“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
That’s two hundred and thirty-nine lives.
That’s over two hundred souls, vanished. Like dust in the noonday light; floating and basking and falling, landing into a neat nook, completely gone to the naked eye.
No signs of wreckage, no conclusive debris found.
Over two hundred souls on board. Did they even have the time react to whatever that came their way? How many seconds of prayer did they have to make peace with the lives they have lead?
67 hours on and no distress calls, no Emergency Locator Transmitter, no signals of any sort. Nothing.
Two hundred and thirty-nine lives.
Two hundred and thirty-nine souls.
The world suddenly seems a lot smaller and bigger at the same time.
“You know you’re fucked when those late night thoughts start hitting you in the middle of the day.”
“What if all women were bigger and stronger than you? And thought they were smarter? What if women were the ones who started wars? What if too many of your friends had been raped by women wielding giant dildos and no K-Y Jelly? What if the state trooper who pulled you over on the New Jersey Turnpike was a woman and carried a gun? What if the ability to menstruate was the prerequisite for most high-paying jobs? What if your attractiveness to women depended on the size of your penis? What if every time women saw you they’d hoot and make jerking motions with their hands? What if women were always making jokes about how ugly penises are and how bad sperm tastes? What if you had to explain what’s wrong with your car to big sweaty women with greasy hands who stared at your crotch in a garage where you are surrounded by posters of naked men with hard-ons? What if men’s magazines featured cover photos of 14-year-old boys with socks tucked into the front of their jeans and articles like: “How to tell if your wife is unfaithful” or “What your doctor won’t tell you about your prostate” or “The truth about impotence”? What if the doctor who examined your prostate was a woman and called you “Honey”? What if you had to inhale your boss’ stale cigar breath as she insisted that sleeping with her was part of the job? What if you couldn’t get away because the company dress code required you wear shoes designed to keep you from running? And what if after all that women still wanted you to love them?”
“Treat yourself the way you treat your favorite characters. Look into your back-story to understand your current plot. Sympathize with yourself. Recognize your flaws, and appreciate your strengths. Defend yourself. Cheer yourself on when you go into battle. Appreciate every relationship you make and always look for hidden potential. You’re the protagonist in your story. You’re the main character. You’re the hero. Treat yourself like one.”
I have not romanticized the fucked up-ness on being so dependent on someone to such an extent that I believe that the inability to function adequately sans your presence is a celebrated norm.
We can survive apart, obviously – people have proven to be able to survive most things we thought we can’t – but I don’t want to. Your presence is a fixture in my life I’d like to remain permanent.
Except you choose to fit me between the gaps of your life when your time is unoccupied, ‘Run along now, I’m busy, go play with the other kids until I’m free to pick you up later.’
Maybe I read too much into these things. Maybe I’m just a clingy, insecure little fuck.
But the truth is I’ll never be busy enough to not miss you. And maybe that’s why it hurts the way it does.
“And she wants to know she is worthy to be loved, that she is worthy to be kept.”
1. When you’re at some party, chain smoking next to the window with the girl with odd tattoos and piercings with purple hair and large exorbitant eyes ringed with smudged eyeliner – don’t shy away. Talk to her – ask her about her life, ask her what her tattoos mean, ask her what her childhood was like, ask her about her day. You won’t regret it. You’ll find that everyone has a story, and often, the ones that society tell you to be afraid of have the most captivating of stories to tell.
2. One day, a boy will come along – his lips will taste like cigarettes and sin, and his touch will feel like fire. His words will resonate with the deepest parts of you, and when he leaves you, you will want to die. But that feeling will go away, and you will learn to live again. Because everything is temporary, my dear. That throbbing hurt in your chest will be filled with other things in life. Books, movies, art, friends.. You will learn to love yourself. And you will then find that the world gets on its knees for the people who learn to love themselves first.
3. Please never, ever mistake desire for love. Love engulfs your soul and nourishes you. Desire emerges like an ardent flame – setting ablaze everything in its way, seeping into your veins and burning you from the inside out. And when that leaves, you’re left with nothing but the scars of the flame, and melancholy in your pores.
4. No one is going to save you, my dear. Your sadness is not beautiful. Despite what you’ve read, and what you’ve come to believe (or hope for), no one is going to find you reading Fitzgerald in Starbucks and fall in love with you. No one will come along and rescue you from that unrelentless drumming in your soul. Darling, your life is as precious as it is fragile. And your sadness, this sadness will bury you alive. No heroes will be riding up to the tower you’ve locked yourself in with his gallant steed to fight for you. You have to fight for yourself. You have to slay your own dragons.
