And it can be found at http://olivia.thechiongs.com/
Come read some time
And it can be found at http://olivia.thechiongs.com/
Come read some time
This is part 2 of a piece I wrote back in 2009. Part 1 can be found here: Going Home for the Chinese New Year。
Since 2009, I have been calling Irene's mom 阿姨.
We celebrated 阿姨's birthday with lunch at Straits Cafe, Hotel Rendezvous today. It was surprisingly delicious and the spread was good. There was seafood, sashimi, good laksa, durian desserts and awesome teh tarik, for $39++ with a 2 for 1 promotion. We also got a cake and the staff there were very helpful, making arrangements for the cake etc.
Today was significant as this is the first time we have celebrated her birthday together with extended family present. In the past she was rather resistant to us going out with members of the family. Whenever we suggested it, she would say she preferred that we didn't. This year, we had lunch with 小姨 and her children. It was fun and we even went shopping after.
It was while shopping that something very touching happened. We were looking at a pair of casual shoes for Irene in Bata. While she was trying on the shoes for size, the salesman who was an old uncle looked at us and asked 阿姨 “这是你女儿吗?”(Are these your daughters?) adding that “她们长的很像。” (They look alike.) She laughed and pointed to Irene "这个是我的女儿。" (This is my daughter) before pausing, turning to me and adding “其实，她也算是我的女儿。“(Actually, she can be considered as my daughter too)
I could hardly believe it when she said it. I looked at her and almost felt like bursting into tears. It has been a long road to acceptance. Two years ago, when we first told her we were planning to have children, she was unable to accept it. She could not comprehend how it could happen and I often worried if she would consider any child I gave birth to as her grandchild. Last year, while we were considering having a commitment ceremony/wedding party, we found that although she would attend, she strongly refused to invite any family members. She cautioned Irene many times that she would prefer not to tell her family about us and hoped we would respect her choice.
Today, I am glad to say that it does get better. Over the past 4 years, there has been a slow and steady improvement. With each Chinese New Year, each dinner together, the relationship between us has grown. From meeting once every 3 months, we now have dinner more often. She enjoys updating us with the shenanigans of the extended family, often sharing gossip that she probably wouldn't tell outsiders. She remembers the kind of 肉粽 I like, making sure that she brings some for us each year. Most importantly, she now considers me as her daughter. Maybe someday soon, we will have that wedding party we've been planning and after that I can finally call her 妈。
Read a blog post written by this guy whom I subscribe to on Xanga. He was lamenting how he had allowed a 'silent war' get between him and his close friend.
I am reminded of my stupidity as a child and as a teenager. The price I paid for those moments of stupidity and how I am afraid I will find myself doing the same again and again.
I've fallen out with many friends in the past. I have this capacity to simply shut out everyone and ignore them and only concentrate on my own needs and desires. From various parts of my life - primary school, secondary school, jc, uni and even working life.
Each time I fall into a new circle of friends, my old ones are forgotten, given away in trade of these new shiny beings.
I am guilty.
I've been the initiator of cold wars. I know I fell away from my JC mates because of that. A stupid argument that made me reject their friendship. Something that I wish I had not been so stupid about all this time. For my JC mates, you know who you are. I'm sorry and hope one day we can mend that bridge.
I guess time has mellowed me. I rarely get angry to that point anymore. The last time that happened was over a year ago, perhaps more. Even if I do, I recognise the importance of forgiveness. Perhaps my heart has seen so much pain, that I am able to accept those people who hurt me. Perhaps I am simply naïve and stupid. Perhaps I just value peace much more.
It frustrates me, the anger, the judgement, the horrible fear. The confusion and chaos it creates makes me wonder how do people live with such hatred, such emotions, such negativity.
It makes me weak.
What do I do now? Where should I go? How should I fall? I have no answers. Simply many questions.
I do know this: A smile lights up a room. A frown darkens it. We are all reflections of our friends and we only need to see who we hang out with to know who we are. I refuse to be the thunder cloud in the sky. I will be the candle in the night.
Unbelievable that the blog I started those years back when I was working nights at Singnet Helpdesk has now turned 10.
This past 10 years have been incredible to me and this blog has been with me, through all the laughter and the tears. While readership has definitely gone down, but it doesn't matter, because ultimately, this blog was for me.
