2019’s Mountain

3e95c96889d1e68b0513cbd298b6b6e5

2018 was a year of setbacks and disappointments. Am I upset? I was.

Honestly I can only pray that 2019 will be different, but having setbacks is inevitable, shit happens. It’s been over a week into the new year and I still see some of my old habits manifesting from within even though I’ve been yelling out “New Year New Me/You” to everyone close to me and annoying the shit outta them.

But it will be different, not in a miraculous way of sudden lightbulb and magically switch from a Disney fairy godmother, but from the strength given from God and using it when given. You see, God gives me strength, He has blessed me with a lot of things but actually utilising it and pulling yourself together with it is very different. God gives us freewill and in the end of the day, I have the choice, I have to do it and I have to get my shit together.

One of the grossiest habit I have is my phone and shamefully, social media. I remember unfollowing a bunch of people in the past year and found myself following the same category (but different) toxicity on the gram. They’re not bad people or things, but I unhealthily compare myself, all the damn time to these “influencers”, people who have the sponsorship to look good, looking good for a living and getting paid to workout and have no other responsibilities. Unrealistic comparisons. To the extent of toxicity that plays with my brain, toxic emphasis that I am not good enough and the reason for why I am what I am.

Why did I follow them? I thought it would be a good motivation to work hard so maybe… just maybe… I could be like them? Just your childish #goals mentality in terms of body and beauty and makeup. Before Instagram, it was my mirror, walls and posters. I had pictures of fit girls and all sorts of shit stuck on my wall as a form of motivation, the difference was it was the same girl… everyday, unlike the the fresh variants of photos I get on a daily basis. But my wall-sticking habit got my fam worried for a period as they thought I was lesbian (I never had boy posters LOL). Its very different from a poster goal. The brain runs wild and just like the variants of photos, it churns out a variant of thoughts. It starts like a small seed unconsciously and grows before you know it, you are just scrolling and thinking you can attain the same thing by looking through the screen instead of getting up and putting the damn effort.

Anyway, new habits to grow, 355 days left to the year and its a conscious effort to do so.

I need to remain focus with the goal to score. Score a job, score the body, score the new skills and habits I hope to attain.

One of my goals/ bucket lists I’ve wanted to accomplish for a while is to climb Mount Kinabalu. It’s the highest mountain in South East Asia. My dad has done it when he was my age. Climbing a mountain has been a dream of mine, the whole idea of challenge just drives me.

This was a dream before the gram. A dream to prove to myself that I can climb a mountain, through any mountain of physical and mental obstacles, I can.

I can only pray that I’d be more focus this year. Just giving myself that little more of a push from 2018, knowing that setbacks are only motivations for more steps to get over the mountain, I will see the sunrise by the end of the year, mentally and physically. Daring to hope for more.

 

Advertisements

2018 reflections, extended.

“just like how physical strength can be trained, so can mental strength be”.

a quote from my ig post, hence why I call this an extension… of my ig post. Before claiming that it’s from me, I quite honestly think it’s something I’ve heard/read somewhere through this year but can’t remember the exact source.

2018 has been the return of the mental game, with multiple flashbacks from 2012 and 2015, the years where I struggled enormously with my mental health. Now that I’ve physically written them down, it seems like a 3 year trend. 3 year trend because these years were the seasons where I was transitioning life-stages:
2012: VCE and recovering from ACL surgery
2015: Leaving BSc for LLB
2018: Trying to secure a clerkship that resulted with nothing.

The last few months of 2018 was spent applying for jobs/clerkships and receiving rejections. I’ve also switched casual jobs, from jewellery retail in a big brand with a predominantly Asian environment,  to apparel retail in a predominantly white environment. Today was the last work day of 2018 and it ended with a customer yelling at me and my colleague ratting me out for not following procedure (I’ve only been there 2 months, I thought what I was doing the right thing and no one called me out the last 2 months).

