giving advices to my little sister

Just to be clear, by little sister, I mean a sister that is 2 years younger than me. She was feeling the pressures of university life and felt like the world was against her.

Now if you must know, I absolutely hate giving advices that I don’t practice. As the saying goes, practice what you preach. So since I usually always feel like I cant stand by my words, I tend to just say “whatever it is I am here for you”, rather than suggesting solutions or sparking thoughts.

However, my sister’s rant to me was one of a kind. And it was extremely relatable. I won’t go too much into her personal problems, but it basically revolves around trying to find her place in the school and feeling like she belongs.

I too, used to struggle with finding my identity in such a big ocean. I was used to being a big fish in a small pond, that is, until I got into university. You’d think you’re already near the top but you realise there’s just about 30000 people on par with you and that makes me feel lost and dispensable. For a whole freshman year I joined whatever was deemed ideal or what would get me more friends. I figured, the more friends, the more I’ll find groups to belong to. The more activities in school I have, the more beautiful my resume would look like. Needless to say, I came out of freshman, loaded with paper achievements, but not happy as I was told I would feel. For a while I was dark and was sad about it. Helpless and alone in the crowd of friends I thought would be friends of virtue for life.

One day, I woke up and just like that, I decided to change my life. Why did I have to rely on my university to fluff up my resume? Why do I need to be in many school activities to show skills and leadership talents? Why am I depending on my university for a bright future? Why am I living life revolving around my university?

Friends? Why do I need so many? I have quite a few solid friends who never left, and a few new ones who always have my back despite the different courses.

School activities? Why do I need so many? Why do I need to fight for leadership roles that seem attractive? Why do I need to belong to a group in school? Based on my career plans, none of the school activities are in line with that, so why not branch out and source for groups that I actually want to be a part of.

Basically, I had a broadened mindset and quit the losers attitude. I listened to my sister’s rants and from there, I slowly started to give her insights, based on my experience and how I made it, how I am slowly making it. This reminded me of the time I gave a pep talk to my student. Eventually, she realised the world around her is her oyster so she started to ease up and find real solutions to her problems.

Based on this experience, I’d like to bring up that we tend to give empty advices and “model answers” very casually without really considering the possible consequences of our words. Words are powerful, yes. But they’re even more powerful from someone you hold dear to, or you look up to. So when our friends or loved ones seek advice, be careful what you say, because it could change their life one day.

Side note: As I was talking to her about how she can change her life and gave her options, I noticed how I’ve changed. It’s almost akin to the effect of writing a blog and learning from the recollection. With this, I’m really glad to be able to say that I have grown, and I am still growing. I hope all of you are too 🙂

fashion is destroying our planet

Fashion is the world’s 2nd most polluting industry after oil.

Fashion is everywhere, and we love it.

Fashion is as beautiful as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Versace and many more. These are the brands that may be ridiculously expensive, but they’re actually worth it.

My generation looks to fashion like Zara, Cotton On and many others labelled under fast fashion which are cheap, but more expensive in the long run. That’s the problem.

There is a rising issue on fast fashion and it’s damaging effects on planet earth. We are all thrilled at the low costs of fashion these days and the increasing convenience it brings but are we that selfish and lazy to just think about ourselves?

I’m not saying to stop all shopping. I’m just saying, do we really need that much clothing?

You may have been told about our governments’ issues about the increasing waste produce and the environmental problems that comes with getting rid of these wastes we produce. But what you don’t know is that aside from all the plastic and food wastes, much of the landfills are occupied by cotton wastes. When cotton is burnt, greenhouse gas methane. Some clothes are not even made up of cotton, but instead, a non-biodegradable polyester or nylon. These clothes also have dyes and bleaches that end up back into our soil and groundwater after being burnt at the landfills. All of this, is essentially, poisoning our earth. (See: BBC Documentary)

We have so much wasted cotton in our landfills because we believe that we need that much clothing to function. Clothes for causal days, clothes for the Seasons, clothes for parties, clothes for chill days, clothes for dates etc. We have to have it all, all for different occasions, because we just have to.

From a source Eco Age, it states that people only keep one piece of clothing for an average of 35 days. We buy when sales come, we throw them away when we don’t feel like we look good in them anymore. We have become a culture of negligence because we just focus on ourselves and fail to be observant towards the world around us. It is our home. How could we let a $7 dollar shirt blind us when there are trees cut down, fossil fuels used up, thousands of kilos of coals burnt and rivers being polluted? Is your future and the future of your children worth $7?

Don’t get me wrong. I love how our generation is starting to have self-appreciating campaigns that promote personal growth and empowering each other. I love how more and more of us are able to love ourselves without the need to get approval from others. I love that. But we are dangerously close to the line of being conceited.

