Thursday, 27 February 2014

Sadness

Ever since Christmas break, I've been feeling like my life is going downwards. I feel sad all the time and it's kind of similar to the sadness you might find in depression. But I'm not depressed. Reading accounts written by people experiencing/who have experienced depression will help you to figure out that a symptom of depression is not feeling anything at all.

My sadness isn't caused by other people. It's not like there are people bullying me, or that my teachers hate me, or that my friends secretly want me to go and die. My sadness seems to be caused by myself - I'm destroying myself and my happiness from the inside out. I don't know if it's because I put so much stress on myself (studying for 6 hours a night before maths tests) or because I have so many wounds that haven't fully healed.

At school I'm happy. There's the quiet studious side of me that teachers see, and there's the hyperactive, strange side of me that my friends see. At school I can forget everything and just be myself. There's always work to do, lessons to listen to, tests to write and assignments to complete.

But when I get home I feel really lonely and vulnerable. It's not like when I'm at school and I am surrounded by people all the time. I often just sit by myself and do homework, or blog, or read. Doing things help to numb the pain. But the bliss is temporary and as soon as I'm lying in bed I feel sad. I don't even know how to describe the feelings that run through my head, flowing through my heart. At times, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. My demons don't drown. They sink a bit but then they're rescued again. It doesn't matter what I try to drown them with - music, text, internet or hot showers - they keep resurfacing.

It seems like I wear a mask to school in the morning. The mask is covered in smiles, jokes and strange little quirks I happen to possess. But when I get back home, the mask comes off and my sadness pokes through again.

There's also the existential crisis I've been facing - it's constantly looming up there like a cloud and occasionally a few raindrops of despair and hopelessness fall down. A few days ago in the car my parents talked to me about focusing more on activities unrelated to academics (piano, harp, karate, swimming) as that would help me have a better chance of being accepted into prestigious universities. And that was when the cloud attacked, bringing a thunderstorm down on me. I realized that apart from writing, I have no real talents. I don't know how to play piano well, and I can only play a few notes on the harp. I lack the dedication and motivation to practice everyday for hours on end. There's nothing really that makes me different from other people. I'm just another face in the crowd, hoping to be recognized.

My life is such a mess.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Some more catching up to do

Day 23: List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.

  1. Writing: ever since I read my first book at the age of 3 (it was a Biff and Chip book btw) I have had this craving for my own stories to be written down and published. I don't know why, but I began publishing "books" for my family to read, and my first story was called Miss Daisy and the Missing Puppies. I put so much effort into that book - I even came up with the title of the sequel Miss Daisy and the Chewing Gum Monster. Last year I tried to re-write the story in the hopes of actually publishing it but I couldn't bear to, since the version I wrote when I was younger is so much better in my eyes. 
  2. Watching TV and movies: It's been a long time since I watched TV properly (on a TV) but watching TV is one of my hobbies. Currently I'm obsessing over 2 Broke Girls and Sherlock - Sherlock's a great show but it takes forever for new episodes to come out, plus there are only three episodes in a season *cries*. 
  3. Drawing: I barely ever sit down to properly draw anything but I do remember taking an observational drawing class in grade two which really opened my eyes to the world of art. Nowadays I tend to doodle a lot (that's why I cover all my notebooks with paper and pictures - it's to prevent myself from doodling everywhere all over them). 
  4. Blogging: There are a couple of blogs I read often: Xiaxue (she's quite controversial but some of her earlier posts really make you think) and new tiger in town (daughter of the infamous tiger mother, Amy Chua)  I also check feedly often to see what other people are writing about. I feel like blogging is a great way to get your stories out without the hassle of publishing, plus most blogging platforms are free. I started blogging in grade three (anybody remember studywiz?) but I didn't post regularly. Now we use blogger which is much easier and the blogs are much more customisable. 
  5. Singing: I am notorious for singing in the bathroom. I do it everyday and my talents are rarely appreciated in my household *glares at sister*. I'm terrible at singing but I love it. If I ever get the chance (and sufficient funds) I would definitely consider investing time and money into singing lessons. In the mean time, I'll just sing and mess around in the bathroom. 


Day 24: Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
Arguably I still haven't reached the end of my childhood but I feel ready to tackle this prompt. 
When my sister came home from the hospital, I recall sitting on the stairs crying and saying that nobody loved me anymore (I was a sensitive child - I still am, I cried god knows how many times when watching Frozen and The Book Thief). My family has always been close-knit and I feel like I could tell my parents or sister anything. There's no more crying on staircases for me (shh.. I do have the occasional meltdown though) and I am pleased to say that I wake up most mornings feeling ready to tackle anything (except maybe maths tests).

