there are very many things that have happened and been roosting at the forefront of my mind since i last wrote, or even thought about writing. such as my graduation, my departure from the magnificent city of new york, my excitement at entering the world of the working, how different kuala lumpur currently feels, some deaths and some rebirths.
people ask from time to time if i’m going to blog about these things and i keep saying i’m not– i’ve somehow accidentally detached myself from this blogging persona, and no longer see that side of me as an outlet for the rest of myself. but more and more i’ve come to realize that the need to put things in words, in sentences, is inherent to how i organize my thoughts and feelings. it’s not even (just) about expressing myself anymore. without documentation, i become almost like a spectre, drifting across things, never quite getting anywhere. it is a rather uncomfortable sensation that i’d like to avoid experiencing too much. so i guess here i am again. for some reason, writing things down in textedit on my laptop is not quite the same as quaintly.net :)
where do i start. let’s talk about two things… firstly, some nebulous updates about the space i currently inhabit as a human being, which i’m quite strangely curious about myself, and secondly, how it felt to leave new york, which in many ways was devastating and rejuvenating. the first:
if i had to choose some marker or checkpoint of myself in history to compare my current self to, the most salient of them all would be my departure to college four years ago. oh college… so much to say about it but i will leave that account for another time. in 2008, i was happy, excitable, funny, interested in everything and in a perpetual state of potential energy. more importantly i was generous: generous with trust, knowledge, words, love. perhaps it is the experience of university, or being abroad, or quite simply ‘growing older’, but gradually over the small handful of past years i have lost a lot of verve and bigness of spirit. i became quieter, neater and quicker to judge.
in essence, i’ve retreated into myself and i don’t really know why. i’ve been trying to understand this so i can reverse it — it is the most contemptible feeling to recognize that you are someone else that you don’t want to be. i like sharing and i like people. but somehow i’ve become intensely paranoid, private and mistrusting. when i’m feeling lazy, i blame this on recent traumatic events that have scarred me for what feels like will be eternity… but ultimately i know that the mistake lies in me allowing the trauma to ripple across my life instead of letting it go. there are many platitudes out there about how we shouldn’t allow small people and small things to control so much of our mind and heart. in theory that sounds very acceptable, but in practice it’s not so easy for me. yes, some things are just not worth it, but some spider in my soul is just so incredibly sticky to these painful things and crawls the universe seeking closure. it gives me much grief and anxiety in its wake.
the reason i’ve stopped blogging as much is because i’ve been occupied at college, but the reason i’ve stopped liking blogging is this new and unwelcome paranoia and stinginess of spirit. i often find myself looking over a blogpost before publishing it, and thinking, no, i’m saying too much. or, i don’t owe anyone all these words and exposure — i don’t even owe them to myself! and then i delete it. but still longing to write, i wonder then about what kind of things i can write about that are consistent with my new misanthropy. candid and superficial updates about the day-to-day? pictures of food and travel? or the opposite: oblique thoughts on things i care deeply about but referred to tangentially and indirectly? i eventually settled on none of the above.
for a while i thought this was clever and that in time to come i would thank myself for phasing out the young and idealistic me who put so much of herself on the internet or in other people’s hands. some small shred of me still believes this. but i don’t know lah. the more i go down this path of losing my extraversion, the further away i feel from my locus. surely there must be some compromise that is both careful but allows me to be totally honest with myself about what i like and who i am. the crux of this strange newness is not merely about blogging or talking, or the risk/reward of sharing big parts of me with people i love or people i don’t know — it’s also about how little inclined i felt to interact with anything, how risk averse i had become, and worst of all, how i felt like i had all the answers to all the questions i wanted to ask and thus did not need to look any further. i was becoming disinterested, fatigued and hateful, and for some reason i felt that was okay, and that it was all part of growing up.
but actually, it is not all part of growing up. when one grows up, one doesn’t necessarily become bored, fatigued or hateful. the problem lies in being weak, in choosing flight over fight, in being too proud to admit that i’m over-generalizing when i say my lousy investments in the past are signals of all humans i am to come across, in being too scared and doubtful to realize that within me there is an expansive capacity to engage in battles and win them well. it only took me until my last couple of weeks in new york to see these things for what they were and to truly come face to face with them and how these distortions have affected me for so long. which brings me to:
leaving new york.
fourth of july fireworks, NYC
is it a cliche to say that my life has changed? but it has. but then, more soon, as i have a plane to catch and i am quite late!
(P/S: for those of you who typically get here via an RSS reader, could you tell me if my blog’s feed has been updating with each new post? thanks very much! i also welcome all feedback on this new layout: font too small? background too white? just wanna say hi? anything at all.)
(P/P/S: basically this post was a very long-winded of saying that i love blogging and cannot be without it, even if i have to write with a more restrained hand. also, who says long-winded anymore? and how did i never realize the phrase is a direct translation of the cantonese cheong hei?)