Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Love always wins

"Love wins. Love always wins."
-Tuesdays with Morry (Mitch Albom)

I have loved, and I have lost. I have held on to something for far longer that I should have. I eventually learn to let go. I let go of what my ideals as to what I think love is supposed to be, and learn to accept it for what it is. Different people love differently. Just because you love someone, does not mean that person will love you back. So when you love, don't expect to be loved in return because when you do, that's not love. That is opportunistic, selfish behaviour; and love is none of those things.

Sometimes I wonder if I love you. And when I wonder, that is when I know that I actually don't love you. This is hard to swallow for me, but it is true. When I love, I do not hesitate in answering the question. I say it like it is: I love you more than I love her. Or, really, I should have said, I love you and I do not love her.

I spend my time with the people I love. I hope to create lasting memories with them - mostly good ones. Because "love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone." (Tuesdays with Morry - Mitch Albom)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An overwhelming sense of disbelief

Feels like we are back in 2009.

You told me you were getting married. You told me you wanted me there. You told me it was to the same guy who cancelled on you. You told me that this time, it was going to be small and intimate. Males banget sama big wedding.

I don't know what to say so I asked my boss (who is also my cubicle buddy), who very kindly said that I should shut up and keep my thoughts to myself. He has this tendency to be right on a lot of things, so I followed his advice and conveyed my congratulations. But I could not bring myself to tell her that I was happy for her. I am not even sure I am happy for her.

How important is the past to you? I'd like to say that it is not that important to me - especially if it is your family's past that is the question, but lately I am beginning to realise that a significant portion of who we are today is the shadow of what we did in the past. These are the things that we would always carry with us for the rest of our lives, shape us and mould us to what we are today and the destinations that we choose to forward to. Where we are today and where we are going will never be able to erase our past - and also the lives of those around us.

For whatever reason she chose whatever she chose, be it because she'd like to be different than him, or that she wants to gain the upper hand in the relationship for the rest of her life, or whatever else, I can't begin to comprehend this thing they said is called love and its resultant impact on the rationality of mankind.


My shoulder is getting better thanks to these heat patches - the ones that are so hot that I could feel it burning my skin literally. I have gained most movement on my neck, although I can feel that my neck is swollen too. I don't think it was swollen yesterday, so it could be because it is overcompensating for the other muscles that were not working. I don't know. But I am sick and tired of being sick and I realise how important health really is.

I feel exhausted. I don't have any other way of explaining it, but I am just exhausted. I am pretty sure it is because of my neck and shoulder. Or maybe because I am getting older. And I don't want to get older. I can't imagine getting older, can't imagine losing my health, my freedom, my independence, can't imagine not being able to work, not being able to walk, etc etc etc. Really. The thought itself is enough to depress me.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A case for working

I went to work this morning and lasted the whole day, getting used to the pain in my neck and shoulder. If I don't move my head around I am fine; if I turn around then the pain hits. The good news is that I feel so much better today compared to yesterday. I think work sort of does that to me.

One of the things that I dislike is this thing in the Bible that says that work is a curse. I mean, I might have understood it wrongly, Genesis 3:17 anyone? Clearly these days, some people are free from this curse because they are able eat without working, and they eat so much so that they become obese. Yes, that comes with its own set of challenges, but you get my point. These days, there are people who manage to eat without work and because they don't work, they have nothing to do, so all they do is eat and eat and eat until they become so fat that they can't stop.

No offence to anyone but I would rather die than become fat. I am not that skinny either, but I work hard for my body, especially since I love eating. But just because I love eating does not mean I can indulge endlessly. I am a firm believer that discipline is one of the key ingredients to beauty. Discipline takes a lot of work. So if you work, you get results - good results most of the time (the rest of the time you get fantastic results ok). If you don't work, you deal with the often unpleasant unintended consequences.

Khalil Gibran sums it the best:
Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life's inmost secret.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


--Right now, exhausted from shoulder cramp - right shoulder that is. Prior to this, I had a cut on my right index finger (healing now), two massive zits on my face and an ulcer on my mouth (healed). I don't know what is up with my body, but for once, all I want is a full functioning body, without pain, without zits, without ulcers, WITHOUT ANY FREAKING PROBLEM.

--Wrote a long piece on relationship and its related issues, only to realise that it has no flow (apart from the stream of consciousness that is hard to follow), so it needs some major editing which I am not in the mood to do because of the above shoulder pain.

