la toile

le soleil s’éclairait et je sentais la chaleur de sa bienvenue,

et je croyais que pour la première fois,

j’étais libre de toile ;

la toile de mes épreuves, celle qui avait empêchait ma foi,

et une fois libre de l’étreinte de ses fils,

j’ai pu enlever enfin l’avatar ;

et oui, c’était ma masque, couvrant mon visage,

n’ayant plus ma casque, je serais nu, peut-être sauvage ;

bien qu’elle m’a étreint,

quand même je respirais,

je voyais toujours avec les yeux mi-clos,

même si ce n’était qu’une lueur vacillante ;

cette toile, mon refuge,

cette toile, ma prison

breaking the hiatus

11 months is a long time and it feels, honestly, very strange to come back writing semi-publicly. Good times followed the end of sophomore year and this junior year has become a divisive year for me. Divisive in many senses, but mainly in the emotional and internal senses. This is because I’m choosing this year to be my last year here on campus as I’m spending my impending senior year studying abroad.

Unlike my coming here, however, I’m somewhat better equipped with this decision. I have the experience of knowing the implications of making a brash decision without having carefully considered the alternatives. I am better acquainted with distinguishing my desire for wanderlust from my desire to escape. I know what it means to lose–and I know what it means to start from scratch, because those were the exact situations in which I found myself in September 2014. Since, there had been no reverse, no do-overs, but simply consequences, both good and bad. I hope that I can heed these admonitions myself from now beginning to look forward, because the future had always been an indistinguishable void for me, daunting and generally unpleasant to think about.

Life is happening fast and I hope that I can keep up ||

flaws, VII

This last week and a half, with these two finals coming, feel like I’ve been taking a huge gasp of air and I’m waiting until I can release it all in a huge sigh of relief. It’s one of the biggest things right now that I’m anticipating the most. I can’t wait to leave, but deep down I also know that I can.

Rather than much of a reading period, this time has mostly become a sort of purgatorial self-reflection, or, in other words, unproductive. I’ve been having trouble just staying focused on studying due to a wild combination of apathy, the fact that I have the time to actually put off studying later, unsettledness, and lastly, this sudden urge to evaluate many aspects of my life. And in the process of doing so, I found myself continuing the same cycle of comparing myself with others, in all the unpleasant and gritty aspects that I repeatedly vowed myself to get over. Alas, I can but only continue to deny myself these things, despite even how absurd they have become. Perhaps that’s a little reflective of how my situation has evolved overall.

Perhaps one of this most prominent themes that have emerged from this figurative confinement is my absolute stubbornness in accepting regrets as simply lost opportunities of which I’ll never know the outcome. That the past is the past and it’s no use to keep dwelling on those memories of bad judgement and unfruitful choices made. Countless numbers of people have told me to let go of it all as if all these regrets are some pieces of stone. To them, perhaps that’s the case, that they can live through life tossing and tossing these stones with minimal effort in to some bottomless pit accommodating all. I find that I don’t have stones, but rather, some black, sticky tar that, of some undetermined but undoubtedly massive quantity, is dumped on me each time my lapses of judgement and poor decision-making skills come at hand. Maybe it’d be more beneficial to try to simply toss myself in to that pit myself to get rid of it all, because God knows I would probably do more harm than good attempting to cleanse myself of that tar hell.

Righteously, there must have been some positive side to all this reflection, and I think that came in the form of all my wishes and wants. Everything that I wish would happen, rather than what I wish would had have happened. At times they come simply as passing thoughts, innocent and arguably the most pleasant because of their unsuspecting nature. Ironically, many of them focused on futures and/or alternate universes in which I were not here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

do you belong ?

How would you react if you admitted to yourself, for the first time,
I made a mistake coming here. This place was never for me.     ?

It was the evening yesterday when I walked out in to the Pembroke green. The air was still moist from the on-and-off rain showers that occurred throughout the day, and the small breeze blew through my hair, but I didn’t care or bother worrying myself with any of it. The cold, the wind, the background conversations that trickled from the inside of the dormitories around me. Everything just blended together when the thought first came into my head, the thought that rang bells inside my mind for a few moments, the thought that began with : This was a mistake. Then that was proceeded by : Coming here was a mistake. And then, finally : This place is not for me. I don’t belong here. 

