Sabah, ba?

Off to Sabah today! For work.

It has been a jam-packed two weeks of travelling, events, gatherings and whatnot. Which is a good thing, seeing as how things are at home right now. Life is complicated lol.

Stay tuned for updates! 🙂

xoxo

Eris

 

 

How I Spent July – Freelancing, Cooking, Keeping House and Being a Caretaker

Hey guys! Sorry for the lack of updates – I think it’s been a week since I last posted anything. I’ve been quite busy with things… which is ironic, since I’m ‘unemployed’ right now.

I left my old company about a month ago. Believe me, I’d have stayed if I could. I liked the job, it allowed me a lot of flexibility, and I had awesome colleagues. But as with everything else, there’s no perfect 10 – and in this case, I saw no reason to continue if the situation there remained unchanged. I took a big risk by leaving without securing a job first, but I thought of taking a short break to let me relax a little from the stresses of corporate life. Turns out the ‘break’ isn’t so relaxing after all lol 

So far, I’ve been to a couple of interviews, but they either didn’t find my skills to be the right match, or vice versa. And believe me – after five interviews with no matches, you start to question yourself. Like, ‘am I really cut out for this?’ ‘Am I a good writer?’ ‘Do I see myself doing this for the next 20,30 years?’

My parents have been supportive, but I can tell they are worried and disappointed that I don’t have a clear direction in life. Some of my friends are earning five figure salaries, buying homes and cars for their parents.. and here I am at 26, jobless and going through a quarter-life crisis. I see myself writing, but I can’t see myself working in a news organisation anymore (too much pressure and no social life.

Not everything is doom and gloom, though. By some strange stroke of luck, I managed to book a good client on a freelancing platform, so I’ve been working on some write-ups for the past month. Sure, it’s not a steady income and it won’t last forever, but for now, it’s enough for me to pay my bills and cover my basic expenses. No more drinks at Starbucks , that’s for sure…

I find that I enjoy freelancing, and working at my own pace. It takes a lot of discipline, because there are no bosses to tell you to do this and that, and you are sort of your own boss. You deal with the client, you understand what they want, and succeed or fail, it’s all on you. It’s a whole different level of pressure, but I find that I can handle that so far.

Another silver lining (?) is that my ‘break’ is coinciding with my mum doing her cataract surgery. She did surgery on her left eye about three weeks ago, and on her right eye two weeks ago. During the healing period, her vision will be blurry so she was told to rest a lot and not do any housework. So guess who gets to do everything? 😀

So aside from working on my freelancing project, I have to keep house and cook. This has always been a point of contention because I’m clumsy af and in the early days, my mum wouldn’t let me anywhere near the kitchen from fear I’d blow it up or slice a finger.. or something. Also, she is kind of OCD and must have things done in a certain way. If I cut vegetables ‘wrongly’, she gets annoyed and tells me I’m doing it wrong, before proceeding to show me the ‘right’ way. Most of the time I take her advice, but sometimes that’s just not how I want things done. I don’t want to hold the knife the way she does because it feels awkward in my hand.. and I always believe that things should feel natural to you, the user, instead of trying to imitate someone else’s technique and end up master of none.

Cooking these past few weeks has actually been a relaxing affair, because she can’t be in the kitchen due to the smoke getting in her eyes, and I’m allowed free reign to experiment with things. Granted the food doesn’t always turn out good but I’m learning and perfecting my dishes. Some of them turn out pretty decent!

It’s also good to be home because I think my mum is suffering from some sort of anxiety/depression. There are some complications with her recovery ie vision is still blurry, so she’s been freaking out about going blind. I’ve been ferrying her to the hospital multiple times (at least five or six over the last few weeks, for the surgeries + checkups) and all the doctor can say is ‘give it time’. My mum is a constant worrier, so that didn’t help much. She already has health problems, so this just exacerbated her worries. She told me it was good that at least I was in the house, because otherwise she might have gone crazy from being alone with nothing to do, since she can’t watch TV or play with her phone. I help her with the medicine application every three hours coz it’s hard for her to do it herself.

We’re already in August, and I’ve kind of stopped going on job sites. I’m still wondering what I can do next. I’m sick of corporate life and the drama that comes with it… but leaving that behind would mean I have to do something on my own in order to survive. And I’m not sure what that’s gonna be. I strongly admire entrepreneurs who have set out on their own to chase their dreams and I wonder if I have the guts and the strength to do that. It’s easy to fall back into a ‘job’, where you never have to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from. I’ve been wondering if this is my only alternative.

I know my parents want me to go back to a corporate job. They are old-school Asian parents who have spent their lives working 9-to-5 jobs, and they want that same security for their kids. Go to work, clock in the hours, go back, get a salary. Live for the weekends.

