Deaths in The Family

How do you face the death of someone you care? I don’t mean after. I mean the before and during. I have seen people taking care of sick people. I have seen people cried when someone dies. I have seen calm people in the same situation, and I wonder, “Are they like me?” I wanted to ask them, “Have you known it before also?” but never did.

Because talking about death is a taboo. Planning for death in details is seen as pathetic. I don’t assume this. I have been scolded. I have witnessed people shushing the speaker also.

I rarely cry when there is death in my family. To most people, death is a beginning of a sad episode of losing someone they love. To me, death is a closure of a numbing episode of overwhelming torture. I hope it wasn’t what the dying people feel. I always pray for that, every single time.

It usually began with a dream. More like a nightmare actually. They don’t stop haunting me after I wake up. And then there is pain that I can’t explain. there is overwhelming sadness that comes out of nowhere. The more I care about that person, the more intense and vivid these feelings.

Sometimes I felt guilty feeling relieved after the death, as if I was selfish. I was supposed to be sad after the lost, I thought. But as I am writing this, I realized it is something beyond my control. It doesn’t have to be said out loud to those losing their loved ones. I can write. I can tell one or two people. To lessen the heavy grip on my shoulder for a bit.

I like to think of it as a  gift I have yet understand. Sometimes when it gets too overwhelming, I will pray for the impossible, “Allah, please don’t let someone die”. I know it will still happen, but I have let it out to someone who loved me most, Allah. He willed this to me, He knows what I should do with this. So my regular prayer has always been and still is

“O Allah, teach me the way out. Show me the silver lining. Keep my faith strong. Aamiin.”

Thank You versus Sorry

Sorry I am late.

versus

Thank you for waiting patiently.

Which one sounds better to you?

Receiving sorry makes the listener feels like owing forgiveness to the speaker. The listener is put in place where he is expected to give something. Sorry also signifies guilt in the speaker. The speaker puts himself in need of forgiveness.

Thank you signifies gratitude. The speaker shows gratitude to the listener. The listener feels appreciated. He feels complimented for what he has given to the speaker who made the mistake, which the listener can’t take back and can’t undo.

The listener don’t have to weigh whether he needs to say

I forgive you

but instead, say

Thank you

for the gratitude and compliment he just received.

Let’s practice saying

Thank you for lending me your ears.

Thank you for giving me your time.

Thank you for supporting me despite our arguments.

Thank you for standing up for me against the bullies.

Thank you for being my friend.

Thank you for letting me be in your life.

May our lives be positive and beautiful.

I Write To Express

Who I Write For was the first on my Reader when I logged in today. It struck me with questions, many at once, all of a sudden – Who do I write for? Why do I write? Where is this habit going? I started to reflect all that was spent on writing since I was a kid.

I know I have always like writing. I started journal keeping since I was 9. I kept all of them till now. Rereading them feels like browsing through my own autobiography, one that has yet published. I recalled those days when I write for joy and won Best Essay in school and Best Story in English week. I got excited over book fairs and new novels my mother bought for me. Sometimes, I dream in novel lines instead of visuals, I hear narrators reading the dream in my sleep. Stories have become my childhood joy and writing was my self-expression.

I still love writing. It brings me joy when I feel low. It keeps my buzzing mind quiet when I put my thoughts to words. It expands my vocabulary and exercise my linguistic skills. However I feel that something is missing. I think it is the purpose. Because the purpose is what sets the meaning, the goals and the action plans. That is what I need to define.

Who Do I Write For?

Why Do I Write?

I write for myself. I write for the likes of me. I write to keep our mind calm and serene. Those who are like me but have yet written anything can find peace in reading my writings. For my writings spoke on behalf of them. My writings give voices to their inner critics and demons, but also give strengths to their guardian angels and soul to stand up for them. And when they finally succeed in life, even though they have forgotten where the strengths come from, my writings have done their magic intended. That is all that matters.

Where Is This Habit Going?

It is my dream to publish a book. It is my dream to make an income mostly out of my writings. It is my dream to leave a legacy to my readers circle.

The legacy starts with a biography. A biography starts with a fan. A fan starts with a book. A book starts with a story. A story starts with this blog. This blog started with a sentence. That sentence started with a word. That word was once only an idea.

It is happening.

