I have the most reckless side when I try
I have the most beautiful darkside
I need to find some meaning
Something true to believe in
‘Cause left to my own devices
The beautiful darkside wins
Beautiful Darkside – The Classic Crime
28 years on my pilgrimage.
I guess you’d call it ‘life’, or the more clichéd ‘journey’. But more and more it does seem it’s a pilgrimage. Because it feels like I’m looking for something; looking for something more than just existence, more than just success… more than destiny? I’m looking for significance, I’m looking for meaning, I’m looking for the dots to join.
I’ve never been a ‘do it for the sake of doing it’ kinda person. Neither have I done anything with ‘reward’ or ‘result’ as the main goal. I’ve always felt that when doing something, it has to mean something first, and it has to be intentional. This ‘hard-wiring’ has got me through some ‘sticky’ situations other people usually succumb to; like I’ve never felt what you call ‘peer pressure’ or ‘desire to conform’ or ‘fit in’. I’m also very picky when it comes to friendships, or relationships in general, though not because I feel like you’d be wasting my time, rather I wouldn’t want to be wasting yours. This recipe does make for some interesting interactions and perceptions; like how people assume I’m shy when I just really don’t care for ‘in-the-moment’ conversations, or how I ‘never seem to talk’ but in reality if I did people wouldn’t know what to do with what my mouth would produce. Things that depress other people I can easily brush aside; but the things that put me in a hole are so ridiculously trivial that one would wonder what kind of mettle I’m made of.
See that’s the thing; you’d think that since we’re all human we share the same thoughts, and these thoughts should resonate among ourselves. Or even if the thoughts were different there would be some form of ‘accommodating mechanism’ that would merge all these different thoughts onto the same plane. But more and more it does feel that that doesn’t apply to me; almost as if I’m not human, almost as if I’m from another planet. It feels like I was on a journey from another inter-galactic community, and just made a stop here, at Earth, to search what I’m supposed to be looking for. And the differences aren’t just in terms of what I think would make for good conversation, or what (and who) should be remembered, or even what should be given priority. It goes beyond that; sometimes it’s in the ‘mundane’ stuff like respecting queues, or ‘doing the right thing’ without having to wonder ‘what’s in it for me’. Sometimes it’s in ‘carrying someone across the river’, because you’re ‘tall enough to wade through the water, while the other person would drown in it’. People are so focused on getting ahead; eyes front all the time, not even bothering to look those they are trampling over in their wake, or holding the hands of those who are looking for guidance, even though they’re heading in the same direction.
From my ‘journeyings’ it seems that when people want to do something it’s based on how they prioritize these three things: reward, convenience and necessity. The ‘ambitious’ prioritize ‘reward’, the laid-back (not lazy) prioritize ‘convenience’ and I (with probably most other INFPs) prioritize necessity. There’s nothing wrong with any of the three, only that people see someone doing something without ‘an agenda’ and they are quick to call it a ‘red flag’, a ‘ploy’; that something isn’t right. But I’ve never known any other way to live. Like I remember I was undercharged for some groceries, and when I reported the mistake I was ‘rewarded’ ? Interesting interesting world. And interestingly, the people who could be of least help to you when you need it are the most ambitious, and I’ve met some of the poorest people with the kindest souls. Maybe it’s because the ambitous credit their own strength for their success, and the poor know the feeling of having no one come to your aid when you need it most.
The sad part is that this is indeed a cruel world, and both good and bad people will always be looking for good people to use. No one uses bad people (why would you), and the good ones are in short supply – do the math. But surely all of it – yes, all of it has to mean something eventually.
Being selfless has its scars; you will move mountains, cross treacherous seas, because you felt it was the right thing to do, and in the end if you even ask for a drop of water to quench your thirst you may not get it. The worst response I’ve ever heard was ‘I never asked you in the first place’; how convenient. After all the only man who ever lived right was nailed to a Cross, by same people who were singing His praises a week before.
The thing with taking pieces of wood out of a fire to light paths for different people is that that fire begins to diminish, and if more wood isn’t added to it for replenishment, it could disappear altogether.
