Why don’t you ‘like’ me without making me try?

It has been touched on countless times by journalists, experts and armchair critics of social media – but the topic still bothers me : why do ‘likes’ matter so much? No, scratch that. Why do we feel like they matter so much?

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I find myself scrolling through Instagram sometimes, wondering how a simple, not-particularly-well-taken photo of 2 girls can get 200 likes, or a bowl of noodles can get 100. I take a peek at the list of ‘likers’ and randomly check some of them out- they seem legit, and just as popular. & then I go back to my own photos, some of which struggle to even get the hallowed number 11 (thus saving one from the ‘shame’ of having the likers’ names still appear).

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Worse, doubts start creeping in about real friendships. You start wondering if it means anything if your supposed close friends don’t even ‘like’ the stuff you post on social media. I mean, wasn’t this in the Handbook of Things Good Friends Should Do? Like every post. Help you stalk your crush. Be your #1 cheerleader. But then I remind myself of our offline interactions. Or how sometimes even though these people don’t ‘like’ my posts, they PM/whatsapp me/meet me in real life, which is more personal and takes things beyond a ‘well-I-know-what-you’re-up-to-&-you-seem-fine-here-have-a-like’.

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It’s true that we constantly filter and edit, but I have on occasion (OH FINE YOU WANT TO BE PARTICULAR ABOUT IT? QUITE OFTEN)  exposed my angry; insecure; vulnerable self online. I don’t put up a pretense that everything is fine. If I’m pissed, expect a passive-agressive status. If I’m depressed, expect a mopey one. Yes, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I know that some people don’t like it, but I feel like if I wanna broadcast my feelings to the world, then let me, goddamnit! If you wish to show no concern, scroll past it & move on with your life.

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Sometimes we stop ourselves from sharing something if we think it won’t get a lot of likes, and I guess that’s sad. But honestly I feel like after a certain point, it doesn’t really matter who likes my stuff and how many people do. I think that’s what they call the ‘bliss point’ or something, where you reach the peak of satisfaction and then it plateaus or goes downhill from there. Too much of a good thing & all that.

So I vow to stop feeling lousy about myself just because people don’t ‘like’ me enough. It would be wise, I think, to step away from it all, but I’m in too deep. Guess I’ll just have to limit my number of posts (which I have been trying to do…) and focus on other things – like actually doing stuff and talking to people IN REAL LIFE. 

P.S: Thank you for reading my blog posts. (: Because a few of you have told me that you actually enjoy reading them and can somewhat relate, I feel motivated to work on my childhood dream of becoming a published author. I don’t quite know how to go about it, but I do promise that if & when my stuff gets published, you guys will get a signed copy!

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It’s hunting season and this lamb is on the run

Wow, it’s been some time since my last post. Another summer abroad has come & gone. Last year I went to Paris drunk on fantasies of how my life would change and returned sober with the realisation that life isn’t a movie where the protagonist falls in love and discovers herself/the meaning of life over the course of one summer. This year Berlin was pretty much the same, except I didn’t expect as much before going. I was right not to. Yes, I made new friends. Yes, I learnt new things. Yes, I’m pretty sure I can survive on my own (for a few weeks at least). But am I any different? 

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oh, really?

Every single day I am still plagued by the same thoughts…and what’s worse, I feel their effect on me. I can feel them physically manifesting. I literally feel like an invisible potato. It’s hard for people to understand what it’s like being 21 and feeling nothing like a girl. Not because I think I was born in the wrong body. That would be alright.Thing is, I feel like some genderless entity that is just there, in the eyes of guys at least.

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It isn’t because of my short hair.Even with long hair, I was invisible to them. My name doesn’t even come up when people teasingly matchmake others in our little social circles.

I’m gonna try to make the effort to be positive instead of continually moping over the same thing I can’t do shit about. So I’m going to list things that I’m looking forward to/planning to do, and hopefully that will keep me motivated :

  • DEC : Perth and YEP to India, possibly?
  • SUMMER ’15 : International Internship?
  • Get my Goethe-Zertifikat B1
  • DALF C1 maybe
  • Become a better dancer. Go for more classes. Try a new style. Get Just Dance 2015
  • Become a better drummer

Youth really is wasted on the young. I had so many dreams back then and I was so full of zest and ambition….now that I’m actually old enough to make those dreams come true, I’m wasting my time wondering why I’m single.

