Losing Myself

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

Voices repeating

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)

 

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T’is the season to be jolly?

Christmas used to be a huge thing in my life. The tree would go up, decorations were made, gifts were wrapped, and cards were designed. It was a time of big family dinners, the rare time when we could see and play with our nephews and nieces who were closer in age with us than our cousins. It was a time of happiness, of anticipation, of love. As we got older, it seemed to become a chore. The tree began to be put up every odd year now and then, the ornaments began to break or were lost, it was a burden buying gifts. Now, there’s no tree put up, cards aren’t made, and gifts became dollar bills. The time spent on Christmas subconsciously decreased as the years passed by. We don’t even have the reminder of Christmas performances like in elementary and high school. It became a date rather than a holiday.

For me especially, last Christmas was the worst and hopefully will be the worst I will ever experience. It’s…not ruined, but it’s definitely changed my emotions for Christmastime. I’m pretty sure that I’ve blogged about it, but it was the time when I found out that I had failed a midterm. It was the first test that I’ve ever failed, and an important one at that, worth 50% of a 6 credit course. Then, I receive news of my dad’s best friend’s car accident and passing. When things hit you like that, those emotions become ingrained in you. I can’t help but remember it so vividly, like it was yesterday. I guess it sucks having such a good memory. Specially with the amygdala strengthening those memories with strong emotions. I don’t know whether it’s amazing how our body works or if it’s a hindrance. It just makes Christmas more somber, as the memories of the past are there in the background.

But nonetheless, I’ve realized that Christmas is a time of healing, of love. The Christmas spirit can still be found. Shopping for gifts for everyone you care about, thinking about them, their likes and dislikes, it makes you happy inside. Seeing people during Christmas dinners or just a get together, and catching up on the year’s happenings. Even just saying Merry Christmas to people you see, a celebration together with everyone in the world. Despite having experienced previous Christmases that may not have been full of happy memories for me, there’s always Christmases to come to create new memories. So Merry Christmas everyone! And I hope that everyone will be able to find that Christmas spirit. It is indeed a season to be jolly.

Parenthood…reversal?

There’s always that story about how we grow up with our parents doing everything for us as babies. Feeding us, clothing us, helping us read menus, etc. Then, when they are old, we end up doing that for them, as their limbs and fingers aren’t as dexterous, as their eyesight and senses deteriorate. Everyone gets old, it’s a natural process. I’ve only recently realized how true that is. It’s partly due to this drama that I’ve been watching (Mr. Baek) where an old man is changed into a young man and begins to understands his son. I wish it could happen to everyone, but the reality is that it’s impossible to happen. So what if my parents pass away without knowing my true intentions, or grow old without feeling my care and affection, without those happy memories to treasure? I’d regret that even more than anything. Also, I feel like I’m at an age where I realize that I’m now an “official” adult and am able to not only take care of myself, but to take care of others too.

As a teenager, I had begun to realize how time flies. I took more care for my brother, giving him experiences that I would have wanted an older sibling to give me, if I had one. I used my own experiences to help shape his in a more positive way. However, I wasn’t able to and didn’t understand how to do it for my parents. They had more experiences than I did. I’m pretty sure they already went through all that I did, and little did I know about what it was like. I still have a long ways to go, but I feel like I’ve seen enough of the world to understand a little bit. Therefore, I’ve noticed that I’ve been more watchful of my parents. I’ve noticed their tiredness and their worries. I would now take on whatever I can to lessen their load. If my mom is tired after working, I’d drive instead. I hadn’t driven in a while because of my headaches. For some reason, when I’m driving with a purpose, I don’t notice the headaches. I’d also get medicine for my dad when he’s sick and get him to get a thorough physical check up. The thing that pops into my head most often now is that I want my dad to walk me down the aisle when I get married and for my parents to be able to hold their first grandchild. Easy wish eh? They’re not even that old. But life can be short. Having my uncle pass away due to cancer and my dad’s best friend pass away in a car accident, anything can happen. Maybe it’s me who’ll leave them, unable to give them more happy memories to remember me with. I’ve also begun to look after myself more. To be able to care for someone, you need to have the energy and health to do it. To be able to have them hold that grandchild, I’ll need to be healthy enough to have a baby. Honestly, I think that if I didn’t have to go to university, I would have a kid anytime, adopting or my own. I love kids. On the bus, a kid turned around and smiled at me. It felt like the sun came out on that rainy day. Anyways, I digress.

