they call this forever: part 2

I will stand by you, and I will choose to love you. For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health;
when i wake up next to you and hate the trailing breeze of your morning breath as much as i hate mine; no matter how many times you leave tissue in pockets of the pants you threw in the laundry and the bits get stuck in my washing machine, even if the food you make is salty enough to preserve me perfect in the grave and beyond; even all the petty tiffs and shouting matches doesn’t change the way I love you because honey, i made my vow to you that day and it still stands.
I will stand by you. And I will choose to love you. It’s till death do us part, when your hands are cold no matter how long i hold it, when you no longer make an effort to push back that curly lock of fringe that always falls in your face.
And even that doesn’t mean i’ll stop loving you. “

people love second-hand sales, garage sales. you find unburied treaures everywhere, the pre-loved tea-pots, grandma blouses, perfect blue heirloom china. the old-fashioned things do get our attention, at least mine. those quaint antiques, it gets my attention, all of it.
and naturally, the old-fashioned love, i pay much attention to it.

like my parents.

papa and mama had a videographer for their wedding thank God and i love watching that old cd. and seeing the old photos that records their big(gest) day.
faded mementos of favorite memories.
they celebrated 22 years of marriage last week.
22 years of staying beside each other, caring for each other, and diligently loving each other.
diligent because it is a choice.
diligent because some days, it takes effort to choose to love.
diligent because this choice to love is an everyday thing.
(and too many people are horribly lazy these days)

i used to wonder if i could stand being together with anyone for the rest of my life.
“Love is a choice”, papa wisely told me, “I made a vow and I will keep it. There is no one else and there will be no one else better for me.”
i learn that it’s not being tied down, it’s not being trapped. it’s a free decision.

people call this old-fashioned.

i love the look in mama’s eyes when she talks about the happy yesteryears. I asked her mama why she married papa. She says she married papa because he was spiritually minded and she knew he could lead her spiritually. She had many suitors, but they were not inclined to spiritual things as was papa. and she chose papa, to love another while in the love of God.

people call this old-fashioned.

22 years of being together, sure, there were days of massive volcanic rumblings and days that hail, fire and brimstone threatened to rain. No doubt it was God Who kept them together.
but there were happy days. when their smiles were as bright as when they first linked arms and the whole world cheered for them, when nothing else mattered except having each other.

this ‘old-fashioned’ forever, a God-fashioned forever.

it’s my kind of forever.
& i want this forever.

 

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they call this forever.

“I love you in your good moods, when your laughter sounds like the tinkling wind chimes I got on my 9th birthday. And when your eyes sparkle, i swear they could be more beautiful than the all the star-studded galaxies put together. And I love you, i love you in your bad times, bad mo-/ I’m sorry … I…don’t seem to be able to do that.”

If we could be honest with ourselves like that, maybe then we wouldn’t be the mess we are today, wouldn’t need to break ourselves a thousand times over in this lifetime.  maybe it’ll help, to be honest for once. Because it hurts you, honey, it hurts me. and it hurts more than we care to know.

The first time it feels like stitches, the pain that ferociously assaults your side when you were finely striding along just a second ago.
Then all of a sudden you’re wheezing hard like a strangled beast, gasping for breath, for air, for relief.
-//
it comes in waves, the pain and the relief, the joy and the madness. They alternate its cycles, we could almost figure out their pattern if we tried hard enough. then we could avoid this bitter rollercoaster altogether, could we not?

and love.
you’re hurting. and so am I.

it’s all fading when you begin to count the days and months instead of when you used to call that day the ‘first time we…’.
and you realize it does fade. time always does this trick, he isn’t a nice old man we concoct him to be in our fantasy. no, he doesn’t let you catch your breath. he rushes people right along, whether they like it or not.
and if you’re fortunate enough, he lets you pause just long enough to notice that the leaves have swapped their fashion to match the season.
in just another moment, they fall like awkward oversized confetti in the still air.
and in a time lapse, you see the green veiny thin things spiralling upwards, swept by the winds of change.

they land very unceremoniously, forming crunchy messes in spaces of mindless cement.
one more heap of useless nothings.

so, will we end that way?

 


sidenote: i haven’t had much writing inspiration lately but tonight all the words fell into place.
also im not in a relationship, thought i’d need to clarify.

“she puts her heart on paper. then the paper turns to gold.”
– joanna tan, 2017.

