It’s Starting to Feel Like

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 午後1.15.18


I told myself I was going to sleep and I was, but I suddenly got really overwhelmed about things and ended up here.

My last class of the semester is tomorrow, and I was already feeling the slivers of imminent freedom within my reach at the very moment I finished writing my 1.5k-words public law essay an hour ago. Even yesterday felt really different because Ee Min was already flying off to Amsterdam to meet her parents, and leaving the lecture theatre, there was a very distinctive sort of atmosphere hanging in the air, the kind that made me want to go out and do things despite the onus of unfinished assignments and an essay weighing heavily at the back of mind. I wish I was going home, that would have been ideal, but even then, just the idea of being free from classes for a while made me breathe easier just a little bit.

For some reason, something prompted me to go through my old Facebook messages a while ago (post-essay) and it was really entertaining to see evidence of traces of the beginnings of my friendships in them, most of them dated two years ago before all communication got upgraded to Whatsapp. But besides that, as I clicked into some of the curiouser threads and read through them, I was struck by a disturbing sense of horror at how incredibly different I was back then. I was slamming my table while whisper-screaming who is that??? who??? is that???? at all the responses I gave because I could not remember saying any of that nor why I did so and it’s so chilling to the bone because I couldn’t relate to that person anymore at all. The person I was two years ago was a completely detached identity, an entirely altered mindset that I can’t get into now, even if I want to. And it’s so frightening, to have changed so much. I am not in the position to adjudicate the goodness or badness of this disparity, but it’s such a tremendous yet creeping sort of shift that makes you unaware of how far you’ve manoeuvred from your point of origin that when you look back to measure your progress, the massive distance kinda induces vertigo. It feels like if I were to talk to someone whom I haven’t talked to in years, I’d be talking to a stranger all over again because my past interactions with them don’t even feel like they even came from me, the person I am right now.

I lament that things are so different for me now while reasoning that it might be because the environment and people here are different, but really, probably the biggest difference between then and now is myself.

I mean, of course I’m being a bit melodramatic here. I always am. I can’t even remember the things I said or did when I first got here, just like how I am honestly questioning the person, the me, who brought all the stuff she brought to Manchester (why did I bring 5000 T-shirts that I can’t even wear in this weather right now and left all my good shoes behind). Or even the Michelle this evening, who thought it was a good idea to skip dinner while writing and then suffer bad gastrointestinal consequences later. I guess I’ve always thought I knew who I was, or at least the fundamental core or what makes me me, so when I felt this gigantic detachment from history, it puts things into perspective that the things I think of and believe in now, might not exist within the realms of my cogitation tomorrow or next week or in another two years’ time. And honestly? There were some things that I wish I should or shouldn’t have done, or I would or wouldn’t have done with the psyche I currently possess. But pondering about that is probably as fruitful as trying to scrape the charred bits off toast (which has happened multiple times, I speak purely from experience).

But I guess despite all this, despite everything, I am, right now, writing this, being able to describe how I feel and what I think in this instance, being able to write all that after seeing it from a perspective that is clearly changed from previously. Maybe that’s growth. Maybe looking back and being able to comment on the past, especially with such intensity, is more than a mere change, but a progress in all aspects. And maybe that fundamental core is still present; after all, I am writing to tell you this. I think I would’ve done the same back then too, writing, that is.

(PS. Make no mistake, I didn’t write to fit the context of the images above. The context of that was reading that line in Undertale and then subsequently bursting into tears after going through some shitty stuff during that period of time and then getting it into my head to get it pasted onto my mirror so I feel just a tiny bit encouraged whenever I’m on the toilet or in the shower.)

(PPS. The C word. Christmas. That’s what it’s starting to feel like.)

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Michelle Teoh

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

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