Fall/Spring – Field Notes

FALL 2016

It’s already dark out at 6.30PM. Winter is coming.

Rumin and I bought a blender for our new home. Some days, the one thing I look forward to the most is buying boxes of fruits like strawberries and blueberries from Morrisons and making fruit smoothies to introduce an illusion of health into my poor dietary routine.

I walk to and fro uni everyday now compared to last year when I took the bus.

The bus: good for people-watching and is fast, but

Walking: allows me the privileged opportunity to take in my surroundings, including scenery, weather and even more people-watching. Now, during fall, it’s the best opportunity to observe the yellow-brownness eclipsing everything around me (a favourable colour scheme on my refreshed palette this year).

(And then, in addition to this year’s new walking habit and colour palette, also comes a sudden new inclination to look out for specific faces among the crowd of uni-goers and people going to work.)

(I’ve never seen this face before.)

There’s something about a new year that just breathes life into everything around me. New apartment. New image. New ideas. Obsessed as I am with constructing an impeccable impression upon other people, it’s another second chance for me to rewrite undesirable aspects of my personality and bravely replace them with aspirations that I’ve set for myself. The term “new” brings along with it a certain privilege for you to depart from the persona people previously knew you to be – and offers you the creative freedom to give your character a complete makeover without the repercussions of people asking you, brows raised, “What happened to you overnight?”

Reading Simmonds for jurisprudence – never thought anything would catch my attention besides underlining answers to answer seminar questions but:

Finnis’ concept of practical reasonableness – when choosing between two choices, you choose the one that appears to be more practical and reasonable to you rather than the one you desire the most, which goes against the doctrine of favouritism and choosing to do the thing you want to do more. In the face of practicality, does desire take a backseat in the human nature of deriving satisfaction after all?

I feel that, the longer you live, the more people you know, the more you see your friends/acquaintances/people you know in strangers you meet for the first time. Like “Hey, the way you speak reminds me of a friend”, “You know, there’s a classmate of mine who thinks exactly like you do” and at first glance, this may seem like there are a certain number of fixed templates for human beings similar to character archetypes, but just like characters are in its contextual sense typically fictional, this concept is just fictitious. There are more dimensions to human beings than we can ever fathom and record.

SPRING 2017

It’s spring. The weather has warmed considerably and spring blossom trees flank every British road and alley. The sun only starts setting at 9PM and the contrast between the skies of six months ago and now really accentuates the amount of time that has sped by exponentially.

In my consistently continuous endeavour to be better than the person I was one second ago, to do more things to stand out among crowds of young adults with similar backstories, I am still constantly looking for brand new opportunities to ensure I don’t get too comfortable with stagnancy. And this fervour has spilled over into a dream one night where I found myself giddy with adrenaline at the prospect of travelling somewhere far by myself.

And then a month ago, I went to Chester, and realised that I’d been there before in a dream.

I stopped in my tracks involuntarily before the Northgate. I’ve been here before. I’ve been here before. It felt like the most intense déjà vu bordering on surreality. Before me was an image that had already been etched in my mind before, despite this being the first time I’ve laid eyes upon the sight before me.

My dreams aren’t always nearly as nice as this though – lately they’ve been taking on rather morbid twists several nights in a row that have left me with an apprehensive fear of succumbing to a dreamworld where I have zero control over any events that occur in it every night. And it’s precisely due to this lack of control, this lack of safeguards, that leads to the surfacing of my worst fears in mental situations where I am helpless to put up a fight against. Losing my friends. Being shunned. Death.

(Anxious habits in college reminded me of how I used to listen to podcasts every night before I go to sleep, creating an illusion of reassurance and distraction even as I drift off because it’s getting scarier to be alone with my thoughts.)

(The habit returned.)

Sleep isn’t the only event in which I find myself unable to assert control over my thoughts, I recently discovered. It turns out that my automatic knee-jerk reflex to high levels of alcohol is, besides the first few initial minutes of faux confidence, unloading all emotional baggage normally stowed away at the back of my mind to the cerebral cortex for maximum impact.

And, you know, it’s already spring, not so much the weather than the time that has passed by. It’s been months since I started university. Years since I left school. And yet, it seems like I’m no nearer to bridging this consistent gap I reflexively extend between myself and other human beings. Out of fear? Out of habit? Both are stories I don’t wish to visit if I can help it, but some days, I wonder if I had even inched forward at all. All that talk about getting myself out there and doing things that scare me; in the end, did I really procure and learn something from it if I still hold myself at an arm’s length from the main point of anyone doing anything ever?

(The main point being, of course, abandoning solitude and seeking solace in in-depth human connections.)

 

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Author: Michelle Teoh

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

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