The whirring lens of a camera

It’s as clear as focusing lens.
That soft touch to a vision, as fluffy and comfortable as a pillow you snuggle up to each night, hoping it brings you away to a world where you can dream the wildest dreams and yet be kept alive. You can die and yet revive. There are no limits and no clarity. Each and every move you make is a step in a city struck with a smog hanging low. There are lights, shapes, images, emotions, features, and at times there are moments when everything is clear to you. It’s like that in a fog. There are a few moments when the fog breaks a little and you can see something clearly before it’s all faded out into blurriness again. In the end, the world that you travel inside your mind is intangible and nothing remains clear. It’s such a beautiful, velvety soft touch to a focusing vision from the lens of a camera as you ready it to snap a photograph. The beautiful image remains as a general form of its exterior beauty. But you might never have another chance to look into its intricate tenderness and admire it the same way ever again. You only have one chance.
It’s quite different in reality. As soon as you focus your camera onto something, you can snap the photograph and the image comes out clear, if you didn’t shake. But it doesn’t mean you will like the photograph. Most of the time, it has to undergo edits and filters before we present it in a form that we love. It rarely is ever exposed to the world as it is, unless it radiates in itself a true beauty that screams for attention and that would pale upon being hidden behind layers of fake identities. I feel that given an opportunity, it’s also equally easy to grab the chance to do the something you chose to do. But it doesn’t mean you will like what you have to go through. Often, you want to present yourself well, and you coat your words with sweet nothings about something that “deserves” a good word, but in reality, you think otherwise. You’re lucky to have had the opportunity to do it, but you don’t think so, and you show it in such a way that others see it even prettier than you had it and that evokes a sense of envy. You have to feel it with all your passion before you can recount to the world how lucky you really were. You would find it difficult to hide it. And that’s how it is too.
Life is such a constant cycle of cycles. At one point you’re happy, and then the troubles engulf you and then you’re sad, but soon enough you’ll once again be happy for a short while before something else comes your way. You’ll be successful for once, a failure for once, and in the end all we’re trying to do every day of our lives is grasp on to a rationality that keeps us sane and going. There is no room for irrationality in this world where everything follows a structured order no matter how much you don’t like it. It needs that order. It’s not a question to have something out of the world happening, because it’s beyond our expectations and our finite minds cannot accommodate something unnatural happening. We have rational minds with irrational thoughts and dreams, but somehow that weaves into a perfect picture of order and perfection.
Life travels in such unpredictable cycles that when you look at your life 6 years ago, you wouldn’t imagine yourself taking the same road that you took. You wouldn’t, for the life, have imagined that this was how your life would have turned out.
I was triggered by seeing my primary school best friend in the bus tonight. I didn’t have the courage to go up to her and talk to her, or even make my presence known – I was too awkward for that, and I walked past her as if we never knew each other. She didn’t see me, and she never saw me. I was just another passenger on the bus, on a road which leads me in quite a different direction from hers. I started remembering about 6 years ago, when we were best friends in our last year in primary school, before we parted ways due to going to different schools. I don’t remember how I was like back then, definitely not like her, and I thought about how she has turned into one of those popular social girls that talk to a lot of people and have many friends. She’s a nice girl with a boyfriend, and she’s probably happy with a complete family and a good love as well as awesome friends 6 years down the road. I thought of what I would have said if I had chosen to catch up with her on life. I looked at my life. How drastically different it has been from 6 years ago. How I would never have imagined that in contrast with her averagely-alright life, mine would be so broken. I’ve taken quite a different road from most normal people – my life is broken, my soul is broken, and I’ve withdrawn into myself, I’ve become one of those quiet people nobody really knows, I’ve become someone who’s intellectually more mature than most people my age because of all the experiences that I’ve been through that has literally forced me into advanced and quickened maturity since I was 15, three years ago. How different my life is. I thought of what I would say if I caught up with old friends now.
“Oh, life is okay now.” That would be the most common phrase ever, and how loaded that phrase would be. When someone says they’re okay, it’s not perfectly okay because no life is like that. There’re some troubles and problems here and there, and the only difference is that they vary in intensity. If you say you have a relationship, an assumption would be that you two are going well, and one of your minor problems would probably be the conflicts both of you face. If you said you’re single, the assumption would be that if you’re having problems, it would be work or school related, or perhaps family related to a smaller extent. Nobody would expect you to drop a bomb on them that your mother abandoned you. Nobody.
Nobody would expect that someone’s life has gone down such a path. I hate to be a walking example. It’s such a sad story that the world has chosen to increasingly embrace. I’m sure I’m not the only one going down such a path out there, and I’m sure it’s increasing. But for the most part of it, you wouldn’t expect it in a normal society. In a reserved Asian society. Because such happenings are still the minority compared to the normal. In a group of ten people, less than half would have such a life and gone down such a route. And for most people, they never chose that path. Life decided to bring them down that dark path they never chose. The path they never wanted. The bright, straight path becomes something we can only look on from where we are, and dream about it. Because we’ve walked down the dark path, and we’ve already experienced a lot of the darkness we never wanted to experience.
Looking into a person’s soul is so apt. When you look at someone, you not only have not known them, you haven’t known their family relationships, their friendships and their love relationships. There’s so much to uncover about a person. To be frank, I would be very shocked if I came across someone who told me they’ve been raped before. I didn’t expect it when my friend told me he underwent an operation for brain tumour. Because they aren’t normal, because they’re out of the ordinary and they’re not supposed to be in our ordered society. Ironically, we’re also the ones tipping the delicate balance and making our society increasingly chaotic.
I focus my camera on everything around me. I see things through an artistic lens that I prefer to look from rather than my naked eye, because my naked eye is shortsighted and limits me a lot. I choose to see the world in tints of filters and make it out to be such a serene, beautiful world that I live in, a place that brings me hope and joy in less frequent cycles and longer periods of time. I see the world through thick lenses that mask its true originality, and I long for something that isn’t mine and that cannot be mine.

Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.

Being content with what you have, even the darkness, is incredibly hard to do. It’s like grasping on to rationality without losing yourself at all along the way. You’re not allowed to rest and to smile; you have to keep going no matter how emotionally draining it can be, because otherwise, you’d be giving up on yourself. I feel so conflicted about existential issues in the world. I can’t see myself fixed with an identity or even a label to define who I am. Because I’m lost, wandering in my own fantasy land and trying to find some relief that keeps me going through the harsh reality. And when I snap back, it’s not pretty at all.
I find that there’s so much I could be thankful for, but I have to learn to appreciate what I have. I haven’t lost all; I may be broken but I am not dead. Even the broken pieces can be pieced together again with the scars that run through and never fade. Life is different in the sense that it does offer another chance if only you can see it and accept it. I think that’s really pretty. There’s another detail that you can always add to the blank pages of your life, but whether you want to paint a beautiful portrait or allow mud to slosh over it, it’s your choice. Ultimately, you’re walking your own path, whether predestined or chosen. There are a lot of possibilities even within a dark path, and I believe that you could always come across this small dirt path that leads you towards the light. You don’t have to wallow in the darkness and keep on in darkness, because the light’s just on the other side. You just need to find that dirt path linking you towards a brighter hope than you could even see.
I focus my camera lens on an object. It’s not a large object and my long-distance lens can’t focus properly on such a small, intricate object with such detail. Time is taken to experiment different ways for my lens to focus clearly on the detail of the small object. I really like it – it’s smooth on all sides and it’s not sharp at all. The curved sides make me enjoy stroking its surface and admiring what my camera is focusing on. I like how there are some different colours and different tones of the colours – a beautiful illustration of where yellow and black should be. The black exists on its very top edge, followed by a tint of unripe green before it blends into a rich, vibrant yellow that accentuates its curves and makes it all the more alluring under my camera and the possible filters the world has to provide. I can’t wait to try editing it and see how it will turn out.
If I could snap an original picture of it against a white background, I think I would be most happy.


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