The other day, I fell face down in a parking lot–ripped my upper lip, chipped off my front teeth, sprained my knee, cracked my phone screen, and dented my laptop. Not even a week after, I fell again–this time hitting the back of my head against the floor. I wouldn’t lie; this has been one of the worst week ever for me.
So when I was lying down in the hospital bed, and right after the nurse and the doctor checked whether I had a concussion, I started thinking about this… whole series of misfortune. They came out of nowhere, and they struck like a repeated bolts of lightning. Each with more intensity than the previous one.
What did I do to even deserve this, I had thought. I kept on searching for a satisfying explanation, be it a realistic one or not. Did I lack sleep? Do I suffer from a unique bodily balance deteriority syndrome? Did I upset my ancestors? Did someone hex me into tripping over nothing? It doesn’t matter how illogical the reason is; I just wanted to blame this whole misfortune on somebody. On something.
The other day, I tried something new: I sat completely still for several minutes in the middle of a busy day.
No, I wasn’t sleeping, in case you’re wondering. I merely took several minutes to decompress right there on my desk, in-between my bustling schedule. For around ten minutes, my small desk became my solace of comfort, as I silenced every other outside interference, and focused on breathing alone.
It was then when I realized I’ve neglected this simple decompression method for awhile. Right after getting a new job, I felt like I had to catch up with everyone else as fast as I could, and I sacrificed my much needed rest to work, work, and work.
Fear is a language everybody speaks. It lingers like a silent whisper in the middle of the night that keeps you awake until daybreak. It awaits in ambush for your vulnerable moments, and hunts you down whenever the chance for first strike arrives. My whole life—I’ve been afraid of so many frivolous things that it starts inhibiting my movement. Like a horse ready to gallop, but weighed down by the emotional wagon it has to pull around.
The funny thing about expectation is, for me, the fact that it swells and expands with time. Take one relationship you have with a friend, for example. I’d bet all my money that you didn’t start off as close as you might currently are.
Like everyone else, you must have started as total strangers, then you gradually become closer. Notice that the expectation you have towards them also grows, almost hand in hand, with the maturity of the relationship.
“How do you manage to keep on doing this?” one of my team member in the office asked me, right after my boss gave me a stern warning for not delivering the targeted completion date of my project. “Why aren’t you more upset? How could you be so strong?”
I remember I just stared at her, not knowing how to answer the question. It would be a lie to say that I wasn’t upset at all. It was my project, after all. And if I took the warning lightly, I could risk my professional credibility as a project manager. So it wasn’t like I was fooling around, either.
But what my team member said had some truth. Despite being upset, I never did show it to everyone. Despite being torn apart by the warning, I kept on managing the project like it was just another day—as if I never screwed up.
The other day, I saw the news about the JT610 plane crash. This wasn’t the first time a plane crash had happened, of course, but as I scrolled the feed on my Twitter and Instagram, I had come to realize that more and more people were posting news about the incident.
I found it fascinating, that instead of the cold, monotonous, professional tone of a newscaster voice that dictates how many people died, how the engine failure happened, and what the airline company promised to compensate, there were more and more people commenting about the victims’ lives.
Inside that airplane, there were more than 100 people aboard. Some of them were newlyweds. Some of them were expecting to be married. Some of them were going to see their family and friends—only to end up in an unfortunate accident.
I shuddered when I thought about being inside that very airplane. What if I were in there? Who would be the last person I contacted before I took off? What would I have said? During the time when the plane fell, would I even stop to think about something—anything? Continue reading “Of Downed Flight, Grief, and Flowers”→
The good thing about growing up, I think, is that we become more and more accustomed to failure than we were during our pubescent or childhood. Just hours ago, for example. I was in a small room with 4 others; 2 of whom could literally decide the fate of my professional career.
Yes, I was in a meeting. It’s a very laughable situation where I had to present a proposal I’ve been meticulously preparing for weeks to a member of the board, only to have this person point out every single mistake I’ve made, even denoting that “I haven’t done a thing worth mentioning” in regards to the proposal.
The meeting itself was cut short, as you might have predicted. The end result? A humiliating rejection from the board member, and some dissatisfying remarks I will probably carry with me for the rest of my professional career. This includes unpleasant vocabularies such as “worthless”, “mistaken”, “unneeded”, etc.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel disappointed. As a matter of fact, I knew I could get a much better outcome than just a plain rejection. I knew for sure that I’ve already prepared all I could, and even rehearsed the presentation because that’s just how paranoid I can be.
But still, this thing called “failure” stalks from outside the window; bidding its time until it finds an opening to creep in. And despite your best efforts to prevent it from happening, it always catches you off-guard. Continue reading “Growing Up with “Failures””→
There’s just something about marriage that excites people. The other day, when Felicia—my friend of 8 years and counting—announced her marriage, I couldn’t be happier. I genuinely wanted to congratulate her from the bottom of my heart, because I was truly happy for her.
But at the same time, there is this lingering, quaint loneliness in the corner of my heart, whispering the advent of a certain end. Continue reading “Bon Voyage”→
I have always been fascinated by the idea of being a valedictorian. You know; standing in front of people, delivering a speech that will hopefully change the world—or simply waste a few minutes of people’s lives.
The very foundation of using your own words and voice to instill a drop of water in the bucket we call “our generation” is a peculiarly foreign thing to me, and thus, fascinating.
Unfortunately, even though I believe I have the passion to deliver these words, I did not have the qualifications to do so in my graduation ceremony. That day, I sat in the middle row of the great hall with shame and listened halfheartedly to the valedictorian’s speech.
I must say, the speech itself felt so fabricated with all those subliminal advertisements of our university it even made me sick. But the person who spoke in front of us seemed like your typical good kid. I even wondered seriously whether this person we call the valedictorian actually enjoyed his campus life.
Judging that he had less fun experience during university just because he was smarter than everyone else was, of course, not a fair thing to do. But as I sat there and pondered about all these explosive train of thoughts, I began to truly wonder whether this person, this valedictorian, at the very least, really wanted to deliver the speech. Continue reading “For Adventurers Clad in Long Robes”→
Don’t you find it funny that people drift apart for no reason?
The other day, I accidentally met one of my childhood friends in a shopping mall. The very first thought that came to my mind once our eyes met was, “Crap, now I have to make small talks.” And I don’t know if my friend realized it, but during that moment, the only thing I wanted was to escape from him, go home, and bury myself under a pillow.
Yes, I have been called an introvert a number of times, but I really doubt being an introvert would drive me so much that I couldn’t enjoy a short, innocent meetup with an old friend. Especially since nothing bad ever happened between us; it’s not like he was my ex, or he bullied me in school. If anything, our past relationship was cool.Continue reading “Watching the Knots Unfurl”→