Cry, because you’re human.

Last week when I was watching an episode of The Return of Superman (South Korean reality-variety program), I saw something rather unnerving: Lee Dong-Gook telling his son, Si An, to stop crying because he’s a boy and boys shouldn’t be crying.

When I saw that, I felt like flipping the table because that’s pure bullshit. You should not be saying that to a young boy. Firstly, because he’s only 3 and he should be allowed to cry –  children cry! Obviously! Restricting children from expressing emotions is not right and simply ineffective, much like how it is for people of other ages. Secondly, of course, he’s human, before anything else. I’m certainly not bringing this up to criticise the way LDG brings up his children, but that statement triggered me because it is completely and utterly nauseating. It’s such a simple statement, but the fact that he felt it was okay to say that on national TV is an adequate representation of the normalcy of such form of toxic masculinity. This enduring stereotypical mindset has got to go because it is unrealistic, destructive and simply erroneous.

Boys/men should NEVER be expected to suppress their emotions (because it seems that showing emotions and expressing their feelings is “too feminine”). As mentioned, they are after all human, and crying is part of being human. Crying certainly does not make you weak.

Honestly, to all the boys/men: cry all you want. Bawl, even, if you need to. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to have feelings. It’s entirely, completely, perfectly okay!!

 

 

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Strangers Like Before

Gut-wrenchingly beautiful.

Frank Solanki

We planned and we planned till we reached the end only to understand that what we had planned was not in our hands

Now we don’t plan anymore

We laughed and we laughed and it seemed enough but we knew in our hearts that it would be tough and destiny caught our bluff

Now we don’t laugh anymore

We played and we disobeyed like our love will never fade but we were afraid to be betrayed by a price too big to be paid

So we don’t play anymore

We talked and walked. We screamed and dreamed. We fought and sought. We had all the fun under the sun

Now we’re strangers like before

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In need of a rant!!

Just please, let me.

I’ve been seeing this happen for so long and I’m honestly so, completely done with public figures endorsing dubious products that may be harmful to users.

It’s wrong on ALL levels. I am SO FRUSTRATED that this is happening in this day and age. Just the other day I came across several public figures endorsing waist trainers from a variety of suppliers. Which, to start off with, may not even be good for the body. Secondly, they had the nerve to encourage their followers to USE THEM WHILE EXERCISING. Like, what even? Are you even aware of how harmful that can be to our body? Just, why?

Honestly, EDUCATE YOURSELVES. You have been given the privilege to reach out to so many people through your social media platforms, you could’ve done something useful out of that privilege, but no – you just have to do something stupid as that?

You simply endorse products WITHOUT PRIOR RESEARCH. Is this really just for the money? Are you ignorant or are you just plain stupid? It’s not just the waist trainers. There are SO MANY products being circulated on Instagram – whitening products, ‘health’ products, ‘fitness’ products, pills, tablets, teas, what have you – possibly containing HARMFUL ingredients.

Like, ya Allah. I honestly can’t. 

Ok end rant.

Life Updates

It’s been so long since I last posted! 2 months, at least (I’m referring to the public posts)? I’ve completed my first term of study in university and just began my second term on Monday. Time truly flies. Alhamdulillah, for the most part, I enjoy school. I complain about assignments/ teachers/ etc from time to time, but my dissatisfaction is often short-lived. I have no major complaints about school, and I do not wish to act on my trivial displeasures because I chose to go to school, and Allah fulfilled my wishes. I will be grateful and will do my best in my power to achieve my best. Alhamdulillah, so far, my efforts have paid off, but I will remind myself, continuously, that grades are not everything.

Also, yesterday was the second time I listened to Ustazah Liyana’s live discussion on Instagram, and I must say, I truly, absolutely love her. She’s so lovely and extremely down to earth, she’s extremely raw, she’s not afraid of sharing her flaws, she discusses somewhat ‘taboo’ topics in Islam – for instance, love, which she mentioned is a topic she adores talking about, and, for lack of a better term, she stoops to our level, which makes me see her as a friend and fellow human who understands, more than a teacher, who, more often than not, come off as superior. I’m going to keep watching her live videos and perhaps, even watch her discussions in person.

