Presents from Exes: Ghosts of Relationships Past or ‘Just Stuff’?

Okay, it seems that four days off work sort of get my creative juice flowing 😀 Unfortunately not the very productive kind like painting, writing poems or work on a creative project. I just came up with a meme, and now, this post. Some background story as a prologue: I recently ended a relationship (if I can call it that way) with a guy, almost a month after he left for his overseas posting. I won’t divulge irrelevant details surrounding the circumstances, because: 1) they are irrelevant, and 2) the wound is still new and sore 😀

Anyway, when things were good and he was leaving, I bought him some stuff. One of them was quite valuable, in terms of $$$, the other was inexpensive but held a sentimental value. In restrospect, I am actually a kind human being and an even more generous girlfriend since I usually gave stuff to my exes!! Hahahaha… The good thing is I am not that sentimental that I remember every single present I gave to every single ex! I just vaguely remember mailing some stuff to Australia with FedEx (which was expensive thus etched in my memory) 8 years ago. And of course, these presents I gave to the last ex recently.

This last ex just moved in his new apartment and he posted some pictures on socmed. As I looked at the pictures, I was unwittingly searching the whereabouts of the stuff I gave him. I could not find any. Of course there are a lot of explanations. They may hid from plain sight, sit in a drawer or closet, or put somewhere else e.g. his office. Or thrown away. Or given to someone else. Admittedly, I am tempted to ask him what he does with them. My sanity prevails, though. Knowing the answer will not solve anything or give me any consolation. What for?

This whole thing got me thinking; are presents from your ex just stuff or some cursed items you need to get rid off?

He got me stuff too and I still retain them because they are useful to me, albeit decorative for some. I never placed some special sentimental value on those things. Okay, maybe some times. Like when I needed a nail clipper and remembered he gave me one and I kept it in my bag all the time. And when I was hungry and found I still had one last chocolate from him in the fridge. You got the idea ^___^

Among the first things I received from my first boyfriend was a pair of gold earrings for my birthday. I didn’t like them since I think they were old-fashioned (much like my notion of him that time) so I gave them to my mom. Now, like it or not, I remember him everytime I see them on my mom. He also gave me his favorite stone (that time batu akik was not cool as it is now). I gave it to my dad. I know, I know… what a horrible human being I was hahahaha… I remember he returned stuff I gave him via postman. I should have probably done the same. But I was the one who broke up with him and I didn’t want to break his heart further by returning his stuff since he never asked for them. Still, maybe I should have done it.

When I was staying in a boarding house in Jogja, I remember one of my house mates broke up with her boyfriend and he asked for his things back (and vice versa). That was unsightly, at best, and humiliating, at worst, with us peeping and wondering what was going on.

I also know a friend who keeps stuff from her ex and, who I think, secretly has problem moving on.

In this material world where fashion and trend change more quickly than you can spell “ex boyfriend”, are those stuff your ex gave you just stuff you can easily put on garage sale, or hold sentimental value that you keep dearly (or adversely smash them to pieces to help you move on)? Are we supposed to keep/wear them? Think of jewelry, or worst example, wedding ring. Are they teaching us a lesson of love, or holding us back from finding a new love?

(among all) The Pope, Weirdos, Nosebleed and Getting Married

I haven’t blogged for quite some time. Usually it takes a mind-boggling event to inspire me to write. But sometimes the event or cause gets too mind-boggling that I choose not to write about it. Instead, I sleep it off, like a sloth. See, you should be careful of what you write about. You may turn to be just that! Like when I was in my early and mid twenties, I wrote about uncertainties in life and being single. Now I’m starting my 30s and still struggling with life’s uncertainties and being single. Hello irony! Well, I thought this topic gets old pretty quickly but thank God, I develop a brazenly good sense of humour to laugh at my situation (of yet to find a life partner). But in my defense, scientists still cannot cure influenza, an illness as old as time. So, if scientists are yet to find the cure even though millions of dollars and thousands of hours have been put to it, it should be understood that for this simpleton with limited resources and life ethics of a sloth, finding true love is a daunting challenge. Ok, before I offend scientists further, I’ll move on to interesting events that might have been the topics of my blog posts some time back:

