getting your shit together 101

Sometimes, we all need life to knock us down.

It gives us the sense of a reality check, the sense of everything that crashes down on us and it’s important for us to understand that we need that. We need to understand that when life knocks us down, we have to get back up and not continue the same bullshit that caused us to fall before.

We need improvement. Life is always a continuous ravel of improvements that must be made every few days. It’s like going to school and learning something new everyday, or going to work and helping to make a bigger sale than before. Meeting new people everyday. Finally doing something that you couldn’t bring yourself to do before.

Something that helps us improve.

For me, I feel like my life has been in torn shambles these past few months. I’ve been walking on thin ice, about to break down every few minutes or hours in lieu of my father’s death that up until now, I’ve kept blaming all my unhappiness on, and also my breakup with my first boyfriend who has continuously hurt my feelings over and over again.

Just today, I was hurt by him, once again.

But it made me realise something.

This is the last straw. This was the moment that killed and destroyed every ounce of feelings and love I had for this guy because of how many times he had knocked me down, pushed me away and mercilessly rejected my love. He is in no position to return my affections but he is also in no position to treat me as such in cruel, insensitive ways.

I sat against the wall on the floor in my house crying for a whole hour after getting off the phone with him. My ex-boyfriend, my love who I cherished no matter how short our relationship, and he hurt me once again.

It only lasted a whole hour and that was the most that I was going to give him.

Now, I sit on my bed with much resolve.

I listed down on Word of the things I needed to do to get my shit together. The only few reasons why it was hard for me to find love, and why it was hard for my ex-boyfriend to love me was because I had nothing. I had nothing and I needed to get my shit together in order to become this proper woman who has her life together.

My list starts with finishing up assignments at university. They have been long overdue for months. It’s about time I stopped procrastinating and finished them up because I know that they’re not difficult work. They just require more thinking than usual which I absolutely despise.

It’s time to change that.

I am also an aspiring novelist and author. Next down in my list is to finish editing my fully-written novel. Unedited, I needed to have it planned out perfectly, plot lines as well as character development before sending it to a literary agent. My dream is to see my book on every major bookstore shelf, and editing it is the beginning to my dream.

I know what needs to be done but I’m not doing them because I feel like they’re too much and too overwhelming but when I say it out loud, it’s easier than it sounds.

Getting my shit together means that I am becoming a woman who knows what she wants and what she has. It means that I’m finally understanding adulthood in ways that I’ve never understood before. Taking responsibilities and understanding how this world works.

Childish mentalities should no longer be tolerated by myself if I need to get my shit together.

In no way of judging people of these mentalities, I have come up with several pieces of advice for myself to follow, and for others to read and relate.

  • Always, always form connections and acquaintances wherever possible. They may not be your friend, but they will help you in the long run. Others abide by “quality over quantity” but when you pick the right people, you will have quality and quantity alongside with benefit.
  • Don’t let social media dictate your social life. If by all means, a person is toxic on social media, block them or unfollow them. I have done this to many of my friends whom I am still friends with in real life because of their content that I immensely dislike. Social media should not cloud your friendships in person.
  • Don’t let social media dictate your relationships. If a future partner or significant other is jealous over a picture of your ex-partner that you still have on your profile, drop them immediately. In my opinion, exes are memories made and at some point in my relationship, I was happy. I’m not going to delete happy memories off of Instagram just because we are no longer together. Instagram is my memory book and it will stay on there as a memory.
  • Work should not be only a job. I know many people who lead lives working a job with the mentality of “I come to work to do my job and then leave. It’s nothing more than that.” I find this to be a childish mentality because work should not only be a job but a career, otherwise you are leading a miserable life. Even if you are only working a temporary job to sustain a living, you should be doing something that you immensely enjoy, or at least form friendships with co-workers who will respect you in the workplace. It will also give you good graces and opinions should your future job need referrals.

Getting your life together seems like a difficult task. But when you list everything down on paper or computer, it seems small and it seems like you’ve been overthinking it your entire life. Always start with the small things and venture out bigger. Secure a financial future, secure a job, start a family at a right time. Fall in love with the right people.

Don’t take anymore bullshit than you need to.

What you need to do is invest time in yourself. First, take a breather. Relax. Go to the most relaxing cafe and have some coffee to wind down. Do it for maybe two to three days. Go to the gym and let loose.

And then, do what you hate most and finish it.

It’ll feel like you’ve conquered half the world.

When you’ve done what you needed to, go to the second thing on your list. One by one, maximise your concentration.

It’ll work out.

to err is human, to forgive is divine

Every day, I spend some time to read and it fills me with an immense knowledge for everyday things.

The internet is a toxic space, that much, I admit. I am hateful of the company that fills the surroundings and many times, people find validation on the internet only to be disappointed and filled with more remorse than before.

