Letting Go, Or Holding On

A continuation from my previous post “Wishful Thinking”

No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories ~ Haruki Murakami

It seems that my life in 2016 can be summarized simply by the idea of “bringing people together, before tearing us apart”. 2016 was the year I enlisted, and that ultimately meant meeting new people i.e. my section mates and buddies. Just when it seems like I’m becoming closer to them and forging a bond unlike no other, we are separated through postings and vocations. Being separated from friends seems to be a common theme for me this year, especially due to recent events of heartbreak and sorrow. It seems like the two years spent getting to know her and spending time together was all in vain, as we are in that stage of being “friends”, where you could cut the awkwardness with a knife. 2016, truly the year of divisiveness, disappointment and regret.

Frankly, I know it’s not her fault, and I have absolutely no reason to be angry at her. What kind of a man would I be if I was angry at her, simply because I didn’t get what I had wanted? I would be nothing more than a child, crying and throwing a tantrum simply because I didn’t get the toy I wanted. Deep down, where logical reasoning reigns supreme, this is what I understand and this is what I should believe. Unfortunately, that’s where emotion comes into play. Every bit of my being is telling me to be angry, to be upset and to blame her for my unhappiness. After all, we always choose to blame the immediate cause of our distress, do we not? I want to blame her, be angry at her and burn the bridge I’ve painstakingly built over the past two years. After all, the easiest way to heal is to cut off contact with what has hurt you. I would do it, if not for one simple reason. It’s not her fault, but rather it was mine for being so deluded.

Perhaps the reason why it hurts me so much is because of how I always wanted to date my best friend, and now that she has rejected me, I have lost both my dream girl and my best friend. The person that I was most comfortable around, and who could make me act like a young child all over again, now feels like nothing more than a stranger who I can’t even look straight in the eye.  Should I simply forget her and move on, or should I try to maintain a friendship. Logic is telling me to let go, but emotion is telling me to hold on. And here lies the crux of my issue: To hold on or to let go. To be desperate or to be a loser. Either way, I lost.

Personally, I don’t want to let go. I don’t want to lose her. She was one of the reasons why I kept going no matter how hard it got. I wanted to prove that the Specialist wouldn’t lose to the Officer (which agonizingly was exactly what happened).

On the flip side,  it’s probably better to let go rather than hold on to what could have been. She told me that perhaps it’s best for us to not be friends for the time being, as that would be what she would want if the roles were reversed. I could lie to myself that she’s looking out for how I feel, but I know that’s a fantasy, and I’ve lived in one for way too long. After all, the greater the delusion, the harder you fall to the ground when the floor comes caving in.

Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny ~ Steve Maraboli

When one door closes, supposedly another door opens. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s a lie. One thing is for certain, I’m sick of this uncertainty. I’m sick of it all.

I just need an answer now.

 

 

 

 

Wishful Thinking

Was I a fool, thinking that she liked me?

Was I a fool, thinking that we could have been together?

Was I a fool to believe all of this?
Rejection hurts, especially when you’ve been rejected by the girl you’ve been chasing for two years. But what hurt even more was finding out that after all this time, she never felt anything for you. How could I have been so stupid, to believe she liked me based purely on our interactions together? We were just friends, maybe close friends at most, but it stings my heart to know that that’s where it stops.

Well, if it’s an indication, I got rejected by the girl I’ve been chasing for over two years. And I’m not going to lie, it sucks. It sucks knowing that while I was out in the field training, thinking of her, she had actually fallen and dated another guy. More specifically, it was the exact guy that I was suspicious of. So while I was living in my fantasy, dreaming of what could be, I failed to realise that I had lost the fight a long time ago.

Sure, they are no longer together, and that should make me happy. But it doesn’t. Rather, it makes me that much more upset, knowing that I didn’t have a chance, even without a competitor. I was such an idiot, thinking and believing that life was going to be great. In the back of my mind, I guess I could forsee the future of bitter rejection.

She said that she had dated someone in University, albeit a brief relationship, and wanted to take time to improve herself. There should be that hope that she will accept me one day, but deep down I know it’s over. I’ve lost a close friend, and I’ve lost my chance to be together with her.