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WAKE UP PEARL YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO BECOME SOMEBODY! & then someday you can be the role model you never had. I always imagined my interviews post-success would go a little like this :

Reporter – So, you’ve never even been on a date your whole life?

Me – Yeah. I was always overlooked by all the guys – no one saw me as more than a classmate or a friend, and I felt lousy about myself as a result of that. I would spend a lot of time wondering what I lacked in comparison to all the other girls. & then one day, I decided that I’d had enough. I was sick of being defined by the lack of male attention I received. I always believed in putting my career first, but I never took more than baby steps. The minute I decided to give it my all, things changed. 

 

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Or something like that. I remember the one time I was ‘asked out’ was when I was in a good place, and consequently good things started happening – I was in the midst of applying to my dream school; interning somewhere I liked and was proud of; being considered to give the valedictory speech; asked to star in a graduate video etc…I’d like to be that satisfied again…to attract more positive things into my life. Gotta keep believing I guess.

 

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To those of us who knew the pain of valentines that never came

Just to make it clear : I don’t sympathise with Elliot Rodger. But while this incident has sparked off discussions and debates on mental health issues (if he had any, because there are conflicting reports), misogyny and the like, I can’t help but return to the idea that he never received attention from girls, which he thought he was entitled to. 

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& somehow I find his sentiments eerily similar to mine (EXCEPT WAY WAY MORE EXTREME. PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND AND PEG ME AS A MAN-HATING VIRGIN KILLER-TO-BE THANK YOU). He could have paid for sex, sure, some argue. But what he wanted was to experience loving a girl and being loved back – he focused a lot on sex, because what do you expect from a regular hot-blooded young male – and I can relate to that. 

You see, movies make it look so easy. People make it look so easy. Classmates start coupling up. You know, it all seems so effortless for a lot of people. & so you grow up thinking that’s the way it is for everyone. Of course, it isn’t. I did suffer from a bit of a fairytale complex – I thought that I would get my first boyfriend in junior college, at the age of 17 – but like Janis Ian’s song goes, ‘ I learned the truth at seventeen’ (also, I ended up going to poly). I realised then that life wasn’t like the movies. I wasn’t getting the attention I thought I was supposed to be getting. In fact, I was being told by guys that I wasn’t pretty, and I practically had (still do) a lifetime pass to the Friendzone. 

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*:you’re

& maybe that’s as close as I get to understanding where Elliot Rodger came from. A lot of people don’t get it. They sneer at the triviality of it all and assume it can be fixed easily – in his case, a trip to a brothel…in mine, perhaps making myself ‘easier’ . But by offering such suggestions, we’re ignoring the real problem – the totally normal, human desire for companionship. Maybe it’s been hard-wired into us and we think it’s necessary for survival – and so the fact that it isn’t happening for us, but for so many others …that’s a little hard to take. 

Elliot blamed others for his situation, & took it too far. Perhaps he was aware of how dangerous his thoughts had become; perhaps not. As for me, these thoughts consumed my life for a long time, and they still remain my biggest demons. However, as many women are wont to do (which they really shouldn’t), I wonder if there’s something wrong with me  instead. Some think that my constant talking about love scares guys away because it screams neediness – but I have been working on leading my own full life. I just want someone to share it with – is that so wrong? 

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I was reading ‘This Star Won’t Go Out’ by Esther Earl and even she longed to like someone and be liked back. Would you call her desperate? I wouldn’t. I would understand that this is a typical human sentiment, one we shouldn’t have to be ashamed of. 

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I don’t really know what my point is . I guess it’s that maybe we shouldn’t blame people for feeling lonely. Yes, he did seek help, and no, it didn’t save him from his demons in the end and people died because of that. But let’s not paint him as an absolute monster. Loneliness can drive people to suicide or harming others in a bid to exact revenge – or in his case, both. It’s just sad that he couldn’t see the meaning of life beyond boy-girl relationships and sex, and decided to kill people to prove a point about how wretched and unjust society was. Don’t worry about me, though. I intend to give my love to people who need it more than I do – and if I can stop someone from feeling lonely and unwanted then that’s great…it’s good enough for me. 

