A New Chapter Doesn’t Mean Clicking Ctrl Z
By Karen Wong.
I WAS IN a meeting and my colleague turned dearest friend was sitting beside me, diligently jotting down notes. I can’t help but noticed that the sides of her notebook had glittery-gold paint. My eyes became wide-opened. What notebook is that? I wondered to myself. To have a notebook with edge painting is a lot harder to come by now. What’s more that it’s 2011, in the age of digital technology, to have a gold edge painted notebook. When the meeting adjourned, I immediately asked her if I may have a look at her notebook. Surprised, she handed it over to me. I turned the French blue hardcover notebook around to the front, and the title says “1986 John Hancock” in beautiful gold cursive letterings. Wow, what a classic. 1986, that explained the edge painting. Wait a minute, “1986” ?
I wanted to ask her badly, “What made you choose this classic (and really old) little notebook?” She said, “It’s my all-in-one book.” Not satisfied with the answer, I asked further, “What do you mean by that?” She answered, “Well, it’s for me to know that I start and finish it.” Still feeling curious, I asked “But why particularly this notebook, of all other notebooks you can choose to use?” And she said, “It doesn’t matter which book. It’s the one book that I started.” What she said, struck a chord with me, and I remembered it till this day.
In therapy, we talked a lot about desires and wishes. We wanted something to be completed, and done. We wanted something to end, so we can start anew. We wanted to wipe the slate clean, so we can start over. We wanted a plan. The problem lies not with our desires. Rather, it’s what we tend to forget when we are too focused on the “new” day, journey, chapter or beginning.
When we are in the rut facing various challenges, often times, it’s the situation we can’t just redo or undo and get to have a blank canvas again. We desire so, but many times, we are also fully aware of the certain realities that we could not just walk out on our families when we hated it, we could not just quit our jobs, we could not just a relationship because we are constantly fighting, and we couldn’t just drop out of our studies because we aren’t doing well in it. And sometimes, we couldn’t just click Ctrl Z for lost time.
What we tend to miss out and lose sight on can be one simple but important concept. We easily forget how we work so hard to keep going. Each one of us, works hard to just continue what we do each day. Day in day out, sometimes we just hang in there. Sometimes we work harder. Sometimes we take a break. Sometimes we go for a drink. And sometimes, we collaborate to make the place we live in a better place. We create the “new”, and we “begin” working towards it.
When I ask myself what can I do to contribute to our community here, I refer to The Little Blue Book. I didn’t need a different place, or new environment. I pick up and continue from where I am. When Queer Lapis approached me to contribute, this is it. This is the part that I just continue from where I currently am. I continue in ways that I can. As this site presents an alternative to the status quo for our community, it also provides me a space to continue my journey, apart, and a part of the community. Not to make it right or make it great, or make it differently, or make it the same. Rather, to just continue the journey. Continue what we have started.
Every new year, or new day, or new chapter is our determination to continue what we have started.
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Karen Wong is a licensed and registered counselor at New Health Counselling focusing on relationships. When she’s not a therapist, she teaches psychology and programs software and apps.
Photo by Karen Wong.