Untitled Journal

What's the story, morning glory?

Category: Random Thoughts

Syawal Reminders

Well, let’s see if I still have it in me. With words, I mean. To write for the love of it, even as mundane as it sounds, even as unambitious as it want to be.

Sometimes when I go back to my old posts, some dated years back, I understood the importance of writing. Of keeping a journal, of documenting your thoughts and emotions, to be caught in a moment and just fire the words away. Thoughts and memories are tricky things. There were so many moments when I read back and stimulated by my old thoughts and memories, surprised that most of the times they are not quite how I remember it. Yes, there are less words now than before. Way less than I intended to.

Truthfully, a good writer has no fears, which I think I have a lot of when writing. A lot of skepticism and prejudice in myself, one which derived from observations of others. I shouldn’t have been so judgmental I know, but in this really social world, my human weakness makes it hard not to. Things weren’t the same when I started blogging. Expressions we see in the internet were thoughtful and composed, published after a great deal of understanding towards something. Just not anymore these days. Or maybe it was me who had been visiting the wrong blogs.

It has been a testing year this year, has it not? As a nation we were struck by our own series of tragedies unimaginable and on the other side of the world, there’s Gaza. One word that should put OTTDs or fancy food posts online to shame. Personally when there’s so many ordeals experienced by others, even within my close circle, having friend who lost her mother so suddenly on second Syawal and another friend had her second ectopic pregnancy on the third, you just sort of want to cling on to whatever’s blessings you have left in your life, feeling that at any moment it could be your time to be tested next.

“But you can’t stop living your life because you’re afraid,” Carrie said. I fear a lot if what I show, share or write, of mostly happy things, are unjustified or ever being relevant anymore because away from the convenience of my computer screen, there are people who just feel the opposite. Feeling happy will almost have a subsequent to feeling guilty these days. That as I write about my travels, there are people who yearns the same but simply doesn’t have the opportunity. That as I write about how healthily and gloriously my child has been growing up, there are friends who can’t even have one, worst, had all her chance to conceive naturally literally operated on and taken away. That as I write about the love of my life, there are wives who had lost theirs to other women. Or simply lost it. Or just has not found one.

If I ever get quiet again, you know I’m away supposedly being grateful of my blessings. Quietly, as I try to be. But still, there are few drafts to publish. I just hope I have a heart to publish them without feeling so guilty.

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The Pursuit of Healthyness

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A few years back around this time during weekends, my husband and I would argue about where or how we should spend our days off. Where to eat, what else are we going to buy at the mall to satisfy our temporary materialistic need, whether we should attend that invitation abiding our social obligations that seems so far off in distance or just plainly stay at home, do a bit of gardening and lazying off with that flower girl. At the end of the day, whatever we did at the comfort of everything we possessed at that time, whether we ate at an slightly-expensive place or bought something new, eventually did not matter to me. Its not what you think, I love my life during the weekdays. The work’s great and an adventure itself but was quite thwarted with the weekends. Until we started climbing.

I’ve been contemplating whether I should or not write about this life changing journey, because yeah, its such a mainstream thing to work out and talk about it. Everybody’s been talking about my recent obvious weight loss, it was a big subject I couldn’t escape from during Raya season. As much as I’m happy about it, there were times when I felt really embarrassed when people kept mentioning it, as if I was one of the girls who starve my way into size 8. The thing is, I barely lost any kilo even after a year of climbing. Until out of the blue I just realized I could not be eating the way I did anymore, my metabolism isn’t the same as it was 6-7 years ago when I could spray a whip cream into my mouth and not gain an ounce. So I decided to educate myself with the food; limiting my daily intake but still maintaining all types of food I’ve been having – rice, cakes, lauk-pauk, kuih and what not. I figured that if I want to lose them kilos, its not going to be a dependence on a product or a short cut people normally take, but rather a habitual shift.

The thing is, I was totally contented with my figure before all of this losses episode. My BMI didn’t state that I was overweight and I fit most of the stuff I had before I was pregnant. But looking back, I think it was all denial. Denial, comparing myself with worse, ignorance, lustful, you name it – I was all that. I also don’t exactly have a skinny gene, suffice to say most of my family members are obese or nearing that. And the fact that I was back from “starvation” after 5 years in England didn’t help either. Most of the time I ate as if I have a flight back to the land of sandwiches or fish & chips the next day. It was bad. So I decided to try and diet for the first time in my life. Diet. A foreign word to me it might as well be German. The process was surprisingly a breeze, you just need a will power to choose iced barley over iced milo occasionally, learn that 2 karipaps is almost equal as a small pack of nasi lemak, that sometimes when you’re hungry you’re probably just thirsty and stop snacking unhealthily. The general rules are pretty well known. All it takes is you.

