POET'S SKIN

I dance around vivid imagery and try to create sparks

Category: Opinion

Why I liked the popular and highly-critisized Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why’

Before I even started watching ’13 Reasons Why’, I heard a great deal about it, mostly from the internet. Firstly, it was widely advertised on Youtube and that recording part where Hannah Baker, the main lead, said “and you’re one of the reasons why (I died)”? It really caught my attention and piqued my interest in the show, causing me to remind myself to watch it after I was done with exams. However, I saw many articles criticising the show for being a possible trigger to many who have gone through (or are still going through) what Hannah Baker in the show experienced.

Definitely, the general skewed belief that the show was very provoking made me biased about my feelings for this series. Furthermore, at the start, the things that Hannah experienced in school seemed like the kind of things that always happens to kids in high school. After all, it’s that “high school” phase where many people were either being bitchy or being an asshole. Its the young representation of an environment plagued by more bad than good. Hence, her relationship with Justin, Jessica and Alex could be seen as “friendship/reputation problems”, which although can be serious, wasn’t depicted as super serious or anything.

Yet as the show went on, I finally understood. I understood better why suicides take place. Why people can get to a point so low that they are willing to take away their lives. For Hannah, it was the accumulation of everything. Like one huge stone thrown towards her one by one until what’s left was a broken and bruised heart in dire need of help. And which was not given any help at all. A heart that weak? Yeah, suicide. The show cleverly really brought out the emotions that Hannah felt through a portal of life (because if they really only showed the tapes, and people knew that Hannah was dead already, would they be as engaged with the show?): Clay Jensen. The perfect example of “I should have but I didn’t”.

Everyone, at some point of time in life, can relate to Clay Jensen. “If only I knew earlier”, “I would have done something”, “Should have”. He encapsulates the emotion of regret so poignantly that throughout the entire show, it was easy for me to put myself in his footsteps because everyday, it is indeed true that we have the possibility of making a mistake that on hindsight pushes us to think about the “should have beens”, which is what we feel a lot especially when we reach Hannah’s tape about Clay. That includes the occasional mentioning of “If only something were different along the way”, meaning among the 13 of them, if someone had done something differently, Hannah Baker wouldn’t have died. Which once again brings us back to why this show was able to connect so well with me: their portrayal of the “should have been” notion. That really made the series very fulfiling to watch, especially towards the end.

The best part was how the series didn’t give us the ending full on, but rather, presented us with events which allowed us to infer a relatively objective ending, leaving us with satisfaction but curiosity mixed with a little bit of wonder (because we are all just that imaginative, right?).

However, I must admit that certain scenes were indeed -like the articles said-, “triggering”. I found that Hannah’s rape scene was the hardest to watch, because it exposed such vulnerability and should real-life victims witness the scene, the emotions that they may have tried to compress could burst out like waves. And they may drown in those waves. I remember reading that the scene was depicted in a graphic way because the producers/directors/selena gomez felt that people should not try to avoid the rape issue but rather, come to terms with it full frontal. I am not sure whether I would agree with that but generally, I can see why the two varying beliefs believe what they do, which is why I am probably going to sit on the fence for this one.

Anyway, this series has come to an end and although I really felt for Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen, it’s time to move on. And maybe, if I were you, I’d take some of those lessons and apply them to real life. After all, you”ll never know if you will be the next Clay Jensen, right?

 

Bidding 2014 goodbye, Ushering in 2015.

So… I finally took the time to type this post and it is currently 1:48 a.m. in the morning, but do you know which morning I am referring to?

YES IT IS THE MORNING OF 1ST JANUARY 2015. Happy New Year! I would like to say that 2015 will not be like the other years, whereby I always go “Oh, time for a fresh start”, “time to change my life” or “time to something new”. We always tend to see something pristine as a turning point for something, and that mentality is so wrong. In actual, life goes on. Life is a continuing cycle and it is never really about refreshing your life to make it better, but rather, I have found that it is about how to continue living, but incrementally better each year. With each year, we take with us invaluable lessons that may have been learnt through the hard way. We take with us experiences, memorabilia, feelings, thoughts, relationships, love into the next year. And perhaps the term of it even being a “new” year is to simply remind us that hey, a year has gone past. Don’t lose sight of your goals and your values. Don’t lose sight of yourself. And most importantly, be better. Improve.

