It was cold, and the night sky was our blanket. I accidentally took a photo, and this is that photo. For 23 years, I was single. Not a single boyfriend. I used to tell my friends, “Single life is the best life.” And now here I am…falling in love or something like it. Crushes, unrequited love, friends with benefits, just “hanging out” as one guy put it, boyfriends, lovers, affairs, everyone has loved at one point in their life. And I think I’ve just started a new chapter of my life: Donna in Love.
One night, I was on my period. I was angry for no reason. I was just being weird I think. The boy: “Too much drama. I don’t like it.” Me: “This is me. Take it or leave it!” We all have moments when we aren’t our finest. And to this day, we still joke about that one time. We mimic each others voices and repeat phrases, then we laugh our heads off. That’s us – we laugh at all the stupid funny shit we do.
I once read a story of Mahatma Gandhi when he was pursued by a journalist as he boarded a train. The guy was desperate for a story for his newspaper. The journalist persisted, “Sir! Sir! Please give me your message for the people!” Gandhi smiled and shouted back, “My life is my message!” What I’m trying to say is that, I’ve started writing again because I want to share bits and pieces of my life, words I hear, beautiful landscapes I see through my eyes, and just moments that take my breath away. And it’s all because I want to inspire people, and if that’s just once person that smiles as they read what I write, then that’s enough for me. It’s easy to get caught up in the challenges and adversities of life. Life is hard enough, believing that you are alone in life is even harder. At one stage I was just a kid who could name the most ice-cream flavours out of all my friends. At one stage I was 5 and I didn’t know what 10 x 10 was and my brother would always pick on me rather than tell me the answer. At one stage, I had braces and glasses in high school and felt like an ugly duckling. But guess what? Haters gonna hate. Look at me now. I hope my story inspires a few hearts, so stay a while and stay tuned to my future chit-chat.
I am Quote Queen. Here’s two of my favourites by Hilary Rodham Clinton to mark this new beginning:
“You know, everybody has setbacks in their life, and everybody falls short of whatever goals they might set for themselves. That’s part of living and coming to terms with who you are as a person.”
“I think that if you live long enough, you realise that so much of what happens in life is out of your control, but how you respond to it is in your control. That’s what I try to remember.”
So here’s to keeping it fresh. Here’s to me writing again, for writing is good for the soul. In the words of Holley Gerth, “Be courageous and write in a way that scares you a little.”
First of all, I’m sorry guys for abandoning you all. It’s been a very long time since I wrote something. I’d tell myself, “I just don’t feel like it.” And for over a year, that was my reason. Perhaps some of you missed me. Dark times…I tell you. 2014 wasn’t my best year. At times, it felt like there was a cloud above my head that just wouldn’t go away. 2014 was a stepping stone year. Sacrifices to get through and achieve big goals. The big picture, if you know what I mean. I finished uni and now I have my dream job lined up. Thank God. But it did take a lot of hard work and perseverance. And now I’m back (with a vengeance) and one thing to say:
No one can tell your story so tell it yourself. No one can write your story, so write it yourself.
“Let the darkness find you if it must. Throw off the quick and tempting escapes, and seek help only from those who would teach you to grow, feed your soul, embrace your heart, but would not steal away your journey.” ― Jennifer DeLucy
I never posted this. I was meant to before boarding the plane to New Zealand, but I ran out of time. And then all this chaos happened, and all this adventure stuff happened on Contiki. So here it is…2 months later. It’s ready.
If there is such thing as a second quarter life crisis, then I’m having one right now. At the beginning of the summer break, I met a Sydney Uni lecturer at work. She was well spoken, well educated (probably well off as well) and polite. We talked about life. She was there with her nephew, who had just finished his first year of Engineering. He had a whole apartment to himself across the UNSW Kensington campus where he studied at and as a reward, he was told he could buy a new laptop for getting his first High Distinction. “Are you for real?” I remember silently yelling in my mind. I’ve worked since I was 15-years-old. I can’t even remember a weekend where I haven’t been obliged to work or take off leave because I have an event to attend. “Give yourself a little break before uni starts again,” I remember the lecturer telling me. It resonated with me. It stuck to my thoughts. Perhaps because I knew I really needed it.
