Tag Archives: pain


I’ve been meaning to write this earlier but I have to be honest, I struggled — not due to matters of confidentiality, but of anger, frustration, a truckload of hate, and a loss for words.

I spoke of my decision to resign and join a different company altogether at my work performance review just two weeks ago, and was empathetically advised by both my superiors that I would have to prepare myself for all sorts of office politics imaginable that I would face in a huge corporation as the one I was going to, and that it will be nothing like my current workplace — petite and sans the politics.

This April will officially mark my seven years of service right here. I have been witness to many that have come and gone, and more than that have asked what kept me for seven years. For those who have read my earlier posts — this and this, you might have inevitably deduced that my work place is a hellhole. No, it isn’t, really. Like all other legit, registered companies, we serve a purpose. And for six years of my life, I have set out with our team to realise that purpose. In fact, most of us give our 250% to meet the unwritten expectations of our superiors. But for the last leg of it, I started to realise that loving what I did didn’t necessarily and automatically mean that it would make me happy.

I loved what I was doing, but by the end of my sixth year, the good people that contributed to it have mostly, if not all, left and moved on to greater things. I felt like I was in a rut. My ex-colleagues were out there building their lives with bricks that were less decorated, less glamorous, less jet setting, and less luxurious, but they were all nonetheless so much happier. It struck me that that was the sense of greatness I was searching for within the things that I have been doing all these years but never found. It made me re-evaluate my life only to realise the sad reality that in place of greatness, I was hoarding gossips, lies, self-centredness, pride, and a love for the things that never ever once mattered to me. It broke me when I realised these things defined me more than I’d wish to admit.

So in 2014, I set out to weed my life of things that didn’t add to it — this career included.

You see Superior 1, you’ve been a generous boss, but it stops there. What I’ve been trying to make you understand is that the many who work for you are not hard up for your generosity. All the extras are well, extras. Instead, buck up. Be a good paymaster. Don’t deny them what they are truly worth, and don’t delay your payments. Everyone’s got their bills to pay, and mouths to be fed, and whether it concerns you to say the least, they deserve the wage they’ve put in the work for.

Over the course of the seven years that I’ve toiled for you and your company, I can safely say that you don’t know what it truly means to appreciate another human being. You’ve always spoken highly of yourself — of your perfect sense of ‘friend-conscience’, your travels that have taken you to so many places and seen so many cultures, your intellectual affluence, your selflessness for animals and the helpless people around, your certifications, acknowledgments, titles and rewards garnered from your studies and courses, and of the many consulting job opportunities you were offered by “tons of clients who desperately need you to rescue their dying publications.” You are undeniably good at what you do. But if I may say, even with all that travelling, all that certifications and titles that are supposed to set the educated apart from the less discerning ones, you are by far, the most uneducated person I have known. You lack everything that makes a human, human — conscience. You have none, and yet you sleep well at night. I am genuinely flabbergasted.

I remember my early days working with you. When a client cancelled her subscription to our design services, she spoke to me separately and requested that I continued to write for her simply because she liked what I did for her. Out of respect and courtesy, I spoke to you about it and you told me to go ahead with it because you always want to allow your staff the opportunity to grow. Two days after, you sat me down and told me to be cautious of this client simply because you heard from the grapevine that she had mentioned to some of your mutual friends that I had begged for the writing job she actually offered me. I slept on it for over a week, and I soon realised it all didn’t make much sense. I was merely a copywriter to her. In fact, what I was writing for her didn’t and wouldn’t actually incredibly make or break her business in any way. What I did for her was just a means of perfecting what was already in place. I thought to myself that she had nothing to gain by having me as her copywriter — aside from perfect grammar and a spell check. But you had everything to gain if I did eventually reject the job and look up to you as my ‘saviour’.

That was when I first made up my mind to question to death everything that you would tell me, which proved itself as one of my life’s most valuable decision.

My heart goes out to one of our ex-designers. In my opinion, she was the bravest amongst us all. She decided early on that she wanted out, and went on ahead of us to experience her exit; one that she never knew would cripple her for a good two months, and scar her for life. You see Superior 1, none of us were prepared for what ensued along with her exit. And if there were anyone who was the least prepared, that would have been her. We all knew she looked up to you, to your success and your stature. She wanted to do good works because your approval of it would make her feel good about her talents — all of which are good things. But instead of building her and egging her on, you tore her down and stripped her of every bit of dignity she had when she spoke of resigning. Instead of wishing her well with her future endeavours, you chose to speak ill of her and word quickly spread like a plague of death. Instead of celebrating her ambitiousness, you chose to ostracize and pick on her for actually making a decision that was beneficial to her self-growth. Instead of making her believe that her respect for you was worth it, you chose to be the ugliest, most dishonourable figure of what a superior, let alone a human, could ever be. I know you don’t need our respect in any way, but as a person of such a high stature, it baffles me as to why you’d stoop so low just to make a person’s life a living hell.