But before I zoom in onto the parts of myself that I have discovered and yet to discover, I would first like to express gratitude over every single person who has entered my life – be it for the good or for the bad. Thank you for giving me an experience unlike any other. These experiences are unique to me, and so are the feelings that you guys have made me developed. Family, friends and acquaintances. You have all been wonderful human beings who have shared joy in my life and made me blossom. Under your care, I am like a seed given unconditional love and care. A seed which will develop only if I allow it to (but it will develop better thanks to all of you). And also, to all the people who doubt me, here’s an african proverb for you: “They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.” THAT’S RIGHT, I am a damn seed. Try to smother my light, try to speckle my water gains, but I will still grow nonetheless. Your efforts will be futile.

Now, it’s time for some spotlight on me.

2014 was like any other year for me – having its own ups and downs. I started 2014 with a very pessimistic attitude (especially during college orientation) as I was thrown into a foreign environment and I initially couldn’t familiarize myself with the vast array of people and their personalities. I was like a lamb thrown into the wild – vulnerable and defenseless. I found that I couldn’t quite cope with the stress and rigor of the school work and its requirements, and I found myself uttering incessantly about how much I regretted going to Junior College, instead of a Polytechnic. (Ask me now, but I will say I no longer have regrets.) Thank you to all who tolerated (or perhaps even understood) where I was coming from and even willed themselves to hear me rant, even though it’s probably annoying to hear someone complain about their regrets 😦 ) Nevertheless, thank you so so much.

However, all of the regret kind of changed when the days started to go by and I became closer to two girls in my class. A few more weeks or months and we became inseparable. Birds of a feather. Metal to chain, and keys to locks. We traveled on the same frequency, and this frequency that we clung on to cannot be felt by others. Sure, they may try to intrude into the atmosphere, but our specific frequency? That is something special, something we’ve never felt with others, but with each other. These two girls, coupled with their encouragements and never-ending love for someone like me who is so dependent of people, showered me with care and under them, I grew like a happy sunflower under the much-needed sun. You girls were my sun. And I hope I was yours too.

Apart from starting my year off regretting, I also started it off with having low self-esteem. Well, actually, it’s not really “started”, I kind of just had low self-esteem all my life. Want to know why? Ask me privately. But yep, I suffered with that kind of stuff. Not that it was obvious at all, because I can cover it easily with my loud tendencies and the way I carry myself. Many people kind of thought I was someone brimming with confidence but I guess, you really really can’t judge a book by its cover (I’m sure we’ve all learnt about that lesson now, haven’t we?) So anyway, I kind of had this mental breakdown near to the end of the year, where I was so immensely pissed off with all my bad qualities that I kind of reverted back to my old (bad) self for a bit and started to be mean and started to insult and berate myself over everything. It was the kind of breakdown which left my pillow in tears every consecutive night, and with my playlist plugged with melancholic melodies. But one thing I pride myself in, is that I am courageous. I dared to walk out of the storm in my brain/heart. I tried to do that. I kept trying and trying and finding reasons to love myself, to not care about what others thought and to push away people’s doubts for me. And it was really tough, because the people who constantly enveloped me in doubt were people really really close with me, such that I wouldn’t mind dying for them (literally). Yet, they surrounded me in a sea of doubt and discouraging comments. It was so so hurtful. So please don’t even ask me why I have to exaggerate about this mental breakdown I had. I have been living with doubt all my life (I’m not sure if it is because I am way too lousy, or if people have way too high standards, but I’m thinking it’s a mixture of both). Anyway, know that pushing away doubt from the people you love so badly feels horrible. It feels downright horrible. But yep, this year, I have learnt how to (slightly) be able to build up shields against these words, and choose to believe in myself. After all, no one believes in me. What if even I don’t believe in myself, hmm?

I have also tried to be less self-centered as a person this year. (Sorry, I still am). Around the early beginnings of 2014, I made a bad decision too. I too have no idea why I would make that kind of a decision, but I guess I wasn’t thinking right back then. So so disappointed in the selfish decision I made with my friend, because I realized I let down people and it is honestly not a very nice thing to do. I myself would be upset if the same happened to me. But of course, that threw me a lesson: You are too self-centered. Yes, I was an only child for 7 years before my brother came in. I guess that was what contributed to me centering attention on myself since young and even until now. This year, I have learnt how to really really shower attention on others instead of me, so yay, that’s one lesson down. Of course, I am still not as generous and kind to that extent yet, but every year, I’m going to get better, alright? 🙂

Okay.. feels like I have typed too much. TMI hehe. Maybe it’s time to move on to my New Year Resolutions!! This year’s resolutions are going to be very easy yet very fulfilling, unlike the hard to complete ones I set last year (which i didn’t even meet…)

Here goes:

1) STAY HAPPY.

