Hiatus.

hiatus n.
A gap or interruption in space, time, or continuity; a break.

So basically, this blog and I were on a break (haha, Friends reference). Here’s why:

1. Gratitude got hard.
Finding one thing to be grateful for each day sounds easy on paper. I started it thinking it’d be a good exercise for me, that it’d be a good thing to help keep my spirits up. Truthfully, finding something to be grateful about each day actually made me more stressed. On days when nothing in particular happened, I’d feel as if I was letting someone down by not having a gratitude post. I found myself going from day to day worrying about what I’d write about that night. Maybe I should be thankful for this. Or this. No, I’m not really thankful for that. Nah, that’s too cliche. It became this struggle between being completely honest in my writing or posting for the sake of keeping up appearances. I wasn’t really grateful anymore, so I stopped.

2. Uni got hard.
Hard is an understatement. Try horrendous, terrible, life-draining, THE WORST. This semester felt like a year, to the point where I found myself referring to the first half of the year as “last year”. Let me put this into perspective. Normal people have a 12-week semester. Third year Speech Pathology students have an 18-week semester. We had two weeks between our last class and our exam, during which we had two 90% hurdle assignments AND a portfolio to complete. Yes, it sounds like I’m whinging. And yes, I do understand that I am very VERY lucky to be able to have a tertiary education. BUT. I am NOT going to undermine how completely draining and stressful that semester was. I worked my butt off. And I didn’t have time to write.

3. Life got hard.
In between uni and placements, I found myself tutoring at least 6 hours a week. I have this thing where I can’t say no, especially when it involves helping kids. My students aren’t the high-achieving kind who are in tutoring because they need a little extension. No, my students are the kind who need that extra help to keep up with the class. And I love them to pieces. Which is why I couldn’t say no and found myself working more than I expected. This left me little free time during the week, which was spent either crying about life or in bed watching YouTube videos of babies and cats. On top of work, I was planning my 21st, and that proved to be more annoying and stressful than I’d initially thought. Throw anxiety into the mix and you get a hot mess of a person. My brain was constantly in a jumbled mess.

4. Meeting my personal expectations got hard.
When I actually had time to sit down and write something, all the ideas in my head never translated well onto paper. I’d lost my writing mojo. Every time I couldn’t think of a gratitude post, I’d beat myself up about it. It sucked, because I thought this blog was gonna be my ‘thing’ this year. I had such great and wonderful expectations. In no way was this helping the state of my mental health, so I had to put the metaphorical pen down and just focus on certain things (e.g. uni…ugh) that needed my immediate attention.

Now that I’m back to it, I’ve decided I’m going to try to not put expectations on this. I’ll write as and when I can. And maybe I’ll finally finish my 30 days of gratitude. Who knows?

A tale of two minds

I want to pause the gratitude for a second and write about something else. I am currently in a battle with myself. It’s a bit of a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde situation.

I don’t want to go off the rails and harbour hatred or malice towards anyone. I don’t want to be a bitch. I don’t want bitterness in my heart, I want to handle life’s situations with poise, no matter how tough it might be. I want to take the high road. I want to move on and mean it when I say that I’ve forgiven someone. Even though people tell me I have the right to be angry, I don’t want to be angry. Just because I have the right to do something, doesn’t mean I should do it…right?

But at the same time, I want to go off the rails. There’s something in me that’s saying “screw it”. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to be good, trying to act with gentleness and poise. I deserve a moment of craziness. I want to let all the bitterness out. There are many things I would like to say to certain people. And let’s face it – after everything I have been through this year, I have the right to be angry. I’ve been left to pick up the pieces and deal with so much poop. I deserve some form of happiness, don’t I? 

I have no idea what to do. Do I have to pick one or can I be a bit of both?

Wearing glasses is a struggle.

Took a trip to the optometrist today. There’s something about getting my eyesight tested that makes me feel really uncomfortable. Anyway, this kinda gave me an idea for a post. Being a glasses-wearer, there are many annoying things that I have to put up with. Here are a few of my struggles.

1. Rain.
If I’ve got my glasses on but no umbrella, walking in the rain in the worst. I’d only be able to take a couple of steps before my glasses are covered in raindrops, rendering me as good as blind. And then I have to wait til I get under cover before I can take them off and wipe them. But it takes me a longer time to get under shelter because I CAN’T SEE. I’ve been saying this for years, but someone needs to invent windscreen wipers for glasses.

2. People who “test” my eyesight.
Telling me to take my glasses off and then asking me how many fingers you’re holding up is not cool. That is not how eye tests work. You are not an optometrist. Also, I’m not that blind. So please just stop. Oh, this also applies to people who like to point to things and ask “Can you read that?” Please, I know I have bad eyesight, I don’t need you to remind me. Just. Stop.

