Saturday, November 17, 2012

Seven days of self-discovery.

(Note: This post is extremely long, best enjoyed with a coffee and pastry, and is basically me just talking about what's been happening in my life all week. I do hope you enjoy reading monologues.)

I've been having a weeklong Deepavali break, and now that it's ending, I've realised that I have made absolutely zero progress with all the goals that I've set. Namely, I didn't touch any of my textbooks or conduct any legal research. It should be noted that I have assignments due in a few weeks, and my whole future is riding on this.


But then again, life has a funny way of teaching us things, especially whenever we least expect it.

I may not have made much academic leeway, but I've certainly grown up a lot this week. In the past few days, certain series of events have led me to experience mini epiphanies. They may not be hugely dramatic, but they helped illuminate aspects of my life that I hadn't even known needed a guiding light.

Thus, I've decided to detail them here for personal reference. Hopefully, I manage to inspire someone out there too.

1. Spiritual aspect

Image source: Sean Beh

This personal account comes a little late, but I've decided to write about it anyway.

About a week ago, an image formed on a window panel at the Sime Darby Medical Centre (SDMC) in Subang Jaya. Many believe this image to be an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and believers and curious onlookers alike have flocked to the site to take a closer look at this image.

Now, being admittedly not the most pious Catholic around, I didn't jump at the news and rush to SDMC, despite living not too far away from it. I had been busy with other events the past weekend, and didn't give the apparition a second thought. Besides feeling tired most of the time, I was also highly skeptical about this whole thing, and didn't want to get any hopes up until the church had issued a statement.

However, that was the weekend.

Once Monday rolled around, I had seen enough pictures in print and on Facebook to sufficiently piqué my interest to take a gander at the apparition. Through a series of unforeseen events however, I only managed to visit SDMC on Tuesday, when mommy and I braved the crowds and headed to SDMC, to be good Catholics and gaze reverently at the supposed image of Mother Mary.

One thing you cannot tell from online images is that the window pane is pretty damn high off the ground, I'm estimating at least 5 storeys high. This means that without binoculars or zoom lens or any similar gadget, you don't exactly get the best view.

Image source: Sean Beh

Don't get me wrong though, you will still be able to make out Mother Mary's image without any trouble. At first glance, it is truly a sight to behold. You really feel like there is an ethereal, calming aura that emanates from the apparition, and makes you feel spiritual, like you should say a prayer or sing a hymm.

But then again, this feeling didn't last long for me. When I looked upon the supposed apparition, I sometimes only saw dirt on the window instead of the Blessed Virgin. Somehow, I just wasn't as awestruck or dumbfounded as I'd expected to be, and it was quite a disappointment.

This however, doesn't mean that the apparition isn't authentic, as church officials have yet to certify anything. It just means that I didn't have a moving spiritual experience when I saw the window pane; but I do know a few others who have been truly moved after visiting SDMC, and they wholeheartedly believe that Mother Mary is there gazing down upon them.

Maybe my faith just isn't strong enough. Guess I need to stop falling asleep during Mass.

Nonetheless, it shouldn't be said that I didn't have a spiritual experience at all at the site though. Although the apparition didn't move mountains for me, the people that were gathered there were the ones that inspired me to deepen my faith.

It was Deepavali on Tuesday, yet the majority of people we saw at SDMC were Indian, most of which were in traditional garb or other fancy wear. Clearly, most of them were on their way to dinner, and had stopped by to visit the apparition site beforehand. Everywhere you turned, you would see an Indian family either praying or chatting excitedly. 

I can't speak for everyone, but if you asked me to go to SDMC on Chinese New Year, I'd probably have laughed in your face and told you that the day was about celebrating and having fun. These people however, have made me feel ashamed of myself. Clearly, I need to re-evaluate my life, and reorganise my priorities. 

Thus to me, it doesn't matter whether the apparition is real or not, because it still resulted in a call to return to the faith. And that's the most important miracle of all.

2. Romantic aspect

I've learnt that sometimes it doesn't matter what your head knows; as your heart has a mind of its own, that cannot be influenced by anything as unimportant as hard facts and cold evidence.

Sometimes, you fall for a jerk. Sometimes, the person is not just a jerk, but also a jerk that won't even give you the time of day. To make matters worse, the jerk that won't give you the time of day, may also be unattractive to you in every possible conceivable way.

