Saturday, January 30, 2016

fighting the storm

The Storm Within
by Micah Alex

I'm Lost within the storms
They rage within me 
I grope in the dark 
Trying to find my way out of this mess. 

I want to live like you live
Smile because you want me to
And laugh because i mean it 
Every tear takes me further down. 

I'm still not all i want to be
Still become sad for nothing
Still fear the great unknown
Worry because that's all i can do. 

Maybe this is the boat close to land
The only hope hidden by the fog
Maybe this is the way I'll learn someday
That you'll always hold me forever and ever.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Living "the life"

What can a managing director do without numbers.
I can't make any calls without numbers.

I need numbers.

I'm sitting in my office at 2am at night thinking about how I'm going to get my numbers.
And thinking about how I'm going to make seemingly wise calls based on my gut without any real numbers to guide it.

Ah, the life.

Why in the world do people ever want to become CEOs.
Honestly, people should wish to become CEOs WITH a great team, and a company with great infrastructure, and LOTS of numbers.

Otherwise, go talk a walk.
Walks are a lot less stressful. Honestly.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A new discovery.

So my blood test results came back today.

The medical appointment was a little awkward because I was both excited and fearful at the same time. Excited because I might find out exactly what was going on in my body, and yet fearful because I didn't really want to be diagnosed with something that I had to be on medications or something on for the rest of my life. It was weird and conflicting... and I supposed it showed on my face when the doctor showed me the results - which resulted in a furrowed brow and great effort to stop myself from breaking out into a big grin, all at the same time. It was quite disconcerting really, because I knew there was something coming - as the doctor didn't just say "the results came out negative". Instead, she made me wait with a "hold on, let me print this out and I'll explain the results to you"... then came my crazy frown-smile combo whilst she was trying to explain the results whilst my brain buzzed with white noise whilst I tried to pick up little bits and pieces...

It turns out that I have subclinical hypothyroidism.

Finally, some understanding about the sudden weight gain, hair and skin and nail problems, freak stuff... and of why I'm so tired and depressed so often.

I'd share more, but I honestly just need some sleep now.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sorry, another sad post... except with two perspectives.

I just recently sent a close friend this text message when she asked how I was doing...

In short life is now

  1. I'm tired.
  2. I want to go study.
  3. I've told my mother that honestly if I had the chance to start over, I'd do something like modeling.
  4. Company is doing very poorly financially and I fear the worst.
  5. My dad's health worries me and he doesn't want to take his medications. The thought of losing my dad robs me of all peace
  6. My own health is really poor. dropping hair like mad and went for blood test last week to check for hypothyroid. Results out on Thursday. I've come to terms that I've been struggling with depression for a long time.
  7. I really need to move on in my personal life.
  8. I feel really lonely somehow.
  9. I'm really unhappy at the state of my body and weight.
  10. My world generally feels like it's falling apart. 

It's weird. Some days I feel top of the world and that everything is going to be okay and I can get through this... other days I really don't know what I'm doing and where I'm going.

She caught me on one of the "other days".

The high point last week was a photoshoot I had on Saturday for mentorship.

Today I'm getting out of the office for a bit. I actually have a ton of things I have to do, but I'm running... but I'm doing a ton of other things whilst I'm running.

Life is just a whirlwind now.

Some days I want it to stop.
And on others I feel like that maybe if I stood firm in the core of it on the days where it's wild howling, I'd find some sort of adrenaline and deep peace.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Work yesterday turned out surprisingly productive. I had a sense of purpose in some sense and I made decisions.

However, it's 5 in the morning now and I haven't slept a wink.

Hearing my father's cough in the next room has put so much fear in me that I may lose him. Staying up is irrational and not helping any, I know.. But somehow I've become so anxious I can't fall asleep.

Instead, I worked on a jigsaw puzzles I started yesterday and finished it. It's official, 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles only give me two days worth of entertainment. Maybe I should get a 10K piece one.

I meant to go and work with some of my staff at a confectionery early this morning, but I was gripped with such a fear of failure that I couldn't fall asleep either... And I eventually decided not to go because my lack of sleep is not going to render me useful.

This is somewhat destructive isn't it? :( 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A medical epiphany

So I had an epiphany this morning around 4am (I did sleep some through the night though, thank God).

