Before Facebook

03Sep12

In all honesty, this is just me cheating on my attempts to reach 10,000 words before I reach 10,000 tweets. Plus I couldn’t sum it up in less than 140 words anyway.

I have this habit of looking up random old nonsense ever since I got timelined (honestly, I haven’t felt the need to complain just yet- I don’t know what the fuss it about!). Anyways, so I realized I joined facebook circa late 2007. Realizing that I had known, and at which point I had already I guess been in a relationship of sorts with, Meor Alif before that, made me realize, and ask him (prompting the biggest laugh I’ve had in awhile) “Hey, we knew each other before facebook. How the hell did we keep in touch online before?”.

After a split-second of self-pity realizing how pathetic the question was, and a look of slight bewilderment from him at how amused I was at the fact, he replied; we blogged about things.

I’m not one to awww at my own stories, but awwwww! He’s absolutely right. We used to keep up with each other’s lives through our blogs (never mind the fact that we lived practically 15 minutes away from each other and saw each other pretty regularly). And I suddenly remembered that was the case for most of my friends at the time. We took time to write things down, feelings, emotions, in complete whole sentences and with considerate length, before 140-character limits and “what’s on your mind” statuses were around and hey, I think we took more time to think about things, and process them too.

I really do think, we all saw a lot more of each other, and knew more about each other, before facebook. Now, all we get are constant picture uploads and snippets of information, which honestly when it’s an album of more than 100 photos, we rather quickly tire of anyway. While there definitely is more volume and content of information that we get about our friends, nothing, I think, beats reading a written account of the going-ons of a person’s life. There’s just a certain rawness to the whole process that lets you in just that little bit more into a person’s life.

Anyway, I guess this is just me letting you in, a little bit more than usual. Wish me luck getting to 10,000 words. If I could write on the impact of globalization on income distribution as fast as I wrote this entry, I’m set. I wish.

Have you done your good deed for the day?

Quick edit: How apt is it that this quote came up right after I published this post. Just had to put it in!

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. ISAAC ASIMOV

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Life Mantra

28Aug12

Image

In my defense, isn’t it just called being efficient?


On a more personal note, I deleted the column of links to other people’s blogs because I found out that most of them aren’t working anymore. But I do still enjoy reading what other people are writing about, thinking about, talking about. So if you’re still writing and wouldn’t mind an audience, do drop a comment so I know you exist.


Context

07Jul12

I noticed that a lot of people blog when they’re sad or angry. Or incredibly happy. Then, I realized that it might not be true at all. Barring the “This is what I had for breakfast, lunch and oh, dinner too” type of blogger/instagrammer, not everyone updates every detail of their lives. In truth, what we see displayed on all these social media networks are merely snapshots, which in no way can represent the actuality of what is happening in one’s life. Strange then, that we so easily judge people from their Facebook profiles and what they write on their blogs.

I tracked all my writings all the way back to 2006. Imagine that, 6 years ago! I was literally still a teenager, with no idea, no inkling at all at the time, that life would lead me to where I am today. Some of the things that came out of my… well, technically not my mouth, but rather what I had typed, most of those things seemed so distant. The memories that were evoked from what I was reading reminded me that what was written was not all that had happened, there was so much more to the story, to the event, to the emotion and to the person that I was at the time. I suppose the experience will be similar to reading this very post 6 years down the road. I may very well be a different person, with a different outlook on life and things.

And yet, some emotions were all too familiar. Some of the things I was going through as an 18 year old, I still find myself going through today. It’s comforting, if nothing else, to think that some things remain the same. I still find cleaning my room, therapeutic, for instance. I still am swept away by the concept of romance. I’m still addicted to teen soaps. I still relate to and emote through song lyrics. I always write when I miss my friends.

It’s so strange to think that I’m so different now, and yet still the same. Like I said, I’m much more guarded with my emotions, and looking back through the things I wrote I could point to some experiences which explain why. And in many ways, my views on life, love, friendship and the world have evolved along the way. I may still be as unsure as to where I’m going as I was when I was 18, but I’m rather certain I have a greater grasp on who I am now and who I’d like to grow to be. I am better able to deal with the judgment of others and accept that not many would agree with what I agree to, or like what I like. I’d like to think it’s part of growing up.

