Sunday, 9 June 2019

Girly Things - things I've learned and observed

There's this girl on Instagram who writes about her experiences in the loveliest manner.  She writes about being loved though, about feeling beautiful for a moment, which I've never experienced.  I watched a movie last night about this 15 year old boy who starts a band to get the girl.  She stands outside the girls' home across from his school smoking a cigarette every afternoon.  She looks like a young version of Lana Del Rey, somehow still pretty after jumping into the river even though she can't swim.  She stands out amongst the other 16 year old girls who awkwardly dance in the high school gym.  I wonder what it would be like to be a muse.

On Friday night I came home with angel wings and sat on the floor, out of place, watching some niche video people probably only understand while they're high on some boy's laptop.  The women in this video: one was being thrown into the air on a parachute at a bonfire, another had the most intense fringe and said "love me." when the man stumbled into the house.  Is that what they want?

So I got up and walked back to my room and sat in front of the mirror admiring my angel wings for a while.

In the movie, the first song he writes is about how it's better when you don't know anything about someone, because they can be whatever you want them to be.  Once you know them, they're limited.  But the problem is, you'd have to be exceedingly beautiful to make a boy think about you all the time without knowing anything about you.  You'd have to be exceedingly genuinely beautiful.  You'd have to have that air.

We are all too showy for that.

People love to impress each other.  That's what I've found.  They'll be ingenuine just to impress each other.  Or to be liked.  Or to be loved.  But it's not real.
I wrote in my diary the other day that I don't trust her, my friend who seems so dearly close to the eyes of the world around me.  "I don't know why, but I don't trust her."  That's the feeling you get when it's all not real.

We've been learning about personality lately.  Personality is the unique organisation of fairly permanent characteristics that sets the individual apart from other individuals, and at the same time, determines how others respond to her or him.  And then there's temperament, which is biological.  Temperament is consistent over time.  We cannot change it.  So, no matter the sociocultural influences, we can never all truly be the same.
This is what's real.  Personality comes in five dimensions, four of which are independent of each other.  We should all, theoretically, have multifaceted personalities; multifaceted, different personalities.  So why do I sometimes feel like I must fit this cookie cutter mould - for simplicity - so he'll truly know me.  And then I add a personality trait, layer by layer, each one becoming more showy than the last --> and now he thinks I'm complicated and multifaceted.. but I'm still in my cookie cutter mould.

And as we grow older the things that make us change.  The pile grows bigger and bigger.  At this point, will anyone ever truly know you?

But the television screen and the niche video boys watch when they're high turn the girl into a one dimensional character again.  No wonder so many girls try to fit the cookie cutter mould for simplicity.  And sadder so, many girls seem to have lost their multifaceted personalities, whilst the boys have gotten to keep their's all along.


Additionally, and off topic, I did a research assignment about the East in the West and why we might be feeling ugly a few weeks ago:

Pressure for Thinness

As with those of Caucasian background, Asians are also susceptible to sociocultural theory and are largely influenced by the media’s beauty standards.  However, Kimber et al. (2015) found that first generation immigrant females were more likely to experience body distortion than 3rd generation-or-later adolescents.  This could be due to “acculturative” stress, where foreign-born adolescents are forced to interact with media and social circumstances that resemble the behaviours and values of Western culture.  Through these interactions, foreign-born adolescents may internalise the perceived difference between their own appearance and the beauty standards of their host country.  Marques et al. (2011) found that Asians commonly reported concerns about straight hair and dark skin, features associated with stereotypes and distinguishing them from the Caucasian majority.  Furthermore, the most common forms of plastic surgery among Asian American women include procedures that minimise their distinctive facial features, such as eyelid procedures (American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2006).

However, Marques et al. (2011) found that Caucasians are more likely to be concerned about their stomach, hips, waist and buttocks.  An explanation could be that Asian women’s actual and self-perceived body sizes tend to be closer to the thin ideal, limiting the discrepancies for comparison (Grabe & Jackson, 2009).