And my epiphany was:
Maybe it's a thyroid problem.

As morbid or weird as it sounds, for the past couple of years, I've been wondering if I have some sort of autoimmune disease. Trust me, it's not something that a human randomly comes up with to think about - much less me because I believe I have better things to be anxious about - but doing some research on it this morning somehow started pulling things together.

I suppose this whole thing started when my skin became really dry a couple of years ago. I started to have non-fungal rashes (I went to the skin centre to get that checked once). I had bad bouts of bowel problems, sleep problems, anxiety issues, lethargy, very brittle nails, my hair is still falling, and I had some freak problems with my eyes on two separate occasions a few years ago. I went to the doctors once or twice in this period of time and both doctors guessed it might be an autoimmune problem... But I never quite got it followed up on.

Life just gets busy like that.

At one point of time, especially after my jaw surgery, I started reading up on lymphatic problems (as I was looking at how lymphatic drainage could help with the swelling) and that seemed to make sense to me. I was, however, really cautious as we live in an age where there is a lot of random unfounded self-diagnosis with the availability of sites like WebMD. So, I didn't do much about it either.

About a year ago, I bumped into an old friend of mine and somehow as we chatted in the car park she shared with me how much better she was that she found out that she had hypothyroid and she was getting it treated. As she described her symptoms, I couldn't help but constantly think "hey, that's pretty familiar". 

And this morning that meeting came back to me in my epiphany. Maybe that is why I've been feeling so lousy. 

So here I am, having dragged my aching tired body out to the clinic waiting for my turn... Which apparently looks like another 500 people in queue before me or something. I honestly don't know if hypothyroidism is what it is, but part of me will be thankful either way.

I suppose it's a good thing that I have some time out for myself. I brought a book too.

Okay life, what do you have for me today?

Monday, January 11, 2016

7am wandering wonderings

So I've made it to 7am without a wink of sleep... I'm now convinced it's jet lag.

I've put some leftover Vietnamese summer rolls from the refrigerator into the toaster oven and covered them with a slice of cheese... some sort of a treat to celebrate the new week I suppose. So whilst they're baking, here I am wondering. My wandering thoughts have been bothering me for the past few hours even though I've been trying to distract myself with more Big Bang Theory, random YouTube videos, and sporadic attempts of trying to declutter my iPhone.

The thoughts bother me though - the latest one being that maybe what I need is to learn to say "F*ck you" to some things that bother me. It's a crude word, and honestly I always felt that people who cussed were just expressing in such a generic sense for lack of vocabulary, or effort in expressing themselves more clearly. But I suppose today, my mind thought that such an expression was the most succinct way of summarizing both how I feel, and how I should respond. Urban vocabulary - interesting isn't it?

So yes, back to my mind encouraging me to tell these things to f*ck off.

I suppose the root comes from some anger that I have buried inside of me. Perhaps a culmination of remnants of emotions from many experiences in life for which I have felt unjust... and never expressed for fear they would cause social rejection... or perhaps kept inside for such language and thoughts were simply unbecoming for a lady; very ungracious and with much lack of virtue.

And yet at this juncture I am tempted to begin what could be an hour-long tirade of how much pain there is in the things I remember... to share the injustice in the experiences I've encountered.... for the people whom have hurt me... for the things that have been stolen from me - from an emotionally stable childhood at some point, to my faith in my parents, to my first kiss. My idealistic world has set standards probably unachievable by this world and has obviously caused much dissatisfaction in me...

But all my mind compels me to say right now is "F*ck you".
Although the proper, wiser, lady in me believes in the power of saying "Thank you" instead.

There has never been much fruit that arose from much anger...that's why I never entertain it for long. And I truly believe in the power of being grateful and loving instead.
And yet today, I just feel like flipping one at the universe.

I have never thought this way.
What is wrong with me? :(

At the end of my recent trip...whilst I was having a quick meal in HongKong, I noticed something about myself.
This was the way I started and ended my meal with happiness.

I did not adjust them for the shot. It's just the way I ended happily.

It's not that big and deal...and it's not something new to me. I've always known that disorganization and clutter bothered me and how much peace and calm I find in simplicity and clean lines. But I just haven't been able to do anything about it... Living in a house with seven other people (and a mother of a hoarder) makes it pretty much impossible.

