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A Rush Of Blood

once you walk through a storm

Finally, time to update this godforsaken blog. I’ve neglected this bloggy of mine so, so much, because of burdensome A levels which sucked my time and my energy out of me, to the point that I can only think of homework, tests, schoolwork and studying, leaving no time to tend to anything else, such as blogging.

I remembered writing a post here, a year ago, spilling my dread on the start of As. I dreaded the year that was coming ahead because I know what was to come, I know that it would be a very difficult and gruelling journey, yet a journey I must make, because, well, I chose the JC path, and it is inevitable that I would have to face the big A someday. But, I also know that it is a journey I have to make, a hurdle I have to overcome, because that’s the only way I can ever progress and be better, academia wise. I have to overcome this, I have to go through this, it’s the only way.

It’s just that, while I knew that it would be tough, I didn’t expect it to be so damn difficult.

I studied 10-12 hours every single day. Every single day after I come home from school, I did not sit down in front of the television and rested the night away or took the night off. (I could count with one hand the number of nights off I took). I stayed back in school to study, till 9pm/8pm on some days and when I got home, I CONTINUED. My weekends were spent on homework/tests/revision till I had no time for anything else, because when I was finally done or when I finally forced myself to stop because my brain couldn’t take it any longer, I was so tired, mentally tired till I couldn’t be bothered doing anything else. I made sacrifices, LOADS OF THEM. I remembered having to sacrifice family outings, friend outings, cuzzie outings, forced them to reschedule till I finish this journey so that I will be free to do the things that I really wanted. Heck, I sacrificed doing the thing I enjoyed most – reading and writing – because of A levels. 

Now that wasn’t so bad.

The expectations that came with each test/examination were worse. I had my fair share of happiness and I had my fair share of depressions. But both, were equally bad. Because with each A/B/C I got, teachers start to expect. They would pin hopes on me. They would see the potential in me, they would see that I can do well, that I can make them proud. But no, because with each expectation comes fear. You see, to me, screwing up your exams/tests gives you the drive to move on, to get up, to figure out what is wrong and get better so you won’t face that feeling of uselessness and powerlessness anymore. But the feeling of maintaining what you had excelled in, maintaining your A/B/C, that is so very difficult. You cannot screw up, you cannot make mistakes because when you make mistakes, teachers start to get worried, you will get worried and you might just lose faith in yourself because you could do it then, but you couldn’t do it now, so what happened to you?

And then there was the pain of disappointment, the pain of feeling hopeless, the pain that all your hardwork was for nothing. I was a hardworking student, I was very hardworking. So I put my 101% in each subject, I was too scared to neglect even one subject. But I wasn’t smart, so it was possible that I failed in a certain exam. And that feeling that comes, I would remember it: the feeling that you screwed up, despite working so hard, the feeling of “well it’s all for nothing”, that feeling is oh so overwhelmingly painful and depressing. (and I pray with all my hard that I will never face that pain on my A level result day because it will break me).

But the scariest of all was the anxiety attacks. I worried constantly that I wasn’t living up to my standards, because the pressure from my teachers, oh you can feel it alright. The pressure from myself? I exerted that on myself, hence the anxiety attacks. The panic pangs you get before exams, such that I had to force myself to calm down. The over thinking was the worst. I would over think so many things, and my mind would sometimes drift off to a far away place, such that I thought I might lose myself.

You may think, A levels was so drastic for you??? Honestly, I didn’t know it myself, I thought well, I just had to study 24/7 non-stop. I too don’t know why it was so tough for me, so difficult for me. Not everyone would have gone through exactly the same things as I did because well, no 2 people are alike and our situations may have been completely different. Of course, I know that I had a difficulty handling stress, I always do. So maybe that’s why my experience was so drastic. But I do know other people too faced problems, maybe I don’t know exactly what those problems were, or if they could handle it well, but I am sure they had them as well. I’m just sharing this on my blog to get it out of my system. If you just happen to read this and you’re sitting for As next year, or any other year, or even considering the JC path altogether and you get terrified, don’t be. This was my experience, it doesn’t necessarily have to be yours if you know how to deal with. And as with every storm that passes by, it will pass. It is always darkest before the dawn, but you will get through it. You always do.

