In which anxieties take a nasty turn

otherwise known as, I hope the usage of Zooey Deschanel’s face makes this less serious than it is

I am an extremist.

That word never has a good connotation. Be it religious or political extremism, it is hardly ever a good thing. If you’re a ‘positive extremist’ you are given a different title: a philanthropist, a humanitarian. The word ‘extremist’ drags the baggage of negativity along with it.

While my extremism will not put me on the cover of a newspaper (or rather make me a Twitter Trending Topic), it always leaves me feeling awful. My extremism is in relation to my emotions. I wish I could keep a lid on things but much like a filled kettle placed over a heat source for a long time, things bubble over and I scream.

And that can be literal screaming or a metaphorical one.

I have screamed at someone because of how angry I got- resentment had built up over a period of time and the infamous straw that broke the camel’s back whacked mine, but instead of keeling over, I shouted and swore like I have never done before.

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Is that good thing? No. Not at all.

Metaphorical screaming, in the sense of things bubbling over due to emotional unrest would be a day like today when body issues just smacked me on the head. I know, this is a popular tune you’ve heard year in and year out, never fading from the charts. A ‘current issue’ that has yet to be resolved despite multiple celebrities speaking up about ‘body acceptance’. While Ashley Graham’s confidence in the face of all her ‘haters’ is an inspiration, it doesn’t dim the hater that is within yourself.

I judge myself by the number I see on the scale. I judge myself for not doing the work it takes to get to a number I’m happy with. And I don’t know if it is truly wrong to think that way. As someone who has spent five years dedicating her life to being part of the medical field, I know for a fact that I am unhealthy, that the ratio of my hips to my waist means that I am more likely to die of a heart attack or have cardiovascular complications in the future.

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So when events in the past 24 hours made me look at myself again and feel ridiculously emotional, I wanted to revert to an old habit, another extreme. But I’m better at not doing that, so I didn’t. Instead I threw myself into cleaning because that’s the one positive I could come up with.

It is difficult when you look at yourself and want to change so much. I know part of it a mental component, that satisfaction with what you see reflected back at you is something everyone struggles with, but there are also facts, irrefutable facts that make me cringe.

Being a houseman/intern will be challenging two years. I would need to figure out how balance the physical, the emotional and the external adversities that will be coming my way.

While I understand that there are things outside my circle of control, there are also things I can get a grip on. I just hope I can.

crazy

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I was going to make a video but I no longer have time 

It has been a month since I last posted anything and significant things have happened-
1. I had my job interview

2. I graduated officially-ceremony and everything

3. My mom fractured her shoulder in a freak accident at home

4. I leave home in 8 days because I have my job posting

So the third thing is the biggest one of all really. It’s been approximately 5 weeks since it happened and it’s been an adjustment for all.
I thought I’d go through the things I’ve learned in during this time in a video but I don’t have the time to sit down and make anything because of the fourth thing. Everything is a rush and a haze because I am juggling work (I am doing my mom’s job because she can’t use her dominant arm) and everything else to get ready.

It’s been a panic for me for a good while now.

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So here’s a list instead of an amateur video-

1. Do not be unappreciative of the ability to be independent with your mobility. The frustration of not being able to use a major joint of your limbs especially for someone so previously self-sufficient can often feel overwhelming

2. Patience is a virtue- a big big big virtue.

“The ability to hold your tongue is a gift. A moment of patience in a moment of anger prevents a thousand moments of regret.” -Ali Ibn Abu Talib

3. While I have a huge appreciation for the design of fondant cakes, it does not taste good. No matter how gorgeous the cake.

4. Family is everything and family are taxing. I love my family more than anything else and they are my number priority but family can exhaust you physically and emotionally. But they’re still your family.

5. Taking time to truly appreciate the big moments in life is important- spend those times with those who matter most and capture them.

6. Always be kind. Choose kindness above all else. Everyone has different levels of damage and being kind helps you live with yourself.

7. I have good friends. I really do.

8. When you ask for a sign from God (or the Universe if that’s what you believe in) He can deliver majorly even if you doubt.

9. Multitasking is a difficult skill- a to do list is highly beneficial in situations like this.

10. You have less time to feel sad when you are preoccupied. Therefore, get more occupied.

Can you believe we are closer to the middle of the year than we are to the beginning of it? Have a good one guys. ♥️

please give me some direction

Tonight I am an anxious person.

I had vague outlines of a plan for a video for this month: I had clips I wanted to throw together, a text I was going to record. But.. bigger things have happened and I am a ball of nerves.

I found out this evening that internship applications open up on Thursday at 12pm. It’s a crazy first-come-first-serve basis and you have to be quick.

This means I am working in approximately a month’s time. ONE MONTH.

ONE MONTH.

I am beyond terrified.

