Saturday, 1 April 2017

31 Days

Personal journey sharing ahead. The number of ‘I’s in this post exceeds those in the years since this blog was started. Please ignore them as I am cringing while typing this, shedding my anonymity for the next 1,000 words.

I remember posting once about how a second, a minute, or a month feels in different situations. Or did I read about that? It has been exactly a month since I decided to get myself out of a downward spiral that started off innocently enough with the thought, I am enough.

I am not refuting the truth in that sentence. You should love who you are - physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Love all the dimensions of you.

No one else will have that scar.
No one else carries the crazy swath of stretch marks on your thighs.
No one else has the streaks of coloured hues in your eyes.
No one else has the freckles on your back.
No one else hears the voice in your head.
No one else feels that crushing hope in your heart.
No one else suffers through the pain that made you stronger.

What sparked this? Yet another tough lesson I had to learn from life. It was difficult and a challenge to myself to practice what I preached. Boy, was it hard.

In retrospect, I dismissed my weekly progress as slow and insignificant.

How is losing 1kg this week even an achievement? *snorts in contempt* Just you wait, it's coming back!

Surprise, surprise. The 1kg didn't return to me or came back up on the scale the next week.

So brisk walks came into the picture and when I was sure that errant kg was coming back after the first buffet, guilt ate away at me. I took another brisk walk a day before meeting my coach. My heart was pounding when I had to step on the scale for the end of week 2. I refused to look at the statistics until every measurement was taken.

Another kg was gone.

Those who know me, know that a month doesn’t pass without me experiencing some sort of injury. An old injury flared which resulted in an MRI appointment and a verdict of a worn down knee cartilage, causing my kneecap and thigh bone to rub against each other obscenely. Did Romeo and Juliet decide to reincarnate in my bones? Bad life choices guys. Really. Recuperation time: 6 weeks to 3 months minimum. Spectacular. Let’s tuck away the brisk walks back in your dreams.

By week 3, a lunch meet: This is it. The kgs are coming back.

Again, I was mistaken. Right. Move along now. I might as well go on to the next week and whaddya know? Another buffet came right up and made its way down my throat. Guilt came knocking on the door but I ignored it and decided that I had work to do. Subconscious can go play with some brain neurons while I adult.

Exactly 30 days later, I stepped on the scale and pat myself on the back for surviving this long without starving myself. Comparing Day 1 and Day 31’s statistics:

  • Weight loss of 5.6kg.
  • BMI dropped from 32.5 to 30.5.
  • Waistline decreased by 8cm.

Oh-ho! All that 1s finally added up. Yes, it's anoying to walk now because my work pants keep sliding down in the mornings when I commute to work.

I wasn't sure how to handle being wrong. How does one bow out graciously? What does one do with that burst of energy that came from your gleefully bouncing mind? Most importantly, what do you say? What do you tell yourself?

Whenever someone speaks about losing 10-12kg in 3 months or 21kg in 6 months, it seems like a short time. It’s do-able! It’s the determination of champions! Time will fly by so fast! You’re invigorated to try their methods and yes, let’s start tomorrow!

What your mind skips over is that you have to get through each day. That you have 90 days in 3 months and 24 hours in a day. The numbers doesn’t hit you until you have to get through every 3 hours, trying to keep to a meal plan as well as having to make a decision between heading home to relax on the bed with your phone or going to the gym to perspire and drain the last of your energy before you crawl home in a daze. Whose brilliant idea was this again? Scumbag brain!

When you travel, you will inevitably need help along the way. Life does that to you. Whether you accept that fact with an open mind or a hardened heart, your journey continues but what you reach in the end will differ.

Choosing to seek help was awkward and difficult at first. It took me a year to muster the courage to face that fact and ask. True enough, ask and you shall receive. Or for some, ask and the universe will answer you.

My coaches not only helped and encouraged me, they had a whole family/team behind them who did the same. I wasn’t sure at first and it took me a while to open up to a group of strangers on something so personal to me. Those were my baby steps and I learnt valuable lessons along the way; some I will carry with me for life.

I had a goal for July but plans changed and it seems like the challenge for me is now brought forward to June. That competitive streak in me is raring to go and so, WHY NOT?


p/s: If you're cringing at how cynical I am, don't be. I am grateful for that voice. It has taught me to be kinder and more understanding. It has saved me on countless occasions as well.


