Embracing Happiness

Have you ever felt this cheesy happiness in spite of having no one?

It is definitely not an indicator that one will be meeting someone or dating someone new but, listening to love songs rouses that romantic in me. Even if the world has cast a somewhat cynical light on love and perhaps, one can even axiomatize scientific studies, I believe love exists. You can blame my Jesuit education but, I strongly believe love exists and it is wonderful, forgiving and without a doubt, difficult.

Love is a choice and it will always be a choice hence, why it is difficult. I choose to love my life even with its difficulties. I hated it for a short time because things did not go my way but, it happens. Before you know it, the thing that blew up in your face is over and you know what is nice? The fact that I am persevering and that I am still here to sing out loud to love songs, to give cuddles to my rabbits, to work on a goal, to dream that someday I will find someone who loves me as much as I love them, gives me a boost of endorphins.

It is a nice feeling. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy in a long time.

I will still move to Europe. I will still get my master’s degree. I will still work on my plans and goals but right now, I will just belt out Michael Learns to Rock songs and prepare for tomorrow.

P.S. It goes without saying that I do hope when I do start dating again, I would be a lot wiser. A two-year break is a long time to know one’s self. Hopefully, I can refine my 2018 standards list even further as I believe it is of utmost importance to keep a list non-negotiables to avoid headaches and heartbreaks when wading through the dating pool.

It makes me excited because I have another thing to look forward to.

Sincerely,

Allison.

The Genius of Brennan Lee Mulligan

Have I talked to you about Brennan Lee Mulligan?

This is just going to be a short essay about how Brennan makes me want to go back to one of my earlier hobbies, Philosophy and Mythology. It may seem surprising, but I think I have considerable knowledge regarding those subjects from the times that are just gathering cobwebs in a somewhat secluded section of my brain. My obsession with words, etymologies, ideologies, and conspiracies which I try to put onto paper that was sadly and prematurely shot down by a professor from university.

It turns out that, maybe, I was onto something. My brain was, IS working. It just was not the right fit for that class.

Aside from my good friend in university who religiously applies utilitarianism to his life, there is no one else to talk to and ponder about the intangible malaises of life or where do you want to die or how do you want to die? Topics that make people have a hard look at themselves. I especially do not want to talk about this type when one is under the influence of a substance that is why I appreciate Brennan or people like him who do not have to rely on such things to engage in, well, “deep talk”.

Moreover, most of the people who I came across in the last three to five years of my life were, or at least now that I think about it, shallow? Or maybe even during the time we spent together, we were not comfortable enough to divulge what we really think, what are worldviews were or what the values that we hold on to deeply and fall back on when times get tough. Or maybe I do not know them as well as I thought? Or maybe they are just shallow. Or I am just shallow as them – I may have had reservations about being vulnerable because, in hindsight, I was right. I was right all along. (Cue: Still Woozy – All Along)

Anyway, I first heard of Brennan when YouTube shorts recommended a clip from Game Changer. I don’t know which clip I first watched but I remember while I was just having my daily dose of YouTube clips, I came across this rather impassioned speech.

I think he shines the most when I watched with full attention and focus Exandria Unlimited: Calamity. Here’s a clip of his genius characterisation of Asmodeus. I have never been so invested in a campaign as much as I was invested in the first The Adventure Zone campaign. They are two different styles, not necessarily genre, but if you remember the scene with the gang fighting The Hunger and Johann and the Voidfish. It is similar to that but entirely different. That scene was a DM granting inspiration to the players, uplifting, feel-good vibes. This scene with Asmodeus was bone-chilling, a thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat.

At this point in time, I have watched ExU: Calamity start to end twice now and I have watched Episode 4, thrice. Here is his scene with Zerxus played by Luis Carazo.

If I’m not mistaken and I think I wrote it down way back in 2018 when I was trying to get over someone, this cheekiness is something that I look for in a guy. I don’t know if you would call it that way but you know, this mischievousness, of course, at the place and at the right time is appealing because I, myself, am one. He’s also great with words, an amazing storyteller and impossibly witty. If you can break into a monologue with all the flair in the world without even trying, you have Shakespeared your way into my heart. I have only ever swooned in my entire life but man, I would be lying if I deny the fact that this guy came close.

