Expanding Social Circle

I’ll be outstation for a short bit soon and this morning I was wondering what to do during my break. I thought of visiting the mall, or museum, or just plain people-watch. I listed out a list of things I might do, and if it’s a good thing to do.

Then I saw a problem: none of my activities included people.

You see, I don’t usually see it as a problem because I would’ve spent the previous days with people. I only like to add drama, some spice to my life by saying “I’m so alone!” having people pity me on social media but in reality it’s something I enjoy.

(I don’t think people who are on my social media read my blog; hello)

He Has No Eyes Though He Sees

“Hahahaha, Fifi said her God has no eyes. How does he see?” my classmate mocked me when we were thirteen. I didn’t know how to respond to him.

As Muslims we were taught that Allah has no eyes. Allah did not need to have ears, nose, or limbs to be Allah the Almighty. It made complete sense to us because Allah was not human, or a creature dependant on organs and senses to see or feel things.

To us he’s so Great that there’s nothing comparable to him, therefore we naturally don’t think of what Allah looks like. We understood it’s beyond our limited imagination.

Of course, you’d like to put the formless into form when you don’t understand. As a child I imagined Allah to be a cloud. When I was 17 someone told me she sees a bright light when she imagines Allah.

Now when I think of Allah, I think of the timelessness of the universe. How do you even put form to that?

I was 18 when a colleague told me, “It’s like you pray to nothing.”

I told him, “You don’t see air but you breathe it anyway.”

Don’t remember his response.

This morning I read the story of Abraham (Nabi Ibrahim) questioning his father why they had to pray to stones and statues. They wanted to exile him for questioning and therefore insulting their ancestors.

I thought it’s interesting that even in this day and age, when someone questions why you do what you do you get mad or throw insults at the other person. If you are offended by questions or you result in saying vile words about the questioner, I think you don’t truly have faith in your choices.

So okay, I forgot where I’m going with this.

I’m Offended & It’s Glorious

When my family goes out to eat together, we stack our phones in the middle of the table. Anybody who reaches out to it first has to pay for the meal.

Absolutely no phones allowed during meal times outside. It’s basic mannerisms to us. You use your phone, you’re saying you don’t want to be there, you don’t like the company, or you have other things better to do. Our family does not allow that. In the house when we eat our phones are upstairs, and we will be discussing stuff about life or work. We hardly discuss our feelings and other people….because we understand what feelings are and that other people feel things too.

I forgot the latter for a few hours. I took offense when a person right in front of me for dinner I was trying to engage in a conversation with yet it’s as if we’re on a different table in a different location. The person was distant, unfriendly, and I didn’t really want to be in a place with somebody who preferred texting someone on the phone over actual human connections. I am here, but your eyeballs are on pixels. Offensive!

How I Live Drama and Stress – Free

People, strangers and family alike, come up to me to tell me their life problems. Maybe it runs in the family. My late paternal grandmother told me about how people liked to talk to her, and I see it happening with my father too, and my family would say that whenever they left me alone they would find me talking to someone else like an old friend.

In the midst of listening, I’ve gotten responses like, “I wish my life was like yours so peaceful,” and “You wouldn’t understand anything because you don’t go through what I go through,” and “I wish I could be like you.”

However, none of them has asked me or wanted to really know how I do it. Most of them assumed it’s just “me” or that I was lucky to be in my position. The way nobody saw the hours of practice an iceskater puts in her art daily, they just saw her as a masterpiece or a participant to be judged. You would think that a person with gorgeous handwriting was born that way. Nope, she put hours of practice into it too. A person who writes well probably read 100 times more than you do, and a person who is ….you get what I mean.

It’s the same with me. I’ve gone through hardships. I remember the days we could literally only afford instant noodles and hotdogs weekly. We’ve had days where three of us adults would be on one kapcai motorbike because that was our only transport. Many other “difficulties” too, years of depression, months of illness from that depression, et cetera.

It’s just I never talked about it, and over time, realised the truths behind the reality of life. My experiences at first made me cynical and doubtful about everything. I wasn’t happy. Slowly I just saw that that’s not how I want to live, so I changed, and my life changed. So far, so good. Nobody’s given me a hard time. I don’t experience bad customer service. I get rejected and that’s okay. I always meet the right people I’m supposed to meet. I get lost and I turned and found the way. I honestly don’t remember the last time I was truly angry or truly sad, not even at funerals! Life is at balance.

