worlds and adventures. My glasses are a testament of that, my mark of my love for reading since the age of 6. It was a challenge for me and something I loved to escape to. This feeling is what makes living worth it. To be so excited about something and to be able to share that feeling with others and show it to them is something I can’t wait to do. Life seems brighter with the excitement of realizing a dream of mine. The will to fulfill my dream is stronger than I could fathom. Dreams are a reason to go on. The fulfillment must be unimaginably satisfying.
Another reason I have found. The people I love. The people I want to be there for. During my depressive episodes, I withdrew from a lot of people. There are many broken friendships I just can’t seem to mend or find from the times before. However, the ones that stayed strong I just want to keep so badly that it keeps me alive. They never gave up on me. So why should I give up on me? They sometimes even have more hopes and dreams for me than I do. They see me way differently than I see myself. They show me the best of me and love me despite having seen the worst of me. They invest their time and energy in me because I’m worth it to them. They remind me of why life is worth living.
Funny how the reasons for living don’t exactly counter the reasons for dying. Being a failure and disappointment to others, to myself. Being successful isn’t on my list. However, being loved by those no matter how successful or how unsuccessful I am is. Being able to love myself and what I’m doing with my life is. It makes the reasons for dying seem so tiny and unimportant for lack of better words. There is so much more to life that makes it worth living. I can’t wait to explore and find even more reasons.