Maikaʻi

I’m pretty successful.”

Those are the words that I’ve never thought I would tell myself as my best friend took the picture above. We were watching the Garden Rhapsody which was a light and sound show at Gardens by The Bay, Singapore. I smiled watching the show thinking to myself, this is what life is. It is to be content, happy, grateful and thankful for everything that I have.

People measure success in monetary terms. As I grew up, I learned that if you’re truly happy, content and thankful for everything that you have, that itself is success. And if you’re passionate about something, there’s never a day in your life that you’ll ever be upset again. If you measure success in monetary value, someone is able to take that away from you. I learned to celebrate the little joys and to be grateful for the day. I’m still learning not to vicious to myself, like stop beating myself up too hard. I’d like to think that you’re rich when your heart is full of love and kindness. If you’re honestly happy, you shouldn’t care what people think or say about you.

I won’t lie and tell you that every day is perfect to me. There are days where I do find it difficult to go on but I tend to take a step back and be grateful for the day. Be happy of the little blessings ; be it for the weather or for the fact that your heart is beating strongly. I won’t admit that I’m always okay because it takes time for growth and I’m still growing ; mentally and emotionally. But I’ve come to learn to be proud of myself. And I’m so thankful for all the people that have always made my heart so full.

A little advice?

Do you. Be you. Be proud of who you are and how far you’ve come. Be kind and love wholeheartedly. Be thankful for what you have and be content. Always thrive and never give up. Always know that you got this.

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Ka Ikaika

I once read a poem by Jorge Luis Borges called “You Learn”. The poem goes :

'After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With every good-bye you learn.'

The line  ‘So you plan your garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers‘ is probably the one thing I’ve come to learn over the years as I grew up. I watched myself being torn apart and I tried my best to help my friends who has to deal with a struggle. I was questioned about my life goal and I simply responded by saying I want to see my friends and family happy. Truth to be told, nothing makes me happier than to see my loved ones being happy.

This is Daryl. We’ve been friends for quite a bit and we’ve share our horrible college & university days with each other. Just like my other friends, he too has his own war and battles to conquer. Seeing him being happy and content with life makes me so happy. I can’t say any of us share two of the same pain for each heart and soul are created differently. Everyone has struggles that we don’t speak of, and nights where we’re forced to face our demons that we don’t talk about. There are people who don’t make it out alive and they would do anything to stop the pain.

Strength isn’t only measured physically but mentally and emotionally. The strength to hoist yourself up and not give up, that to me is truly amazing. Watching Daryl picking himself up after what his heart has been through, it makes me proud. That’s the beauty of pain. Once you’ve come to accept and forgive, there’s a sense of peace you’ve built within yourself. We talk about heroes with superpowers and capes but the most courageous you could ever do is to forgive. And that to me is pretty damn heroic. I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Good things will happen to good people when you’re patient enough.

I destroyed loving someone once. It ate me up and I could feel my soul crumbling within me. I could feel the physical ache my heart bared for the longest time I can ever remember. After losing that person, I found myself. I taught myself to never be sad over the loss of a relationship (be it a friend or a lover) if self-improvement is the lover that I’m left in bed with. I taught myself to mend the broken pieces and I taught myself to love wholeheartedly again. I taught myself to be fearless and that it was okay to have emotions for I am only human.

Here’s to you, dear reader, wherever you are. If you feel like you can’t get through your day, just know that you’re never alone. Yes it is tough and it will only get tougher but hang in there, soldier. Believe me when I tell you that you were born with so much strength. Do it for yourself for you really are worth the fight.

23 ; A Year Older.

I followed an artist on Instagram and when he posted this, I suddenly felt what he was going through when he turned 23 as well. Over the weekend, I turned 23 and I couldn’t help but to reflect on how far I’ve come. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly blessed to have been surrounded with amazing people who showered me with so much love. My heart is filled with so much blessings and love ; no words could describe how overwhelmed I felt.

I have to admit that if you were ask 21-year-old me, I would have told you that I’ll never be able to make it this far. When I was 21, my heart was somewhat hollow. It was pumping blood, but it wasn’t really capable of loving. I would also have told you that my soul was terrible damaged where I didn’t know how to fix myself. I flew to different places where I would have little breakdowns at empty train stations/beaches/airports or would sit in a cathedral/church silently saying “God, I don’t know what to do anymore.” Long story short, my close friends and family could see how much I was going through and in my own ways, I managed to mend myself back together. Unskillfully, of course. I’m still not fully put together but I’m still learning. I still have yet to master the art of forgiveness and love. I must say, along the way I’ve mustered enough courage and strength to mentally tell myself :

“It’s okay, Win. At the count of 3, time to hoist yourself back up, sew the wounds and be a soldier. It’s you and I, baby girl. You got this.”

