Tell me a joke, or meet my gaze -
I'll laugh both ways -
the music of the vows you sow
your whispered love only I know
Take my hand again, I'll show you a world
of hearts that beat glitter
of warmth in the winter
where reality is sweeter
than the dreams that spill out of the radio
I've always had a fascination for astronomy, passed down from my father to my brother and me. We've got this small telescope that's sitting in the study room, it's only been used once - when I was around twelve we drove to this eerily dark place and set it up and watched Saturn. Beautiful multi-coloured ringed Saturn. And we kept having to adjust the telescope because it kept moving.
I remember looking at my dad's astronomy books in primary school. In fact, I also remember looking at books about space theory. I remember something about space being a flat plane, being bent / warped by objects that had mass, or gravity.
I loved the pictures of galaxies and nebulae.
This is the Orion Nebula. You know the three stars in a line that form the belt of Orion, the Hunter? There are another three stars diagonally down from that belt that form what they call the dagger, but the second 'star' in the dagger isn't really a star. It's a nebula. It's the Orion Nebula. Just a cloud of gas.
Watched Hubble at the Science Centre's IMAX theatre today.
It was just fascinating, going back to astronauts and space and space shuttles. There was a shot of a space shuttle and its interior and I thought, oh gosh, the toy model of the space shuttle my brother and I had when we were kids looked exactly like it. In fact, the image of my toy registered in my mind before I realised it was the actual space shuttle. I remembered my dreams of being an astronaut (yes, Seokhoon knows, he and Grace got me a notebook with an astronaut on the cover!) or at least working in the Space Centre or whatever. Being one of those making sure everything was going fine. Of course, all hopes of having anything to do with astronomy or space crashed when I realised I sucked at math and physics in secondary school.
But gosh, the pictures. They never fail to amaze.
Just look at that. Each bright thing is a galaxy. Hundreds of billions of stars within each speck of light you see in the picture, each star possibly with its own solar system. Planets. The Sun we know - the life-giving Sun that lights up our world every day - is just one star on an arm of our spiral Milky Way, 28,000 light years from the center of the galaxy, which contains about 400 billion stars. Sometimes our personal problems seem so huge. Our failures, our humiliation, they can all seem so huge. But look at us. We're so, so insignificantly small as compared to everything else. Look at the universe and its beauty. So many galaxies. An infinite number of stars.
God knows every one of them.
He knows you, too.
We saw the arm of the Milky Way, one of those nights in Telunas with the Exco. I wasn't sure if it really was that so I didn't scream about it to the rest of them, just Justin. It wasn't as spectacular as it might have been in complete darkness, but...the Telunas sky was so amazing. Breathtaking.
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
When you're depressed, doesn't your entire body feel like shrinking to a ball? All you want to do is curl up, be as close to the floor, to yourself, as possible. Heartstrings are strings that connect your heart to every nerve, every bit of flesh on your body. When your heart wrenches, it contracts and twists and these strings pull all the parts of your body inwards to it. As your heart shrinks and twists, your body is pulled inwards and all you can do is curl up, have your body contract towards your heart. knees to your chest, hands around yourself, because your heart craves some affection, reassurance.
When you cry, it's a result of your heart wrenching. A little like when you wring a wet towel, or a sponge. Your heart is painfully twisting itself, contracting itself, being squeezed by an invisible force called sadness, and this heart squeezes out a colourless liquid that flows out through your eyes.
"And about the second thing - although I'm struggling with myself by saying this, I'm actually very, very grateful that nothing has happened. And nothing probably ever will, and I'll be grateful for that too. If anything starts, it could also end. And the ending is never good. If anything goes wrong, it'd be hell all over again. If the heart doesn't soar, it can't fall. So the only way to prevent that fall is to stop it from soaring. Oh, I see a lot of potential problems and the great likeliness of things turning out badly.
I'll just leave it all in my heart, and I'm thankful because I was once in your heart too. I'm grateful that you gave me the chance to live a dream. More than once.
People are greedy. We tend to want more and more. But when you stop and think about what you already have, you realise how lucky you've been, and how lucky you are to have had all that. I'm thankful for everything you've given me. It was great, being able to experience all that with you, and I should stop wanting more - any more and things will have the potential to turn out badly. And then it'd be horrible. It's probably good that things stop when they're going well - there'd be no chance for hurt now, because nothing has technically begun.