But going back to my original point, these are all merely snapshots. Don’t think you know me because you have read what I’ve written, and seen pictures of where I’ve been and listened to songs I’ve listened to. True, on some days you have access to my innermost thoughts. Some of which, I dare not speak out loud, only to be put into words because there is comfort to be sought in expressing them in this way. In some ways, you may know me. But you cannot truly know or judge me by what I’ve written, these are merely snapshots of who I am and it barely scratches the surface of what I’ve been through.

Just something to think about, I guess. We live in an age where vast amounts of information are available at our disposal with the click of a button, but information isn’t knowledge. And we would be fools to think otherwise.

Be kind to one another. Think more, speak less, judge not.


Effort

05Jul12

Consider this an attempt to return to writing more than 140 characters at a time. As much as I’d hate to admit it, it does feel rather strange. I’ve always felt the need to compress and edit my thoughts, I never thought it would have such a large effect on my ability to emote. This does feel like a spread your wings and fly moment in some ways.

Don’t expect me to be talking about my day to day activities though. Over the years, and after a review of my earlier blog posts, I’ve grown to realize that I’m much more guarded in terms of expressing my emotions and divulging details of my life than before. I don’t know how people can talk about the minute details of the ongoing of their lives on a daily basis. Catharsis. Perhaps. But I still don’t get it.

I prefer random and vague expression, I suppose. So you might think you know what I’m talking about, but not really. I’d like to think I’m elusive that way. Truth is, you can read me like a book if you know how to. Anyway, let’s not overdo this long-due attempt. I’m just… testing the waters here.

Be kind to one another.


I don’t make friends easily. And I must admit, it’s not very easy to like me.

I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s been that way for a very long time. And this is in no way trying to show a lack of appreciation to the great friends that I actually do have. If anything, it’s the opposite, knowing and accepting this fact has led me to believe that the good friends that I have, that despite everything, still accept me and find it a genuine pleasure to be around me, are a huge blessing. But truth be told, I just don’t make friends very easily.

As a child, I think it used to be because I was quite obnoxious, rather boisterous and very competitive. I know that I talked a lot, enjoyed people’s (especially of those older than me) attention and loved to be the leader. I’m not sure what kind of impression that left on my childhood friends. I think I didn’t really care at that point in time. But I did end up being in a rather tight-knit group of girls at the end of my primary school years. I don’t keep in touch with any of them unfortunately, so I don’t know how tight-knit I can actually claim that group was. But from time to time, I would hear from some of them, we keep tabs on each other on Facebook and things like that. It wasn’t all bad!

In my teenage years, I was in boarding school. And that granted the blessing of having, practically, automatic friends, if that makes any sense. Well, it’s just the whole concept of boarding school, an all-girls boarding school, no less, gave you this sense of comraderie and a bond forged from the shared experience of being away from our families and going through things together day in and day out. And then, there’s batch spirit, and how sacred that was, showing loyalty to everyone in your year. Some people, of course, still didn’t like me, and nor did I like them, but most of the time we put our differences aside and were all decent to each other. Despite being in a girls school, I managed to avoid the whole mean girl situation and enjoyed my years there, making friends that I remain close to and dearly love to this day.

At uni, my closest friends are those I made from debate and of course, the course-mates that shared with me the privilege of being exempted from English class in matriculation. I mention this specifically, because that class (or rather lack of that one class) practically meant that we had all the same classes for the entire year day in day out. We basically stuck it out, that very group of girls (for the most part), through all 4 years of uni. For which, I think I owe a special mention to. Throughout my four years of uni, my time was very much split between going to class and hanging out with my course-mates, and all the time spent training and travelling for debate. And I’m very sure that whenever I was committing to one, I would almost always completely ignore the other. But for these people to have the patience to bear with me and still accept me whenever I decided I had the time to come back, that’s just amazing.

It’s so easy to drift apart when you don’t maintain a relationship, when you miss group outings, when you don’t have time for your friends or have to make choices between your friends and something else. But my Econ friends, have always made time for me no matter how many things I miss. The stories, the heartbreaks, the fights, I wasn’t always aware of what was happening, but they always had room for me. And for that I am grateful.

The debaters. Well, some days I’m convinced they’re just forced to be friends with me because we spend so much time together training, travelling and going for tournaments. Maybe it’s because I used to be so obsessed with organizing group activities that had to be perfect and that everyone justĀ hadĀ to follow. Maybe it’s because we were just a bunch of kids, convinced that we were had the common vision of making a difference with our words. Maybe we were just (going out on a limb here) elitists that thought debating was all that and that we were all that, and that the uni that we were representing was the absolute best, and by extension of that, we, as a collective, as a team, were the best. Whatever the reason, this bunch of people gave me some of the best experiences, some of the best years of my life.