You know the only reason you want his affection, is because it has been suddenly and inexplicably taken away from you, and your ego has taken such a massive hit, that the only thing you feel will get yourself back on track is to win him back. Even while you pine day and night for him to throw a glance your way, you are very much aware that you will never be happy or fulfilled if you ever got together with this guy.

Despite this, he has permeated every aspect of your life, and has made it impossible for you to do anything else but think of him whenever you're alone. This guy has single-handedly brought out all of your worse aspects. You have become jealous, insecure, and clingy; every guy's worse nightmare.

You know that it is less about him, but more about the love of being The One. You've been so influenced by all the romantic schmantics Hollywood has fed you, that you yearn to be the person that's so influential and central to someone else's life, that they change their ways and become a Good Guy. You want to "save" the good you see in this person and eliminate the rest.

But that isn't how love works.

It's naïve to think that you could ever change a person that has no intention of changing himself, and foolish to think that you should hang around because you believe that person is bound to change eventually. It's also incredibly selfish to think that a person should have to change in order for you to be able to fully accept him.

Perhaps it's a rite of passage, that we have to fall for at least one person that is monumentally unsuitable for us in every way. Maybe it is through these episodes that we find out what's really important to us.

Because I now know what I'm not willing to compromise on in a future relationship. To name a few, mutual respect and understanding, intellectual stimulation, and the shallow but all-important physical attraction. The very fact that I had fleetingly thought of discarding my principles for this guy, jolted me into realising how far I'd been sinking.

You'd think that with all the minus points for this guy, that I would've had no trouble moving onwards and upwards. But nope Chuck Testa, it hasn't worked out at all, and I blame the part of me that is still holding on to the slim hope that he would change. I've discovered that despite knowing how manifestly unsuitable someone is for you, your heart can't always immediately let go of him.

So for the most part, I've been drifting along the days. I alternate between hoping to hear from him, and hating myself for hoping to hear from him. The feelings become more unbearable and pathetic when it gets later at night, and whenever I'm alone and unoccupied.

But I think that's all going to change today.

Because someone very dear to me received a rose today. Some guy went over to her house and gave it to her as a present, and this guy wasn't even her boyfriend, or someone that she'd in any way indicated to that she was interested. He did it just to surprise her, and to make a bid for her affections.

And that was when I really, really sat down and compared our situations, and I finally decided to accept the cruel truth that he just wasn't into me, and I would never receive any romantic gestures from him. It really hit me that I was deluding myself and wasting my time, and that I deserve a lot more than what I was hanging around hoping to get.

I am an amazing person, that deserves to be wanted by some other amazing person, instead of being someone's fallback choice. I deserve to be happy in a relationship and feel bright and beautiful and loved, instead of feeling paranoid and neglected all the time. I deserve someone much better than you.

Someday, I will be strong enough to leave you in the past where you belong. Then the Ice Queen will be back in business, and won't be melting until her own version of the year's most eligible bachelor sweeps her off her feet.

3. Career/Aspiration aspect

I have written far too many posts on my worries about my future in the past. I've always struggled with a lack of interest in my legal studies; despite being a good student and enjoying the extra knowledge, I can't shake the feeling that this isn't what I want to dedicate my life to. Period.

Previously, I wondered if I should instead pursue writing as a career. But then I arrived at another dilemma, which was what would I write? Could I actually be a novelist or journalist or any form of columnist?

I write my best, when I'm chronicling my own thoughts and opinions; arguing it out with myself until I'm able to convince myself of what my stance is on an issue. The urge to write hits strongest when I'm upset or at crossroads, which is why most of my posts are on personal problems, where I resort to writing as a form of therapy.

While it works well as therapy, I doubt anyone would be interested in reading the going-ons in the life of an unglamorous teenager, that is not and will never be a popular It Girl. Which is why I had decided to leave writing as a hobby, and a personal indulgence.

Until I received word from a party that's interested in advertising on my blog! SQUEAL!!!

Fingers crossed that this actually happens according to plan and is not a huge scam. For those out there that have repeatedly visited my blog (and didn't accidentally do so when searching for nude photos and misunderstood my link), I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me get one step closer to my dreams.

I don't suffer from delusions of grandeur and believe that I will be able to live off blogging anytime soon, but this means that I'm at least on someone's radar, and that people are actually liking the random jumbled up thoughts I put out. Happy Jules is so very happy!

