walk on water

is it possible?

a voice within my subconscious called upon me,

to abandon the ship that is struggling through the high seas,

and to walk on the water with it.

confusing,

maybe i’m going insane I thought.

i look over at the raging and clashing waves from the deck,

took a deep breath and jumped.

//

funny…

i opened my eyes and i was walking on ice.

the thin ice carried my weight as i walked…

after a few steps, the thin ice stopped.

i looked beyond the step,

and i realised it was water.

this is where i stop walking,

i thought.

“No. Continue.”,

my subconscious spoke to me.

“You are only limited to your own boundaries you set.”,

she begged me to push myself.

and so i did.

//

i walked and walked,

and as i walked on more,

i felt a weight being lifted.

my mind felt afloat,

my heart spacious and wanting for more,

my feet once tired,

now wants to venture to the ends of the world until i can no longer be on this earth.

now I believe,

that the greatest monsters on earth,

are the ones you create for yourself.

so I had a painful first love…

How do you appreciate your first love?

I had a first love, just like most. I’d call it a great love, not because it beats romanticized novels but it’s great in the way that it transformed me for the better. I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be in such a great place now without having been with him.

I wouldn’t call it a toxic relationship because he was a genuinely good person, who was just at the crossroads, lost and confused. What boiled down in our relationship was the clash of different phases in life, the indecisiveness on his part and the perpetually exhausting distrust I had towards him.

I won’t go into the details of the relationship too much but I’ll tell you how I transformed after we parted ways.

He taught me things like living a more frugal life and he broke down many misconceptions I had about people like him. He was gangster-like, “ah-beng” as what my friends called him. I used to be afraid to be associated with people like him until I took a sneak peek and realized they’re more than capable of having substance.

He taught me how to be more open to the unknown and be more independent. Very much like my father, he was a scholar who had to work after school almost daily to make ends meet. Dad always told me stories but I never really appreciated it until I saw it for myself. It was with him that I had my first meal alone outside too. I mean he didn’t leave me to eat by myself. But rather, I was waiting for him to end work so I studied while eating alone. It made me feel the reality of the need of being independent and alone from time to time.

After we broke up, I plunged into depression because no one left before. It took me about 3 months until I started to seek help from the people around me. With that, with my family and friends holding my hands, I forced myself out of the shadows and started to work on myself.

I had a gym membership and decided to shake off the weight from A-level stresses. I channeled the pain into a furious passion to shape myself the way I wanted and be a beautiful me that I could be proud of. I also started taking tea, which I really hated to drink before. I started eating healthy, more salads, less sweets. I lost 8kg in that month.

He, together with my friends, always complained about how I didn’t act like girls do, wearing makeup and dressing up to go out or impress the boys. So I started to learn and I was getting really good at it and my friends started to commend me. But with that, I also started to take care of my skin, progressively having long skin care routines that made my skin glow.

When school started, I was reminded of my goals to a medical practitioner. I was so furious that I neglected that dream just because I was trying to keep a self-destructive relationship going. So from then, I juggled studying extra subjects as I pursued my degree.

Acknowledging that I was slowly improving as a person, I realized that I had to let go of people who were not morphing me into the person I desire to be. Aristotle said we have 3 types of friends- Virtue, utility and pleasure (see:Aristotle: 3 types of friendships). Knowing I had little time to spare for friends, I made sure that the ones I held onto were worth it. I chose the friends that let me be transparent, at ease and loved. I chose friends that helped me realize my mistakes and push me to be better everyday.

All of these, I admit, were motivated by the pain of the thought of him. But I kept doing them until they became habits that made me a happy person. The more I did, the more I forgot these started off because of the thought of him.

It was then I realized that I have gotten over him. Maybe not 100%, but 90%. I still do think of him occasionally, even after 2 years. But there are no more urges to check on him, call him and be a part of his life. This doesn’t mean “good riddance”. I’m just happy for myself, for trusting time and those around me that I can grow and be happy.

If I don’t love myself, who will? 

This love was a sad one but it opened my eyes to a bigger world that would have never been realized had I not loved so hard like that.

I look onward to the future, open and hopeful 🙂

so many of my friends are getting depressed

How do we take care of our mental health?

World mental health day just passed and it got me thinking why are more millennials getting depression and anxiety?

My generation is like a rose, beautiful from the surface, but thorny and difficult to deal with in real life. When I mean difficult to deal with, I mean difficult to satisfy, difficult to understand, difficult to read.

We are a generation that was raised to think we are all unique individuals that can achieve anything we set our mind to. Don’t get me wrong! It is true that you can achieve anything you set your mind to, but it sort of rubbed us the wrong way. With that kind of upbringing, we become ironically narrow-minded in this more liberal decade, expecting success to be a straight road, thinking we know what is to come and that we can tackle it for sure. The problem with this is, if something unexpected shakes us, we fall apart and take it out on ourselves.

My generation is a beautiful generation, expected to be a smarter and efficient generation, pressured to keep up with the technological advancements, expected to be leaders, problem solvers; basically, the best possible version of a human being.

My generation is desperate to make a change in this world, desperate to be unique and yet ironically desire to be a part of a bigger community united by similarities.

My generation is compassionate, maybe even too much. We are for hands-on charity work and recognize that amidst all the career and education stresses, we need to give back to our community. We are the generation feeling the long-term effects of global warming and failed politics.

Listing these out, with a few more still unwritten, I realize now why more millennials are depressed and anxious. We assume all problems to be ours and we hold ourselves accountable to everything.

We are hard on ourselves.

I speak of this, remembering the period I suffered from depression, how I slowly recover everyday and how I observe the people around me and from the conversations I had.

Traditional generations think of depression as a minor issue and compartmentalized it with the idea of discussing the “birds and the bees”. It shouldn’t be dusted under the mat. It should be able to be a part of everyday conversations, raising awareness, creating easy outlets for people to remember that we’re all in this together.

It is okay to be a generation that has to deal with such pressure, holding on to society’s expectations. We can all be that smart person that they pan us out to be, using technology to be better versions of ourselves. We can be leaders and problem solvers, fixing what has been broken on earth to make it a better home. But what are all these achievements, when you’re broken inside?

  • Don’t be afraid, introvert or not. Talk to someone about your struggles in life, big or small, and take refuge in the care and love that’s going around in society. We are all programmed by birth to be social beings, to thrive as a group. We are not alone 🙂
  • Take a break. For students studying or working adults in office jobs, try the Pomodoro Technique. (see: Pomodoro Technique) I have tried and tested it and it really keeps me sane, reminding me to breathe and reward myself. It only takes 30 days to form a habit so try it out!
  • Get a hobby. Having a hobby gives you an outlet, to filter pent up frustration and let it out through enjoyment. Some people get into a sport to get them endorphins, some people get artsy with painting to paint out their thoughts or emotions.
  • Religion. OK, this might be slightly controversial but I don’t mean to be converting anyone. I just want to say that sometimes, believing that there is a higher being above us, watching over us, can be comforting. Knowing that you are a part of a thing called “fate” can be reassuring when you go through tough times. The idea of a heaven or even multiple heavens above waiting for you can be enlightening too.
  • Get some alone time, outdoors. Not in your room because you will feel confined and anxiety can build up :–) Force yourself to go out, once in a while, to get some sun, or sit on a cute rock and watch the sunset or lay on the grass and count stars. It helped me calm my busy mind, and stone while admiring the world around me.

The pointers above are listed because they helped me get through a year-long depression so feel free to try them out for yourselves. I am still in the recovery process but I am improving and loving myself more and more with each passing day 🙂