Love the Hate

In the end they’re gonna judge you anyway so whatever.

I’m learning to love endings. It’s almost sadistic even, maybe, I don’t know. Something like the way a paper turns brown and curls as if writhing in pain as fire consumes it. That kind of pain, I see as art.

While the poor paper disappears, devoured by the devil of a flame, isn’t it bitterly ironic however that it is the fire that was more beautiful?

I’m learning to love the hate I get from my writings, both existing and nonexistent. Kept as proof to shackle me? I’m sorry there won’t be apologies. 

You know why I love the hate? It’s because it trains me to rise higher each time.

You talk about me but I don’t know your name.

That’s exactly how legends live.

You show me what you lack pathetically, honesty, self-respect, love and respect for others.

I solemnly promise I shall strive to fulfill what you have failed to do so.

An Ode to my Piano

Dear One,

It’s been more than a decade since we first met but honestly, you’re in my earliest recollections of childhood, I can’t remember a time when i did not have you in my life.

I remember being excited on my first piano lesson at Symphony Music School @ the old CWP and in the following months, being so eager to get home to you to practice ‘A Dozen A Day’ and John Thompson’s.

I remember practicing my grade 1 A:1 piece, ‘Sarabande’ and it was my very first favorite song. I can still remember the tune clearly today, thanks to you.

I remember very vividly the day i came home after piano lesson to practice triads for the very first time, i thought I was becoming pro. silly little me

You grew with me, sitting in the corner of the hall, faithfully accompanying me at every daily practice session.

I remember as I stepped into youthhood, venting my frustrations out on you, playing ‘Danza de la Moza Donosa’ by Alberto Ginastera in the most ungraceful, forceful way.

I remember crying on you mere hours before my grade 8 practical exam because that morning my fingers couldn’t seem to perfect the trills for A:1.

I remember the feeling of accomplishment each time i tried out the few bars of what i composed for grade 8 theory (though my compositions were never that great).

You’ve watched me grow, witnessed my terrible days and my on top of the cloud days.
You’ve brought me only more growth and so much joy with every hour I spent together with you.
You’ve shaped me in more ways than you can ever imagine, you were with me when no one understood why trills were so hard to play with stiff morning wrists.

Thank you for the years of love and happiness and laughter you’ve brought to me, my family and my friends.

Thanks to you, my practices have led me this far.
Thank you for never letting me down, for never letting me go away sad and I promise I’ll keep stepping upwards.

You’ve grown old with me and now it’s time to say good bye.

Thank you for being my first real piano, for sticking by me through so much tears and pain, for being a comforting constant in my life.

You’ve served me well.

It’s 2.00pm, the movers have come.

My heart is swelling with emotions.

So now, dear one, it’s time for you to go make some other place better and I hope you fill their house and hearts with the same happiness and gentle, faithful love you’ve given me for all this while.

Lovingly yours,
Joanna Tan.

 

 

first things first

i always feel i should apologize for not writing here but is there a need to if no one even reads it. maybe the one i should apologize to is myself –

on to the post.

November went past in a blur. Busy days, lazy days, happy days, not so happy days. December began. wanted to blog about VBS but curse my lazy fingers, i never got around to doing so. last week was youth camp (theme was First things first: Consider Your Ways, Haggai 1:6-7) and it was fUN. and now it’s almost Christmas, and i thought i should really get to posting something on me blog, mainly for myself, so i’ll never forget the many happy things that has happened.

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FIRST THINGS FIRST this photo makes me so happy. #Protosinmyheart  < i came up with this hashtag on my ig photos but i doubt anyone got the double meaning . Protos was my team name and the first meaning is that my team is in my heart. Protos is also the Greek word for First, so it means #(First)inmyheart. yay im so clever right. joanna. who cares HA.

 

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9/10 of Protos
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3/5 of senior girls
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Ally. made so many jabs at each other for all the time we’ve known each other. but i’m glad we’re friends, and maybe something even more. something like family.

 

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’99 girls with legit the best assistant camp master. 

IM SO SURE he wanted to sleep after finale night but cos we were being a nuisance no we weren’t he took us out for pRATA @ 2AM so touching also cos we weren’t allowed to play games at night on the campsite blah i love my youth leaders cos they care for us spiritually AND outwardly, in the things they do for us, even if it means giving up precious sleep to take us out for prata. best people.

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heart shape heart shape heart shape

best people ever.