It’s almost dark and twisted these days. Social media promotes loving yourself, looking “fine” and being empowering through make up and fashion but it is driving the younger generations to be all about representing themselves through these clothes. Brands are taking advantage of this and making it seem almost essential that we are only freely represented as unique individuals based on what we wear and the type of fashion we are into. Some brands take advantage of the youths’ need to belong to a community and make trends as a way to sell that chance. These trends come and go, so we become obsessed with getting them before they stop selling them.

This multi billion dollar industry might look picturesque but it is a messed up industry, with companies having different goals. Some brands still upkeep their love and drive to create fashion that is admirable and breathtaking, but there are others just waiting to leech off money from an ever growing industry. I could go into all the shady clothing factories and talk about thousands of poorly paid laborers and their poor working conditions but that’s pretty much intuitive and well known to many.

“Cheap” clothes does not give us the excuse to buy more at the expense of the future generations. Cheap clothes shouldn’t be bought at a cheap price, at the expense of another.

With this, I have decided to stop my compulsive shopping habits, and only restrict the shopping to special occasions. No more monthly changing closets, no more ending up having to donate heaps and piles of clothes. No more. I will not be a part of the ongoing murder of our planet. I may not be an activist in this field, but I will do what I can, though little, to save my planet.

Fashion can be still a truly beautiful industry. I still believe that fashion can do wonders for us, be it uniting people or making us well-represented individuals. We are able to do this, while taking care of our home. We don’t have to enjoy one for the expense of the other.

But hey it isn’t too late! Start donating your clothes and change your consumer habits. I’ll provide some links to start out but feel free to check out more online! (See: H&M Recycling, Salvation Army, Junk To Clear, New2U)

 

 

finally changed my bad spending habits

I used to spend about $1K a month and now I am spending only $250( includes transport, food and other expenses).

I had horrible spending habits. I’ll list some out for you…

  1. I only checked the price tags after trying out the clothes
  2. I loved eating out
  3. I over ordered food at times
  4. I grabbed everywhere

So from the above listed habits, I decided to…

  1. Stop all shopping until after my finals
  2. Went to the supermarket more
  3. Consciously eat and have good morning habits
  4. Time management and no more laziness

So now, I’ll into detail why these worked out for me.

Stop all shopping until after my finals

Last time I used to go in a shop, take whatever I liked, tried it on, and only if I liked it, then I checked the price tag. The problem with this is, sometimes I liked the piece enough to decide to go through the pain of spending that much. I would spend $70 on a single top or simple denim shorts which I never really honestly felt regret, which made it even scarier of a habit now that I think about it.

So since I can’t trust my inner demons, I decided to not even try to enter stores, nor browse any online shopping platform. I started off by deleting all my shopping applications, clearing them in my favourites bar in google chrome and staying away from shopping malls. Then, I set my freedom date to the day after my finals. This meant that

The first few days were horrible… It was almost as if I had to constantly brush off the thought every few hours. I desperately tried to find other ways to spend my time like studying and watching youtube videos. Over time, it was going well. I started to explore my own closet and got creative with it too. I realised I had so many clothes that I didn’t wear often and some even not at all so that sparked a sense of excitement to wear those, and get creative with old pieces. I even started to think that it is dumb to spend on clothes that are brand new and even researched on thrift shops.

I guess in conclusion, I shifted my focus of being vain, to learning new things and saving money for a greater purpose.

Went to the supermarket more

I won’t go too much into this but last time on a normal day, I’d spend about $20 to $50 a day on food and drinks which was not a great deal to me before. Then I realised, as I was calculating my expenses, that the bulk of it came from eating out.

So I decided to set aside $50 for grocery shopping and only getting food outside when I was sick or when I had to spend a special day out with friends for special occasions. Whenever I had to spend outside, I would take note of them in a list in my phone. That way I would look at it accumulative and scare myself into not eating out.

OH! The main part was bringing a water bottle with me everywhere. This curbed my habits of buying drinks outside which could cost $2 to $8.

Consciously eat and have good morning habits

I won’t go much into why I over ordered because pretty sure it’s quite intuitive… 🙂

ANYWAY, I started to drink down a cup of water once I got up and then had tea or apple cider vinegar. This really helped me get rid of urges to over eat. I also started to really watch my food and eat slowly. At the start, I would even make sure I chewed until the consistency in my mouth was really mushed up before I swallowed. So by the time I was done, I was already full and I would change my mind on getting dessert or a tea break snack.

Time management & no laziness

I realised I had a really bad habit of grabbing… only when I was close to reaching platinum… So I sat down and thought hard about why I had such a bad habit and came up with the excuses “Oh I’ll be late if I don’t grab” and “I’ll earn points and appear there fresh and free of anxiety”. With that, I started off with making a conscious effort to wake up at 7am everyday so that I can be more productive and allow for travelling time through public transport. This already saves me a few hundred dollars a month. I also kicked the chase for platinum because as I thought about it more, I found it really ridiculous considering the fact that I’m still a struggling undergraduate with no fixed income.

