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a living paradox

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I thought I knew you. I thought you were a friend. But that was low. Real low. To actually hear it from someone else. And from an email at that. With the  If you needed something from me tell me clearly. If I think it's unreasonable I'll turn it down. And no I won't budge if you expect me to spoon feed and walk you through every single minute detail. If you have a problem with that tell me. I don't appreciate receiving vaguely worded email from a higher authority specifying unclear details on lack of information and me cutting corners. 

Yeah no thanks.

And thanks for the reminder for me not to blab on about something if I know you disagree/does not share the same sentiments. We're all enemies in away here jostling for the same prize. I shouldn't place trust on we rise and sink together.

Thanks for the wake up call.

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I'm watching a show centered around a group of friends flashing back from their high school years to the present. The show introduced the concept of D-Day. As a review of the show succintly puts it
The D-Day concept was one of my favorites because it encapsulates that thing you always do when you're young - you put all your expectations into one day, one event, one moment that will change everything.
After 4 "big" life decisions from high school till college till beyond. Each one to me is still D-Day. The choice I believe will decide my life. If I make the wrong choice I'll doomed for failure and the correct one to a path of glory. I overanalyze it. I agonized about it. I'll try to read the tea leaves and be logical about it. Debate every pro with a rebuttal. 

And here I am again on another life and death decision. One that will set me on x years of success or failure. But why at this stage is everything still a matter of life and death? 

I'm afraid of falling. Of choosing that path that will lead me to fall off a cliff. How will I climb back again. Will I pull myself out?

When I analogize this to a friend with The Dark Knight Returns when Bruce falls into the hole. He needed a leap of faith to climb out of the hole. Said friend pointed out for me my leap of faith will be jumping into the hole in the first place. Touche.

Getting over a fear is by confronting it. But I'm afraid of jumping in knowingly (and it might not even be that deep possibly). Can someone just push me already?
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When I was a wee young'un, I was afraid of the dark. For the longest time as a kid, I kept the light on the bedside table on. 
I got over it eventually since it's what big kids do. Then I was afraid of heights. There was this awesome 3 level high monkey bars. I was the uncool kid who didn't dare climb to the top because I was afraid of heights. I think I'm less afraid of it now. I could do rappelling with only a harness to support me. How far I've come from the kid who can't climb the monkey bar?

I was afraid of the dark because I don't know what I can't see. And I can't see in the dark.

I was afraid of heights because I don't like the feeling of having both feet on the ground. I don't like being uncertain and potentially falling.

I talked about choices and 2 paths diverging. And I relish the choice and picking an unconventional choice. But I'm afraid of choices. Choices are uncertain because you can't see the end. Making a choice requires being responsible of oneself of one falls.

My childhood phobia is rooten in the fear of uncertainty and falling. With nothing to worry as a coddled kid it manifested as a fear of darkness (unknown) and heights (potential falling).

I guess I never out grew these fears?
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If you're the only one who care. You do the plans. You do the leg work. You stretch yourself thin to hold it all together. 

Sometimes you wonder if it's worth it anymore?

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We always see people around us with rose tinted glasses. And felt like a failure. Or injustice. Or jealousy. But don't judge before knowing what they went through. They might have gone through fire and hell drenched in blood and sweat to get where they are. If you've given the same choice they did will you have been able to do the same to get where they are now?

So don't judge. Behind every seemingly perfect world has their fair share of heartbreaks and tears.

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Since a kid, I've always thought you were the smarter kid. You did better than me in math and science. You were better in English with a bigger vocab and read difficult adult books while I read tween novels. You solve all those complex puzzle games I never could do. All those board games we had at home, you beat me the majority of the time in every single one of them. As a kid, I felt my only advantage was being a girl and thus a less difficult kid to raise. 

We went our separate ways in secondary school. It was my choice. At least now I don't have to get subconsciously compared all the time. You became a fish in a big pond while I was a similarly-sized-fish in a much smaller pond. No longer on the same scale, I worked hard to do well. And I did. I always felt you never worked as hard but you did reasonably well and that kept them happy. Proud of your achievements while mine they were happy for but less than yours.

I think things changed when I left and you stayed. We couldn't really be compared any longer. Different systems, different places. We  hardly see each other any more. But no matter how you dice it, being offered to go to study was a measure of good and it was a source of pride to relatives and friends. You ended up doing well in your last year better than you've ever done and what they thought you could muster. You even hid it from them wanting it to be a surprise. I remember tattling it out unknowingly. You choose to go abroad. I did eventually too when I got out. And from there on our path completely diverged.