Asian women are also found to be less susceptible to objectification theory than Caucasian women (Grabe & Jackson, 2009).  Research has demonstrated that Asian American and Caucasian American women’s bodies are portrayed differently and with different prominence in the media (Kim & Chung, 2005).  Additionally, Jackson et al. (2016) found that Chinese women who reported that their favourite mass media came from Asian countries were more likely to judge themselves as overweight, supporting social comparison theory.  Social comparison theory and this mainstream view of a thin, idealised white woman’s body leave Caucasian women more vulnerable to self-objectification and the influence of Western media in general (Grabe & Jackson, 2009).

Ethnic Identity

Concepts of self, and consequently concepts of human differences, vary between Western and Asian cultures (Crystal et al., 1998).  The independent self, commonly found in Western cultures, seeks to distinguish the self from others, making more distinctions in competitive domains such as physical attractiveness.  Alternatively, the interdependent self, commonly found in East Asian cultures, emphasises interpersonal harmony, minimises social differences and is more likely to discriminate on behaviour than physical attractiveness.  Hence, it is commonly hypothesised that a strong ethnic identity may protect Asian women from being influenced by Western beauty standards (Croll et al., 2002; Kempa & Thomas, 2000).

However, Phan and Tylka (2006) found that ethnic identity intensified the relationship between pressure for thinness and body preoccupation (Figure 3).  This could be explained by interdependence, as family and friends are often the source of pressure for thinness, and those of strong ethnic identity may feel that their weight reflects badly on their loved ones.  Another explanation is that Asian women with strong ethnic identity may compare themselves to an Asian reference group rather than a Caucasian reference group, and may subsequently feel larger as many of their Asian peers may be petite.  
Until next time.

Love,
M

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Ambience, a vibe, whatever you want to call it

I guess the reason I haven't posted in a while is because I'm often inspired to write when I'm feeling somewhat... beautiful... emotional... 'edgy' if you want to be ironic about it.  My head must be a jumble of existentialism, superiority and sadness.  I'll feel like that girl wearing a satin white slip dress by the pool, who writes poetry and somehow always looks soft and perfect.  Or I could be that girl in a grey cardigan sitting in her childhood home, at the cluttered glass table with a mug of coffee and sun streaming through the blinds.  Instead I've got a headache in a dirty college room under surgical lighting, wearing an oversized t-shirt and adidas track pants, with bare feet.

And this is what I mean.

This is how my life is while I'm here in this version of home - if you can even call it that. 'home'

I've come to realise that this room has been treated like my summer camp cabin, a stopping place for me to come in and out of.  Sure, there's photos and a clutter of books, tissues and soap on the shelves, but it's not mine.  My neighbours have fairy lights, decorative pillows, scents, plants, characteristic couches -- all distinctly them, all creating a certain ambience, a vibe, whatever you want to call it.

(In the last week, with most people gone, I've been spending more time in this room.  It's given me a sense of routine, a sense of how my life was before this whole experience -- a sense of being in my own space.)

And with all my own time, I've come to realise that my person is much like my room.  My self has no ambience.  I do not smell of rose oil, or moisturise my face lavishly, or wear cute skirts while writing in my diary.  I am like a summer camp cabin who has been thrown together for the moment -- a transitional, thoughtless, self-limiting phase.

(ugh.  I feel like my vibe is the sound my poor-energy-rating fridge intermittently constantly makes in my room -- dirty and unnecessary with a lack of aesthetic)

My friend who is currently obsessed with documentaries about Roman Emperors and Michael Angelo, who wore a pearl headband to class yesterday, who somehow wears makeup without looking like she's wearing makeup, she said she's been obsessed with Lana Del Rey since she was 13.  I guess that's almost life-long cultivation of a vibe.  I feel like that takes a large amount of self-assurance from a young age.
And yet, she captioned a video "and no, I don't have a personality"

Either, or... Self love is actually having a self, and not just being influenced in all different directions. Creating ambience must be being cultured, by your own version of art or pop culture in your own way.  These things can only be discovered alone and on the internet, or through real real feelings.  Self love is looking and feeling like Kylie Jenner in her KylieSkin ads -- clean.  It's perhaps covering your pimples and not wearing pyjamas in public.  It's perhaps buying perfume and wearing it every day.  I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's emulating Dorian Grey's 'life is art'.