Actually, I came to WordPress for a different reason. My skin condition has been taking a toll on my emotional well-being, and try as I might to be accepting of it, it really isn’t easy. I’m not going to go into the whole pep talk on beauty because I’ve done it before. And while I do not care for a moment about the external appearance of other people and see beauty in everyone, because surely, everyone is beautiful in their own way, I cannot say the same for myself. Indeed, we are our own worst critic. But the worst part for me is that the effort invested into controlling/curing it doesn’t seem to pay off.  I took antibiotics for about two years (on and off), I use different facial washes, apply different sorts of creams and gels, but none seem to be working and they’re burning a hole in my parents’ pockets, which, really, is so sad. What’s worse is my sister and younger brother also have problematic skin. Treatment and medication for skin conditions are EXPENSIVE. Anyway, I’ve finally stopped taking antibiotics and just today was prescribed isotretinoin, which is a ‘higher level’ acne medication. In a sense, it’s riskier than antibiotics but I’m willing to risk it because antibiotics aren’t working anymore. Acne is painful and acne bloody sucks, but I have to remember that acne – the fact that I have acne – was willed by Allah. And Allah is my creator. So I will trust Him.

Yesterday, my mother told me that my father said we (as in my sister and I), must inform our potential spouses, whoever they may be, of our skin condition and let them decide whether they want to go ahead with getting to know us (i.e. eventually marrying). When I heard that I felt so criticised because, at that moment, I thought, “Oh, so if we have acne, it makes us less worthy of love?”. But I know how acne is like any other diseases – diabetes, eczema, pneumonia, what have you. I understand that. But I want to know, do we actually need to let other people know if we have some type of disease, whatever they may be? Is it only fair that we do that? I’m not saying we have to keep them in the dark, because honestly, I would let other people know, but I would say it as a fact, because it is a fact about me, much like telling others I love to cook, I’m studying Social Work, so on and so forth. At the same time, I can understand why my parents would say that because, for one, I surely do not want my child to experience the skin conditions I’m experiencing. I know how sad, how frustrating, how emotionally painful it can be. And at the same time, I feel like it isn’t fair because I want to get married and I want to have children. I don’t know, perhaps it’s due to the way I’m brought up? You have to understand that I am prone to all sorts of skin conditions, not just acne. I also have eczema and I’m prone to allergies. Please help ): Let me know what you think.

Lots of love,
Amelia

SUSS OBS Team-Building Camp

The camp is finally over. Done and dusted.

I wasn’t very excited for it, nor was I reluctant. The only thing that made me slightly apprehensive was the fact that I had to be around new people (and something else, which I’m not courageous enough to share). When my group first met during the induction, we were extremely awkward. None of us are exceptionally loud or extroverted, so there wasn’t a member who managed to hype up the group. Our student buddy wasn’t very loud either and slightly awkward too (not that it was a problem because I’m sure he did his best).

On hindsight, however, I think I’m quite lucky because firstly, I’m introverted and I cannot handle extremely loud people. Secondly, although as individuals none of us exactly stood out, as a team, I think we’re pretty impressive because we complemented each other with our individual strengths.

It was a 3 day 2 night camp, with the first day mostly comprising of talks and team-building activities. The service learning talk which I initially dreaded turned out to be pretty interesting. The content suited my interests and I learned quite a bit too. I even braved myself to speak up! Undoubtedly, it’s easier because it’s a small team, but it was still something that required some mustering of courage. I realise, though, that whenever I speak in front of a crowd (small or large), my voice and perhaps face and/or hands (if I’m holding something) giveaway my nervousness. My voice tend to tremble and with all eyes on me, my face will flush. It’s a physiological response I have no control over 😦

For the day 2 expedition, 3 groups, including mine, were assigned rowboat. The whole journey from our campsite (Pulau Ubin OBS Camp 1) to a forested area (where Kekek Quarry is) roughly 15 kilometers away took about 6-7 hours. As someone who works out and is able to do pushups, I shamelessly thought that it wouldn’t be too difficult for me. I was so ready to deal with it head on because I am a strong, independent woman (not a braggart – I am just proud of being strong!!). But, boy, was I wrong. The journey was gruelling. Truly. The paddle is heavy, the tide was against us (for the first ~10km), and the weather was BLOODY BRUTAL. We felt the strenuousness even when we barely started! But, we pushed on and persevered and it felt excellent. Then, the blazing sun emerged and fatigue crept up on us, and somewhere after the halfway mark, I desperately felt like giving up. I was close to crying because I was so, extremely exhausted. My arms were aching, my back hurt and it became difficult to keep up with the pace of paddling. There were several stronger boats ahead of us (we were initially the first few boats) and we were lagging but I no longer cared about being last (not that I cared about being the first few, but being last can be pressurizing). I stopped paddling several times when the rest of my team members continued and I began wishing that the 15 kilometers was a joke the instructors played on us because at that point, it genuinely felt like an impossible task. But when I saw my team members soldiering on (especially my new friends, Faiz, Nadine and Jun Wei) AND keep up with the chanting (to ensure we were synchronizing), I realised that I can’t be the only one exhausted. They must be too – of course, because we were going through the same thing. This might sound really deep but it was their determination and tenacity that truly motivated me to go on because we were in it together and I didn’t want to let them down.

