Fingerprints.

I can’t multi task. But I can multi think. Just don’t talk to me when I am thinking.

“Everything about him said: ‘love me, because nobody ever has’. It was all over him, like fingerprints.”

I don’t know why this quote speaks to me as much as it does. But I know I’ve felt that before. With kids I volunteer with, with friends I cry with, people I love and want to protect. I’ve never showed it much, but I realized I am quite protective of my friends. Not in the beat-up-their-exes type of way. The only way I know how is to let them know the truth, and let them know what I think, even if they hate you for poking at their ego. Self awareness shields you more than any armour, any fist. I should know.

And words like that, that really make me feel something. It’s words like that that make me keep going back to Cassandra Clare despite her tumultuous plots, ridiculous love triangles, and extra drama after drama after drama. Just when I think I am done with this series, she plays on my heartstrings like Mozart on the piano. Sometimes, a few words is all she needs to keep me reading on.

I have seen helplessness. I have felt for helplessness. A text. An uneven note in the voice that speaks. An insecure look. Masked by whatever ugly emotion, jealousy, hate, angst. Let me tell you, the realization of what’s behind all that- it doesn’t hit you in the face. It is exactly like she said. Fingerprints. Gentle, invisible scars and marks that only time pulls together.

I’ve resisted time before. Felt inertia towards growing up. I don’t deal well with change. But for this very reason, I’ll try not to anymore. Because I want to see these fingerprints that only time can show me. I want to see with an open heart and mind.

And I don’t ever want to be apathetic. I look at my friends who hold themselves together so well. And have no problems cutting off emotional ties. It’s fine. I just don’t want to be like them. I’ll just keep caving in to emotions, and I’ll be more self aware than I am now. I will be as empathetic as I can, but I’ll protect myself. I won’t let myself become the ‘him’ in the quote. I will be the kind of person who sees and knows.

Socially Exhausted Part 2

Apparently I have been very anti-social lately. Because my Mother just confessed that she thinks I have a secret boyfriend who I secretly fought with and is secretly feeling sad about. Thus explaining my silence.

Parents.😧 Their powers of speculation are for real.

Socially Exhausted.

I don’t know when this happened. But I am so tired. Of talking to people, of socializing. I never expected this from myself… but I think I’m losing patience?

And it’s not like I don’t want to be in the company of people. I do kinda want to be around friends. I just dislike talking. And everyone who knows me well knows that that’s uncharacteristic of me. I’m noisy and brutally honest and bubbly and annoying. That’s Xin Tong.

I don’t know what it is that makes me feel tired talking and texting and communicating with people. I don’t know when this began. And my 1% E over I on the Myer Briggs test (I was an ENFP) has changed because my level of introvertedness shot up. By like 20 plus %.

I’ve always believed that communication is key to every kind of relationship. And then there was the Shawn and Angela (Boy Meets World) #RelationshipGoals where “We could just sit there and not talk at all and do our own thing and it would be okay.” And in a totally unromantic sense, when I think about this quote, I feel lucky to have people I can just sit with and not have to say a word to. I’m just confused, as to why I suddenly feel this reluctance to keep the conversation, any conversation, going.

Then again maybe that’s why Shawn and Angela both married other people.😓

Where the boys are

Again. A song title. I listen to the Mary Sarah blind audition cover.

I have more guy friends than girl friends. And that’s saying a lot, since my classes from kindergarten to JC (and from the looks of it, Uni) have more girls than guys by a long shot. I’m also unathletic, awkward and was in an all girls art club so yeah, I don’t really know how this happened but aside from my JC classmates and a couple of sec school ones, my closer friends are majority guys.

Moving on from JC, I have mixed feelings about. It feels strange. I’m not as excited for Uni as I expected myself to be. I know I’ve always sucked with change, but it really feels very different moving on without the male half of my classmates, without my cellbrothers, and without my bros. It’s like we were always in synch and in step within a single timeline and now that we’re not gonna be, what’s gonna be there to keep our friendships going?

Of course we say nothing’s gonna change. After all that timeline is just a platform. If we’re gonna lose this base, we’ll just have to find ways to build new ones. It’s just a matter of willingness, and at this point I can safely say that all the people I care about maintaining relationships with, are loyal, no drama, no excuses people who genuinely cherish their relationships, and who will make an effort to remain in contact.

But we’re all changing. And in this aspect I do feel like I’m lagging behind, especially when I’m supposed to be ahead. I don’t let go of things easily. I don’t feel as if I am where I need to be in terms of maturity. I feel like my sense of awareness just hit a walled-up alley- I don’t read people as sharply as I used to, because in my brain it’s like they are falling into categories, and stereotypes. With no depth, no width, no nuance.