Months, and even years after her leaving, you still had a way to bring her name up in conversations, to maim whatever was left of her reputation that wasn’t already destroyed. She had a passion for fashion and publications, but you made sure she had nowhere to go by pulling all your strings and telling them the nastiest, most untrue stories about her so that they wouldn’t hire her. All these made you feel good. It fed your ego. It validated the lies you made about her. It felt like the right thing to do, for you.

And through it all, it wasn’t as if I was without fault. I was there the entire time all of these happened. I watched as she burnt down, and you rose to be very pleased and contented with the path of emotional devastation you set her on. I, just like everyone else, knew better that there was nothing that could be done to make things better, so I turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to stay out of things. Guilty — and all of these followed me for the next few years, right up until when I decided to embark on a search for something greater, a year ago.

I wasn’t pinched for this new job I would soon go to, as you and Superior 2 think is the case. If you would take time to read this, you would at least realise that I was not enjoying my work as much in May of 2014. In actual fact, the dissatisfaction dates back even earlier, just sans the written documentation of it until the month of May. I wasn’t particularly looking to job hop, but I was very open to that possibility. However, what I was keener for was to take on bigger, better, and more portfolio-worthy jobs that didn’t just seem like stuff you didn’t want to pay someone else to do. But those things never happened. Instead, I had an ad-selling quota to fulfil. When your designers underperformed and I went the extra mile to stand in the gap with whatever design skills I had, you said I was wasting my time. You didn’t even give me the opportunity to explore this part of the job just because you thought this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. Did you know that seven years into the job have robbed me of what I initially loved about it — styling, coordinating and executing photoshoots? You made me a glamorous Project Editor by profession, but I could never answer when someone asked what was it really that I did for a living.

I write copy, proofread the exact shit I write, check designs, sell ads, prepare invoices, chase clients for paymentI guess?

In place of shoots, I got the accounts to worry about it. I mean, what Project Editor does billings and chase payments?

But it’s been seven years I’ve toiled and laboured for you and this company, and I’ve never made a peep about these ridiculous tasks. But on January 30 2015, you didn’t just give me one, but too many reasons in fact, to never see you in the same light ever again. When I witnessed the extent of wickedness you had inside you when our ex-designer left, I couldn’t say I didn’t already have an idea of what would hit me when I decide to leave. But I was naïve enough to think it would be different because I played all my cards of employee loyalty while I worked for you, and I thought it was enough. I couldn’t be more wrong. As I write this, I am but barely surviving all the hostility and nasty chatter that have overtaken me, thanks to you (and the existence of Whatsapp chat rooms, unfortunately). As I write this, I am in that phase of fighting against every thing you are, and everything that you have intentionally set in my path to break me as I serve my two months of notice. As I write this, I find myself desperately coveting the prayers of people I never thought I would need prayer from. But above all, as I write this, I realise you are everything that I do not want to ever become.

Superior 1, this is you — vile, malicious, intemperate, proud, deceitful, hypocritical, short sighted, and unjust. And sometimes, people can see how bad you try to be like Superior 2, who has earned for herself honest respect and regard, but try as you may, you will never be like her. Don’t crave the kind of employer-employee relationship that Superior 2 keeps even after her employees have left, because you don’t deserve them, and you don’t know how to appreciate them anyway. The only thing that you have superseded Superior 2 at is being a foul blabbermouth.

I remember the time you asked me to tell you three things you could work on to be a better boss. I know, sounds almost unbelievable that a person like you would ask me this, right? Anyway, I recall telling you that you should channel your generosity to those who deserve it. I told you that you also needed to correct those who need correction, and learn to give praise where it is due too. That was the only one I seem to care to remember, but my point is, it’s so typical of you to ask for an opinion but never actually taking time to sleep on it. As a person who is so short sighted to refuse correction, how do you even bring yourself to think yourself fit as a role model to your team?

I can say without a doubt that you are neither a leader, nor a mentor. You are an empty vessel.

Someone asked me if I ever feared getting into trouble should you chance upon my blog. I think I do. I think that fear is inevitable, but secretly, I kind of hope you’d actually come to reading this. You’d probably serve me a lawyer’s letter like you did this other ex-designer of ours, and I’ll probably take it down. We all know the drill.