It's like a journey up a mountain. I'm halfway up. If I reach the peak, I could come tumbling down hard. I'd die. Staying at the halfway mark doesn't seem too appealing - I'm getting nowhere, and I don't get the satisfaction of being at the top. There's a lot of suspense - you'd anticipate reaching the peak. But it actually could be the best thing that the halfway mark lasts forever."
"A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art."
The world with all its space and people is a confine. I stand right beside you and I feel suffocated. Held back. Things we cannot do. Your hand that's just an inch away, my gaze that has to break off before anyone sees - the vast open is too full of boundaries, too restrictive for love that struggles to break free -
Come, let's retreat into our little stuffy room. Lock the door. Here there's just you and me - we're liberated. Free to do whatever we want and scream and play and be lovers for a day. In this little room there are no boundaries. Our souls soar together and our emotions are f r e e
for a day. Then it's back to the prison of a world.
(the world with all its space and people is a confine; let's retreat into our little room, where we're free)
Who am I, that the Lord of all the Earth would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt? Who am I, that they eyes that see my sin would look on me with love, and watch me rise again?
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea, would call out through the rain
and calm the storm in me.
I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow.
Still You hear me when I'm calling; Lord You catch me when I'm falling, and You've told me who I am -
I am Yours.
That day, after he had said his piece, I just didn't know how to feel. Perhaps happiness was something my heart had hardened itself against, because pain always follows happiness - the higher I soar, the harder I fall. And I didn't know what to do.
So I went out to the empty living room and just prayed for quite some time. I just spoke in a language I didn't understand, let my heart, let the Spirit do the talking. I didn't know what to say, but God could read my heart all the same - no need for words. I found myself praying at first in confusion, and then for peace, and then in praise. And my heart was calmer.
And then I felt like I should go into my room and get my Bible out for a bit, but at my desk I reached for my daily devotions book instead. And - guess what - there was the picture of a dolphin.
Dolphins. It was like God was right there speaking to me. It struck me. The dolphin's significance to the 35th Students' Council is pretty huge - it's the only thing people remember about Abi's investiture speech, how we're all dolphins in a pod, always sticking together in love. There it was, the symbol of my life and passion in JC, and it was so relevant to my situation too.
The message was about how dolphins have been recorded to save humans out at sea, with their teamwork through their own form of communication, a language we don't understand. And when our emotions overcome us and we look to the Lord in prayer but not knowing where to begin, it doesn't really matter - with our cries, our inexplicable groans and cries (or, for those with the gift, with Tongues), the Holy Spirit converts our wordless prayers into speech for the Lord. And we don't have to rely on our knowledge of words - of English - to convey what we want to say to the Lord. Some emotions transcend human language, but God sees them all.
It isn't because of who I am or what I've done that you love me.
It's You, it's who You are, what You've done. And because it's about who You are, not me, You see my every sin, every weakness, every tear, and You still love me the same.
Human love is so imperfect, I've come to learn. So full of doubt and conditions and pain. Your love is perfect. Anyone who believes and chooses to commit himself to You receives Your full love. We can trust in it, pray in it, look to it in joy. We seek You in pain and in joy, but most in confusion, and Your love pours over us through it all.
You've seen everything. You know all about me. Every little detail. Things I'm afraid to tell others, the thoughts I'm afraid to show. And yet I don't have to doubt that Your love for me may falter, because it isn't because of who I am that You love me.
My head's in a mess. Maybe it's because I hardly slept last night; I think it also has to do with the confusion you've put my heart through, the tears, 2am, 8am, swollen eyes twisted heart. Twisted because it keeps doing all these funny mega-somersaults - you toss it into the air and then it comes crashing down again - and it's too much and it's all knotted up now.
Saw my teacher in the canteen just now. I was in a daze. Couldn't register her questions, couldn't remember what time I went to bed. My answers were all slurry, my brain was in a whirl.
I'm barely conscious for goodness' sake. My brain's churning itself a funny purplish blue, my brain's tingling and whirring and I can't register my own thoughts. I want to write because writing clears my head, but I can't think of anything to write. I've got a couple of Econs essays I need to do. Looking at them makes me sleepy. The library is empty now, except for me and two juniors, a boy and a girl, dancers I think.
"Remember that time, last July, during our Econs lectures?"
I remember everything.
