"Pray hardest when it is hardest to pray."
Half a year has past and so much has passed that my physical memory cannot hold the details anymore.
Just came back from Laos two weeks ago from my 2nd OCIP in my life and surprisingly, my takeaway from this trip was so different from the previous one.
Embarking on this trip as a leader is really very different from going as a participant. The responsibilities you have - safety, team morale, smoothness of programs, communication, personal stress will weigh you down each day, making you view the trip from a total different perspective. Even though I have team members with me and even close friends as my fellow partners, this time I felt so lonely, like I am on my own at times. Probably because as seniors we put others’ welfare before ours, sometimes even neglecting our own personal needs, forgetting that we are only human. But regardless, this is a very fulfilling and insightful trip which I learnt alot about myself, my strengths, my weaknesses and challenges that I had to find of solutions on the spot.
This trip was a constant struggle for me, struggling to overcome my emotional burdens, my communication barrier and my physical constraint. At one point of time, the struggle and emotional pent up was so bad that I just ran away from the team one day and collapsing and crying out loud. Then I realized that I am really weak emotionally and that so much pressure and burdens I have in my life that I starting to break instead of bend.
Firstly, the loss of my beloved grandmother became so real and vivid when I was away from home that two weeks. I was never home sick for a long time since I started travelling yet this was the first time I felt it so strong in my gut. I realized the importance of home and family after the loss of my grandmother and deep inside my heart I still finding it hard to accept that ah ma is gone and that our family would never unite physically on Earth. But I believe and pray that our family would reunite in heaven when our time on Earth are up.
Living with the Laotian also reminded me how important family is for they are all they have and sometimes pure joy and purpose of living comes from being with the family and how important it is to depend on each other.
Secondly, I found out how each Laotian man would save money or brush up their hands on skills in order to literally build their own house from scratch. Every inch of the wall, every furniture in their house, every piece of wood that made up the floor are literally made and assembled from scratch by their bare hands and limited resources. I really salute these men and even though their houses may be far less comfortable, stable or strong than the ones we have in Singapore, but one thing I know, they are made up of pure love, sweat, blood and hope. Even if I am to stay in the poorest form of house, which is the straw house that cannot even shelter properly from rain, I will really appreciate it because every inch of the wall is being weaved and connected manually.
Hence, I came back Singapore with a new goal in life which is to save up to build my own home. In Singapore even though we don’t build our house literally, we use money to buy units and yes I really look forward the day I can step into my own house and shout, “God, I did it, I made it and I finally got a place I can call my home”. :’)
Perhaps is because I have passed my 22nd birthday this year and officially exceeded the age of being a youth. I really want to and need to start preparing myself for adulthood and to take up the responsibilities that I am about to face in 2 years once I graduate from university. I can already feel the heaviness of family financial burden close to my shoulder but I choose to trust in Jesus and believe that with Him, my yoke will be easy and light. Of course it is always easy said than done, hence my fair share of anxiety and worry is still there.
Lastly, I found myself starting to look into planning a future with Austen. I reflected the times we been together and I have discovered many traits in him that made him a potentially good husband to be. However, there are also few major obstacles and potential problems if I ever settled down with him that is holding me back from entertaining the long term planning thoughts. We just celebrated first year anniversary on Wednesday and I felt that actually my expectations and thoughts of him in Laos was abit overrated and idealistic. There are really quite a big clash in the way we deal with problems in our relationship and communication when we are away from each other is always the leading cause of us quarrelling.
Now I am seriously reconsidering my thoughts of planning a future with him because of several issues like difference in faith, difference in family background, clash in solving problems, difference in treating money and miscommunication and insecurity and threats from his mum. I really hope that eventually we can work these issues out, but I am starting to get cold feet cos I really want to guard my heart, and protect my own interest. I am really scared now just like how I was 3 years ago when I started entertaining thoughts of settling down with Ken, because it felt so hopeful and rosy at first then I realized actually plans are just ideals that will convert into disappointments in reality.
But I know that before I judge Austen and look at his shortcomings, I should really reflect on my own character and attitude because I know that I am not perfect. In fact, being together with him, sometimes made me feel inferior because of his family background and the way his family lived. The lifestyle they embrace is something that I would never been given a chance to for the past 22 years and sometimes it really made me feel depressed and lousy and angry because my own family cant give me that. Do you call this envy? I dunno anymore, I only know that being together with Austen made the inequality between the rich and the poor so obvious and real in my life. His family stays in a safe and luxurious house, being driven around on a daily basis, highly educated which my parents can never be compared to. The comparison came to life even if I tried my hardest not to do so because the disparity is real. His mum whatsapped him everyday to check on him, yet my mum doesnt even know an alphabet. His dad gives him great advices in life and provides his family with abundant of food and shelter and even more yet my dad is constantly struggling to pay his debts and even asking me for money. God, please come and help me overcome this struggle and be contented with what I have because this is really so so hard. Being with Austen also made me realize how important family background is and how much it will affect one’s attitude towards life, one’s upbringing and one’s future social mobility and social status. Being with his family totally put mine to shame and I realized how much I have been affected by this.
