Entry 48 : Holding On To Nothing

Do you still remember that childhood dream of yours; where you would stare into space, thinking of what you would be like when you grow up someday? Some people tend to forget their dreams, their ambitions, their goals in life. Others prefer to not even try to remember. Little ever pursue them. I wish I was part of the little ones.

My childhood was spent mostly in the States, when I was two years old till I was six. The environment was very pleasant and I thank God till today that I got to grow up overseas. It doesn't take much to get a child going, to get him start to dream of his future and how he would like to spend the rest of his life.

I remember watching lots of cartoons on television back in the US. Cartoons like Arthur, The Magic School Bus and Rugrats, and TV shows like Power Rangers and Sesame Street were some of my favorites till today. It's amazing how they contributed so much to how I was nurtured in the sense of having a huge amount of imagination. People may argue that cartoons are bad for a kid and that they are better off learning at an early age. I wouldn't want that for my children.

Imagination is what drives dreams and goals. There was this one show, JAG, about pilots and planes (the only things what I remembered). It brought me to the very first dream I had of becoming:

A pilot.

It intrigued me that people could fly such air crafts and go such at an amazing speed while shipping lots of people at the same time. I don't remember at all the real reason why I wanted to become a pilot, though. But to be able to do such a thing still impresses me.

But I had to let go of that dream. Why? My reason might be thoroughly unrealistic and absolutely pathetic, but it was because I was overweight. Some point in my life, I think I overheard people saying that pilots can't be fat and they had to have perfect eyesight and stuff like that. I grew up as a very large kid. My dad couldn't even pick me up when I was two years old and I never grew out of it. Anyway, I'd dump that dream to fly a long time ago, but I still think about it. I'll cheer on any of my other friends that gets to be one. It would've been awesome, though.

After that, when I got back to Malaysia, I spent a while living at grandmother's house. There, my uncle had a stash of Dragon Ball comics that he had collected. I spent a lot of time reading them and the more I did, the more interested I got into (what I didn't know back then) manga. After a while, I decided I wanted to be:

A mangaka.

Mangaka literally means a person who draws manga. I started out at maybe seven years old, simply retracing, redrawing and copying drawings of Goku, Gohan, Vegeta and every other Dragon Ball character. Then, there was Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter. After that, I started draw a whole lot over the years. I never stopped drawing anime and cartoon characters till I was about 15, I think. All I wanted to do was draw and draw and draw.

I got pretty good after all my practice. I was really into it and I thought, for sure, I could become a great artist one day. But, then, I don't remember who, though, someone said that I wouldn't make it in the real world, selling manga and comics. It wasn't really accepted back then. It's a Malaysian norm to look down on those who break away from community norms. An artist would never garner enough money for a person to survive, let alone feed a family. I can't really explain it in words, but I think that people didn't want me, in particular, to become an artist. I think it went that way because I don't see any other reason why I slowed down.

And I did. After I kind of decided to take on a new path, I slowly stopped drawing anything. Well, occasionally I'd draw people and stuff, but I never do it on a regular basis anymore. Adding the fact that I had school and expectations and exams and scores to achieve, there just wasn't any time for doodling. It crushed the dream of being a mangaka. Even when I have ideas of plots and characters, I just never find the time nor the mood to commence anything. The passion to draw burnt out. The flair just isn't there.

I can still draw some pretty bad ass pictures, though. I just don't do it a lot. Another dream I have is to become:

A writer.

The first hint of writing for me was when I wanted to devise a plot for a manga I wanted to draw. I had a lot of ideas, characters, settings and everything. I had them all planned out but then I slowed down on drawing so it eventually went bust. But then in Form 2, when I was 14, I remember my English teacher giving me an assignment only I had gotten: write a script.

As preposterous as it initially sounded, I actually said I would. I wasn't the type of kid (I was 14) to turn down something I'd thought as homework. So I tried to write a script. I did, actually. About a few scenes into it and I was out of ideas. I won't go into much detail about it, but I'll say that it was supposed to be a musical.

The year 2006 was the year Disney Channel first aired High School Musical and one thing led another, I was hooked. And that gave me inspiration to write my own. I had written songs, scenes and designed logos and such for the script I was writing. And although nothing ever came out of it, I had been bestowed upon the knowledge that I actually had the knack for writing.

So I started to write a lot after that. Writing was very helpful in school, especially when I moved up to Form 4, where we have to write essays and stuff. I grew up reading a lot. I realize now that the huge amount of books in the study room are actually what helped me become better at writing, reading, speaking and in English, as a whole. For BM, I just write what I would write in English. English had become a fun subject for me and I loved the exams because I could pour my heart and imagination on multiple pieces of paper for the essay section.

