let go

it never ceases to amaze me, how much we can be blind to our own actions and thought patterns. very often to the detriment of ourselves and the people around us. i spend a lot of time trying to understand things. mainly myself.

you see, i have an issue with things feeling out of control. with not being able to find or believe in a solution to what i perceive to be a problem. and when i worry about what my mind believes to be an inevitable negative outcome, i panic. i get frustrated. i get angry at the things or people who i believe to be causing these situations i can not avoid. because i believe that i am capable and willing to make the necessary changes where the other party is not. and then i push. i demand for change because i believe that only change will alter the outcome that i am so afraid of. and more often than not, that is not what the situation needs – because things spin out of control even more and everything repeats – just more intensely. that is my loop.

kindness is what any situation needs.

i have learnt that the only way to overcome myself, is to take a step back and breathe. to let go. to detach from the situation and the justification i feel towards being right or wronged. to observe myself and those around me. to understand their side. their imperfections, and mine. to accept that by letting go, the inevitable outcome i fear will indeed take place. to not fear it anymore. to know that i will get through even the roughest of patches. to know that i will be stronger for it. to remember that every experience brings with it a space for me to learn and grow. to accept that this is my journey.

to stop there and not expect the same understanding or treatment in return.

to not expect anything.

breathe.

love. surrender. give.

let go.

flow with the currents of life.

be free.

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mom

being a mom means having very little no time to myself.

being a mom means trying to work out when to put tiny human down after she falls asleep after feeding for a nap to get some little task done and being worried that some random sound will signal the end of that personal time. usually something does wake her up. usually too soon to soon for me to complete anything!

being a mom means having the patience to work on a project – 20 minutes at a time, over the span of many days – sometimes losing interest before its able to be completed – sending it to the ever growing list of things to get to that will never get done.

being a mom means sacrificing self. prioritizing tiny human’s needs and wants. self interest. self image. self identity. everything changes to accommodate tiny human that relies on me 24/7.

being a mom means being on watch and on call every waking moment of tiny human’s days. to greet her in the morning. to pick her up. to change her diapers and clothes. to shower her. to play with her. to help her stand up. to keep her from falling down. to feed her. all throughout the night.

being a mom means forgetting what real sleep feels like. 2 hours is my new bar. 2 hours is good. 3 hours is rare and amazing. 4 hours is panic because “what’s wrong?! why has tiny human not woken me up yet”.

being a mom is getting out of bed every morning despite the intense lack of sleep, the tiredness or the body aches. being made aware of the strength i truly posses. pushing myself beyond limits i’ve never experienced before.

being a mom means having this innate desire to continuously do better. to provide all i can and more. to never feel good enough, no matter the effort or outcome.

being a mom means being fiercely protective – hyper-alert and hypersensitive to the environment and how it affects tiny human – having senses so on point, it’s almost a superpower.

being a mom means being a superhero. taking on the responsibilities and obligations. receiving the adoration and love.

being a mom means being the UNIVERSE to tiny human. EVERYTHING. ALL. TOTAL. WHOLE. SEMUA. KA LIAO. QUAN BU.

being a mom means being in love like never before. overwhelming love. and falling in love all over again at every new thing tiny human does. and tiny human does a lot of new things. all the time.

being a mom means living life with a purpose. because raising tiny human right – really matters. and will take a lifetime. what an honour and gift, to be given tiny human to guide through life and learn from.

being a mom means re-experiencing life all over again. seeing things through tiny human’s not so tiny eyes. rediscovering the beauty in simplicity. and the importance of things i have come to overlook or take for granted.

being a mom means spending what little free time i have while tiny human sleeps – watching her sleep. watching her sleep happily. feeling content. feeling accomplished. feeling oneness. feeling complete.

being a mom means wanting no time to myself and accepting the daily chaos that is my new life because i no longer desire to be in control because i am just so mindlessly lost in love. lost in tiny human.

hello tiny human. i’ve been waiting for you.

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welcome to school

*the bell rings*
good morning class.
sit down. don’t move. be quiet.
SSHHHH!

you just turned 6 last year and like running around to explore your world? too bad. sit down. you’ve spent all your life so far learning to stand taller, move faster, reach further, climb higher? too bad. sit down. you have this burning desire to interact, talk, be heard? too bad. sit down. shut up.

only speak when spoken to. raise your hand if you have something to say. only speak if noticed. only speak if chosen. only speak if liked. only speak if not challenging. don’t talk back. don’t question. don’t bother.

who do you think you are? tiny little voice. tiny insignificant object.