A place to pour out my sorrows, to share my joys and to remind myself that Life is Beautiful.
Thank you Xanga for hosting my blog for the past 10 years. And thank you to all who have browsed through these pages. It means a lot to me. I have something special planned for the blog later tonight. Will share more when its ready
Ever since I was a child, I've had an acute sixth sense.
I can't actually pinpoint how it feels, but I know instinctively when something is going wrong. It feels like a creeping sensation down my back, when certain things are said or done. There are many incidents where such a sense have kept me in or out of trouble. When I was younger, I didn't know what it meant, so couldn't really head its advice. As I've grown into adulthood, I've learnt to listen to my sixth sense and follow its instructions.
Some days the sixth sense is nice and shows me what can do to fix whatever is about to go wrong. Other days its utterly chilling, and makes me feel like the world is about to collapse around me. Those days I feel like burrowing into the deepest hole I can find, because I know something is about to go dreadfully wrong.
Last Friday, something happened and I felt my sixth sense warning me. I made a decision then, to allow nature to take its true path. So nature did take its path and today I got the sign.
Yet I hesitated and didn't act upon it.
Am I making the right decision? I can't really tell. Doors open, doors close. What is it that really matters?
Which leads to another question. What is the sixth sense? Wikipedia has it as "Extrasensory perception - ESP is also sometimes casually referred to as a sixth sense, gut instinct or hunch, which are historical English idioms. The term implies acquisition of information by means external to the basic limiting assumptions of science, such as that organisms can only receive information from the past to the present."
Is my sixth sense really in tuned? And if it is, should I listen to it?
I'm not really keen on "letting time tell" in this instance. Maybe I should take the appropriate steps.
Guess I'll sleep on it and think about it some more tomorrow.
3 years ago today, I was at the lowest point of my life.
Ironically, 3 years ago today, my Godson Jayden was born. I thank God I survived the darkest times in my life to bounce back and celebrate 3 birthdays with him. I want to be able to celebrate many more with him.
In retrospect, I have no regrets for what happened 3 years ago today. When you hit rock bottom, you can only go up. Things have definitely changed for the better. Did I ever imagine that life would rebound like that? Honestly no.
I am grateful for everyone who rallied around me in those dark times. In no order of importance:
- Irene, Shawn and the entire family, whose generosity enabled me to pick myself up. Being able to get up every morning and go to their house was truly a blessing in those first few weeks.
- Ben, who kept me company, back in the home I had abandoned and had to return to.
- Sharon, who introduced me to a wealth of supportive resources and dragged me to my first OC event and Sayoni dinner.
- Irene, my love, my companion, my support, who kept me company online and off during the first dark weeks and who has proven to be more wonderful than possible in these past 3 years.
- OCW3, whose support I looked forward to every week.
- V, my therapist who did not judge and instead helped me through my issues.
- My Sis Em and the darling little Godson Jayden, who reminded me that life is so much worth living for.
- Sayoni, the force that showed me that there is a social life after a failed relationship and that the community is definitely worth contributing to.
- My friends, William, Michelle, Daniel who sent me their love, comfort and support at separate times.
- My ex-boss Elvin, for doing the right thing, at the right time.
- My family who asked no questions and allowed me to find my own way.
- My BFF Denny, for believing in me, even when I had given up and almost lost everything.
In these 3 years, I've grown a lot and achieved some pretty amazing things. If you told me 3 years ago that this was where I would be, I would never have believed it.
- Lost my job
- Living in my mom's flat which was incidentally a total wreck
- Just got out of a horrific failed relationship
- No idea what the future holds whatsover
- Was smoking and drinking my life away
- Co-own my very own HDB 3-room flat with my mom
- Cleaned up and redid the flat into liveable conditions with some definite home-improvement
- Live together with my girlfriend in said flat
- Have shares in/co-own 4 companies
- Quit smoking!
- Only do very limited social drinking.
- Volunteer in 2 organisations that helped me get here - Sayoni & OC
- No longer depressed and am really looking forward to what life brings.
- Do major renovation for flat including full overhaul
- Have kids within the next 2 years
- Seriously build my empire, I'm slowly but surely getting there
- Continue being healthier and happier
Thank you. Everyone.
