Guts

Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to become some sort of professional creative person. Even as my parents, teachers and other figures of authority pushed me towards other pursuits, particularly ones in maths and science, trying to capitalise on the fact I wasn’t terrible at adding fractions, there was always a little bit of me inside that said, But I want to be in the spotlight! I want to make fun stuff and have people like me for that. I want my name in lights, and maths isn’t going to get me that. I suppose it’s that desire for attention that makes me want to blog, and makes me enjoy being up on stage (despite the fact I have awful stage fright, ironically), and gets me into drama and arguments with my peers. Very, very often.

As I got older, I realised there were many things I couldn’t get good at. I was awful at dance. I couldn’t draw. My singing and acting skills weren’t particularly impressive. For every stupidly hard piano piece I could play, there was a Chinese eight year old that could play five more, by memory. It slowly occurred to me that if I wanted to be good at a creative pursuit, I had to have put in so much effort in the past. Even when I was twelve, or thirteen, and still thought I had a chance of being super good at something performing artsy, deep down I knew that I simply hadn’t put in enough practice in the past (or hadn’t been pressured enough by my parents to practice) to be recognised as any good. Now don’t get me wrong, I love playing the piano and performing on stage and singing etc., but I’ve given up on being the next Lang Lang or Lea Salonga. As much as society tells me that I can become anything if I have passion and work hard enough!, I’ve come to accept that that’s not true at all. People have certain advantages in life purely based on who their parents were, and how their parents decided to raise them. And my parents were no Amy Chuas.

But, recently, I realised that there has been something creative I’ve put in a stupidly large amount of time into, and I hadn’t even realised it. In my mind, there were very clearly defined boundaries between “things I find fun” and “things that will be beneficial to me in later life”. Cycling around the neighbourhood and playing Neopets fell into the first category. Maths and piano fell into the second. However, as always in life, things aren’t always so clear cut. I guess younger me decided whatever I was forced to do by my parents or teachers didn’t count as fun, and whatever I decided to do out of my own initiative didn’t count as educational (gotta love the effects of strict Asian parenting). Looking back, there’s one activity that falls into both these categories.

When I was in Reception, at around five years old, I was pulled away from messing around in the sandpit with my friends, sat down, and made to write a story about the Easter Bunny. No, I don’t know why either. I definitely complained a lot, and I remember sitting there indignantly with tears streaming down my face, refusing to write anything. Somehow I was cajoled into writing something, as the next thing I remember is still crying, but with a completely full sheet of paper in front of me. I can’t remember much from before this period in my life, but it’s weird to think that that’s the first memory I have of creative writing. Something which I’ve come to adore and claim as my own talent was once something I dreaded. Even when I came to love it of my own accord, through online blogging (thanks, WordPress), I still dreaded doing it in school, where I’d be judged and criticised. There’s something about having something attributed to me, with my real name written on it, that makes me uncomfortable. I guess it makes criticism seem more personal.

I’ve been thinking about how to face my fear of this for a while. It just seems like such a waste to me to just keep whining about my problems on a blog. I want to get out there and make myself heard, you know? I want to do big things with my writing, the writing I’ve put so much time and effort into, and I want to make my younger self proud. I’ve always wanted to write the next big novel, to undergo some huge project fuelled by coffee and late nights working and to have it out there with my name on it. But for that you need guts.

And I don’t know if I have enough.

Guts

Scratch.

You ever get that feeling? You’re just minding your own business, going about your normal daily life, and then suddenly it hits you.

What am I doing?

Where am I going?

How is this action, no matter how insignificant or mundane, going to affect my future?

I don’t know if anyone else gets it, but it happens to me a lot. I might be texting someone, or making a cup of tea, or lying in my bed in the dark and staring at the ceiling thinking about absolutely nothing at all, and then all these thoughts suddenly rush into my mind. Oh God, what is happening? Why am I like this? Somewhere out there there’s a kid my age changing the world, and I’m here in my pyjamas crying over anime. I guess it could be a product of a strict Asian upbringing, or an antisocial, sedentary lifestyle, or just my anxiety coming back to haunt me as it always does. But I’ll talk about all of that another time.