--Been chatting to a friend who lives in the City of Angels who told me that vacation days do not accrue past a certain point unless you take it. I often forget how nice we have in here in the Land Down Under until I hear things like this. And yeah, we also have the most public holidays.

--A rejuvenating weekend (would have been perfect without shoulder cramp) post trying to be the perfect child for 5 days. Nice recovery time equals spending time alone in my apartment away from anyone. I can be such an introvert when I want to be.

--Contrary to what they say, I don't think work is a curse. I think I prefer to use Khalil Gibran's line of "and in keeping yourself with labour, you are in truth loving life". Because I love my life more when I am working, when I am doing something useful, instead of just sitting around doing nothing like an unusable spare part.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Life is as good as you make it

Go and read this. I always appreciate those who are honest with what they really think about certain things in life, and those with a healthy dose of cynicism.

So my parents stayed with me for like a week or so, and I got to hear first hand their attitudes about work and earning an income. I think I am pretty lucky that I have two sides of the equation here. My dad prefers that I become an entrepreneur (as he is one) and not dependent on other people on my income. My mum prefers steady and stable income. They are both right in some ways. I don't think they are mutually exclusive, although they may appear to be. In any case, they got me thinking a lot about what I should be focusing on in this life - like my next obsession sort of thing. This is kind of a little bit tricky because I am not necessarily good at the things that I enjoy doing. Like writing, for example. It is heaps fun because I get to write whatever I want and relieve my brain off the endless chatters and mutters, mostly my judgements and analysis on anything and everything around me. But I would not call myself a good writer because well, I don't think I am that good. I make lots of errors, mostly because I often write here in the stream of consciousness style and I hardly edit anything. What I think is what I write.

I think a significant element of becoming an entrepreneur is to take risks. You will never know what will bring you money. At times you don't even know what to do. If you are waiting for someone to tell you what to do, then you will never become an entrepreneur. You may as well become a salaried employee, who works depending on the instructions of your boss. The whole point of becoming a successful entrepreneur is to take risk and to manage it at the same time. The rule remains the same: high risk, high return. Subsequently, no risk, no return. If you are extremely certain that following what other people say about doing something will bring you success, the question that you ask yourself is why don't they do it themselves. If they are so fuckin' certain that their way is the right way, then why aren't they doing it themselves and become stinkin' rich in the process.

Not everybody can be an entrepreneur. Not everybody can be a leader. It is just the way it is. We were not all born to lead - if we are all leading, then who is following us, and what are we leading? Exactly. I think it is more a question of whether you want to be a leader, and how much do you want to be a good leader. In my professional capacity I get to do things that I don't get to do in my personal capacity, and for that I am grateful to be working. I learn so much about so much, it builds my confidence and it teaches me this powerful thing called humility. Through various exposures in my professional life, I have learned to live properly, I become the person who I am right now, and I actually like this person. Such a far cry from that awkward teenager who was perpetually misunderstood.

I think life is as good as we make it. Each and every morning I wake up, I make a conscious decision to be happy. I do my best in almost everything that I do, and I go home each day feeling contented with how I manage to handle life and how to grow in this life. I think life is as much about you as it is about everything around you. I personally would not tell people to quit their jobs and pursue a dramatically different life, or to slow down or whatever. I would encourage people to actively choose to be happy at every opportunity they have, and to work tirelessly at it. Everything in this life is hard work. Those who are prepared, well organised and equipped for this hard work are one of the happiest group of people I have ever observed.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Are you a good child?

I love my parents to bits but they also drive me insane. I think this is more a side effect of living away from them. It is like, seriously, when you only see each other once a year and then you end up spending the next 7 days 24/7 together all day everyday, you are bound to get into each other's skin. This time around I try extra hard so that I don't get into my dad's nerve. I try so hard not to aggravate him. Because if I can be the perfect child in at least 5 days of the year, then I think I can live with that. It is, in all likelihood, unrealistic and definitely twisted thinking on my part, but I really really really can't help it.

In all honesty, I cannot imagine life any other way. I cannot imagine not living the life that I live now and if someone were to tell me that this is not the life I am meant to live in, then I guess I must be pretty screwed. I can understand that a lot of people would not approve of this, but guess what - this floats my boat for now. So if you don't like it, then that's too bad.