Here are 9 I could think of, as to How I Live Drama and Stress – Free:

1. I write my own drama

Think of a writer of a film, or a soap opera. The writer knows that the story is his own work he could pause to have coffee, and then return to pour his emotions again. I don’t have drama in my life, because like a writer, I know to step back and see things from many points of view. I don’t see things from only my side. I see it from yours too. And it gets very interesting as it unfolds itself every step of the way, like enjoying a film in a movie theatre. Life is not made up of just one situation happening. It’s made up of the different things in the background as well. The way a soundtrack itself can be separated by different instruments playing music. When you look and listen to it on its own, the music won’t be as dramatic as when it’s all combined. That’s how I see things. One by one, and from all angles.

2. I don’t mind my feelings

I have feelings, but I don’t really care about it. When I’m angry, I just let “me” be angry because I’m just angry and that’s that. When I’m sad I’ll just be sad and that’s that. I don’t do anything anymore to “stop” feelings from happening. Feelings are a part of my psychological response to situations, the way my adrenaline might rush when I look at roller coaster or how my pupils dilate when I’m in low light. Try to hold a fart and see how much it would hurt! Feelings are just a part of my body response. Makes no sense to me to stop what I’m feeling because then that would distrupt the nature of my being!

3. I know I’m not responsible for your feelings either

Seeing how I understand feelings as a part of BEING, the way you wouldn’t tell your cells to stop multiplying or stop thrombosis from happening, I wouldn’t tell you to stop feeling what you’re feeling either. You’re feeling that way because that’s what your body is used to. Acclimatisation is a habit learnt by your body you know? The way how you see your life is a habit of your thinking. How do you unteach your body from acclimating? By just going back to the mainland, right? Same thing. How do you unlearn something? By just letting things be and stop trying to do something all the time!

4. I do my best because I want to do my best, not for someone else

I don’t have ambition to make my mom/dad proud or for the country to see me do well for them blah blah blah. I don’t. But I know when I do something I give my best, and whether they like it or not, look at #3.

5. I have no expectations of others nor myself

Many times I’ve heard people say “I expected her to be this or that” or “I expected myself to blah blah,” but “look at you!” People want to look at me, but nobody wants to ask me how I do things. I don’t expect anything and just let things happen. That’s all.

6. I don’t live in the future.

I don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow, or tonight, makes no sense to me to overthink my unknown future. I make plans, of course, but I don’t stick to it 100%. I’m open to changes every step of the way, according to moment-by-moment lessons.

7. I don’t live in the past

Makes no sense to me to let events that had passed affect me. Even if it is a revelation about something, but is it still relevant today? If it is, I will learn from it. No, I won’t cry over it.

8. I laugh things off

A genuine humourous laughter kind of thing. Back then when I tried to jump off a building (ha, and you think I never went through this!) it seemed like the world is caving in and there was nothing left of me. Now when I think of me then, I laugh, because I didn’t see things clearly and assumed it to be absolute truths. Life has a gentle humour, if you get the joke.

9. I know life doesn’t revolve around me.

Millions of stars, multiple universes, another world, billions of people, I would be foolish to think that I’m the only one in the whole world experiencing what I’m experiencing, with feelings unique to my own. That’s something you’ve been brought up to believe about yourself, that you’re special and one of a kind. Knowing I’m not special puts my focus less on me, and more on what can I do to help. I want to help, really help, not help for recognition or friendship or love, but help because I know life works best when there is a real connection between us and everyone around us.

And number 10 which I just thought of:

I deeply and completely accept myself.

It did not live like this in a snap or after reading someone’s blog post. Figure things out yourself, but also stop trying to do so much. Live in the moment. All the best.

I Give Up

Somehow my internet is acting up, so I’m taking the opportunity to update my blog.

I’ve decided that my site is going to be more on my “personal” updates. Whatever that means.

I feel everything about my life is more mapped out now as more and more things make sense. It’s still very slow, but I appreciate the moments I’m able to slowly sip and breathe life.

Time and time again I see how giving up is always a great thing to do because giving up doesn’t mean THE END. It means leaving all the dusty old collected thinking I have about something and allowing room for new thoughts to come in.

