“We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it, that we discover the possibility of true joy.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

All quotes are from The Book of Joy. 

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I just ate a kitkat (four sticks) and a whole slab of lindt caramel chocolate, so my thoughts are running wiiiiiiiild now. I just wanted to write about what goes on in my head when I think about self-acceptance and being undefined, regardless of what stage of life you are at. I was watching ‘peachyanas’ on youtube, her video on her tattoos and piercings and she is an interesting character. Her Instagram is also quite interesting!

https://www.instagram.com/peachyanas/?hl=en

No it’s not because I have a tendency to stare at girls wearing next-to-nothing. Her videos just seem very genuine and carefree to me. It made me think about how I learned my mannerisms and how I am now 23. With close to the same habits as my 17-year-old self.

I mean I could not speak as I am speaking without having learned it from other human beings. I could not walk as a human being. I could not think as a human, except through learning it from other human beings. I learned to be a human being from other human beings. We belong in this delicate network. It is actually quite profound.

As much as I would like to be undefined, a part of me is tied to my family and my culture because I’m like a fish in water. I don’t recognise that I am behaving as my parents are behaving, and my mind works in the same way as so many other Singaporeans, because I have been doing it all my life. I learned to be a kiasu and kiasi dugong since I was born, my seriousness comes not just from my genes but also from my environment. Peachyanas’s style of talking and dressing made me see her as a whole human being really quickly, and not just as ‘another fashion youtuber’ or whatever it is that she does. I don’t think she puts up videos that often. But her Instagram game is mad hahaha. She said something about how she loves herself and the whole point of life is just to be joyful and I thought- yeah.

We were from all traditions and despite our diversity, we produced a unanimous report. We concluded, ‘There is nothing wrong with faiths. The problem is the faithful.’

I would say that I am quite a tolerant person. I try to understand whatever people do, even if it is completely stupid and invasive and disturbing to other people. Some might feel like I don’t care about standards of morality and right living, but I think the closer truth would be that everyone has their own path to lead. That neutrality and I guess, understanding? Allows me to accept what everyone is doing. It just is. I might not like it, but it just is. Humans are just being themselves. If there are changes to be made then good. But if it is a fixed mindset then there is really no point harping on it. Okay I might or might not be talking about my sister, and the way my mom tries to get her out of her room. The context is that my sister has always loved staying in her room with the door closed. Now that she is 25, I doubt things will change?

“Basically,” the Archbishop continued, “I think we’ve got to accept ourselves as we are. And then hope to grow in much the way the Dalai Lama described. I mean getting to know what the things are that trigger us. These are things that you can train, you can change, but we ought not to be ashamed of ourselves. We are human, and sometimes it is a good thing that we recognise that we have human emotions. Now the thing is being able to say, when is it appropriate?”

On my adult path of self-acceptance and recognizing my negative emotions (I don’t get positive emotions very often, although I practise a lot of gratitude), I think I am quite aware of my moods and my actions? I don’t try and extrapolate my actions to how others might perceive them, I think that’s quite a mindfuck. Like “okay I am really anxious today I shall sit in a corner… I wonder if everyone thinks I’m antisocial…. should I give out peace offerings??” I just know how I feel and what I am doing in response to how I feel, even though I know that I should be doing B instead of A, but I just don’t have the energy to do A. I don’t always have high standards for myself. It would be very pressurizing.

We try to control the moment, which results in our feeling that what is happening should not be happening. So much of what causes heartache is our wanting things to be different than they are. “I think, in many cases,” the Dalai Lama explained, “you develop some sort of unhappiness, some discontent, which leads to frustration and anger.

While stress and frustration may sound like superficial problems or complaints, the Buddha identified them as the core of so much of our unnecessary, or created, suffering.

I have been creating images for blog posts recently! Just to keep track of my posts on instagram. It’s not meant to be anything, I don’t quite know what I am doing either. But hey. I like pictures.

On the unanswerable questions in life.