I started 2018 filled with hope, I envisioned ending 2018 with a secured clerkship in my dream firm with the promises of a grad program. That the London decision will boost my chances and that my sacrifice in 2015 would be proven fruitful, that I was meant to work in law and will work in law. No. Not a single law firm loved me. This is why 2015 flashback happened, I was so traumatised by it that I wondered and doubted the decisions I made, that maybe I should have gone back to Malaysia and did a Dental Degree to be a dentist and take over the family clinic. Future is failproof. I now ended it with my second shitty retail job with my manager giving me a warning and telling me she is giving me a talk the first thing in 2019.

Start of the year, I did a hike in Penang, over strained my knee and fell down. I survived a near death fall but I inflamed my previous old ACL injury. Going through the MRI once again gave me 2012 flashbacks of how I wrecked myself physically and the fears of going back into it again. I wondered if I didn’t wreck my ACL in the first place, not go on ski camp, not gain my extra 10kg, less depression, scored better in VCE because of less depression, maybe a better ATAR so I wouldn’t even be here.

Did you see that stupid causal chain of depresso I created in my head.

It was a mental game. All boiled down to the mental strength.

I didn’t know how to get back up. I was so welled up with them emotions.

2 weeks ago, I picked up the book Grit by Angela Duckworth. It was something I had been hoping to get my hands on and placed a reservation for the book, 7th in queue, in the local library. I finally got it and halfway through, Angela opened a whole new meaning into the game, grit. Life is a mental game, heck we gotta learn to play it to survive it.

Just like how people train hard for a soccer game, we had to train for these life games.

the most successful people are not the smartest, but the grittiest

I was one of the last kids in my ballet class to land that 180 degree split. It was weeks, months, years of stretching and splitting, every damn night. There were times I limped home after a stretching class, my teacher had stretched me too hard. 7 years after starting ballet at 3 years old, I finally got my ass on the ground at 10, pretty late for a ballerina. However it’s been 8 years since I’ve quit the sport, I still can split today. But I can’t go a month without pushing my legs and feeling that pain in my stretch to get my ass onto the ground.

Good things don’t come without pain. Reading the book brought back so much ballet memories, a sport so gruelling yet satisfying. The pain paid off till today, I was determined to get that split and I got it.

I may be the last to graduate among my friends, probably the last to secure a proper job too, just like how I was among the last to land that split. But I will get my ass on the ground, no matter how long it takes and how many pubic tendons I have to tear. The muscle can only build through tissue tears. If this is how God is going to tear me to make me stronger, I will tear and build for this race I was set to run.

I welcome 2019 with open arms, even if it is to come with pain, it will be turned into strength, tear by tear. In 2019 I will be building grit.

2018 didn’t end the way I wanted but it ended with a knowledge that I didn’t know I needed. Just like how a sports person needs a physiotherapist for injuries, we need psychologists for the mind.

Just like how physical injuries can be healed, so can mental injuries.

 

Miss Toes

2008

“Miss Toh… hahaha more like Miss TOES”

I was making a lame joke in the changing room with my friends after an intense ballet training session leading up to our inter-foundation exam on a Friday night. Tensions were high, Miss Toh, our teacher at the time played favourites and if you’re in her bad list, Friday nights are your worst nightmare straight out of a scene from Mean Girls.

I was in her bad books. I was the girl who wouldn’t take shit seriously and laughed at everything, but the sight of Miss Toh would suck the light out of me and I could zap an intense laugh to seriousness in a second. Until today, I still use that technique, I’m 24 and it’s 10 years later.

Mid joke, Miss Toh walks right through the change room alleys to the toilets, she shoots me a bitch face and I knew then and there, I was fkd. Since that day, she puts me in the front of the class and made my ballet training days a living nightmare till the day I switched studios for training.

Malaysian/Asian training in dance was nightmarish, but looking through documentaries of the training that professional dancers go through, the difference was close to nothing. Carb eating was a crime, I remember one of my closest friends already cutting carbs at 13, a straight line was expected between the ribs to the pelvis and a slight rise of a muffin top was frowned upon. Heck, thinking through it, no wonder I love carbs so much now, its a carb catch up in time.

