Faux Pas

Let me begin by saying this: I am supposed to make an entry of a long-overdue new story about the #TrashTrio with my buddies, @dilchh and @_salarymanblues. But I might have chosen the arduous way in the set-up of the story that it needs more research than I have my time with, and things at work lately have not been helping, so, instead, I’m back with a piece of another personal rant. (@dilchh and @_salarymanblues: I’m sorry for the delay and this unprecedented post, guys. Hope I can make up to it soon.)

Anyhow, after all this time, always what sob story catalyzes this surprise rant post indeed?

Before I knew it, it’s been 16 months since I started on this job, and I cannot say enough how this has been quite an improvement from the last, especially when it comes to internal support of the team. As was with other jobs, there are times when things don’t work out as they supposed to due to miscommunication with other divisions and counterparts (some, unfortunately, due to a mix of high-strung egos, slowpoke bureaucracy, unclear procedures–which was exploited, and plain capability gaps). As someone who does not have enough patience to deal with these things, especially when it comes to catering to people whose feelings do not allow them to admit their inefficiency, this does not bode well with my anxiety and rage which, again, needs to be bottled up in the name of “professionalism” as well as getting the shit done and over with. I’m glad for how the team has always proven a sturdy fort, and I’d like to thank them for allowing me to be a bit candid about how uncomfortable I am with those situations.

That gives me some sort of hope that I can maybe suggest a thing or two improve upon the efficiency of our work, especially when it comes to time and planning. But maybe this is where I was wrong.

Similarly, when we were in the middle of concluding the previous work and initiating this new one, I did not see much difference now that our work is full-fledged running when it comes to time management and phasing activities. There’s still too many last-minute stuff going on, especially because “if not us, who else?” which I frankly think is not good enough a reason, considering we still have other things to focus on. Boss needs to frequently travel and seems always overworked that it’s hard to clarify our tasks, specifically when my colleagues and I need more information while there is barely any time to do so. This, I reckon, contributes the how she lately responded to our questions with “loaded answers” lately.

It would be easier if I can believe that this happens because the circumstances and time do not allow us to sit and talk properly why and how we need to do things, also to critically examine if it’s possible. But no, not with (1) my brilliant skill to somehow always get misunderstood when asking questions or demanding clarification, and (2) my impostor syndrome.

To cut the story short, after a couple of incidents, what happened last week had basically crossed one of the first levels of my patience. Even though I managed to put my usual “whatever” face, I ended up going home questioning where the hell I went wrong to deserve a passive-aggressive tone from someone who calls out other people for it. On one hand, I figured out where I must have missed her intention for a piece of information given, but on another, I genuinely felt that I cannot just slide this one off the hook.

For one, I disliked the fact that my skepticism and hesitation were thought of as me not wanting to do the job, after ALL the stupid ordeals I need to face for the sake of the work we do, and mainly, the fact that I am simply putting forward the feasibility of the request. For another, I also noticed that there have been too many occurrences that people seem to oversell this image they have about me that I am more than capable and reliable to carry on my tasks, and I hated myself for not being able to find what gives them that impression and put a stop in it.

I have been lucky, most of the time, and on other times, I had help and I made sure everyone knows that I did. This expectation that all works out due to my own prowess is exaggerated and burdensome, but people do not seem to believe me or care enough when I told them just exactly what it is.

This is what bothers me so much; not the fact that I might be on the wrong because I didn’t clearly understand the intention, but of this misconception on my personal and professional qualities; the former downgraded, the latter overestimated.

At the moment, I do not know still how I can deal with this without again getting misunderstood (I thought I’ve learned a thing or two about people, their feelings and empathy, but apparently not and, dear God, I abhor this so much). The only thing I have in mind right now is only how I can make sure all my tasks run smooth-sailingly until Friday, and perhaps I can work my way out afterwards (oh, and bad planning and lack of prioritization next to “involving feelings”, how dreadful).

Guess this is also another reminder that I work best mostly alone, which, as a line of work, is a myth, people say. In all seriousness, I want to get my hands on that guy who insisted humans are social beings and wring his neck until, considering he must be ancient enough not to belong in this world anymore, he dies in a painful second death.

Perhaps that “myth” actually exists, or maybe there is a way to get out of being misunderstood ever so often; only not for those like me. Then again, options remain only for the privileged, whose money, time and position, I have not.


