25 Jan 2018

There’s so much I’ve wanted to write about since my last entry in… August? I believe it was August. And I’ve made multiple attempts to post more and revive this blog. Although, honestly, I wouldn’t want to consider it dead. Those attempts have mainly been attempts to fill in gaps that I’ve left through the drought of posts here, but I’ve decided not to do so and simply go on to catalogue recent events.

So in the time that I’ve been gone, I’ve had one season of Anxiety and Depression (i.e. late August to early November – when I was having my exams); Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Day 2017 have all passed; I’ve completed my two years of conscription; and I’ve gotten a job at SB.

The plan all along was to become a vet assistant, and I sent out about a dozen CVs. But it seems that most of the clinics are looking for people with experience, which I sorely lack.

Instead, I’ve decided to spend the next eight months working on other important things while waiting to matriculate in August 2018. There’s the part-time job for me to earn my keep and stay occupied during this long break; there’s languages and reading; there’s lots and lots of music. I’m also exercising much, much more: I’ve run nine times in January and my goal is to do at least 10 runs. I’m eating healthier (although it’s not a strict diet) and have even gone to the gym weekly. I’ve pretty much overcome my fear of the gym, save for equipment that I’m not familiar with. I’m afraid to try using a new machine and make a fool of myself in front of everyone. I’ve also been (gradually) packing my very messy room and selling stuff online.

But the most important thing I want to work on during these two thirds of a year is my mental health. I want to see a therapist, which I’ve been putting off for years. But I really need to do something. I need to seek professional help urgently – that I’m aware of. Without me realising, anxiety and depression have gripped me so tightly over the past two years, in addition to the effect that secondary school and junior college had on me before. I’m phobic of push notifications from my messaging apps, of making mistakes (more so than before), of being late for things, and so on and so forth.

Sometimes I wonder when I became such a perfectionist. That has always been a part of my psyche, I suppose, even before it was reinforced by the competitive school system and the hostile, toxic environment of NS. I suppose it started when I was a kid. My mom was pretty strict, which she says she regrets. She is an amazing and loving woman, but she was strict. And I was too immature to understand. But as much as I have no hard feelings towards her, that part of my childhood has made me fear being wrong, mistaken, and imperfect. It has made me fear rejection. And the rational part of my mind knows that to err is human; imperfections are human. But I’m also well aware that the rational part of my mind has never had much clout within the warzone of my headspace. I dwell upon my own mistakes and beat myself up over and over again. It remains in the sea of my mind and floats to the surface like a bloated corpse whenever I’m in a terribly depressed state, and I start prodding myself with that knife over and over to make myself feel worse.

Of course this whole mental state applies to me at SB too. The learning curve is steep, the people and environment are unfamiliar, and it’s my first job ever. I’m still at the stage where I’m on edge and always on my toes to make sure I don’t step on anybody else’s. That’s pretty normal two days in, I guess. But I really want to make sure I nail it. I hate screwing up. I have made mistakes and I have had moments where I thought I was starting to sink irreversibly into self-deprecation. But I’ve been okay. The people are wonderful, especially considering how stressful it can be behind the counter.

J reminds me a lot of YW in that he is super friendly, accommodating, and confident when it comes to social interaction, and yet can be assertive and professional when it’s necessary. And I don’t want to over-simplify their personalities and/or identities, but they also have similar “feminine” voices and mannerisms. Observations – not judgments.

B seems pretty cold, but she did teach me stuff patiently and I did see her interacting really casually with the rest, so maybe she’s the kind of person who needs time to warm up to others – just like I do.

W is also pretty chill, but her face in resting state does look a little aloof or cold at times.

E is a typical chill-yet-super-competent-and-knows-what-he’s-doing kind of barista. He’s nice and of course he reminds me of E from the unit, since they have the same name. But I’ve only worked with him for a tiny bit.

IL is a bit like W, in my perception – chill, but can seem cold.

R is the traditional definition of macho. He’s super tall, has a beard and long hair he ties in a bun, and the hipster chillness you might associate with baristas. He was super friendly and patient when teaching me how to make drinks. And he’s clearly a very good teacher, because I managed to pick up most of the things. But my panic and overall nervousness made me mess up a few times and forget some numbers and details, which got me very frightened that he might lose patience and yell at me or something. At one point he asked me a question that I answered wrongly and the look on his face could have made me sworn that he was gonna explode. But he didn’t. And later on, he said I was doing okay, which was a huge relief. It made me extremely determined to follow that up and nail what I’ve learned. So I’m gonna study and memorise until my next shift on Sunday. (It’s Thursday.)

Aa is also very casual and fun behind the scenes. It was different from the formality and seriousness he showed during my interview, which isn’t surprising since job interviews are meant to be serious talk.

The work has been quite tiring (nine hour shifts) which is essentially back to my unit days. And I do appreciate that, because it is a reminder that I’m filling my days with meaningful work. Things are so much better and the environment is all-in-all much more jovial and nurturing. That’s what SB focuses on a lot.

That’s not to say I will be laid back, of course. I want to do well. I’m a perfectionist after all.

In the meantime, I’m also working on a story called “Autumn Boy”. I’m glad that I’m making good progress on what’s meant to be a short story, because when I’ve tried to write prose during my conscription years, it didn’t go too well. I’m getting my flow back, I suppose. I also want to write poetry. Lots of poetry. I miss when I churned out poetry day after day, but it also means that I’m not as depressed as I was then. I suppose depression abdicated to let anxiety into power. For now…

I’m meeting I tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it very much. I hope she’s doing well. I haven’t seen her in maybe two months. Maybe because of that gap, she might be able to see if I’ve lost weight. I don’t know. It’s a little presumptuous, don’t you think? But I really do hope for some tangible outcome of my weight-;oss endeavours.

It’s 10.13 p.m. now. I’m planning on either a) working on French, b) writing more of “Autumn Boy”, or c) working on Spanish. Then I’ll go for a run if it’s not too late. I need to charge my phone, first.

-W

P.S.: I just started playing “A Little Braver” by New Empire and it just brought back all the memories of M and when I was still madly in love with him. I wonder if he still listens to it. I can’t believe it’s already been a year and a half. He has a girlfriend now. He seems happy.

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