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Protos and Rishon!!!!

so much love for yall. This camp was so smooth and peaceful, no fights no crying no arguments no clashes. I think that was the highlight for me; even though there were two teams, the rivalry wasn’t as intense as previous years. and I LIKE. i really truly enjoyed myself those 5 short days.

decisions made, commitments shared. I’m so grateful for HANNAH at the final sharing before we left camp. i’m so glad we were paired up, the considering of our ways, mutual understanding and encouragement. bomb. I love her sm.

i learned so much this year. from devotions, i really learned alot in the small senior girls group. and even from the morning exercise. even though i almost fainted after the first day’s exercise HAHA
sure the exercises were tough but i know they were for my good and it would make me strong. No pain, no gain.

2 more days to Christmas. 8 days to new year and of course. my birthday yas. 17 cycles of 365 days is coming to an end. time to do some emo reflections.

 

I know where I’m going

You thought you were moving on but suddenly you feel like you’re the one left behind, and never will have time to fill the gaps that are here to stay, never get a chance to say what you want to say.

Thousands of twenty-four hours have passed away the way tides swell and retire; not here to stay, not here to stay, they seem to murmur to those who would listen.
And the darkness descends like curtains after a play; only the anticipated thunderous applause is exchanged for an ear-splitting silence.

Dead. Gone.

Nothing remains the same.

And you. You are the one left behind.

Those you knew and loved, speedily slip away from you like gentle ghostly mist floating into oblivion on a wintry day; they’re leaving, all of them and you are stupidly clinging to the pitiful little trinkets you keep that reminds you of them to find a solace for yourself.

Your shrivelled brain, filled with complicated innumerable theories and age old proven formulas, yet strangled with some dust framed memories of some previously loved pretty muse but you were moving on.

Or were you?

Weaving in and out of an insanely endless cyclical routine, it’s ridiculously easy to forget what you’re doing and why you’re doing what you’re doing.

The lines, where are the lines, you scream, as an agony deep in your soul firms its unmerciful enslaving grasp around your neck, stifling your breath and oh, it hurts.
Where are the lines that should you cross you would be deemed extreme. If only they were drawn with lead and graphite and washed with a coat of the blackest ink, and you would never cross that repulsive line.

You don’t want to be defined as extreme, do you?

And the whole mocking world now includes the ones who claim to walk the same walk with you, and they make you the championing fool. They seem to take a cruel delight in blurring all the lines for you with open, high, intellectual ‘non-judgmental’ talk, crafted with fake innocence to belittle you, and make you feel small and basically a nothing. The fact is, in the end, they make you think that they’re better than you.

If there ever was a living paradoxical flummox that would drive them, drive them up the wall, drive them crazy, they point at you and you’re that one.

Here I stand, the most miserable forgetful creature.
How dreadful to claim weakness as brother to my living and dishonor the Victory that reigns in me.

Redeeming Love called me from darkness into Light, and yet selfish pride and waves of bitterness engulfs me, filling me from the very depths of my chest, then over spilling and eagerly consuming, threatening to maliciously devour my entire being, to take me captive.

I look in the mirror and yes, I see how wretched I am.

I realize I don’t deserve the Lord’s lovingkindness, but He is so kind to me.
I thank and praise Him for loving me even when I rejected and despised His longsuffering towards me.

He is so, so good to me.

I am compelled by Love Himself and I must follow Him.

1 Peter 2:9-10 KJV
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Saturday Series: perfect flaws

You’re loving people for their flaws because deep down in your gentle tired heart, you actually want someone to love you for all your flaws.
You hope that by loving them for their visible glaring faults, they might one day, in turn, love you, as unconditionally as you love them, for yours.
Now face it, people in the world don’t think the way you do, and they aren’t as kind-hearted as you.

So stop. Stop loving people for their flaws. Just stop –/

There’s nothing lovable about flaws. You need to learn to accept their faults and character cracks. That’s all. Full stop.
You don’t have to romanticize or balloon their faults to love them.

How about this: Love them for their strengths. Love them for their successes and good points.

And at the same time, you must learn to love yourself. Love yourself for everything you excel in. Find something you’re good at and grow from there. Stop deprecating yourself.
Don’t just focus on your failings.
Think of how much you can love yourself for all your shortcomings if you could love those people for all their despicableness.

Remember, you can never hate yourself into a version you or anyone else will love.

Then, I hope you’ll be able to find the happiness you’ve been pretending to have.