We were at Jesselton Park in Penang yesterday, a newly bolted climbing area and the drive from Sungai Petani was obviously close. Some of the senior climbers  who drove up from KL just for this rock trip were so welcoming. We just knew them from one or two hangouts in Batu Cave but it is as if we’d known them for awhile. Few encounters with them and the next thing we knew we were either invited to a rock trip, to enter a competition or just plain dinner as if we’ve been part of the gang for ages. The climbers are usually very friendly, positive and motivating, I’d never encounter any real competition amongst them which is very unlikely in other sports. Anyway, getting to the climbing spot needed a little hike. Daisy was so natural when we hiked in Yangshuo and stayed put when we were climbing so I brought her along. Pretty magical, I would describe the place. The granite was wet from the rain so it shined when the light hits. The wall was sheltered from the trees above and those surrounded, there was a little stream just next to the sitting area so Daisy was happy to be occupied dipping her feet in the shallow water. As a hangout spot, it was perfection. Except that the routes there are slightly above the grade of my beginner standard. But I managed to climb one, the hardest I’ve ever tried on rock before we rushed back to our cars when the rain poured heavily after few hours there. Its days like that makes me feel so psyched!

I have a lot to thank Allah. One of it was for that fated day we accidentally started climbing. Its a cliché heard around the rock, climbing saved my life, but it can. It gave me a better understanding about my body, my physical limits and mental abilities. Taught me how to stay motivated, get out of my comfort zone to progress and just enjoy the journey. Have fun a little, life’s too short to be serious all the time, I’d hear my own voice at the back of my head. In some ways it also made my marriage a happier one; saved me from all the insecurities bullshit I had and fought about a lot previously, bringing back “something in common” in us as a couple and we just couldn’t be happier spending our weekends together covered in sweat, dirt, chalk and occasionally comparing calluses. All that whilst our child keeping it real with the nature and learn a thing or two being outside. It has led to all great things and liberated me from life’s artificial needs – well, that needs are still there and visit once in a while, but it transformed from Prada and Marc Jacobs into err,.. maybe just The North Face. Or Patagonia, Prana, Arc’teryx or La Sportiva. (Eh banyak pulak.) But yeah, I don’t fuss about the latest fashion as I used to anymore. Back then when Fakhrul would describe me as a “slightly heavier spoiled brat” who needed to have some trendy must-haves in her wardrobe, I just now buy 5 plain comfy tops of the same kind in different colors to wear everyday and am OK with that.

All I care now is about that route I failed to send and how much I can’t wait to repeat again.

White Empty Space

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Hi, white empty space. Has it really been that long?

I really don’t know where to start first. Shall I fill you up with the progress I’ve made with rock climbing, my pursuit of healthiness for proper weight loss or the recent adventures I made to exotic China? Or shall I just put up one photo that can say it all like the one I put up there?

Sometimes I think there’s a reason to why I haven’t been writing. Time would be an easy target to blame. Works been piling up. The company’s expanding. Alhamdulillah, projects won recently are pretty outstanding. Experience and skills walk hand in hand with responsibilities. There is almost no room for fun but despite that, I actually have a lot from doing it. You know what they say, being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them. Some days I suck it up, most days I quite enjoy it.

That would be an easy one. An understandable excuse.

When the truth is, maybe I haven’t been writing because I don’t feel the need to. I even question – should I share this little unimportant information about my life to others just because I had been all this while? Will people care? Its not like I cure cancer or banish poverty. I go to work like others do, play with my kid, have deep conversations with my husband, catch up with friends, go places when there’s a traveling urge, pushing physical limits climbing walls and go to sleep at the end of the day. Are all that worth writing in this white empty space in which every words I will be held accountable for? Its easy to find people who takes life as for show nowadays. I really don’t want to turn into one of them or have people misinterpret me that way.

Then again, I figured out that maybe this feeling and wonderment is simply what it is – contentment. I’m content and OK with just doing things and go about with my life without having to tell people openly that I do what I do. I know it, I experienced it and maybe that is all that matters.

For now.

P/S: Sorry to those who had been writing in personally. This would be my reply.

