On the 20th of September, year 2013, I officially turned 21 years old.
I had a really wonderful party the night before, surrounded by many people I adore, held at Moonstone at Mount Faber (check out the twinkling lights behind me! we had an unparalleled view of Sentosa the whole night under the stars)…. a pretty unforgettable night that marked an important milestone in my life. I can’t wait to share pictures of the party with you guys. It was Glitter Glamour themed and everyone looked SO fabulous!!! That night made me realize.. Jesus I sure do have a lot of good looking and nice people in my life. Haha. Most of all, they were all gathered there just for me, to celebrate my birthday, because I requested for their presence. They made me feel so special and blessed. :’)
However, more about my party in a separate blog entry when I get the photos from friends and photographers.. (sorry to be such a tease!) Today, I would like to talk about actually turning 21 years old. Dear blog readers… my virtual friends.. I know some of you literally watched me grow up. It always makes me smile when somebody comments “I’ve been reading your blog since you were in secondary school!”, that was a long time ago. You’re all like the best friends I wish I had. You’re always here to listen to what I have to say, no matter what it’s about. I know I’m no longer a “sweet young thing” who enjoyed blogging about bitchy controversial topics or posting up bikini photoshoot pictures, so my relevancy level naturally dropped a lot, but still there are people who are interested in the normal life I’ve now adjusted to. The older I get, the less I blog about my personal life events. It’s not that I don’t want to share them with you people. It’s because I am no longer a bored student with hours and hours of free time on my hands. Time that I should have spent studying, I actually spent blogging instead! Wish I could do the same when it comes to work, but well, I’m 21 years old now and if I don’t work, I would have no money to live on. I haven’t relied on my parents for my living expenses for a long time now, and since November last year, I also moved out of my mum’s house and started renting my own place with my boyfriend. So yeah, I’ve got bills to pay, including the roof over my head. To tell you the truth, I’ve felt older than 21 since forever. I feel like an old soul. In fact, personality / character aside, everyone thinks I look like 25. Not sure if that’s a good thing but it doesn’t bother me though, because when I was 16 people already thought I was 25. Anyway. Instagram has become my main platform now (because it’s so easy to update!) but my blog will always have the biggest of my heart. I never thought I’d be blogging for as long as I have. Blogging has brought me so many life changing opportunities, events and opportunities… to try new things, to go to greater heights and to meet amazing people. For that, every single day I am thankful.
Contrary to popular belief, I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I never had an easy life, and I still don’t have an easy life (despite what it may look like because I know bloggers get a lot of “free” shit but it’s not like we don’t work hard for them!). I grew up experiencing an extremely difficult childhood, things I do not even wish on my worst enemy (actually I don’t have enemies, people I dislike do not deserve space in my brain). What sort of horrible things could have possibly happened, you may wonder? Well since I’m planning on giving a truthful account of my life story in a nutshell right now, I might as well give you a rough sketch of the full picture. One of the earliest memories I have of my life was my parents screaming at each other and flinging objects around when I was probably 3 years old. Daddy and Mommy were never around much. Eventually, Dad just stopped coming around completely. Mom was always at work and seemed stressed out 99% of the time, and the only other person in my life was an elder brother who was 8 years older and growing up much quicker than I was, thus he wasn’t interested in playing with me either. Actually he used to spray perfume in my face for fun and knocked me on the head when I asked for the remote control to watch cartoons. So I guess it’s safe to assume I was a pretty lonely kid. Yeah, lonely, I was. I didn’t hang out with cousins / neighbours / family friends like a normal kid would. Don’t ask me why, I was too young to really remember stuff or make any decisions.