All I've got is a headache and a straight-laced analytic mind.  She says the same thing every day.

My friend was one minute in Sydney, the next in Mexico in a cop car, tequila tasting in tequila, covered in foam.  It's not what I need, but I thought I'd mention it.  I'll want that vibe later.

Cartia Mallan was beach hopping during sunset in an oversized band t-shirt, with her tanned boyfriend, with blankets and pillows in the boot.

Bubbles sits in the corner, watery blue eyes and blonde pigtails, saying "I am not a chubby crybaby".  I love that for some reason.  I'm not a sad girl though.  That's not self love.

My current dream is in a hotel room, with white crisp sheets, a view, and a complementary buffet breakfast on silver platters in the morning.

Love,
M

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Insatiable

Yes, I stole the word from that TV show starring Debby Ryan.  The show's a good play on words.

Insatiable
Impossible to satisfy

If you knew me personally, you'd know that I'm renowned for always eating food, taking photos of food, and posting said photos of food.  This trait is two-dimensional, being both a representation of my greed, and a representation of the importance I must put on what people think of me.  The thing is, this habit has gone on for so long that I simply cannot stop.  It's a ritual.  It's sickeningly satisfying.

Unhealthy habits are born on the basis of repetition.

Anyway, if there were to be a blurb under the heading of this post, it would be: "what I am learning from Malaysia".  Having not been back in two years, there are so many things I had forgotten, aside from the fact that my insatiable personality cannot stop eating food and is paying health-wise, as it has the other 18 times I've spent the summer here.

On the first night, an hour after we had landed, I sat through a dinner in which my uncle discussed my future with me (of course he did).  The conversation had an under-theme of success, money, showing off, and acting International (because god forbid we are Malaysian).  This is not rare with Asian relatives, and that night I wrote, "Perhaps it was these Asian characteristics that I was running from in the first place."  Similarly, at a Chinese dinner on New Year's Day, with all the distant relatives on my grandmother's side wearing Ralph Lauren polo shirts with absurdly large logos, a man interrogated me about whether I was doing medicine for the money, always assuming we are greedy.  My grandfather then proceeded to tell me that this man owned a company that was doing very well, but he was very quiet about it, and how noble was that! - his words

We spent New Year's Eve in a condominium with a view of the Twin Towers, with guests who all spoke English, but in different accents: Spanish, Australian, British, American, and the classic international mix you cannot quite place.  The wives and mothers were in their 50s, dressed like they were 20, saying, "Are you drunk or am I drunk?"  The men were wealthy professionals: doctors, bankers, and spoke of such.  There was a mixed boy with a British accent who looked like Nick Young, speaking of KL bars and clubs and friends who know managers, too smooth to be true.  A girl in a white jumpsuit said she would rather chat over cocktails, saying she was given a tour by the owner of the Crazy Rich Asians house, and was taking her friends Batik painting if you'd like to join.  I felt like I was in the true success story of Asia, like Peik Lin and her family would drop their cutlery and say, "Ayah! Why didn't you tell me you knew them!"  With them I felt pretty, classy, and superficial, and like I could never... switch off *in the same up tight manner my New Year's resolutions are trying to escape. (Is it in my culture's nature to never let loose?)* This is the epitome of what people in my culture seem to want, and I don't think I want it.

However, I am currently sitting beside a mini golf course and a swimming pool... in a backyard.  I have spent the last three hours sunbathing and swimming laps with a red Ferrari and a green Porsche around the corner.  I have spent the last three days using the home cinema to watch Brooklyn 99, and waking up to the sun streaming in through crisp white curtains to a balcony overlooking the pool.  I cannot say I hate it.  I cannot say that I don't have big dreams to one day have a swimming pool and a balcony and a view.

