Joie de vivre and other little treasures.

Art by : Manka Kasha

I was going through old boxes of memories and melancholy a little while back.

I am still decluttering, you see, trying to find my way to peaceful minimalism. The great fun in those dusty cardboard boxes is finding little treasures from back in the day and reminiscing, travelling to a glorified past for the afternoon. Sometimes you find objects you had all but forgotten about wasting away under layers of dust, even though you used them all the time back then and they are now infused with your energy.

I found the oddest thing there.

Nestled in between old Maths copybooks (why is that even there? Definitely going in the trash) and a sky blue hand band I wore just about everyday when I was 16, was this feeling. Not the melancholy that gently moves my heart, but something more profound, more ancient.

A feeling I was born with.

A feeling that I lost somewhere along the way, probably during a rainy day when I was growing up. As I contemplated all the darkness I was going to have to face alone, it must have slipped from me.

Joie de vivre.

The joy of living.

It is small, exultant, consistent. Like a heartbeat, like a child eager to see the world.

I sincerely did not wake up that day thinking that this would happen. Actually, joie de vivre had become an impossibility somehow. That kind of constant ‘happiness’ belonged only to childhood and children, in my mind. Like milk teeth that fall out and never come back, instead replaced by stronger, more resistant ones, I thought ‘happiness’ had been forever replaced by fleeting joy.

That’s probably messed up, but I thought the highest the happiness-metre could go was “content”— overjoyed, exultant, well, that’s new.

But it is this observation that did it :  “I sincerely did not wake up that day thinking that this would happen.”. There I was that ordinary afternoon, sat on the floor, surrounded by boxes and memories when this thought awoke something deeply ingrained in me. What other wonderful, foreign thing could there be to look forward to tomorrow? What comes next? I can’t wait to find out! 

Yeah. Holy crap.

I cannot believe this. Even though I’ve been having a string of mostly miserable days, this is also what I get to feel, on-and-off. It’s not constant yet, but it’s there.

That’s new. Well actually, it’s really not.

H o l y  c r a p . 

I’m freaking out a little.

Note : I actually like how this one turned out! And I am still freaking out lol.

Listening to :

Watermelon pink.

Young Adult Old Soul Magic Realism Writing
Art by : Awanqi

Today, life is sweet and refreshing, lightly tinted pink. Like sipping watermelon juice that has run down the side of my hand. Cool, sweet without being sugary. And sticky too, but all the more memorable for it.

1 or 2 years ago, I never believed I would think this but even with all the things going wrong…I don’t think I can get enough of Life.

This is the summer of my life: beautiful, somehow timeless, not without its storms and rainy days, not without reasons to wear gratitude every day that goes by.

All Roads Lead to the Sea

“I disappear for half-hours. I disappear for walks that take me through interweaving roads that always, always, lead to the sea.”



I can’t complain.

I could be stuck from 9 to 5 in a glass tower lost among so many others in some cyber-city, like a modern damsel in distress, not knowing how to save myself. I could be glancing longingly at the city, the world from behind a fax machine.

But everyday between 9 and 9:30 in the morning, my eyes feast upon sparkling seawater crashing gently on soft, sandy beaches. And before that, it seems that I walk through overgrown lavender fields, pushing through bushes of flowers that seem to spring through the glass of the bus window. I am able to be there to cherish the sight of grass glistening with morning dew. I can’t complain; I have nearly fallen asleep on low-lying rattan sofas, warmed by the sun on a terrace, hypnotised, lulled by the pretty displays of sunlight dancing through the geometric patterns of the wood. I have blinked into consciousness through haze and haze, past daydreams and reveries, to low chuckles and to the distant sounds of soft conversation had over steaming mugs of tea or coffee.

I can’t complain because ‘lunch breaks’ have come to mean walks by the sea, and quietness as you watch people swim, sunbathe, eat ice-cream, read a book. I can’t complain because when my mind won’t write (and my pen is still full of ink) I disappear for half-hours. I disappear for walks that take me through interweaving roads that always, always, lead to the sea.

I can’t complain because I cannot tell you of all the times I have worn that dress, the one with the ship wheels and sailboats amid wavelets of people dressed in slacks and clicky heels and it has not mattered.

And every day when I go home, slack and tired, I see a child and a fisherman, just silhouettes, side by side, throwing their lines out at sea, into the setting sun.

No, I can’t complain. Right now, this is all I need; it is contentment enough. But I don’t want to delude myself into thinking this is all I will ever need. I do not believe in this rigid idea of ‘happiness’—something you happen upon, that remains much the same over time. But I believe in fluid contentment, in inner peace, something that has an ebb and flow, a beginning, an end. Something that changes with you. Eventually, my heart will not be satisfied with what I have now and I will want something else. But not now, not right now. Right now, I have all I need. And I can’t com—and I am thankful, eternally.

Besides, I am learning that wanting more does not necessarily mean being ungrateful.