State of Being (1/?)


via The worst state. — PROMPTUARIUM

“Wake up, sweetie, you’re gonna be late for school,” a soft voice calls out as my eyes flutter open. Oh, Mum, I muttered, as I saw the familiar red, burn mark on her face, which have never faded after the day we walked away from my father’s house. I saw my father hit her right across her cheek. Mum did not say a word as she picked me and our bags out of the house. Somehow, the redness has stayed the way it was for ten years, and nobody seemed to notice, except for me.

That was the same day I saw my grandfather developed a purplish bruise on his right fist, while my grandmother’s left eye looks almost permanently bloodshot. As for me, I sported three, dried-out kitten scratches on my left palm. Considering it hurts only on the first day, I can say I am almost unscathed.

I stopped asking Mum to check on my scratches but she noticed how I kept touching her left cheek. Eventually, I stopped doing it because I saw the tears well up on her eyes. Years after, I still struggle not to fix my gaze upon it for more than two seconds. Thankfully she seemed to always think it’s because I was still trying to pry my eyes open to sober up from the drowsiness.

After Mum was sure I would not fall back to sleep, she patted my shoulder and left me to wash up and get dressed. I quickly grabbed a toast, bite it as I took my backpack and headed to the doorway.

“Anna, your lunch!” Mum called out from the kitchen, which stopped me from wearing my shoes and made me take a sharp turn to collect the neatly packed lunch box. I yelled out a gibberish Bye, Mom, as I was still chewing the toast, to which she replied by telling me to be careful on my way. I took the stairs down to the apartment lobby and met Jun to walk to school together.

He sported fresh bruises again. Lately, this has been happening even more often ever since his uncle decided to stay together with his family. He followed my gaze fixed in his upper arm, just below the sleeves before the elbow. He smiled a weak one.

“Got it just yesterday when that piece of bullcrap went home drunk. What pisses me off is that this stupid pattern from his cheap belt didn’t fade away this morning. Don’t need your ‘gift’ to see this one.”

“You mean ‘curse’. And because of it, I know that one’s gonna stay.”

“Oh cool, another one to add to my invisible tattoo collection. Do I wear them well?”

“As much as I admire your sense of humor, that is not funny and we’re getting late for school. Come on.”

We made it just in time to our classroom before the last bell rings. Shuffles from other students passing by, grabbing and settling for seats makes the morning sounds busier, alerting me that another day at school has started. As usual, I spotted our friend Somchai–with his burning red right ear which the ‘curse’ allows me to see–had already sat comfortably on his seat at the back near the window, while Jun and I are still catching our breaths from sprinting. He turned his head to give us a knowing look, which Jun ignores by waving his hand saying, “Yeah, yeah, we know. The early bird catches the worm and that bird is you, Chai. Gosh, I thought I’ll get used to the running eventually but the only thing I’m familiar with is the taste of blood filling my lungs.”

“We could’ve just walked comfortably to class if Jun didn’t insist to get a toast at Aunt Mui first,” I teased.

“Hey! You would’ve saved us ten minutes if you had shown up at the lobby on time!” Jun retaliated as I snorted. Somchai shakes his head slowly as he grabbed our shoulders and have us sit at the spots in front of and across from him.

“Ms. Lim is coming soon. You better try to memorize something from yesterday’s lesson before she surprises us with another pop quiz.”

“Oh, shhh–” I immediately rummaged my bag for a glimpse of my notes while Jun complained about why after being our homeroom teacher Ms. Lim didn’t cut us some slack.

As I was concentrating with my scribbles about Mendel’s laws of inheritance, Ms. Lim opened the sliding door and all of us students stood up to exchange morning greetings. Returning to focus on my notes as fast as all students sat back down, I completely missed out the announcement Ms. Lim made about a new transfer student joining our class until Jun tapped my shoulder and signaled me to look to the front. It was not just Jun’s nudge breaking my reverie, it was also the new student entering the class. To be more specific, it was what the curse made me see from the new student which took my attention completely off of whatever heterozygous means: she has blotches all over her skin, dried blood over thin scars all over her body. The most haunting one is fresh blood coming out of her eyes. She looked like she just fell off a cliff with sharp rocks underneath.

“Everyone, meet Naomi Yeo.”

From Time to Time

Right, where to begin?

I’ve been missing since last October and have not been updating any stories for the longest time ever. Adulthood (i.e. work and commuting between cities) took a toll on me in so many ways, don’t get me st–

Okay, so maybe that is where I can start.