You are only as good as your team, Superior 1. To you, everyone is dispensable. And unfortunately for me, it took me seven years — too long, in fact — to realise that you are just as dispensable. I have lost all respect for you as a person. Frankly, I am just short of wishing the worst things to befall you, only because that would be me, stooping to your unscrupulous ways. Instead, I thank you for showing me the person that I don’t want to become. Thank you for being the asshole that I never knew existed, and reminding me never to judge a book by its cover. Thank you for putting me through all this drama. I choose to think you are doing me a favour and toughening me up for the office politics I was told of to exist only in larger corporations like the one I’m off to. It’s really funny how you’d think your company is without politics when you are the only reason it actually exists though.

If there were one thing you were right about when we spoke at my review, it would be that the new corporation I’d soon be part of would be nothing like my current workplace.

Thank God.

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I quit my job of seven years, and if anyone thought that seven years of service deserves a good exit, to say the least – oh boy, are we wrong.

As with every other staff that quit this company, it’s always ugly. And my seven years isn’t spared of the ugly exchange of texts, gossip, and hostility either, unfortunately. I am beyond disappointed that I really couldn’t care less now.

I am still serving my two months of notice as I write. In fact, it’s only the beginning. I am eagerly counting down to the evening of April 1 – when freedom is finally mine. Every night, I go home feeling like I just want to climb into bed, die there and not have to face another day in my office. I’m not even exaggerating. I hate this place already.

I’ve never felt so vulnerable before, and I’ve never prayed so hard before. I remember I once prayed that God wouldn’t humble me by taking away my job, but now, all I hear myself saying is ‘God shield me. Give me patience, and just shut out every talk around me. I don’t want to know about it, I don’t want to care. Just two months and I’m out. Please make this as easy for me, God.’

Seven lessons I’ve since learnt…

1. ALWAYS BE PREPARED BUT ALSO KNOW THAT YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO PREPARED I was, because I’ve seen how my superior would just tell her staff to pack and leave the very next day, so I had my exit plan ready. But then there’s always the loophole of not ever being able to be completely prepared – my superior sprung a surprise and requested that I get all my jobs sorted by month end, and she’s ready to release me a month earlier. Sounds legit. The catch? She wants my new company to pay her for the one month that she’s releasing me early. Please, don’t even try to make sense of this.

2. PEOPLE WILL TALK ABOUT YOU Especially those who constantly talk about every other person. I’ve always understood this, but I always seemed to find the stupidity in me to think it would be different for myself. Why, you ask? I don’t know. Maybe because I always give people the benefit of doubt that they’ll react different, be better, or whatever. Okay, I’m naïve. Enough said.

3. EVERYONE IS DISPENSABLE This perhaps, rings truer for china-man companies – who are more often than not, known to be crude, unscrupulous, incredibly calculative, and narrow-minded. Even they have told you many times that you are indispensable, never for a second believe it. To them, regardless of how great a worker you’ve been, they’ll never truly appreciate you as a person. It’s sad but they don’t understand and respect the need for their staff to grow, individually and as a whole with the company. They look at you much like every other piece of equipment in the office. If you call it quits – the sooner they can replace you, the better. Their motto: Keep working, or get out.

4. PEOPLE WHO MIND DON’T MATTER, THOSE WHO MATTER DON’T MIND It’s a cliché saying but this is the real shit that I’ve been having to remind myself of – that these people who add to all the chatter really don’t matter, and those who’ve got my back are with me all the way. Many have been concern of my resignation and its reason but I’ve learn to just shrug the questions off even when I’m so tempted to yell ‘BECAUSE THE WORK CULTURE SUCKS!’, simply because it’s hard to really trust the people around you. Haha. The walls have ears, you know.

5. DON’T DOUBT YOURSELF This, in my opinion, is so easy to speak of but not do, especially when you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s natural that we’d prefer to retreat and keep away from all contact whenever possible. But I ask myself why? Why should I retreat and make it seem like I am guilty of something? Much like a self-fulfilling prophecy, doubting yourself and retreating wills more talk, stares and attention to yourself. So I’ve learn to not give a shit, because the more unfazed I am despite everything that’s happening, the lesser of an entertainment I’d be to them.

6. BE KIND Just because they aren’t to you doesn’t mean that you should throw it right back at them. Instead, see where they are coming from and accept that not everyone is built to handle a crisis the same way. The meaner they are to you, the kinder you should be to them. It’s not even about making amends with them, it’s about learning to be a bigger, better person and rise above the very shitty position you are in. After all, they really only want to see you go down, so don’t allow it. Swim. Float. Do whatever you need to, but be kind.