I'll learn to let go & appreciate every bit of glitter & be grateful & content & try not to
& be less selfish & know it's for the better & text you less & be glad you're
while i sit at home and reread your texts / go out with pals & try not to wish you were there
(it's a beautiful song, with the guitar and the violin.)
Oh, why d'you look so sad? The tears are in your eyes; come on and come to me now. Don't be ashamed to cry. Let me see you through, 'cause I've seen a dark side too. When the night falls on you and you don't know what to do,
nothing you confess
can make me love you less
I'll stand by you.
I'll stand by you. Won't let nobody hurt you, I'll stand by you.
(I'll Stand By You - Carrie Underwood) -
(some lonely december, after christmas and sleeping together)
So he curls up in bed at night reading her texts over and over again. Something feels wrong.
His mum told her he hasn't been looking too good lately, his friends have said he's been really quiet in school.
(The day you said you liked me too, I only went numb because I had just been crying. The first time we saw each other after that, I couldn't look you in the eye. The first time you said I love you was when you were so down you almost wanted to let go of this. The first time you called me baby was when you loosely mentioned suicide.)
So he goes back home and turns on the computer and she's right there again, a continent away but only centimeters from his face. And he says, baby I don't know, I'm just so confused. Like as if things were never right from the beginning. I've been in love with the words on a screen. I love you, but everything seems wrong. Things don't seem to be progressing. When can I see you again?
And she reaches out of the screen, wipes the tears off his eyes.
Singapore's education system is only for a few people, those who can sit at a table and look at words for hours. That doesn't make you the best worker.
My mind takes a zero tolerance approach to studying. I cannot focus, cannot get into the mood, cannot stare at the highlighted words without spacing out every few seconds.
My mind's a wanderer, even when there's nothing left to explore in the corners and crevices of my (rather small) brain. It makes up new landscapes then. Whole new colourful worlds that are out to defy all logic: "he'll never do that in real life". (logic in the behavioural sense, not the physical, who pays attention to physical detail anyway?)
I'm a super feelings-oriented person. My worlds are of feelings. The colours in the sky, the wind, they're memories of feelings. Often I don't remember what a person said or did, but I remember how I felt about it, what I thought.
(I don't remember how you stood, or where your hands were exactly, but I remember the grip that you didn't loosen on me.)
Wait, is that even a memory? Or was it made up in my mind, as with everything else?
...Just saying. Must've been the Economics overdose.
"Faith produces good works, but good works do not produce faith – just as milk produces butter, but butter does not produce milk." - Reinhard Bonnke
One thing before I go. Something I've got to know.
Boy, did you ever love me?
- Better Off Alone (Katharine McPhee)
Today I learnt how to really appreciate Lit again, to take it apart and marvel at each word. My Lit's in desperate need of saving; it's probably too late but I hope my grades pick up, by some miracle or other.
Literature is beautiful. It opens your mind up to infinite possibilities in a world that isn't bound by the laws of physics. Seeing the beauty in Lit again just makes me want to write even more.
Miss Tan's friend came today during our contact period to talk to us about what she was doing and about university and not really knowing what you want to do in the future and how things do change a lot along the way and how life just might end up taking you to places you'd never expect yourself to venture into, and I guess I was pretty motivated.
I like to write, but ultimately I want to be able to write such that I touch hearts. Journalism's exciting and it involves writing and being in touch with the world's very latest happenings and all, but ultimately I want to be able to write in a way that actually helps people, in a way that works for the greater good of things, beyond reporting the news and all.
I guess I thought my career prospects were really limited, but she helped me realise today that the world is really much, much bigger and more diverse than anyone could imagine. There are all kinds of things you can do. What I have to offer is a love for writing and a desire to remain in contact with society and the world and all the conflicting issues, and a strong, strong want to ultimately touch and inspire hearts in a personal way. To be able to make someone feel like I'm speaking to her directly, digging deep into her own heart and pulling out the small, forgotten piece of gold in the midst of the black water she was drowning in.
I'm thankful that I realised, today, that being able to write can in fact take a person quite far. I've always thought my future was doomed, limited to a handful of choices. It's given me renewed hope and a lot of motivation to keep going.
"I want to spend the day with you if possible. I'd like to spend as much time with you as I can unless of course I'm coming on way too strong right now and scaring you in which case I'll begin backpedaling immediately..."
