Shepard’s Retreat

It’s been a good three days since we came back from retreat but I think I remember most of it so here goes.

I felt a little queasy at the start. No not because of the motion sickness. It felt like social anxiety. (Recently I’ve been having bouts of it. Like today, I felt it too when I had to meet new people). I guess I felt a little out of it, like when a group of people are laughing about something I don’t get I’ll feel like I’m in a daze. Sometimes their chatter just becomes a whirr in the background. A part of me wishes I could be in it and another part of me doesn’t.

I’ll admit I felt a bit negative about Retreat. That it’ll be just me being alone most of the time (I downloaded so many songs in preparation), or that it’ll be extremely tiring. But I really enjoyed myself. We learned loads of things, and the sermons are the kind of sermons that stay around in your head forever. Well at least some main points. I got to spend a lot of time with jairia raymynnlynn and Anna, which honestly we don’t get to do very often since we’re split up. It was really nice being with them.

When we came, I was so happy that there was one empty room right at the end just for us all to ourselves, little did I realise that it was left empty for a reason. It. Was. Right. Next. To the. Karaoke speakers. Ha hahaha ha. At night the bass just travels straight through the floor and into your bones smacking you right in the brain. 

The second night it was pretty noisy. So we went out to the back part of the house, where there was this large patio overlooking there sea. And you could climb up this flight of stairs into an open space with just the sky above and the sea spreading out below you. And there were a handful of stars sprinkled here and there. We watched this other family light up a red lantern and they set it free, it floated all the way high into the sky and it just disappeared.

Bro Lucas came over too, he went over to the other far side of the patio and lay down with his legs sticking out from the railings and he played some music from his speaker. Guess he really needed some alone time. 

Meanwhile, we went to the other side and stuck our legs out too, and we let them hang over the sea, with the metal bars protecting us from a certain wet death.

I asked them what their biggest takeaway from Retreat was but we never really got round to answering that. I can’t really remember what we talked about.

OH yes. One thing I did learn was about how bad stereotypes are. Lots of people stereotype us as those quiet girls that need lots of pushing and don’t do much. I realised that. Haha. I mean it’s not wrong that we are quiet, we are, but it’s bad when someone assumes that’s all of an identity that we have. We are nothing else as people other than, “those quiet girls who don’t do much.”

I won’t name any names. Someone asked me and Anna, “So, why are you guys always so quiet? Is it because you don’t know what to say, or like you think it’s not worth saying out?”

I got a little riled up about it. “I mean, if all of us were talking it’d be chaotic right? Some of us have to be quiet. If it’s quiet we’ll talk more, if it’s noisy, we’ll talk less, it’s a balance.”

But this person kept pushing the idea that we think our thoughts are worthless or that we don’t have any thoughts to say. Which was a little, well it felt degratory. Almost. “It’s not that we don’t have anything in our heads, it’s just we don’t feel the need to say it all the time.”

I said something along those lines. I mean, we can’t all be super hyper and talkative and jokey, you know?

Someone else said something to Raylynn that made her super pissed too, it affected her so much she just walked away from the table. I can’t remember exactly what, but it was some assumption about what they did in their free time that was insulting. Like just because they are quiet, that they wouldn’t have… something I really can’t remember. 

And someone said also, “OH they these kind of people (CONTEXT: quiet, hence no initiative) need someone to help them take the food for them” during dinner, and jairia just grabbed her food herself immediately. I thought it was quite funny. But yeah, these kinds of negative stereotypical remarks, were pretty …. haha ha. I felt mostly disappointed. Slightly, and dryly amused. 

I think some people think we’re being exclusive too. That we’re always hanging out in our group, but honestly, if one of us had an outgoing and sociable personality no one would think that way. Sometimes I get the feeling that people just find us completely boring. And their attempts to interact with us feel forced. Only SOME people, you can tell who are genuinely interested. 

But anyways, point is, I don’t want to do the same to others. I’m not a newcomer when it comes to stereotyping. I readily assume certain traits are bound to others when that may not be true. And also I want tonne genuinely interested in people. Because people can tell.