In the end, we made it and it could not be more fitting that the night before, our professor shared with us this quote:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Yes, I was listening quite attentively to his long-ass life story (even with my eyes closed) and thoroughly enjoyed it despite it being rather untimely because it was pretty darn inspiring. There were several good quotes shared but this quote moved me the most.

Needless to say, the expedition and night spent at the forested, no-toilet area was the highlight of the whole camp because those activities are the ones that truly tested our determination and assessed our group’s ability to work together. After all, I think we would all agree that we learn more from our tough times than good times. The talking/ bonding session my group had that night was also a highlight for me because as someone who has trouble opening up to new people, I genuinely felt comfort and joy in their presence.

Another highlight for me was the bonding session we had with our second instructor (our first instructor left early on day 3 because his engagement was on that day). Our group wrote comforting messages for each other, shared our favourite moment during the camp and our takeaway, and wrote a letter to ourselves. The latter 2 had to be returned to him, and will make their way back to us one day via mail, when we least expect it. Like a time capsule. Interesting, huh?

Alas, though I enjoyed the camp for the most part, I disliked the fact that we had to pee in the nature without proper toilet facilities. I can be outdoorsy and adventurous if I have to, but the whole peeing in the forest thing is not my thing at all, sorry. 😦 I also wish we were given the opportunity to spend more time with our OBS instructors and student buddy because we were barely able to do that properly. And the last event (superhero/mascot thing) was pretty lame and rushed. But okay, whatever, I guess.

I never thought I’d say this and I don’t care if it’s cliché because I really will miss the time I spent with my group members during the camp and nothing would be more apt than ending off this post by sharing a few good photos of my new friends.

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Lastly, here is a beautiful view of the morning we set off for our campsite on day 3. Taken by our resident photographer, Jun Wei 😛

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Love, Amelia

Ps I’m sorry friends I got mad on day 3!! I am extremely expressive. It shows when I’m happy, excited, sad, scared, nervous so when I’m angry, it will most definitely show too… I musn’t use it as an excuse, though, I know.

 

 

 

 

wallflower

I meant to just leave this as a mini rant on Twitter but I felt like this needed a post on its own. I am absurd when it comes to talking to guys in real life. Whatever the circumstances. I’m not even talking about the non-platonic kind. I cannot look at males in the eye for longer than 2 seconds. It’s exasperating. I know lowering the gaze is a thing in Islam (and a good thing, for that matter), but I am utterly ridiculous because whether or not I am making eye contact with the person, when it comes to talking to males, I’m a blundering mess. It gets very distracting, which makes it awkward for the other person too. Just the other day I was at SUSS’s induction and my student buddy (i.e. facilitator), who’s a male sophomore, wanted to break the ice and strike a conversation with me and I couldn’t, for the life of me, have a proper conversation with him.

I thought I was getting better at talking to males because I was able to text quite comfortably with a male group mate who reached out to me via email (I usually get anxious even online). It felt great. Then, I met him during the induction and I became an awkward mess.

Honestly, I’m generally just shy and awkward. That afternoon, I was gathered with my OBS group and we had to introduce ourselves – it wasn’t much; we were asked to share our name, the school we were from and our passion/hobby. Something so simple as that was enough to make me feel extremely anxious. That wasn’t all. During an ice-breaker activity, I had to do a forfeit because I messed up but because I was so immensely awkward, something that was supposed to be light-hearted and humorous became so dull.

Truthfully, I feel so boring around people. It’s a horrible feeling because I’m not actually boring (hah). Don’t know if I’m being too hard on myself – perhaps I don’t actually seem that awkward, which can be perceived as a good thing to some, but the fact that I feel anxious ALL THE TIME around large groups of people drives me bonkers.

