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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Dear future kid,

Hello, bubba. It's mummy.

I haven't met you. Heck, I haven't even found someone I'd even like to make you with, but I know that I've been wanting you for as long as I knew what babies really were. I have been thinking of all the names I could give you, since I was 12. When I was 14, I had a school desk vandalised with names which begin with the letter 'A'. The concept of an English sounding name followed by an indian name and whatever the surname of your daddy is.

The names that have stuck since ? Aryshan if you're a boy, and Arshna if you're a girl.

Who knows, you might grow up to resent it when you get older. But I promise to try and find you more unique, exotic names which you will not cringe at. Because honey, your name is...your brand. And I want to give you a brand which epitomises success and style. As I type this, I am thinking about how I always, always pass by stores and imagine all the cool clothes I would dress you in. I foresee a lot of denim , because it never goes out of style. Beanies, little brown boots, tank tops, cargo shorts, or mid-length hair on my little boy would be a dream come true. I will buy you all the cool things that I've grown up wanting but could not get.

This does not mean I will spoil you rotten to the point that you can turn around and tell me one day I am just buying your love and you turn into an ungrateful little -----.  You have to learn and understand that any point of time, mummy takes so, so much to get where she is *(or will be, one day). And it's very important that you learn what hard work is. Even though I will do all I can to try and give you an easy life, I also want your life to have meaning. I want you to know that it's a blessing to have meals on the table, the skateboard/treehouse/bicycle/air-conditioned, personalised room you have, and so many people can only dream of have something close.  I want you to know, bubs that I  love you with all my heart, but I am a little skeptical about the idea of smartphones, laptop and tablets so early because I would never want you to use them to escape communication, confrontation or dealing with the difficulties of life. I would never want you to grow up feeling self-entitled. This means I am going to have to hit you when you are being extremely naughty, ungrateful or rude. It might break my heart to do this but discipline and respect is important.

Ah, communication.

There will be a lot of that heading your way, because in our household, we talk about our feelings. If something makes us unhappy, and why. We talk to each other if we are scared, or if we need space. We talk about why we want what we want. We talk about what food we like or hate. And my baby boy/girl, I promise, I will listen. I will act on them if what you want isn't unreasonable. I will be your biggest cheerleader in life. I will push you to achieve things which you did not think you could. I will never want you to be a fake version of yourself around me, because individuality and expression is important.

Now that I have expressed my hopes and dreams for you, It's time for me to apologise. I am so sorry we live in such a distorted version of life, where it's important to parade our happiness and fortune on social media or else it did not happen, and not doing that makes you feel inadequate or less than your friends. For the memes, music and toys which there is nothing either of us can do about. I am sorry that by the time you're 15, to be this epitome of success and style you'd need to fulfill the heavy expectations of all those around you;

Your grades need to be above average so that you don't feel like you're stupid,
You can't wear the same pair of clothes too many times, and of course you'd want to stay in trend,
You might want to impress your first crush but she's just not into you,
You gotta hide the fact that you care about things like marine biology/dinosaurs/english/the violin because to excessively care does not fit into the 'cool' filter,
You gotta know what songs or movies the others are listening to , to have some common ground of conversation,
You gotta have been places ,
You gotta look good so you'd need to devote your time to working out and eating right,
You gotta be musically inclined,
You also gotta read and be aware of recent/current issues

But it's okay if you're not all of this. It's okay. You'll get there on your terms.

And baby I will try not to become one of those workaholic moms . I never had a younger sibling to practice taking care of someone with , and I never really took a great fondness for any other babies I have come across before. I have always felt like a lack of authority with any kid. I am not the one these kids will call 'akka' or 'chechi'. It's odd to even imagine. Instead, I will try to be one of those moms who can be your friend. There are certain things I might want to live out through you, passions. This involves signing up for dance classes/art class/guitar or piano class. I only hope that when the time comes I know when to take a step back from all that pushing and let you have an actual life where you can make your own choices. These are just some of my preferences.

Honey, it is not important that you are the smartest kid in your class as much as it is important for you to be the kid who speaks his/her mind , knows what is going on in the world, has a good understanding of his/her roots and culture. These are all more than I can ask for, and this to me, are things you don't get taught from books. I also am against the notion of private school because I think public school is important for you to see what the real world is like, for you to fully gage the concept of diversity so don't hate me for it. I would never send you to boarding school.

I love you so much already , and I can already see how you will be my most prized possession (I don't say this in an objectifying manner). My dream come true, my passion and my love. It is not going to be an easy journey to live with me , just as , I can tell, if you're anything like me, you're going to be difficult to live with. But you're worth it.