Friday, 24 April 2015

March On.

Ever wonder why some years seem too long and some are disappointingly short? The answer to that is something everyone has to seek out on their own.

Sometimes one wishes to be able to clear the muddle that is called 'thoughts' and lay it out line by line in military precision. Sometimes it is possible to do so. Most times, it is a jumble of lines and complications that resembles a ball of tangled yarn of various colours after it has gone through the paws of a playful cat.

You would think that an eventful life warrants a piece or pieces of writing to remember it. Archiving your life, so to say since your mind would file away these memories and you might not remember or relive them again.

Not everyone would narrate their lives. Some events are best left forgotten or kept in silence. They aren't necessarily sad, depressive events; they could be the highlights and celebrations of milestones in life. And yet, no record would exist.

You live, you grow and you leave. It doesn't mean it has been one long dull chapter in your story. Whatever you choose to do with your history and definitely not at the expense of others, do it with pride and do what makes you happy.

After all, you is who will make you the happiest.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Mood Insanity.

It is entirely true when women claim how hormones wreck havoc internally on a monthly basis and it affects all their physical interactions. I counted myself the lucky few who escaped this monthly crazy swings although at the price of something else.

Recently, I have had a change of mind. Due to changing circumstances, I have been placed on medication that will help regulate my reproductive cycles. If you're cringing at this point of the post or if you're below 18 (which is stated on that welcoming warning page when you clicked to head to this blog), I advice you to please move your mouse to the 'x' at the top of this tab/page and close this window. It will only get more uncomfortable from here on.

Don't say I didn't give fair warning.

Last chance now.

Still here?

You must be made of sterner stuff. *applauds you*

So in the course of regulating an originally irregular cycle, medication must be ingested. I'm not saying the natural course is wrong or flawed but there are some things in life you can't anticipate and you just have to make the best of it. Or fix it. Whatever your principles are. I'm doing this at a professional's suggestion and hey, no harm in trying.

The price of getting this cycle back to a normal regular course is the mood swings.

MOTHER OF ALL THINGS GOOD IN THIS WORLD.

SANITY OF NOBEL LAUREATES.

SEAFOOD OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.

BLACK BOILS OF THE BUBONIC PLAGUE.

How some women endure the insane roller coaster of emotions in a day is beyond admirable. You ladies should be awarded a medal of valour or dexterity for functioning utterly well with such poise while all sorts of warfare and conflicts are raging inside your mind. Emotionally spent at the end of the day, I cannot fathom how you are able to be a functional human. And to undergo this every month annually for the rest of your lives from your first menstrual cycle. It would be a believable argument why there are more female figurines/deities worshipped since ancient times.

Aside, it has been a long week and what way to end it by stumbling across this wonderful picture that gave me a sense of zen. In fact, I haven't been able to stop staring at it for the past 4 hours or so.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Free Books.

Technically, the entire website hosts free books until the authors are able to publish them. Wattpad hosts a large group of talented writers who can't devote their full time to writing. Despite that, I can honestly vouch for some really original and fantastic works on the website. One such author, Emma V Leech, writes as LaDameBlanche.  Her hottest and longest series - The Dark Prince is an absolute gem. Faeries, fantasy, adventures and captivating storytelling are only a small part of what makes her work completely bewitching. As part of a competition organized by Wattpad, I'm sharing Emma's latest work, The Darkest Night for #Wattys2014, a competition of readers' favourites. Lots of posts and hashtags are involved but I really like the series and I believe many would too. It's completely free and available as a mobile application too. You can even read it offline after a one time addition to your Wattpad library. So give it a go and please spread the word about The Darkest Night with the #Wattys2014 in your posts on your social media platforms every time you share it.

Here's the link - http://w.tt/SVd8av and enjoy your read!

p/s: You might want to start from the first book, The Dark Prince and progress to book 4, The Darkest Night. Bound to get you addicted to the fantasy genre again.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Loop.

A setting we seem to be falling in love with be it for music, movies, videos, books, our possessions, words or even behaviour.

What's the harm? You repeatedly listen to that song that seem to articulate your words. You replay that scene that seem to tug all the right strings in your heart. You reread the words that give birth to the epics in your mind. You reuse the items of a sentimental value no matter their condition. You repeat the words that portray the inner you. You reach out to shake hands with a stranger, not forgetting to smile every time.

