August 23, 2014

Seeds and Journeys





The feeling you get in your stomach before stepping into a new place. You have to keep with the flow. You don't want to be the one that misses the first stair..smacks right into the door. Every step before you is carefully calculated, dreaded. To you at least. Everyone else seems to have it mastered..the art of stepping in, stepping up. You don't. Before you even try your mind's filled with terrifying scenarios you're convinced are about to come true. If only you could take the damn staircase, skip it all, including this dumb metaphor.

The hot mess of a metaphor I just tried to convey is my attempt at expressing how it feels to be among peers that are getting real jobs, marrying their loves, creating babies. They seemingly took off their cap and gowns after graduation and stepped right into the next phase of their lives. I applaud that. I envy that. I definitely didn't do that.

Instead, I feel like I'm merely an older version of the person I was 9 months ago when I received my degree. Nothing else has changed. Well, I teach again. Now at my former high school. It's really nostalgic being here because..well, I studied here for 5 years. So many memories..sweet and bitter. And I'm missing my friends. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I'll be teaching again at different place in the future because it brings me more time to figure out what to do post-university. It brings me time, but it doesn't slow down anyone else's clocks.

Rather, I'm a million miles away, reading updates about others' first salary, how they got promoted to higher position in their company, how they got married, and how so-and-so. I'm trying to convince myself that it's okay to take a different route, a different staircase. But it's hard to keep myself convinced daily. So instead, I'm just trying to convince myself that it's okay to feel scared, anxious..eager even. Some days all that matters is that you feel anything at all.

Even if you feel like writing a terrible, terrible metaphor for a blog post.

Anyway, I'd like to share something. Somebody told me that..what we don't realize is that you can have a life-changing encounter, travel to a place that causes a shift in your heart, can meet someone who changes you..you can go, do, read, see, watch, something, anything, that makes it just a little harder to breathe. And you think, yes! Here I go, from now on, life will be different. But the thing is, that experience isn't full-grown, it's just the seed. It's the beginning, not the road itself. That's the map that you use as a road mark, not the trail you'll walk. 

And it's up to you to decide to continue or retreat into routine and wonder why things didn't change. Too often we go through something revolutionary, good or bad, and then slip back into the normalcy of our day to day lives instead of choosing to do the hard work and tend to that seed. Then we finally take a step back and start asking ourselves why our life doesn't line up with our vision. How could that moment, the experience that mattered so intensely, seem not to have changed anything at all? That's the thing. You can have as many seeds but until you plant them, until you continually water them, until you die to self, choose to go through the process of growing..it's going to be a seed. What matters is what you do with it.




August 13, 2014

Breathing


"Your true passion should feel like breathing. It's that natural." - Oprah


I loved watching The Oprah Winfrey Show and I almost never missed an episode. That seems to be at the center of what she stands for. Self-awareness, consciousness, knowledge of your spirit and your truth and your own physical presence. I think the important message is to question, recognize, and improve yourself. What I appreciate most about Oprah is how confidently she talks about personal passions. How wisely she speaks of that inner fire, the feeling of destiny, of things that make you feel most yourself. I've been asked why I write. And when I answer, I admit that I don't write to be read. I write for the sake of writing. For the process, the struggle, and the unique elation that comes during the sweet, split-second moment that inspiration strikes. Mostly, I write to know myself. To me, writing's about discovering the shape of my thoughts and then tracing and retracing that shape until it becomes something clear and crisp, something I can recognize, maybe even something I can understand. 

Honestly, some days the words don't come easily. Some days I find myself forcing them out, racking my brain or my journal..or, well, random internet prompts..for that magic spark of the idea. Other days, though, Oprah's right, it's really like breathing. Instinctive and spontaneous, habitual and liberating and subconscious. Those days, writing is a sign of life. But today, this is all I can write. I was going to write a recap of Syawal, to tell a story about the wonderful celebration of Hari Raya. Well...you know how good the pictures can tell the story. ;)


Raya with family:

Raya with friends:






Syawal has always been a great month because it's when all of the family members gather together and it's also when I can meet my friends. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those moments and freeze them. Family and friends are my passion. True passion feels like breathing. They're the sign of my life. :)




 

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