Late 2018 was the busiest time at work, not to mention I finally got one (out of three) of my wisdom teeth pulled out. The procedure itself was not as gruesome as I imagined it would be (I have never been afraid of the drill sound since I was a kid, I was just weird that way), but post-surgery is indeed the most excruciating part: at least four days of swollen gum-slash-cheek, missing out on good meals during the holidays, the “recovery pain”, of course, and unexpectedly, the worst form of gastritis I needed to endure ever all throughout the first week of the new year. To think I have two more to go. Yippee.

But I still will opt that from dealing with people in the workplace as a general rule. I consider myself pretty fortunate because my team is helpful (not much drama that I can’t handle), the boss is nice, and the pay is alright. But some of the external stakeholders, unfortunately, are amongst the worst kind of people I have the absolute displeasure to meet. I constantly feel like I am tiptoeing between wasteful wrath and erratic anxiety inside, while I have to maintain a calm tone and a slight smile in meetings both virtually and in person. Honestly, if it’s the thoughts that count, I will be serving a life sentence by now. In a mental asylum.

Speaking of anything that is just as bad as dealing with people, getting personal paperwork done in one’s adult life feels even more like an achievement than I imagined it to be. Where I live, everything is in transition to be online-based but weirdly, it all becomes even more complex than it was before. This year is also gonna be the first time where I’m going to report my taxes by myself, and extend my passport in-country. With no clear information on the procedures publicly reliable enough, I suppose it is no exaggeration to say I am overwhelmed and exhausted.

Going through all of these, I guess I have also become more straightforward in speaking up against any ridiculous behavior or senseless opinions, which makes me look like I’m more prone to being seen as “sensitively passionate about (insert cause here)”. In the aftermath, I get to question if the fight is really worth it or regret how I no longer seem to be choosing my fights as wisely. Even if I do not really engage in these discussions, I found myself to be so frustrated, lamenting “WHY?” loudly in my head that it hurts. Things just seem so unfair, heart-breaking and depressing; almost as if calming down is no longer an option.

Nevertheless, I have become braver in saying things I never dared say out loud.

For instance, this thing about being “old” for turning thirty soon. My peers have been more and more age-conscious, and continuously saying “We’re getting old” in many situations, which can sound rather insulting especially to those turning forty and, of course, my parents’ generation currently struggling with mid-life crises and post-power syndrome. On the other hand, I do feel a certain type of unhealthy, self-pressure just because there will only be three years left before I turn thirty. I recently realized that it is not the concern of why I have not figured things out as “being thirty means being a proper adult” because, d’oh, there is no such thing; everybody’s just doing things on their own pace. Instead, it is this feeling of “I don’t think I have done all the things I wanted to do in my twenties before it’s over”, but I just don’t know what specifically it is I wanted to achieve at thirty or things I particularly wanted to try before thirty.

At this point, I feel like I really should be contained somewhere remote and not be allowed to communicate with society with concerns that my closest circle would probably kill me themselves due to exasperation.

Another one is about birthdays. I don’t like mine (there I said it) because I really do not see why I should be born to this bleak place, or why I should exist even in mind. All of this… living we need to do is just too bothersome. It also reminds me about my late grandfather, whose birthday is close to mine, which just makes me sad because he passed away around the time I finally felt I have an ally who could help untangle the madness that is my family. It doesn’t help that both our birthdays are close to the lunar new year and everyone is in a celebratory mood while I just want to be alone. But thankfully, it has not bothered me as much this past couple of years. Guess one develops some immunity to this; same with all these questions of relationships from the elder relatives.

To be honest, I was just too busy stuffing my face with all the food. One of the best part of the lunar new year (the other being the hongbao monies, of course. And these people are telling me to get married to be obliged to give them out. Ha!).

At the same time, responding to the article about anti-natalism which receives much attention these days, I do not find filing a lawsuit to my parents would solve my unwillingness to live. It is weird to feel a bit relieved and somewhat thankful that I am not the only person who thinks being born is a curse and that I hated that it happened, but even if I did sue my parents for it, I will still be struggling to survive this world anyway. The quickest way not to exist is there, but it is unfortunate that I am too much of a coward to suffer from physical pain. Not to mention my parents also had no choice of deciding they will have me–the person–as their child; they only know they will have a kid. So I don’t think it’s fair to blame it all on them.

