Photo: Jonathan Rados
One step forward, three steps backwards. Sometimes that’s just how life be like.
I eat healthy. I exercise. I’ve found a full-time job. I seem to have everything I need. Yet something just seems wrong.
I keep looking back to see if there’s a particular event I can put the blame on, but this dark cloud hovering over my head seems to have followed me for as long as I can remember.
We all grow out of things like these, don’t we? Isn’t angst supposed to be like asthma? Something debilitating at the moment that you forget once enough time passes?
Photo: Noah Busch
Sometimes you try and you try, but all you get for your troubles is falling face-first into the dirt. I remember the first time I had felt hopeless. I was six years into my hairdressing career when I realised I didn’t want to have six-day workweeks anymore.
But change didn’t come easy. I had no other skills, and back then, job-search portals were few and far in between, seeing as to how the first iPhone hadn’t even launched yet.
Photo: Remi Jacquaint
I’d like to think I have a universal face. That’s probably the reason why people tend to speak to me in their mother tongue at first meet. I’ve been mistaken for a Filipino, Thai, even Vietnamese, but I seldom get people speaking to me in Chinese, which actually makes up half of what I am.
As a result, what’s supposed to be just a transactional conversation often turns into a tactical decision. Should I continue speaking to them in Malay, or do I reply in Chinese and risk a follow-up conversation that I don’t have the energy for?
Photo: Nik Shuliahin
“You’re fine,” she said.
“Yeah. You did some work this week right? So I’d say you’re not clinical.” She put her clipboard away, the one that she’d scribbled intently on as I spoke. I wondered if she missed out the part when I said I only wrote two sentences this week.
What about Anthony Bourdain? I thought. He worked his ass off. So did Hemingway. Since when did work have to do with feelings? Then I felt guilty for even having the thought to compare myself to the greats.
Photo: Ben Blennerhassett
It’s 4 a.m. and I’m sweating bullets. I woke up ten minutes ago with the surety that I was going to die. I leap out of bed, run downstairs, almost pass out from the effort, then crash on the couch.
Am I having a heart attack? Is there an underlying disease here? Am I going to die?
I’d had similar episodes like this before, but not this bad. Those with hypoglycaemia would understand—the way strength drains out your body, the cold that creeps into your bones, your heart almost beating its way out your chest…