The past eight months or so was a difficult one for me. Having my self confidence crushed, getting sucked into what I think is depression (never got it diagnosed but figured I should take the whole feeling of emptiness, hoping for the end to come earlier and general lack of enthusiasm for anything as a warning) and questioning some of the biggest life choices I’ve made and not really having any idea of how I could make things better was not easy.
So, as I approach my 30th birthday, I’ve decided to do at least one thing that makes me happy every day for 30 days.
I was supposed to start blogging about it from day 1 and update every day but I’m too lazy. Hence, the bulk updating every few days. Here goes!
Day 1: Carpentry class (and it was free too!)
It was a super simple one. All I had to do was arrange the stuff, screw it together and sand it so it’s smooth. Nothing I’ve not done before.
But I had fun doing it. It has been so long, it felt good to do something with my hands. Will I do it again? Yes!
Day 2: Getting Healthy
In the past year, I have put on 8kgs. Not surprising since I absolutely love food, but exercise not so much. Did a little bit of yoga stretches and basic HIIT. Unfortunately, since then I’ve only managed to squeeze in less than 30 mins of exercise every other day. Will get back to it.
Day 3: Impromptu day trip
One of my friends moved to another state (Perak) and I’ve been meaning to visit. Plus I love the food there. I didn’t really do much planning. Just got in my car, drove to the friend’s place and left it to him to bring me to all the awesome food places. We even went to the tourist center, grabbed a map and went for a heritage walk. All in all, it was a good day of catching up with an old friend and eating our hearts out.
Day 4: Birthdays and laughter.
The first half of the day was spent being obstinate. I was bumming in bed when brother came to me asking me to make coffee. And I was like… wait a minute. Do I look like your maid? So I stayed in bed till 12p.m and dealt with disappointment of not getting to eat the food I was craving for for days (one didn’t have to do anything with the other)
The second part of the day, however, went well. Went out with a friend to get another friend flowers for her birthday, surprised her by inviting more people than she expected and spent a wonderful night just talking and laughing.
Bonus: I got an early birthday present! A book, a journal and a pen that I can take along when I travel next week. Weeeee.
Day 5: Bumming
Whole day just to myself to do whatever I wanted – reading, sleeping, eating and exercising 🙂
Since two third of my posts have been emo ones, I think it’s time for some cheerfulness. Even I get tired of my emo-ness sometimes 😛
So, I’ve been planning a solo travel to celebrate my 30th birthday and one question people keep asking me is… you’re going alone? The second being what are your plans?
My answers – yes and I have no idea.
See, I was supposed to climb Mount Rinjani, sleep in a tent or under thousands and thousands of the star, be on top of a mountain where the air is fresh and hopefully somewhere I will find some peace.
I could almost feel myself there but I realised my fitness is shit so now I have no plans and two weeks of leave.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I will be travelling, and alone on my birthday. Why would I do such a thing, right? Here’s why.
It teaches life skills.
You are in a foreign country, you know no one, you probably don’t even know the language. What do you do? Survive! And learn.
One of the biggest lessons I leant traveling alone is that I can do it. There’s always fear – what if I get lost, what if I want to share my thoughts, what if I get robbed? So many what ifs… sometimes you find the answers too. And the answer is always that you will find a way.
It teaches you to enjoy solitude
Not that I need a lesson in this. But it sort of works as a reminder. We’re surrounded by noise day in day out. If not those made by people, it’s the traffic, the smartphone we are so hooked to, the computers…the list is endless.
When you get away, you get away from all these and more. You get to hear your own thoughts, unhindered by all the sound and opinions.
You meet new people
I know this is weird coming from someone who refuses to join any social events that involves more than two new people in it, that is if I wish to go out at all.
But somehow when I travel, I always become more chatty.
Maybe it’s curiosity. How else will I find out what the locals are really like, what’s at a destination beyond what the guide books says, what’s the story I’m sharing my hostel bunk with?
Maybe it’s the lack of inhibition. Chances are I’ll never see the people I meet during travels ever again. What does it matter what they think of me? Plus I don’t have to worry about maintaining relationships, making the effort to be a friend and all.
Makes life easier.
It reminds me who I am
Even when I might act a little differently, I’m reminded that I will always be the awkward, reserved, weirdo.
Over the years I have mastered the art of talking to people without really talking much about myself. I find interaction with strangers is a lot easier when I don’t have to reveal myself.
Comes from being an extreme introvert, and I’m totally OK with that.
