Saturday, 22 July 2017

Some Kind of Urgency

Sitting in a restaurant with no doors in Chinatown, Sydney, over a bowl of some kind of hot condensed milk, coconut dessert, my mum asks me why I always seem to want more.  At this age it's all about new things, bigger and better.  She asks me why I must go out every day - busy busy busy - and why I can't just stop for a moment - rejuvenate, reflect.  What is the rush to leave home, to spend money as soon as it's acquired, to have lists and lists of things to do and things to obtain.  How will I ever be happy?

Content is the magic word.  It is also a state of mind so out of reach.  There is always someone, something, something missing from what would otherwise be a perfect life, out there - and my brain is always reaching - stuck in a cycle of constant raging highs and lows.  When everything is going right, when everything should be perfect; my mind is so accustomed to worrying, to obsessing, to thinking ahead.  What do I need next?

So it's time to sit, and simply be happy.  Life is not about ticking boxes, because they can never all be ticked.  And honestly, sometimes things happen that you never thought would be on your list - that makes up for it.  It's not about what you don't have or the green eyed monster.  It's about friends, family, food, learning and dreams.  It's always about dreams.

Love,
M


Sunday, 25 June 2017

Currently: Thoughts on teenage euphoria, Wellbeing and More on being Asian

"I want this three week holidays to be more wild, but I don't know what I mean by that."  That's what I wrote in my diary a few weeks ago.

I've been going around explaining the intricacies of the cultural barrier between myself and my parents to all my friends.  "When I was 12 and wanted to go to the mall with my friends for the first time, my mother followed me for the entire day." I say.  "My parents are from a different country, and their culture is who they are, and I respect that.  While their rules may seem unreasonable, they're the way they view life and it's morals, and it would be wrong to disrespect them and their rules for that, so I just obey.  I may not agree with their reasoning at all, but it's okay.  It's the cultural barrier."  To what extent this is true, I don't know.

But now, after a few 'incidents', I've been telling my friends my respect is 'broken'.  I am now willing to sneak out and do all the things they told me not to do.  To rebel, and not get caught because I want to try things?  Or to rebel and get caught in order to make my parents mad?  I don't know what form of justification I've been trying to pose.

The need for justification is what I'm getting at here.  I've been questioning why exactly I make the decisions I do - with the real question also being, should I let the need for justification hold me back? Or should I just do what I do when the opportunity arises; no questions asked.

I've been listening to Lorde's new album lately.  Melodrama is very much house-party themed, where she describes the reasoning behind everything through her much admired lyrics; the way in which we want to feel awesome, are young and ashamed, scared of being alone, share only our best side and will lie to do so, are trying to feel different and be different through whatever measures necessarry... is that the justification?  Or does Lorde simply have different reasons, while the rest of us are fuelling some wide-spread stereo-types and peer pressure?  And again, is justification really needed?

************

The reason I am writing again after months of thoughtless, whinging existence is because I am 6 months away from graduation.  Before beginning a new chapter of my life I want to become the person I wish to be.  That was my goal for 2017, and here we are: the final stretch.

So it's time for some self-care.  Here's some bullet points:

  • Learn to cook
  • Take care of your body
  • Be aware of your personality, and accept it as it is
  • Think ahead for the sake of your career
  • Accept relationships as they come, not as you wish for them to
  • Identify the genuine people in your life, and nourish these relationships
  • Do things in the moment because you want to - no reasons necessary
  • Be confident, always
*************

There is a boy I've been thinking of recently.  I don't know why.  I've been thinking about what I would say to him if he ever asked me if I'd go for him:

"Well, I mean, I would if it weren't for one thing: I feel as if you're ashamed of your culture.  It's not your jokes - I think they're funny.  I just know that you're ashamed.  It's hard to explain, but, you know, being Asian I went through that phase too.  Like, yes people sometimes immediately see us as a stereotype.  A lot of the time a few of these stereotypes are a little true about ourselves, and then they make lots of assumptions, and it sucks, and it's hard, and that's when you become ashamed of your culture and of being seen with people of your culture.  I'd like to hope I've grown past that, but I feel that inwardly, underneath all your jokes, whether you're conscious of it or not, you haven't.  And if I were out with you, I feel as if you'd be ashamed to be seen with me because I'm Asian, and how typical is that."