Honestly, it is impossible to stay infinitely happy throughout the year because let’s face it, life is not kind to us every single second of our life. Understand this, but know that what I mean by this is to always remain a positive attitude, even when storms are brewing and rain is dropping. Know that you can be the one to fill the world with light in a rainstorm. Have that power.

2) SPEND LESS ON USELESS MATTERS

By that, I mean spend lesser time on useless platforms such as Instagram and such. Spend more time with reading beautiful fiction books than deciding which photo you should post on Instagram. You will realize that your time will become more valuable and precious.

3) EXERCISE MORE AND BE HEALTHY

It’s the year of the NAPFA exams and that sucks because I would have to do a lot of physical training or Im gonna do badly on the test. Anyway, I hope to have a nicer butt and more toned stomach (no shame ahahhahaahah) so I would have to do a lot of exercise and running!!! Food wise, I’m just gonna try to avoid oily and fried and spicy food when I can. Perhaps I’ll eat them only occasionally hehhee (wonder if that will ever happen)

4) BE HARDWORKING

I don’t know about you, but I ain’t a hardworking nor competitive person. And that is the exact reason why I am not a high achiever at anything much (academics wise or leadership wise haha) I am okay to admit that fact, because… well, it’s a fact after all. This year, I want to try to be a bit more hardworking. That will also mean loads of hours in the school library this year. Oh well………….. the school library shall be my second home.

5) BE KIND

Be kind. I don’t know the exact definition of being kind, but I feel like I want to be a person who is genuinely nice and not fake nice, you know? Well I think I am just a mixture of both, But i just hope i can be genuinely nice to every single person (though that is hard) and regardless of situation too (and that is harder). But hmm, yes I can do it.

6) CONFIDENCE BABY

Time to show people that I can be confident. I am confident. I just need to overlook some matters such as people’s opinions. Once I am past that line, I will be invincible to attacks hoho. But, till then… (I am close okay)

That’s it for me. For now, I’m going to turn in and I’m going to wish you a great year ahead too. I hope you have set wonderful goals for yourself and I believe you will follow through with them diligently (If you’ll only let yourself)

GOODBYE 2014

HELLO 2015!

A little bit more

These days, I have been feeling a little bit under the weather, if you may or may not have noticed. Feelings of doubt that once plagued me a long time ago resurfaced itself into the oceans of my mind, sending my thoughts into a spinning maelstrom, leaving me dizzy, disoriented and dispirited. I pondered over and over again, sometimes sending myself to sleep with dried streaks of tears on my face, about why I was the way I am. How I never seemed to be of much worth when juxtaposed beside others, how everything I did would certainly end up in an unwelcome consequence. Inside, I was a shattering vase, imploding from the nothingness of everything, pieces barely spilling over and out of me. Yet, I had to keep my cool and remain just as I was, for I didn’t want to perplex people, who probably have their own issues to deal with too. I didn’t want everyone to see that I was chaos delivered in the form of a human, that inside, I was fragile and infirm of belief.

And keeping my cool was not easy at all, especially when the sinews of my faith started to strain from all the hurt I was imposing on myself just through my bare thoughts. And I know some of you may tell me, “Why be so hard on yourself?” but I say, I am not hard on myself at all. I was replaying in my head my thoughts of self-doubt simply because I was reminding myself how bad I really really was. I hate it. I hate this feeling. I hate it when it’s so hard to stay positive even though life has so much more to give. I hate it when I hate certain parts of myself not because i was “hard on myself”, but because I actually was what I hated to be, I was my very own nightmare. And yes, in many ways, I was my very own enemy. The enemy I can never seem to shun out of my head.

I furtively admit, sometimes, reeking with bad energy makes me feel good. It’s the kind of bad energy that makes you want to listen to sad and frustrating songs for the whole damn day and just sob the night away, wallowing in the kingdom of self-pity. And oh, how contradicting it is that this air of melancholy surrounding me now needs to be removed from my mind, yet sadness and all the emotions it brings along is a form of cathartic release to me. Do I make sense? I think not.

But all in all, being sad is just a really exhaustive and sapping process. I want for it to stop. For it to be abolished from my mind right this instant. I think the abolition can be an expeditious process but for me, I’m going to have to take a little longer and the process will be more gradual. I guess sometimes when you’re at the bottom of the hill and you want to climb right back up again, you just want to ascend up but yet, much slower than you did before, to catch up on all the passing scenes you once flashed past. Maybe these sights flashed past you too fast once that you didn’t even get the chance to marvel at them, but hey, now you’re in the downs, at the starting line all over again, with happiness hanging behind one thin red thread. And I know I will soon cross the grid of the finish line and be at the top again. So let me stop and stare in awe at all that I can see now from this low altitude. Let me be sad for a while, and not say a word. I have a premonition that my happiness is just a bus stop away and look, my bus is already leaving this dark mountainous terrain. I will see you at the next stop, I will see you there. I promise I will be back soon.