7. PEOPLE REMEMBER YOU BY THE WAY YOU LEAVE It’s not entirely true when they say people remember you by the way you live. When it comes to quitting a job, people really just remember you by the way you leave. The way you make your exit, the way you bid farewell, will be the only thing they’ll ever recall when they speak about you. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. So whatever it is, leave on a good note. Don’t burn bridges (as much as I would’ve wanted to), and don’t bitch about work or anyone right before you leave. Word gets around, and it will never be pretty. So though the ugly end is almost always inevitable, just do whatever you can to try to minimise all the drama. This is when you learn to bite your tongue, and is also when you truly learn what it means to be humble by keeping your mouth shut even when the accusations come flying at you like fiery arrows.

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Oh God. Don’t let me die a Quasimodo.

I’ve been struggling with really bad posture for about half of my life. To be honest, I don’t remember actually being that way when I was much younger. I recall my sister struggling with her posture (and how we suggested to affix a cross-like structure to her back), but exactly when did I start showing signs of becoming a Quasimodo, I absolutely have no recollection whatsoever.

Aside from the fact that I need so badly to strengthen my back muscles to heave on scuba dive tanks without falling face first, I have also looked to it as a routine to correct my posture. I even got a brace. Actually, two to be precise. And trust me, it’s not the most comfortable piece of posture support you’d ever want to be in. But unfortunately, I am only doing myself a favour so yeaaaaa…no pain, no gain. Okay. Ugh.

It really makes a difference, when you (when I) don’t hunch – your ass is perkier, your boobs look firmer, your frame is stronger, your belly gets sucked in. Well, kinda. And everything else just falls into place. Aaaaaah. How I wished this wasn’t my struggle.

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This year, I turn 27. I’ve learnt so many lessons I’m thankful for, and will never trade them for anything. I know a lesson or two awaits us all at every different phase of our lives, these are mine. What’s yours?

1. NO MATTER HOW BROKEN YOU ARE, YOU WILL HEAL There were two relationships in my life, at two very different phases of my life that caused me to doubt any possibility of getting better. But I’m glad I’m standing. Bruised, but standing. No matter how broken you can be, if healing and getting better is what you want for yourself, it will happen.

2. PEOPLE SHOULD CHANGE, BUT SOME DON’T People should change, and they almost always do, for better or worse. But then there are those who’d rather live in the past ways, never intending to move forward – those are the people you have got to leave behind as you progress in life, whether you like it or not. They’ll drown you out at sea, you know.

3. EVERY FAMILY HAS ITS STRUGGLES Mine, included. And I will never take for granted the strength behind families who put aside their differences to hold each other together, to make forgiveness felt within their household, and above all, to love one another all the same regardless of their shortcomings.

4. WORK-LIFE BALANCE SHOULD BE EVERYTHING Having worked for close to six years now, I have realised that the one thing I don’t want to do without is a work-life balance. It is easy to overlook that balance when you’ve got a fat paycheque coming your way every month, but paying your bills is really just as far as your job would go to sustain you. You only start living when your bills are paid, and you have a life beside work to love.

5. IT’S OKAY TO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU WANT IN LIFE Sometimes, we look far and wide trying to figure out what we want in life, failing to see that occasionally it is good enough for us to know what we do not want in life, and take life in all its possibilities, from there.

6. IT MATTERS WHO YOU ARE WITH Friends or partners alike, it matters. They inevitably contribute to who you become, adding and subtracting along the way. The good ones, they build you. The bad ones, they tear you down. I’m not saying you should size up anyone, but it’s good to take a look at the people you spend a lot of your time with and decide if letting go some would do you more good than harm.

7. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE A SPACE TO CALL YOUR OWN Whether it’s a home, or just a room, having a space you can, in my very own words ‘crawl into and die’ makes a difference to a crappy week. Paint it in your favourite colours, and decorate it any way you like it, like I did. It’s where you will go and find sanity in the midst of insanity.

8. PEOPLE CAN LEARN TO BE KIND They can, but more often that not, only because someone showed them what kindness is. I’ve learnt to pay it forward, in the things I do and say.

9. LIVING, IS THE BEST REVENGE I have realised that sometimes, living is perhaps the best revenge to anyone who has ever hurt you. Just living for yourself and knowing that you’re doing great, not just OK but great, without them and all the shit they’ve been giving you feels like everything you need and more, from a revenge.

10. THERE WILL NEVER BE TOO MANY TATTOOS Never let anyone or anything determine if you should start or stop having tattoos – and in my opinion, not even your faith or the people associated with it.

