The past week has been so challenging and yet enlightening on many fronts. I had to question what are my values, who I am and what I was willing to tradeoff. I was again reminded of all the fear and baggage I was still carrying despite my best efforts to let them go, all the conditioning I was still trying to unlearn, and how hardened and cynical the world has made me:
I was such a fearless child. Now I wonder why I allowed the world to turn me into a person living with so much fear. Trying to unlearn.
— Winnie Lim (@wynlim) June 17, 2016
The past decade have been exhilarating as well as damaging in many ways, and I don’t think I have had enough time to process it all yet, to unbundle the lessons – which to take in, which to let go, which are the ones that are not serving me and yet I am holding on to them still. Things had happened so quickly that I have only been reacting and breaking, and maybe despite my excessive introspection I didn’t really have the space to make sense of it all, of how these years have changed me, for better or for worse. I have had only the space to think about how I want to change my course before I veer too far off where I want to go, instead of where I was pushed to be.
But the situations I was in and the decisions I have made, are also profoundly influenced by the way I was shaped since I was born. I have made decisions out of insecurity, desperation, immaturity; at the other spectrum, I have made them out of faith, love and courage. Sometimes it is difficult to discern which is which.
Last week, I had a moment of clarity – that I had unknowingly turned into a person I didn’t wish to be, someone who is unconsciously governed by an underlying pervasive fear. I have forgotten that long long time ago, there lived a person who believed in rainbows and unicorns, and I have become a person who sees rose-tinted lenses as a major handicap. I have gone to the other extreme, because of how the world has punished my idealism, so somewhere along the way I had abandoned my self without even consciously knowing about it.
I once loved my rose-tinted lenses so much I even wrote a post about it. When did I allow the world to take them away from me?
I remember reading a post on why science fiction writers or even authors in general have a great social responsibility. We can only live, or attempt to pursue what we can imagine. I have been living as if life is going to suck anyway so I might as well make the best out of it; yet what I really wish to do is to believe that life will be magical regardless so I should start making choices as though that is the journey I will have – both seem similar but they have a dramatically different tone.
Nobody said magical worlds are easy to live in, or magic was easy to conjure. Leaps of faith are risky and painful. I have taken so many of them, some of them resulting in so much breakage, but I don’t regret any of them. I don’t wish to live a life full of cold calculated odds or be imprisoned by my past. I could have the best of intentions: to give myself space to heal, to honour my inner-child, to experiment with my life, to be ambivalent or even simply to just be – yet these intentions are being limited by the scope of my mind, the courage of my spirit, the love I am willing to endure, the joy I am willing to hold and then let go.
I think I have gotten it wrong. I wanted to be a person who will grow to endure stronger breaks, but perhaps it is harder to be a person who is willing to retain the childlike anticipation each and every time there is an attempt to try something new, or to retry something that had been done – a person who is capable of being freshly and utterly broken as though each and every attempt is the first.
Yes, there are lessons to learn, experiences to hold but we forget that in every birth of a moment, the variables change. That is both the ruthlessness and beauty of life. Sometimes the variables are so random and unexpected, that we are too quick to dismiss their impact on an experiment. We assume we know too much, we are too aware of previous failings, we underestimate the dynamism of the world and the occurences of black swans.
I have thought of my life like a book of linear chapters, each new chapter adding to the one before, now I feel like I am in a position to rearrange them, archive some of them, and even write new chapters which do not have to be in continuity to the previous ones. Nobody says my plot has to make any sense to anybody else except me.
This week, I asked myself, so what if my spirit gets crushed again and again? What is there to truly fear?