adulthood is a scam.

I think many of us, if not all, wanted to grow up and be adults as fast as we can. We wanted that fast-track to freedom. Being told “you’re so mature” was a huge compliment from people we considered adults.

For me, the moment my parents responded with “you can buy it with your own money” when I asked for a little treat on a random day, I realized the freedom that adults have. You mean I don’t have to ask permission to buy ice cream? I just… buy it?

But of course, being an adult is so much more than that.

I’ve gone to mention this a few times since I turned 25-ish… adulthood is a scam! The bills, the rent, the prices of kitchenware and spices and household furnishings… the price of owning a home! We can’t afford shit.

But there’s one other thing no one ever warned us about when we reach “adulthood”: our parents (and other parent-figures in our lives) get older.

It starts with you slowly realizing in your 20’s that, hey, mom and dad are just figuring life out too. There’s no guidebook or instruction manual to living life. They’ve made mistakes, and worked with what they’ve got, and that’s what you’re doing too. Wild!

Continue reading “adulthood is a scam.”

#32

One day, you’ll get that message you’ve been waiting for. One day you’ll see your phone light up with their name, followed by the words “I’m sorry”. One day you’ll get that phone call and you’ll hear their voice on the other end of the line. One day you’ll open your door, and see them waiting outside for you.

And one day, none of these things would matter. You’ll get that declaration of love, that apology, that gesture you’ve been hoping and praying for… and none of it would move you like you once thought it would.

Perhaps this is what happens when you’ve waited long enough – too long – for someone to finally show up.

#55

I remember standing at the edge of that cliff with you, my fingers interlaced with yours. With the breeze blowing against us and messing up your hair, I giggled as you struggled to fix it, until you gave up. You looked at me with those eyes, blue as the clear sky above and deep as the ocean below us, smiling at me silly. You kissed my forehead, then I moved to rest my head on your chest for a moment. I could hear your heart racing as fast as mine.

‘I love you,’ you told me, and that was more than enough. As terrified we both were of heights, and as horrified we were of making the jump… it felt a lot less daunting with you by my side. We were going to jump together, at the count of three.

One.

Continue reading “#55”

May I clock out for a bit?

After the ball drops and glasses stop clinking, when the hangover fades and the wave of the new year inspires for better goals, the dread of another birthday looms over me like a dark cloud in a shape of a clock quietly ticking as it creeps closer.

“Oh my God, I’ll be 28 this year!” I texted my sister one morning in January, as if it’s news to both of us. Of course I’d be 28, that’s how math works. That’s how age works. Even Benjamin Button had to be subject to it, although his body did math backwards.

Growing up, I’ve been led to believe that 30 is (one of) the big number(s). Older women would make jokes about “not being in the calendar anymore” when they hit 32 – since a month has 31 days at the most. It’s when things start to go downhill…

Most of my friends talked about goals. I want to have this when I’m 25. Be that when I’m 27. Then finish all of these when I’m 30. Travel. Weddings. Kids. Businesses. Degrees. Licenses. The goals are different but the timeline is always the same, and most lists end at 30. Or 35 at the most.

I’m no different. I have a “travel bucket list before 30” listed above my desk. I keep a running list of “things to do before 30” in my private journal. I think of the goals I want to reach by the time I hit 30.

That’s in two years.

Continue reading “May I clock out for a bit?”

Home sick.

Have you ever felt homesick for a person?

It’s an uneasy feeling at the bottom of your stomach, and no pill or home remedy can cure it. It’s a sort of loneliness that you feel even if you’re in a crowd. It’s a feeling of woe even if you’re watching the funniest show. No matter where you are and whatever happens around you, you are reminded of someone who isn’t there anymore… and it’s someone you wish you could be sharing all these moments with.

It’s not really about missing a place on a map, but longing to be in the comfort of their arms. You miss them so much that you feel an ache at the pit of your heart, where you think they’ve taken a piece of you. Or is it an emptiness because that’s where they belong?

Your heart doesn’t ache because you’re not where they are, it’s because you want to be with them.

 

You’re homesick for a person when you long for their embrace, because their arms feel like home. You yearn for the taste of their lips and the sound of their laugh. You imagine the way their nose scrunches when they’re embarrassed by something they did. It is when you want to be with them, regardless of where it may be, because time stops in the presence of their company.

You realize that home isn’t a place, but a connection. It is more than having your fingers interlaced with each other. It is more than having their arms wrapped around you when you fall asleep. It is more than feeling their their skin against yours on a cold, hazy evening.

It is in the what you see when you look in their eyes. It is in every breath between the words you mean. It is in the silence between what you thought and what you said. They understand exactly, yet they won’t force you to say it out loud until you’re ready. Or perhaps until you’re both ready.

But the thing with feeling homesick for a person is not simply longing for their company when you’re lonely. It is realizing that you have found a home in each other – in your hearts, in your souls – and the desire to erase the distance, the space, and the time that has kept you apart. You find a way to bring yourselves together. You fight through the obstacles.

Then you fall into the arms where you belong, and even for a moment, nothing else matters.

 

High on you.

You’re scared because he makes you feel like you’re flying and you’re terrified of heights. Your body feels so light, you think you will float too. Your head’s up in the clouds, thinking of all the beautiful possibilities, and hope lifts you higher. But in the back of your mind, you know you’ll have to get back to the ground. And darling, you’re worried because with your luck, it will be more of a sudden fall than a safe landing.