With that, I also wanted to say something which I hope can also offer some consolation on why things still–or just–do not make sense in one’s adult life. Shit. Doesn’t. Discriminate, so it is with luck and goodness. Jerks are jerks no matter what gender, race or any belief they hold. Sometimes there is no reason that can explain why things turn out one way and not the other; sometimes it works, while on another it doesn’t, and that’s okay. It sucks and it angers us at the very moment it happens, but we should learn to let them go, especially if it’s something that is out of our control. Things just happen around here and sometimes it is not our fault that it came out a certain way. It’s the same with people. Assholes are assholes and they take all forms and shapes; there is no justification to blame them being assholes to any group they are profiled to belong with. If anything, they be shape-shifters.

As I write this, I feel glad that I can finally post something after so long, despite it turning out to be an unsolicited premature lecture about life in the end. But I suppose this may also be a good reminder for me to try to slot in doing something that I like or will take my mind off of whatever is happening around me, just to prevent me from exploding time bombs like this–keep myself functional enough. Now and again, at least.

Cheers to 2019 and the auspicious year of the pig.


It’s self-care day, in the most bizarre way possible.

For the past week, specifically, I have been overwhelmed with work and people. As usual, whenever I emotionally cannot take all the stress, my brain will try to overpower it by “just pushing through”, assuring myself the best course of action is not to be meek or make a fuss out of it “because it really is nothing”. This is obviously a failed attempt because when I reach my limit, it is the body that shuts down the whole system. It doesn’t help because the brain is still screaming deadlines and to-do lists while I am physically just too weak to get up and go to work.

My mind then shifted to thoughts about how work and life have been for me as of late. So I started to think of how I internally have not been dealing with crisis too well. Inside, I am frustrated and upset more than I can count, but I know I will never be able to publicly display it because (1) it is not helpful for anyone, and (2) people at work won’t take it very well because they might think it’s a personal attack and I still need to work with them for at least another year. Moreover, even I don’t trust myself to use the best words to express these complaints I have, so I have no choice but bottle it up inside and just put up my business-as-usual face. This isn’t healthy, I know, but I truly have nothing else up my sleeves on how to deal with this while maintaining a “professional facade”, which people seem to find more important than one’s well-being.

When the migraine was somewhat more bearable, I decided to sit up, have a cup of coffee and read–trying to find hints about how poorly I have been responding to things at work while it has been a huge improvement from the last. On one hand, I figured (and admitted) that my tendency for being self-sufficient, inconspicuous and detached from basically everyone actually has a fancy term–“withdrawal due to neurosis”. While people who have these traits may also wish for people to just disappear, mine is more towards being left alone; at least that I wish I can only surround myself with people I can trust and am comfortable with. This, in turn, explains why I can be very undiplomatic, to say the least, towards people I find difficult, usually the aggressive types. In a culture where people seem to prioritize over being non-confrontational–being “civil” is just not enough–even when the other party was the one who is being rude, you just cannot let them have a taste of their medicine either despite being in the right. Just thinking about it drains my energy already. Sheesh.

Another slap on the face was how it seems like I haven’t fully captured the essence of not internalizing the bad things in life. At a glance, I do agree that shit just happens sometimes and it doesn’t mean my whole life will be shitty, but I came to realize that this is not the case when I am in negative circumstances myself. There is always a little part of me who would be saying, “Why me?” or “See? Good things are fickle; it is the bad situations and difficult people that are given in life. You should’ve expected it. Still think that one day, things will become easier? Dream on, kid.” The way I cope with stress is by basically just expecting the worse out of everything, but what is worse is that I somehow believe that those are the only things that will happen in my life. “Because, really, have you not seen how things have been in your life so far? Not much of the better ones, no? Also, after the good ones, the bad ones are already lurking in many directions to hit you.”

They say it’s irrational to think that way. Rather superstitious. Needless to say, I am shooketh.

What is rational, then, is to believe that “the world holds infinite possibilities for us”; that “we are in control of our own destiny”; and that it is “we who upset ourselves by believing people and things can upset us”. I am trying to grasp these ideas as I’m typing this, but cannot seem to do so. I mean, surely people are such dicks at times even when they mean well, I get it, but “really? Will things not repeat itself? These patterns of disappointments, are they not an indication? How is that rational?”

Hence, another round of migraine.

