Now, what?

Hey, there. Wow, it’s been a while since I wrote here, and to think it’s only now in this pandemic that I’ve started writing again.

To say that 2020 is a strange year is such an understatement. To be living in these times feels like a dream—I always tell my friends it’s like living in an apocalyptic movie (minus the zombies, thankfully). I love zombie anything; from games to movies to novels. It’s my favorite subject matter. I was such a huge fan of The Walking Dead that I would tease and tell my friends that they should stick by my side during a zombie apocalypse because I would be a master zombie destroyer should the time come. My weapon of choice would be a machete just like in Grand Theft Auto. Now, I’m not really sure.

I hope you’re doing well, and as you read this, I hope you are healthy and safe. This is probably a hodgepodge of my current thoughts and feelings~ because I could really use an outlet right now. If you saw me in real life, I’d be acting pretty normal. My usual jovial, playful, joker self still quite the dominating personality mix at the moment, but I’ve been catching myself entering that dark corner filled with what-ifs and what-if-I-nevers.

The way I function is that I try to keep it together. I am hyper-aware of how I feel internally—even the ones closest to me know this. I need to be encouraged to cry or to “release”, because I’m so used to just being stoic and nonchalant during moments that require a bit of an outpour. I am too much of a thinker, but I don’t really overthink. I like believing in the best, and I like to be hopeful that dismal situations would alleviate soon because that’s the way I’m wired. I can’t fully absorb negative situations, and I have a hard time processing them when put in the spotlight. Now that I have a bit of time to write and reflect, I feel that I can lighten my yoke and release a bit of the inner tension I’ve been experiencing.

I also like distracting myself with work, games, books, so I don’t have to “deal”, if you know what I mean. That’s the escapist in me. I like consuming media that transport me to another world. However, I know I’m anxious because my eczema has been flaring non-stop. I see puddles of inflamed skin forming on my arms. My eczema comes and goes as it pleases; forever uncomfortable and unwelcome. I laugh about my skin condition a lot and joke that I’m so in denial of being anxious, but it’s because I really am. My inability to fully express my emotions physically takes a toll on my body.

Reality has been hungry for attention; I can’t avoid it anymore. Like a sudden unveiling, I am faced with the impact of this pandemic. We are not allowed to travel (my forever reward to myself for working hard). Singapore experiences an extended circuit breaker season (our version of an ECQ or a lockdown) until 1st of June, and the company I work for needs to close down temporarily (still hoping we open again sooner). I do marketing for a local dessert company, and I love my job. It was such an extra stressful and busy two and a half weeks, and then suddenly, it all came to a halt. The first people I thought of were my colleagues and how we would get through this hurdle.

I am also someone who thrives on plans and routine. I am obsessed with organization to the point that I sometimes think I am neurotic. I like certainty, and I don’t like failing. I am someone who has a list of things to do everyday and for everything. I like seeing my plans through and making sure they come to life successfully, and in an instant, those plans were gone. First, a trip to New York with some of my best friends was cancelled. A trip that took half a year in the making. It took a while for me to stop berating myself about how trivial it seemed compared to the world’s problems.

I wonder a lot. I wonder when I would see my Mom again, my Grandma, my dog Rocket, my friends. I wonder when I could go into one of our outlets during peak hours again and refresh myself with a sample stick of ice cream, little joys in my workweek. I wonder when we could all travel without qualms again. I wonder when I could feel the fine grains of sand, still warm from yesterday’s heat, crunched between my bare toes again. The salt-tinged smell of the wild, untamed sea. My Mom’s cooking. The rumble and shake of an airplane before it jets off. The tear-inducing laughter with my friends. A satisfying massage. A pleasing haircut. The juice of a freshly-carved chilled coconut. These are all personal things I wonder about, and I yet again feel guilty for wondering about such seemingly trivial things compared to the rest of the world’s problems.

I always tell my husband that I am really so tired of hearing the words “new normal”. I always stick my tongue out and wrinkle my nose. Perhaps this is my way of dealing. Am I delusional to hope that things would go back to the way they were? Back to normal? I probably am. Me, forever the optimist.

Social media has never been as important to me as it is now. Any way to “connect” makes me feel that there is still some normalcy somehow. My Mom, sending my photos of Rocket daily. My friends, telling me what’s good on Netflix. My Grandma, always the audience of dishes I cook here in Singapore that are inspired by the ones she cooked for me during my childhood. At least, there is that. And memes.

Things that have kept my mind away from focusing too much on the pandemic (too much news makes me sad): I finished reading this beautiful book called Circe today by Madeline Miller. Tiger Tail (not the same as Tiger King!)on Netflix by Alan Yang (co-creator of Master of None) is such a good film. Creamier ice cream and golden waffles. Yoga. Meditation (I did a 3 week meditation program, and it felt so good!). Terrace House (the latest one—super entertaining). I finished Crash Landing on You, and it’s good. I finished Luigi’s Mansion 3 last Saturday on my Switch. Contemplating on whether I should play Animal Crossing because it’s like a mash-up between The Sims and Neopets. Cleaning the house. Cooking. I find joy in finishing sample-sized skincare products. Going to hawker centers and trying different dishes by the local community. Beer. Wine. Scones. Perhaps I should make a list. (Do I still go to seek a great perhaps?) Perhaps.

I guess what’s really kicking me in the ass is this whole cloud of uncertainty. I like knowing things are happening and plans are pushing through. I hate this feeling of not knowing. I hate knowing that people are dying. I hate this, and I want it to end. This is such a hard lesson for me to learn because I am voluntarily averse to the lesson. But each day is still a new one. I wake up so hopeful, but I feel despair when evening comes. We get updates from the government with the number of infected people each day, and my husband always updates me on the news before we go to bed (please stop it).

Perhaps it’s a personal challenge for me to hope differently and to learn how to maneuver around the situation as it presents itself. It’s so uncomfortable, ugh! It’s so depressing! And frankly, this is the only way I know how to get by for now. Day by day, bird by bird. It feels weird not knowing what to write on my planner, but this is how it is for now. I now know the feeling of trying to squeeze out all those creative juices, but the body refuses to cooperate. I want to be so monstrously productive during this pandemic, but a lot of the time, I find myself just spacing out to Netflix. This is what life is teaching me and all of us. I don’t understand it, and I don’t want to make sense of everything. And today, this is how it is, and that is that.

Today, I have my words. I have unraveled and I have tapered out, but I know I will bounce back as I always do. Someday. I hope it’s tomorrow. This is difficult, but we are all trying our best and coping our best in different ways. Now, what? There are no words of comfort. And all we can do as always, is to hope for the best.

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