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.

 

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The fervour love.

My university classmate messaged me last week and told me something that I never expected :

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I wasn’t close to her and we’re just mere friends. She texted me asking where I got my scuba diving license from and when I realized that she wanted to be like me…I was touched. I wanted to ask her “Why me though?” then I realized that I was the one that she could relate to seeing that I no longer have a boyfriend and I go on all these adventures. She wanted to be as happy as I am. Steph, if you’re reading this, I have my moments where I would break down and cry but it was the thought of ‘Hey Winnie, you got this!’ that keeps me going. I’m glad you spoke to me and thank you for allowing me to strengthen the courage in you to do what you want to do. Go be happy, Steph! You deserve it! ♥

2015 was a rough year and part of 2016 was hell for me too. Friends and family saw me fell apart this year where I no longer knew how to mend myself anymore. The only thing I knew what to do was to pack my little back pack into the car and escape for a little while. 35 days in Melbourne in December 2015 to January 2016 taught me one important thing :

Love yourself.

This year when I fell apart and hit more than just rock bottom, I went away for a little while alone. Falling apart was the most horrifying thing that has ever happened to me even though I am only 22 years old. I was too busy loving everyone else around me that I forgotten what it’s like to love myself. Truthfully, I gave all the love I have within me and there wasn’t anything left for me. So out of fear and desperation (mostly desperation), I traveled alone.

People don’t see the tranquility into traveling alone and this was what I learned when I was on the beach in Melbourne last year. Traveling alone doesn’t make you a loner. In fact, you get to love yourself even more because this time…you actually have the time to do so. Slowly, I picked myself back up and I did what I love without the fear of wondering what others taught of me.

Diving, doing back flip somersaults off the boat, blasting music in the car and singing horribly, surfing, skateboarding, running, swimming, painting, drawing, writing, driving aimlessly, reading, jumping on hotel beds, burying myself in fluffy white hotel pillows, praying when I feel alone….the list goes on. These are the little things I did ; I began loving myself. I even wrote on the bathroom mirror of a hotel with the 3 most powerful words : “You are enough.”

3 words, in my pink L’Oreal lipstick ; were all that I needed on that Saturday morning when I felt insecure with myself. I kept myself busy with work and doing what I love. I cut out negative people in my life and only kept the precious ones. Then, I was told this by a friend :

Win, it’s your time now. It’s time to do you, baby girl. Don’t worry about me or your other friends. I’m sure we’re all doing fine. You’ve been there for us all these years and time. So it’s time for us to be there for you. Go do you, baby girl. Go be happy. Keep slaying in life. If you do find yourself crying, you have us. You have your family too. I really do believe that some day, when a man loves you, he’ll be the luckiest person alive. For now, don’t stop being you. Someone will love you for who you are. Thank you for showing me that I no longer have to be afraid of being myself.

And I honestly did what I love and what makes me happy. I became even more grateful with how life has been treating me. I enjoy my job too! I told my parents how blessed I’ve been. If I have one thing to tell you, dear reader, is that sometimes we’re so fixated on the bad things in life, we forget about the little happy things. Treat people like how you want to be treated. Be kind to people and be gentle with yourself. Give love and learn to forgive the ones who have done you wrong. Believe me when I say this as I’ve hit the solid ground of hell’s rock bottom where I gave up on myself. I urge you to do what makes you feel sane and calm again, even if it means getting a cup of hot chocolate or showering. Do it. Loving yourself isn’t horrible ; for you, are beautifully flawed stitched together with good intentions. Loving yourself isn’t selfish. In fact, it’s bravest thing you could ever do.

So, love yourself in ways only you know how because at the end of the day, you’ve only got you. If you’re ever in doubt, just look at me. I’m your living proof that you don’t have to fear about being yourself and that you can love yourself.

 

 

 

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

Travel to live ; not just to have a holiday.

I understood what some people meant when they say ‘Travelling heals you. It’s like…you come back and you’re cured.’

Reflecting on my travels, upon my arrival, I always tell myself that it’s time to live and not treat this like a holiday. In my perspective, if I was lost, it shows that I was living. Of course, I had friends checking up on me with their ‘Do you know how to go home?!’ or ‘Are you safe at home?!’ texts. My mother somehow worries less when I’m travelling because somehow she knows that I’ll find my way back to my room even if it means me walking for 2 hours back for I’ve missed the last bus or train. And honestly, I will actually do it.

