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Thursday, 3 June 2021

pointing a middle finger @ anxiety

I've been thinking about the Arab-Israeli conflict lately, and the Palestinian refugees that have lost their homes since 1948. I imagine being born in an era of war, spending your entire life fighting to survive. I imagine not having a proper education, let alone a constant supply of water. I imagine violence, bloodshed, and the screams of my neighbour as a social norm.

And then I think about the problems that we deal with every day. Hating on the government for making us stay at home. Whining about the weather. Playing office politics. Feeling anxious about what other people think of us. Veganism. (jk! or not...) And how these problems are so. damn. trivial lame. I know therapists say that every problem is different and should never be trivialised but really. Our problems are lame. 

We get so hung up with that one person who always seems to be better than us in that one area that we think matters the most. We let it get to us and make us unhappy. But it has occured to me while I was doing all these thinking just how pointless it all is. Our anxiety. Our insecurity. Our inadequacy. On what grounds are we not good enough? If we were struggling to survive a series of artillery shells, it is not the person with the highest education that is going to come out alive. Neither is it the one who is most popular, most eloquent or most beautiful. It is the one with the best survival instincts, and a good dose of luck. I guess what I'm trying to say is that society has shaped us to measure our worth based on a certain set of rules; but when the rules change, our worth is going to change too. And when the rules break down (a n a r c h y), everyone will be nothing but a mere human being. 

There are certain things that trigger my anxiety. But as I ruminate about the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past few days, I think I've learned to point my middle finger at anxiety. 

i am a flower slowly fading, here today and gone tomorrow,
a wave tossed in the ocean, a vapour in the wind.

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pls pls pls let my conviction last for more than a day.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

a slow day


I like slow days. Work is as tiring and fast-paced as it gets.

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Just two weeks ago, we were sailing out to Sisters’ Island on the yacht that you chartered for our first anniversary. The wind in my hair, sun rays bouncing off the surface of the water, the CBD skyline in the distance, and the thought of office workers writing papers and crunching numbers while there I was, beside you, with your hand in mine, gave me that familiar sense of liberation that I haven’t felt in a long time. I like slow days.

We had been looking forward to our staycation for a couple of months now – yes, I didn’t know I was going to end up on a yacht. The plan, in the name of gender equality, was for us to each book a night at a hotel as a surprise for each other, starting off with your surprise for me.

When I opened my eyes and found myself on the yacht, I felt loved. You always knew how to cater to my needs and preferences. You knew how much I loved the ocean. And there was no better way of making me happy than to take me out to sail. 

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The past two years have been a blur of events but what I was most acquainted with was pain, guilt, feeling constantly tormented by my own infp brain, and yes, the perfect garnish to complete the dish – alcohol

You found me at my worst. When I was drinking too much that it almost cost my life. When I was prepared to live a frivolous life. When every little thing triggered my anxiety. You found me and you loved me. 

Ours wasn’t a cheesy love story that blossomed like the Dutch tulips in Spring. Some days, it felt like a bloodbath, as we dealt with past hurts and trauma. Other days, it felt like learning how to walk all over again, as we figured out how to love each other properly. But most of the time, it was you patiently walking me through my pessimism, my depression and my defensiveness; even at the expense of your own well-being. 

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So when you promised that you’d always tell me that ‘we’re good’, even in the happiest of times or toughest of moments, and asked me to spend the rest of my life with you, the answer was simple.

I like slow days. But it in a society where every single day is passing by so damn quickly, I’m thankful for you. 

My sun and moon, my afterglow, my better man, my bad guy, my mi pan su su sum 

Sunday, 4 April 2021

sweet spot


silence is deafening.

i like sounds. white noise, in particular. like the rumbling of thunder, birds chirping at the break of day, cars passing by...

but loud jarring noises drive me crazy. misophonia, they say. babies crying, parents yelling at their kids, heavy traffic, sister's alarm... 

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boredom is suicidal. monotony is poison. 

i like to do things. friday night drinks, a jog around the neighbourhood, a bouldering route. a good challenge.

but then i get too tired and want to do. absolutely. nothing.

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people annoy me.

especially when they talk too much. i like to spend time alone. read a book, write my blog, pop a can of beer.

but then i get awfully lonely...