Fixing people

I hate fixing things.

But, I like fixing people.

I am not implying that people are beings of mechanic components or robots for me to literally repair and reboot. People AREN’T like machines – once fixed, they can work again but probably weaker than before. You have to see that people are much more different than the electrically beating drones of machines, that people are very much the opposite. They emerge stronger after each battle(that is if they choose to). And once fixed, they can restart and guide their lives in multitudes never once challenged and never once headed towards. And they can lead it in a way so so so much better than before.

The beautiful part about learning how to fix people is protecting them with your trust. Use your trust to wrap a warm blanket of solace around them and use it to envelope and nurse their hurting wounds, protecting it from further damage. Don’t be disheartened however, if they readily push your initiative away. After all, damaged people tend to shun from foreign presence, no? Just let them know that despite the odds and the unfavourable conditions of the plains of life thrown at them, someone is here for them. Words don’t even need to be said so often,

just your mere presence and constant assurance is enough to fix a bleeding wound and make the blood clot

And as with all things, time will heal the rest

And you, the “fixer”, will see for yourself how beautiful it is to fix someone.

(b, s)

Fiction: Extinguishing the monsters inside of you

A blackened teardrop,

a glacial grey heart

the monsters inside

will swallow you up.

They will sink their teeth into the sweet flesh of your remaining hope

and claw at the remnants of your broken innocence and love.

You will no longer hear the trumpets and horns of a world lined above the dimension of clouds,

but the whispers of a being down below, one with with broken wings, one who Is hoping you would suffer the same fate as he once did.

And the worst part is, will you listen to him? Will you listen to him as he sugar-coats his words that are dipped in malicious intent and immoral coating?

Will you succumb to the temptation of – in his words- “doing justice” to people who have harmed you?

Will you harm them in the same way they hurt you?

Will you do things that defy the purity of kindness and humanity?

Will you give in to a blinking pleasure he is promising you? A temptation so luring and so powerful that even if it’s contract is temporary, you will rush forward to sign it with no regrets(not yet anyway)?

He lives somewhere inside you so that you can commit sin, so that the monsters inside of can get a hold over you, controlling your madness, infuriation and depression. And he will strike in your melancholy and leave you in a state that will leave God’s eyes in tears.

Often too, the monsters can control you so dominantly that you lose yourself subconsciously, so much such that they become an integrated part of you, so much such that you have also become a monster.

(Check yourself now. How much are the monsters controlling you?)

What you fail to realize is that

YOU, have power over your inner monsters.

Whether they will stay or leave, you get to choose. Good luck.

To all the rebels and free-thinkers out there: The flower in you

Fiction/Opinion

The society expects you to grow among the tattooed-in shades of the tree, They want you to blossom among the green leaves and between the minute distances of branched twigs

They want you to be of an arranged order – arrayed and organized, to supposedly create a system of equitable beauty

So they make you shine like flower petals decked in fluoresce

They shower you with the amenity of sunbeams that gild your petals and drizzle you with the slick touch of rain

And you emerge: a tiny bud at first, but so much more after each storm. Then you grow and grow until you can no longer move.

Fastened among the others flowers, my dear, you are a

rosy pink orchid

a flaming Tiger Lily

an innocent cherry blossom – a flower deemed as ‘beautiful’ in the assertion of the society

But there will always be flowers in the world that are not able to keep up with the strident regulation of society (or whom are unwilling to). Though not visible from young, it will become clearer and clearer when your flower shoot grows out, into something bigger and something explosively wonderful – that these flowers don’t belong on the branches, that they belong out in the wild.

Untamed, uncontrolled and emancipated.

And if the hinges of society’s doors oppresses you and keeps you down

and all you wish to do is unhook the claws dug into your mind and skin and escape from Society’s clutches,

then oh my, darling, you are a wildflower.

And just like every flower, you have your beauty too.

Of helium and balloons

Have you ever had to buy a helium balloon for a friend’s birthday?

If not, just know that helium balloons are often tied with a relatively heavy paper shaped like a square, to prevent the helium balloon from flying up.

And that we are, in many ways, just like those helium balloons.

