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#YouDoYou

“You do you.”

Simple. Admittedly, this is (when I think about it) one of my favourite lines and a mantra to which I try to live by. “Be yourself”, it says; “trust that what you say and do is for yourself, because the only way the world will learn to accept who you are is by giving them a chance to see you as you are”. And my goodness, even if obit recently, I have started to at least do right by myself. 

Given the intermittent nature of my postings, I tend to forget what I’ve already mentioned in my previous posts, so I apologise if I repeat myself; earlier in the year, a closer friend and I had travelled together for almost 2 months. Prior to departure and even during the process of planning the trip, I (more often than I am proud of) questioned whether he wanted to do this. Well, more specifically, whether I was the right person to travel with. I could go on and on about my insecurities which were amplified based on the fact that I didn’t want to tarnish our friendship based on whatever I did or didn’t do, or however I felt. And it sucks, but you know what? I’d let it get the better of me. 

I’m not saying I don’t have any find memories. But rather that I’d sabotaged myself in making many, many more. I’d let anxiety and my thoughts snowball, and when it got to the bottom of that hill, I crumbled. I’d like to think that I got better after a certain point, but I guess that’s debatable. 

But here’s the thing: it got worse once we got back home. Not necessarily in the same way, but we were both going home to some level of uncertainty; myself having to find a career after spending so long studying and hopefully a place to move out to soon after, and him having to sort out his own living arrangements and license (and consequently his job). Sadly, many of these and other concerns are yet to be resolved, but what made it irrefutably worse was his coping mechanism of shutting himself off, and mine of needing someone who understood the circumstances to be there within reach. Essentially, one thing had led to another; his distance made me question our friendship which was further shaken by the fact that his “lack of time and thoughts” were able to be suppressed for long enough for himself to find a girlfriend. I daresay this wound was eviscerated by how I’d found out and what little was ever done or said regarding it between us. 

Since then, our friendship has been borderline non-existent, whether he’d care to admit that himself. Even though I haven’t had the courage to address this in person on the extremely rare occasion that I have managed to see him, if I did, I’d want to apologise: for my weakness, but also for how I had gone about these things. This isn’t to say I apologise for them altogether, because if there is one thing I’ll shamelessly confess, it’s that the underlying message (whether or not he knows or not) holds true for me, which is that despite the friendship we had shared, to even pretend that we are remotely close to that way now would be insulting, and that my questioning had been justified. 

I have since then carried on with my life because I have to. I have wallowed in its loss and I think about it, and continue to miss him. But I have followed the you-do- you principle, and I’ve continued to work and partake in extracurriculars, and worked to keep my other friendships going. Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, he has continued with his life; I’m not in the position to say whether he is as happy as he considers himself possible (or at least as far as the elements under his control have it); I sincerely hope that he is and I regret that we’re not as we once were. But I can tell you the following: I wasn’t and am not happy with the way I was in dealing with my uneasiness, self-consciousness and insecurities both during the holiday and with the distancing of my friend. That was, technically, me doing me. And just like the next person, I continue to have habits I’m not proud of dictate so much of how I act, think and feel. Again, this is me doing me. But (in need of a better way of phrasing this) I’m not happy with that part of myself. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you-do-you is a great life philosophy of accepting others and owning yourself, but please, if the version of yourself is not the person that you want to be (at least with regards to your mental tenacity) in its entirety, don’t settle. 

If there’s something within your action and right to do, say or feel to improve yourself and optimise the situation, please do it (this isn’t to say do these things impulsively). Using my friendship example, in essence, I’ve told him I’m there if he needs it and that I’d welcome the friendship if the efforts are reciprocated. But much like a lot of things in life, I can’t force my way; can’t throw a tantrum to make things happen. I’ve done what I can within my power to keep the line of communication open from my end, and have caught up and carried on with other aspects of my life. 

I may not always be happy with the way things are, let alone with all of the components within my life at the same time, but I’d like to think that I’m at least on my way to fulfilling what I consider to be the you-do-you principle by doing what’s within my power to be the person I want to be and making sure I don’t give myself the chance of asking “would things be better had I said or done something?”. So, be the best version of yourself you can be and it’s okay to be afraid (not only is it naturally, but that’s how you know it matters), but don’t let the fear, anxiety or paranoia steal your opportunities. 

#Swipe

“How social are you?”

I know that that seems like an odd question, but really, just take a moment to consider it; not simply as a “do you enjoy the company of others”, but is it something you need? Or do you avoid it with every cell of your being?

Personally, I’m somewhat social. I know that’s a bit of a cop out and generic as a response, but it’s late and I suppose I can’t really be bothered to try think of a better definition, if I’m being honest. I like the company of my friends; creating memories with them, the inside jokes, our thoughts, the works, you know? But that being said, I need at least a bit of alone-time throughout the day as well. I love these people and don’t know what I’d do without them in my life, but I also cannot physically or mentally withstand being around groups of people for too long either. Sometimes I deal with it better than other times, but otherwise, I can be dismissive and quiet. Which, in my opinion, is fine. I’m just “that” sort of person, and I guess I feel like there’s no need to feel guilty over it (so long as I go about it in a socially appropriate manner i.e. I don’t go lashing out). That being said, there have been many a times where I have wished that I was more social.