I admit that half of the time, it was (still is) tough believing in myself due to the level of insecurity and uncertainty. This year turning 23, I patted the left side of my chest where my heart is underneath and celebrated a little victory for pulling through. I’ve been reminded how blessed and loved I am. In the past 12 months, I’ve let go of people & things that don’t matter to me anymore, met great people and surrounded myself with people that mean the world to me. It’s been a rollercoaster ride and I’m still learning. So I guess, it’s not too bad, huh? 🙂

PS : Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who took the time to wish me (be it in person, over the phone, text etc.) Thank you for all the singing, cake, laughter, fun, hugs & gift. Thank you for showering me so much love and I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve you. You mean the world to me. Thank you 

 

Warm Strawberries & Silent Prayers

The picture above was taken after being on the bus for almost an hour only to realised that I didn't get off at the right stop and I got off the wrong bus stop, walked 30 minutes until I decide to wait at another bus stop. Then I got on another bus, got off the right stop, walked for another 40 minutes and I finally reached the beach. Basically, I got lost in another country and my phone didn't have enough data to check anything. 

 

I was looking through all the pictures (polaroids, printed photos & the digital ones) and for every piece of memory that comes with them, I'm thankful. 2017 has taught so much about love in any kind of relationship ; even the relationship with myself. People have been asking how do I do it ; how am I still whole after watching me fall and tear myself apart. So here's what I wrote in my travel journal while I watched the waves gently hug the shore while I bury my toes in the warm loose sand, eating that box of strawberries : –


"Note to self :

You're at a tender age where life is viciously harsh. Some scars that are within you still sting from time to time. Some scars are sewn shut by your horrible sewing skills that makes them look uneven and jagged. But let me tell you that it is okay. Your best friends and family may not have seen you entirely at your worst where you know your healing mechanism somehow is so broken and you don't know how to fix yourself anymore.

There comes a night where your soul falls apart and you can feel yourself crumbling. It is going to be the toughest night you have to survive through. Everything within you feels hollow ; empty. Your hands are going to tremble because you're terrified. Your insecurities have all awaken and have began tearing you apart ; eating you alive.  You're then forced to face your inner monster with nothing but your stripped down, worn out self. You will break down until your throat feels tight and you're gasping for air. You're both equally exhausted and in so much pain. You're just sitting there waiting for dawn, clinging onto the mere hope that it'll be less horrifying. Yes, you are going be so desperate to stop the pain you're feeling and you'll do anything to divert the pain. But please, please hang in there with me for a while more.

There comes a day where the sky is at its best blue and you'll feel yourself shattering in public. You'll bite your lower lip to stop your eyes from forming tears, trying your hardest not to break down in public. Your fingers will be cold and you'll put them in the pockets of your best jeans while masking the obvious fact you're on the verge of crying. Pieces of your heart and soul will begin chipping apart and this is where you're going to pick it all up by yourself. You're going to try to mend yourself in a failing attempt to do so. Tears will stream down your face ; leaving stains on your cheeks and you're going want to stop breathing because the struggle is too painful. But please, please bare with me a little longer.

Don't give up. It's never the time to give up. Of course, it is easier said than done because who's to say what and how you should feel or not. I don't know what you're going through neither do I understand the pain you're feeling. But all I know is that if you're hurting, just take your time for it is okay. The world is already rough and it can be unkind. The last thing that heart of yours need is for you to be wicked it. The heart, the one that took 9 months for your mother to form and grow in her, is meant to love ; especially your entire well-being. You have to trust and believe in it. Just don't give up for you were born to discover places, create your amazing version of art and build your little path. You're going to stumble and fall but please be gentle. You need to know that you really are something and enough. You are loved by someone ; be it a family, a pet or friend. You've come a long way ; went to hell and back. So believe me when I say you really are strong enough to keep going. You got this, warrior.

With much love"


If you're thinking that I have got it all under control, some days I don't but I do take time off to reflect on my life. I've lost people ; friends and family. I've gotten my heart so broken to the point I could physically feel the pain.  Sitting on that warm sand in the picture, I had my passport, on my lap, that held immigration stamps which was the sole proof that I've went out, explored, and conquered. I learned so much ; so many things that I can't possibly type out in one post. But if it's one thing that I learned is you are never alone in this and you're worth the fight 

 

All visuals and words belong to Win W.™ unless stated otherwise.

