Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Write it like it is

I have been thinking quite a lot lately about what I write. And the catalyst is that (a) I see a lot fantastic writing each and every day and (2) if I am blogging more consistently, as what my intent has been ever since I write this blog, then I'd like for my writing to be better over time. Whether it is actually showing signs of improvement or not is not up to my judgement. I judge my performance in a professional context and when it comes to nurturing a hobby like this, I prefer not to judge. Yes, I know that I get judged all the time by whoever is reading this - and it is fine. I have a thick skin. I get criticised a lot, people dislike me because of what I write, etc etc etc.

I want my writing to be an honest exercise. I want to write about anything that captures my attention like it actually is, not some polished version that is intended to please someone. Or in other words, I write it like it is. In the past I got into trouble because of this, and I stopped for a while. Then I became one of those who had difficulty listening to their own voices. So one day, in an attempt to listen to myself a lot more, I thought, screw everybody and I am just going to do whatever I see fit. Honest writing fits the bill perfectly. This is the world from my keyboard.

I was born privileged. My parents were materially blessed and we have more than enough to sustain us. I grew up in a small town in Indonesia and went to a school where I was labelled as one of the rich kids. My school fee was the most expensive in the year!! (School fees differed from one student to the next in those years.) I was driven to school in my dad's car, and he hired a driver for us for that purpose. The same driver and the same car would pick me up from school and back home, where I would have my lunch before I was driven again somewhere for some extracurricular activities. I hated the scouts by the way, I really did not see why I should march in lines and cook with wood when I had gas stoves and the microwave. I was never into camping, so that sort of explained my aversion to the scouts' activities.

I never quite felt like I belonged there. As far as I can remember, I always felt out of place. Or maybe I was just being one of those spoilt brats who was always wanting more and more. My childhood was far from perfect by the way - for starters, I have an older sister who is perpetually jealous of me. You know when people have older siblings and they are close - well, our relationship is not like that. This made me think that if I do ever decide to have a kid, I think I would just have one, so that he/she can have everything without having to deal with having this person who is perpetually jealous of him/her.

Growing up, I saw poverty in front of my eyes. Our house was much nicer than the houses that my classmates live in, but theirs felt warmer, there was always people around and they had companionship. This was something we never have at home - there was hardly anyone ever visiting. This was perhaps attributed to the fact that our house was located on the other side of town and our neighbours generally kept to themselves. I don't know. I remember thinking that the concept of wealth is relative. I was too young to understand money, or rather, the power of money, but I remember thinking I prefer living in a small house that is warm than a mansion that is empty and cold. The best scenario is probably a mansion that is warm - but I am not sure I'd like to live in a mansion. This is why I live in an apartment today, and I make sure that I fill it with love. Lots of love.

I never quite appreciated having options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I remember complaining that I don't like the food and that I prefer to eat other things. I remember getting into trouble because of that - for a good reason too, I was an ungrateful little brat. These days, if I don't like what I am eating (almost never), I just don't eat it and pretend I am not hungry. I wish I had the same restrain when I was younger, then I would have gotten into less trouble. This is why I don't really do dinner invitations where I have no say in the restaurant and/or food that is prepared or served. I appreciate people who want to cook for me, but really, I prefer to cook it the way I want to. The idea of having to pretend I am not hungry when I actually am is annoying to me.

I am one of the lucky ones. I am grateful for what I have right now. I have a really good life. I want to make the most of this opportunity and I'd like to do it on my terms. I think this fortune means nothing if I cannot have the freedom to live life the way I see fit. I also think I don't need to justify my preferences to anyone ever. I don't think I need to even explain myself at all. I am willing to share my journey, and I realise that this would be an avenue for those who want to judge me; so be it.

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