I’m sad but I’m euphoric at the same time, a dangerous combination at the best of times. What this means is that I’ll probably spend too much, give gifts away freely, end up in the bedrooms of strangers, on the ledges of bridges and eventually inside a clinic or two. Yes, I’ve turned into a walking cliche.
On the eve of the Year of the Rooster, I solemnly resolve to…
- Actually finish a book, instead of leafing through its pages and abandoning it to the pile at the bottom of my bed.
- Read more fiction, again. Overcome the emotional numbness I feel when faced with fictional characters. Sustain my way through a narrative instead of feeling lost, confused, tired, disoriented; persist.
- Lose weight.
- Improve my mental health through plausible means, e.g. light exercise, light reading, light social interaction, vitamins both metaphorical and literal.
- Stick to the job I have and not moan about it.
- Save up, like the good girl I’m supposed to be.
- Keep trysts with strangers to a minimum.
- Put love before sex.
- Stop flirting with implausible and impossible people, from those hopelessly out of my league to no-hopers.
- Write like there’s no tomorrow, once again, however crap or inconsistent the outcome.
- Make new friends, instead of rehabilitating old friendships which are half-desiccated anyway.
- Travel to somewhere familiar yet exotic – a place I’ve firmly left behind, for instance, now irrevocably changed.
- Take better care of my aging skin, accept that my hair is greying, and greying fast; embrace the inevitable.
- Love the old people in my life – a.k.a. my parents, more, and match that love with actions big and small. From swallowing my anger to pouring them cups of tea, be the filial daughter I once thought I would be.
- Hold on; keep on keeping on. Find the green light, locate the Yellow Brick Road, book my plane ticket to a place beyond the proverbial rainbow.
- And if there’s no green light, no Yellow Brick Road, no rainbow at the end of the tunnel, accept loneliness at its most crushing, and learn to find hope in small places.
Because, at the end of the day, there but for the grace of God go I… …I know, deep down, that it could easily have been me, the homeless man in the subway, the hanged man in his own living room, the terrified inmate in the care centre.
Happy New Year (to no one in particular), and God bless!
Once there was a girl who wanted to be a nun.
Then she wanted to be a video store clerk, then a waitress in a 50s-style diner, then finally settled on ‘writer’.
Then she got greedy – she thought she could do more. She crammed things into her already squeezed brain. One day, it exploded. And slowly, she watched the proverbial figs ripen and rot and fall at her feet.
‘Plop, ‘plop’, ‘plop’.
Then finally, she went crazy, and nowadays it seems like an increasing likely reality that she’ll indeed spend the rest of her life as a waitress in a 50s-style diner, her love life that of a nun’s.
Except there are no 50s-style diners around anymore.
On side note, this little girl once wrote ‘I want to be a boy’ when asked ‘What do you want to be in the future?’ during her elementary school days. But that’s a whole different can of worms, best left to another day.
I’ve always trusted my gut instinct when it comes to love and career. Perhaps that’s why I’ve failed terribly at both. I quit before there’s any chance of failing or succeeding. I curtail things before they come to fruition, before even the words ‘I love you’ has been said. Basically, I try very hard to not try, most of the time, a depressingly teenage attitude I thought I would’ve gotten rid of by 2016, but clearly not.
Opened my wardrobe and realised I’m regressing in more ways than one – the babydoll dresses, the Peter Pan collars, the mini-skirts, the multi-coloured stockings. It’s the 1990s again, except it’s so blatantly not, especially when I encounter things like smartphones, ads of a half-naked Justin Beiber and my own aged face staring back at me from the mirror.
Came upon a cache of old photos in my computer yesterday night…was riveted by my younger self. What I wouldn’t give… …do I want to be 21 again? Not really. But do I wish I’ve never met the friends I’m doomed to have met? Perhaps. And do I wish I’ver never fucked the people I should’ve politely asked to fuck off instead? Hell yes. Definitely. In fact there are days when I long to return to a state of utter virginity, before any flesh was breached.
‘Maybe next life time… ….’ sang Erykah Badu once. I feel that way about everything i feel like I should’ve rightfully achieved, but haven’t, due to personal failings, frankly terrifying circumstances and a wonky gene pattern.
So many things I have to postpone till my reincarnation. Travelling to Macchu Picchu, getting promoted, getting married, having kids, getting book(s) published. At least, that’s the way I feel on days like this. The rain and the damp doesn’t help.
On days like this, it’s as if the blues and the mean reds collide together in one toxic cocktail, knocking me sideways.
I know everyone hurts, though. The proliferation of suicide hotlines in this city is proof enough of that.
How terrible it is that I have to remind myself of the power of life by referring to other people’s misery, and potential deaths. But at least, well, we’re not alone – we’re all in the same mad, bad, boat.
My reading wish-list for the New Year. That is, if I ever find the energy to read (time – well, that, I have plenty of)
1. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (please, please, paperback soon?)
2. The Lagoon by Armand Marie Leroi (again, paperback, pretty please)
3. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (the paperback problem persists)
4. The Beautiful Fall – Fashion, Genius and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris by Alicia Drake (Yves Saint Laurent grows from shy teenager into fashion supremo in this really readable biography. Dishes the dirt, but still smart and literary – at least, this is from the bits that I’ve read so far!)
5. Saga Volumes 2-4 (Why haven’t i discovered this earlier! Such glorious artwork and smart, heartbreaking writing! The most gripping mainstreamish thing since I finished Sandman years ago)
6. After Theory by Terry Eagleton (I keep promising myself I will finish this)
When does normal officially become abnormal, for other people? Is it when you get a clinical diagnosis and inform them, or when behavior simply becomes too bizarre to be ignored? For many friends and family, watching a loved one struggle with mental demons is like peering into a snowglobe – they can watch and react in perplexity and (eventually) horror for all they like, but some things are simply beyond understanding, despite the best of intentions. And perhaps more importantly, they might not even realize that what they’re looking at is mental illness itself, so blurred is the line between normality and insanity. I mean, we’re dealing with psychology here, not physics!