Untitled Journal

What's the story, morning glory?

Syawal 1436

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Somehow this Syawal felt way lot happier than the few previous (but also happy) years for all the obvious reason – Renan.

There’s nothing more that you want as a mother than to see your child growing so healthily, so healthy that I feel his weight is surpassing any average 6 months old. The first of Syawal also is when he actually turned a half year old and masyAllah did I felt so relieved and lucky to be bestowed this happy boy.

I also felt really gembira lah, when this year I managed to convince Fakhrul to go back to Kedah on the next morning of second Raya. Usually when it is my turn to Raya in Kajang, we would rush off for the congestions on the highways pretty much right after the salam-salam, yes, I’m mithali like that! :P so maybe we’re going to implement this Raya turn thingy the proper way next time! Heh!

Sometimes I still can’t believe there are actually the four of us. Selamat hari Raya Aildilfitri everyone. Hope your Eid recurred happiness as it should and meant to be. Mine surely was, alhamdulillah!

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It Wasn’t Just Running

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I was on the dishes at the sink when Fakhrul mentioned about that thing Cedar Wright wrote about ultrarunning. “Read it up, seriously hilarious..” he said. I did saw the headline but never gave a second thought to click it. But when I thought about the coming Sunday’s Great Eastern Live Great Run the BFF made me sign up few months back, and the fact that it will be 12 km, it might do me something good. As I scrolled down and read, I couldn’t help but relate.

I just wasn’t that impressed. I mean… it was “just running.”

Watching someone run was at best boring, and I just didn’t think it was all that rad.

I accepted that even if I had to crawl in on bloody knees, my main goal was to finish.

Secretly, I wished that I never had entered the race.

My pace slowed and I entered the realm of type-two fun: when fun isn’t fun anymore. I went into my pain cave.

Prior to the race (I’m chuckling as I’m typing the word. Race lah sangat!) I was told off in a serious manner by the usual goofy BFF that I needed to practice running. Practice running – sounded so out of this world because how do you practice something that you know how to do since you learned you have legs, really? I was totally underestimating this whole new sport until I ran, like really ran my first 2 km.

It felt really off, practicing running when all I should be doing was catching up with climbing. Two strikingly different things almost on every aspects of it had me overwhelmed a bit. Unlike climbing, there was no overthinking whether 60 meters of rope is enough for this route, wiregate or straightgate quickdraws, if I have enough of them until I reach the anchor, should I wear my downturned shoes or the flatter one, did I do the double figure eight knot right, the fear of falling, will my belayer see me tremble to prepare for the fall.. to name a few worries! With running, all I needed to do was put on a shoe and lift off.

Getting into something that is all about the pace, going faster and enduring longer distance starting to become more and more alien to me as I ran. With climbing, it was all about taking your time getting into the right move and positions – as long as you get up there, who cares if you don’t get there fast enough? Suddenly I felt it, something I haven’t felt in a long time – that pain on your waist. Pancit! Like any other sport, you can easily get obsessive a little about it. Once you’ve known your average pace and the distance you went, you just couldn’t help but wonder whether you can do better the next time around. And so there I was, “practicing”, on some weekdays afternoons doing my rounds at Kampung Sungai Kantan.

Prior to the GE Run, I could only run 3.5 km until going down to walking pace. I had only ran 5 km max and that almost floored me. So deep deep deeeep down inside, I really didn’t think I could finish 10 km, let alone 12! I was already plotting an evacuation plan out of the crowd in case I just couldn’t go anymore. I was like, what if I cramped? What if I fainted in the heat? But with a bit of motivation from my friends and husband who are already pro runners in my eyes, I braced myself for it.

