You don’t know what hurt is

You don’t know what hurt is

You don’t know what hurt is until the words that come out of your mouth are like knives and they cut someone’s heart, sometimes lightly, sometimes more painfully. You don’t know it is painful because you aren’t capable of being at that level of depth to know how the pain only starts coming out when you go into the nuances of things. It’s the little actions you do, the words you say which I’m not sure if you mean, I could brush it off as insensitive for all I care. But the point is, I want to stop trying. I want to stop trying to act like I care. I want to stop trying to tell you how much I care for you when all you do is not treat me like I exist. I am your own flesh and blood but all you do is disregard my person, my words, my actions and everything that I have done that was only for your own good. You not just disrespect but you despise what I say. I am not the most spiritual, right, just, fair or mature. But I from my experiences and whatever little understanding I possess will tell you that this is how I think life should be when it comes to her and I and I am here, begging for you to lend me a ear. All that has happened in the past two years have only been pain and more pain, disillusion, discomfort and slowly it has descended into resignation, not bitterness, but just, a numb ache of grief that you know that you did not lose something, but that you didn’t have what you always thought you had. When I come to you I try my best to make things work between us. The years of separation have been long, in the process of time I ever asked God when I was 14, why God Why WHY did you take him away from me. But then I realised it was not God, but it was you, you chose to go pursue a greater mission than just a happy family, you chose to go because you believed. Or so I believed. When I was 17 I came to terms with understanding that loving God was the foremost thing in our lives and that nothing could and should come between us and God. There and then I respected you and I knew why you did what you do. Now I’m 22 and I find out the thing that perhaps no child should ever figure out, for they would be so much happier if they never ever came to understand the pain of disenfranchisement and disillusionment. The stab to the heart that comes when you find out that maybe you did not have a deep believe in what you did after all, that you were only a fair-weather person, that when tough times came you did not stick to those convictions your child assumed you had because you did never ever have them at all. When the going gets tough the tough is supposed to get going, but you know what, you stopped going because you never had a foundation. You and your other half are one and the same. Five years ago I asked her a question I asked why are you doing what you are doing, why did you choose to love God why did you choose to live your life as such. She did not have an answer. I will tell you now that I will have an answer, I will never be like her so help me God, I will give an answer for the hope that I believe in, for my sister, for my daughter and son, for those out there who question why I believe in this God who made me, who loved me. This answer you did not give me and I had to go the hard way to dig it out for myself. Sure you say, every child must seek their path, must seek faith on their own, must seek to know Whom they believe in. But let me tell you that as a parent, the both of you, listen to me right now. You should have had so many conversations as a father, as a mother, as friends. You did not have those with us. We went the hard way to find out all these things. If it were not for the family of God there would have been no answer there would have been no light. It was a path I took, a lonely path that included holding my family together, holding myself together, holding all of you as you fought every day, not in words, not even in body language, but in your minds, how you all claimed to be faithful to one cause, how you claimed to believe in the same essential set of principles but when it came down to the wire you did not do so. I am not saying that I would be able to do so 20 years down the road. I do not know what the path ahead is, but I am going to tell you now that at 22, I have a clear vision of what I want to do, Who I wish to follow and the people I want to be around. If you three cannot sort yourselves out, you can have time, you can have all the time in the world you ever need, but here it is, from me to you: I’m tired, I’m so tired of trying. Please understand an iota of this pain. It’s more than physical mental emotional psychological, its spiritual. It’s wearisome to play this family game. If you want to play it by all means do so, but I want to have no more part in it. You figure your own way out, you don’t come to me with your problems, listen to me pour my love and help out and then disregard every single word I say and walk away. Why then come to me and ask, why guilt trip me into not being a helpful ‘good girl’ in the family. Why is your definition so pathetically parochial, selfish, self centred and family centred? Why can’t you open your eyes to understand the world, to understand pastoral and deeper nuanced issues. Why???