Love,
Mum. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

What my depression feels like.

disclaimer : This is going to be a very raw and real post, not intended as an attack at anyone in particular.

"Suicide is cowardly , selfish and childish" ;
...easy to say if you have not completely surpassed all your limits and don't feel like every passing hour is an eternity away. I hate how depression as a concept and feeling has become so dumbed down. You do NOT get depressed over the fact that the shoes don't come in your colour. You get depressed when the rug that is your life gets violently tugged from beneath where you're standing and you just want to feel... normal again. What people fail to see is that a suicidal person is not acting out and doing it to hurt, it's a complete 'fuck all' feeling where being alive is mental torture and it's got nothing to do with YOU, don't take someone's death and make it about YOU.


When I was immersed deeper into depression and could not see the light, I wanted to articulate exactly what that felt like . I wanted to capture my thoughts in real time. Because even then, at the bottom of the pit,  I knew that there would be a time when I would not feel that way anymore. I would not even remember why I felt the way I did. I wanted to believe that the colourful witty person was the default me, and this angry, sad person was the exception.

 So I would write a line or two of something, before feeling like it was pointless, and wanting to work on something else. A new episode, to study a new chapter, to be on facebook or instagram, have a snack. Then I'd tell myself, it's late. Let's wake up tomorrow early in the morning, have a hot cup of  Milo and begin. And the next day would come. But the moment I felt my eyes open, I would lie in bed for a further two hours, pillows on my left and right to resemble the warmth of another person. There was nothing to look forward to for the day. Everybody else had a life to return to, a job to work, a family crisis to resolve, their own settling in issues from spending a year abroad, and I'd be met with the same old advice;

Top 5 'helpful' advice to someone you know who's falling apart:
1. People are going through worse, be grateful for all that you already have.
2. You know that I'm there, I just cannot be there right now.
3. Why don't you spend some time outside your house?
4. Go and buy things to make yourself happy.
5. Pray, don't lose faith in God.

Which would have been great, except I was constrained, financially, transport wise, and when all I wanted to do was spend time with people, they would be busy. I cannot be angry with people for having a life, I understand. But it got frustrating to spend time with just my thoughts.

The second most prominent thing about being depressed was my complete inability to sleep until it was 5-6 am . At first I thought it was the fact that I just came back to a different time zone. But by the time October peeked in, I knew it was more that that. Imagine needing to do five to eight hours of class alongside this, dress well, pay attention, be a good student and neglect the fact that I was not happy with my life, because after all "You have so much to be grateful for, if you're not happy it is your fault". To which again, I'd be met with more 'helpful' advice.

"I can't seem to fall asleep."
"Just go and close your eyes, put away your phone , and sleep".

--gee, thanks.

Tasks like waking up and being in class, dressed well were suddenly.. difficult , and because it was so easy to everyone else, I was afraid that opening up about it just made me appear like a big baby who just needs to get by. Who I was on the outside or on social media was a completely inaccurate reflection of what was going on inside. Because, god forbid you expose your vulnerabilities online.
And maybe because I seemed fine , no alarm bells rung for those who I really wanted to read in between lines and know what was going on. Physically present.

It's not like I was in solitary confinement . It was worse. It was being surrounded by people but feeling so alone, misunderstood, vulnerable. It was no surprise that my relationship with almost everyone was failing as well. My intentions of wanting a better environment or space to exist in got translated as unreasonable demands and ungratefulness. I spoke less, because I could already forsee every conversation ending with a conflict or fight, and every conflict just made me deteriorate further because to even exist required energy and I did not have the energy to defend myself from false accusations or hear myself being called selfish or needs to always be right  --because 'alright/default me' would not have let the conversation navigate this way. Vulnerability leaves room for others to define who you are. You start thinking; 'Am I really like this or that?' Then I started believing and becoming the things I was fed with. That I was an unpleasant person to be around.


"Speak to people about what was going on, don't keep it all to yourself !"


The average adult provides a  'helpful' comparison of how things were in the good old days when people could endure far worse and harsh and still survive, being sure to mention that they have more reasons to not be alive, but that they didn't choose that, therefore the same comparison should apply. Completely oblivious to the seriousness of anything that is going on in your life which makes you feel like you are overreacting. On the same list of hurtful reactions is to be told that the pain and being depressed is self inflicted and if one could just look on the bright side then the problem would not exist. Perhaps what is more hurtful is when the familiar face you are relying on is looking at you like you're pathetic. You want to transfer your thoughts, energy, feelings to someone with a mere touch because you cannot gather the words even, to WHY you are hurt, HOW did it get this bad, WHAT you plan to do about it.