The point is, I have a lot of thoughts, and it’s come to the point where I must set them free, cut my mind open and have them gush out of me onto some sort of medium. Journal writing just doesn’t cut it for me – my handwriting is notoriously appalling, and writing so much manually hurts my hand. I usually end up doodling in the margins, and then giving up because I can’t draw anyway (13 year old me, who spent all her allowance on Copic pens and how to draw manga books, would be sorely disappointed in her future self). And besides, what’s the point of writing if nobody else is gonna read it? I admit, I’ve always loved attention – that’s why I love to play piano, to perform on stage, to sing. Goddamnit, if I’m going to do anything, I’m going to make people watch me do it.

And so I blog.

I’m no stranger to the wonderful world of WordPress. I made my first account on this site when I was six (seriously, I went through my Gmail account to confirm this), so I could comment on Club Penguin blogs. Commenting on blogs led to making my own, the first of a long string of abandoned websites created by me. The first few were probably game related, and abandoned after I got bored of each game, but eventually preteen me decided that she wanted to tell people about herself as well as notify them of the location of each week’s Club Penguin pin. And so, under many, many personas, she began to weave an unintentional bildungsroman (that’s the first time I’ve used that word outside of an English essay, I promise) scattered over the Internet. The last blog I had lasted from roughly when I was 13 to just before I turned 16. I’ve always wanted to track down the URLs of all of these short-lived blogs and piece together my own story like some archaeologist would, but there’s just one small problem.

Just before I made this blog, I decided to trawl through my last one (it’s on private now, archived under a completely new URL). Maybe I could pick up from when I left off, I thought, instead of spreading my life out through even more spaces on the web. But as I read the posts, as I tried to take in all these painstakingly accurately described life events, I noticed something strange. Sure, I remembered all of these things happening. No matter how hard I try, I can’t erase the catastrophic parties from my memory. I can’t remove the aching pain of asking out my long time crush from my mind, nor can I forget about the friendship drama. Seriously, there was a lot. But when I read those posts describing them, the author didn’t seem like anybody I had ever known. She went by a different name (lol internet safety), she typed in a different way, and she felt emotions that I, sitting in this spinny chair at my desk typing this, couldn’t feel if I tried. There was a disconnect between us, the me now and the past me who sat in exactly the same chair at exactly the same desk. Something must have happened to divorce us so completely, yet I can’t think of what it could be. I’d like to think it was some sense of Maturity and Responsibility and Impending Adulthood that hit me sometime after I turned 16, but it’s probably just embarrassment.

So I started again from scratch. I put down the domain registration fee (hopefully it’ll spur me on to write more), I spent about half an hour trying to make this look nice and then I spent another hour scrolling through memes on Instagram trying to put off writing this post. I love writing, I really do. The best feeling in the world is looking at something you wrote, looking at the word count or the stack of paper and thinking Yeah. I made thatBut writing like this, using my real name and my real voice and my real feelings is something I’ve never done before. I’ve always hidden behind a persona of sorts, another name that sounds better, another personality that sounds cooler and more popular and less anxious around cashiers. And now here I am, exposing myself to the world online, shouting into the void and hoping somebody hears. Writing another chapter of a long, long story.

This is what it’s like to be Mee-Mee. Stick around, won’t you?

Oh yeah, the name of this blog comes from an awesome piece of spoken word poetry called eight ball god. The line I prayed to the eight ball god and all I got was “try again later” always really resonated with me. I guess to me it symbolises the randomness of life, the chaos that makes this beautiful Earth go round and how it can’t be controlled or manipulated by anyone. As this blog is probably going to become yet another life journal/creative musings sort of thing, I felt it was fitting to name it after something describing the sheer unpredictability of life itself.

God, I’m pretentious, aren’t I? 

Scratch.