When I entered primary school, I thought I was going to make friends, and life would be less lonely. But turns out, everyone in school pretty much hated me. I guess I wasn’t very pretty?… And apparently, I was also a bitch. Yes, I was a bitch at 9 years old. LOL. I know this because I was taunted and called names everyday, names like “Jiak Sai Ge” or “Bicycle” instead of Jessica. Jiak Sai means literally to eat shit in Hokkien. Or is it Teochew? Ok anyway you get the picture. Oh, another one of my endearing nicknames was “San ba”, which means “Bitch” in Chinese. Pretty intense shit went on in my Primary School. I don’t know why people think children are angels. Children above 6 years old are devils. They’re little parcels of evilness. I was so much worse a person as a child than I am now. Back then I would torture insects for fun. Nowadays I cringe at killing an ant. And devils went to my school. I’m convinced I was the most unlikable person on earth because they would do unimaginable things to get to me. Aside from the usual backstabbing, taunting, name-calling, rumor-making….. I vaguely recall a pretty horrific incident in school. It went something like this: I borrowed someone’s colorful crayons before recess time. It was a fancy box of crayons that everyone in class went Ooooh and Ahhh over. I made sure I returned it to the owner’s table before I left to have my meal during recess. When I got back to the classroom, the kids that didn’t like me all had this smirk on their face. I could sense that something was wrong, but they were always plotting against me anyway, so I tried not to think too much of it (but I was already panicking inside my head). To my utmost horror, the girl who lent her crayons to me actually told the teacher that she LOST her crayons, because somebody took them. My then teacher addressed the class very seriously and told the thief to own up to their mistake now before it was too late. I started breaking out in cold sweat because it was a major FuckMyLife moment. I knew 100% I’d put it back in the right place, who could have taken it? If they don’t find it soon, people are going to think I took it. I looked around and thought to myself, “It must’ve been them. They must’ve taken it to make me look like I stole it, because the last person who had it was me.” A couple of minutes went past, and my teacher lost her patience by the second. She demanded that everyone opened their bag to show that they weren’t hiding the stolen box of crayons inside it. And would you fucking believe it? When it was my turn to empty out my bag, the fucking box of fucking stupid colorful happy looking crayons were sitting there, staring me in the face. Stupid fucking crayons. Stupid fucking classmates. 11 years later, I still get worked up when I talk about it. When I looked up at my classmates, everyone was staring at me with the most disapproving, judgemental look in their eyes. I protested and told my teacher that it wasn’t me, but even the teacher didn’t buy my story because well even teachers didn’t like me at all (seriously my life sucked). Whenever there was trouble in class, it was always my fault. This was just one out of the many, MANY awful things that happened in school. Who could have known that 10 year old children could be so scheming, so ruthless? I was so depressed, that many days out of a week I came home crying to my mother, shouting “I WANT TO DIE.”
“I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That’s why I’m trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.”
I contemplated suicide and dying a lot when I was younger. I had no friends, no family, nothing positive I could remember at all. The only thing I had in my life was school, and that made me more miserable than ever. I couldn’t concentrate on my school work and teachers were anything but encouraging. They seemed all too happy to scold me or punish me for things I may not have even done. I felt stupid when I couldn’t finish my homework in time because the environment at home was not conducive for studying at all, so eventually I stopped doing homework altogether. I don’t remember anything to smile about except the rare occasions I did art and read books.
“It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.”
Those two things made me happy, because I could lose myself and be transported into another world, one where things weren’t so difficult. Luckily for me, eventually I joined the choir, and that took a huge load off my shoulders. My choir teacher was one of the very few people in school who liked me, and liked me she did, because I remember her always getting me to stand up and sing for everyone, and calling me the “reigning queen” in choir class and that made me oh-so-happy and a little bit more confident of myself, because I hardly ever received compliments, and every time I did, I would remember it. That was the only saving grace of any self-worth I had left. Of course, the other kids wouldn’t accept me being praised and turned “reigning queen” into “raining queen” and that was another one of my nicknames. Ah, those kids. Those bloody kids. In case you couldn’t already tell, this is the story about how I got bullied in school, to the point where I had to see a counseller for child depression. At one point, I told myself, “FUCK THIS. Fuck all of you. I’m shutting myself out.” And that was the moment I decided I didn’t know how to feel happiness.
