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In Desperate Conversation

'Fear not your ships,
Nor any to oppose you save our lips;
But come on shore,
Where no joy dies till Love hath gotten more.'

Procrastinating is sexy. It's like a siren singing my name, constantly calling out to me, crying until its voice cracks at the core. If procrastination were a person, it would be a woman. Trust me. A voluptuous seductress in a crimson red dress slit at the legs, bedroom eyes piercing the hearts to heights I'd rather not fall from. I just can't resist her. 

It's not my willpower, it's my lack of it. I battle with temptation, but I never win and I don't think I ever will. Maybe I don't want to.  Distractions are so much easier on the mind. They're a welcome escape from the unwilling effort we put into things that make us feel as belittled as a child in the mines. Forced labour, working against your will because you have to. I like giving in to procrastination, embracing it as that guilty pleasure we all indulge in. It breathes the sense that I still have at least the slightest control over what I want to do; or in this case, what I don't want to. A fickle rebellion played out in our heads, a small win for small time heroics. 

Of course, afterwards we have to deal with that regret of doing work at the last minute. We'll come under fire from ourselves because we know we could have done better. The conscience just doesn't shut up. Does it really matter though? Would anyone actually want to know their full potential? It scares me, finding that out. Imagine someone telling you 'Here's the best you can do; that's it.' My hands would tremble with disappointment thinking that I knew my limits. Our intentional failures are just an expression of our own longing for limitlessness. I find it comforting. I'd rather underachieve than know my best wasn't good enough. Damn. Cliche. Sorry, I couldn't think of anything else. Ignore that.

'I can resist anything except temptation.' I wonder if Mark Twain procrastinated as much as I did.
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Chasing Skirts

I only apologise when I'm wrong. Problem is, I'm wrong almost all the time.

Do problems even exist? Sometimes I tell myself, I even believe, that sheer optimism is enough to break through any barrier. It's not a problem if you don't think it's one. Or something along those lines. And then there are times when everything goes so horribly wrong that hope doesn't even bother to look over its shoulder as it trudges gently in the opposite direction.

I've truly been feeling mentally tired. It has to be because of the way I deal with guilt. I take it personally, shouldering the weight of a thousand sorrys, embracing it as my own responsibility until sweet forgiveness removes it from my list of burdens. With each rejected apology, the weight only multiplies. So does the restlessness. But that's just me. Guilt is my kryptonite, it eats away at my conscience like a cancerous disease, tormenting my mind with a hundred ways that this feeling could have been avoided.

I'm being melodramatic, of course. It doesn't kill me literally; but it does run me into the ground. It's a sickening feeling, isn't it? When sorry isn't enough, or when forgiveness eludes you to the point of utter delusion. The word restless doesn't even begin to describe my mind when staring back in hindsight. Mistakes are the worst type of teacher. All they do is punish you. I bet they enjoy it too.

It's what I say, I'm sure of it. I honestly need a filter in between my brain and my mouth, a way to learn how to think before I speak. Or I am seriously just going to keep getting into more and more trouble. It makes life interesting, yes. But sometimes you need that boredom to remind yourself that this is actually all real. Sometimes you need a little tedium to know excitement. I'm fine with that. 

On a lighter note, the world is still spinning, I'm still breathing, and the sky hasn't yet fallen. Lovely.

'Stop crying your heart out.'
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Three Months

I entered an essay writing competition earlier this year. The title everyone had to write about sounded like an exam essay; 'Teenagers Today.' As always, I did things last minute, writing my essay 24 hours before it was supposed to be sent in.

I lost. I don't mind losing, but apparently the winner wrote about Malaysia's multi-cultural society. How fascinating. Like we've never read about Malaysia and 'masyarakat berbilang kaum' before. 

Definitely not my best writing, but I was pretty satisfied with it considering the time I put into it. Oh, and yes, I had to throw in that MGMT reference at the end. 'Twas a must.       

