Metamorphosis

i saw another rhinoceros beetle today. seems that there are lots of rhinoceros beetles here (strange, since it’s not tropical) i saw one in school the other day when i was walking back from the office at 2am i guess they only come out at night? it was crossing the path i was walking on so i stopped and waited for it. and had this deja vu, kafkaesque moment when i wondered what it would be like to be a beetle. not sure why the deja vu, maybe i identified too much with gregor samsa when i was reading it? think it would be lovely, even though i’ve had a wonderful time the past few weeks talking to all my close friends (somehow they’ve all wound up in the uk and the subversive i am decided to go to cornell) wouldn’t it be nice to be a rhinoceros beetle? crawling stolidly across a pavement in the middle of the night when all the irritating, big-footed people have retired to their beds and everything is quiet. i could go to beetle parties and have beetle juice. i bet those horns are especially convenient to bottoms-up beetle cups. or perhaps they have proboscises (probosces?). i know stunningly little about beetle anatomy.

it’s rather strange being in the UK this time around. the last time i came here was during winter, which was my proper holiday where i was trying to escape from the entire world and their trivial issues that seemed to pepper all the conversations i partook of in cornell†. i did not tell a soul i was coming over (except mingsee of course, whose room i hijacked) and also some friends in birmingham cause i did want to see them. but let’s just say it wasn’t meant to be a social trip. i wanted to stay quietly in her room to read and buy more books and read more and just ignore the world at large and i neglected to visit quite a lot of people then mainly because they only found out i was in the country after i left. but this time around it was actually lonesome, being in a town all by myself. that’s when i realised that romantic relationships don’t actually make you aware of what you have, but what you don’t have.

when we first got together it barely registered on my brain. my life was exactly the same, i didn’t feel.. attached, if you know what i mean. wasn’t really dependent on him, he wasn’t really dependent on me, we just declared to the world that we were going out and that seemed to be the biggest part of the deal. life went on exactly the same way it had, and slowly he grew on me. his always being close enough to hug or to carry my things or to walk me home – these extra conveniences aren’t actually super prominent until they are suddenly taken away and i have to revert back to my single lifestyle. THEN it hits me how different everything was when he was around. and what changed. but i don’t consciously think about it when i -am- with him because i’m usually too busy enjoying it or constructing the new norm. and it seems that that kind of comfort/convenience that comes from romantic companionship should be somehow.. due to everyone, after you’ve actually had them.

so when he went on back to sg i felt completely stranded, and actually actively sought out all the people i did not meet over winter in London and Cambridge, trying to fill the liangze-shaped hole in my heart. I was social. I went on trips with people. It was so unlike anything I’d ever done before. Hauling people out to meet me. I never ask. People ask me! or just.. make their peace with not hanging out with me. haha. But meeting all these people was wonderful. I gave of myself to and consequently received from (in terms of conversation, entertainment, and care) other people instead of -just- him‡. Conversation topics were different, I talked to so many girlfriends, more girls than I had interacted with for a long time simply because (most of) the girls at cornell aren’t exactly my type.

†which brings me to today’s grievance: WHY is it that when you meet singaporeans overseas they automatically assume that you should be friends? sonya and i were talking about this last night and just couldn’t make head or tail out of it. Just because we were from the same country does not automatically imply that you are interesting to me (or vice versa). why should we be friends in america (or london, for her case) if in singapore i would normally never hang out with someone the likes of you? what gives you the right to presume upon a friendship? since when did being born in the same place = immediate affinity?? to SO MANY OF THEM! it boggles the mind. and people hold it against me for upholding such rigid standards for friendship, thinking the world should be a nice, happy place where everybody should get along.

i never thought about how blessed i was to meet all these people in rg/rj or in mep or in dsta (ok, just sonya really haha) or in church. that i had such a wide gamut of people to get to know and to thresh (everyone needs a filter), to have wound up with the small minority of people i know well and love today. people should not be expected to socialise just because they’re young and at uni if they’ve already gathered all the people they like prior to that.

‡we’ve realised that we are a bit too engrossed in each other to the unhealthy? or perhaps selfish exclusion of other people. see after you get to know someone really well you can tackle all kinds of conversational topics without any sort of ceremony but most of the people you sorta know only on the surface at school will appear boring because you have to get through all the small talk before you hit anything even remotely interesting. so last semester we were really, really exclusive. not like we didn’t welcome people to join us for things, we -did-, but we also bored them with our crossword fetish and inside jokes etc. to some extent it can’t be helped, because i mean we were so pleased to have found each other, to have found someone so amicable and like-minded to take notice of the rest of the world. but perhaps we’ll make a more concerted effort in the future not to be so engrossed in each other such that people with us feel uncomfortable intruding. or perhaps just to branch out, join different fellowships? nt sure. i’d probably appreciate him more too, if i hung out with people who are i-don’t-want-to-say-‘boring’-but-i-mean-boring.

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