As I said before, I would only ever have a crush on the guy I’m committed to, that is, if I were committed to someone but since I am not, I’m relishing the fact that I can have a crush on someone I will never ever meet in this lifetime.

This guy is cheeky and I love a cheeky bastard.

Sincerely,

Allison

When it is a terrible time to fall in love

The title says it all.

Falling for someone when you do not have the time or the resources to do so is a conundrum that I am quite familiar with as I have faced this before.

The idea of entertaining or pursuing a romantic interest or to just let it pass by.

There are a few questions running inside my head right now that direct me to what I need to do and what I know and understand that I need to do like:

  • You’re preparing to undergo entrance exams and applications. Will you have the time?
  • You’re saving up for said master and possible immigration. Will you be able to spend some funds?
  • Have you even met this person in person?
  • From the get-go, do you think you have the same values?
  • Do you actually like this person or are you just craving companionship?
  • Can you say that you don’t have any more emotional baggage if you were to pursue this?
  • Should I? Should I not?

This set of questions is similar to the a set of questions I asked myself previously to which I have overridden the majority of the answers by saying, ‘Fuck it. Whatever happens, happens.’

I can only imagine the immense stress on my brain as it pushes against a proverbial front door as my heart bangs incessantly against it frantic and screaming, “Come on! Take a risk. You don’t know what’s going to happen! Maybe it will work this time. It has been so long since you have had any sort of romance, just please indulge me once in a while. It has been a hard year and it’s not even over. Please, please. PLEASE!

Now that I am writing it down, I see how insane my heart is. To quote Albert Einstein and his Parable of Quantum Insanity,

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein

Like a parent to a child, it kind of hurts to deny me of something that most people require but I know it is for my own good. Deep down inside, I know that the answer is not yet. The good thing is though, I get to do a do-over of what I should have done the first time around and maybe, I’ll be able to gauge how long this infatuation will last and use this to save myself from less than ideal situations.

It is a strange way of exercising self-control and self-discipline but it is only strange because this thinking or value is not what is usually propagated in the media and the apparent instant gratification culture that we have. YOLO, anyone? It is not to say that I have not fallen for it because I have, clearly, but what I’m trying to get across is that there should be calculated risk in taking up an opportunity and therefore, it is alright to say no and I do not want to get burned twice.

This is in no way self-flagellation but rather, self-care. Thinking and taking action for the long term is a form of self-care.

One last note that I would like to make is that this guy is into D&D and I refuse to have my heart broken again by another D&D player as much as I would like to be able to play D&D with my partner.

Truly, my disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined.

sigh.

Sincerely,

Allison

26 November 2019, An Excerpt

The song was on repeat when we were first getting to know each other.

Reflection on the current situation:

Have you ever wondered what love is like? What love is? I have.

For years, I have always wondered what love, romantic love, would be like. Even now, I still wonder what it is – what it feels like and how it is going to present itself when it comes knocking at my door. I think that at 23, it is a bit late to start your first relationship because you miss out on all the childish and innocent moments that youth get to relish and experience without the strains that accompany adulthood. Yet, at the same time, it is almost the perfect age to have your first because you are somewhat young enough to still have some of those experiences while viewing the relationship through realistic lenses. I believe that, at 23, one would be mature enough to know yourself and handle your own life whilst being in a relationship.

I would know this to be true due to having a few previous unrequited love. As I like to give it my all in every opportunity I chance upon and take, you throw your whole being into it in the hopes of being loved back. I thought that it was love from a different perspective and that was also love teaching me what it is not.

Now love has different plans.

Now, he has stormy grey eyes. Beautiful grey eyes that reminds me of quiet and soothing rainy days where everything seems to be washed anew. I told him before that I am from the islands and I love the sun but now when I look into his eyes, I am starting to love the rain, the thunder and the lightning just a tad bit more.