It’s not that I’m not “sociable”, but that having to maintain a social facade for extended periods of time can exhaust me. In addition to this, I have a slight case of self-diagnosed social anxiety. Again, this doesn’t mean that I’m not amicable or congenial in the social setting; it’s an internal thing. I guess my most applicable example is of when I went on a tour during a recent holiday of mine. This, in summary, involved 40-odd people including myself travelling in a foreign country by bus over 3 weeks. The people were friendly and bubbly, and I’d comfortably say that people either liked me or were indifferent towards me (you can’t win them all). I tried to smile and on the rare occasion chime in a comment here and there to ensure that they knew I existed. But my god, it was tiring. Yet, my friend with whom I travelled with simply thrived in this environment. He loved the interacting and the attention. And naturally, in such a situation, the other loved him back. In retrospect, it was a good trip and experience, but at the time, there were many times where I was crippled by the number of strangers surrounding me; in the simplest and crises way to describe it, my innards felt constantly seized up. My chest a little tighter than usual and that constant niggling of nervousness. But I had spent my entire life putting out to the world the best version of myself (at least to those I am not that close with). And I guess this in itself made matters a little worse, when my friend did not know how to empathise; the uneasy sensation I was living with was unfamiliar to him, and on top of that, he continued to mistake my concerns of the situation to be that of how I was coming across to the others and whether I was liked. I tried to sort things out myself, but then felt lonely. I tried to immerse myself, then felt overwhelmed. It did gradually get better, but I have to admit that I wished that it could have been better than it was.

So, this leads me to wanting to become someone who can be more social, not on an outward level, but an inward level, if that makes sense. What I mean is that, I know I can play the part if need be, but the real problem at hand is how I feel in these situations. I’d like to think of this as a self-improvement project of sorts; I assure you that this is no unhealthy obsession of mine.. Anyhow, this trip, in addition to various other ongoing of my personal life, led me to download several apps; a mix of social and dating apps. 

I’m presuming that we are all aware as to how dating apps tend to function, so I won’t elaborate on these. The social apps are more or less the same thing but without the romantic prospects. So, here (unlike, say Tinder or Bumble), people remain to present the best version of themselves admittedly, but provide a much more helpful profile for you to essentially start a conversation if you wish. It’s weird in a sense, because in both realms, everyone is clearly there for distinct motives, but despite this, the way the conversation starts, continues and finishes is completely different. An example: if I was to ask someone how their weekend was going, 95% of the time I can tell you that the dating app responder (despite having mutually matched) will not respond. This sucks for people like me where this is how I’d start a normal conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I get that these people want me to start things off with something a little more interesting, quirky or funny, but the reality is, what difference does it make when I’m just trying to talk with you. Surely given our reciprocated initial reactions, it won’t hurt you to simply respond and take it from there. Why is it that as soon as this courtship moves online, what you’d do in person is just disregard – yes, a joke does well in-person, but if I was to ask how you’ve been in person, you wouldn’t sit there staring at me nonresponsive for the rest of the evening? 

Similarly, I’m not talking about everyone that I’ve spoken with, but I’ve come to increasingly notice that these people that I match online are just as bad, if not worse, at carrying out these conversations. I confess that I am a male and there have been plenty of cases where my gender has been disappointingly sleazy or dismissive. But like any case, this isn’t all of us. And I feel that when I start messaging someone, I have put in the effort; I try and find topics to talk about and continue to ask questions as to keep the conversation rolling. But here’s the thing: many of these people I contact simply fail to bother. I don’t know how else to explain it. Here I am, trying to discuss and converse, but many of the respondents answer the questions in the shallowest forms and give nothing back. So, here’s the thing, everyone: it’s fine if you end up not being interested. At least have to courtesy and courage to let the other person know. And in the case that you’re interested, actually give a little something back; otherwise, it makes people like me feel stupid for wanting to try and gets us sick of trying. Not saying you’re not worth putting in effort for, but it’s a two-way street and it’s almost stupid to presume that you are entitled to these strangers to put in their time and effort for someone who will only reveal themselves 2 words per response.

So, I guess I’m just frustrated at people again:

1) dating and even socialising is not all about you. Be careful not to come across disinterested, dismissive, or narcissistic especially if you’re interested 

2) put a little effort in. Caring isn’t too hard, and you clearly knew what you were getting yourself into

3) respect others. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with certain aspects of their lives, because it’s not for you to judge and act out on your judgement. No one declared you to be the supreme over-ruler of this world, nor them. You are one member of 7 billion, so don’t feel so entitled as to define someone else’s life. Enjoy your life, enjoy the company of others, and smile a little more.

