0

Have you stopped smoking for someone?

Few days ago, I saw this line, “The truth hurts but the lie’s worse”, on someone’s Facebook status update and I thought: “Omg, THAT is so true.” Yeah, speaking from past experiences obviously.

There was a thought-provoking article, “Love means never asking a smoker to quit” on Sunday Times today and like what the column was meant to do, it made me reflect on my life.

I started smoking when I was 15. That’s more than a decade ago. But I stopped smoking quite a while back as many of my colleagues and friends can attest to. They’d tell you I no longer take smoke breaks even when I feel like pulling my hair out at times. I used to have one or two sticks if someone offered but recently, I have politely refused even when the cigarette packet was waved tantalisingly right in my face.

As far as late Feb to early March this year, I made a conscious decision to stop smoking. I always had the intention of quitting completely since I am never a heavy smoker and my non-smoker friends have encouraged me now and then to stop smoking for the sake of my health and good looks. It was a rather convincing argument especially when you throw someone’s insecurities into the mix. But I have never felt total conviction in quitting cigarettes completely. Until I met her.

You might say I’m silly for putting myself in that sort of situation because I should quit with the well-documented reasons already known to all – namely, smoking has been proven beyond doubt to be harmful. Trust me, I am smart enough to have read all the harmful effects smoking will cause.  But I have never found that extra motivation I need to say no to cigarettes. Until that night when we were 15319km apart. She first asked me how I started smoking and through a series of questions, she led me to thinking if it was necessary to even smoke at all. When she told me how strongly she felt about smoking, I knew it was time for me to finally stop.

So I stopped buying cigarettes and made a huge effort to not think about the filthy habit. It was easy enough to stop spending money on something you know it’s bad but once in a while, you really crave for one puff, to hold a cigarette and inhale the smoky scent. Especially when you hang out with smokers. So I might have sneaked one or two or even three. But focusing on her made the psychological torture of being unable to light up much easier to bear.

Then that fateful night came along. My heart broke when I saw her upset. She had found out about me smoking the night before. We had a huge fight and I did what came most naturally to me – light up. It was an act of “rebellion” – something I did on purpose, according to her. She said my pact to quit smoking was something special between us and it was no longer the case. It hurt to see tears streaming down her face. What have I done?

But she said she would deal with it and she was more upset about accidentally hurting her pet. That confused me because I thought her tears were about us. Was I over-thinking? Maybe. Was I determined to make things up? Definitely. Even though I was and still am hurting from the previous nightmare, I am soft-hearted enough to want to make amends.

It took me a few days to finally tell her about my renewed conviction to stop smoking and her revelation about the past shocked me. The conversation that night wasn’t pleasant at all. I thought I was making an effort to make things right but really, I needn’t had bothered. After all, I have the liberty to do what I want as long as I am happy doing it, she said. I felt stupid. Not for the first time in the last few months, I have to say.

So yes, the arrival of a new love someone significant in my life spurred me to stop smoking and I am not going to start smoking the next time we fight because I’ve learned to handle sadness and frustrations differently. I don’t know if I will ever pick up smoking again but at least I know I no longer want to now.

“It takes a lot out of someone to quit smoking… But nothing beats the motivation that a smoker gets when someone he loves asks him to quit.”

My question is: I am willing to do the greatest things possible for the one I love or really care for. Are you willing to do the same for me?

It is really a meaningful article. You should read it sometime.

0

Get me away from here, Belle and Sebastian

I probably shouldn’t tell you this but I have been showering using only my left hand for the last three days because I am still hurting from the cut on my finger. Yes, while my left hand is busy scrubbing myself, brushing my teeth and shampooing my hair, my right hand is kept high and dry from water. Which means the right side of my body is infinitely cleaner than the left. You probably should sit on my right. And badminton is a savage game that will sock you in the right eye, cut your finger, leave you sweaty and struggling to catch your breath if you’re not careful. BUT IT WOULD ALSO BE THE BEST WORKOUT DAY EVER! Rosy cheeks and a sense of satisfaction included. Just saying. WAIT!

Before you go, I was at the Belle and Sebastian Concert at Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore on 7 August 2010 and it was brilliant! Stu and Steve were self-deprecatingly charming and endearing. One of the best sit-down gigs ever. I might have a thing for Scottish accents now.

I didn't see this amount of brilliance coming

[via www.setlist.fm]

2

The day a bit of me died inside

I have a badly cut finger on my right hand from playing badminton during the weekend. That finger makes typing hard because I wince every time I accidentally use it to hit the keyboard. Typing with nine fingers takes time getting used to. I have to realign my hands on the keys and the right hand can’t cope with the punctuation and words on the right side because it can’t instinctively hit the keys as it was used to. Unless I look before I type.

Anyway.

I’m very wary of giving up more information about myself, my feelings or my thoughts sometimes because I’m afraid of losing myself. I have always been that distrustful of people. I think that opening myself up to someone is like having a piece of myself lost to me forever because I’ve placed this little information, whether tiny or important, in your hands and you could use it against me one day. It’s the same as showing you my heart and leaving it vulnerable for you to break it.

I can’t remember how this misgiving came about but it would be a series of events that have come to shape me for who I am today. I am uncomfortable with sharing any details of anything related to my life because I couldn’t bear to think what if that person betray me one day or that person can’t keep my secrets safe.