I let those thoughts reverberate in my brain for a few moments. The fact is, those thoughts precipitated so rapidly and so suddenly into consciousness that I was reaction-less for a few moments afterwards as well. Reaction-less, but I still made my way, and I still felt the breeze blow through my hair in the same way it did before. I still made my way back like countless number of times before.

But this time, I admitted something to myself that might have been bubbling inside of my subconscious for two years, something that’s made itself too much of a big deal now to continue on going ignored, or perhaps more accurately, denied. At the time, maybe I made it seem that it would be impossible to admit something like this, which makes sense. That such a notion wasn’t possible at all, because it never happens to the 98%. Maybe, it would have helped a little sooner had I realised that I might actually belong to the other 2%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the starbucks life

Today marks the fifth consecutive day that there hasn’t been any sunlight in Providence. For five days, it has been nothing but gloom and rain, and I think that it’s starting to get to me. I don’t recall any other time when something like this has happened to me. There probably has been another time like this, but I can’t remember it affecting me the way that it does now. It’s saddening and just overall depressing.

Classes have officially ended, so now we’re left on our own to study for the finals that will come trickling in starting next Wednesday. I don’t know how to feel about the fact that we have so much time between now and then. Finals last for two weeks, and I haven’t even made it through a single one. I’m especially dreading my last final, which is on the morning of the day I’m leaving Providence. It’s my hardest class and consequently the one that I’m the most on edge for. It is essentially that class that I must put most of my effort in. That class has truly been a roller coaster this past semester, and I’m infinitely glad that I’ll be getting off of it in due time.

In all honesty, I simply want to have the smoothest transition in to summer break. I’m exhausted and want to see the sun again.

So these days, I’m finding myself going to Starbucks more than usual, doing whatever. Partly because I don’t want to be back in my dorm because my room mate is always there, partly because I get some work accomplished while being here, and partly because this is a place I feel at ease, where the stress is a degree less oppressive, let’s say.

So today, I find myself here again, now reviewing the bare minimum for my oral exam tomorrow. The struggle I find with me taking language classes is that I try so hard, and I don’t even need to. I already know I’m going to get an A in the class, yet I try so hard to prepare for these tests. It’s a frustrating thing and I can’t seem to calm myself whenever it comes to oral exams. I just want to do a good job honestly. This class is the only class that I’m taking purely out of interest. I don’t know what I’m so afraid of, and it’s frustrating like no other. I suppose I just want to feel like I can be successful in at least something here.

I came to realise this when someone from my class suddenly came to sit right next to me, and she started commenting about how seriously I was taking the exam (I was taking notes for the exam before she arrived), almost making it seem like I was ridiculous. After replying back, she told me that she was a graduate student on a 5-year track to a PhD who simply couldn’t care less for the class, and had only taken the class as a requirement and thus hadn’t even given any thought to study for any aspect of it. Yet there I was, studying so “intently” for possibly the only class that I hadn’t grown to hate over the course of the semester. I couldn’t help but react by feeling somewhat offended but still ridiculous at myself. It was all such a confusing matter but I still ended up feeling too uncomfortable afterwards to continue studying for exam.

Now I’m left torn, with her having already left and leaving me to ponder the extent of my apparent “ridiculousness.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A letter to my grandmother, part I

lost letters : 004


23 April 2016

Dear Lola Mercy,

I swear that I am absolutely terrible at keeping up with these. It’s literally almost been a year since I’ve written something like this. I don’t know why I find it so difficult writing so intimately to people even if I never actually send these words to them, and obviously to you. Bizarre. 

Any ways, It’s been almost 8 years since I last saw you. 8 years this coming May, precisely. It was hard when you left, you know. I don’t think it was hard for you, and I’m happy for that, but I was too young really to grasp what had happened and what that would mean. It’s only recently that I’ve come to understand all the things that I lost when you left. I honestly miss you so dearly and want you so badly to come back even just for a day if that’s even possible. 

I was in 6th grade. I don’t actually remember much of that year, but the time when you left I still somewhat remember. 