*the bell rings*
good morning class.
sit down. don’t move. be quiet.
hand in your homework.

you didn’t do your homework? no excuses. stand up. you didn’t have time to get to homework because you were more interested in playing with your sibling? no excuses. stand on your chair. you didn’t bring your book in because you didn’t have time to properly pack your bag? no excuses. stand on your table. you couldn’t get to your homework because of tuition and other classes? no excuses. stand outside of the classroom. you didn’t do your homework because you’re not interested in the subject? no excuses. arms crossed, hold your ears. ketuk ketampi.

receive your punishment. be quiet as you are punished. behave. do not question authority. put your head down and look at the ground as you are punished. be shamed. be shamed in front of your peers. be ridiculed.

who do you think you are? tiny insignificant object.

*the bell rings*
negaraku.
line up. two by two.
stand straight. don’t move. be quiet.

show me your shoes. not white enough. clean. show me your socks. too low. too high. change. show me your nails. not short enough. cut. show me your hair. too long. cut. too messy. tie up. coloured hairbands? only white, blue or black allowed. don’t come back tomorrow looking like this.

follow the rules. rules are there for a reason. obedience is rewarded. don’t stand out. don’t express individuality. fit in. be accepted. be one with the herd. be standard. refer to stock image.

who do you think you are? tiny insignificant object.

*the bell rings*
go home. eat. no time. study. go for tuition. eat. no time. finish your homework. prepare your books. no time. sleep early. wake up early. no time. get dressed. eat. come back to school.

*the bell rings*
stand straight. sit down. don’t move. be quiet.
don’t think.

there is no time to think. memorize. memorize chapters. memorize books. memorize subjects. memorize everything. good. regurgitate. time’s up. put your pen down. here is your score. your worth. your value. good job. try harder. did you not study? what kind of answer is this? were you not paying attention? fail. not smart enough for this class. not smart enough to keep up. compete. compare.

who do you think you are?
no effort is ever going to be good enough.
you’re never going to amount to anything.

tiny insignificant object.

*the bell rings*
goodbye.
school is out.

but don’t for a second think you are free.
don’t forget the lessons you have learnt and all that school has taught you, tiny insignificant object.
repeat these things to yourself for the rest of life.

keep hearing that bell ring.

happy anniversary my love.

4 years ago we took that great big leap and decided to move in together after one month of seeing each other while the whole world was angry and tried to keep us apart. good times.

not everyone could see what we already knew. you and i are one. our soul paths were meant to intertwine for us to help each other become our whole selves through the process of creating the life we both yearned for so much.

our path is still long and very much unknown, but i trust we will continue flowing with the universe towards everything we know is possible. i trust the journey will bring us home.

look how far we’ve come since that miserable room in kota.

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i am so proud of us. thank you for being willing to take on every challenge this life incurs, however challenging it may be sometimes.

i love you. i will be right by your side always.

hello goodbye

this morning right before waking up, i had a really beautiful dream of ah ma. usually my ah ma dreams feel a little eerie and i watch her as i wonder on the inside – why something doesn’t feel right. then the feeling begins to become overwhelming and dark and eventually ends with me waking up to this shattering realisation that she is dead.

i dream a lot. i always have. and my dreams are incredibly intense. but until recently i could always just wake up startled, comfort myself knowing that it’s just a nightmare and try not to think about it as i fall back asleep. by the next day it would be nothing but a very foggy memory of something that i really would never be able to recall in detail.

dreaming of ah ma is a completely different experience. it usually starts out incredibly normal. nothing out of the ordinary. then i start to notice little details that don’t quite make sense. a part of the house that looks different. an object that we never owned. a conversation that doesn’t make sense. a person that should not be there with us. and as i wonder… and look around… and experience the dream i am having – not yet realising it’s a dream – ah ma starts to fade or mutate. sometimes i look at her and realise i don’t recognise who i’m looking at anymore. other times i look in her direction and all i can see is energy that i know symbolises her in the scene but she no longer has any form.

then it starts to sink in. always takes a while but i’ve never had a dream of ah ma that did not end with the same realisation. it feels like a cloud descending, a wave travelling through my body. and then i get it. something doesn’t feel right. this can’t be reality. that is not ah ma…because ah ma is dead.

i wake up. startled. sad. confused. numb.

i can’t shrug it off and comfort myself this time. what woke me up was reality hitting home. i wake up and ah ma is indeed no longer here with us. she is dead. and i don’t think i’ve been able to process what it means for her to be dead.

