新春快乐 (and yet spring is nowhere in sight)

     

Oooh it’s always so strange for me to return here after an extremely long writing drought. I get very antsy when words don’t flow out of me as smoothly as it usually does. The feeling is akin to losing my voice and being unable to communicate and interact with others.

Here’s a confession: in my pursuit to expand and learn and absorb as many life experiences as I could, there were times (especially since the beginning of third year) where I’d fallen pretty hard and didn’t really know the right way to get back on my feet. I’m sure this is a relatable feeling for most people. Days and weeks whizzed past like they were nothing significant, and the only way I could keep track of what I did or where I went was by recording my days in the calendar app. I wasn’t forgetting, I was just too obsessed with chasing after new stimuli every single waking second to dwell (too much) on what had happened, in certain aspects.

As a result, I was constantly disorientated, lost, anxious, of any current state of being I was in at the time. There were times when dread and anxiety kept me up at night and my appetite at bay. There were times when I felt like all I could ever be was the emotion of sadness. There were times when I would obsessively do a mental scan of pillars that could help fasten me sturdily onto the here and now of what was real and what was not but turn up zero; a convincing persuasion of my mental state that I was only truly alone in this world.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the conversations I’ve had with some of my friends regarding my fears and emotions, it’s that these self-pity parties that I always throw for myself have a dangerous tendency to be blinding. Literally – blinding me from realising that I am not as empty as my nightmares dictate myself to be, that sometimes it can be easy to take certain things and people for granted in the presence of idealistically high expectations, and that there are some things and people that are just not worth the anguish I brew within myself.

You’ll never catch me verbally uttering the words “new year, new me”, but I’ve set benchmarks for myself based on that phrase three times now this year: the start of 2018, the start of my second semester, and now, Chinese New Year. This CNY, I want to leave behind all my regrets and inadequacies, want to focus my efforts instead on the things that do matter and the people who do care. The happiness I felt this morning when I headed for the CNY festival in Chinatown might be slightly sleep-deprivation-induced, but it was a feeling that told me everything was going to be okay, and that this joy was well-deserved. There need not be a deeper analysis of what is in front of me, it can just be.

These few days reminded me that there is a lot to be grateful for, and I am so, so grateful for my family and friends, without whom I couldn’t have possibly made it this far in life.

 

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Author: Michelle Teoh

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

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