24 – It’s going to be worth it [a pep talk]

hey Mer,

it’s been a hard month so far – or well, saying it was a hard month is an understatement because it has been a hard scholastic year in general for you and your friends to go through. and the unfortunate thing is, now that you’re nearing the end of your degree, you are doing everything to procrastinate (well… why am i writing this in the first place? it’s not the point) … i am here to tell you that it’s going to be worth it!

yes, you read correctly, it is going to be worth it. and no matter how much you beat yourself up for not working hard throughout the year, guess what?! you do work hard – yes, you have a high tendency to leave everything up to the last minute, but you still give your best shot in that last minute in which you’d be highly freaking out. you’ve come a long way, and in 24 days you will be submitting your dissertation – and i know it would mean the world to you to get the best grade you can possibly can – and guess what?! you do deserve to get that good grade no matter what your brain tells you to do! Remember to do all things through Christ (Phillippians, 4:13), and believe in yourself because you are capable to do wonders. it’s not going to be plain sailing – you should know this by now – but it’s part of the journey, and this is nothing compared to what you’ve been through all your life. now go analyse that transcript you’ve been dreading all weekend to finalize!

hang in there – you got this ūüôā
much love,

Marilyn xxxx


23 – Theatre’s Role in Shaping Lives

¬† ¬† ¬†World Theatre Day was celebrated yesterday, and I thought of this quote by Marina Abramovińá from her memoir:¬†

‚ÄúWhen I was young it was impossible for me to talk to people. Now I can stand in front of three thousand people without any notes, any preconception of what I‚Äôm going to say, even without visual material, and I can look at everyone in the audience and talk for two hours easily. What happened? Art happened.‚Ä̬†

¬† ¬† ¬†Maybe this quote does not refer to theatre, but I consider theatre to be art. This quote resonates with me a lot. I recall a 7 year old me playing Grizabella and performing her first solo in a medley of CATS. I recall the same 7 year old girl performing with her drama classmates “Family Portrait” by P!nk, probably the first song that ever resonated with me. I recall a 12 year old girl who became more sociable with her school friends after taking part in a Prize day production of Sister Act. I recall a 13 year old finding refuge in a play after losing a group of best friends and a 16 year old me got to take part in a 6th form theatre festival with a devised piece about immigration. 18 year old me fell on stage while kneeling in one patomime show and her shoe flew during another pantomime show, but I got to dress up as a ghoulie, a pirate and a sailor for 19 shows throughout Christmas Season. The same 18 year old then got to cut off tap dancing from her bucket list and got to do it in Students Fest. 19 year old me formed part of an all female ensemble in a play about the repercussions of cyber bullying. And throughout those years, many people and artists were encountered: some I even look up to up to this day!¬†
 
¬† ¬† ¬†Taking part in productions became more stressful for me,¬† and it’s partly the reason I refrained from taking part in them. But moments like these remind me of the role theatre (and arts) played in shaping who I am, because if not I would be probably shy, reserved, unapproachable – and definitely not myself!¬†I am currently writing a dissertation on how arts can possibly play a role in offender rehabilitation, and I am using this post as a personal motivator and reminder that all¬†arts, including theatre, are important and have the potential to change people’s lives¬†– and I hope to show it in my research project! So to my fellow thespian friends, and those who pursued a career in theatre – I admire your artistry and your perseverance to achieve your dreams. Thank you for creating and making theatre exist!¬†

22 – The Dread of Finishing University

¬† ¬† ¬†I have ended up writing another blog post, leaving the pile of workload adding up. Yes, I’m supposed to be writing my dissertation with hopes of finishing it in a month’s time. Yes, I’m supposed to be studying my study units for the final exams. But let me bare to you that I am NOT looking forward to finishing university. At all.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†Yes, although I am at possibly the worst state of mind with all the work I still need to do and subconsciously and supposedly looking forward to the day that I will complete it, I am envisioning a day in June where I will feel devastated after finishing writing my last exam paper. That’s how I felt after finishing my last exam in January: a deep sadness and emptiness which led me to cry my eyes out for the rest of the evening. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I do the same next June.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†University is a very stressful experience. You see the work always increasing and your motivation to complete that work falls short. Some lecturers appear sinister as you think they want you to experience university the harder way. But even in these times of stress, especially during exam period, I have experienced nothing but the greatest memories with my close friends. Yes, most of the time we’d be out of our minds saying and doing absurd things. And at the moment, we are all sinking in our own pile of dump and trying out best to help each other to stay above it. But that’s what true friendship is all about: swimming through rough seas and pulling each other through, while creating beautiful memories out of muttering lame puns and saying stupid jokes. It’s about being vulnerable to each other even though you have no clue how to help each other. It’s about laughing and crying together. And coming June, I know we will diverge paths and God knows where He will take us. And I will not get to see them to express how uncertain I am of my future. And we will not have frequent jamming sessions together and end up using different utensils as instruments. And we will meet new people and make new friends… and we might forget each other. Yes it might seem petty to cry over not seeing your friends after finishing university, but when you finally got to have true friends who stuck with you like jellyfish throughout the whole 3 years of sailing through the rough seas of university, it is hard to let them go.