5th December 2018:

As I walked through the local library, a dance magazine caught my eye, it wasn’t your ordinary dance magazine, it was Ballet specific and listed professional training areas to up skill your dance career. This was a serious consideration at 16. I remember mapping out a life plan as I was migrating to Melbourne alone, to finish school, do the degree in dentistry, tell Mum I hate it and go into dance. I swear to God it was a solid plan, it worked well in my 16 year old head.

My 24 year old self flipped through the pages of the magazine as I had a mental flashback of all my memories of my 16 year old self, the dance memories I had as a child, the performances we did in the theatre and the last dance performance I did with my dance school, the night before I flew to Melbourne for my new life. The final words of my ballet principal of 13 years, Ms Gan, that night:

“Keep dancing, don’t get fat in Australia.”

36676_408695929097_5326593_n

I’m sitting down here, 10 kilos heavier, with a complicated right ACL that occasionally still screws up. If anything, I was the opposite of the advice.

Miss Toh and I are friends on Facebook, I bet she secretly stalks me and I do the same to her. She has a family now and leads my old ballet school, my old ballet class mate teaches there part time.

I met up with my oldest childhood ballet friend on my recent trip back to Malaysia, she had just completed the entire syllabus of the ISTD Ballet curriculum, at 24, teaching ballet part time on the weekends while doing her serious day job. She’s now onto learning Latin and plans to complete the syllabus as well.

Her reality was a dream of mine, to be a dentist with flexi hours while teaching dance.

“Juanlin, you still can you know, it’s not too late.”
“I don’t know what you mean Sophie, I’ve torn my ACL”
Sophie shakes her head, “You can, you just didn’t try. Try Latin.”
I kinda to choreos now”
It’s different”

It’s a lie if my heart didn’t hurt through that conversation. I tell her I keep dance alive through choreography for others, but it’s truly different.

Really the little girl in me just wishes an empty stage and theatre to dance her heart out, let the knees hurt, let the dance flow, let the toes hurt. Maybe that will reconnect me back to the one true gift that was ripped from me at 17.

The lies people tell, the love not deserved

I can’t wait for Saturday, we’re gonna get sooo fucked. Just 2 parties oh fk i can’t wait”

My heart dropped. I knew what that meant. I loved Mika, she was an absolute gem and pep-talk go to during my clerkship crisis and tax assignment crisis. She knew all the right words to say to get my head back into the game, through the ways of the world, like Troy Bolton did.

I met her in London, along with my other law school friends whom I’m close with prior to LSE. But things got real in London when I realised that things were going out of hand, in terms of partying, drinking and all that jazz. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party, a good drink, but I have always, ALWAYS, had been responsible. In fact, London was the first time I went out with non-asians and yes it was eye-opening, real eye-opening, things I watched in the movies came out in real-life. I thought I was wild when I was 21 but I guess not. I’m a good girl. really.

Through all the chaos, on our trip back from Paris, Ness* and I made up. We promised we’ll still be friends and despite our differences, I truly forgave her for what she did to me and the stuff I had to be put through. We are still friends, along with the other girls I met in London. I thought that through all the flaking and early departures from the clubs when we were in London, they’d get the drift I wasn’t that type of girl.

Mika and I never interacted as much in London besides the time we got real drunk on the boat. Fast-forward back to the normal uni semester when we crossed paths again, I knew Ness and the rest still hung-out with her because she was the wildest of the bunch with all the goods *drugs* for your innocence. She had that incredible energy, duracell bunny kind and it was hard to hate her. She was an epic tax genius so teaming up with her for the assignment was no brainer.

Everyone was getting clerkship offers, everyone had connections. EVERYONE. As much as their lifestyle was quite out of my zone, deep in my heart I knew I didn’t need it, I wanted to be their friends so bad, for the sake of being connected in the law world. They had the connections I needed.