5. It’s okay to get drunk. Whether it’s just for fun or because you need liquid courage to tell someone how you feel, it’s completely fine. And you know what else is completely fine? Not getting drunk. Don’t fall under the pressure of pleasing people. Please yourself and live for you.
6. Don’t be one of those girls who go “You’re crazy!” or “That’s not true!” when someone compliments you. We’re raised with this expectation of self-effacement that society places on us, and it damages you. It damages your self-worth and your self-esteem. Learn to be praised vocally, and learn to be admired. Learn to bask in the effervescent awe that others have for you. Breathe it in, and accept that there will also be times where you won’t be accepted. But that’s okay.
7. Alone time is good for the soul. It’s good to cancel your plans sometimes, close your door, turn off your phone, and play some Bastille, or John Mayer, or whatever else you prefer, and just enjoy your own company. Maybe you could read a book, or hell, even write one if you’re up for it. But take some time to yourself and learn to be happy with you and the sound of your breathing. You are the only person who’ll be with you to the very end, so learn to laugh at your own jokes, enjoy the way you pronounce words when you read aloud, bask in your slight tone deafness while you sing.
8. Be a traveller. The world is vast, and you should never be content until you’ve seen all that you want to see. Be curious, be adventurous, be uninhibited. Learn by seeing new places, and experiencing new things. Learn by listening to someone tell you the details about the ancient civilizations. Understand architecture through the Greek structures standing right in front of you. Appreciate the beauty of the world when you watch the elephants in the wild in Kenya. Satiate your thirst for interesting people shacking up with dozens of unwashed backpackers in New Zealand. Write amazing poetry because you can feel the words coming to you as the wind tangles in your hair, glancing up at the brilliant orange sunset above Angkor Watt.
9. Contrary to what people might have you think, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sex (except when it’s not consensual – then it’s called rape). Learn to love him, and let him love you back. But don’t ever be afraid of the moment. Embrace it – be loud, be clumsy, be real. Bump heads, miss when you kiss, laugh when it happens, and keep kissing. Enjoy your body and enjoy your partner’s too. Speak to each other while you make love – speak words, speak with your body, speak to their soul. Touch them – caress their skin, kiss their goose bumps, play with the scruffy hair on their neck. Keep the lights on and watch their eyes when they explode. Don’t worry about the extra skin, or sizes of parts, and things that are meaningless. Feel yourself coming together and falling apart. Revel in the closeness and intimacy that you share, and melt into one another.
10. Nothing is stopping you. If you wanted to, you could get up and just leave whenever you want. You could get up right now, and run up to a guy and kiss him – any guy. What’s stopping you? Your fear of not being good enough? Your fear of rejection? Your fear that people might not like you for trying to do something out there and different? That’s everything that is wrong about society. The idea that you have to follow the unspoken do’s and don’t’s. Don’t let them shackle you. Do what you want. Be who you want. And who cares if you fail? Stand up and try again. Nothing is stopping you, my dear.
11. You can never go wrong with pizza.
12. If you ever feel unloved or devalued and demotivated, know that you are the world to me and that I find the upmost worth in you. You’re destined for big things, my dear, I know it. The world is your oyster. Now go knock ’em dead.
“My brain hums with scraps of poetry and madness.”
There has been an influx of black on my facebook wall. And to those who know the significance of May 5th 2013, they will know that it began as a day of hope for many in Malaysia and the updates of blackness was a (not so) silent poetic mourning of the outcome of the 13th General Elections.
Many wouldn’t like to hear what I have to say. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine whom I thought had more sense told me that I was going to hell because of them. She felt that my brand of logic and rationale was too submissive. Not radical enough. Too cynical.
What she calls cynicism, I call being a realist.
In all honesty, did we expect any differently? Did we really think that the opposition would sweep the elections? Obviously, I think a lot of us thought that it would’ve been a closer contest. A tighter race. A bigger change. But take a moment and think about how small our social circles are. We do not represent the majority. We probably do not even interact with them enough to be able to predict what drives their actions and thoughts, let alone their votes.
And so when it was over, and the outcome had not been what we would have liked, we became the children that we have proven to be on so many occasions, and began throwing tantrums. Descending to borderline barbarism, whining about a democracy that is dead, signing petitions for foreign heavyweights to come and fix our problems, “blacking out” our facebook, and actively participating in rumour mongering in social media.