¬† ¬† ¬†I know this truly sounds like a pessimistic post, and I honestly don’t know how to see the positive side of this. I wish I could be more optimistic. But we all are supposed to think that finishing University is liberating, and yes it could be for some. But no one mentions the loneliness and uncertainty that I’m sure I will get to experience furthermore upon coming out of the exam room for the last time. Change is inevitable, and although it’s not so devastating as my mind is making it up, I know that it will have its downs. And I feel that no one seems to prepare you for that.¬†


 

19 – Dealing with “You are not Beautiful” [True Story]

It’s not often Рat least for me Рthat strangers appear as a message request in my Messenger inbox. It’s even rarer that someone would send me this: 

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Above is an actual screenshot of what happened yesterday (excuse the poor editing skills): a person I didn’t know existed until this moment, absurdly deciding to “connect” with me just so they could try to offend me. It probably could be spam – and I hope it is – but if it’s so, I still can’t wrap my head around why instant trolls like this still exist.¬†

To say this didn’t affect me would unfortunately be a lie. Even though I rationally find it false and hence I outwardly brush it off with laughter, a low but persistent sting remains in my heart. And no, it isn’t enough for me to cry over, but it is a painful but important reminder that I still find it hard to reject such messages, even when there are more concrete things like friends which disprove this lie.¬†

I was actually considering accepting the request just to reply to him back with some comeback, but eventually decided not to. One friend told me to pray for him instead: and it kept me thinking about what I would have actually sent him. And here is what I would have sent him. 

Dear whoever you are

I know it’s probably useless sending this to you, but I wanted to tell you that I disagree with you. Even though I fall into that trap of believing so because of how I appear, I have tangible sources which disprove this: my successes, my mind, my heart, and my close friends who choose to think otherwise when I don’t feel at best. But the most tangible source is the fact that I’m created in God’s image, who reminds me that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139: 14). I hope you get to experience such wonderful things too!¬†

Here’s to us believing that we are more worthy than what dishonest sources might tell us. Happy reading xx¬†


 

18 – Time to Live Now

I am writing this after reading the sad news that my childhood ballet teacher has passed away.

I feel as though I’ve gotten used to this kind of situation over the past year: the non-intentional forgetfulness of those who positively influenced you once upon a time – until you¬†find out that those same individuals are now gone forever.¬†

And questions emerge: Why did this occur? Why that individual? What to do now?

Although hearing the news of anyone’s passing isn’t pleasant, it is certainly eye opening for me: because it’s such news that makes me rethink how I live. Because here I am stressing about how I am going to catch up with the seemingly endless amount of university work; here I am worrying about my future and what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life [assuming that it exists and that I will get there someday]; giving an eyelash for people who couldn’t give a sh*t about me, and drowning myself in self pity and negativity and pressure to do the best I can – together with life’s inevitable ups and downs. But for now, I am still here on this earth – and it’s in this moment¬†I consider myself lucky to be breathing, no matter what’s going on in my life. But what to do?¬†

I will¬†try my best to work hard but still find time to laugh through the mental breakdowns with my friends because those are the moments I will cherish.¬†I will randomly dance (and sing) to Single Ladies because it’s fun to do so. I will keep on making bad and stupid puns because they relieve stress. I will try to slow down and remind myself that life is beautiful despite everything which may appear to be wrong. I will remind myself that I deserve to be happy no matter how many times I commit a wrong doing. I will try to show appreciation¬†to anyone I encounter, the people closest to me, even though at times it’s very hard to do so. But I will still try, because there’s nothing to lose in doing so.¬†

I might not have my life figured out, and I don’t know when my time to die will come. Yet I am here: I am breathing, am alive. I am grateful!

Will end this post quoting this – not sure the exact source, but it’s worth a read:

This life will go by fast.

Don’t fight with people, don’t criticise your body so much, don’t complain so much.

Don’t lose sleep over your bills. Look for the person that makes you happy. If you make a mistake, let it go and keep seeking your happiness.

Never stop being a good parent. Don’t worry so much about buying luxuries and comforts for your home, and don’t kill yourself trying to leave an inheritance for your family. Those benefits should be earned by each person, so don’t dedicate yourself to accumulating money.

Enjoy, travel, enjoy your journeys, see new places, give yourself the pleasures you deserve. Allow dogs to get closer. Don’t put away the fine glassware. Utilise the new dinnerware; don’t save your favourite perfume, use it to go out with yourself; wear out your favourite sport shoes; repeat your favourite clothes.

So what? That’s not bad. Why not now? Why not pray now instead of waiting until before you sleep? Why not call now? Why not forgive now? We wait so long for Christmas; for Friday; for Reunions; for another year; for when I have money; for love to come; when everything is perfect…look…

Everything perfect doesn’t exist. Human beings can’t accomplish this because it simply was not intended to be completed here. Here is an opportunity to learn.