I used to think, how did all my sisters, cousins and seniors get through this gruelling journey? But after getting past it, I learned one important thing, you just do. Day by day you keep on doing what you’re doing, and it’ll be over, eventually. No matter how long or tiring this journey gets, you will survive, you will finish it and you will overcome this hurdle, like how I did mine. I’m a survivor because I finished my A levels. I started my A level examination when the examiner said “you can begin now” on my first ever paper which was on 3rd November 2014 and I ended it when the examiner said “stop writing” on my very last paper on the 20th November 2014.

Will I ever forget this journey? Will I ever forget the stress, the anxiety, the sleepless nights? I don’t think all these will ever leave me, and I don’t think stress, panic attacks, nervous pangs will ever leave me either, because it’s embedded in my nature (face it I’m not a yolo, heck care, take it easy kind of person). But I do know this; when stress and anxiety attacks comes knocking on my door, I can face them better now, I can manage them better now, because A levels taught me how to. A levels may have been an academic examination, but it has taught me life lessons, important life lessons, essential ones.

And if you’d ask me, is this journey worth making, did I regret it? I would’ve replied you, with the utmost conviction that no I did not regret it, at all. The rush of blood you’ll feel after the end of the last paper that makes you a tad bit light-headed, the euphoria you’ll feel, the state of shock, “is this really over?”, is unforgettable.

A levels was difficult; yet I survived it, I can make it through anything now. 

xoxo,

ShabiraBasheer 🙂

Apparently okay is a new flirting word.

Hello World!

2014.

I am still alive.

Wish me luck.

For this journey is gonna be a gruelling one.

Either I just come up with a 4-lined poem that sucks terribly or I just felt like writing those sentences in different lines. The latter perhaps.

Ohkay so I actually bought this book and I read it within 3 days and I was initially going to type out an excerpt from the book which I liked the most but in the midst of typing it out, it somehow got erased and I felt real irritated coz it’s 1.13am. So I might just leave out typing the excerpt to another blogpost, sometime later haha.

Well, ohkies the book is a bestseller. It’s blue, white and black. It’s about two sick people falling in love. The story is sad. Loads of people have read it (it seems like I’m one of the few individuals that’s left in the world who did not pick up the book), it’s gonna be made into a motion picture.

Yeah you’ve probably guessed it by now haha.

John-Green-The-Fault-In-Our-Stars

It’s truly an incredible read. Humour was interwoven with tragedy, so you’ll laugh amidst your tears. The characters were beautifully developed and they were so raw and human. I thought Augustus Waters was some perfect and sexy guy every girl dreamed of having, but nope he had his flaws. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll stay up late to finish this one, and when you finally turned over the last page, you’ll end up experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Just staring into space, wondering how a book can screw up your emotions so badly, wondering how you got so lucky, still trapped into the character’s lives. It’s gonna take me some time to move on from Hazel’s world and into the world I am in now aka reality.

Humorous and tragic, it talks about love, friendship and leaving a mark (no not a mark, a scar) not on the universe, but on those whom you loved 🙂

Pick it up if you haven’t guys. And if you did, YAY I AM FINALLY INTO THE-FAULT-IN-OUR-STARS FANDOM 😀

xoxo,
ShabiraBasheer 🙂

Goodbye 2013, go away 2014.

Goodbye 2013.

It’s 29th December 2013. In two days time, we’ll be ushering in the new year and hearing/reading lots of “HAPPY NEW YEAR” from virtually everywhere. Well, first off twitter’s gonna be spammed with countless Happy-New-Year’s tweets. Urgh. And Facebook. And the newspapers. And maybe even the tv news gonna be wishing its viewers happy new year as well. All these while I’ll be thinking “can you guys not….”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some self-obsessed pessimist here who sees the negative in everything. Well, ohkies maybe I turned just a tad that this year. No, but the real problem here is I dread 2014. Coz it’s the year I turn j2. And j2 means A Levels. And A Levels means the deepest levels of academic hell. I don’t need to be in depression to know that 2014’s gonna suck, horribly. I don’t need to be some pessimist to know that 2014’s gonna be the year where I’ll breakdown, maybe alot of times. 2014’s gonna be the year where I’ll probably have to study the hardest I’ve ever studied in my entire life. And it’s the year where I’ll feel this perpetual state of tiredness. That year’s gonna make or break me, my future. I’ll either do well in As and get into the dream university and the dream course I’ve always wanted to go since secondary school. Where my future’s gonna be brighter than my computer screen. Or, my future’s gonna be like this black-holed vacuum that’s endless and leading to nowhere. I refuse to think of the latter that much.