3. People who try on my glasses and are surprised at the result.
These people…I can’t even. They ask to try on my glasses, so I politely oblige while thinking “Please don’t put your oily fingers on the lens or I will murder you.” They then put the glasses on and proceed to squeal “How do you see out of these?! Everything is so blurry! OMG I’m getting a headache.” Excuse me, the reason you can’t see properly is because the glasses were tailored for my eyes because they are my glasses. *facepalm* To be honest though, I haven’t really had to deal with this since high school, and I’m so glad.

4. “You should try contacts.”
This annoys me the most when it comes from people who have never had any experience with contacts. Have you SEEN how you put contacts in?! You stick your finger IN YOUR EYE. Like, YOU TOUCH YOUR EYE. I am not okay with that. I’m a little bit like Rachel from Friends in that I have a weird phobia about things touching my eye. Therefore, contacts + me = nope. For the record, I have actually tried contacts. Twice. Both times I sat with my optometrist for 30 minutes trying to put the damn lenses in my eye. When I eventually got them in, I couldn’t get them out. Never again…

5. 3D glasses.
Whether it’s at a 3D movie or on a 3D ride at a theme park, trying to fit 3D glasses over your glasses is such a struggle. They never sit the way they’re meant to and will slide off your face with the slightest touch. This makes 3D movies and rides very unpleasant experiences, which is sad because I really do want to enjoy these things. Unfortunately, I have to decide between being able to see but struggling to keep the 3D glasses on or having the 3D glasses sit properly but being blind.

The struggle is real, you guys.

Great Expectations.

Yes, it’s exam period. Yes, I’m supposed to be studying. No, this isn’t really procrastination. It’s something that has been on my mind for years and I figured there really isn’t a better time for me to write about it than right now.

I expect a lot from myself. Sometimes, I push these high expectations onto those around me. It’s really bad.

I’m not sure why I expect so much from myself. My parents never pressured me to be the best. They never compared me to my cousins or friends. They always told me that my best is all that I can give, and that they’re happy if I do everything to the best of my abilities. All the pressure I put on myself comes from within. At it’s worst, the pressure tells me to stop doing things that I’m not the best at. Basically it tells me to give up if I can’t be #1, which is stupid because that would mean never getting anywhere in life.

These expectations extend beyond academics. If I plan an event, it has to be perfect. If I bake something, it has to be perfect. Heck, this post has to be perfect. And it doesn’t matter how many times people tell me something is fine the way it is. If it isn’t exactly how I planned it in my head, it isn’t perfect. I have a problem.

Things are going to change though.

I recently completed a 5-week clinical placement during which I learnt an invaluable lesson. No one expects me to know everything, so I shouldn’t expect myself to know everything. I started clinics by putting immense pressure on myself. It was incredibly unrealistic. I expected myself to know the program inside out when in reality, we’d only had one 3-hour class introducing us to the material. I kept kicking myself every time I did something wrong or forgot to say certain things. It was exhausting. I wasn’t doing as terribly as I thought I was though. By my clinical educator’s standards, I was exceeding all expectations. She reminded me that this was my first clinical experience and that I wasn’t expected to be perfect. Even experienced clinicians make mistakes, and mistakes are okay.

This lesson is something I’m going to carry with me to my next clinic and for the rest of my life. It’s unrealistic to expect myself and others to be perfect. We can never be perfect because we are all flawed. That doesn’t mean I’m going to live my life with zero expectations – it just means I’ll lower my expectations to something a little more realistic.

And now, back to studying.

Dear Mum – An open letter to the most amazing woman I know

Dear Mum,

There, I said it. You are the most amazing woman I know. You’re 100 times more amazing than Beyoncé, and that’s saying a lot coming from me.

In the lead up to Mother’s Day, I started to think about all the awesome things you’ve done for me, and I realised that I never thank you enough.

Thank you for putting up with my crazy mood swings. I know being around me during “that time of the month” is like being dragged on a roller coaster you didn’t ask to be on. You somehow manage to be calm and collected when I’ve transformed into some sort of angry ogre stomping around the house with a heat pack permanently attached to my uterus. Thank you for also being the one who reminds me that I actually have medication that prevents me from transforming into an ogre and that I should probably take it.

Thank you for putting up with the fact that I’m a horrible morning person. Thank you for your hugs. Even those air hugs we exchange when one of us is sick. They all mean a lot.

