To that 10-year-old

Oh how you got on my nerves.
You were sitting there with your big eyes, looking right at me
(and I saw it – my reflection)
And I kept telling you to keep quiet,
You were so desperately fighting for my attention.
Your lack of consideration was revolting.
An endless distraction you were,
An utter nuisance.
Typical ‘teacher’s pet’ behaviour.
Loathsome.

You wanted to ask me about things beyond your years
You wanted to flaunt your questionable artistic talents
You wanted to do everything.
You wanted to be everything.

And I. As how the adults before did me, shut you out.
Lacked interest in your flourishing imagination.
Disinterested in your creative mind.
Imposed conformity and enforced discipline.
Because you have to be that way.

But continue to rebel against me, I plead you.
Challenge the boundaries.
Seek growth not limits.
Society will start closing in
Don’t let it

Be everything.
A painter.
A confidant.
Hope.

Do everything.
Spread kindess.
Stop hate.
Fully live.

Don’t be.
Intimidated.
Selfish.
Me.

Oh how you got on my nerves, 10-year-old.
Because you are everything I want to be.
And my reflection in your eyes reminded me
How I am nothing like it.

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To those who wander because they’re lost

It’s time for you to admit it, atleast to yourself if nobody else. It feels like you’ve walked down all the paths you could have taken and yet here you are, back where you’ve started.

You’ve grown, you reassure them.

You’ve figured it out, you reassure yourself.

But they think otherwise.

You’re just meandering your way through life. You’ve travelled the world and yet in nowhere did you find your place. Dearest, when will you realize what you’re seeking does not lie in the physical cocoon of society? Has no one ever told you, dear child, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity?

You’ve made all these mistakes before and you swore you’ve learnt from them. Yet history is one step away from repeating itself.

You try to convince yourself that this brand of whimsy is what you’re looking for. But when the blue skies asunder, the intoxicating taste of adventure coupled with the novelty of new experiences will desert you. And there you are – empty. This life is not for everyone and it’s most certainly not for you.

And society might try to trick you into thinking your present state is a result of defiance and rebellion against the norms. You’ve pledged allegiance against the institutions and perhaps this feeling of isolation is nothing but your self-inflicted mental exile trapping you in.

But perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps this is a battle with yourself and you’re choosing to lose. You so desperately want to assume the identity of the deviant, you impose it onto yourself.

I hope you realize you don’t have to walk a different path to set yourself apart. You need not be the product of grand gratifying decisions or anti-institutional stances. You can be a mosaic of emotions and experiences and everything nice.

It’s okay to take time to figure things out.

It’s not okay to keep lying to yourself.

To you who brought me closer to God

Thank you for acknowledging me when I wanted to be ignored.
I hasten my steps when I spot you round the bend.
Running? Escaping? Occupied?
I calculate the possibility of walking past unscathed. My mind on overdrive.
Yet you always. Always. Stop me in my tracks.

Thank you for trapping me in when I was frantically searching for an escape route.
And you’d strike up a conversation
With your gentle mannerisms
Your calming disposition
Your kind words
And the light you’ve been given shines through.

Thank you for trying to include me though I reject flat-out.
Inviting me to be a part of something
While I come up with a thousand and one ways to reject your kind offer
Of how I appreciate it, thanks but no thanks
Thinking about how I would have to compromise my “structured” life
(and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s to compromise)
Yet you try. Try. Every single time.

Though I never reciprocate your efforts, thank you for bringing me closer to God.
And when I look at you, I feel so proud that there are humble servants of God spreading our peaceful message the right way, the way it is supposed to be done.

I thank God for you.
I earnestly pray for you to continue to be on the path of the guided.
Continuing doing what you do,
I love you.

Hey Oscar the Grouch

You’re grumpy about everything. You’re bitter and you stay away optimists. They’re just so positive about everything, how is that even possible? And amiable people, they’re so dreadfully nice. They put in so much effort to be compassionate and inclusive and empathic. It’s the opposite of you. It’s the opposite of us.

We don’t like anything. We don’t like people and we aren’t very keen on spending time with them. We’d very much rather be on our own, being amused by our own grumblings and inner monologues. We’re not very patient and not very kind.

I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you are unapologetically grouchy despite being surrounded by the best of people. I don’t know you can comfortably be yourself. I wish I could be congruent and apathetic like that. Sometimes people are so kind, I feel obliged to return the favour. And yet I can hear the running commentary about the hypocrisy of it all in my head.

And when they ask me questions, I try so hard to bite back a rude and sarcastic remark. It makes social interactions rather tricky, really. When you try to be socially acceptable and withhold your honest thoughts. Honesty is the best policy they say, that’s because they haven’t met me.

