Youth, Youth, Youth

So, I’m a youth leader in my local church. If you’ve been following this blog for a while and wonder how, what, why I ended up being one, we can delve into that detail later. Anyhow, one of my girls that I lead sent me a picture of a snapchat group conversation involving boys from our youth group.

Pretty nasty profanities if you ask me. My girl was mad furious, being almost a generation away from her, it took me a while to decipher 16 year old language. But the gist of it wasn’t cool, the conversation was mean, the profanities were nothing near to endearment usage. I could understand why she was hurt, after my silly as self finally deciphered the message an hour later, with the help of my guy friends that I shared the message to on a group chat I have with them.

Part of me felt silly for sharing to my guy friends, one of them also a youth leader, the others were ex-leaders (now retired due to that growing age gap). Like I just told my girl to keep it down low and here I am asking a bunch of guys my age on how to decipher 16 year old boy locker room chat.

Turns out I got the context of the chat all wrong, I had already responded to my girl in ways I shouldn’t have. Holy crap, and now she ain’t replying me. Like silly me right, if only there was a manual, for these little things, on how to deal with 16-18 year olds in current Snapchat social media culture or requiring instant replies and crap, WELP. Turns out the rude boy in the chat is the kid belonging to one of my friends, now HE has a headache too, none of us knows how to deal with it. It’s wrong, Trump like rude behaviour, but how do we go about the whole problem without SNITCHING THE SNITCH.

I would be the last person to defend ‘locker-room’ talk/language. Things like trying to ‘fuck a girl’s ass up’ like seriously, stop. I personally, with my very Asian side still fresh from all the Chinese New Year festivities, would give this child a good-ass whooping. A boy, no matter how furious he is, should not, CANNOT speak down to a girl like that. My girl is probably crying right now, she isn’t responding to my messages but do I be that overbearing youth leader who calls her up? Like what do I do?

You see, I never went to youth group growing up, here I am being one. Everything is new, it’s gonna be my third year and as my girls grow and face this big bad world, getting attacked by these mean-as guys, I feel attacked too. Doesn’t help when the guys you asked for  help in deciphering locker room boy talk, can’t decipher it properly, seems like defending the boys themselves.

First question my friend asked: “How did this get out?” like? Okay? So it’s normal? Do I accept this fact and move on? That boys are vulgar? Tell my girl to suck it up and do the same? While I feel attacked, she’s having it worse as it’s directly related to her.

Another culturally Asian upbringing is to reduce the amount of drama you can as you live this life, it’s okay to suck it up and let it go, move on. We don’t fight it, we shouldn’t (because we are the minority), doesn’t help the fact that we are females, us in the big bad world, while much progress has been made, much hasn’t changed. When we feel attacked, we stay quiet due to unspoken fears of jeopardy and social suicide, that’s what I do and I hate the fact that I just asked my girl to do that. I hate it so much. Why did I?

It sucks being a Youth Leader, there I’ve said. If you can tell, I have a lot of personally problems to fight with and deal, being a mentor/leader, you are voluntarily taking on 16 year old problems, crap you might not even had experienced due to your wholesome-lack-of-internet lifestyle in the past, how do you mentor kids crap you haven’t dealt with?

Every year is a new year, new year new problems. Like honest to God I don’t know how this works. My ear infection is throbbing, this issue makes my face and head throb 10x more. God sincerely help. I’ve snitched the snitches and told the Youth Pastor. Yay me, the snitching youth leader who snitches on snitchs.

It’s a big bad world out there, while a lot of us have been told to stand up for ourselves, a huge part of the job is teaching men. Mothers play such a huge role in this, you have no idea, I see how my mother reprimands my brother and as he grows up and finds his strength, she cowers. My father on the other hand, is dealing with a long distance relationship with Mum and can’t do shit. It sucks. I honestly pray to God to have a daughter in the future but if I have a son, I won’t take a single bitch-talk from him. What’s on my list you say? A man who is going to be an ever-present father, I won’t take shit if he dares to leave me for a long-distance job when our kids hit puberty.

Okay tangent. But in all seriousness, no one, should be the receiving end of insults. Be kind to one another, please children please. God help us all.

Advertisements

CNY reflections

It’s the first day of Chinese New Year, the first one I’m spending alone. My brother is at work and my family is back in Malaysia, feasting away. I spent both the eve and today eating meat pies for dinner. I also visited the doctor today, to find out that the ear sore on my left ear is pretty sever, if it doesn’t subside in the next 2 days, I need to go to the hospital as an ’emergency’. I can’t really move the left part of my face, the swelling is spreading but I am adamant on not taking painkillers, which baffled my doctor.

I’m trying my best to not make this as depressing as it seems, so I decide to watch a CNY movie on Netflix, called ‘Us and Them’. In true Asian movie fashion, it’s a sad ending, the couple has the best teenage love story, only to end up not together 10 years later, the girl still financially struggling and single at present and the boy, now a thriving millionaire.

Holy Shit.

I was trying to make myself feel better okay. I’m trying to make the New Year less depressing. Now my body decides to build up a fever to combat this infection, turns out when I really need Panadol, my house doesn’t have any.

But it’s okay.

The movie, as depressing as it is, paralleling my present situation, shows that I’m not the only one. To know that there are people out there having it worse than me on a New Year, probably financially struggling, and I have my meat pie in sunny Melbourne.

Chinese new Year is the only festivity I looked forward to growing up, it means family. Even as a Christian now, CNY trumps Christmas (we don’t even give each other presents or own a Christmas tree), my house has lanterns and red packets over presents, any day.

I guess you can say, there is a first for everything. It’s the first time I’m not with my family, the first time my brother has to work on a CNY night. But it’s not the first time alone. I am not as depressed as I thought I would be, as weird as it sounds, typing it all out, sounds depressing af, especially since this festive season means so much to me growing up. But I am documenting this down, because I know there will be better times, to cherish the moments more often, to appreciate the happier moments. While this is not my happiest moment, I know it gets better.

I was eating my meat pie mid blogging and realise it was still frozen inside but continued to eat anyway because, seriously celebs at this point.

Year of the Pig,

My year of the Dog has officially passed, lesser of an excuse to be a bitch this year round. I used to love to read the zodiac scopes to see what’s in store for me in the zodiac year, have my aunts predict some ‘fortune’ and read the zodiac posters hanging around the malls as CNY decorations. There have been years that claim that my love life will thrive and I can tell you, as I enter this 25th year, it hasn’t.

So what ever piggy has in store for me this year, I have no idea. In case you’re wondering where this is going, don’t worry, I still love Jesus. Whatever blog post, no matter how distant I feel from God, I know He’s there. Yes, it’s been a current period of deliberation, soul-searching and figuring out how I am going to make out of my final moments of university alive and thriving, dealing with my brother who still acts like a 10 year old on ADHD but this time with alcohol and parties. I know He’s there, as I enter this new year, a lot of things going on and NOT going on, but I’ll make it, He’ll make it, we’ll make it together still. Like every relationship, it goes through rough patches and I’m sure we’ll come out stronger, me loving God harder.

Meanwhile, I wish you all my lovely humans a very blessed Chinese New Year. May love and happiness come to you always, even though it’s not realistic and if it doesn’t, you’ll be fine, you’ll come out of it stronger.

 

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.

 

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.