Mr. Black & Mrs. White

Mr. Black and Mrs. White
Were different as can be
Like night and day
Meeting never halfway
Impossible it was for them to agree

Mr. Black liked to change
He always changed with glee
Not just on a Monday
But every single day
Even during midday and also at three

He would always change jobs
Before and after tea
Once on a Friday
He changed his name and fiancé
Can you imagine his family tree?

Mrs. White hated to change
And never once did she
Day after day
Doing the same and never going astray
It was her one and only identity

She never changed her underwear
This truly isn’t hyperbole
Tuesdays were for takeaways
And Wednesdays for word plays
She never changed even for an emergency

Mr. Black and Mrs. White
Obviously failed to see
That the world is full of grey
And nothing is black or white in every way
That is life’s idiosyncrasy

“How are you?”

How are you
Is an open invitation
For you to talk
About yourself, your feelings
And what you’re going through

How are you
Is an act of kindness
On my part
Showing that I genuinely care
That I’m concerned about you

How are you
Is a sincere question
Letting you know
That I’m here to listen
That I’m here if you need someone to turn to

How are you
Isn’t a meager expression
Uttered without a thought
Out of habit and politeness
Which dilute its true value

How are you
Isn’t something to take lightly
All I ask is
For you to grasp the gravity of it
And to realise the magnitude it has too

Stabbed

I was stabbed in the chest. To understand what happened, I’d have to tell you how it all began.

We first met at a job orientation. He was one of the two conducting the orientation for a group of us newly hired employees. He looked like a real-life BFG, which I, as a child, would have been thrilled to see the book come to life. Intuition told me he was an ENFJ, which I was fascinated by as he’d then be the very first I’d have met. Typical of extroverts, he blabbered on during the orientation. And typical of me, I preferred efficiency and conciseness, and was somewhat impatient. I thought of different ways I could broach the topic of MBTI with him, but didn’t get an opportunity to that day.

Due to the nature of our job scope, we rarely see each other at work. It was some time after when we met a few times in passing, and one day he asked if we could leave together after work. So we talked — well, he talked more while I mainly listened. I casually mentioned something about personality and then he brought up the MBTI. That sparked my interest. I find out that he only knows about it very briefly, and he mentioned he’s an ENFP. That sparked my intrigue even further — to figure out if I was wrong and if he was right. He asked questions about my type and I gave him brief explanations. Then we parted ways.

The next time I spotted him at work, I went up to him — which isn’t something I’d do unless it’s someone I like — and shared with him excitedly that I had signed up for an MBTI training program. My level of excitement then plummeted as he brushed it off by stating that the MBTI wasn’t all that great, that it lacked substance, depth, and accuracy. That was Strike 1: to insult my knowledge and insinuate that what I learn and read about lacks depth and quality. My excitement turned into hurt, nervousness, confusion, and anxiety. Perhaps I was overreacting and being too sensitive. Maybe I misinterpreted his words. He suggested that I signed up for a different training program, one about personalities using colours. He told me that the theory was much better and I listened to him explain what it was as I genuinely wanted to learn. I made a mental note to look it up after (which I did) and then I asked if he had also heard about the Enneagram and that I was starting to read up on it. Then came Strike 2: with a look of pure disgust on his face, he asked if that had something to do with animals and the zodiac. Again, it’s insulting my intellect and dismissing my topics of interest.

I left feeling really bad and talked about this encounter with an INFJ, who encouraged me not to cut the relationship prematurely, to give it another chance. So the next time we met again some time later, I took the advice and we did the same: he asked, I agreed, and we left work together. But this time, we spent two hours talking. I asked him questions in an effort to figure out what his type really was, and from his responses, he did seem to be more like an ENFP. He asked me questions as well to find out more about my type. At some point in the middle of our conversation, there was a Strike 3: he asked if I appreciated and felt any emotional reactions to art and things like a sunset because he feels strongly about such and cannot stand it when others try to break it down logically and analyse its beauty. I told him that even though he was a Feeling type, it didn’t mean that he doesn’t have a brain, so likewise, I have a heart too and I feel things deeply. To insinuate that I have no emotions and that I have no appreciation for the arts are grave errors, especially when I had explained so much about myself to him.

