21 Perceptions: #5 Dreamcatcher

Dreamcatcher

Taken with iPhone 5

I have always loved dreamcatchers. Simply because of that simple myth that is has brought together with it throughout all these years. Deeply fascinated, I’d say, with this simple legend of the Native Americans.

I also like how when people heard of dreamcatcher, they’d think that it helps you catches your dreams, as in life goals and what not.

It’s the season of decisions. And a question of what’s next? Probably probes you to think and review your goals. Or maybe how do you envision your future to be. Come to think of it, I am almost repellent to such questions. Perhaps due to a very erratic nature that is within me, or maybe like Iylia always points out; You live your life full of uncertainties and you’re okay with that. Funny thing is, I actually hate uncertainties. It makes me restlessly anxious. Like the registration of my subjects. I simply need to ensure I’ve got all the right subjects and right credit hours registered. Or maybe that’s the ‘kiasu’ side of me. Because now that I think of it, I pretty much prefer going with the flow most of the time. Or it depends on the situation. Hah! Saw what I mean? Erratic.

Also, I worry too much.

When I was in Form 3, not knowing how it happened, I just suddenly became obsessed with the idea of becoming a beauty therapist. When I said obsessed, I was really obsess with that idea. I will literally scan through newspaper every single day once I got back from school for advertisement on courses related to beauty therapy like vocational institutes, etc. To one extent that I told my mom I’d be done with school once after PMR, simply because these vocational schools, they accept PMR results. And I just felt, whatever I was studying in school was just irrelevant. But by the end of my Form 3, she somehow managed to talk me out of this crazy idea and convinced me to finish my SPM because it is the minimum qualification one should at the very very least have.

And so, throughout my entire Form 5 life in high school, I basically did not give a damn about furthering my studies. No intention of applying for matriculation, no intention for scholarships or whatsoever. Well, before I continue, let me clarify. In my entire life as a human being, I never was an outstanding student. Never even once. I had like probably the worst result in Sri Garden during primary school, over-average result for UPSR and throughout my high school life, I was just .. me. Not active in extra-curricular activities. Not really the kiasu type students who flip at Bs. I just couldn’t give a damn. So, that also pretty much explains why I have zero interest in applying for these and thats.

Partly also because my parents are pretty liberal when it comes to academic performances. Both biological and non-biological side, nevertheless. Or in other words, they probably given up hope on me or they just don’t expect their daughter to have an astoundingly successful life, it’s as long as she’s healthy, happy and fine. Not very much of the typical Asian parents I’d say. (I guess it must have been given up hope on me because my mom was very strict on my sister, she was a straight A student by the way. Both Maggie and Fene.) But the expectation, I’d have another side that I’ll talk about later.

So yeah, I was just a less than average student at school. And during my Form 5, I’ve finally figured, or so I thought, I’d join this trainee programme at Herbalife to become a beauty therapist. It’s something like an apprentice thingy. So right after I finished SPM, I literally made my mom and my sister to go get more information at one of their branches. Also, it was the time when relatives would usually ask, so after Form 5, what’s next for you? Mostly would not comment much, but there were a handful that went straight on lecture mode on why am I not thinking about tertiary education.

Along the way, throughout that period of three months before result announcement, a bit of this and that, something just changed my mind. I was actually all set to start on the apprentice programme but yeah, I bailed on them in the end. I think the exact turning point must have been my mom’s nagging, it just hit a chord and changed the whole tune.

“You have to think thoroughly la. It’s not like you’re not smart. Your English so good what. If you become a beauty therapist ah, no matter how high the position you get people will always perceive you as one of those lala girls who flunked their high school,” my god, did that not hit me with horror.  (It’s stereotypical, but to me, it’s just a question of reflection on whether do I really envision the rest of my life in a beauty parlour working as a beauty therapist.)

Not to mention, my father was always, al-the fruity-ways, nagging me to go for Form 6. Funny now that I think of it, Form 6 was never ever something I wanted. I was strongly against it. But yea, whenever the question of what’s next after SPM pops out, he’d always say Form 6! I think back then, what my father expected was getting one level of qualification higher than SPM guarantees better salary for his daughter.

And again, I was convinced to do Form 6. Just another one and a half year. See what happens after that. So Form 6 it was, and truth be told, when I first started Form 6, I actually did not know what it meant. I just wanted to make sure I get my ass out of that tedious Science stream and join the very interesting class with History, Bahasa Malaysia and Malay literature being offered. Yes, boring subjects but hey, I had fun in the class, well, except for History. But in the course of the half-year lower six, I realised going to Form 6 means a place in the local university. And slowly, somewhere between having fun in Form 6 and being contented to be able to runaway with the what’s next question, I made up my mind that I’d want to get into university. And study something that in the end, would lead me to the writing field.