One more side note. There’s a song called Forgotten Happiness by Alien Huang that also resonates with me. I wasn’t able to find a complete translation so below this post, here’s my attempt to translate it. I only did the chorus because it feels like it’s describing my life. I’m trying so hard but I don’t know what I’m trying so hard against. It’s always a wrestling match in my head. How can I get out of this? How can I be happy? What IS it like to be happy? For now, maybe I’m trying my hardest to love people so that I myself feel whole, like I’m doing something that’s worth it. Who knows. But I just know that for my parents and those I care about, I’m willing to put in that extra effort to care and love them because time is indeed short. I’ve already lived 2 decades. How many more decades will I have? How many more decades will they have?

我們都 忘了怎麼快樂 (We have all forgotten how to be happy)
拼了命的拉扯 自己的人生 (Putting it all on the line to wrestle with your own life)
你若太認真 這場比賽就輸了(But if you’re too serious, you’ll lose this competition)
因為生命不過就短短幾十年的旅程 (Because life is just a short journey of a few decades)

我們都 忘了怎麼快樂 (We have all forgotten how to be happy)
用力的去愛人 讓自己完整 (Using all our strength to love people, to let ourselves feel whole)
就別太殘忍 讓自己的心受困 (Just don’t be too cruel and let your heart be burdened)
困在一個寂寞的 比孤單還孤單靈魂 (Trapped in a soul lonelier than the lonely)

All the little things

Recently, I’ve realized that little things bother me a lot more than big things. It’s so much easier getting over huge challenges compared to the little bothersome things. I guess it’s easier to accept(?). But at the same time the little things all have such significance and huge stories behind them. Just like how paper cuts can hurt so much more than a bad scrape, especially when you run it under water. Probably because we expect the pain from the more obvious hurt on our body whereas a tiny paper cut has our pain levels non-subdued. At the same time, the little light in a dark room can illuminate the whole room up.

Most of this began around the time of my birthday (great timing I know). So not only was it an uneventful birthday with no birthday celebration this year and no reminder to my friends on Facebook since I had left it deactivated, it was a very thought provoking week I would say. When I went over to my aunt’s house to meet my cousin who had a present to give me, the first thing my aunt said was “Oh, so NOW you remember you have an aunt??” First of all, I do rarely go over with my mom and brother, and it is because of a dislike for how she treats my mom. Most of the time I’m just too tired to put on an act and fake smile and I definitely do not want to be rude in front of her so I just don’t go. What irked me was that I value family so much but I wasn’t doing a very good job of showing it. I could easily forget and forgive a friend but not a relative. I guess it’s harder to forgive those who hurt people closest to you.

Second, when my mom had stopped using the safe at this storage place, she told me about this ring that she would give me when I was 18 as a purity ring and showed it to me. It was big on me back then. It had my name inscribed on the inside and I was looking forward to getting it. But that day never came. I don’t know if she forgot or if she feels like I don’t need or deserve it or whatever but I’m already 20 and she hasn’t given it to me yet. It’s sort of sad in a way?

Also, my two best friends that I mentioned in my letter to 30 year old me forgot my birthday. I guess for some people it’s harder to remember birthdays without that Facebook reminder or they are too busy and preoccupied to remember, but it still hurt. I thought that of all my friends, they would be the ones to remember. Instead, other friends that I didn’t think would remember, did in fact, remember. There are those few people who made my birthday memorable despite not having much celebration. This got me thinking about how much people remember about others. Their birthday, their likes and dislikes, their personalities. It also got me wondering about what is important and who is important.

On the brighter side, I finally got to prove that it’s possible to shake the Koala’s march into a ball! It had bothered me so I went to get one to try for myself. I don’t like grey. I like to find out whether things are true or not. Whether things are possible or not. And I’ll do all that I can do to find out. I also got my mom to admit that she was wrong and that it was indeed possible to do it and that the video I showed her was not fake. Not that everything we read or watch is true, but sometimes we just need to believe and trust that not everyone is trying to lie to us.

And last but not least, I stayed up with my brother a few days ago like I frequently did to accompany him while he was studying, and it was well worth it. I was able to have a heart to heart talk with him and tell him about my horrible day. I also told him why I always stayed up with him while he was doing homework even if I had nothing to do. I think it surprised him a bit. He didn’t know that I was doing that because that’s what my dad would do for me when I used to stay up. But my dad seems to have gotten a lot older since and being on call is pretty stressful so I’ve taken up that role instead. We were also able to talk about our brother sister relationship and I feel like he understands me more after that talk. He knows I’m trying and that I’m not that good of a sister most of the time but I’m trying. He knows that I don’t have an example of a good older sister to follow and I guess he’s willing to go on this road with me to learn and discover how to be better siblings. And surprisingly, all my friends say that my relationship with  my brother is closer than their relationship with their siblings! I’m really glad to have such a mature and understanding brother that I can talk to like this.