A few weeks ago I was sort of blocked in “ideas” and I just had no idea what I was to do with a project I’m working on Insight Waves. My mind was just blocked with DO DO DO DO DO and found myself sort of frustrated from the fact that I didn’t know what to DO. A lady from a faculty of the University of Minnesota contacted me and told me she was interested in what I wanted to do.

The Question on Jodoh

Recently a close friend from secondary school got engaged.

I don’t know many details because distance grew us apart, but I’m very happy for him. He’s a nice guy, he told me I will like her.

Two people have decided to take the next step in their relationship and commit to a life of forever and after.

While I haven’t even found anybody.

He told me “You don’t need to be in a relationship to give a relationship advice.”

All right. I’ll just need to be open then.

So in the quest of being open to accepting someone in my life, someone else told me about seeing signs that someone is meant for you.

Valentine’s Day Confessions

I don’t remember the first time I liked a boy, but I remember the first time a boy liked me.

He was my classmate in my last year of primary school. Everyone knew but me. I was the only one left clueless, and when I found out, revolted.

When asked why, from friends, he said it was because I was “smart and pretty.”

Thanks to him, my self-confidence actually heightened. I entered secondary school where another guy from another class liked me. It was a fun texting-only puppy love friendship where we talked about songs and life, and I was mad at him for skipping assembly and he told me it was cute. I asked him why he liked me. “Your smile,” he said. “Not my eyes?” I asked. “Yes your eyes, but your smile lights up the room.”

Racism

Hung out with someone I might be doing business with. Last year we were in a regional group discussion to empower our youths and had a good first session. I was the only token Malay girl, three Malay guys and one Indian guy. The other 7 were Chinese. The leader was a Chinese guy, the co-leader a Malay.

I grew up in Singapore, and in school I was the only Malay girl in class too. Nothing new. When I was in America my roommates were Mexican and the other a white-married-Iranian lady. So what is race? Nothing! To me, at least.

When I learnt about racial segregation my head thinks “Old people and their old ways. Us young, global-minded people will change that.” I’m so optimistic about that. We’ve travelled the world! One colour is not better than the other! Right?

Until I’m not included in the follow-up of this regional, youth empowering group, I asked why. I know I gave good input, because the Indian guy exclaimed “Here we are looking for answers when you know about them!” and another Chinese participant approached me and said “I want to invite you to our event. I WILL call you.”

The co-leader explained that it’s actually a race thing, why I was left out. That the leader was only interested in building ‘his race’. Even the token Malay guys were left out even though we were supposed to be a team.

“Your mind is different, it’s great, but some people can’t take it,” said the co-leader, who invited me to join the discussion in the first place because he knew I could offer something else.

I see. Oh well, I told myself. I don’t know the full truth anyway. It’s all right.

But…

I really do not know anything about my race’s culture because I really do not think it’s something I care about. I was at Old Town White Coffee and the server gave me chopsticks to eat my noodles with. I then realised that while I knew how to use these, do they know how to use hands to eat? I know how to use a fork and a spoon too. Do YOU KNOW HOW TO USE YOUR HANDS TO EAT?

I finally see what people are fighting for. Race superiority. Undying. Continuous living. Culture. Forever.

But it makes no sense. It really is not something I can digest. It’s not like a blade cuts different skin colour differently.

Am I supposed to wait for my children’s generation to see people realise that no race is better than the other? My child is a Persian yet he befriends the kucing kampungs no problem. Oh come on, I thought y’all have degrees and Master’s Degrees and some going to PhD and becoming doctors, wanderlust, travellers, influencers, you guys are better than this!

Oh well.

Tween Love-Making, Teenage Story Resurfaced and Desires

One of the most disturbing things I’ve seen on the internet a few months or weeks ago was a boy on top of a girl, and the next video the girl on her knees while doing something to the same boy who was then lying down.

While I was fifteen at a chalet party, we all had gathered and the boys turned on some adult video on someone’s laptop. It looked painful, and I was more concerned over being caught because they were using MY mobile data. I walked out of the room to hang out with the others about one or two minutes after the video, and didn’t care much about it anymore. When I was 10 I had accidentally clicked on a bait that downloaded lots of nude pictures into my computer. My dad was about to have lunch when I told him about it and he got up to have them deleted. Before that I had come across the profile of a girl from Singapore named “Amirah” who also posed in her birthday suit and I told my mom about it. After that I didn’t really care anymore.

But this time it was different.