Surprisingly, I got quite good result and the rest became history.

Yes, not very ambitious of a person I was or even am.

But ever since then, I’ve always thought that I know what I want to do in life. Or so I thought. I naively assumed that as long as I know what I want to do, time would do the justice for the rest. And because I felt like I wasted my high school life, I vowed to have a different university life. To commit to something. Which, I guess pretty much change a lot the way I see things.

Like, just knowing what you want to do in life is not enough, you’ve got to know how and what you need to do to get there.

And then, I began wanting something different.

Which leads me to probing myself, what do I really want to do in life?

Maybe it’s the hype youth has. Maybe because I’m the youngest and I don’t really have much burden on my shoulders. Maybe it’s just trying to live up to the YOLO spirit. Or maybe simply because I want to explore as much as I could, before finally curling back into reality and responsibilites.

I might not know for sure what will be of me 5 years from now, it could be me chasing after my passion. It could be me with a stable life. Or it could even be me, well, dead.

Remember when I said my parents, they do not expect me to lead a successful life? As long as I am happy, healthy and just fine?

I guess I was wrong. They do have their expectations towards me. A stable and sustainable life, build a family of your own. Consciously or unconsciously, they have these expectations. And I was brought up with this belief and to want exactly that.

But just like some parents expecting their kids to get a college degree and eventually their kids would go “But sorry pops you just got to wait.”

Photo taken: Jeweanne Chew

A day before EGM, my mom told me: “You better not run what President positions or whatnots. Please put things to a rest after you end your term.”

As much as the decision was made myself to not run for LCP, somehow, silently, tears started trickling down after hearing what my mom said to me.

Not because it’s sort of final that I will not be running for LCP, but because it became more of a solid fact that I, as a daughter, I did not communicate well with my mom, my family on what I’ve been doing. And why I’ve been doing so, what I’m looking for. What I want. As much as I appear to be able to fluently communicate with people, I am very much of a person who fails to actually precisely convey my thoughts and feelings to non other than my family or even anyone else. Because I don’t talk. I don’t know how to.

Hearing Chin Lin telling me one night on the way back to hostel about how her mom had told her to just go for it if it’s really what she wants and hearing it again during EGM, and also seeing another friend of mine where his family was there to witness his success in gaining the confidence from his local committee, it spun me around to see it for myself what is it that have always felt missing.

My family’s support that comes with approval.

I have been let to do anything I’d like so far. But support could only go so far when I’ve always fail to let them understand the why of what I’m doing.

Because as far as I could recall, I don’t know if there was any moment that I’ve ever made any of my family proud of me. Or even see me as who I am. Or see me as how other people sees me.

No matter how much I achieve or I could have, it remains a failure when it could not be shared with the ones closest to me.

Now, the million dollar question; Why you did not run for LCP?

I think I owe anyone that have expected me to run for the position a thank you. Thank you for the confidence you have in me. Thank you for seeing that I have such potential. Thank you for believing  in me even when I highly doubted myself.

Thank you to those people who were kind enough to restlessly talk to me be it physically or virtually when I was still in the indecisive phase. Probing me with questions, trying to help me figure things out. Especially Cui Ying who I always run crying to.

But just so we are clear, no, not because my mom did not let me. Yes, support from family of course have contributed to it, but that is not the main reason. You could say that I’m a coward. Oh yes, I’ve been told that. Or you could just say that I know better of myself.

I wouldn’t say I’m sorry that I’ve disappointed people who believed in me, as much as this might sound extremely selfish and maybe a little arrogant, I am not, never was and never will be obligated  to live up to expectations. Because at the end of the day, it’s my decision. I would be sorry should I have succumbed to mere encouragements and pressures to run for the position. But I had not.

It was like back when in Form 4, prior to school start, I swore that I would not want to be in Science stream. But seeing my friends were all in Science stream and seeing how the whole system was, I simply couldn’t bring myself to switch class. But when in Form 6, I simply knew it wasn’t about friends or ego anymore, and I had to get my ass out of Science stream.

My guts told me so, my heart told me so.

As much as I think running for the position could shape me in a way that I could not imagine, but my instincts told me, no, it really isn’t something you want.

And I just have to trust myself.

I don’t know what would be next. But before I begin leaping off my comfort zone, I guess I have to make sure my family is comfortable with me out of my comfort zone. And I need to learn how to communicate with them.

I just hope I do not appear unrealistic to them. I guess, it’s a learning process that everyone goes through.

A process of creating yourself.

Scribbled,

Mich.

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