i am.

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i am of jigsaw puzzles missing pieces, marvellously compatible LEGO bricks, and an ever-changing kaleidoscope.

i am of toy soldiers and plastic swords, of many hours spent merging my imaginary worlds with my brother’s, the only person whom I really trusted for the longest time.

i am of children’s books and fantasy novels, my refuges from having to face tear-stained multiplication tables.

i am of language, of a self-assimilating tongue that has forgotten its native accents, of a terrifyingly sudden yet successful introduction to french, of the tinge of regret that comes every time i realize i could be fluently trilingual by now had i only maintained my active usage of the chinese language. my ears, at the very least, have not forgotten how to interpret the familiar dialect i hear every day. bilingual conversations with my parents probably always seem weird to outsiders, but how do you tell a telemarketer that they can keep on talking because you understand them, just that you definitely won’t be able to answer?

i am of the hours spent aimlessly kicking at the old brick wall of my elementary long after sundown with no one to talk to, waiting for a lift home. i think i was convinced i didn’t want anybody. it was hard to find anyone i could really relate to.

i am of desperate glances and silent pleas that should have taught me that never getting a reply hurts more than rejection, but i still made countless mistakes before i learnt how to just say ‘no’ to someone.

i am of carelessly dropped glass; jagged shards slit my wrists and throat when i try to clean my chaotic mess. i would rather lose blood than have my confidence escape, as is the case; it leaves me weaker than any amount of blood loss ever could.

i am of stretched boundaries, report cards, and stupid mistakes on easy math tests, of attracting the wrong kind of attention when i start talking.

i am of a ridiculously solid sense of honesty that always manages to overrule any logical judgements or to at least haunt my conscience and deprive my nights of sleep. you say you can’t handle the truth? that’s a pity, for while i may break promises and conjure excuses out of fear, i will speak nothing else, nor be anyone else. i expect you to do the same with me. so, who are you?

i am of love, like, and everything paler than passion, including the apathy i so loathe.

i am of melancholy melodies and heavy metal, loud reflections of my mood, of grabbing a shirt and a pair of pants that don’t necessarily match, not because i lack a sense of style, but because of my impatience with lines, changing rooms, and combing the mall to never find a shirt that only exists in my head.

i am of expectations i plan to pretend got lost in the mail and extra miles run just to prove i can, of subtle rebellion and a quiet internal revolution.

i am of starving self-esteem and bloated egos, of feeding my soul toxic water laced with queasy doubt. “think before you act,” they always say, but i’m pretty sure they’re talking to those people who make annoying outbursts without any thought for consequence, not to me.

i am of awkward pauses, nervous smiles, and extreme indecisiveness – “make eye contact, she’s talking to you, it’s only polite. no, don’t make eye contact. oh, d*mn, she’s got pretty eyes. idiot – you’re staring. she’s so going to get the wrong idea. cut eye contact?”

i am of bus stops and schedules, of absently watching the scenery through the graffiti-covered windows at the back of the bus, of being allowed too much time to reflect alone while sitting next to a stranger whose face i sometimes never see, and somehow not enough.

i am of fire and water, of the relaxing timeless tradition of admiring campfires under the stars, of walking in the rain and feeling my worries being washed away.

i am of the distant moon, of different, changing phases, and of reflecting light to hide the craters.

i am of poetry, of either soulful words or just pretty words, of images both grandiose and mundane, of attempts to provoke the only part of human nature i’ll always have faith in – compassion.

i am of pen, pencil, and keyboard, of scribbling, of editing, of scratched-out ideas and deleted ones. i press too hard when i sketch, and then can’t ever fully erase the lines.

i am of strands of dark hair over my messy desk, empty white walls, and skin flakes scattered along the trail, of wet footprints on the gravel stepping over doomed but still-fighting worms after rainstorms.

i am of mint chocolate chip, of pausing to watch squirrels scramble up trees in the autumn, of sunsets and bird calls. i am of silent apologies to all the spiders squashed before my eyes for not speaking up for them.

i am of chilly winters and frozen hands, numb feet liberated from wet socks shivering under blankets, of trudging through fresh snow under leafless trees.

i am of sudden bursts of creativity that just might be flukes, of inspiration and new camera angles found in the simplest places, of fear that my well of words might one day run dry, and i be left poking holes in my paper with an inkless pen.

i am of a very few important people, of hanging back and trying to understand them, of not trusting my intuition. i am of one-sided conversations and walking behind others because i’m scared to take my eyes off them.

i am of uneasiness in large groups, of analyzing profiles top-to-bottom on Facebook, and of incredulous staring at friend requests, hovering between ‘accept’ and ‘deny’, wondering what in the world i could possibly mean to these names i barely recognize and faces i don’t remember.

i am of internet forums and controversial opinions, of not knowing where i stand, and opting for ‘neutral’ or ‘moderate’, something that satisfies neither side nor myself.

i am of callused brain cells, worn down from when i finally opened my ears to the world around me with its wonders and atrocities. i have deafened myself for periods of soul-searching and introspection, only to maybe realize that nothing i came up with felt right, because there was maybe never an answer to find.

i am of angrily slammed doors, casually opened closets, and futile struggles with a frozen airtight window.

i am of dreams, idealistic dreams thoroughly soaked in hope, dreams for the world and for myself, dreams that just might end up betraying me.

i am of deep blue, now veering towards vivid red and caught in the many purple hues in between – neither warm nor cold, but somehow both.

i am of a search for balance, for peace,
and of a life never meant to be mentally easy
but is, for that very same reason, a life worth living





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