Silence

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The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.

More often than not, people engage in self-blaming & I am no less guilty than others of it. But recently after some conversations, I realised that my self-blame has been … impeding/restricting myself to a point where it isn’t healthy. Many things will take a wrong turn in life, there are some instances which we might really have been able to avoid, but what about those where the fault clearly doesn’t lie on our end?

Maybe sometimes we can only see the truth about ourselves if someone shows us where to look.

But it all boils down to the “what-ifs” yet again. And it doesn’t help that something so significant to me met with a screw-up, which resulted in failure. Maybe it’s my refusal to process it, maybe it’s my subconscious trying to deny the fact that it isn’t my fault. Maybe it’s just me trying to convince myself that I could have done more/better, so that I don’t feel as guilty to them. Maybe I didn’t have the right words, maybe I offended them unknowingly, maybe maybe maybe. And what if, I had the chance to do it all over again? How would I have done it differently? I honestly don’t know.

You don’t have to be good all the time. It’s okay to be hurt sometimes.
It’s okay to feel lost like you’re wandering around in the dark.
It’s the bad days that make the good ones so much better.
-Brittainy C. Cherry

Tired. Incredibly tired this time round.

x

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Wilderness Explorers

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If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.
Walter Isaacson

Last weekend was spent in ECP for YB Adventure Camp 2016, and I’m finally having the time to document my experience/journey down properly.

I’ll admit that it didn’t go as smoothly as I intended/expected. I’ll attribute it partially to my fatigue … it was difficult for me to get into the camp mode. And because of the significance that YB AC has to me, I’ll admit that I have very high expectations of it. When we first got into our teams & as I facilitated the creation of our group name/identity, it was so so challenging. But I’m glad. Team Fire really grew a lot, from the first moments together as a team, to when I had to leave on the second night 🙂

This camp taught me a lot, it opened my eyes to many different things & perspectives that I never considered before. This camp, I realised I was interacting with my youths from a somewhat social work-ish perspective; don’t get me wrong – I didn’t view them as Clients. But I realised how intentional I was in balancing the group dynamics, & the kind of words that I used. Call this yet another form of experiential learning? 🙂

Stayed up for the entire first night doing sentry duty, must have been insane but genuinely wanted the rest to get more sleep since I was only staying for 2 days only. It’s so therapeutic to lay on the groundsheet out in the open, staring up into the star-filled sky 🙂 And when dawn was nearing, I went to sit at the shore with 2 of my youths, and we just sat there looking at the sky light up. In that moment, everything in life felt like it fell into place, everything felt right, nothing else really mattered or bothered me anymore. There’s something so addictively calming about the sky, be it sunrise or sunset 🙂 Sitting in silence, pondering over my life and thinking through so many things, I would say that I cleared my mind. Not by a lot, but at least it’s something. We even witnessed a rainbow, how lucky are we? 🙂 Haven’t felt such peace & calm in a long while.

On the second morning, there was a crazy thunderstorm. Our pegged down tents started to   fly away (almost), we braved the thunderstorm to save the items in the tents. And this, marked the start of the turning point of the camp for our youths. This, somehow made our youths get their act together, they were not as idle as before, they started to be even more appreciative. I wasn’t hoping for any of such effects – I genuinely wanted everyone (& their belongings) to be safe & sound, because what’s more important than that right? 🙂

At the beach, I stood by the sea alone, while my team was building a sandcastle for one of the activities. I allowed the waves crash into my feet & I just pondered over how the past two days have been in the camp. Could I have done anything differently to make the experience better for my team? Were there any instances where I should have picked something up but failed to notice? Was it my fault that the youths just seemed disinterested at times during the camp? I was honestly upset then. Upset at myself, confused at the entire situation, and I was on the brink of giving up any hope. And in that moment, marked the turning point of the camp for me. Team Fire was supposed to explain & test out their sandcastle, and they called me to listen to their description. Which really touched me a lot, because at the core of their sandcastle stood a castle that represented me, and they expressed their thankfulness & how they so willingly considered me as part of Team Fire. I was really, really touched then. As cliché as it may sound, it was like the light at the end of the tunnel, when I was being so down & all, they gave me the strength to carry on 🙂

Team Fire isn’t one that’s keen for debriefing/reflections. And I found it a struggle throughout, to try to get them to share properly. & this struggle continued till the last debrief I conducted with them on the second night. They took it seriously albeit it being filled with laughter, and in that moment as we laid on the groundsheet in the semi-darkness, everything felt right again for me 🙂

Many things happened in this camp, I wouldn’t deny it. We had youth falling sick, getting injured/hurt till the point of crying, we had youths feeling angry/upset and caused tension to be present in the camp. This camp might not have been perfect, but it’s these little imperfections that made our youths learn & grow together. What’s the point of a camp that’s smooth sailing anyway? I’m so honoured, and more than glad, to have been participating in this camp alongside my youths.

