Island of Glass 

Finished:

  • Little fires everywhere 
  • How to be alone 

Starting on, but possibly cannot finish, Happiness- a memoir by Heather Harpham. I started tearing up when she wrote about how the nurse tried to stick the needle into the baby for twenty minutes but according to hospital procedures is only allowed two tries. 

Also reading: 

  • All the ugly and wonderful things
  • Looking for Alaska 

Had plain vanilla cupcakes for tea just now. I couldn’t figure out why my skin was breaking out, I was both very tired and a little irritable and just generally uncomfortable. It wasn’t the retreat- retreat was calming and quiet. Then I looked at this-

Ladies and gentleman, I’m either getting my period tomorrow or in two weeks. There’s no way of knowing. 

Joan Didion

And so we do. But our notebooks give us away, for however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I.’

Reading this week 

Finished:

  • Camino island
  • Harry Potter and the cursed child 
  • Fantastic beasts and where to find them 
  • Origin (Robert Langdon series) 
  • End of watch (the last few chapters, I got bored of this two weeks ago) 
  • Happiness of pursuit

Starting on: 

Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng 

Plodding through:

How to be alone, power of quiet and wind up bird chronicle.

I have to read books in parallel or I’ll get bored really quickly. 
So far none of the books I read takes a top spot. Top spots are those that I’ll want to reread after a year- snuff by terry pratchett, wasted by marya hornbacher etc. Was quite excited to read Origin because Dan Brown was probably one of the first authors that I loved back in P6, but it was kind of meh. I can appreciate all the research that went into it but I’ve never been interested in fighting factions. Science versus art, creationism versus evolution etc. It doesn’t matter because it doesn’t influence my life on a day to day basis. So what if we write book after book on who is right, or at least, more accurate. It doesn’t change how I experience life. As Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes said, ‘you can make me learn the facts, but you can’t make me care.’ 

[brain dump] I don’t know what to title this piece apart from ‘profound loneliness in the midst of work deadlines and a fine social life’

I spent a few hours reading today. Currently still on the wind-up bird chronicle. I believe it is my third time I’m reading this since I bought it a few years ago. Reading calms me down, it has this meditative effect on me and I worry less, things fade into the background. But when I stop reading, the characters are shelved away and I get this sense of loneliness. I have nothing against extroverts but I understand that there is so little excitement that introverted hobbies generate. You can’t observe someone reading a book for three hours, you can’t share in their experience even if you read that exact same book. Or meditate, or do yoga. It is just not very interesting, like watching a dollop of paint slide down the wall.

I am looking out of the window and it is not yet ten pm, the world is winding down and preparing for a fresh start to the week, and all I have are car sounds and a realisation that another week has passed, October will soon be over, and I have nothing to show for my whole year. Apart from the usuals- starting a new job, starting a church community, starting my new hobbies and then falling apart inside.

There are things going on. Definitely. Today, it was toddlers class, then bible study group-getting to know new people, and then tomorrow I’ve dinner with friends from my sustainability module. Nothing matters still. I am just sitting in a puddle of fear and worries. I don’t know how to explain the feeling that time is passing, and my adulthood is going away so quickly. I am only 23, I do not need to have enough earning power to travel three continents in one year, yet there is this vastness of living ahead of me that I don’t know what to do with. And my stomach hurts. And I have so many flaws. You know when you get compliments about how this is personal and on point, and how you are a lovely person, and then this little cat starts scratching your back demanding that the truth be told- that 99.999% of what I do is driven by external validation and fear and the need for perfection, that while completely sincere and honest, it is also completely disgusting. I don’t know how it can be a perfect paradox but it is. I love kids, I love being around them, I love caring for them, but I also know that I completely suck at it. And I know that the people are too lovely to tell me that to my face.

If I die today, my most noteworthy accomplishments would be 1. Toddlers now say good bye to me without looking like I am the hideous monster that hides in their closet 2. Published an article in the company newsletter and 3. Revved up the company cell group and 4. Managed to pay off a bit of my parental debt 5. Have not gained any sexual experience yet, because I am not supposed to.

