Teetering

Source: Edge

I can’t even think how it feels like to stand on the edge of a cliff, with the view of deep waters below waiting to consume me… because I’m definitely going to wee on myself out of fear. If it isn’t adequately explicit, I’d like to reiterate that I do have a huge issue with heights and falling–surely enough an excuse for a grown woman to behave like a two-year old.

That is also not one of the methods I would choose to die, if I have the right for a last request.

Despite the lack of imagination, I had no idea why I constantly feel like I am on the verge, fighting the fear so I could take the plunge and just end all these bullshit ritual I had to go through in life. The horror is still there to keep me at bay, but I definitely can sense it is weakening lately. Or rather, my mind is playing tricks on me saying that the waters aren’t as deep as I thought, as much as the fall would only terrify me for a second. It’s almost as if it’s telling me the last thing I will feel is not regret, but relief.

Then another voice would tell me that it’s probably because I literally relieved myself. I would shake my head, cringing, repeatedly telling myself I ain’t leaving the world with peeing in my pants as the last thing I’m gonna be caught doing. Nu’uh.

Yet I should say, the intervals where the whole thought process goes has been increasing recently, as I tried building up the “motivation” (red. rush of panic) to write my thesis. Quite clearly, it doesn’t function well as an incentive as I simply don’t give the tiniest shit about the question of “what then” anymore. What to do now to be able to do next, what I need and want to do–they all seem equally pointless.

Believe me, I tried sleeping early and waking up early, triggering the rush, omitting all distractions, cutting the workload to achievable targets, self-shaming and scaring myself with imagined scenarios of things I wouldn’t like to happen had I not finished the bloody piece of pretentious bullshit to get a meaningless degree I am not even sure I need or want on the first place… and then I went back to square one, blaming myself for giving in to my idiotic impulse without even considering if I am capable enough for the whole schooling process as well as the diploma. I probably am just causing inconveniences to my advising professors and fellow students in class, even by trying. Not to mention this very ramble would probably offend those who are genuinely committed graduate students–I am truly sorry and ashamed for sharing the same status without possessing similar merits.

Oh, and letting these out of the system does not help this time. Even worse, I broke down in front of my faraway parents on a stupid call the other day–now they wouldn’t fucking take my bullshit about being ‘okay’ anymore, worrying about me more than parents normally would, which is already a lot. Brilliant. A cherry on top of a shitload of anxiety and depression scoops.

Mildly put, I ran out of ideas to make myself functional. My cold feet holding me back from taking the leap as the voice of reason within me seemingly hibernating, preventing me to conceive hysteria nor any good feeling to operate.

God Almighty, just… why? Even lamenting like this makes me feel more a whiny moron than before. Great job on oversharing again, bloody typical millennial.

At least please let the thought of me weeing myself be an effective deterrent, suppose it keeps me from answering the call of the void.

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Arduous Adulting: Act One

Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!” Tell us about it. Thanks for the idea, emilyeggplant!

Source: Never Again

Please remain seated at all times as this is going to be the same old rant-and-rave all over again. In case of inconveniences and emergencies, please proceed to exit by clicking the x-button at the top right of your screen. Thank you.

And so the curtain falls open.

Enter the naive little protagonist as high-spirited as she can be, welcoming this new adventure despite her natural skittishness. She hopped on the plane, went off to learn and explore a foreign land, hoping that she might be able to acquire new skills, meet new people and most importantly to have her own privacy to think about what she wants and what life offers her. Despite her own flaws and limitations, she felt like she grew as a person, achieved the first two on the list just enough, but not the last one. At least not yet, she thinks, and I still have time. Little that she knows, time cannot always tell.

She continued her journey, holding firmly onto her principle of sensibility, because obviously that’s what everyone needs to do to surviveno? Off she goes to her first conscious, yet not necessarily unstructured, decision to pursue another level of higher education. She walked through the doors of graduate school with determination–she then believes it is the key to a flicker of security that is employment–only to find the process unbearable and the merrier prospect thin.