There is so much I have to get done once my application is in. I have to find a place to live, I have to file paperwork, I have to get a health check-up. I have to figure out a bunch of things in a short period of time. I am scared.

What is worse is that I had a plan and now the plan has been shaken. Not everyone got the green light to apply on Thursday. A good friend of mine, part of my ‘three musketeers’ didn’t get through. He has to wait for the next round. And that throws everything off. He’s thrown by this and so ar we. The three of us were going to get through this together but now…

I had a plan. I love my plans. I hate when my plans get tossed because that means I have no anchor. I don’t like that feeling at all.

It’s a messy system and I cannot get into it here. But it’s a terrible mess of a time.

I’m scared. I’m kinda excited.

But I’m mostly scared.

My heart is galloping like a racehorse whose jockey that sees the finish line. As though reaching it would slow things down.

It doesn’t. That finish line keeps getting pushed and pushed. And while that is the beauty of this career, it’s also what causes my voice to tremble, my knees to shake. I

That finish line keeps getting pushed and pushed. And while that is the beauty of this career, it’s also what causes my voice to tremble, my knees to give way.

I am a shaken bottle of soda with words bubbling out of me though not necessarily in an order to form a coherent sentence.

I am scared. I am not okay.

But I have to be.

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Good Reads II

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So, I somehow managed to read 4 books in 4 days. I am impressed with myself. This puts me in a good place for my ’25 books in a year’ challenge, so YAY!

Now on to the books:

Lorali by Laura Dockrill was a purchase I made last year because BooksAndQuills on YouTube talked about it as being one of her favourites. I tried reading it last year but I never got to a good place with it. It ended up being a book left on the shelf for a very long time, until last Wednesday. I finally decided to make it past the first chapter and see how far I could go with it. And I finished it, basically in one sitting. I really like this book. I raved about it a bit on Instagram, and actually bought it as a belated(?) birthday present for a good friend of mine. Lorali is about a mermaid who goes up to the ‘human world’ and the resultant chaos because her merparents wanted her back. I didn’t expect it to go the way it did and I was pleasantly surprised. If you know me, you know that I have a deep fear of the ocean, which is partly why I had a tiny issue with trying to read this book. But once that bubbling anxiety could be calmed, I got swept up in the story. It ends in a fitting way.. and that’s all I can say about it. I don’t want to ruin this book for anyone. It has the ocean, mermaids, pirates, and a story of young love. You should pick it up.

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby was a book I picked up in Melbourne but I never finished. That was not because the book was boring but because I ended going out more and having more work to do towards the second and third rotation there. Funny Girl is about a wannabe comedienne from Blackpool who ends up working at the BBC. I have always enjoyed Nick Hornby’s writing- “A Long Way Down” is still one of my favourite books ever, as is the movie ‘An Education’ – and this was no exception. I think you would like it more if you have a taste for old comedies (this is set in the 60’s-70’s I think). It’s not only a story of a girl, though it starts out that way; it ends up being a tale of a few people, her colleagues at the BBC and I guess, it provides a more rounded perspective of what goes on in making a show, and in relationship dynamics.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith is a popular book among readers everywhere. Unfortunately, it didn’t capture me as much. It’s a fine story but I couldn’t quite fall in love with it, though everyone raves about it. It’s a story of two families in Wellington, both with fathers who work in a university. It’s a complex tale with a number of players, the wives becoming friends despite their husbands’ animosity, children somehow getting entangled with each other. Here are the parts I did enjoy- Zadie Smith has a wonderful way of describing things, it’s very enjoyable. She writes complex characters and you get where they’re coming from but you don’t necessarily agree with what they do. I like the friendship between the two wives the most in this book because they speak like women I know- the way it’s written, you know that the author is a woman herself. I don’t know how to phrase that properly. I don’t dislike the book, I don’t love it either. It’s one that I’m ‘okay’ with. I think I should pick up another Zadie Smith novel just to feel it out more, and then revisit this again.

And finally, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I have been reading this book for some time. I first cracked it open during one of my ‘solo lunches’ a month ago. I finished it on Saturday and it left me going ‘what?’. Because of the way it’s been hyped up so much due to the Hulu adaptation that’s coming up, I expected something more similar to The Hunger Games. This book is not that. It’s somber and … bleak. That’s the most appropriate adjective I can think of : bleak. It doesn’t end happy, it’s vague. And the whole book is miserable. I hope the adaptation doesn’t try to make it something it is not, because I think the bleakness of it helps. While a lot of people say that this book is ‘a future possibility’ because of the current political climate, I kinda-sorta disagree. The darkness of The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian world that I truly hope is far, far, far, far, FAR away from any near or far future. Yes, it is about the control of reproductive rights, but it is also a control of any rights at all. It’s a dictatorship and a mind-control state that I hope the people of this planet are enlightened about, so as to never choose it for ourselves. I don’t know, maybe that does not make much sense. I get why this book is a classic read. It’s not one you pick up to cheer you up, that’s for sure.