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Y3S1; All in a Semester’s work

Y3S1; All in a Semester’s work

Reflection
It’s been a while since I posted or wrote anything due to the sheer madness of deadlines and appointments every week. This was a painful semester because I changed a lot of things inside me. I let grades define me, and that stung real badly when everything started to crash terribly, all at once.  I used to pride myself that grades weren’t a priority but along the way I got lost in everything that was happening. I’m thankful that in this processing of digging myself out of the hole of self pity, I managed to find some basic self respect for the hard work I put in. I’m thankful for the people who kept reminding me, day in and day out, that I do my best and leave the rest to God and don’t tag my identity to my grades. And having said that, I’m also thankful to those who inspired change in me, who forced me to see the bigger picture. It’s very difficult to see the bigger picture when you’re stuck in the rat race, especially when you’re crying, dying, and struggling to pull yourself through. I reached the point where I convinced myself I was utterly stupid, incapable of coherent thought, as evidenced by the way I attempted to make arguments in the essays, all futile attempts. The confidence took a real beating.
It’s all better now, the pain for this time is starting to be that bit lessened, there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
Thanksgiving
I’m thankful also to professors who cared more than just for grades or academics, professors who asked about whether I was doing okay, why I did not show up for class because I was just too afraid to face a new day of challenges when I could barely get over the previous one. Thank God for professors who ended emails with ‘P. S. KEEP GOING, none of us are good, or perfect, but we’ll all be learning together’. Seems cliché but when you’re really down and out and sitting in a puddle of self pity, you need to hear that.
I’m thankful for friends who told me to sleep, who bought me food, who texted me and took time off to help me when I couldn’t help myself. Most of the healing took place while I slept and woke the next day with a renewed sense of purpose. I’ll keep trying, again.
Esthertiq
Lastly, I changed distressdoodles to esthertiq. Distressdoodles was a coping mechanism for the near breakdowns and high levels of mental stress experienced in university, especially year 2. Over time I realised that it completed what it was created to do and that inspiration to draw was easier and easier to come by. Lettering became a skill and a part of me, that I became able to go from using this as a device to deal with stress to something I could use to collaborate with others and be useful to those around me, to encourage them through cards, to brighten and put a smile on someone’s face.
Reformation Day
I used to underestimate the power of what I have and who I was, with the power and grace of Christ, and then I used to fail because I relied on myself completely and I failed myself, but from today at least I’ll attempt to document  this change that started in me and I pray God help me see my identity isn’t pegged to my grades, or accomplishments or skills, but to Christ, for all the love He poured out for me that day on the cross at Calvary. Reformation day came and went and one tenet out of the others that Luther stood for was Sola Fide, that is Justification/Salvation by Faith. Faith in Jesus, not myself, not my work or my anything, but in and through Christ alone.
Don’t despise the day of small things

Don’t despise the day of small things

little victories.jpg

It’s the little things that count, and this semester, I learnt to be proud of, and thankful for the smallest things. They’re little on their own but if you put them together, they’re not so little after all.

Here’s 25 little victories this semester:

  1. Being punctual for class. God knows how hard it was to (actually show up) and be punctual for class especially when the going got tough
  2. Attempting to eat healthier. (YAY!)
  3. Keeping coffee intake to ONE cup a day – for those people who say I am a coffee addict, now you know
  4. Not cabbing to school at all this semester. SAVING ALL THAT MONEY
  5. Learning how to save a few bucks a day
  6. Learning NOT to be guilty for being tired and then pushing myself doubly hard to deal with my weak, inefficient self.
  7. Planning essay submission such that it was one essay per week, not 5 per week (12/13).
  8. Walking away from friendships that caused me pain (congrats to me!)
  9. Shopping less
  10. Spending more time with my family, going home before 9pm almost every night.
  11. Doing more readings than last semester
  12. Doing readings not for assignments but for interest’s sake
  13. Gaining enough confidence to wear a midi dress (and other things that I thought was not my ‘type’ of attire).
  14. Maintaining my composure in tight situations and not lambasting people who I had issues against.
  15. Sleeping 6 hours (or more) a day (with the exception of one day in the semester)
  16. Finishing a notebook planner – like reaching the end of the book and not dumping it halfway
  17. Very actively participating in church stuff 🙂 yay
  18. Learning and honing a new skill/interest in watercolour
  19. Selling my own creations and learning to believe in the power of art and that I can make something that make people smile (thank you friends who have played a part in this)
  20. Making time for people who matter. Loving harder than ever.
  21. Being okay with being alone and happy on my own
  22. Drinking enough water (almost everyday)
  23. Reading my Bible almost everyday
  24. Hanging out more with my dad before he left for missions
  25. Quitting things that were not worth my time. and not being guilty for it.
How not to be always ‘broke’