  • The Pope and the Weirdos

I developed a crush (yes, like a pimply teenager *le sigh*) on a guy – let’s call him The Pope from hereon – ever since I saw him on a Skype call last year. Yes, again, like a teenager. He has the exterior of a cute, nice guy who reminds me of another guy I had a crush on years back – who was not into me (ouch). So I met him in person for the first time few months back. He turned out to be one of the nicest guy I know. But as we know, thus far, I have no luck with nice guys. This one is getting married in November. This piece of information I got from one of his colleague, after a not-so-smooth interrogation technique was applied to (another classically stupid Fen). I met him again recently and was lucky to have more chances to talk with him, mostly about work (blah!). I found out that he’s left-handed (oh, so my type! :p), can carry mature conversation, a very good listener (although actually I held him hostage  by talking non-stop while he’s driving. He got lost several times and had to check his GPS. Oooops). I told him things I only tell my best friends. And we did things I seldom do with a guy, since as you know, I’ve never been in a relationship long enough to actually do things couples normally do. He was with me when I bought my first digital camera (I know, where have I been? *another classically stupid Fen*), he bought me coffee when I was sleepy, he was there when I felt like the world was being a total jerk to me, he accompanied me shopping for shoes and bags and wallets (and he kept his mouth shut, I appreciate it him for that hahaha). With him everything was effortless. He said he thought I was passionate about my work because he saw I was in complete ease and a cheerful mood. I just smiled and unable to utter my true response “Oh you fool, I am happy because of you!”

So yes, he’s one of the best guys I have ever met. Benevolent, nice and kind, like The Pope. And unattainable, just like The Pope.

The weirdos, where do I start. There was a married guy who whispered to me his room number when we were in a lift and asked me to remember it. The same guy asked me if I would go swimming that evening. He would go to the gym to see me swimming. That, in his words, not mine. The same guy spread rumour about me in a conspiracy with weirdo #3 (I’ll get to that later on). There was another weirdo (weirdo #2) who is an all-around great guy except being  married and despicable in his pursuit of me, who admitted that what he was doing was wrong but still did it anyway. There was weirdo #3 who both The Pope and I suspect to like weirdo #2, loves to be the centre of attention and I don’t know for what reasons conspired with weirdo #1 to spread lies about me. Weirdo #4 is a married man who asked for my number, asked me out for dinner and tried to call me in the middle of the night. Weirdo #5 is another married man who helped me carry my shopping bags and then forced his way to hug me. The next day, he helped me put my luggage into the trunk of a taxi which will take me to the airport (I did not ask him to do that), then again forced his way to hug me and kiss my cheek in a way that left me feel violated. That moment, I remembered The Pope. He picked me up at the airport, carried my luggages to my room and politely said he was going to wait for me at the lobby to give me time to freshen up. He didn’t force to hug or kiss me although all he had to do was ask. #pletakkkkk :p Weirdo #6 works in a bank, went out with me twice. I didn’t feel we had a connection, conversation was hard to hold, I was in a bad mood. This weirdo is supposedly in search of a future wife and on our first meeting had asked me where I come from, my parents, what my father does for a living, bla bla bla. Yesterday, he asked me out again then asked me questions about my hometown and family that he had asked of and I had answered to two months ago. Needless to say, I am not interested in seeing him again.

  • Thrill vs Relaxation

I found out that my body has a bad way to react to stress and pressure. I am not cool, calm and confident. I am the opposite of all that. But in the mayhem of emotions, I also felt so empty inside. Like nothing solicited a positive response. Like bored, bored, bored…. So in two weeks, I went to the Universal Studios Singapore twice. To feel the excitement, to be frightened, to be shaken to wake up, to feel something. Well, I am not saying it didn’t work. I screamed like a nut job non-stop for the whole ride. That helped. Since I cannot yell at the weirdos!

