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Sunday, 10 October 2021

baby steps

for kester, thanks for never walking away

The overcast weather makes me feel like God cares about my dark and gloomy soul. 

I relapsed today, after doing well for so many weeks. I thought this was it, as I watched all my hard work and effort to get better go down the drain.

I woke up with my throat parched from the alcohol last night and my hunger intensifying with every passing minute. But I didn't get up. I laid in bed for the next five hours. It felt impossible to get up. 

But. I. eventually. did. 

I remembered that there was work tomorrow. I briefly considered taking the day off to rest but I really didn't want to. I knew I had to get my shit together before that. It's amusing that instead of being a stressor, work is always one of the things that drive me in life.

But more importantly, I remembered that only I can pull myself out of this shithole of a brain. Over the past two years, I placed so many expectations on my partner to make sure that I'm okay. But I've come to learn that it is completely unfair and pointless. Because when it comes to the brain, only you can and should help yourself. So, I willed myself out of my shithole. 

This morning, it felt like there was no way out but here I am now, just a couple of hours later, writing this with courage. I guess I would call this baby steps.

Remember. It's temporary. It is always temporary. Every cloud has a silver lining. And every storm will pass.

And we'll always be good.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

perhaps we shouldn't take life so seriously?

I started journaling my mood some time ago, and I noticed that my best days are the days when I choose not to take life so seriously.

They are the days when I choose to be unproductive and that's okay.
They are the days when I let my phone buzz away, and am unbothered by it.
They are the days when I'm not multi-tasking.
They are the days when I pause to listen to the lyrics of my favourite songs.
They are the days when I'm filled with inspiration and the words flow effortlessly.
They are the days when I lie in bed with you, and listen to the sound of the rain.

I'm turning 27 in less than a month. Two more 27s and I may well be lying in my grave. So, instead of mulling over the past, being anxious about the future and feeling sad about things that are beyond my control, I might as well savour that cup of coffee in front of me and bask in the beauty of every passing moment while I can

Or perhaps, these are just the reflections of another privileged person, typing away in a cafe at the centre of Raffles Place.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

how we get there


 "Sometimes, I wonder if I will make it till forty," she said matter-of-factly, as she stared into the bleak evening sky. "It feels like it is a matter of time that I will succumb to the pain, the depression, and the darkness."

She pulled out her mood journal, which she had begun writing 96 days earlier. It was either 'sad' or 'meh' on most days, with the occasional 'contented' (usually when it was a windy day, when her 10a.m. coffee was perfectly brewed and no one yelled at her) or 'suicidal' (when thoughts of how the world would be better off without her intruded her mind).

She can't remember when she started becoming so acquainted with sadness, or how it even happened. It was like learning how to walk - no one teaches you how to do it; you just slowly get up on your feet and walk one day. 

She flipped to a page that said 'suicidal', and showed to it him. 29 Apr 2021. 'Walking was hard today. Had to hold railings to make it across the overhead bridge. Syncopated breathing. Thought I was going to die.'

She wasn't quite sure why she was showing it to him. Perhaps she wanted to caution him of her emotional baggage. Or perhaps it was a cry for help.

But he wasn't surprised. Neither did he seem too concerned.  

Instead, he took her tiny hands and wrapped it inside of his. "Don't worry about forty. Let's focus on today. And we will do the same for tomorrow, and the day after. That's how we get there."

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Choosing the responsible life

Two thousand and six.

That was the year when everything became apparent to me. The fact that life isn't as rosy as it seemed when I was a child. The fact that more often that not, people have bad intentions and hidden agendas. The fact that even though the world wars are long gone, people all around the world are fighting their own battles every day. 

-

I have my own battle scars too.

The scars on my wrist remind of a time when I was young and reckless, using physical pain to overpower the emotional pain and emptiness that I felt inside. The scars on my fingertips remind me of a time when I knew not how to remain calm in face of intense pressure and anxiety. The scar just above my left brow reminds me of a time when I thought I couldn't survive a night without getting intoxicated.

Those days are long gone. When you have a family of your own, there's no other responsible way to live but to flee from those battles. Selfish and irresponsible. That's what you are if you let those battles weigh you down. 

-

It started as a musing. At that age, depressive thoughts were romanticised; in books, film and music. 

And then, I found that I had a predisposition for melancholic tunes, sad endings and philosophical pessimism. I could spend hours ruminating about how fleeting life was, and wondering if there was even a point in living another day. I indulged in my depressive thoughts, a lot, and walked around with a dark cloud over my head. I didn't seem to find a problem with it, as I continued to fulfil my obligations as a good son, friend, and worker. 

Not until I fell in love and started a family of my own. 

It's funny how it never crossed my mind that I would ever have to bid farewell to my depressive thoughts. They had been a part of me for almost a decade. I wouldn't call it an addiction. Perhaps, a disposition; a way of life. And I guess I made the mistake of presuming that this is me; and to love me is to accept me for me.

When I first saw her tiny hands and legs, I knew that what my wife had been saying for the two years of marriage was true. We couldn't raise our kids in such a pessimistic environment.

-

When I see my baby girl running around in the garden, playing catch with our Goldie, the sides of my lips curl up as I know for sure that I did (and am doing) my best to raise her in a healthy environment.

But sometimes, just sometimes, as I take a long walk around the neighbourhood, I still let the dark thoughts creep in for a second. In that split second, it feels as though my heart is being ripped into pieces and the tallest building in the distance seems so alluring. Thankfully, I time my walks such that I always make it home in time for bedtime stories, before the darkness takes me to a place I never want to be. 

And seeing her sweet and restful face is always the emotional pat on the back that I need.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

The Gin Parlour


The Brass Lion Singapore Dry Gin. It wasn’t her number one choice. She would’ve preferred a Botanist or Four Pillars, but it wasn't too bad for a Happy Hour drink. 

She had been wanting to go to the Gin Parlour for some time now. For someone who claims to be a gin connoisseur, she thought that it was slightly strange to have only gone to the parlour a decade after its opening. It sits across the Marina Bay Sands, with an unobstructed view of the flyer, the ArtScience Museum, and arguably the greatest Feng Shui building in the world. She counted the number of windows that were lit up at the hotel, and pondered about how lovely it would be to be on a Staycation. 

But this was not too bad either, she thought. Sipping gin at one of her favourite areas in town on a Friday evening, all by herself

She usually spent Friday evenings with friends, chugging pints of beer and playing pool. It was nice, too, but wasn’t her, her. She was a gin person; she wasn’t one for small talk; and she would choose reading a book over playing pool any day. 

Today, she was unusually tired. Perhaps it was the five reports that she had churned out the past week, or the fact that her social battery was low. Either way, she said no to pool and beer; and boarded the bus to nowhere in particular. It was only fifteen minutes into the ride that the idea of visiting the Gin Parlour popped into her mind. 

She spent the entire evening there, sipping gin, reading The Queen’s Gambit, and taking in the scenery. As the hours passed, she felt more and more tranquil. She was free to be herself and enjoy the things that she loved. And she knew that she needed more of this in her life. Perhaps a Friday a month, at the Gin Parlour, by herself

But with that sense of peace came a profound sense of loneliness. And it then dawned upon her that the price to pay for freedom seems to be loneliness.
© Melody Sim | All rights reserved.