I’ve been posting a lot of pictures lately because I’ve recently discovered that with WordPress, you don’t actually need to manually upload pictures, especially if you’re taking them from somewhere already on the net. i.e. you just need to copy and paste. Also, it’s less tiring than writing, which seems to drain me a lot these days. I wonder where all the capability to write introspective posts went. But it’s funny how writing style changes from year to year. Sometimes I look through my old posts (narcissistic I know, haha) and cringe at my horrible English — in between my emo posts there are pointless rants and ramblings of a teenage girl (so evident) complete with horrid misspellings and things like ‘okae@_____’ and ‘how gay’ and all manner of assorted sayings that were so prevalent back then. Nowadays my sentences are shorter but I am no less rambly. I still use a ton of commas (though not as much) but it seems I’ve now switched to dumping brackets every other sentence.
I’ve been thinking about loss these days. How sometimes I feel like I don’t want to confront the issues, which may be soon at hand. It’s not something I can help but it doesn’t make me feel anymore comfortable with the idea, nor is it something I welcome. More than anything it’s hard to say goodbye to someone who has been here all your life. It’s easy to say all these thoughts are premature, but what else can you do when you know the date draws nearer every day or year, even if you never know when it will be? They say your life can’t be put on hold while you wait. But it does, and it has to. If the guilt doesn’t come from within you, someone else will lay it on for you. Imagine having to deal with that on top of everything else.
I spent much of today looking through The Big Picture at the Boston Globe. I lingered over the old pictures of Russia, and I spent altogether too much time looking at war photos, all of them published for commemorative reasons. ‘Remembering D-Day, 66 Years On’. It should not have been that long ago. In some ways I’m grateful they are in black and white. It provides an emotional distance you don’t often get from colour pictures, in which there remains too much immediacy, like it just happened yesterday. In this day and age anybody can take a picture. In those days cameras were so rare, and every picture had a purpose, some meaning. A body lying dead on the ground. That famous napalm image. Mass graves, cannons, blood. A series of three photos shows the sudden death of a Viet Cong spy. One minute the gun is at his head, the next frame shows him slumped on the ground. In the days of film you never knew what you were going to end up with, till you got back home, away from the gunshots and the bombs. I spent most of today in slight depression because of this.
There are times when I feel such an overwhelming sense of loss in a different way. Just last night I think I was hallucinating. As I lay on the seat of the car and let my mind roll into all the places it should never have gone, I thought of cool nights and bicycles and racing home through the shortcut with no streetlights. When I woke up I was sad to find that I was not in front of my crappy door where the key doesn’t turn properly especially when you have frozen hands, that it was not a long street but my own front gate. I stumbled upstairs thinking about why I was still here. I’ve never missed my own home as much as I do my kitchen backyard room in Holland, and maybe only because it was a life I could call my own. Is it possible to be homesick for a place that isn’t even your home? They say life is never as good as it is elsewhere, but when I spent my year overseas, I missed nothing about Singapore. My mother says it is a good thing I didn’t go to UCL. I would never have come home. I should not be having these thoughts.
This is not to say I don’t like where I come from. But I feel sometimes as if my entire existence has been too safe. Yes you could push the envelope, but for educated middle-class families this usually means teaching English somewhere in a rural area of India or Cambodia or Thailand, which means (still) anywhere but here. How far can you go without leaving the country? It’s a petri dish. I can’t infect anybody; nobody infects me. I know that an entire generation has gone through hardship just so I can have this existence. Why would I run off seeking danger?