As I get closer to 30 I feel birthdays have become less of a celebration and more of ‘time-markers’ on this ‘great pilgrimage’. I’m beginning to ‘understand the locals’ and their patterns of behaviour. I’ve never been bothered about being different, but if birthday gifts are still a thing, it seems that the greatest gift I’ll ever receive from this world is the ‘gift of being understood’.
The most annoying part of life is time. Not that in itself it’s a nuisance but the fact that you can’t suspend it for a while makes it feels like you’re always rushing; or being rushed , even for the smallest insignificant things. Like menu choices or what socks to wear. Life is a constant stream of events marked by time, one following the other in glorious reluctance, giving the illusion of some form of progress at the very least. Is it possible to put your life on hold? Seems so; of course that depends on how you define [your] life.
I’m probably not the first man alive to put off plans for the sake of other people. That’s the most general explanation of ‘putting your life on hold’, and is more perceivable. This is known. One of two other form of pausing your life is a subtle form of self sabotage; constantly (or occasionally) getting in your own way, even with good reason. It took a week of me powering through numerous obstacles to see through a plan I was determined to not renege on; to realize how easy it is to get in my own way just because I feel either the time isn’t right, or the people involved aren’t. At times there are a plethora of reasons I could decide not to do something, even if I feel it right in my gut. Sounds like a ‘comfort zone’ thing but I’ve been out of my comfort zone for a while now. Or comfort zone has become such a cliche it doesn’t mean anything anymore.
At times I wish I wasn’t so ridiculously meticulous, especially at making plans, because with that much detail and ‘dedication’ it becomes very easy to write off plans when things go awry. And I have killed a good number of plans just because things began changing more than I wanted to. Surprisingly, if the plan is for someone else then I don’t mind moving mountains. But when it comes to my own it’s a whole different story. At one point I was asking myself is it just my plans that fumble or, if at all, just bundle themselves over the finish line? Is it some form of ill fate to come up with really good plans and fail miserably at the execution? The saying ‘best laid plans’ had actually become like a mantra, because of how many plans were falling on their heads.
Nothing teaches you the unpredictability of life like the life of a freelancer. You draw up a plan, the client doesn’t want it, you do another, the client agrees, payment is delayed, meaning your payments get delayed; things can go wrong very quickly without some contingencies in place. And this lesson isn’t really a great one particularly for someone who has a knack for predicting things and thrives in stability. Or maybe I’m just not as good as predicting or reading situations as I think.
I remember that week everything around me was just screaming ‘RENEGE! RENEGE!’. But I think something just snapped. Screw the ‘I love it when a plan comes together’ Hannibal tagline. I think I was just done with this perfectionist planning syndrome or whatever. Sitting down, I had a stark realization; the time will never always be right, the situations will never always be ideal and there will always be the risk of failure. Basically, it boils down to this:
How badly do you want this?
What are you so afraid of?
Looking at the monster that has its finger on the pause button, I only see three faces. Fear, perfectionism and nonchalance. But once fear is dealt with the rest seem to disappear.
Even with a brick wall there are a number of ways to get round it. The first is to go through it; it hurts, it’s messy, but it gets done. The second is to climb it. Difficult, sweaty, less painful than going through but definitely longer. The third, which I just unlocked recently, is simply to find another route. There’s always another way.
Thinking about it now, it seems like the people who excel at this game of life aren’t the ones with the perfect plans or situations, but it’s the ones who turn really crappy situations to really great ones.
No, I’m not a lone wolf. Wolves aren’t soft and cuddly. Wolves don’t have big and lumbering figures that take three years to make a turn. They’re agile, they’re swift, decisive, always going in for the kill. At least I’d like to think so; if not the better. Oh no, I’m not a wolf. Maybe a bear. Thick. Warm. Makes porridge for the family. Protective. Likes honey. Yeah, something like a bear alright. Would make an excellent coat.
Thing with bears though; they have really thick fur, braving even the longest of winters. That fur isn’t easy to sink teeth into. Or claws. It would take a great deal for a wolf to bring a bear down. A lone wolf surely can’t take the bear. That’s why he brings friends.
