I bought a keyboard two weeks ago. For days it sat beside my bed as a temporary location while I thought high and low for a permanent place it can call home. Knowing me, days became a week, and a week became two. It became increasingly difficult to reach certain parts of my room like my closet and toiletries table. Dust started to coat the surface keyboard and then it hit me that my problem isn’t the keyboard, but mathematics.
You see, the size of my living space had remained constant for the past decade, save for the occasional new cupboards which might have added a negligible amount of real estate. Lately, there was a noticeable trend in my household in utilizing high walls by building cupboards against them just so we could “go vertical” and declog the near-full-capacity horizontal spaces.
It did not help that I have hoarding issues, but that is another story altogether.
In light of an almost-constant amount of space available, it is necessarily zero sum – for every item that I buy, some items would have to be displaced. Living in the 21st century in a suburban terrace double-storey house in Asia, with four other adults who’s equally fighting for space, I need a living mantra, which I summed up as follows:
“Don’t just buy stuffs, throw stuffs too.”
I watched The Amazing Spiderman yesterday, to give you an idea of the level of currentness I live by. I cried on several parts of the movie, which is an increasingly common occurrence. Either the movies that I picked were really touching or I’m becoming a sensitive man. Either way it says good things about me.
The movie was okay. And by that I mean, not amazing, but had adequate production value to keep me watching. As an aspiring screenwriter, I was especially interested in the climax of the story. Resolving the conflicts is what I love to investigate and in the case of The Amazing Spiderman, its resolution is random and miraculous, almost bordering on pulling a deus ex machina.
One should never over-analyzed plots but I did anyway. The best climax I had seen thus far was resolved with adequate precedents, within the setting and/or the character. At the “crucial moment” – my term for that very last moment where the hero appears to have lost it and defeat is eminent, the hero finds a trigger consistent with the precedents.
Presumably the triggers renew his passion, spark new but crucial ideas, and/or boost physical power, anything that tip the balance of power, thereby enabling the hero to achieve his objectives.
Yesterday was the National Day, which means 55 years ago this country gain independence from the British. It is hard to miss an occasion like this even though I have altogether stopped reading local news. There are many exhibition of patriotism that would ensure your day would not go by like any other day – conspicuous display of national flags, perpetuating media announcements and rotations of patriotic songs, and of course unusual traffic conditions – like empty roads on a Friday evening,
I truly cannot appreciate the significance of National Day. History lessons in school had me believed that it is the day where our forefathers fought, apparently heroically, for independence from the British, so that we don’t have to bow down to white men anymore. So yay, fist in the air, we are self-governed. We are free.
Increasingly, I am now being colonized by my own government, whose incompetency permeates every level society. Freedom, whether it is religion or speech or association, is sporadic at best. Media perpetuate lies, corruption is rampant, education system is mediocre, public infrastructure is deplorable, government services are third world and electoral process is questionable.
I am now caged by my ruling government who firstly brought me freedom.
In recent weeks I’ve grown accustomed to the nightly activity of lying on bed wide awake, then waking up and reading a book, again lying on bed staring at ceiling, then walking aimlessly around the house, lying on bed counting sheep and losing count at 20/21, playing the piano, making mental to-do-list for the next day, before extreme fatigue signal me to bed, finally waking up to sunny skies, heavy headed wondering how to face the day ahead.
Once upon a time sleeping was as easy as pushing the “sleep” button. Now I either can’t sleep till the wee hours or I’d sleep soundly thanks to previous sleep debts but wake up extremely early unable to resume sleeping. Last Sunday night was the lowest point of both my life and my insomniac chart.
Just how did I get here, my nocturnally (over)active mind found it fit to ask on such a sinful night.
Simply, my life had been stressful. I can throw in the mix wild, almost-delusional ambition and questionable choices, but peel off the layers of my surface, the core of my problem is perfectionism. We will not go into my childhood issues here. But there is a special place in my mind where everything is eternal, perfect and unchanging – against which I pitched my reality. I once privately declared, if I could be there, I would slow down and enjoy life, only if I’m there.
So I made plans to get there. I became ambitious. I planned my maneuverings. Sometimes things didn’t turn out perfect. I self-blamed. I made plans again. And it loops itself again. This is exhausting. Not the kind that preps me to sleep, the kind that keeps my mind active and guarded at all time, especially at night.
Essentially my ambitious maneuvering is like a pendulum swinging in one direction. At some point it reaches its extreme state where the next logical, sane move is to reverse the direction. That night, I’ve reached that point, my tired but still-active mind privately declared.
I woke up to sunny skies heavy headed, and indeed, wondering how to face the day and days ahead.
I don’t know about you, but since I am living from day to night and night to day, I never knew how to demarcate my own life. It is almost always the externals – external sensory triggers or feedbacks from other people who punctuate my life and drill into me the understanding that I have reached the end of a life chapter going into another.