However, in my reading travels online, I came across a post on my favourite forum website, Quora.

It tells of the tale of a man who was in an unrequited love with a girl who he hoped for, and tried to shower his love for her in order for her to fall in love with him and it took him over a year to realize and understand that she will never look at him that way. He was only hurting himself by continuing to pursue her, and that in itself is his fault.

When we pursue someone despite continuous efforts of rejection, we hurt ourselves in the process and it is never the receiver’s fault. They are not obligated to love you.

It is our own.

My mistake in my first and last relationship was putting in 100% before the commitment. I put in my 100%, and I loved him. I loved him to the point that I would have done anything for him, even traveled the world to see him. He was not from here, and we were together for a few short months before he had to leave. He was in no position to be obligated return my affections and I never blamed him for it.

It hasn’t been very long since he left and we last saw each other but I do not want to make the mistake of loving him even when it is clear that there is no hope for us. It is clear that he doesn’t return my love, and he has repeated that multiple times.

I am in denial.

I keep loving him in hopes that he will see how much effort that I put in for him, and realise that I would do anything for him. I wanted him to see that someone was capable of loving him this way, as much as I do, as he lacked affection and company from the people around him. I showed him passion, put in effort and loved him like how I would anyone I wanted to potentially spend my life with.

I wanted him to see his worth.

In turn, it made me forget mine.

I’m glad that I came across this Quora post as it had lit a bulb in my head. It helped me realise that sometimes, we give things up to make room for new, better ones. It made me realise that I deserved better than what he offered me and I was a fool to have thought that he could offer me the world. I was in denial.

Was.

Keyword.

Now, I realised something much more. I realised that it’s better for me to stop chasing after dreams and instead chase a better reality. I deserve someone better, and it took me a while to understand it. I thought that he was that better but I was wrong.

I was hurting myself in a continuous motion. He didn’t love me, and would often talk about his ex-girlfriends by putting them on a pedestal higher than me. He would point out my flaws that he couldn’t deal with and he would be the one who berated me for my lifestyle that I was accustomed to. In many ways, he tried to help me. In more ways than one, he couldn’t accept that kind of person that I was. He wanted me to change for him and it was impossible.

In more ways than one, he wanted someone who was a pushover.

I was opinionated. I was optimistic. I was open. I was none of which he wanted but I made myself available to him because I wanted him no matter the circumstances, the pain and the unrequited love.

That was my mistake.

When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.

I keep this in mind whenever I’m down. Whenever I feel like I’ve lost everything, I remind myself that when life is taken, another will be given. When we lose someone, someone else will come by.

It’s time for me to move on from unrequited love. I was a fool to think and hope that perhaps, I can make him see how much I love him but in turn, he took advantage of that love. He took it, knowing that I wouldn’t say no to anything. He exploited me, and he wanted my love to only be for him without returning mine.

We need to know when we deserve better and when we need to move on. For me, I’m moving on and moving along because I know that now that I’ve lost him, someone else will come into my life and take me.

That is all that I hope for.

It was completely my fault that I got hurt in the process of pursuing unrequited love. This is my punishment and whilst I welcome it with open arms, I accept that I need to forgive myself.

I like to think that he is my first love. I had never felt so much for anyone before in my life and this feeling, I love it. But it’s destructive for both him and I, and I prolonged it for as long as I could just for a few hours of happiness. That was my biggest mistake and I need to learn to forgive myself for it.

To err is human, to forgive is divine.

Forgiving oneself is the most divine intervention they can ever give themselves.

as i sit here

As I sit here in this cafe writing stories of my life, I start to wonder of how my life miraculously came to be.

Sometimes, there are questions that you ask yourself. Things that don’t seem anything out of the ordinary or odd but when you really question them, you start to wonder if it’s by fate or something else that things happen.

I believe in predestination and I believe in fate. I believe that everything has been planned out accordingly for us and all we have to do is follow the path set out because if we stray, we lose who we are.

As I sit here, I wonder how I met the people I did and how they impacted my life. I’ve met people who held me as I cried over grief and loss, I’ve met people who smiled when I told them jokes as part of my daily humor and I’ve met people who negatively impacted me to the point of bad consequences.

These people, no matter how big or small, affected me as a person and as I sit here, I start to realise that they shaped me as a person and how I came to be.

I once thought I was in love, a long time ago. In turn, it made it hard for me to let go of him even when we barely knew each other all too well and in turn, it made me difficult to love anyone for years. My standard for boys became too high that I turned anyone and everyone away, comparing him to them. It made it hard for me to find anyone I could call my significant other.

As I sit here in this cafe writing this three years later, I can only say that I fell in love once again, for the first time since him. Only this time, it’s real love and not one that was fantasized out of what I knew of him.