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I was just thinking about how some things in life are unanswerable, and sometimes I don’t even know if I am asking the right questions. My question would be- does it matter whether or not there is a true religion, could the world just exist without any religions? And be guided by ways of life that everyone can agree on. Like love, compassion, and forgiveness. Then people who choose to live in different ways- homosexuals, estranged from family, alternative jobs etc- they could live peacefully without that mental pressure that overwhelms people when they are different.

But I guess pressure is also good. Art and creativity thrives in dark times. If I was happy or content all the time I wouldn’t write, I wouldn’t want new experiences. I would just stay in my little comfort zone surrounded by Krispy Kreme outlets and consider my day to be good as long as I see five beagles strutting around.

https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/05/15/focus-wendy-macnaughton-courtney-martin-poster/

Reveal the fierce urgency of now. Reveal how shattered we are, how capable of being repaired. But don’t lament the break. Nothing new would be built if things were never broken. A wise man once said: there’s a crack in everything. that’s how the light gets in.

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I finished Buick 8 by Stephen King last night. I particularly enjoyed this part.

As for his questions and his childish insistence that the story must have an ending and the ending must hold some kind of answer, time might take care of it. Maybe I’d been expecting too many of my own answers. The imitation lives we see on TV and in the movies whisper the idea that human existence consists of revelations and abrupt changes of heart; by the time we’ve reached full adulthood, I think, this is an idea we have on some level to come to accept. Such things may happen from time to time, but I think that for the most part it’s a lie. Life’s changes come slowly. They come the way my youngest nephew breathes in his deepest sleep; sometimes I feel the need to put a hand on his chest just to assure myself he’s still alive. Seen in that light, the whole idea of curious cats attaining satisfaction seemed slightly absurd. The world rarely finishes its conversations.

For some parts of my meditation retreat, I was thinking about all my cravings and aversions. I want to live alone, independently wealthy (i.e. debt free from my parents), and not have any attachments to the world. My aversions would be people thinking poorly of me, not doing well in my chosen field, all the petty grievances that occurred as far back as I can remember. Primary 5, secondary 4, junior college, university. Things that I did or said to other people, and things other people did or said to me. Memories slowly float upwards (100 hours of thinking time and breathing slowly) and I started to realise how much baggage I was carrying around every day. Positioning myself to be seen in certain ways etc.

By the end of day 4 I think, or day 5, I was starting to feel a lot better about my skin. Partly because it got better, but also partly because I was able to see it for what it was. Usually when the rashes are fading they will leave a pale pink scar, or reddish-brown, or purple in cold conditions. I usually see it as something to be covered up which is difficult because Singapore’s weather is so darn hot sometimes. But after a few rounds of meditation I think I saw the marks and scars for what they are. They are just literally, marks and scars. It’s not what makes me feel bad, the cause of my negative feelings is because I dislike having those marks and scars. It is my reaction to them that makes me feel like hiding at home all day long.

But those are still superficial things- memories that are in my head, or things that I’m grappling with right now. It is said that when one source of pain goes away, another one comes up. And what used to be painful can become tolerable, and then accepted after a while. The bigger questions in life, like where is all this going (no one knows) and what am I doing right now (also, no one knows). To relax and enjoy the rhythm of life and to ask- “du iz tak?” Or, “what is that?” Is it a green sprout, or is an alien child? Or just nothing, nothing at all. Life can be as slow or as fast as you want it to be. Continually living in the present, or continually looking forward to the future, hoping that the years pass faster and one will finally be 30 and accomplished.

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/12/08/du-iz-tak-carson-ellis/

My posts on this blog are mostly ramblings. I don’t know how to explain my feelings other than trying to write them out. Maybe in ten years this will be a depository of thoughts, the in-betweens of life when I am waiting for something or moving on from something. It is a lovely feeling, to know that the important moments of life are either captured on your resume, or on social media, or in diaries. All avenues of recording memories are covered and I can try and see the world in more ways than one. No fixed way of expressing myself, continuously experimenting.