So when Mika invited me to *drinks*, I agreed. Ness and all were coming along too and we were good friends. It was the weekend I was meant to go on a Women’s retreat with my church and after paying for a full-stay, I re-organized a “half-trip” because i needed to “celebrate something with my law friends”.

Are you that close to them though? Was the question then kinda hit me when one of my church friends questioned my decision. Yeah, I responded. Epic lie 1.

I need to go back early for the girls dance practice. Epic lie 2.

Then comes Tuesday before the weekend. Mika tells me the full plans. Plans to get rekt, we were NOT going to *just drinks at the bar* as presumed. I silently cussed from within my soul. Why am I so dumb.

On Wednesday on my trip to Bendigo, well away from Melbourne with a bus of strangers, 6am in the morning, my hands reached my phone as I typed into the newly made Messenger group that was excited for the weekend for “lets-get-fkd plans”, 

IMG_1449

Epic lie 3

I needed to save my ass.

I wasn’t getting fkd. It was 3 days after my cousin’s death anniversary for an overdose. 2 nights before I was shedding tears when I remembered his last words to me was:

Don’t give up Juanlin

It was in the context of my Science degree at the time, but his words have never been more real. oh God I am crying now. But I have been through the shitstorms through all these rejections from all the applications I have been doing despite all the hardwork I thought I invested in.

My late cousin wanted to see me graduate bad. He didn’t live to see the day, I switched degrees instead against what he said. My second degree is ending and my employability is well… quite fluffy and blur at this rate.

I went for the full retreat. Despite being physically tired, I feel spiritually refreshed.
Will probs do another post for this

I made such epic lies in the span of 2 weeks. I do not deserve the love God showered me with on the weekend but He still did. I have never done a public testimony or public presentation to Vic State Council in my life, in a span of a week, I did 2 public speaking events (Bendigo and Retreat). I might’ve made a joke out of myself, people were laughing, I don’t know if at me or what I said. But God, I feel like I’ve grown.

It’s been a journey, especially since London. I prayed for God to give me resilience at the start of the year, He’s been providing me nothing short of situations to help me develop that. Funny how He works things out.

I’m still friends with those girls. I hardly make enemies just because we have different values. However if they still want to be my friends, that’s another story.

p/s: My once anonymity in tweeting and blogging has slowly started to surface. I’ve been tweeting and blogging since I was 15. Mostly to an audience I don’t really know. My language on these platforms are slightly less filtered -because less judgement, I didn’t realise the amount of real life people I interact with actually read into my stuff. I’ve been doing this for so long, it’s nothing new. I’m glad y’all reading, I thank y’all for the attention (and none). I’m just getting used to speaking about what I write online, in real life. I guess because most people who knows my platforms and know me IRL don’t dare to even discuss these things with me in real life, I tend to forget that they even follow. you lurkers.  If you know me in real life, I guess you see my 2 sides now, hope you still love me as who I am. I’m alright if you approach me in real life about these things too, I guess 9 years helped me grow more skin. Tq fam.

*Names changed for privacy purposes.

London Thoughts 1

IMG_2177.JPG

It’s been almost 4 days here in London, the jet lag has been real but I’m adjusting slowly and eventually. The past few days I’ve been bolting up from bed at 3am thinking it was 7am, but really it’s just my body and my American neighbour making weird noises.

I remember having a slight panic attack at the gate in Singapore for my second leg flight to London from Melbourne. I mean it shouldn’t have happened, I am older than I was before when I was shipped abroad to boarding school at 16. Mid-rush packing prior to my flight back in Melbourne, I grabbed the smallest, lightest book I could find in my shelf that I could take on the flight, as seen above. I honestly did not expect much from it, as I knew it was deep and very wordy and not something that can be done in 20ish hours. Also inflight entertainment fam.