Love,
M

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Idols

Three Australian born Chinese girls who had blogs at the age 17.  Sound familiar?  In some ways I feel as if our idols are reflections of ourselves who have become the people we want to be.  They are obtainable.  They are of similar interests, upbringing and culture.  They are relatable yet they have made it.  They are living, breathing proof that the person you want to be is within reach regardless of your background.

Margaret Zhang, Yan Yan Chan and Estelle Tang - I found these three girls one by one.  There's nothing remarkable about them other than that they're awesome, just as awesome as any other successful person in their field.  What they brought to the table for me was their similarities.  They went through what I'm going through, and they came out like that on the other end.



Margaret

In my earlier Instagram days I was enamoured with following models.  They were beautiful people living beautiful lives.  It was all so utterly, completely aesthetic.  And so, I found Margaret Zhang: photographer, IMG model, Australian student with a 99+ ATAR.  She was everything I wanted.  She did math, she was an edgy kind of beautiful, she played the piano as an art form - the way it should be played, she studied at the gargoyle-embellished University of Sydney, she was an impeccable writer and most importantly, she looked great sitting front row at New York Fashion Week.

I pored over her Instagram and watched numerous interviews.  Margaret was studying law while networking while jetting across the world and taking photos of Karlie Kloss.  She was the perfect definition of a girl who has everything - probably at some expense, but somehow she made it work.  

But it was only recently that I really looked at her blog, Shine By Three.  And by looked, I mean lurked.  I did some serious lurking.  I lurked all the way back to posts from when she was 17, posts where she had deleted half the content out of shame, growth or moving on.  There I found photos from her Year 10 formal, from the time spent with her friends, from parties and hikes and 17 year old fashion shoots.  Margaret Zhang was just like us.

And yet, somehow, she has found herself living an inhumanely aesthetic lifestyle in New York city. That's what I call a true idol.



Yan Yan Chan

Somehow my Instagram taste moved from models to personalities that were some form of cool, arty, slightly hipster.  You know, those girls who wear sneakers and gold glasses, pants that aren't skinny or shirts with obscure or way-too-common logos, who have boyfriends with brown hair, make collages and have stylish rooftop parties... Yan Yan Chan was one of them.  The girl was cute.  She was quirky.  She was fun.  She was somehow childish yet super mature.  And her aesthetics, well they were out of this world.  She was the coolest Asian I had ever seen.

It was only recently that I discovered she had a blog, and that she was a blogger, and had been one when she was 17.  Unlike me though, she had a blog with a simple French name - something with taste, unlike The Life of Little Me (side note, should I change my blog name or just live with it for memory's sake).  In one of her recent posts entitled On My Mind she mentions that the post is 'Real Personal, an homage to the beginnings of this blog'.  

And that's what blogging is about at this age, isn't it?  It's about sharing your thoughts, material you find interesting, your experiences, your idols.  Your words are floating on the big wide internet, yet these words are contained in your little corner, your super personal corner, a corner that's more like a journal, and that's more for yourself than the rest of the big wide world.  There's something pretty about being a journal girl, about recording memories and keeping diaries.  Yan Yan Chan - this super cool photographer, fun girl - reminded me of that.  And here I am.  Blogging after quite a while.  Watch this space.  There's more to come.




Estelle Tang

If we're talking about personally relatable backgrounds, Estelle's is eerily familiar.  As a contributor to my favourite blog, Rookie, I used to comment on her articles all the time, with no clue of who she was.  To view one of her explicably relatable articles and one of my cringey comments, read this post: How to Talk About Yourself (Without Feeling Gross).  At the beginning of the article she mentions her Asian Australian culture and upbringing, and some of the traits and beliefs she gained from that.  It's like as soon as I read the words Asian Australian I'm like Yes YES I immediately feel a connection.  The reason I'm sharing this is because the other day, while reading some of her work, I came across her reply.  She had responded to my comment.  Hurray! An interaction!  

