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.

Happy is a Strong Word

I guess the following can sound like an advertisement, which in a sense it is.

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I had a rough November-December and one of the things I talked about was getting to a better place mentally. I wish I could say that I’m all better now and that everything is smooth sailing. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

I mentioned before that I found something to help with the process but unfortunately that fell through. It didn’t work out as well as I hoped it would but I did find something else, purely by accident, which has worked somewhat. But the thing with it is that it’s supposed to be a work in progress.

I’m not here to play cryptic games- It is a book called HOW TO BE HAPPY (or at least, less sad). Now is that a title or what?

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I found out about this book from watching this video from Josh Sundquist in collaboration with 100days, the YouTube channel where John Green and his friend Chris Benzine work on all aspects of fitness for 100 days. It was something in passing but the title stuck out to me.

It was created by Lee Crutchley as a workbook to help people who are ‘not happy’ feel less sad. He writes in the introductory section of the book “In fact, the working title for this book was Have You Tried Being Less Sad?” Honestly, I would have picked up that book, too. But it has a snappy title that does immediately catch your attention if you are seeking a way to be less unhappy.

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Lee does not promise ‘all the answers’ or a ‘secret’ to feeling better.

This book will not fix you, and it will not make you happy

I like that he’s blunt about that because it’s true. The point of the book is to push you to put to paper things that may help you feel less miserable. There are pages to be filled with questions and diagrams. They’re not ‘easy answers’. The statements require you to dig deep and ponder your existence (sometimes at least). You have to put in effort to fill them up, so in a way, using this book is a choice- you are choosing to try to be happy, or ‘at least less sad’.

I have been using the book for little under a month now and it has been therapeutic. I am not in the position to afford therapy but this comes close.

The following pictures are from his website because I’ve filled some of them in, and also, these are better pictures than what I could take:

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Anyway, if it’s something you might be interested in, do look up the book. It’s been helpful to me.

Have a great week ahead! x

#BeKindToOneAnother

Part of my resolutions this year was to do more ‘kind things’ because apparently, doing nice things for other people makes you feel more positive about yourself because you’ve made someone happy. I like making people happy and I am striving to be happier in my daily life. So, here are two things that I did in January to achieve that.

Galentine’s Day stems from the creative geniuses behind Parks and Recreation. It’s a day to celebrate your female friends, commemorated annually on February 13. Last year, I made joke-Vday cards but I decided to make slightly more meaningful ones this year, with backgrounds ripped from my old Lilly Pulitzer planner. While some managed to reach on the day itself, or slightly before, some arrived a day or two later, while a couple did not make it at all 🤷‍♀️; foiled by the postal service.

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Another fun project was taking 21 photos from the bottom of the KLCC Twin Towers for the Love Across Distances project. It’s where you help someone take a photo of a sentence, typically ” (insert name of significant other), (person who requested it)’s love for you is so big it has reached (location where you’re taking the photograph).” So a few weeks ago, I dropped by the KL Twin Towers really early took the photos and left in in the span of 15 minutes. Here’s an example of how it turned out:

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While both projects were really fun to do in January, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do that again in the upcoming years. We’ll have to see. I hope you had a nice Galentine’s +/- Valentine’s Day!

Happy Galentine’s Day

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I have always had daring, brave women in my life and thankfully, the media has provided wonderful role models for me growing up. I thank Parks and Recreation for introducing me to the concept of Galentine’s Day because it’s important to celebrate the women in your life.

I am thankful for each and every woman who has been a part of making me the person I am today, for being patient with my temperament, for being inspirational and kindly. Thank you for your love, thank you for your friendship, thank you for presence in my life.

I love you all dearly.

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Spoiler Alert

Here’s something new to recognise:

Much to my detriment, I have always been the type of person who feels a bit too much. It is a gift and a curse to empathise too quickly, to feel emotions too deeply, to wear your heart on your sleeve.

It borders on ridiculous when I feel too much about fictional characters that are.. fictional. They are not real but to my mind’s eye, they’re flesh and blood.

All my favourite characters die.

Yes, that is an overstatement. But a good many die and I feel way too much over them. I cannot separate fact from fiction when I immerse myself in an art-form, be it books or stage or TV or movies. I feel for the characters a bit too much. It’s unhealthy, that’s for sure.

The Fox and the Hound was particularly scarring. Matthew Cuthbert dying on paper made me cry for a good hour. I actually use his death as a ‘tool for crying’ when I needed to be devastated on stage- which works because I do get teary. Dobby died. Fred Weasley died. Tibby Rollins died. Alternate Timeline Lincoln Lee died. Allison Argent died. Michael Cordero died.

And it’s not like I cry only when I watch the show. There’s a mourning period I go through, much like if I lost someone I loved in real life. I take it to the extreme.

While being part of a fandom on Tumblr does exacerbate this ‘condition’, it’s something I’ve ‘gone through’ even before I joined the damn site.

I hate that I cry so much over people who are not real. If I should psychoanalyse myself, maybe it does stem from something a vocal teacher told my mom once- that I could not sing with emotion because I was too young and I did not know how to feel the same sadness, or longing, or joy that the song required. So, maybe, to make up for my own lack of experience, I live vicariously through characters that are not real. I make their pain, the joy, their anger.. I make them all mine.

And that is very screwed up.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. Why can’t I just have ‘regular’ emotional ranges and not feel as much?