On Permitting Myself to Fail

It feels like I have been away from my home from too long. And while every word of that sentence is true in actuality, in a more metaphorical sense I have been away from this blog for too long. And now that the clouds shed away and the prodigal writer in me returns, I feel like I can finally breathe. My fingers are defying the laws of physics as I type my soul out; my heart feels full again. My body feels so light, I might just start floating in the air any second now; writing has a high of its own.

It’s not like I didn’t try; I have a draft folder full of half written gibberish to prove it. I guess I had to get out of the weird funk I was in to be able to write again.

So what happened this time? I did what I usually do: stopped in the middle of life and cried rivers and oceans and whirlpools and monsoons over all that I have lost. And I blamed myself for every iota of the disaster that I thought had befallen me. Walls were closing in again and I spent day after day in constant pain. It felt like the storm would never end, no matter what I did.

But then, as it continued to rain, I decided I needed to shelter myself from the elements if I was going to survive this. An epiphany dawned on me, and I held on it for dear life: I realised that I needed to stop pretending that I knew everything. More so, I needed to stop beating myself over the things I didn’t know.

And that is when I decided to burn (only metaphorically, because hello environment) all the prizes I received as a kid that called me a “perfectionist” or “miss 10/10”. I had to let that notion go because in all honesty, you cannot be a perfectionist at something you have no experience of. (And calling the point I am in my life right now “uncharted waters” would be an understatement.) I was waging a war against myself, wounding no one but myself in the process, with nothing to show for it, except depression and anxiety.

And just like that, I did something I wish I had done sooner: I gave myself permission to fail. I decided I was completely fine with failing at everything I do. I was okay with stumbling and falling and bruising myself, as I try to navigate life. I accepted that I am not an prodigy, I am not Einstein, or Van Gogh or J.D. Salinger. I am the mess that is me.

While I try to improve myself and learn new skills, I am okay with sucking at things. I will not hold myself responsible for the fact that everything I touch doesn’t turn into gold. Without realising it, I had put myself, or rather my illusion of my own self, on a pedestal. And boy, did I fall.

And this has solved every problem in my life!

Roll end credits.

(Of course that’s a lie.)

I am sorry to not leave you with a happy ending; almost every problem which lead to my breakdown which, in turn, lead to my precious epiphany, still persists to, pretty much, the same degree. The only difference is that, now, I do not take the problems seriously: I accept that I am shitty at life.

Failure is my new best friend and, in all honesty, the relationship is truly liberating.


Carrying on the conversation from my last post, I’ve been struggling with words lately, in addition to struggling with life, relationships, job hunt, pandemic fallout, like everyone out there. I do not understand why but it is always during testing times like these I feel so unconnected to every human being on this planet.

I wish I could draw, for it would be able to explain how I feel. I am in space, floating, without any tether, no cord, unfettered, unbound. This is my cavern of loneliness: hollow and black. And it scares me to death, yet I find no one who understands my words: it’s like speaking in a vacuum.

I’ve been broken so many times by those I have trusted that I have lost the strength to try. And I want to spare the pain to those I trust most, so I cannot really acknowledge my fears out loud. I have only me as always.

All these years, and it’s always been a damn circle; I can never escape it, can I?

I can’t find you
But can’t fault you,

’cause I can get so caught up in my own head
You just float through, I can’t catch you
And I can understand,

but can’t face the feeling that I’m just another end


Featured image: Eden/ Jonathon Ng singing Float.

Quoted Lyrics: Float, by Eden

Falling Apart

In the minutes when space and time bends

and then, stands still, in infinite windows,

I run to grab a seam

and undo every happy memory,

which kaleidoscopes back again

into myriad cracked mirrors,

just like my emotions.

I hold my favourite necklace in my hand,

for it has become my rosary

in this ebb and flow

of fear and faith.

Nights like these, I can feel the galaxy fall

and I can hear every molecule that moves apart,

forever expanding the nothingness into nothingness.

In these hallow spaces I scream an echo

questioning why my emptiness is laced with pain.


shitty day

Oh hello dear shitty day,

If I fall for you will you go away?

If I punch you, would you hit me back?

If I write about you, would you explode my Mac?

You see, you came on a day I’m drenched in Writer’s Block,

I’m drenched in my deluging tears, and swimming in smelly socks.

How do I handle you, when I cannot for the life of me write?

And every conversation from my mouth turns into a fight.

When words feel like pain in my soul,

and my heart black as coal.

Oh shitty shitty day, what do I do with you?

Should I compare you to the moon? or the morning dew?

Will then you become an ally?

For I have never been so alone, my wings clipped to fly.

Tell me, shitty day, can you see what lies ahead?

Is it days of peace? or days of dread?

Are you clairvoyant, shitty day?

Do you have Nostradamus’ gift? Can you hear what Pythia says?

Will I ever find what I am looking for?

Do you understand why my soul wants to soar?

Oh dear shitty day, will the rain ever stop?

And also can you clean my room, because I had a fit of rage and broke my mop.


Dear Diana

Living in pain for long,

should make you numb; or stronger,

for you aren’t dead. But it doesn’t. It didn’t; I’m

split into two, living in two parallels. Where

Jekyll and Hyde hate each other, and

tumble in the contradiction of how I

want to live and die at the same time.