There is no problem.

It's great to have a semblance of order without a doubt. Don't forget that systems were put in place to be built upon and advance mankind. 

Be careful. Be wary that you do not settle comfortably into an arranged way of living. When you allow yourself to be lulled into a bubble of perfect planning, you forget that there are things out there you cannot possibly control, ready to pounce in and unbalance your beautiful schedule.

Do not assume that the loop will always exist. Do not assume that the next expected arrangement will slide into place when you miss the previous. Do not take the first mention lightly because you may never get a second chance.

When you take the first sip of wine with a tongue stressed by an array of flavours, that initial taste to savour becomes marred.

Remember how your parents repeat "Do not make me repeat myself"? An irony in itself, it becomes an impression. In fact, your parents are probably uttering it less as the days go by. Being a stubborn and (quite) headstrong child, it was a daily warning that went unheeded. Come the teenage years and emotional maturity, every word, every gesture, every nuance becomes embedded in mind. When hitting the age of adulthood, all those years of home training becomes a source of comfort when having to live independently for the first time. While finding myself, I held on to this believe - do not make others repeat themselves. It meant taking in every first mention, notice, occurrence and behaviour in equal weight as well as its subsequent revisions. First impressions reveal more about a person than one will ever know and your gut is nearly, always right.

We sometimes utter words we do not mean when emotional and what talent yours truly has, is invested in remembering private personal preferences. That was the case when my brain wasn't addled by technology yet and its capacity was possibly more.

Now, being so dependent on our little gadgets, I have become reliant on recording every word typed and sent using technology. So I go back to them (see, a loop) to remind myself of what others want, what others prefer and what they would like to be done. If no revisions are stated, it means they have not changed their minds or simply not bothered enough to state their change in stance. And I respect them enough to stand their ground and decide what works best for themselves.

Just know that sometimes people forget because they simply do and sometimes it becomes difficult to remember everyone's preference or if a change was made. I'm guilty of this too and find myself wincing when having to receive instructions or making others repeat themselves twice. So I find myself repeating sentences in a loop until it sticks. Bear in mind, communication is a two-way street; you exhale and inhale to breathe. Speak or forever hold your silence.

Maybe we shouldn't have too many confessions tonight.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Quarter of a Century.

Another year to the two-five. And still, there is so much to be understood and much more to be seen.

Have you seen yourself in the mirror lately?

Have you look into your eyes and spent time in conversation with yourself?

What a cacophony of voices in the head to be heard over each other. And all you wanted is some quiet.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Etiquette & Expectations.

A girl in her 20s is in the prime age range to look for that one person whom she will be spending the rest of her life with and of course, there is no lack of wedding invitations or talk of weddings with friends. So what happens when you're not even looking or close to settling down when the big 30s hit you? Are you a destined spinster for life? Are you the perpetually cool 'Auntie ____'? Or the unfortunate girl that nobody wants and will forever be the one friend you can call up for favours because she has no pressing commitments?

I do have my reasons to omit guys from the previous paragraph because guys get it slightly easier. No, seriously. You don't have your parents breathing down your neck about your age and procreating virility. Your physical body is not under constant and not so covert scrutiny to attract the right partner nor is the prime condition of your womb an issue of grave importance. One mention of how your career is important for you in preparation of your future nuclear family is enough for your parents to beam smiles at you with a pat on your back and you are left alone. In fact, they become your advocates of a wonderful character and focus in life and your future goals. You think girls get off that easy? What can girls do? Smile and nod demurely while murmuring some comforting words to let their parents know that they have thoughts on it and are working towards that haven of life partnership.

Am I glad my parents are not like so! But it doesn't mean that I am unsympathetic of those in such pressured conditions. My paternal grandmother seem to think that my sisters and I are of age to have a boyfriend in our lives. Little does she know that we have many boy friends and the bond of friendship we have are familial or plain acquaintanceship.

Lets go back to wedding invitations. I'm sure many have gotten invites through various online platforms for events or functions. No surprise if you have received at least 1 important invitation via Facebook and it has made you feel excited or puzzled if your RSVP really matters. What if you mentioned that you will be attending but forgot about it because you forgot to check your Facebook account for that reminder? What if you have to cancel later because of unfortunate circumstances? Is it a valid response that holds much weight when you click the 'Join' button?