As always, I keep track of everything I read on GoodReads, and I would love to be your ‘friend’ on that site so I can get some recommendations of what to pick up next. I’m always happy to put a book down because that means I can buy a new one. I wish we had good libraries here in Malaysia. If anyone can tell me where I can find one, I’ll be happy to pay a visit.

I know I have a video to make for April and I hope to post it before the week is up. Can you believe we are a week away from May? It’s crazy how fast time flies.

Until next time- have a wonderful week ahead! x

Soundtrack To My Life

Music should always evoke something in people, be it an emotion, a memory, or inspiration. I love music, much like everyone on this planet.. or at least 80% of the Earth’s inhabitants, animals included. Melody and rhythm combined in a miraculous way can do so much for the human soul.

I thought I’d write a tiny bit about why I chose each song:

Another Day of Sun because it is just a snappy beat with an uplifting tune. I don’t think I know a single person who hates that song.

Breathe because it’s about struggling to please the people who love you when you don’t know who you are, and that’s something I’ve struggled with a lot.

Rest of My Life was featured on Jane the Virgin. I don’t actually think it came out last year but it is not on any of his albums. It’s a beautiful song and if I ever do get married, I want that song.

Downtown was my alarm tone for a very long time because I wanted a song that would make me happy when I opened my eyes. I was playing it on repeat when it first came out, much to the annoyance of my family.

I play OSTs when I go out alone. I’m so used to the length of all the songs that I can estimate time passing by how far along I am in Act 1.

I know Swing Low, Sweet Chariot was written by a slave and maybe it’s not ‘appropriate’ for me to choose that song, but it has such meaningful lyrics about ‘a better place’ and I have heard it at funerals. It’s hopeful and melancholic.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a perfect song. Most people know all the words, or at least some of it. The last time I heard it played before a concert, the whole stadium started jumping and singing along. It was an incredible moment.

Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys has that beat that sticks with you. I blame someone’s creativity in creating this Sherlock fanvid years ago for making this song one of my all time favourites.

New York State of Mind is a beautiful, simple melody. It’s not fancy but it holds enough meaning for me.

Glee makes relatively good covers. While the show had its issues, they had solid covers of a number of good songs (the Warblers were way better than New Direction most of the time, and Adam Lambert being on a bunch of songs just elevates them) so I’ll champion that.

As Long As You Love Me was the first Backstreet Boys song I had ever heard. I think I was about 5 or 6 at that point and the MV that went with it is forever etched in my mind. 90’s boybands remind me of being young and watching my friends perform dances along to that music. Good old days.

Butterfly Kisses- I don’t think I need to explain. I cried while making this video because I had to listen to that song. It made me cry when I was 8, it makes me cry now.

I apologise to any Daniel Bedingfield fans but I hate this song. I used to change the channel when it came on.

And the final choice, again, no explanation needed right?

So, if you had to answer the same questions, what would your choices be?

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This has been a tag video. I believe the tag itself was created by these two YouTubers and was pretty popular a while back. I needed some inspiration to come up with a video and this seemed like a fun idea. After exporting, I kinda questioned the idea of doubling up on the album covers but oh well, it doesn’t look too crazy.

I missed out on February’s video due to circumstances but here’s the video for March. Will I make another one to make up for February? If inspiration strikes, possibly yes.

The Bachelor and I

Tonight, in US time, Nick Viall will choose between Vanessa and Raven. There will be tears no doubt, from The Bachelor and probably both of the ladies. There will possibly be a proposal and we’ll see Neil Lane pop up to remind us that diamonds come with many names and different cuts, all of which I will never remember. To Nick and the woman he chooses, all the best. I don’t know how long it will last but I hope for your sakes that it sticks.

Also, here, I made a thing:

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Last week, in response to my tweets about The Bachelor, a good friend of mine told me that I watch ‘worse garbage’ than he does. That cracked me up. Yes, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette counts as ‘garbage TV’, so call me Oscar the Grouch cause I love trash.

(guys, I’m so funny)

I mentioned, once upon a time, that I got ‘hooked’ on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette over a summer break because there were marathons on TV. While I had seen the first ever season years and years ago and cheered when Trista Reynolds married her fireman, I never really followed the next seasons. But this one break, I had nothing else to do with my time, so I planted myself in front of the screen and let the experience wash over me.

Here’s the thing when you watch The Bachelor- you don’t watch it in earnest. I don’t think anyone truly does anymore. Anytime you read a recap of the show, it’s always sarcastic. The writer pokes fun at the fact that this is a ridiculous premise and is mostly producer-generated content.