I toyed with the idea of doing freelancing full-time, and dropped some hints to my mum. She didn’t say anything, but she did ask me ‘How long can you do this for’? and ‘what about your EPF ? (Malaysian version of social security – employers pay a sum into your account each month)’ – which is basically a big fat ‘NOPE’ to the idea.

I don’t want to let them down. It’s the curse of being the eldest child in an Asian family – they look to you so much to carry on the family legacy, and take care of them when they are older. You’re always under pressure to do the right thing according to what they want, and not what you want – held back by a constant fear of disapproval. Of course I want them to be proud of me, but everything I do seems to be wrong.

Sometimes I envy American kids. I’d rather my parents threw me out so I could fund my own college by working, rather than spending their life savings to fund me and then expecting me to do great things. I fear failure. I fear rejection and disappointment. But I want to do what’s right. And it always tears me apart.

Sorry, this has turned into some ranty shit. I feel better after putting this down though.

The next post will be a happier one, I promise.

Cheers,

Eris

Manila: Safety? + Jollibee at Last!

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“Don’t bring all your cash out. Keep them in separate pockets.” 

“Carry your backpack in front of you.” 

“Be careful, don’t whip out your camera, someone might swoop in and grab it.” 

These were just some bits of advice my friends (Filipinos, no less!) gave me before I ventured to Manila. When E landed a week earlier and his phone ran out off battery (it was around 11pm), I got frantic calls/messages from his mother and sister because they were worried he’d been mugged. E is a native Manilan, but he hadn’t been back for eight long years.. many things could have changed in that time. (eg Kuala Lumpur used to be safer eight years ago lol.)

I was naturally cautious after these warnings. I never brought more than I needed for the day and only kept a copy of my passport instead of the actual thing. Thankfully, nothing untoward happened during our visit. 🙂

“You don’t have to worry that much, especially if you’re dressed like a local,” the fiancee said while helping me to ‘coordinate’ my outfit – flipflops, shorts and a baggy T-shirt. I guess it helps that I look Asian and blend in, unlike white tourists (Southeast Asians always seem to think that white = money. It’s not just in Phils but in Malaysia too).

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Security is high in Manila, at least on private premises. You don’t see the police much, but there are guards everywhere – shopping malls, subways, shops, departmental stores, tourist attractions, etc. A unique experience in Manila: Being frisked before you enter a mall lol. They even have detectors (like the ones you see at the airport) ! You have to line up to enter and have your bags checked.

My thoughts on safety in Manila is the same as everywhere else you go – don’t  be an idiot, keep an eye on your belongings, be alert, and stay out of dangerous areas – and you’ll be fine.

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Made a beeline for a uniquely Filipino fast food chain – Jollibee! Ever since I tasted their fried chicken with gravy and rice in LA, I fell in love. The rice has a very fluffy texture, the chicken is juicy on the inside and crisp on the inside, and the gravy is bomb.

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Filipino spaghetti is sweet.

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Drowned in gravy. Fyi, Malaysian fast food chains do not serve gravy.

More of Manila to come!

Never

I have never been a girly girl.

Even as a child, I was the bratty one that climbed trees, hung out with boys and wouldn’t think twice about sticking my nose where it didn’t belong. My mum gave up braiding my hair in kindie and just cut it boy-short, since I always came back with my ponytail undone anyway.

Although she’d put me in cutesy little dresses, I’d often (accidentally!) tear holes in them, or else sit with my legs so wide open (yeah, I didn’t know what modesty was .___. ) that she’d be embarrassed to bring me anywhere.

My toys were mostly those that cater to both genders – Lego, Play doh, Monopoly, Scrabble. The one and only time they got me a Barbie, I sheared half of her hair off and drew over her face and legs with blue ball-point so she would seem like an ‘Amazon warrior’ (I saw that on TV somewhere and thought it was really cool, so). Mi shouted at me for half an hour, then told me I’d never get another doll in my life again.

When I finally went to high school and hit puberty, I started noticing guys more. Friends told me that boys didn’t like girls like me – with my super short hair, rolled up sleeves and my habit of pulling up my baju kurung’s kain as I walked because it was so bloody long I would stumble otherwise. Back in the early 2000s, we didn’t have the term ‘friendzone’ yet, but I guess that would have been my fate – unless I did some drastic action.

So I let my hair grow really long, started to take an ‘interest’ in makeup, and such.

But despite how I changed my appearance and attempted to like girly stuff…   I was still, well, unladylike. I swore like a sailor and would avoid wearing skirts because it was just so much trouble to mind the way I walked, or sat, or did things.