#APleaInItsEssence

To Whom It May Concern,

Admittedly, it has been years since I have last visited this blog of mine. I’m not making excuses, as in all honesty, I don’t really feel guilty, and consequently, I’m not apologising. The reality being, I fell out of habit (this isn’t to say I stopped enjoying writing or appreciated its catharsis any less); life carried along and I was swept away with it.  

More or less embarrassingly, the reason for my reappearance has been another ‘tick’, a trigger, a leave – call it what you will. So, here it goes:

Recently, I found myself driving my friend home after the movies. Proudly enough, I have never been one to exceed the speed limit – however subordinate I may come across, I take driving seriously wherein I know very well that I am not the best of drivers and don’t feel the need to jeopardise this privilege let alone those around me by indulging my impatience. I don’t feel the need to apologise or feel guilty (for a change) when I am travelling at the designated pace and you’re in a rush simply due to your own incapacity to manage your time more appropriately. In the same realm of thought, I feel that it is not so hard to respect others. What I’m leading to is that if someone indicates to switch lanes (for example), simply let them in as you would hope for if the roles had been reversed. I bring this up because as I was driving that night (around 1130pm), a car behind me and I were both changing to the adjacent lane. We both indicated as necessary. However, when it actually came to my changing lanes, the other car sped up, by which point I had started my switch. For this reason, the other car felt it appropriate to honk their horn. I have been wrong before many a times and will continue to be so without doubt, but I simply have to question whether I was actually in the wrong, or whether people just need to relax.

I guess, ultimately, this thought was triggered because I have spent the last 5 years in retail. Before going on, I’m aware that the industry is quite exhausting – I haven’t naively continued to work without knowing that it is difficult to always be the best version of yourself regardless of what is thrown at you (literally and figuratively). But this has not prevented my disappointment in most of the public. 

Please believe me when I say this is no mere and pathetic complaint about how hard a child of the 90s has it in this world. It is a plea towards however many readers there are out there to just indulge my hopes for a moment. And I apologise if this comes across blunt or aggrrssive, but the message must be conveyed: I beg of you to get over yourselves (ironic given the nature of this post, o understand). What I mean by it is please take a moment to be aware of how you’re treating people. It sounds simple, but I have come to think otherwise. Too many times have I come across people who feel that they can get what they want by being aggressive. Dominant. Patronising and condescending.  Intimidating. These people do not consider the emotional impact their actions behold upon the listener. I understand that somethings may be someone’s ‘fault, but what good does it do to push theadness around? I am so sick of those that feel that they are entitled to that much more than those that surround them simply based on their pay check or some probably mislplaced idea that they’ve earned the right given how hard they have worked. Customer service is not congruent with slavery. Aggressively taking what you feel you have a right towards is not a win, especially since we on the other side did not ask for a battle to begin with.  Kindness and selflessness should not be synonymous with feeble-minded obedience and weak will. If anything, I insist that we change our perspective such that we admire those that are able to put others first; for these souls to be placed on a pedestal every so often rather than considering them to be your target to be broken. To be cracked open, like one of those chocolate eggs only so that you can grab at the toy inside.

There are still many things that the us to each other, the most undeniable being the human experience. Strip back the chaos, the prejudice, the ego of it all, and we are fundamentally the same. We are trying to get by, however ornately or minimalistically that may be. So, as I wrap this up (feeling deflated and defeated by the world), here is my plea, my wish, my hope:

Take a moment to appreciate – the things that you have and the people surrounding you. Continue to work hard, because then you know that what you gain is what you have earned (and sometimes, it may seem like you’ve been hustled, but there is no problem with developing a tenacious work ethic). Treat each person with the respect that they deserve as a human, and never perceive them to be lesser than you. They, like you, are trying. And lastly, stop pushing your problems to those that are not at fault. I myself admit I can be a hypocrite here, but more often than not, I price myself in being able to suck it up and carry on. There is a difference between venting and lashing out. We simply cannot afford to spread and grow the hate that already exists in this world. There is always someone to talk to, so why should it be okay to ignore the help that is so selflessly available just so that you can selfishly infect another with anger, confusion, disappointment, sadness – whatever it may be? Just ask yourself, who gave you the right?

Be kind.

Be selfless.

Be mindful.

Be human.

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#Welcome

When you think about it, only a small proportion of this planet of ours lives in the developed world, or the so-called ‘first’ world. Despite the commodity which permeates through our world, being the only world which we truly know, we manage to extrapolate the most minuscule things to whine about.

Well, you know what? I’m going to enable ourselves to complain, because we all need a good vent at times, whether it be because of a tragic loss, or because someone ate the last cookie.

That being said, we all, to some effect, acknowledge that not everything in our lives are mope-worthy. So, that being the case, every so often, we are going to express the joyous parts of our taken-for-granted lives, because as the naive and moody prepubescent portion of our society reminds us, “YOLO”, so why always be sad?

Anyhow! Let’s keep it simple. Let’s have fun.┬áLet’s get started.

#FirstWorld

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