A Short Note of Apology and the Blogging Challenge

Before I continue writing this blog post, I just want to say sorry for not blogging in a while - I've been studying for a maths test for the past few days and now that it's over I can finally get on with this challenge.

So here are days 18-22 of the 30 day blogging challenge.

Day 18: What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?
I think I'm quite fortunate that I haven't ever had to forgive anything too bad - like a friend stealing from me or some other sort of crime. However, I once had a group of friends who thought it would be funny to leave me out of the group. Whenever I went to sit down, they'd leave as soon as I turned my attention for a few seconds. That was a pretty rough period of my life, since I had always been surrounded by people who seemed genuinely happy to be around and with me. They never apologised, but eventually I got over it with the help of a few good books and better friends who treated me with respect.

Day 19: If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
I grew up in a small town (village even, if you'd like) called Petts Wood in England and I really loved it there - the air was clean, you could walk from your house to the high street in a matter of minutes, during summer you could have a picnic and during the winter you could have a snowball fight (if it snowed). So, if I could live anywhere I wanted... I'd live in England. For the memories.

Day 20: Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood. 

  1. In grade five I fainted on UN day on stage in front of the entire grade and their parents. It was really embarrassing because I toppled over like a tree. The only positive I got out of it? I became famous as "the girl who fainted". 
  2. In 2008 my family moved here because of my dad's work. My grandparents happened to be visiting us in the summer before we moved so I went back to China with them for a couple of months - I took a plane here by myself which seemed very scary at first but turned out to be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. 
  3. In the summer of 2012 I took part in the Stanford EPGY writing camp. I learnt lots of new methods to use in writing (e.g. show not tell) and I wrote some poems that I am still quite proud of. 

Day 21: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?
I wish I could say "the power of helping others" and I wish I would say it, but the truth is that just isn't me. I would like to have the power of invisibility. Why? Because I do a lot of stupid things and I don't like to stick around during the aftermath of my stupid actions (unsustainable and mostly impossible).
The first thing I would do with my superpower (is it weird that I just typed superposer) would be to turn invisible and then scare everybody. I've never been that good at scaring people and it's quite a disappointment when they turn around and just give me a look like "no you will not be given permission to scare me".

Day 22: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
5 years: It's possible I may move away for high school, so in five years I see myself cramming for exams. By then I will be 18 and it will be time for me to graduate. Being the hardcore crammer and diligent student I am, I will probably spend most of my nights revising, and barely any time outside socialising. It's a sad life being me.
10 years: In 10 years I will be 23! Hopefully I will be able to find a job after university - if I'm lucky enough to find a job, it would probably be a 9-to-5 job and at night I would spend some quiet time working on my hobbies - writing, blogging and drawing. I hope that in 10 years this blog will still be around (and maybe a few people would still be reading it).
15 years: Nearing my 30s I would hope that I have settled down (although there is something in being single that seems attractive and mysterious). I'm currently not sure how I would end up, and I don't want to know. Some things are best left to fate to decide (or your own willpower, depending on how you look at it).

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Day 17 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge

Day 17: What is the thing you wish you were most good at?

There are a lot of things I am not good at. I have so many flaws - they're uncountable. I'm terrible at PE, average at maths and let's not bring my eyesight into this. There's also my "singing" *ehem* and my piano abilities.

But the one thing I feel most inadequate at? Karate. I didn't want to sign up, but my mum made me do it so I would get out of the house and out of her hair. I was forced into doing karate against my will - I thought I might start to like it, but my instructor was not very pleasant to me. My sister, being the perfect little angel she is, immediately got the hang of everything while I stood there trying not to trip over my own feet or punch myself in the face while tying my belt.

And so my journey began - one training session every week on Mondays. My sister seemed to pass every inspection from Shehan (the head instructor) with flying colours, while I got frowned at for not knowing where exactly to position my hands. The worst part? My sister is younger than me, so Shehan was even more disappointed in me.

I've started to get the hang of karate now - I can tie my belt without hitting myself by accident, I have memorized routines that we need to know and I have mastered most punches and kicks. But to me, it's not knowing what to do or being good that counts, it's the lesson or moral behind it. Moral of this story? Don't judge somebody based on what others can do.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Where I am From

So... poetry. The word that strikes fear into the hearts of many students around the globe. Unfortunately, poetry does not scare me. It excites me. The fact that I can tell a story in less words than it would take to write a story is... amazing.
A while back, we were doing an analysis (autopsy, if you like) on the poem Where I'm From by George Ella Lyon, and we also had to write our own version of the poem. In class, we had the option to share our poem with others (I didn't volunteer because I was too shy -_-). But finally I think I am ready to share my version of the poem. Feedback is welcomed, please leave a comment below on what you thought about this.