Second-guessing myself once more, I continued conversing with him that night, thinking that I was just being over-sensitive. He asked more questions and I shared more things with him, revealing more of myself to him which, again, isn’t something I do with just anyone. Then comes the shattering moment: he asked how I find the work, and I said that I loved it (and I genuinely still do), but that my dream job was something else. He rolled his eyes and asked what I was doing there then, whether I was just there for the money. I felt as though a part of me shattered like glass. Money, to me, is meaningless. I do not care for money. I find intrinsic value in my work. That I’m learning, and helping others, and nurturing the intellect. I didn’t feel like he was worthy of the explanation and closed the door on him as a mode of self-protection and self-preservation. I spoke to the INFJ again as well as an ENFP about this incident and they both understood where I was coming from very well. The INFJ intuitively made the motion of a knife stabbing through the heart even before I expounded on how I felt, which was a nice touch.

Months passed and I barely saw him at work until recently. I was talking animatedly with a co-worker when he appeared, surprised to see me after so long, and invited me to head out for a meal at once. I hesitated and asked what it was he wanted to talk about. I suppose he noticed my hesitation and lack of enthusiasm, and switched to asking if he could see me privately instead to go over a few things about work. I acquiesced and followed him into a meeting room, which was where the stabbing happened:

He first questioned if I was upset with him. I asked why he’d think I would be. He explained that my last couple of email responses to him had been curt, and accused me of giving mixed signals. Now, I’ll need to explain this statement further before I move on to what he did next. I had responded directly to his last couple of emails with my standard “Noted, thanks” response. It’s how I respond to all colleagues since emails are frequent unless I have issues to clarify with them. I do not deem that rude. I see that as a standard, neutral response. In fact, I had previously sent him a couple of reports via email, each with a paragraph-long text informing him about what the reports were for, to which he never acknowledged. That, to me, is even ruder. Granted, his emails included social niceties (which mine were void of) but I find that to be fake and a waste of time. Must I elucidate how I’ve been and what I’m up to in every email response regarding work? Especially to a person I do not like? That goes against my personal values of being honest and genuine and not lying. I am the sort to leave emotional issues aside when it comes to work and I maintain objectivity and professionalism with colleagues I do not get along with. So implying that I was reacting in a passive-aggressive way already irked me.

But back in the meeting room, he carried on by elaborating that my previous emails to him had been better (even though they hadn’t contained any niceties but merely more words), and he had the nerve to lecture me on the proper way of responding to emails as though I were an ignorant child. He made an emphasis on my current age (which he had somehow found out that I had aged up since the last time we spoke, and this irked me not just because he’s finding out about my personal information behind my back but he had the gall to rub it in my face as well) and described how the corporate world is to me, that when I join it next time, I’d have to change my ways to better fit in and thrive. As I sat there taking it all in, my muscles began to tremble and twitch. ‘How stupid does he think I am?’ What he was enumerating were so elementary. They were things that were already apparent to me, and have been so for a long time. It was such a bore listening to. My mind wandered to one of his emails updating me on the company’s new procedures, where he stated that my “smarts” would be able to understand the attached documents without him having to go into detail about them. This just showed his true perception of my level of intellect. My mind traced back to another instance during our two-hour long conversation whereby he assumed I was reluctant to change — that I stuck to old-fashioned methods of working just because I stated that he was better than I was at the newer methods and I did not boast about using the newer methods like he did — and he went on to educate me on updating my work habits. When he noticed me using the newer methods at work one day, his compliment was like a backhanded slap because it was as though he saw it as my first time implementing this new method due to his advice.