I disagree with these actions not only because we are supposed to be mature adults and evolved human beings but because it’s nihilistic behaviour. It’s pandering and it’s undignified. We all love Malaysia. It has its faults, but it’s OUR country. We’ve worked hard to fight for change. But all that hard work means nothing when you give up the moment you lose. It was a lost. The world did not end. Malaysia did not end. Democracy is not dead.
Yes, we hear tales of ballot boxes appearing from thin air, and phantom voters being brought in by the busloads, and how the election commission is still under the Prime Minister’s Office, and the fact that there is no distinction between the judiciary, executive and the parliament. Yes. These are problems with no clear cut answers and fixes. But 80% of the registered voters turned up to vote. That’s a record high since 1964. That’s over 10 million people who decided they wanted to stand for something instead of letting it all pass idly by.
In 2003, BN won 198 seats.
In 2008, BN won 140 seats.
In 2013, BN won 133 seats.
The gap is closing. Perhaps not as fast as many of us would have hoped or liked, but these are small victories. We take them and we work harder.
Gandhi took 32 years to fight for independence in India and Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years in his fight against the Apartheid. The sting we’re feeling is merely a fraction of theirs. Yes, the barely closing of a gap loss hits below the belt. We’re hurt. We’re winded. We’re reeling. But I was still hoping to return to Malaysia proud to call myself a Malaysian, a citizen of a nation that was ready for change and fought hard for it, accepting the outcome (disappointing or otherwise) with grace and decorum. Instead we reverted into children once more. Petulant, whining children.
And it needs to stop.
“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”
It’s strange. I think the only time where I am motivated to get to finishing the half-baked scribbles behind café napkins and ideas scrawled between lines of class notes is if I’m reminded by how fast and fleeting life is. I woke up today, not for the first time in my life, absolutely terrified. I had dreamt that I was dying; before I had even begun to start doing the things I wanted to do in life, it was all going to end.
It isn’t unusual; I had always had this fear of my life ending before it began. One of my dearest friends had killed herself before she was sixteen, my grandma had recently passed, and I was even reading Looking for Alaska right before bed. So it isn’t unusual at all that I was plagued by thoughts and dreams of mortality. But I woke up and I decided that I want to write more, that I needed to write more. That I don’t want to just run out of time and not finish what I had decided was important all those years ago.
Had I had have any lick of talent with musical instruments, I would’ve went out to buy a white BIC lighter, carry it around in my pocket at all times and start to exclusively write with my left hand to join the greats. To ensure I left behind something, anything that was of significance. Of course it’d all be pointless if I didn’t die at 27, but what does it matter. It would be stupid and irrelevant, but it would be poignant. And it would be beautiful. And that would mean something.
I guess I just don’t want to leave with the knowledge that I haven’t done anything. But then again, don’t we all. I just feel like I need to start writing again. I have to. I simply cannot wait until I am out of time. And that is an epiphany if I ever had one.
“Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were ‘I go to seek a Great Perhaps.’ That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”
Looking for Alaska, John Green
Some moments in life bring me more clarity than others.
The hazy daze I’m floating in prevents me from sleeping though my body desperately needs it.
“Does it feel like you’re in control?” she asks.
Her familiar voice brings me comfort.
“Yes?” I reply timidly.
“Yes?” she repeats with the same tone of debatable certainty in her voice.
“Yes,” I say with more force. More assurance. More confidence.
“Good,” she smiles.
I’m not even sure if I was trying to convince her or myself. I mirror the smile nevertheless and a silence falls between us.
“But are you?” she asks, shattering the silence that sits between us so smugly.
“Not at all,” I chuckle.
“Good,” she smiles complacently. And just like that, she disappears without a trace. As if she’s made her point and there was nothing more to say.
I sigh to myself.
How long before it’s too long?
How far before it’s too far?
I’m not crazy. Really.
I’m aware that having a conversation with someone who’s not there might fall under some mental health grey area, but I find this need to sometimes seek you out. Talk to you like you’re still here. Imagine what you’d say when you caught me having a moment.
I’m not lonely either. Not really.
My heart is full and occupied, I have no more need for you, but I’m holding on to you like a child holding on to the toy they’ve had since they could remember because it’s comfortable. Familiar. Easy.
I just want to keep you for as long as I can. Is that really so much to ask?
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.”
“I think I need to write again. I need to feel words roll through my brain and hesitate at my lips and then fall down out of my fingers and into the blank foggy space stretching ahead of me. Because lately there’s just so much blank space out there and the fog is getting thicker and I lost my lantern and I’m thinking and thinking and thinking about each step, analyzing every consequence that can arise from this small nudge of my cumbersome leaden feet against the earth below me.”