Example, Mary sends out her wedding invite on Facebook to her 800+ friends from the convenient little 'Invite All Friends' button. Is she seriously inviting friends from social circles she has not met nor spoken to in years? If all 800+ accepts her invitation, does she need to book a bigger hall? Does she track who responds to the event and personally sends them a message to ask for their address to send an invitation in the mail?

Lets be realistic here. I doubt brides who have to prepare for their big day would be free to track down every individual joining her event via Facebook. Unless of course her wedding planner is taking care of that but the list will have to be checked with the bride to avoid unwanted guests. What if the invite was accepted by a person who Mary doesn't want to be at her wedding - a crazy ex, an acquaintance from a social event, etc? The possibility of 'what could go wrong' is endless.

Take a look online and you will find multiple articles or discussion on forums condemning this lazy option of mass invite. Jeanne Hamilton writes quite simply in her website Etiquette Hell of her thoughts on such practise. Mind you, it only applies to important events - weddings, baby showers, engagement parties, etc. People are known to invite and cancel invitations verbally too; so what makes Facebook any worse? Is this impersonal method really a faux pas?

Perhaps technology ought to be blamed for creating new social mistakes. Where snail mail once was the proper and polite method of inviting guests to events of importance, now many opt to turn to online means. Isn't the wedding invitation card just as valid as the online e-card, especially if your friends happen to live in a different continent? Snail mail do get lost and sometimes, you do interact better over Whatsapp, text messages and email.

There are different moulds for different situations. What we know of today's social norm is what the larger society has agreed upon. Is the 20th Century generation reshaping social etiquettes by incorporating technology into their daily interactions? What if the 40th Century comes with the extinction of post offices from the invention of the teleportation device?

So many possibilities and arguments for this. If you think a digital card means that you're not important enough to be invited to an event, it's your opinion. If you think that it's a technologically savvy move, it's your opinion. 

Whatever the methods, just RSVP.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Lest We Forget..

Christmas is not about the gifts or the decorations.

Try doing a good deed instead without monetary, physical or any type of returns.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

No Closing.

With December comes all the pretty photos with hopeful wishes of it being the last month and hopefully the best or the happy ones of Christmas tidings. For yours truly, it is just a month where I realise how long the road in my learning growth still runs.

I do not regret the opportunities I took nor the experiences I lived and yet, I am still aware that I lack much. Foremost, I wish I had taken learning Chinese seriously when I was younger. Ethnically Chinese with no mixed heritage in the past (five, at least) generations, it boggles people when I say I am Chinese yet can only converse in Cantonese and passable Mandarin and fail utterly at reading or writing anything aside from modern alphabets and Korean alphabets. I believe that I am still capable of learning a new language but it is an endeavour that needs dedication and an honest pursuit to be fruitful; both of which is absent in me.

Having accomplished a complete certificate with ABRSM for piano, I have barely touched the piano in the last 7 years of my life. I picked up guitar until a back injury kept me out for 2 months and I never returned to continue the lessons. The gu-zheng was a one-year affair before my pursuit of a degree placed a halt to it. And the violin? I have always sighed inwardly whenever I hear or see one because it is an instrument that these stiff fingers can no longer coerce to sing for me. The bass is a new-found interest but accepting how my attention can die within any period of time, I push away whisperings of intent.

Have my desire to learn more of the unknown wane? Am I a Jack of all trades and master of none? Comparing ones' skills to those around you is to compare players at different level of expertise. There is no level playground as we are not mass-produced objects who have undergone QC before being released into the world. Our connections to society has shaped and created the individuals we have become today. Yet, we are always lusting after what another has and we are bereft of.

Opening a new chapter in my book is always a wonderful occasion and yet, like this post, I know not where I am heading to and what is my life's worth. Like my mind, it is a night of puzzling thoughts and endless questions with no clear conclusions until sleep robs me from my consciousness.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

(Near) Serenity.

This trip home sure has mellowed me: I made desserts. Put myself on a healthy diet (yet still gorged on said desserts). Slept at least 12 hours a day. Picked up reading and listening to music again.