Thank you for showing me that it’s ok to be a little crazy. I love that you apologise to inanimate objects. I love that you got sad when we had to get a new fridge because our old one died. I love that you get excited about things like kookaburras on our deck, or that our fruit trees are finally bearing fruit. I love that you can laugh at yourself. I also love how confused you are around technology and I’m so proud of you for taking the plunge and getting a smart phone. I know you don’t regret your decision considering the amount of time you spend adding emoticons to your Whatsapp messages.

Thank you for your encouragement. You always remind me that my best is all I can give, and that’s enough. Just today you told me never to feel like I need to make you proud because you already are proud. Thank you for your unconditional love, your words of wisdom and your patience.

There are SO many things that I admire in you. These include:

1. Your generosity and selflessness, which I know is something you got from Ah Kong. You’re always putting others before yourself, and you’re constantly thinking of who you can give stuff to.

2. Your adventurous nature. You love trying something new, and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out. It means that Dad, T and I have to eat some pretty weird stuff, but that’s ok! We’ve all gotten used to it. Sometimes you strike gold though, i.e. you recently perfected kueh lapis and chwee kueh.

3. Your passion for our Heavenly Father and your desire to further His kingdom in everything you do. I love hearing about your plans and what you want to do to serve God. I admire how you continuously try to be the salt and light. I’ll bet you have impacted so many lives.

4. Your bravery. You are one of the gutsiest people I know. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to leave Singapore. I’ve mentioned it in a previous post, but as tough as the move was on me, it must’ve been way harder for you and Dad.

All in all, I think you’re amazing. Did I say that already?

I love you, Mum. Happy Mother’s Day. One day, I hope to be just as weird/crazy/awesome as you are.

Um, we broke up?

Today, I’m dealing with two break ups.

Charles Trippy announced via a vlog titled We need to talk that he is “separating” from his wife, Alli. The couple married in November 2011. Charles’ YouTube channel, CTFxC, holds the world record for the most number of consecutive daily vlogs. In the 10-minute video, Charles explains that they have been arguing more than usual over the last couple of months and that it’s “not fair” for either of them to go on this way. Although he didn’t explicitly use the word “divorce”, Charles’ close friend Shay Butler inadvertently confirmed it. Charles also explained that they would continue to be friends and that he intends to keep going with the daily vlogs. Alli has made it very clear via Twitter that the split was in no way due to Charles’ illness (he has brain cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy).

You’d think that at a time like this, the CTFxC army (their fans) would offer support and love. However, there are insensitive, aggressive and just plain annoying people out there who choose to take sides. The whole Team Alli vs Team Charles” thing makes me so sad. They don’t need this right now. For some reason, a small group of “fans” feel the need to place blame – some even accused Alli of infidelity. This is quite possibly the dumbest way to react to the news. I’m shocked and upset, but I love both Charles and Alli and have no intention to unsubscribe. Instead, I offer them my love and support during this tough time. I guess I kinda know what they’re going through…maybe to a lesser extent.

You know how I said I was dealing with two break ups? The second one is much harder for me to write about because it’s my own.

Two weeks ago, the boyfriend and I broke up.

Before I go on, I just have to say that there are zero hard feelings towards him.

Basically, over the past couple of months, things began to unravel. We thought we were happy and we thought we were okay. At the end of it all, we grew up and grew apart. He wasn’t happy and knew that it wasn’t fair on the both of us to keep pretending. We are both going through different seasons in our lives. He’s job hunting and I’m stressed about uni. It just wasn’t working. What hurt the most was the fact that he didn’t feel the same way any more.

I knew there was nothing I could do about it. You can’t make someone love you. Sometimes, loving someone means wanting them to be happy, even if you’re not part of that happiness.

It’s been tough, but I’ve been oddly at peace with it all. I know it was the right thing to do, hence no hard feelings towards him. We both still care about each other deeply. We always had the agreement that, should we break up, we would still remain friends. I care about him too much to completely cut him out of my life. That’s why I refuse to call him my “ex”. He’s not in my past.

I know that God’s using this to teach me and grow me. I’m so excited to see what He’s got in store in this new season of my life. I’ve been building and cultivating friendships, and using this time to do “me” things (like dyeing my hair purple). Keeping positive and living my life as usual has helped so much. It just didn’t make sense for me to cry in my room for 2 weeks and wallow in self-pity. I’d much rather be out there living, which is what I did. Having said that, I do have my bad moments/days, but I keep reminding myself that it’s okay to not be okay.

