dear diary...

Just A Little More…

Why is it that all things have to be rushed?

The voices around us relentlessly indoctrinate and perpetuate:

Time is of the essence.

Time is our only non-renewable resource.

Time is a scarcity, unfortunately, that will only run out.

But some things, only time can tell;

some things require precisely the growth and maturation

that can only take place through time,

like wine,

and feelings fermenting.


Why is it that everything that has happened between us

is all but a means to an end?

Why is it that even if the shot has missed the bullseye

by just an inch,

the bow has to be broken, shattered, abandoned

and never to be picked up ever again?


Why is it that we could have climbed a million steps

to get to where we are today,

but a slip,

an innocent stumble

has the magnitude of an earthquake

revealing the vast chasm between us

crumbling the very delicate road we once tread?


Perhaps all is needed is

a little more time,

a little more patience,

a little more understanding,

a little more forgiveness.

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dear diary...

“So…what do you see us becoming?”

As I let the words frolic around in my head and its awfully familiar timber ring in my ear, an unsettling chill shot through me. In the piercing momentary silence punctuated by nervous heartbeats, I slipped into my subconscious, and entertained an internal dialogue between a me who is still paralysed by the heartbreaking vestige of the past and a me who, despite bearing a hurtful history, choose to sally forth in bold steps into the wild unknown.

This is all too familiar. The tone, brimming with anticipation, pregnant with hope, an overture to innumerable other promises, exclusive companionship, unbuckling support, to a future together. I fixed my gaze upon him, thinking about how incredulous it is of him to be asking me this question without a sign of uncertainty. It’s too soon for him to be asking me this, I thought. It has only been our second time seeing each other face to face, even though we have kept in touch very regularly via Telegram. I am faced with a sea of questions. Am I sure I know him well enough? Are we even compatible? What exactly does he mean by this? Short-term? Long-term? Friends with benefits? How the heck does he feel comfortable and confident enough to broach this question on our second date as we casually lied on our backs counting the leaves on the frangipanni tree, waiting for the sun to set? Lastly and the most daunting question of all, “Will I get hurt? What if he is not really ready?”

A couple of months back, I had to deal with the aftermath of a disaster, an unnecessary meltdown, a failure that could have never happened in the first place had he thought things through thoroughly and made the decisions that truly resonated with his own emotional state and readiness. I have long been toying with the idea of it alone in the confines and privacy of my own room on 3am nights. I was so, so ready to commit, the moment he popped the question, I immediately agreed. And so I plunged, headfirst, into the lacuna that turned out to be a lightless void, a dead end that did not take many steps to reach.

The answer I gave him was one that I felt was the most honest and true to how I was feeling but it was clear he wasn’t entirely happy with it. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s my fragile little mind already in the works of erecting a defensive structure around its soft and vulnerable core, maybe it’s me and my aversion towards risk-taking. Maybe it’s me and my stupid little romantic fantasies of meeting “the one” and knowing that he is “the one” for me and that I can rest assured that he would never ever leave my side for reasons trivial or otherwise.

I have never felt two contrasting emotions so intensely at the same time. In the moment, my heart was stretched to its absolute maximum, till the rubbery sinews became a ghastly white string, as fear and excitement tugged mercilessly in opposite ends, threatening to rip it apart. The ache, deep and tremendous, woke something in me. It’s not just me who is risk-averse. No one like to gamble, no one likes risky situations, especially if it involves putting out your heart, your deepest, darkest emotions and vulnerabilities on the table, exhibiting them to someone you think you truly know but can’t say for sure. I can’t be the only one so helplessly indoctrinated by the idea of romantic love, of meeting “the one” and seeing forever flash in front of my eyes in that instant. Won’t everything be smooth-sailing and easy and effortless and perfect if even the love of my life is served to me on a silver plate?

