Wednesday, June 21, 2017

6/21/17

I dreamt that I was revising for an exam while having lunch at a cafe. I chose the table facing the wall for better concentration and I don’t have to look at faces. Scattered around me was my textbook, a folder of notes, and sticky tabs. An acquaintance from Criminal Law came over and scared the lights out of me when he slid on the empty chair next to me. He pulled my leg with a joke, which caused me to lightly slap on his shoulder instead. I then placed my head on his shoulder as I welcomed the temporary distraction. The camera then panned to someone else - a female whose jaw slammed to the floor in shock at our conduct.

He then wrote my address on a half-completed envelope that bore my name. I have to admit that he had a beautiful handwriting, much better than mine. It was after this that he excused himself and departed the cafe with his pal. 

My Mom waited outside the cafe and asked why I wasn’t in college for the revision. I replied that I decided to kill two birds with one stone - I was hungry and didn’t want to waste the time returning to the building. Plus, I couldn’t study in the air of stress radiated by the frazzled students. I asked her to pick me up from the cafe because it was closer to the place where she was and easier to exit the bottleneck suburb of ours. 

It was later that evening when I decided to indulge in my favourite TV drama. The plot for that episode included a couple with a boy. I presumed that they were a family as they were discussing about something. Their dog was sitting on the chair like a regal next to the mother. A girl burst out of the bush in ninja style with the goal of delivering the fatal blow to the dog, but instead stabbed the mother in the neck. The boy chased the girl away in horror. The dad asked what happened when he noticed the deathly silence. The mother looks at the boy with despair as she tried to stop the bleeding by applying pressure on the wound. 

For the first part of the dream, I’m baffled as to why I dreamt of that specific person. I mean, the way he took the chair was indicative of him, but the context does not make full sense. We’re not friends in real life. I don’t think we’re even acquaintances either. It is possible from the online interpretation that I’m seeking consolation from someone. This is possible because I didn’t obtain a distinction for one of the courses, but I’m not disappointed. Just resigned to my fate. Alternatively, it might mean that I need someone to hear me out after I received an unexpected news from home.

Me laughing in the dream can be defined in two manners. One is the elaboration that it could be a sign of chest-deep stress for either myself or a close friend. Alternatively, it could be me looking for an outlet to express the pent-up sufferings.

Seeing the envelope, I believe, might have been the result of my anticipation in real life… or the fear of knowing the truth.

For the second part of the dream, I don't think I want to decipher the context of the dream or interpret it. It is onerous and leans towards the dark side of things.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Case of Curious Coincidences (Part 4)

Although there was nothing different with Crystal in the way she carried herself, Ryan couldn’t help but suspect that something changed within her. It was as if her confidence grew over the summer break, making her prettier than the sunset. Her hair was also cropped to a length that fell below her ears. When she walked past him on her way out after the tutorial ended, he observed that a smile crept on her lips at something on her phone.

He kept his breathing steady as he exited moments later. Her conduct made him jealous, even worse than when he saw her in chatters with their mutual course mate last year. It was eating him that she barely cracked a smile in his presence yet her face was now coated with exuberance. Her demeanor confused him more than he wanted to admit. He thought that the summer break was long enough for him to simmer over his impression of her. Sure, he admired her professionalism and her honesty. Unbeknowst to her, he arrived at this conclusion that she knew how to wriggle her hips and have fun outside campus after stalking her Instagram and Twitter accounts for an insight into her life. A particular picture posted to her Instagram a couple of weeks ago - before the commencement of a new semester - irked him to the point of annoyance. There was nothing to incriminate either one of them but he felt himself turning green with envy. It was a framed photograph of her and another guy - whom Brendan reckoned was a friend from college or a university peer - at a Christmas event. Each of them held a glass of alcohol and had their hand on each other’s waists while they grinned for the camera. What was worse, for him, was that there wasn’t any accompanying caption to distinguish if these two were lovebirds or close friends. No matter how much it irritated him, he wasn’t a buddy of hers.

When Tracy caught up with her over the weekend, Crystal looked as if someone dragged her through the lower levels of Hell and back to Earth in one day.

“How was the first week of classes?”

“Ugh, Trace, I don’t know.” Crystal shook her head. “Don’t even get me started.”

Tracy raised an eyebrow as she sipped her long black. “Why, what happened?”

“Do you know who I bumped into in one of my tutorials? Ryan. We’ve even collaborated for a group presentation again.”