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I’m as free as my hair.

As much as I love Mother Monster, I have to say that this time she’s got it wrong. I feel freer without my hair.  I was just another regular, invisible young female about a week ago. But now, I’m different. I’ve chosen to say : I don’t care if you think I look weird or ugly. I don’t feel ashamed, because I feel beautiful. & I have the guts to do something you might never do in your entire life. 

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Granted, this whole head-shaving thing isn’t going to save me from the sad thoughts that plague me incessantly. But the point is, if kids with cancer can be strong, why can’t I? I was thinking about the people who hurt me in the past again and wishing they would see that their judgment of me was wrong, but then I realised : why should I feel the need to prove to these haters that I am a good person? It’s a waste of time. Someday they will see it.

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I know I told myself that I ought to be somewhat like the girl/woman(?) I want to be by 21, but progress has been slow. I have this vague idea of what I want to do and how to get there but I keep stumbling. I feel like I was a lot more ambitious and hardworking as a kid. Pity, because now I’m old enough to make some of these childhood dreams possibly come true, but I’m not doing anything. 

I’ve been rewatching season 1 of The Mindy Project though, & it is so hilarious. My fave character hands down is Morgan !

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I love Mindy Kaling in the omg- I-wish-I-could-be-her-bestie way. mindy-kaling-quote-confidence-beauty-redefined

Her brand of humour is different from Lena Dunham and Tina Fey’s, but I admire all 3 of them for creating, writing, producing, directing and starring in their own shows. 

I’ve always loved women with ambition and looked up to those who were beautiful, smart and talented, but I never really thought of it as me being a feminist. It seems like no one really knows what it means to be one anyway. To me, it means believing that girls can do anything that guys can too; being supportive of other females when they succeed; giving girls access to education; giving women the salary/position they deserve. It also means that as an individual woman, you should aim for the top and not rely on your partner financially. 

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My friends joked that it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary if I were to campaign for women’s rights or work for some organisation that deals with giving girls education (Room to Read?), but I don’t know if I feel strongly enough about these issues to be an activist – I mean, I’ve only recently realised that I’m a feminist, if the online quizzes I took and opinions of my friends are to be believed. I know my mum is unabashedly one- but am I? 

If I am, am I not a failed one, because a part of me wishes that I could receive male attention too, just like every normal teen girl out there? Yet I shaved my head, which ‘desexualises’ me…and let’s admit it, though I love it, guys probably don’t. Then again they never noticed me even when I did have hair.

I’m not easily won over by material goods. I wear man-repelling leggings. If I were to be in a relationship, it would be for the emotional benefits (if any) and good conversation – which would probably bore horny young males to death. I see through the ‘forever’ and ‘I love you so much baby’ BS. Yeah, I used to believe in true love – but even then I knew that relationships die, especially when you’re young. 

I stood up for myself and sent the asshole who called me ‘desperate’ a message – why must we girls be made to feel bad about wanting to feel something so basic and human as love? I’ve never dated before and I don’t go around flirting with guys – I just talk about love a lot, and that makes me ‘desperate’.  (YES I’M STILL HOLDING A GRUDGE AGAINST THIS PERSON, A YEAR LATER. SO SUE ME.) tumblr_mdhv8ja1ys1qk82m8o1_1280

It’s a real joke, and it just goes to show how boys sneer at us while simultaneously patting a bro on the back for scoring several numbers/having 2 or 3 girls hanging off his arm.

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I’m not a misandrist, but I do think that a lot of boys need to grow up. & when they do, they need to stop underestimating us women. I want to help girls understand that there are endless opportunities out there for them, and that their looks and bodies don’t define them. Because I’m unfortunate to be surrounded by people whose thoughts can be summed up in this quote from Morgan in TMP : “Feminism nowadays, it’s all about reminding women that they have to be hot, too. It’s like that book Lean In.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be hot. But as Mila Kunis once said, “Funny will get you far. Hot will get you two hours.” Let’s stop making girls feel like they’re worthless just because they don’t fit into a certain mold. Let’s encourage them to be more than just ‘the girl all the guys want’. 

