Category Archives: Musings

Thoughts

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As I type this, I know many people around the world are writing, reading, or pondering the same topic. Most posts like this will probably start out with how I heard the news, so I will follow that trend.

I was just getting on the bus to university this morning when my mom sent me a text message.

Robin Williams had passed away. 

I had a Speaking for Academic Purposes class first thing this morning. At one point, we were talking about world news. The discussion had been quite halting up to that point and not many people were contributing ideas or views. Then, from the back of the class, someone brought up Robin Williams’ passing. Almost rhetorically, my teacher asked, “Why is it that someone who makes other people laugh can suffer from depression?” 

The response was instantaneous. Everyone had their own individual views about why comedians tend to have to deal with depression. Everyone had something to say. I wonder what that means. I wonder why that is. Then again, I don’t really wonder. The amount of people who face depression today is simply startling. How many people sitting in that little classroom were going through the same thing that drove a man known for his comedic abilities to take his own life?

I know from personal experience how the brightest, funniest, most life-affirming people can be so incredibly sad in private. We never really know what’s going on behind the smiles on our acquaintances’ faces. We can’t tell how many of them are just putting up a front.

Anyway…

I think it’s time for me to dig up some old movies of his and rewatch them. A trip down memory lane sounds just about right, now. 

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The Perks Of Thinking Vividly (or, Why I Sometimes Think I Should Be In An Asylum)

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To avoid throwing you into complete disarray at the sudden wildness of the following post, some background probably need be provided. I have a very active imagination – the kind that automatically goes into full vision overdrive if you give me a graphic or not-so-graphic description. When you have a conversation with me on a normal basis, chances are everything you say is conjuring an image in my head, sometimes even multiple images in one go playing like a movie. My brain also has the habit of envisioning the most twisted and odd outcomes that could result from a certain circumstance. For example, you could say, “What if I trip and fall on the stage?” and my brain will instantly begin a series of images or even a fully connected video of what might possibly happen – like you flipping forward and into the microphone with the crappy wiring system and detaching it from its cables, causing it to catch a spark on the pristine white paper that you have prepared for your speech and setting the entire stage on fire (which will most possibly result in the speaker exploding, which will make the headmistress fly off the stage comically the way action villains do in movies) while you tumble headfirst down the steps and lay sprawled out on the tarred gravel beneath you, blood seeping out of your skull.

Just think of everything that could go wrong here.

Just think of everything that could go wrong here.

 

Creeped out yet?

Yeah I probably shared too much information there. You are more than welcome to report me to an insane asylum.

Which brings me back to the main point of this blog post.

Actually, this blog post has no main point. It is merely the fact that I’ve been shot a several odd stares and been given raised eyebrows every single time I express a less-than-ordinary opinion that has prompted me to write my thoughts down in an attempt to force them into organised submission. Because of course, we all know that’s totally going to work.

Maybe one day if I keep telling myself that it might actually work. Who knows?

The good thing is I only think this way if you suggest it by asking a question or making a statement, so usually I don’t imagine things that way. But chances are if you give me an innuendo I am going to envision it and then get scarred for life. So, just a warning. Also, if you describe a person to me by saying, “Oh, she’s insanely tall and has dark brown hair and she always wears a pair of bright blue spectacles”, I am probably going to imagine her in my own Roald Dahl-esque way and then get completely thrown off when I actually meet her in person.

A couple weeks back, while climbing some very flimsy looking metal stairs up to my Speaking class, my friend told me she was afraid that the stairs would collapse suddenly because of how rickety they seemed. While I had previously been thinking about coming up with a study plan for an assignment, I now vaguely began to wonder what would happen if the bolts on the sides of the stairs were to come apart. I then proceeded to enjoy a mini-movie in my head involving the steps slowly sliding downwards the way they only ever do in cartoons, and me starting to fall only to get stuck because there was physically no way I could possibly fit through any of those holes (yes, physics do matter in imaginary movies). I forgot about this very quickly but I had to climb those stairs again today, which reminded me of what happened last time I did, which made me ponder the way I think and imagine things, which then set off an entire train of thought that led to the creation of this blog post. Needless to say, without this extremely active imagination, I would never have any ideas regarding material to write, so I’m actually pretty thankful for it.

And everything that could go wrong here!

And everything that could go wrong here!