But what did the bear ever do. I’m guessing all the guy did was become extra clingly to a pot of honey. Or probably the wolves weren’t even targeting the bear. They were just out looking for something to chew on and this “monster” decides it isn’t having any of it. For some reason, the bear decides that those “creatures” are its responsibility, and are worth protecting?
This isn’t the first time the bear is taking a last stand. He probably is the patron saint of the last stand. He’s used to it by now. He knows it’s gonna sting. He knows it may not end well. But he plants those trees he calls feet into the ground; and with his most excellent Gandalf impression takes all the punishment and holds that line. No wolf gets past here. Not on his watch.
During battle, the single thought in a soldier’s head is the difference between life and death. Between going home with decorated clad or in a body bag. I’d sure like to know what spurs the bear on. What’s keeps his resolve strong. What makes every scratch, swipe and bite worth it.
Is it that the others get to safety and and live happily ever after? No that can’t be it; they probably aren’t even concerned about him, and may never see him again. Is it the honey pot he’s left at home or the zingy feeling of the snow nursing his wounds with a slight yet addictive sting? Maybe. But I think it’s something more. I think the bear knows the strongest and most fragile force on the planet, and is ready to die if it means he has to protect it. And that force is nothing other than hope.
Hope for a new tomorrow, hope for a better tomorrow. Hope that this is not the end. Hope that life suck, just for now. Without hope we’re already dead; we’re circling the drain. But with hope, with even the smallest bit of hope, strength is born. Hope is that light guiding you out of the tunnel, without it you’re better off in a hole.
The thing with lone wolves is that they go into hiding when injured. Too proud to show weakness. It matters how others see them. But not bears. There’s no time for a bear to hide. There’s too much at stake. If they’re breathing they’re dancing with the wolves. They’ll stop when they’re dead.
But does the bear have hope then? Wait, who protects the bear’s hope?
This isn’t about the bear.
Obligatory Birthday Post.
I like how when nVidia releases a graphics card some have the tag ‘Ti’. I don’t even know what it means but a GTX 1080 Ti has a significant performance boost over the GTX 1080 even though they essentially have the same model number. My guess is that the Ti is what the 1080 was supposed to be had they had more time to work on it but PCMR wouldn’t have any of it. So the 1080 is a good, solid card but the Ti is the ‘ascended’ version.
Likewise, because of how the past year has gone I feel it would be better to call this my 25-Ti’th year rather than the 26th. Actually this post would have been labelled ‘Twenty Six’ had I written it on my birthday but after something happened (which I will NOT go into details here, at least for now) I decided to add Ti to previous page.
Not because the previous year of my life totally blew. It was actually one of my best yet. I’m getting a hang of this freelance thing, I put down my foot more often (in spite of my INFP nature wanting to sacrifice more than I should) and I can now converse properly on phone without zoning out, at least for 5 minutes. Of course they are many other things; things have been smooth, manageable and relatively stress free. Even unpaid invoiced don’t frustrate me as much.
But see that’s the problem. You get too comfortable you start coasting. You start coasting you become complacent. You become complacent you remain where you are. The weird thing with this kind of ‘coasting’ is that you don’t even realize it. After all, you’re doing work, you’re pursuing clients; you’re not just letting life pass by. “I’m doing my part, I’m okay.” That’s dangerous. That’s selfish. And more importantly, that’s a far cry from God’s Will.
I’d never really thought about it till last Sunday, when the weirdest thing happened. Have you ever had a full conversation with some that lasted only 1 second? I did. I usually tell people that I can look into someone’s eyes and hear what they are saying regardless of the word coming out of their mouths, or even when they aren’t speaking. But the way the one on Sunday happened I’m still recovering from it.
It’s probably not a good idea to give details of this person (at this stage anyway) but it’s someone I’ve come to respect and have taken an interest in. It was just in passing but one look into this person’s eyes and I was suddenly so aware of how ‘comfortable’ I was. How I was limiting myself. How I wouldn’t push myself if I was okay with what I had.
Is that all? Is this what ‘the great Juniboy’ amounts to?