Yet I’ve always had a hard time letting things go. I may look nonchalant or even sound cynical, but I am naive and even overly sentimental when it comes to relationships of any kind. There is a disclaimer though. I will distance myself from anyone or anything related to that person if I was betrayed, lied to or heartbroken over. But I don’t mean staying bitter or hating that person with a vengeance because it’s not in me to hold grudges for long. It simply means I will not keep even a tiny bit of memory of that relationship with me. The person will cease to be someone familiar or close. Instead, we are back to being strangers.

But I know of people who keep their past, both good and bad, close to their hearts. I suppose they are OK with that because they value the impact those people have made on their lives. This makes me feel silly at times because I would think maybe I should have made more effort in keeping more friends and fewer enemies. Maybe I shouldn’t let these people who used to be a part of my life go away so quickly. Maybe I should go get reacquainted with them. Except I’d feel silly for doing so since I do not particularly care for them. You might think it’s a waste to let go of these people who were once close but if the relationships had ended because it was time to or one of us decided to walk out, then why bother holding onto something no longer complete.

Am I too naive and resolute in this opinion? I have no idea. I could be wrong.

Anyway, I wrote this draft below on 10 August after sorting half my thoughts.

I came out of spin class few days ago incoherent. It was very likely that I was dying of thirst since I stupidly forgot to bring a spare water bottle to the gym. I then saw myself in the mirror when I drank from the water cooler and I was beetroot red in the face. If you checked the Pantone chart, I could be closer to the darker shades of purple. I never knew exercising has the same colouring effect as what alcohol has on me. But really, this isn’t what I am here to talk about.

A little bit of me died 12 nights ago.

I know. I can’t believe this is happening all over again. Not after the fiasco of 2009. I don’t even know how to begin. Is there even an easy way to describe what I felt then and how I feel now? No. But I will try because I owe myself this. To remember and learn from it.

It’s never easy to find yourself being lied to – hearing one lie after another to cover up that first lie. I am not a saint and of course, I lie at times, mostly white. Occasionally edging close to beige. Bite me. Yes, I am here to talk about me, if you haven’t noticed.

That night, a cold chill ran through me when I found out the truth. My limbs went numb from the lack of oxygen because I stopped breathing. I pulled my hair in shock. Did I do anything wrong? Was it me? Was I ever paranoid? Did I not care enough? Did I appear too detached from you? Did I not ask enough questions? Was I too trusting? Did I have a sign on my forehead which says “Treat me like a fool”? Possibly. I mean these things happen to regular people, right? Right.

The whole time, I couldn’t help thinking it was my fault for setting expectations and thinking the best of everything, of us, of the possibilities because doing that had set me up to fail. And reliving those moments over and over about it makes me want to hit my head against the desk. Over and over again.

The thing is you found me at the right time. I was ready to be nice, mature and give as much love as I possibly can because I have learned from my mistakes and I genuinely want to be the best I can for someone who was willing to entrust herself to me.

Now I am just a shell. An empty torn but darn good-looking shell. I talked to someone the night after the incident and he told me something I had known and have always been doing all along. It’s all about mental prepping.

When you have went through something terrible in your life once or twice, nothing will ever come close to hurting you again because that one experience that devastated you years ago will be the light that keeps you focused on what’s important. Your sanity. The one thing you need to stay alive.

The truth is I’ve decided to let things go because I realised in that three days I spent being absolutely miserable, it takes more energy to be unhappy than to be happy.

So my heart was slightly broken. But it wasn’t the end of the world. I am alive, I am grateful for my parents and I have so much to look forward to in my life. I may have stopped myself from following my natural instincts. I may have started putting the walls around me again. But I know now, I am safe. Then again, what do I know? I am still making it up as I go along.

The excerpt above was just half my thoughts. There is another set of thoughts I had after that night. But that will be for the next post because it’s 4.33am and I should sleep now.

0

This needs a bit more colour

Someone needs to fill in the colours

I admit this isn’t the nicest sunset I have ever seen in my life. But. Come on, you know there is always a but somewhere.

Around three weeks ago, my mates and I were splashing around in the rooftop pool at a boutique hotel in Phuket when I looked over my shoulder and saw the sun slowly creeping behind the hill. Seeing the setting sun reminded me of you and I wanted so badly to be home with you then. I immediately took a picture of it with my iPhone, dripping hands and all, because I wanted to share this with you, that I was thinking about you at this exact moment.

Little did I know my heart was going to break few days later. Internet, you must be thinking “Not again?!” I know right. But. There you go. Another but. That’s it really. Sometimes things occur without us knowing the why and how. Whether we like it or not.

Anyway, that is a blog post for later. After I collect all my thoughts. Give them a queue number. Serve them some vodka shots. Light a cigar for everyone. Fetch some grandpa slippers for their poor aching feet. Tuck them under a warm blanket. You know, the works.

Alright, I promise not to leave you hanging. Not for too long anyway.

1

A Spanish kiss

So Spain won the World Cup. I know you know this news is more than a bit late and no longer newsworthy. But just in case you were the last few who have yet saw, read or heard about this gesture, you should know this made me go “AWwwwww” when I first saw it about a month ago. I had to stop watching it before I got a “brought tears to my eyes” moment then. Now I think it’s safe for me to post it. But after watching it for the fourth time, I’m not sure it was dust that got into my eyes.

Here’s Iker Casillas, the goalkeeper and captain for Spain’s national team, being interviewed by Sara Carbonero, a reporter for Spanish network Telecinco, after Spain won the World Cup by defeating Netherlands one nil. The game was unbearably boring. But this interview more than made up for it. Oh, you should also know that Carbonero is Casillas’ girlfriend.

Tell me, you couldn’t stop smiling after watching it, can you?