I don't normally say this, but I reckon I do a pretty good job in navigating all the crazy borderline psychotic responses that I tend to have on my head on anything and everything that is not going the way I foresee it. If I have to explain to every single person that when you have more than two parents, you just cannot help calling the rest as mum and dad - and the line between biological and non-biological relationship does get blurred - which is not necessarily a bad thing. When you try so hard to make things work, not because someone else is forcing you too, but rather because of mutual respect (given freely, unlike trust, which has to be earned), then you realise that just because you love someone does not mean that you love the others less. Love is not a zero-sum game. You are allowed to love someone and you don't need to ask for permission to love someone. You can just love and expect nothing in return. And when you get love back, then it is mutual respect and understanding in its highest form. That is when you can truly wish the best for that person.

When life gives you the chance to do this, what else can you do if not grab it by the horns and run with it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A bit of history

I was sharing my thoughts on relationships with a dear friend yesterday. My yet-to-be-proven theory is that most people in this life would have to experience a terrible relationship with a horrible person so that they can appreciate the one person who is truly kind and genuinely loving, with clear intentions of spending their lives together. This is, of course, speaking from personal experience. In all likelihood, the men that I used to be with would probably speak of our then-relationships as something nightmare-ish, and I don't mind that; they see things from their eyes and it is up to them to see what they want to see. Kind of similar to me seeing what I want to see and what I want to perceive from each relationship.

I also reflected on how some damage linger more than others - and this is speaking from personal experience. I used to blog in another blog. Then something really bad happened to my then-quasi-relationship (or whatever) and this "ex" started attacking my facebook, my sms, my email and my blog. With facebook, I deleted him - and I would recommend this for everyone who would like to get over their relationships: don't bother staying friends. With email, I set up a filter - again, highly recommended. With sms, I changed my number. In retrospect, I should just set a block to the number, which I have done with my current number. With blog, I shut it down.

And I did not blog for the longest time. Then I thought it is just so silly of me to be basing my life on his unpredictable attacks. Just to give you an idea, this is the person who once said to me that he wanted to throw acid on my face so that I would live life with an ugly face. He is also the person who said that he wanted to hit me with his car so that I spend the rest of my life as a cripple. I really should have gone to the police and obtained a restraining order. Then he started emailing my boss, basically telling him how (the ex) knew my employment history and that I was someone who could never hold down a job. In addition, he also posted pictures of my on his flicker and calling me all sorts of names imaginable on this planet. To this date, I am not sure how his friends manage to stay friends with him, and yes, I do have an opinion on this, but no, I am not going to write it down right now.

A while back, I rocked up to The Boys performance at Griffin Theatre. (Read some review here and here.) It was an incredibly powerful performance and afterwards, I was left emotionally drained and extremely sad. I was sad that there are people in our society whose lives are exactly as it was presented on stage. I know this because as soon as we walked out of the theatre (which is located in the precinct of Kings Cross), there were two people who sounded exactly like the actors in the play, except that they were not the actors themselves. I was sad that there are people who did not know any better, these people are so bitter by life and they were ready to blame everything on everyone else. They do not possess the capacity to rise up and make something better of themselves. These people remind me of a few of my exes.

Ok, so I had dated quite a fair share of bad boys in my life - even my male friends told me this. I was guilty of trying to change the people that I dated. I was guilty of over-compensating, I was guilty of not setting a higher standard for myself. I even allowed some of them to dictate my choices in life and what I wore! Oh the horror! I made those mistakes during my experimentation years - and some of those mistakes left scars that I still bear till this day. They serve as painful reminders of the things I thought I did in the name of love.

I had quite a twisted definition of what love was, and in retrospect, I think that was part of the problem. Being a child of divorce sort of does that to anyone, really. Once I dated this guy because I loved his family. Yes, oh the horror. I was with every single one of them for all the wrong reasons. I was trying to make it work for all the wrong reasons.

If I can do it all over again, I would put more effort in working out what I, as an individual, want. I would focus on me from the beginning and structure my life that way. And I would not shut down the blog. But instead of reviving the old blog, I have started this one. I'd like to think that my writing is a lot better than what it was before, and I hope that I get better each day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bring it on

Always the case, isn't it. When you are trying to get over something, consciously or subconsciously, when you least expect it, the memories will come flooding - overwhelmingly and unapologetically. God help me if I am not able to deal with this, or even something as little as distancing myself emotionally from it. The floodgate of the memories I thought I have banished into the darkest corners of my brains comes rushing in the moments where I am least prepared - like when waking up in the morning, like one of the very first things that come to my mind as soon as I open my eyes is this very issue I am in the process of overcoming.