While sunbathing, I have been reading The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  The book has the recurring theme we have all heard before, that true joy does not come from materialistic things, but rather from true relationships and compassion, among other more meaningful pillars of joy.
Sometimes I wonder whether pretending that materialistic things will bring you contentment is easier, because forming true relationships and feeling true compassion is a difficult task that takes work.  I mean, evidently it takes the Dalai Lama 5 hours of prayer every morning.  Perhaps our laziness or insecurity is what makes me, and others, insatiable.

Love,
M


Tuesday, 1 January 2019

NEW YEAR'S

(written 29 December 2018)

I’m currently 4 hours into an 8 hour flight that appears to have zero entertainment, and so far, being alone with my own thoughts has appeared… well, it’s appeared like I don’t think about much at all.  That’s a good thing, considering I was toying with the idea of being more relaxed as a New Years’ Resolution.  Anyway, since we’re here, let’s do the opposite of loosen up and plan my 2019 down to the tiniest detail.

Looking back at 2018, it was a big year, with feeling sad about moving, then actually moving, then feeling independent, challenged, belonging, displaced, loneliness, and having all this overwhelming newness leave me no time to actually think and process any ideas of who I want to be.  I’ve had so many new experiences, but I haven’t had the time to process them in order to grow just yet.  So here, on a flight to disconnected, lethargic Malaysia, seems like the perfect time to analyse my experiences, write how I can do better, and post it on the Internet.

-----

Let’s start with the classic be healthier. 
I’ve noticed that girls in my dorm are quite health-oriented, as I watch them gush over broccoli, or complain over the lack of colour in their food.  They’ll favour salads over bread rolls, and hardly ever reach for the dessert… and they’re gorgeous.  I was talking to my beautiful, long-limbed family friend on Boxing Day and she explained how she cleanses from all angles – she’ll exercise with 2 hours of dance, she’ll eat only healthy foods, and she’ll work on her skin care – it sounds so logical and simple, and it makes her feel 100 times better so she can live her best life.  And I realise, I’ve never felt that way before, because in my whole life, I’ve never actually had that healthy lifestyle.

I know, it’s easier said than done, especially considering my love for food, and my culture’s love for food, and my bringing up being in love with food. I’ve tried being healthy before, and my lack of self-control always got the better of me within the day.  This time, I need actual rules, and to simply rip the band-aid off.  The plan: No dairy and no useless white carbs unless it’s a special occasion, and exercise 5 days a week.  They say that once it’s a habit, it’s easy.  Let’s see how this goes.

----

Back to what I said at the beginning, be more relaxed.
Basically, I need to chill.  I want to be less eager, less rigid, and as a result more open to new people and unexpected paths.  My tunnel vision has limited me, made me seem unreasonable, and made me feel borderline obsessive on so many occasions, and it’s time to stop.  Furthermore, I’ve learned that I’m too tense to just sit back and… laugh.  I can’t remember the last time I really let loose, where I wasn’t trying to impress anyone and I was just gaga happy, high on life, saying things that don’t make sense, dying of laughter.  I need to take myself less seriously.

The plan: empty my brain.  If I limit the amount I think about whatever it is I’m obsessing over, then I’ll obsess over it less.  If I stop thinking about myself so much, maybe I’ll stop feeling like every moment needs an ulterior motive and let. loose.  I need to close my eyes and listen to music as I have on this empty-minded flight, or meditate, or go for a massage, or stretch.  I’m not sure yet, but it seems I have already put this one in action, and want to feel so completely void of expectations in the coming year.  Is a Type A personality something you can get rid of?  We’ll see.

---

Stop sharing gossip and personal details with the world
Leaving Sydney this year, I realised I had the awful habit of spouting gossip with whoever I talked to.  Not only that, but I realise I also spouted many embarrassing details about my own personal thoughts.  I’ve always prided myself on honesty, but perhaps being an open book isn’t what I want after all.  Perhaps as I grow older, I need to learn to keep secrets about myself and other people.  It’s like how people jokingly say, “if you didn’t snapchat it, did it really happen?”  Well, for me, it’s like “if you don’t tell anyone then did you really think it?”  It’s like my life is so… public.  I need to learn to be comfortable in my own thoughts.  The plan: start by posting less on social media, and maybe ask people about themselves before talking about myself.

