a gorgeous sunrise some weeks ago. Must have been on my way to HIIT otherwise I wouldn't have been on the overhead bridge
Noticed that my flexibility is always on top after a busted work out (I try to stretch after each session). Turns out I can still do a needle on my good leg, which is very satisfying for a dancer
My freaking delicious lunch on a weekend. The secret recipe to is: bread toasted for a tad longer than you think is necessary, half a ripened avocado, and eggs boiled for exactly 6 mins with the water already bubbling. Top with salt and Italian herbs, and voila
A lone adventure some time ago which took place in Orchard and involved trying the Oasis' new vegan burger at their introductory promo price. It was extremely tiny but also yummy, and the "egg" was made out of mung beans. It did taste like egg, thankfully
The first day of A levels- General Paper. Saw this on my way to school and it felt like the clearest sign from God. The paper did not go as planned, or expected, or hoped, but His promise still lingers.
So on Tuesday I went off to a special version of the HIIT class at Binjai (refer to post below where I wax lyrical about it). It's 'special' because it's meant for youth- the Health Promotion Board probably mandates that an afternoon slot is dedicated solely to kids 13-18 years old. But guess how many 13-18 year olds know of this programme? In Bukit Timah I guess you can say: ZERO. With the exception of me. Because I was the only one who turned up.
Not that I hadn't already suspected it, but I tricked myself into thinking there would possibly be more kids if their parents also went to Garage Circuit, increasing the likelihood of being introduced to circuit training. No dice. I'm quite an awkward person sometimes so I dreaded being alone with the trainer- but she (turned out to be a lady!), Irene, was really nice, and the other guys joked that I'd get a personal training session.
And it basically was. She set me some exercises to do, watching over me and correcting my form. Not quite a real life Cassey a la Blogilates, but pretty dang close. She'd encourage me when I stopped to catch my breath which is exactly what a personal trainer would do. I had the most trouble with TRX pull-ups because I have really limp noodle-y arms, so she had to literally push my body up on the last few reps which on hindsight, is kinda funny. Sorry Irene.
Point is, it was a really good workout. We really only did the hard stuff for 20 minutes, and the rest of the time was warm ups and cool down. But I ACHE. It's Thursday and I still ache a little, especially near my pits. LOL. Who knew you have muscles near the pits?
The other point is, I realized that even though I'm 18, I struggle with the identity of being an adult. Everyone who knows me (everyone who reads this very post) knows I can be the equivalent of a 5 year old sometimes. It's partly just who I am, partly a product of my upbringing as the youngest child. I have deep thoughts of course- well god I hope so- but behavior wise, it's hard for me to step up to fill the shoes when I'm so used to doing otherwise.
The ambivalence, to me, was clearly reflected that day. To participate in this Youth HIIT class you're supposed to print out a consent form and have your parents sign it. I didn't, on purpose, because damn son, 18 is already legal age, my mum still needs to sign a permission slip? Not a chance.
Yet during the session itself I dissolved back into giggly secondary school girl with Irene, simply because she's 1) older and 2) my trainer, therefore of higher authority. I still don't view myself as on an equal footing with other people. It's not about having power or control. It's more that I don't place myself in the same 'in-group' as them, the Adults. How ELL people would put it. In my mind, I am 'Child'. Or 'Girl'. Not 'Woman', nowhere near 'Adult'.
An adult would have made conversation with Irene. At least, the kind of adult I aspire to be. She would have been an obedient and receptive student, of course, but also tried to get to know her more because she as an Adult has the reason and right to. A girl or boy, on the other hand, stays within their position of Child, because they do not exist in the same sphere as the trainer. They live in their separate imaginary worlds.
I hope this makes sense, because it's what I thought of that day. I made a promise to myself that next month when I go again (it's only once a month), if Irene is there, I will talk more and do more. To be heard and not just be seen. That's a facet of growing up, for me.
an old draft from September, but still very relevant
One of the most significant developments in the past 2 months is my newfound habit of exercising. I was never a gym rat, but since the irrevocable cessation of dance, my only regular (and required) way of keeping somewhat fit has been taken away. That means that I will quickly descend into being a blob if things are not done, plus there's an end of year Bali beach holiday on the cards. Two words: BEACH. HOLIDAY. The Gan family never goes on beach holidays, or summer-y holidays, unless you count the Malaysian heat as a summer vacay. (I don't. It's just sweat and mosquitoes.) That's partially because I hate being hot and always insist on cold places for family trips. This year's different. We're taking a chance with the bathing suits and sunscreen. No one is going to catch any of the 3 Gan sisters looking nothing but their very best by December, I can tell you.
