The City Spins

It’s great how so many people I know actually have something relatively solid that they like and pursue, and I don’t even mean a certain course or field that they take up in colleges and universities. I mean typical hobbies that one spends his or her time doing. Baking, gaming, cycling, making sculptures, folding origami et cetera. It’s nice, because there’s a uniformity to it that gives a sense of security, even to people like me who are just looking from the sidelines. It’s like, you can just automatically relate someone to his or her interest, like, that’s Jane Doe, and she likes to rear deer, so everytime I meet her, I can expect to hold a conversation concerning deer and if I go on her blog it’ll be about deer and if I have any deer issues I can automatically go to her.

I guess ultimately, what I’m saying is that I’m not like the sort of people I just described. I don’t know what I like. I mean, most people would relate reading and writing to me, but the truth is, sometimes I’m so unconfident about my own writings to the point that I hate every single word I churn out from my brain juices; and sometimes, when I lose myself in the fantastic world of fiction that I grew to love so much, reality kicks in horridly to question me, why the hell aren’t you actually doing something about your non-fictional and very real life?

I don’t know, I’m just, afraid? I used to be comfortable being that quiet kid who preferred to read and write all alone but now…it’s changed. And the one thing I’m mostly pressured to be is sociable and outgoing and all those teenage normalcy that I don’t have. I don’t think people understand. I can do a lot of things, like wrap books perfectly, discern a physics law from a certain phenomenon around me but when it comes to the absolute big thing like talking to people, that’s where I find trouble. I don’t understand people who can walk into a room full of strangers and start talking to them or people who can walk into a party and start dancing and singing and when people comment that I’m “too quiet”, “not receptive”, “not enjoying myself”, believe me, most of the time, that’s not the case. Most of the time, the case is I don’t know what to do. Start walking up to a stranger and introduce myself? Start dancing like everyone else? But I can’t do that, because the whole time I will be worrying about how I look and how will people think of me and is my belly showing and is my hair alright and do I smell and do I look fat to these people and should I have worn my glasses out instead and more importantly, how do I present myself? Because that’s the main question. How do I present myself to these strangers or people I haven’t seen for ages? Am I a book nerd? An overachiever? A chatterbox? A laid-back, relaxed, don’t give a hoot kind of person? Serious and brooding? Full of indie cred or leak my guilty pleasure for certain pop music? Life of the party or a shadow in the corner? That’s why different people have different perceptions of me. And it’s frustrating, sometimes, when a certain image I’ve planned for myself doesn’t work out the way I want it to. Initially when I went for the internship in KL, I firmly told myself that I’d be extroverted and talkative and just out there and it worked for the first few minutes until the “do I look okay what do these people think of me” cycle returned and ruined the entire thing for me.

Yeah, okay, I am babbling. I certainly have a lot to complain about my life, don’t I? I sound so ungrateful of my blessings, don’t I? I’m sorry I’m in that kind of mood; it’s a mood that visits frequently nowadays.

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Author: Michelle Teoh

23-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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