Beauty

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Before the picture above was taken, I was complaining how hot the weather was and took off my spectacles to wipe my face. My friend, the photographer, commented that I look beautiful without spectacles. I replied jokingly, “Ya, ya. Everybody says that to everyone wearing spectacles. It is not the spectacles. It is just because you have never seen me without one.” That was how this awkward facial expression became a photo.

I read from somewhere I can’t remember on Facebook that according to psychologists (so much credible there haha), women are at the peak of their beauty when they are 31. I am turning 31 this year. Many people complimented that I look thinner when I have been gaining weight. Maybe that is due to the fact that I am turning more beautiful. But deep inside I realized that it is not important.

It is not important whether I LOOK beautiful or not. However, it is important that I FEEL beautiful. How is that different?

CONFIDENCE

At this time of life, I have gained more confidence in my skills – cooking, public speaking, communication, leadership, making decision and many more. I have found many of my strengths and overcame or accepted many of my weaknesses and I am open to discovering new ones. I have, not only known what I like and what I hate, but faced them decisively. There are still many rooms for improvement, but I feel more relax in my life journey. I don’t care about looking beautiful anymore because I feel beautiful as I am.

SELF ESTEEM

I have stopped comparing myself to other people in terms of achievements, goals and worth. I have stopped asking “How do I look?” to my friends. I listened to feedbacks without taking them personally. I acknowledge my tribe and adjust my circles accordingly. I define myself in my own terms – my dreams, my goals and my priorities. I feel beautiful without much effort and still feel so without acknowledgement.

MINIMALISM

Discovering self has helped so much in living a minimalist life. Less clothes. Less commitment. Less things. Less spending. Less people. Quality, hand-tailored clothes that compliment my personality. Worthwhile commitments that support the cause that I believe in. Quality, personalized, important things that add value to my daily life. Manageable and conscious personal finance. Core people who support my well-being and uplift my spirit. These have been an empowering journey. I wear clothes that I feel most beautiful in, which limits to few in my wardrobe and simple make-up. I feel beautiful being with people who accept my beauty. I feel beautiful because life has become more meaningful without clutters.

I feel beautiful because I feel empowered from within. I no longer emphasize on looking beautiful. This is the kind of life that I used to look forward too. Right now, I am enjoying this moment.

Time of Changes

2017 is the year of personal branding, says an internet marketing coach in a course I attended.

I turned 30 October last year. Since then, in this short period of time, many things have changed. Changes that people don’t see in me unless they are very, very close to me. I have been minimizing many aspects in my life – home, time, finance, causes and people. I rebuild my Vision Board. I rewrite my profile and stories. I rethink many definitions I had believed for so many years.

Maybe the number 30 woke me up. Maybe it is just a realization that coincides the age. But dawn of 2016 and dusk of 2017 marked an important turning point in my life. this will be significant for many years to come.

What am I up to, now?

  1. Toastmasters. 2016/2017 term is a challenging one for me. I am presiding two clubs, Johor Jaya Toastmasters Club & Kelab Toastmasters Bahasa Melayu Johor Bahru. I am also working to pursue Distinguished Toastmaster title, the highest recognition for Toastmasters. I am not in a rush, neither feeling competitive. I just feel it is time now, after 7 years of practicing.
  2. Caramelicious. I started a bakery business from home few years ago. But it was last year that I decided to focus on this. Recently, I started to formally educate myself about internet marketing. This one keeps me happy.
  3. Writing. I love writing. As an introvert whose mind buzzing with ideas and checklists, I seek comfort in expressing myself through writing, other than public speaking in Toastmasters. Journals, blogs, Facebook and speeches become my writing medium. Ultimately, my largest source of income will be from my publications. I don’t know how exactly I will get there yet.

What skills am I investing in right now?

  1. Self-branding. This must start with how I see myself. People will only see me as much as I let myself be seen. To be seen is to let myself become vulnerable. This is a challenge for me. I don’t believe in those overrated marketing image-branding. The only other way to build a self-brand is to be genuine and trusting to people. And only the kindest people are able to do that. Do good regardless of the outcome.
  2. Baking & decorating. I bake for a living, yes. But truthfully, I still can’t grasp how exactly a cake can cost 5 digits. That’s my goal – to gain the skills and expertise of bakers who sells their cakes that much. That is truly other-worldly.
  3. Finance. This is so crucial for me. As someone who lives a carefree life in her twenties, I have finally came to term with my bad emotions in regards of finance. I studied Maths for my degree. It is never about the numbers. It is in healing my relationship with money, in opposed to how I have been brought up and how I started my adult life with student loan. It has affected many years of my life severely. It is only now that I managed to admit to people that this hinders my developments in other fields in my life.