Yeah, so I understand the brevity of A Levels coz I’ve seen what it’s like to screw up your As. Your future is literally turned into some darkened street. All your dreams of becoming a doctor or a lawyer are going to be shattered, like broken glass. I’ve seen it, I’ve witnessed it, I’ve heard stories of it. I’ve heard people say how their j2 year was the worst year of their academic life. That they were not the same persons they were at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year.

But I do know this.

They survived through it. My sisters, they made it through. My cousins, they made it through. My seniors, they made it through.

So although some psyschological trauma may be inflicted (ohkay I sound as though I’m being reaped into the Hunger Games), they still made it through, pretty much in one-piece. So if they can do it, so can I.

You know how when you’re standing under the block when it’s raining so heavily, waiting for the rain to subside so you won’t atleast be so wet or fall sick or something like that? But you realize that you can’t just keep standing under that HDB block forever. Surely you would have to dash across the road and reach to the next shelter right? Do you then take tentative steps forward, afraid that as you dash across, a bolt of lightning will suddenly flash and it might strike you? Or do you prepare yourself, crack a few knuckles (ohkay I am exaggerating), flex your muscles and then just go. Just dash across while thinking “YOLO YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE”. Either way you are going to reach to the nearest shelter you can find, drenched I guess. But it’s not the destination that counts. It’s the attitude you adopted when you were preparing to dash across, without the umbrella. Do you dread and feel scared of the rain? Or do you face it squarely and bravely?

Ohkay that was kinda a bad analogy but the point I’m transmitting out is clear;

I do have a choice as to how I want to face the rain though. And I think I’ll pick the latter. I think I’ll face it bravely, and say “BRING IT ON”. I may not know this yet, but I think how your thinking’s gonna be will affect how you dash across that road and reach your end point. Because when you face it bravely, you’re not going to let the rain creep up on your mind, you’re not going to think that the rain’s gonna hurt you. Similarly, if I face A Levels bravely on its face, I won’t let the fear of screwing it up rule over me. Instead, I’ll only think of ways on how to own the papers and how to achieve my dreams. And I guess that’s the first step to ace-ing your As? I dunno haha.

I’ll have friends and my family to encourage me on, I’ll be the one to encourage my friends to go on, I’ll be the one who breaks down and needs some form of encouragement as well. But I guess I’ve gotta face it anyways. And I’ve got a choice on how I want to face it.

The Storyteller

My father trusted me with the details of his death. ‘Ania,’ he would say, ‘no whiskey at my funeral. I want the finest blackberry wine. I don’t want a summer funeral, Ania,’ he would say. ‘Make sure instead I die on a cool day, when there’s a nice breeze.’ I would pretend to take note of his requests. I didn’t mind the macabre conversation; my father was far too strong for me to believe any of these requests of his would ever come to pass. My father trusted me with the details of his death… but in the end, I was too late.

I just finished reading Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller. All I can say is it’s been long, it’s been very long, since I’ve last read such a good book. You know how some books become your bestest friends when you’re reading them? Those books where you carry around with you everywhere you go, even if it’s just having a little dinner with your family outside, because you would want to read it whenever it’s possible. Those books where you can just slip into the character’s worlds so easily because you feel a connection to them? Those books where you just can’t stop reading?

And when you finally finish the book, it’s as if your bestest friend is gone. It’s as if a part of you has been torn apart, and there’s an empty hole in your heart. You would have to go by days before you pick up another book again, because you’re still trapped in the world of the previous story you’ve just read.

Yes, The Storyteller was like that for me.