P/S for future reference : A simple "I understand" would have spoke louder than anything. All someone who is kicked down wants for is for someone to wants to spend time with them. Does not have to be anything fancy.


"Just focus on your studies, after all, that's all you have to do now"

That's another thing , which I found kept coming up whether directly or indirectly. Again I feel, another surprisingly difficult thing to do stemming from the inability to focus on one thing. There are so many needs, which can't be bought and cannot be satisfied, underlying in the background, and after all the trial run stuff was dismissed as no big deal, what person would feel like discussing the rest?

Just another subset of depression is how everything which used to be your favourite thing loses its appeal to you. There is no food you think tastes good or worth craving. There's no event you want to be at because that means meeting more people and needing to put an alright or happy mask on. There are no clothes you find flatter you anymore. There is no person who peaks your interest. Cynicism creeps in. It feels annoying to watch or be around happy people because you know happiness is a short lived, temporary concept . Or maybe you envy how other people start of  this race with springy shoes and cheerleaders on the sidelines while you are running it barefoot and alone.

Perhaps what's worst than fluctuating (or non existent) interests, is a fluctuating mood . How you can feel so weighed down in the morning then by evening feel completely different then switch back by midnight. When you're 'normal', you really believe you're just overreacting. Maybe if you wait it out, it can get better. But it doesn't , does it?

I hope I captured what it feels like, even though deep down I think I don't do the description justice because everyone experiences it differently . Things have gotten a little bit better but the fact that I wanted to articulate this was at the back of my mind for some time. I'm glad I did it. '

*sigh*

Freedom is an illusion.

Since coming back home, issues have just snowballed into a larger mess and now I don't know how to begin to scoop the mess away .

The term 'fresh' graduate seems like an oxymoron now, because in all honesty, I saw graduation as some pearly white gate into a better place where I would be treated differently, Jobs would not be so difficult to get or ease into, I'd involve myself in more intellectual conversations, meet fresh faces, have time to go out to bars, date, and to personalise my space with posters, quotes, pictures and tapestries.

I slowly learned that happiness and freedom is an illusion because it exists within the boundaries of

1. Whose roof you're under ,
2. The societal norms of how to behave and dress--being 22 and still so colourful is, in short, not the norm , to get excited over things is lame,
3. Transportation limitations.
4. Your friends' timing , and just because you're free it doesn't mean that your friends would be
5. How comfortable you are with your own company, and if you're anything like me then there's only so many ideas and conversations you can have with yourself in your head before you feel like you need other people to interact with.
6. How sensitive the people around you are to you, whether they even notice if you're falling apart.
7.  Your resources. Whether you have the cash to escape the feeling of being weighed down by everything.
8. Whether you had a taste of better. (It's honestly impossible to go back. It does not mean you're ungrateful or you're being fussy . It means your eyes are opened to how much better your life can be if you tweak certain things about your environment.)

 I still have not learnt to say 'fuck it ' and not feel anything. Life would be a lot easier for me if I knew how.
 

Friday, October 6, 2017

What a mess.

I think people take the ability to just endure a normal day and breathe with ease for granted. Things are not great for me, and if in the process , talking about this is going to put me on a hot seat, I could not care less because I don't even want to be alive anymore .This is going to be a rant post. Don't say I didn't warn you.

*It's a series of wrongs, which at first start of innocent and small, but they pile up, and in conjunction, threaten to topple me over this thin line I'm balancing on.*

I have not been able to fall asleep since I got back from UK, and just when I think I do, there's the vague sounds of  the azan in the background telling me it's the time when other people's days are about to begin. Even on days when I am 'sleeping' , it isn't proper sleep and the slightest sound or light can wake me up. When I DO fall asleep at let's say 6am, I wake up at like 3 pm and conseqently get such little hours of daylight before the day ends and a cycle of un-productivity repeats. If the suggested remedy is to not think , and if it was by some divine grace, that easy, then maybe I would not even go to people with this problem I have in the first place. But it isn't . In fact when I am trying to sleep I am not even thinking about much, it's subconscious.

I have not been to church in over a month, because when I eventually DO fall asleep it's well past 5 am, and I have no energy to wake up at 9 am to go to church, because I would be in a horrible mood, where I feel like stabbing everyone right in the heart even for smiling at me. Honestly, sometimes I feel like it's more about the breakfast before mass than it is about the mass itself. It feels like a task to check off the 'to-do' list, and it makes me angry when people preach about love in the church then the moment they leave it shout profanities at the next driver who tries to enter their lane.