I would write horror stories, love stories and also humor. I think I reached the peak of my writing prowess when I was in Form 5, where I was really impressed and satisfied with whatever it was I wrote. I even began blogging and it was another kind of writing experience for me, but just as rewarding.

In 2008, I was kind of problematic in terms of emotions and mentality. So, I wrote mostly depressing poems and songs that I thought would reflect on how I felt. I had a lot of poems and songs that I wrote but they're all now gone since the pendrive I saved them in can't work anymore. In 2009 (Form 5), I fell in love (I think now they were just hormones) and I had new inspiration to write. I would write very happy poems and songs about "love" (hormonal reaction to the opposite sex). It was nice, though. My essays were all satisfying and I even submitted one of my best stories to the school magazine - it got published.

But when it came to determining my future and telling my parents that I wanted to become a writer, they protested that, just like an artist, I wouldn't survive and get a lot of money. I wouldn't get a secure career or income. Also, a writer isn't regarded as one of those fancy, high-class, glamorous careers that people often talk about like being a doctor or engineer. I never thought of myself as succumbing to the expectations of the community but as far as I've lived and breathed, I have.

I couldn't become a writer but my mom suggested that I become a lecturer and write on the side. As if I would be that multi-purposed. I'm more of a one-track minded person. It's not good, but it's good for concentration.

Another thing that happened in Form 5 was me developing a love for music and motion, blended in a harmonious performance. I wanted to become:

A dancer.

This didn't necessarily mean that I wanted to work as dancer, not at all. I just wanted to dance and be able to do it amazingly. I never trained to dance nor did I ever grow up liking dance. But what with all the musicals that were going around, the founding of my dance crew In-DC and the sudden injection of K-pop, music and dance had become one with me.

I find myself moving and grooving to music wherever I might be. I don't dance that well, but I want to become better. I started by doing the shuffle. Then, when In-DC came to a standstill, I watched a lot of other dance videos like breaking, popping, freestyle and choreographed. I became very much interested in the dancing scene (not the show) and everyday, I spend my life listening to music with intense beats and hard-hitting bass lines. I would learn simple dance moves and occasionally practice them. But I knew that I would never achieve anything with dance. Why? Well, it's because I'm just not suited for it.

I've been overweight all my life. I went on a diet back in 2008 and I did lose weight (20kg!) but I was still nowhere near my ideal weight. When I spent a year in KMJ, I lost more weight (5kg?) and I kind of felt ... light. But as I spent my five-month break at home doing nothing but stuff myself, I seem to have lost my way and now I'm depressed over the fact that I can't fit most of my clothes anymore.

I'm seriously sad about it. I try to eat less and exercise more, but there's always something I have to do or somewhere I have to go and once something messes with my consistency, I'm out. That's the reason why most of my dreams went dead and that's the reason why I can't hold on to anything for a long time.

I can't dance well because I have no stamina nor can I be light on my feet. I know that with proper training and a good eating habit, I might be able to but I have no time for it anymore.

I can't become a writer or an artist as how I would prefer to be because people would look down on me for not having a more classy career and high community status and I wouldn't be able to rake in as much money as I should be able to.

I can't become a pilot anymore because I've chosen to study Maths for my Degree program and hopefully for my PhD.

I've lived almost 19 years and I haven't realize any one of my dreams. I've stopped dreaming (not given up; they're different) because I know for a fact that they would amount to almost nothing. I have friends that study what they want according to what they had desired since they were kids. I'm studying Maths because it's the only thing left that is most familiar to me.

I make easy decisions in life, but I don't make them to satisfy myself more than it would satisfy others. And now, even when I got to study Maths in UTM (one of the best universities in Asia), people still look down on me and say,
"Maths? What can you do with Maths?",
"So, you're going to be a teacher?",
"Just Maths?",
"Didn't you get a 4.00 CGPA?",
"Don't you want to be a doctor?".
It kills me every time people say stuff like that. I'm waiting for the day that I finally get to say I did something because I, alone, wanted to do it.

I wish people didn't have to judge.
I wish people would be more accepting. 
I wish the country I live in, Malaysia, didn't have its stupid community norms and perceptions. 
I wish I was strong enough to stand up and fight for my dreams.

But I'm too weak and too scared of what others might think. I don't want to disappoint my parents. I don't want to let down the people I care about, because that would mean I let myself down. I'm always torn apart by living for myself or living for others.

I don't dream anymore, I really don't. Everything else that I want is left for me to ponder on and look at as if it was a dream. But I don't think of them as dreams (goals), I think of them as merely illusions; something I could hold on to until it takes its turn to burn out.

I'll end this entry with a song I really like, but has evidently lost its cause in my life.

"I had a dream"

p/s: Watch MTV Worldstage Live in Malaysia 2011 on MTV (ASTRO channel 713) and if you spot me, be the first to tell me and I'll treat you!