“You don’t sound enthusiastic about it. If you analyze it from a different perspective, it’s good that you two are working together for another time. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’ll increase his chances of being closer to you, if that’s his ultimate wish, but there’s a sense of familiarity and trust between you two. You don’t have to chase him down North Terrace with a hammer, shooting requests for him to pull his weight. He wouldn’t have to do the same either.”

Crystal sighed.

“Tell me something. How’s the fellow’s conduct? Still the same? Or, has he changed?”

“Well, based on what I’ve noticed today, he’s… softer now. He seems approachable, like he’s lowered his guard towards me. His eyes are friendlier and no longer suspicious of my presence.” Crystal gulped her flat white. “So yeah, I guess that means there’s a change.”

“Only time will tell, my dear.”

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

6/6/17

I dreamt that it was a full house for one of my classes. It was not a language course, but some of the students spoke in Japanese and the rest in attendance did their own thing. I was bumped to the front not because I was earlier, but because I was later than usual and my seat was snapped up. I knew that I was too close to the whiteboard for comfort, but there was not much I could do. Another friend sat diagonally opposite me. She entered the class from the front and was able to snatch her seat before someone else took it. The room was reminiscent of the one where we had the MQE classes in Taylor's.

I received a phone call from the hospital later that day about my paternal grandmother's condition taking a turn for the worse. I messaged the boyfriend and we rushed there as soon as we pulled ourselves out of tutorials. The moment we arrived at the spot that she wanted us to meet her, I knew that she was in a touch and go situation. I had to make the mental preparations to say goodbye. She smiled weakly at us when we approached her. Her sun-kissed complexion was replaced by a shade paler than the white walls. Her eye socket were hollow. She was in a wheelchair looking at the garden outside the hospital. Next to her was an IV drip. It was a downward spiral from now onwards.

She asked him to come closer to her and when he did, he took her hands in his. My breath caught in my throat when I saw this action. She whispered her thanks for his presence in my life and believed I was in good hands. He swore that he'll cherish me like raspberries. The three of us cried our hearts out at this piece of news. It cemented the prospects of me losing my beloved grandmother.

I was more perplexed than annoyed when I woke up from the dream.  Both sets of grandparents are on their permanent voyage, so it is either the brain entertaining itself or my subconscious living out the scenes from my Creative Writing assignment.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Movie Night Essentials - with Pure Flix

In today’s demanding and hectic world, there is nothing more comfortable than a perfect movie to unwind after a stressful day at the office or on campus. Trust me, even I’m tempted to snuggle on a couch to watch my favorite movie after the advocacy and research essays. Alas, the priorities of life and other important matters like studies are in the way.

Together with Pure Flix, we have curated the top three movie night essentials (and movies of choice) that I believe everyone must have for a relaxing experience.



In addition to the aforementioned checklist, I have a couple more recommendations that you could incorporate for your next movie night.

I know that I’ve included popcorn in the checklist, but please allow me the opportunity to elaborate on this. You don’t necessarily need to cave into the norm and have popcorn only. You can have a variety of finger food or munchies on the coffee table, depending on the number of people watching the movie with you. It can even be a bowl of mixed nuts or a plate of biscuits or cookies. What’s the use of food when there are no drinks available, right? On top of the snacks, you can treat yourself to a glass of bubbles or, if you have under 18s around, free-flowing fizzy drinks.

A pair of comfortable attire is another important item that you need. Unlike the cinemas, where you need to be in a neat attire to be admitted into the showing rooms, the beauty of watching movies at home is that you can be carefree about your apparel of choice. It doesn’t matter whether your go-to cozy clothes just happen to be a pair of pajamas, onesie, or T-shirt and shorts. My personal favorite is actually pajamas – although it’s more commonly associated with night and sleep – because it relaxes me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching movies at home, the ‘right’ apparel plays a significant role in your viewing experience.

As this post was done in collaboration with Pure Flix, Pure Flix will like to reward all of you, my readers in North America, with a free one-month trial for their family-friendly streaming services. Head on over to their website for more information. For more information, feel free to flick them an email here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

I'm drowning in silence

Warning: this might come across as an emotional post, so continue reading at your own discretion.



Let’s just put it this way – I am tired.

I’m tired of everything around me.

I’m exhausting of feigning that life is devoid of any hiccups and those what nots.