I mean it’s clear, I’m dismissing people as merely characters now. Two dimensional, one dimensional. Stereotypical characters who are easy to read with the occassional surprise. Protagonists. Easy to identify with. Hidden souls with strong opinions and elevated self awareness. Intelligent and admirable but not lovable. Problems that are not legit, self centred, overly dramatic. Sharpay Evans. Everybody loves to hate. Break up story? Lemme guess, he cheated on you.

Everything is just so predictable. No surprises. Plain long life. And because the universe is still as unfathomable as ever, my learning curve really shouldn’t be as stagnant as it is.

Being okay with change is a kind of… almost apathy, to me. I agree that the level of apathy working at Ikea trained me to have (HAHA😂) is healthy. I do feel stronger as a person, braver and more willing to fight for what I know is right. I don’t think that’s confidence, but it’s courage- the closest thing that I can summon to it. And I never want to lose the courage to care about people.

Like I said, I don’t let things go easily. “Change fills my pockets with pennies of uncertainty.” Not birthday Cards, school uniforms, old essays, soft toys, old clothes, old shoes… not people. And while leaving the boys behind in NS is a lot tougher for them than for me 😋 , I find it a lot more difficult than I ever expected myself to.

In memory of Icarus. Too proud or just young?

I first read the story of Icarus when I was 8. I remember being very confused. What do you mean he falls into the water and that’s the end? I flipped to the next page, and I swore my copy of the book was missing a page. I’d just convinced myself to stop being lazy, and to start reading independently. In this way, words came to shape in my mind like pictures. We all learn that way, via memory. I looked for “Once upon a time”. I looked for “Happily ever after”. It was so perplexing to me then, that the book ended where he drowned.

I looked at the illustration of Icarus. He was just a child with curly hair and robes that looked too big for him. A boy who wondered. Who liked feeling the adrenaline pulse through his veins. And that was the first story that made me feel real fear. It wasn’t scary like the ghost story of the clockwork doll that rised from the graveyard, that it wasn’t. Honestly, it was the idea that my little brother and I probably wouldn’t have listened to our Father had we had wings strapped to our arms. It was too much of a fun thought to just give up the chance to fly high above, reduce everything to tiny specks. To see for ourselves how big the world really is, and to be humbled by and in awe of it all at once. Some feelings you just don’t get when flying in an aeroplane. For a boy who grew up trapped in a Labryinth, that freedom must have been so tempting.

I wondered if Daedalus turned back for his son. I wondered why he didn’t. I wondered if he would choose to kill himself. The greatest inventor in the world, and he made something that killed his son. The greatest inventor, and he couldn’t save his son. The world is such a cosmic joke. I wonder if he went mad.

The Percy Jackson series was one of my favourite books growing up in my tween to teen years. Rick Riordan presented Daedalus as a selfish, egoistic character who only cares about his own wellbeing. Up till that point, I viewed Icarus’ death as a typical Greek tragedy. “The Battle of the Labryinth” gave me space to consider all the other possibilities. A story of karma? A cautionary tale to scare children into listening to their parents? A story of innocence, or lost innocence, of the forgotten or of the practical nature of humanity and how that selfishness triumphs over all emotional ties.

Later on in JC, my teacher mentioned Icarus a couple more times. She showed us two paintings. One that showed nymphs (I think) mourning Icarus’ death, having pulled his body up to land from the depth of the ocean. Another showed Icarus falling into the sea as a backdrop, with nothing but his foot poking out of the water as everybody else went on with their lives. Both pieces I love.

I just feel that “Landscape with the Fall Of Icarus” has a more uniquely honest point of view. Nobody would have known of Icarus’ death when he’d fallen and that is what truly makes it a tragedy. That a child or teenager had been left alone and helpless to die. And in a more literal sense, the only explanation to how anyone would have known of Icarus and his death is that his Father hadn’t turned back for him and had made it to safety, living to tell the tale.

And the truth is, no one really knew about Icarus in the first place. He hasn’t really played any important parts in other greek myths. He is known for his fall, his death. A kid who lived in a labryinth most of the time? What are the chances that complete strangers would fish his winged body out from the sea and mourn him? How many people commit suicide and drown a year? Why Icarus? Icarus was just a flawed human being like any other. Don’t get me wrong, I love the thought that Icarus wasn’t forgotten. But nobody knows Icarus for anything other than the one mistake he made that led to his death. No one knows his favourite song or food or even has any other memory of him other than his fall, so that makes him pretty forgotten in my book.