Pretty bittersweet now that it’s over, hoping to be able to attend my 4th YB Camp next year, but who knows? Nothing is certain. Nevertheless … Thank you for such a memorable YB Adventure Camp 2016. And happy 2-year anniversary to me with ’em YR youths hehe 🙂

 

Till the next time x

Les Cauchemars

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No matter how interminable something feels, there is always, always an ending. Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes it’s bad; sometimes it’s a matter of indifference, and sometimes it’s heartbreaking, and your life is never the same thereafter.
-Ann Aguirre

Temporary freedom // brief liberation; feels sooooo good. Never realised how crazy & hectic the past semester has been, dealing with so many different matters, it’s amazing how I’m still surviving but yay there can be miracles 🙂

Finals have been a full 10 hours worth of essay writing . . . it’s pretty insane, not exactly sure how I’ll fare, but I guess I tried my best (okay maybe for all but the last mod LOL), hope the results wouldn’t be too shocking whoopsies. The conclusion of finals marks the end of my life as a Year 3, and Year 3 has been an insane year, but I’m glad for all the decisions made. Next challenge: Social Work Placement. Really skeptical about my abilities to perform as a Social Work student, and the pre-placement jitters have been growing ugh. Don’t think it can be comforted by words like “you’ll be able to do it” or “you’re worrying too much” – don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate the reassurances, but this time it’s just . . . different? Mixed feelings about first day of placement next Monday, all the best to those embarking on their first placement too 🙂

Before I Wake is such a nice (horror) movie, both for its plot & learning points it has to offer 🙂 *potential spoilers alert please skip this para if you wanna avoid spoilers* It was so coincidental that the movie had so many Social Work themes/references in it, like foster care/child protection services/trauma/support group etc, which made the movie a tad bit more enjoyable for me tbh 🙂 Those references aside, it tells the story of this special gift of a lil’ boy. Something interesting about the movie was the portrayal of nightmares – nightmares may merely be a surface defence mechanism of people that have underlying unresolved problems/issues/matters that they aren’t able to let go of hmm. My heart really broke for the lil’ boy when the full story was revealed – how much pain should a child be allowed to go through at such a tender young age? 😦 Pretty sure the lil’ boy’s predicament is common in the world (sans the gift he has), sigh. Sometimes prevention isn’t an option, and so what if the treatment they get is top-notch or whatever? Bottomline, the damage has already been done, and it’s irreversible.

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All that talk about how “tough times don’t last, but tough people do” really makes a lot of sense, but sometimes when you’re just deep in this abyss of inner conflict, it gets difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But nevertheless, sometimes, it’s these little reassurances along the way that makes all the difference 🙂 At least, I’m able to seek comfort in words of such empathy. And sometimes, maybe it’s the comfort, and not a solution that I’m seeking for.

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
-Ernest Hemingway

Re-evaluating certain aspects of my life and it hasn’t been a very pleasant one. Sometimes, circumstances force things to happen/be in place, but upon removal of these circumstances, it’s all too easy for things to fall apart. Which makes me wonder, how many friendships do I have currently are friends of convenience? What’ll happen if the bond that holds us together gets removed from the equation – will we regress back to being strangers again? Strangers with memories, boy isn’t that the saddest thing in the world.

& truth be told, I’m beyond terrified for what’s to come in the near future. Perhaps the inevitable’s coming sooner than expected, and I’m not sure if I’m ready to face it yet.

x

Little Talks

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We shelter an angel within us. We must be the guardian of that angel.

Procrastination at its best despite having a paper tomorrow & I am far from being prepped . . . the lack of motivation for this module is legit haha. Currently only 20% done with finals & I’ve so many friends who are done/gonna be done/more than halfway through already sigh this sucks. It’s only gonna get worse next week when everyone’s in post finals mode and nope, finals only end next Thursday for me ugh.

Feeling angsty/sian these days really easily it’s not good gosh. But for good reason I suppose? And the amount of ambiguity and issues and pent-up frustrations in my life has been overwhelmingly insane what’s going on in my life???? And also feeling pretty meh about not going for OMAM/Damien Rice concerts when they hit the town, nobody to go with/not sure if I have work haha daaaaamn what a bummer.

‘ve been listening to quite a few songs these days that aren’t helping my mood/situation, I guess this is what people mean when they talk about feeding negativity with more negativity, it’s a vicious cycle that you wouldn’t want to step out of. Kinda really apologetic to those who listen to my never-ending vents whoopsies but thanks guys y’all are the best thanks for always checking in on me randomly to make sure I’m still surviving/sane/alive *virtual hug* 🙂 Okay gross.

Kinda need to regulate my sleep cycle before placement starts, not helpful at all if I’m gonna be sleeping past 4 in the morning everyday whoooops. Late nights do serve as a good platform for therapeutic thinking, but engaging in too much of such might serve as a deterrence from accepting reality hmm. Go figure. Anywaaaaaay, read so many random articles today that are really thought provoking, ranging from articles about torturing mentally ill prisoners to the controversy of kindness to even talking about reevaluating empathy hmm. And also the article about child protection work/services in SG that G shared (hi there HAHA), with the increasing prevalence of articles related to our work, it really makes you think a lotttttt more. Kinda wanna discuss about my thoughts on all ’em articles I read today but it’s finals period & I don’t wanna disturb anyone more than I already have so, self-discussion shall suffice I guess. Anyone up for discussion lemme know though hee.

To sum my life up these days:

It’s just so out of control. Life, I mean. The way it flies off in all these different directions without your permission. – Sara Zarr

Till the next time, all the best to everyone fighting battles (be it finals or not) x