Reading to me is all-encompassing for this same reason – if I am riveted on a book, my eyes fixed sturdily on the pages, I am not going to hear you calling my name until you’ve violently grabbed me by the shoulders and shaken me roughly a few times. That’s because I’m lost in the world that the book has conjured for me. Every single character on paper is transformed into a real life person, and in my mind’s eye, I can feel and experience the world created in the book and even interact with it. Hence, I’m in a completely different dimension and it takes a bit of effort on your part to get me back into the current world again. I keep getting yelled at for this particular trait of mine – people think I’m honestly, legitimately trying to ignore them, which is really not my intention at all. Some of them have informed me that it’s simply not possible for me to not hear anything at all. Let me tell you that it’s perfectly possible. In fact, it happens to me almost every day. Unfortunately, this also makes me the ideal target for assassins. Oh well.

Personally, I love having an imagination that works so vividly. It makes everything a lot more interesting. I know someone whose thoughts tend to follow Final Destination type of train of thought, and whenever he voices his thoughts to me, I can always see them happening with insanely perfect clarity before my very eyes, like my own personal, private movie. Needless to say, I find any conversations with him very fulfilling – it’s like I have a constant stream of fascinating (albeit slightly grotesque) images and little clips to go through, which is always wonderful for someone who considers herself a writer. This same person also tends to mention his less-than-usual thoughts about everything to me quite often, and I absolutely love it. It’s like this really amazing source for constant entertainment and inspiration – which is one of the plus points of having an imagination that runs wild very easily. Also, with this type of mindset, it’s impossible to get bored. I literally am incapable of being bored. If I feel the drag starting to creep up on me, my brain automatically gives itself something to envision, just to occupy its time, and I disappear into my own little bubble, where I can make things happen however I want them to (I actually wrote a post fully describing what goes through my head during a boring class in a post entitled Wanderer, which you can read if you like. And yes, this is shameless self-promotion). This probably explains why The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is one of my all-time favourite movies. Although I’m fairly certain I’m nowhere near as socially awkward as Walter (don’t quote me on that, though, because you will most likely have a different opinion if you were to ever meet me), I can definitely relate. This is why I began writing in the first place – to have somewhere to put all of these thoughts and situations I envision. Although thankfully very few of them result in stage-exploding tragedies.

Hey, did you guys know that if all oxygen on earth were to vanish for just a second, about twenty-one percent of air pressure would just disappear? You know what would happen then? Our inner ears would probably explode! Yes! Actually, scratch that, what does it matter if just our inner ears explode – all living cells would explode, period! (This has something to do with the fact that water, being made up of one third oxygen, would turn to hydrogen, and that would turn gaseous and expand heavily in volume. This also probably means all our oceans would just evaporate on the spot! And all the water in our bodies -that’s 70% of our body, kids! – will simply cease to exist! We would literally be withered, and…well…dead! So who cares about eardrums exploding when we’re all dead?) We would also all probably get a really horrible sunburn, since the ozone layer is mostly made up of oxygen. Also, metal objects would all immediately stick together because the only thing currently stopping them from melding is a layer of oxygen, which of course, would vanish and cause all metal things to fuse together. That means every single last metal object on Earth would stick together, forming an endless link of non-stop metal. I’m sure you think it sounds cool, but think of the person unlucky enough to be standing in between those metal objects -which is, essentially, everyone. I mean, that person would already be dead, but imagine if they weren’t. Also, because a lot of the Earth’s crust is oxygen, everything beneath our feet would just pretty much crumble because there would be a lot less to stand on. So right now, I’ve got the visual of a bunch of dead people with withered up, sunburned skin and blood oozing out of their ears stuck inside one single metal piece that goes all the way around the world as they fall into an abyss. You still with me?

Earth-exploding

Yeah…I’ll let myself out.