          Perhaps I’ve been misled. I use the word ‘misled’ because the words ‘lied to’ may come across as a little too harsh in the eyes of the people I’m about to criticise. Misled is much softer, it conveys the sense that I was lied to in an accidental way. I don’t particularly care for liars and charlatans, but the blatant hypocrisy that is displayed does sicken and confound the best of us. Mum and Dad, I want you to know that I love you. However, in my opinion, both of you are part of a global problem more detrimental to our society than a fast food nation. It is a problem more harmful, in fact, than reality television. Parents worldwide are tyrants. They are the bullies from the playground, the Stalins to our comrades, the Toms to our Jerrys.  The most tragic thing about this is that parents today were once the teenagers of yesteryear. Parents of the present have forgotten how it feels like to be youthful. They treasure the memories, yes, but they have forgotten. They have forgotten how it felt to watch one’s very innocence ebb away as their own innocence was exposed to the trials of adulthood. They have forgotten how to perceive the world as it seemed, undaunted by fears of taxes, marriage and stock market fluctuations. They have forgotten that teenagers never change, that teenagers today are the same creative, rebellious individuals as the teenagers of the past. With the widespread availability of internet and a limitless amount of knowledge at our fingertips, this teenage generation should be the one which impacts current and future events. Firstly though, we must remove the tyranny of parental obligation.                

         The entertainment industry has played an important role throughout the past century as a unifier of the teenage generation. From James Dean to The Beatles, a large number of illustrious figures have seen out their role as their generation’s preacher of who the masses congregate. Every teenage generation has craved for the same freedoms as today’s teenagers do. The parents of today were those teenagers who rebelled without a cause, the same ones who answered John Lennon’s rallying cry to ‘Imagine’. Why then have they conformed to society’s will, consigning themselves to the same mundane tasks they once promised they would never submit to? This is the challenge that today’s teenagers now face. We must at all costs avoid the mistakes that our forefathers made, which is the restricting of the creativity and expression only found in the innocence of youth. Pablo Picasso once poignantly pointed out that ‘Every child is an artist’. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. We have today infinite possibilities for the future. Do we really want to limit them by limiting what can be achieved by our teens? We must learn from our mistakes by making sure parents do not deny the same freedoms they were once denied as teens. What is the world, if not explored? Imagine if Christopher Columbus’ parents had told him that there was only one way to India. Imagine if Sun Tzu’s parents had warned him that fighting was for scoundrels. All of humanity’s progress has its origin in the boundless curiosity of Man. Ask yourselves this. When else are we more curious than at the peak of our adolescence? Imagine if today’s teenagers were allowed to ask questions and find the answers without the restraints of logic and common perceptions. Our civilization would surely develop at a rate more rapid than any before us. Parents today have the opportunity to realise their very dreams of idealism, optimism and expression. Not through themselves, but the ones they nurture. Roger Lewin summed it up by saying that ‘Too often we give children answers to remember, rather than problems to solve’.  

            Though we often ignore this fact, teenagers are the world’s most valuable natural resource. What makes them so valuable is their curiosity which is not locked down with reason and logic. We need this to be capable of envisioning a better future for the entire world. As with other resources such as oil, coal and natural gas, if mismanaged, teenagers can cause disastrous environmental effects. However, with the right planning and strategic thinking, we can avoid the mistakes of parents of the past and make sure the potential of today’s teenagers is fully realised. As I have mentioned, over the centuries, teenagers have continuously been portrayed as scapegoats and rebels. The irony of it is, the parents of our teenagers today were once given that very same label. It is a vicious cycle we can term as ‘Animal Farm Syndrome’.  In the book ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell, there happens a revolt as farm animals overthrow their human oppressors. Led by a pig named Napoleon, the animals succeed in wrenching power from their former human masters. However, Napoleon’s thirst for power turns him into the same tyrannical leader he once worked so hard to oppose. It is a tragic case of the repressed becoming the oppressor, and though the parent-teenage situation comes nowhere near as close to that gloomy circumstance, it is very similar. As quoted by Karl Menninger, ‘What’s done to children, they will do to society’. Parents who conform must not force their children to. Our generation, all of us, must be the ones who end the twisted cycle. It sounds na├»ve, as teenagers always do, but we can change the world. 

