Godsend

Today, August 6, 2016, marks the end of my undergraduate years as a psychology major. It has been six years of seemingly endless struggle and bittersweet happiness which did not just change when I decided to take my life in my own hands.

Way back in 1998, when I had first moved into the city, there were no tall buildings, the only shopping mall and hotel had just opened in the neighborhood, and there were no highways and express trains. Even the institute where I graduated from was really an abandoned block of concrete nobody bothered to work on until a decade later.

A good 18 years later, new constructions started sprouting up one by one.  The scene in this photograph is taken at the back of the campus after my very last day. It is an example of how as time progresses, things change – for better or for worse. In reality we pick things up along the years and discard those parts that are not as useful in our purpose. Humility is a lifelong process of learning and practice. Of course we must be grateful for the opportunity that we have been given. This is what shapes us into becoming successful individuals.

13988081_10154959609983682_7660415564563175812_o

It was really tough having to plan and manage my team for my company business Brainiac Laboratories while studying, working part-time, and writing together at the same time. I was really hard-pressed for results. I had to meet all kinds of people every single day. You know how god puts you to test something you abhor again and again – until one day you raise your hands in submission and begin to love it as much as you can. Is that good or bad? More than once my life seemed to be just hanging on a thin string of thread, waiting for a sharp pair of scissors to snap it cut. I have no clue why, but it just kept happening. The amount of tears I cried throughout all these years could have over-filled a pool. Things went down the drain several times; and I was so helpless all I could do was try to stop myself from crying. But I cried anyhow.

I had hated my life. I hated how everytime I had to register myself for subjects the following month, the management would pull out my accounts statement  to tell me that I had an outstanding of nearly RM20,000 to be paid before I could register for any classes. I hated how I had to write to them letters after letters attached with a new instalment plan of empty promises, and I hated how I had to face rejection with a solid face and unnerving gaze but a mind full of doubts. Last of all, I hated how my uncertainties seemed to be growing bigger very quickly.

I whirlpooled into depression for the second time as I sought for solutions. I watched as my friends – some of whom were even my batchmates – walked out happily out of unhiversity after their final semester. I saw how my friends started getting married one by one and having families of their own. This made me question myself a lot.

What set me apart from my peers was the fact that I had the ego of knowing that I was way better than them, so there was no point of getting along with them. That I had to spend a huge part of my day working at the bookstore, shopping mall, or what not, and then take a bus back to home to clean the house of mess (it was like that everyday, trust me) before I could actually sit and study. Right there and then I could run back to my house and give my mother a bear hug  and go lovey-dovey like any child would, but I did not. It has never been the way my family worked. My mother refused to pay for the education I was entitled to, and she was taking the money I earned from working part-time to buy other things for herself. The more I tried talking to her, the sharper the answers I received from her. I tried my best to listen and care for her but I never got anything out of it.  Every ounce of my energy was sapped away as I worked in and out and studied at the same time. If I ever failed to do as I was required, or I could not because I was really, really tired. I got hit by anything. My depression just worsened.

Like I had done many times, I asked myself a question: What am I doing all these for? It was quite a question because I pressed myself for the answers all day. I pushed myself forward to do what I could. I definitely did not want to go through the same things anymore. Yes, I was tired of being depressed; I was tired of destitution. I was sick of all the lies I was made to tell to cover my life from my “friends”. I was sick of the inner demons eating away at my soul, devouring up the life I was supposed to have.

The answer to my own question: I did what I did to save myself.

Red Scarlet

Only Human

Tonight I am going to speak out my heart. I am going to pour out every single thought that is trying to fight for space in my head.  Tonight I just want to cry out and forget.  I am going to climb up the rooftops, stand by the edge, spread my arms wide apart, my back facing the cold, dark night air… and fall.

Fall all the way down.  As I descend through the wind, I shall look into the beauty of the skies, perhaps for the very last time.  The sack of questions slam me further down, but no, I would not budge.

I breathe in, and out, in, and out; the raw air fill my one and only lung (I lost the other a decade ago), bringing oxygen to my blood.  One by one statement after statement surface into my concious.

“My name is Alicia Ai Leng, turning 24 very, very soon, and I study psychology.  This does not mean I have answers to your every question.  I too have questions myself – many of them used to be unanswered, but more and more are getting clarified.  I daresay I know a lot more than some people, but I feel too.  I also break down and cry.  I need a hug as well every now and then.  I have the breaking point, just like everybody else, where the limits are pushed to the maximum.  But just how far are these limits?”

For the most part, my life at this time seems like an endless struggle.  If you have heard of the saying:  She stoops to conquer.  Well, I have stooped so many, many times.  I was nearly killed in an accident.  I nearly killed myself.  I nearly  lost myself to insanity., the complex of Nature and the supernatural.

My old soul is slowly fading away into the past.  Now is now, and I have to act very swiftly.  I have drowned myself completely  into positivity, completely into work, and studies, and business, and enterpreneurship.  And wallahi, for all of heaven’s sake, love!  Oh god, what is going on?  Why is this happening?

The answer is because people change.  With time, people deviate from the norms of tradition – I know this might sound sad, but it is not the time to shed tears now.  I change.  You change.  We change.  All of us change.  Like all other humans I have blood running through my veins.  I breathe the air just like everyone does.  My heart pumps life into my body just like other living being.  I eat.  I pee.  I poo.  I cry real tears too.  I am definitely not a Bobo doll, a punchbag everyone hits mercilessly.  I laugh so loud you would have thought I were out of my mind, so long you could have thought that I were out of my mind.  There are occasions of burnout too everyone experiences that I also experience.  Of course in reality I am only literally meaning what I say.  Whether there are ups and downs, I acknowledge that I am imperfect as I am; I cannot please everybody.

Ich schwore, that is just me.  I could probably use a hand sometimes.

Red Lace Underwear

Red Lace Underwear.  )Photo credits to Alicia Ai Leng)

Red Lace Underwear.  (Photo credits to Alicia Ai Leng)

Do you know how much penchant I hold for objects of such worth?  Undeniable.  It is so beautiful, silky, and comfortable.  In addition, it has this sort of sepulchre silence that hangs over itself I cannot live without.  I am just about to begin a life-long romance with these things.

It was approximately six months past my 22nd birthday – I had done my own laundry , and so was bringing the clothes out to dry in  the sun, as usual.

I hung everything up on the line neatly and made sure there was some space in between the pieces to let the air seep through the tiny seams.  I drapped my red lace – the very first one I had – at one good end of the line.

That done, I went upstairs to prepare for a long day at work.  It was a fine day, diddle here, daddle there, and to cut the long story short, I was back past midnight.

Ahh.

Imagine my dismay when I realized that something was missing from the bunch of clothes I had hung earlier.  My red lace underwear!  Oh, come on, world.  Seriously.  It was gone and nowhere to be found.

Two months have gone by with the wind, and I have been searching north, south, east, and west for the same purchase.  I have found a blue lace, and a black one, and also other colors too, but I could not find it!  It was always a different color, or else the color was not good.

Well, today I decided to make a bold step and visit the mall in front of my burrow.  There are a few lingerie boutiques there, which I attempted to go to the day before – but the bus arrived very late and so the shops were close by the time I actually arrived.  But guess what?

I found it!!! Bought it, even!!!  Woo hoo.  Ich sein exstatische heute.

Red Scarlet