Raindrops, Clouds, And The Other Little Things In Life

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The movement of water over a polished, tiled floor always fascinated me as a child. With the naïve eagerness of innocence, I would sit cross-legged and wide-eyed, watching precariously as rivulets of smooth, clear liquid slid gently from one groove to the next, a tantalizingly slow trickle that weaved intricate patterns as it went along, leaving a glistening trail for my gaze to follow until it resolved into a single, shapeless puddle. I wasn’t certain, at the time, what so enraptured my attention about the steady progress of the water from meager droplets to a full-formed body. I don’t think I really wondered about why; I was just too riveted by the seemingly effortless grace that enabled something that started off small and unnoticeable to grow into something that could actually made an impact. The same went with watching raindrops on a windowsill. Whether it was on the panes of the old family car or against the glass of the windows attached to my room, I was hopelessly infatuated with water of any kind. My gaze would remain stuck on droplets as they chased each other rapidly down the windows, my kid-side silently rooting for “my favourite raindrop” to win until it rolled off the bottom of the glass and I picked another random droplet to cheer for. It was good fun, and the repetitive motion was soothing and relaxing to someone like me. It was one of the few times I would actually willingly sit still – when I was witnessing water travel.

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Eventually, I grew bored with watching water and turned my attention to homework and other more important things. I still “raced” raindrops when they pattered onto my window, but when my mom and I moved into an apartment where my room faced the hallways instead of the outside, that stopped as well. I don’t often tire of things, but for some reason, watching water ceased to hold any meaning for me as I grew older. I would skip over puddles instead of watching them grow and would irritatingly wipe droplets off of objects instead of joining in on their journeys. Perhaps it was because of my temperament. You see, I’m more of a fire person by nature, really. I’ve got an occasionally overly intense personality and a temper that threatens to blow up disastrously and has been likened to a very volatile volcano. When I get passionate about something, like a book or a topic of discussion, I get fiery and expressive about them. The same way, after a while, the fire sometimes burns out. I guess that’s sort of what happened with my interest in water – there was a spark, followed by a heated blaze, then it just sort of died down and fizzled out.

Accurate description of my temper.

Accurate description of my temper.

I sound a little like I’m romanticising the whole thing, but to me, the time I ceased to view water as anything more than a necessity for basic life and an occasional nuisance was the time I stopped appreciating the little things in life. We’re all guilty of that, in a way. We stop noticing the pigeons landing on the pavement, stop caring that if we squint just right that cotton-candy cloud looks uncannily like a cross between a dog and a clown, stop pausing at regular intervals to curiously reach out and touch a particularly vivid flower poking out of the hedge. Instead, we start walking around a lot faster than our legs have the capacity of carrying us, in consequence moving around far too fast for our eyes to fully register what’s going on around us. In the words of Sherlock Holmes, we see, but we do not observe. We give excuses like, “I’m far too busy”, “I’m in a bit of a hurry”, “I have work to do” – and then we bustle along away, completely missing everything around us, focused only on ourselves and the Very Important Work that we have to do as Very Important Adults. The childlike wonder we were born with, which makes us love everything in the world and become endlessly fascinated by all things even remotely new to our eyes and minds, dissipates, replaced instead by boredom and the need to act like Grown Ups and Responsible Adults. It’s not that we can’t see the beauty of everything around us, we just don’t. And that to me is something very upsetting.

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Personally, I have always been the kind of person who notices everything around me and gets distracted by it. This probably also explains why I am extremely clumsy. I am simply not capable of walking down a crowded shopping complex without overhearing a million different conversations, observing what people are wearing, or taking an unconscious survey of the number of people there alone, with family or with a partner. If a girl looks remotely annoyed that her boyfriend has his eyes on another girl in a skimpy outfit on the other side of the polished shopping mall floor, I will see it. If a boy attempts to sneak a couple of candies into his mothers black probably fake Prada bag, oblivious to the fact that a little girl sitting nearby has noticed and is giggling about it to her father, I will notice it from all the way across the shop, where I’m standing behind a stack of magazines. If a waiter’s watch flashes from his right hand three tables away, I will observe and draw the conclusion that he’s probably left handed. And yet, despite the fact that I see all these things on a daily basis and do not possess the ability to focus on only one thing at a time, I choose to ignore the things I see around me. It’s not a conscious decision at all – it’s just something that has been hammered into me. I don’t have time to stop and observe that the butterfly with blue wings has a pattern on them that looks almost like a cat. I am simply too busy. I have things to write and people to meet up with and assignments to get done and university to get to – I simply don’t have time for useless extra bits of attractive-looking information that will add virtually nothing to my general knowledge or do anything that will help with the test I have to sit for today.