ah ma has been a part of my life since the day i was born. i spent more time living with her than i did with my parents. when i first left home at 18, she used to call me multiple times throughout the day to ask if i’ve had food. if i was alright. if i needed money. to be safe and careful. to make sure i was getting enough sleep and had a place to stay. to let me know that i could just go home at any point if i needed to. that she would always be there. that i was not alone. she was my safety net.

she very much is still alive in my mind and heart. ah ma is right here. i’ve spent so much time talking to her throughout life that her presence will forever be a part of my life.

there are moments where it hits me hard though- that ah ma has passed. and if i let it be, it is overwhelming because i feel so bad for not going back to visit her in the last month when she was put into a home and we knew she didn’t have long more. we were scheduled to move up north by the end of the month and then i’d go get her from the home and move her to a home closer to us. she didn’t make it to the end of the month. i didn’t go say goodbye.

ah ma has always been the absolute best person when it came to understanding that i had my own life to live and couldn’t always visit her. she never made me feel bad when it’d been a while since i visited. not once. i wonder if she understood i was going to go get her so she could finally be close enough for me to see her all the time. i wonder if she was sad that i didn’t go see her. i’m not a person of much regret. but this, i do regret. and i wish over and over and over again i could turn back time and hug her one last time.

so this is the honest reality of ah ma’s passing for me. i didn’t run to go see her when i had the chance to. i waited and it was too late. i didn’t say goodbye. i didn’t tell her one last time that i loved her. i will never be able to change that. ah ma lives on in my memory forever but there is no closure because i will never stop feeling bad for not seeing her one last time. i do not desire to stop feeling bad about it.

last night i spoke to yoong before sleeping, because the night before i had a really dark dream of ah ma. i told him that nothing could change. i do not know how else to process her passing more than i have. i know she is no longer physically here. i know she lives on forever in my heart. i am happy for her that she no longer has to suffer the pain of being ill. i am alright that she is no longer here. it’s the eventuality of all of our lives here. hers came to an end the way it was supposed to. not abrupt. not tragic. just an expected peaceful passing. i knew ah ma wouldn’t be here forever.

the emotions are so strong that it feels incredibly numbing. i accept that i feel numb. i accept that death is such a weird thing to process because it changes reality but technically doesn’t remove a person’s presence. nor does it take away the past. or the love.

processing death is a strange experience. i totally understand the eerie dreams i have of ah ma. i accept that as my forever. which is why this morning when i woke up foggily to a beautiful dream of her, i wanted to jump out of bed and write everything out to see what’s changed since last night.

in this dream, i was in our old home with ah ma, ah kong and epoh (grandma, grandpa and grandaunt). ah kong was filling water into a really cool water gun and i was showing ah ma and epoh how it worked and why it was better than a slingshot (which ah ma used to use all the time to shoot at crows). there was a cool bike in front of our house that ah kong rode in on. we were having good laughs and ah ma brought food out and told me to go eat. then the neighbour came back and asked ah kong why we had a broken bike out front. i looked over and saw an old broken down bike with no wheels under a tarp.

usually this is the point where my dream would start to get eerie.

but this time it felt incredibly natural. all of a sudden, we were all in the house. my brother was at the table with me and i was explaining to the neighbour that we were playing pretend. “you see, my grandma is no longer here with us so when she is, we try to make the best of it and enjoy the time we have with her. that’s why it doesn’t matter if it’s a broken bike outside. it can be anything we want it to be.” i absolutely knew ah ma was dead. i knew it was a dream.

i look at ah ma, trying to take in all of her. her short wavy white hair. the shade of her skin. her aging once chubby frame. those large spectacles. her checkered short sleeve shirt and sarong. her smile. her gummy, toothless, denture-less smile. her voice as she nags at me to eat. the love i feel as she fusses about everything. i stare for as long as i can, because i know she is gone. and my dreams (which i have very little control of) is the only place i will ever see her again. i look at her so long she becomes a still frame. and then just an image. i smile as i think of her. and then i wake up.

present. aware. at peace.

i miss you every day ah ma. i miss you with all my heart and soul. perhaps it will always be a mix of good dreams and bad ones when it comes to you because i love you that damned much. i will always wish you could be right here with me, so these dreams – good or bad – i look forward to them. because i look forward to seeing you.

you used to tell me about your dreams of your mother and grandmother. i never understood. now i do.

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