Apr 21, 2012

you have to come to a closure before you forget

We all want to create something beautiful. Sometimes we spend all our time and effort making this masterpiece, piecing together the stained glass, carving intricate patterns into the little stone pillars, decorating the walls with gold. You put your life into this artwork. Your flesh begins to fuse with the glass; your blood mixes with the paint; but you're proud of it, because it just shows how much you've given to this work of beauty.

You look at your creation and your heart bursts with overwhelming joy. It's beautiful, indescribably beautiful and you've finally experienced this happiness that lasts an eternity. But slowly you begin to realise that you've been using the wrong materials. All too fast your masterpiece falls apart and the gold beads spill out onto the floor like your tears. It's no longer a work of beauty. It has fallen, fallen; now it's nothing but a mess.

The huge mess on the ground is scattered gold beads and cracked stone walls and shards of glass and your own flesh. What was once beautiful has been reduced to nothing - worse than nothing; a mockery of your wasted effort. The memories of the glorious past are stained with the blood that oozes out from the hole in your heart. Nothing but pain now.

You leave the pile on the floor, try to run away. But every time you turn your head you see that pile of nothingness staring back at you, and the memories engulf you again. Memories of pure beauty and sheer joy, now screaming with the bitter aftertaste of regret. All the time and emotions you invested, all gone to waste, gone to trash.

Forget about this, you tell yourself. You'll never get it back now. Remembering it will only bring you pain. But you can't bear to go near the mess again, so you take the easiest way out - with a broom you hastily sweep the mess into a corner and cover it with a rag. There, now you won't see the mess anymore, and maybe this way you can forget. 

You acquire the skill of careful avoidance. You stay away from the corner. Be careful not to think about it anymore. But no matter how hard you try to make it disappear in your mind, you know it's still there. Weeks pass and the stench in the corner begins to grow. The stench of your rotting flesh that was fused with the glass. It catches hold of your heart once in a while.

Slowly, you begin to realise that there's no way you can truly forget unless you deal with the problem once and for all. Facing the rubble of your disaster is the hardest because you have to confront the painful memories again. You have to take that rag away to uncover the trash in the corner again, look back at your tragedy. You pick up the stone pieces and glass, your own rotting flesh, hold them in your palm. You're so close to them now. You can't help but cry again, remembering the beauty of before, the beauty that only you knew.

All the pieces of shattered glory in the palm of your hand, you carefully place them into a box. You take one good last look at them, relive the memories that still pierce your heart now, tell yourself that you must abandon all memories of this masterpiece, because they will only hold you back. It's time to create new memories. Create a new piece of art.

You take the box out, dump it into the big collection bin, watch as the trash collectors come and take away all the beauty you've ever known.

It's only when you've dared to come face-to-face with the pain and the tragedy again, and truly dealt with the problem, that you can move on. Stop fooling yourself. We all need closure. There's only so long we can continue avoiding. There's only so long we can cling onto the memories of pure beauty. We have to let go. We have to get rid of the pieces that still lie around somewhere in our mind. Come to terms with finality and move on.

Apr 14, 2012

Inner strength

It has begun. You know what's wrong; you know what you have to do. Sometimes you have to man up a little, tell yourself you can manage without this addicion. You are bigger than this. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath, admit to it, tell yourself what you already know. Then have the courage to run away. Every time you stumble the monster will tackle you again, but don't give in anymore. You won't let the dementor suck away any more of your soul. You need to run away to heal.

Run, keep the determination strong, you know what you have to do. Sometimes challenges come in an angel's guise. You have to remember your conviction and keep on running. Then take a deep breath and tell yourself you've done a good job.

For You and You alone / Awake my soul

Apr 11, 2012

Our alter ego resides in our hearts

Note to self:

Every night you go to bed chastising yourself. Every night you tell yourself this must stop. You know it has to stop. But even as you scold yourself you're still doing it. Your brain tries to knock some sense into your heart but the heart has grown to engulf that reprimanding voice in your head. You have to do something about this.

If you can't put it out, at least try to contain it. Set boundaries of iron, because if you even touch that boundary it will burn you just as badly as the fire within would. Remember the iron walls that will hurt you, a severe warning.

You know what you're made of. You know what you deserve. You're worth the treasures in Heaven, and you will only settle for the gold. There's no point searching for the true treasures that will come your way when the time is right. Don't settle for the base metal by clothing it with the illusion of gold. You're more than aware of what the faraway voice in your head is screaming, so try and let it grow stronger. Allow your heart to give way a little, if only a little. Remember the One who already has your path planned out, who understands and still watches out for you even as you continue to run blindly into walls in this labyrinth. There's only one way out, and only He can show you the way. Stop desperately running into dead ends; you'll only hurt yourself more. You know you will only settle for the gold.

Apr 8, 2012

When the only way out is up

It's been a dark, cold winter you've spent curled up in the snow. You've tried to build fires before, and they're beautiful, the alluring warmth, the comforting crackle, a bold display of protection, safety. But every single time you get too close. You love this fire, such a beautiful promise in the dark and the cold. You want to surround yourself in this wall of beauty. You add more logs to feed the flames. Hungry tongues, fiery tongues, licking away the loneliness of the dark sky. More. More. You want to see nothing but the light. Expel the darkness; fiery beauty will reign.

But then you always get burnt. The fire gets too big and the heavenly wall starts to hurt you instead. You try to run from the darkness into the flames but you start screaming. You have to run back out, back into the cold dark snow. The burn marks on your forearms and shins are a reminder of the pain that always comes when you try to get too close to beauty.

