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Solus Ipse
12 August 2016 @ 01:14 am
The drawers in my bedroom are overflowing: old letters, half-finished notebooks, dried up art supplies, jewellery from a far more juvenile time. I am bad at letting go. I am bad at walking away.

I am bad at self forgiveness.

My boyfriend tells me I am too harsh on myself. Sometimes I curl up and try the Good Will Hunting thing (I have never watched the movie): it's not your fault it's not your fault it's not your fault -

But is it not, really? Surely it must be, a little? Something I could've done better, something I did wrong, some way I didn't try my best?

Why can't I let these small things go? Why can't I accept that I tried my best under harrowing circumstances? Why can't I bring myself to believe there was nothing more that I could have done? Is it a fear of being too self-contented, or an arrogant belief that I'm better than what I have achieved? Is it both?

Why do I dwell?

There are people in my life who love me, who have stuck by me through every painful moment, through every period of darkness. They are worth a million of all the sad times. They are worth a million of every hurtful remark that has ever been hurled my way.

They probably deserve way more blog posts than the dark times have gotten. They haven't gotten any though. I am bad at writing about happiness (I am also bad at writing when happy).

But does anyone get through depression without regrets?

So here is the truth: it has been a year. It has been hell. It has been painful to talk about in any detail. All I can force out (to anyone but my best friends) is some pre-rehearsed, scripted semblance of what happened. And I think it might always be this way. It just may never be enough. 
Solus Ipse
06 March 2016 @ 09:40 pm
"Every story has a beginning, middle and end, but not necessarily in that order." I have learned long ago that stories are merely means by which we make sense of the utter senselessness of being. I am starting to learn that there are no beginnings and ends as well, just a very long, somewhat pointless stretch of middle. It would be nice to find a fragment of memory, or an old photograph, or something that was said a long time ago to pinpoint as the beginning of all these things. And it would be nice to believe we are all working towards a neat resolution, where all the story lines get nicely tied up and all the Chekhov's guns are fired. We need stories so badly. Maybe what we do not need is for people to know our stories. Because people manhandle and misunderstand all things, through no fault of their own. It is the filter that is their own stories. We just need to know our own stories, and not let others write them for us. I am getting a better sense of what is mine, and I am learning to believe it.

Jeannette Winterson wrote that, "time is a great deadener." Words that sound bleak, but I now hold on to them with the greatest hope that they are true. Time doesn't have to heal. It just needs to make the great tension behind all things slowly wear down, and that would be enough. Like when you look back at all those things you thought were a big deal when you were a child, and realise they never really mattered in the long haul. You will always carry the weight of what they meant with you. But at the very least they are no longer fast fraying live-wires you need to constantly worry about. I truly believe that is enough.
Solus Ipse
12 December 2015 @ 09:33 am
Maybe litigating is unexpectedly like the historian's craft, and instead of piecing together bits of archeology and historical sources you have forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony and you make it into a story that sells the argument you are putting forth. And so with your life. Before your eyes your life will fracture again and again and as you look at the broken bits and wonder, "how did I get in this state?" you have to make a story you can sell to yourself to keep on going, never mind the truth. Because what is the truth anyway? Everything is full of bias and cultural influence, everything can be falsely perceived or eroded slowly by memory.

Yet to say "nothing is real" is an affront to philosophy, and so I prefer "nothing matters", even if this is not something I believe in my bones. I will tell myself again and again that we are the result of a cosmological fuck-up that brought about human consciousness and nothing we do truly has meaning. We are the greatest accident there is, and what destroys us will be an accident too. Perhaps even "accident" is too generous, because that assumes purpose. What purpose is there in the random collision of particles? But yet there is that literature student in me, looking for themes and motives and a moral behind it all. And isn't the heart of anxiety the belief that everything matters, everything will come back for you in the end, especially if you don't watch out?
Solus Ipse
27 November 2015 @ 11:20 pm
I am trying to remember that there are small things in life to be grateful for. Today I ducked outside the door of the waiting room to the GP while the nurse spoke to another patient, struggling to pronounce her name. "It's okay really - " "No, I want to try, how should I pronounce it? Is it Italian? It's a beautiful name." She took a couple of tries to get it right. I felt a small bit of happiness then.

At the same time it's the small things that are the biggest struggle. Getting out of bed in the morning. Eating. Talking to people. Every thing seems like a mirror reflecting back at you how badly you are coping. You remind yourself of the progress, but all the same there are miles and miles between you and this normalcy thing that is somehow so foreign now.

"There isn't such a thing as normal", people say. Notably non-depressed people. Of course there is. Normal is being able to get up, eat, and talk to people without thinking of dying.
Solus Ipse
03 August 2015 @ 08:51 am
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Solus Ipse
16 July 2015 @ 12:51 am
When I was 15 I did my research at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. It's a long-ish walk from my house but after I finished at the lab I would walk home sometimes, and force myself to think about the good things that had happened that day. Sometimes it was as stupid as the way the leaves fell from the trees on the way back, or the particular slant of sunlight - I liked to think of myself as poetic. I listed the best things of each day every day until it stopped working.

I don't remember a lot of exactly what I was like in those days. Mostly I existed in a painful haze, not sleeping enough and at the wrong times and making really bad jokes about my state of mind. I think some people knew. I think I fooled the majority into thinking I was just perpetually sick and stressed and quiet.

When I feel normal I like to think I like life. I like reading and learning so much precisely because there's so much about this world that fascinates me. I go into happy spiels and obsessive wikipedia surfing bouts and I get annoyed when so much of socialising is pointless pleasantries and gossip rather than actual debate. I get overly excited during actual debate and amuse my friends with my overboard enthusiasm. Those are the good days.

These days I keep trying to find things to keep myself rooted to this world. But navigating life becomes a landmine when you're in this state. Find the correct balance to make people think you're just stressed and tired and not that you don't like them. Pretend you're sick so no one guesses but not so sick that they think you're weak. Talk to people just enough not to cause offence but not enough that they can guess that something is really wrong. Sometimes I think if i told them they would leave me alone. But isn't that also the problem?

When I was 15 I decided I wasn't going to accept less from this life just because of this. (Maybe if I was normal I really would be one of those annoying as fuck life loving sorts, given my efforts not to miss out on everything from this one.) I think if I was normal I would still be in roughly the same place now. I wish that was some sort of victory. 
Solus Ipse
24 January 2015 @ 02:54 am
I think what I'm having trouble the most with now is believing that everything I do will add up to something. The late nights, the rushed out apps, the stress, the competitions, just the effort. I need to believe my life is going somewhere, that things will work out, that 船到桥头自然直 and all that. But at the same time, to have everything suddenly fall into place is equally startling. 
Solus Ipse
06 January 2015 @ 09:56 pm
“Maybe our life is an affair of coastlines,
of touching on contours, of sand shifting
underfoot, of footprints straying
a shoreline. No epitaph in granite,
no marble eminence, no limestone
subtlety. Tracking my prints back
is recovering tides’ clean sweep,
the cleansing services of storms’ and winds’
abrasive erasures. The only line
that matters in the end is forward
since home is what we find when we find
what it is, they say. Still, standing on the edge
of stone seven thousand kilometres wide,
my back to a whole past vivid to my eyes,
I wonder why, here, it should suddenly begin.”
— Andrew Taylor, from “Sandstone"