So here I am writing this as I sit on the train, on my way to the airport. There are four Asian women sitting across me, all wearing sun hats. Two of them are looking at photographs. One of them is carrying one of those wheely (yes, new word) Asian shopping trolleys. You know the type you usually see on a weekend when you’re still young enough to be bribed by your Asian parents to head to Cabramatta to get some fresh produce. I remember the best thing about that place was being able to point to a piece of fruit and the stall keeper would let you taste it. These women are loud, but they are happy. My main goal in life is to be happy. Lately though, I’ve been feeling quite run down, especially when my mind is running at a thousand thoughts per second. A train with no brakes. Too busy chasing my dreams. Too exhausted because I just want to get so much done. Too fearful that I’ll waste my 20s on ‘default setting’ tasks. One day, 8 years from now when I’m 30-years-old, I’ll have a chat with an old friend. I’ll look them straight in the eye and tell them, “I lived my twenties. I lived my youth. I lived it to the fullest, and the best is yet to come.”
In the memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, there is a moment Elizabeth Gilbert realises she doesn’t want to be married anymore. It’s not the first time she’s felt this way, but I think in that one moment, she felt absolutely certain. Sometimes women need constant reassurance (men might argue differently). Some need it more than others. Reassurance can be found in many forms – compliments, jokes, heart to hearts and those ‘light bulb’ moments when you see yourself in someone else. I thought I’d just concisely describe ‘the moment’ Elizabeth Gilbert had, but I’ve decided to extract the whole thing from her memoir to let you draw a picture for yourself and develop your own interpretation.
“I don’t want to be married anymore. My husband was sleeping in the other room, in our bed. I equal parts loved him and could not stand him. I couldn’t wake him to share in my distress—what would be the point? He’d already been watching me fall apart for months now, watching me behave like a madwoman (we both agreed on that word), and I only exhausted him. We both knew there was something wrong with me, and he’d been losing patience with it. We’d been fighting and crying and we were weary in that way that only a couple whose marriage is collapsing can be weary. We had the eyes of refugees.
From that point, Elizabeth Gilbert knew exactly what she needed to do. And so one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia began. In some way, I think we can all relate. It’s that moment when you are furiously angry; that moment when you don’t know why your angry. Then when the rips have vanished and the waves are gently caressing the soft sand, you realise it is because you are angry at yourself. Expectations, shortcomings and the desire to be in a significantly different and better circumstance than the one you are currently in. The truth is, you are usually doing better than you think.
So yeah after all that, I think what I’m trying to say, is that I’m having an Eat, Pray, Love moment, but in a different context, an I-want-to-find-myself context. We all have a story, and I wouldn’t do mine justice if I compressed it all in a sentence or two. Like yours, it’s full of colour, laughter, victory, but also insecurities, frustrations and sleepless nights. Let’s just say my Eat, Pray, Love moment was when somebody called me beautiful, but I didn’t believe them. Then it happened again, and I still felt the same. One hundred people can tell you your beautiful, but when you inside don’t believe it yourself, then none of those one hundred compliments mean a thing. This is probably over-share, but who cares. Only God can judge me. Let the vulnerable be vulnerable, and the healing begin. This is just part of my journey. New Zealand here I come…
It all seems like a whole lot of words, but there are key words and phrases in this message that draw my attention such as sweat and blood; shortcomings; strive; enthusiasms; worthy cause; triumph of high achievement; and daring, that make me want to strive for more. All of life is a learning curve. The energy that you manifest to the world, is the energy that you receive back. When someone treats you badly, it is a reflection of who they are as a person – toxic. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated, and this type of kindness will come back to you tenfold.