I feel like people wants 'in' on my life when it's good and when  I'm funny and entertaining (which, to be fair, is a lot of times) but when I'm close to throwing in the towel and I'm crumbling, feeling like absolute shit and turning around to find SOMEONE to rely on, there is almost nobody there. It is a strange coincidence that everyone is going through something equally big in their lives to give a shit about me. Which brings me to this memory of someone telling me everyone is too selfish in enjoying their happiness that they do not want to be part of your sadness.

I moved to a new environment to study in to hopefully find some new friends or join clubs. It was a scary decision because I have always enjoyed the comfort and security of a group of friends. The move to the new campus meant I stood alone; yet I wanted to immerse myself in an uncomfortable situation to 'grow'. One month and a dozen acquaintances later, I can say that it's been a month which fell completely short of my expectations because everyone already has their cliques and who I am as a person does not fit into any of these circles. I did not think I wanted to make the mistake of changing who I am just to fit into a group and belong. So I am doing this 'alone' thing, and it's...to put briefly, very, very difficult.

I feel a lot like 'The untalkative bunny' where life carries on in pindrop silence, no matter where I am, be it at home, in school or even amidst people because the mess in my head have no direct solutions. I am in such a state where I am so easily hurt and vulnerable by people's words or actions that there has been a lot of conflict between me and anybody immediate in my life. Hence the best cause of action is to withdraw myself/stay away. There is so much to speak about, conversations which don't even get to pan out because there is nobody who would genuinely appreciate talking about my interests. There is nobody home on mornings, and five-eight hour classes do not exactly give me room to socialise.

I feel like some extremely poor financial decisions have been made and the brunt of the impact is on me. The home is filled with mess stored in the form of storage boxes in the name of being 'tidy' . I have just been trying to sort out mess since I came home. I had asked only for the bare minimal standard of upgrade which I felt would have benefited everyone, instead, I am made to feel like I am 'demanding' , 'unreasonable' and a 'terrorist', who just wants to mess up the order of how things are. There are so many things I feel could be sold, thrown away, weeded out-- but it appears that sitting in mess/disrepair is comfort to other people and I AM UNREASONABLE for suggesting change.

I did not get to have closure with my life abroad because so many things went wrong towards the end, and I was constantly holding it together even when I could not have done so, because any other way would have made the experience even more unpleasant than it was for me. I sensed a lot of hate and discomfort for a place and culture which had thought me what freedom really was. I was restricted from exploring places I wanted to explore on a 'holiday' under the guise of 'safety'. I had no real picture of me even graduating, And it appeared that my graduation was no biggie to the people who came to witness it-- the next immediate concern was whether clothes had been packed accordingly instead. And sadly, closure is not something you get to pluck from mid air. I will have to live with the fact that I was so, fucking alone in my post-graduation celebration while everyone was out with their families just basking in the moment it happened for them.






I don't drive or have a car to practice with. I also do not have a source of income to pay for Grab Cars to go where I want to go, and even if I did, everybody ELSE who I'd like to meet is busy studying/working/dealing with SOME shit. Which, read in line with staying where I stay, and in a house which is empty from morning till late evening, is close to being in prison. Except maybe in prison people speak to each other.

I feel really shitty about my worsening vision. I wish there were something I could do to repair the poor eyesight I have because I hate wearing specs all the time even to just watch the telly at home too. I did not need to do that before. I also don't have the cash to buy contact lenses. Even putting eyedrops is dreadful, like how do I tuck something in my eyeball??! :/

It's only been the first month since studies resumed and the bulk of content is overwhelming. Clearly my consistent study plans are not working out , because with all the other mess that's going on, I could open a book, read about 5 pages and realise I had not absorbed anything at all. 40 percent passing rate and only nine months to get this shit right would translate to yet another dead end.

It appears to be a recurring pattern that I get really close to people then we fade out , and I am not supposed to take it personally. Unfortunately, I have feelings. And I feel everything with so much intensity, especially hurt--, that I feel like ripping my heart out and telling it to behave, and not get so attached to people.


A lot of the hurt can be diluted if I was just a little more comfortable with solitude, which is why I am thinking about how moving back to the KL campus would be to fall on a safety blanket and not deal with the difficult circumstances before me. I need, more than anything, to learn how to embrace the pindrop silence. To dissect my thoughts and dispose of anything toxic . Social media detox, deal with the hurt and not shun it away, To forgive myself for the past. To accept that maybe not everytime it is my fault. Timing and circumstances don't allow for someone to just sit down and get me. And stay. Everyone leaves.


I'm at breaking point. Breaking point.