If you are lucky, you make true connection
This does not necessarily mean you will be BFFs, it just means that in the short time you spend together will make a difference in your life.
You might learn something valuable, you might make memories that will put a smile on your face even if you don’t meet them ever again, sometime you even keep contact for years to come – after all it is the times of social media.
But that connection, however short or long it lasts, it changes you in some way.
It feeds the soul
My soul has been empty too long, and travel feeds it. It reminds me that there is so much more beauty in this world to see. So many experiences to live through.
It keeps me alive.
So, here’s hoping I’ll figure out where to go soon!
It has been some time since I have been happy. Truly happy.
I have a pretty blessed life. Great friends, a loving mother, siblings who might not know much about me or vice versa but i’m at least 80% sure will be there if I truly need someone to be there, a steady job that I’m sometimes good at, roof over my head even if it’s not that great of a one, food when I’m hungry.
Despite it all, I haven’t been happy. Not truly happy in the longest time.
I can’t remember the last time I laughed. I can’t remember the last time I woke up with a zest for life.
My boss thinks I’m bored with my job and I don’t know how to tell her that that’s not it.
I love my job. I love writing. Even when I’m not great at it. Even when I miss out on some details. Even when I go in late.
How do I explain something I don’t understand myself?
How can I explain this loneliness? The feeling that I’m all alone and whatever I do does not matter? How do I explain that even when my mind tells me there are people who love me, a little devil in me says that they will forget and move on soon enough.
How do I explain the lethargy? The bone deep tiredness that is ever present?
How do I explain the tiredness that comes from failing constantly? That comes from knowing that there is nothing special or even average about me? That no matter what I do, I always fail.
Someone told me I just don’t try.
How do I explain that I do? That I try harder than they’ll ever know. But it.just.isn’t.enough.
And I just got tired of trying.
Why does it matter anyway? Who does it matter to anyhow?
How do I explain that even when I feel all this, a part of me gets impatient.
Impatient at all the negativity. At the lack of gratitude. At what sometimes feels like selfishness.
After all, I have so much to be thankful for. There are so many people who have it worse. Much worse.
I know this. I see it.
And it doesn’t seem to make any difference.
I tell myself the only person who can give my life purpose is me. I go into website of NGOs that fights for things that I believe in. I imagine being accepted as a member. I imagine feeling humiliated for my lack of knowledge and substance.
For, you see, I’m nothing but a shell.
I’m empty inside. Void of any knowledge that will make a difference, or courage that will help a fight.
Maybe it’s best that I give up.
I’m tired of fighting. I’m tired of being the only one fighting for me. I’m just tired.
Those who know me know that sexual crimes, especially those involving children, is a topic that riles me up each time. I’ve always been vocal about my believes in the need for sexual education, sex offender registry, awareness campaign to stop victim blaming etc.
Very few know why.
I started off writing this to show the lasting impact sexual abuse and rape can have on a person and it turned out to be whatever it is that this post is. I don’t know if it will make any difference to anyone, but I here it is.
Disclaimer: Post may contain language that may make some uncomfortable.
Was it me?
I was 5 when I was first kissed
it was neither innocent
nor was it sweet
He was just a kid, but somehow not
We were caught with our pants down, literally
I barely understood but a scolding was what I got
Would you have eaten shit had he asked?
Words I never forgot.
It was protection I needed, but blame was all I got.
I was perhaps 7 when I first touched a dick
I was at my sometime babysitter's,
and being the obedient child I was, I listened.
I knew it was wrong
but I was only a child under the care of a sleeping adult
and her teenage son.
I was 13 when my breasts were first touched.
I was walking back from school and was pulled into the bush.
He was only a kid, but somehow not
My screams scared him off
if only I could stop.
Was it me, I asked?
It wasn't the first time, after all.
My clothes became bigger and darker
and my world smaller.
Thank god for internet!
Now I can have friends.
They were young. They were old.
They wanted to know what I was wearing
I innocently said t-shirt and a pair of shorts.
What about under those, they asked.
I refused, then I didn't.
They wanted to know more
I knew it was wrong,
but I wanted love more.
I became two persons in one body.
One sex goddess who could make men cum with just my words,
Another, a scared 15-year-old
hiding under clothes three sizes too big
hoping no one will notice.
Was it any less of a rape because I didn't feel their hands on me?
Mindfuck had a whole different meaning in my dictionary.
The years passed, I barely noticed.
My first year in college, I met him.
He smiled, and I fell.