But that's not all!

This week, I also discovered that I have an eye from meticulous planning and nagging people. I have always considered myself organised and responsible, but it wasn't until I involved myself in a certain event that I realised how much it irked me when insufficient attention was given to every single detail. This feeling has stayed with me for so long now, I'm considering also doing a Business Management degree after my LLB.

Funnily enough, I was initially offered a full scholarship at the University of Nottingham in Semenyih for a Business Management degree, but I turned them down because I was so focused on scoring well on my current course. The world works in strange ways, yes it does.

Also, I conducted a crash dance lesson a few days back to train some dancers for an upcoming event. I've never been in a teaching position before, so I was thoroughly terrified that I would screw everything up and embarrass myself in front of everyone.

But to noone's greater surprise than my own, the class turned out well! In fact, I was told by my dance teacher that I should consider one day becoming a dance instructor myself. (!!!)

My love of dance may be burgeoning, but it has not reached the point where I want to transform it from a hobby into a lifelong career. Nonetheless, her vote of confidence has made me feel like the world is my oyster, and I can and should take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way. I shouldn't be limiting myself career-wise at such a young age anyway, right?

This one aspect of my life has been working out fantastically, which shows that when God closes a door on my love life, he opens one for my future dreamjob. And I'm clinging tightly onto that hope of a bright future ahead, while trying not to think that I'll end up a successful single person with a dozen cats.

/end monologue

Decided rather uncharacteristically to throw in a random picture, because this post has become far longer than anticipated, and I wanted something to break the monotony of words. Don't get used to this though, because I have yet to reach the level of shamelessness where I want my face to appear in every post.

Lookie, I'm at the KL Tower! Sub-par food for the price, but the babysis chose the place for her birthday lunch, so wokays then. The atmosphere was really enjoyable though, at least before the place fills up with big families and screaming kids.

It's been an amazing, relaxing holiday week, filled with fun excursions, dance rehearsals, and even a spontaneous sleepover at a cockroach-ridden location. When I am forced back into college and reality on Monday, I'm hoping to still be able to hold on to everything that I've learnt this week, and become a better person.

Because the best kind of learning just never happens in school.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Picture this.

It has now been, give or take, 48 hours since I was asked by someone for lewd pictures of myself, for the first time ever.

(I made my stance on lewd material once here. You may call me a prude, but I choose to say I just have too much self-respect and common sense to know when something isn't a good idea.)

The guy was a relatively new acquaintance, someone I'd just recently been getting to know these past few weeks. I can't say for sure if it was a fully platonic kinship, as there was mild flirting involved during our regular chats. However, should he even dip a toe into the conversational territory of anything overtly sexual, I always changed the topic, and told him sex was off limits.

Until it happened, I never knew how truly sheltered my life was. I went through a myriad of emotions in trying to make sense of the matter, and even till now I have yet to decide if I should kick him out of my life and move on, or demand an apology. And yes, I am aware of how pathetic this sounds, because why would I want such a person in my life anyway?

It honestly shouldn't even be a complicated matter. But bear with me now, as I try as best as possible to detail my emotional journey throughout this unpleasant episode.

It started at Shock, then Anger and Self-Righteousness.

Obviously, I was surprised when he brought the question up, completely out of the blue. We had been chatting about mundane things like cartoons and the results of the US presidential election earlier, and there had been no prior talk about anything remotely risqué.

Once it sunk in that one, I wasn't dreaming; two, he wasn't kidding; and three, that he actually possessed the bare-faced cheek to brazenly ask for such a thing, I practically exploded in rage. I cursed him with every swear word I knew (not out loud though), and felt so pissed off I just wanted to tear him apart from limb to limb. I wanted to scream at him until I lost my voice, and watch him squirm in shame and discomfort.

I hate to admit it, but I had a mini infatuation with this guy at the time. To know that I had allowed myself to even have the remotest feelings for a dirty, slimy pervert made me feel like a complete idiot. I used to think I had a good "jerk" radar, but I suppose it has grown extremely rusty. Needless to say, those feelings have evaporated, and will never ever return.

