end of 2016

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3 days before the end of 2016 my phone died on me. Well not really, but that’s how I’m choosing to describe it. What happened was the circuit board malfunctioned and now I’m using an old backup phone The woman at the Apple store said there’s no way to determine the cause of the malfunction and could be due to a number of things: a bug from an insecure website or repeatedly using my phone while charging. Apparently we’re not supposed to use our phones when its charging. Ironically I’m still using my replacement phone and charging it at the same time, but that’s because the battery depletes like 10 times faster given how old it is! It goes from 20% to 2% in 2 hours, what the hell is going on =_=

I wasn’t able to receive or make calls, not receive or send texts. I was devastated more by the loss of all the photos and videos. About 80% of it is backed up but not the rest because when I updated my phone months ago it wasn’t connecting to my laptop and I still haven’t found a way to fix it without buying a new one. All the memories in there, with friends, family, events, dance and selfies (yes selfies yes the damn selfies as well my best looking moments are in selfies). Anyway, I see the loss of my phone as the start of something new. There are a few things in that phone that I shouldn’t be holding on to anyway. Screenshots of messages from people who’ve left my life, for one. I don’t know why I still keep them but maybe on Wednesday God decided that enough was enough and swooped in for the kill. I feel almost relieved actually to know that those screenshots are gone for good. I was having a hard time letting go.

Anyway, 2016 is ending and all that new year new me shenanigans has been sprouting up left and right since Christmas ended. Instead of doing New Year resolutions for this post, I’ll make a list of things I learned in 2016 and end it with a list of advice I intend to take for myself in 2017.

Things I Learned in 2016

  1. You win when you choose not to play with a toxic person. Sometimes the best way is to walk away and leave them be.
  2. Pay attention to their actions and not their words.
  3. How you feel about yourself is more important than what others feel about you.
  4. There will be some people in your life who are temporary, but by God they are the ones that teach you some of the greatest lessons than you can ever have.
  5. When people walk away from your life despite whatever efforts you put in, let them: they’re not meant to be in your life.
  6. Heartbreak isn’t always caused by someone else. Sometimes heartbreak is self-inflicted.
  7. Closure doesn’t come from another person. Closure comes from within.
  8. Beauty IS indeed in the eye of the beholder.
  9. Don’t expect anything from anyone.
  10. Nothing serious = sex only. No matter what he says. That’s it end of story
  11. Stop running back to things and people that you know will leave you hurt, no matter how familiar or comforting it is.
  12. Don’t live for the praise or applause of others. Be and do things for yourself. Others will be there for you forever.
  13. Love comes when it will, not when you ask it.

 

To Remember in 2017

  1. Put myself first
  2. Take charge of my own life and goals
  3. Stay away from fuckboys and toxic lovers.
  4. Take more charge and courage in my decisions
  5. Work on my relationship with my food and body.
  6. When it comes to relationships, pay attention to their actions and not their words
  7. Spend more time with my true friends
  8. Live the life that makes ME happy, not the one that others think I should.
  9. Give myself the freedom to start being human and show people my more vulnerable side. I don’t always have to hold it together.
  10. Work more on accepting the physical aspects of myself that I lack confidence in. Remember we live only once and we should live not for the applause and praise of others.
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turning 25: learning about love

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If there’s something that has been a strong defining (albeit ongoing)  experience that has really challenged my character – and still doing so actually – in the past year, it would be dating. Man, that stuff can become so complicated especially when you’re a hopeless romantic with a sassy mouth but a helluva sensitive heart. I used to be envious of those girls who meet a guy and they instantly connect and spend the next few years together. However in the past year having gone out to various events, meeting various men and going on dates, I’m glad I’m not one of those girls because every single man I meet has put me to the test and taught me an important lesson about self-worth.

I’ve met guys who want nothing serious from me, guys who just want some fun and guys who like me but sadly I couldn’t reciprocate their feelings. And I’ve learned some important things that I hope to carry with me into the future without forgetting it.

I’ve made the mistake of trying to change myself, going back on my own promises of self-love and battling that inner rage in me. I’ve let my moments of inadequacy and loneliness let me get emotionally played over and over again and fuck yes I get angry when I think of how weak I can be, but then I realize that this just makes me human, and only makes me stronger one annoyingly slow degree at a time. Maybe this is just a lesson I still need to be learning. Maybe this is helping me become stronger because I’m not as strong as I should be yet.