---

Speak up more in class
One day I will have a real job, contributing ideas and having them heard, fighting my way to the top of the group to get the role I want.  In order to do that, I need to conquer the daunting prospect of putting my hand up and giving my true insightful answer, without nerves or a shaking voice.  The plan: First up, I need to actually know things prior to class, which means legitimately studying and memorising as I go.  Secondly, I should make it my task to voluntarily raise my hand at least once in every class.  There’s no better way to learn confidence than to fake it to make it, as my 15 year old self would say.

---

Travel more
If I’m this miserable and bored every time I think about the wide expanse of coming home for the holidays, all I need to do is be proactive and plan something.  After going to America earlier this month, I’ve established the fact that exposure to a new place is a tangible form of self-growth.  I want to go to educational conferences, adventurous contiki tours with new people, volunteer trips, and relaxing island resorts.  I’ve learned in 2018 that if you need new bed sheets, all you have to do is go to Kmart and buy some.  Is it not the same for travelling?  All you need to do is go online and book it.

---

Have more conversations that actually mean something
This was originally going to be, “be less of a drunken mess and get yourself together on nights out”, but I figure I’m 19 for this whole coming year, and can worry about being more mature and put together when I’m 20.  Instead, I’d like to have more meaningful conversations on nights out.  Parties and social events are the perfect time to talk to new people, or make memories with your friends, or find a boy you actually like.  I feel as if this year, I was too immature to utilize these opportunities.  I was too busy relishing this new-found exposure to a life without rules that the idea of going out was more important than the idea of connecting with people.  This year I’d like to do that differently.

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Get a job
Honestly, I live the kind of life to which my parents comment, “She has no idea about the value of money.”  I thoughtlessly spend money on food, clothes and going out, and am clearly willing to throw hundreds of dollars on concerts, and thousands of dollars on trips and experiences.  It’s not that I don’t understand the value of money.  It’s that after working for 3 years, I learned the cycle of spending, and then picking up shifts if you needed more.  It was so simple.   However, in 2018 I was spending in the same manner, but taking everything out of the savings account I’d built over the years.  I need a job to live the way I do.  The plan: apply everywhere for shift work, and don’t be fussy about it.  And when next summer comes, I’ll get as many Christmas casual jobs as I can handle, in the self-sufficient manner I used to.

---

Be more organised
This year I have lost countless things, legitimately gotten sick from my dump of a room, and had my mother urgently express post things on numerous occasions.  By observing other people in my dorm, I’ve noticed that they treat their rooms like their home.  They think of things I found frivolous, such as colour coordination, feng shui, lighting and scents.  Needless to say, they love Kmart.  This year, I want my room to feel like my home.  The plan: I need to put thought into storage and decorations from the outset.  I also would like to become a procrasto-cleaner, if possible.

I’d say I want a fridge to store my cheese, but that conflicts with a previous resolution, which makes what I thought were simple goals for 2019 seem more difficult than anticipated.

Love,
M



Monday, 3 December 2018

Thoughts Over Brunch

I'm reverting.  I'm back and I'm reverting into the person I was last summer -- as if I never moved away at all.  I went from gossiping over decadent brunches in Sydney to psychoanalysing feelings and society over smashed avocados with the people who know me best, the way I used to.

However, I must still share something I read the last time I left this home:
But there are ways in which tiptoeing between two worlds can get lonely.  High school friends can't quite grasp your new college self, no matter how many stories you tell or Instagram profiles you show them.  College friends can guess the person you were before they met you, but they're in your life now and don't have too much time to play catch up.
You'd think my high school friends would not be able to fully understand me, given the experiences I have had this year without them -- only, I don't feel as if I've changed at all.  I know I've learned things, but as I said, I'm reverting.  I'm realising from the quality of my conversations that my high school friends know me better than I thought, and my university friends are still very much left in the dark (for now).