How not to be always ‘broke’

This is written for broke college students. By broke, I mean 2.50 in your bank account kind of broke. That’s how bad it gets. One uber ride here ’cause you’re late and another expensive 10 bucks meal there and before you know it, you’re utterly down to your last dollar.

This cycle repeats every month until you get paid perhaps if you’re working part time or like a few hours a week which I’m sure is what a lot of us do. Wherever the money comes from, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s kinda gone before we know it. Social media is filled with advertisements and we fall for it. It doesn’t help that Google or the bots that run the internet track what we see and later you see that Zalora dress turn up as an ad on your Facebook sidebar. It sucks.

Anyway so this is how I saved money because well, I needed to plan for an event and more importantly, I was really sick of being broke

  1. Firstly, make your own food. And if you can’t cook then get what you like to eat that’s really easily prepared. Well,  it depends on what you like to eat. You could boil potatoes, celery and chicken overnight in a slow cooker for stew which costs about $5 for everything. I’m good with oats. I grabbed a 1kg bag of rolled oats and another bag of oatmeal and dunked them both in a box, mixed them. I soaked a portion overnight every night and ate it with milk and whatever fruits I could find in the fridge. That and coffee, made breakfast. It lasted me till at least 1 to 2pm. Then I got a meal at school, about 4 bucks maximum. And then the next meal was dinner which I forced myself to go home for. So I spend 4 bucks a day on food outside. That’s a change from spending 10 bucks a day. That’s 6 dollars difference, in a week, that’s 42 bucks.

    (Other ideas include: boiled eggs (my friend says you can chill them overnight), macaroni and minced chicken with veg and fishball, put chicken stock for the soup, pasta salad, fried rice – where you empty the contents of your fridge’s leftovers into the frying pan, sandwiches – all sorts of them).

  1. I started going home earlier. Going home late means sleeping later and waking later. University for me doesn’t start till 10, so of course I don’t get up at 6. I didn’t have to at least. But I realised as above mentioned, that I saved cost on one meal by having dinner at home. That meant I was home by 8pm. After dinner, was work until about 11.30 and I went to bed earlier, and consequently woke up at 7 instead of the usual 8.30. That’s a whole hour and a half more to chill, make breakfast, shower, prep to go to school, check emails, roll around a bit more in bed if needed etc. That’s an hour an a half of money. Look, if you wake up quick and rush, you lose the chance to have breakfast and then you’re starving but you have to go to class so you dash out to class, grab something small along the way which doesn’t exactly fill you but it’s meant to last till lunch – waffles and a drink that’s about 2.50, repeat this 4 times and week and that’s 10 bucks extra. You saved 10 bucks a week by having breakfast at home. It’s a lifestyle thing.
  1. I stopped spending on small stuff. It looks small, it’s less than 10 bucks. But buy 10 $8 items and that’s $80 bucks, repeat that for 4 months and that’s $320 that could have been saved. I stopped buying small stuff I didn’t need and only got them cause they looked cute. That habit was bad and it was one of the biggest reasons I kept blowing money everywhere unnecessarily..
  2. Stop going to bazaars if you know you’re gonna spend. Don’t go. Don’t browse cause you’re sure to grab stuff. Unless your self control is amazing. Mine’s definitely not. Stay off Carousell, Zalora, Asos, Aliexpress, Ebay, Amazon and Taobao/Ezbuy…
  3. If transport is a big issue in spending try getting concession passes. It’s 85 for uni students for a month of unlimited tapping (bus and train). Applying for a concession cards costs $23 and can be done at selected Transitlink offices!
  1. Have a coin box. It’s so primary school but it’s not a bad idea. Dump your coins in at the end of the day. It clears your wallet and makes your future self few dollars richer. Any savings program can’t be a bad thing. If you have many two dollar notes, put one inside. You’ll thank yourself later. I did that for a year. I got 100 bucks out of it.