This new person in my life doesn’t return my affections but he claims to equally care as much for me. I love him as I could someone I potentially wanted to spend my life with but his happiness comes first to me, and if he’s happy with being just my friend then I will be just as happy. I believe that he belongs in my life better like this than to completely lose him over my selfishness to keep him to myself.

He shapes part of what I do with my life.

My happiness is co-dependent on him among other things, and he makes me want to be a better person. Granted there are traits about him that I immensely dislike, I learn to ignore the bad of the people around me and instead focus on their good because one or two bad traits do not make a person bad. Their worth is more than what we think when we look down on them.

This is what shapes me as a person. I choose and learn to appreciate the good in people because that’s how we should live our lives; as someone who sets out an example to appreciate the goodness in people than the bad.

As I sit here in this cafe, I think about my friends whom I’ve never met in my life. I have known them for three years, and I know that three years ago, I was at my prime.

A girl I’ve known since she was fourteen, lives in the USA and she has had meaningful and important conversations with me about political movements across the world. Her knowledge transcends that of her age and it inspires me to want to know more, to remain knowledgeable and that there is no limit to what we can learn. She in more ways than one, reminds me that there is nothing to stop me from doing what I can and want.

My best friend who resides in Croatia, whose journey from his first year of college to his graduation continuously supports me in ways that while it holds no meaning in my life, it molds me to remain true and never lose myself. He keeps me real and grounded, to always remember my roots and to never forget what I was before. He never listens to my rants about boys, he was bad at listening about my pleas for help in lieu of my father’s death and he loves talking about himself but despite everything, he is someone that understands me as I understand him.

And we fit together like peas and carrots.

The people around us shapes us in ways if we just think about it.

As I sit in here in this cafe, my mind wanders to things that don’t seem significant to others but they are to me. People are significant no matter how big or small because they influence our minds, actions and personality. They shape and mold us to become what we are, and it’s often up to us to decide how we take the impact they make on our lives.

I appreciate the comings and goings of the people around me and as anyone should, they should equally appreciate life as it is and see the good side to people instead of the bad.

We live a full life when we make people feel good about themselves for the things that they are rather than the things they are not because that’s what makes them appreciate you as much.

taking control of my life

I realised many things the day my father died.

One, I lost everything and two, my life was going to spiral out of control.

Both of which are true, and both of which made me fall into this pit of potential depression. I admit one thing; I had thought about death many times since then. And I always asked myself what would happen if I was gone, because we rarely imagine how life would be without us.

Would it be better or for the worse?

I digress.

I lost control of many things in my life the day my father died. I lost control of my emotions as I sit on the bathroom floor pleading for help in silence. I lost control of the way I acted around people, from being the person who always told the truth to everyone no matter how harsh, to being the person who accepted things and remained patient no matter how cruel the world was.

Many times, I find myself staring at nothing, wondering how all this came to be. I see nothing in the future that is worth living for anymore, and I think about giving up on my family several times as well. But I know I cannot, because they depend a lot on me for many things.

At twenty years old, I’m made to make calls to insurance companies, handle simple visa matters for relatives, made to deal with much and it suffocates me. I admit this much, and I know this much. I know that it stresses me out to the point that I’m tired of life now.

I feel like my life is spiraling out of control, and fast.

I fell in love, and as quickly as I did, he was quick to say he didn’t return my affections.

One of the reasons he admitted to, I can’t love someone who doesn’t love herself.

And it’s true, I don’t. I hate the person I’ve become in the short months since my father’s death but I refuse to keep blaming his death for everything that’s happened in my life. I refuse to let it be the reason that I’m failing.

I’ve always wanted to do many things, and I’ve never gotten around to it even before he died. I cannot be blaming him for things that I couldn’t do before and now. I cannot keep blaming him for the rest of my life. He is at rest, and he deserves the peace.

I’m taking back the control in my life. Even when times feel like I’m losing control, I need friends to remind me that I’m in control and it’s my life. I have perfect control over everything. I just need to start somewhere.

For me, I shouldn’t start with the people around me. I don’t have to make them happy or put them first.

For me, I need to start with myself and put myself first. I need to try and be a better person not for others, but for myself.

I’ve always been self-conscious of my appearance, weight and other small things and it’s time I took care of it.

I started coming up with a skincare routine; washing my face twice a day with facial, face masks once a day everyday, night cream and day cream. All of it essential to getting good skin.

My diet has always been a problem. Fast food and instant noodles are part of my daily diet, and that needs to change. I drink soda and soft drinks more than I do water, and it’s affecting my health that I can feel it.