It’s not that I am scared of opening this Pandora’s box. If you hadn’t noticed, my head is rather impatient when it comes to solving things, even when it hasn’t been able to fully comprehend something. I don’t understand if it is really me in control of certain things and whether I have what it takes to expect the best, that everything will work out just fine. I also doubt if this irrationality in me can somehow be fixed.

…maybe that means I am scared, after all.

Nevertheless, I feel more intrigued than terror-stricken. Identifying scars is still a form of self-care, no?


Been a while, hasn’t it?

I am not dead yet, unfortunately, but at least things have been looking up on one aspect of my life.

As soon as I resigned from my previous job, I landed another two weeks after. It was a temporary position, but it pays well and I got to learn a lot, from the people I work with and from the job field itself. It is definitely an upgrade, but more importantly, it feels like loosening a knot that is not even necessary to be tightened, to begin with. For that, I am grateful.

Yet the heavy feeling won’t really go away.

There are still good days and bad days for me, like a cycle. Most days, I was just sad. On another, there are triggers–glimpses of dysfunctionalities around me which reminds me I am broken and that there is no way for me to escape it. On certain moments where hope seems to win, it called out to me saying I don’t have to remain unfixed–that I may be okay and I will be if I get the chance to see myself out of the circumstances I am in. But another voice has the last word in this: will Lady Fortune be merciful enough to grant me that chance? Suddenly I am convinced that I may be predestined to misery and reprimanded myself that I shouldn’t have been stupid enough to listen to all these self-development gurus talking about “how everybody should aim for happiness” and “fulfillment of their potentials” bullshit when I was younger.

It does not help with how the society seems to believe that adults can and will sort out this stuff well eventually. Mostly they pretend to. Alas, not all of them make through it. And they only hurt other people with their bad choices as a consequence. Most cruel of all, nobody seems to want to do anything about it.

At times the heavy feeling only gets worse every second, thoughts of regret and self-hate become frequent yet there is no way of getting used to it. I found myself wishing that I could just be whisked away from this world, or even have the guts to end it all. But then I can already hear these shrieks of how death is never the way. “Just don’t do it!” they say.

How convenient.

Let me hear it out then, why is it that I can’t do it? I was born into this world without having any say in it. I don’t even enjoy most of it–I was only making my way from one option to another, which are obviously far from ideal. And now you’re telling me I can’t even make any decision on how I want to opt out of this terrible place?

Selfish, they say. So what, I simply need to keep on barely living so they will not have to deal with it? Which pot is calling the kettle black now?

It’s funny, that exact phrase: death is never the answer.

I’m sorry I’m not as brave as I should be. I’m sorry I’m not as strong. I’m sorry it doesn’t make sense. I’m sorry there isn’t one main cause that explains this. And finally, I’m sorry I’m not as lucky to not feel things the way I do.

But I’m not sorry that I do.

The Body in the Landfill (Trash Trio #1)



Design via Freepik by dilchh


“Chen Roo-ee…”

“It’s Ru, Mrs. Jones,” she said as she raised her hand, not having more people butcher her name anymore on the first day at school as a sixth grader. Mrs. Jones, the Math teacher, took notice of her and nodded with a rather nervous, “Okay,” and a slightly scarlet face. Ru thought she might also feel overwhelmed with all the sixth graders she needed to roll-call on her first day as well. But she really doesn’t want her classmates to get free ideas in case they eventually decide to pick on her. It got pretty bad for Barney Jones (everyone erupted to the I Love You song in the hallway) in fourth grade, and Sunny Le (they just laughed every time she was on roll-call until a teacher noticed this halfway through the semester) last year. Their names were not even exactly taken from another language as hers.

From her peripheral vision, she can see one of her classmates mindlessly looking at the clock, another playing with his pen, and another one, whom she never saw around before, has been dunking his head on the table since second period. It is understandable though, Ru reckoned. It has been a whole day of nothing but roll calls and pep talk.

Just as her stomach is about to grumble, the school bell rings. Ru hoped she would make it in time for the lone seat near the window at the cafeteria, also that the remaining two periods wouldn’t be too long.

Ru hopped on her bicycle and dashed out of the school gates. Like any other day, she went past the stores in Gran’s Avenue, all the way through the one bookstore in town, Wan’s, took a right and cycled away from the residential areas of Linford. She headed to the shortcut through the urban forest and crossed the shallow creek, which her mother is never really pleased about because she still reckons it too slippery and dangerous. But it got her down the hill by at least 10 minutes faster, so her Mom relented to her stubbornness on the condition that Ru does not use that path when it’s the rainy season.