Now he has hair that aptly becomes like a halo in the sun. He hates his hair because he thinks it is sandy in colour but I love it. The way it gives him a soft glow and how it contrasts his grey eyes. It is really lovely, just like him.

Now he has a gentle voice that matches how kind he is. He has managed to evoke emotions in me just by hearing him say my name. I get elated like I have never been before and my heartstrings are tugged and thus, my heart cannot help but sing a tune in glee. Don’t get me started on his smile because when I think of him smiling, I try my hardest to stop myself from swooning.

This guy has his imperfections but who doesn’t? He is just perfect the way he is and I love him more and more each day. I am, without a doubt, grateful that I get to love him and I am so happy that I get to spend my life with such an amazing person.

Regardless, I still sometimes wonder why love came when it did but one thing I know is for sure, I have never been so content in my life up until now.


I was 23 and I was smitten like a moth to a flame.

If I had enough self-awareness to know that I would combust eventually then maybe, I would have been able to avoid the catastrophe that followed. I mean I think I did because at the beginning I told him that he would be either my greatest love or my greatest disappointment and hurt.

Unfortunately, we all know how it went down. I just think that this excerpt from November 2019 reminds me of Bruno Major’s Regent Park which I will leave here as a closing to this rather sentimental page from my journal.

I think that this song summed this relationship perfectly.

Sincerely yours,

Allison.

Chocolate Yoghurt

There’s no such thing as chocolate yoghurt.

‘I miss chocolate yoghurt,’ she said as she looked at me with a smile. ‘You have yoghurt with fruits and yoghurt with no flavours but here in Hong Kong, you don’t have any chocolate yoghurt. This is why I miss France. If I wanted to have a dessert at home and I wanted chocolate, I would have to eat a cake because you don’t have chocolate yoghurt and chocolate is life.,’ she continued as I cocked my head to the side, smiling at her incredulously.

‘No,’ she quipped before I could say anything, ‘It’s not the same as chocolate mousse or yoghurt drizzled with chocolate. It’s not.’

‘Yeah, that’s why I was thinking too,’ I said as I slowly nodded to a more plausible thought, ‘There’s no such thing as chocolate yoghurt.’

My mind cannot comprehend its existence. I remember eating chocolate pudding cups, the one you buy from das Supermarkt, after a grocery run with the family but not once did I remember any chocolate yoghurt. My love for yoghurt is something similar to my friend’s love for chocolate. I love yoghurt, especially frozen yoghurt. Admittedly, I don’t love chocolate as much as I love yoghurt or ice cream for that matter.

I also love pudding and chocolate mousse and pudding cups. I love dairy or desserts like creme brulee with its hardened sugar shell or a flan or a dessert that’s pillowy and sweet and cold. I know no one who likes eating cake with ice cream or ice cream sandwiched between brioche bread or milk bread or mantou as much as I do.

I think people should try mantou with ice cream inside. It’s forbiddenly delectable and should be considered an occasional treat. Without going any further off track, I could make chocolate yoghurt but will I eat it? It’s so strange of a notion that I’m flabbergasted.

If you know a good brand of chocolate yoghurt that I can have shipped to Hong Kong, let me know and I’ll try it.

Sincerely,

Allison.

He Who Goes Before Me

Have you ever wondered why and what were you created for? Or, have you asked yourself why are you going through what you are going through?

The answer to the first question is usually vague and unanswerable as the answer unfolds itself either at the end of your life when you are on your deathbed, reflecting on your life or, before that very moment that will determine the course of the rest of your life. As for most cases, there is no definite answer that is known to the individual but someone else trustworthy and noble can attest to what you were made for. Like a hinge to a door, your life was a catalyst to something greater and you just did not know it.

The answer to the second can be multifaceted; it can be because of the right decisions made at the right time, poor choices, circumstances, happenstance, mistakes by others, almost anything really. The same way your life is a catalyst for others, their actions will also affect yours.

