Three weeks ??? we are all inherently social
So I’ve been here for 3 weeks. Nope, I haven’t fallen out of love with this place, I’ve also not discovered any part of the city that is unbearable. I have to go Hawaii in four days and I guess I’ll have to leave the discovery for another time. Soon.
I’m still very infatuated. Still happy. Still feeling great even though I’ve been off my medications for 3 weeks now. Still half wondering if I have needed it in the first place.
One of the biggest realisations for me when I came here – is that we are all inherently social creatures. I used to roll my eyes when I see statements like these, because I used to believe that I will be perfectly happy being antisocial. Like you know, find a mountain to stay on and be a hermit there for the rest of my life.
That notion sounded incredibly appealing to me.
Till I came here. The vibes here are so different that I love being out. I love that because diversity is so accepted here, even if there are people whom I may not neccessarily like hanging out, I accept them as part of the organic population here.
It made a whole lot of difference to my psyche. From being the black sheep in my birth country to being in a place that feels like home. I have never felt that I belonged anywhere in my entire life. This is the first time and I feel like I’m some new-born finding her feet again, seeing things in an entirely new light.
I had never realised how important it was to be understood. I had never realised how much energy it took out of me to try to be understood back in Singapore. I had dangerously gotten used to it. We do all get used to being a victim, so much that it takes a lot of effort to reclaim your individual power again.
Now, I no longer spend time trying to make people understand me, or avoid people who wouldn’t understand me anyway. So what’s the big deal of being understood. Well, imagine if you spend most of your life trying to explain to people why you’re not like the rest. It is tiring. Why I quit school. Why I am affected by the energy I feel in my environment. Why I don’t like money. Why I see no point in chasing material goals. Why I hate climbing the corporate ladder. Why I don’t like putting on a false front. Why I don’t live with my parents. Why I have to do what I love. Why I can’t just work in a job for like 30 years. Why can’t I be safe and stable like all my peers who now own cars and property.
I guess it is draining not only to have to explain myself to people, it is draining to even convincing myself that I am okay not being in the mainstream. Well, if you’re thinking again, why do I have to do all that convincing?
Because it is painful when you see the hurt in your loved ones’ eyes. That they don’t understand why you’re being so disruptive, why can’t you just be ‘normal’, why you have to be the eternal disappointment when you’ve displayed so much potential in your early childhood.
My relatioship with Singapore is like a relationship with an ex. A relationship that I have tried so desperately to save for so much of my life, now it is too late even if it is getting better. I don’t feel like saving it anymore. It carries too much baggage, too much hurt. Each time I think of the country I just associate it with so much pain. You know, just like how some of you have had bad experiences during your childhood and now you develop certain phobias because of it?
Yup, for me it is like that – just that mine was multiple bad experiences which made me feel like I didn’t want to live anymore.
So, please go ahead and be happy with what you’re doing and wherever you are. If some of you love Singapore regardless, I applaud you. It would have been much easier for me if I could have stayed in that relationship. It was so comforting yet so abusive.
All I ask of you, is not to make judgment of my choices. Not to try and convince me otherwise. I have spent my whole life convincing myself that it is okay – I am tired of it. It is not okay.
Now, I don’t have to experience the ‘social friction’ I’ve experienced all my life. I’m just me and everything feels so smooth. I can spend my energy doing other things. I don’t have to try to be ‘normal’ anymore. Or to be plagued with all that self-doubt – why am I hurting my loved ones so much by being myself?
I meet all sorts of people, have all sorts of conversations and it feels really, really great. It is like finally I am useful. You may think it is ridiculous but yes, I spent my life thinking I was a waste of space. Until now. That I can finally socialise with my kind of people and the feeling of having a common invisible social bond with people of similar visions is incredible.
I did a couple of presentations to clients over the past couple of weeks and I have never felt so energised by work before. The look in their eyes when I have managed to translate their requirements successfully. They get what makes a good experience. Instead of having to make so much effort to explain why a good experience is crucial – now I get people who demanding good experience. So you see, here, I skip the convincing and I do the real work. There is a lot of synergy with collaborations because people make decisions out of courage and not out of fear.
Ultimately I want to say – humanity can be really great. Because tons of good things can happen when people with good intentions come together to make things happen. The joy and advancement derived out of that can be exponential. But as human beings we make decisions out of fear. Just look at all that struggle for power. That selfishness.
I have experienced the spirit of sharing without agenda over here in San Francisco. It never fails to make me smile when I hear quirky muni/bart annoucements. How can these people with boring jobs (imagine driving a train up and down everyday) still bother to make this effort? That’s the thing, little things like these rub off each other. I walk out of the train with a smile and I’ll feel a lot more inclined to be nicer. The next person who sees me smiling ridiculously or hearing me getting very excited over BART annoucements will probably smile at my enthusiasm. This chain of effect go on and on.
So why am I still so in love with this city? Because living here makes me have hope in humanity again – not only that, it makes me proud of being human, and being part of the human society.