I may not remember all their names, faces or what exactly happened that day. But I’ll always remember how they made me feel. Kids who had trouble at home found comfort in school, when they have fun with their friends. Kids who hated school sought solace at home where they could be left alone. Me? Things at home were a downright mess and we actually lost the home I grew up in after a few years, so we had to move in with one of my mum’s friend who agreed to let us stay at their home for free. But what my mum and her friend didn’t know is that the parents of this said friend-of-mum’s would abuse me when she wasn’t around. The mother would abuse me verbally and mentally, always putting me down, insulting me and getting me to do stupid shit for her as though I was her maid like mop her table and fetch things for her like a dog. If I would refuse, she would scold me endlessly and complain about me to my mother. The father, on the other hand, would abuse me physically, in ways I really don’t think I should begin describing on my blog…… because some things are…. best not shared with the internet. Let’s just say I was never the same again after that…. Keep in mind all of this was happening concurrently with the bullying going on at school. It took me many years to get over it.
“So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”
When I was about 11 years old, I discovered the internet. My life was changed forever, for the better. I started making friends online on forums, and spent much of my time playing games and chatting with people. Of course, I never told them I was eleven. Everyone believed that I was Jessica Lo (without the H, LOL), 19, from California. I guess I’ve always been rather eloquent (no shame in admitting what’s true!), especially in writing, so that wasn’t so hard to believe. Back in the day, we didn’t have broadband, only dial-up. I really pissed my parents off when I racked up $1000 in internet bills for A MONTH’S usage. That’s how addicted I was. It was nice being able to converse with people online because they didn’t know who I was. They didn’t give me a hard time, and they were there when I needed somebody to talk to. I guess we all needed somebody to talk to me. It was like books, but better because it interacted with you! While. My eyes were opened to the world out there. My grasp of the English language and level of social maturity also improved a whole lot after I started speaking to a lot of 20+ year old Americans (as opposed to chatting with my other 12 year old Singaporean friends).
So the next few years of my life went by really quickly… It always does when you spend a lot of time on the computer, doesn’t it? I entered high school as a super-geek (think: glasses. greasy hair. english speaking. loves books. always raises hands to answer teachers questions. no friends. super mega loser) but after a couple of months, things quickly changed. I somehow made friends with some of the most popular (notorious?) girls in school even though they totally hated me at first (??? How’d we end up being best friends remains a mystery till this very day). By popular I don’t necessarily mean the most well-liked people in school (HAHAH sorry girls but you know we were bitches. Fabulous bitches) everyone seemed to know who they were! They were the sort of girls who when they walked past, you could tell people were looking at them. And eventually, people started noticing me too. People whom I didn’t know, knew my name. Wow. FINALLY. That was a nice change. I did anything I could to fit in. I just wanted to be anything but the wallflower I thought I was destined to be. But I’m sure more than a few people noticed what a sore thumb I was. I stood out from the rest in a very awkward way. Maybe my Hokkien vulgarities weren’t convincing enough because it had an angmoh slang to it. It’s funny how we started being friends, actually. We were having a class camp and I was trying to sleep, then this noisy girl called Jasmine and her friends JUST WOULDN’T STOP LAUGHING. I re-iterated many times, “If you all don’t shut up / stop talking / go to sleep I’m going to tell the teacher right now okay!!!!” OMG that was how annoying I was. I started reading books less and tried to be less of a smart ass. I went from always raising my hands in class to falling asleep in class. I got rid of my greasy centre parting loser haircut and layered my hair just like how every ah lian did. I wore ankle socks, folded my skirt, and picked up Hokkien vulgarities. We had a lot of fun together and often laughed until our tummies ached or until our stomachs hurt. They started out hating me, but ended up loving me. Awww.
“There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.”