She can already see the tiny security cabin with its signature blue roof she always frequented after school. She was excited to visit again after the last two weeks of summer she spent with her Dad who lived in another town following her parents’ divorce. But as she turned towards it, she heard sirens screaming, and saw that they came from two police cars and an ambulance, parked in front of the security cabin. She quietly stopped and placed her bike nearby a tree, and saw a familiar face, handcuffed and escorted by two huge policemen out of the cabin. A brown-and-white Akita, which was primarily the reason why Ru visited the place, barks and follows the officers along as if trying to ask the officers to let his owner go. In a blind panic, she hastily makes her way through the crowd.

“Terry!” she called out, which alerted the officers and Terry himself, “what happened?” The dog, named Milo, barked and went down the stairs and made to Ru’s side. It let out a sad whining sound.

“Ru,” Terry began, “please go home. The guy on the next shift will watch over Milo.”

“Is this kid related to you, Sir?” the officer asked.

“No, no,” Terry quickly replied. “she just usually comes here after school to play with the dog. I’ve told you my sister’s contact.”

“In that case, you should go home, kid. This is a crime scene. Your Mom won’t like you playing around here. Not to mention it’s too close to a dumpster,” the officer warned Ru, who was perplexed and still trying to put the pieces together.

“Wait, what do you mean a crime scene?” she asked, fidgeting, “and Terry has something to do with it? No way!” Another office was trying to coax her to leave saying that the police will handle it and she’d best stay out of the place when they heard something dropped on the floor and a tentative, “Uncle Terry?”

The boy with the sleeveless yellow down jacket over a red hoodie looked even more in shock, and this is the most alert Ru has seen him while he was basically sleeping through the whole first day. He dropped what looked like to be a lunchbox, which was probably Terry’s had he not been arrested. The other policeman, who looks slightly younger but meaner than the other one, was just about to open the door and shove Terry inside the car as he got frustrated with the interruptions.

“Please, officer, that’s my nephew,” Terry called out, “Max, go home and tell your Mom I’m at the police station. It’s just for some questioning, I’ll be fine, okay?”

“Alright, you two, stay out of the landfill. Someone was found dead,” the older officer said as he nodded to the crew who just lifted a bag inside the ambulance. He pointed to Max, “And you, kid, tell your Mom we’ll call from the station about your uncle.”

“He didn’t do anything wrong, did he? Why was he in handcuffs?” Max frightfully asked.

“We’re going to find out since your uncle may notice something when he started his shift early this morning.” And with that, he left with the police car and the ambulance.

“I-I’ll bring Milo with me,” Ru broke the silence as she also tried to get a grip on herself, “I don’t think anyone is going to come soon to feed him. W-will you…”

As Ru was just about to ask if he’s going to be okay and offered him some help, Max grabbed the lunchbox he dropped earlier, rushed to his bike and went off the other side of the road. Ru was startled but then hurried herself to get Milo in the pet basket Terry had, detached it from his bike into hers. She cycled home as she hoped nothing bad will happen to Terry.

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If Life is a Choice

What would life be like if I had a choice?

For starters, I would probably need not grovel much about the financial aspect of a job when seeking employment. I also would be able to start thinking about savings and pension plans early on.

On another note, I would likely be able to move out somewhere nearby the workplace–I do need the distance and the comfort of sleeping a couple more hours before getting ready to work. I would have more time to write and read, and do both more comfortably.  Need I say more?

I may have more chances to hang out and get to know my new friends as well as catch up with the old ones. I may be able to see them on lunch breaks just because. Just listening to them talk about their demanding bosses or horrible co-workers, laugh out about old times and let them cool down before coming back to each of our own hellhole; it seems nice. It is nice.

I would be able to provide a bit of a break for my brothers, probably spend some quality time with them in a place where they can just dream of anything, be strangers, experience new surroundings and come back as new individuals.

Maybe I can also have a break myself, somewhere I can dream of anything, be a stranger once more, experience new surroundings, learn and come back a new person.

If life gave me a choice, I would have time to think, more before I need to keep on moving forward and make ends meet. Perhaps I would have more time to think and feel, have more empathy for the world and its people. I would have more time to act upon that empathy, create and build something worthwhile.

Maybe having a legacy will not be meaningless at all. Maybe I would be able to see that I can do something different for the world; if life gave me a choice.

I would have more time to think and regret less. I may regret less, and I may even be tempted to give more.