There are many things that I don’t want-

I don’t want to wake up when I am 26 and realise that I have done nothing in the past four years

I don’t want to neglect my self and I also don’t want to sink too deeply into solitude because I am scared that my mind will break after self-imposed exile and I will not return to being normal. Or what I can pass off as being normal.

I don’t want to share my personal space, but I also don’t want to be alone.

Still not sure if I’m heterosexual, but I don’t have a choice in that matter.

I don’t want to do a half-assed bible study session every single week.

I don’t want to be a stressed out porcupine breathing loudly and cursing clients with every assignment, I also don’t want to wake up at three am to complete proposals, and I really don’t want to make work a focal point of my life but I know what I have no control over my assignments now.

I don’t want to die without ticking things off my bucket list- setting up my own NGO, exploring all genres of memoirs.

I don’t want to marry for convenience, I don’t want to die alone, I don’t want to grow old.

I don’t want to be a muddled cat with hashimoto’s disease stuck in the hospice.

I don’t want to resist negative emotions but I don’t know how to tame my mind.

I want to write long snail mail to people without freaking them out, but there is no one new and exciting in my life whom I can be genuine to without worrying that they will be too attached to me.

 

bend, mind, but not break.

 

e. e. cummings

Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.

Taking a break for October 

Books I read on my kindle since I got it 

  • Mr Mercedes by Stephen King
  • It by Stephen King 
  • Finders keepers by Stephen King 
  • The two towers by Tolkien 
  • The girl who knew too much by Amanda Quick
  • Come sundown by Nora Roberts
  • Eat pray love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Big magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Eat pray love made me do it (anthology)

Currently reading 

  • Wind up bird chronicle by Murakami
  • Quiet by Susan Cain 
  • How to be alone by Sara Maitland 
  • The happpiness of pursuit by Chris G. (Can’t spell his surname) 

I am probably not uploading anything to slotherious for October. Just going to read and work. I finally recovered from my cough, yahoo!!! 

(Here’s what I wrote in my weekly update) 

Scroll down for a little thought about self-recognition. 

Last Thursday night the SOS village team had our post-Phuket dinner at Dal In restaurant. There was soft background music, free steamed egg (one per table!) and good conversation.

Sitting there, I thought about how everyone contributes to the group in a different way. The dinner was to recognize our efforts and our friendship. In the corporate world recognition is often for end results- how well you managed a project, how vast is your network etc. As a fresh graduate I know that these things are skills one picks up on the way, but I have no idea how fast is, y’know, the standard speed? Maybe I’m moving at the rate of one snail, and everyone else is doing two huskies. 

So the only recognition I use for myself is focused on how I do the work- be it toddlers class, or finishing a proposal- and more importantly, why. Everyone comes with a different back story and what’s easy for one could be a tough challenge for another. 

Here’s a quote from Terry Pratchett. 

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.

It doesn’t need to be a physical relocation. It could be leaving to join a different group, trying out a new meditation technique, it could be giving yourself the space to be kinder to yourself. Just for a little while. 

Best,

Jess

—–

Yes, I am genuinely afraid that being a loner will be a huge disadvantage in life. I don’t want to miss out on anything but I really love being alone. I’m also afraid that people will think less of me because of my stupid anxiety. But I’m afraid that I will force myself to blend in too much and regret it ten or twenty years down the road. 

Here’s a small photo of raccoony. 

Yet another week has passed 

Quarter life crisis doesn’t seem to be over yet. I skipped dinner and dance and went walking aimlessly before DG so that I could walk away some of my feelings. My D. gave me some really useful pointers over lunch. At least the games for camp are rolling along well. 

Saturday: finish testing systems in the morning (update: went badly), then pro bono meeting at orchard, officers meeting in the afternoon for camp

Sunday: toddlers, sermon, and then bible study which I’ve missed for multiple weeks. 

Made some people photos of themselves as thank you notes 🙂