So yay to growth and “adulting” 🙂 

so a stranger called me beautiful… now what?

I’ve always had self-esteem issues… but I don’t talk about it.

When people compliment me, I don’t accept it and even think that they probably just said it without much sincerity. Sometimes I even think they have an agenda because of the saying “flattery will get you places”…

Anyway, today was pretty bad. I woke up after a mere 4 hours of sleep and felt like less of a human being. I came out of bed after a thousand snoozes and looked in the mirror. As usual, I was displeased by what I saw. I began to shoot down myself with specified flaws, from the uneven pigmentation to the hooded eyelids that always made me look puffy. Afterwards I took a shower, came back and did my skin care routine.

Then I looked into the mirror again… “Okay… maybe I can work with this…”. So I messed up my hair to create a side parting, put on sunscreen and massaged my face. I put on a London style turtle neck with some culoids, sprayed some Prada candy and puckered up with some Innis-free lip balm.

For the final time, I looked at myself in the mirror… For a second, I felt prettier and happier but the longer I stared, the more I felt ugly while observing my face detailedly. Then a gush of throwbacks come pouring in, reminding me of the people who put me down and called me fat and ugly in the past. No matter how much I’ve changed for the better, I always saw the troll I was before.

But it’s okay. I still went on with my day and went to NCCS. When I got there, I found out I was gonna be attached to a lady who was a chines national. I said my greetings and found out she could only converse in Chinese… which was fine I guess because my Chinese was getting better.

As we were preparing… she asked for my nationality and said “你很漂亮。” which was “you are beautiful” in chinese. I shut it down with an awkward laughter and scratched my arm trying to shake off the anxiety from hearing that. She went on and said that she wasn’t lying and said I really was beautiful- ”我说的是真的。 真的很美丽啊。”

I was going to shut her down again but while she said that, she stared at me in awe and smiled. It was like she was admiring me as if she hasn’t seen anything so beautiful in her life. At that moment, I was sad. I was sad because I’ve always dismissed people’s compliments to be white lies and even felt uglier after that. I was sad because I couldn’t fully appreciate how beautiful I was even as she stared at me like that. I was sad because I’ve made myself like this.

For the next few hours she proceeds to say it more and stare at me the same way too. The more she said it, the more I felt at ease with her and tried to accept those compliments. She also got to know me and told me about her family. Towards the end, she asked for a picture with me and said it again :’). I swear my heart can only take so much.

Although she may never see this, I’d like to thank her. She may have done something so simple for her, but yet means so much to me. I’ve never felt so beautiful before. That was the most sincere compliment I have ever received from someone.

Hence forth, I decided to embark on this project to appreciate myself more often so that one day I may radiate a beautiful and pure energy that will inspire other people too.

jack of all trades? master of none? is it really?

Why do we have to pursue only one thing in our career?

I was inspired by a Ted talk by Emilie Wapnick and this is what I learnt: Ted Talk by Emilie

There is nothing wrong with you. What you are, is a multipotentialite.

A multipotentialite is someone with many interests and creative pursuits.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Is what we are pressured to answer with a single answer more often than not. But why does it have to be one? Why can’t I be a doctor and artist at the same time?

The thing is no one told us we can’t. Culture and society just heavily implied it. Because of how society works, and how different people are needed for specific jobs for a society to function, we are expected to focus on a single specialty for “maximum efficiency”.

She also brought up the point that it is okay to learn many things and quit eventually. I used to feel really bad about learning so many things but never finishing it to the end. Take for instance, I stopped my piano lessons at grade 7, stopped my ballet lessons at grade 5, stop my Bowling trainings at junior college level, stopped my swimming at lifeguard level etc. My Mother called me the “jack of all trades, master of none” and it made me feel really awful. Since then, it made me really hesitant to join any new commitments just to quit in the end.

Emilie brought some enlightenment to this topic and reassured me that whatever I learnt isn’t useless and that it’s okay to quit as long as I learnt something from it. She said it’s not a commitment issue, it’s just the yearning to learn many things and that eventually the things we learn can actually be put to use whether we realise it or not.

It’s not a waste of time.

She proceeds to describe examples of her friends and acquaintances who have 3 or more job titles , who have managed to combine all their skills to create magic.

Multipotentialites, according to Emilie, have these perks:

  • Idea Synthesis

Combining 2 or more fields then creating something new at the intersection. Innovation comes at the intersections.

  • Rapid learning

We are used to being beginners because we’ve been beginners so many times in the past. So we tend to step out more and want to learn more new things.

  • Adaptability

We can use the skills at various times, based on various roles. This is important and valuable for the 21st century in order to meet the needs of a fast growing economy. There are so many problems that need multidimensional analysis to solve. And this is how multipotentialites can thrive.

Embrace your inner wiring, whatever they may be. If you’re a specialist at heart, by all means… For the multipotentialites, to you I see, embrace your many passions, follow those curiousities down those rabbit holes and explore your intersections…