Status What? (Part 1)

Sometimes I feel like some people make things look more difficult than they really are. When you ask people across professions–lawyers, accountants, doctors, entrepreneurs, students–there will always be this “really difficult thingy that only x and y and never z can ever do.” This kind of thinking, whether intentional or not, brings about a culture that not only causes people to lose their ambitions, but also causes them to settle in “okay” but “financially safe” situations.

My second to the youngest brother loves drawing and design and wants to become an architect. But meeting architecture students and professionals, he suddenly wants to change his mind. “Too much math,” “Too much work on plates,” “Two hours of sleep a day,” “No social life” were all he heard from them. For a tween who is not that good in math, who loves sports and who likes to go out with friends on a Saturday night, who will not be threatened by these? With his youthful yet fearful heart, the only way he can get back on track is to meet someone whom he admires who says otherwise. What stood as a firm decision now all boiled down to a game of chance.

When I look back, I see myself in similar situations but one thing stands out– and it took me four years to figure it out. Upon graduation, I knew straightaway I would struggle in a 9-5 office job. Although my job gives me the opportunity to travel and live in places I would never have imagined myself to be in, at the end of the day, I have to go back to my cubicle, finish my research, and do other office-related tasks. The set up of a chair, desk, artificial lighting and air-conditioning mentally and emotionally suffocates me. My mind always wanders what it’s like outside.

All mixed up, all intertwined


But I have to endure, I fool myself into thinking. I train myself into believing that I need to be in research because I love writing. That I need to be in one with communities so I can help them. But in the field, without a law degree to boot or a big fund to support them, every day seems like a storyline without an ending. Stories of suffering I have to put in one ear, and put in my heart. Nothing to ever put out other than, “I feel for you.”


Life and Love as It Is

Have you ever gotten to a point where you absolutely, desperately, horrifyingly got obsessed with getting a hold of something that you almost gave up everything just to chase it– and you end up with not getting it after all? Frustrating, isn’t it?

Let me tell you a story now, for a change, as I’ve always been inclined to leave the details for your imagination.

I once met a guy who shattered my idea of “my kind of man.” He was absolutely different from guys I once dated in that we were totally opposite with things we like and we’ve been through. Even how we see the future was different. At first so many thought it was a joke that we were even dating, and more to their surprise when we became official. I surprised myself as well. But the turn of events was significant in a way that the “how” remained a blur; and the “why,” crystal clear.

I wasn’t even prepared to be in a relationship during that time as I figured I’m too scared to be vulnerable again. I declined dates, focused on work, grew my mane, made plans. And then when I met him it just clicked. All plans left me as soon as the ink gave way to writing. The feeling of being in love was truly magical.

My point is, our plans in life can only go as far. Yes, we can study hard, work hard, travel, prim ourselves up, relocate– but the plan of the Universe is much too strong and there is no better way to be free than to be accepting of the tide. Of course we can never get to that point if we do not work hard, but we have to be open to the idea that our hard work can open not just one, but thousands and millions of doors if we choose to see them.

Many people get frustrated when all their lives they chase for that One Dream and they “fail.” Some can brood over the idea of failure and get stuck; while others may get up and enjoy the endless possibilities.

Broken Pot

“Out of a broken pot, a new work of art. Out of our broken lives, a new creation.”

When we open ourselves to the surprises of life, there is absolutely no turning back. Where in the world can we find the possibilities of loving, laughing, crying, walking, living, dreaming, all in one lifetime? At the end of it all, it is when we can truly say: “Life is so short… Glad I made the most of it.”


Being Late and Being Torn

I’ve found a way to make it work but the lure of chocolates, ice cream, anime fantasies and rock music have swayed me towards an ideal that others would have otherwise dismissed as illogical.

Where do I start?

The grass, while green,

Has always been better on the other side.

The mind, swaying

And the body wants to settle.

The heart, made of gold

Doesn’t fit with the hardened soul

Conviction, without action

Is like loving for the wrong reasons.

Although dilemmas are definitely unavoidable in the midst of chaos, uncertainty and confusion, intention makes all the difference as to how uncertainties are dealt with. Being stuck in traffic and being late for your appointment because all along you thought it was a Tuesday non-rush hour and so you left home thirty minutes later than you would have, is a far better excuse than saying you were sick, you had an accident, or some other more “acceptable” excuse. For one, it’s too obvious when you go on lying. Two, it makes you look stupid. And all these for your ego at the cost of relationships, friendships and states of mind disfigured and sometimes never patched up again.

Lies, layered with white, do not produce better lies—or until you think it does. But when you say it does, you are lying to yourself, aren’t you?

Kintsugi (金継ぎ) or Kintsukuroi (金繕い), the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. Image credit: Wikipedia.

Although torn and broken, the art makes it known that breakage is a part of history and so should be accepted and taken in context as a catalyst for growth in the midst of change. The scars could be taken as remnants of weakness, or of strength. Our ideas of “strength” and “weakness” are therefore relative and so it’s how we see life and make it known to us. It might sound corny but it’s amazing how interconnected this world is that even a small piece of pot can make a difference as to how we see life.

It’s all a matter of perspective. Although there are so many things out of our control, if we choose to see life as to how we want it to be, it is how it will be.

I could tell that my writing has definitely gone rusty after a long, long time of not putting in much effort and time into practicing. The words are coming slow, the “heavy notch” remains as I write, and the ideas do not flow as easily as they would have. I know it will take time to have that bit of an edge again and even though I’m not a good writer, at least I know I’m giving words and ideas a bit of justice 🙂