And why this sudden interest in Estelle Tang when I had no idea who the author of these articles were before?  Well, little did I know, we used to go to the same Sunday family dinners when she was a teenager and I was a toddler.  Her mother was the bane of every child's existence, the bearer of kumon, a repetitive boring tutoring program that sent kids into temper tantrums and strikes.  Her mother, her family, was practically identical to my own, if not a little more strict.  

And with this upbringing.  With mothers with morals and ideas that will never break through the culture barrier, with parents who have trained us to be master thinkers from a young age, with our crazy, driven, competitive relatives, with skewed ideas of success and restrictions on particular experiences, with a background completely opposed to any sort of unstable lifestyle, with parents who have worked hard to provide us with the best, unaffordable education, she moved to New York City.  She lived in a share house.  She struggled for a while.  She became an editor of Elle Magazine. She recently interviewed Miranda Kerr.  She is someone in my wide 'family' who has done something a little different, writing something I consume, enjoying the same media as me.

And now I want to find everything she has written on her background.  I want to see what she went through, understand what may be ahead, be understood.  There is something about reading content by people who understand what you do that makes you feel less alone.  Read some of her work HERE.


Love,
M

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Down Trodden

It's been over a month and by far the longest I have gone without writing.  Do I even have a blog anymore?

A few other things I haven't done in a while include wearing sunglasses, doing my makeup, being excited and dancing.  I haven't done any of these things since school started.  I hate to say it, but school has become my worst enemy, the place where unhappiness flourishes and manifests through me.  It has become a trap from which I have become the worst version of myself.

But when I try to pinpoint why exactly this is happening, it all comes down to myself.  I have come to realise that I am simply a culmination of a whole lot of influence.  That is who I am as a person, and while I'd like to think I go deeper than that, I can't seem to find any deeper being.  I'm a reflection.  I am a human being so blind to other people's flaws that I have been copying them for my whole life, burying any inkling of any independent, opinionated person inside of me until she has died from a lack of nurturing care.

I want to get her back.  I understand that she is premature and never had a chance to grow.  I understand that she has been underdeveloped since I decided that everyone else was right, and she was wrong.  There are so many strong, beautiful, interesting people out there, and I am not one of them.

This lack of personality has me stranded in a race in life that I'll never win.  I'm forever looking to those ahead to guide me, that I've been unable to see my own path beyond them.  What do I actually care about?  What?  What do I want that's new?  What do I want that the rest of society doesn't want? What do I want that they don't have?  You can't see the bigger picture when you're trapped so far inside the smaller one.

But perhaps this isn't how it works at all.  Perhaps I am an interesting person, or normal at the very least, and this could be part of what makes me so.  Maybe everyone else is just a lot less interesting than what I give them credit for.  Either way, it's time I did something about my seven week long de-motivated self.

(wow.  I feel so self-centred and self-focused.  Is everyone else this self-focused too?  Maybe if I became less self-focused I'd care less about all this and be a happier person...)

You know what I've realised?  What other people think is actually really insignificant.  Or, well, thinking so is a step to gaining a little self esteem.  You see, they don't all belong on some pedestal where their opinions should always be considered true.  In reality, they're just as important as you and me.  I woke up this morning analysing the events of yesterday before realising that I honestly did not care enough to analyse what anyone thought of me, or of anything really.

And if I honestly do not care enough, I honestly do not care about all the stupid things I've been conditioned to care about.  In every culture and society we're conditioned to think that different aspects of life are important.  Different things are considered fun.  Different things are considered acceptable.  Different things are prioritised over others.  If you're trapped in the smaller picture, all these things considered important by the people around you, they're important and that's that.  But look at the larger picture for a moment.  Look at the way people in other cultures, or just different people, see the world and live life.  Look and you'll realise that all the things your society deems important, they're not the be all and end all of importance after all.