But I also needed relaxation so badly. So I went to get a massage three times that week. Twice at a spa. I am not saying it didn’t work. It gave me some sense of relaxation before soon getting depressed again!

One thing finally gave me a relief. Normalcy. I was born in the year of Dog. I am a creature of habit. Deprived of normalcy (home, friends, me-time for tv series, doing nothing on the weekends) and I was almost insane!!

  • Nosebleed

With depression and exhaustion, came nosebleed. I have been having this issue since childhood. My father said I inherited it from him. He had nosebleed from time to time since he was a child himself until he was in his twenties when he got married. I remember jokingly said to him that I need to get married then. Because of growing concern (recently I had nosebleed weekly), I went to a hospital. The doctor explained to me that usually women with this problem have the nosebleed when they are about to have their periods. So it is a hormonal imbalance. He glanced at my data and he said it would be good if I get married. I was laughing hysterically, seriously thinking he was joking. He was not. According to the doctor, women with symptoms related to hormonal imbalance such as nosebleed or dismenore (painful menstruation), endometriosis can see their symptoms disappear once they get married because their hormonal needs are met. My jaws dropped. So this may be right after all. That’s why my father stopped having nosebleed in his 20s and I am 30 and still having it.

You are of course aware that getting married here refers to getting laid, right? It is not about marriage being a spiritual bond that gives a soul-fulfilling and health-inducing effects. Nope, it’s just about getting your carnal needs fulfilled.

Needless to say, I was sent home from the hospital being more depressed. Hence this blog post!!!

I DON'T look like this when having nosebleed..!

I DON’T look like this when having nosebleed..!

If you don’t have what/whom you love, love what/whom you have

Is it settling? I certainly don’t mean that in a negative way, as people get weary with the term settling, as if it’s the poignant way to say ‘accepting that we’re a loser and must contend with a life that, well, sucks’.

There’s a reason why they call it comfort zone. Because it brings you comfort as you are in your element. Is it such a bad thing to stay in it? Change is inevitable and I believe we are equipped to deal with changes and adapt. When everything changes, it is a good thing to maintain your balance. Do what’s right to feel comfortable and try to be happy.

Since my last post, there have been some changes in my life. I may have lost or alienated once a bestfriend of mine. Whilst I won’t dissect the details (please! I have class :p), let’s just say it is for my best interest that I put the distance between us. This person had been a part of my life for a little longer than my other best friends from different phases of my life. Maybe that’s why I forgot that sooner or later this friendship would take another form. Life (or death) always gets in the way. As I’m silently saying goodbye to what had been a good time of my life, I’m actually pretty fine and I find comfort in my new friends. Sure, one day I may be irrelevant to them (and vice versa), but until that day comes, I will cherish them and enjoy their company.

I also enjoy my company more, as I grow accustomed to finding myself alone. And I learn to love myself with all my flaws and quirks. That’s very important. As people come and go, you could not afford to hate the one person left: yourself.

In That Mood

It’s Saturday. I woke up late to a call on my mobile (which I didn’t take). After texting the caller with some white lie to cover up the fact that I don’t feel like going out today, I sat in front of my computer. I played some music, the likes of Christina Perri, Matthew Perryman Jones, Katie Herzig, Ross Copperman, Ed Sheeran (yeah, nothing loud), made myself some jasmine tea with sugar ( 😀 ), eating peanuts I forgot I have, and started writing this post.

My room is one big mess, with hairs everywhere on the floor. No, I am not having a shedding dog. It is just me who’s always been having hair fall issue since I don’t remember when. Miracles do exist. I am not bald already!

And I feel okay, a little elated even. Although you can argue that me writing this blog represents my need to connect to the world. The fact is I need to be in the company of others as much as I need solitude. I can call both weekends where I go to the beach with friends and where I hide myself in my room for two days straight, a delight. What does it make me? Egotistical? Anti-commitment? I-need-my-own-space-type of person? Disengaged?