But, what, then, is life without taking risks, without failures, without the struggle, the fight we put up for the things we value, want and cherish? What is life if we aren’t willing to put ourselves out there, to revel in the nakedness, the rawness of our emotions, to hurt just that little more, to look back after a victorious pursuit or fight and finally realising the worth of our struggles even in hindsight? As much as we want to feel guarded, protected and go through life unscathed, we should know better that the scars we got from the things we fear — rejection, disappointment, unfulfilled promises or even the “forever” that got a full-stop appended to it at the most unexpected time — aren’t just injuries that should be plastered over nor avoided, they are battle wounds of a glorious, noble warrior, each with its own unique story to tell, each a symbol of the growth of an individual at a particular stage in his or her life.

“…stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.” — Brave New World | Aldous Huxley

So, fear nothing and take the plunge. It will all be worth it.

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dear diary...

Dearest Papa,

Dearest Papa,

Happy 52nd Birthday! Today, I had my virgin experience of social art jamming, with the intention of painting something that could be gifted to you as your birthday present. Well, art alone without meaning is but a symphony of colours harmonised and mingled together with brushstrokes bold and fine. So here is a list of things that went through my head as I embarked on a 3-hour long artistic voyage on a Tuesday afternoon without even pausing to drink or eat:

  1. Just like how I am your very first child, your maiden voyage into this big, uncertain, sometimes scary world of fatherhood, this piece of art is my first jab at creating something somewhat aesthetically pleasing.
  2. First attempts are never perfect. The artwork is definitely not perfect. And neither am I. If you asked me, I could go on and on about all the regrets I have about this painting and the mistakes that I had foolishly made precisely because of my inexperience. I screwed up, made mistakes, cursed myself, panicked, found solutions, asked for help, prayed for things to get better and go my way. I sketched and erased, tested the waters, debated between purple and grey. But still, the background is too patchy, and the branches look too flat. The petals of some of the flowers are warped and slightly deformed. Yet, despite all these blemishes and imperfections, they are unmistakably mine and I own them like how you have owned me in the twenty years that you’ve raised me — proud and with the most unshakable conviction of a creator, a father. And I salute you for that.
  3. Being a father, whether it’s your first time or 5th time, is always stressful. I can’t claim to have carried the kind of weight you’ve been carrying, but painting under a time limit is pressurising period. Not to mention painting outside the comfort and private confines or your own home. Every stroke, every move is made under public scrutiny. Constantly, your ears are helplessly deluged with cacophony of opinions, peoples’ ruthless judgments, comments and criticisms. You try not to buckle, take a deep breath, calm your nerves and continue your hustle. Thank you for raising me in your own way, even when the voices that tempt and mislead echo ever so loudly and persistently.
  4. Cherry Blossoms. Why Cherry Blossoms, you may ask. You have always wanted to go to some place like Japan in the summer during the Cherry Blossom season, but have been unable to because of your busy schedule and us. This painting is for you and all the opportunities that you have missed because of me, Bin and Kai, while we await that one summer when we can finally catch the flowers together as a family. Aside, the Cherry Blossom is perhaps the most fitting embodiment of life and all it’s beauty, ephemerality and fragility. This is a reminder to cherish every second spent with loved ones and every moment, no matter how upset or angry or disappointed you may be, because it is precisely these emotions that lift the highs of life even higher.

 

Infinitely, with love

Your daughter, Ning ❤

 

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dear diary...

Leave.

Stop knocking on my door when I clearly don’t intend to open it up for you any time soon. Repeatedly, incessantly beating it, over and over and over again, it doesn’t increase the chances of me opening up and receiving you like before. This amounts to harassment, the kind of violence it inflicts upon my mind and that swirling vortex of negativity inside me, waiting to be let out, waiting to lash out and spit curses in your face. So, stop. Can’t you see that it’s enough, that it will never be enough, that it’s not working, that the person you’ve been terrorising all night long desperately craves silence and space and an end to all the madness? When it’s time, my doors will reopen. But there’s a storm outside and the pillars of this shipwreck of a house no stronger than the backbones of emaciated men. Don’t you understand? This is all so I can protect you.

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