Listening to :

Make Me Happy

“Back then, the summer, happiness —they were the truth of that time. Now, we live another truth. A different one, but the truth all the same. And being true, I have decided, will always mean more than being happy. “

Art by: Tofuvi

Thinking back to the honeyed days of old, they say to me:

“Take me back to the place of a thousand summers. The palace made of moulding planks held in the branches of a tree. Can we go back to when we were young and beautiful? When we did not wonder our worth, when we were pristine and whole. When we hadn’t yet learnt that without wanting to, we could plant arrows in each other’s backs? Let’s return to safety, to not arguing about whether happiness exists or not, because back then it did. Let’s go back to a time when we don’t have to wish it was another time. Let’s go back. Back to when time didn’t exist, did not even matter.”

I can’t. And now, I’m not sure I want to.

Back then, the summer, happiness —they were the truth of that time. Now, we live another truth. A different one, but the truth all the same. And being true, I have decided, will always mean more than being happy. Remember, back then we’d ask our parents for their share of cake, knowing they would give it to us out of love, but also knowing they really wanted it, too. It made us happy, that extra piece of cake. But I wouldn’t do the same now. The happiness of children and the happiness of what we are now—it is different. Part of that happiness is ignorance. Besides, there are things you can value more than happiness. And I am happy to live in a world, as a version of me, where I have learned that.

We can always return, you know. To the summer, to the swings. But I would rather go somewhere else. Somewhere we’ve never been before. And there we may come upon a string of Fate that leads us to where we are meant to be. But I do not want to linger back. To revisit an old happiness and decide to stay there, as though it were reality. True happiness does not exist in lies. It is an illusion. A reflection in the water that is disfigured at the slightest ripple.

I realise, too, that back then, we relentlessly relied on other people to make our happiness. We clung to their backs and added to their burdens. Burdens they made light, truly. But I don’t want that happiness now. I don’t want to rely on other people’s hard work for me to be happy. I think it’s time we gave back. Time to become the people who made us happy. You see, the world would be a much better place, if only we took turns in giving what we usually receive. If only we do not take all of the summer for us. With happiness as with many other things, one never loses in sharing.



Note: On this note, happy (belated?) new year! I hope you have all had a wonderful time during the holidays. And thank you for sticking with me all this time. You can look forward to some new things this year (Hint: more series types of writing coming your way…aaand some other stuff 😀 )

A Spritz of Colour

“It smelled of that clean scent of softener, like something fruity was floating in the atmosphere, or like perfume delicately spritzed in the air.”

Art by: Lily Padula

I usually get asked if I’m dressed for a funeral several times each month. But even though I would never wear any of them, I still like bold colours very much. Today, I just wanted to savour all the nuances and tints and undertones the world had to offer.

I was feeling blue, for reasons. Then I went to pick up the clothes that had been drying on the line. It was windy and the white linen billowed gently. The shirts and sheets and cotton pajamas were startling against the blueness of the cloudless sky, so soft they could almost have replaced the actual cumulus. It smelled of that clean scent of softener, like something fruity was floating in the atmosphere, or like perfume had been delicately spritzed in the air. Something you definitely want to get lungfuls of. Something that makes you want to bury your nose in a soft t-shirt and inhale until your chest is so full it cannot expand anymore.

And then there was yellow, too. A roof painted a warm sunflower yellow.  The kind of colour that is cheery but not annoying, comforting but not cheesy.

Beyond that was a canopy painted in a gradient of greens. The tenderer leaves oscillating between yellow and green, the older ones a deep emerald. Yet all swayed gracefully with the wind, back and forth, back and forth.

At that moment, life felt so vivid.

But some of the blueness lingered still. And the black of my shirt still clung to my skin.

But there is one thing I learned from my parents, something they never intended to teach. Troubles are not the end of the world; there can still be joy in times of sorrow. However big your worries are, there is always time for a smile. This moment of happiness you have now, it will come to pass. But the trouble will linger. So be happy when you can, because the same happiness doesn’t come by twice.

I had troubles, but so what?

I still took the white sheets from the line and hid under them, making a minimalist pillow fort. I wrapped them around me and deeply inhaled the scent of cleanliness. I was all dressed in white then, like a happy ghost in the middle of the afternoon. The sun was soothing against the sheets, its warmth causing the fruity scent to bloom and then explode like fireworks in the air.

There was no rainbow. But there was maybe,possibly…a certain florescence of colour within.

Note: This is Day 21 (Week 3!!!) of my little NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge 🙂 

Goodbye, Nostalgia. 

“Sequestering myself in a memory, hiding away like this…I lived vicariously through the person I used to be. “

Art by: Chiara Bautista

I need to surrender to reality.

To release the past from my grip because the flow of Time is inescapable. There is nothing anyone can do about it. We shouldn’t cling onto it, onto memories and past versions of ourselves and the people we loved. I cling to the past because the present is scary. Because the pain from an old wound is better than whatever new ache this unknown world could bring me. Sequestering myself in a memory, hiding away like this…I lived vicariously through the person I used to be. But I cannot live there anymore. The past is not a place where anyone can grow. It is like trying to fit in clothes you’ve long since outgrown. No, it will never satisfy my heart.