It's a bit of a shock to my system which has been on 'Drive' since 2010. Passing time and days has ceased to mean rushing or running to the next assignment or appointment in my day-to-day schedule. I wonder if journeying through the decades of your life makes you numb to your surroundings that you do not realise the race you have unwittingly joined until you are thrown out of it. After the initial shock (and lots of rough landing; imagine jumping out a moving car, oui?), there comes the numbness and maybe even quakes of terror that your life is going down the drain. Life stops and you feel like you've stepped off a very high cliff.

Always finding myself in these non-stop movements, I get disconcerted when I come to a halt. It makes me take note of my current predicament and it makes me depressed. Guilty of riding the wave, I become less humane to my surroundings and everything becomes a blur of secular values. Nothing becomes enough and like an addict, I search for the next hit. No, I don't do drugs and will only do so at the threat of physical decapitation or some dear to me will come after me to finish me off and there will be a queue. I'm not sure which thought scares me more..

So we run to the next plan in our itinerary. We rush to squeeze as much work in a day to be productive. We fill up our daily planners to ensure we maximise our 24 hours. Yet, have we ever stop to think that maybe, a whole day or weekend (I can hear some of you going "God/Heaven forbid! What nonsense??" so calm your tits) without any pre-made plans is what we need? I have heard of some individuals who turn off work so well, that weekends are holidays for their minds, bodies and souls. And you know what? These individuals are happy and successful. They may not make much a month and they may have health problems but they are contented with life without turning to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, clubs, bars, promiscuous sex or a rumbustious social life.

When have you truly taken time to listen to yourself and ask, what truly makes you happy that even the thought of it puts a smile on your face? I found myself grinning like an idiot during dinner one night when reminiscing about the fun times I had when I was a student. I remembered being utterly excited for a reverse bungee and singing all the way. I remembered leading a group of girls for marching practises. I remembered going for exchange with a bunch of amazing people and how it changed my view of the world. I remembered conversations with kids that made me love the thought of having one of my own. Luckily, my family was otherwise occupied with the food before us, otherwise I would have been at the end of a long questioning.

You see, the simple things are going to be forgotten one day. Now, I find it hard to recall certain memories even with photographs and conversations with friends and acquaintances. I asked myself, do I really want to forget these little things that made me sincerely happy? Sure, nothing beats walking across the stage to receive my degree from my faculty dean. Nothing beats being tossed into the air for 3 consecutive times by co-workers to celebrate my milestone in life (my knees still turn wobbly when I think about it..). 10 years down the road, will I remember this emotion that sends warmth spreading in my heart? I have found that the pictures taken in these happiest moments in my life was utterly beautiful, not because I have a crooked smile with a gaped hole in my teeth, not because I looked passably photogenic BUT because I could feel the joy emanating from every part of the few captured moments and I could remember the occasion. I do not doubt that there are more moments in life that will add to my collection of happy thoughts but I do not want to make space in my memory for them; I want to catch them all (I've always wanted to use this phrase) and keep them preserved for my own perusal until I reach my expiry date.

I remember promising myself many years ago, that I would embrace what life threw at me; I would not worry about tomorrow because (at the risk of sounding insanely holy, pious, religious, etc. but whatever dude, I believe in a higher power so deal with it) God has it all planned out. Many (especially Mae) asked me, why am I not worried about things in life? Why aren't I worrying about my plans? My answer: I tried worrying about it. I tried planning it so intricately I even had a 5-year plan once. Then, like always, I sat back and patiently watched and waited for the plans to work out (but most of you have no idea how often I want to give in to my desire to just take one step forward quickly all the time and not stay still).

You know what strikes me the hardest at the most opportune timings? God (or whomever/whatever you believe in) has a way of showing you that the best things in life comes to those who wait for it. Yes, there is that cliché that sometimes people miss the best things in life because they wait for better things to come. No, it's not those instances that I refer to here. I am referring about the beautiful sunset you saw although you were stuck behind a lorry moving at 40km/h on the road, the people who survived 9/11 because of a small deviation in their daily routine, waiting for the next turn in traffic lights that allowed you to bump into a friend who you have lost touch with, an amazing job offer that comes your way after a bad career track, etc.

My point of this post: You are responsible for what you feel. If you want to be happy, if you want to be free, if you want to experience that small piece of peace; pursue it, look for it. As Five For Fighting puts in so well in their song The Riddle, "There's a reason for the world; you and I."