Suddenly, I was officially in the cool crowd. We did a lot of crazy things in high school together. We skipped classes all the fucking time to do the randomest things like making a ruckus in open air carparks, drawing offensive words on each other’s hands in colorful markers, attempting to smoke, vandalizing playgrounds, shoplifting (hey I’m not proud of it but we all have a past right?) and sometimes terrorizing other people. I tried not to partake in taunting other people too much (note: TRIED) because I know how it feels like to be bullied. You could say this was the “high” point of my life. Primary school was a low, this was a high. But just because I got “high” (literally) doesn’t mean things were actually going well. It was still terrible, in fact. I would stay out all night getting up to mischief, and not tell my mum where I was. My mother was appalled by my new found rebellious behaviour and threatened to disown me I began spiraling out of my control and my grades dipped to an all-time-low, and if it wasn’t for my teacher Mr Yeo who brought me back down to earth, I don’t know how long I could continue floating around for. Mr Yeo could tell that things at home were really messed up and started reaching out to me in ways no other teacher had ever done. When I stopped coming for classes, he knocked on my house door instead, not giving up on me even when I pushed him away. I owe so much to him, for bailing me out whenever I got into trouble and for being the reason why I was not expelled from school when I was 15. High school really was a whirlwind. So many experiences in such a short amount of time. I met my ex-boyfriend, fell in love, then fell out of love. A lot of crying was involved. Coz when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love, you’re gonna believe them.
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
Not all was fine and dandy throughout my four whole years with my friends, of course. During my last year, I fell out big time with my clique after I started blogging more often and drifting away from them (I guess the popularity got to my head) and they hated me so much, they actually wanted to pound me into a pulp right before my O’levels began, threatening to break my arm so that I couldn’t sit for my written paper. I was literally outnumbered in a dark corner (1 of me and many of them), surrounded by really angry people who wanted to tear me apart. (I have a knack for making people dislike me it seems) At that moment… I thought I was doomed. I could see the hate in their eyes. And I wonder how people who spent 4 years of their lives together could let it amount to this. But well, it didn’t happen in the end…. (I knew you guys wouldn’t hurt me *weak smile*) and today we are friends again. Yeah, my life really is VERY dramatic. I scored really terribly for my O’levels, by the way. I walked out of my Chinese paper halfway and fell asleep during my Mathematics paper after scribbling some smiley faces. What a failure. I thought my life was over after getting above 20 points for my O’levels and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 2 years, lost my high school friends that I shared some of my best life memories with, and scored disgustingly shitty points for my most important examination of my life. I hit a new “low” point in my life.
“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”
To people who are awaiting your O level results, or who are taking it soon or feeling bad about your grades… it really isn’t everything. As long as you’re smart, resourceful, lucky, talented, passionate, driven or at least ONE of these things, you’ll make it somewhere. Somewhere is better than nowhere.
Fast forward a few more years… I went to take a private diploma in MDIS, met a boy named Sam, grew up, started up a cake making business out of passion, had a few cute babies I didn’t tell my blog readers of (just kidding. wait, or am I? :P) and now I’m 21 years old, sitting here, typing this.
Despite how my traumatic early years could’ve damn well ruined me for good, I am thankful to have gone through those experiences because it has ultimately shaped and molded me into the person that I am today. I picked myself off the ground, dusted the dirt off and went about on my way until I got to where I wanted to be. If I had not gone through such alarmingly shitty phases in my life, I wouldn’t have tried so hard to turn things around for myself. Because of all the bullying and torment I went through, I now take shit from nobody and put people in their place when they try to step all over me. One of the best feelings of turning 21 so far is the clear realization that.. Hey. I really do like who I am now. It feels good to be able to say this about myself. I believe I’m a good person, in a good place, doing good things. It’s not like I am anything near perfect, but I try to learn from my mistakes (most of the time) so I don’t beat myself up too much over the wrong doings I’ve committed. After battling with depression for a few years, I’ve now near mastered the life skill of always trying look on the bright side of life, while staying hungry for newer and better things, which pushes me towards my goals more. Do I have any regrets? Like Frankie would sing… Regrets; I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. Life has gotten increasingly better throughout the years, and although life is not necessarily a bed of roses, making the best out of what I have everyday seems to be working for me. Am I a successful person? Well, compared to people who are representing their country in sports, winning Nobel prizes, earning millions when they’re in their twenties….. I’m not one of them. But I read somewhere that doing what you like is freedom, and liking what you do is happiness.
So at the end of the day, I can at least say I have both freedom and happiness in my life, two things I dared not believe I deserved barely years ago. That’s good enough for me.
“This moment will just be another story someday.”
Thank you for being a part of this story.