I would like to think that questions like these have crossed a person’s mind at least once in their life. I believe that questions like these when logically, factually and maybe, even morally, grounded serve as an excellent compass for one’s life. Alas, we are humans and we cannot be fully rational and logical beings all the time. I also believe that Aristotle will cry at the state of the world where humans act more like animals than they are rational animals. As much as Descartes rejected that notion, I think he would also cry too as we don’t think anymore at least, critically.

As you know, the last two to three years were rife with much confusion, disappointment and desperation. There were indeed happy moments but the sadness that followed outweighed and eroded whatever happiness experienced from those events. Bittersweet would be the perfect way to describe it. When these transpired, I fell into a deep depression where I barely had any care for anything at all. This challenging moment made me so weak as it hit me where it hurts the most and it pushed me to think, ‘What’s the point? Why should I care? Why should I try to be better when nothing ever works out anyway?’

In the depths of my self-pity, I read the Way of the Kings and I had a rather angry and frustrated conversation with my superiors. The former helped me pull me out of the darkness and the latter was a painful slap to pull me back into reality that I have obligations to fulfill and people and animals who depend on me. My responsibilities do not cease and the world does not stop from turning even when I am depressed. The months were I was half-assing living caused more trouble than it was worth. I am kicking myself because I let this happen but what matters now is how I gain back trust and get back on track.

Slowly bouncing back from the tragedies of the recent past, I have more than enough resolve to face the problems and the issues that arose when I was in that depressed headspace. As much as I would like to absolve and acquit myself, real life just does not work that way and I have to face the music one way or another. This also means that pruning my relationships, activities and habits that are no longer working. Decluttering, recycling and selling things that no longer hold any value or letting go of items that once brought me so much joy.

An act of discipline which I think of fondly as an act of self-care.

You know, sometimes, when I think about the whole thing, I am glad it happened. Maybe I am not meant to go to the UK or to Germany just yet. Maybe I still have a few things I need to do here in Asia like visit places. Sometimes when I think about why we broke up, maybe the reason why is so that I can focus on the things I needed to do. To close it off, I am pretty sure that there is something working behind the scenes in all of this quagmire but I have been given the space to work on myself, to work on personal projects without any distractions and to catch up and rectify the consequences of my poor choices without anyone waiting on me.

I may not understand but being given the space to work on things at my own pace is a blessing in of itself. God knows what is going to happen and He has gone before me and this takes off so much pressure to move and to force myself against an invisible wall.

For that, I am forever grateful.

Sincerely yours,

Allison.

A Man like Dalinar Kholin

While his full backstory is yet to unfold, I cannot help but fancy someone like Dalinar.

There were three instances in The Way of Kings that made me love his character to the point where I muse to myself, ‘If I could find someone like that in real life, I’d be more than content. and ecstatic’. You would have to read it for yourself and let me know as I do not want to spoil you.

However, in this musing, my need to better myself was reignited once more. How can I be a partner to someone who is just totally awesome when I, myself, am not? What can I bring to the table that will help my partner? or myself so that I do not seem like I am disabled or worse, spoiled? I do not want to be perfect because that is such a heavy burden to bear but I want to be capable in my own right so that I am not a burden to my loved ones and mostly, to my partner. Having read The Way of Kings kindled my self-respect, my ambition and most of all, my drive to become better.

Why is this such an important thing to me?

There is a character named Navani in the book and she was the former queen of Alekthar. She was described to be as not only drop-dead gorgeous but a woman of influence, ambition and intelligence just like her daughter. Without spoiling too much, she is a researcher and a woman of science. She is professional and strong-minded seeing that she used to be an Alethi queen. By the end of Book 1, she and Gavilar started courting and Gavilar was head over heels for Navani.

I could not care less about politicking because I have little to no patience when it comes to dealing with irrelevant stuff nor do I have plans of advancing myself using such ways but people like Navani or Jasnah commands themselves and not the other way around and that is admirable. I think I have said this a million times but I admire people who live with commitment and integrity. Someone who does not give up when the going gets tough and someone who is not easily persuaded (more on this after I finish reading Persuasion by Jane Austen).