I gotta tell you, running in a crowd is a whole different feeling than running by yourself. Somewhere between the stampede of the bloody hills of Bukit Tunku, I knocked on the road cat’s eye and scrapped my knees. The other runners were so concerned I got so many people asking me whether I was alright. Yeah, I was alright with scars, especially the one that will mark my firsts. I was not alright about tearing my brand new running tights though…

Most of the people I went to the race with are the girls I’d known most of my life and the two that stuck running with me were both the best of friends of 19 years, Ewa and Shareena. At about KM seven, totally drained in sweat, trying to catch whatever breath I could, possibly already hallucinating, I suddenly had an incredibly sentimental moment. Watching Shareena struggling the same, not answering any of our questions “saving” up her energy and Ewa jumping around trying to keep the pace whilst throwing motivational short speeches at us, I was happy. I truly was. Most people would pick some fancy hipster cafe, eating fancy food, all dressed up smelling nice to play catch up with old friends. Instead there we were, running, enduring and making an experience that will sum up who we are. In pain and one of the most tiring condition I had ever been in my life, I laughed a little. Suddenly there were flashback of memories in my head of what these two looked like when they were pimpled-faced teenagers who had very little idea about anything. The people who make me feel like I am already at my best self, challenge me by their example and who I genuinely enjoy. The ones that I take time every week to be in touch. The ones that contribute to my survival and enjoyment in life.

Had Musmarlina been there with us instead in cold Sheffield, I would’ve cried in the middle of the race having this epiphany.

At KM 10 I was totally bummed that my phone was running out of battery and had to turn off the Nike+. I was sure Fakhrul had finished by then and wanted to save up in case for phone calls. I glimpsed at my time and was happy enough I did a 10k with 170 meters elevated route under 90 minutes. At this stage I could already feel my legs getting all wobbly, it hurts just to even step on the feet. It didn’t feel like it was just 2 km more and I was ready for it to be done with. “We have to finish it in style. Resuming run at the roundabout!” jerked Ewa as my eyes were already half closed. And by God did we ran at the roundabout. I suddenly found a bit of energy to just ran the hell up to the finish line. Either that or I was totally struck by her voice shouting “Come on! Come on! Come on!!!” as we did. My eyes wandered for le husband. He better have his phone ready for picture and thankfully, he did.

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I did it. 12 freakin’ km. 12.5 actually according to my have-to-be-accurate friend, Yeen. Who cares what my time is (actually after seeing the official result I cared a little haha), I was a 12 km finisher! At this point we didn’t know where Shareena was but after few pictures taken and ready to retreat, I looked back and there she was! I don’t know but it was as if we were all welcomed back and survived from a horrid war. We cheered, laughed hysterically, ate our bananas, paraded my wound and torn up tights, and that was it.

I still don’t feel like running is my thing, but funnily enough I already signed up for the next run. Sometimes I think enduring a pain like this can be a little bit addictive. Because no matter how worse it gets, after recovering from it, you’re actually OK. It was not all that bad. And then you started to think…

I wanna have a go again.

Post-Renan

20150206-134552.jpg Now, has it been that long and all that quick at the same time? It felt like it was only days ago I was scared shitless of getting into labor and now already has started worried sick waiting for my next period to be on time. Hahaha. Life indeed goes on for me, although not the exact same life, not with the same status and definitely not the same version of myself. I’m a mother of two. Can you believe it, because sometimes I still can’t. I know some women naturally envisioned themselves to be a mother, but I hardly had that when I was younger. And now here I am, struggling to finish an episode of Game of Thrones, trying to get a baby to sleep and hushing a toddler not to be loud at the same time. But look at those two. As scary and daunting motherhood can be, the sight of them just makes it all worth it. Pre-labor was pretty boring obviously. The waiting game, the resting phase, the eat-all-you-can period was not particularly enjoyable. Time felt really slow and you just sort of live day by day until the moment comes. I think that also contributed my decision to be induced this time, other than not having any show at all despite being just 4 days close to due date. Very unlike when I was with Daisy. Although had a semi-natural (my version of normal with epidural) birth with Renan, surrendering myself on that day at the hospital felt all but. It felt really confusing and overwhelmed being able to know when you’re having a baby. I just wanted to move on. I also wanted to be in control as much as I could of the birthing experience and save myself from all the drama like when having Daisy. So I guess being induced was the right decision. Sometimes I kept thinking that the ways that you’re going to welcome your children into this world have already been written for you. There’s no point of overthinking it but to just go with your intuition at that moment and time. And the rest of it, you let Allah performs the magic. photo 1 (2) Life resumed pretty immediately post-labor. I for one couldn’t wait to go outside and by outside I really meant trees, leaves, mushrooms on wet logs, ray of sun through the woods, fresh oxygen (you get the idea) kinda outside. I started going back to climbing gym 30 days post-partum (please don’t tell my Mama and rest assured I took it reeaaaallly easy on myself), hiked up Bukit Tabur 2 weeks after that and just ran my first 5km 3 days ago. (OK, I exaggerated the last part – ran and mostly walked actually). As much as I love snuggling under the duvet until almost noon with Renan during confinement, pumping ma boobies and finishing off Breaking Bad while at it, I also couldn’t wait to get back being all bossy on the construction sites I left off. I missed the illuminating feeling seeing things I draw being built. I guess I’ve been catching up with my old life so much that I forgot that this blank space is also an old good life. I need to be reminded now and again the importance of writing – of putting my emotions and documenting this short, borrowed life into words. But you know, most days there are just no words. 20150428-214950.jpg This is my view from up the wall on Friday nights now. People has been saying how I’m already trying to start him young, but really, my reply will always be “.. only if he feels like it.” Of course I would love him to be all adventurous, as Renan means fresh, invigorating and Aydeen means hands, power,strength. He got a lot of weight in his name to be the kind of guy who’s up for things but truly, I won’t impose anything if he doesn’t want to. As for now, I’m only bringing him in because I kinda have to if I want to climb – nobody to look after him at home! Thankfully he’s usually sound asleep when we start our session and wakes when we’re done. And whenever he did wake in the middle of things, he really enjoys the attention of climbers who usually are very fond of babies. 20150428-215016.jpg