No amount of words can describe my current frustration. It doesn’t help that it has clouded my clarity with traces of anger. I chose to slow down the pace in my academic journey after Taylor’s to prioritise my health because healthcare is expensive in Australia and my usual TCM practitioner is back home. It’s not like I can afford to take the flight out the moment I’m under the weather – my parents will give me an earful for it. I’m regretting this decision with a stab to the heart. I’m no longer the high achiever that I once was although the prospects of me landing a job solely rests on my GPA. It’s adding more stress into the mix – and I don’t need any extra – since I’ve reduced my social life to a bare minimum to focus on me-time and ensure that my head doesn’t cave in from the pressure around me.

If there’s one thing, I guess I’m still fortunate that I can mask my truest thoughts under the façade that I wear. You’ll find it ironic; whenever I’m in a crowd, I can laugh along with others or even slide a comical response and make the other party burst into a smile or laughter – all when I’m feeling like crap inside.

The crazy schedule that I forced my body to adapt to the sudden pile of workload has messed with my head. My psyche has created a form of self-comfort, in which I’m running from the chores of life and living my life in an alternate universe. I’m catching every word of the songs that I listen to like it’s a lifeline, like it’s air to me. I won’t throw in the towel because that’s not my style. I don’t surrender without a fight, but it sure as hell feels like I’m fighting a losing battle with my mind and heart. I know that I’m working with the other half of me buried somewhere in KL or Perth, I’m not sure. And I hate knowing that I could’ve been a better student who knows what in the world she’s doing.

Have I overestimated my capabilities or have I signed myself up for a long stay in the pressure cooker?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Broken Dream

Although it's a creative piece that I wrote during my time in Taylor's, I feel that certain stanzas of it are applicable to my current state of mind.



It hurts when you don't look back,
Not even to say a word of Goodbye.
I am standing under the rain;
The raindrops are piercing my heart
Through and through.
I can feel its sharp blade against it.
It is slicing the core of my soul,
Coating my emotions with blood.
Is that still rain clouding my vision?
Or are those tears blinding me,
Shielding me from the reality of dreams?

Dropping my knees onto the ground,
I hide my face.
I cannot deal with it anymore.
Dreams are supposed to brighten my life,
And not strangle me like a noose.

Like a candle in the dark,
It defines you.
Your entrance brings nothing but radiance.
It paints smiles on my face.
Your departure is melting all of my happiness.
You are transitioning me from a warm-blooded mortal
Into an icy cold human.
An emotionless person with nothing to care about,
It is who I am becoming.
The heartwarming grin that I am known for;
No, it's no longer there.
What is replacing it is the freezing glare
That burns into the bones.

I am looking out the window,
Looking back on the changes in my life.
Is this part of the dream I had?
Sadly, it is far from it.
No amount of words can describe it.
Dreams? What dreams are there?
Like the shattering of the snowball,
That is how my dreams have become,
Nothing but pieces of artificial flurry bits,
Floating around an enclosed area.
A lifeless person that I now am,
I am dead in my heart.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Unexplained Change

If this is what most practicing barristers will have to endure in their line of work, consider it my luck that I'm exposed to the amount of paperwork and preparation now - rather than while in the workforce. The original intention is to be a criminal law barrister after I've slogged for a number of years, but that possibility is vanishing in the same fashion as my confidence of nailing a credit for the mooting.

I know that something's changed yet I can't pinpoint the difference. I've been the type of child who loves the challenges of presentation in college, but my heart races whenever I need to do it in university. Some of the college friends have frowned at the negative changes. In their eyes, they've assumed that I'm a confident person with persistence. Now, if you give me a chance to remain behind the scenes, I'll take it in a heartbeat.

Maybe it's just me adjusting to the environment?



The practice moot was alright, but the amount of research that we needed to conduct for the written submission almost spun me in circles. There was a sense of peace when I laid the foundations for our team. It was as if, don't worry, I'll emerge from this scathed, but I'll survive - or maybe it's because the chunk that I had was the easiest to argue.

That can't be said of the second one - and part one of our graded moot. I'm not sure why, but I lost my coherence shortly before the other team concluded their arguments. It spelt trouble for me when the papers in my hand shook with fury. It also didn't help that a shovel emptied the contents of my brain too.

Could it have been anxiety attacks?

Could it have been nerves spanning from the lack of preparation?

Could it have been something else?

All questions with not an obvious answer in sight.