 

Here’s to all the hours I’ve spent in orchestras, theatres, art galleries, museums, parks, reading tons of literature and creating art. I shamelessly admit to all the money I’ve spent buying books, entrance fees, and spending doing art ; be it writing or drawing. There’s a certain kind of comfort and quietness that art gives someone. It is like how Leonardo da Vinci once said “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen“. There is a kind of beauty that the art carries with it ; be it a dance, a painting, a picture, a sculpture or a book. It’s as if the artist left a part of his/her soul for you to learn from or to know about. So here’s to the art galleries that comforted little parts of me that I didn’t know how to comfort. Here’s to the orchestras and theatres where it was brought the kind of safety and calmness a wounded soul needs. Here’s to the books and museums that were (still are) my greatest teachers of life and love. My old high school literature teacher was right about art. It reminds you on what it’s like to be human again.

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” 
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

All visuals and words belong to Win W.™ unless stated otherwise.

Avocado Brownies


I’ve been meaning to upload this recipe for a while but I wasn’t that confident with it until I made some friends try it out. I was trying to mind what I’ve been eating lately as I have way too much unhealthy meals. It doesn’t even help that I’m in the munchy mood that I crave for desserts. This drove me and my brain into coming up with the next best thing…avocado brownies. Without further ado, here it is!


AVOCADO BROWNIES RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup of plain flour
  • 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ripe avocados, mashed
  • 1/2 cocoa powder
  • 100 grams of chopped chocolate, melted over a double boiler (I used 80% Lindt chocolate bar for this)
  • 3/4 cup of coconut sugar (You can substitute this with maple syrup/agave nectar/honey/brown sugar ; totally up to you!)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line your tray with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, cream the avocado and sugar until light and fluffy with a whisk or a fork.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract and egg and mix it into the creamed avocado.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt and add to the avocado mixture.
  5. Add the melted chocolate and pour the batter into the prepared tray.
  6. Bake it for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick/knife comes out nearly clean.
  7. Let the brownies cool and enjoy!

Done. It was easy and so fun to make as well. Not to forget, it is healthy too! As you can tell, all my recipes don’t take much time to make so feel free to share your feedback after trying this out so I could improve the recipe. I haven’t tried substituting the sugar with agave nectar or honey yet but if you, dear reader, ever do substitute it, do let me know by leaving me a comment at the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoy making this AND eating the brownies as much as I love doing so.

Enough

Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts (27 April 2017)


‘e·nough’

One word that not many of us tell ourselves. I know I haven’t been updating this space much and some of you might think I’ve gotten too busy with my life that I no longer write. That’s not the case. The real reason is that I’ve been having difficulties penning down my cluttered thoughts and I haven’t been getting much sleep to begin with. It doesn’t even help that my body crashed multiple of times which explains the sore throat, pounding fevers etc. So it brings me back to typing this very post right now as I sit here hoping this cup of camomile tea will aid with my sleep tonight.

I have people telling me that my words have inspired them but honestly, I’m not perfect. One of the hardest thing I struggle with is telling myself that I am enough. Not the kind of ‘enough’ that people expect me to be but more so of the kind of ‘enough’ that I know I am. They say that you are your harshest judge and I really am very harsh with myself.

People can tell you that you’re beautiful 100 times a day and if you still don’t believe it, that is the worst. So every day, I do something called “My Little Daily Enoughs” which is something I tell myself at the end of the day. Here are some of my few :

  1. You’ve done enough for today. You did your best in these 24 hours and the next 24 hours are for you to do more
  2. To someone, you’re beautiful enough.
  3. You are enough.

Everyone has their own definitions and versions of ‘being enough’. What I learned is that your flaws are stitched with good intentions. What I also learned is that you should look at the person that loves you the most and try putting yourself in that person’s shoes to see what you look like in their eyes. I do that sometimes with my mum. I do wonder what it is like for her to love such a difficult emotionally wrecked up daughter like me and not a day in my entire life where she complains and dreads about loving me. Bit by bit, I learn to love myself because of how my mother loves me.

If your partner is having a tough time loving himself/herself, do me a favour but love that person more because everyone deserves to end the day knowing that he/she is more than enough. Take it from a person who went to different countries & states just to slowly mend herself with whatever ability and skills she bears. It wasn’t a pretty sight because I was scared to the point where I would cry, waiting in the train to arrive, for I couldn’t hold myself together any longer. Here’s something to remember, if there comes a split second of the day where your insecurities got the better side of you, take a deep breath and feel your heart beating for a bit.

The heart that pumps life to your soul and every part of your living being ; it is doing more than enough for you. I know it’s easier said than done because the brain does have the loudest voice when it comes to things. What is important is that at the end of every day you know that you’re still breathing, that itself is a victory of its own. Small victories which are better than nothing at all. Remember, you really are enough ❤️