Le Soul Sport

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Fakhrul had been seriously, like serious-shitly talking about building  a bouldering wall in our not-so-soon to be renovated home. That guy – once he’s into something, he’ll dive deep into it. He started watching videos or read on how to DIY a boulder wall, surveying prices for the holds, trying to convince me with all his pretty sketches because he knows they turn me on. I get prickling sensations when he draws. Hiks. We’ve been pretty much crazed with climbing ever since we started lead climbing few months back. We started talking grades, moving on from 5c to 6a (or in his more advanced case, 6b+), convincing each other to try different routes, vandalizing the monkey bar at home, subscribing Rock and Ice and tell each other interesting climbing stories we came across either from another climber we met or from somewhere we read. And climbers always say something cool like “Psyched!” or have an interesting outlook in life of something like this:

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I was standing in front of a 6a route the other day. The sight of the most-accomplished and favorited route by climbers in that gym, that Fakhrul just finished ascending so effortlessly did very little to calm me. I looked up, the wall is tilted towards me a bit and for the last three clips that were screwed about 25 meters from the ground, I’ll come across an overhang that always, always scare the shit out of me. Fakhrul tapped my back, reminded me don’t forget to breathe and like some Nike ad, told me just to do it. My knee started raising to the first hold, my hands looking for jugs, mini-jugs or any of those I can hang on to comfortably. But nothing is ever comfortable when you’re holding your body weight with the tips of your toes and your non-muscly arms. But then, just like that, it was me against gravity. Towards the end, I started to freak out as I was nearing the scary overhang,  nearly paralyzed by an internal voice whisper-screaming, “This was a terrible fugging idea!”. I drew breath with slow intention to slow my runaway heart rate. A cold sweat prickled my scalp and soaked my T-shirt. I did what climbers do when we get nervous – we chalk up. I chalked and re-chalked my hands with rhythmic compulsion. I held this pose and waited for something to change inside of me.

Suddenly, there’s a shift. Without my brain’s consent, my body moved. A quick few step up onto that little holds I’d only realized their existence and I reached the anchor. Still shaken by fear of falling, I pulled up the rope and finished the job. “Tiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggghhtt!!!!” I yelled down. Its a code word to the belayer to “please pull the bloody rope tight goddammit and bring me down to the flat ground where I belong. NOW!”. Well, only when you yell it like I did it actually means that. Between the anchor and the yelling, there was this glorious moment of happiness having accomplished something you initially thought impossible. Some guys would hit the wall panels loud overjoyed when they topped out,  having sent a route clean (no mix colours, no tight-resting) and can call themselves a 6b or 6b+ or whatever-grade climber. At that moment, I was just happy to overcome my ridiculous fear of heights.

That few minutes of ascending a route is almost like life journey in a literal form. Like life, you first put your trust in someone (a belayer); be it is someone you’re close with or a stranger offering a belay after a quick chat. You started climbing and realize some hard movements along the way.. your face shrinking at the thought of “my God, this is hard”, like some circumstances in life you tend to encounter. You would think the impossibles when actually you just have to figure out your way up to reach the upper hold. When hesitation hits, you’d hear a cheer from below telling you not to let go or hold on. And sometimes you slip by surprise and you’d fall few meters down with your entire life flashes in front of your eyes as if you were gonna drop dead, only to realize somebody catches you. You’d feel great that you’re OK even if you suffer a bloody scratch from it. You’d try again, pulling yourself up with the rope til the spot where you slipped and figure out a different way to get to the top. Some days you might give up, you went down and come back another day and repeat the same thing. Until you nail the last anchor, you’d feel liberated knowing you just surprised yourself. And you will return to get that feeling again.

Some days I thought of that day when I first went to that gym and started climbing. About how much that one accidental occasion had changed everything, my relationship with Fakhrul, my weekly routine, my life perspective and my health all for the betterment. And of course, that’s just in the gym with the plastic holds. I’m sure it will be a greater story when we get to the actual rocks.

That’ll be the next pursuit.

Yet

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There’s always a moment in life when you ask yourself the meaning of living.

You know, the generic reminder of why you were born, what your life’s purpose is, why do things happen to you and how to find meaning in it all? Most of the times I feel like I have the answer to all questions. I know myself. What I’m capable of, what I want, what makes me happy and what doesn’t. But sometimes there will be moments when you are approached by doubts; either in a form of another human being asking you questions or in a form of information you come across.

To begin with, I’m not pregnant again. Yet.  And I’m about to write about the justification of it all.

Yes, I do want another child. Daisy is 4 this year and according to myself 3 years ago, the margin between her and her sibling should be about 3 years. Yet here I am, not even trying. Yet. (Now you see why this post is titled as it is!) Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me or is the society I’m living with makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me? But I’m not so sure, maybe not. Because when I was in UK back in October and meeting again all my friends there, the questions are all the same. The bombardment of wonders are all familiar: When’s my next one?