I’ve ignored red flags and went against my better judgement hoping that something will change yet ended up feeling more confused than ever. I’ve gone back to the same bad boy over and over again when something doesn’t work out because hey, we all need some attention right?

Yeah scoff at it I don’t care because I know you’ve done it before. Sure it a mixture of loneliness, low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, boredom, strong desire for love and emotional connection that made/makes me crazy, but when I take a step back, I think maybe I let myself get emotionally led because at the end of the day no matter how hurt and how tired I am, I hold on to hope. Hope that love will come to me.

I learned that I deserve the love that I give to others, and the right guy won’t make me question my worth or question my status in his life. I am not an option or a backup plan. I deserve someone who makes a place for me in his life, who will move mountains to come see me at the end of a long day even if he’s tired because he’s excited about wanting to share the day with and hear about mine. Someone who feels lucky in his life to have me because while I annoy him with my fickle-mindedness and need him to just friggin talk to me about his feelings, he still wants to share his life with me. Someone who challenges and motivates me to become a better woman. Someone who accepts my past and is willing to carry my struggles and help see them through with me. I deserve someone who wants me not because of my looks, but because I bring a smile to his face when he thinks of my quirks. Someone who chooses me every day and night and who fights for me.

That’s right. I want a man to fight for me because I’ve settled for men who wouldn’t fight for me even though they want me.

I don’t deserved to be half-loved. I don’t deserve someone who leaves than comes back one too many times because he’s run out of options.

I have a heart so pure that sometimes I cant help but fall deeply. I know what I can give, but I’ve settled for less than what I deserve because let’s be honest, I struggle with feelings of self-woth at times. When loneliness takes over, feelings cloud my judgment and my strong desire for emotional connection fucks me over. To let go is a big feat. I’m still letting go but I know that there is someone out there who will one day feel lucky that I’ve given them my heart, that I am willing to shoulder their burdens with them even though he’s not perfect because it takes two to tango.

My ability to love with my heart isn’t a weakness. Its a strength not all men can endure. We women shouldn’t have to shoulder the full responsibility of turning boys into men. I’ve fallen for men afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves but I wear mine proud like a lion because that is my honest-to-God true self. A man who wants me will accept me for who I am rather than leave me for it. I hold on to hope that after all the messiness I put myself through, love will find me unexpectedly in all its glory and it will come without me knowing, without me seeking and without me questioning whether or not I will ever truly be able to find love again.

when quotes express feelings that my mind can’t put into words

“When you can’t stand the endless cycle of suffering anymore, you begin to awaken”
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“Maybe you just have to live for the small things, like being called pretty or someone picking up the pen you dropped or laughing so hard that your stomach hurts. Maybe that’s all that really matters at the end of the day.” – Tianna Kavanagh
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“The moral of this story is that sometimes, you can attempt to make all the difference in the world, and it still is like trying to stem the tide with a sieve. The moral of this story is that no matter how much we try, no matter how much we want it … some stories just don’t have a happy ending” – Jodi Picoult
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“By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened the wounds of the heart are already too deep.”
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
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(P.S. It’d be great if someone could actually buy me this book called ‘Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, & Sex Workers in the New Economy.” only because its not available in Singapore and I can’t see myself paying shipping fees from the U.S. Ugh. Life.)

queens don’t live for the approval of others.

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In a world obsessed with physical attractiveness, we all want to be good enough for something or for someone. We want to be thin enough to fit into that dress, we want to be pretty enough for men or women to notice us and ask us out, we want our butts to be big enough so that we have curves that look good in those pants.

Many of us typically strive to reach a particular standard of attractiveness, and this standard is more often than not, set out by what we see in the media and in our day to day lives: movies, fashion blogs, music videos, Instagram, even our own friends and family and strangers who compliment us (in a nice friendly casual way not stalker-creepy way mind you).

Its so easy to fall into the trap of “I need to/want to/ wish I could/ be like that” because after all, we’re human. We have an innate need to be loved, to be accepted, and to feel good about ourselves. We notice what gets complimented and what doesn’t, and let’s be totally honest with each other, what does get noticed, complimented, get more likes on Instagram more often in a woman?

For instance,

  • when she wears clothing that comfortably hugs her body and highlights her figure (note that sometimes, it has to be a slim one)
  • when she wears a cropped top that shows off her flat stomach
  • big booty

This isn’t an exhaustive list and examples may differ mind you, but its just an example of what I’ve noticed and also personally experienced.