Where I'm From
I am from colours, 
from the bright and the vibrant. 
I am from spoonfuls of sugar, 
drops of lemon juice
and pinches of spice. I am from thinking outside of the box,
from being on the left when everyone else is on the right. 
I am from the words that I write
to express the things I don’t know how to say. 
I am from the thread that patched up my stuffed animals under the candlelight. I am from nonsenses
spilling out of my mouth in bursts of hyperactivity.
I am from staying up at night, restless
worrying about my troubles
and trying my best to forget about them the next day.
I am from the harsh words I have heard 
and the mistakes I have made
that made me learn and change for the better.
I am from the kind words I have heard
that made me stand tall with my head held high
that made me perk up and smile
that made me feel better about myself. 
I am from one big question mark of a life
from not knowing which path to take. 
I am from going off the beaten track
and doing things my own way. 
These memories and feelings,
people, places and images,
thoughts and questions
all stored inside my brain - 
although I may be young and foolish
although they may fade
they are a part of me
they are who I am
and they are where I am from.

Day 16 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge

I am falling behind. I started last year and I'm supposed to be done, but nope. Day 16.
I promise to write everyday, but I don't. I need to copy maths notes from when I had crate-stacking. And I need to practice a piano piece for music.
I guess there's no better time to write than now, now that we've been given some time in English. So here we are. I present to you:

Day 16: What are your five greatest accomplishments?

  1. In the summer of 2012 I went to a writing camp at the Dover campus of our school. The first few days were hard since I didn't know a single person there, but in the end I made a few really close friends. The camp also prepared me for what I would later learn in sixth and seventh grade (to be honest, I didn't want to go at first because I thought I had better things to do and it seemed kinda nerdy, but then I am a nerd so it's fitting). All the pieces I wrote (short stories, poems) are still in the notebooks I used, so I can keep them for publishing later (or world domination). 
  2. I managed to keep a diary for a year. Although in movies every girl has their own diary (preferably pink with glitter, unicorn and butterflies), diary-keeping is hard. Sometimes you don't have time to write, or you don't have anything to write. So writing something in there every day is quite hard to keep up with and eventually people will just give up. Actually, it's kind of like this blogging challenge *ehem*. 
  3. Speaking of perseverance and writing something everyday... I am now on day 16 of the 30 day blogging challenge. I'm almost two thirds of the way through :)
  4. I managed to survive the mile run in PE last year. A mile might not sound like much, but if you're a fatty like me it's practically a death sentence. However, I can now run a mile much faster than before (8 minutes - shush, that's totally not slow) and I have started tennis in the hopes of getting fitter. 
  5. I'm running a blog that currently has had 1067 page views. It's kind of nice to know that I'm writing stuff people want to read and enjoy reading - it brings a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart. 
This post was really hard to write - I couldn't think of more than 3 accomplishments. 
What are your greatest accomplishments? And can you run a mile faster than me? I bet you can't

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Nostalgia

Chinese new year is easily one of my favourite holidays. The time there is until the lunar new year is directly proportional to the amount of excitement bubbling away in my veins.

Say Chinese new year, and this is what immediately comes to mind: holiday novelties, bazaars, sales and stalls in Chinatown; haggling with shopkeepers for the best deal on red paper-cuttings and lanterns; receiving hong bao from relatives; eating watermelon seeds, sweets and sour plums while 'laughing' at bad jokes; staying up until midnight, crowded around the sweet box on our living room table and watching 春晚 (Spring festival gala). There's also those terribly tacky songs playing on repeat in shopping malls, and oranges going on sale at ridiculously low prices in supermarkets and wet markets.

A big part of Chinese new year is the food. Reunion dinner on new year's eve (除夕) - dumplings (they're said to look like gold ingots, and represent wealth), fish that can't be finished in one sitting (not because of size: the fish has to be kept for the next year, to represent 年年有余 -abundance every year- a play on the pronunciation of abundance and fish in mandarin), chicken, hotpot/steamboat and abalone. For the rest of the festivities, there's steamboat. But every child's favourite is the box of sweets displayed in every household along with pineapple tarts, biscuits and bak kwa. Most often, I get carried away and fill myself up on sweets before dinner - oops.

I'm always sad to see Chinese new year go (I said this to my parents once and they asked if it was because I got free money during the festivities). The reason why is because it's such an important time of the year for families to get together and catch up with each other. Many Chinese living overseas only go home once a year - for the new year (surprisingly, my parents never did this as it was too crowded - airports, train stations and ferry terminals were all overwhelmed with the amount of people passing through to make it home in time for reunion dinner). Although I see my family all year around, there's something special about Chinese new year that just brings us closer.

Goodbye Chinese new year, until next time.