I don’t know when is my next one, guys. I wish I could recite the surah to those who has been asking and then like magic they will automatically get it. I don’t blame them for asking, it is commonly known as a natural thing for a couple to have another one after another and after the other. Upon facing such questions, I usually go for the quick answer, “InsyAllah. Doakan murah rezeki..” but if they are looking for a long one this is what my answer would be:

1. My brother and I are only 2 years apart. We didn’t get along very well as kids. My childhood with him are either quarrels at the back seat of the car, crying my lungs out for being hit or constant thinking of how to get even with him. I spend most of my childhood hating him for being my mother’s favorite. Thankfully, we are better as adults now; his brotherly character became apparent when he took me under his care when I first arrived in UK. But it wasn’t such a happy childhood for me living under one roof with him. I figured that maybe it has got to do with the age gap. Its not exactly 2 years – more like 17 months! In a way, I forgive him for the inability to be maturer than me whenever expected. How could he possible know more by experiencing life only 17 months earlier?

2. I still struggle with my relationship with my mother sometimes. I figured that most of the times it is because we are both the same big headed, egoistic, stone hearted persons we are. I know a lot of girls experience the same conflict with their mothers and that is something that I dread to have between me and Daisy. I even remember the foolish, temporary resentment I felt when I found out I was carrying a girl, “Gosh – not another me and Mama in this world” I would thought. Maybe if I have more time with Daisy, give her all I got like I do now I’ll get lucky. So far I have been and hope to maintain until she has a bigger mind of her own than now.

3. My sister and I are 8 years apart. It is a totally different thing. Imagine an 8 year old girl finding out she was having a baby sister. I got ideas what to name her, imagined how I would play with her, take her everywhere I go, love and protect her with all my heart. That still hasn’t changed and we have a relationship like any other siblings in this world should. A great one.

4. Almost on all of my grocery days, I’d encounter with seriously unhappy couple not embarrassed enough to show how unhappy they are in public. Most of them have a lot of children, I would even found myself counting how many they have. But what breaks me is how conveniently they show how unhappy they are with their kids. Scolding, yelling, slapping and most unacceptably for me is the use of vulgar and degrading words. Some of my period hormonal days, I’d give them a good stare until one of them tell the other to stop and have that talk at home. Yes, children are like that but there are reasons why they are like that. I believe it all starts at home. Do you tend to them, do you listen to them, do you care enough for them? I’m not a perfect mother, I have my weaknesses but aren’t we all children once? Don’t we know how it felt? There’s nothing worse than bringing a child to life just for the sake of it, unaware of responsibilities you have to bear. Urghh, sorry I sound harsh. I get angry just thinking of it.

5. Some couples are just blessed. They can have 5 and still make it look easy. They can still appreciate each other as partners, be the best at their careers and make big problems look simple. They can have it all and have it perfect. Never mind about me and Fakhrul. I don’t even know if I can even appreciate myself in a situation I feel incapable of handling. Or maybe I’m underestimating. This is just a theory.

6. Like any other couples, Fakhrul and I always talk about the future. Where will we be, what we will be doing and who are with us. For now only Daisy are involved in that conversations. We haven’t visualize our lives with more than just one child. That maybe because we don’t even know him or her yet, but the things that we visualize we would do – we won’t be able to do it if we have so many.

7. Most of my friends that I’m closed with are either just got married or still single. I don’t mingle with enough mothers to give me the second-child vibe. Stupidly, I blame them. I need new friends. Haha.

8. I am so contented with my current relationship with Daisy. I’m too scared for changes. Even within myself. I’ve changed too much by just having one! But it will be so freakishly cute to see Daisy and a sibling. That is worth being brave for yes?

Ahh.. I don’t know. Who am I to say or question what God has planned for me? Who am I to deny a child? I think a child in the early years are like a gift of unconditional love. There are days when I could smell like shit, have a laksa or durian with bad breath after and still have someone who insists on being close to me. Maybe my second child will be an accident, just like Daisy was. A beautiful, pleasant, resentment free accident. Or my third, or my forth – OK that will be too much. If it takes me this long just to have a second child crosses my mind, I doubt my uterus will even have enough time for a forth.

One thing I know for sure will happen when Daisy gets a sibling – don’t count on me to be spending so much time on this space!

And whatever it is – InsyAllah. Doakan murah rezeki.

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