Geronimo! Part I

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!



52 Comments

yup, your feed is working fine, on google reader.

this new layout is looking great. greater if the font is slightly bigger :)

and welcome back to blogging. we miss your wordy post!

Yay us RSSers always get to comment first! Showed up twice though.
When are you kambing to find me!?!?

that rss feed that works just fine led me to here, and i really really connected with this post. venturing into a new land and having to fend for yourself does inevitably leave one hardened in the end. which is sad, bringing up strings of questions whenever i think about it. and as for the blogging thing, my thoughts are similar. thanks for writing this, it was a great read that made me reflect a little more about my journey, with one and a half years before i leave this city.

yizhen

glad you’re back to the blogosphere. was beginning to wonder if you really decided to stop writing completely. the day that it happens will be a sad day for your readers! but i’m glad you’re here to stay. ;) And welcome back! let’s meet up for coffee if you have time.

gypsied

yup, your feed’s working. love your posts! it’s always a treat reading them. :D

nadine

hello! (:

alexis

hello su ann! so good to see you back again :) from a fellow blogger, I agree it gets a bit tough to choose what to write about and how much to reveal, but hopefully you find that fine line & continue writing anyway!

ahBan

see u in Malaysia lah

Yes! Received ur feed well thru Google Reader :)

Love the simplicity of this new layout.

Glad to see your update too! It’s definitely not cliche to say your life has changed!

Owen

The background is simple, has a really smooth flow in it. It allows readers to really focus on what u want to say and the agenda u want to get across. Personally i think that what u write reflects your mentality and who you are. Its not a matter of owing the ‘readers’ the words, everyone needs to express themself somewhere, even if its in a blog.

Much better than keeping it all in, i say. You only hurt yourself. Those that respond to your feelings show that they care about you, even if neither side have actually met in person. Of course, cant say much in a comment box haha.

Take care of yourself, alright? :)

heyy.. not quite sure whether i commented before. but just wanna let you know that i’m really glad you’re still writing! and this post actually put into words some of the things i’ve been going through :/
when you least expect it, life surprises us. cheers~

hello! you’re back again after a month…yay! =)

i think your feelings about blogging is something many bloggers feel – that fine line between privacy and the need to express without being too oblique about certain things while keeping in mind who’s your audience. phew.

irregardless, it’s always a joy to read what you write, whether or not it’s more restrained, so do continue when you can!

I can only see the latest post on google reader… the rest, not sure. it looks a bit weird.

Terri

RSS reader only shows the post title and a couple of lines, in case that’s not what you want… or is it a devious scheme to drive more traffic to your blog :P

amber

awww.. i miss your posts, su ann. welcome back.

N

Hello & welcome back, Su Ann. :)

I’m a new follower, but I must say that I enjoy reading your posts! Though, I have to agree with your sentiments that for me, blogging rests on the fine precipice of expressing myself and having privacy. I love your style of writing, so please continue blogging! :)

P.S I love your new layout. Very clean.

I know exactly what you said because I went through the same blogging-or-blogging-no-more phase of confusion. I must say that when I read your words, it help me to understand my own journey even more. I guess thats when an individual’s private expression is felt by others because they had went through the same, and you have the gift of articulating it in such as an enlightened way, so dont lose it!

hairi

Congratulations on your graduation! I am an ardent follower of your blog and I would be very delighted if we ever cross paths some times in the future!

Good luck in your future endeavors too. I can sense that we have a famous person, be it in the field of education, healthcare or simply any field, is in the making here. Thanks for being amazing!

Hui Zhen

Hello hello !

so glad to see there’s updates on quaintly.net again, you have been missed, su ann :)

welcome back and rock our rainbow socks!

estherlei

Hi, glad to see you writing more. Welcome back:)

Congratulations on graduating(!)

Why oh why did you ever leave New York? I am trying, in every which way possible, to get there.

But since you’re back in the motherland, we should meet. I think we could be friends.

Yes! :) My RSS feed let me straight to your new post – so there are no problems there.

I am so glad you’re back to blogging. You have no idea how delightful it is to read your blog. The way you put things and the perspective by which these things are shaped is simply beautiful. :)

welcome back, su ann. I miss reading your blogposts. I, myself have sort of stopped blogging, but I still check for your updates ;) And how could you not know it’s from the word cheong hei, hahahaha… okay, one more try, you know small air? ;)

O

Hi quaintly! You have no idea how lovely it is to see an update from you after such a long time :)

Also, I just wanted to say that for the longest time I went through the whole ‘self-censorship’ phase where it’s was difficult for me to open up to many people that I care about, much less blog about my thoughts and feelings. Which is why I found it so delightful to read this post. You have this innate ability to express your thoughts and feelings on matters that your readers have also experienced at some point of their lives in such an articulate and honest manner, that it has helped me understand my journey from a clearer and enlightened perspective. And for that, I thank you :)

Yup, got your feed via google reader, good to get some updates on this blog ;)

Winnie

Glad to have you back in the blogosphere! :)

Glad to see you back! Really miss your presence on the internet!
I feel really connected to this post. What you described here is what I’m going through right now. Thanks a lot for sharing :)
And welcome back to Malaysia!