I was too good for him, he said.
You are not good enough, I heard.
Time passed, so did the infatuation
My clothes became smaller, and my friend circle bigger.
Who needs a man, I said.
I was 20 when my world came crashing down.
It were but small things
falling in love with someone I can never have
drifting apart from someone I thought I had.
Every emotion I kept hidden,
every demon that I kept locked tight
they were released,
trying to beat me down,
asking me to succumb.
I was 21 and free.
I learnt, I failed, I laughed.
I became a person I could be proud of.
I never dated.
No one ever asked, neither did I.
I was 26
all my friends questioned.
I said I just wasn't interested.
Deep down I was just afraid.
Was it me?
Thank god for Tinder!
Now I can go on dates.
They wanted to know if I was a virgin,
a question to which I didn't have the correct answer.
they wanted to know
my place or theirs?
I wanted to know
how 'bout my mind?
Will I ever be more than my boobs and my cunt?
I was 27 when I met him.
I was tired and afraid,
he was perhaps equally weary.
It was but a misunderstanding
but he was quick to pull all stakes.
What was it with me?
Ugh! Fuck men, I said.
I have me.
I was 29 when I met him.
He said all the right things,
He asked if we were dating.
It was too fast and scary, I thought.
I guess, I said.
I was parched
he was the much needed glass of water.
He touched me,
for the first time ever I wanted a man to.
Touch became kisses,
kisses became more.
But deep down, the two of me still co-existed.
I was eager, yet my body refused to respond.
He was just as eager,
but it soon turned into exasperation.
What do you want me to do, he asked.
I don't know, I said
just as frustrated.
It was a week later
I can't, he said.
Give it a chance, I said.
I just see a dark and bleak future, he said.
It is me, I thought.
I'm too little
I'm too much.
I'm turning 30.
I have never been loved,
only lusted after.
Is it me I ask.
I'm not so sure anymore.
But fuck men, I say.
I love me anyway :)
It was more than a year ago when I decided to quit my pretty decent paying but unbearably frustrating job and travel.
Sounds familiar? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. But the that’s a story for another day. Today, the story is about a small island in Ireland that left a big impact on me.
After about two months of traveling Europe with a friend, we parted ways for a few weeks, and I embarked on my first ever solo trip.
It was exciting, just a little bit scary and frankly, a relief as as much as I love my travel companion my introverted soul was in desperate need of some space. And thus I flew from Berlin, where my solo trip started few days earlier, to the Republic of Ireland.
As the pilot announced our arrival at the land famous for it’s tale of magical creatures and folklores, I looked out the tiny window to see a rainbow (no, really) minus pots of gold and leprechauns, unfortunately.
A good start all in all.
There were some setbacks, wasted time and money along the way, as was bound to happen when one does not plan one’s trip, but the not planning also led me to Aran islands.
There are three islands that makes up Aran islands, but I only visited the largest of the islands – Inis Mór. Needless to say, it was breathtakingly beautiful. The dramatic landscape, animals that any city dweller will be impressed by and the very air seemed to hold some kind of magic.
So, ignoring the many tourist vans that were offering travellers a ride from the ferries to all the attractions on the island for 10 Euros, I began my walk armed with only a map. It was a cold and rainy day but I decided to brave the weather as I did not want to miss interesting things that I may pass along the way.
Not 10 minutes into my walk, one of the vans stopped and the driver offered me a ride. He said it was free. Being the skeptic I am, I declined the first time. But soon after, he passed me again (he had stopped at one of the stores in town before, so it’s not as creepy as it sounds) and repeated his offer. He was going home as the ferry I arrived on was the only one for the day and he did not get any passengers.
As he drove, he started to talk to me about life on the island. He spoke about how there used to be farmers who reared animals on what looked like beautiful but abandoned plots of lands that we passed, about young people leaving the island for better lives, and tourism being the only industry keeping the island going.
The conversation was not all grim, however. The driver also pointed out the spot where sea lions are often spotted, about other must see attractions and Ireland in general.
As he dropped me off near Dun Aonghasa, a dramatic 300 feet cliff edge, I passed him some money. It wasn’t much as I was travelling on budget, but it was the least I could do in return for his kindness. He hesitated for a moment and asked if I was sure. As dramatic as it sounds, I could see the struggle in his eyes. He needed the money and yet he did not offer the ride expecting anything in return. I just smiled, thanked him and walked towards my destination.
That was only my first taste of the island’s hospitality and kindness.
