Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Learning to Love My Flaws

Imagine stumbling upon an ant nest and the ants swarming out of the colony. Imagine that happening on my face.

I've been suffering from some serious breakouts since April, a few months after I arrived in Sydney. It's the worst I've ever had. It's like the acne CEO landed on my face and went woohoo this face is a nice place mate lets grow our kingdom here!

Since then my face has never been the same as before. I'll wake up to red huge bumps here and there every day. At first I was steady about it as I thought who never had acne? I went for facial, googled about products, natural remedies, diet; did various things I can afford to combat the acne army. I even start positive-talking to my face hahahaha.
But weeks and months later it didn't get any better and in fact, it got so bad that I decided to see a doctor (who gave me some cream to apply- I was suspected by a dermatologist earlier that I might be allergic to pollen). All these desperate attempts and efforts, yet my face doesn't seem to get any better. 

I remember once I was teaching the colour 'red' in one of my Mandarin classes to a group of 3-4 years old, and I asked my kids to show me what are some of the things that are 'hong se' (red) in our surroundings. As they excitedly look around...
'the table! we have a hong se table'
'There there, the book is hong se!'
And one of my kids happily point at me and said 'And your face! Your face is hong se too!'
HAHAHAHAHA that's how bad my face was! I love them nevertheless okay😂


Suffering this crazy change on my face had a crushing impact on my self-esteem and confidence.
I started avoiding mirrors, no selfies, and it just felt so hard to face people. I became sensitive to people's jokes about my acne and it feels like there's a tiny monster growing in me, controlling my emotions with what I thought others will think about me. It was so overwhelming that I don't even feel quite like myself anymore. 

I'm not drunk as I type this. But I think I've had enough of shying away from my acne and I can't be freaking bothered anymore.😎 Gotta face this fear upright and learn to truly accept that the scars left behind are a part of me. Funny it took me so long to reach this realisation that I still can be freaking beautiful even with my acnes okay. Paiseh a bit bu yao lian hahaha😝 

But yes, it's time for that piece of confidence to come home. 

We all know what people say about inner beauty is far more important than outer beauty. But the truth is one's perception towards own appearance has a significant say on their self-concepts, how they think and present about themselves. I guess the toughest thing about combating the mental and emotional 'damages' caused by serious acne is having to constantly pick myself up and slowly build on that missing piece, got shot down and try to tell myself it's alright it'll be fine again.

And here's a shoutout to my dear friends who have given me thoughtful and kind encouragements. 💓 It means a lot to know that our acne don't scare you away and they don't change what you think about us as much as we thought they would. Trust me it's crazy how suffering from severe acne can impact one's mentality.

When Johan came over to visit, we were taking wefies in front of the opera house but I burst into tears the next second I saw our photos. I remember him trying very hard to explain how okay it was that now I look different and it doesn't matter. Took me a while to digest that but right, who worries about the crooked shape of a Musang King when they know it's still the same golden flesh inside. 

And I'm learning to love these flaws. 

Haven't been taking proper selfies in a while and I took one yesterday after my workout, smiling.
28th November. in the midst of recovering. 

Phew! That took me a lot of courage!


Now if you have any friends suffering from severe acne, know that they are doing their best to fight acne. They might be having a tough battle inside against the confidence monster, hence your genuine and kind thoughts will be very much appreciated.

And last to the writer of this piece, that's a huge leap. Keep going! 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What I learned from the passing of my dog.

Zeepee is a real joy to have around. The abundance of love and happiness he brought to our family is beyond words. There's a reason we all call him our little precious. :')

4th February 2017- heaven gained an angel.

Been almost two weeks since we lost our little boy ZeePee.

It will never again be the same; expecting our fur ball rushing out the gate as we reach home, waking us up with his barks on random mornings, hopping up the sofa squeezing around us for attention, hiding under tables after his tissue war.. Almost 8 years, these and so many other moments, are truly precious to our family, and i believe we can't quite stop talking about these beautiful times in many years to come.

Emotions aside, here are a few thoughts on something about life that my boy taught me. 

#1. Never take things for granted

From doing all we can to save him to losing him, it all happened in just one week.  It was very sudden and we were caught completely off guard.

It's cliche. The sudden loss of zeepee reminds me that many things are so fragile. In fact, everything is. 

It made me wonder how long more I've got somebody in this world and I just want to be as attentive to all as possible. It's when this understanding strikes that something you love dearly is gone forever, that you realized you would've treasured so much more before the loss.

I guess it's easy to take for granted the usual sights we are so used to seeing everyday, hence the intention to pull oneself back from time to time is really important. In terms of the willingness to stop as we get busy, and just take some time up to be grateful upon our present blessings does make a huge difference.

Rounding it up, not taking things for granted comes back to being aware and grateful about the things we are fortunate enough to have. Perhaps less assumption that these things will always be there, and do more of those that you'll be glad that you've done.  

#2. We are valued by our relationships with others 

Relationships are undeniably the bedrock of one's happy existence. So many people came to us after ahpee's passing. All kinds, from my relatives, to my parents' friends, my cousins, my friends, etc. They talked so much about the good memories they had with zeepee. Be it him being the constant feet-licker, treats barker, kid's toy, or as their simplest companion for tv shows.  

Thinking from zeepee's perspective, he must be one proud dog with his great skills to connect with all kinds of people through different 'roles'. It's like, he's happy about himself and enjoys every interactions he has with others. It's like, he's so open to all the possibilities of life and enjoys taking up roles that make senses to different people. In turn these have helped cultivated meaningful relationships with many around him. By meaningful i simply mean one that brings joy to both sides and one that people will remember him for.

It's true that you are not entirely defined by your relationships with others, it is also beyond doubt that it's the healthy relationships with others that makes one a valued whole. Think about it, isn't it nice to be a little more like my boy? Not about sniffing for treats 24/7 but being happy with own existence and build impactful relationships with those we come into contact with. It's not so much about being remembered, but making yourself a meaningful presence.

#3. To celebrate life more than we mourn 

It's indeed painful to learn that we've lost ahpee forever. Every now and then we still get teary eyes when we talk about him as emotions hit in. It's a lot about the acknowledgement of all big comfort this tiny creature once brought to us that stimulates the tear duct. I mean, what have we done to deserve this angel at home?

Zeepee had made us laugh so much; we are always excited to come home to him or to bring him out. He was a great companion. No doubt a wonderful listener who speaks through his eyes. He's afraid of cats, he once escaped a fight from some big dogs, he knows his way home, he prefers marble floor over bed, he loves his tit bits from japan, he kisses every visitors on their legs.. Any among many of these makes us smile. These beautiful memories are so worth celebrating, simply because of how they've made us so very happy. And we owe that to him.

Just looking at these we know there is so much more to celebrate out of zeepee's life. Yes we are sad to lose him, but what we will never lose, are these precious memories cultivated throughout his life. I guess it's important to not let the emotions of grief shadow all the joyful times we once shared. After all our sorrow should not keep us from living a full life, what's more a life with beautiful moments we'll never forget.


As I jot these thoughts down I hope I am reminded also, to always have the courage to face the worst and to be as strong as my boy.

Thank you, ahpee for joining our family. Thank you for fighting so hard on your battle for us. Thank you for making our lives even better.


I remember this quote from one of the very first books I read,

"Dogs don't really need a long time to live. As they come to this world to love and have truly loved, their job is done and they will go."

I believe so.

And that's how I want to live my life too.

We love you forever, zeepee.