And that is precisely the point, is it not? Because I am overcoming it, because I want to overcome it, it surfaces when I least expect it because I have been suppressing it for so long?

It's gonna be a long journey and I say, bring it on.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Staying true to myself

How much can you tell about someone based on the choices they make, or advise others to make, or don't make? I have always thought that I am pretty risk adverse, but time and time again, I discover others who are even more risk adverse than me. For a while I toyed with the idea of becoming one of them, come on, a stable job in the midst of the GFC - who wouldn't want that?

And yes, the economy is pretty much still in turmoil these days, and perhaps this volatility is slowly becoming a norm. Or maybe we are just witnessing this thing called structural shift in employment. Whatever it may be, I just know that I would kill myself if I am basing my decisions right now on stability. Like seriously - after coming this far?

Of course the definition of stability differs from one person to the next. But here is the thing - when you are not desperate, you have options and when you have options, you can be as fussy as you want to be. This is your life and you have to live it. So listen to your heart.

I have said no to money before and I have no trouble saying no to it right now. Somethings in life we just cannot buy with money.

Note to self: stop offering unsolicited advice!

Sydney, circa 2008

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Circa 2007

Skies are crying
I am watching
Catching teardrops in my hands
Only silence as it's ending, like we never had a chance
Do you have to, make me feel like there is nothing left of me?

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I'm made of glass
Like I'm made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper!
Like a skyscraper!

As the smoke clears
I awaken, and untangle you from me
Would it make you, feel better to watch me while I bleed?
All my windows, still are broken
But I'm standing on my feet

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I'm made of glass

Like I'm made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper!
Like a skyscraper!

Go run, run, run
I'm gonna stay right here
Watch you disappear, yeah
Go run, run, run
Yeah it's a long way down
But I am closer to the clouds up here

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like i'm made of glass
Like i'm made of paper, Ohhh woaah
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground

Like a skyscraper!
Like a skyscraper!

Like a skyscraper!
Like a skyscraper!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Life is like a box of macaroons

Sometimes I feel like a piece of me stayed behind, frozen in that moment of time, when I discovered that things would never be the same again | When I saw you were gone and I ran after you, I promised never to look back | But there is this part of me who were wishing so desperately that you asked me to run away with you | Afterall, what is the right thing to do in life if it is not the one thing that your heart silently aches for, especially when it can be very very bad for you.

Surabaya, circa 2000

Sunday, February 5, 2012

There is no place like home

You know when I said once that I don't really care whether I have a place to call home or not? Well, I lied. I would very much like a place to call home. I just did not have the means to do so at the time and to soften the blow (of having no one who is willing to give me a space in their homes so that I could at least have a place to call my room), I pretended not to care.

Now that I do have this place to call home, I can just relax and enjoy this space while I can. This is especially useful since I am back from travelling and have been sick and desperately trying to shake it off for the past 72 hours and counting. And now that I am home, I can just be back to being really sick since I can recuperate properly.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A glimpse of the past

Growing up I was always in a rush to grow up. Instead of simply enjoying school, I was in a rush to get out. Instead of just enjoying next to nothing responsibilities, I craved for more, so that I could get out of my mum's place. I was imagining what life would be like when I could finally live on my own. I imagined, quite vividly, how I would pack everything that was in my bedroom. I even went as far as checking one bedroom apartments around the area, and ironically, bumping to people I knew from church. I was so desperate to get away, I was consumed with discomfort. I hated being home because I could never enjoy let alone rest at home. I had a lot of acquaintances because I was hardly home. I became intimate with my books because they were my only companions when no one else was around. I escaped the harsh realities of life through writing and what existed then was numerous diaries that are now collecting dust, but I hardly ever read again.

But I remember writing and I remember writing about the things that I mostly could not make peace with. (Nowadays I just ignore them.) I did not know how to handle things like that previously and subsequently I was so angry at everything imaginable. Instead of planning and focusing on my future and my life - and that it could be fantastic if I worked hard enough - I was busy running away from the present reality. In fact, now that I think about it, it somewhat rather amazing that I stuck to studying and getting a degree. Perhaps because there was hardly anything else to do. I know that the reason I did it had nothing to do with the future, or my future, or what I want my life to look like in the future. I just did it because I was too lazy to think of anything else to do.