She has expected the minimum of the experience only to be disappointed even further. She came to learn that it might even help not to even expect anything at all, which is a difficult task to do in itself with the need to reason why before taking the first step into basically anything. Ironically, both what she did not expect results into two complete opposites. She met those she can confide in as friends, and thus she has never been more content in her experience of social encounters. Yet not once in her mind had she imagined her lifetime strategy of tolerance finally wavers down in none other than the critical juncture of the pavement to graduation. Our protagonist, in her own little story, is poisoned by her own medicine, attacked by her own immune system. It’s a mental lupus.

At that moment, she recalled the third and fourth line of the second stanza of a poem that left her a deep impression:

…Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed…

Hence she kept her head high, exerting the last of her willingness and rush of panic to finish her study. Albeit the brutality of fighting the constant enticement of the three vices (the Bed, the Internet and Pointless Philosophizing), she survived once more…

Oh, I wish that is what factually happened to our leading lady–with all humility to how small her contribution to the world she lives in, despite imaginary. She has not even lift her finger to touch the books she is supposed to be reading unless when due dates from the library approaches. I agree that she is rather pathetic than worth sympathizing: her bloodied head is practically touching the ground hard, under the bludgeonings of procrastination, laziness and quarter-life crisis.

And I cannot agree more, she should by now at least–putting it the way she has always preferred it–be “sensible” enough to say, “Never again!” if any opportunity of further schooling that enlist any forms of dissertation writing compulsory. That, if she at least to manage survive this one.

The Last Goodbye

Imagining death and life reflection for the prompt: Write your own eulogy.

Source: 365 Days of Writing Prompt by the dailypost.wordpress.com

Dear family and friends,

I trust this sort-of self-eulogy in the care of my best of friends, Lexie and Karan, to be read in the time of my death, shall they not depart the world before I do. Had they pass away, this would be conferred to my brothers, Ralph and Ray, as I reckon only both of them might find the idea less depressing than the rest of the family members.

Having been rather cynical towards the idea of being remembered or leaving a legacy and the sort, weirdly enough, I decided I would like to have a final word after having drawn my last breath as I picture I might not be coherent enough in my death bed. I assume it was either because of my anxiety issue which has never left me even in old age, or probably because I was found lifeless in my sleep after asking if there is enough warm water for bath, which of course does not mean anything no matter how hard one tries to decipher it as a certain metaphor about life, or superstitious musings.

So to clear up possible misunderstandings, allow me to share you an old woman’s take on roaming the earth for what I presume would be approximately 74 years of life.

Being born a millennial, I did not realize how I fit the stereotype until the time I finished university and realized how I much I care about achieving ultimate happiness and how everyone is entitled to it, up until the fallout in the pre-proper employment phase called graduate school. I started to embrace pragmatism in the workplace without looking back to those naive late adolescent days, because, really, beggars aren’t choosers. Not to that extreme though, because I still demand a decent pay, ability to be detached personally and maintain professionalism, and most importantly, weekends-off from work in my criteria of what constitute an okay job. Point is, your job should not, and does not define you or your happiness as a whole. There are other things you can dwell in and have fun with regardless it becoming your profession.

Another thing that is equally important is to choose your friends. I know, most people will tell you that you shouldn’t, but I tell you this for once, yes, you should. Make acquaintances, but do not let the toxic ones get the best of you just because you feel like you need to still be close to them no matter what. Being nice does not mean letting them corrode your sanity; sometimes you need to let go of them so that you can have better quality friendships with those who matter to you as much as you matter to them. Same goes with distant family members, or those who only approach you as though you’re the nearest bank to their household.

Little things can be meaningful, especially if you’re born a middle-class peasant like me. Social mobility, to some extent, is still, or at least appears as a myth when I was younger. So, write, read, play a musical instrument, video games or sports of your interest, without having the pressure it should be something big. There are no promises that it will be, either. Just have fun with it as long as the fates allow. Mine is preserved online in a blog. It was one of those days when I have neither regrets making one, nor worries about people coming to read it. I just like to write, and that is all that matters. Mind you, likes and nice comments are extras.

Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who has managed to bear with having me around for the past years of my life. I honestly thought I will die a loner, which I don’t think is something that should be frowned or pitied upon. Nevertheless, it is the fact that having every one of you, who had developed, supported, criticized and loved me along the way which has edified life for me, which I still have problems to determine what it is up until the end. But I guess so does everyone else. Yet your existence in mine has made it less a bleak world to live in. Thank you. My prayers are with you.

