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... 


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.


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...


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 in INFP. 

And more so, a proud one. 

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Introduction to my best friend

Thursday, 28 January 2021

something about the rain

There is something about the rain that makes it so calming. 

The way it blurs out everything in the distance.
The way it makes you want to cuddle up in bed.
The way it serenades you in spite of its monotony.
The way it invokes both feelings of sadness and contentment. 

There is something about the rain that makes it so calming. 
Maybe it is because it reminds me of you

Monday, 18 January 2021

just keep swimming

After 26 years of living, I've come to realise that the best feeling in the world is not one of blissful ignorance or a prolonged state of happiness.

It is that few moments of deep conviction that everything is okay and that there's something - or someone - worth smiling for, amidst the weariness and affliction. 

Am I a masochist or am I just getting older?

Friday, 1 January 2021

Things that I have learned about growing up

I think one of the most surreal things in life is how fast time passes by. It seems like it was just yesterday that the government announced that our country would go into lockdown, that I graduated from university, that I took the leap of faith and enlisted into the Army...

In a blink of an eye, so much has happened, so much has changed, and so have I. I recall the days when I wouldn't think twice about doing something 'fun', regardless of the risk or how out of the way it is. Or when I got so frustrated that I would spend the whole day just thinking about how frustrated I am. Or the amount of time and effort I spent on making myself appear more likeable. I still see some of this in my baby sister, who's now a teenager.

Over the past few years, I've learned a couple of things about growing up that makes people become more mellow (almost by default) as they enter into adulthood.

1. The Art of Compartmentalising

As though studying for A Levels wasn't hard enough, I remember being completely useless and unable to focus on writing my essays whenever I fought with my boyfriend back then. I couldn't put my emotions aside and focus on the task at hand. It was just impossible. As a result, we would spend hours going in circles trying to settle the problem while we were still so emotional. Today, I'm amused by my ability to tell myself to get my act together, put on my K-POP playlist to distract myself from the negative emotions and complete my staff paper that is due in a couple of hours. 

Compartmentalising. I realised that a huge part of becoming an adult is learning how to put aside your emotions and go into 'fire-fighting mode' when you have an important task to complete.

2. Tact and Half-Truths

I'm a very blunt person. I always thought it was better to be honest and say things as it is rather than to beat around the bush and sugarcoat my words. When I first enlisted into the Army, I remember saying whatever the hell I liked, regardless of who I was talking to - and that got me into a lot of trouble. Over the years, like a dog being trained by its owner on how to behave, I learned how to say things in way that I could bring across my point without offending anyone. 

His ego, her face, your opportunities, the dynamics of the team, office politics, a good night's sleep... these are things you learn to consider before uttering a word. And most of the time, the words that come out of your mouth isn't the entire truth. Tact and half-truths - these the weapons and shields that help you survive adulthood. 

3. How Insignificant You Are

One of the things that I miss (and not miss at the same time) about the younger days are the friendship cliques (or #squad?). Bummin' around together after school every other day, late night phone calls, slumber parties, and sharing every little detail of your life... I look back at those days with fond memories but I also realised that I didn't exactly enjoy my time doing those things - I'm not sure if anyone really does. You do things you don't really want to do just because you want to be part of the clique. It's fun as a teenager but but as you grow older, you realise that life is too short for that and you start prioritising other things like personal development or family. You care less about being accepted into social circles. Why? You realise that the number of people who truly care about you is minimal and that's okay. Friendships come and go, and only a handful will make the effort to stay regardless of the circumstances. 

Becoming an adult involves coming to terms with how insignificant you are to most people and learning to channel your energy to those who truly matter.

4. Get Acquainted with Disappointment

Life is full of disappointments. And I've learned that the faster you come to terms with it, the easier it will be. I remember sobbing my heart out for an entire day (or two) when I got back my A Level results, which didn't meet my scholarship conditions. I was disappointed for a very long time and stopped giving my best in other areas - some of which I still feel the repercussions today. On hindsight, I wish I had accepted my reality sooner and focused on righting the wrongs rather than crying over spilled milk. I'm not sure if I've become more pessimistic or resilient (or both) but it now seems much easier to look disappointment in the fact, nod, and move on.

To effectively navigate your way through adulthood, I think you have to learn how to get acquainted with disappointment. Don't get too chummy with it but learn how to shake its hands when it visits and bid it farewell so that it doesn't overstay its welcome.


These are the things that I have learned about growing up. But then again, when I think about the brilliant people in this world, I realised that they are fuelled by passion, and their work and emotions are meshed together perfectly. That they never nuance their words; they say things the way they are because of their conviction. That they cannot stand to be insignificant and will keep striving towards being extraordinary. That they are so afraid of disappointment that they will do what it takes to make sure that they succeed. 

What a strange, strange world. 

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