Was having a chat with my mum last night when she asked me a few questions out of the blue.
When were you feeling the happiest?
In actual fact, that was pretty often. That's when I realised that I tend to remember the wonderful parts of my life, that's why I get emoey easily just thinking about how happy I had been.
An example would be when I was about to graduate from Xinmin Secondary. Our Chinese teacher told us that we aren't exactly "graduating" because we have to learn and improve continuously even after we leave the school. That means to say that only till death do we truly graduate from life. It was that moment when I felt like I'm actually pretty useful because there's so much out there that I can learn and understand.
The happiest, though, is probably when I got into Chinese Studies. It was post-O'Levels results day and I was devastated that I attained C6 for Higher Chinese. However, I was pleasantly surprised because I began to see the many friends who had been by my side supporting me in the dark. I received a bunch of well-wishes saying that although we may lose contact in the future, they would always believe that I can achieve what I set out to accomplish. Some of them even had more faith in me than I personally do, believing that Chinese is indeed the way I'm set to soar.
When was your lowest moment?
I was stunned by the question, and thought a fair bit. Probably the time when I had to graduate and leave Chinese Studies?
After a little more thought, I revised my answer- the lowest moment was when I had to leave China upon completion of the immersion program.
All I can say is that pre-trip had been a nerve-wrecking period, as I psychoed myself to worry that I may get hurt, I may be taken advantage, I may suffer and whatnot. Afterall, China is a place where many have said to be unreliable. But after much thought, well, I didn't have much to lose either, so why not make full use of the chance to learn? That was when none of those worries got to me anymore.
Wuhan had welcomed us graciously, letting us try out so much good food and enjoyed such beautiful sceneries. Well, to the point that I'm still trying to shed the weight I gained from the food there. People had been extremely curious as of where we are from, and upon understanding, they had been such gracious hosts. It was a good break away from the worrying life here, and I got the chance to truly open my heart and build friendships, immersing in the culture in China.
It was the period when I was about to leave Wuhan that tore me apart. The heavy heart feeling made me feel like my departure was as much as betraying my loved ones and that made me feel guilty. Upon returning to Singapore, I had been very depressed, not even interested to meet anyone or do anything. There was even a minute when I felt like my heart couldn't contain all the feelings I had taken home with me from China. That was one deep pain etched.
Who do I love the most?
This question didn't take much thinking- my Grandfather.
In a culture where adults fancies sons more than daughters, I had been the invisible child most of the time. But somehow granddad's gaze never seem to fail to find me, as if letting me know that someone actually does care about my existene. Even in the later part of his life when dementia struck him, all it takes for me to feel better from worldly struggles and pressure had been to slip into his room and hold his wrinkled but soft hands by his bedside. Not to forget the deep gaze of eyes that seem to tell his life stories... Those were my sanity. What he constantly gave me had been a feeling of peace and assurance, a kind of comfort that is uniquely from him. The kind of comfort that breaks down all walls I had built around myself from the world, the kind of love that fills my heart so full to the brim.
Who do I hate the most?
A religious leader. This was also an answer that took me eons to conclude.
I hate a person easily, but hate is usually just a process for me. Beyond hate, all feelings I have for the person would be completely neutralised. So that that person can be standing right in front of me, but I don't feel nor register anything.
So what is it about this religious leader, you may wonder. It was because of her supposedly "good intentions" that made me too late to bid a final farewell to a family friend. My two brothers and I had been for some religious practice, and had intended to rush to her house for the final farewell. However, after the lesson, this person insisted on taking us to dinner. When we finally got to the place, all that was left for me to see was the coffin, the loved ones and friends and families who came to pay respect- all of which meant nothing to me anymore.
This was the kind of regret I had as a child when I couldn't grasp the last bit of my loved ones because I had no control over my decisions nor fate. It was because of this person that I have such regret and pain in my heart till this day.
Who's one person I think I could have treated better?
Granny. And it's still the same old cultural tendencies story.
Granny always brought my brother to Chinatown area to get Power Ranger toys, and whenever they go, it would be a full day. Sometimes when my brother returns with the wrong model of Power Ranger, my mum and I would have to make a trip to our neighbourhood toy store to exchange.
I had felt emotionally imbalanced and anger, which gradually translated into a form of vulnerable helplessness. I couldn't help but hear that tiny voice in me hoping time and time again- granny, why don't you ever hold my hand instead?
The hopes that never came true brought about more disappointments, and I became a granddaughter who simply hated her granny. It was only years later when she had left and I had grown up, did I understand that it was the culture and generation that she lived in that caused such a scar. It made my heart hurt even more to think that if I had really been a smart granddaughter, I wouldn't have been so petty, and I could have been so much nicer to her.
Seems like ages since I last looked back at my life stories with such depth. It's probably why I had such strong feelings for the conversation I had with my mum last night. Just that I had completed a 4km run and watched 2 movies with my brother that made me too jaded to write the entry the night before. Well, at least I managed to pen it all down tonight.
Life Lessons and Conclusions
I named this entry "Gone" because it signifies that everything has now become history, be it the high or low moment, be it the pride or the regrets. There is simply no way for me to return to the past, and there's no chance of "putting anything right", again. However, I got to look back constantly not to brood about the pain, but to immerse myself in the emotional rollercoaster, and then learn to walk out of it with more lessons learnt for the future. I guess that's what growing up is about, right?
While wasting the present may bring about regrets in the future, cherishing the present also hints at oneself's vulnerability in the future when it comes to loss. Life is never monotonous nor too tough to be true. It's all the lessons, the good and the bad, which makes life an exceptionally meaningful lesson. Never let the insignificant hustle and bustle of life get in your way of cherishing the smallest details in life.
Just try asking yourself this- How many steps does it take to get from the entrance of your house to the entrance of your room? It had been that many years, do you have an answer?