Probably the greatest turning point in my life was when I finally understood how much God loved me, regardless of my actions. Even if I decided to close up shop and live under a bridge He wouldn’t love me less. But what I had lost sight of was the other people I should be helping, the others I should be blessing, the others that are looking up to me. This isn’t a need to please others. Nor is it peer pressure. In fact I’m actually proud of my ‘peer pressure’-less life. But how unfortunate would it be if you were to die with someone’s miracle in your soul? How awful would it be if I had the solution to World Hunger and I just decided to coast; after all life is great, right? How scary. How terrifying.
So my 25 year was great. I did help out some guys. I did in my small way cause some significant impact. Just like the GTX 1080, which is a great card; a high end graphics churning monster. But it isn’t a Ti, that just churns better, and is the 1080’s true form. One look into this person’s eyes and the message was clear:
Life isn’t just about you anymore.
Weirdly though I think it’s only babies that think everything’s only about them. They don’t care if you just went to sleep after a long day; if he/she wants attention you will respond.
I probably met an angel on Sunday. Oh well.
Hisashiburi!! [Long time no see]
I’ve been a little lazy in the writing aspect but I promise that’s going to change real soon. There’s no particular reason but when you have a lot on your plate and trying to balance stuff out you end up going in a lot of circles before you make any headway. Like try untangle a 300 metre cable and you’ll get what I mean!
Anyway, a while back I as nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by a good friend of mine and probably the only fashion blogger I follow (wow), Crystal Olisa. The nomination has a number of rules to follow so let’s get to it.
[Gratitude where it’s due..]
Thank you Crystal for the nomination!! And sorry for the delay. (-_-)’
You guys can check out her blog here.
[Then I’m to nominate 15 other blogs..]
I don’t follow that many blogs so I’m not really sure what to put here. Most of my readings online are articles on sites such as Kotaku and Gizmodo so I don’t think it really fits into this list, hmmm.. Anyway, for the one I love and follow I’ve listed them below.
- Live to Write – Write to Live
- You Monsters Are People
- Megan Has OCD
- Unbashedly Poetic
- Chris Martin Writes
- Art Attack
- Ghost Talk Blog
- The Wish Factor
- Mark Renja
- Little Wolf : Well, she closed her blog earlier this year but you should definitely check it out (while it’s still up)
- The reflections of an INFX
[Then 7 things about myself..]
Wow okay here goes.
- I’m an INFP. – It’s one of those things I can’t say enough. That way I don’t get many Chandler-like head tilts because INFPs can be a little… off. Who is an INFP? Check this out.
- Kenyan by birth, Japanese by heart. – This is really hard to explain; maybe I give an example. Queuing! It comes naturally to me. Now tell that to the people who found me at the shop counter and insists on buying before me.
- I am my playlist. – It’s pretty hard to separate me and my music; we are one. Mostly rock, then there’s indie folk and a touch of electronic dance.
- This back, my friends must never see it. – I value loyalty a ton and I always stand by the ones that are close to me. My friends have my sword and my bow. I don’t turn my back on people. I’m not Scar! [from the Lion King]
- Pocahontas and Sound of Music! – Speaking of films, I don’t usually run to the screen for them; but if Pocahontas or The Sound of Music are on I will not hesitate!!
- I’m a musician. – Just because I don’t sing or play music publicly doesn’t mean that I’m not a musician! Most of my siblings are in a band of some sort so I’m always asked if something went wrong with me. Okay, maybe people don’t use those word exactly but I can tell where they’re going when they start with mentioning how my siblings lay great music then they go, “So what do you do?” I’m actually a pretty good singer and could easily fit into the position of drummer in any band. [maybe I stretched that one but only by a little]
- I’m happiest when there’s a packet of crisps in my left hand, a bottle of cola in my right hand and a sitcom on my screen. – I’m THAT unbelievably simple.