What I’m struggling with now is how to tell people. We have so many mutual friends, many who have known us for years. Dealing with other people’s expectations has been so difficult. The day it happened, I messaged all my close friends letting them know what happened, but also telling them not to make it a big deal. There are still so many people who don’t know. I almost want to make a video like Charles did and be like “Alright guys, we broke up. It is what it is. We just want your support and love. We’re still good friends so please don’t make a big deal out of it.” I guess I’ll take it one step at a time.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my amazing friends and family who have been my pillars in the past few weeks. You guys are part of the reason I’m taking this so well. Every where I go, I’m surrounded by so much love and concern. Whether it’s been a hug, taking time to have lunch with me and making sure I’m not alone or even just a simple message, you have all helped heaps. I have so much love for all of you.

To my Heavenly Father, I thank you for the 2 years I had with him. Thank you for the things you taught us through what we experienced together. Thank you for the love that we shared because I know that we cannot love without you who first loved us. I ask that you guide us both as we enter this new season and that you give us both the peace and joy that can only be found in you. Amen.

The emotional stages of a bad haircut.

I got a bad haircut last weekend. When I say “bad”, I really mean “regretful”. It was a spur of the moment decision…and I got bangs. BANGS. I’ve had bangs before. Once when I was about 5, and the second time was during the last 2 years of high school. I don’t know what compelled me to get bangs.

So anyway, I walked into some random salon because, you know, I like to live on the edge. I wouldn’t usually do this, and now I’ll never do it again because the hairdresser jacked up my hair. I asked for a trim and bangs. After the hairdresser was done, I realised it was no where near what I wanted. The bangs were far too short, like, above my eyebrows short. Anyway, I realise that I’m probably to blame because I didn’t give clear enough instructions or something. Still, I’ve been on a crazy emotional roller-coaster this past week regarding my hair and that’s what prompted me to write this post. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you ‘The emotional stages of a bad haircut’.

Stage 1: Confidence
This stage comes before the actual haircut. It’s the stage where you’ve decide on your cut and you’re confident it won’t fail. If it’s a new style, you’ve probably researched it heaps. And by “researched” I mean “spent 4 hours on Google images looking at hair models and gaining unrealistic expectations”. By this time you’ve also got a hairdresser/salon in mind and you make the appointment. You’re so excited to have a new ‘do. When you get to the hairdresser’s, you confidently explain what you want done. Sometimes, there’ll be a particularly judgemental hairdresser whose umms and ahhs start to unsettle you a little bit. But they’re usually very accommodating and listen to what you want.

Stage 2: During the cut
So you’ve explained what you wanted and you’re sitting in the chair as the hairdresser starts to prep you. When they start cutting, all you can think to yourself is “OMG I can’t wait to see how this turns out!” You’ve still got that hair model’s picture you saw on Google images in mind. And, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably planning an Instagram photo and contemplating the caption and the hashtags you’ll use. (Because, you know, they’re important life decisions.) All is well and good until you start to realise that the hairdresser is taking more hair off than you thought they would. This starts to worry you a little bit, but you reassure yourself that the hairdresser is a professional and that they know what they’re doing. It’ll be alright in the end. Or so you think…

Stage 3: That sinking feeling
You realise that your hair is looking nothing like that picture you found on Google. And what’s worse, the hairdresser has stopped cutting and picked up a mirror to show you their handiwork. They ask if you like it. You make awkward eye contact through the mirror, plaster a smile to your face and nod. As they start packing up, you inspect your hair closer.  There’s a pit in your stomach as you come to the realisation that this is your hair now. And it’s nothing like what you thought it would be. Bye bye Instagram photo. You start to plan the best route to get home without seeing anyone you know.

Stage 4: Post-hair cut regret
Now that you’ve made it home with as little human contact as possible, you fall to your knees and cry out “WHYYYYYYY?!?!?! Why did I think this would look good? Why did I even try something new? WHYYYYY.” You begin to wallow in self-pity. You’ll never leave the house again. People will look at you funny. People will judge. People will know you tried to look cool but failed. We all know that this doesn’t actually happen, but these are the thoughts that went through my mind when I was at this stage.

Stage 5: Can we fix it?
You try to salvage your ‘do. Perhaps it’s blow-drying it a certain way, straightening it, wearing a head band/scarf/beanie or putting it up in a bun. You do whatever it takes to make it look somewhat normal or acceptable by your standards. Stage 5 can progress into Stage 5a: Frustration during which you threaten to shave all your hair off if it doesn’t behave. I don’t know anyone who has actually gone through with Stage 5a.

Stage 6: Acceptance
After hours of standing in front of the mirror, you get to a stage where it doesn’t really matter anymore. Maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe some people will like it. Maybe it’ll be okay. There’s nothing much you can do about your new hair. Right now, the best thing to do is wait for it to grow out so you can get it cut again. Hopefully the next time you get it cut, it won’t end up like this…