Now the only thing I can do is to work on my weaknesses and change things that I can control in my life. I work hard in my studies, refine my thinking and attitude, be sincere and strive to put in more efforts in maintaining my friendships, and upgrading my life skills such as cooking.
One thing that really motivates me currently and really helps to lift me up from my burdens is cooking. Never thought that this would happen as I have fear of fire but somehow I conquer it and slowly trying to learn simple dishes to build up my cooking portfolio. At least I am doing something that I can control and I always put in all my efforts in places that I can control and see results that will improve my life like studies. But for now, I am broadening this to learning life skills such as survival skills and cooking. Jiayou Winnie! This titanium girl has come so far, so please don’t give up ok! :) Even if the whole world has abandoned you, and man has disappointed you, embrace your fall and pick urself up again. Fight and work for your loved ones, which is my parents. Hence, I am trying very hard to put family back into my life priority and be a better daughter. Learning to forgive and be more patient.
Lastly, learning to be more and more Jesus-like, and be less and less selfish and human-natured. I know this takes lots of time, but I gonna do it. :) HUGS, WINNIE <3
#notetoself #lifereflections #love #family #God
"When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life… fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do, and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change"
Eckhart Tolle (via cageofstars)
Rape culture is when I was six, and
my brother punched my two front teeth out.
Instead of reprimanding him, my mother
said “Stefanie, what did you do to provoke him?”
When my only defense was my
mother whispering in my ear, “Honey, ignore him.
Don’t rile him up. He just wants a reaction.”
As if it was my sole purpose, the reason
six-year-old me existed,
was to not rile up my brother.
It’s starts when we’re six, and ends
when we grow up assuming the natural state of a man
is a predator, and I must walk on eggshells, as to
not “rile him up.” Right, mom?
Rape culture is when through casual dinner conversation,
my father says that women who get raped are asking for it.
He says, “I see them on the streets of New York City,
with their short skirts and heavy makeup. Asking for it.”
When I used to be my father’s hero but
will he think I was asking for it? (will he think)
Will he think I deserved it?
Will he hold me accountable or will he hold me,
even though the touch of a man - especially my father’s -
burns as if I were holding the sun in the palm of my hand.
Rape culture is you were so ashamed, you thought it would
be easier for your parents to find you dead,
than to say, “Hey mom and dad,”
It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t ask for it.
I never asked for this attention, I never asked
to be a target, to be weak because I was born with
two X chromosomes, to walk in fear, to always look behind me,
in front of me, next to me, I never asked to be the prey.
I never wanted to spend my life being something
someone feasts upon, a meal for the eternally starved.
I do not want to hear about the way I taste anymore.
I will not let you eat me alive.
Rape culture is I shouldn’t defend my friend when
an overaggressive frat boy has his hand on her ass,
because standing up for her body “makes me a target.”
Women are afraid to speak up, because
they fear their own lives - but I’d rather take the hit
than live in a culture of silence.
I am told that I will always be the victim, pre-determined
by the DNA in my weaker, softer body.
I have birthing hips, not a fighter’s stance.
I am genetically pre-dispositioned to lose every time.
Rape culture is he was probably abused as a child.
When he even has some form of a justification
and all I have are the things that provoked him,
and the scars from his touch are woven of the darkest
and toughest strings, underneath the layer of my skin.
Rape culture leaves me finding pieces of him left inside of me.
A bone of his elbow. The cap of his knee.
There is something so daunting in the way that I know it will take
me years to methodically extract him from my body.
And that twinge I will get sometimes in my arm fifteen years later?
Proof of the past.
Like a tattoo I didn’t ask for.
Somehow I am permanently inked.
Rape culture is you can’t wear that outfit anymore
without feeling dirty, without feeling like
you somehow earned it.
You will feel like you are walking on knives,
every time you wear the shoes
you smashed his nose in with.
Imaginary blood on the bottom of your heels,
thinking, maybe this will heal me.
Those shoes are your freedom,
But the remains of a life long fight.
You will always carry your heart,
your passion, your absolute will to live,
but also the shame and the guilt and the pain.
I saved myself but I still feel like I’m walking on knives.
Rape culture is “Stefanie, you weren’t really raped, you were
one of the lucky ones.”
Because my body wasn’t penetrated by a penis,
but fingers instead, that I should feel lucky.
I should get on my hands and knees and say, thank you.
Thank you for being so kind.
Rape culture is “things could have been worse.”