Humans are complex. I know I am. And if I am humbled by my own contradiction, who am I to expect a ‘perfect’ man who suits me in all my moods (and is not turned off with all the hairs around the house)? And I should be the one unsurprised by my singledom, not distracted from the questions and comments from others, range from thoughtful (‘but you’re a catch!’) to tasteless (‘don’t be too picky and materialistic’).

I believe two wholes make a whole. Or like Wang Leehom said in his song: (being) two people doesn’t mean ‘us’.

Perfect Sense

It’s dark now. But they feel each others’ breath. And they know all they need to know. They kiss. And they feel each others’ tears on their cheeks. And if there had been anybody left to see them, then they would look like normal lovers, caressing each others’ faces, bodies close together, eyes closed, oblivious to the world around them. Because that is how life goes on. Like that.

Perfect quote 🙂

Happy birthday to me!

Why is birthday such a big deal for women?

1. They represent your number.

You start to matter if your number is in two digits (Sorry kids. Stop reading this before you’re corrupted. On second thought, please do. You don’t have the mental capacity anyway).

If your first digist is 1, we have to tolerate you a lot, which is a good thing for you since you can get away with most things. Like screaming at pretty-looking Korean boyband. Or eating full meals five times a day because you’re still growing (upwards). Damn you teenagers!

If your first digit is 2, you’re allowed to be stubborn, restless, romantic, mellow, indecisive and every thing in the list of early signs of psychosomatic disorder. We get it. You’re constantly in search of yourself, finding your place and worth in this world. Yada yada yada.

If your first digit is 3, you’re now a charming woman with a mysterious smile. Although you’re just avoiding excessive facial expressions leading to wrinkles and visible laughing lines which are still there when you’re frowning. The irony! And the love handles. Sigh. Make sure you already have a lover to handle you before they are there. Get it?

2. Tick tock

I almost feel sorry for my eggs. They have been working non-stop for 240 months without any recess. If they are workers in Unions, I’m pretty sure I had my ass sued and out of business long time ago.

3. Man and kids

Not necessarily in that order. The latter can be the reason you have the first. It can be a blessing, or a curse.

Once they are in the picture, on your birthdays you just realize how fast time flies, leaving you behind. You lose track of yours and focus on your little ones’ numbers (and your ‘little one’s’ if your partner/husband is considerably younger than you). You feel as if time has slipped away and you lose a bit of yourself with each year passing you by.

If they are not yet in the picture, on your birthdays you just realize how fast time flies, leaving you behind. You and your friend are the same age. She’s mother of two and expecting her third. You? Zip. Nada. If you two were in a football match, your score is 0-3, which means you’d better pray really really hard for a miracle to come. That you would score 3 goals at least in the remaining time to win. You feel as if time has slipped away and you lose a bit of yourself with each year passing you by.

I’m stopping at 3. That’s my first digit next year. Happy 29th birthday to me 😉 And I am 29 until further notice 😀

Fragility Curve

Last week I was in Singapore for a workshop on Earthquake. I did not know how I survived it because my brain especially is not designed to comprehend earthquake science and engineering (I got meagre 7 for Math and Physical Science in highschool and chose to pursue Social Sciences upon discovering these humbling facts). I heard this term, fragility curve, from the discussion. It is defined as a mathematical expression that represents the conditional probability of reaching or exceeding a certain damage state for an infrastructure at a given hazard level. Litle did I know, I was going to have a taste of this first hand, emotionally.

There were a lot of things happened during the course of my stay there. Chemistry (or lack of chemistry) I had with people I met, my PMS, demands of the work, unfortunate events, my clumsiness, just to name a few. The last day of the workshop was especially challenging. We had to deal with one participant left out because he forgot to adjust his watch (an hour late from Singapore’s), I forgot to bring something because I thought I had settled the matter the previous day which resulted in my adventure to Jurong Point to acquire that certain thing, the bus company decided to change our bus and our driver (and left our luggages in another building for unknown reasons) and one or two particularly demanding people bugged me with their requests. The previous night, an acquaintance I had in town bailed out on me for our planned dinner on Saturday. I was previously excited for going to SkyPark, having a drink in one hand and camera 0n the other hand while seeing the majestic view of the city from the open terrace of a high-rise-building’s 57th Floor. The next morning I was still trying to get a friend of mine to join me. He couldn’t.