We were born free-spirited: wild creatures of thought, curiousity and wonder thrown in altogether
We were a flying mess, always struggling to break free of invisible bars
Only to grow up realizing that these invisible bars are unbreakable
And that’s when the “heavy paper” sets in
To hold us down
To spoil our dreams
To make us dare not dream about crossing pass the windows of our rooms
To decline our reach out into the wide expanse of the sky
So we can’t FLY.
There are SO many things I can use to describe what’s holding us down, what the “paper” might be –
To many teenagers, it may be school
The tedium of a superficial “thought-provoking” place
The blindness of the words on every paper
The jail to every child’s colourful thoughts and ideas
Paradoxically, schools dampen ideas
And they impede our budding minds
And like Einstein once said,
“School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me. The teachers behaved like Feldwebel (sergeants). I wanted to learn what I wanted to know, but they wanted me to learn for the exam. What I hated most was the competitive system there, and especially sports. Because of this, I wasn’t worth anything, and several times they suggested I leave. I felt that my thirst for knowledge was being strangled by my teachers; grades were their only measurement. How can a teacher understand youth with such a system? . . . from the age of twelve I began to suspect authority and distrust teachers.”
To many other teenagers, it could also be fear
The raw fear of falling – fear that we would lose our helium once we break free of the bars
Fear that we would plunge downwards and never be able to get back up again
But to me, it was a mix of everything.
It was not only the education system, which was designed to make the more different ones (me) a failure,
It was also everyone’s expectations I couldn’t break free from: People’s doubts about me, their disbelief in me. And of course, not forgetting, my own doubt and fear.
Heck, I couldn’t even get out of the window bars in my room
Yet I wanted to explore the vast medium of a sky
But now I know.
And now I realize.
I am going to break these dumb bars
Into the world outside.
And I,
Am going to fly.

Sucked out of worlds

Growing up, we were unconsciously sucked out and plunged into different worlds. Worlds that were divergent – worlds that might collide and implode once the distance between them is shortened. Some worlds were close to Utopia, close to the smell of laser cut grass, the smell of flower pollen in a dainty field. Other worlds, however, felt like iron knives and steel bars, stormy weather and cold glass.

When we popped out of our Mother’s stomachs, we were immediately thrown into a world of wonder and innocence. A world where everything and anything in our field of vision screamed unfamiliarity, peculiarity and bizarreness. A world where we could crawl around in gigantic diapers and scratch people’s faces even without knowing it. A world where the word ‘sex’ didn’t exist, heck, hardly any words existed. A world where we couldn’t worry about anything because we didn’t even know anything. Thankfully, more often than not, 2 pairs of mighty hands guided most of us through this world of extreme foolishness into the next world of inquisition and temporary happiness.

Now that we have picked up the basic understanding of speech, sight and sound, a whirlpool extends in our mind, compelling us to always wonder about the underlying base of theories and facts, stories and myths. It causes us to wonder about whether a cat really has nine lives, whether the rain arrives only when the sky is crying,  whether the world is as small as it seems or whether superman really exists. And it is also in this childlike world that many people found the most carefree blithe they could ever soak in in their life, for happiness only gets harder as one gets older and is sucked into worlds of tedium and pragmatism.

Many of us then grow up and get transported into the next world without even truly tasting the icing of the previous one. The Teenage World. Note that I didn’t use any word to describe this world, for this world is far too intricate to sum it up with a few main words.

The teenage world is like a crossroad with multiple paths leading away from it, a crossroad with access to many worlds – some nice and some not so. Some teenagers may get too subsumed in popularity, and others might find themselves with denied access to it. Indubitably, that’s where the first ugly line of society is marked – social segregation. The popular kids and the not so popular ones. The nerds and the social butterflies. The pretty ones and the ugly ones. The skinny ones and the plump ones. The white ones and the black ones. And I say screw all these defined lines, why can’t we live like we were children? Why can’t we have the maturity of a teenager(oh wait, are us teenagers even considered mature?) but the angelic soul of a child? The one who wouldn’t care as much about how everyone one else looks, the one with pure love for everyone no matter how they look or what they believe in.

And what’s more frightening is that these defined lines have brought out an extremely menacing side of many teenagers. Teenagers who smoke and party just to fit in; Teenagers who bully/cyberbully because they can’t accept people for who they are; Teenagers who commit suicide because they think life is a misery worse than death; Teenagers who cut themselves with razor sharp steel blades with the hope of temporarily reliving their anguish.

We don’t hope for the world to exist in such a form, but it is an inevitable fact that remains as it is and in generations to come.

Honestly, I am afraid. Very, very afraid. Afraid of the next world to come, the next one I will get thrown into.

I know the teenage world is one hell of a hard thing to manage, but I know the impending future looms even darker ahead.

And I wish you and me good luck.