I’m not angry though, oddly enough. I’m not angry, a little upset that things didn’t do my way, but I suppose life is all about rejection, and more importantly how you bounce back from it. After all, I still believe she’s still out there. I will not let this setback destroy me, but rather let it act as a learning experience.

To Photo, the girl in my heart, I’m sorry. It’s been a wonderful two years with you as my friend. I’m sorry I made things weird between us, but I’m not sorry for falling for you. You are special, and I wish you all the best in finding your happiness. 

I guess things don’t turn out the way we want.

Sentiments and Nostalgia

In today’s fast-paced rat race society, it feels like society is split into two groups. Those who are sentimental and those who are not. One group loves to live in memories and cherishes those that they create, while the other group finds that living in such a state of euphoria and nostalgia is nothing more than a waste of time, time that could be better spent to move forward. It’s rather distressing to see that in our attempts to move forward and keep looking to the past, we have actually chosen to forsake the sentimental value of our lives. My question is, why?

Is being nostalgic truly such a detriment to oneself and that we should not live in the memories of the past, but go out and create new ones? I’ve seen and felt the apathy of my friends with regards to sentimental values that it has honestly perturbed me, and it has always flummoxed me. Case in point, I had friends who wanted to skip our school graduation service because it was “a waste of time”. Is it really a waste of time? Is it a waste of time to sit down, reflect on the past two years of JC life and enjoy the merry and mirthful performances and segments by our teachers? I understand that we have a major exam in about a month or so, but does the sentimental value of our memories and experiences in our school really mean so little to us that we would rather stay at home to study?

If it’s not obvious by now, I am a very sentimental and emotional individual. I absolutely adore taking photographs with friends and family to capture those few magical moments for keepsake. I always appreciate the thoughts of others, even though the outcome may not be exactly what I wanted. Most importantly, I love and treasure those who make an effort to interact and socialise with me, especially when I’m feeling down and out and simply am not in the mood for socialising. The week before graduation service, I fantasized about the photos and videos my class and I would be taking after the ceremony was over. The hilarious, over-the-top pictorial mementos that I would keep forever, oh I just couldn’t contain my excitement. Well, things didn’t go according to what I had imagined it would be. After the service, everybody just … went home. No class outings, no photos and most importantly, no memories. Just everyone going back home as though regular school just ended. I was devastated, because it made me realise that in a class of 19 students, I was the only one who thought being sentimental was worth it.

While I detest this notion that being sentimental and capturing nostalgia is something negative, it’s not hard to see why. It has been considered a disorder in the late 17th century, where soldiers longing to return to their homes. Others simply thought that being nostalgic was a symptom of depression: why else would anyone want to live in the past? But the fact is simple: It wasn’t a disorder in the past, and it sure as hell ain’t a disorder right now.

It is undeniable that we ought to have the foresight to plan ahead, and not get trapped in the past. However, if we can’t even take the time to stop and smell the roses, how are we able to truly appreciate the progress we want to and will make? If we refuse to stop and enjoy the treasures of our past, what’s to say that we will with our future progress? We’d simply be living life in an anxious rush, always fretting over the future, and not being able to slow down and live in the moment. So do yourself a favour, and slow down once in a while. Cherish the moments of the past, and enjoy capturing the nostalgic value of your past, while remembering not to get trapped in it.

Trust

Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks ~ Isaac Watts

There are many wonderful feelings in this world, but I feel that sometimes, all others pales to the beauty of trust. The psychological connection between two individuals that allow them to come as one and believe in each other. Isn’t trust wonderful? The feeling that you can trust someone, or better yet, when you know someone else trusts you?

It’s such a good wonderful feeling, so it is truly unfortunate that it is one of the rare emotions i can experience, and here’s why:

Picture the scene with me: You have your rather quiet, geeky and slightly anti-social kid in a classroom full of boisterous, charming and amicable students. That kid has practically no common interests with these other people, and thus suffers from a sort of “social barrier”, preventing any interactions from occurring. Interactions that he craves so much. This kid has classmates that he never talked to for the entire of his time in school, due to the social barrier. Now, I know what you may be thinking: Well, why doesn’t he just approach them and talk to them? At least try to take an interest in their lives? Well, it’s not so simple. For starters, he doesn’t know about their interests, and may only come across as pretending. After all, how do you genuinely take an interest in something, when it just doesn’t interest you?