It faded for a split second when I addressed the de facto bench (on a side note, here's a shout out to the person who presided over our mooting: thanks for the attempt to soothe the nerves. I say 'attempt' because I was losing it internally). It was at the second half - when the questions were peppered in my direction - that my brain threw in the towel and rebelled. There was no panic per se, but more like a desire to hide in a corner of a dark room and breathe. Most folks who've worked with me in group assignments know that it's not a positive occurrence when my eyes shine as bright as the stars. I'm sure that it would've been evident from my body language when we exited the room that I didn't perform as well as I should (and craved). I mean, who exits the place shaking her head with a sigh unless there's defeat or disappointment?

It was with great effort that I pushed the emotional thoughts away - hell if I'm going to let those folks have a glance of the inner workings of my mind, especially when there's a chance that we could be on opposite teams for the final mooting. Thanks, but no, thanks. I instead focused on the fact that I did my best and there's nothing more that I could do about it, except to hope that whoever marked my oral will exercise some discretion instead of slaughtering me into pieces like a butcher. My mooting partner eventually told me that it was obvious to one of the tutors that I wasn't elated at all from his facial expression.

Oh well, the finishing line is in sight - and time to focus on nailing this. If I'm able to maintain my calmness - or at least project to everyone that I am confident, things should improve for the better. I don't have time to allow myself some breathing space because it's a wild ride there - and as long as I don't fall on my face from the high demands/expectations of myself, I'll be fine. Fingers crossed.

I really should consider joining Adelaide's version of KLPAC to strengthen the confidence and eradicate (or at least reduce) the fear of public speaking, but time is as precious as glassware to me. You wouldn't want to see how I behave when I don't have enough me-time. Trust me on that because I don't thrive under pressure.

The bright side is that winter break is in less than 4 weeks. Assuming that I don’t fall under the weather from sleep deprivation and stress, I think I’ll have to reduce the frequency of my social media use and learn simple breathing techniques on the side.

Maybe that'll help to prepare me for the intensity of Semester 2.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

5/16/17

Start afresh?

A quick refresher?

It was in the middle of his tutorial when the screen of his S4 flashed twice beneath his pile of papers in the span of fifteen minutes. He stole a glance at it when his tutor’s back faced the students as he wrote something on the whiteboard. It was a message from Katrina on Messenger, demanding that he return her call as soon as possible as it was an emergency.

“What happened?” Brendan barked over the phone, conscious of the time flying past him. At quarter past the hour, the tutor announced that there will be a ten-minute break for students to stretch their legs or catch a quick trip to the toilet.

“Winnie was involved in a car crash on her return drive from an excursion in Clare. The attending physician wouldn’t tell much except that they’re trying to stabilize her condition. You better get your sorry soul to the A&E when you’re done. From the doctor’s tone, things aren’t rosy.”

A lump caught in Brendan’s throat when he saw Winnie in the ICU an hour later. He couldn’t recognize the lifeless body on the bed and if Katrina wasn’t there with him, he wouldn’t have believed that it was Winnie there. He observed that Winnie wore a neck brace, which indicated that she broke her neck, and an oxygen mask that obscured half of her oval-shaped face. Her head was bandaged. Wires that were glued to her led to the machines around her. One was to maintain her vitals and the other was the IV drip, but he failed to identify the rest.

Although there was silence around them, Katrina sensed his need to be with Winnie - alone - and squeezed his shoulder before she eased out of the room. As she sat on the row of orange chairs outside the ICU, she reflected on her history with Winnie. Instead of the jealousy towards her for the perfection that she had in her life, she now felt fear and worry for the poor girl. The accident was a stark reminder that life’s too short to hold grudges over something petty, like boys and relationships.

*

He was jogging on the walkway of Riverside Terrace when someone familiar stopped him in his tracks. It was a girl seated on the bench, staring into the scenery ahead of her. There were houses at the other end of the river and Nature’s disappearing hue reflected the colors of the building, creating a sombre yet beautiful shade. The wind picked up speed and blew her long chestnut brown hair in various directions. There was no one but the two of them there and in the silence, he swore he heard her sobs.

“Winnie?” He squinted, as if it’d help him identify the person at the bench. “Is that you?”

“Hey, Brendan.” She rose to her full height before facing him. Although she looked more relaxed, as if all the earthly burdens have been lifted off her shoulders, her eyes flicked with the trepidation of uncertainty. “There’s something I’ve to tell you.”

His heart raced. “What is it?”

She walked closer towards him and embraced him. “Please forgive me,” she whispered. “I can’t stay any longer as I’m tired of fighting.”

