Saturday, October 20, 2012

          I don't think I'll be able to bring myself to promote this post on my Facebook by the time I'm finished writing it. I'll be too embarrassed of what I've written to consciously have the relevant people read it. But somehow I'm okay with possibility that they'll find this post by themselves, without my help, and read it, knowing that it mentions them.
          I don't know how I got to where I am now, but I couldn't have asked for a better way to turn 20. I was so sure it was going to be the most miserable birthday I've ever had that I had tried eradicating any indicator of my birthday. This included hiding my date of birth on Facebook and strictly instructing my parents not to do anything out of the ordinary for me this month. Figured that if my life was gonna suck, I didn't want to remember it was sucking on my birthday.
          The biggest reason for such critical angst now was that my treatment of myself, as a result of my commitment to others, had finally reached a very visible status of abuse. I had deprived myself of health, pleasure, and most importantly my attention. To the point that I was sick and all I wanted for my birthday was to stay home. Alone. In silence. And peace. The problem was, I absolutely couldn't. I had to leave Bangkok, and of all possible reasons why, the worst: to debate. It's the one part of my life that probably gives me the most headache and heartache. I cried four separate times the day I was to get on a night bus with about 80 other people to Khon Kaen (Northeastern Thailand) for the tournament. I felt childish for crying because I wanted something I couldn't have that badly. At that moment I also hated my personality for being so introverted, so scornful, and ironically so goddamn responsible to others. For 5 out of the 7 busride hours, I hid myself under a sad iPod playlist and the guise of sleeping.
          The blessing of my curse of responsibleness however is that when it comes time to perform I never give less than my all. My team shined throughout the tournament. The greatest bit about it was that we were the discarded of our institution. No one cared about us. We were treated as the other teams' punching bag, summoned to training sessions only to test out their purchased or otherwise externally acquired cases. Moreover, as a team of 3 communication arts majors, we were always labelled the "dumb blondes" per se. Perhaps it was never seriously meant, but it has always stung. To be able to debunk all those criticisms by doing nothing but excel in the tournament - on our own wits - was incredibly empowering
          On October 15th, I gave possibly the best debate speech I've ever given. I was in support of LGBTQ rights, justifying the allowance of LGBTQ schools in our society. By the time I was done, the opposition's institution could not help but cheer for my team. I'll never forget the eyes of the audience looking back at me. There were children, adults, and some in-between-aged in that room. And in a rare occasion, all of them demonstrated that they were listening, understanding, and being persuaded. It was a golden moment, and I suddenly, for the first time since arriving there, appreciated being where I was, doing what I was doing.
        To skip to the ending, my team really only lost one thing in the tournament: the cup. The loss is incomparable to all the things we had won by the end. We made history for our institution (and our faculty) by reaching the grand finals. We beat teams that were ranked higher than us - multiple times. We had the highest win margin out of all teams. I made top 10 best speakers.  We made real friendships (though some based on common enemies). We proved those who said we couldn't wrong. And most importantly we won the love and respect of those who watched us. 
        To top it all off, I ultimately failed at forgetting my birthday. I blame my sentimental but respectfully subtle parents, a grand hall of debaters singing happy birthday, and a few amazing friends for this. Not only that, the happiness doesn't seem to be over yet. I'm back in Bangkok now, back to the boring life of a 2nd year university student you could say; yet there were so many pleasant surprises today which happen to be attributed to the fact that I was born two decades ago. It feels taboo to say so, but today was a perfect day. My friends managed to get me the most meaningful gifts. A little philosophy: a thoughtful present is one you can give to no one else but the one who you intended it for. Here's where I hope one of you stumbles across in this blog: I can be considered handicapped at displaying my true emotions in public, so I want to say that you guys made me feel so loved today by all the little things you did for me that I can't be convinced to hate myself right now. 
        Lastly, I did even get what I had originally wanted for my birthday too. I got my time to myself. My moment of peace. That was tonight. Sitting in a dark room among strangers, watching a movie I had waited so long for. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The story of my life. At this time, I am infinite.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Real Time Update No.1

Taking a short (short I swear, Aim and New!) study break to update about where I am and what I'm doing. I'm at Too Fast To Sleep on this gray-skied but not-raining Saturday. It's this 24 hour study-cafe across the street from my university. Pretty popular place for students here. The atmosphere is cozy, designed for book worms and hipsters no doubt. The drinks and snacks are pretty good too. So far today I've had hot peach tea, hot chocolate with condensed milk, and a peach smoothie - which is making me really cold now. I've been here with Aim and New since 8:30 and it's 4 in the afternoon right now. I think we're all on our third drink. 

Oh, Kasif has just arrived. Looks like he got a haircut. 
Now Peach is here. "Peach" now appears in this post 4 times. Cool. I like peach (5), obviously.