Taking back control of your life doesn’t always mean getting your shit together straight away like in the movies. It means to improve that version of yourself to become something better, and to keep improving until you’re someone that you’re happy with. It means that you’re doing something with what you have instead of letting them crumble down to waste. It means amidst the support of family and friends, you’re heeding the advice that you’re given and accepting that help is essential in this part of your life.

I do not have depression. I know that I don’t, but sometimes, I feel like I go through this depression stage that makes it hard to explain.

But I want to take it away, to improve and take back control of my life that spiraled out of control so quickly.

I miss my life seven months ago when my father was still alive. Seven months without him felt like seven years. I cried daily for the first four, and in the last three, I met someone whom I fell in love with, who pulled me out of depression. He did not cure my depression, but he helped me understand that there is more to life than just sadness and darkness.

Granted, he sometimes contributes to my depression stage, he tries to help in small ways. He thinks that I don’t appreciate them but I do. I appreciate them, and it makes it hard to not love even more but that’s how I deal with unrequited love. I don’t try to appreciate something that isn’t meant to be as such.

Never be afraid to ask for help. Never be afraid to speak out to someone you know would listen. Never fail to understand that you don’t always have to confide in best friends. Never forget that strangers are better listeners than friends. Never forget that you are not alone.

It starts with yourself and how you look at life.

I’m taking back control of my life by starting to improve myself in ways that I never had before. Take care of yourself and you start to realise that difference it makes, the confidence it adds, the esteem that you needed.

What other people think or want doesn’t matter because it doesn’t help you. Let them help you help yourself, and that’s the furthest that they can go to help you.

For me, everything starts with what I want.

experiences

We meet strangers who come and go, some who stay longer and some whom we truly connect with. These people are what makes us who we are, and they help us define the kind of person who choose to be.

Through experiences, I have met many who shaped the person I am today, and I am still being molded into a perfect form. I am nowhere near but I aim to get there one day.

Some of the people who come into our lives change us in ways that we never expect, and sometimes, we have to let go of them.

Like everyday in our lives, I met someone who made quite an impact in the short period of time he was in my life. We only knew each other for three months, and in those months, he changed my life in ways that I had never expected him to.

I fell in love for the first time.

It seems impossible to fall in love so quickly, but I know that it is love. It is not infatuation or lust, and it is real.

It was an experience of a lifetime, one that truly took much out of me. I received nothing in return, and I don’t want anything but to keep feeling this love. Loving with the expectation of being loved back is a waste of time because love is about appreciation, not possession.

We had a blissful few months together, and now, he goes home to America.

Sadness would be the best way to describe my feelings now. I cried telling him that I didn’t want him to leave no matter how much I knew he wanted to. I know that I will miss him but I know that I appreciated him enough through our time together to make it last a lifetime.

Our experiences together, the journey and adventures we undertook do not go in vain as I remember all of them perfectly like the back of my hand. I remember the memories like they happened yesterday and that is all I need to understand that I need to let him go.

Three weeks ago, I had a last date with him. It was the last day that we were going to officially be boyfriend and girlfriend, and it was blissful. It was the expected expiration date that we were waiting for. We knew that we would come to an end and we did. Oh, how we knew and we did everything we could think of in that one date to make it the best date.

Yesterday, it was the last time we saw each other and we parted goodbye as friends instead of lovers.

I still feel the lingering sadness in me. It bothers me and I want to take this pain away but I know taking the pain would mean forgetting and I want none of that. This was the best few months of my recent months and I appreciate him for doing what he did.

What did he do exactly?

Almost seven months ago, my father died unexpectedly from an accident.

It left me emotionally scarred and traumatized, and I could feel myself falling into a pit of depression that I never had before. I had wanted to give up on school, work, life and family. It was the worst few months of my life and I prayed to God to give me someone who could help me through this.

A week later, I met him.

He pulled me out of this depression stage that I was in, and he taught me to get back up on my own two feet. These experiences that he offered me made realise that there was still more to life than just the past. There was the now, and there was the future.

And I was perfectly in control of all of it.

I fell in love for the first time.

He took my breath away when he kissed me for the first time. I remember the first time he held my hand and smiled at me through the dark in the twilight. He made me smile in a way that I hadn’t for months in lieu of my father’s death. I never wanted any of it to end.

But now, we are friends and that’s the best thing that he can do for me now as I fix myself.

Learning to love myself is a step forward. Learning to take back control of my life is another. Learning to plan for my future is the next. Learning to love another would be the last.

I still love him through this breakup and I don’t hate him for telling me that he doesn’t love me back because I understand that love is relative and uncontrolled.

We saw each other for the last time yesterday. We said our forever goodbyes, smile without tears not because it’s over but because it happened. Accept that we will never be but forever remember that we were once.

My experience with him changed my life.

I fell out of potential depression, took back control of my life, laughed for the first time in months, did new things, and fell in love.

