Letters of Life

27 Things You Never Knew About Me (Part I)

A store display in Lucerne, Switzerland, June 2012.

Just coming up with 27 things for one post will take me 27+ days. So, in the name of speed and productivity, this post will be in three parts.

1. I started a diary when I was 16. It was the kind which dreamy teenaged girls like, with catgories like Things To Be Thankful For, Special Friends, Favourite Daydream, and Goal for Next Month. I still have that diary today.

Come to think of it, those aren’t bad subheads even for now.

2. I was always the odd one in school, and in junior college, it got worse. Girls said I was weird to my face. “You’re weird, you know that?” was often carelessly thrown at me.

The funny thing is that they seemed to demand an explanation why that was so.  I realize that the 17-year-old mind is not only clueless (and remains so well into the twenties–I’ve been there), but heartless as well.

The guys were more kind. They seemed less judgmental, used words like ‘unique,’ ‘different,’ and ‘you’re not like the other girls.’ They too, seemed to want an explanation for this.

How could I say it was my dysfunctional family and worries about the future that often clouded my mind and that influenced the way I saw the world? How could I explain the faraway look on my face, that it was because in my head, I was running away from the problems plaguing my home life?

3. I harboured dreams of becoming an air stewardess (the romance of travel), and after that, changed my mind quite quickly to wanting to become a fashion designer.

4. In college, I discarded my dreams of being a fashion designer, and decided to major in reading (literature). I mean, if I liked books, why not major in them? A year later, having ploughed through about 10 novels and the major works of at least five poets per semester, on top of a typically heavy liberal arts reading list, I decided that I wanted to do journalism.

I liked to write, so why not major in that, right? On hindsight, my studies were a fine balance of reading English and American classics together with learning how to write and gather information about current events.

5. Like most women, I get in a sentimental mood sometimes. Like now. Only because I’m looking at my diaries of yesteryear. And yes, I do sometimes wish I could rewrite the past. Men don’t like that sort of thing, and dismiss it, say it’s not healthy, doesn’t change anything. Yeah, well.

I wish that an old friend could have come up to me during the 600 days shared in a place with stone benches and tall trees—where Yoda and other legendary teachers taught—, could have come up and told me the embarrassing fact that our parents knew each other. What difference would that have made? Nothing amounting to a hill of beans.

Still, as Howard Jones sang in 1986, no one is to blame. The wondrous thing is that the delayed discovery has stopped the clock and in our minds, we are still in school uniforms wandering the sun-dappled grounds of adolescence.

6. I took tap dancing classes up to advanced levels.

I used to practice my routines sitting down at dentist’s waiting rooms, sitting down at bus-stops, anywhere that required me to sit and wait.

You didn’t think I was going to actually do a routine standing up, did you? I might have been weird, but I wasn’t nuts.

7. I wanted very badly to believe that the land of Faeries existed. It didn’t help that at 18, a very bright person I knew talked about them as though they were friends he hung out with occasionally.

8. I once went to an SDU (Social Development Unit) meeting. These were in the staid years when dating agencies were taboo and the Singapore government took it upon itself to help singles meet. What this meant was that such social gatherings comprised women teachers and male engineers who didn’t have the opportunities to meet each other.

No, I was doing a story on the SDU. Yes, the women were smart and attractive.

9. I once danced on top of the giant speakers at a club.

Thanks for read­ing all the way through this first part of personal trivia. If you like any of it, or can’t wait for Part Two and Part Three, sub­scribe to this blog, friend me on Face­book, or write me an email.

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  1. 27 Things You Never Knew About Me (Part II) « Don't Dream It's Over
  2. 27 Things You Never Knew About Me (Part III) « Don't Dream It's Over

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