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is there a sweet spot somewhere in this world where i can thrive with the perfect decibel of white noise, activities that require just the right amount of energy and people who are limited to three thousand spoken words a day?

Thursday, 25 March 2021

nth hurts anymore i feel kinda free

there's beauty in hitting rock bottom.

goddamn rock bottom.

where there's no distance left for you to fall.

where there's no room for anxiety because things can't get any worse.

where every tear has dried up and all that's left to do is laugh.

where fear is just a memory and lunacy turns into courage.

where nothing hurts anymore and you feel kinda free...

Thursday, 18 March 2021

coming out of the introvert's closet

I am an INPF. As far as I remember (since the first time I took the MBTI test seven years ago), I have always been an INFP.

INFPs are known to be one of the laziest, most disorganised, most poetic, most idealistic, most depressed, most averse to conflict and most introverted people in the world. (See INFP memes below.) And this very accurately describes, me; mostly when I'm all by myself or with the people that I'm most comfortable with.



But the funny thing is that most people (especially the people who have worked with me) guffaw when they hear that I'm an introvert, let alone an INFP, because I have always been the outspoken and confident type - very much like the stereotypical extrovert. As a result, I'm always trying to explain that while the confidence or candour of a person may be a by-product of one's level of extroversion or introversion, they are by no means indicators of extroversion and introversion.
(Note: One's level of extroversion or introversion is determined by where one draws energy from, with extroverts drawing energy from social interactions while introverts draw energy from spending time alone.)

What, then, explains the disparity between my personality type and my behaviour (around most people and at work)? Without going into the details of Carl Jung's theory of cognitive functions (from his book Psychological Types), let me introduce you to the dominant and auxiliary functions. Each personality type has certain dominant and auxiliary functions that help them consume information and make decisions. The dominant function is the most developed psychological function of a person - the one that you're most familiar and comfortable with; the 'default'. Whereas, the auxiliary function is the secondary function that complements or balances your dominant function.

As an INFP, my dominant function is 'introverted feeling', which Jung describes as 'continually seeking an image which has no existence in reality, but which it has seen in a kind of vision. It glides over all objects that do not fit in with its aim. It strives after inner intensity, for which the objects serve at most as a stimulus. The depth of this feeling can only be guessed—it can never be clearly grasped. It makes people silent and difficult of access; it shrinks back like a violet from the brute nature of the object in order to fill the depths of the subject. It comes out with negative judgments or assumes an air of profound indifference as a means of defense.' It's spot on, and perfectly describes me and what goes on in my head most of the time.

But this is not what most people see, especially not when I'm at work. Why? Because I know that in my line of work, as with most kinds of work that require a lot of human interaction, my dominant function is of little value. Instead, my auxiliary function thrives. Extraverted intuition. Jung writers of extraverted intuition that it 'is never to be found among the generally recognized reality values, but he is always present where possibilities exist. He has a keen nose for things in the bud pregnant with future promise...He seizes hold of new objects and new ways with eager intensity, sometimes with extraordinary enthusiasm, only to abandon them cold-bloodedly, without regard and apparently without remembrance, as soon as their range becomes clearly defined and a promise of any considerable future development no longer clings to them.' Not a hundred percent me, but something I can still bring out as a high-functioning INFP, albeit always feeling a little tired.

If we, introverts, could all be true to ourselves and not give two hoots about meritocracy that is so narrowly defined performing well at work and unrealistic societal expectations fulfilling our social obligations, we would probably be a lot more comfortable in our own skin and less tired all the time. But that's a utopia (that yes, my INFP brain has taken its natural course to conjure). 

In a society where there is barely any room for poetry and the loudest person commands the attention of the room, where idealism fall to its knees in the face of realism, and where networking is basic survival instinct, we are forced to conform to become the perfect man that we have construed in our own minds. And to make our auxiliary become the dominant. Thankfully, I have that glass of gin and tonic waiting for me at home after a long day at work, that Spotify playlist that I've curated for a quiet Sunday afternoon, and this little rant space of mine that I can write. for. myself. to remind me that at my core, I'm still an INFP. 

And more so, a proud one. 
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