So take this challenge that is life and do it now… love more, forgive more, embrace more, love more intensely and leave the rest in God’s hands.¬†

Here’s to us in trying to live life to the best of our abilities. Happy Reading xx


 

16 – A lot has been going on [Let’s Be Honest]

¬†Again, I haven’t written in a while and I was going to apologise for it, but instead I’m just going to tell you that a lot has been going on lately.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†No, it’s not the Final Year at University started and I have so much other things happening whilst trying to start writing my thesis¬†excuse – which to be fair can be applicable to my life because I haven’t started writing my thesis *YAY*. Muddled with that is a sense of hopelessness I’ve been feeling for a very long while: it feels as though nothing great is happening in my life; that everything (including myself) is falling apart; that I’m not able to finish and successfully complete my studies; that the road is so bleak that I’m almost certain I’m going to be doing something I don’t like – and the list goes on.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†I think the most frustrating part about all of this is not that I feel this way, even though it’s not a wonderful experience feeling like this. The most difficult part of it all underneath this dirt pile of emotions is the knowledge that life isn’t this way: I know that everything will fall in to place; I am going to recover from heartbreak and will love myself because I am worthy of such things. But it’s like I’m constantly wearing glasses with small and black lenses: seeing things through a negative and narrow perspective: and it’s taking a toll on my mental health, my passions and hobbies, and also my relationship with people and with God.¬†

     At this point of the blog, I usually write about what I can do in such situations, but instead I am going to share some photos I found myself, and others which friends sent me to help me feel better. And after compiling them, I should prioritise reading them more often and taking them seriously.

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¬† ¬† ¬†I don’t know what is going to happen in a year’s time, but I know that life isn’t all that bad: it’s just taking time to forgive myself, believe in myself and adjust to a better pair of glasses.

¬† ¬† ¬†Here’s to myself getting through these circumstances, and here’s to you getting through life: whoever you are, whatever you’re going through! I hope you can find the above pictures helpful.

¬† ¬† ¬†And it’s back to reality to start writing my thesis. Happy reading.

Mer. xx


 

 

 

 

 

 

15 – Letting Go [Let’s Talk About It]

¬† ¬† ¬†Apologies for not writing in a long while: Summer has indeed been a hectic one >< but as it’s reaching its final moments, I am grateful for the things I’ve got to experience ūüôā in the Salesian community as a volunteer; with my friends who stuck by my side through thick and thin, and through so much more. Despite this good chaos, Summer has given me more time to face my problems, challenge myself and learn throughout the process – and I’ve been learning a thing or three about letting go: more specifically, letting go of people who were once significant in my life. ¬†

     Letting go does have a ring to it: sounds like the most freeing activity to do for yourself. Although  IT CAN be the case, it has possibly been the most emotionally taxing experience for me to go through. And yes, it has also involved numerous arguments with my brain not to think about those people, several battles with my heart to stop dwelling in negative and self-pity emotions and countless spontaneous bursts of crying. 

¬† ¬† ¬†It is no fun cutting ties from anyone you know for various reasons. It is less fun cutting ties permanently from someone you potentially saw yourself talking to for years to come. It’s tough (and emotionally excruciating) realising that people who have once meant so much to you are now people you used to know, and seeing them in public is a painful and personal reminder that they’re to be acknowledged as strangers at all times. Nope, it’s definitely no fun – but I’m realising that it’s best to focus on why you’re doing so, rather that focusing on whom you’re letting go. ¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†The first lesson I’m learning is that it’s an opportunity to learn how to put myself first.¬†¬†I have a very bad habit of placing everyone else before me, and specifically put people who couldn’t give an eyelash about me on pedestals because they have influenced my life positively for a short while. But wasting my mental and emotional energy to keep people who clearly seem better off without me has been tiring, and I am realising I could transfer that energy I use chasing after them to self-care, and hopefully one day, I could love myself properly.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†Another lesson I’m still accepting is that those people who are better off without me have the right to feel that way. It’s useless being angry because they were the first to cut ties from me. I wish I’d known why they do it in the first place, but it could ultimately be for good reasons, and no one is to judge them or their decisions. Thankfully, they are indirectly allowing space for actually significant people to enter your life, and they no longer have the permission to play around with your feelings. Also, if caring about them didn’t bring them back in the first place, then surely anger will only distance them further and will only make you feel bitter.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† The final [and perhaps the hardest but most important thing] I am learning whilst letting go¬†is that I’ve ultimately done nothing wrong. Most of the time, I do apologise whenever I realise I might have hurt someone through my own words or actions, but I’ve noticed that sometimes even after doing so, friendships and relationships aren’t meant to happen in the first place. And it’s not because I posses an innate disposition to desist people away from me; ¬†it’s not because I’ve done something wrong which forced them to cut ties from me; and it’s certainly not because I have something faulty with who I am. I still like to be known as the genuine, caring and loving girl, and I should no longer keep perceiving myself as the cause of such unfortunate endings. ¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†Life throws situations at us which 90% percent of the time we cannot grasp what happened and why it did. I wish I had the answers to both questions, but wondering about them refrains us from living life with people who should matter to us. And to those whom I’m letting go of –¬† I thank you for your influence in my life, and I wish nothing but happiness for you. But it’s now time to shift attention towards those who put the effort to stay in my life; and towards myself and my own needs. It’s about time I start loving myself wholeheartedly!