11. QUITING ISN’T NECESSARILY ALWAYS BAD People always associate quitting with the negative, but in fact, it could just save your life. If it keeps you from burning out, quit. If it keeps your health from deteriorating, quit. If it brings you down, quit. Calling it quits from the right things might save you your sanity.

12. FEAR IS INEVITABLE EVEN WHEN YOU’RE GOOD I had a crazy week that just passed – meetings, shoots and lots of planning. Despite having done all that for the past six years and believing I’m reasonably good at them, I still know what it is like to fear being under-prepared nonetheless.

13. WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS This rings truer than ever for me. I think when one door closes, it actually pushes you out into this open space of everything-ness, or vulnerability that forces you to meet new people and accept new possibilities, and more often than not, it is good.

14. ACCEPTANCE COMES TO YOU WHEN YOU LEARN TO ACCEPT YOURSELF It’s absolutely noble to believe that acceptance will come to you when you learn to accept others, but what about accepting yourself first? I realise I tend to push people away because of the way I see the flaws in myself, and while it isn’t fair to them, it is definitely not fair to myself either. Self-acceptance isn’t preached enough, if I must say.

15. NO AMOUNT OF PREPARATION WILL PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE To the parents or parents-to-be out there, believe this. No amount of teaching and telling will beat allowing your kids to go out there, live their lives and learn from their mistakes. Don’t spare the rod, but don’t keep them in a bubble either.

16. CHURCH IS GOOD FOR YOU, BUT NOT ALWAYS I grew up going to church every Sunday and sometimes, I inevitably feel like it becomes a little society that we enrol ourselves in at. Instead of going out there and being real, we relinquish our fate to a higher being and sit on our laurels praying and hoping for change to happen. There are so many rules and regulations within just four walls, and a whole bunch of judgemental Christian people that sometimes, it just gets too much. Take a breather, and know that it’s okay to walk away from church once in a while.

17. GIVE AS MUCH, AND TAKE AS LITTLE The world is accustomed to giving little and taking a lot. But as cliché as it probably sounds like, it really does feel good to give, more than take. Looking back, my life has its richness it has today, all because I gave. There’s no doubt you’d get taken advantage of, but trust me, it still is much more fulfilling being a giver than a taker.

18. EATING MAKES A LOT OF THINGS BETTER Feast like there is no tomorrow. Eating makes people happier. And I believe that is precisely why they serve food at almost every occasion imaginable – funerals, weddings, parties, and gatherings…you name it. So eat, and eat hearty.

19. BE CRAZY, EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE I was told once before that I took myself too seriously, and I believed it. But I found out the hard way that craziness really sets in with being around the right people – those who allow you to be crazy, and in fact, even encourage it without judging you based on your level of lameness. Everyone needs to let loose.

20. SEE THE WORLD, EVERY CHANCE YOU GET Travel. Every chance you get, travel. Whether you have a lot, or a little, travel. It throws you out into somebody else’s world and culture, and leaves you experiencing a lot more than your world would have offered on its own.

21. FALL IN LOVE AGAIN, NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU GET HURT We all say we’ll never love again when a heartbreak strikes, but I’ve come to learn that love can happen when you allow it to. I’ve learn to not stop falling in love, and above all, to not stop trusting people.

22. MAKE YOUR PARENTS YOUR PRIORITY Every time I sit down with my parents, I’ll notice that they’ve aged a little here and there. It scares me to think I’d lose them some day and so, I try hard to put them before everything else, and to spend as much time with them as I possibly can. They deserve to be a priority.

23. FALL IN LOVE WITH BOOKS “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R. R. Martin. Enough said.

24. WAKE EARLY ON THE WEEKENDS My weekends are scarce. There are weeks that I feel like I’ve gone through without a weekend and it sucks big time, frankly. It’s a simple gesture – waking early, but it really makes a difference when you feel like your weekend’s been maximised and not the slightest bit wasted.

25. WRITE Whether it’s a book, or a journal, a blog or a Question-A-Day rant, write. Writing gives you a certain freedom that nothing else can give – the freedom to confide, to think, to deliberate and to reflect.

26. LEARN TO SAY NO Because this will help you not get burnt out, wear thin or get walked all over. Learning to say ‘no’ has helped me keep a healthy balance between time, effort, people and the matters that truly matter.

27. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN HAPPINESS No one else will truly be interested in your happiness but yourself. There’s only just so much that people can do for you, and I’ve learnt that you’ve really got to go out there and build your happiness. That’s really just how it works.

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In a casual conversation with a friend, she commented, “Keith and Mika’s (names have been changed) relationship is still going strong after all these years huh?” I thought for a while and replied, “They’re very lucky to have found each other at the right time in their lives.”