Travelling is more than tourist attractions. It’s the bug bites, the food, the smile on locals and you getting lost and scared. It’s actually funny thinking back of how many times I find myself hopelessly lost during my travels and sometimes I pray hard that the petrol in my car is sufficient enough for me to drive back home. By the end of each travel, I learned something about myself that I don’t know about. I also learned how other people saw things that I can’t and I understood their ways rather than just stick to mine. In other words, my mind and views broaden up.

So if I have an advice for someone who is planning their next holiday, do yourself a huge favour : Live during your holiday. Experience the little things and not just be hooked on the main attractions. Notice things. Learn about yourself through someone else. I learned something about myself from a stranger who told me that it’s okay to be alone because when you’re alone, you’ll learn so much about yourself. It is completely fine if you pay for an expensive meal during your holiday. I’m not asking you to splurge but just buy an extra scoop of ice cream or go all out to line up in a store to buy bath and beauty products home. Go do it. Live. Not just visit. Do it like you’re living there.

Keeping Sanity.

For the past 4 months, I’ve been flying on planes so much that sometimes I find myself reciting the safety video that comes on the screen in front of me. I know it’s funny but I find a sense of joy when I travel ; near or far. I’ve been reading a lot too which is a good considering the packed schedule of balancing my schedule.

I don’t know about other people but to me, traveling does mend the soul. It keeps you sane and it makes you stop and allow yourself to take a breather from the hectic life. I’m talking about you filling the bath tub with bubbles and warm water and you just soak yourself while you read a good book. Or sitting on the balcony of your hotel room and just listen to the waves gently crashing on the shore while having buttered croissants. I honestly do think it’s important to do the things that keeps you sane. Some people paint, and some build sandcastles to keep them sane.

As I stood on the balcony of my hotel room, leaning against the railing and watching the sky turn into different shades of orange, everything in me felt calm and alright. About two weeks ago, I found myself losing composure and had a minor break down in my bathroom. 5 minutes of sobbing into my towel, I told myself that I got this and I wiped off my tears and bravely faced the rest of the day. Standing there, at that balcony, I reflected on all those times where they were emotional and mental battle fields and I come to a realisation that I actually made it this far.

So dear reader, wherever you are, I am a living proof that everything will be alright. You can love yourself. And you got this. Trust me when I say that your body has its down healing mechanism that works along with time. Together, time and your healing mechanism will mend things. Your broken heart, will no longer hurt anymore. Don’t worry you’re not alone for mine is still in the mending process as some cuts within are deeper than the others. But I’m a firm believer that eventually, the cuts will no longer be painful.

So here’s a time-lapse video of the sky turning into different shades  of orange to make your day in some way.

Post Melbourne Syndrome.

Melbourne Central

State Library of Victoria 

  Royal Botanical Gardens

Windmill Gardens

I woke up with a melancholy wave greeting me on how much I miss Melbourne. I reached for my phone and went through the Google Drive file named ‘Melbourne’. I started scrolling through the pictures –  It was such a BAD idea, I know.

You might think I’m exaggerating, but until you have been to Melbourne, you’ll never truly understand what is PMS (Post Melbourne Syndrome). Trust me, the struggle is real. My friends came home and the first thing they feel at the airport is how much they want to turn around, run back to the plane and fly back to Melbourne. I, on the other hand, somewhat refused to board the plane home and I was crying over the phone talking to my mom while hugging the backrest of the seat at the Melbourne airport.

My Australian friends are checking up on me too to ask how I’ve been and when would I be back in the city where I proudly stuffed my face with glorious food and singing horribly to songs playing in shops with no shame. I don’t know how people do it ; forgetting about Melbourne. My aunt spent 3 years studying in Melbourne and after 10 years, she still wants to go back there. You’re going to argue with me saying “Look drama queen, it was your darn vacation. It wasn’t like you built a life there and was forced to come home. It was just a h-o-l-i-d-a-y.”