***

Brunch on Tuesday, 27/11/2018

I wrote, "My goodness, I forgot what inspiring women and chat-worthy friends I have here... can we just sit here and appreciate that these girls are still the most genuine people I've ever met.  I do take this home for granted sometimes.  It's done me good."

I say genuine because after all the things that have perhaps irritated me in Sydney, about the culture and what people find important, talking to these girls was like a breath of fresh air.  Arriving in a new place, I remember thinking that everybody was too good to be true... until I got to know them and their inevitable flaws, and got sucked into their culture.  It just makes me appreciate how amazing the people I knew before actually are -- with their lack of insecurity and need to impress people, with their genuine non-poser flawed political views, with their ideas (the fact that they actually have ideas)...

I remember asking my friends over brunch in Sydney, "What are your new years' resolutions?", to which they replied with self-conscious shrugs, perhaps not feeling close enough to share, or perhaps realising that they hadn't thought about setting goals for self-improvement at all, before continuing to discuss which boys are attractive in our cohort.  Meanwhile, my friends here were ready to offer what they'd learned throughout the year, and what they were looking for next year.  We discussed summer plans and projects to make content, and I realised that being around people who consume content and new ideas, and who talk about them, make you inspired to do the same.

***

Brunch on Thursday, 29/11/2018

Sometimes a situation is terribly wrong and we don't process it the way we should.  We think, because we've always lived a fairly average life, nothing that major could possibly be happening to us.  It's no big deal.  We're being melodramatic.  I personally am unsure if anything drastically emotion-worthy has ever happened to me, but it makes me wonder, how do we actually process these events if they happen to us?  Do we push past with nonchalance, not giving the situation the attention it deserves?  Do we ever cry?  It all just seems so surreal.

***

Brunch on Friday, 30/11/2018

She told me that when she was younger she was so self aware, but after growing up she realised that it all doesn't matter.  She said it as if it's normal for people at this age to have gone through that learning process -- to realise that the world isn't a movie and you're not the star, that what others think of you is so irrelevant, and to just stop caring.  I feel as if I never learned this lesson.

***

Dinner on Friday, 30/11/2018

She went to a political 'girls takeover' at the parliament house a couple of days before and had noticed that all the politicians were rich white people, elitist, kind of sheltered and oblivious?  I mean, we both agreed that we felt as if the state of leadership and decision making in this country is not our responsibility, but here's hoping our new generation will do better.

School was a flat line of months where nothing happened.  I have no idea how we did it.

***

Brunch on Sunday, 2/12/2018

I used to think that everybody in a similar situation to myself must be living the same experience as myself, but I now understand that this is not the case.  The theme of our conversation was independence and experiences.  What I experienced last summer, she's experiencing this summer.  I realise that in school I may have had experienced a job and people that partially shaped me, or a personality that had me always craving something to change -- and each person around me lived differently and thought differently.  I think it's the summation of our experiences that makes us any different from the person next to us, and by comparing and contrasting experiences with the people we understand ourselves to be, that's when you can see how a thing shaped you.

***

Dinner on Sunday, 2/12/2018

These girls were graduating.  While they may be a year behind me in school, I have always thought they were a year ahead of me in life, because they always seem to bring something new to the dinner table.  However, I have also learned to take their opinions with a grain of salt, because I forgot how suppressing culture within a high school can be.

One of them discussed how she needed to have no obligations for the year, like that one time she spontaneously drove two hours to the beach.  She said she snapped and for once was not worried about anything.  It's that feeling I had two winters ago, where you see a pretty road and have nowhere to be, so you can drive and drive along it between the trees, blasting some good music, having no idea where you're going.  She spoke of those plans where you go overseas to work and meet people, and learn things about yourself -- the things people like me always say we're going to do but never end up doing.

I feel like she has that need to leave this place, like the people and the routine are no longer enough for her.  I think it's a personality type.  Some people like change and others don't.  Change fast-tracking your self-development though -- is self development not just happening all around us?