Why do I think this way? Maybe it’s because time flies so fast that I feel I have to move even faster to keep up with it. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Time flies, and life is so short. Granted, it’s the longest thing we’ll ever do, but when you really get to thinking about it, life is a painfully, frighteningly short thing. Think of all the beautiful things we miss on a daily basis when we dash by without so much as glancing at the world around us, all the sights and sounds and scents that our brain wants us to notice but we dismiss immediately as unimportant. That’s why I’ve made a pledge with myself. Despite the fact that I have a rapidly increasing workload and a lot of commuting back and forth to do, I will always make some time to stop and smell the roses – even literally, if I must, because roses are my favourite flower.

I’ve thought about this long and hard overnight (when I couldn’t sleep and just passed the time staring at the ceiling for several hours enshrouded in darkness), and I came to the realisation that it’s the smallest things in life that really make everything more fulfilling and wonderful: A genuine, honest smile from a stranger. Your favourite song playing on the radio and drawing to a close just as you pull into your parking spot at work. Taking that first sip of coffee in the mornings, or hot chocolate on a cold, rainy, lazy Sunday afternoon. Finding an extra five bucks in the pocket of that pair of jeans you haven’t worn for a month. When you wake up before your alarm rings catastrophically in the morning and can savour the glorious feeling of being able to go back to sleep again. Getting a curly fry in your order of regular fries. A sweet little text message that consists of no more than maybe ten words but still brings a smile to your face, even on the most stressful of days. What’s life, really, if we don’t enjoy the little things?

Anyone watch Zombieland?

Anyone watch Zombieland?

A few days ago, while I waited for the bus on a tiled pavement, it began to rain. Water fell into the grooves between the tiles and flowed slowly through the path paved for them. My eyes fell on them and a wave of nostalgia washed over me like a wave. I hesitated for a moment, then put down my social science textbook and drowned out all thoughts about homework. And just like that, I was back in my childhood days, surrounded by noise and bustling people but focused only on the slow travel of the water before me.

I think it’s because I finally realised that the things in life we tend to overlook are often the most beautiful.

Adjusting to Change

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I’ve been back at school for three days now. It’s a different ball game altogether this year – new subjects to learn and officially being one of the older students in the school. I’m in a completely different class from last year and most of the familiar faces of last year’s classmates aren’t in my class – luckily I still have two of my closest friends in class with me. Not to mention that a lot of my dear friends have moved school this year – one is even migrating to another country! And I’m definitely not used to the freshmen looking up at my friends and I with a kind of awe – did I do that when I was new here? Even my chess teacher is different this year.

I’m not a stranger to change – over the past few years things have altered so fast and so much that when I look back on my past self in maybe 2007, I find that I don’t even recognize that girl anymore! I seem to have become a different person every single year since then, different people who don’t even ring a bell to my mind any longer. They seem like strangers – ghosts of a past life or something like that. Sometimes it sort of unsettles me, to look at myself in the mirror and not recognize the person staring right back at me.

I’m not gonna lie, I hate change. Not because change itself isn’t good, but because it loves to say “I told you so!” When something changes, it’s almost never positive, but then a little later, maybe a week, a couple years or even a decade later, you realize that it was for the best. And change shoves it in your face, like, “See?”

Anyhow, back to the original subject – getting used to this new, alien year at school. It’ll take some time to adjust to this new routine and everything in it. I don’t usually find it so difficult to adjust, but this – this is something else altogether.

I remember watching an episode of my favourite crime show, Bones. In it, the main character, Temperance Brennan finds herself dealing with a case she finds personal. A body of a rich woman is found in a bad part of town and she goes to investigate, and she finds several similarities between her and the victim – height, weight, favourite animal, etc. When she sees the victim’s ID photo, she finds that it looks exactly like her. When she asks her partner FBI Special Agent Seely Booth if he recognizes the victim, he says no. When she hears a recording of the victim’s voice, Brennan hears her own voice. Her colleagues begin to worry about her when she has difficulty being objective on the case as she relates very much to the victim, even in terms of love life.

She can’t sleep, so she returns to her lab late at night to continue working on the case, and Micah, a security guard, finds her there. He tells her about a lecture he attended – an experiment was set up where a group of people were made to wear glasses that made them see the world upside down.  For three days, the world was upside down for them (literally, mind you). But after three days, they were made take off the glasses and instead of seeing things right side up, everything was upside down. The conclusion of the experiment was that it takes the brain three days to adjust.

It took three days for Brennan and Booth to solve the case, and after those three days, Brennan looked at the ID picture of the victim and no longer saw her face staring back at her, but the real face of the victim.