When he finished lecturing me on how to adequately reply to emails, I responded: “1) Sorry I offended you. It wasn’t my intention [to which he shook his head and denied it]. 2) Do you think that I’m unaware of all this?” I shook my head in disappointment at his response. I informed him that I was already aware of everything he mentioned — everything. “And you don’t want to change?” he asked. I echoed a resounding ‘No’ to him, much to his surprise and puzzlement. The twitches crept up to my facial muscles. My insides were bubbling. I felt like I was about to burst. ‘How could he lack such an understanding of me? How wrong could he be in his assumptions of me? How could I have been so wrong in my judgement of him? How unaccepting could he be?’ Asking me to change is akin to asking me to defy my values, to go against what I believe in, to be ungenuine and disingenuous — things that I abhor.

He proceeded to run through a list of the newly implemented standard operations he’d written on the glass panel. I’d already done a quick run through of the list when I stepped into the room, and they were so simple and basic — things that I’d already been doing at work, things that I valued, things that I took pride in. My impatience set in. I diverted to my neutral facial expression — I found no worth in expending energy on keeping a smile, especially when it was not genuine. It unsettled him. I mainly nodded my head. It took him by surprise that I understood things so quickly, many times before he could even finish his sentence. It was a bore listening to him, and as usual, he was verbose with his explanations. He included additional details about how I conducted my work, as though smugly showing that he’d been talking to others and finding out more information about me. He inquired whether I could tackle simple problems when they occurred had I not prepared for them. I took this as another insult. How little he seemed to know about and comprehend me. He seemed to think that reading up on the INTJ type on Wikipedia was sufficient to understand all that I am. The impromptu meeting ended with another backhanded compliment that not everyone was as hardworking as I am in doing preparatory work and that others preferred to improvise on the job.

I’m still unclear about his type, but whatever it is, it is clear that we do not get along. I’m also still uncertain whether it’s just hypersensitivity and an overreaction. And by the way, our relationship is completely platonic if you’re wondering otherwise.

A Cause to Blame

I sometimes wish that something truly tragic had happened to me, that something bad were to happen to me. I’d then have a tragedy to explain why I am the way I am, why I feel the way I feel, why I think the thoughts I do. I’d have a label that I could simply utter and others could easily comprehend. A specific reason. Something to pinpoint the source of where it all started. A cause to blame. Something that’s outside of my self, that’s bigger than my self, that’s beyond my control.

I then feel bad that I think this way, that I’m diluting the terrible events others have gone through or are going through. Who am I to wish upon such? Who am I to feel the way I feel and act the way I do when I haven’t experienced any catastrophes?

The reason is essentially me. This is where it all leads right back to. It’s a simple word, but a complex answer. There is no specific moment in time when everything began to snowball and go downhill. This is just how I am.

Frankenstein’s Creature

Why do men live in herds… But then… massacre each other?

Where’s the logic in that? It’s insulting in its stupidity! What fool said prejudice can be overcome?

What is love?

Did I ask to be created? … I am different. I know I am different! I have tried to be the same but I’m different! Why can I not be who I am? Why does humanity detest me?

To kill me? Why then did you create me? … So you make sport with my life?

Yet you’d kill me if you could! … So why is your killing justified, and mine is not?

Master, what is death? What will it feel like? Can I die?

Piercing questions.
Thought-provoking and deep.
Questions that mirror mine.
Questions I’ve asked before the age of nine.

I am the one who stands outside the door. I see inside. But I daren’t go in.

(Describing the moon) Solitary… And sad like me… Because it is solitary… Because with all that I read, all that I learn, I discover how much I do not know. Ideas batter me like hailstones. Questions but no answers.

I did not ask to be born.

I should be Adam. God was proud of Adam. But Satan’s the one I sympathise with. For I was cast out, like Satan, though I did no wrong.

I am good at the art of assimilation. I have watched, and listened, and learnt. At first I knew nothing at all. But I studied the ways of men, and slowly I learnt: how to ruin, how to hate, how to debase, how to humiliate. And at the feet of my master, I learnt the highest of human skills, the skill no other creature owns: I finally learnt how to lie.

Haunting thoughts.
Question-provoking and dark.
Thoughts that echo mine.
Thoughts that reflect the creature of Frankenstein.