Experiences change who we are and it shapes us to be the person of our destiny.

I’m still finding my destiny, but I know that he helped me realise that I’m more than what I think I am and that my destiny is far bigger than what I thought.

I’m still finding my purpose and the universe works ways to help us find it.

grief and loss

Here’s a story that I never forget, of a time long ago witnessed by yours truly.

I was young, unknowing and at that age, completely clueless of the world around me. As someone who was protected by the world, I sought to discover much on my own only to be taught that this world is not always rainbows and sunshine.

Over a decade ago, I was with family. At the shopping mall just minutes from our house by train, we were roaming around and browsing through shops like little tourists on vacation. There was much shopping to be done.

I stood outside a store, waiting for my parents to come out when I see a little girl, much younger than I was, running out a store. She trips and falls flat on her face. She stays there for a few seconds and looks like she’s going to cry.

Her father comes up to her, stands beside her and without bending down or crouching to be at eye level with her, he only extends his hand down to her with two simple words uttered.

Get up.

To me, they’re as simple as they can get.

Without another word, the little girl grabs her father’s hand and together, they walk off hand-in-hand.

A simple lesson was taught to her that day.

When life knocks you down, you get back up.

Simple, but effective.

I was taught to be independent from an extremely young age. I was taught to do things on my own without expecting help from anyone else but what about grief and loss?

What should be done to help me get back up on my feet?

Loss is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone because of the underlying meaning behind it.

Loss means forever.

This April, I loss my father in an accident. He died as quickly as it happened, unknowing to me a week before it did that I would be fatherless.

I grieved for months.

Grief helps us cope with loss but what does coping really mean? Is it means of forgetting or accepting?

I questioned that for a long, long time.

Given my work and occupation as a student, I was given a lot of encouragement and love from colleagues and teachers but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t ready to get back into the field and I wasn’t happy with how things were as opposed to before.

I blamed my unhappiness and failures in the past five months on my father’s death. And I kept doing it because I was unable to be strong and to cope.

How do I get back up on my feet?

Grief and loss turned me into a moody, lifeless person. I once had the world in my eyes and all that was left is now emptiness and sorrow.

I had almost wanted to give up on life, work, school and family.

I prayed for a different outcome in life.

To give and receive, to be given life when one was taken.

In turn, I was taken on this whirlwind of journey with someone who showed me what life truly meant from a different perspective.

What was it about this person who gave me meaning to keep on going, to live as life has offered me and to do best rather than do enough? He showered me with compliments, crude advice, and drove me to insanity before bringing me back down to help me understand that I was strong enough to handle it.

Today, I no longer grief and blame loss for many things.

I realize the control I have over my own life and it was a great portion of it.

When I wake in the morning, instead of feeling anguish and sadness, I’m filled with the drive to do something greater. Instead of expecting hope and happiness to drop onto my lap, I strive for it.

How did I cope with the grief and loss?

I let someone into my life and he pulled me out of my depression state. He showed me his side of the world and I showed him mine.

To be protected from the world, from its losses had made me weak. It had taken my energy and brought me down but one person pulled me back up onto my feet.

Today, I have accomplished much more than I had hoped for in the past score of my life.

With this loss that I had felt, it had made me stronger with the help of someone who made me realize what life was truly about. He, who helped me understand the future and he, who taught me how to think for my own.

He, who helped me grief over loss of family while learning to stand up from it.

If I had to do the same with my children, I would do what my own parents did to me. I would protect them from the world, raise them to be independent and knowledgeable.

Before releasing them into the wild.

the unknown sea

In my travels to become a writer, I’ve come across so many people from different walks of life that help me understand that this world works in strange ways.

I’ve often questioned the stories of people, those untold soliloquies that they hide under their facade for the public, and most of the time, they end up being stories that you least expect. They have stories of their past, hidden truths all that if asked, would be revealed to us.

All we have to do is listen to their voices.

Time, is of essence. Time, in its own way, teaches us lifelong lessons that bring the best or the worst out of us. It gives us the opportunity to learn and create knowledge that help shape ourselves and the future.

Three years ago, I traveled four hours from the heart of the city in Western Australia down South towards a popular tourist destination.

I sat in the backseat while my parents are up front, enjoying the fresh, cool Autumn air from the unwound window. The radio plays a song on repeat for the past hour but it’s Adele, courtesy of my mother’s playlist.

“Why did you choose to come to this place, out of many places?”

My father’s question never fails to make me wonder myself.

I’d heard of the place only from someone that I once thought I loved. I traveled from Singapore to Australia, thinking that I might be given the opportunity to see him. My heart was instead broken but I remember his words clearly that still resonates within me.

You should go to Margaret River. It’s my favourite place on Earth.

At that point, all I wanted to do was just go there and see the place for myself.

