Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Travel Journal

Many months ago, I blogged about my love for vintage things; anything that looks like it's not from this era is my cup of tea. So I bought this one notebook while I was in England last winter and have yet to use it. I posted a picture of it on my instagram asking for suggestions on what to do with it. Someone said it should be a travel journal plus an album for my polaroid pictures. 
It's big notebook with plenty of pages so it would possibly last me for a long time! Also, I highly doubt I'll be doing much travelling in the next few years. I've work and other grown up duties that'll keep me tied down but I do plan to use it even for my travels around Malaysia.

But it'd be interesting to look through the pages when I'm, let's say 30! That's why I love writing so much, everything that gets jotted down is forever archived. Trust me when I say writing is a remarkable gift. There just aren't enough pages and ink for me to jot down all the thoughts and emotions I've.

When you look back at all that you've written in the past, you feel like you're reading the writing of someone else's because whether you realise it or not, you're never the same person that you are a year from now. Some traits of yours may remain but your interests, the way you view things and who you like and dislike will inevitably change. 

P.S: I don't purposely include Sprint in my pictures but she tends to pop out of nowhere whenever I'm trying to take a picture of something. Pfft. Vain cat. 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Weekly Post-it #1


I've realised that I find it quite difficult to write a whole blog post regularly these days even though I don't think I've been that bad at updating my blog. But to make my blogging more consistent and to please my impatient readers, I'm going to compensate the lack of 'lengthy' blog posts with what I'll call 'Weekly Post-its'. 

Every week on any given day, I'll write something on one of these post-its I've drawn that's either a reminder, a thought that popped into my head or a quote I like. You get the gist. Here's to the first Weekly Post-it Series. :) 
Don't get distracted by how others are living their lives. Focus on YOU and the right kind of people and opportunities will come your way.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Free Being Me: My Perspective

A few weekends ago, I had the privilege of being with 30 girl guides from all over Malaysia for the Free Being Me workshop which is a body confidence workshop for girls. I underwent the programme while I was in Switzerland as it was inclusive in the Helen Storrow seminar. For more info on it, click here.

I really looked forward to facilitating the workshop here in my home country, Malaysia! So what is it about this body confidence programme that's so unique? Well, first off, I think it's the most realistic one yet and both young girls and adults can relate.

It's not one of those programmes that favour one body shape over the other. Part of the Free Being Me workshop, we try to educate young girls that all body shapes, sizes and colours are to be appreciated because the truth is there is no 'ideal body'. The 'image myth' is what the media tries to sell to us.

Young girls should NOT have their self esteem injured just because they don't fit the media's standards of beauty. A woman should be valued based on her good characteristics, skills and contribution to society instead of her dress size.
IMAGE MYTH:
We are constantly brainwashed by the media that to be beautiful you need thick, luscious hair, be 6ft tall, have DD size boobs, porcelain skin and washboard abs. Models on magazines are heavily photoshopped till the point that they don't even look like themselves. Have you seen this:



People's idea of beauty is becoming distorted because the beauty/fashion industry aren't painting a realistic image of beauty. Yes, some people are blessed with supermodel body proportions but is it fair the rest of us who don't fit the bill are scrutinised?

If you're a girl here in Malaysia, you'd know that once we're slightly heavier than what people expect, that's when the negative fat comments keep coming. "You'll look nicer if you lost a bit of weight." "What a pity, she's so smart but doesn't have the looks to match."

Many young girls are feeling pressured to look a certain way on top of the stress from school, friends and family that they're already under. Depression, anxiety and eating disorders are on the rise amongst teens because of the overwhelming pressure to look like the image myth.
Whenever I talk about this workshop to my friends, I'm surprised when many of them opened up to me about their past eating disorders. I'd never have known because I always thought they were beautiful to begin with! Isn't it worrying to know that some of your friends might be suffering in silence?

Ok, so Free Being Me aims to promote body confidence and awareness of the image myth. WHY is body confidence so important, you ask? Let's look at the facts:
We now live in a competitive world. For women to get to places, we need confidence but how are we to succeed when we're held back by low self esteem? I for one can admit that the facts above applied to me back in high school. 

I was a very chubby teen and turned down countless of opportunities to try out new things because of my low self esteem. I hated how I looked and it didn't help that some kids in school would pick on me due to my weight. There were times I'd cry my eyes out because it really sucked to feel ugly and sadly, I didn't feel as if I could confide in anyone. 

I loved sports but didn't have the nerve to play them outside of PE class because I wanted to avoid the fat comments. I was shy even though deep inside I knew I had a lot to share. So THAT'S why I think body confidence is important. Young girls should be FREE to be themselves. They should not be held back in school because they feel ugly.

Life is SHORT and teenage years are even shorter. It should be spent by trying out new things, getting good grades and being happy. So how can you help someone with low body confidence? Here are 2 tips:
Trust me, nothing hurts more than being teased about how you look than seeing your friends not stick up for you, as if they're agreeing with the negative remarks. If you see someone giving a hurtful comment to your friend (or anyone) about how they look, don't just stand there. 

Tell the other person off and reassure your friend that s/he looks fine. You've no idea just how much it'd mean to that person. Help others. Why should people be alone to fight their battles? 
You don't know just how much you can lift a person's spirits by giving them a kind remark. Words matter. You're wrong if you think that one kind remark can't change a person's outlook on life. You don't know what they're going through; you might be that one person who gets them going.

Free Being Me is not in any way encouraging people to neglect their health. Eating well and regular exercise are important! It's also OK to want to be beautiful but one should not have their mental/physical health at stake to achieve that. Most importantly, no one should feel depressed or be hindered in school or workplace due to body-related anxieties.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Tagged: Liebster Award


I was nominated for a Liebster award and tagged by Laila to answer 11 questions. Head on over to her blog! Before I continue, I want to nominate: Sya | Farah | Alia. My own list of questions are at the end of this post.