Be a little more tactful with your words, stop acting like a smartass, respect others. To be incongruent with myself gives me anxiety at times. I find myself always being caught like a deer in headlights. Forever trying to make sure my thoughts get filtered down to a point when I’d be acceptably polite.

So hey, Oscar, how do you do it?

How do you stay indifferent when everyone around you are excessively kind?

How do you unabashedly engage in social interactions when you have to and dissociate just as quickly?

How do you be yourself and be accepted like that?

Hey Oscar,

Do you think….

To those who were loved first

It may be your parents, your partner, your family, your pets, your friends or even God. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll find someone who loves you first. And if you’re really blessed, you’ll be surrounded by them. Some might say, be with someone who loves you more. But I hope you find someone who loves you first.

And I’m not talking about the infatuations and high school crushes. I’m referring to love. I’d try to explain what love is, but I think it differs for everyone of us. And yet as cliché as it sounds, we’ll know when we experience it. It’s difficult to mistake that profound yet simple emotion for anything else, really.

To be loved first is euphoric. We feel cherished. We may have done nothing to deserve it and perhaps that’s what makes it even more valuable. We will feel accepted as we are. We are validated for our worth regardless of whether we need it or not. And just like innocent children, that extra sprinkle on our ice-cream adds that gleeful spring to our steps.

To be loved first is empowering. It makes us brave, knowing that there is someone supporting us. It liberates us because to some degree (and I do say this with much caution), that love is unconditional. It was given and professed without expecting us to reciprocate. It was given without us having to earn it.

It’s the people who love us first

That we will exploit, as if we wish to test the depth of their affections.

That we will take for granted, as if they could only love us and no one else.

That we will always return to because therein lies solace.

I hope you’ll find people who love you first, who courageously bare their heart for you with no strings attached. I hope you’ll experience love that is enduring, accepting and forgiving in whatever form it comes in.

And I hope one day, you’ll love first too. 

To the public self

We both know we can’t co-exist

One of us has to be hidden

When the other is revealed

But I wish the disparity

Between us wasn’t this great

As if we’re two separate

Entities entirely.

When you talk, I lie.

I shout, you write.

Your dungeon, my paradise.

My deeds, your crimes.

I know your compromising stance

Is to protect the selfish me

And your sensibility is to

Compensate for my inadequacies

Because you are you,

I can defiantly be me.

Because your forgiving heart is

Kinder than mine which is petty.

There are time when I’ll surface

Unexpectedly, but as expected,

You who is never shaken

Takes control ever so smoothly.

You conform to ease my rebellion

You laugh to erase my bitterness

You change yourself according

To who the world wants me to be.

Because the world cannot accept me,

You took on that responsibility.

But with my dearest ones,

You give me free rein.

I bask in the spotlight

As you walk off the stage.

And I can be my crazy

And sing completely off-key

I can break out in dances

And love unreservedly.

In the darkness of the night

As we slowly drift and out

Of consciousness, that’s when

We take off our disguise

Thank you for all these years

Of being my most trusted ally.

Let’s keep to our roles

Till the end of time.

To those with ugly and illegible handwriting

You can’t comprehend how the work of your friends with perfect neat handwriting still look significantly more marvellous than yours despite the multiple cross-outs and corrections they had to do. And you wrote yours accurately on the first try!

Some may be mistaken that you were in a rush to pen down the information. Others assume your scribbles are simply reflections of your nonchalant attitude. But you’d know best. It is neither a conscientious or hastened effort. Simply what it is.

Writing study notes can be a nightmare. Of course, the content matters more than the penmanship. However, aesthetically-pleasing notes would be so much tolerable to look at while studying so your horrendous writing is in fact, a deterrent from revision.

You’ve seen art pieces of inspirational quotes written in beautiful calligraphy and video clips of bullet journals designed with decorative handwritten fonts. And you can only dream of producing works of similar quality. You probably rely on digital writing and just have to be contented with the banal options offered online. Sure, there are various designs found online that you can choose from. But you’ll find that flawless artistry is monotonous and mundane in contrast to the vibrance of imperfect writing.

Even as you are surrounded by such gifted hands, you can’t be bothered to upgrade yourself and improve on your penmanship though. Sure, there have been occasions when you were tempted to try but you’d never quite make it there.

You possess a streak of obstinacy and an inherent sense of pride. You are unyielding and tenacious. Something as trivial as penmanship is simply not worthwhile for you to bend your principles over. You will not be changed unless you truly see the value of doing so.

So a calligraphy brush might be wasted on you and your writing might be dismissed as vandalism and an abomination to mankind, but hey, there are other causes worth championing for and better penmanship ain’t one.