It follows the story of Sage Singer, of Minka and of Josef Weber. Josef Weber has committed a murder, and he wishes to seek forgiveness for Sage. But, it’s not just any murder. It’s a murder that was apalling, that was horrible, that was condemned, that made you question if humanity still exists.

The World War 2 Jewish genocide.

Minka was a Jewish survivor and the story that Jodi Picoult weaved was just so realistic and horrible yet so amazing at the same time. It broke my heart to learn how the Jewish were really treated. Truth is, Jodi Picoult weaved Minka’s story based on experiences told by real Jewish survivors who got through the Holocaust. Therefore, technically, Minka’s story was not purely fictitious. It was real, it happened. And I was just speechless. I learnt so much from Minka’s experience. I was both amazed and horrified. Amazed because not all SS soldiers are heartless and cruel and inhumane. Amazed because despite the horrific treatments, the Jews helped one another. Horrified because I would not be able to understand how the victims survived, how the victims felt. They were stripped of their self-respect, of their dignity and of their reputation, reduced to animals and worthless creatures. Minka said that she has never tried to tell anybody about her story, nor write it out because sometimes, words are not enough to describe how you really feel. The words that portray your emotions would not bring justice to your feelings, because they are too overwhelming, because they are too powerful to be confined within alphabets. And I think that’s how it is for me too when I read about Minka’s experience. I don’t think I can ever describe how I felt when I was reading through Minka’s experiences. It’s that powerful.

The main psychological dilemma that was recurrent in the book was the belief that when you do something so horrible and repulsive for many times, you stop feeling, you stop thinking it’s bad. You make up an excuse for yourself to get through it. You do it so many times that you start to believe it’s actually ohkay to do it. You start to think it’s not wrong.

And Sage Singer, she’s a flawed character. Sometimes I detest how she feels so sorry for herself, that she thinks she doesn’t deserve love, actual love, because of her scar. How she pushes people away. How she wallows in self-pity makes me want to scream at her sometimes to just get up and start living life. To stop being so anti-social and for once, to be proud of herself for what and who she really is. Yes she has a scar, but think about what is there of her that’s left? And then she met Leo, and for once, she is able to see herself through the eyes of how her best friend and the people who love her see her. Most importantly, she is able to do what she feels is right for her.

This book is truly an incredible read and I enjoyed every single moment devouring its pages because it has taught me so much. It has taught me about hope, sorrow, love, loss, sacrifice, betrayal and most importantly, forgiveness.

Oh and I love the name Minka so much, that I might just name my future daughter that.

“You will ask me, after this, why I didn’t tell you this before. It is because I know how powerful a story can be. It can change the course of history. It can save a life. But it can also be a sinkhole, a quicksand in which you become struck, unable to write yourself free.
You would think bearing witness to something like this would make a difference, and yet this isn’t so. In the newspapers I have read about history repeating itself in Cambodia. Rwanda. Sudan.
Truth is so much harder than fiction. Some survivors want to speak only of what happened. They go to schools and museums and temples and give talks. It’s the way they can make sense of it, I suppose. I’ve heard them say they feel it is their responsibility, maybe even the reason they lived.
My husband – your grandfather – used to say, Minka, you were a writer. Imagine the story you could tell.
But it is exactly because I was a writer that I could never do it.
The weapons an author has at her disposal are flawed. There are words that feel shapeless and overused. Love, for example. I could write the word love a thousand times and it would mean a thousand different things to different readers.
What is the point of trying to put down on paper emotions that are too complex, too huge, too overwhelming to be confined by an alphabet?
Love isn’t the only word that fails.
Hate does, too.
War.
And hope. Oh yes, hope.
SO you see, this is why I never told my story.
If you lived through it, you already know there are no words that will ever come close to describing it.
And if you didn’t, you will never understand.”

In literature, I learnt a technique where authors sometimes use. It’s when the authors use the voice of their characters to directly communicate to us. The author is just merely using the character as an avenue, as an outlet, to speak to us, readers directly.

I liked to think that at this part, the part which is my favourite, Jodi Picoult is doing the same thing. She’s using Minka to say what she really feels.

Afterall, Minka and Jodi Picoult are the same afterall. They are both writers and dreamers.