I guess that’s it! Thanks for reading and clicking all those links. From now on I’ll try to be more frequent in my writing 🙂
Now I gotta go slay some Dragon Brood Envenomers
*This post has been delayed severally because the content keeps morphing in my head; but now the wine’s breathed enough and you can all drink*
So, of all my 23 years on this earth I’d say that 2014 must have been the weirdest of all. Okay maybe ‘weird’ isn’t the proper word but I still think it’s the closest when you want to describe a year full of eye squints and ‘okaaaaay’ moments… No, no, by all means 2014 was a great year; I finally graduated and finished the school part of my life (for now?) and started doing my own stuff (which isn’t ready for the public just yet), but lets just say what I had predicted the year to be was totally different from ho it turned out. Like when you’re sure you’re getting a glass of orange juice but it turns out to be pineapple juice instead; both are delicious but just different, with one having a tad more calories.
Then I began to take stock; to analyze what I’ve been doing with my life. And I noticed for the passed seven years or so I’ve spent a huge amount of time and a lot of energy helping people achieve their dreams. I’m pretty good at it; I’m a qualified and probably the best dream achieving sidekick you’ll ever find, but what I noticed is I’ve been spending so much time and energy helping others out, that my own dreams have stalled. I’m an INFP so yo can imagine exactly how many dreams I have. But also because I’m INFP it means my energy is limited so I can only do so much during a day. Am I blaming my ‘dreams on hold’ situation’ on helping others? Certainly not! I love helping people! Even if [most of the time] it’s not reciprocated; I’m okay with that. But that’s the question I had been asking myself towards the end of 2014 – who’s gonna help me with my dreams? Should I stop my assistance outwards and help myself for a while?
I was at a point where I was giving up on people and their [stupid] promises. I got tired of people not understanding and decided you know what, to hell with everyone. It’s my life I’ll do what I want and what I think is best of me. Forget people and their ‘it’s not gonna work’ or their opinions on what ‘suits my lifestyle’. Yeah, I’m not going to sit down and hear someone lecture me on being me. [Seriously]. So I had decided that this year, well, people just had to sort themselves out. Because I have my own stuff to deal with. I didn’t really care if I came off mean or selfish; I know I’m not so their opinion is the least of my concern (always has been). Originally this post would have ended on this tone, but then something even more weird happened at the beginning of the year; a single action that reminded me of a lot of stuff and why this approach just won’t work!
I’m not going to tell you exactly what happened (it’s pretty trivial; this one’s for me), but I can share the forgotten lessons I had relearned. One, you can NEVER stop believing in people. Because if you do the world’s gonna eat you alive. Two, if you’re good at helping people, then keep at it. The world has an acute shortage of that type of person. And three, those principles you’ve lived by; the ones you use to make decisions when stranded and the ones that have made you reach where you are today, you can NEVER let go of them. Because when you do it’s over; all your past decisions will come back to you and you’ll begin to doubt every single step you’ve made up till now. That’s a spiral you’re better off avoiding.
So no, I’m not cutting off people. In fact I’m going to help out even more. I just have to find the balance and see what happens. Because sadness is contagious. I feel its going to be a great year.
My 2013 so far.
So, ironically this is my first post of the year; a year that started with my hands full. No, I didn’t hit the ground running; i hit it and flew back up! You know that balancing act the pilots have to do before they land a plane? Slowly descend, not too slowly not to quickly; usually you feel a bump as the plane touches down (some tolerable and some you’re like ‘we’re gonna die!’-ish kinda feeling). I’ve only been on one flight where the pilot expertly landed the plane.. It was a Qatar Airways one, from Tokyo to Osaka, and it took a while for me to realize we were on the ground; he was that good.
I’m no Qatar Airways pilot, and so my balancing act of the things I had planned to do this year; schoolwork, side projects and community service, fell on its head. Kind of like when you take a huge gulp of water; you struggle at first, the swallow little by little till things smooth out.
Things have smoothed over the past two months; I’d say I’m now in control. Currently I’m almost done with community service (week 10 of 10) and so I have more time to write and spice up this blog a little. I’m also putting funds in place to build my dream PC (so help me God) and while at it I’m opening another blog, a techno-blog just to make sure I keep tabs on whats happening in tech-world. Don’t worry if you’re not into that stuff; I promise this blog will be forever ‘artsy’.. My arts self and science self are peculiarly polarised…
Oh, and I think everyone should do a personality test; the MBTI ones.. I’m INFP and super excited about it.