I questioned myself today

Questioned my own choices and thoughts.

Why do I do this and why do I do that, think this way even if it’s not constructive and it only promotes a cycle into more thoughts of regret and longing.

It’s a little silly how you try to comfort yourself and spiral into a pity-party of choices you regret momentarily but then the thing is… why did you make that choice then?

You know, I was thinking again and in my bid to stop, I thought of this idea that a person of the now, with the benefit of retrospect shouldn’t question your decisions of the past too much because now the context is different.

You had different pressures in the past, you made different choices, choices different from the now but I think one thing that we have to recognise is that you would make a different choice only because you made that choice back then.

Without that basis of comparison, you can’t say you would have done differently.

I can’t say that we don’t make mistakes, but I can say that you don’t know how big of a mistake it is until you make it.

So learning from those mistakes, you try again and again to avoid making those mistakes in the future, it’s part of being human.

This cycle of regret and angst, regret and fear for decisions that have already been made without a possibility of change, too is something that is part of being human.

As is trying to excuse these mistakes so that the scale of the resulting problem and soul tearing doubt seems a little smaller.

Self-comforting gestures could not be more different – words in context, in usage, like decisions, have such varying meanings.

Yesterday when we were having History class and I reviewed the lesson on Thailand and the efforts of King Vajiravudh, Rama VI on Thai nationalism, the three pillars of Nation-Religion-King, I thought about the Singaporean identity.

And after that, thinking about chicken rice and roti prata, sup kambing and Singlish, I backtracked a little and wondered about myself.

I know I’ve touched a little on it before, but I would like to invite you to think, “Who are you?” What identifies you as you? What is meaningful to you? What do you like to do? What would you do if I told you that you do not need to work or study for the rest of your life?

… When you are your most bored, then you are the most ‘you’, you are the honest person unmotivated by anything but your own thoughts and experiences.

I realise and admit today that I cling to structure like a shield in the face of uncertainty, not because structure is structure, but because structure is familiar – it’s a source of comfort.

Better the evil you know than the unknown.

But do people naturally born like the known, the safe? I am inclined to think so. The same way children do not trust unknown strangers as much as they do their parents (in general?), humans naturally show a preference for the known, a preference for comfortability.

People fear risk-taking because of what they could lose, not the act of taking risk itself.

Is this a fault of the system that we have grown up in? Indirectly, I think. A system that has protected us from the uncertainties in the world – that in Science and Math tells us only some answers are correct, in English tells us that there is a right way to comprehend a passage, in History shows us that some logic stands up to more rigorous discussion, in Literature tells us that you cannot analyse something is a way that does not make sense to an examiner.

Not even considering the strength of a student’s ability to express themselves, but the obvious lines in even ‘grey’ areas are jarring and protective all the same.

I thought about my choices and nearly drowned in the could-have-beens and should-haves but the life-ring around me reminds me that regret is useless now and that I have work that ought to be done.

Who says you have to be you,

when you can be so many things?

Do people even care what is true,

when all they do is wing?

It which ‘is’ far from real,

a piece of a canvas like an atlas

that needed no actual reveal

since we could all see the flatness.

People that praise the ideal,

a symphony replicated, repeated and sounded

throughout with tasteless appeal.

In the end, you become one with two,

too many too different ‘nots’,

remained hopeful of still being ‘you’.


(Because like I said, 14 lines doesn’t equal a sonnet even if I try to make it into one, even with a rhyme it is not always about love.)


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