We meet again.

Hello World!

Hey there bloggy, we meet again, after a few months of hiatus. School sucked away my time to blog (yes it’s that bad)

But I haven’t forgotten my style of opening up a post.

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years. I still love what I think but I’m never tempted to believe it.”

~Byron Katie

Don’t let your thoughts control you, control your mind.

It’s only the 13th of Sept but it’s been such a crazy month so far. Promos are coming, I’m studying till my brain’s going pyschedelic for it because well #projectdontretain. A gazillion bands are unleashing their new albums this month, as if September is an auspicious month for releases of new albums. Dianna Agron released her movie today, which of course I can’t watch.

Hell of a month.

And now I think I’m having writer’s block. Blame it on my lack of writing for these past few months. Also, my life’s not interesting at all to blog about.

Oh 1 more thing, remember when I said that I won’t allow JC to change me? Turns out, I feel like I’ve changed into a completely different person since I entered in a JC. My life is changed.

Nevertheless, have a great day everybody! 🙂 Enjoy your remaining Sept Holidays 🙂

xoxo,
ShabiraBasheer 🙂

The individual self and society.

When people make these comments,

“Society is never pleased with what you do.”
“I hate society.”
“Why must we live in such a society?”

Please, just stop. JUST STOP IT. What really irks and irritates the hell out of me is when all of you utter those comments. You don’t like to live in such a ridiculous society, do you? Have you ever thought, WHO makes up the ridiculous society? Have you ever thought what a society comprises? YES IT’S YOU.

You’re part of that ridiculous society.

So stop that bullcrap of yours.

Society judges, you judge.
Society condemns, you condemn.
Society shuns, you shun.

No matter how much you claim to hate society, you can’t ignore the fact you’re part of it. You can’t ignore the fact that you judge too. Be it the heavily tattooed man you walked past on the way home, or that bitch in school, or the man standing next to you in the MRT/bus who has a bad body odour.

We judge.

We condemn someone’s actions which clashes with our beliefs and ideals. We condemn someone when we think they’ve committed something wrong.

We condemn.

We shun someone who we think is embarrassing to us, we shun them when we don’t like them and we shun them because of their personality, character, or because of their actions.

We shun.

Everybody’s guilty of one of those above. There are so many unkind things we do in society, to which naming all of them will take forever. So, please, before you make such a sweeping and generalized statement, look at yourself first.

If you want society to change, you have got to change yourself first.

The moment when I felt the luckiest girl in the world.

Felt the urge to blog about something but honestly I dunno what to blog about oh the paradox HAHA.

Well, over Two Door Cinema Club’s This Is The Life over in the background, quietly playing in my earpiece, providing me with serenity and tranquility on this random night, I finally got reminded of that one time I felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world.

Well, on Monday I had a PW meetup with my PW groupmembers and I had to go tampines regional library. Man the first time I’ve been there was such a truly unforgettable experience. On Monday, I went back there again and as I waited for my groupmembers to come, I went up to the fiction room and saw the book which I actually snatched and borrowed approximately 7 months ago. That book was Nora Roberts’s Happy Ever After. The wave of nostalgia was just surreal.

Omg seriously for a bookworm like me, that feeling when you managed to get hold of the book you so dearly want is just awesome. You feel as though you are the luckiest girl in the world, that all the stars are aligned just for you, that your fate and your destiny didn’t let you down for once. Seriously I’m not kidding, when I saw that last book that was available at tampines regional library 7 months ago, I literally snatched it. I literally felt as though all bad and depressed experiences I ever had were vanished forever, and truly that was one of the times where I felt really happy.

Of course, this feeling is accompanied by the fact that I missed the stop whilst traveling from marine parade’s library to tampines library and ended up traveling on the expressway and landing my butt on some desolated bus stop at pasir ris, without a sole recognition of the place. I swear it was so unfamiliar and I felt truly scared because it was going to be nighttime. Furthermore there was not a soul at the bus stop so you can imagine how thoughts of some rapist lurking around somewhere began to fill my panicked mind HAHA.

So if someone asks me how much I love reading books, this is one evidence that reveals how much I love those papers which tell a story.