We always say that there’s a time for everything, and more often than not do we stumble upon the unfortunate event of being at the right place, at the wrong time.

I think a lot of things in life are really matters of time – that crash you evaded because you overslept and missed your flight. That last full-time hire position you missed because you came in to the company a day after the guy who got it. That home you tied your stomach to purchase only to have a better deal open up the next day. That relationship you let slip because you were impatient, only to find that you’re still wanting it after three years and that person has long moved on.

Everything is bound to the hands of time.

If you didn’t already know, Mr. Bentley and I were high school friends. We were the closest sorts of friends who’d do crazy stuff for and with each other. We were each others’ crush. He asked me to prom, I agreed. But we were never an item. I didn’t want to start college alone, so I asked him to come with me when he actually had plans to enrol a semester later. We were still each others’ crush then, until someone pursued me and I decided to go with it. We hardly spoke shortly after that phase. He went to South Adelaide for studies and I was here, and it was the occasional exchange of MSN chats that still determined we were friends, if at all.

It was only after what was about eight years after high school that we got in touch again. And became an item, we did. But perhaps, it was a bit too late.

You see, while everyone chased their college dreams and grades, I did too but I was working part time as well. And immediately after college, I started working full time in that company I was part-timing at, while everyone else was still fumbling for jobs or even bumming around for a month or two. And by the time most people were settling in to their jobs, I was already in my fourth year with the company. Everything moved really fast for me. Too fast, in fact.

But for Mr. Bentley on the other hand, he has met with quite a few bumps and roadblocks on his journey to this current job. While it’s never ever to late to build a career, settling into one at this stage does take its toll on a lot of other things, I suppose. And this is where we suffer. Our relationship takes a backseat for an indefinite period of time while everything else moves pass us, pass me. 

Time. Time was never on our side. I don’t even know what I’d do differently if I could turn back time, to be honest. I do however, wish I was blessed with good time. I wasted three years of my life trying to bounce back from a horrid relationship, and then close to seven years to only realise that I didn’t want to go down a certain road yet, and now close to three years of building my life around someone to only have to spend, perhaps double or triple that amount of time erasing it. I can’t help but feel like this is a sick joke of some sort. Maybe one that I  brought upon myself, or….I don’t know.

But time, it truly defines a lot of things in life. Lies get revealed. Hearts rust with it. Lives get created. Careers climb or crumble with it. Friendships fall apart or seal with it. Life and death is determined by it. Everything is absolutely bound to the hands of time.

You don’t regret things, really. Instead, what we actually regret is the time of it.

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I don’t think I’ve ever been this distraught over anything. Maybe my first break up about 10 years ago did mess with me a little, but really, nothing this horrible.

For the past couple of weeks or slightly more, I did actually think I was doing alright from the break Mr. Bentley and I had agreed upon. But I’ve never been more wrong. I’ve patted myself on the back for surviving two weddings since the break, but it wasn’t easy at all.

Everyone says that change is inevitable, and I couldn’t agree more. But most of the time, change feels like it subtly invades your space, and thus you have no choice but to accommodate it. Then there are those times when you get thrown into a situation that only change is what would possibly keep you alive, and your sanity intact.

…and that is the phase I am in – forcing myself to adapt to keep my head above waters.

Some changes I have attempted and am attempting, slowly but steadily:

A TATTOO BEARING A MEANING FAR TOO PERSONAL I’ve always sworn off tattoo-ing something that directly connects me to a person, like a name or a birth date or anything that would probably turn out to be a regret with time. But this time, I allowed myself to get inked based entirely on this phase I’m in. I got a phrase ‘this too shall pass’ and my first graphic ink, an anchor. The phrase, to remind me that everything, good and bad is but temporary. And the anchor, a symbol of two things to me – keeping myself grounded, and a reminder of things I’ve perhaps anchored my life around.

MY ROOM, ORGANIZED For the three years Mr. Bentley and I were together, he has probably been to my room less than five times, really. It was always a mess and despite him saying he wouldn’t judge me for it, I never allowed him in. Not even a peek. I decided to clean it out once and for all, because life’s too short to keep turning people down from entering my room when that space is really a reflection of who I am, and is most definitely the one place I wouldn’t mind hanging in at anytime.

TAKING UP SCUBA DIVING The abundance of time I have on hand since not going on dates shall be put into scuba diving lessons of some sort. I was all set to attempt a dive course with some friends but it clashed with my New York trip. It’s as if God knew there’d be a time I could use these dive lessons a lot more than my initial plans had it. Hopefully it takes shape some time next year and I’d be a certified diver by mid-year. I even toyed with the idea of a free-diving experience just reading an article on it last week on my flight to Singapore. Maybe.