My sister has been encouraging me to see a therapist for a while because she has seen the brunt of how depressed and upset I can get when I have a super low day... thing is:

  1. I've tried to see a therapist once before when I was much younger, but ended that session feeling like the therapist was wasting my time and money by just sitting and nodding and asking questions. My friends and family can do that too - for free.
  2. My mind runs really quickly and before I respond to a therapist, I already know the possibilities of responses that they will have... and it kinda erodes my respect for them when I'm right. 
  3. I've also been trained as a facilitator and counselor... so i know how non-committal it "should" be so that the client will take their own decisions and risks and that one would not be liable for any "advice" given during a session - for all answers would be from the client themselves. This knowledge has given me a great distrust for psychologists - for they are just people interacting with you with as little risk on themselves as possible.
  4. I also don't want to "officially" tarnish my personal medical record with something I don't want in my historical medical records like OCD or some other anxiety disorder of some sort.

Maybe I just need exercise.
Or maybe I just need to remember when I was happiest - the moments of great happiness and purpose in my life.
Perhaps I should really consider this year-by-year of life documentation project seriously..maybe it will give me some answers.

But for today, I just need to get through today.
I don't have much energy now for the lack of sleep... but I have to get through today.
I have to walk into my office with a smile. I have to meet decisions with frowns, and questioning questions, and force my brain to think critically and scold staff whom have been underperforming... and encourage those who are down. I have to start my day with my to-do list and end the day with as much organization and productivity and joy as I can muster. Fake it till you make it right?

I have to.
I need to.

Finding myself.

So... I spent most of the layover sleeping because I could barely get any with all the sounds of snoring, toilet flushing and knocking me (that is the last time I ever take that aisle seat at the back EVER again. EVER EVER NEVER again. I am totally a window seat leave-me-alone person).

Aaand, other than about an hour of Big Bang Theory, I spent most of my first day back in Singapore sleeping too. I'm not sure if it's jet lag or my new inefficient, unproductive, escapism strategy that's not going to help anyone or make a difference to the world in anyway. Aren't I the most positive person? :) And now at 12:30am Monday morning, I'm struggling to not sleep, because I don't want to wake up in the morning. Part of me is having some sort of anxiety attack of getting back to work and "real-life" I REALLY don't want to have to drive to the office. I don't want to have to meet my father for a management meeting in the morning. And I don't want to meet with the department heads for an update on what has happened these past two weeks and to make these big decisions on "Strategy 2016" and approve budgets and stuff like that.

I just don't want to.
And I don't understand it.

Thus the reason for my random writing at the wee hours in the morning... trying to figure out what in the world is going on with me.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I honestly don't know what's tripping me up. The first book I picked up this morning when I awoke was Strengthsfinder....and with what apparently are my top five strengths (1. Ideation, 2. Strategic, 3. Futuristic, 4. Competition, 5. Activator) it seems like I should be perfectly suited to do what I do. And yet I'm stuck... and I don't believe I can do it.

During my stay in London, I reread "Tuesdays with Morrie", one of my favourite books of all time..and many of his questions challenged me, as they always do when I take a peek in. This probably set the tone for a lot of introspection on the trip... during meals I would ask others questions like "What choice of basking would you do if you were a basker?" and "If you had no limits to time, money, or risk of any form, what would you do with your life? What would your dream career be?" It was always interesting to hear what others had to say... but I found it even more so that I often didn't have an answer of my own. I often spend more time listening and trying to guess what the answers of others would be, whilst having much less self-awareness or vision as I encourage others to have.

I suppose it may help going back to basics.

I remember a time when I was studying Early Childhood Education (yes, believe or not, I actually have a diploma in that with a Certificate of Merit), the basic developmental needs of a child was broken up into 5 main categories with the acronym SPICES - Social, Physical, Intellectual, Cognitive, Emotional, and Spiritual. I wonder how I fare on each of those categories... but a quick self-assessment feels like I'm not doing too well all round. Maybe that's probably why.

As I asked myself the hard questions... part of me felt like I needed to retrace my steps of human existence. I feel like I need to do some sort of archive of my life - year by year, photographs, notes, pictures...any type of historical artefact of my existence  - starting from the day I was born, to really understand why I'm having this sudden existential crisis at this point.

