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.

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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.

 

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 ❤️

 

Chocolate Banana & Avocado Bread

Today, I woke up with the determination that I will successfully make one a banana and avocado loaf. I have left over Lindt 90% dark chocolate so I thought, ‘Why not put chocolate in it too’. I had a slight panic when I realized I didn’t have my measuring cups with me until I saw a good ol’ coffee cup. Yes, I used a coffee cup for measurements because I didn’t have measuring cups but please kindly do use measuring cups for accuracy. As I was creating this recipe mentally, I was thinking about the measurements and fitting all my estimations into them. Thank God that it turned out well.

I was also thinking whether kids would like it as I’m a swimming teacher. I’ve been trying my best to gain my appetite back after losing it for these past couple of weeks. So what a better way to treat kids with clean eats by making your own bread and spreading the little joy.  Ladies and gents, I hereby present…

CHOCOLATE BANANA & AVOCADO BREAD RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of flour (all purpose or gluten free if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour (If you don’t have this, just use plain flour)
  • 3 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe medium bananas (mashed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large avocado (mashed)
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar (you can use honey or agave nectar ; you can use 8 teaspoons of sugar if you don’t want it to be too sweet)
  • 3 squares of 90% Lindt dark chocolate (roughly chopped)

INSTURCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line your bread pan with parchment paper or grease it with butter.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the avocado and sugar until light and fluffy with a whisk or a fork.
  3. Add in the mashed banana, vanilla extract and eggs and mix it into the creamed avocado.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder, and salt together.
  5. Combine the dry mixture with the avocado mixture until it’s thick.
  6. Add the roughly chopped chocolate into the mixture.
  7. Transfer the mixture into your bread pan.
  8. Bake at 180°C for 35-45 minutes or a toothpick inserted in comes out clean. If the top gets brown faster, cover it with foil until the bread is completely baked.
  9. Cool the loaf completely before enjoying!

 

Tada! All done! I hope you get to try out this recipe and tell me what you think about it. Tip when it comes to cooking/baking, have a little faith in yourself. Trust me, I don’t create recipes because I’m good at it. It takes a lot of failures for me to perfect one recipe or to be confident enough to just wing it in the kitchen. I really hope you enjoy making this as much as I did. The end result was worth it 🙂

Hurricane 

“The year is coming to an end. What are you thankful for? And what have you learned?”

Those were the questions I asked myself. I placed 3 fingers from my right hand on my left wrist. I felt the constant beating of my pulse. It was then I knew I was thankful for my heart. After all it has been through, I’m still thank the fact that it’s giving this body of mine life and have mended the soul within me. I can conclude that 2016 was a year that taught me 2 things :

  1. The importance of self love and self growth
  2. To believe in yourself

I’ve lost people whom I once called ‘friends’ and my cork board that was once filled with polaroids of smiles ; I took some down and replaced them with new ones with different people with different smiles. Remembering everything that has happened in 2016, it was a year that had been filled with tears, heart break, hugs, laughter and love. I did do my fair share of traveling. I’m still in the midst of learning to love myself. I’m not going to lie but I still reminisce about what Victoria, Australia have taught me in summer 2015, for I did leave a part of me there. I came home thinking 2016 is going to be the year of my life. Half way through, I stumbled and fell. Sure, I had that night where I broke down and cried myself to sleep in my hotel room by the beach. I had that morning where I woke up and wish my heart was numb so I didn’t have to feel the pain for a while. I had that afternoon where I reminded myself constantly not to lose composure. And I had that evening where I did lose my composure. The hurricane moments, I called it.

But you know that idiom that goes ‘The calm after a storm’? Well I know what that feels like. After those amalgamations of hurricane moments, it is then you will find yourself calm and it is as if something inside of you just patched everything up. But to survive those hurricane moments? It takes patience, kindness, gentleness, love and strength. No everyone pulls through those moments coming out the same and some don’t even make it out alive from their hurricane moments. In 2016, I’ve had those moments where close friends and family held me in their arms and told me that I could do it ; that I have strength in me to pick myself back up again. Reading back my 2016 resolutions, I can now safely conclude that I’ve done all of them. This year, I’ve loved unconditionally and I will love unconditionally next year too. I’ve been brave enough to cut off negative people from my life. I learned that I’m not my own enemy and I have inspired people this year.

So for 2017, I will continue doing all these. I’ve written down my resolutions so here they are :

  1. The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it’s been broken into a million pieces. – Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison CountySpend the next one year by loving unconditionally, especially yourself as well as treat others the same way you want to be treated.
  2. Invest time in yourself. On improving yourself. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone, even if it means being uncomfortable.The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades, bumps, and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested — and your personal growth realized. – Katie Couric- I want to become a better person physically and mentally.
  3. Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. – Joseph AddisionIt’s time to broaden my circle of knowledge more.
  4. Don’t be too hard on yourselfSpending the next 365 days to try not to be my own enemy.
  5. God often removes a person from your life for your protection.2016 taught me this and in 2017, I’ll constantly remind myself that I deserve better. Surround myself with people who possess the ability to calm me with their presence alone. Be around the people that encourages my self growth and support my passion & goals.
  6. “Art is to console those who are broken by life” – Vincent Van Gogh – 2017 is going to be a year where I focus on art (writing, literature etc.)
  7. Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.I will hustle and build my career. I’m going to work for the results that I want!
  8. Never quit inspiring people.I did it in 2016 and I will continue doing it.
  9. Forgive more.
  10. “Be yourself, be comfortable with yourself – It’s authenticity that’s compelling.” – Rochelle ‘Shelly’ Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather.
  11. Eat clean & exercise moreOkay this is going to be difficult but..it isn’t impossible.
  12. Remember, you got this.