Thus concluded my ramblings, which I am fully aware will be dismissed in no time. By no means I tried to implore you to do the otherwise, so please do not be terrified of the utterly preposterous nonsense, like a wrathful phantom haunting you should I not be remembered.

For those who happen to reminisce for old time’s sake, I wish you fond memories of an egalitarian pragmatic who is proud to have called you a loved one. In case of afterlife, until next time.

Charmed to Catch Flies

What bores you?

Source: ( YAWN )

Despite being relatively dull myself, ironically I got bored quite easily with things when I have been doing it for a while. It possibly is the law of diminishing marginal return applied in real life, but it might be a curse I was born with. Destined to only be able to enjoy the first bits of everything, but never the last bite. To delight oneself in the sowing, but never the reaping. I had no idea what my ancestors did that I need to suffer from this.

Of all the things that could jade me, which is a whole lot, the very first one that pops out of my mind is romantic-comedies. Rom-com bores me to death because the plots are just too bloody repetitive. Not to mention the main characters tend to give me secondhand embarrassment as they seem to, without fail, manage to be caught in situations that are just ridiculously dim-witted. Little old me! Giving meself a facepalm or cringing to oblivion because someone manage to humiliate themselves instead of empathizing with them; that certainly does not happen often. I guess this is also why I am never invited to any sleepovers or the sort when I was younger. Likewise, I am glad to be relieved from the searing agony of drowning in layers of shame and sappiness, because I ain’t pretending to enjoy that.

Talking about more serious issues, I find what I am currently studying in gradschool severely tedious, and this is probably related to the jinx I suspect I am under. I decided to pursue another degree in something that initially I can still tolerate out of practicality, thinking that I still can compensate it with how I like learning generally. I reckon there is always this satisfying feeling of acquiring little snippets of knowledge from pretty much anything. Also, I thought it is wise to study something one is familiar with for another degree, so it will be easier to narrow down job preferences and all. Instead, I feel like I have been wasting my time because, not only that I found myself increasingly indifferent of the academic experience up to the point of apathy, I have not managed to figure any profession related to what I am studying that I can imagine doing in the near future. A great leap backwards, I should say. Not only that I may only be able to call the things I like to do as merely hobbies, but also that people, especially job interviewers, don’t like quitters. Needless to say, I am stuck.

Thus begins the vortex of the early quarter-life crisis. I swear, I am exhausted of complaining about this again and again I am desperate to escape this spiral of sleepless nights pondering about questions larger than life, and the nonsensical torture of procrastination and temporary distraction. I don’t want to be 30 and jobless, weeping to Mum, asking her to tell off the world for being a meanie to me, me, me.

I need a curse breaker. Immediately.

Poise and Rationality

In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?

Source: Reason to Believe

My initial reaction to the question was another question: reason to believe in what?

Then I realized I probably should check out the lyrics of the song, which I eventually did, only to be met with more questions in my head. Like everyone else, I suppose Springsteen was also trying to be discreet in his take on life as well, whether it’s a brighter one indicating hope, or it is the more-likely depressing one. Or maybe he was simply putting the question out there: looking at all the shit happening, what do you believe in?

When discussing the theme of death, birth, and–things that happen in between both–love, life, I reckon people’s take on the world would also vary depends on things they encounter in a daily basis, wouldn’t it? It will differ in the way they are raised, the environment they are raised, and even that does not guarantee a generalization of what people with a certain background will conclude as true and eventually act upon. Changes happen–natural disasters, lost of a loved one, more unfavorable or favorable financial conditions, promotions, better life conditions, acquiring friends after believing too long that one is destined for solitude–in different stages of life deemed critical, and in even that abrupt lapse of time, one may be able to internalize something that became their very outlook of life, which might be completely in contrast to how they perceive it before, or maybe reify the assumptions one has held for too long.

I am not sure if this is the correct way to call it, but I would say I am currently in the “early quarter life crisis” stage of my life. I am nearing age 25, and I have not been employed in a full-time job but is about to attain a graduate degree soon. Hopefully. I am scared with not being able to get this whole academic crap done before it’s due, because in my hearts of hearts, I know if I hate doing something (for example, thesis-writing, or anything related to writing academic nonsense I can only come up with), I will naturally procrastinate. Hard-core. Even if I can make it through, I am still terrified with whatever awaits me post-graduation. I can only hope it is not unemployment.

