Hello I’m really tired. I just packed my room and cleared out all the debris that accumulated on the floor after a week of chionging work. This is a kind of collection of personal thoughts that I had over the past few days, because my brain is so scattered now it feels like I am holding on to a few strands of thoughts and a few pieces of chicken chop, and I am not sure how much longer I can hold on for. I can’t let go, if I just intentionally ‘forget’ things I know I will feel like that I have lost something. Which is why slotherious is a great platform, it is an eternal brain dump as long as I can afford the yearly domain fees. Somehow a non-personal domain just doesn’t feel right.
On DG and the church carnival:
I wrote this bit about DG two months ago. I think it was when they first announced the dates for the carnival, and I thought to myself- what did I learn about fellowship so far? Why are people so happy to stay on in the same cell group for years, and always contribute time and money to a cause that others do not understand?
“We assemble every Friday at 8.20pm at Pine Grove, each of us with our individual burdens from work and our heavy hearts, minds that get progressively more solemn as the week passes. Different backgrounds, different hobbies, different habits. Some of us like to sit on the floor, some sit cross-legged on the chair, some like to stand throughout the bible study session. But we have the same belief- that regardless of how broken we are, God will find a way to mend us. No weakness or failure of character is too big for him, no flaw is too small to be overlooked. We know that to everything, the answer is Christ, and if only we can lean wholeheartedly on him, he will make our burdens lighter. If only we truly believed, steadfastly holding on to our understanding of him. Then at our last exhale, we need not be worried that we have come to the end and our lives were all for nothing. It will not just be a final goodbye.”
The carnival yesterday was held at Bishan, and after four hours of being in a crowd I was half-dead and ready to uber home. There was very good prata with chicken curry (made on the spot), curry puffs, ice cream, didn’t try my own DG’s bak kuh teh but I had chicken rice! There was a DG who sponsored $7000 worth of chicken rice, that works out to an average of 400-500 per person, assuming they had less people than us. Had to get work clothes so I hurriedly did my shopping at vivo. Only managed to find two outfits because I have this aversion towards colours and prints so it’s always pretty much black on black.
I am quite amazed at the carnival planning. The entry passes only cost $2, and it entitles you to all the games, two mains, three sides and three drinks if I’m not wrong. In other words, we did not sell tickets to raise funds, we sold tickets so that people could enjoy the carnival. The donations were done before the carnival even started.
I also went for something called Project Timothy, which made me realise that I’m not actually…I don’t know, constantly joyful in church? I feel like I should be. But I am not at the stage where I feel this joy and deep reassurance every day, it’s more like okay on most days I have this relaxed and neutral kungfu stance that borders on joy during quiet time, on other days I’m quite at peace about how things are going. Not being able to date a non-christian however, REALLY SUCKS. “Real change is possible,” said the pastor. I wrote down, “real change is
possible painful.” It’s not that I am actively looking for someone, it’s just that I haven’t been so interested in a guy since bobcat circa 2013. That’s four years of “am I a lesbian?” that I dealt with. I still feel that I’m bisexual though. Or “are you going to be single forever”, said people who were my project mates. I am not intentionally going against what is being taught in the bible, which is that marriage should be a reflection of the covenant between God and his church. It’s just that I want to date casually, without people telling me that “it’s better to not date than date a non-christian or take dating lightly”.
Met old friends in the past three days, partly because it was my birthday and I didn’t want to spend my 23rd doing work. Aloha poke is nice!! Shall go there again. There’s a cheaper $9.90 salmon version somewhere too, asked a colleague out next week so I can try that. My favourite dishes in the CBD area are- beef pepper bowl from Amoy, chai tea latte from Dimbulah (I can drink enough in one day to make it a meal), fish soup from Amoy, chicken chop from Shenton House, Daily cut @RP, poke bowls in general, astons @ asia square, and this jap food place that has really good egg plant and salads but I forgot the name, it’s along Boon Tat. I budgeted 250 a month for food but with friends and all, it’s more like 400. I still miss the chendol from brickworks! It’s really good chendol.
Work has been good- things are picking up fast. It felt like we had no substantial training for one month other than basic skills (which might not be used, depending on your project team’s style), and you are left to make connections on your own. I volunteered to write for the upcoming trip and got pulled into my unit’s rec club, we are going to plan more events that won’t involve an army of tuktuks. Now the second month is here and lots of things are in the pipeline. Which is fine, but I don’t really know how to manage my bandwidth yet, so I am expecting myself to do work for the next three weeks using my weekend time. I think I am quite happy because I like my company and I really enjoy my work. I like knowing that whatever I do, it contributes towards an impact, no matter how small, on the client’s end. Which affects the lives of people in other developing countries. And I like knowing that I am a good support system to my colleagues. The only thing I dislike about working at home is that I don’t have a large desktop monitor at home, I shall get one soon to deal with calibri font 5.5 on slide decks.