Renan’s first visit to our playground! He was about 2 months old here.

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:D

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photo 1 (1) photo 2 Oh my, them babies really don’t know how to take their time growing up. Since it has been a long time that Daisy was all chubby and gomol-able, you can imagine how ecstatic I have been that I barely have any time to write. Renan is such a chilled and happy baby that his presence into our world makes me feel closed-book complete. It feels like it was a long way to be in this place and position. Do you remember how I was when I was a student? Or before I got married? Or when I found out I was with Daisy and now that I am holding my second baby? That was such a distance.

Renan Aydeen

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Alhamdulillah. All praise to Allah.

There are not a lot of words right now. Just pure gratitude and thankfulness.

I have safely delivered a 3.05kg baby boy on a good day of 15th January 2015. I’m on cloud nine and don’t think I’m coming down anytime soon. Trying to live in the moment now, enjoying every little coo, cuddles and not wanting to miss the occasional smile he does when he sleeps.

I’ll try to have more words next time. Or at least more pictures. Until then.

Letting Go & Holding On

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I still remember the look on my doctor’s face as I asked her if I could continue climbing during our second check up. That frown she gave me somehow felt a little judgmental and was not exactly the answer I was looking for. Fakhrul quickly reached for Rock & Ice magazine just to show her how climbing harness is worn and then she asked whether we were showing the picture upside down. The situation became somehow awkward because we know that people will never understand how climbing works until they experience it themselves. I know climbing, when done correctly, is safe and I feel safe doing it. A lot of people who assumed I must be hanging by an unsecured flimsy rope 40 feet in the air had never been climbing and didn’t know the safety precautions that we take before we even start.

“If anything happens because of these activities, you will blame yourself..” she said. If anything happens, its because it is meant to be, because Allah wills it so, I thought silently to myself. And you, my preferred doctor (that I will keep coming back to anyway), is a typical situation of “ignorance breeding fear”. The feeling was horrible. It felt like I was a child again and Mama told me I can’t go out and play.

Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil ‘alamin. The bump just turned 28 weeks 2 days ago which means I am embarking my final trimester of this adventure-by-itself journey that is pregnancy. And here’s a little shocker my doctor wouldn’t want to hear: I continued climbing and just had my last climb 3 days ago. And she was right, something did happen which was I’ve fallen twice – stumbled on the last step on the stairs at home and another was tripping at my Aunty’s house, not realizing there was a small drop at her second gate we seldom use. Thankfully both falls were landed on my knees and funny enough, happened when I was at my most graceful self. But never on the walls, not when I’m under careful watch and belay of le husband and definitely not whilst climbing on top rope.