The journey was long, lengthy but comfortable. I was traveling to a place that seemed like it would have been worth the time.

I was not disappointed.

Quaint would have been the best word to describe the town that we stepped foot. It was quiet, simple and more than not, extremely small. It was the town that you knew everyone knew everyone, and even its name — Dunsborough — gave off the impression that it was tiny European style town with two supermarkets, a Target and other miscellaneous shops.

We walked along the town from one end to the other in under an hour. It wasn’t big, to begin with and we didn’t stop anywhere much because the shops were mostly closed by then. Our journey had started early in the morning and we had arrived later than expected.

What was so great about this town?

What made it his favourite place on Earth?

It was a question that I pondered on for days, weeks, years. I couldn’t comprehend what was it about that town that entranced me. Was it the scenic view, the fresh smell of air or was it the friendly people who smiled at me wherever I went?

The answer came to me soon enough.

I realised that this was the life that I wanted. Simple, away from the city and quaint. It was quiet, peaceful and nature surrounded us to the extent of caves being a thirty minute drive away.

While I was there, we visited underground caves, lighthouses that separated two oceans and even then, it was enough for me to be convinced that this was my favourite place on Earth too.

The unknown sea, that lighthouse that changed my perspective on this world remains to be ingrained deep in my mind. Its waves that crash so magnificently ring in my ears and the smell of sea breeze continues to invade my nostrils as though I was just there yesterday.

I fell in love with the sea that day.

The dark, grainy waters that could envelope a ship whole and eat it still. The view so vast I could manage to look from one end of the sea to the other and still find myself searching for the edge of the world. I fell in love with the sound that I once feared and this made me understand so much more about the person that I believed to have once loved. What he loved, became what I loved.

My love was not affected by my affections for him, but I understood him enough to understand why he loved it.

His untold soliloquy remains a mystery but I know one thing: I understand his love for a place that I grew to equally love.

An unknown sea.

be you or be your better?

I’ve spoken to many people in my life, many of which suffered from an envy-syndrome that drove them insane out of their minds. It was a mix of anguish, indistinguishable from failure with envy of the people better than them.

I quote some lines from a writer whom I haven’t heard of till the point I’d seen his quote which changed my life for most part of it;

“The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”

It is by far one of the most surreal quotes I have ever seen because it seems too good to be true, one of which I couldn’t believe was so relatable but yet, at the same time, happening all over the world. It is insane, on most of its part not because of its contents but because of its veracity that it is actually happening in real time.

However, mostly revolving around the lives of the people around me, I become aware that they are too consumed by this need in them to prove themselves better than a person better than them. It is not by their subconscious that they are aware of their doing but it is a human need to establish the alpha-mode on that certain something.

My friend, whom I had met online and am still in good communications with him even though we live two continents away, suffer from depression. I understand his situation no matter how much I have never experienced it, but we were deep in a conversation earlier on today about how weird it is to hear someone call our names only to be meant as someone else.

He then tells me that he’s used to it – used to having people call his name only to mean someone else because there was once another person of the same name who was the on basketball team in his school, a straight-A student in his AP classes and had been president of several clubs.

I noticed the envy in the tone of my friend’s, one that dripped with so much jealousy it wasn’t easy to hide – a need to prove and be better than the other person. He admitted to wanting to be president of the clubs he was part of, wanting to get straight As in his AP classes and just wanted to be the one people meant when they called his name just so he could be better.

To him, it was an envious feeling of someone who was better than him.

To me, it seemed like someone who only wanted to better the other person out of spite.

It seems that we are all so obsessed with trying to be someone who is better than us in many aspects – an idol, as most would say – but it is not what we are most of the time. My friend, whose name shan’t be revealed, hated the idea of being himself. Despised and disgusted by the aspect of being who he was because he was unable to find something he was good at comparable to society’s needs and standards.

I reached out to him from afar, telling him that there is no point trying to be someone he was not. People are different in more ways than one.

Why do we spend so much time trying to be the person we are not when we can spend our time doing the things we are good at? We shouldn’t try to apply our skills that we had separately learned from our upbringing to the same thing that the other person had learned from a different upbringing.

My main point is this; it is better for us that we accept ourselves as who we are, no matter how much we are embarrassed of it. Why, some people ask?

I had done a social poll once, a long time ago on a social networking website; Twitter – regarding our self-reflection of the kinds of people that we all were.

I had asked, “Would you want your child(ren) to be the exact same kind of person that you are now?”

I had not expected many to vote no because of how people were so confident in the things they said or did without much remorse or thought, but it showed one thing that made me certain: People, especially teenagers and young adults, are not happy with who they are because they know they can do better than what they are doing now.

The question is how? Or even so, why?