Glad you’re back su ann! I’ve missed your writing (:

The white is a tad blinding but it’s delightful to see that you’ve come back to blogging. I made the same decision a week ago – life became all sorts of unstructured without it.

congrats on your graduation su ann! i must admit i’ve missed your writing. everyone grows up differently, and i wish you well in whatever paths you embark on :)

quaintly

thank you so much to everyone for writing me such lovely and encouraging comments/emails !! :) y’all are so awesome.

i asked about the RSS because some feed readers haven’t been picking up my updates or test posts for a few months now, but it looks like i’ve managed to fix it. yay!

t’is good to be writing again… for some time i thought i’d forgotten how to write about my thoughts.

esther

i’ve been reading your blog since i was 14 (back in 2005). i found you very inspiring and i still do. i used to read many blogs but as the years went by, i only still come back to yours and sweatlee’s and fourfeetnine’s. i was pretty lost reading most of the entries you did publish while you were away in university though but i still drop by every now and then cos it’s one of the few places on the internet that resonated with me growing up.

anyway, that was my long-winded way of saying, ‘yay you’re gonna blog more!’

(also, i think i was lost cos there weren’t many pictures. you used to post a lot of pictures – like the ones where you were fooling around in the supermarket lol)

Linlin

i have been a silent reader for such a long time, having discovered your blog while scouring the net for travel tips years ago. despite initially feeling sad over the years when you have momentarily stopped up dating as much, i get so delighted whenever you update (with interludes from kaftka :). it’s like when your bakery has sold out your favourite cheesecake and the very day you manage to get hold of it, ah you enjoy every last bit of it.

Welcome back!

its sooo white bright and glaring on ze macbook. hahahaha. but it could just be me. WTF

You said I could say hi.

Hi :>

do you know how excited i was to see a new post? please, do continue writing! not only for yourself but for the rest of the world too.

ps: the font is perfectly fine. but maybe just a wee bit more colour in the two side columns? :)

Clairieeee

helloooo SuAnn, welcome back! :)

It has been a long time, glad you’re finally back in the blogsphere. I enjoy your writings!

And a big CONGRATULATIONS on your graduation! :)))))

Daniel

great to see you back blogging. beem checking for updates from time to time =)

dandelion

I have missed you terribly! I too check your blog from time to time for delicious updates but I understand if life caught up with you. (It’s happened to my blog too :p)

The words that come out of your heart are just amazing.

And, hi :)

hi su ann :) really glad to see you back on this space, and congrats on your graduation!

i still remember you blogging about choosing colleges, and back then i casted my vote for Columbia because i thought NYC was incredibly suitable for you. fast forward 4 years later, and you’re graduating. feeling (weirdly) like a proud sibling!

so happy to see how far you’ve come, and watching your thoughts evolve over the years. college definitely changes all of us, but sometimes we don’t realize there is much more change in the years to come. also, i don’t believe unfortunate experiences should necessarily make us less trusting.. we just learn to have clearer eyes, and trust/hope with fuller hearts.

looking forward to more of your posts, and seeing the world through your eyes! :)

not a lousy investment. you certainly have some impact on me, as a avid reader of your blog when i was younger. look forward to your writing!

Charlsummer

Hi pinkpau! :D

“…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…”

just a few months ago, i felt that too. but i’ve learnt how to. :D

Charlsummer

and I love reading your writing and don’t feel that it’s long-winded at all!:D

Everyone learns about growing up, experiences new things and treads new paths — but it’s the evergreen lessons, the immortalized experiences and revisioning of old paths that separates blogging from.. well what else is there? Anyways, it’s a pleasure to know that our awesome, not-so-quaint-but-brilliant story-teller is back blogging *hopefully-furiously* again.. so keep em stories flowing.. \m/

Every time I read something you post, it feels like I’m reading a page out of a great novel.

Shao Ying

hi :) welcome back. Miss your words so much! Keep writing ;) I like your sharing a lot.

cindy

Dear Suu Ann,

I’ve always love reading your posts, ever since when you still had that cute blond girl on your header. I’ve never had the opportunity to study abroad, so I’m always fascinated by ppl who did, and loved reading about their experiences and thinkings, especially yours. I don’t mean by life outside Malaysia through pictures of what you eat or do everydya, but deep-provoking thoughts which have been worded so detailed and carefully.

All I’m saying is I appreciate your posts very much! Thank you very much that you are still willing sharing your life with us, even when you’re not obliged to, but you still do.

“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.”

you just described exactly what i’m going through now. thanks, for sharing, and making me realise i’m not alone. your words are precious. don’t ever stop writing!

AD

Hi Su Ann, I find solace in your writings. Was an avid blogger too but guess I become lazy & weak so I stop organizing my feeling & transforming them into words. But do keep writing for in your words, I find comfort, to know that I am not the only human being to feel that way. And, thank you.

I totally agree with you. As much as I love blogging and find it so fulfilling, it takes a lot of time and energy and is really a full time job of its own. I don’t blog as much anymore because of school and work, but I honestly wish I could spend more time on it.

Leave me a comment!