The only goal in life is happiness. The only real way to that goal is continuous development. May we all exhale our last breathe as the best person we could be.

Closure

What is it about human hearts that makes us so weak yet so strong?

Recover.

Human hearts can never recover from pain. It just grows stronger and more resilient. No one recovers from broken hearts. No one gets over a lost person. No one stops feeling sad. The heart just molds into something more beautiful and more firm, like root penetrating soil to form gripping foundation for the growing tree.

Thus never make the mistake of telling someone that they will get over it or time will heal. Instead, congratulate for holding on, hold their hands as their heart transforms and pray for the invincible person they will become.

Sensitive.

Often I hear the label ‘sensitive’ given to a person like it is the worst weakness a human can have. Is being sensitive worse than putting down people? Is being sensitive worse than being disrespectful? Is being sensitive worse than lying? Absolutely not.

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It takes a sensitive woman to make a good mother. It takes a sensitive person to be a good leader who cares about his followers. It takes a sensitive countryman to make a good soldier. It takes a sensitive Prophet to last a teaching till the end of humankind.

A sensitive person just needs the skills to go with their strong emotions. To feel negative emotions without acting on it. To feel people’s hardship and compose a plan to help them. To notice the slightest changes to act on a different course of plan immediately with a strong mind.

Hence, never tell a sensitive person to stop feeling or contain their emotion. Teach them the skills to pour that overwhelming energy into positive actions. Help them regain their senses when they are losing their head to their hearts.

Closure.

This is something hard, for me. Something I have yet figured out. How do you move on from a certain feeling? Forgiving without receiving any apology. Loving someone new without the certainty of letting go of a person. How do you create a closure?

Even though the forgiveness is said out loud and the love is made known, there is something unsettling deep in heart. Maybe my heart hasn’t reach it’s full transformation yet. Maybe it is not something that needs solving, but like riddles, enjoyed in amusement of anticipating the answer.

THE CHOICE IS OURS TO MAKE…

whether to build people’s strengths or keep correcting their mistakes, to be in awe of their beauty of imperfections or making them follow the mainstreams, to listen to their awkward side or to highlight those sides they are not proud of.

I finally understood when Ella’s mother told her to “Have courage. Be kind.”

The End

Heart: Today is the final day.
Brain: I am well aware of that.

Heart: Have we found something?
Brain: We are still looking.

Heart: Are we closer to the solution?
Brain: I don’t know.

Heart: Can we define the problem, at least?
Brain: I believe we can’t.

Heart: Then what’s the point in reaching this mark?
Brain: It has always been about to keep going on. We succeeded. We are still doing it. We will succeed. InsyaAllah.

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One By One

Brain: We got one thing done.
Heart: What’s the point?

Brain: One more step towards success.
Heart: Another step will add in front.

Brain: We got through this one.
Heart: Nothing much.

Brain: I am trying to be optimistic here.
Heart: Are you accusing me of being pesimistic now?

image

Motivated

Heart: I woke up full of motivation today! Let’s make our to-do list.
Brain: I won’t fall for your act again.

Heart: Not acting! Told the truth! I am SO motivated! Let’s roll!
Brain: Wait till that energy drains later.

Heart: I don’t care what you think of me. Let’s get things done now.
Brain: Might as well do something while you’re fine.

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Champion

Brain: We won again.
Heart: Yes. I know.

Brain: You don’t seem happy, why?
Heart: Don’t start on one of your you-should-be-grateful lecture again.

Brain: Ok, I won’t. But still, answer me. Why?
Heart: I don’t feel anything. Just numbness.

Brain: Look. They are so happy for you.
Heart: I feel that what I said or did were fake.

Brain: But you are not lying, are you? You are just trying hard to be okay. That’s good.
Heart: And tiring. Exhausting, actually.

Brain: There are people who envy this medal, you know.
Heart: I know. I just don’t feel. That’s all.

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Poet

Heart:
Life is a mess
The organizer in me can’t digest
So I keep it tight inside
In the hope that noone can see from outside

Brain:
But I have friends who aren’t blind
And a family so kind
For they are willing to stand by me
While I am cleaning this mess that is me

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Best Actor

Brain: They said that we don’t deserve to feel a certain way.
Heart: And we should stay calm.