For I have many, and more in store, and nothing at stake, so why should I hesitate?

But life offers none of those. Life offers no time, no means, just circumstances. Even worse, life throws a dice on them, so from the very first moment it started, it started with nothing but luck. Even for the bravest or stupidest of all, would anyone be as daring or idiotic to take it on?

So allow me to change the question: What would it be like if life is a choice in itself?

I no longer have any hint of shame for saying this out loud. For me, the answer is as clear as it can be.

If life is a choice, I won’t have any of it.

Traversing the Vortex

Throw some confetti in the air, pat me on the back and extend your congratulations because I officially fulfilled my one-year contract last Feb 5. Yay!

Or maybe not, considering unemployment is just right around the corner.

Looking back to the past few weeks and some drama (colour my surprise) which entails the good ol’ office life, I get reminded constantly that this may be a good decision after all. But of course, I can’t help but worry about the prospect of not being able to secure another job as immediately as I hoped it would be. It was quite a progress of my own to account for the interviews I have had the past month–compared to basically nothing in return for the applications I submitted for about 4 months last 2016–yet as there has been zero good news so far, I think it’s fair to be a bit anxious if this is going to be another long wait. Dear Lord, I sure hope not; it will make me a huge asshole for the family, and it will only make this financial family drama a lot worse.

Man, I was just preemptively laying it out and I’m already beat.

It also doesn’t help that it’s Chinese New Year soon, which means prep money for them red pockets. It’s good for me in a sense that I’m still accounted as the receiving end, but not so much for my old folks since us kids would be getting them prosperity packages from them. I also hated the whole tradition of having to buy new clothes and all, because they’re fucking expensive, and I’m about to be penniless due to the resignation, but my folks would insist on having new sets of clothing anyways. Come to think of it, I just had a little row with my Ma this morning because I refuse to get new shoes for work because it’s damn pricey. Nobody notices, except for her, and I still have another good pair I can wear on the visit to my relative’s house anyway, so I really cannot fathom the rush and the need of it while we’re still trying to pay off other more important stuff.

Having arguments about similar matters like these sound completely dumb, which was why I usually try not to mind it so much, sometimes by trying to just brush it off or compromise. Unfortunately, there are times when these things rub me off the wrong way and I was just frustrated about why it is even a problem. Having accumulated all the stress and exhaustion because of work, the handover, and the lack of assurance on the next job just burst the emotional bubble for me.

This is one of the things why I bode too well living alone and far away from all these strings attached and this miserable city I flunked into on the day of my birth lottery.

Nevertheless, I had three days remaining in this position and quite obviously cannot wait to sign up for another job soon–not because I just like working, but because life gave me absolutely no fucking option nor enough means to enjoy some down time. It’s the basics of survival; you know, money and experience. “Whatever for”, you ask? To get you to a better place before you die… or just to make sure someone can settle your bills for you when you die, because apparently nothing in this world is free, even when you’re leaving it for good.

Wish me luck for the upcoming interviews. Three cheers for the pseudo-life we’re all doomed in!

A Disappearing Act

Tallied it up to eleven months, and I cannot wait for next month to come as much as I don’t want it to. Yes, you heard me right. Let me explain.

On my last post, I mentioned that I needed to make a huge decision in the first week of the new year, and so I did. My term in this job will end next February.

It should make me feel relieved, shouldn’t it? It should make me feel less burdened since it meant I have to only spend six more weeks and then I will no longer be involved with unnecessary drama anymore. But it also means that it is exactly six more weeks before I (hopefully not) am a miserable jobless bum yet again, half-regretting my choice to leave before I secure another job. Yeah, way to go with helping out the family and all.

On the other hand, I reckon what makes me worry a lot is the fact that I am going to have a new boss in three days and will need to answer to him for at least one whole month. Also, his temporary replacement is not someone whose working style matches mine. First of all, I want the next three days to pass quickly, but then I am also super anxious for the rest of January up to the day I leave because I had no idea about how things will turn out while working with this boss. I found myself taking a deep, long breath as I finished writing this part.

Then again, I cannot do anything else but roll with it, can I? I’m also applying for any vacancies I laid my eyes on, so keeping my fingers crossed tight for that.

