For years, I’ve always had it drilled in my mind that every human being – nay, every living being – in this here planet is made up of a mishmash soup of so many contradicting things.

This idea started quite innocently in my angsty teenage years. That I am made up of so many contradicting things. A walking contradiction, if you may. Sassy yet shy, loud yet quiet, hopeful yet emo. (oh god, I was too emo akssksks)

But that thought really drove itself home to me when, years later in college, I watched a video essay on Hayao Miyazaki. It was about so many good Miyazaki things, but mostly it tackled on how brilliantly he instilled in his works the idea that everyone has both a good side and a bad side. I even wrote a post inspired by this same essay! If you’ve watched any of his films – particularly, Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa – you know what I mean.

But over the past couple of years, I’ve come to realise how this Gray Area Thinking is applicable in every aspect of life.

And this is my focus for 2020. Not a word, not a goal, not even a project. (Even though I love words and I’m rebuilding my relationship with goals and I have damn too many projects.)

I want to remind myself that seemingly contradicting things can exist at the same time and that this is natural for so many things in life.

Yes, I am a hopeless romantic and love reading kilig stories. But I don’t necessarily feel that kind of romance in my life – and that’s a-okay!

Yes, I enjoy interacting on social media and sharing very personal parts of my life online. But I also enjoy my privacy and have every right to firmly establish my boundaries whenever for the sake of my own wellbeing.

Yes, I worry for our environment. But I also love to eat meat and use leather products – and I will do so in the most sustainable and practical way possible.

Yes, I will always seek self-improvement. But I also need to practice accepting myself for who I am at this very moment.

Yes, life is short and we’ll all die, one way or another. But that does not mean I will readily submit to my fated end without proactively seeking a life well lived on my own terms.

Yes, we all need to try and get out of our comfort zone in order to grow. But we also need to acknowledge the peace it brings at times when things get too overwhelming.

Yes, positivity is important. But acknowledging the negative things help too.

Yes, we are all entitled to our own opinion. But it does not need to come at the expense of others getting hurt.

Yes, we have to be mindful of how our actions affect other people. But this does not mean we need to be Mind Readers and instantly know what the other person is thinking.

Absolutes only exist in the rarest of places like in the fields of science and data programming. (I guess. I think…?)

This used to make me anxious. If I can’t know whether someone or something is good or bad, how am I supposed to choose? But with every new day, I realise the kind of freedom it offers. I no longer have to place things in neat boxes. All I need to do is imagine things – all the things – thrown in one huge cauldron. Something can be sweet while also having a hint of spiciness. One can be good but it can also be bad, and vice versa.

Paradoxical truths exist all around us. And we are all made up of mishmash soup of seemingly contradicting things. The whole lot of us. Things aren’t as black and white as one may perceive. The Gray Area is a vast, far-reaching creature. It blurs the line from either side of the spectrum.


For more reading on the paradoxes of life, check out the articles below:

Hayao Miyazaki – The Essence of Humanity*

*The video link above is a re-upload as the channel who made it, The Cinema Cartography (previously known as Channel Criswell), has deleted the original video.

Two things can be true at once – Kind over Matter

Straight and Curly Podcast Episode 128: How to Sit with Multiple Things Being True at Once

5 Paradoxes of Life You Must Embrace if You Want to be Successful

Photo by Vladislav Babienko via Unsplash