Brain: They said that we don’t deserve to feel sad.
Heart: And always smile.

Brain: They said that we don’t deserve to feel angry.
Heart: Because our feelings waste their time.

Brain: We thought that if we don’t react to these feelings, everything would turn out fine.
Heart: It seems that when we seem fine, they don’t believe we have feelings.

Brain: So let’s just do this on our own.
Heart: Thus we won’t waste their time anymore.

Brain: Keep acting.
Heart: We are good at that.

Brain: Sounds like a good plan.
Heart: On it now.

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Talk To Me

Heart: Hey.
Brain: …

Heart: Talk to me.
Brain: …

Heart: You’re okay. Talk to me.
Brain: …

Heart: Do not turn your back on me.
Brain: …

Heart: Can you stop this silent treatment now?
Brain: …

Heart: Fine. Even you decide to do this to me now.
Brain: …

Heart: How could you?
Brain: …

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Morning

Heart: Morning… (yawn)
Brain: Let’s start the day with a fresh lemonade and complete all entries in our to-do list by noon! I am feeling energetic.

Heart: Nah… Let’s continue sleeping. I am exhausted.
Brain: You’re an evil creature, aren’t you?

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Space

Heart: Maybe this isn’t meant to be solved.
Brain: What do you mean?

Heart: I mean, we don’t need to make it vanish.
Brain: How?

Heart: You know, like space.
Brain: We’ve always love space. What about it?

Heart: Most of it is vacuum. Like the void we’re having now.
Brain: Yes, this feeling of voidness.

Heart: And then there are stars and other beautiful things in space.
Brain: Yes. Never fail to mesmerize us.

Heart: We just have to hop on from star to star, from planet to planet, from one beautiful thing to another beautiful thing.
Brain: That sounds like a plan.

Heart: While hopping, we have to go through the vacuum, but we don’t have to linger till we plant our feet firmly on the next solid ground.
Brain: Yes, we have to bear that in mind.

Heart: We’ll try our best to avoid black holes. They’re mysterious, maybe dangerous.
Brain: Ok, will do.

Heart: We must prepare ourselves with everything we need we when go hopping to help pull us to our next destination – good friends, motivational books, Holy Quran, night prayers, coffee, movies, exercises and many more.
Brain: Okay! Let’s do this!

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Answers

Heart: To the questions we don’t find the answers, what do we do with them?
Brain: ‘Haven’t’, not ‘don’t’.

Heart: Whatever.
Brain: We keep looking for the answers.

Heart: What if we won’t find the answer.
Brain: We keep looking.

Heart: What if…
Brain: We keep looking! Keep looking till you stop beating.

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Out of My Way

Brain: Could you please get out of my way?
Heart: What?

Brain: Just get out of my way. Please.
Heart: Why?

Brain: Just one day. Please. Get out of my way for JUST one day.
Heart: What did I do wrong?

Brain: Let me be in control for just one day.
Heart: Okay, okay. Sorry. I still don’t know what  I did wrong.

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Don’t Think Too Much

Brain: We still remember the face of that old man sweeping the street at traffic light last week.
Heart: Yes, we do.

Brain: We still remember that three ringgits we borrowed from a friend who we lost contact with a few years back.
Heart: Yes, we do.

Brain: We still remember the look on that man’s face when he got out of the car after we smacked his car which happen last year.
Heart: Yes, we do.

Brain: And those few other things…
Heart: Yes, we always remember.

Brain: They tell us “Don’t think too much”.
Heart: We don’t know how, I know that.

Brain: How?
Heart: Don’t look. Don’t notice. Don’t feel.

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Final

Heart: Let’s just give up.
Brain: Not yet.
            Wait.
            No.
            Never.

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Motivation

Brain: We wrote our Golden List.
Heart: Yes, we did.

Brain: We list our achievements daily.
Heart: Every single day.

Brain: We pray five times a day.
Heart: Praises to Allah, we do.

Brain: We help people.
Heart: We try our best to be selfless.

Brain: We practice yoga.
Heart: It makes us feel good.

Brain: We control what we eat.
Heart: True.

Brain: Then, why does it still feels unsettling?
Heart: I don’t know.

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