I ended up graduating high school with my hair super short again.

Then came college. I had my first  long-term relationship with a guy.. who, despite my tomboyishness, saw something in me that he liked.

Although he never said it, 17-year-old me assumed that he’d be ashamed to take me out to meet his friends, who all had these demure, sweet, presentable other-halfs. And then there was me with my beanies and sneakers and baggy shirts/jeans.

So, I grew my hair long again. I tried wearing heels and wearing make-up. Most days I forgot, but I tried really hard. I felt happy when people praised me on how ‘different’ I looked and how much I’ve ‘grown up’.

Five years later, we parted ways. It was a meaningful relationship, and even though it didn’t work out, I was glad for it because it taught me a lot about myself. He taught me that I didn’t have to change to please others, and that those people who really loved me, would love me for being.. well, me. Short hair, makeup-less face, uncouth ways and all.

These days, I occasionally put on makeup and wear heels to work, because the job requires me to. But most times, I forget I have eyeliner on and end up smearing it and looking like a hot mess, or trip and knock something over while I’m wearing my heels, etc. That will probably be how I always am.

And I find I don’t mind as much.

 

 

PS: This was a very lengthy post on why I like wearing boots instead of heels. Now stop asking why I never wear heels, people!

30 Day Challenge Day 8

Jinxing myself.

I just mentioned in my previous 30 day challenge entry that I haven’t missed a single day yet. And now I’ve skipped two days consecutively. Not that I did it on purpose..I’ve been sick. Massive headaches, violent chills in the middle of the night, fever, cough and flu. I don’t usually fall sick, but when I do it’s like everybody comes to visit at the same time.

Anyway, since I’m resting at home, might as well do a couple of challenges that I missed.

Three things you want to say to different people.

This is hard. However talkative I appear in my blogs (judging from the endless blabbing in my entries), I am a very quiet person in real life. People who are close to me know I’m outwardly stoic and solid. In fact, the few close girl friends I have, have all told me that if I were a guy, they’d marry me coz I’m reliable and a good listener*wtf is that a compliment?*

Which is why I’m not good at telling people stuff face to face. Writing, on the other hand, is much easier. Anyway…

To the Parents

Somewhere along the lines, I grew up, and you grew older. With work commitments and what not, sometimes I forget to pay as much attention as I’d like to other things, like spending time with you, or just telling you how much you mean to me. I know you won’t be around forever, but I choose to look past the gray hairs sprouting over your heads and pretend you will be, because I cannot imagine how life would be like without you.

So the next time I’m being a neurotic bitch, I need to remind myself that my parents are the best in the world and the things they do are out of love. I am forever grateful to you for bringing me up to be the person I am today.I know in your eyes, I’ll always be the bubbly little girl I was as a child. And I just want to say I love you. 🙂

To the Best Friend

Thank you for being there for me through times good and bad. I know it’s a difficult time for you right now, and I wish I could be by your side. I know you’re a strong person and that you’ll make it through all the challenges. Just know that if you ever need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen to, I’m here for you. Stay strong, girl. And I pray for your safe delivery. Can’t wait to be a godmom!

To the Bullies

It’s been a long time, but the psychological trauma from the pain you inflicted me has gone well into my adult life. I try not to let it affect the quality of my everyday life, but sometimes it’s hard when you have feelings of rejection, being an outcast and inadequacy due to the years back in school. I know you were probably young and stupid when you did those things, but there was no reason to do so.

The Art Called Fear

Tired, yet restless

Trapped; pinned

I look at my dead feathers with

Wide purple eyes Liquid in their fear.

It is grotesque Yet beautiful

The way you clip my wings

Cruel artisan Whose art is torture.

 

This weight Crushes my chest, my lungs

Of the air That I need to breathe

I claw Catching your skin and blood

As I leave with these eyes still wide open

You grin

From the pain you inflicted

And yet I am free Finally in death

 

Lately I’ve been kind of depressed with my job. I guess it’s a phase I have to go through. Everyone’s telling me to suck it up and be a man (not literally) but sometimes it’s hard when you have nobody to listen to you.

I just want to tell someone and have them listen, not have them judge me. 

Coincidentally (to the title), I’m going for an art event later.

Toodle-o.

30 Day Challenge Day 4

Welcome to the 30-Day Challenge Day 4!

Explain the meaning behind your Tumblr Name. 

I used to be an avid Tumblr-er, but I got bored of it and it has since been abandoned.. forever.

Me tumblr blog name is  septemberstardust. 

 

Coz I was born in September, and stardust sounds hipster-ish and mystical and it rhymes with S.

 

ENDS.

I’m actually really stressed out from work. D:

til next post!