Fighting for Joy

You know the emo lonely feeling that you get even when you’re surrounded by people? I’m getting that a lot lately.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy being in Manchester, there’s just something about being in a new place, having to make new friends while missing the ones back home… that makes you feel that way. The past me will want to smack present me if I even whisper the word ‘homesick’, and I thought I was, but I think I’m just merely missing people back home, not necessarily the place. It kinda got to a point where I just wanna stay home and not socialize anymore. The rainy weather didn’t help. Also the time zone difference didn’t help. At all.

Today I went to church, and again the message spoke to me. This happens very frequently, even when He wants to use me to accomplish something. The signs are usually fairly obvious. I feel like God knows how much of a blur and an escapist I am, and He’s just making sure I hear Him loud and clear. Today’s message was about how fighting for joy is a daily battle. I quote from the sermon: “Maybe for you, fighting for joy today means saying ‘hi, how are you?’ to someone”. Sigh. Okay God.

I was reminded of my own ‘preaching’ not long ago on how we should invest in others no matter what it costs us… and I’m not practising it at all. I went to all these events with my classmates and attending church activities without being emotionally there most of the time.

My point is… it is easy to fall into the trap of passively going through life and activities, and numbing yourself to it all. But the fight for joy is a conscious effort, and well, I need to be reminded everyday so here’s this post. Eventhough this is for myself, I hope it makes sense and is also encouraging to you.

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I took this photo myself. Imagine how awkward I look behind the scenes with my left hand extending to take this selfie but trying not to look like I’m taking a selfie. #ruiningitforyou
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Worth it.

I think the reason why we’re so emotionally numb, is because we’re afraid others wouldn’t share the same ‘feels’ and we’re left wondering if we’ve been too emotionally invested. We then decide it’s not worth the effort anymore. 

But we’re missing the point if we invest to expect a direct return to ourselves; because you never know the kind of impact you can make in someone else’s life, and that’s the kind of return that “neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Belle

I loved Beauty and the Beast. Belle has always been my favourite Disney princess.

Sidetracking for a bit, I’m not particularly the type that compares things in a category and choose my favourite – for example Coke or Pepsi: Sometimes I prefer Coke, sometime I prefer Pepsi; McDonald’s or Burger King: McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McDeluxe is the bomb but Burger King has a mean French Chicken burger – I don’t get why you absolutely have to choose a winner… why can’t they just co-exist peacefully and you can have variety?

Anyways, same goes to Belle, I didn’t put all the Disney princesses up against each other and chose one (in fact I didn’t even watch some of them when I was a kid). But Belle resonated in me the most. Growing up I was sort of a ‘nerd’ – I liked to read a lot, I loved studying (especially liked memorizing world flags and cities), and I kept to myself often enough to be called ‘quiet’ or ‘reserved’. It shouldn’t have mattered to me so much, but it gets to you when people keep telling you the same thing over and over again.  Belle’s character helped me see that it’s okay to be how I am eventhough others keep telling me that it’s better being outgoing.

Don’t really care what the critics say about the new live action version, the movie was amazing.  Brings back so many nostalgic feelings but at the same time it gives a breath of fresh air when you’re watching with a different perspective and with the extra backstories given about Belle and Adam’s parents. Also, the Beast’s name is Adam, why did nobody care after all this while?

Call me naive, but I loved all the clichés in the story. I loved how Belle is a studious woman, I loved how she sees past his exterior appearance and brings life to him, I loved how they actually spent time together understanding each other instead of ‘happily ever after’ happening at first sight, I loved how she sings “I want more than this provincial life”. That part resonated in me more than anything hahaha.

I have also been replaying the soundtrack “How does a moment last forever” – which I’m so glad that it’s sung by Celine Dion, the original animation soundtrack singer. The lyrics about life and love so articulately yet simply put together in a melody is just perfection.

How does a moment last forever?
How does our happiness endure?
Through the darkest of our troubles
Love is beauty, love is pure
Love pays no mind to desolation
It flows like a river through the soul
Protects, persists, and perseveres
And makes us whole.