- Hal (Proof, David Auburn)
I don't know who or when, but someday
he'll come along, he whom I understand and whom I love as a friend, he who knows my fears and vulnerability and doesn't mind. He'll look at me and say he
and I'll risk my all
go running after death (or a lifetime of pain) into his arms and letting go of the life I struggle to pull together
like running towards the edge of a cliff and letting go.
Had an interesting time reliving a couple of memories today, with an...interesting person to relive these memories with. I could go on and on and on.
I realise I had a pretty eventful kindergarten and primary school childhood, and then a heck of an emotional roller coaster in secondary school. Kindergarten was an interesting period of discovery for me that I'm sure not many other kids got to experience. Social statuses and discrimination against anyone who was different, never overtly questioning The Leader, "that's not what clouds look like", eyeliner and making our own noodles, "single, double, triple, fourple...", afternoon naps where we never slept, getting a fish bone stuck in my throat, Street Fighters with the only guy friend I remember making there - his friendship was so much simpler than that of the girls. And a French best friend who left.
It was just that one girl, really, The Leader. She was really pretty and everyone followed her around and listened to what she said, which included Discriminating Against Those Who Were Different. The day she wasn't around everyone was mixing around with everyone else.
Now that I think of it, it was a prelude to the real world, society. Interesting, the experiences I got there. They don't all sound that good, but I wouldn't have traded any of the memories for the world. I remember how I played with Joan, a girl who was darker-skinned, and Rachel Ho who wore specs, until The Leader and everyone else came along and I was afraid they'd question me. I remember observing when the girls coloured a horrible picture of Joan on my autograph book in mockery (I still have the book), just taking it in, puzzled at discrimination. I remember lying on the ground with the class to watch the clouds and then draw their shapes out. (I drew a bunch of clouds that formed a girl's face; one of the Top Girls remarked disdainfully that that's not what clouds look like.) I remember playing with blocks with Lydia Metzger. And our class watching Rei En (was that her name?) as she bit into a sugarcane and her two front teeth came out.
I remember telling a boy that the straps on my dress were spaghetti straps. And he made some lame comment about it being edible; I laughed, flattered for some reason.
I'm grateful for all that, and for all the outings I don't remember (the teachers made us little photo albums and there are pictures of outings...and a sleepover in the school). I'm grateful for the insanely huge playground and the grass and the showers and the school production where I was a cymbal-clanging penguin. (WHAT HAPPENED TO MY PENGUIN COSTUME?!) It was a pretty amazing experience, now that I think of it. NUS Faculty Club Childcare Centre and all the memories it gave me.
Primary school was interesting, made interesting partly by the boy who was my playmate for the first two years, and my crush for the next four. (And my extremely multi-racial clique that I eventually got left out of in P5, before I found Rachel and Teressa and my JJ fandom that would last for years and years to come. And Yanhua.)
Bryson was a really shy guy when the classmates teased us; he'd start blushing, and then the teasing would only worsen. Somewhere along the way this other guy, Zhi Liang, and I had a little something going on (with our insane note-passing and his humour) and when others teased him about liking me he had no qualms about admitting it. And I remember thinking about Bryson and deciding that I wouldn't like a guy that was too shy to be able to admit he liked me. I decided, then, that when it came to something that mattered enough to a person, he had to have enough courage to admit it.
More interesting than anything, though, was the time I had with my childhood friends. It was a very different area of curiosity we delved into, one I don't think I've told anyone else about.
(and joker, one day I'll tell you everything, but I want to know too; besides it's long over)
That's hard. I have too many quotes I love to remember. But there's one verse, from the Bible, that ignites a spark of excitement in my heart that turns into a whole flame of love whenever I hear someone else say it, or when I chance upon it somewhere. Like my daily devotions book, like when Pastor Phil loosely quoted it.
(Ignite! I wanted to submit another post to Non Sequitur; only remembered about it when it got published.)
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Then, not so far off, I saw Tia and her mother and I ran to her, for she was all that was left of my life as it had been. We had eaten the same food, slept side by side, bathed in the same river. As I ran, I thought, I will live with Tia and I will be like her. Not to leave Coulibri. Not to go. Not. When I was close I saw the jagged stone in her hand but I did not see her throw it. I did not feel it either, only something wet, running down my face. I looked at her and I saw her face crumple up as she began to cry. We stared at each other, blood on my face, tears on hers. It was as if I saw myself. Like in a looking-glass.