on stillness and loneliness, 

as the night unfolds,
i scribbled my thoughts into words
i never thought i’d write.
for those whose hearts are filled with fear,
those who think and feel deeply,
this one’s for you.


i remember on one afternoon, my friends and I were on the way back to the office from lunch. we walked by a seafood restaurant where they put some aquariums on display. we could see some crabs inside the top aquarium and some fishes inside the bottom one.
 
i joked around, ‘do you think they know that they’re trapped inside? they must be bored and sad’
 
my friends laughed a little (thanks guys). and then all of a sudden the thought just came to my mind — wait, aren’t we also trapped in a big aquarium?
yeah like, what if, this LIFE is our aquarium? what if, there’s another life, somewhere out there, that we would never know? that’s why we often feel stuck in the moment?
 
at this point, my friends looked so puzzled but managed to laugh it off. “this girl’s suddenly being so dark, let’s talk about another thing.”
 

i’m not sure if i’ve shown this side of myself enough, but i’m someone who’s often drown in my own thoughts — a deep thinker, if that’s even a term. 
 
i tend to think a lot as if my mind doesn’t know how to stop. this results in how i do my work, especially the one that’s 100% mine: like this blog or my youtube channel. i also tend to constantly think about random things in a very detailed way, and if you’re wondering how frustrating it can be — just think of the moment you wake up not remembering your dream, even though it’s just 2 seconds ago. like… you know it, but you don’t.
 
“it’s a blessing and a curse to think and feel everything so deeply.”
 
i’m a big believer of how words can be so powerful, in a good or bad way, so i always think (a lot) before i speak up. most of the time, these thoughts are one of my greatest “assets”, and for such a long time, i’ve been manifesting them into words:
17 years ago, I started writing about my days in a locked diary as a 4th grader.
5 years ago, I started writing for this blog – finally making it public.
a year ago, I started writing for my youtube channel… but that’s for another story. 
 
but these thoughts can also be my “demon”. they become the voices inside my head — quiet enough to be ignored, sometimes loud enough to keep me up at 3AM.
just like droplets, eventually filling up the empty glass.
 

being an introvert, i always try to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself first. nah actually, only the deep ones – those that people may not relate instantly. and that’s why sometimes i feel like i’m just a bubble full of emotions, ready to pop out. 
 
some people looked at me in disbelief (or simply confused-but-still-laughing), when i told them i’m an introvert. one even asked me, ‘why is your online presence so strong but in real life you’re so quiet?’
even when i wrote this, i legit just saw a message that reads: ‘you seem different from your videos. are there 2 Sheren?’
 
i’m used to that, actually, but i’m not gonna lie – this thing kinda makes me question myself about… myself. am i a fake person then? or do i have 2 personalities? but why can’t a person show different versions of themselves. what’s so wrong about showing one’s true self…?

Don’t you know that nothing’s really ever beautiful

We’re all just broken windows

What you see depends from where you set your eye

I could see my blood on the floor

Or it might just be a

Rose

rose by eaJ

i know it’s a bit contradicting, wanting to stay inside my own safety net 24/7 and celebrating sadness, but also cheerfully sharing some bits of my life online (youtube + ig) to strangers (mostly). 
 
but that’s who i am… a person who puts feelings/emotions on top of everything but also puts a lot of details here & there – every little one that matters. so the thing that people see (aka my “online presence”) is actually just a space, a platform, for me to channel my inner self: a perfectionist, an overthinker, a procrastinator.
 
if you know me in person, if you are close enough, you’ll know that i still enjoy being around people / strangers, making small talks or even having conversations. i hang out often with my closest friends (not that many). i can get crazy (crazier with alcohol). i laugh out loud at my own jokes, sometimes even gasping for air because of that. 
 
so in short — i always take time to open up and i choose to show only a portion of me to certain people. because after all we’re not for everyone, and that’s totally okay. and i think it’s also about having the same frequency with the people around us. not saying we have to look for those with similar personality — we’re all different, complex human beings — but there will be people whose similarities can offset the differences, and this alone can make us stay by each other’s side.
 
okay friends, to be honest i don’t exactly know what’s the reason for writing a depressing topic like this. but i guess i just knew i needed to… otherwise it’ll only get heavier.
and i think if i can share my highs with other people, maybe… just maybe, i can also share my lows.
 

so, it’s been a year and a half since i last met my family. on Feb 2020, i booked a one way ticket to Hong Kong, but never imagined i would be stuck here for this long.
 
alright, did i just say stuck
 
yeah so, it’s a fact – sometimes i think, maybe it’s hong kong life, but maybe it’s *THE* life.  just like those crabs inside the aquarium. is this life my aquarium? some of you guys probably know the feeling of being trapped, no matter how “comfortable” the current environment is. no matter how convinced you are that this is where you belong. 
 
living in hong kong independently is probably the biggest achievement i’ve got so far. even though i’m not a doctor, a lawyer or a rich girl boss. hong kong life is not always the version i want, but i’m grateful to call this place my home.
 
but despite the convenient and comfortable life i’m currently living, i still feel empty. actually, i don’t know about that. maybe i’m just sad. whatever it is, i know that there’s this ’emptiness’ buried deep inside. 
 
