09 Dec Note to self.
Okay. okay I have to settle this because I am going back to Singapore where shit gets real and I can’t afford to be so lost anymore.
This past year had been really great because I met awesome people and friends, got closer to my already friends and of course I got to travel. So much. So so much.
But terrible because emotionally this had been my worst year. I entered this exchange thinking to myself: okay germaine, you are going to find yourself this year, find out who you are, what you want, find your direction. At the first DTS retreat we played hotseat and they asked me what I wanted to achieve in this year of exchange. And I said I wanted to attain peace (cliché I know but haha. I didn’t want to be just confident because I think the concept is so overused it’s shallow. It’s different from counting my blessings. If I were to do that in the end I still would be quantifying. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s very important to count my blessings and be content but I don’t think it’s enough on its own). I wanted to be at peace with myself, that my worth is enough on its own, not by comparing; to face my fears and weaknesses and accept them (quote unquote brene brown).
Instead I lost myself. Lost myself so bad. I lost myself to sleep, suicide and of course alcohol.
I guess I should’ve seen it coming: the incident, the lack of work to distract myself from emotions(nah school work wasn’t enough), and of course the lack of family and other friends. But I have to get over all of it now cos I have no more time.
So it starts with the assault.
What made me so angry was that right after it happened the first thing I checked was how I was dressed. Two things: firstly I was dressed in the most unflattering clothes anyone could wear: non-fitting shirt (not loose either) and knee-length pants. I mean, omg I dressed like I did in primary 4. Secondly, why should it even matter what I wore. I was so angry that it was the first thing that I checked. Idk why but I was.
And then right after it, I guess the lack of emotional response is the reason why im feeling so horrible now. I buried all of them so deep that they have multiplied. And now that they resurfaced they are attacking me with a newfound vengeance.
The week after it happened I was mostly relieved. Everyday I looked into the mirror I saw scars. Everytime I took a shower I saw scars. But I didn’t relive the assault. All I thought of was relieve.
Then 1 month after, just when I thought wow germaine u’re so strong u’re so calm and collected and shit, it started. I would enter breakdown mode in the middle of the day, in the middle of talking to people, and it took all of me to remain calm, but apparently not enough. I would walk across memorial glade and the grass would get to me.
“Breathe germaine, breathe. It’s just grass. Breathe. Please.”
I tried my best to make the best of it. I really tried. If the breakdown happened in the middle of the day I would just hide in my room and wait till it was over. Sometimes I could just turn on friends, and it passed really quickly (BUT THEN I JUST CONTINUD WATCHING FRIENDS COS I WAS SO ADDICTED) other times I needed to hide under my comforter and shook until it ended.
And then I entered the what-the-fuck-why-are-you-
And that was just the direct impact of the assault.
What scared me everytime I subconsciously relived it, was how vulnerable I actually was. I am really just so thankful that he let go; because otherwise I really couldn’t do anything about it.
Physical vulnerability yes, I realised how easy it is for me to be taken down. But I also realised if something this barbaric can happen in a ‘safe’ place like Singapore at fucking 8pm, then it really doesn’t matter where you are. It doesnt matter if im walking the dark street of Berkeley at night. (I say this cos my mum was so worried about me coming to California) I can be as alert as anyone can ever be, as careful, but if someone were to decide to do it, it will happen. It literally boils down to being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
But this vulnerability also evolved into emotional vulnerability. I basically started questioning everything about myself: my ability, my appearance, my character, my personality. I was trying very hard to build a confident outshell. I mean, fake it till you make it right? But I knew it was just a façade.
So I lost all drive.
Okay I guess this can sound like a whine of insecurity, like all the other voices in everyone else’s head. But I spiralled out of control. I didn’t believe I could do anything, so I lost drive, and then I really didn’t do anything, and then I lost more drive. I was stuck in this vicious cycle and degenerating so fast.
And then I started to worry, Worry about everything. I worried that my tumour would come back, I worried about my eyes because people kept questioning why I still needed glasses and it made me feel fucking guilty cos I spent so much of my dad’s money and everyone was just not making me feel better, I worried that I was stagnating, I worried about my voice, I worried about my health, I worried about spending too much money, I worried about not enjoying the most out of this one year, I worried about not spending more time with DTS cos I’ll never see them again, I worried about Shaoying, I worried about Lynn, I worried about my friends whom I saw were troubled but didn’t think I was important enough for them to share their troubles with me, I worried that people would think that they had no one to talk to.
I tried to smile, because I felt like none of the people around me deserved to be around such a toxic person. I laughed, I initiated conversations. I wasn’t being a very good social person/friend/nice person but I was really trying my best. That’s why I also attempted to siam people because in ihouse you cant walk around for 1 min without meeting someone. Yet sometimes I hope to see someone even otw to the toilet for example, to snap me out of my rubbish.
I didn’t want to tell my parents because I knew they would worry excessively by the very fact that I was overseas and they wouldn’t be able to give support if they had to. Everytime I skyped them (which was many many times) I tried hard to be happy, to not talk about sad things. I couldn’t tell me friends because I felt like a lot of them didn’t want to listen. Or more like: aiya germaine always happy one she’ll get over it luh. It’s a phase. Then there are friends who just don’t notice even though I eat breakfast with them every morning because everyone of us will think that our own problem is the worst in the world and we are quick to judge. Then there are friends who I guess have enough problems of their own to notice mine. But basically the rule of thumb is that everyone has their own life to live and very few are observant enough to notice problems in other people’s lives. And it hurts because I guess sometimes I get too perspective and sensitive and they are not returned.
My mum told me to visit a psychologist and I was considering it initially. I mean, the counseling in Ihouse is free anyway. But then I guess depression is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I decide for myself whether I want to be happy or sad. If I decide that I am depressed then I become depressed. And also I can tell you all the right things I should be thinking and encouraging words. I know them all. But it takes time for me to live it. I really feel that all I need is time. I mean, time heals everything right?
But from today onwards I’m not allowed to indulge in sadness, not allow to submerge myself in this darkness of depression anymore. I don’t know if it will get better because I’m going to be so freaking busy this semester, then I’m back to square 1, but none of that matters anyway.
All that matters is that I am determined to come back to Singapore happier, motivated, rested, and be a better Germaine for my family and all of my friends. Watch out guys, you wouldn’t even know what hit you.