But I know that aside from my preordained shyness, I need to let loose. I have some insecurities that are hindering my ability to be comfortable around people. This whole insecurity thing is bloody toxic, I tell ya. I need to gain a bit of confidence (read: A HELLA LOT) and stop letting my insecurities hold me back. 😥

Edit: So I read this blogpost that talks about the reasons why some people are shy. It’s not exactly scientific or anything but the author truly spoke my feelings for me. There it is; the underlying reason for most people’s shyness – our insecurities. The vile devil that eats at our confidence. And okay, I guess it’s true that shyness can be situational. However, I’m still convinced that overall, I am shy (and introverted) (such an unfortunate combination).

Love, Amelia

Thoughts: Beauty Work

Hello, again.

So I was just thinking.

Physical alterations to the body has become so rampant that people are now finding it acceptable to do so. Before I delve deeper, makeup is not included because makeup does not provide permanent changes.

I find it so bloody scary that SO many people are doing it.

For instance, in Asia, as it has been since centuries ago, having fairer skin equals to greater beauty. We are hard-wired to automatically view fairer individuals as being more beautiful. Heck, I used to think that until I learned to accept that the world IS made of this whole variety of skin colours, and all of them are equally beautiful. If it isn’t confirmation enough, look at just HOW many Asians who’ve become fairer (and pinkier – you know?) on Instagram. Honestly. Nearly all of the most famous female Asian public figures on Instagram are fair. Celebrities are getting fairer. So many cosmetic products that claims to whiten the skin are being circulated, and so many people are endorsing them. Celebrities are even coming up with their own product that whitens, and that appeals to SO many individuals. Why? Why do people go crazy about wanting to be fair? God has created so many beautiful skin colours – why do we want to change that so bad? Isn’t it boring? Nearly every popular person looks the same now (I’m mostly talking about Malaysians (honestly, no offence) because they literally flood my feed). Previously, each time they pop up on my feed, my initial reaction would be to ogle at them – “wow, she’s so fair”, “her skin looks beautiful”, “she’s so beautiful” – but ogling after ogling had me ‘shook’ (as they say it), because so many people are looking like that nowadays. So boring. Colours are fun! Afterall, it is how the world is made. Shouldn’t we embrace that?

But, of course, that’s not all. I find that so many people are becoming more physically beautiful in recent years. Now, I don’t doubt that there are naturally beautiful individuals. At the same time, I learnt that so many people have undergone cosmetic alterations. Hollywood celebrities, Korean celebrities, public figures on Instagram from all over the freaking world, you name it. I know because most of them are not being silent about the work that had been done, and even if they are, it’s pretty damn obvious. Because it has become so rife, people are no longer ashamed of sharing it to the world. But it got me thinking. How bloody scary is it that people are okay with permanently changing the look that God has given them? They change how they look, and then take credit for it. I feel silly for constantly admiring people whose looks aren’t even real. Honestly. I think the human race is already pretty f-ed up. Our ideas of beauty are very distorted (as much as we try to change that, those ideals are going to linger) and the fact that so many people are adjusting how they truly look is just so frightening. And it’s sad that so many young people, especially girls, are looking at those beauty icons and wishing they are pretty as them when so many of them have had work done.

Now, I know I constantly discuss about the topic of beauty, I know there are more important qualities that can be talked about and I know there are people who believes that *external beauty is something that shouldn’t be complimented on because it’s what one is born with, unlike, say, intelligence, strength, what have you. But, come on, we’re humans. We make snap judgments about someone based on their exterior. We are more attracted to those who are good-looking at first sight. And subsequently, we compliment. Because looks are the first thing we see about someone! I’d be lying if I said someone’s looks doesn’t appeal to me. It’s almost as if it’s automatic. In fact, I’m quite certain it is. Now, you might think: “Exactly! This is the reason why people alter their look.” Makes sense, but! – I think we all know what truly matters at the end of the day is our interior. And, even so, it doesn’t make changing our natural look okay. Because, there is no such thing as perfection in this world – not everyone are born beautiful, that’s the reality of life. Some are more beautiful than others, true, and we acknowledge that. But after we’ve passed that automatic stage of admiring someone because of their physical features, we should get over it and understand that there are far more things to love and admire about a person other than how they look.

So.

Before I digress and start discussing about my journey towards accepting myself which is not the point of this post, I’ll just end off by saying that people are so fake nowadays. That’s honestly what I came to say. Goodbye.

Love, Amelia

*I beg to differ. After all, one can also be born nicer, or smarter, or greater in certain areas than others. Although looks aren’t the most important thing, if it’s okay for someone to be complimented on their other characteristics, why can’t they be complimented on how they look? And even if you tell me you will try your best to avoid doing so, you’re still going to end up doing it. It’s a matter of whether you simply leave it as a thought or verbalise it.