In this stage of life, I found myself picturing two schemes, the ideal and the less ideal. The ideal involves the thought that everything will be sorted and eventually things will get better. The less ideal is basically the worst case scenario, when things do not work out, and all that is left is the question, “What then?”. It’s true that even if the ideal situation is to push through, the question remains. But at least the mind is relatively clear enough to be able to slowly figure something out as previous responsibilities are off the hook.

So, looking at the mess I have imposed upon myself, I find some reason to believe that there is no point meddling with too much thoughts about how one is supposed to live life. It is brutally pointless to look back and regret some previous decisions you made, as much as it is to fantasize how someday it will treat you fairly with the aspirations or effort you have put in for years. It is too masochistic to beat oneself up to be distressed about the present that one has brought upon as a consequence of past choices, and also to be only prophesying how bleak the future will be because of current uncertainties. Life has never been certain anyway.

The only way to go on as one keeps some sanity in tact will be to balance out all the pandemonium surrounding it. When worrying too much about the future, it signals the need for the little pleasures that will elucidate how life can be worth living, without adding further responsibilities that could get out of hand. When ecstatic and in favorable conditions, reserve judgment to avoid meaningless pledges or sickly sweet nothings. Make sensible priorities, then follow through. Take a breather. Then go again.

It’s a struggle, but what else can you do other than make your way through it somehow, if death is not considered an option?

Serial Laborer

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?

Source: Resolved

Nope.

Well, this post ended quickly. N’ah, I should still give my take on it because that’s obviously just the way I roll. Pfffttt.

The recurring New Year’s resolutions that makes my list every year up to 2013 is getting fit or losing weight and stop procrastinating, which I unquestionably fail to keep. That is also why I did not even bother to include them in my 2014 resolution.

In 2015, I mustered up some courage to make another resolution: being an intern. Not only did I fail to even apply for anything available because I was too preoccupied with schoolwork and my thesis proposal that I missed the deadlines by the end of the year, I guess stupid me also forgot that the candidate-examination-and-acceptance part was beyond my control. The miserably failed plan was responsible for the lack of a supposed activity (I am completely ignoring the word “thesis” screaming at the back of my head) that I am currently in, which leads me to starting this blog. Yay.

I am a sorry excuse of an adult. And gradschool student.

Funny thing is I ended up doing stuff I did not plan at all. I went out of the country solely for travelling purposes for the first time, which despite of the anxiety days before the departure, is an awesome experience. I gained new friends, which I still consider worth celebrating as I love to be in my room almost all the time. Not to mention that I am rubbish in any social setting. I read over 15 books for fun, which is a new record of achievement. I should credit this to a good friend though, for without her, I may not even know half of the books I finished reading throughout the year.

I started thinking this is a mind trick to make me conclude that it is better not to plan anything and just go with the flow, which I realize does not work all the time. This thought brought me to my current take on resolutions: they are too big of a word.

Some tend to make a big deal about it, share it for everyone to see, and some beat themselves too badly if they cannot keep it. And some, like me, perhaps just forget their own boundaries and limitations when setting it. I cannot multi-task in a sense that, if I have more than one big goal in the same time, my way of dealing with it would be to finish one after the other; or else, I ended up just procrastinating and not get anything done. I did try to prove the otherwise, and obviously it didn’t end up well.

I currently have no formal resolutions for 2016, but I do have plans on what I want to start or finish this year. Some are more exciting than the other, but what I kept in mind is mostly what I learn from last year: doing stuff at my own pace, one step at a time. Because I honestly have no idea how else I am going to get stuff done. I have come to believe that this is the one way my mind and body function, and I guess this lesson is worth the sleepless nights thinking of why I am such a failure.

Oh, and I refuse to share it because, not only that it is irrelevant to the prompt question, apparently it does not work for me as well. Just don’t want to jinx it, you see.

 

Sticky Situation

Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?

Source: Happy Endings

Without further ado, one of the things I have tried to quit was… religion.

And let the virtual hunger games begin.