Being high up doesn’t scare you, it’s anticipating the fall. How you would fall. It’s the pain of cracking your head open on the pavement. People say that if you die from a fall, it’s sudden. It will be over before you know it. But what if you survive the fall, but you break your bones from the impact that you can’t live the same way as before? You’ve already broken something in you, and the scars on your heart remind you not to jump into anything new right away. After all, a part of you died when you broke it on your first fall.

But no matter how much you try to fight it, gravity still pulls you down. It doesn’t wait for you to be ready. It doesn’t go away when you’re scared. You didn’t mean to find someone else along this path, and now you’ve found yourself at the edge of a cliff with him. Almost ready to jump. But you don’t want to jump alone. It’s not that high up, but your knees lock as you see the waves crashing on the rocks beneath you. You experience that rush again, the high – the pleasure that comes before the pain. Or does the pleasure come with the pain? Or perhaps the pleasure masks the pain. You don’t know anymore.

The way he holds you down you sends your spirit to the skies. He’s taken you higher than you’ve been before. And then he goes away, you come down like you’re going through withdrawal. But he comes back after a while, and you get another hit. So you breathe deeper as you take him in. More of him. You don’t know when you’ll get your next fix, so you try to make this moment last. His grip makes you think he won’t let you float too far away. You’re scared he’ll let go and you’ll fall down. You’re so high that you know you will break when it’s all over, so you try to hold on until you can’t anymore.

Remember that your scars are signs of how you survived falling before. You’ve been broken, but you’re still alive. You know better, and you know yourself better. You don’t need another piece to make you whole again, you’re complete on your own. Don’t be afraid to let go. You never know, maybe this time you’ll fly.

And eventually, you’ll find another heart whose cracks fit in perfectly with yours.

 

Travelling Between Worlds

Moving at seventeen made the experience of growing up different. Flying halfway across the world to start a new life wasn’t what I had planned. But then did I really have any real plans at seventeen? I laugh at myself when I recall the plans and goals seventeen-year-old me wanted for myself in ten years.

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The funny thing about making plans is that once you make them, life gives you a reality check with a big ‘NO’. No, you will not end up with your high school sweetheart. No, you will have to earn your own money if you want to buy new things for yourself. No, you will not be married with a kid on the way by 27. No, you will not be the engineer your parents wanted you to be. No, you will not live the rest of your life in the same country you were born in. No, your life won’t be the same, comfortable one you’ve been living for seventeen years.

It was the literal manifestation of the old cliché: when one door closes, another opens

I hated it at the beginning. My first few years were horrible because I still held on to the goals and dreams I had back then, but later on I realized life had something else in store. Continue reading “Travelling Between Worlds”

Just (burning) desserts.

You know pain the same way you know falling in love. All too well. And it has left you bruised up and broken like a busted light bulb unable to radiate once again. You know you can’t because you tried. The last few times, you were able to flicker, but the brightness did not last long enough. It may have lasted years, but the light died down. It seems to always return to darkness in the end and you have to unplug.

You’ve had that image of that broken light in you all this time. You’ve been carrying it with you since you flew to this crazy, cold country. That’s why it didn’t scare you to try and shop around for new things. Something that might bring that spark back up? You’re just going to test things out. You weren’t scared because you knew there’s nothing in you left to break.

Your heart had been broken years ago and it has stayed that way since. You believe you’ve had the love of your life, and it went to shit. Everything and every one else after could not compare, even though they’ve tried. You’ve tried too.

He was like you’ve tasted the best cake you’ve ever had. Perfect flavour, ideal consistency. But you had to give it up because that cake was damaging you in ways you didn’t realize until it was too late. That cake is the reason you still struggle with your own self-esteem. He wasn’t as great as you thought because he made you feel like shit. So you moved on, knowing you would never have that cake again, and you could go for ice cream instead anyway.

The problem is: you tasted one delicious ice cream that puts others to shame. Or was it more of an ice cream cake? You felt like it was an upgrade to your favourite cake, and it was satisfying. You had to have more, so you did. You forgot about what worries you had, let your walls down, and went in one spoonful at a time.

But like the cake before it, it consumed you as you consumed it. You’ve never had a healthy relationship with dessert. But you cannot put the spoon down. You’re pissed. You swear off all desserts, but you know yourself… You may be able to give up cake or ice cream, but you will always look for something sweet eventually.

So right now, you are frustrated at the thought of more dessert. But look at it this way. This feeling, that anger. That is proof you’ve still got something left in you to feel. You’re not as empty as you thought you were. You’ve still got a heart. It’s not as perfect as before, and others may break it today or tomorrow… but there’s still a spark left in you, so you can’t just give up.

Darling, you cannot play with fire without eventually getting yourself burned. Scorched. Charred.

xx

Excerpt #02

This is taken directly from a very short, 1200-word story I wrote for my creative writing class last semester.

I dare not publish the whole thing because this shit is basically autobiographical and I am not ready to admit to the world where I (specifically) got my inspiration-slash-foundation from. If anyone knows my story, the omitted paragraphs will definitely give it away, and I don’t want that. No. You don’t get to know this story began with you. Not yet. Not today.

You don’t even clock in thirty hours a week at the restaurant you work at. Sure, you can make bank on tips during weekends, but at what cost? You hardly have the energy to practice your writing at the end of a 12-hour day. Your how-to books on writing are all over the floor. You can’t even afford a new bookshelf. Your mail is on the floor too, right beside the take-out box from that Chinese place you ordered from last night. Is that a stain on the carpet? Has it been always there? And what is that smell? Is it coming from the garbage or the fridge? Your place looks like a dump—oh, honey, just face it. Your life is a goddamn mess! Fix it!

Continue reading “Excerpt #02”