In my personal defense, being in Melbourne was exactly what I needed to de-stress. It was the people that I was surrounded with. It was more than just a holiday to me. I realized I was less annoyed, less hateful and less irritated with everything and everyone around me while I was in Melbourne. Remembering me waving goodbye at James and listening to him yell “YOU PROMISED TO COME BACK HERE. YOU PINKY SWORE. YOUR BEST FRIEND HERE IN MELBOURNE NEEDS YOU! PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FOR ME BACK HOME AND I’LL SEE YOU SOON OKAY? YOU PROMISED ME, WINNIE!!,” as I stood at the other side of the gates while I watched James walked down to the platforms ; I knew my heart didn’t want to leave.

As much as I desperately want to go back, I remembered what I told my mom while I was crying over the phone at the airport. Melbourne taught me to be more appreciative with that I’ve been blessed with and to be more thankful. Melbourne taught me that I actually got this. Melbourne taught me self-love. I suppose that’s what travelling does to someone. It teaches you. It opens up your mind and it changes your perception on things. I’ve traveled to places before and spent a week or so there. But it wasn’t 35 days which was what I spent in Melbourne. I got to witness love, passion, happiness and sadness at another new level ; whether it was on buses, trains or waiting in line to get a cone of gelato.

I saw buskers singing passionately, a dog tearing sadly next to a homeless girl, an elderly man kissing his wife’s hand and a happy 2 year old while building her sandcastle. I know it’s wrong of me to compare things here to things in Melbourne but honestly, who can help it? I believe it’s human nature to do so after spending time abroad. Traveling changes you. It really does ; especially if you spent so many days in a completely new place. Be it a week, a month, or a year ; be it to another state or country, it changes you. I never really got to bid Melbourne a proper goodbye because I was pretty reluctant but I can safely say, the Post Melbourne Syndrome is a real thing.

I started seeing things as grey and not black and white. It was neither here is black nor there white. The cup is no longer half empty. I came home with my cup half full despite experiencing  P.M.S. I brought more than just memories home. I brought lessons home too. For now, let’s cure this ‘sickness’ with counting down the days until graduation and plan the next #winsescapade. Goodbye Melbourne. Like Jamey said, I’ll see you soon.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

To You, From Me.

It’s been 14 days since I’ve came home and the P.M.S (Post Melbourne Syndrome) is taking its toll on me. What you’re going to tell me is that I’m being a melancholic drama queen and that it was my holiday hence why I can’t compare what I’ve experienced in Melbourne to home. Don’t get me wrong ; I love being home because of the familiarity with things and the convenience of driving around in my car instead of relying on the public transport like I did in Melbourne. Let me get things straight before you and I go into a debate on what a ungrateful brat I am for not appreciating what I have right now.

I have never spent that long of a holiday in a place where I knew completely nothing about and I had to rely on a map and a travel guide that I took from the airport and maneuver my way when I got lost. Your argument to that statement would probably be “But Elizabeth Gilbert spent a year in 3 different countries to find herself and wrote a book about it.” I didn’t have the time to take a year off university to do so, so I milked whatever time I was given for my semester break which was 35 days and I landed just 4 hours before my first class for the new semester started. So yes, ladies and gentlemen, I squeezed in every second I could get out of my break.

I won’t hide behind a lie and say being back in ‘reality’ has been a bliss because it hasn’t rreally but I’m blessed. I mean, I desperately needed that holiday (or escape, you can put it that way). Take my skin, for instance, and the outbreaks its been having compared to me being in Melbourne.  However, despite me missing Melbourne terribly and wanting to go back (even if it means for me to shiver in the cold and complain about the heat), it’ll always be an experience that I’ll never forget. A while ago and I flipped through my wood-printed faux leather 2016 planer, this year is really going to be my year.

Nonetheless, Melbourne did heal me in ways I can’t explain. Dear reader, if you’re reading this post and feeling like you’re beyond repair, I am a walking proof that things will fit perfect into place and eventually, your soul will mend. I’m honestly not telling you that it’s easy because I am still having a difficult time handling things myself and I have yet to conquer the art of improvising to whatever life is going to throw at my way. You’re going to tell me that I was one of the lucky ones who was given a chance to go somewhere to ‘find myself’ and I won’t argue with you on that. I am lucky and I’m so thankful and grateful to be given that opportunity. I came home to type this post to tell you, wherever you may be right now and whatever you’re going through ; I’m here to tell you that Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture ( though only reading a few chapters and I’ve yet to finish reading) taught me that :

This is what it is. We can’t change it. We just have to decide how we’ll respond. We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just  how we play the hand.”