I felt horribly self-maligned. I used to think such things would only happen to girls that regularly flaunted their assets in clingy, skimpy outfits and spoke suggestively in every sentence; while instead I practically live in tees and shorts, and I have been told many times that my style of speech can be mean and intimidating to the uninitiated. It felt so cruelly unfair that anyone would even think I would comply with such a request.

Eventually though, I decided to give him the benefit of doubt.

I decided that if I was in any way important to him, he would apologise and vow to never repeat the same mistake ever again. I wasn't even sure if and how we could ever go back to being friends after he apologised, but I just wanted to know that he actually did care for me.

But of course, an apology hasn't happened. In fact, since I didn't respond to his request, he hasn't made any attempt at all to contact me, even though we used to chat pretty regularly.

The emotional train stops at Nonchalance.

The very next day after the request, I woke up to a phone with no apology message. I had been so desperate to believe that he cared about me, that I actually dreamt that he had sent one over. Pathetic, I know.

I decided to put everything behind me, because I didn't want to relive the unpleasant emotions of the previous night. And because I was having a full day of lecture classes, I managed pretty well to distract myself from thinking about this whole thing, and felt completely nothing over what had happened.

Or at least I did, until sometime past midday.

Oh hi there, Pain, where were you?

As much effort as it took to numb myself to the anger I felt, nothing could soothe the hurt and betrayal that made a late appearance in the day. He wasn't just someone I recently developed feelings for, but before that we were actually friends.

We got along well together, and the few times we actually hung out, I found myself having a lot of fun. (Hence, the feelings begun.) But more than that, he had actually told me once that he cared about me. We could chat about pretty much anything, and we were laidback and comfortable with each other.

When I realised I had feelings for him, I actually thought of smothering them, because I thought then that it would suck to lose him as a friend if anything bad happened. He was far from being one of my closest friends, but he made me laugh and I enjoyed nitpicking at him and watching him attempt put-downs.

In short, this was a guy that I thought had found a good place in my life. And in one second, he completely betrayed my trust and showed me how little he actually respected me.

He thought I was someone who wouldn't mind showing a little thing or two to him, which shows how little he thinks of me. Literally, I have never felt so worthless in my life. I feel like that innocent girl in the American teenage movie that has all her darkest secrets revealed to every student in school, by her best friend that took her trust and ripped it to shreds.

Is this how he treats all of his friends? I highly doubt so, which means that he never thought of me as a friend in the first place. And again, this bloody hurts like a bitch.

I don't trust many people fully, so hardly anyone knows of my darkest secrets, but that's not the point because he's not one of those people. Nonetheless, he was one of the people I was willingly allowing regular interaction with, and I trust these people to always have my best interests at heart.

Call me a naïve little cotton-picker if you must, but trust is one of the dearest things to me. The hurt that I felt when I realised he had betrayed my trust, was the feeling that lasted the longest. I'm still feeling hurt about this now, and likely will for the next few days too.

We now arrive at Bitter Acceptance, oh no wait Blind Denial, oh no wait...

This brings us back to the present, of how I've been feeling today as I'm sitting here typing this, and trying to make sense of the whole emotional rollercoaster.

It's become blindingly obvious that he doesn't give a crap about me, and that everything he has said and done prior to this occurred with an agenda in mind. Since the attempt was fruitless, he now tosses the useless rag to the side, and moves on to the next target. I should just try to learn from this experience, and just move on with my life.

But then again, at some points when I remember a previous happy moment shared with him, I can't help but wonder if this is just a huge misunderstanding. I mean, someone that was so sweet to me before couldn't just suddenly morph into a lecherous monster within the next second, right?

I sometimes forget that the fact remains that he asked me for lewd pictures, and any self-respecting individual would know better to keep her distance from now on. But there is still a small, insistent part of me that hopes things will somehow revert back to normal.

What the hell is wrong with me? Have I gone mad with wishful thinking? Someone intends to use me for titillation purposes, and all I do is hope for an apology, instead of wiping every trace of him from my past?

But I suppose that's just part of who I am: someone that needs closure. I've never been good at leaving things as they lie without picking them up and making sure they're lying correctly. (And I suppose either meaning of "lie" could be utilised here.)

I just need to keep reminding myself that he's a misogynist a-hole, and I deserve to keep much better company. I sincerely hope I don't crumble from pretending to be strong about this, especially if I ever run into him again.

It just stinks that I'm so torn up, and he's not in the least affected at all.

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