I had always told people to be proud of who they were even if others may try to bring them down emotionally and mentally. It is a good idea to live by but sometimes, I take my words back. I do it in circumstances where it seems apparent that the person could do better than what they were.

Some people, those who are not emotionally as strong, like my friend who had thought that he was not good at a single thing because he spent half his life trying to be another person who wasn’t a single bit like him and stronger in other aspects, was and are pressured into thinking that something considered popular or within societal norms are the only things that are important when it is not true at all. He was pressured into thinking that what he was wasn’t enough to fit into what we considered “socially acceptable” and as a result, could not get over his depression.

He could do better than aiming for someone who was diagonal to the person that he was. He could do better than someone who was just as capable as he was, only that he refused to embrace who he was. The most important thing was; he barely knew who he was in the first place.

To me, knowing who you are is always the most important step to success because you know what you’re supposed to do to achieve what is most reachable for yourself, rather than reach for something that is already in someone else’s hand. I have had many experiences of trying to be someone I wasn’t, many of which I had failed in. But I take no regrets in the time I had spent because they were footsteps to leave and show me that I wasn’t ready or that I wasn’t meant to be. It pushed me beyond my limits and reach for something that I could do – writing.

Never in the entirety of my life have I ever looked into the bowl of achievements of someone else in jealousy, but rather in good will. I took it as the motivation that if he or she was capable of doing something, so was I. I never took it as a stepping stone to try and challenge someone who was already good at what they were, because what if I had failed? It would only bring me down and convince myself that I was not good in anything.

Our desire to become our better is a distraction for who we really are. We do not become our better – we are empowered by our better. I am empowered by a Malaysian writer who used to be an average girl three years ago, and over the course of her writing and aspirations, she now writes columns for a Malaysian newspaper online. I do not plan to write columns for newspapers nor do what she does, but I take it to heart that if she is capable of doing something that can inspire the minds of many, that I can do it too. I convince myself that I can become the writer and author of many books, and to add a bit of fun to my bucket list; possibly write an article for TIME magazine.

People confuse their betters as someone to compete with rather than someone to be inspired by. To be in a situation as such is compromising and difficult to get out of, especially when your mind challenges you to such desires because you never want to stop. To me, stop and think what you’re really doing and if the success of being better than your better is worth it, because once you do, you stop because you’ve accomplished what you need to without the passion of it but rather in the spite.

Always, always remember that everyone is different, but our betters are who make us the people we are because they push us into doing what we need to, rather than what we want to and it is them who will always look into our bowls to see if we have enough, rather than to see if they have as much or more than us.

And never forget it.

The Past, Present and Future

My past has always been a shadow of the being that I am today. Regardless, I learned from it well despite the fluctuations of fortune as well as problems that arose in between then and now.

When I was younger, I took pride in the thought ingrained in me that I was the only one who mattered and that I came first before anyone else. It was a mentality that grew from habit fitly from my being the last child and daughter between my parents who pampered me much more as opposed to the harsher conditions that my two older sisters had to endure due to the early years of my parents young marriage and simple wealth.

Reading in between the lines, I was not prepared for what laid ahead of my years when I stepped into primary school at 7 years old. I learned from the good and the bad, meeting different people from different walks of life but as I was young then, I still hadn’t quite thought about things not pertaining to me too much. Throughout the years, I grew to learn the people who were good for me made me know who I wanted to be. I grew up to meet newer people who stood by me in circumstances that I had once stood alone and I met people who had a greater influence on my life.

Now in the present, the same people remain but it was, however, quickly decided that I store the ones I had met and are good people but bad for me somewhere untouchable yet reachable whenever necessary. Strong words, harsher life. I live in the moment of the present, as how I am writing this article now but as each minute passes, I grow wiser than I was before because of the thoughts that enter my mind as I think about the next chapter in life.

My present is ever-changing, because of the people who come and go easily but where does it lead me – how does it affect my future?

The future is unwise to predict. As I always say to those who question the future, that it is always better to strive for what you want but never expect that it should happen lest it fails.

It is, however, expected that the future will continue to persist as will time but what is our future? We think so selfishly for ourselves that we forget that we will not live forever.

I was, yet again, walking down the streets in the city when I witnessed an elderly man in his 60s beside a young woman of about her late 30s walking. And holding her hand was a child – presumably her son. They walked past me without a simple glance in my direction, one of which I was not bothered by, but it was however, in that moment, that I realised something befitting.

The epiphany came instantly.

That child will be our future, as how the other children of this generation will. They are the kings and queens of the future because when the time comes for us to grow as old as the elderly man in our later years, we step down to allow the younger generation to become the kings and queens.

My conclusion is simple and comes in two forms; Our parents are the past, we are the present and our children are the future. Our parents were the kings and queens once, we are the kings and queens now and our children will be the queens and queens in the future.