I still made the effort to read because, as much as I hate to admit, reading it good for the (my) soul. I’m not as dense as I perceive to be thanks. Timely much, just before the journey was about to end I hit this chapter:

IMG_0024.jpg

Challenge

The recent streaks of my anxiety and panics have risen out of my desire to remain comfortable. I was not the YOLO teen I used to be. I hate to always use this example, but it’s true, my enthusiasm for challenges has drastically changed since my ski accident. Everything had to be thought twice, I’d rather play everything safe. Shit should not go down without being consulted with people I trust or being done with people I trust. Besides the girl I knew from law school, London was a solo adventure.

Grit

You truly will never know the grit that exists within until you put yourself in a situation that brings it out of you.

First day of summer school classes the lecturer straight up tells us “Welcome to one of the hardest courses that we offer in summer school”. It didn’t take long for it to sink in when I realised some of my course mates were investment bankers, senior associates of global law firms, Masters students and a how did I end up here self. I don’t completely understand derivatives and here I am being taught how to regulate it??? God help.

Furthermore, I was ditched at the club on the first day of our classes, it was a welcome “party” organised by the student union. Never in my entire clubbing life had I entered a club sober and boy I hated it. I had never been so conscious of my surroundings and all I could think of was this is crap, why did I like this last time, was it always like this. Maybe it’s just London.

I was ditched because the friend that bought tickets (and made me go) decided that smoking up in an apartment was much more fun and left without telling me. I found myself walking back to my residential at 12.34am in the morning, alone, in the dark in London alleyways. Honey if I had not prayed, I would’ve cried. I’ll explain more on these thoughts in post 2.

Since the day at Changi, I have yet to experience an attack. I’ve been too busy trying to survive, hitting out all them challenges swinging my way. It’s like my body and soul is trying to tell the devil that I ain’t got time for that anxiety crap.

It’s not something I had asked for, but it’s something within my control and grasp. Challenges can be created and it is within our control, through our openness and willingness to go through them.

I did not come here just for fun. I came here to learn. About myself and International Financial Law. and get that credit point.

 

Sistering

I want to begin by first establishing that this post is not about self-pity and self-loath.

To bring myself to write again was a challenge, to write about things that I am not proud of is another. The week has been filled with emotional and irrational crying and embarrassing behaviour that I realised that, one of the first steps to change is acknowledging ones wrong.

I haven’t been the best sister.

The recent weeks have been a prime example of that. The number of times I blamed the struggles and sorrows on the people around me, especially those at home, have been through the roof. It’s human nature to blame, the reason “blame games” is familiar in human vocabulary is because of the normality that it has been formed in our lives. What is normal, isn’t always correct.

I tried to imposed my beliefs and dreams on my brother. I couldn’t wrap around the understanding on why he was so different, why it took him so long, why he never had the dreams I had, why couldn’t he snap out of his shit faster, why is it so difficult for him to understand me, but clearly with all the whys… I wasn’t understanding him in the first place.

Through the fights we had, he through me multiple “You will never understand me” phrases. I retaliate with phrases of him not getting my drift that’s why, him being difficult, him not changing. It wasn’t until today when I was told by a friend that in fact, what he said was true, I will never be able to understand him and he may never understand me either.

At this point, I’ve portrayed myself as the most annoying sister in the world. My brother probably vouches that and awards me that title on a daily basis. It’s because my actions portray so, but it was never the intention of my true feelings.

I just want him to be well.

In the end of the day, despite all the cussing and insults we throw at each other and evilness that we continuously invoke from within. I love my brother to death. There has been nightmares of me losing him and I wake in breaking sweat. The fear is real but my reacts come out harsher than my true feelings, my fear provokes the nagginess within me and drives the present wedge between us further and further till there is no tomorrow.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Fear is punishing, the punishment so far is the wedge that has been created between us.

For the first 15 years of my life, my brother and I shared a room. The same damn bedroom even through puberty. I was there through some of his worst nightmares and I’m sure he has seen mine. I was there when we illegally created his first Facebook account in our room and we snuck the laptop into our room together.

The enemy and fear has implanted this fear and lie that we were never close. It has wiped the bond and it was the punishment of the fear I had.