So recently I heard you resented me. That I was better provided and I did better. They said I had the better luck. I said I worked for it.   The first crossroad was the ultimatum I set for myself. We both knew they won't let us make another choice otherwise. I remember needing to convince them to even let me apply. The work the last couple of years paid off for me to get selected for the test. Doing well enough to get selected and leaving all in less than 3 weeks. How I wished I had more time to have a break. The beginning was tough. You miss the fall back of home. You feel you're behind and know less than the locals. It was even harder knowing all the fun you're missing out from home. Going abroad for college, I remembered it was difficult to convince them. They were very much oppose to it. It was too expensive when I have fine options for a fraction of the cost. I did my research on my own. Figured out the requirements. Gave my arguments before they relented. I always felt you going abroad was simpler while I had to earn it. I went to college and ended with a happy ending. I took more than was needed and I started earlier than others. I did my investigation and did what I had to do to get a leg up. I had my fair share of disappointments and rejection and put in effort to get what I got. Sure, they provided me more for college. Tuition and living expense was higher after all. But you probably didn't know the last few semesters it wasn't quite enough to cover tuition and living costs. I worked while in school and used my summer earnings. I always felt you were better provided by not having to worry about such details.

So don't resent me. When I picked my way, I seized the things I could do and worked on it. That made the later options appear and viable.
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My grades were always pretty good all the way back in primary school. However, I remembered failing a science exam in standard 4 or standard 5. I remembered it being in the mid-40s range. Standard 6 was the year of UPSR and where schools and parents obsessed on how well you do (affects reputation for the school and for the parents its a silly exam all parents buy into). I was in the one of the brightest of the bright class in school and the hope of the school pinned on us. During the last couple of months before the actual exam, we had multiple version of the mock exams. I consistently scored around the 70s range and was one of the students with the worst grade in the class. The teacher did the talk with me to make sure I did better.

I can't remember much my parents reaction on my grades. I do however remember an incident when after seeing my grades my dad remarked to my mom "I guess she won't be going into the science stream in the future". That quote stayed with me for the longest time.

I eventually did well in the UPSR. And off I went to secondary school. There we learnt proper science with biology and chemistry and actual math like calculus and geometry and the likes. I can't remember if I naturally liked those subjects but I was determined too. It was the starting path to do the science stream. I spent a lot of time on those few subjects. Them always being the first homework I do and prepare for in exams. And as they say the rest is history.
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One year ago on this day was my first day as a full time employee some where. No more an intern but someone whose expected to pay taxes for the rest of my life and can't really fallback on my parents expense wise anymore.

A lot has happened yet not much seemed to have happened.
Graduation feels like a lifetime ago yet it's not that long ago.

Maybe time seem to pass slower now?

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最近看完了一本小说。毫无曲折的故事,很简单, 很平淡。看完了,看了一些书评。以下从其中看到的。
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I'm reading the news and came upon the term "commodification of childhood" recently. It was how parents are spending increasing sums of money to build a kid's childhood. Lavish birthday parties, sports and the like. I think this is only for an American childhood. When I see the term I think of rampant tuitions and the typically multi-art lessons that Asian parents prize. It got me thinking of my childhood.

A quarter century into this world, childhood is far enough that it seems but a distant dream. I've never been a person to remember events well. When we have gatherings and such, I was never the one to remember "This thing happened and so and so did this and such a thing occured". I'll be the one sitting silently envisioning the past by listening to everyone's recollections. It makes for some awkward situation. Once L said "I remember you guy used to hate me". "Really?". "Yeah, because I used to study too much". "I thought I was always the one who studied too much". "No this was way in the beginning". Long long long pause. "I think I kinda have some recollections of it". I digress. I don't recollect much of junior college or secondary school or *gasp* primary school. I couldn't even remember what junior college graduation was like. Or the prom. Or the many birthday celebrations we did. I couldn't remember what I did in secondary school or why I left. And primary school? I can't even remember most of the people. 

Somehow despite my bad memory of everything else in the past, I do pretty clearly remember the playground I used to go to as a kid. 2 blocks from my house. With a jungle gym. Which I was too afraid to climb as a kid and will run away because I was too ashamed to say I'm afraid of heights (I learned a trick to deal with it growing up and able to now deal with crazy roller costers!). With huge pieces of rock that we were proud of when we could finally climb on top of them. I can't remember what we did there though I remembered seeing my first ever lady bird there. With a stray dog which I can't remember the name off but it was female and had yellow fur. And all the kids around the area took care of. Of learning to ride a bike there. It was fun times. I haven't visited the playground for years and years and all through high school and junior college. I visited it again one time during college. The jungly gym which I remembered was as tall as 2 stories high was much shorter in reality. The rocks that was so hard to climb I is only as tall as me. 

So all in all I guess my childhood is suitable for fluffy cloud borders with sunshine.
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