Another thing that has been bothering with me was my last conversations with my two previous bosses before they left. With the first boss, I find it harder communicating with compared with the second one. I had my share of mistakes as well, which I am not proud of, so I thought it was better for us to have a handshake, bid farewell, and leave it at that. But on their last day, they both are nice enough to say, “You have done well.” This triggered so many thoughts, mostly originated from this impostor syndrome I am forever doomed to be struggling with.

See, the working culture in my current office is that words like, “You have done a good job”, and, “You have worked hard”, are thrown away casually whenever any of the staff finishes their work or their shift for the day. Of course, it is nice to have people acknowledge that every end of the day, but then again, when the same words are being used a little too much–almost like a greeting–don’t they lose meaning in the process? The moment I heard them being said, I immediately brushed it off as nothing I should not take seriously. But left to my own devices, I suddenly felt sixteen-year-old me took over; a time when I wasn’t too fond of people when they are “just saying words”, because I could not really understand the point of it. It made me feel so self-conscious about other people’s perception, and the realization that I actually care annoyed me immensely. I hate it because it seemed like I haven’t learnt much after ten years of supposed self-development and reinvention. Pfft.

Life is getting too tiring, and I really don’t have anything to look forward to, be it within this year, next year or the next five years. I have already felt defeated by this year when it has barely started.

I don’t know, maybe I should stop trying at all. I have stopped hoping for the best years ago, because somehow the world doesn’t think I deserve it. I am close to call bullshit on preparing for the worst, because life is always waiting in the corner to mess everything up and I am left with nothing to expect. I should just accept the fact that I will slowly go numb, then selfish, and finally conceited since, so far, that is the only thing that work and adulthood demanded me to be to survive. But I can’t.

Now that I found one escape path for the former, I should probably be more grateful. If only I was the only one at stake.

One month to go, and afterwards, I can’t think of anything else but an opportunity for me to start anew.

Who Would’ve Thunk It’s 2018?

Another year, another gratuitous early year blog post.
Without further ado, allow me to begin with this snazzy infographic on how the past year has been for me.

2017 year in review

On the achievement side of things, I did manage to go from jobless to employed af. By that, I mean, at least for the first 7 months, the word “weekends” and “relaxation” have never been more unrelated. Having been at the job for 11 months, at a glance, this surely is something worth a pat on my back, or so I thought. There’s too much office drama going on that somehow made its way to entangle everyone, including me, and I honestly can’t stand it anymore. Yet I am also constantly worried about the prospect of having to be penniless in the upcoming months before I can find a new job.

But, truly, I don’t think I should doom myself to this for another year. I don’t think my irregular counseling sessions will suffice to get me through.

It’s funny because, in hindsight, the whole thesis-writing agony in 2016 does not seem so bad.

I read in between my commutes, which is hard because it usually takes 2.5 to 3 hours for me to reach home, and the bus is overwhelmingly crowded. At times, my brain simply refused to grasp more information after work that picking up my ebook reader seems too much. I was devastated for a while because reading used to cheer me up a lot, but now because of the routine, I am reduced to functioning as a numb robot that craves only for food and sleep, which will never be enough.

Not only that I read fewer books, I also write less this past year. This blog has contained nothing but my monthly evaluation of how work has been and whether I am staying or leaving. So far, it’s 10:0, with all votes against staying. But this financial concern has been eating me as much as my internal rejection of remaining in the job, which drives me nuts.

Still, I am thankful for some of my colleagues who have been so helpful that somehow I felt like I have gained new friends at work. The family is still struggling with dysfunctionality, but well, I can’t do anything about it but brood about it on my bad days and stay patient about it on my good days. Anyways, everyone is trying to keep it together, so I guess that’s quite enough. I just need some space, and distance, if possible. I can never be more grateful for the support of my closest friends who have made the dreadful weekdays endurable, as much as they have made the weekends and holidays worth anticipating. Oh, and the little surprise by the end of the year; I am glad to make it my first reunion ever.

Now, what to expect in 2018?

To begin with, I needed to make a huge decision within these 4 days. For my own sake, it would be too easy, but unfortunately, there are other factors which come into the equation. My only hope right now is that my panic alarm will not betray me with indecision on the due date.

Only then I would probably be able to think straight and plan out the year. I am starting a bullet journal, a bit worried about whether it will be helpful for me to sort things out and start healthier habits and keep being productive in reading and writing. But, what the hell, at least I’m giving it a go.

All in all, I just hope 2018 will suck less, and that came with the least amount of expectation I can gather with how dispiriting 2017 has been. Cheers for more regular therapy sessions and a new job opportunity!