Understanding You

Nobody likes feeling drowned. Nobody.

In life, I have met a lot of unintended feelings. Anger, anxiety, trauma, depression... I see that to some people, it tickles like a drizzle. To some it’s a rainy afternoon. To you, it’s a wide sea revolts, a tsunami. And unlike a rainy September day, saved by a warm cup of chamomile tea and a calming jazz music, it destructs you and scatters you into ruins.

You start the day with a busy agenda in mind, while secretly hoping nobody you meet today would bring his burdens on to the table. But somebody does... And somehow you feel upset even though you’re not supposed to. You are the saddest in the happy hours. You spend the day thinking about it over again until your curfew kills your thoughts. Then you wake up with all the guilt you are not supposed to carry with you.

It’s almost invisible at first, to see your blackened eye circles, to hear your rage, though in silence. To know that you are drowning, loosing yourself at sea. Especially when you’re not the type of person who likes to talk about it. Hell, who likes to talk about it? Helpless, puffed, getting defeated by the waves of life repeatedly, while constantly trying to figure out how to swim? It took me quite some time to actually realize that what you need is a life vest, and not an umbrella.

I’m sorry... that it happens. That the storm is angrier where you sleep. That your morning coffee tastes bitter as nightmares. I’m sorry life makes you feel alienated with your own thoughts sometimes, and the most you can let out are the tangled scratches on your journal book. Life is harder for you today. I’m sorry that today has tricked you into feeling like you’re somebody else...

But you’re not, as much as you think you are. I know your mind is tired. I know your thoughts make you feel every sore on your muscle like you have been running for miles, even though you’re just waking up. Today rage arrives in front of a broken vehicle and the traffic jam on the street, and I know you’re stretching your smile so hard just to make sure I go by the day clueless about it. I know you are trying. I know you are trying hard. But the truth is... what’s happening is never your fault in the first place. The storm that happened doesn’t make a monster out of you. Out of any of us. See, we’re not changing. We’re never changing, just a little tired. The very same vessel in the ocean. Just a little damaged.

Don’t worry, you’ll conquer your sea. Some day, somehow. Even better, you’ll make a home out of it! Only for now... let’s slow down, hit the brakes. I want you to know that there’s always time for you to rest for a bit. Always. Let’s cancel plans and take the longer route. Unpack your fears and insecurities, and have a little chit chat, you and I. You know, it’s been awhile since we talk about omelettes, mercury retrogades, or other nonsense. So let’s talk. For as long as we can. Or stay silent for as long as we can, that’s okay, too. We’ll sit next to each other so long until days and months don’t matter anymore. Until the storm passes.

And the storm will pass... onto cloud nine and brighter skies. Let’s not feel bad for too long.

In the meantime, I really hope today is bearable for you.


2019; A Retrospect

random passerby at Tai Kwun (taken on my recent trip to Hong Kong in November)

It's late and quiet today, unlike the rest of the week. I woke up at 11 still wearing my Friday work attire, which looks a lot like something I can also wear for Saturdays, too—it's just how I dress for work. Possibly I was replacing the sleepless hours from the past week, or saving up enough rest for the upcoming—yes, it's a thing. Either way, December has arrived. It's the glass balls and lamplight season all over again. It's everybody at the malls dressed up in either red or green, or north pole deers, giving promo coupons. It's me no longer have to wait to dine out and seek for Christmas specials.

The year has kept me pretty occupied, which has to be the reason time feels like it's sprinting... The whole work thing just felt too much all at once it's unbelievable. I encounter new things everyday, and everyday too, people expect me to master it in three seconds. Deadlines, meetings, more deadlines... well, you can relate. And then I have to be present for my family, friends need some catch-ups to do, too. I wanted to read a book, but there are e-mails needed to be prioritized. I wanted to write, too, but sleep sounded like the better idea. I woke up early to outrun time. But on some days, mornings were already too hard.

One day a colleague slash friend texted me early in the morning, saying something like, I'm still on the bed right now, not wanting to get up. Please, the workload is too much I can't bear with it anymore, please. At that very moment, I felt what she felt. Every truth in me wanted to roam the same. The voices in my head echoed so loud that I was afraid she could listen. And we were just texting. Although, there was this sense of relief. That hey, turns out it wasn't just me! feeling, because of course this whole time I thought I had turned myself into a total wacko.

See it was rather upsetting, seeing someone close to you having a hard moment when you are having one, too. Watching them scatter their pieces while being just as fragile. But no, you can't rise up a momentary broken soul with another bad day. Just like you can't calm anger with an even higher voice. Or a sad story with "You know what, what you've been through is nothing compared to what I have been through". I guess it wasn't merely about the job, or the workload. It was never that. It's every other thing in life I had to face along with. Altogether.

When we're doing a life with someone else, whoever they are, their lives become part of our lives, too. A lot of times it doesn't come with a choice. My mom was sick last week, I had to cancel work so I could stay home with her. This also happens when you have a cute cat and love it so much it consumes you. And then say, your company is having a crisis, now it becomes your responsibilities too, somehow, to save it from sinking. Though maybe the most you can do is by doing your job correctly. We'll find ourselves smiling for even the little chuckling sounds they make. We carry their happiness with us. Their sorrow, too, however, is ours to carry as well. Ain't that crazy?

But what makes life crazy... is how time flies crazier. Not necessarily because it flies too fast. Maybe for some of you it flies too slow. Unlike me, maybe you're not that afraid of tomorrow as you can already see it happening more or less the same as today. Sure a couple of bad news, but it's relatively safe and okay. But maybe that was the case for you. Maybe you find yourself extinguished in a safe and lonely shore.

Life is equally hard, only in my case this year, it was always how about I could sneak off, you know. For a call, for a getaway, for my loved ones. And I managed to do so. Though it did come along with a weird sleeping schedule and lots and lots of works done while commuting. Time has surely shown me how some things are more important than the other: by squeezing them in. No distance is too far, no time is too little. You'll make time for everything that sparks even the slightest fire in you, even when time is impossible. Especially when time is impossible.

In case you haven't looked at yourself anytime this year, well, take a good look now. Look at that person, going through another round of year once again. Winning, loosing, beaten up, once again. Still breathing, once again. Does life simply gets better? Life doesn't. Even I'm feeling a lot of unintended emotions as I'm writing this. Don't worry, we are adjusting. Through effort. Over time. Whatever it is that's hard now, give it a try. Sometimes a try also means a time. So give it that... the longest it needs. And every time you feel like you're not moving, look at the rearview mirror to see just how far you've made it through. It wouldn't solve your problems, but it will show you how much strength it took to get where you are now.

Happy new year round!


You'll Feel Whole... Again

—You'll Feel Whole... Again
poem by me | photo by Jay & Venus

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