The Poem below, “Mrs Icarus”  by Carol Ann Duffy, presents Icarus as a fool. Written in the perspective of Icarus’ wife, the poem is essentially one huge prickly tease towards Men. In this case, it pushed the fact that Icarus was a young man (There’s no exact stated age of Icarus in any historical record so I guess that it is possible he was 16 or 18. Either way he was a teenager, nothing but a kid.) I love Carol Ann Duffy for this almost-calling-out Icarus on his idiocy.

 

 

 

 

I’m not the first or the last
to stand on a hillock,
watching the man she married
prove to the world
he’s a total, utter, absolute, Grade A pillock.

 

I just think idiocy is a harsh explanation to dismiss his tragedy.

Anyone who knows me should know that I am a comic book geek and I love the XMen😂 I have to admit that some of it is absolute nonsense (Captain America was working for hydra all along? Seriously? If the story world you created has become too complicated for your own brain, then honestly, you might as well just kill off this Captain A and start a new generation.That would honestly be better.😒) and that is why I don’t follow every comic obsessively. Which is why I never knew that there was an XMen Character called Icarus.

It’s gonna be all geek talk from this point on.

Ok so basically this character is a mutant named Jay with wings that grew out of his back. He had this Romeo and Juliet backstory with the girl that lived next door. (The girl’s family objected to their relationship bla bla bla tried to exterminate him bla bla bla she thought he was dead and tried to commit suicide with him via drowning bla bla bla his wings had healing powers bla bla she died.) He was found by the XMen holding his girlfriend’s body by the river, trying again and again to spear himself through the heart with a wooden stake.

As you can probably tell by the bla bla blas, this romance nonsense isn’t really my thing. Besides, he did fall for someone else, meaning she wasn’t the only one in his life. And just because he didn’t pursue any further relationship with the Muslim Mutant character ‘Dust’, doesn’t mean he didn’t want to. What really interests me is that I don’t think it was so much love on Icarus’ part, as much as it was guilt. Survivor’s guilt, most of all. He named himself the alias ‘Icarus’ for “How far I’ve fallen”. Ironically, Jay described his rising from the water as falling. His rise was his downfall. Living is a punishment. The Icarus who didn’t drown. In many ways, a character foil to the Icarus of the myth.

The way I see it, he wasn’t being an angsty teenager, he wasn’t being melodramatic, he wasn’t trying to say that losing her was his fall. It was more of how far he’d fallen away from the image of the person he thought he would be. He probably loved her a lot, but realized he didn’t love her as much as she did him. And knowing that she’d died for him and he couldn’t do that in return for her- knowing that that’s a debt he would always owe her. The lack of courage to keep finding ways to join her in death after the surge of emotions he’d experienced in mourning her death had passed. That guilt. He expected more from himself as a person. He looked death in the eye and was humbled by how helpless he was, and in his heartbreak he just keeps going through in his mind, how things played out to that point and how he’d made all the mistakes that led them to this tragedy.  That‘s what made him detached, and afraid of moving forward, and afraid to pursue Dust.

“How far I’ve fallen”. An attempt to remember how deeply in love he’d fallen for her and how he had let her down. He blames himself for being too proud, too unsuspecting, to have thought he could have a happy ending with his Girlfriend. He thought that giving himself the name ‘Icarus’  was a reminder, when it was actually a punishment. It was him beating himself up over everything wrong that happens in his life.
The story of Icarus is one about Hubris as a fatal flaw. But Jay mistook his fatal flaw to be hubris, when it was really quite the opposite.

Icarus is later killed after being tricked into sacrificing his wings, under the promise that God would return his friends their powers if he was willing to give them up. When i first read the comic I literally went “What?” But it makes sense. Icarus thought his fatal flaw was excessive pride when it was actually constantly blaming and taking up burden after burden that was not his to bear, as well as naivety. So it’s only natural that he died trying to sacrifice himself to save others. It was to him, an atonement of his sins of some sort. To the last moment, he thinks it was hubris that caused his downfall. “I was too proud to think that I was enough to save everyone. This is all my fault.” When truth is he was just a sweet, fragile kid who was easy to dupe.

Reading about this Icarus was actually what made me want to write this post.This Icarus is the complete opposite of the one in the Greek Myth, and it made me question- which brings me back to my main point- Is it really excessive pride that caused Icarus’ downfall? Or was it just plain innocent naivety? One thing’s for sure, we can’t dismiss it as idiocy. And we shouldn’t judge him too harshly either, because how many of us would give everything that is ours to give, to feel as free as he did in those last moments? And how many of us would put everything on the line for the people we love?