Well, that kid was me. And is me, to some extent. I had classmates that I didn’t talk to for the entire first year (out of the two years) of school. I didn’t really trust others, as I thought they didn’t trust me. This all changed suddenly, when the quietest girl in the class approached me one day for help with something. That’s when I felt it, the wonderful feeling of trust.

Why of all people did she ask me? Why did she ask me in the first place? Could it be, because she trusted me? She trusted that I could help me, that I was capable of helping her in the first place. Honestly, I felt really glad that she did, because she essentially reassured me that I was trusting, and that she was willing to trust me to help her with her presentation. I never told her how grateful I was to her, but I’m certain she knows.

The second case happened a few days back, actually. There’s this other girl, that I never really talked to at all, and no, it wasn’t because I had a secret crush on her or something. It was simply because I was intimidated by her popularity. She was one of those girls that almost everybody liked, and could get along with those popular guys in my class exceptionally swimmingly. As a geek, I was unnecessarily afraid of talking to her and getting rejected. So, I never did. Until a few days ago, when I ran into her on the bus with her friends. She greeted me very cheerfully, and proceeded to sit behind me, with her friends. But here’s the part which pleasantly surprised me: she included me in conversations, like asking me how I felt the recent test was. It was a small gesture, but it made me realise that she actually trusted me as a classmate. To you it may not be much, but to me, it was wonderful.

Above all, I realised one thing and perhaps the most important thing. Both stories had something in common, which I didn’t mention. In both stories, I actually approached both of them first. Unknowingly, I trusted both of them first, be it to make small talk or otherwise. That made me realise the most important part about trust: we have to trust others first, before they would dare to trust us. Think about it, how we think of others will affect how we act around them, and this will ultimately affect how they think of us. We have to trust others, and only then will others be willing to trust us. Sure, we may be putting ourselves in a vulnerable position, opening ourselves up to hurt. But, I’d say this: Do you feel the rewards are worth the risk? Cause I know I definitely do. So go out, learn to trust others and on top of it all, trust yourself. Trust yourself that you’ll be able to make the right decision, and everything will fall into place.

The different sides of us

Think about this with me for a minute: If you were to classify yourself into different sides, how many would there be? No, not Inside and Outside. How many different types do you have? Kinda like that movie Inside Out, but only it’s more than just emotions. It’s your entire personality, how you act. (Personally, I didn’t actually see the movie, so forgive me if my analogy is slightly off).

I believe that everybody has three sides: One we show our loved ones, one we show our friends and the last one, we don’t show anyone but ourselves. We act very differently in these three situations, especially for the third option, so here’s what I wonder. What if that side split from us, and became a separate entity for us to interact with. How would it be like?

Imagine it: She/He is standing right in front of you. She/He looks identical to you, for the simple reason that that person is you (well, at least one side of you). But, chances are, that person isn’t as rational as you. That person is the epitome of your darkest secrets: lust, sadness, anger, etc, and you’re just standing there. What do you do?

Personally, I would be afraid of my other side, for the simple reason that that side is not a pleasant person. That person suffers from paranoia, low self-esteem and anger from overwhelming frustration. Keep in mind, that these traits are not who I am on a day-to-day basis, but it shows every now and then. I imagine that I would just be standing there, helpless as he implodes from his darkest secrets, and that truly petrifies me.

So, who is this other side of you? The side you hide, never to be seen by anyone? Chances are, that person is going to be the exact opposite of how you act in front of others. Find out who that side is, and hopefully, console him/her before he evolves to something much more than just a side.

A great love

A great love, is a lot like a good memory. When it’s there, and you know it’s there, but it’s just out of your reach, it can be all that you think about. You can focus on it and try to force it, but the more you do, the more you seem to push it away. But if you’re patient and you hold still, then maybe, just maybe, it’ll come to you ~ Leonard Church

We all think about it time to time. Will we be able to find a girlfriend/boyfriend? Everybody seems to be getting attached, what about me? We all cherish this idea of having someone to love, someone to hug, someone to be able to let loose, goof off and have fun. In the past two years, I’ve encountered one such scenario, where news spread that love was in the air. Well, for two of my classmates, at least. This caused widespread gossiping sessions, which I refused to take part in for one simple reason. I simply couldn’t fathom why we as humans find such matters so juicy. Current affairs of our country? Nah. The latest relationship rumors? Sign me up! I mean, we’re so caught up with the matters that don’t affect our lives at all, and yet we are so foolishly apathetic to matters that will affect us. This is something I wonder why all the time, but can never get an answer. So, sorry guys. No definite answer for you today.