 

That’s about all. Start small. It actually feels really nice seeing more money in your bank as you go along.

My Story (Part Two)

My Story (Part Two)

My story part 2: (Part 1 here)

This is written as part of a RockTheNakedTruth campaign, founded by Cheryl Tay (@cheryltaysg) to help people love themselves and deal with their pasts with community support!

It’s really hard to explain or even start to think about self love in this day and age. It’s very easy to say we’re not affected by the people around us when we are, and we know it, deep inside. My bullying story isn’t an uncommon one, neither is the other side of it – recovery, uncommon. Being a kid who was thrown down when it was the time where people dug and searched for their identity, I suppose it was much later that I got the chance to find mine. I got so used to putting myself down that it was nigh impossible to understand self love. At first, the victimization came from outside, then slowly I internalized it and I convinced myself that I was not good enough, that I needed some sort of beauty transformation, that Instagram-girls were one sort of beauty and had some grace/glamour that I coveted but would never attain. I unconsciously always reminded myself that girls with ‘airport runway’ chests and skinny figures were ugly and I believed that stereotypes were what drove the societal standards forward and that if I wasn’t a stereotype conformist then I had no way to fit in or be seen as part of society’s popular kids. I learnt to put myself down and every time any compliments came I’d fend them off, thinking that I wasn’t worth any of those. Till this day I still fight these fears, though to a much lesser extent.

It was in J2 when I was introduced to the world of lifting that I began to discover what strength was, literally and figuratively. I got hooked, to prove a point. I wanted to prove that small girls could achieve something, but that wasn’t self love, that was bitterness. I was angry and I wanted to make a statement, I still cowered whenever I heard words used for bullying. Bullying never ended. When I was skinny and bust-less I was shamed for that. When I started hitting the gym the comments became “wow so small hit the gym?! Can lift or not sure cannot la” or “small girl grow muscles very ugly can act like girl and look like girl or not don’t try be buff!”. I came to realize along the way that people are gonna shame you for everything, and that me proving a point by hitting the gym was not beneficial for me because I didn’t exactly feel motivation from within, I just did it to get back at haters. That’s not self love. I learnt, very gradually, that your only competitor is yourself. I looked in the mirror at the gym and I saw people lift heavier, they were much stronger. I realized I could not compare myself with them because the basis of comparison is different. I chart my own fitness path and improve based on how my body works. There’s no point comparing your strength with someone who’s already larger and stronger than you to begin with, you’ll never be happy because you’ll always be behind. Furthermore, if you’re going to continue and complain about what you DON’T HAVE, instead of taking what you HAVE and push it to higher standards, making yourself proud of who you’ve become, then you’re never ever going to be satisfied. It’s one thing to not be satisfied and want to improve, but it’s another thing to base your standards on something impossible and kill yourself both physically and mentally wanting to achieve/reach those standards.

I also learnt that self love is to be kind to my body, to sleep when needed to and train regularly, also to eat properly and most importantly to maintain a positive mindset. I can’t stress how important it is to maintain a positive mindset. I used to be a person who gave up easily, once things got difficult I walked away because I was too scared to deal with them. But I learnt to face them squarely and not walk away, yet also balance this with the ability to let go. It took a long time for me to learn to take compliments, but slowly I am learning that when people say something, say thank you. My confidence has grown and I am slowly growing in strength and maturity to appreciate and love myself for who I am.

The breakthrough did not come instantly. It’s been 4-5 years since the long spell of bullying has ended but the scars are still healing. I’m thankful for all who’ve patiently walked with me in the journey, hugged me when I cried, taught me how to smile and say thank you to compliments and not awkwardly react because I didn’t believe it. Thank you for teaching me what confidence is and for helping me grow as a person.

#RockTheNakedTruth #ROCKloveSG