okay, it’s a bit ambiguous, i know. i’m not too sure myself; but i think it’s a term for me when i can’t really express my own feelings… sometimes i wake up ‘okay’, sometimes i wake up sad. i don’t think i ever wake up happy… not that i can recall, no. but that doesn’t really matter anymore. it’s like everything i do is just because i have to do it, just so i can move along with the world. 
 
too often i knowingly brush these feelings away and only show the better version of me: calm, aesthetic, friendly and funny, a productive ‘youtuber’ (yea right, that term). when i unconsciously say / show a slight frustration, the responses i usually get will be: that’s still better than (this/that), imagine if you’re in (here/there).
 
me: i haven’t seen my family for over a year! when can i go home 😦 i also miss travelling so much 
 
person 1: but you’re doing good in HK – you have a stable job and no paycut? 
person 2: that’s still better… at least you can still go out freely in HK, you even posted a video about explore hong kong during pandemic?
person 3: that sucks… but HK is pretty good at handling this pandemic yeah? free vaccine and subsidy for residents!

*usually these will be the opening sentence, followed by each individual’s struggles or complaints.
 
which is totally fine, i don’t mind listening. or just simply replying and moving on to the next topic. nowadays, most conversations start with ‘hope you’re doing ok!’ and end with ‘stay safe & healthy’. personally, i’m a bit sick of saying ‘hope i can go home soon so we can meet up’. anyone here is also tired of saying ‘i miss you’? … or just me?
 
but sometimes it puts me in a situation where i’m torn between “maybe these feelings are too much” and “nah, these feelings are valid”
 
i won’t deny my privilege to be able to study in Hong Kong. as well as my efforts to survive here; the things I have worked hard for and I have experienced so far. i’m literally trying to practice my gratitude every day (which is so hard btw).
 
so yeah, being in hk is great, but it’s more like, you win some, you lose some. i’m far away from my family. i’m trying to always get my shit together and be healthy, so my parents won’t worry about me. matter of fact, i’ve been worried about my fam in indo as the covid situation is worse there. i’ve celebrated 2 covid birthdays so far, welcoming quarter life crisis without my family. christmas was not that merry, lunar new year was less festive. eating take outs for dinner becomes a routine. any small inconvenience, i’ll suck it up & say, it’s ok it’s part of adulting.
 
so maybe i’m bored, or lonely. maybe i’m just sad. all of these, while i’m having a stable job, a small place to live and a (relatively stable) internet connection. 
 
did i sound ungrateful?
i know to some people, the things i listed above won’t compare. but i have no intention to compete and find out who’s suffering the most, so please don’t take this the wrong way. i know that we’re all fighting our own battles in different ways (often times, silently).
 
anyway guys, what i’m trying to say is that: loneliness, fear, sadness, frustration – they can come uninvited and sometimes, you just gotta embrace them. celebrate them. acknowledge them. lately i’ve been mostly sad (for no reason), anxious (about what’s next in my life, seeing everyone else is moving to their next chapter), and just… frustrated (because of the pandemic). i no longer find inspiration and motivation to make youtube videos. typical comments like, ‘it’s my dream to live there’ or ‘i wanna visit hk so bad’… i even read them in a different meaning. makes me think again whether i’m the only one being ungrateful to be here. 
 
but again at the same time, i have some of my dearest friends, i enjoy good food, i discover new musics that give me inspiration, i got some brands reach out to me for youtube partnership… so yes, in the end, it’s about finding the balance. and maybe, it’s about surviving and living to the fullest inside this giant aquarium.
 
i’ve decided that i’ll cry and laugh as much as i want. i’ve finally made some small decisions regarding my future (only for a short term; and no im not getting married lol). and lastly, i’ve decided to still have a little faith, that i’ll be home sometime this year. 

fam, it took me a while to actually write about this, because opening up is not always the easiest. but i just wanted to show that even when a person seems to get hold of themselves well, doesn’t mean that they’re not falling apart quietly. 
i wanted to show that, the life you’re living currently might be the life somebody else wants.
i wanted to show that, most of the times, we only see what the other person choose to show. 
 
so, the purpose of this writing is still unclear (clearly not a motivational/inspirational one), but i guess i just wrote this for me. i can certainly say that i’m feeling better now. i know writing will always be my safe haven.
 
also, i’m taking a little step to be back on youtube and continue my journey there. omg i sound like a famous person taking a break HAHA but nah i’m clearly not. 🙂 i’m still the same girl, who’s a perfectionist but procrastinates a lot. whose main goal is to just share her ordinary life with her own aesthetics. let’s meet again on youtube soon!
 

alright, i think i’ve talked enough. sorry if this one’s too long, but bear with me, i haven’t written anything for so long hehe.
and if you’re reading this – thank you! we may not talk directly but thanks for lending a few minutes of your time to read (and understand) my complicated mind. i genuinely hope that you’re living your life to the fullest, taking one step at a time, no matter how heavy it may seem. 
 
stay safe guys, don’t get sick! eat and sleep well too.
 
 
your friend,
Sheren
 
HK • August 2021