Like how a friend made a casual remark about my appearance. Or perhaps on ceremonial events like birthdays. Perhaps seeing an old man walking by the road holding a tiffin carrier. Then I draw a line, and acknowledge to myself that beyond that line was something else, a previous chapter that has now came to a finite end. Perhaps I’d seek to understand it or try to spot a pattern and sum it in a conclusive sentence, and gradually, sometimes reluctantly accept it as a fact.
So it was like an anchor sinking gradually into the depths of my heart that I accepted my apparently-drastic weight loss, that I’m now twenty three, and I was rather mischievous to my late grandfather as a kid growing up. I don’t necessary realized these myself living my life as a never ending tapestry.
I was rereading some of my previous blog post after a long absence of logging in, not without the agony of concluding all the way that I had in the past written terribly – or rather untruthfully. My writings appeared to have been heavily edited and self-censored to the point where I feel alienated by the author whom I supposedly know very well.
So I am demarcating this point of my life and hereby pledge that I want to write truthfully and “be myself”. That means, I should write what I want to write and not what I think people expect me to write – that is if I had any readers at all.
I could draw a line here, using the Underline tool of this blog, but that is childish and would insinuate that I do know understand connotations and have to take things literally.
Oh well. The demarcation.
Just last Sunday I bowed before blinding white lights and thought to myself in casual amazement: I just had one of the most overwhelming experiences in my life making a debut in professional theater.
As with all other experiences in my self-declaringly imminent rags-to-riches life, my stint had been fun, beneficial and educational. In retrospect, that is.
During the rehearsal period of close to three months, it was brutal. Each time I walk out of the rehearsal space, I almost always felt a part of me wounded. Sometimes it was my ego or my overused physical muscles, mostly it was my false sense of equilibrium and security that had been left unchecked for years.
There are a few things that I had gradually (and by the last day of show, finally) came to terms with. Firstly, I am an overthinker. Initially I thought I was just an overthinking actor. Soon, I realized I’m an overthinking pianist, songwriter, aspiring screenwriter [and millions of other glamorous professions].
Secondly, I don’t always react “in the moment”, an acting concept that has gradually (and by the last show, finally) came within my grasp. The idea of plunging directly into the unknown or “going with the flow” and reacting truthfully to situation remained a formidable challenge. Also, I am almost always guarded. I erect walls so no one could peek into my deepest feelings. Sometimes, even I couldn’t (wouldn’t?) get pass the wall.
But the bigger idea that gave rise to these inner demons in the first place, upon thinking (overthinking?) is my complex sense of insecurity and occasional and inconsistent lack of confidence. Okay, “I don’t have confidence” (Note to self: stop overthinking!) They are compensations to obtain more confidence. Overthinking, planning and being guarded are my means to self-assurance – they made me feel comfortable and safe. I attempted to psychoanalyze my behavior further, but I’m already overthinking.
So I decided to change. Immediately, I hear the voices. How? What should I do? Could there be a twelve-step program to this? Should I get some books on this? By when should I change? Someone once said to me, just be. I am only beginning to learn to see the comfort in that – the idea of letting go and allowing an unshakable, self-assuring core of being to override the intricacies that I’m obsessive about, can be a little less tiring.
Before walking away from the stage for the last time I remembered the blinding white lights in their diamond shape formation, in technicolor detail. I was flushed with anticipation and positivity for the future and that’s when I resolved to continue acting to be a better person.
There I finally said it. Glee has become unbearable. Here’s why:
1. The plot appears to be driven by songs selection. The dialogues foreshadow or allude to the song lyrics and as a result they appeared to be contrived, forced and inorganic.
2. Plot and storyline gravitates towards one which offers the most opportunity to slot in songs. The recent episode contains a shameful example. Will Schuester intends to propose and asked students to suggest some songs by, yes, putting up full-fledged performances, complete with choreography and theatricality. How believable is that when a mere song suggestion (thrown out verbally, by pronouncing or spelling out song titles) would suffice? More so when the same group of students have their national (regional) show choir competition coming up and they appeared to have not done anything substantial.
3. Can we see less of Lea Michelle? And increasingly, Matthew Morrison too. Other characters deserve a chance too.
4. In the heydays of Season One, I loved the characters for their depth and dimension. Now the very same characters and their characterization seemed to be dictated by the songs selection that controls the plot line. I cringed when Sue Sylvester became a nice lady suddenly, dancing along when Emma (not Sue’s friend at all) sings.
5. There are too many “song ex machina” (for lack of better term), referring to the quick-fix resolution of storylines through song. For example, Person A has been having a rough time. After singing a song, she feels better. Not that life isn’t like that, but it’s been used too often and sometimes the song just isn’t compelling enough to effect such dramatic changes.
6. General lack of direction for this season. Back in Season One, it was about a new glee club consisting of underdog school members that have a lot to prove via show choir competitions, will many interesting sub plots in between that still eventually adds to the larger plot. Right now I don’t sense any over arching plot that coheres into a whole.
I will still watch Glee because I remember how it speaks to me powerfully back in Season One. I hoped that will return in upcoming episodes.