The rain had gotten heavier by the end if the ride, so I decided to stop for some food and something hot to drink. It was one of the best meals I had during my trip.
Surrounded by Christmas decoration, sitting by a fireplace – an exciting experience for someone from a country where it is summer all year long – and simply enjoying my Guinness beef stew and coffee put me in a sunny mood. But outside, the weather was not as bright.
I didn’t have much time as the last ferry for the day left at 4.30p.m and it was already after noon. And so I asked the cafe owner where I dined if I could buy an umbrella somewhere nearby. The lady just said nope, and handed me one saying I can keep it. I was once again amazed by the kindness shown towards a complete stranger, but took the umbrella with a thanks and the intention to return it.
Armed with the umbrella, which turned out to be not much of a match for the wind that was blowing in, I finally reached Dun Aonghasa after passing a tiny museum that told the history of the cliff.
The cliff was everything it was promised to be. Scenic, dramatic and somehow calming.
I wouldn’t want to bore you with the details, but after some time appreciating the view and just being, I headed towards yet another attraction known as the “wormhole”.
What would a story be without some drama right? This is where you get it. As I was walking, I ran into a dog. I am generally afraid of dogs. They have fangs and jaws that could crush you so my fears are totally justified. Stop judging.
Anyway, the dog didn’t look any happier to see me than I did seeing it. The problem was, I had to walk past it to get to the “wormhole” but the relatively large dog was barking at me with its fangs showing and its furs on end (tell me that won’t scare even the most devout of dog lovers!)
After a few unsuccessful attempts at getting past the dog and consulting the map in my hand for alternative routes, I had almost given up on seeing the wormhole. But yet again a resident of the island came to my aid.
The only car that I had seen in at least 20 minutes stopped to ask me what was up. And as I asked for directions without revealing my fear of the dog (one should always maintain macho), he moved some boxes off his front seat and asked me to hop in. Again, I was skeptical and said I only needed directions but relented when he asked the second time.
The ride was just as fun as my first with talks of the “wormhole”, the popularity it gained following Redbull’s annual diving event and a warning to leave soon as a storm was expected on the day.
By this time I had realised what a bad idea it was not to just hire one of the tourist vans, but it was too late for regrets. So, with the decision to make the “wormhole” my last stop for the day, I walked back towards the jetty.
There are two routes to get to and from the jetty. I decided to take the route that I hadn’t taken before. My intention was to see as much of the island as possible in the short time I had.
The decision paid off in that I passed some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen. But it also turned out to be the path less taken, and for good reasons too. It was the longer route back, the storm was nearing, and the ferry was leaving in less than 30 minutes.
Every step I took without passing any vehicles or human beings, my anxiety increased. I had no clothes with me, no idea if I would be able to find a place to stay or if the rented car I parked on the mainland will be safe if left there overnight.
As I was resigning myself to staying on the island till the next day, a car passed and…you guessed right, stopped. I don’t know whether it was because the residents on the island were used to stubborn tourists like myself or my destination was obvious considering the time of the day, the woman driving the car just wound down her window and asked me to hop in.
She told me that it was lucky she found me as all ferry rides to and from the island was to be halted starting the next day. Nobody knew how bad the storm was going to be or how long it were to last.
A small part of me hoped I would miss the ferry. I have always been fascinated by the cliffs and raging seas. The island seemed like a great place to be stuck in for a few days. But in the end, I made it just in time to grab a hot cup of coffee and get onto the ferry.
The rest of the journey was quite uneventful.
Even after all these months, the memory of my day in Aran Island always brings a smile to my face. More than the amazing landscape of the island, I will always remember the friendliness and kindness shown by the locals to me.
If you are ever near Galway or Doolin, do spend at least a day on the islands, support local businesses and soak in the island’s beauty.
After many years of procrastination, I’ve finally decided to start a blog. Wooohhhoooo!
What inspired me to finally write and let my thoughts, random and fleeting though they may be? It was a few simple words said to me recently by someone I met in college. We barely knew each other but he told me that I inspired him to write, made him realise the power written words has.
It was one of the most flattering thing I’ve ever heard said about/to me and yet those words also put me to shame.
It reminded me of the years I’ve neglected my love for writing and storytelling – letting the skills rust, creativity die a slow death.
Yeah, yeah. I know I write for a living. But that’s to feed my tummy and pay the bills. This…this is something I want to do to feed my soul.
So, here I am. Finally starting the blog that I’ve been meaning to write since well…college.