And this realisation, this realisation has me noticing that everything I have deemed important, everything I have decided is worth caring about, is just a manifestation of my susceptible-to-influence, pushover personality.  And now that I've realised this, it's high time I discovered what exactly it is that I care about, don't you think?

Love,
M


Sunday, 5 February 2017

EATING in Canberra

No matter what we have planned, we will always end up eating.

Eat your way through every city.  It's the best part of any place.

Blueberry Cronut from 7th & Bake


Fish & Chips from Cafe Momo

Salmon and rice from Pepper Lunch

French Toast from Penny University

Smashed Avo from the Cupping Room

Xiao Long Bao and Peking Duck from Yat Bun Tong

Chai Latte and Hot Chocolate from Blue Olive Cafe

Smashed Avo from Little Oink

Eggs Benedict from Ricardo's

Blueberry Pancakes from 39 Steps

Homemade waffles

French Toast from Urban Pantry

Smashed Avo from Ona on the Lawns

Bacon & Egg roll from the Cupping Room

Salmon and sweet potato rosti from Lonsdale Street Roasters

Cereal Milkshakes from the Coffee Lab

Food from the Coffee Lab

Food from the Cupping Room

Homemade Nutella cookies and brownies
Eggs Benedict from Tilly's

Vietnamese noodle soup from any place in the city
Love,
M

Friday, 27 January 2017

Scissors & Glue





My desk is a mountain of colourful strips of paper because in my spare time - in those moments between breakfast and doing my makeup -  I'm preparing myself for the dreaded yet inevitable beginning of school.

Dolce & Gabbana

Alexander McQueen

Moschino

Kenzo

Chanel
Unlike this year, last year's collages were actually related to the subject they were covering.  Perhaps that was a little less confusing.  These collages are the only remnants left of whatever education I received in 2016.

Maths

Physics

Maths

Chemistry
Love,
M

Monday, 23 January 2017

School starts in a week

The last few months have been spent floating with no intention.  This continuous routine of planning, walking, eating and when none of these things are happening, deciding on TV shows to watch, have made me forget what life must be like when you're trying to be productive.

My head's been a little muddled in the wrong place lately.  All I seem to be exposed to are friends telling me about boys, sex and alcohol.  What's the latest status? Virgin or not?  They'll tell me about the latest outrageous thing they did while drunk at a party, and I'll be wondering where I've been all this time.  Why have I been missing out on all this?  What are my thoughts on all this?  Are these experiences really that important to me?

With school moving further and further out of the picture, all the stigmas of this teenage culture are moving in.  If all experiences and opinions involving drugs and boys are what all these people seem to find important, then should I be finding this important too?  They talk about it as if however far you've gotten with a boy is what defines who you are.  They see it as a status rather than an act, and without school occupying my brain, I'm slowly being sucked in to these absurd ideas of importance, no matter how hard I resist.

I've realised that saying yes to alcohol is a lot easier than saying no.  Being interested when people tell you about their sex lives is a lot easier than changing the subject.  Acting as if I know more than I actually do is something I feel pressured into doing, and it's absolutely stupid and shocking and immature.  They don't get that having sex does not suddenly make you more mature.

And then, last night, someone reminded me that school starts in a week.  I realised that my life with school involves a lot less talking and thinking about boys, sex and alcohol, because my priorities are different, and neither is better or worse.  This is the age where people are experiencing all these firsts at all these different times, and it's confusing and needs to be seen as nothing more than what it is.  

I am sick of 'living in the moment' and being dazed all the time.  I am sick of not knowing what I find important without it staring me in the face.  I am sick of feeling lesser when people tell me about all the things I'm 'missing out on'.  And for once, maybe I feel as if I'm ready for school to start in a week.

Love,
M