No, no more dusty happiness, no more borrowing from the past for me. The present is ineluctable. Running from it means nothing. It is like trying to outrun a treadmill— you can’t. You just can’t. No matter how much you try, you’ll never be able to catch up.

So I will not fight this anymore. I will grow old, as I dreaded. I will be an adult. Someday, I will fade out, I will go out of fashion. I might live enough to have grey hairs and wrinkles. It is not just that I will be old, but also that I will no longer be young. Facing Time, facing the Present, I will lose everything. But I only lose everything if I have nothing to replace it with.

There will be other happinesses, other versions of me to be. There will be new adventures, new people to share them with. There will be another golden age, if only I seize the day.

Goodbye, Nostalgia.


Note: This is Day 13 of my little NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge. You can find Day 12 here.

Getting Cold


Photo by: Unknown

There is a scent of vanilla floating in the cold, damp night.

And a warmth like a fireplace beckoning me over. One by one, everyone is pulled out of their rooms like moths to a flame.

If the kitchen was warm before, it is much warmer now with all these bodies so close together.

Without warning, the stove is on and the smells of tea and hot chocolate are suffusing the air. If it was almost uncomfortably warm before, the kitchen is now sweltering. Nevertheless, hot mugs are being passed around. Chatter is lighting the small kitchen up.
And the cake that brought everyone here in the first place is being sliced, the delicate fumes wafting in the air.

And as I take all this in: these content faces, the gentle laughs, the simple happiness of it, all I can think is how long until this all ends?

If the kitchen was sweltering before, it is much colder now.

Note: Day 12 of my NaNoWriMo writing challenge

You’re Not Done Yet

“You will feel love again, and light. There will be laughter again, as light and free as the sea breeze and contentment as deep as the oceans. “

Art by: 93.Minho

You’re not done feeling.

You may have gone through pitch-black darkness believing it would never end, but you’re not done feeling yet. This is not it. The darkness cannot take that from you. It may have temporarily blinded you, but this veil will one day drop.

There is a world out there, you know. With the most glorious kind of light—golden and warm. Pink and honey-coloured skies at sunset. There are colours you will see with your eyes closed, sparks that will tingle underneath your skin. You aren’t done feeling. The darkness that has shrouded your heart did not obscure all of it. It could not possibly have, even if there are days when it feels that it has, it has.  Because there’s always more room. Always, always room for more in your heart.

You will feel love again, and light. There will be laughter again, as light and free as the sea breeze and contentment as deep as the oceans.

And one day, one day, there will be hope too.

You have so much to feel yet. Trust me, there is more to the palette than just black, and more to life than just despair.

Note: Day 7 of ‘NaNoWriMo’




We’ve made it to Day 7! I almost can’t believe it. Today’s entry almost didn’t happen, too. Yet here we are ❤ I hope you’ve been enjoying this little challenge as much as I have, because there’s more to come yet 🙂

Residual Warmth

“You see,there are days that even the coldness of life cannot reach. Days that are safe, far, far away from the darkness of everydays.”

Art by: Heo Jiseon

There is something so delicious about residual warmth.

Heat muffled in between sheets
Warmth that smoulders, woven in the wool
The wonderful heat that hangs on a coat that is loaned to you

It is so easy to catch and hold. Something that looks too precious to be free. Too precious for me to have, this tranquility within arm’s reach.

But here it is, like a gorgeous, red ribbon that beckons me to pull it open and watch as it unravels. Then it turns out the ribbon was closed around a bouquet. So with a single touch, an effortless tug, the world blooms red with this glorious heat and I have an inexplicable, breathtaking warmth pooling around me. There is happiness fluttering in my veins, residual warmth seeping in this heart.

You see,there are days that even the coldness of life cannot reach. Days that are safe, far, far away from the darkness of everydays. Days when I live inside a snow globe or a bottle thrown at sea, the kind of bottle made from almost opaque dark green glass. And the glass is so thick that from the inside, I cannot even hear the roars of life. There is no world outside, save for the soft waves that undulate to-and-fro. But if I try, if I should want to try, I would drift to sleep to the gentle sound of waves crashing in my ear—and warmth all around.

Take a photo

Gif by: Punzie Ella

I wonder if I could take photographs of moods, of feelings, what they would look like?

The other day, in the bus with you, when truthfully, we cared more about the scenery flashing by than the destination, I wonder if it would be this soft pink, all washed out and fuzzy and nebulous. There would be a wave of heat in there too, for when we held hands and it was already so hot that summer day. I would hang it on a wall, name it something silly and pretentious like “This is as close as I ever came to happiness”.

Because moments like these don’t really need to have a name. They don’t need a place and date and time. I don’t even remember what day of the week it was. But I can close my eyes and see the soft pink of that day and be there, wherever there was, all over again. And I can feel exactly what I felt when we went by and the sun was setting, and I didn’t even look at you, I didn’t even hear the breaths you would take. All I knew of you was the warmth of your hand, and that was enough.