But we watch it anyway because it’s fun watching other people’s lives. That’s what we like about reality tv. A wise man once said (okay, Mr Bennet from Pride and Prejudice) “We make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at the in our turn.” Watching reality TV is the latter half of that sentence.

The Bachelor/Bachelorette is a messy, messy show. A bunch of men or women show up to ‘find love’ with the Bachelor/Bachelorette. Personalities clash, everyone is sharing spit, someone takes off their clothes much to the chagrin of everyone else. We, the audience, are quick to identify the ‘front runners’ and the potential ‘baddie’ of the season. The producers are not always kind to the ‘contestants’- the talking heads section has truly odd labels for occupations ie: Twin, Bachelor Superfan.

While some people join the show for the fame of it all, some I think, are truly there because they want to get married. That’s the bizarre part that keeps the audience hooked- these people willingly sign up to parade their private lives in front of the whole country/world just to find ‘The One’. There is something to be admired that- the ability to put shame aside, allow yourself to be deemed ridiculous or naïve, and let yourself fall in love with the same person 20 other people are falling in love with.

I cannot imagine how boring it must be to live in The Bachelor Mansion. The contestants only have each other for company and their sole fixation is this one person that they’ve met at a cocktail party. Part of the ‘entertainment’ of the show is watching each person slowly crack over time, occasionally bringing out the nasty side in them.

That makes for good TV.

This form of reality TV is beautifully mind-numbing because it has a simple premise. And you can sit and watch beautiful people say silly things and act in unfortunate ways to vie for someone’s attention. It’s not a ‘serious show’ where you’re on the edge of your seat (well, those are very rare moments on The Bachelor/Bachelorette), trying to solve the mystery before the protagonist does. This show does not require much ‘brain power’, which is why it appeals to loads of people as an escape from the stress of their daily grind.

I guess as a generally judgemental person, this show is perfect fodder because that’s what every person on the show is allowing you to do- judge them solely on the editing of very smart people behind the lens. It’s terrible to make yourself ‘feel good’ by making comments about the choices of other people make, but that’s basically how gossiping works, isn’t it? Human beings (and perhaps animals even) love to gossip and prying into the lives of others- that’s why we watch dramas and comedies. The Bachelor franchise is the perfect setup because it feeds that side of us.

But there’s a silver lining to watching this show because while it feeds that terrible catty side of us, in its own way, it teaches us compassion. And it reminds us that in the harsh light of day, we are no better than the people we make fun of. Take for example, when you hear from the side of the ‘baddie of the season’ about how he/she was mistreated by mean comments on the internet or by the other contestants on the show: it reminds you that they are human beings with real feelings and that when they go back to their lives outside of the TV show, they have to deal with real-life implications of their choices. And who are we to say that we would not have made the same mistakes that they did when the social conditioning of the show makes you ‘put yourself out there for love’?

I enjoy watching this show. I believe it’s called a ‘guilty pleasure’, and I feel a twinge of that because it is, in the end, ‘making entertainment of someone’s pain’. But in a sense, they signed up for it, so it’s a weird morally grey area.

Yes, it is garbage TV. But we eat a bunch of garbage food anyway, so what’s the difference?

Good Reads?

I resolved to read 25 books this year and so far, I’ve read five. That’s not that much but I’ve been struggling through books. Unfortunately, I have some books on my to-read list that don’t quite jump out at me. But I’m determined to muddle through.

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Here is what I’ve gotten through in the last two months:

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Three out of those books fall under the category of ‘feminist literature’- they were interesting reads, to say the least. While all three women are heavy-weights in the Feminist Movement arena, reading these books remind me of the importance of intersectional feminism, and how each of us has our own definitions of what it means to carry that label.

Did I agree with everything they wrote? No. Did these books kick my ‘spirit into high gear’? No. For me, these books are compilations of raw and honest essays that provide more ‘food for thought’ in areas I can relate to. These books keep the conversation going and I think that’s the biggest takeaway.

The other two were easier reads, thankfully. The David Nicholls book was turned into a movie many years ago, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. I read it on the plane ride to Miri and I found it quite enjoyable. Weirdly enough, I like David Nicholls’s other book, ‘Us’, better than this one. Still a good read in the end. I may watch the movie 🤷‍♀️

I bought My Not So Perfect Life because I wanted something light and fun, and Sophie Kinsella typically delivers on that front. It’s a chick-lit book that Kinsella fans would enjoy. I liked it. Sure, the plot got a bit too convenient towards the end, but that’s kinda what you expect from her work, so it doesn’t ‘disappoint’.

I am always happy to click READ on GoodReads and see the bar on the side move forward. I’m ‘2 books ahead of schedule’ for my 25, so that’s nice.

I hope you’re getting along with your resolutions this year, and if you’re reading anything particularly scrumptious, I’m up for recommendations. That is, once I’ve finished the other four books I have on my list.