This coincided with Em telling me about her classes at Garage Circuit at Binjai park, which is completely free, thanks to the good ol' Health Promotion Board. The classes are offered as part of the 'Sunrise In the City' programme, which caters to the working people like my sis, hence most of them taking place in the morning- 7am, 8am, when the rest of the world is just waking up. I started going to the 7am one with her quite soon after Bailamos ended, and found that I really liked it.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is entirely new ground to me. It sounds daunting, but you can regulate your own level of intensity. The best thing about it is that it's really FUN. I get to train with equipment that I've never dared to touch before, or didn't have opportunity to, like boxes for box jumps, kettlebell swings, and battle ropes. Incidentally I hate battle ropes a lot.
We sweat it out for an hour, twice a week, including warm ups before and stretching after. After class I feel really good and energized. Stuff like this is perfect for morning people. And I do love my mornings.
Apart from that, I've started going to the gym regularly too, mostly to run and do a couple of HIIT-inspired "strength trainings". On a side note, anyone familiar with weights and don't mind doing a gym session with me to teach me how to use weights?? If so drop me a text after A's PLEASE?
In all this flurry of movement I found more than what I expected. There isn't only happiness and a certain measure of pride from finishing a good workout ('runner's high'), but I started to enjoy even the process of exercising, which is rarely the case. It's always been just stick it out till the end, grit your teeth, even though every molecule in your body is screaming for you to stop.
They still do, but more and more these days I love the feeling of pushing myself to go further, run faster, do more. On the latest run I was pretty tired and didn't think I could do my usual, but I ended up running a 4k in in my best time, at 9km/hour average. Coming from a girl who used to think 7.5 was already quite fast.
I think it's changing my entire mindset. I'm reclaiming a vestige of that never say die attitude that first arose before O levels started, when I ran 5k just to prove to myself I could do anything.
Time, finally, has run its full course in 25 Dover Close East.
I won't be going back anymore as a true blue AC student to attend classes, meandering down the corridors. The daily grind in ACJC as I know it, the one that's been strictly regulated by a schedule with neat lines and boundaries: it's gone. I'm never going to experience a uniformed school life ever again.
This thought didn't really strike me till about a day or two before Tuesday, Baccalaureate day. Then I started tearing up at random moments because I guess it's grown to become something I really loved, for all its shortcomings.
Above all, it's the people who've made it home. I too have tried to make my friends feel like this is a place they want to be, or at least don't mind being. If I have any regrets, it'd be that I didn't try to take up more opportunities. A lot of my efforts were concentrated within small friend groups, because I function better in them than in big parties. But it was still a huge period of change for me.
It began with a mindset. I came into Orientation thinking that I have to milk it for all its worth. That if I was going to amount to anything at all in this huge terrifying school I would have to make myself bigger to fit into it. The effects of that sort of carried over into regular daily life, and to some extent become a part of myself.
There were some down days for sure. A lot of down days, as is what you'd expect. I loved and hated 2MD5 (sorry, classmates), was alternately jubilant and downright depressed in CCA (especially the first few rough months, before the dance bimbos came along), and rode the stormy waves that represented my bipolar grades.
But the one thing you learn from them I guess is that you just pick yourself up and try again. In the course of all this God placed great people in my path- for example, some lovely girls that realized we shared a couple of classes together and formed a little group that would save me from insanity multiple times. Of course, meeting two other angels right off the bat in Bloom that were not only genuine, kind, and friendly, but also spiritually nurturing in matters that matter to the heart. And you all know the blessing that is my favourite teacher, Ms. So, who never gave up on me despite my continuous U's. That's just the beginning of a very long list that extends and ends somewhere near the front gates of ACJC.
AC was somewhere I was lost, but I was found. It became a place where I could belong. And for that I'm only grateful. I feel pretty lucky to have spent a significant chunk of my prime years in here, and I'm proud to call it my alma mater. Now it's time to go tattoo #TBIYTB- AC kids will know- on my forehead.