As I write this, my thoughts stray to another – how will the future of the people around me fair? How will my future of my own child be when my future is his present?

I am, by all means, stricken by the ideology that we are consumed by our own lives, too engrossed in the insight of our businesses that we don’t understand the veracity of the truth; we never stop to worry about the future of the others around us. We live in the moment, the present as how it is, with the people we are with, rather than stop to share our plans with someone we don’t know.

Our lives are intertwined and each day, we share our future with different people as how we did our past and do our present but we never notice because we are only consumed by ourselves.

You never know that the man sitting next to you on the train could be professor of one of your classes in university, or that he could be the man who saves your life when you’re in a dire need of help. We share our moments only with ourselves but never together, only focusing on individualism that should, while exist, coexist with others.

The past, present and future are ours, but we should share it between ourselves while we are still the kings and queens of our time. When we allow the next generation to take the world on, we are no longer but followers of their reign as they take on positions that once used to be ours.

My past has always been a shadow of my being today, but my future will always be good because of the things I’ve learned the hard way before. I stand now in this time and moment with the hands of only a few beside me but as time progresses, perhaps more will be there or less will but it is always good to share my future with someone I perceive to be good for me, no matter the time or place.

Looking At The Bigger Picture: Untold Soliloquies

I’ve always looked upon others with a simple question; why?

To a person unknown to me, it would seem bitter and heartless but from my perception, it seeks out the truth from what I only see. Looking at the bigger picture, I see what actions say as opposed to the words that only speak little.

My life has a single meaning to it; to strive for what I want despite the setbacks of anything and everything – but what does it mean to others? What do the lives of others mean to me? In all of honesty, very few people have a special place where I keep them but it matters not because there will always be space for others.

Albeit, looking at the bigger picture of my meets in life, I have become wary of allowing a significant number of people into my life but only because I have lost more than I can imagine. The lives of the people who were once very dear to me are now lost souls – living or dead – but lost, nonetheless.

The bigger picture is this; caution is what I keep by me always.

Everyone you meet has a story – be it a sad one, depressing, happy or tragic – we are all entitled to our own story. However, as strangers who pass you everyday, we are unaware of their bigger picture, the one that hides all truth and only speaks through words. We are, by our subconscious, ignorant and nonchalant to the likes of others who do not matter to us.

So this article is mainly, for those who have stories untold and unread.

I was walking down the streets in the city once when I stopped to watch a young man in a suit offer a bedraggled elderly woman in tattered clothes some money. To the public eye, they could only come to two conclusions; the man is kind and the woman is homeless.

It was, however, only a general statement. I stood where I did and asked one simple question; why? 

Why was the man so kind, and why was she homeless? In these situations do we look upon the words and stories not spoken and ask the questions about the people who do not matter to us. Many looked on the woman, some offering her money without giving her another glance but have many wondered why was she placed in such a predicament?

The life of the elderly woman is of no concern to me, but her bigger picture was, however, a question. The young man, suited and seemingly well-off, took thirty seconds off from his busy day to dig into his pocket for small notes of cash to offer to a woman who mattered not to him.

Why?

Did he at one point of time feel and experience life the way the woman did, or was he brought up to understand the hard work that had brought him where he was today? Was he, by any chance, a kind man not by oppression from society and parents but by choice and past experience?

These lives are the ones with stories untold from the start. Soliloquies that only they themselves understand.

We come to the general conclusion of situations when we know not of the truth behind every action and every word. We do not choose to see what is not shown because it is easier to not question why when the people involved do not matter to us. We do not question for reasoning but yet choose to come to a conclusion only obvious to the public eye.

I have spent days alone enough to think of what it means to understand the meaning of the bigger picture. It is as often, hidden by nature or sometimes by choice, but hidden mostly because vulnerability is threatened. Exposing your story can cause both positive and negative reactions – both to be expected from human nature – but just because it is hidden does not mean one does not question it.

We are too engrossed with our own lives to bother knowing the lives of others but with every step, you pass the chance of knowing a different story as how you pass strangers without questioning the simple question of why?

I have, by all means, discovered the true meaning to my life ever since I underwent a ten-minute talk about differences and bigger pictures, courtesy of my father whom I had learned from to accept and understand people from different walks of life. It is by this discovery, that I understood why I do what I do.

This larger insight on a person’s life is more than stories that changes a person, even if it does not matter to you. I could have walked away the day I saw the suited man and elderly lady but instead, I chose to stay and watch because it changed what I thought about the people around me. I was given a chance to question a man’s actions and a woman’s well-being because without it, I would have not understood what it meant to be in both their shoes.

Both their lives may not have mattered to me, as how I would not have mattered to them but the bigger picture, however, intertwines us all into a story in itself.

And we must always question the story.