GETTING A PLACE OF MY OWN This is a big decision, I know; nothing like the other three. But I feel like getting a place of my own would take my mind off the rut I’m in. I’ve been house hunting, both online and visiting physical properties, reading up and weighing out all my possible bank loans and their procedures. I think channelling my energy (and finance) into making a space my own will perhaps give me a sense of accomplishment that would hopefully remind me that while I might not be where I want to be, I am where I need to be. And that’s what matters most.

GOING BACK TO STUDYING I was thinking of going back to studying. Gemology studies, perhaps. Maybe getting out of the country for a good while would be an alright move to help me put things behind. And if it’s hard to get out there on the grounds of work, I suppose going out to study would do. And plus, I’ve always wanted to study gemology and learn the art of cutting stones and setting them, and earning a fat pay cheque with that. Haha! But yes. The idea is very tempting. Though I am also considering staying put in my job and doing a stint at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design some time.

QUIT A MINISTRY Don’t panic yet. I’m only quiting one to join another. I have given it some good thought-time and decided that I want to quit the Worship ministry to be part of a more encouraging one, the usher ministry. If you are like everyone else, you’d probably ask why. It’s simple. Worship leading in my church can get quite depressing because the congregation is not receptive at all, and it always feels like you’re the only one up on stage belting it out and trying to coax them into worshipping with you. I know it’s for God, and not men that we worship but let’s face it, no one appreciates a dead crowd. Not especially when you practice for two whole hours almost every week (small church, small duty rotation), song-arrange and whip your music team into shape only to have the church complain that the songs are too new/too fast, drums are too loud, worship leader has got too many tattoos and whatever. It’s depressing, and I can’t wait to get out, frankly.

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I have come to notice a pattern of ‘likes’ to blog entries – the happy ones, the ones with an opening visual. And the ones that inevitably get the lesser likes are the ones that ponder life, or a similar equation to that. Don’t get me wrong; it’s perfectly fine that things are that way.

I wasn’t expecting any response whatsoever to this entry of mine, until a random Jack Saunsea came by and gave it a like, which lead me to read on with his entry that brought me to a comment left by one of WordPress’ fellow bloggers – each of us needs to be uncomfortable at least some of the time. I couldn’t help but immediately wonder if this was my moment of discomfort that I need to be in. I have always believed that things will only get worse before it gets better but boy oh boy, you do not know how badly I pray and hope that this phase is the lowest of the curve and that things can only go up from here.

Dearest Jack Saunsea,
If you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for dropping by my blog and in return, encouraging me not just with your post but also with your reader’s comment. I’d love to attempt living in step with the wind, and simply being.

I’m at a very trying phase of my life when making the uncomfortable, comfortable is really not much of a choice I have. I don’t know where and what I’m headed for, but I’ll take a leap of faith right off the cliff and hope I’d amaze myself, somewhere somehow.

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Young, happy and dead.

This is my friend, who would’ve been 27 this year if she were around. And just a couple days back, her mom dropped dead from a burst blood vessel in her head.

And there’s the usual wake, and the funeral that follow, and the eulogies, the appreciation speeches, the weeping and the coping with life after a death.

We take our lives for granted, and above all, the people in them. We live our lives as if we will always have a tomorrow to count on, an another day to live by. We are quick to forget that we live on borrowed time, and slow to remember that it is the people that matter, not the things and achievements.

I have always struggled with prayer, frankly. At times, I believe myself to be a church-going, principle-keeping, prayer-believing Christian. And more often than not, there are those other times that I am but a burnt-out, bored as hell, God-doubting Christian. But don’t get me wrong; I still do believe anyway, that all the goodness and greatness in my life cometh from above. It’s just that in a hideously frank manner, I have to admit to being just like every other scaredy cat out there that turns to God – whether or not they believe in Him – when I’m at my lowest, rock bottom moments. When things are spinning out of my control, when I want something bigger and better to happen, I know to pray. I am such a horrible Christian, really.

At one point in my life, my job was my priority and I was the sort that was so married to it that I had this nudging feeling at the back of my mind that if God decides to humble me, He could take away my job and I’d be more or less, dead. It was at this point that I was so blindly passionate about my job that I was ready to trade anything to keep it at its peak. I would actually pray, “God, please don’t take my job. Don’t humble me that way.”