Okay, after going back to the hotel room, I suddenly had one of those episodes. Tried to chat with a close friend but she was not available. I typed anyway, with typo here and there (remember when you are very upset and still curhat on YM?) and received no response. I typed still while sobbing uncontrollably (hello PMS!). Next thing I knew I had to go out to meet my friend in some near-by mall. I asked the direction of hotel’s reception but failed to follow it (maklum galau berat :p), ended up getting lost and had to take a taxi.

I met him and within 10 minutes I had bombarded him with the sad story of my life that day. I don’t know if he actually listened to it but the most important part is that I got it off my chest. So yeah, it was a good thing I met him or else I would crawl in the bath tub, crying and listening to galau songs (except my room did not have a bath tub. Surprise surprise for Singapore’s expensive lodging). That was the only decent conversation I have had in three days with a real person who knows me relatively well. I felt better instantly and when he convinced me to go to SkyPark alone, I thought it was a good idea.

So, SkyPark. Alone. Next to me were giggling couples hugging each other. I was shoved from time to time by people who decided they had to be ruthless in getting good pictures (hello, you could always crop me later!). No drinks in my hand (it would be like pouring salt on my wound if I walked to the lounge alone), nobody took my pictures, nobody hugged me to protect me from the cold winds. That was my ultimate fragility curve. Alone on a beautiful Saturday night in the open terrace of 57th Fl looking down to the Esplanade, National Stadium, and SkyFlyer. I can tell you this; If I were a building, I did not crack. Well…maybe a little ;p

This is the crime scene.

The Twitter Spelling Test

Created by Oatmeal


There are two-toed sloths and there are three-toed sloths, the case being determined by the forepaws of the animals, since all sloths have three claws on their hind paws. Sloth is a highly intriguing creature. Its only real habit is indolence. It sleeps or rests on average twenty hours a day. The sloth is at busiest at sunset, using the word busy here in the most relaxed sense. It moves along the bough of a tree in its characteristic upside down position at the speed of roughly 400 meters an hour. On the ground, it crawls to its next tree at the rate of 250 metres an hour, when motivated, which is 440 times slower than a motivated cheetah. Unmotivated, it covers four to five metres in an hour.

The three-toed sloth is not well informed about the outside world. On a scale of 2 to 10, where 2 represents unusual dullness and 10 extreme acuity, Beebe (1926) gave the sloth’s senses of taste, touch, sight and hearing a rating of 2, and its sense of smell a rating of 3. If you come upon a sleeping three-toed sloth in the wild, two or three nudges should suffice to awaken it; it will then look sleepily in every direction but yours. Why it should look about is uncertain since the sloth sees everything in a Magoo-like blur. As for hearing, the sloth is not so much deaf as uninterested in sound. Beebe reported that firing guns next to sleeping or feeding sloth elicited little reaction. And the sloth’s slightly better sense of smell should not be overestimated. They are said to be able to sniff and avoid decayed branches, but Bullock (1968) reported that sloths fall to the ground clinging to decayed branches “often”.

How does it survive, you might ask.

Precisely by being so slow. Sleepiness and slothfulness keep it out harm’s way, away from the notice of jaguars, ocelots, harpy eagles and anacondas. A sloth’s hair shelter an algae that is brown during the dry season and green during the wet season, so the animal blends in with the surrounding moss and foliage and looks like a nest of white ants or of squirrels, or like nothing at all but part of a tree.

The three-toed sloth lives a peaceful, vegetarian life in perfect harmony with its environment. “A good natured smile is forever on its lips,” reported Tirler (1966). See below.

The three-toed sloth, such a beautiful example of the miracle of life, reminded me of God.