12 resolutions to do. They’re not very specific nor are they much. But the next 12 months with its 52 weeks and 365 days are going to be a lot of work. It’s going to a selfish year where I’ll focus on myself. 2016 has been insane but every night before I fall asleep, I am thankful and grateful for all that I have. 2017, I’m ready for you. Let’s see what you’ve got installed for me.

My heart might be bruised, but it will recover and become capable of seeing beauty of life once more. It’s happened before, it will happen again, I’m sure

Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

 

 

 

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

Losing Composure

There comes a day where you’ll lose composure and that will be the day you’ll not know what to do. And, that is fine.

I once destroyed myself. I remembered the night where I stood in front of the mirror and I really couldn’t recognize myself anymore. That horrible night that I was so afraid of falling asleep. It was that night my breaths were like as if I was gasping for air. I began wondering what’s wrong with me. The following week after that night…God…it was just…hell, y’know? I remembered how hard it was telling myself not to break down in public. I remember running to my car and breaking down after that. It was as if my heart was so empty. The mechanism within me was severely broken. People underestimate pain and they take it so lightly. They tell you to move on and just forget about it like it’s something easy to do when it’s not.

But let me share something with you.

It’s okay to cry, to break down. It’s okay to feel insecure and to feel inadequate. There are days where I feel so incompetent and my insecurities takes control of me. It only makes you human. Having to feel your own heart breaking has got to be one of the most painful feeling you ever have to feel. Of course you can’t compare it to others. It’s not a competition on who lets it go and move on first. It’s not a competition to see who is hurt more. Never compare pain. People tend to wonder how I do it ; how I pull through. Honestly, there have been days where I lose all composure.

And you know what counts? The fact that after it all, you wipe your tears and you tell yourself “It’s okay”. That to me is bravery. Losing composure doesn’t mean it’s always bad. It just makes you take a step back and just take things slower. It’s hard because there’ll always be trigger points and it’ll be so exhausting. Losing composure is a scary thing because in within a split moment, you just lost it all and you’re on the floor crying.

It makes you real. Pick yourself up ; and breathe. Feel that heart of yours beating. Somehow, you will be okay.

 

 

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

The Tincture of Ameliorating.

This message was sent by another university classmate of mine last Tuesday. We’re just acquaintances so you could imagine how touched I was when I read this message she sent me through Instagram. Our conversation then proceeded to where I found out that her heart is currently in pain. Within the next few seconds, I said a silent prayer with a hope that at least she’ll fell less hurt.  Sofia, I’m glad my words cheered you up 🙂

They say pain changes you but they never say how it changes you. When I fell apart, my legs gave way as I collapsed on the floor breaking down. One time, I cried so hard that all my mother could do was just rub my back as she held me with all the might while I stained her shirt with my tears. You know what’s the most terrifying thing ever? Being scared of yourself. To me, there’s nothing scarier than to be afraid of yourself when you look at your own reflection asking yourself what happened to you. To hit that far below rock bottom was beyond hell. My heart ran out of love and my soul was torn apart in ways I didn’t know how to mend it back. The hurt my heart was going through was so painful that I could physically feel the pain.

I loaded my car and I went for a solo getaway. On that Saturday morning of the getaway, I sat on a long board (the one for surfing, not for skateboarding) and I watched the sunrise as I was floating in sea with my legs knee-deep in the cold sea water. I closed my eyes and I started telling myself quietly :

‘You will learn to love again. You are capable of love.’

It was then I realized that it will actually be alright. Yes, not now but in time, it will. Truthfully, I wish I had a manual that would tell me how to mend a broken soul because it’ll be so much easier. The only thing I know is that there’s a certain type of beauty in our souls and within our hearts. With given time, whatever that once caused the pain will no longer hurt. All you just have to do are 3 things :

  1. Don’t rush things. Let the heart and soul do heal by their own.
  2. Don’t suppress the feeling because numbing the pain will only make it worse afterwards.
  3. Believe in yourself.

I began trusting myself a little bit more after everything. As I laid on that long board and floating at sea, I placed my hands on my chest and felt my heart beating. The beating that told me I would make it out alive through this pain. I’m not going to lie and hide the fact that there are days where I lose my composure and cry. But you know what’s the most courageous thing? It’s when on those dark days, you still accept yourself for who you are. People look at me and they wonder how do I do it. Well, love is the key. I still continued to give love. I became more kind and gentle especially with myself.

Cry, if you must ; and smile when you’re happy. You’re entitled to feel whatever you feel and no one should ever make you feel that whatever you’re feeling is wrong.  3.5 years of teaching kids how to swim have taught me the essence of forgiveness and the joy of being kind. We grew up in a society where people think love is cruel but hey, that heart that you walk around with? It not only pumps life to your entire body but it feeds your soul with love. It heals your physical and emotional wounds. It’s not evil and it’s definitely not cruel. Sure, your previous relationship didn’t work out but that doesn’t mean you’re incapable of loving again.

You got to do you. You want to hike up the Himalayas? Do it. You want to just stay in bed and read for the entire day? Do it. Do things that you love and bring bliss to your heart and soul. Yes you’re scarred but I truly believe that everything you go through in life is stitched together with really good intentions. Let yourself heal and then when you’re ready, you’ll love again. Above all else, believe in yourself. You really have to. Do it for you. Trust that heart of yours for eventually it will mend and your soul will be okay again. 

 

 

 

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