You got you ; you got this – I urge you to tell yourself that.

Melbourne

First and foremost, it was really difficult choosing pictures for this post because I took hundreds of pictures of Melbourne to the point I no longer had memory that I have  to transfer all the pictures in order to make space. I will be uploading a couple of pictures in the next few posts but for now, let me tell you about #winsescapade on my Instagram that everyone’s been wondering. (To view more, click : https://www.instagram.com/winaaay/ )

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My escapade ; my adventure.

When I broke down in my mother’s arms, in August 2015 (a week after I turned 21), she witnessed her strongest (in her opinion) child fall apart as I stained her work shirt with tears. It probably told her that I needed this trip even if it meant I will be away for Christmas and New Year’s for the very first time. My dad bought the flight tickets for me and it was when he told me “Win, go do whatever you like as long as you’re happy. Daddy will be here being your biggest fan and cheering you one,” that I knew he could see what I went through the past couple of months before. I am by far the luckiest and the most blessed child to have my parents.

I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t afraid as I stepped onto the plane to Australia. I was scared when I got down the plane and I went there with zero research and knowledge of Melbourne. I knew nothing about the transportation, food, weather and people. I only had Wei Yng who was the only one I was close to. However, there I was ; In a beautiful city with a little back pack across my back that held my purse, a bottle of water, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, my phone, passport, the public transport card and my ‘Adventure’ playlist.

I made new friends and I’ve gotten close to old friends. I danced with strangers, I sang to songs on the radio with friends and I was surrounded with so much love and care. Melbourne became my safe haven even if I was pretty terrified when I got lost walking. It was just me, the hearty food and the amazing people. On days when I traveled around alone, those were the days where I found the old Winnie. The one who slowly swayed to music while admiring art at the National Gallery Victoria, the one who sat on the floors of the libraries and sunk herself in literature on my travel journal, the one who stood at the top of the Shrine of Remembrance and drew the city skyline on both of her forearms with eyeliner and the one who traced her fingers on beautiful old architecture of buildings. It was as if time stopped and my soul came to live.

Even though I spent a large amount of time complaining how temperamental the weather was and how tired I was at the end of the day, it was worth it. Along the way, everything in me became calm and gentle. My soul and my heart mended on its own. There was a particular day where I sat at on the grass at a park with my packed lunch on my lap that I realised that I fell in love with myself. I haven’t felt the love for myself because for the past few years, I was at war with myself and it was difficult because you really are your worst enemy.

Loving yourself isn’t a vain thing to do but I really do believe that it is the hardest thing to do. To love all your flaws, insecurities, anxieties and scars ; it takes a lot of strength and courage but then again, you only got you. I would know because it takes a lot to tell yourself that you’re entirely a very beautiful soul that was born with good intentions built in you. I couldn’t really describe that feeling for you, dear reader but I hope you somewhat understand the kind of serenity I felt within me. A sense of peace to my mind.

Here’s to everyone whom I’ve met in Melbourne. You know who you are and what you’ve done for me while I was there. Whether it was just a slight conversation or hours we’ve spent together, I thank you for everything ; every single thing. Without you, I wouldn’t be at my happiest. From driving me around to run/singing/dancing/laughing/training/swimming/walking with me ; Thank you so much. I’ve eaten so much gelato, chocolates, fruits and all kinds of food and drank so many cups of Chai latté that my stomach was at its happiest 😊

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It has been almost 48 hours since I came home and I’ve got PMS (Post Melbourne Syndrome). I wish the weather was a little different so my hair would be as soft and smooth as it was in Melbourne and I want back the level of safety and I want the security I had when I was in Melbourne back as well. But it was how excited and happy my 84 year old grandpa got when he saw me sitting on the living room floor waving at him and the fact my grandma saved steamed salted-egg yolk buns for me so no one else in the house would eat them that made me happy I’m home.

Thank you, Melbourne for all you’ve done for me in 35 days. 35 days in Melbourne were all that I needed to know that I really got this.