Okay, it's 2am. I really have to continue this conversation with myself a little later this week.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Where am I going?

Here I am on a plane headed back to Singapore and all I can think of is "Where am I going?

And the answer I'm looking for isn't "Singapore".

Two weeks ago, just two days before Christmas, I got up and left Singapore to come to this side of the world to spend time with my cousins and to see Finland whilst helping set up a proposal... But the overarching reason of my leaving was really because I felt like I had lost myself somewhere and I felt like I was on the brink of a totally epic emotional collapse. Thing is, I don't know if these two weeks helped any.

Don't get me wrong. I've had amazing experiences in a short two weeks. Coming back to London itself was momentous for me. It had been 8 years since I last saw some of my English friends and it was such a pleasure to see them again. And Finland - with learning to ski, hot saunas and ice-hole swimming in minus 17 degree weather - are memories that I will save for a long time to come.

So I went through the check list of goals I had for this trip. Getaway, check. Visit Finland, check. Help with cousin's proposal, check. Meet up with friends from a long time ago and catch up, check. Visit markets, check. But that one big thing on the list - on finding out what I want to do - remains a box still tugging at both my heart and mind.

In hopes of finding an answer, I brought up the quest and question with almost every single friend on this trip. The quest being that I had flown thousands of miles away from home to find some peace and direction in life, and the question being what peace would look like to me in my life and where I would be able to find it.

Interestingly, these past two weeks have been ironic as I struggled with these existential questions whilst trying to put out fires back in Singapore at work over hundreds of text messages... As well as worrying the hell out about my seemingly suicidal ex-boyfriend (whom is suicidal not from my doing, but from circumstantial pressures and a generally bleak and melancholic perspective on life.... And his choice of a bi-polar ex-girlfriend after me. Just putting it out there that his depression is not my doing... Just in case you were wondering. I have my views on  depression in general, and I would digress on how not knowing God really makes those life experiences far worse than they need to be... But this post isn't about that, or about him.).

But yes, isn't it ironic that the helpless is trying to help others? Haven't I listened to enough safety briefs to understand the concept of helping oneself first before attempting to help another? Apparently not.

So here I am, threatening the ruin of my 20/20 (or is it 6/6) perfect vision as I type in the dark on a plane en route to my stopover in Hong Kong. All this whilst hugging my down winter jacket for some comfort. Yes, humans sometimes subconsciously try to find empathy in inanimate objects. And honestly, whoever invented down-jackets - like deliciously wearable duvets - is definitely one of my favourite people.

I spend a lot of time trying to be a lot of things for others. Happy, joyful, courageous, strong, wise, decisive... But the truth is, that when I'm alone, I'm often not what I strive so hard to be. The truth is, I'm sad. I'm sad because I don't know where I'm at and what I'm doing with my life and whether it's going anywhere. I'm sad because I'm still hurting from my stupid breakup 3 years ago because my silly heart still chooses to love this man who hurt me so deeply. I'm sad because I feel so far away from the person that I want to be physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. The truth is I'm not strong nor courageous at all. In fact, if anything, I'd think I'm a bigger coward than people know. I often run from problems and when I don't know what to do, and perhaps - if I were to be so honest - somewhere in my mind I sometimes blame others for the person I am now. (Lame, isn't it? I really dislike it when I find myself responding to life with such irresponsibility.) The truth is, I'm afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of rejection.  The truth is I'm far from qualified to possess true wisdom... There are simple social protocols that I have yet to understand... And so much that I really don't. 

Call it "imposter syndrome" if you will, but honestly, I am not who you or others think I am. If anything, I'm this sad, lost girl wearily trying to figure out her way in life.

Have you ever had a feeling like part of you inside wished that you could just scream out loud at the top of your lungs and bawl your eyes out at the world for a very long time? I often do.

But I don't.
I don't because I don't know what use that would be. Nor do I know what I would do after that.

I suppose reflecting on these two weeks, I was most thankful for the questions I encountered during my random introspective moments with myself.... Questions like:

Would I want to live in a house like that?
Do I even have a dream house?
How in the world do certain types of girls find life partners so easily?
How are these entrepreneurs so passionate?
How can I emulate such discipline and passion?
What am I going to go with my personal life that seems to be going no where?
What would I be happy with?
What are the things that are truly important to me as well as to the world?