And the peaceful blue of the sky

is forever a lie; for I

fail at lying or deceiving everyone, including

myself that things

would be okay.


© That Girl in the Fray, 2019.  All rights reserved.

No Title

Somedays I want to fold into myself, like a thin piece of paper.

One fold.

Two folds.

Three folds.

Four folds.

I want to occupy the minimum space I can.

Just bundle up in a corner

and hope to not exist.

Not die, no. Not that at all.

I just want to disappear from the universe,

from the surface of the planet,

from the mind and memory of every human being.

Just not be there, altogether.

Because that is what I think it will take to not feel the pain I hold within the crevices of my twisted soul.

What is the threshold of misery?

How much pain can a heart bear?

It’s something I never wondered,

but now I think I know.

Please take away all the happy couples


Let me start by making this clear,

I’m not anti social, nor am I a recluse

Well, okay maybe a recluse,

an introvert clothed in the desires of an extrovert,

a living, breathing, walking conundrum


But somehow it makes me vomit these days

when happy couples are shoved into my face


when I’m on the train half dead on way to class at 8am

and they sit there leaning on each other with their hands intertwined

displaying affection publicly on the Purple Line

while the guy I like takes 4-6 business days to reply


when I’m at the hospital getting treated for a friction burn

no, no, not from what you think

there were no carpets involved, no making out against the kitchen sink

but because I’m clumsy and fell off my bike

and just lay in the dirt after I gave up on life


So, when I’m at the hospital getting treated for a friction burn

while I wait, planning my sole vacation

to try a little stereotypical soul searching in a third world nation

to regain the balance I lost after the last guy ruined my bed

and eventually fucked up my head

and they sit there, laughing, joking, annoying

with no care in the world, no stinging pain, like life is all fun

while I try to calm myself by fantasizing about watching my ex’s car burn

and failing because he doesn’t own one in this city.



Let’s send them into a void, unto a parallel universe

And keep the ones who can’t get it right

because all I want to see is misery

and arguments and fights

all that I want to affirm is that it’s not just me,

it’s everyone,

it’s not just me, it was him,

it’s not just me, everyone has difficulty navigating the 21st century dating waters

it’s not just me, it’s everyone in hiding in every quarter


Saying, oh I’m done with this,

while lying through my teeth,

hoping I’ll be swooped up unexpectedly

not literally though, that would be kidnapping,

but the metaphorical kind

from the ye old days of poetry and Austen novels


till then, I sit here in my vacant sphere

counting all the irritating happy couples full of cheer

betting on when they will break up, hoping I get to see them fail

All the while secretly wishing I’ll be one half someday


© That Girl in the Fray, 2019.  All rights reserved.




The Land of Eternal Summer: Berlin Wall

I sit here at 1:39am, a little spooked but mostly amazed at how it’s possible for me to do this: to sit past midnight in front of a piece of history that has seen blood and guns and metal.

But it has also seen love. Or the possibility of it. Or the vaguest hope of it. The faintest illusion of it.

I stop walking to confirm that the sound in this deserted park is the echo of my footsteps. And it is.

The wall looks weathered than before. And if I’m not punished to say it, uglier than before. Because it was what I was staring at when I was thinking of things I don’t want to think about again. Of how I let myself be so vulnerable in that moment. How I was open and true and all my colours were spread apart. How open I was to allow my soul to be seen. Which is why I got hurt.

The sky is murky. Dirty. Barely a few stars are visible in the grey. Yet I’m happy I came back here. I can’t let them cut my hair again.

© That Girl in the Fray, 2019.  All rights reserved.

A Tribute to this City

If I write about this city, would it be stealing?

Because it would be like an echo of what I exactly see

like the souls entrenched in the midst of poetry

Yes, I created a few words that have no meaning whatsoever to sound smart

To sound like I have my shit together

I look at the carpet of hair in my lone apartment and wonder to myself, how the hell am I not bald

in a city where every fifth tinder suggestion is a boy from my class

in a city as unique as air con in January

all this time wondering who the hell is Benedit Ryan whose wifi signal is stronger than my soul

But once these moments pass,

where I’m full of loneliness and self doubt

where the monsters in my head have a chokehold over me,

I begin to realise just how full of love I am, the love I’m capable of

for bricks and glass and paint and cement and steel

for cobwebs and green fields and purposefully painted graffiti

for the courage to open your heart to strangers

for heartbreaks in the midst of storms

for fleeting fireworks and fragile fences

and I finally have the courage to let him go,

like I let go of the breath I’ve been holding for so long

and I feel like myself again

and it doesn’t matter to me anymore that things fall apart

it doesn’t matter that some moments feel like sleeping in a warzone,

or that he has someone new on his arm now, who he parades around,

someone out of a midsummer night’s dream,

someone who looks and talks to the stars like me,


And I owe all of it to this city.


© That Girl in the Fray, 2019.  All rights reserved.






White walls, white buildings, white clouds, white sky

the familiar tune a stranger whistles passing by

through the twists and turns of this city that I know like the back of my hand,

as I rebuild on the edge of the water the castles of sweat and sand

right after the water has ruined it,

our burden as humans to build and watch it be destroyed

only to build it again and watch it fall.


© That Girl in the Fray, 2019.  All rights reserved.