Lastly, this also has something to do with my view on love. Call me old-fashioned and this might be an unpopular opinion but I am a big believer that once we are in an exclusive romantic relationship, you are my responsibility as much as I am yours. I still have yet to determine if this applies after marriage because I did this before and that resulted in a broken heart.

What does this mean? My happiness and your happiness should not hinge on each other entirely. I mean if you do something nice for me, of course, I would be happy and I would hope that it is the same for you. More than that, while we have our own lives to live and dreams to pursue, we make space and time to encourage each other, respect each other, support each other, have each other’s backs and have fun with each other in the context of love.

How would I define love then? Unfortunately for some, I believe in biblical love and this love includes admonishment or correction. I dislike how most, if not all, sees love as all rainbows and butterflies without anything to balance it. This is not love, this is enablement and we both know that enablers are both a problem and the cause of many other problems. As Dalinar puts it, An adult can take a principle and adapt it to his needs. But we’re not ready for that yet. We’re children. And when you’re teaching a child, you require him to do what is right until he grows old enough to make his own choices.

Or like how Apostle Paul wrote to the church of Corinth, When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

When all things are said and done, there is but one way to end this.

I want to be better.

Sincerely,

Allison

For the Love of GMATs!

I have been sleeping in on Hong Kong.

As home to one of the best universities around the globe, at least before the Great Collapse of Hong Kong in 2019, I should not look any further to execute my plans of getting a Master’s and then just get another Master’s in two years time (which was a plan anyway) or a PhD in a few years time.

I realised this when I was having a long overdue phone call with one of my greatest friends of all time. I have always dreamt of studying abroad and resented the fact that I was not able to experience a junior term abroad at that time. Considering that Hong Kong is still technically abroad for me yet I have lived here for so long, applying for a Master’s degree here should not be as expensive as opposed to if I was applying as an International Student. Another bonus is that my worries – migrating to a different country, getting my masters, my rabbits, spending time with my parents, maintaining my Corona-free status – are abated until I finish my graduate studies and until God tells me it’s time for me to move.

It only occurred to me until now that maybe I was to stay behind in Hong Kong for a few more years to accomplish these dreams of mine here. I was not meant to go to the UK or Germany just yet. Looking back, I managed to accomplish an A1 course in German (and I passed, woot!), I have started practising my Spanish with a friend or just getting to know people through the hoop, pole and German classes even with the disappointments that have left me scarred for the rest of my life. As cliche as it sounds, I’d like to quote Neale Donald Walsch, “Everything is falling together perfectly, even though it looks as if some things are falling apart. Trust in the process you are now experiencing.” 

Lastly, this experience got me back to reading and writing more as I don’t think I would have written as much as I would have if it weren’t for the fact that I was depressed, anxious and just full of self-loathing all the time. It is nice to have that reminder that the night ends and that joy comes in the morning.

To leave you with an empowering verse, Romans 12:12, Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Fitting that I close this sorrowful chapter with the same verse as I opened it with. It brings me great joy and excitement to know that I am moving forward.

Know that as dire the situation as it may seem, if you’re not dead, God’s not done. Keep moving!

I hope this short article gives you the courage you need to take another step today.

Sincerely yours,

Allison

My Love for Fountain Pens

We, well, I, interrupt the intermittent flow of rather disastrous articles by bringing you an article that can possibly provide respite in this gummed up world – the first of many why I love fountain pens and anything collecting-related articles.


An Introduction

Hi there, my name is Allison and I consider myself an amateur collector of sorts.

As far as I remember, I like collecting things – books, old coins (at one point, I managed to have a 2HKD coin collection from 1991 until 2017), those flat tokens you get from those vending machines in touristy places, postcards, rocks, pressed plants and flowers, handwritten letters, cards etc.

Before you tell me that I am a hoarder, I would disagree because I don’t just buy, store then it never sees the light of day. Take for example my rock collection, I don’t have it anymore because it needed to go. If you ask why I started keeping rocks, I have a fascination with rocks because it holds so many memories.

