Keep It Safe


Your brain is a fortress, heavily guarded at all times by malicious crocodiles or buried landmines or powerful spells (take your pick) and these guards are up all the time during the day, when you’re out doing routine tasks and/or interacting with other people, both to prevent threat from harming your castle and hidden secrets in your secured vault from being exposed to the public.

And then as you go to sleep, so do your guards; your crocodiles doze off from a full day’s work, your landmines are deactivated and unmonitored, your spell caster/warlock/wizard heads to the local pub for some drink with their fellow spell caster/warlock/wizard friends, leaving your precious castle vulnerable and prone to immediate sieges by the ominous shadows that lurk in the woods. Your fortress is a weakling exposed to mortal perils throughout the night up until the moment you wake up, and truly that moment is the moment you are most vulnerable, because as soon as you wake up and your consciousness takes over, your treasured vault does the same, heavy metal doors swinging wide open, welcoming the night’s enemies for a full-throttle invasion with open arms. And that’s when you stare at your bedroom walls with crusty, half-awake half-asleep eyes, realising it’s too early in the morning for visible light to even fill the dark and dusty corners of your room, feeling the cool air-conditioned air against your bare legs because you managed to kick half your blanket (and your pillows, goodness) to the floor, wondering where the hell did this sudden heavy weight of sadness pressing against your chest come from and what did it want and why did you dream the same themed dreams with the same people again and again and what’s the point of life anyway when this kind of sadness exists within you

It’s so baffling, because with time, a new routine is formed once again at home, albeit one that doesn’t involve classes and homework and meeting friends, but a routine all the same. And yet, the new stimuli of each brand new day are not enough to satiate what your heart truly desires (oh lord, the corniness of this sentence), so when your castle is left unguarded at ungodly hours of the night/morning, your old fears resurface, reminding you of greater (/greatest) times you’ve had which you are melancholy about because 1) you might never experience the same greatness again and 2) quite frankly, you’re not sure whether you want to move on or not.* You’re exactly like the emo trash main character in Spike Jonze’s/Sofia Coppola’s movies (see: Lost in Translation [2003], Her [2013]). If your life were a dramatic movie, it’d show excessively long panning scenes of you lying in your bed (it must be a white bed with white sheets) with dimmed lighting and an awfully depressing background music score, which proceeds to zoom into your goddamn woeful face, your eyes trained on the ceiling the entire time as if the instructions to getting your old life back are written on it and you’re desperately trying to commit them to memory before they fade off as they first hint of dawn light shines through your window. To put it shortly: you’re quite a bit pathetic.

I guess that’s where I am, and where I’ve been: this grey area of not wanting to remain stagnant yet not really wanting to move on. The former because, well, nothing good ever comes out of being stuck in the past and the latter because I’d bought into the myth (or is it really just a myth) that moving on is equivalent to forgetting and I don’t want to ever forget. Overall, all this makes me is a miserable, irritable and unproductive human being whose only goals each day involve building new houses on The Sims, increasing my ‘read’ count on Goodreads, watching horror gameplays on Youtube and reading at least three articles on Rookie per day in the hopes of gaining creative inspirations (“Did it work?” you ask. Well, I’m here, aren’t I?).

The absence of real aims reminds me all too painfully of post-SPM days, when I’d go into an abrupt existential crisis in the middle of breakfast or in the shower or any other activity that allows me to drift through my own thoughts without distraction. What was I doing with these torturously long nine months? The next upcoming goal to look forward to was going to university (provided I even get in) in September and that’s too far away for me to do anything much about it (except wait for emails) (haha) (waiting is the exclusive complementary to the saying “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop). I’d told myself I’d get creative during the nine months, to create stuff I like for the world to see. But to be honest? I’m terrified. I’m terrified I’d do a terrible job of it and tarnish the truth with biases and prejudices of my own perspectives and end up hurting and offending people in the process. An article on Rookie articulates this fear of mine all too well.

I don’t know. I’m not entirely sure where I am currently in my life. Two years ago when everything was a huge mess of anxiety for me, I told myself that in a year or two’s time, I’d figure everything out. I’d be a mature and independent woman who can think for herself and others and life will be great, like they’d promised in books and movies. Two years later, there has been some progress, but I have yet to solve the elusive mysteries of the world. It’s all too easy to convince yourself that things will work out in the future but immensely difficult to put the proverbial pen to paper or to pull the proverbial sword out of its sheath (THIS IS NOT AN INNUENDO). But I guess everything we do, everything we fight and strive for, we do it as an extra step towards what we believe in. And currently, I believe in immortalizing the memories I’ve had had with my friends just a little longer, memories which are secured in a prized vault in my mind palace where I am keeping them safe forever.

*3) you’re afraid of losing your friends to distance and time and brand new memories (both yours and theirs), and while you feel it’s not entirely too abnormal to feel that way, you (or I, whatever really, both pronouns indicate the same person throughout this long ass post) read another article on Rookie that says “It presumes that relationships exist in stasis, like you established a fixed level of closeness one day and now the rest of your interactions must be a carefully guarded dance designed to maintain your agreed level of closeness” and that’s not true at all, is it? Friendships that are mutually important and valuable to both parties are not friendships that are fragile enough to be disrupted by elements so petty such as distance or the passing of time. Friendships like these are meant to last till the end of time.


Published by

Michelle Teoh

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

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