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This life is way too short to get caught up in all this stuff

With the disappearance of MH370, the sinking of the S. Korean ferry and the posthumous publication of Marina Keegan’s essays (which I’ve yet to get my hands on), I understand the fragility of life more than ever. I guess maybe that’s why lately I’ve just been doing whatever I feel like doing, and trying not to get mad over little things.

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The past few weeks have been great – jam-packed with assignments/events/gatherings with friends. I catch myself thinking at times that I am exhausted, but I feel as though I’m not tired enough…like I want to push myself to the brink and use up all my potential. That sounds kind of masochistic…

I think a famous person once said that he didn’t read trashy novels/magazines in case it was the last thing he was ever caught reading. On a trip to Kino last weekend WL was surprised when I stopped to flip through ‘Lean In : For Graduates’  (Sheryl Sandberg!) and ‘Thrive’ by Arianna Huffington.

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“Huh since when do you read such books?” she asked. Uh, since a long time ago. I may not look the type, but I’ve been reading books classified under self-help/leadership for some time now. The motivation I get from reading such books fades after awhile, which might explain my lack of achievement in any field…which might explain why my friend didn’t think I’d read  ’em. 

I was also asked yesterday if I read books often, and which genre…the thing is, if you were queuing behind me at Kino and happened to glance at my purchases, you might be a little confused.

Sometimes I might buy just my usual magazines : Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Glamour. You might proceed to dismiss me as an airhead. But to justify my reading choices, there are actually articles on female empowerment in these mags. It’s not all about make-up and pretty clothes and how to snag a guy. The interviews with celebs also serve to inspire me. 

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Then once in awhile you might catch me buying YA novels, like Divergent or something by John Green. Pretty normal teen, you’d think. & then on another day, it might be something by Dawkins, or a book on Keynes and Hayek, or I am Malala, for example.

So it was difficult for me to  reply. I did actually know which was the last book I read, but it happened to be a silly light-reading choice and I didn’t want to sound like it was my go-to genre, though I think it’s what most people would assume about me. (For the sake of being honest – it was ‘It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single)

My all-time favourite authors/books have remained the same : Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Thomas Mann, Paolo Giordano’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers, David Nicholls, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas…John Green…

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*missing an ‘O’

I don’t wanna be all talk and no action, so lately I’ve also been thinking about HfH and wondering if I should go ahead with it this year. I’ve always wanted to, but for the wrong reasons, I think. It’s always popped up as a way for me to escape – and it was always because I was angry at the world for not seeing me the way I wanted to be seen.

But now I think that I should only do it when I’m absolutely comfortable with who I am and confident in my own skin. & I feel like I’m getting there. I haven’t gotten more compliments or anything, and this is not meant to sound narcissistic, but lately when I look at my photos and my own reflection I think that I’m alright. I feel pretty. Even if others don’t tell me that I am. & that’s the attitude I need, if I’m gonna go ahead with HfH.

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I hate the ending myself, but it started with an alright scene.

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I’m usually a sucker for stories that go like this (Cecelia Ahern’s Where Rainbows End, David Nicholls’ One Day) : Boy meets girl. They become besties but continue dating/end up marrying other people. They only end up together when they’re grey-haired and finally ready to admit that they’ve loved each other all along. 

But not this time. 

The Himym finale would have been so romantic- if I wasn’t already so attached to the idea of Swarkles and Tracy being Ted’s The One. 

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There were so many beautiful moments in their relationship. The gradual realisation and Barney’s heart-melting ways of trying to hide his growing affection for Robin…the grand declarations, the chemistry…everything. 

I’m cool with the fact that they got divorced. Stuff like that happens. 

What I’m NOT cool with is the fact that Ted still went back to Robin. 

I thought we were done with the whole Robin thing. Didn’t he ‘let her go’? & The Mother was so perfect, too. Great job on the casting director’s part, honestly – Cristin Milioti was absolutely lovable. It didn’t matter that she had few appearances – in every scene, she shone, & because I was led to believe that she was perfect for Ted, I automatically loved her right away. 

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This scene was everything I expected it to be. It didn’t let me down at all. 

This scene, however, did. 