Top roping is when the rope is connected to the climber, goes through a device at the top of the climb and down to the belayer at the bottom. If the climber does fall, the fall is only as far as the stretch of the rope, which is extremely minimal. I could hit my stomach if I fell and swung, but I was careful to never do a climb where I would swing and stayed on easy routes.

Honestly, it’s not that I’m trying to prove anything to anybody. Not looking for any bad-assery during pregnancy. I am neither a professional climber, nor consider myself to be an athlete. Not even particularly a good climber too or even close for that matter. Climbing has just been dominating my life in recent years and it’s hard to give up that “hardman” attitude that we climbers strive and aspire to embody. That hard-headedness is what gets us up climbs we never thought we could achieve, and attain the summits of our dreams. I was also simply pursuing a happy and less emotional pregnancy because I have to be honest, without sounding ungrateful, pregnancy is really not for me. I seriously don’t understand how some women can actually miss being pregnant. Of course, having a baby is a joy, blessing and miracle all by itself but how do you miss the overwhelming feeling seeing your body changes, waddling around like a stuffed penguin on flat ground? The inability to hold your pee and occasionally wetting yourself everytime you sneeze? Even rolling on the bed is such a chore and don’t get me started on the terror of seeing a bone sticking out from your protruding belly. It reminds me of what I will have to push out when the time comes!

*cringe*

It has been an emotional ride because being pregnant here in your own ground with your own usually-paranoid people can be really hard. I can see the dirty condescending look on people’s face as they watched me tie my double figure eight knot, adjusting my old bigger harness and double checking my belay partner as I was getting ready to climb. The stare to my bump as I breathe heavily on the steps of Bukit Gasing for weekend morning hikes. I don’t blame them and often gave the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t know.. that since you’re used to the sport, your body is acclimated to its physical demands. So long you listen to your body and you’re not suffering from any pre-existing health conditions or in a high risk pregnancy, insyAllah, it is perfectly OK to continue on.

*sigh*

On happier notes, I did manage to maintain my routine as much as I could since recovering from horrid fatigue of the first trimester. The first trimester was pretty bad unlike when I was with Daisy I’m amazed that I managed to go through Lombok at all. And I feel so thankful I took up hiking before I got knocked up because without it, I won’t be able to maintain my sanity and go outdoors. I have only been climbing in the safety and controlled environment of the gym, and I am already counting the days to chalk up and touch granite again. Climbing pregnant has changed my outlook on how to approach climbing as not being too strength oriented. And even though I’ve been climbing for almost 3 years, its just like learning how to climb again this time around. Funny, because the routes I used for warm-ups before has transformed into my project (hard) routes nowadays. But I realized if there’s anytime not to push through something, it’s while pregnant. Before, I’ve always said that I climb for the fun of it, when truthfully deep down inside I always strive for harder routes so I don’t stuck climbing the same thing everytime. Now, I honestly am just climbing for fun of the movement and enjoying the sport for a different reason – to sweat off a little and avoid the patheticalness of feeling disabled to do anything as most people would prefer me to, as if pregnancy is a sickness that women just need sit down and do the old fashioned pigging out day and night.

However, I know though, my days on the walls are numbered. Very soon enough I will have to hang my rock shoes and harness until the time is right to return. I thought the process of letting go will be easy when the maternal side of me outshine every other aspect that I believe make me who I am. Letting go the only thing that makes me feel strong and capable, the love of using my muscle and mind on tall cliffs and the love of exhaustion at the end of a long climbing day won’t truly be easy. But now that I’m pretty slow after 6 kilo gained, I know my body soon will give in. Pregnancy for one is truly a humbling experience, that no matter how tough you think you are, you can’t deny the fragility of life that’s growing inside of you. I can only pray that Allah prolongs my health and energy to keep on going with things that give me so much pleasure, and protect me when I am on it.

And although I will feel an overbearing reluctancy to let it all go, right now, I am just overwhelmed with appreciation and emotion and a sense that life and love are the most powerful things in the world, which I never want to take for granted. As I’m writing this, I’m feeling the tiniest kicks in my belly. As much as I’m excited to resume life and more adventures after delivery, I am just as stoked to actually do that with the little guy that is inside of me.

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