Love,
M

Monday, 26 November 2018

A Wide Expanse

First year is over and I'm home again - away from the constant company that is living in a dorm.  Basically, I'm alone, and will be alone for the next 3 months.  It's daunting and I'm unsure what to do with my time after a year of constantly having people to chat to.  Being honest, my mood could be described as bored, impatient, longing, lonely and displaced.  There's a wide expanse ahead my friends, and I need to embrace it.

To start with, I guess I'll be writing more.  What I need is inspiration, to be the 15 year old girl with so many feelings and thoughts she felt the need to post them in an album on the internet.  That girl used to scrapbook a photo a day, make travel journals, write books, post weekly on this blog -- she was so... reflective.  I'm not sure about how I feel about being reflective.

A year ago I was crying in this bedroom.  I was leaving this city, thinking of all those nostalgic memories *and nostalgia is really looking back at things and making them seem better than they actually were* and absolutely not looking forward.  Fast forward 9 months and I'm crying again, as I'm packing to leave the dorm *oh gosh it's just been such a good year, and it'll never be the same again, sob sob*... why is it that we look backwards and not forwards?  Why do people with blogs and diaries and Facebook albums sit around reflecting on their life and who they are and how they've grown, when it just makes us sad?  Is reflection the basis of self improvement?  Recently a boy messaged me about something I would've given anything to go to last summer, and this summer, I don't even want to go -- that's self growth, but does it make that entire summer I cried about leaving completely invalid?  Why cry over it then?

Furthermore, I'm starting to think the only reason I've cried about leaving things in recent years is because of a boy.  I associate a time with a place with a feeling... with a boy.  At breakfast with my mum the other day, she hypothesised that my cousin was interested in a boy, simply because she kept mentioning how much she'd miss her friends since she wouldn't be seeing them for 3 months.  My mum passed the point that in all honesty, we don't get too worked up about not seeing our friends, because we know we'll catch up again, some time, and we'll be fine without them.  A boy on the other hand... they're the ones we drive ourselves crazy over in the wide expanse of not seeing them or not trying to impress them or whatever.  It's pathetic.  Boys aren't worth it.  They aren't worth the better half of our brain space.

You know what else isn't worth our brain space?  social. media.  The big question I'm asking is, if you invest too much thought and time into your social profiles, do you become the person you are on social media?  Are your photos on Instagram now the definition of you?  Are your comments now the definition of your personality?  Are the people who tag you in posts the most now your closest friends?  I see so many girls post their every move, with perfect captions and perfect aesthetics perfect for the image they're creating.  I see these girls the way they've curated themselves, and I wonder, are these girls now in reality, the person they want others to see them as?  And is that such a bad thing?  Personally, I think that yes, genuinely being the person others see you as, which is awesome, makes you awesome.  However, is this not limiting?  Aren't human beings more multifaceted than any two dimensional profile we could possibly create on the internet?

Side note: gosh I wish I could write a novel that really was a two dimensional accurate representation of these multifaceted human beings.  That's such a 15 year old thought right there.

Anyway, those are my thoughts after taking a step back from this year's constant 9-month-long exposure to millennial culture *it's a little toxic but when is society not?*.  In this wide expanse I plan to think for the first time in forever.  I may be obsessed with self improvement, and yes, self improvement is mostly looking back and being glad you've changed, but perhaps I should be open to the idea of looking back and being sad you've changed.  There are some thoughts and traits that do not need to be kept.  As I said, society is always a little toxic.

Being honest, my mood towards this wide expanse could be described as: hopeful, open and relaxed.
*let's get cultured*

Love,
M

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Self Care

Recently I've come to realise that we all have things we do alone, and we all really must do some things alone.  Living in a dorm, I've noticed that it's easy to fall into this trap of constantly craving companionship.  With people constantly around, there's always someone to walk to the grocery store with, to exercise with, or to watch television with.  However, as counteractive as it may seem for certain extroverts, not doing a few things alone is no way to live at all.  We all need to breathe some fresh air of mental self care on the weekly.