Yet right now, it's all you want again. Anything to get rid of this darkness. The muted cold makes you want to scream. You've had enough of the dead night. Anything to bring life back into this forsaken field of black ice. You long for the fire again, the fire that roars with life, cheer, gold tongues of life.

It's not all that easy, though. You're alone now; your blackened fingers have become too weak to rub the stones together; you can't hold an axe anymore. All you can do is sit here, wait for someone to come by with the magic of life.

And he comes along again. Him with the tanned skin and healthy build, the wolf-like eyes and the smile that knows no fear. He comes by in the morning, sees you curled up and whimpering. He feels your icy skin, curls his strong fingers round your blackened ones. Gives you something to eat. He gives you life.

Then when you're strong enough to stand again he takes up your axe and holds your hand and you go off looking for wood. You stand back and watch as he hacks at the tree and the green giant comes falling, rustling rustling, and slowly you gather the firewood and come back out to the open field of snow. It takes all day. By nightfall you have your firewood in a pile and he's rubbing the stones together for that spark. Then a log catches fire. Then the whole lot. He sits and holds you as you watch the gold flames leap up to the sky, proclaiming the triumph of roaring life over the darkness. Gold vivacity. He is the life-bringer to this forsaken field.

The fire ignites in you, too, and you feel your own soul warming up. Now I remember what it feels like to be alive. Alive, alive, and suddenly you're flying in paradise. You scream with the flames, you leap with the dancing tongues. Your own heart bursts with sheer joy. Nothing beats this feeling, when all the joy in your heart just can't be contained and you have to scream it out, and the gold radiates out of you and shines into the world. Sheer joy. You're alive again.

You need more, you need more of this warmth, this joy this life this amazing beauty. You go nearer the arms of love. Nearer, nearer, let the fire embrace you.

And once again, you run out screaming, tears streaming out of your eyes. Suddenly it's too much again. The fire hurts you instead. You fall to the ground, the harsh cold snow. Your clothes are on fire. Isn't this what you wanted, to be surrounded by the flames? But it's only killing you now. You cry and cry as you roll on the snow to put out the flames. You take one last look at the screaming monster and run for your life. No more. No more life, no more beauty. Sometimes you feel like love was never yours to keep, like you were destined for the cold, harsh winter.

Haven't done a real post in ages.

I used to think a five-day break from blogging was bad enough. Now I haven't done a real post in months, and even my last post wasn't that satisfying. Gotta do something about this.

I don't blog about my life much anymore because no one really wants to know that kind of stuff, and it's all on Facebook anyway. So here's a break from the emo shiz.

For the record, since the A Levels I've taught at Crescent for two months with Geraldine and Rachel Louis for the MOE teaching internship, crashed my OG kid Jessica Chen's Orientation Group at Orientation 2012 (I pretended to be a J1 but they found me out!), had lots of fun going out with great friends, applied to about ten thousand universities. I'm relief teaching at AC now - teaching GP, but I told the ELL teachers that I really wanted to help out for ELL, so they've given me some awesome tasks like coming up with a list of slang that we Singaporean youths use today, defining them and classifying them into English / Singlish terms. The army boys are getting out of camp soon and I can't wait to see the Councillors again.

ACJC isn't a two-year journey - it follows you for life, and I love it. Was going to do a post about my two years in AC but it would take too long; maybe I'll get around to doing it when I'm free.

Right now, I'm really grateful to God for continuing to stand by me. People can say all they want about religion, but none of it matters because I know what it's like to feel and know God, and no one can take that away from me. Really grateful for my A Level results; I'm so undeserving. Although I didn't get into Pennsylvania, I'll just trust in what He has in store for me - after all, our definition of success usually isn't in line with His, but why hold on to ours when His is indefinitely greater? I've been accepted into NYU and I'm on the waiting list for Michigan; 4 out of 5 of my UK universities (Edinburgh, Nottingham, Exeter, East Anglia) have accepted me, and I'm just waiting for a reply from Warwick, the one that I've been dreaming about from the start. I do hope they'll find me and my writing worthy of a spot in their creative writing class.

I really wanted to go to the US for their liberal arts programme, but chances of that happening are slim now, I guess. At the same time, I know that the US universities probably only looked at my unworthy SAT scores, CCA records and very average Prelim results (not a single 'A'!), because the A Level scores were probably sent in too late for consideration. And judging by my scores, I wouldn't have expected any of them to take me in. On the other hand, my UK universities took into account my creative writing abilities and A Level results.

East Anglia's Creative Writing Admissions tutor asked the Undergraduate Admissions Officer to contact me to say that he was 'extremely impressed' with my work - and that they rarely contact an applicant about his work, but he wanted me to know how impressed he was with my portfolio. That email was such an uplifter - I had been struck with writer's block for the longest time, and I was beginning to give up hopes of writing in the future, and this email turned everything around. It was 3 in the morning and I couldn't sleep. I was so overcome with elation and gratitude.

The fact that Nottingham and East Anglia looked at my creative writing pieces and found me worthy of a spot in their universities, despite the fact that Nottingham's class size for the course is about 18, is more than enough encouragement for me. They looked at my passion and thought I deserved one of the few spots in their class, and that alone has been such a great reassurance. Now I just hope Warwick feels likewise.

Happy Easter! God has been so amazing to such an unworthy, ordinary person like me, seen all my imperfections and worst sides and rebellions against Him and given me so much regardless. He's given so much for us, and continues to give, and continues to love us even when we don't, so here's to a wonderful God to whom I want more than anything to belong.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
- Galatians 2:20