I guess what I’m trying to say is – I’ve been at school three days. Maybe when I go back on Monday, everything will seem normal. Maybe my brain would have adjusted…or maybe it would still be stubbornly unadjusted. My brain’s a little weird.

Whatever the case, change is inevitable in life and we just have to adapt to it. Unfortunately. 🙂

The key to change…is to let go of fear ~ Rosanne Cash

The Confounded Writer’s Block

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And… this has got to be a record. No new blog posts for nearly a month… Wow.

An old childhood favourite... Calvin and Hobbes

You see, I’d love to blog about something. Anything. Unfortunately my mind fails to allow me to think of an interesting topic that hasn’t been done before. It’s too busy focusing on my sinking History marks. And I haven’t written much in my book either. Gotta keep working on that one.

A sad scene that would likely take place at my desk.

I can’t stand writer’s block, honestly. But I honestly don’t consider it until I open my book to write in.

Oh dear me, I can’t seem to think of how this plot could go. Maybe if he kills the evil assistant… No, it’s too soon. Maybe he should make a new friend?

Then I realize that I have been having trouble with other things too, namely my blog.

Oh, it’s been a week since I’ve updated my blog! I must start a new post. Let’s see…

I then have to come to terms with the fact that I have no idea what to blog about, so I spend ages wracking my brain for a suitable topic.

Environmental issues? No, I’ve done that one before… Singing? Did that too. Oh what about this awesome book… Oh wait that’s been done on Freshly Pressed.

And in the end I’m just like:

A typical reaction of mine upon discovering that I have yet again been infected by writer's block.

Soon, a couple of hours pass and I have to get off the computer. I decide that if I stop thinking about it, I’ll come up with a good idea.

I’ll just take a break and see if something pops up. Sooner or later, it always does.

And before I know it, nearly an entire month has flown by and I’ve forgotten about the fact that I am suffering from the dreaded and highly fatal writer’s block. Until…

What’s *insert random name of friend here* doing over there on that computer? Oh, she’s blogging. Oh no I haven’t blogged in ages! How long has it been? AH!

So I go and check my blog for the first time in ages.

I’ve been subscribed to…! Oh. By someone who’s already deleted their account. Oh, look at all these comments. Well… 34 spam comments actually. I really must get a blog post going.

And that is how I came to be sitting here today, typing away.

It never fails, you know, no matter how often I follow online writer’s block solving tips. I got this list off the internet.

1. Implement a Writing Schedule.

Yes, I have gone back to the same place at the same time every day and still nothing springs to my head. Sometimes I just let my hand free-write on the paper and all that comes out is… garbage.

2. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself.

How can I not be? I’ve been trying for three weeks and still nothing comes out of my pen.

3. Think of Writing as a Regular Job, and Less as an Art.

4. Take Time Off If You’ve Just Finished a Project.

5. Set Deadlines and Keep Them.

(This is the only thing that really works for me… Except for the fact that the finished product is a little on the… well… awful side.)

6. Examine Deep-Seated Issues Behind Your Writer’s Block.

7. Work on More Than One Project at a Time.

(Three projects going on and I’m still getting nowhere…)

8. Try Writing Exercises.

(I do this in English class in school everyday.)

9. Re-Consider Your Writing Space.

(It’s actually a cosy little nook.)

10. Remember Why You Started to Write in the First Place.

(I need a LOT of help with this one.)

I do this... A lot.

Actually, I’ve discovered a really awesome way to beat writer’s block when it comes to blogging: If you can’t think about anything to blog about… Blog about the fact that you can’t think of anything to blog about.

Anyhow, I’ll just head off now… I just found a good plot for my book… I think.

At The 11th Hour (and 59 mintues)

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So, honestly, really, what is it with everyone and being late? It’s either they’re racing through the hallway looking like a wild ocelot because they’re late for a super important awesome-ly awesome seminar, or burning the midnight oil, straining to finish a report due the very next day that they knew about ages ago (wow, that was a long sentence). If neither, they’re calmly walking, slow as possible, dragging their feet, up to someone and saying, “Hey, by the way, I forgot to tell you the last billion times I saw you, for the last fortnight or so, but you have a meeting in 5 minutes.” I mean, come on, people.

Yesterday I nearly had a panic attack when I was told that selections for nationals was that day! In half an hour! Oh, and yeah, get your own transport, please. Oh, and it’s compulsory, by the way.