           Perhaps I have misled you. I may have been a little melodramatic by insinuating that parents share the same moral standards as Muammar Gaddafi, but my message is clear. For too long, the youth have been restricted by the artificial pressures of money and materialism. Not this time. We must break free from these shackles of greed and power. We must break free from the shackles of conformity if we are ever to progress. Teenagers are told to get good grades, work hard, and retire. That is all. Should it be? Life isn’t tedium, and should not be defined as such. Teenagers have a creative spark; they have that potential to imagine. Potential is one thing though; realising it is another. The great thing about it is, simply put, we can. Currently, teenagers have their voices in the mouths of the world-renowned indie band known as MGMT. In their song, The Youth, they ponder that, ‘the youth is starting to change, are you starting to change? Are you?’ We must.

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Last words are for those who haven't said enough

In times of sickness, the bed becomes a prison. 

Save for a few energy-sapping forays outside the walls of the bedroom, much time is spent waiting for health's re-emergence in that cell of ours. However much it consumes our time and will, however much we long to resume our everyday activities, I've found that when ill, the prison for the body becomes the utopia for the mind. You see, during ill health we become so restricted that we go back to our original source of entertainment. The imagination.

With so little on our mind, we begin to think, contemplate on subjects that would usually occupy the space at the back of our heads, saved for precious moments such as these. Now, subject matter differs from person to person, of course. But it's an eye-opening experience. It allows us to have the heart-to-heart conversation with ourselves that we've always yearned for. A step back from everything to realign our thoughts in the capacity of our own heads.

Prison has never felt freer. 

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Floral Reflection

Everyone's a narcissist. 

People rarely look up, or look around anymore. They're too drawn by their reflections, angles, mirrors. The focus has positioned itself on building one's reputation. There's nothing wrong with that I think. What's wrong is how most of them around me carry it out. They're slaves to cheap publicity, using every avenue available to earn a name. They think nothing of sacrificing their dignity and self-worth for the sake of attention. The worst part is, they're all doing the same thing. If you want attention, at least be creative about it.

It might just be me, but when people copy and paste love quotes they find from the internet, it riles me up to no end.

Any publicity is good publicity. Who does this even apply to? 12 year olds with internet access? It's all so reflective of our society, where the only people we want to know are ourselves. I wish  people realised that there's more to the ersatz lives they lead on the internet. 

“On Facebook and Twitter, you are performing to attract people – you are dancing emotionally, on a platform created by a large corporation. People’s feelings bounce back and forth – happy Stakhanovites, ignoring and denying the system of power. It’s like Stalin’s socialist realism. Both Twitter and socialist realism are innocent expressions of the ideology of the time, which don’t pull back and show the wider thing they are part of. We look back on socialist realism not as innocent but as a dramatic expression of power; it expresses the superiority of the state, which was the guiding belief at the time. I think sometime in the future people will look back at the millions and millions of descriptions of personal feelings on the internet and see them in similar ways. This is the driving belief of our time: that ‘me’ and what I feel minute by minute is the natural centre of the world. Far from revealing that this is an ideology – and that there are other ways of looking at human society – what Twitter and Facebook do is reinforce the feeling that this is the natural way to be.”

-Adam Curtis

I hope people understand my references more.
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'If only I'd known that this habit actually kicks back.'

Dreams fascinate me. In a completely non-cheesy, no-I-did-not-get-this-line-from-tumblr kind of way, they do. Everything is real in a dream. Everything makes sense.

My mind just jumped. Could you imagine a dream actually being an alternate life, where we only remember certain parts as distant memories when we wake up? At the moment we arise from our slumber, we still feel the emotion coursing through our veins, our breaths still short from the suspense, but we can't even recall what happened. That's what attracts me to them. They free us from the constraints of reality, and in that escape we actually feel the environment to the point that we let our emotions run their course, for us. 

And how it unfolds! Familiar characters, familiar scenes, and familiar objects made unfamiliar by our subconscious. It's like a a twisted version of what we know, looking into the mirror and seeing more than our own self.

We're there, but not there. We see ourselves as the narrator of a story written as it goes on, with our heads held in our hands. Brave, instinctual, like a blind man leading the way through no-mans-land. But in a split-second, we wake up. And all is forgotten.

It's quite poetic really.
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She's gracing pavements,
And I'm cautiously convinced,
All the streetlights agree.

That the shadow, 
That's been keeping her company,
Is right where I should be.