What were your expectations before getting into the blogging 
community

I started blogging maaany years back and then I deleted my old blog, made a new one - repeat that process 2 to 3 times. I can't remember what my expectations were but I just wanted to use it as an outlet to express myself plus I find composing a blog post quite therapeutic.

Has blogging changed you in any way?
It's taught me how to write for an audience. Although I only write about what interests me, at the back of my mind I'm always trying to find a way that'll make my style of writing EASY for people to read. After all, what's the point of me writing to the world if no one can understand me? 

What are you passionate about?
I'm passionate about literature, art, music, spirituality, guiding, my family, animals... I don't really think there's many parts of my life that I'm not passionate about. The things I do on a day to day basis, I do with great interest.

What do you think about overcoming fears?
It's exhilarating, scary, but definitely rewarding. It's essential for character building; overcoming my fears was my goal for 2014 and Alhamdullilah I've been doing just that since January. 

What do you think about expressing yourself through fashion?
I think some people take expressing themselves through fashion much more seriously than others and that's great! But personally for me, I dress in whatever I'm comfortable with and don't give it much thought.

In less than five words, what defines you?
I am simply myself.

Summer or Winter?
Summer!

What is your dream travel destination?
As cheesy as this sounds, anywhere with my loved ones is my dream travel destination. If you want a more specific location: anywhere in Malaysia. I love my home country!

Name one thing you want to do before you die.
Touch lives. I'd like to have a positive impact on people's lives.

Could you live without internet connection for a week?
Only if I know I'm getting internet connection after that week is over.

Name an experience you had and would like to repeat once again.
None. This might sound cheesy but life is special because there's no single experience that you can actually repeat. You can walk down the same street again and again but it'll be different each time. You'll see different faces and hear different sounds. You can't replicate moments in your life.

Questions for my nominees:
  • What was your first impression of me?
  • Mention 1 positive trait of mine.
  • What makes you feel uncomfortable?
  • Describe your dream home.
  • Have you achieved any of your new year's resolutions so far?
  • Do you find it hard to be yourself around new people?
  • Shower or bath?
  • What's the oldest thing you currently own?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Looking back, what did you waste your time worrying about?
  • Off the top of your head, name a song that makes you feel like dancing.

I'm looking forward to all your answers! :)

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Impianku

Impian means dream in Malay. Not the kind of dream you get when you're asleep, but what you dream for in life. A few days ago, a group of pregnant teens from a care home came to the Wisma Pandu Puteri (Girl Guide headquarters) in KL. We organised a morning with them followed by lunch. 

All the girl guides present that day stayed over at the HQ during the weekend for a training programme for body confidence called 'Free Being Me' which I and a few others facilitated. Most of the participants were teachers and much older. Only 1 or 2 were in their 20s. 

Most if not all of the teens, were victims of circumstance and I'd rather not go into details about that, I'm sure you guys understand. They were aged between 13-18. When they arrived, most of them were shy, probably nervous and made little eye contact. But by lunch time most of them were laughing, smiling and wanted to talk to us about their interests. It was pretty remarkable!
All the guides and teens were split into 4 groups and each group came up with their own fun activity. Each group of teens rotated around the hall so they got to try all 4 activities. I joined the group that talked about our impian. 

The girls had to write their dreams on a piece of paper followed by a simple drawing that symbolised that dream of theirs. After that we advised the girls on how to achieve their goals. We also told them that there's no straight path to success in life and making mistakes is a natural part of the process. 
Quite a number of the girls wanted to become chefs because they enjoyed cooking. Some were very ambitious and had a LIST of things they wanted to achieve. I was very glad that all these girls wanted a better future for themselves and that they had ambitions, it's a very promising start.

When the 3rd group of teens came to our table, a very quiet 15-year-old sat opposite me. She barely made eye contact. I sensed a lot of pent up emotions so I made sure not to put any pressure on her to talk. Her other friends wrote things like 'I want to become a chef' or 'I want to get into college'... but what she wrote made my heart break into a million pieces...
She dreams for a happy family. I knew if I talked to her about it she might cry on the spot so instead I wrote a note on her piece of paper. I think she knew it was a heartfelt note, something that could evoke a lot of emotions, so she folded the paper and placed it in her handbag but she salam-ed me before she left.

I think every child deserves to be part of a happy family so it saddens me when anyone is deprived of this basic right. I pray that with the support of her friends and caretakers at her new home, she'll have a bright future and I hope I'll see her again.

Working with people from 'difficult' backgrounds requires a lot of emotional strength; you've to be strong FOR them. As I said before, most of the girl guides at the HQ last weekend were a lot older and therefore had families of their own. Some of them had to excuse themselves briefly because they couldn't hold back their tears.
I don't blame them. They're mothers and no mother would want to see their child get themselves into these kind of situations. I'm usually the first to cry for anything but I just couldn't, you know? You can't let someone in a difficult situation feel pitied; it makes them feel uneasy.  

But my experience with them wasn't all sad. I met these 2 girls who said they loved music; 1 loved playing the guitar but both were gifted with beautiful voices. Before they left our table they excitedly asked if we wanted to hear them sing. Err, of course we wanted to!

Both of their voices combined gave us goosebumps; they were incredibly talented. All of us were happy that they were confident with their talents. They exuded a lot of positive vibes which insyaAllah will get them through all of life's obstacles. 

I hope they'll keep coming to Wisma Pandu Puteri, us guides are always ready to help because that was what we promised when we took our oaths... and we keep our promises.