Friday, December 20, 2013

Sounds like a plan

St Google, patron saint of the interwebs, has said that in walling away one's heart against sorrow, one also runs the risk of shutting off any lurking joy or any chance encounter with happiness.

At times I am not sure that it is such a bad trade off.

As I think of reinvention, I wonder what is it that I need to change. Who is it that I want to be.

I think often of the fool's errand of hoping a different result by doing the same things. Hence by deduction, the only way I can live differently is by doing the opposite of what I tend to. Or more extremely, being a different person than I was before.

I came across an old letter I wrote but didn't post to a friend in HK. Written more than 11 years ago, I was saddened that it ranted about more or less the same issues of low esteem, of desperation for acceptance, of not applying one's self and the lack of courage. How clueless i was and how lowly I aspired.

I still can relate to that frightened young woman. She has never truly grown up or grown out of her insecurities because she never really had to. Until now.

Soul searching has never been easy for the lost especially when the spirit and compass are broken.

My habit of relinquishing decision making to others is a thinly veiled ceding of responsibility stemming from a dislike of making the wrong decision and having others blame me. Apparently I dislike being unpopular hence I take no chances and stand on the fence. Unconfrontational and eager to please, I let people use and step all over me, thinking that I am being kind and accommodating. A fool and a doormat. Neither heard nor respected. Wearing my heart on my sleeves.

Hence the first course of action is to kill that weakness. I found out the hard way that in the end, nobody would stick up for me. My battles are my own and I have to wield my axe and be my own hero.

Second, to never expect kindness or charity repaid. It should be dispensed for its own sake to the deserving. People will judge and precious few would offer empathy when tables are turned. Harsh but my first priority is to safeguard my own interests and protect my own happy. unless its for dogs, then provide freely.

To stop worrying about other people's feelings especially to those who have not extended the same courtesy. To collect whatever that is left of my pride and nurture it back to life. Nobody respects a weeping mess.

To make decisions and bear responsibilities. Be it financial investments or dinner.

To have courage against loneliness and rejection. this basically means getting a dog.

This does sound like i am turning into an ice queen. For now perhaps that is what I need to be. Being an emotional mess has not done me any good in the past few months. Now by sealing off the emotions I can get back to functioning again. At least that is the plan.



39 Degrees North: Nicholas Was from 39 Degrees North on Vimeo.



In my last post I referenced being enough. The fallacy that being who you are is good enough is perpetuated by well meaning parents (well some anyway), feel good gurus and a beauty industry that can't make up its mind whether it is selling to normal women or destroying them.

The preoccupation about weight and looks both disturbs and disappoints me. More so now than ever in my life. People are shallow despite whatever intellectual veneer they put on. It is hypocrisy when they themselves cannot claim to any outstanding intellectual or physical superiority.

As I am coming to grips with reality, I get more 'truth' and 'advice' thrown at me. The last thing I ever expected is to be told that I need to go on a diet, that I will have a chance to succeed. That I am SO fat. That I don't qualify as attractive.

Yes it hurts. For one's self to be reduced to a dress size to be worthy. And I don't buy into the faux concern of "its only to be healthy" crap because I don't see anyone asking about my mental health or creatinine levels.

Despite the magazine articles that say girls should have a positive self image, the reality is that if she does not fit a certain size, she would need a gigantic personality to make it up. Or money.

Men can look like Larry King and still marry a Playboy bunny. I am sure they click on an intellectual level.

It is not that I have been ignorant to this truism but what I didn't expect was the people I actually once respected and thought to be above this rubbish are the ones dishing it out.

So it is then. The way the cookie crumbles.

Judging and disdain can go both ways. people forget that beauty wanes, money dries up and youth fades.

I would be waiting. With "advice" ready and blades sharpened.


The Forest for the Trees

Lying with my back on the ground, to my left and right, the trees tower so tall. Like redwoods. And the cacophonous wilderness chatter chatter chatter curious, jeering, encouraging, judging.. Or are they sounds echoing in my head.

Like Enid Blyton's Enchanted Forest ..they go Wisha wisha wisha..wish a..?

Wish that I am enough, with my strengths and mostly failings. Yet it appears being human is the one thing that we have to guard ourselves against.

Wish that I can accept things that I can't change. That burying the dead is not so hard.

Wish that courage can be found in facing an uncertain future.

Wish that when the sky fell, the moon and stars didn't all fall in together and bury me further into the dirt.

Wisha wisha wisha

So now that I have to wriggle my toes and climb up again, I don't know which way anymore. All lessons learnt only make me suspicious of the world and people and my own choices.

This week I awoke with a distinct fear that I may not live. It is one thing to contemplate ending one's life, which admittedly is a popular pastime with the morbidly depressed, but to actually face with its actual possibility, it's a different kettle of mackerel altogether. To die on one's terms is presumably preferable to having it imposed on one, which would leave most people quite annoyed and indignant no doubt.

A fear then sets in. Not so much of the end itself but all the things left undone. Suspending Belief for just a second, contemplate the chance that there is no rebirth, kingdom of god, spirit world - assuming just for a little while that THIS is all you have, the fear and regret that time has been squandered in procrastination can be quite moving. Of course I can't speak for everyone. Some are very happy with their mark in life - be it beautiful offspring or sponsoring clean water in Rwanda, legacies and life experiences make time on earth worth something.

My past 10 years have been mostly about existing. Easing myself in a work-life environment where I thought would eventually lead to a house with a picket fence, kids terrorising the dog in the yard, friends over for currypuffs, annual holidays to play snow or ride elephants, you know, a domestic goddess, the hostess with the mostest. No surprises that I am not living like a Weasley but what on earth made me think that I deserve a story book ending. Fairy tales are cruel things to inflict upon the young and not so young.

I thought that by now I would have everything figured out. I just expected things to fall into place magically as they should. The loud buzzer and red lights flash WRONG and just like vaudeville - a long curved cane yanked me off my feet and deposited me right where I am now.

Its humbling to start back from ground zero again when the redwoods loom above. But maybe its my second chance to start again. Alone and afraid, this time a little wiser of the world.





Wednesday, December 18, 2013


The impermanence of sunlight in London.

Unexpected snow in Lao Cai.

Family members age.

Familiar actors die.

Love fades.

The old gets discarded for the new. Any empty wine bottles for sale?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Words of the wise

“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Life lessons

So ok. I guess we can deduce that I have officially bottomed out, age 36.

Although in all frankness I feel 45. When I do hit 45 i would most likely think this is all rather silly but that's a far away still. It is a sobering thought to wonder if I will even make 45. Touch wood.

"Be who you were 10 years ago" somebody said to me.

Was it bravado or foolishness that set me on my journey across the seas and into time. Oh those were the best years of my life. To be young and not know any better. Bright eyed and bushy tailed. When one did not need the glasses, for everthing was already rose tinted.

Its hard to be idealistic when one then knows better. When the big bad wolves and the psyco axe murderers come for you and pounce when you are not looking. And the rosy hues give in to gun metal grey.

And as a coping mechanism, one stays cocooned in a tiny universe where the predictable is safe. Until of course the gossamer tears and the realities of the world start pouring in. And ones universe implodes with a sudden plop.

It is one thing to be driven by fear in life. Another by regret. I need to purchase a bottle of courage and a vial of recklessness seeing that I have nothing left to lose.