And then I began to see things differently when Mr. Bentley came around. He’d whine about my work hours, and my constant checking of emails despite being away on a holiday with him. I learnt slowly to check my priorities and set them straight – doing my best to make time for us, for hanging out, for dessert dates and the occasional coffee round upstairs. But I regret not learning these things earlier, and learning to appreciate the time we had together a lot more than living my job as if it defined my life. It was too slow of a lesson learnt for me that I did still consider trading my relationship to keep my head in my job (we even argued about this once). Shame on me, honestly.

Now, I find myself praying that He doesn’t take away my relationship. I have asked for a million things in prayer when we’d argue back then, but now, I just want things to go back to how they were before – rough, tough but undeniably in love, and strong above all. Those were the best days of my life, I’d say. And they are on the verge of disappearing. It’s been years since I did this but out of desperation, I went on my knees last night praying, “God, please don’t take my relationship. Don’t humble me that way.” For all the confusion I’m putting Him through, God must hate me, if He did actually hate anyone at all.

It’s funny how the person who once made me realize how much time and effort I’m pouring into a job that’s temporary, is now drifting away from a permanent something I have come to build my world around. The change is too…sudden.

I now know what it’s like to be traded in gain of a career’s success, and I promise I will never make that mistake ever again. So really, the question is…in a life that’s fleeting, what would you trade to gain?

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The thing with life is, it’s smart. No, brilliant. It knows when to swing a bat right at you, and right where it hurts.

People learn from their mistakes. But I’ve come to accept that I don’t. It’s not that I don’t try to, but it feels like I’m trying to prove something to myself by going back into the mistake, attempting to figure what went wrong, and ending up right where I first ‘failed’, only to start the cycle again.

Pathetic, but that’s me. Maybe it’s the OCD shit, like everything has to be in perfect order. And if everything is in perfect order, it shouldn’t fail. If it fails, then something isn’t right. So, start over. Start over until I really can’t give a rat’s ass to start over, then perhaps I will stop.

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I can never bring myself to write about animals, despite how much they mean to me. I can never get to half the posting without first bawling my eyes out already. It’s madness. But today, it’s more anger than heartache.

If everyone could ask but one question when they meet God, I’d ask why He’d let his four-legged creations suffer.

In one of my previous Weekend Wonders post, I put up a video about a Malay couple that opened their hearts to stray in ways that many wouldn’t, or couldn’t, and how our local authorities have harassed them, taking back the land they set up their shelter on and forcing them to find a new place. The good news is, they were given a little bit more time to look for a new place, and the bad news is it’s still not enough time for them to find an ideal land to settle upon. News like this breaks my heart. Especially when a documentary sheds light on a plight, only to have the authorities finding faults with whatever’s been highlighted.

As mentioned in the same blog post, Malaysia is a Muslim country. And over the years, the Muslim teachings have taken an unfortunate negative twist to suggest that dogs are ‘haram’, translated as sinful. And that is why this video went viral at one point.

I’ve been following Malaysia Independent Animal Rescue (MIAR) on Facebook and recently, there’s been yet another video that’s gone viral – one on how our local Kajang council (MPKJ) catch strays and put them down. It’s pure torture. Please go and watch it here. Make those clicks count because in my honest opinion, Malaysia’s laws for animal cruelty are just shit loads of bullshit that take no effect whatsoever. Sometimes, I wished these video would go so crazily viral that PETA or some big anti-animal cruelty body would step in and give the issue the resolution it needs, like putting idiotic people who mistreat animals behind bars, or give them a whipping or something. Just anything. Anything would be better than the Malaysian laws that are so twisted.

There are times I don’t know if people are turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to these animals’ plight because they can’t bring themselves to see and hear of the amount of gory pain that is inflicted on these four-legged creations, or if they are just plain ignorant and do not want to have any association with them, unless of course it’s picking out a thousand dollar pedigree breed for a house pet that will perhaps be kept till the fun runs out. I am disappointed in the human race for this one very reason – that we value our lives more than those of these animals. It’s crazy. The bad, angry kind of crazy.

As a Christian, I’d still say I believe in karma. I want to believe in karma. Maybe because it puts my mind at the slightest ease possible knowing that bad things will happen to bad people. Maybe because it gives me a hope that someone sees and knows their pain. Maybe because it’s an outlet for all the anger I’m bottling up towards the numbskulls beyond sick in the head.

I don’t know. I just believe in karma because it’s a lot easier on a lot of grounds, I suppose.

p.s.: There are a million shelters out there that could use whatever funding anyone and everyone can give – resources or finances alike, so if you can, please give to them generously. If you can find the time, go volunteer at a shelter. Change their lives as they’d change yours, even if that meant for just a day before they are put down. The animals will love us for it.

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