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...

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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dear diary...

Don’t Lose Yourself

You spend hours in front of a computer

till your eyes begin to water.

Cherry-picking words

that you think best flatter.


Nouns

/naʊns/

Do they make me sound hip enough?

Exotic places

Underground bands

Book titles so unheard of,

you’ve got them penned down on the back of your hand.


Adjectives

/ˈadʒɪktɪvs/

The bigger the word, the bigger the impression, right?

An eclectic taste in music

A Flexitarian foodie

A sapiosexual nerd who embraces all things geeky.


You take the bits and pieces of your life

and your self

Curate them

Examine them

Process them

Until they don’t look like you no more.


Arrange them in order,

like pieces of artefacts in a museum.

And you,

play the docent who walks them through.

Exhibition after exhibition,

room after room,

spinning stories that you know aren’t always true.

A haphazard patchwork of tales.

And like a chameleon,

your opinions turn from red to purple to blue


Sand down the rougher edges,

the distressed voices,

the disagreements.

Polish the panes till they glisten

with a glare

a little too bright

for those who stare.


When you get back home near midnight,

graceless,

and hollow;

after being touched all over,

scrutinised and

consumed,

and the ice of the marble flooring slowly bites away

at the antecedent warmth of

loveless cuddles,

you peer at the three strangers in the mirrors,

and wonder,

“Who the hell is this?”


 

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dear diary..., wanderlust

A Rainy Day in Tainan 

Today, for the first time in such a long while, my heart fluttered at the first sight of a stranger. A glimpse of her pretty side profile and the tips of her eyelashes through the slits in the curtain of her soft hair was more than enough to bewitch me into momentary paralysis. I revelled in the air of admiration cloaked by a layer of anonymity.

The bridge of her small nose.

The heart shape of her lips.

The smooth arc of her jawline.

I couldn’t think properly, the kind of mental block that usually happens to me when I’m mesmerised by something or someone before my eyes and my mind is wholly fixated, consumed, beholden to it. I had nothing left to offer, except pure admiration and fascination. I had desperately wanted to speak, to communicate, to strike up some silly small talk no matter how incredibly disabled my Mandarin has become without the aid of some occasional English. I promised myself that I would overcome that invisible barrier that had been standing between me and all the could-have-been relationships and friends.

As I awkwardly sat on a bench nearby, I ended up speaking to her through the conversation that took place between her and my parents, who were much more proficient at Mandarin than me. They asked, to my surprise, all the questions I would’ve asked. I learnt that she’s from Taipei and she came to Tainan for a weekend trip with her pals. She isn’t a schoolgirl like I had initially made her out to be due to her small stature and conservative dress sense. She has been working for quite some time and is slightly older than me. She’s been to Singapore even. My parents went on asking her if she liked Singaporean food. I took every window of opportunity when she’s slightly distracted to steal a glance, at the same time trying my best to feign an air of indifference just in case she caught on to my obvious interest in her.

Ask her for her number, I silently urged my parents in futility. So that when she comes again we can bring her around. I knew that they wouldn’t. Why would they? It would have been really awkward anyway. After all, she’s just a passerby whom we happened to meet by chance at a bus stop in Tainan.

But, wouldn’t chance make this sudden, random, unexpected intersection of our two realities so much more meaningful and significant? What exactly is the statistical probability that of all the other places, times and people I feel a special feeling towards a particular someone? Sure, I have also by chance come across hundred of thousands of other people, far too many faces than I could have ever vaguely remember, but those were just passersby on the streets of my life, whose footsteps and impressions will eventually be washed away by the an occasional rain, or be buried under millions of other track marks in a perpetual cycle of appearance and erasure.

The surge of passion and everything by far still indescribable to me is something of a rarity. I don’t often feel this way, especially with strangers. It’s not like I’m extremely picky or have a very strict criteria for the people I decide to let into my life. I don’t quite know. But when it happens, the little benign sparks morph into an uncontrollable burning flame that resist immediate taming and I find myself plunging, falling, spiralling deeper and deeper into something in between the lines of love and obsession.

As I am writing this, I am on the same bus as her.

She presses the bell signalling that she’s about to alight and my heart breaks a little. Greedily, as if I could hold her back with just the power of my stare, I fixate entire being and attention onto her and just bask in the warmth of her presence, and fantasies that I know too well would haunt me with regret moments later.

The bus pulls to a halt.

The doors open and the faint smell of rain drifts in.

She gently threaded down the steps in the most graceful fashion and alights, brushing aside the bit of stay hair that has just came loose.
In that moment I turned shyly and slightly to catch one final glimpse of her and her beauty.

With a pane of glass wedged between the two realities of ours that only tangentially intersected, I smiled and waved her goodbye.

And she smiled an infinitely gorgeous smile whose warmth, I swear, could last me all the winters I will ever live through.

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