In the end, my teacher tells us that the thing is today and not yesterday, and it isn’t the playoffs, it’s the training. And they had me running around frantically fumbling in my bag for coins to call my mom using the pay phone that constantly says “Updating”.

Ok, ok, so I’ll admit to doing many things last-minute. Like, umm… studying for my Geography test or finishing up my Art project (due next Tuesday, just so you know) or something not-so-panic-insuing like that. Not some sort of thing that will get other people killed (or at least have them dying of heart attack).

I used to be the most professional procrastinator you’d ever meet, but I learned a few things and now I’m a bit more chill. First off, I stopped being a yes-man (or, more accurately, yes-girl). Used to be, I’d juggle marching, performances and library responsibilities all in one go. More often than not, something would fall to the floor and shatter, then I’d lose focus and everything else would come tumbling down to. Now, it’s one at a time, please.

Next, I started writing everything I had to do down. I used to cram everything into my head. Then it’d all overflow and I’d lose half my important memories (needless to say, the useless ones never spill out). This year, I watched my best friend list everything neatly down in a notebook she got for her birthday and decorate the pages with hearts and doodles, then it hit me. I brought out an old notepad that had been gathering dust in a filing cabinet and started jotting down homework, assignments and projects.

And one more thing. I set reminders in my phone for everything, from bringing my glasses when my contacts have expired to exams and meetings. It doesn’t always work, because usually I’m too groggy to read my reminders when they alarm at 5 in the morning and I just hit random buttons to silence it. More often than not, I miss the “postpone” button on the left and hit the “stop” button on the right instead. =.=

Anyways, that’s all I’ve come up with. And I still do things late! Sigh…

Today, I headed off to the training, sat down across a future opponent and asked, “This is the training, right?” And what did she say?

“No. This is the playoff.”

You… have… got… to… be… kidding… me…

Old Music vs New Music

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If you haven’t already noticed, I am completely, profoundly and immensely addicted to music. I’m so immersed in the world of singing and dancing and pianos and guitars that I don’t think I’ll ever get out of it.

And how do I conquer this addiction?

Simple. I don’t.

I grew up listening to the radio to fall asleep, belting out old-fashioned songs that I learned from my father, and completely oblivious to “modern” songs. Plus, I learned them all completely off-key! It wasn’t until I was older that I discovered that not all songs sounded fresh out of the 80’s and that I had learned all songs from a tone-deaf person!

Since then, though, I’ve fallen completely in love with music. I sang day and night (annoying many as I went), everything from the Bee Gees to Katy Perry; and anything from David Gates to Linkin Park. I took up piano and guitar and performed where I could.

Lately, I’ve come across more old songs and I find that they are far more beautiful than the disposable, overrated ones we hear, blasting on the radio, today. They were sung by performers who actually could sing, all with wonderful voices. Unlike today, where half, if not most, of the singers sing with their voices autotuned and overproduced, singing the same note for most of the song, and even more often, the same phrase.

But that hasn’t stopped me singing “Like a G6, like a G6, n-now-now-now I’m feeling so fly like a G6” non-stop at thetop of my voice!

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Coz unfortunately, when one is addicted to music, any kind of music is awesome.

The title is really inappropriate… I think I should change it to “Why I Love New Music Even If Old Music Is Awesome”.

Oh well, lazy…

Gonna go sing annoyingly repetitive and monotonous songs now! Bye…

Give It A Shot

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Today, I found out at the eleventh hour about an English public speaking competition my school was holding. On some strange whim, I decided to go for it, speaking completely impromptu while everyone else had days to prepare. On the whole, it was fun (aside from a couple of unnecessary pauses) and I’m glad I joined in the end.

I’ll have you know that, trudging my way up to the venue of the competition, gazillions upon gazillions of doubts continually sprung into my mind. You have no script. You have no topic. You have no fragments of speeches committed to memory. Heck, you don’t even speak very often. I succumbed to these doubts after a while and turned around to go to the library, only to find myself blocked by Science Club members trooping down the stairs to the lab. There was no way I could get through the crowd with my guitar case slung over my shoulder and my schoolbag hanging limply at my side.

And that’s when I thought, oh what the heck. Let’s just have fun with this.

A half hour later, I found myself standing in front of a half-filled classroom, droning on about inner beauty, coming up with random points and statements in my head. I’m pretty sure I left out a few things. But oh well.