To God Be the Glory,
Life kind of stopped after Tuesday's Baccalaureate- as if jumping into the AC pool astral projected me into a parallel world where things like exams that decide the rest of your future don't exist. Only the good stuff, like adventure that sends adrenaline coursing like an unstoppable river do. Ever since then, I've been trying to find my way back to the real word. Took me a little time, but after an afternoon dedicated to organizing piles of worksheets, and a neat 4.5k run to start off the week, I think I am mostly back on track.
The ironic thing is that this mini-sized 'finding myself' process has been to lead me back to where there is not much of a life. As in, it's a very boring one. If I were a Youtuber and had to vlog a whole day, all you would see is just me eating, procrastinating and being hunched over my table. Oh look, there she is fixing herself lunch. There she is back at her table, neglecting her lit essays by reading her new book. There she is, off to the kitchen again. Does this girl ever stop eating?
In all seriousness, that's the routine now. It's crept up on me so insidiously that I didn't even realize it's the de rigeur; translated literally. But it echoes what Ms Marian said recently before school ended: for the next few months, it's okay if you don't have a life. It's okay. And that really makes me feel better.
M left for Hong Kong this morning to visit her parents, my lovely 公公 and 婆婆. I haven't seen them since 2017 June, which makes it more than a year. That's the norm for all us fellow kids whose entire extended families reside overseas, so treasure your Singaporean relatives, friends. Some side effects of M leaving is that now I have to settle my own breakfast, lunch, dinner (she left some frozen food), laundry, dishes, and minor cleaning of the house. It's not so bad. I like the autonomy, or at least the illusion of it.
What I don't like is the loneliness. Everyone else went off to work or school, so it's just little ol' Ly at home. Maybe I am an extrovert after all. This morning I woke up with melancholy, if that's even possible- humour me- because the song Piece By Piece by Kelly Clarkson was playing in my head, for whatever reason no one knows. Go have a listen, it's probably the saddest song you'll ever hear. Beautiful too.
I'm going to try going off Instagram completely starting today. Haven't been on it too much, only once or twice a day, but it's sort of a challenge: to see if I can handle this aloneness without the powerful pull of social media. Anyway it's really only this overcast Wednesday. For the rest of the week plans have been made, reassuringly.
So, that's about it. Please remind me to talk to you about delayed gratification when I next see you, because it is my absolute MANTRA currently.
Sorry for not blogging for so long, but I whip out my pretentious writers' excuse. You can't help a writing block. Only sometimes do words pour out as easily. Hope you are doing well (enough),
on the privilege that we have every single day of our lives but never seem to acknowledge it,
(because I no longer have instagram)
breakfast: 2 slices of PB toast, flaxseeds, banana + green tea
lunch: YTF and rice
snack: 4 dates
dinner: chicken biryani, veg, 1 apple
The days are stretched out rather uncertainly before me. I feel a little like I'm taking my first few steps on water, towards where I don't know, except that there is a wide expanse of morning fog all around me, and maybe the distant sounds of some musical Irish horn. That's the image I get in my head.
I still try to be sunshine girl. My revamped Nalgene bottle is reflective of this; faced with the dilemma of pink and yellow for a new cap the bright yellow won out. Not without some internal conflict, because heaven knows this stint in JC has seen me be a moderately Pink Girl, and I loved most of it. But things cannot always be pink. When I got that yellow cap I thought it was symbolic of a silent seismic shift, and even more so because pretty much everyone thinks it's ugly except for me. There's definitely a lesson learnt here that your happiness cannot depend on other people, because there will be times they won't agree with you. And when it comes you have to stand on your own two feet and be happy for yourself. In fact it probably makes it more special. Which is why I love my bottle.
It's easy to be this way when there are people like Aniq and Radhi to crack jokes, frown at you in the canteen and share outbursts of laughter together. When I talk to the Harmonious Bitches and share in the rigor of everyday life. When I bump into Janice or Jia outside class and we can have a much needed chat. Getting used to wearing specs in school.
Then there are days when I get bogged down. Not all at once, but insidiously, adding up slowly like a frog in hot water, so that I don't even realize I am tired until there is a doubtless heaviness in both my bones and my mind.
Life right now is this: 6 hours of sleep on a weekday sounds generous, running / gymming at least twice a week is something I actually look forward to, and daydreaming about nothing in particular.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
-Galatians 6:9 NIV
L / 18 / SG / ACJC
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If you get everything you want the minute you want it, what's the point of living?
last updated: 5 september