We all do this in different ways, which are somewhat unfathomable to each other.  Here's some of mine:

When in Sydney, the best way to clear my head or daydream is by going to the beach alone.  For some productive, endorphin-pumping time saving, I jog down to Coogee, or all the way to Clovelly, and take a seat on some rocks.  The sitting on the rocks bit is more of a photo opportunity, but it's the walk back with some good tunes, a good view and fresh air that is really good for the soul.







- and I cannot wait for the summer, when it's finally warm enough to swim in the rock pool again - at sunset - or early in the morning - salt water makes floating on your back serene like a Kendall Jenner Instagram post at the Maldives.


With a lot of free time, the best way to spend it could be by catching up with friends and going out for brunch or shopping or clubbing, or it could be by watching those movies you sometimes randomly feel like watching.  Here's a little list of which I know at least one will jerk that weird urge like huh - I haven't seen that in a while...
What to Expect When You're Expecting
Maleficent 
Wild Child
Pocahontas
No Strings Attached
Anne of Green Gables 
We're the Millers
Stuck in Love 
Now You See Me 2
Also watch Glee (or season 7 episode 18 of Grey's Anatomy) - some emotional singing can only ever be inspiring and good for the soul.

You could also simultaneously do something you haven't done in a while, like painting your nails.  I was recently deciding between the trusty old go-to silver, or something a little different *since I'm a different person now* like a deep maroon.

When in some serious self-indulgent existential crisis, I think the best thing to do is learn more about myself.  This can be done in the form of writing down your thoughts or reading old diaries.  The other night I lay down and read my diary as if it were a book for an hour.  I read the last six months of my life, about leaving home, which boys I liked but didn't realise I liked at the time, who and what were annoying me --- giving myself some insight into who I actually am.  It is, I think, only at times like these that you can truly undergo self improvement.

Having been home for two weeks, I've also gone back to my old go-to time for thought of driving.  Living in a small, green city, traffic is sparse and the view is almost always good.  In fact, drive 20 minutes in any direction and the scenery looks positively rural.  It's like escaping.  My favourite place for mind cleansing is driving along the main highway at 100km/h, alongside green hills of mini trees and mountains in the distance, singing along to music I have known very well for a long time.  If that doesn't feel like home, I don't know what does.

My main coping mechanism of my final year of high school was going to group fitness classes.  And by group fitness, I mean something like dance aerobics - something that resembles dancing but is super easy to follow.  Honestly, the music is infectious, and it gives you an excuse to drop whatever you're doing and take a break, and the cardio can only be a good thing.  The bigger the class the better, and during school I was fortunate enough to live walking distance from the largest gym in the city.  I remember one time I forced my friend to come along, and once she got into it, she couldn't stop smiling the entire time.

Finally, when given a vast amount of free time in the company of only yourself, it can be beneficial to learn something new.  Given a day to myself, I used to spend all day lying in bed with my earphones in, listening to TED talks.  Lately I've also been considering podcasts and reading non-fiction.

Here's some TED talks that have previously caught my attention:
The Danger of a Single Story
Before I die I want to... 
I Am Not Your Asian Stereotype
Why teens confess to crimes they didn't commit
How a male contraceptive pill could work 
I recently also visited the Victorian State Library, and after oggling at the pretty white dome in the pretty white room, I migrated to the bookshop, where I took a photo of every book I thought I'd like to read later:

12 Rules for Life - Jordan B Peterson
The Geography of Friendship - Sally Piper
Geek Girl Rising - Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens
Feminist Fight Club - Jessica Bennett
Utopia for Realists - Rutger Bregman
Cringeworthy - Melissa Dahl
The End of Old Age - Marc E. Agronin
Overthinking is Overrated - Niels Birbaumer and Jorg Zittlau
101 Dilemmas for the Armchair Philosopher - Eric Chaline
I Feel You - Cris Beam
The Inflamed Mind - Edward Bullmore
The Happy Brain - Dean Burnett
How to Build a Universe - Brian Cox and Robin Ince
Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It - Daniel Klein
Ignorance - Robert Graef
And here's some cute photos I took from a book about growing up and moving to a new city -





Love,
M