(taken from Life of Pi (Yann Martel) p. 3-5)

My personal take on the description above is sloths know how to enjoy life. Get enough rest (a good rest is never too much ;-)), wake up for the best time of the day – the sunset, lead a worry-free life (who cares about noises or disturbances when you’re having your meal/sleep?). Falling off the branches? Well, they get to do extra physical exercise. No biggie. It’s okay to make mistakes along the way 🙂 Being modest, never showy or gregarious keeps them from getting preyed upon. They live life as it is. For all the goodness there is.

Also read: Scientists give up 3-year battle to make sloth move

To Blog or Not To Blog

… That is the question.

Why do people blog? Is it because they are aspiring writer trying to get a bigger platform (hopefully get enough readers, including some publisher who is interested in getting their work printed), just to ease the burden of their mundane lives by sharing whatever deemed worth-sharing to the rest of the world, get their ideas and opinions across, express themselves in the only way they find their voice -otherwise they are invisible to the world, or all of the above?

Some people see the internet as the end of journalism. Any people can write things on the internet without any proper grammar or spell checking, let alone journalism training. Why read newspaper editorial if you can get outrageous/opinionated articles on whatever issue on the internet? It is like you have a lot of tinted spectacles, be it red, green, blue, fuchsia, teal (all colors available on the home improvement catalogue), through which you see the world. Now all major newspapers in the world have their online edition and they give comment section for us to rave and rant. I enjoy reading those comments, how people can fight over their difference of opinion. Some people feel the need to declare their love or hate towards any objects, from Justin Bieber to government’s policies. It is okay, though I doubt this is what Thomas Jefferson and friends had in mind when they came up with the First Amendment. People really blog about anything, innocent and provocative stuff included (ex. hate your neighboring country? just google your choice of blogs, photographic shots of your neighborhood, fashion and style, your daily calorie intakes, recipes and cooking/baking tips and tricks, EVERYTHING.)

Do anyone out there read? Well, there is a site stat to help you measure your popularity in the blogosphere, if you care. Who am I kidding? We care. If not, we would write in our diary, journal and hide it along with our secret stash (okay, probably not so secret, chips and pleasure-inducing toys). Same goes with trying to get your Twitter followed or get four or five-digit friends on Facebook. We want to be heard. We want our presence to matter.

Personally I am thankful for blogs. I rarely eat outside without some prior checking on internet reviews, and blogs are really useful. The people who write those stuff are people like me who just want a pleasant culinary experience, not people who get paid to taste the food and write favorable reviews. Before any trips, I read lots of people’s experience in that particular place, how they traveled from place to place, where they stayed, what to eat, what to expect, what not to do. Thank God these people were willing to share their experience to the world!

Nevertheless, there are many blogs out there which are not only useless in terms of intellectual pursuit, but also toxic and borderline racist, dangerous and pathetic. I am not big on blogwalking (geez, I don’t even enjoy reading my posts in the past. “What was I thinking when I wrote this?” was my reaction when I read my previous posts.) but from time to time I stumble upon these poorly written and edited blogs which I must admit, are nauseating.

Of course it all depends to the readers to decide on the quality of our readings (newspapers, books, magazines, blogs, all included) but I think we as bloggers must also apply some humility before hitting the ‘publish’ button. Do some thinking before we let everyone know what we are doing and what we think about stuff. If they are facts, have you check them? Are you sure it is not hoax to stir controversy? If they are opinions, are you sure this is what you believe to be true? Are you sure this is worth-sharing? Do you really want to write that extreme opinions on sensitive subjects, knowing that it WILL hurt others? If it is your life, are you aware that promoting your self image this way (ex. sharing EVERY overseas trip EVERY month, sharing your EVERY shopping spree, sharing EVERY happy moment of your perfect life EVERY day) can instead alienate your friends and make them hate themselves (and probably hate you for making them feel that way)? The opposite is also true, sharing your depression in excruciating details, dissecting your bad day, how you feel that the world has time and time again fail you, is a sure way of getting yourself ditched, at least off my bookmarks. Can you admit you might have been slightly emotional with your choice of words (for us who write about personal stuff, let’s see…on break-ups perhaps?)

Wise men say not to be afraid to take sides or to have opinions. They also advise that if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.

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