Another thing that has puzzled me all this while is why we feel the need to constantly worry and wonder about whether we will be able to meet that special someone in our lives. After all, I believe that our Mr/Ms Right will appear before us eventually. We just have to have to courage to seize that opportunity when it arises.

I get it though. I can totally understand why we would feel in such a way. I myself am not spared from such feelings of loneliness and emptiness, and that yearning to have that special someone to hold in my arms and feel her warm embrace. I think about her more often than not, and honestly she’s really one of the few things that’s bringing me joy to my life. Just regular conversations with her over Whatsapp can bring the brightest smile to my face. On one hand, I want to keep my cool and play it confident and reserved. But on the other hand, I really just want to be able to be with her and be the little kid I really am, and the former is made much more difficult when my heart has been stolen by her. But nonetheless, I embrace the idea of personal space openly, and I feel that’s what has gotten me this far. After all, who likes someone who smothers us with affection and attention all the time? Trust me, I’ve seen such cases, and it wasn’t pretty.

So heed my advice, learn to just let go and let fate do the deciding. We will all encounter that special someone somewhere, and when we do, it is important to make full use of your opportunity, while simultaneously remembering to practice personal space, no matter how much it sucks. Personally, I do have that special someone in mind already, and I’m slowly but surely working to it. Hopefully a year from now, I can read this article, but this time, I’d have someone to read it to.

Disappointment: Painful, yet necessary

We all know how it feels like to fall short of your expectations, to feel disappointed. Disappointment is something that we can’t avoid, it’s part and parcel of life.

My life has had its fair share of disappointments, be it both academically and non-academically. I constantly felt disappointed and dejected back in Junior College because I constantly failed to meet my expectations by failing to meet the mark and losing to my peers. I’m generally not a sporty person, so naturally I sub-consciously surrounded myself with friends of the same nature and interests, meaning the bulk of my friends were those who preferred to stay indoors, for fear of the sun burning a hole through their skin. They were the kind who joined clubs, not sports, and basically spent most of their time studying. As someone from ODAC (Outdoor Adventure Club), I guess I thread on the fine line between sports and clubs.

With a rather competitive nature, I naturally always felt the urge to best those around me (except for Chinese, which I asseverate as Achilles’ Heel) in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and General Paper. The two years through JC had been erratic, with the only constant factor being that my class never appeared on the “Slide of Fame” for results. My results varied quite a lot, one moment I’m doing relatively well, the next moment I’m being called over by my teacher because he/she is worried about my progress (with more empasis on the latter). Ultimately, I was rather fortunate to get a score for my As which allowed me to enter the course I was eyeing, but I still felt like I failed. Maybe it was because I didn’t make the cut for the “Hall of Fame” during results day, or maybe it was because I lost to every one of my friends. I was disappointed, and that stung badly.

Fast forward a year, when I’m nearly halfway through my National Service. I was elated to find out that I was shortlisted for a shot to join the elite shooters of the Asean Army Rifle Meet Rifle Team. I packed up my stuff, and headed over to the Infantry Vocational Training School for a week of further selection. Competition among us was tough as only 3 out of the 10 would be selected, but I still had my hopes that I could be shortlisted again to join the elite. As you would’ve guessed by my writing in this post, I failed to meet the cut. I packed my bags, and prepared to head back to Pulau Tekong, where I’ll be for the remaining 12 months. 

I could say that I wasn’t disappointed, but that would be a lie. Disappointment always comes about when expectations fail to become a reality, and perhaps that’s why so many people, I feel, are afraid to have hope or expectations of anything. We would very much rather to live a pessimistic life and believe that we will never meet the mark, seeing as it is much more enjoyable to be pleasantly surprised rather than feel the soul-crushing shatter of our dreams. That’s what I’ve seen many people do: continuously talk about how they absolutely can’t make it anymore, or that they have zero chance at winning. It is the easy way to handle your problem, but it isn’t the right way. 