And by extension, when I mention “the debaters”, I do also include the wacky group of friends who (quite childishly, I might add) decided to actually name our ‘gang’ in honor of our favourite shared pastime. That’s another long story right there.

Now I know this might seem rather strange, how did this post get from hypothesizing that I don’t make friends very easily to what seems like a Facebook timeline accounting for the history of the friendships I’ve made over the course of my lifetime?

Enter present day.

It’s easy (not for all, I suppose) to make friends when you’re in a bubble. Sort of a comfort zone that you’re all thrown into together for a certain period of time and are all forced to go through similar experiences. Especially if those people are similar to you, either in terms of age, background, interests or any variable for that matter. I feel like for most of my life, even at the different stages I was at, there were these bubbles right there, just waiting for me, and I had to find a way to insert myself into the bubble. The challenge is when everything is different.

Studying abroad has been a challenge for me because of this very fact, everything and everyone is different. Doing a one-year Masters program especially, is a challenge, because of the very small time frame you have. To make friends, especially. Because it’s not like school or college when everyone’s your age, going through the same shit you are. It’s a completely different ballpark altogether. And it’s just not that easy.

I’ve known before (from the fact that I often like to stick to groups of friends in my comfort zone) that my social skills aren’t the best. But these days, I’m beginning to doubt if I’m interesting as a human being to begin with. (That sounded so pathetic that this just calls for a LOL moment. So.. LOL!). I realize that I’m not as talkative or opinionated like I used to be (or used to think I am). I’m far from that obnoxious, boisterous kid that enjoys attention (which might be a good thing). I’m reserved! And quiet! And I might not have very much to say at all if I don’t quite know someone, or am out of my comfort zone.

This isn’t a pity post. I’m not trying to complain that I have no friends, oh poor me! I have met a lot of interesting people, had fun with quite a number of them, get to know a select few. But it’s just self-discovery I suppose. We live most of our lives in a bubble, and it’s so easy to get comfortable and enjoy that bubble, but you know, someday, somehow, it’s inevitable that the bubble is going to burst. And you’ll be forced to confront some truths about yourself that you may not have realized all the while you’ve been in the la-la land of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to mean you’re pathetic. It just means that you have to learn to adapt.

I admit I haven’t quite learnt, some days I think it’s too late. There’s still time- but there’s also the possibility that I will never quite make the most out of the opportunity I’ve been given of studying abroad and having this experience that not many get to have. I’m not too sure quite how I feel about that yet. As every day passes, part of me just wants to give up and make peace with the fact that I’ve failed at something. But another part of me just yearns to see this as a learning experience and that something good is to come out of it.

I haven’t made up my mind. But saying it out loud sure as heck is rather satisfying. I don’t know. It’s never too late. Maybe it is? I just don’t know! And I suppose I’ll just have to be okay with it for now.


It’s been so dark lately. I know few would understand, many won’t care to know, some might scoff. But, I’m going through what I think is the toughest time of my life right now. I can see how from an outsider’s point of view, I might just sound ungrateful, crazy even. But my heart is just plagued with this dark cloud. My every step feels heavy. My actions feel just, wrong. And the worst part about it all is I think that it’s beginning to affect the people around me. And given that not many people are actually around me, the effect is just compounded, and I’m left gasping for air climbing out of quicksand.

To not gain your heart’s desire is tragic, but believe you me, to not know what your heart desires, is just pure torturous. I envy people who know what they want and just go out, risking everything, to get it. They might face hardship, failures and heartbreak, but every disappointment is justified by the goal and the determination to achieve that goal. Now, many would look at me and say, you’re privileged enough to have choices, you’re bright, you have prospects- what’s there to worry about, right? Wrong. Every second of the day, uncertainty consumes me, and I’m left to doubt every decision I make, every choice, every opinion, every action.

“IT’S NORMAL”. People would say. Not everyone knows what they want. People figure it out along the way. Some people still haven’t, but they live their lives. Well, that’s not good enough. I truly don’t care what other people go through at this point. I expect more from myself, and I should. I expect my heart to find the strength to decide, and my head to be steadfast and determined. But alas, it’s not. It’s not, and every fibre of my being is disappointed, defeated.

This is truly, what I feel, every single day. At the root of every thought, at the back of every smile. Defeated, before I’ve even begun.

Like I said, I just really, truly, need a win right now.