We learn that when we dress and look in a certain way, we get noticed and complimented and this sets us up for falling into the trap of thinking that that is what we need to be. Let’s get real. We all want compliments and we all want people to tell us we look good. Who doesn’t?! But over time, we may begin to rely on those compliments to feel good. Our sense of self-worth becomes displaced; happiness and validation are now sourced from other people. When they compliment and notice us, we feel good. When they don’t, we start feeling anxious.

So what’s a person gotta do? Work out everyday, diet everyday, wear makeup everyday to look and maintain a certain appearance all day every day?

Hell no. Nobody has time for that! I don’t have time for that I’m a busy girl I’ve got things to do.

Life is too short to live up to the expectations of other people. You are uniquely you. You are a work of art. You don’t need to seek approval and validation from others because when you do, you become trapped. A queen doesn’t live in her room all day. She wears her magnificent crown on her head and roams the halls mighty sassy and proud.

But hey, want to wear makeup everyday? Sure, go ahead no one is stopping you. Workout everyday? Sure go ahead. I’m not stopping you. Look at me, I work out about 3-4 times a week and I wear makeup when I go out too. But what’s important is: don’t become too dependent on your makeup and exercising just because you want to look a certain way. What do I mean? Makeup does wonders and can make you look different, but if you want to or need to wear makeup because you want to look certain way as you don’t like the way you look now, its time to do a re-think about your eyeliner and eyeshadow. Afraid to miss a workout and you get anxious when you don’t clock in an hour of cardio? Time to take a step back and ask yourself why you’re working out to begin with, and for who you’re working out. Do you want a good body for yourself, or because you want to get a body type that many people take notice of?

A queen doesn’t live for others. She lives for herself.

She dresses for herself and for nobody else. She wears makeup for herself and nobody else. She workout for herself an nobody else. Because she knows that she begins to do things for other people, she stops being free.

A woman who is insecure and gets compliments relies on compliments to feel good. A woman who is secure and gets compliments accepts it but feels no need to prove herself all the time. She doesn’t care if she wears no makeup, because she doesn’t rely on external approval and acceptance. She doesn’t live for it.

A one-way ticket to unhappiness is to live up to the expectations of others and getting approval & validation from others. You can’t please everyone. Everybody is different. Love yourself enough, be comfortable with yourself enough, and accept yourself enough to live the life of happiness that you deserve.

Strive to be a queen. Be the best version of you. Why? Because no one can be you!

You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be worth it. Not for others, but for you and yourself.

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And yes, and I’m wearing burgundy lipstick! Dark purple, deep wine red, oxblood, whatever you call it. It was for a theme party (sort of) that I attended last week and the lipstick was a gift from Zee when she was in Australia! I’m feeling very Rihanna+Maleficient in this regal shade. Plus, that picture of those gorgeous pink flowers was taken at the Flower Market in Bangkok when I visited it last week. The place was beautifully perfect.

for those in recovery…

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After last night’s journey to understand how to reach someone in the throes of anorexia, and how to answer the “Million Dollar Question” of how to help, I’d like to now address those of you in “recovery,” as well as the loved ones of those in “recovery.”

First, for those who have been though this battle, I commend you for fighting and winning. I hate to use the word, “winning” because with it comes so much baggage that harbors a lot of weight, yes, pun intended. Winning communicates that a) it’s a game, b) it’s something that is trivial, and that c) that if you’re in your eating disorder or have relapsed, you’re losing, or even worse – failing. Because the truth is, there will be days where, even though you’re in recovery, you can still slip. You can have a day where you let the mirror get the best…

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I’ve been at this page for the longest time right now, hovering between wanting to write something and wanting to just slam my laptop shut & simply go to bed. I’m feeling a sort of change within me. I can’t really describe it, and that’s what’s killing me. I want to know what it is, but I can’t quite place my finger on it. There’s a strange sense of loss of direction in me. I had thought Kyoto would help clear the mist though it seems I was mistaken. I feel a need for something different.

I’ve changed a lot since 2014, but now I feel a need for something more. I want something more

I’m about to explode from this uncertainty.