Disappointment is always going to be part of our lives, be it in the form of unrequited love or failure to clinch a deal. It is always going to put us down and we are always going to have that constant fear of falling. However, it’s crucial to realise that we grow as a person through adversity. We learn from our mistakes and more importantly, where we can improve on. Evidently in my case, there’s always going to someone better than me and in turn, may have a better chance at competing with me for the same prize. However, we lose the battle immediately if we don’t have the courage to give our best. We will sub-consciously doubt our capabilities if all we’ve ever told ourselves is how we can’t do it. Even if it’s a low chance, it’s still a chance worth taking. We can’t have everything that we want in life, but it’s times like this that show me the value that sometimes, the process is more important than the outcome. The process of my A Levels enabled me to realise my ability to handle stress well, while the week-long trial selection for the elite shooting team taught me that everything happens for us, never to us. 

Disappointment: it hurts like hell, but it is a fundamental experience in our lives. 

Fear

The psychological barrier of our lives. You know that feeling, we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives. We absolutely detest this feeling, and it can sometimes paralyse us with intense trepidation. Yes, fear is ever present in our lives, and the greatest thing of it all is that while we experience it almost every other day, we don’t quite know what we’re actually dealing with. But the answer is so simple. Fear is simply uncertainty, and here’s why.

I’ll admit it. When I was younger, I had an irrational fear of the dark. Whenever the darkness decided to pay me a visit while I was home alone, I had to light up my entire house with lights. Every nook and cranny was lit up like a Christmas tree. Ah, I could finally put myself at ease until my parents came home. I’m sure you have done such a thing in your life at some point, so don’t judge. But have you ever considered why we fear the dark? It’s simple, because we are uncertain. We were uncertain of what lies out in the great beyond that is the dark. We were uncertain whether we were truly safe from anything that hid in the dark. We were uncertain.

As we grow up, our rationality starts to kick in and we slowly realize how silly we were. Our fear of the dark slowly went away, but not fear itself. We began to fear other, more realistic things. Was I going to fail my test? Am I going to die by walking across this really tall bridge? It all came down to the same principle. We were uncertain. Currently I’m studying for the A Levels, and needless to say, I fear them. Not because I know that it’s a long a tedious journey, with endless hours of revision and practice, but rather because I’m uncertain about how my future career and in fact my entire life will be like because of this one examination. Think about it, if I were to give you all the answers to a test, would you really still fear them?

I wish I could give you the panacea to fear, how we can conquer everything in our lives with courage and valour. Unfortunately I can’t. Fear is going to join us along our journey through life, sort of like an unwanted guest. Sometimes, it’s going to rob us of our most prized possession, opportunity. When we fear an action, we fall into the pit of contemplation, and more often than not, we only become certain of our course of action when it is too late and live to regret our actions (Or rather, our lack of one).

However, what we can do is believe. Believe in our capabilities, believe in your deity, believe that everything in this world happens for a reason. The power of believing is more capable than we think. When we believe, we leave all our uncertainties and worries behind and take a leap of faith. So what are you waiting for? Flip the switch and light up your life.

Edit: Just recently, I discovered that this idea is better known as the Butterfly Effect. Well, here it’s sort of a mix between parallel universes and the butterfly effect.

Hi, I’m you from a different dimension

Different dimensions, parallel universes. My two personal favourite things to think about. How similar or different would the different versions of me be like? Would we be the best of friends, or would be be mortal enemies? Would we have shared similar experiences, or would our lives be completely different since birth? If we were to slow down and think about such things, we would be able to fully understand just how amazing this idea really is.

My personal favourite way of looking at this is using the tree-branch or tree-root analogy. A tree-branch always starts from the same point, but while some continue along the same path, others branch out into a completely different direction, with nothing else in common. Similarly, what if our lives are similar to our counterparts from another dimension, but one major event caused a huge divergence in our lives? Our friends and colleagues we meet after that point would’ve never occurred, and we would have a completely different set of friends and colleagues. Think about it this way. Look at your circle of friends, then look at a random stranger. What if something ¬†happened that resulted in you never meeting your current friends, but instead you were the best of friends with that stranger.

If we were to overlap both of our lives, how similar would our lives be? Would we still have the same friends? Or the same life experiences? Possibly our same lovers? I can’t give you the answers to these questions, but one thing is for certain. I would love to meet me from a different dimension. So, hi, I’m you from a different dimension.