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Was I supposed to feel touched that the story had come ‘full circle’? That after all the ups and downs;after being with all the ‘wrong’ people; after 25 years- Ted & Robin have another shot at making it work this time? 

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Honestly, I think that Robin would be much better off single. She can take care of herself. She’s got it all, career-wise. She’s beautiful and independent – there’s nothing wrong with that. Does she even really love Ted anyway? She told him ‘no’ when he asked, and only in her moments of panic/loneliness did she consider being with him again. To me, it feels like she’s settling for Ted because he’s safe. ‘Marry a guy who loves you more than you love him’, they say. I never liked that saying. 

I felt like Ted and Tracy loved each other equally. Maybe it’s because we didn’t get to see the ugly side of their relationship (all we got were a few ‘aww’-inducing moments and a slideshow of pictures, essentially. WHAT?!) …but we believed that they were perfect together because we had been told that all along. 

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& that’s what pissed – pisses, really, I’m still upset- me off. Someone commented that this show was made for hopeless romantics, & I agree. Like Ted, we all want to believe in the idea that The One exists and that ‘all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls’ would lead us to them. Watching Himym was my way of reminding myself that anything could happen – he’s just around the corner! Maybe he’s a friend of a friend. Maybe I passed by him just now in the canteen. I’ll meet him someday when the timing’s right, just like how Ted met The Mother, even though there were times when he thought he’d be forever alone! 

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Now I just feel like the fantasy has been ruined. I know people were praising how realistic the ending was, but I don’t watch a sitcom (especially one that has set the bar high for ultimate go-big romantic moments : who can top Ted’s 2-minute date with Stella?) to be reminded of harsh reality. I watch it to lose myself in the dream of what could be. 

I’m just going to deny the whole Ted x Robin thing, & pretend it ended like this :

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TRACY IS TED’S LEBENSLANGERSCHICKSALSSCHATZ. TEAM YELLOW UMBRELLA. TEAM TRACY MCCONNELL. THE END.

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Don’t let go, I need you to hang around.

I’m going to have to avoid all social media until I’m done watching the HIMYM finale. If anyone dares spoil it for me, I swear, I will kill you. As much as I love sad stories, I really don’t want The Mother to be dead. I feel like this show gives me the warm, fuzzy feeling of hope that finding that perfect person for you is possible – so for them to cruelly go : sure, you’ll find The One but he/she will die early into your relationship. Too bad, that’s life! would really suck. 

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I can really relate to Ted, so obviously I want him to get his happy ending, so that I can tell myself that maybe I’ll get mine someday too. I know some people say The Mother is basically a female version of Ted, which isn’t very realistic, but I adore her to bits. Although in my case I would probably never get together with a male version of myself because neither of us would dare to make the first move. 

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They say that everyone probably has a Robin in their lives, the one person they have trouble letting go of…I don’t think I’ve had the (mis?) fortune of meeting such a person yet. Sure, I did have trouble letting go of old crushes. But I knew that they weren’t right for me. I just wanted so badly for something to work out for once. 

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Speaking of which, I did know a Barney – his name came up again in conversation and someone casually dropped the bomb that he was busy doing the deed while the rest of us were innocently hanging out. I mean, I got over this guy long ago. But for a minute or so I did feel sad – because silly little 17-year-old me had hoped that maybe he had liked me a little back then. That maybe I was different. 

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He was a 10-page entry in my diary, and I, just a random girl he felt nothing for. How stupid to have been excited over a friend asking if we were together, over-analysing things that were said and done, and daring to imagine that I had shared a ‘movie moment’ or two with him. 

See, people have no obligation to like you back – but whenever you like them, you’re giving them control over you. & most of the time, people abuse that power. 

Everytime I’m in cynic-mode though, I watch HIMYM and start getting all ‘hopeful romantic’ again. But once the show ends, what then? I’m gonna miss it for sure. 

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Okay bye now I need to get started on my 3000-ish word essay, ironically on the topic : What is love? . Despite all the valuable lessons from HIMYM, I feel like I’ll never be able to truly understand it until the day I’m actually in it – which is probably in the very distant future. (was reading through my old blog entries from 2011- scary how little has changed.) 

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