“No, no, no, that’s not going to happen.” Brendan pushed her back and glanced at her in the eye, denying the inevitable. “You’ll be fine. We’ll get through this together.”

Her voice was a tad bit above a whisper. “I’d always love you, but I’m tired of fighting a losing battle and I don’t want to drag you down with me either.”

“What do you mean?” His voice cracked as he pleaded. “Please stay.”

“I’m sorry.” She laid her lips on his before she disappeared into the distance without turning back once. She didn’t want him to see the tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks.

He longed to have her in his arms once again but his legs were frozen. He couldn’t run, what more move.

And with that, he shot up from his sleep and panted with horror. He reached out for the bedside lamp and, moments later, caught his reflection in the wall mirror. Not only was he slicked with sweat, his eyes was double its size. He immediately touched his cheeks, which were soiled with something sticky and wet. It was tears. Little did he know that he dreamt of Winnie’s departure and cried over it. Shortly after Winnie paid him a visit, she succumbed to her injuries. The warmth of the white lights greeted her as her body drifted to a quieter and serene place, where she’d feel nothing but love and peace.

Months later, it still strained his willpower to focus on his studies without sparing a thought on life’s cruel hand. Although her death was an accident, he blamed himself for not being there to protect her from harm’s way - even if it meant laying his own life in exchange for her. If God allowed him to make an exchange, Brendan knew that he would’ve prayed for Winnie’s revival at the expense of his life. It was more than once that he desired to seek the help of the university counsellor to cope with the sudden shock on top of the academics but stopped short of entering their office. Unlike Katrina, who eventually sought the help of a psychiatrist, he couldn’t form the words to describe his grief and chose to deal with Winnie’s death in his own time and pace.

He yanked an A6 picture from his wallet; it was them posing in front of a Christmas tree at Forrest Chase - the same one that Winnie fiddled with at Adelaide Airport while waiting to board the flight to Perth. The flashbacks of their happier moments stabbed him with such force that it tore his soul apart. Why couldn’t them three the best pals forever? Why did life have to intervene and complicate the friendships?

Monday, May 15, 2017

05/15/17

I dreamt that the three of us were supposed to board a flight, but all of the passengers were booted out due to something that occurred on the plane. The pilot announced that all of the checked-in luggage would be transferred to another aircraft, which was waiting nearby. Everyone was diverted there, but in order to board that plane, we had to go through another route. With little direction given by the pilot, we were lost and found ourselves at the boarding gate once again. Since it wasn’t anyone but the airport’s fault, I spoke to one of the on-ground airport employees about it and to see whether he’d be able to resolve the matter for us.

He understood our predicament and allowed us to use the reserved routes for employees to get to the waiting plane. He even hailed one of the vehicles to bring us there because it would be faster for us. He realized that because no one informed the passengers about the new location, it was a waste of time for everyone to head there by foot.

I’m aware that I won’t need the assistance of the online dream interpretation because I know what’s bothering me lately. The idea of having concurrent assignments has weighed me down tremendously until I fell under the weather. The moment the oral assignment for the mooting was done and dealt with, I noticed that my condition significantly improved, sigh. It is also another indication that my subconscious wants (or needs, I’m not sure) a break from the academic stress.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

5/6/2017

Although this occurred a few days ago, I’m still baffled by a specific event in the dream. I dreamt that I grew up in a normal family, but save for an absent paternal figure. He wasn’t a guiding influence since I was a little girl. It was on one fine afternoon when I walked into the kitchen and found a snail moving slowly on the door screen. I didn’t give it much thought, except to leave it alone on its journey to somewhere. I was surprised that it didn’t freak the lights out of me like it does in reality.

Seeing that it was the holiday season, we headed somewhere for a holiday. I can’t remember how or why, but we went out for a meal with my biological father. He seemed elated to see me and to know about the daughter he didn’t know he had. He even promised to drive us from our hotel (although we were familiar with the routes in that particular town). When we approached his car (it was a Mercedes), I noticed that there was a shirt stuck in the engine compartment and raised his attention to it.

Later that night, we gathered at the table with laughter permeating the air. My Mom was reticent but chipping in whenever and wherever needed. I believe that she wanted to analyze him and his conduct with him.

I can’t remember what I did, but I had a brief brush with the law. He stepped in to interfere (possibly to convince the police officer to drop the misdemeanor charges) instead of allowing me to face the music.

Any thoughts for the interpretation? I found it weird that I, as a law student, would have a dream in which I landed on the wrong side of the law.
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