I’ve got a friend in me Part 2: Learning to be my own hype-team

“All that you need to love is in front of your eyes” -Josh Groban.

Dear Self,

This is my first attempt at writing you a letter. Ever. No, wait, I wrote you a letter when I was thirteen during a school camp as part of a ‘self-growth’ activity. The task was to write a letter addressed to ourselves listing areas of our life or character that we wanted to change or work on. Then we were instructed to put it in an envelope and open it again at the end of the year, ‘marking our progress’. Novel idea.

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Why are we so afraid of the F-word?

(And by F word, I’m referring to Fashion, just in case you were wondering.)

In High School, I was the most interested in fashion, out of all my friends.  We would make plans to meet up over the weekend, going to parties, movies or shopping dates and a few hours before, I would phone them up and ask them “what are you wearing tonight?” To which they would casually reply, “Aah probably just jeans and a tee-shirt or something, I haven’t decided yet.”

I could never relate because there I was, at 2 pm, with the aftermath of hurricane ‘I-have-nothing-to-wear’ clearly visible in my ransacked closet.

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Locked in language

Language is embodied in everything around us. As human beings, we are constantly imparting meaning onto everything and everyone. We are walking representations of language. The clothes we wear; the music we listen to; the books we read; the ideologies we adopt are all symptoms of the cause.

Language is the medium in which we think, speak and act and make sense of the world and ourselves. However, this doesn’t by any means make it an easy relationship to maintain. On the contrary, our relationship with Language has potential to be the most conflicted, love-hate relationships we’ll ever experience. 

This personal piece of writing is an exploration of language, monolingualism and my relationship with my mother tongue. 

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Borrowed time

My mother’s fiancé died when I was nine years old and for years after that, we would commemorate the anniversary of his death by sharing a box of Ferrero Rochers, his and our favourite chocolates. I don’t remember exactly how long we upheld this ritual before, gradually, year after year grief began to slowly loosen its grasp and now the day passes without me even registering its historical significance.

I don’t want that to be the case with the memory of my grandmother’s last days. In fact, I have a vivid fear of letting the memory slip away into a blur, especially since the memory is already so blurred over with overwhelming emotion and regret.

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The Retro Revolution

They say the only constant is change, but sometimes change is so consistent you have to blink to see the difference.  To quote the French novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr:

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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Discovering the stars within us

From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a writer; I was a writer. Writing and story-telling came almost as naturally to me as breathing. I wrote everything down. Lists of everything and anything, words to songs I liked, even poems and stories and my own philosophical theories.

The other day I came across one of my four-year-old philosophical scribbles. My aunt had kept it safe in her diary for all these years, and hurled it out as ammunition for my 21st birthday party. The embarrassingly cute scrap of paper, messily scribbled in my just-learnt-to-write handwriting, contained quite profound views for a four-year-old on how freedom comes from self-acceptance (put in more plainer terms though), but more profoundly it held evidence of an innocent young mind trying to, through the medium of the written word, make sense of this conflicted world around her and where she fits into it.

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