Writing took a backseat as life got busier. Lunar New Year, Valentine's Day and my mama's birthday have come and gone. Amidst this insane schedule though, I seek solace in writing. Following my brief encounter with someone special, some things have happened since that pulled me down a hole I struggled to get out of for a while. Instead of dwelling on my emotional turmoil the last few weeks, I thought it more meaningful to reflect upon what I've discovered about life, about the self, about health, about living.
A little bit about the festivities - Lunar New Year was a lovely time to be with the family, although this year's happy occasion revealed a side of my family I did not necessarily appreciate. On a separate note, it was more amusing than annoying that an uncle would ask me when I was getting married, for I was not seeing anybody nor did I have any intention of committing to a relationship in the near future. "Waste time, waste money to pak tor*. You help me find boyfriend la!" I would joke. I hadn't gotten that question before; I had expected (and prepared for) questions about my impending unemployment/graduation, about what I've been up to in school and in work. This year was also different because I felt the unstoppable force of time passing - we had all grown up; my cousins now had children of their own, so they had to leave our gatherings earlier and forego our annual Blackjack sessions. We were all growing up. It was nice. It was a bit sad. It was scary.
*pak tor = date
The CNY break was a needed respite/distraction from school/work, although it did not help that I was just getting used to writing/reading/thinking about academic papers for school. Soon after, Valentines' Day came. I spent the day working at the restaurant patronised by couples and it was far too busy for a Thursday evening. This was capitalism at its finest. I admittedly fell victim to this occasion and bought my sister a little gift, since she had expressed this day meant a lot to her.
While all of these were happening, I was still working on film. It has always been difficult for me to prioritise my time - although I find I work better under stress/limited time conditions, and it was particularly tough the last few weeks managing school, film and work. A huge part of what I was experiencing stemmed from my acting gig in a short film over one weekend. Basically, the character I had to play was raped and I had gotten into character for so long I struggled to separate myself from my character. I had played troubled characters before, but this was the first time I was stuck. This manifested into physical ailment and I fell very sick with fever and cough. I was already recovering from my previous bout of sickness (due to the lack of rest) but my condition worsened and I ended up missing classes/work shifts because of this.
What I realised (and came to terms with), after that experience, was that it is ok to not be ok, that it is foolish to always be ok/happy, that change is not to be resisted but to be embraced and that everything happens for a reason. That final bit sounds a little bit cliche, but I am a strong believer that whatever happens ultimately helps you grow as a person. I personally welcome challenges and growth. After spending three days trying to be happy (I didn't like being sad, neither did I like it when people knew I was upset), I figured I was not doing anything to help my mental health so I sought professional help. I am happy I did - I just spoke with a counsellor yesterday and I already feel better.
Mental health is so important - it is part of being human and we need to talk about it. Seeing a counsellor is not something to be ashamed of; I simply want to confront issues I've had so I can be healthy and happy. It really is a lot like falling sick and seeing a doctor; why should mental health be treated differently from our physical ailments? Isn't our mind/heart part of our body? I've learnt that the hard way and I truly hope if you are facing difficulties, talk to someone about it. It is ok to not be ok; it is ok to face problems.
A big part of my job(s) brings me to people, and I have been very sensitive to energy/aura very strongly of late. It saddens me to meet so many people who are unhappy but unwilling/unable to talk about it. And what I've observed from my interactions with human beings is that a huge part of that unhappiness stems from resistance to change. Change can be uncomfortable but it is something beyond our control and it really is the only constant in life. What we can control is how we act/think about these changes; a happy mind is a healthy mind, and a healthy mind is good for our body. I didn't immediately feel welcomed/at ease at my new part-time job; it took me a bit more than a month to deal with this change simply because I was not accustomed to this kind of restaurant service and I didn't like not being good at my job. Now I can't help but feel a bit sad that some of these people, who have become very important in my life, are leaving the workplace in pursuit of better things in life. See what I mean by change is the only constant in life?
S/O to my kilo fambam (not all pictured here):
I think being happy is a conscious choice and a process; there will be bad days but it's how we come out of it that matters ultimately.
I wanted to pen down my thoughts before jetsetting to Phuket tomorrow with the best friend. Banana and I booked our flights on a whim, so we are spending the week away from work and from the city. We've been so busy with our own lives I'm thankful we decided to take time off and spend time with each other.
Sending you all love you deserve! Have a great weekend/week; spend some time with your loved ones and with yourself. Do something that'll make you happy: read a book at a cafe, crack open a cold one, sleep in? You are important too.