Many times in life, and in much more serious situations (at least, more serious than light-hearted school competitions), one will have to make a quick decision. If one fears, worries, or overthinks (all my tendencies, unfortunately), one could miss out on an amazing opportunity. And we don’t want that, now, do we?

Similarly, dare to be different and do new things, or to fight for something you believe in. And who cares what others think? Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at, as was once quoted by someone unknown.

Everyday, we are faced with adversity. Don’t let these people get you down.

Whatever it is, give it a shot.

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself. -Søren Kierkegaard

Chapters

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I view my life in chapters.

When I was 11, I wrote a song called “The New Chapter”, signifying a time for me when I had to start anew. Last year, I wrote “The New Chapter 2”, also representing a time when I started again.

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Each time something big happens – starting school, discovering a talent, starting a new activity, solving problems, facing new, more challenging trials – I start a new chapter. Like all writers, I try to start a new chapter only when everything’s perfect in the previous one, or when I’m ready to go on. I’ve got my storyline planned out most of the time… I want it to be perfect. For example, starting high school at 13 years old and staying in the school till I’m 17.

But sometimes it can’t be helped – for example, if there is a flaw in the storyline, and all writers hate that, but it happens, and one must give up plans and begin a new phase. You could have planned your character to fall for this person in the end, but you have chapters and chapters more to go. Maybe by then your story would have plunged off its line and into some river somewhere and those two characters don’t work anymore. Maybe you wanted to end this chapter after the guy gets shot but you find it sounds better if you end it here rather than there. And so you finalize your chapter.

When I’m not ready to do something (in other words, to end a chapter), I feel as though I have paragraphs and paragraphs to finish before the chapter ends. I would think to myself, “There’s so much more I want to do before beginning this!” And when one feels that way, it isn’t time yet.

But you don’t always have a choice in where your chapters end, and in that way, life is unlike writing a book. Sometimes something happens – the death of a loved one, a natural disaster. Something that us mortal beings have no control over. And when that happens, there is nothing one can do about it. One has to take it as a tiny little flaw in the tale and decide to drop plans of pages, to start over anew.

New chapters don’t always start easily. They don’t always begin because it’s expected (like starting school). Most of the time, they don’t happen because we want them to. There will be those dramatic chapters, the ones where the main character is in a dark place and can’t get out. But that chapter will end when the character has healed. And a character doesn’t just heal. They have to decide to heal. They have to want to heal. Sometimes, it isn’t about healing, it’s about believing and trying something new and frightening. Something they’ve never done before.

And that’s the beauty of it all.

Time to start a new chapter.

Bug Adventures

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So there I was, minding my own business in my room, when some annoying insect decided to take a break on my shoulder. I barely noticed it… Until it left me with a little red bump of irritated skin. I constantly attract the attention of bugs everywhere I go, so I thought nothing of it.

That evening, I ended up with three more bumps from insect bites and got mildly annoyed. I tried to look for the meddling creature but failed and had to be content with wearing a long-sleeved shirt (during the dry season!) all night to prevent more bites.

This scenario continued all week so I began a tireless pursuit of the single tiny creature that haunted me each time I set foot in my room. My efforts bore no fruit as I became increasingly frustrated with the insect that perpetually raised exasperating red bumps on my skin that I scratched in my sleep, causing ugly little things all over my arms.

Two days ago, I was trying to ignore the new bite forming over my skin, I caught a glimpse of the bug that had been incessantly, well, bugging me since forever (exaggeration?). I got up and stalked over to where it was on the wall. I smacked my hand into the hard brown-painted cement (ouch). Ignoring the smarting in my hand, I checked if I had finally caught the thing.

No! It had just whizzed around my head tauntingly and flown off!

For a quarter-hour I chased after that annoying insect. I leaped and jumped; I grabbed and grasped; I stumbled and tripped. After 15 short minutes I gave up. That thing would elude me forever.

In my exhaustion I leaned against the wall. After a few seconds I got off to resume my homework and noticed a black stain on my left sleeve and a matching one on the wall.

I went nuts. After a whole week and 15 annoying minutes of chasing, it had come to this? In the end it took no effort. And I ended up with a stain on my favourite orange shirt. And I had to clean the stubborn goop of the wall.

And of course, I accidentally squashed the insect.