In all seriousness despite the sorry excuse of a joke, the one thing that crosses my mind when I saw the theme is neither the changes in my outlook in life, nor any habitual problems, so it might be out of context. I tried quitting gradschool. And obviously, it sticks, which brings me to the misery of thesis writing.

One might respond by saying, “Come on, it’s not like you need to go to gradschool anyway. If anything, you brought this so-called agony onto yourself. Why would you keep doing anything you do not enjoy anyway?”

First things first. Yes, there is no written requirement for me to pursue a Master’s degree. This was initially just the lesser of the three evils I had to choose; the other one being unemployed, and another one was going down the rabbit hole of jobs I am not even sure I am capable of doing. I applied for both a job and gradschool simultaneously, and little did I know I was accepted quicker than I had job offers. So there we go.

Another thing is that turns out gradschool is not how I expected it to be, at least at the school I am currently attending. I was surrounded by people who are mostly there not for the academic zeal, but for the top grades and diploma, which I thought only happened in undergrad as it seems almost informally mandatory nowadays. Methinks me simpleton self will be encouraged to learn more, to be more critical and analytical and all the fancy stuff in the scholarly experience, but that is not the case.

I guess what also makes thoughts of quitting attack me almost as frequently is because I came to realize that probably what I learn here is good for the mind, but not for the pocket. I knew that what I learn is more of a gray area full of opinions, but I naively thought that there is still hope that it would land me a job somehow. With the lack of internship vacancies around, it is safe to say that I have never been so wrong.

Better yet, or worse to be exact, after two years, I also realized that doing stuff you don’t particularly like is quite a drag no matter how aware you are on the fact that you were only doing stuff out of practicality. Even harsher is that after those years you still can’t quite figure what it is that you’re looking for in life or in a job. The worst would probably the situation that I am currently in: I came to understand that what I like to do is of no value according to capitalism–even if it is, only a few people may succeed, and we would never know the specifics of the “selection”.

And so you may understand why I stick with it up to today. I am stuck. I don’t really like it, but I have no better option. I am also probably a coward because I reckon I am risking too much if I were to defy the odds by actually halting this midway. Let me tell you this: playing safe most of the time does ensure your survival, at least on the short term. Much to the contrary of what all those self-righteous coaches or characters believe in, innit? Well, life is not like the movies… which is why we need it to satisfy our unexplainable, sentimental need to reach the somewhat impossible or break off limits, as long as we know that in the current system we are in, one could only do so much to relive it through cinemas, books and other forms of entertainment available. Keep in mind that you need the means to obtain them, too, and how is that? Yeah, working long hours and tedious jobs.

I still maintain that those who knows where their passion lies and are able to make it lucrative enough are those people who are either ascribed to or achieved a certain amount of privilege. Achieved? Yeah, so for some other people, they may attain it one day. Never really too late, I guess.

But my unscientific tip for living in the now: make most of it, even though it feels like your brain and soul is almost crushed to death. Just don’t let those things define you, and there is no pressure whatsoever to acknowledge the fact that we are clueless about life. Most people, at least those I trust enough to share this concern, don’t. We may not know what our calling is or perhaps come to realize that it was not as celebrated as other skills or personas, but I guess at least we are capable enough to survive for the time being, and die another day.

No, I am not a James Bond fan.

And that is the end of another bloody irrelevant post, pointlessly published to ease the ongoing debates in my head, which gives me trouble sleeping.

New Year Scare

Happy effin 2016. This is the one year I was not indifferent to because I am strongly expressing how I am not anticipating it the way people positively consider it as surviving another year… because obviously, new things are uncertain. Why do I react to this like the thought has never crossed my mind before then? Because I am about to transition to another phase of blatant unemployment nearing the second half of the year. I am graduating this summer… hopefully.

If I survived all the hullabaloo of thesis-writing, I will officially assume my degree of Master in Procrastination and LinkedIn Hobo, thus leveling up (?) from the state of covert to overt unemployment. I am freaking out because I have not any full-time job experience before hopping onto this whole gradschool ride, and I am scared shitless of the possibility of potential employers thinking I am either under or over-qualified for a position I am applying for and then proceeded to reject my application. I am currently looking for internship opportunities, which has been fruitless so far. The clock’s ticking, and I am horrified of the worst case scenario waiting for me by this August: the uselessness of the degree, even the program as a whole; wasting the last 3 years of my life.