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Sogenchi Garden at Arashiyama in Kyoto (May 2015)

social media detox + letting go of people offline + chinese new year day 1

On Wednesday I went through a major bout of social media cleansing. I went to Facebook and deleted from my list, a whole bunch of people whom I no longer speak to; friends whom I made whilst I was in primary school and no longer keep in touch with. These are people who:

  • Appear on my Facebook Wall in flashes as they post blurbs about the comings and goings of their lives that I find no interest, especially if we weren’t in the same class then. I did the same on my own personal Instagram account. I’ve blocked followers so they can no longer keep track of my posts. Most are complete strangers from various parts of the world whom some way or another found and just decided to follow me – and this was way before I found out about the privacy settings on Instagram and made my account private – and who at the same time are following thousands and thousands of other people (so really you’re not that special anyway).
  • People whom I no longer wish to keep in touch with and whom I don’t want knowing anything about what’s happening in my life.

I think there comes a time when it suddenly hits you in the face and you’re wondering why you’re letting so many strange people seeing the snippets of your life, especially ghost followers who follow thousands of people but post virtually nothing on their own profiles. Who are you and why are you following me? Why am I letting you see pictures of my dog or of what I did yesterday?

I think for some individuals having a huge number of followers( by this I mean thousands and thousands) gives them this strange false sense of superiority. Not all of us, but a small handful, especially those who have thousands of followers, have a public Instagram profile and post nothing but selfies. Unless you’re a fashion blogger, a celebrity or someone endorsing something then its understandable that you’ll need a large base to inspire others with your style and/or promote your product. I think some people equate social media followers and the number of likes with a sense of importance. Of course I do feel good when people double tap my pictures but I tell myself to not let it get to my head because for a handful people, it extends beyond that in which they begin to derive their sense of esteem and confidence from the number of likes they get from complete strangers, and I don’t wish to fall into that pitfall because its a very unhealthy and disempowering situation to be in. That’s another reason my personal Instagram account is private. After all, we are in the age of digital narcism, and Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & even this blog where I post pictures are but platforms in which we can we can manipulate and create a carefully constructed profile and present a desirable self to others. The person you’re looking in pictures probably doesn’t look like what he/she looks in real life. Hell I don’t look like myself in pictures all the time too! I don’t wear makeup and contact lenses and fancy outfits all day. I love dressing up and putting on makeup like many other girls, but at the end of the day, I love me a pair of comfortable shorts and a tee shirt with the telly on in front of me. I

So lessons here is to not be so consumed by what you see in social media and not fall in the trap of only being able to feel good about yourself only when you receive likes on Instagram. Esteem doesn’t come from strangers but from within! Is perfectly okay if you want to put pictures of yourself up on social media because you feel and look good because hey I do that too (hehe and let’s be honest we all want the likes and awesome comments) but I think we need to monitor ourselves every now and then and ask if we’re putting pictures up too frequently to feel good about ourselves and if we’ll feel awful if we don’t get comments or likes we want. I don’t want to keep posting only pictures of myself where I think I’m good-looking just so I can get approval from others. My happiness doesn’t like in strangers.

But anyway, I’ve also stopped following some people whom I met in Buffalo in 2013 (wow time really flies) on both of Instagram and Facebook whom I no longer wish to have contact with. Ex-classmates whom I only spoke to a few times and whom I know absolutely nothing about; random people I met at orientation gatherings or through student groups and whom I never speak to again. Delete. Gone. Poof.  I used to follow the Latin American Student Association (LASA) because I was a member in that student group while on exchange. I would avidly keep up with their postings and happenings, especially with regards to dance. I always remember eagarly awaiting posts, videos and pictures of the dance performances that they had after I left for home because I had so badly wanted to join in their annual dance competition but couldn’t due to the fact that I was only there for a short semester. In some storage way, looking at the pictures and the people whom I used to rehearse made me feel as though I belonged there.

However ever since I took Latin dance more seriously by taking proper dance lessons, going for workshops, proper social dancing and dance congresses and even performing on stage, I found that I’ve been slipping away a lot more from LASA. I no longer find any interest in keeping up with them (except the Kardashains) because I no longer belong there. LASA served as a wonderful head start in Latin dance but now that I’m progressing further in it, I am no longer interested in what they are doing. I can see how much I’ve improved ever since I ever started dancing salsa with them and I find less of an interest in hearing about their activities because to be brutally honest, it doesn’t parallel the type of dance I wish to achieve. I want to achieve greater and better things and LASA isn’t providing me that kind of inspiration anymore. I can’t relate to LASA as much as I did before. Its the same for some people I met too.  Some people just aren’t meant to be in your future and as hard as it is for some people, that that is all right. Maybe you find yourself having nothing in common with a person and no longer interested in keeping up with him, maybe you want to maintain relations with only certain people you met at certain points in your life, maybe you want to cut off ties with people who aren’t making you happy, bringing back only unhappy memories and holding you back. Some circumstances just no longer promote mental, emotional and spiritual growth and its time to let them go and move on. Eventually, you realize that you only want to surround yourself with people who help you move forward in life, bring out the best in you and make you feel happy.