“It’s been a month, Stefanie. Get out of bed.”
“You’ll have to get over this eventually.”
“Don’t let it ruin your life.”
Rape culture is he told you that after he touched you,
no one would ever want you again.
And you believed him.
Rape culture is telling your daughters not to get raped,
instead of teaching your sons how to treat all women.
That sex is not a right. You are not entitled to this.
The worst possible thing you can call a woman is a
slut, a whore, a bitch.
The worst possible thing you can call a man is a
bitch, a pussy, a girl.
The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl.
The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl.
Being a woman is the ultimate rejection,
the ultimate dismissal of strength and power, the
When I have a daughter,
I will tell her that she is not
When I have a daughter, she will know how to fight.
I will look at her like the sun when she comes home
with anger in her fists.
Because we are human beings and we do not
always have to take what we are given.
They all tell her not to fight fire with fire,
but that is only because they are afraid of her flames.
I will teach her the value of the word “no” so that
when she hears it, she will not question it.
Don’t you dare apologize for the fierce love
you have for yourself
and the lengths you go to preserve it.
I am alive because of the fierce love I have
for myself, and because my father taught me
to protect that.
He taught me that sometimes, I have to do
my own bit of saving, pick myself off the
ground and wipe the dirt off my face,
because at the end of the day,
there is only me.
I am alive because my mother taught me
to love myself.
She taught me that I am an enigma - a
mystery, a paradox, an unfinished masterpiece and
I must love myself enough to see how I turn out.
I am alive because even beaten, voiceless, and back
against the wall, I knew there was an ounce of me
worth fighting for.
And for that, I thank my parents.
Instead of teaching my daughter to cover herself up,
I will show her how to be exposed.
Because no is not “convince me”.
No is not “I want it”.
You call me,
“Little lady, pretty girl, beautiful woman.”
But I am not any of these things for you.
I am exploding light,
my daughter will be exploding light,
better cover your eyes.
Rape Culture (Cover Your Eyes)
Powerful and true. Do not be silent victims anymore. Darling, love yourself!
One: Buy condoms. Buy them and keep them with you at all times, and use them before you are asked to use them. And use them every time. The peace of mind you allow your partner will free her to be vulnerable with you, and that, my son, is exactly what sex is about. Condoms are sexy. In fact, call buying condoms foreplay.
(Footnote: If you are too embarrassed to buy condoms, you are not ready to have sex.)
Two: Kissing is not merely foreplay. Spend entire evenings making out on the couch while fully clothed. Believe me, dry-humping rocks.
Three: Sex is not just about friction. It’s about emotion. Stop trying to find her clitoris and find her heart. Because then she’ll help you find her clitoris.
Four: If you really wanna know how to please a woman, ask her how she masturbates. Then do that. A lot. If she claims she doesn’t masturbate, offer to take her shopping for a vibrator so you can both learn the vocabulary of her body together.
Five: Don’t put anything in her butthole you wouldn’t want in your own.
(Footnote: Try a pinky finger, it’s kinda awesome.)
Six: When you go down on her—and you will go down on her, and if you are my son, you will be amazing at it—tell her how good she tastes. Stop in the middle and kiss her deeply so she knows how good she tastes. Do the same when she goes down on you.
Seven: A simple Google search will yield 1,327 euphemisms for male masturbation, yet only 23 for female masturbation. If guys spent less time jacking off and more time jilling off, this world would be a happier place.
Eight: Everything you need to know about the importance of the clitoris is in the movie Star Wars. You are Luke Skywalker piloting your penis-shaped X-Wing Fighter deep inside her trench. Remember: seventy percent of all Death Stars cannot be blown up through penetration of the trench alone. It must be through focused contact with that little exhaust port at the top of the trench. Otherwise, any explosions you experience will be merely Hollywood special effects.
Nine: Just because you come doesn’t mean she has, so don’t you dare come before her. Focus completely on your partner. Don’t worry about gettin’ yours, you’re a guy. You always get yours. Your job is to make sure she’s gettin’ hers.
Ten: If sex with your partner lasts no longer than this poem, you are not making love. You are masturbating with her body instead of your hand. Shame on you. Go back to step one. You’ve got a lot of learning to do.
Big Poppa E., “How To Make Love” (via dissapolnted)
"No matter how you feel… Get up. Dress up. Show up. And never give up."
If you want to become a wife. STOP giving every man you meet husband benefits!
I stopped telling myself that I’m lost.
I’m on a road with no destination, I’m just driving with hope that I’ll find a place that I like and I’ll stay there.
I’m not lost, I’m on my way."
"When you make a commitment, you build hope. When you keep it, you build trust."
"We are not entitled to pain-free, trouble-free life. Embracing this will ease the collision between expectation and reality."
John Piper (via godmoves)