All the little things can be discarded as little things or added up into big things. It’s up to how we interpret it. We can blow every little thing up or we can accept them and remind ourselves to look at the bigger picture, learn from it, and move on. It’s tough living with so many little things irking the poor brain, trust me.

Losing happiness, growth, one crazy week

Summer school has already started, but it is nothing compared to what has happened this last week. The craziness began on Sunday, when I went to Science World with my friend. It’s probably been almost 10 years since I’ve last been there for field trips in elementary school! Being a total nerd like I am, or maybe I’m just very easily amused, I absolutely love Science World. I really do believe there’s no age limit for going to a place designed for kids. I go in there and it’s just so…FUN. Everything’s so colourful and interesting, and I love how science amazes me in all those different ways. Every activity in there is explained by science, seems magical, and is full of fun. I probably smiled the whole 4 hours. Oh how I miss my childhood! Even the documentary film we watched at the Omnimax theater was interesting! It was so educational but not boring at the same time, and I learned a lot more about butterflies than I ever thought was possible. All those units on butterflies in elementary school really were nothing! I guess you could say I’m a kid at heart. It doesn’t matter that I’m entering the next decade of my life in less than 2 weeks. Sometimes joy can be found in the littlest of things. You just have to allow yourself to let loose and enjoy it! I just hope my friend isn’t too embarrassed by me and will continue to go do crazy things with me!

Speaking of childhood and happiness, I have come to a theory that we lose happiness as we grow older. Children are born innocent, a blank page onto whom we write their life story. Nature vs nurture. I really do think that nurture plays a bigger part in our lives. Children see everything in their innocent eyes and everything is so interesting to them. Trust me, my mom always reminded me how I used to sit for hours in front of the TV watching people build houses…yeah anything can be interesting to a kid. They don’t understand what boredom is. They might cry a lot, but they don’t know what emotional pain is. They haven’t experienced the real pains of life. As we grow older, we see more things, we understand more, and experience more. We have more memories, good and bad. There’s more responsibilities to think about and people to care about. It just seems easier to feel sad when we get older, and harder to feel happy. Of course there are people who have learned to come to terms with themselves and be content, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy 24/7. I guess we just have to find that happiness and contentment. People say I’m easily amused? I don’t mind. It’s rare that I’m able to let myself go and smile, not worrying about all the thoughts in my mind.

Regarding the last post about visiting the senior home, I did end up going early last week and I don’t think I will continue going. I just can’t face it. Two of the people I usually visit were gone. It seems that as we grow older, we also accumulate more regrets. Oh how I wish I had gone to visit them more often, if I had only forced myself out of my shell to go visit them. Some people say that old people are grouchy and a nuisance. Well, they have a whole bookful of stories and regrets, what do you expect? I really want to befriend new people there and make it so that they can also fill pages with some happy memories. But I just don’t think I can take it anymore. Wear and tear, I get too emotionally attached and I don’t think I can bear seeing another one of them leave me. I sure hope I don’t get to live too long, I’d probably die inside watching all my family and friends leave me. Life’s hard.

Regarding the other post about my mom wanting me to volunteer at a pharmacy (this post is kind of like a follow-up for all those promises and wishes I had written about), I did end up finding a pharmacy to volunteer at. What changed my mind? I guess seeing that life is short. People can be gone in a year, in the blink of an eye. My mom hurt her back recently and I really saw how people age quickly. I don’t want to have regrets with my parents like I did with others. She worries that I won’t get a job when I graduate and there’s tons of other stuff she probably worries about as well. Worries and stress takes a toll on you emotionally and physically and I’d rather not be the cause of her worries. So for her mother’s day present, I surprised her by letting her know of my volunteering and how I’ll be continuing this week. Am I forcing myself to do this? Kind of. It’s tiring, but I can tell that she’s feeling better about my future with me listening to her.

Growth. We all learn and experience different things that can change our life. And only we ourselves can choose how to react to them. We can be told what to do, but in the end, the ending of the stories are written by us. The scene may be set for us and some parts are filled, but there’s still lots that are still yet to be written. As for me, I’m going to write the best story that I can. Stories can always have a twist.