People tend to favour out-going socialites, who make lots of jokes and always look happy. Maybe that’s why I feel so cynical about large groups of people who constantly keep laughing and talking. Maybe it’s even bitterness. Like I don’t want to be one of you guys because loud people tend to look down on quiet people. And EVERY single one of us felt that at a certain point during this retreat because of what someone said/assumed.

And I don’t even consider myself as that quiet a person either ways. If there’s something that needs to be said I’ll say it. I’m not the kind that would fuss much about what people would think of me if I spoke out. I get excited over debates. I love saying my point of view. But that’s only if there’s a space for me to put it out there. 

We were talking about it on the last night, if we should tell someone about how we felt. It felt like an issue that needed to be raised up. I mean, it’s really not a nice feeling to be in the receiving end of such remarks. But then again, what if we were all just overly sensitive? What if saying such things spark some kind of tension? I don’t think we’ll ever raise it up unless it happens one more time.

These few incidences didn’t help resolve my growing cynicism towards church at all. Right now there are only a handful of leaders I really trust, and that’s quite a bad thing. 

And honestly I’m not sure if I’m being cautious and practical or if I’m just being judgy and unreasonable. 

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Last Supper

Really wanted to write about today because it was a good day

“Played” basketball with Sam and Lum in the morning, and I’m already feeling the muscle aches coming on. Basketball is probably my worst sport, you have to be all cool and intimidating to play it right hahaha. Lum was a really good coach, he taught us a lot about basketball. Some ACS Barker kids came and wanted to challenge him because he was just that good. Some people just effortlessly look cool, I guess it’s because they make it look so effortless that it looks cool.

I think I improved a lot, managed to score some pretty decent shots, but I probably looked like a spazzing flamingo while I was at it.

After that Sam and I went to get party supplies for our class dinner. Well, it’s really more of a “last supper” kind of thing because Matt is going into the land of Tekong this friday, and it’ll probably be the last time we’ll ever eat his cooking (or see him) in the next two years. We came quite early so we just chilled in Matt’s music room, it was quite fun, think we were in there for a good solid hour.

And then we helped Matt with cutting tomatoes (that’s about as much cooking as we did, really). And slowly everyone started coming in.

I’m actually quite surprised so many people turned up. Our class isn’t exactly bonded, but I guess we do enjoy each other’s company. It’s special, it doesn’t really feel like a normal class. I’m not sure what it is about everyone. Everyone’s just so unique, and Oh I think it’s because it’s always Classy. haha get it – Our class is really classy. We don’t drink, or gossip, or anything much really. We just chill. And everyone’s so nice.

Dinner was amazing as usual. I had the best balsamic vingegar I’ve ever tasted in my life, and Matt used olive oil he got from some dude in isreal (He saw the oil being pressed into the bottle right in front of his very eyes). So cool. There was BBQ beef, chicken, tomato salsa, some salad with pine nuts. Oh yes, the pine nuts. I think they made it into my all time favourite nuts list (second to walnut). Apparently it tastes like bacon when toasted AND IT DID. It was sooooo goooood. And we also had mushroom.

Gen and I danced a little along to “South” by hippocampus. By dance, I mean waving around awkwardly in a hotline bling kinda way. Good music just makes memories so much more colourful. Kinda like a movie soundtrack.

Angel brought this really delicious chocolate cake. And after that we played cards against humanity. We laughed so much. So inappropriately. Hahaha. ha.

Our class’ humour basically goes along the lines of finding anything to do with incest, dead babies, racism, and religion funny.

Sera and Marina won. Which was totally unexpected. They are the kind of quiet, shy girls, and I only really got to know them well last year.

I love our class so much. I’m really just gonna miss having them as part of daily life. I wish  had more years with them, I want more time to get closer to all of them.

As I write this it feels bittersweet. More of sweet than bitter really. I’ll always look back and remember colourful, fun memories. And lovely people.

Sam was pretty sad about how he’ll probably never see our classmates much.

Things will definitely change. As we go on with our lives there’ll be so much less common ground. Relationships change, but that doesn’t mean that they have to end.