Archive for August, 2011
These days, each conversation I get into revolves around what I’m going to do with the future. The legal profession is the surefire answer, the question is, what exactly. I feel as if I’ve been running away from what seems like the obvious choice, giving myself excuses like: I need a life, I don’t need gross amounts of money, I don’t want to work 20 hours a day.
My classmates tell me I’m the litigation-type, while I try to deceive myself that perhaps doing corporate work wold make me happy. I try to convince myself that drafting contracts, negotiating in the boardroom and dealing with corporate issues would give me a better work-life balance and more money than I’ll ever need.
Elaine, the one who taught me everything about formulating arguments, rebuttals and making legal submissions, said that it’ll be a pity if I never saw the inside of a court room. She tells me I’m made for it, for litigation – she asked, didn’t everyone who had dreams of being lawyer imagine themselves one day, standing up in court and fighting a case of your own?
Perhaps it’s a calling that I’ve been trying to avoid, trying to turn a blind eye, trying to run away from. I go out of my way to resist the peer pressure to do internships, I throw myself deeper into triathlon training and tell myself that this is what I really enjoy now. Everything else can wait. I’m right, and I’m wrong. I enjoy training now, career is the furthest thing on my mind. And yet I’m wrong, this cannot wait, I standing at the crossroads having to make a decision soon, one that determines the direction and potentially my future career. Time is running out, my inner compass points definitively in one direction, I’m just not sure if I will follow it.
again. Too many things on my mind, I wish you were the reason that I fall asleep easily with happy thoughts of you, not the reason that weighs on my mind, and keeps me up all night.
Sleep eludes the one with an occupied mind; one is physically tired but yet mentally alert. Insomnia seizes the consciousness and takes it on a joyride – you vacillate between states of consciousness and semi-consciousness, and hours later you’re not sure if you have fallen asleep, perhaps you have, for a brief moment. You can’t be sure though. Insomnia grips your emotions and puts them on one end of the spectrum and allows them to slowly progress towards the other end. You start off with a peaceful calm as you lay in bed, finishing up the remainder of your thoughts and preparing to go to sleep. When sleep doesn’t come in a reasonable period of time, mild irritation ensues. This is closely followed by frustration as thoughts bombard your mind and refuse to leave it. This then progresses to a desperate attempt to seize control of a wandering mind, which never fails to drift towards certain things and a certain person. Last of all, you reach the final stage of grudging acceptance of the fact that sleep would not come. It is the wee hours of the morning, you plug in your earphones and listen to rock ballads, blues and kenny G. You wish there was someone to talk to, and you wonder whether there’s someone out there who’s also lying in bed, unable to fall asleep. The morning slowly progresses, you reach for your phone, wanting to text someone, but you think: he’s probably asleep. You lace up your shoes and go for a run; a short one because your body is so fatigued from the lack of sleep that it refuses to go further. You watch the daybreak, and head home to take a shower, hoping that it’ll refresh you. You reach for your phone a few more times, but you think: I don’t want to wake him. You read, you surf the net, you torture yourself with the foam roller. Then you leave home for school, ready to start a new day – although the dearth of rest makes it seem like the previous day hasn’t even ended yet.
Trying to apply the above to the horrid gastric pain plaguing me now. It hasn’t been a good day today, lost my second sensor magnet in two weeks. One week to the race, not enough time to order it online – looks like I would have to do without it. My quads are killing me, my hip is acting up. Deal with it, I tell myself. Today, I allow myself to drop the strong front. Tomorrow, I’ll be back at it – training, studying, fighting.
Today, I attempted to teach my student how to write well. I did away with the usual writing skills and techniques that teachers methodically impart and told him that writing is simply about conveying emotions and feelings. The best essays paints not just the pictures that the writer wants you to visualize, they allow the reader to feel the exact emotions that the writer is experiencing. The elements of a good story: setting, mood, characters and plot – they are all essentially about emotions. Each element contributes towards conveying the roller coaster of emotions that the story brings you through and the stories that touches us most rely not on a brilliant and original storyline, but rather through tugging on our heartstrings and appealing to our innermost feelings.
I surprised myself by sharing this with my student. I never talk about emotions, nor do I show them much. I used to think that it was a sign of weakness of we pandered to our emotions; maybe I still do. I turned inward in self-reflection after the lesson, and thought to myself: I hope I’m not someone incapable of feeling. Perhaps all the intensity and drive that I have goes into training and studies, and all that emotion and feeling goes into writing and music. It was a strange sense of deja vu, when grandaunt asked about where my parents were and how they were doing. I shrugged and said I haven’t seen them in a while, and that they were probably doing alright. She surprised me by saying, you’re really detached aren’t you? Somehow she found the need to probe further about why I was always so reserved, character or a childhood experience? Both, perhaps – was my answer. Then came the usual admonishment of how I should not keep things to myself, that maybe all of it has built up to a choking point, culminating in the nasty gastric problems that I’ve been experiencing.
I try to be honest with myself, I ask myself how I’m holding up. I’m fine, I still am, I hope. The relentless pursuit of better results tires me but brings about the satisfaction that I so crave. Perhaps it’s the great swathes of loneliness sometimes that brings me down. The weekdays are filled to the brim with activities, but the weekends which I try to keep free are filled with silences in an empty house. I used to fear losing the drive to succeed, nowadays I fear the weekends. I fear the silence, the emptiness. The people who you think would be around are busy with their own lives, and perhaps I’m just too distant a person to hang out with. The circularity is almost ironic, those closest to me urge me to open up and share, but how can I do that when no one’s ever there? It’s approaching midnight, and still I’m alone in a dark, lonely house. I try to sleep, but I can’t seem to fall asleep. The only thing I look forward to is my weekly ride, all by my lonesome self – chasing the sunrise, which I know will be there for certain, for sure, every single time.
I can’t help but feel that everyone’s too caught up in their own lives; that one day we’ll find that we have no time for each other anymore; that we’ll find ourselves drifting apart from those closest to us; that we’ll barely have real conversations anymore; that’ll we find that we’re very different people; that you’ll start to think that maybe there’s someone better out there; that we’ll become complete strangers to each other, just like we were, right at the start.
Early for classes as usual. Sitting in an almost empty study room, the sense of familiarity is stark. These days, I’ve been feeling slightly lost, as if i don’t know where I’m heading or what I’m supposed to be doing. I go through the usual routine of studying, training and teaching, albeit without a sense of where it is all truly taking me to. The uncertainty seems to be percolating to everything else. Maybe after a rough patch in a relationship, we all need time to recover and get over it. Struggling to find that feeling again, struggling to find the strength to keep going, struggling amidst everything that’s holding me back.