And at this moment, as I struggle to type in the dark, currently more about... 
Why is it bothering me so much that these people next to me are coughing without covering their mouths... And that they look so unkempt?
Why do I feel like punching this guy who's bothering me so much? I have rarely considered punching anyone, or anything, in my life...ever.
Stuff like that.

It feels really unkind, but I guess questions that randomly present themselves to a person don't necessarily go through a "kindness filter". I suppose questions that come to us come from a feeling of imbalance when the world presents itself differently to ones ideals - including that of morals and values. And for that, they are very telling. For one, this current struggle with myself not to punch the person snoring away next to me as he's sleeping - I was upset because I value harmony and being considerate to others, and him keeping me awake throughout the night wasn't any of that. But the punching would have undone my own values.

As I spend a good 6 hour layover in Hong Kong, hopefully I'll find some answers before I get to Singapore. Otherwise I'll have to make a point to get out again without any tech on me sometime in the next few weeks to figure this all out.

No punching in the meantime. I promise.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Remembering to be grateful

So after 8 years, here I am back in London, England, pondering about what to do with my life. It's a little strange to think about it - after all, I am supposed to be at an age where I should be pretty much settled into life and building on it.

At a nice old-ish age of 32, I suppose part of me feels a little...under-accomplished. After all, I have peers who are pretty much popping their second or third child and are in a totally different phase from where I'm at (I mean, not that I'm too enthralled by the tremendous amount of time and thought they spend into talk about things like breast pumps). On the other hand though, their transition into this phase of motherhood and wifeivities (if that's a word) is also quite captivating in how selfless their new roles can be... and thinking about it makes me feel a little juvenile, or even selfish, about where I'm at. But I suppose all humans have their stories to tell and rates of "growth" perhaps? I wonder how God chooses for some 32 year olds to be married, some to have children, some to be divorced, some to have crazy adventures in life, some to have boring day jobs (and happily contented with them), and some to be sitting in an apartment in the middle of the night in Central London thinking about what the hell to do with their lives by writing on their blogs.

Interesting fact of the day: There actually is a website devoted to people in such situations which is hilariously at Yes, I stumbled upon it as a tried to summon the powers of the internet to tell me what to do with my life. Yes, it's pathetic. No, you don't have to chide me about it - I've already done that in depth to myself in the past few hours. I am quite self-managing like that.

But yes, back to feeling under-accomplished. we're stress eating clementines and salted popcorn from Tesco's.
Oh life, why are you so hard to deal with?
*cue sad depressing music which is irritating me just thinking about it*

I think part of the problem with me is possibly my bouts of forgetting to be grateful.
Looking back at just the past two weeks, I actually have SO much to be grateful for.

For one, I just got back from a week-long trip to Finland yesterday. It was pretty much a "mission" holiday as I was helping with my cousin's surprise proposal to his now-fiancee (success!). Still, beyond the mission, it was a pretty amazing time. I skiied for the first time (crashed so many times, but still loved it). I drove a Husky sled on a 3km route in the snow (and I now have a cute Husky mushing license to prove it). I went polar bear diving (is that what it's called?) in an ice hole in sub-zero temps. Bonus that I am still alive after all that crazy stuff I did. Who knew that I'd get to spend both Christmas and the New Years of 2015 in Finland? And now, I'm back in London for a week.

I should be grateful.

I should be grateful that I still have my dad. I think I would have died if I lost him to the heart attack. My father is very precious to me.
I should be grateful for my family. There are so many people without, or with troubled ones... and it really puts a strain on managing life.
I should be grateful that I even can be in this position where I am stressed over not knowing what I want to do with my life - as it comes with the luxury of having choices.

Looking back over Facebook and Instagram in the past year surprised me quite a bit. For one, all the travelling that happened - including Malaysia, Hawaii, Chicago, New York, China, and now Finland and England. How did all that happen in 2015? And with all that travelling came with it reunions, conversations, experiences, and memories.

I should be grateful.

It doesn't belittle the question of what I should do with my life. But, if anything, I suppose it helps me have some perspective into being a little more patient as I tackle the question. Hopefully, by the end of my stay here, I'd have some perspective in what I should do... and how I should get there.

In the meantime, I shall strive to enjoy the English tea and cookies in what little time I have left here.