About 3 years ago, everyone in the class received a card from my CT, Mrs J. On mine she told me that I have a great personality and some other encouraging words. However, I couldn’t make sense of the last sentence. It goes like “sometimes you have to stop and take stock of the things that have happened around you”. It didn’t make sense and after a few shrugs I put it to the back of my head, like I always do. Over these years, the sentence didn’t bother me at all and I still had no idea what Mrs J was referring to.

Just recently, I finally knew why she had said that, and I am more than grateful for that because that sentence is probably one of the most useful lessons I have come to discover. If there’s any chance I’d see her again, I would definitely express my gratitude to her.

Because, “stop and take stock” is something that I have been unable to do. Something that’s been missing in me, and also something that is essential for me to learn to do.

I have never looked back. It’s evident from the way I treat my photos. I have taken so many photos but have hardly looked back at them once I’ve stored them in the hard disk/computer. After a gathering or outing, people would ask me, where are your photos? Why aren’t you uploading them? All those moments, memories, faces, smiles. Why have I never thought to look back? Because I couldn’t bare to.

No matter how beautiful the photos were, how happy the people in there were, all of these aren’t there anymore. They aren’t going to come back. No matter how much I miss the people, they were only them in that moment. At first, I must have done it subconsciously. And have done it so often that it has become an unquestionable habit. My heart must have been shouting “I DONT WANT TO LOOK BACK” all the time and I have muted it.

I am always escaping and avoiding things that hurt me or could possibly hurt me. I shun from them, like a basic instinct. I think it’s easier if they were just fading memories, not colorful, lively photos on the wall, reminding me every second that things aren’t going back. For those less than happy memories, I turn my back on them as much as possible. I can’t even bare to look at my mistakes, those wrong decisions, those time wasted.

And yet, I have wondered why shitty things are happening to me again and again. I didn’t realize that they are all my doings, getting back at me. I couldn’t see why because I’ve told myself not to. “Just let go,” a voice inside me whispers, “and it will be easier.” And so I did. In that process, I’ve become the carefree and happy-go-lucky person, at the cost of my own past. From Nanyang to Hwachong, I’m almost happy everyday. I wouldn’t let those ugly and heavy things catch up with me, so I ran, ran ,ran.

I have been running so hard that the past has become all but a blur. Even if I want to turn and look at them, they have been washed away by time and rain and wind. Now I have almost nothing to return to, not the happy moments, not even the sad and angry ones. There’s only echoes and blurry flashes of the memories left.

Behind the laughter and smile that I always have, is a fear that’s consuming me. A fear that has been unknown to me, until recently.

I. Need. To. Look. Back. And accept my past as a fundamental part of me, despite the dark thoughts, sad memories and in spite of the happy smiles and laughters. I am truly glad that I have come to discover this. It’s never too late, right? Happy 21st birthday. This realization is possibly the best one I can give myself (but tomorrow’s snowboarding is equally good! ^ ^), and I truly deserve this present.

Another reason I’m inspired to write is because nearing and on my 21st birthday, so many old friends have surfaced and talked to me. I met with Jenny and Xuean in London, Xuejun too. Maria wished me Happy Birthday on FB and she said that although we haven’t talked in a really long time, I am still one of her best friends in Nanyang. XiangChuin also did a really lovely present, recapping how the 4 of us met. It seems like, this 21st birthday is all about past and present coming together. It’s really heart warming, especially in this snow storm. Thank you guys, for loving me as who I am. I will strive to become a better person.