The night before, I remember that mom and dad got a call in the evening that something wasn’t going right, that you had been coughing up blood, I think. I remember I was in the hallway when mom came out from somewhere with a facial expression still petrified from the phone call. I became petrified too. I think I went up to hug her. Mom and dad left soon after to go to see you in the hospital. I couldn’t. I was too young to go inside the hospital rooms. I just went to bed because that was the only thing I could do. I hobbled back to my bed, and spent a good deal praying that I would still be able to see you later that week. 

I woke up without difficulty. I climbed down from the top bunk and somewhat hastedly scurried out to the living room to see if any one was up so that they could tell me what happened last night. And they were, and it even appeared like they had been waiting for us (my sister and I). I woke up first. 

I’m not sure who told me exactly. My memory of that moment is now foggy, but all I can remember is that mom still had the same face as the night before when they told the news to me. I was crying. I clutched on to mom with a great deal of force. That had been the first time I felt that sort of sadness. 

❤ Adam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what I learnt yesterday /5/

I had been reading for most of the day yesterday, and before I knew it, it was 1:30 AM. I actually had intended to write this yesterday but I was just a bit too disoriented to continue on after essentially hours of non-stop reading.

Any ways, yesterday went well. It really did. I managed to save my lab after I had made a huge mistake, and the data I gathered turned out pretty good at the end of the day. Afterwards, like I said, I spent reading for most of the rest of the day. It had been the most relaxed that I’ve ever felt in a long time. These days in general, the home stretch before the end of the semester, are so relaxing. I really don’t want to say that it’s sort of the calm before the storm of finals, but who knows ? Maybe that will not be the case this year given the circumstances I’m in this semester.

That said, yesterday I learnt that it’s important to remember all the things that I’ve already accomplished that have led to my being here today. I know it sounds a bit bizarre, but it was a simple video call with my family back home that kind of helped me to realise that.

I look around me and I remember that six years ago, I never would have believed even myself that I would end up living on this side of the coast attending this school. Nothing was palpable for me back then and I never actually even dream of anything. Never did I have any sort of intention to end up here, and here I actually am now.

So how did I end up here any way ? First of all, let me reiterate that never did I have any genuine wanting to go to such a “prestigious” school. I never had any expectations, in other words ; I was just going with the flow and simply trying to do well in my classes. It was really my counsellor that urged me to apply to these calibres of schools. And so I did.

A few months later, I got the early admission letter from Brown. Most of the other schools of the same calibre didn’t notify me until a few weeks later, but that didn’t really matter because I got wait-listed from most of them. These rejections didn’t really impact me all that much, because like I said, I didn’t really expect any thing. However, on the brighter note, that made the decision making quite easy to do. And boom. I committed to this university and led me to where I am now.

I see now better that this unexpected admission really was such a great achievement, something that I really didn’t give thought to the moment I found found myself alone on the eastern seaboard. I never really gave myself enough credit, credit that I think really would have helped me go through those especially tough first few months. I was not kind to myself, and I admit that I still find it hard to be kind to myself. The only difference between now and then is that I see things clearly in retrospect. I was quick to throw so many pity parties when I should have just given myself more encouragement because that was what I needed from myself. I still do need to give myself more encouragement.

As I had the video call, it slowly dawned on me how far my “achievements” in high school have brought me—literally. Los Angeles had been all I had known in my life, and to completely pull out my roots and expect to plant them on the opposite side of the country so easily was slight error that I grossly miscalculated. Yet, I am here for still the same reason that I succeeded academically in high school and essentially earned at least a small notion to be happy where I am now. In retrospect, in this moment right now, it appears absolutely nonsensical that I was so harsh with myself, when in fact it was the time in my life when I needed to be the most gentle, and the least critical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

à l’autre côté (at the other side)

En marchant sur des quais de la rivière,

Je les ai vus à l’autre côté ;

Le coucher de soleil suivait leurs pas,

Deux par deux, lentement,

Et le monde n’existait plus pour ces deux,

Mais moi, dans celui j’étais toujours,

Étant toujours à l’autre côté ;

Le même soleil au-dessus de moi,

Le même air autour de moi,

Mais quand même,

Ils restaient ailleurs