To set it straight, I have readied myself on simply spreading my resume like wild fire and the high probability of me getting a job I might not necessarily like, because I do not even know what it is I like to do… well, at least anything that is worth a monthly salary. Yet the thought of actually having to go through such experience terrifies me. I do have some things I might be looking forward to do in the weekends, if I will properly have any by then, but I’m not even sure if that is enough to assure me I would not be eventually succumbed to the black hole of indifference and existential crisis; whether I consider it as enough an expression of identity and self-fulfillment. I am afraid that I will be consumed by greed as I hopelessly aim higher to turn those things profitable because I am sick of doing the other job for five days a week, while it is apparent that I might not have the odds to make it.

 

I apologize for my inability to unfailingly consider all of the least favorable possibilities.

I’m not even sure if writing it down may calm me down, because knowing the Internet, probably I would just prepare myself of getting bashed for being a whiny, ungrateful twat. Or simply that the post will never receive any form of response, which is probably the better of the two.

Maybe I should pick up ignorance as a new year’s resolution, which everyone prescribed as the recipe to bliss. I doubt it though… I mean, the whole “ignorance is bliss” thing as well as keeping any form of resolution throughout the year.

If you’ll excuse me, I’d best be on my way to write something else while looking for job vacancies now.

On “Happiness”

Once, I was having a nice dinner with a friend, and naturally the conversation got deeper as the ‘hangry’ alert in our brains are put to stop… only to be replaced with a food comma afterwards. But that is beside the point.

As I was saying, we got to talk about something rather abstract. Both of us are foreign students from different backgrounds, pursuing different careers, but basically, we were pretty much on the phase where we were jaded with our efforts to fit in the society we are in, which brings us to the classic, yet totally not helpful questions: Why am I here again? Was I expecting too much in the beginning? Or aiming to high? Is it too soon to judge? If you are alone, all the abomination within you will just break loose, ruining your day. But because we were physically together and mentally on the same boat, well, I had no idea why, but it feels nicer knowing someone is there saying, “I feel ya, mate”. Although we do not manage to sort things out, at least it gets your mind off of it for a moment.

There was one particular issue which we spend some time pondering about. It was a simple question she directed to me: “Are you happy?”

Perhaps it is true that the simplest things in life that is the most extraordinary. Putting that in context, I mean that the question might be simple, but obviously, responding with a solid yes or no to it is no piece of cake. The first thing that comes to my mind by then was, “I don’t know really. How do you even measure happiness?”

“I mean, I am grateful that I get to become friends with new people here. I feel quite content physically because even though I am not exercising regularly, I am not in constant medication and I still can keep up with my daily activities. And financially, I manage quite well,” I continued, “But in another sense, I do feel a little disappointed with the whole academic experience, and I feel like I probably should study something else. I feel bad that I am not as fluent with the language as I thought I should be after a year of formal learning experience. I dislike the whole baggage of national representation which I am enormously reluctant to take, yet it seems like the norm already wherever you go, so I can’t help it. Considering all this, how can I easily decide whether I am happy or not?”

Initially she told me that somehow, because my immediate answer is not a “Yes”, it implies that I am not happy. Yet she seem to also take the point of my argument to attention. She brought up the discussion on one’s goals in life to the table, and that one usually measures their happiness by seeing whether these goals are achieved, usually one at a time.

In that sense, I told her that generally I have two goals in life; the immediate, short-term ones, and the long-term ones. These short-term ones may or may not be related to the long-term ones, and currently I am far from reaching the latter. The short-term goals are partially achieved, as they consisted of those that are mostly physical and trivial. In this case, I reckon the state of partial achievement of the short-term goals and the lack of any for the long-term goals do not necessarily mean that I am currently distressed.

Maybe it’s just because I am more near-sighted than visionary, or because I see happiness as an ultimate ideal rather than merely a mental state of one’s pleasant emotions, but I guess being “alright” is enough for the moment. Food, water, clothing, place to stay, books… and maybe occasional human company–just enumerating the essentials constituting a “fine” for an answer to “How are you today?”.

Well, emotions, even the positive ones, have always been difficult to fathom, anyway.