Just think about it, where you are stepping on right now has records of history. From small events to monumental and historical happenings could have taken place where you are and maybe, there is a better way of commemorating that but those rocks are your witness and they are also witnesses to the people before you. Like a tree’s ring, those rock fragments, maybe its strata and their marks store memories! Also because some rocks are so unique and pretty.

Lastly, it is because there is something lovely in keeping memorabilia. The pressed flowers were from Germany and I remember my time in Germany and hold it close to my heart. I’ll discuss where this fascination comes from and the values that are closely tied to it because it stems from something deeper than one thinks.

Why are the photos pertinent?

  1. Proof of Life
  2. To showcase my growing collection of fountain pens and inks and,
  3. I’m not kidding about the pressed plants and flowers.

An Uncanny Start with Neil Gaiman

I know I’m not the only one who indulges in things of the past. There are many people like me who enjoy vintage fashion or someone who spends their time learning historical facts and maybe uncovering secrets. So from a young age, I was fascinated with Shakespeare and Spencerian script. and shorthand and just having nice penmanship in general. It wasn’t until we had to learn about calligraphy and had to write in calligraphy that my budding love for fountain pens started.

Fast forward a couple years after university, I was developing this sustainable mentality and it branched to a buy-it-for-life attitude. So then, I started looking for items that can withstand the test of time like a sturdy bag or clothes that can transcend fashion trends. On top of that, I just also transitioned to a more formal company and I thought that since I know what I like and dislike and I’m coming to my own and I’m building from scratch, what do I need to have in a professional setting that I will always need on me? Mind you, at that point, I always carried a notebook with me so I decided I needed a good pen.

Scouring through Reddit, the first pen that I bought for myself was the Pilot Metropolitan with a medium nib. The thing is when I start getting into things, I would usually want to upgrade as soon as possible especially when influenced by someone I looked up to. I mean who doesn’t? While I never got to writing the book that I’ve been wanting to write, I was just going through Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series and had also just finished Terry Pratchett’s and Neil Gaiman’s co-authored book titled Good Omens. I loved the book so much (I may be Christian but man, I love good tongue-in-cheek humour especially when it is directed to more serious topics like faith and religion. It is just that well-written) that my interest in Neil Gaiman piqued again. I have read three of his works at that time, Coraline, The Sandman series and The Graveyard Book (yes, I know I have not read Stardust) and I was just completely smitten all over again. Me and British guys, am I right? They break my heart so I should avoid them like the *cough*pandemic*cough*covid*cough*.

Then there’s also good old Terry and my favourite book titled Mort. If you have a fascination with Death personified, can I interest you with Mort? Anyway, yes, as an amateur writer, I wanted to write like Neil Gaiman and I wanted to go through his writing process the same way he did which was using a fountain pen and a notebook. Hence, I bought my second and undoubtedly my most loved pen then, the Lamy 2000.

The Lamy 2000 was my reliable workhorse of a pen. It wrote so well and it was with me throughout my journaling days until I accidentally dropped it in early 2020. I did not know where to get it serviced nor did I know of a nibmeister and that is why I have not used it for quite some time.

I’ll be explaining why I love using fountain pens in the next article but please read below why I have taken a new direction when it comes to the articles that I will be writing in the future.

What to expect from this kind of article?

As you have read, I don’t really have a clear purpose as to why I write. I just find it amusing and to be honest, as long as I can entertain myself, I’m pretty happy. Moreover, I find writing therapeutic and well, my intentions usually are just to get a laugh out of my situations and hopefully you would too. However, I decided that since, as Bruno Major and Taylor Swift eloquently put it, No one wants to hear a song about the bitch that broke my heart and But I just miss you and I just wish you were a better man A better man respectively, I’m just going to keep my sincere dislike, disappointment possibly regret or longing to myself and write about other things like how much I love fountain pens or how much I love Kaladin. (P.S. All Too Well reminds me of him – Germany, when we got lost. Oh and Dylan O’Brien ❤).