Now to another 30 years of goodness!
For all those people out there who feel the incessant need to come up to me and tell me that I've put on weight and am losing my hair. Please, just STFU.
I am fully aware that I've been piling the weight on. And no, I can't do much about it. Here's why.
1) I had major surgery in April this year where the doctor opened me up and cut some stuff out of my uterus. I could gross you out with pictures now, but I won't. The result is, I can't do strenuous aerobics exercise yet cos I'm still "healing". I can't do things like yoga or pilates, cos stretching is bad for surgery wounds. Thus don't tell me I need to exercise. I KNOW THAT. I just can't really do much other than walking.
2) Since they removed 2 fibroids from my uterus, my body has been healing and releasing hormones like crazy. The hormonal imbalance is driving me nuts, but I'm trying to keep it under control. It is not enough that oestrogen makes you fat. It's also making me lose my hair which brings me to point 3.
3) Yes, I know my hair is short, I should get the fringe longer so I look slimmer etc etc. Well, it's not growing fast enough and I can't do much about it. I can't have it much longer, cos my hair's falling due to the hormones and the anaesthetic from the surgery. From what I've learnt, it may take up to 2 years before everything goes back to normal.
So there you have it. This is the reason why I am currently FAT and will remain FAT for a while. FAT is not a bad word. It's just a state of being. I've had my grandma tell me I'm FAT, relatives tell me its unhealthy to be FAT, friends tell me I look FAT. But honestly, at least I'm getting healthier, so get off my case and STOP TELLING ME I AM FAT.
I don't need the constant reminder that I can't fit into 70% of my wardrobe at the moment. That in itself is bad enough.
Everything starts with an idea.
A tiny spark that ignites the passion of a person or persons. These people are the ones who ensure that the idea becomes reality. I like to think I'm one of those dream-makers.
I believe in making things happen. I prefer to do and not just think without action.
Over the years, I've observed that about myself. The motivation that drives me forward is often from a source within. I can hardly identify it, but I know exists.
When people ask me why, I can't explain. I can only express that I feel strongly enough about the fact that I need to do it.
Sometimes certain ideas require time. Other times it requires money. I've also done some that require time, money and a little bit of myself.
So I guess the question now is, what is the limit?
When do you stop giving pieces of yourself away and start making yourself whole again?
Or is there even such a thing? Maybe the entire process is simply the act of being.
And each dream that I help transform into reality, is simply another part of me.
What an idea!
My city of dreams is built upon the foundation of my beliefs.
I believe in myself. I know I am capable of building the city of my dreams.
The path ahead looks dark, but a light will guide my way.
Pull deep within.
It pushes through the surface and tilts it's head in greeting.
It's a fresh new beginning.
Welcome to the Empire.
In the past year I've abandoned quite a few half written blog posts. Somehow, I set out writing them, but never get to finish. One was about Sayoni Summer Camp '09 and the AWARE saga that was happening at the same time. Another was about the fibroid removal open surgery I had 2 months ago. Tonight, I must finish this one.
After the crazy sleepless week I've had... I'm winding down on Saturday night and can't help but feel a sense of deja vu. I'm reminded of back when I used to work in Procon. Week nights spent madly rushing whatever project it was, weekends spent at home, still worrying about the never ending work that is to be done. I remember that one time, where I worked 100 days in a row, no weekends, no nights, just pure work. The weeks where I averaged 3-4 hours of sleep every night. The files on my table, the emails in my inbox, the never ending sound of my phone ringing. All of which ended 2.5 years ago.
Now as I ease myself into this lifestyle again, I'm careful to remind myself about the pitfalls of working too hard. Of being in that awful place where life revolved around a job that took up too much time and paid way too little. I devoted myself to a company that I like to believe I helped succeed, having being there when there was all of 2 full time staff. In those days, we had to do everything from writing proposals, planning events and doing set up. I remember carrying pull up banners, brochures, stationery and ALU poles to events, setting up alone and going back at the end of day to bring it all back to the office.
And now it seems like I'm going right back where I started.
The next 3 weeks is going to be challenging. I hope this time it's easier. At least the rewards at the end look to be better. It's time to finish what I started!