Wen,
I know you props will never read this. But know that I love you and that I’m truly sorry for those things. I’m sorry this has happened between us and the hurt that I’ve caused. However I want you to know this, I have never lied to you and never will. The reasons I run is from the fear of you believing other parties and the fear manifested nonetheless. You may never trust me again, you continue to loathe me with God knows what. I will still love you because you are the brother whom I’ve shared the room with till Almaspuri when we finally got our own rooms. You are the only brother I have, I’m sorry I can’t and may never understand you but I will be here as a sister and not a parent/teacher/counsellor. I’m sorry I never listened to your crazy adventures when you wanted me to and I am sorry that I cannot and will not be able to provide you the help that you need from now on.
I want to be just a sister and a sister only from now on. I will be that sister who will be with you through the shittest time, I will be there to create more Facebook accounts and sneaky internet nights like we did back in BU. I’ll just be that. I just want you to be happy. I have been, and will always be your sister.
Truly,
Jie.

Puffy Eyes

IMG_2339

“My face is so puffy it seriously hurts to cry”

I found myself saying that to my friends while clutching my cheeks and jawline to compress the puffiness that was developed from my multiple cry sessions over the weekend.

I don’t how to feel about that. Crying. I mean if you know me, you’ve seen me cry before… from laughing. It’s no secret that I’m that infamous laugh-cry emoji in my friendship groups, sometimes I feel like it’s my only God-given talent in the past 23 years.

But the crying I’m talking about is the sincere fat tears secreted by the tear-ducts from the induced heavy emotions from I-don’t-know-where (and you will tell me – It’s God).  I cry all the time. But let me tell you this, I hate seeing people cry (though it’s changed over the past few years). I don’t know how to react to an emotional person, despite being emotional myself. I don’t know how to comfort them… do I hug you? Do you want me to hug you? What if you don’t want me here? Should I disappear? As a youth leader now, I have essentially improved in this area, or else I will be sincerely fired over being the least empathetic leader ever.

To prevent the same emotions and feelings back to me, I made a point to myself to never public cry, ever. My closest and dearest friends, those I’ve lived with in boarding school, despite wailing myself to sleep some nights, have never seen me cry. Yet I cried like the biggest whack over the weekend at my Young Adults (1830) Camp. Gosh… the amount of times I had to run to the bathroom and people questioning my bladder issues. I mean I do pee a lot, but my visits were abnormally frequent… if you get my drift.

Is it the Internship
Is it God
Is it life
What is it
Do you need to talk

Do I?

Can I honestly tell you… I don’t know why I cried. I’m as confused as ever. Yes, I left a Christian Camp with less clarity and more confusion, how scandalously unholy.

I think half my crying was crying that I can’t stop myself from crying in public and it’s annoying to cry that it made me cry even more because I’m crying.

Yea I may have left camp confused. But I’m not confused with God. No, not ever. I think I left the camp with more curiosity, of what God has in store for me. I mean, yes I’m confused, but tell me and give me a millennial who isn’t confused with their life. They may have it all together but are you seriously that planned out… seriously.

It’s been a couple of days since camp. I’ve received “are you ok?” texts from multiple people who knew of my crying. Here it goes, I’m okay guys. I am. I’m not gonna be the suicidal 19-year-old again. God has sacrificed a life of a family member to teach me the value of life, so no. I will not die. I love life, as challenging and confusing it may be. But that’s the whole excitement of the journey, isn’t it?

I’m 23 now. It really hit me only a few days back despite 19 days into my new age. I’m not young, but I’m not old. I’m not all put together, but I’m strong enough to pick myself up if need be. I’m growing, I have Jesus. I am on the right track. Emotions are part of life, I have to deal with it, regardless how much I hate crying emotionally. It happens.

Cheers to my new age, more infrequent blogging and rants of my life. The blessings, the downfalls, the anger, the love and most of all… the endurance that comes out from the hecticness of it all.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

Hebrews 12:1

p/s: If you’re an Athiest and wondering why an idiot like me would still believe in God despite the awful emotions and puffiness I have to endure and making my face 10x uglier than it already is… read this.