Well, maybe we got lost in translation

Maybe I asked for too much

But maybe this thing was a masterpiece

‘Til you tore it all up

Running scared, I was there

I remember it all too well

And you call me up again just to break me like a promise

So casually cruel in the name of being honest

I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here

‘Cause I remember it all, all, all

I can finally let my brain rest from thinking of my ex and how he is making playlists with someone he said I should not be worried about. I hope that when I read this again, I will let this sink in deeper.

OH, AND I have also decided that maybe I’ll date once I finish my master’s and that’s like a three-year timeline for me. I spent time thinking about it and I don’t think I will have enough time to date around if I’m studying for something just because I’m not that great with multitasking. So I’m pouring all of my time and energy into writing, getting physically fitter and taking steps toward my master’s. New wind in my sails, baby!

So expect some new things! Although, I cannot promise you that articles like this will be regularly published. I can definitely promise that I will do my best to move forward with newer things and, in life.

Sincerely,

Allison.

The Immortal Words, A Stormlight Archives

Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. That was their motto, and was the First Ideal of the Immortal Words. There were four others.”Kaladin raised an eyebrow. “Which were?””I don’t actually know,” Teft said. “But the Immortal Words – these Ideals – guided everything they did. The four later Ideals were said to be different for every order of Radiants. But the First Ideal was the same for each of the ten: Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.” – Teft to Kaladin


Spoilers ahead.

It has been almost a year after my descent to what I consider to be the lowest point in my life and almost at the end of it, I found a saving grace and comfort in Brandon Sanderson”s The Way of Kings.

I find it curious and unbelievably coincidental how the timeline coincided with the book’s storyline. Following Kaladin’s story in the book was painfully similar to mine metaphorically. Unlike him, I am not branded as a slave but we have both found ourselves in depressive slumps and, at one point, have considered taking our lives. Questions like ‘What’s the point?’, Why am I doing this?’ or ‘What am I fighting for?’ haunted our daily lives especially when we fought so hard and valiantly yet failed to protect the people who knew exactly what to say and whom we deeply loved – his brother and my lover respectively. Betrayed by a light eyes.

The gravity of our situation crushed our spirits. I talk as if I knew what he was going through but I cannot help but empathise with the man because it was like reading my own autobiography for this certain period in time. I would be simply lying if I did not admit that he encouraged me to get out of the slump that I am in. He and Dalinar.

In all my moping and wallowing, I realised that I have not been acting honourably.

I look to figures like Kaladin, Dalinar and Jasnah. Perfectly flawed people yet there is surefootedness in their actions because they act according to their morals and with integrity.

Dalinar amazes me with his commitment and his faith in both his brother, the codes and the visions he received.

Jasnah is a woman of logic. The sharpness of her wit, her dedication to her studies and her wisdom make me want to be like such a woman. A woman with grace and wisdom. Like an owl in the night, she silently strikes.

Finally, Kaladin. If there is a character who I identify with so much, it would be Kaladin Stormblessed. His depressive episodes yet he moves forward to fight because he is persistent and persistence is something that I used to pride myself in.

Finally, it has never been clearer to me that I would like to have someone who has gone through life’s harsh obstacle courses and whose character has been forged to that of an honourable man. Of course, one cannot forego the more affable and cheeky qualities that are present when intimately entangled as such but above everything else, my future husband’s steadfastness, wisdom, integrity, love and tenderness shall be the qualities that I will heavily rely on when times of hardships arrive and he to me. After all, no one would want to be with someone they do not respect.


With that being said, I saw a photo of my ex on his graduation day on my Facebook wall. I realised why I decided to uninstall the social media platform except for its messaging feature. I do not think I will ever be alright in facing the man who has broken my heart. I may forgive him but seeing his face brings forth grief and anxiety that makes me feel lightheaded and my heart gets caught in my throat. Admittedly, it is not a great feeling and honestly, it might take many, many years before I can fully get over someone who left a deep wound in me.

While I do not enjoy being in the pit, I believe that God is doing something behind the scenes. As obscure as it seems, I believe that my life is in good hands because it is in the hands of the Almighty. It may not seem like it at the moment but this should not deter me from showing up every single day and to learn from the past me who used to give it 200% of her all, all the time.

To you, life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination.

Sincerely,

Allison