I was asked this week by a well-meaning friend (not describing him as anything else, it’s difficult to pigeon-hole this person) “why are you so reserved”. To which I thought, yes I am, but how would I know why? That is like asking “why do you like being a straightforward and crazy coconut?” Hmm actually, do coconuts have genders?
I just am. I process a lot of things on the inside and I don’t reveal much unless I am asked, or if I’m in a hyper mood. Like when I had HK food with L. and then too much awfully chocolate cake, the salted caramel caused a sugar rush and I love salted caramel. Being an introvert is a different way of interacting with the world. I like books and furry animals, I like small kids who like to eat cheerios, I like to write about my feelings (so female of me HAHA), I like to hear the stories about people and their experiences. I like to touch people and I like hugs, unless the sun is really hot and I am turning into a roasted potato. I don’t care for crowds, the carnival really killed a bit of me. I didn’t realise how tired I was until I got home and I slept at 9pm, probably the first time in months. “Uncle black sauce and chilli, or plain?” “More soup?” “Consolidate ok ok.”
If I had a choice I might not choose to be more extroverted, simply because I don’t know how to imagine what an extrovert’s life might feel like. I don’t know how to create value in noisy places, I don’t like to hang out with people all the time- hence I schedule lunches one to one because I don’t want my post-lunch work efficiency to go down to 20%. Perhaps to others it is a sort of half-life that I live, like how with makeup on I’m an enhanced goblin. Not experiencing what they see as fun? But to me I’m coping very well, especially with being on TCM and in a few weeks, anxiety medication again. I am just not a randomly-coughing ball of fireworks singing despacito on the highway.
What do I do for fun? I don’t know. I think I am still finding out. I don’t think my brain processes ‘fun’ in the same way as others do. It is more of fulfilment and a sense that what I am doing, it is meaningful, and that if I die the next day, it would not have been in vain. I would not have lived a half-life just for myself. And if it was entirely for myself, I would have enjoyed it and not changed myself to fit others.
I don’t have much time left to write. Or read, now I find myself just zoning out on the train in the mornings. I do want to return to meditation/yoga, which I started for only a few days. The easiest thing to do now is just to swim after work. I was wondering about heart break, I think I felt emotions most intensely a few days ago when I was reminded to keep my distance from K, and my heart was like “I DON’T WANT TO KEEP MY DISTANCE.” I don’t feel a lot on most days, but when I do I usually don’t understand why I feel that way. I am able to rationalize anger out really well, but other softer emotions like affection or sadness, it’s difficult for me to say anything other that “ok I am feeling weird. Weird feels, soft cats.”
To find a small moment of joy in a blue sky,
A long walk an early morning in December
Or a handwritten letter to an old friend simply saying, “I thought of you, I hope you are well.”
I am trying, as I always will.
I read a helpful tip to deal with my emotions. “Take short little cries every time you feel overwhelmed”. I think I feel overwhelmed most on Friday nights, when I am done with DG and I just feel unhappy because I don’t want all that responsibility and commitment that comes with being a Christian. I can’t be unorthodox, I can’t go around having sex with everyone, I can’t turn up for DG drunk or smoke (not allowed to smoke because your body has to be an acceptable living sacrifice) or date a non-Christian, I have to tithe a portion of my salary every month which I would rather spend buying books, and I have to do bible study daily. I can’t be a stumbling block to other Christians and I basically cannot do a lot of things. Lie, steal, cheat, shout- yes I am a difficult person. I wouldn’t do those things even if church wasn’t in my life- okay maybe lies, I think white lies to clients are quite common in business- but it is more of a feeling that I only know the laws, I do not yet know joy. Can I say that I love God? I think I do, but it is a feeling borne out of admiration for his grace and his temperament and how loving he can be. But on a daily basis I feel like I will feel less cooped up if he did not exist. Because it means that I can do whatever I want.
There are flowers growing outside my window.
The coffee is warm, the air is pure.
Spending time with friends I am comfortable with, hoping for someone kind. I feel that so much of me is tied to being independent- travelling to Phuket a day earlier than others, doing whatever I want even if no one else wants to do it, serving in a meditation centre in September even though my DG leader told me to again, be careful of non-Christian teachings. I just don’t know if I will feel differently about what I do a few years from now? Maybe I will never find myself, maybe I will always be open to new experiences and I will never be settled as a Christian or even, as a human being. Maybe it will be a lifelong journey of searching and wanting more. Wanting someone gentle and kind.
If there was no chance of gaining any temporal reward for our piety, would we bother?