I also find it unnecessary to drop certain people out of my life like that without warning. Just certain. I don’t leave a disclaimer of any kind; I simply just walk away and stop communicating with them altogether, simply because there comes a time when you just can’t afford to explain and/or continue explaining to people why you no longer want them in your lives. Maybe they’re toxic friends, maybe they’re taking advantage of your friendship, maybe they’re treating you as a second option in your life and you know you deserve better, maybe they’re bringing back unhappy memories. Whatever it is. You just can’t keep teaching other people lessons that that will have to learn on their own. You don’t owe explanations to anybody. I say do whatever you think is necessary for your personal growth, health and happiness. After all, out with the negative vibes and in the good stuff will come in.

I still keep up with some of my LASA friends I made in Buffalo anyway, though I think its slightly sad that proof of our friendship can now only be acknowledged in the form of a like or comment on Facebook or Instagram. I guess that is what happens when people grow up – everyone moves away and the people you meet in life won’t always remain forever, though I find comfort in the fact that we still take interest in each other’s lives even though we’re physically far apart. There’s a difference between being a passive friend and a friend who takes an interest in wanting to find out what is happening in your life, be it a double tap, a comment or a message. It doesn’t matter if they do so once a week or once a month. I find simple comfort in knowing they are still somewhere out there and remembering me, and I, them.

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Chinese New Year has officially begun and it is now the Year of the Goat, or as my mum calls it “my year” because I was born in the year of the Goat 24 years ago. 24. Ack. I’m not one who keeps up with my Chinese traditions because my mum being from London and being a Eurasian (half European half Asian) didn’t grow up with the strict beliefs and customs entrenched in the Chinese culture . My dad though, being the conservative Chinese man that he is insists on adhering to these traditions and customs. There is the usual tradition of giving out of red envelopes filled with money to the unmarried (no complaints there), visiting relatives and paying our respects to them, not wearing black during visits because its an inauspicious color and signifies bad luck and death, wearing brand new clothes for visits and refraining from cleaning the house on the 1st day of Chinese New Year (my dad says to do so equates to “sweeping away” all the good luck CNY brings) & the Chinese New Year goodies start rolling in too and these are fabulous because you see them only once a year and some taste amazing: pineapple tarts, wafer biscuits, prawn rolls, lotus pastries with yolk etc.

My “brand new clothes” consist of clothing that I bought months before but having never worn them since their purchase. The first day of CNY (20th Feb) was spent going to my granddad’s house for lunch, though first I had to endure the usual family custom of assessing my dad’s outfit. He wears the same thing every year for the first day of Chinese New Year and every year without fail I tell him “Pop you either look like a pimp or a banana” because he just has to pair his egg yolk yellow shirt with this pair of hideous egg yolk yellow pants) I’m glad I didn’t get my fashion sense from him.

 We had Thai food (oh the irony but pineapple rice is so great) and as much as I enjoy talking to my relatives and catching up on our lives, I find it so irksome to have to keep telling them I won’t be bringing my boyfriend to their homes for visiting and then enduring their sighs of mock disappointment. My sister is getting married in July and although most of the talk is focused on her wedding details, I kept getting asked as to when it was my turn to tie the knot. Trust me, it gets annoying after the 3rd time.

After lunch I headed over to Shu’s place and we spent a fabulous day taking pictures with her sister, watching videos and playing charades. Her parents graciously invited me to stay for dinner and I felt horrible at intruding on their family time. They insisted though, and since it was Chinese New Year, I felt it would have been churlish to refuse their kind invitation & so we had a lovely steamboat dinner and cheesecake for dessert.

Feeling blessed to have a family who supports me, close true friends for wonderful companionship and a home I can go back to where the wi-fi is free and where I can take my bra off after a long day.

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Er. Shu caught me trying to take selfies before stuffing my phone back in my pouch and I could only sheepishly agree for her to take proper pictures when she offered to do so.

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