Monday, December 26, 2011

Oh, What the Heck!

I was beginning to notice a pattern in the kind of looks I would consider attractive in a man, through several eye candies I've come across on TV and movies. Apart from the obvious good looks, sharp features, etc; what I find to be most attractive is the smile. But what was most astounding to me is the revelation: their smiles remind me of someone's smile. Dayyum! 

See for yourself!

Brendan Fraser

Ian Somerhalder

Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Robert Downey Jr.

Gary: My first love.

"First romance, first love, is something so special to all of us, both emotionally and physically, that it touches our lives and enriches them forever."- Rosemary Rogers.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Diary of My Face

In this blog entry, I would like to attempt writing some reflections on what my appearance has meant to me over the years. Obviously, this journey is not over. And neither will this entry be done... Until I am done. 

Come sit by me and take a peek into the windows of my life.

 Age 9
I think my face reflects the precociousness I was well known for during my childhood years. I was brought up to obey but I danced to my own drum beat. 

Age 16
During this stage of my adolescence, I cared very little for the way I looked. I was fun loving, carefree, and a little tomboyish. No make up except for the occasional lip gloss mom would allow me to wear for special events.

Age 20
By this time, I had begun experimenting with make up and discovered hairstyles that could frame my face nicely. I was eager to experience the bright and adventurous world that was awaiting me.

Age 23
I had just returned from the UK and was heavily influenced by the fashion trend of the time. I was into sun tanning and opted for the sun-kissed look with highlighted hair. Yeah, I was bold in my dressing too. When you have it, flaunt it. That was my credo.

Age 25
The big day. I kept my curls natural but my make up could hardly be kept to a bare minimum. I was nervous to begin my life with new roles. My head was full of ideals.

Age 28
The joys of motherhood. I bloomed and matured very quickly when Jazelia was born. I discovered abilities and capabilities I never knew I had. 

Age 31
The birth of Jelissa taught me the true meaning of sacrifice and unconditional love. This was also the year I learned to face my fears. A life changing moment happened during this phase of my life.

Age 36
I have arrived. I found me. I was at peace.

Age 40
I stumbled upon my own inner boundaries that were invisible to me before. I struggled to learn ways to deal with them and communicating them to my loved ones. It wasn't easy. It still isn't.

Age 44
The greatest academic achievement of my life! Graduating with Masters in Counseling Psychology was something I never dreamed I could do. And here it is! I did it!!

Age 46
This is where I am now. My face has acquired some wrinkles and some darn crows have been dancing on the side of my eyes. Yes, some people call them laugh lines. I agree. The wrinkles on my face speak of my journey beyond words. Take a good look at them and you will see the challenges I faced, the tears I cried, the sweat I labored, the anxieties I suffered and the wisdom I've gained having gone through the life that was designed for me and me alone. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Hear Voices...

Its already 6 a.m and I'm still wide awake. Nothing out of the ordinary, considering my circadian rhythm disorder has synchronized my sleeping hours to British time, I should be feeling sleepy any time soon. But before I shut down my precious macBook and head to bed, I thought its best to unload some of the happenings in my mind. I believe this as a precautionary measure in ensuring these matters don't manifest into unpleasant dreams. I mean, if I have to sleep so un-ordinarily from others, the very least I could ask for is a good and restful slumber. Is that too much...?

I am taking a huge risk in writing this down. But my courage comes from believing that I may not be the only one who experiences this occasionally, if not often enough. Some may judge the remainder of this entry with utter disdain, probably a hearty guffaw will bubble up the throat, a malicious smirk, racing heart fueled by anger, and a myriad more of other interesting but equally possible reactions. Do I care? Do I really care? Not really. Because its been shown to me many, many times how people will still lie, twist my truth, fabricate fiction and manipulate facts just so they can hate themselves a little less before they sleep at nights. They are sad, pathetic bunch of crap shit. They don't deserve my care of worry. I just afford a speck of pity for them. Oops! Sorry. I've even given that away to the more deserving stray dog on the street. At least they don't bite the hands that feed them.

I hate stating the obvious but since it can't be made overtly evident in writing, I guess I have to. Here it is. I hear voices. There are several that I hear. The following are the most frequently heard.

Voices of the Past:
My mom telling the 3 year old me that I am jealous of my younger brother. As the years progressed, I made sure to learn exactly what mom meant and with great determination, made sure that darkness inside me is banished for good. Now I am happy to say that I love my brother Eri whole heartedly, without envy or jealousy. I am proud and glad that I achieved that.

Voices of Pain:
The sound of quarrels and fights between two people who love each other but are very disappointed in one another. It caused fear in me and makes my body tremble to hear sudden loud noises. I braced myself to make sure I don't get hysterical. Now I know that anger is tool used by people to control others: spouses, children, students, lovers... Why do I call this "voice of pain" instead of "voice of anger'? Because it hurts to be manipulated by emotional threats. Physical wounds heal and may leave almost invisible scars. Alas, the emotional wounds never heal. Some are forgotten. But never healed.

Voices of Anger:
The things I wish I had said when instead I held my tongue and kept silent. These dialogues repeat themselves ad nauseam in my head, especially when a blanket of silence drapes over home and everyone is lulled in dreamland. When I'm doing something I don't enjoy doing: laundry, ironing and folding clothes. That is when I really stew. I guess thats why I prefer cooking. Whatever it is, I've decided that I've done enough sacrificing for my loved ones and its time for me to live the rest of my life for ME. No one likes to have things shoved down their throats. You don't like people forcing you to do things you don't wanna do? Well, here's news for you, babe! I don't like it either.

Voices of Fear:
Worries over my future. I'm not getting any younger. My body is going through a change I can hardly control. My mind has its own agenda. My heart worries, frets and feels utter anxiety over what hell may come if I don't do something about it now. I can't afford to be old, homeless, penniless and not affording to retire or die! It doesn't help that I read in a local newspaper recently that one will need RM1 million in order to retire in the city I live in now! And even if treatment is sought in government hospitals, its NOT FREE like Facebook!

These voices speak to me in whispers. Sometimes, they come across more loudly. Like yelling. At other times, they are more nagging in manner and I can easily tune them out. Whenever insecurity shows its head, I would remind myself how far I've come, in comparison to some people who are so stuck in their rut that they just can't progress.

Before my current career, I've had several other professions that I've dabbled in. The entertainment industry, interior design and now the professional field of psychology. I may have left the other two, but I have the ability and choice to revisit them any time I wish. I can choose to sing for a gig or act as a consultant for a interior design project. I guess its just like riding a bicycle. The maliciously manipulative people may slander me and try to tarnish my good name in the entertainment industry. But honestly, it would hardly make a dent in my pocket. I don't need to have an immaculate reputation in the entertainment industry in order for me to excel in the field of psychology. Those malicious, bad mouthing bitches can NEVER enter my field of expertise simply because they are uneducated lowlifes. One day they will discover how their own reputations are already deep in the gutters due to their own bad mouths. And their voices are the ONLY ONES I will never hear in my head, simply because these are mere ramblings of attention crazy drama queens.

I've always believed that the most dangerous people are the uneducated morons who will resort to evil ways to get rid of anything that stands in their way to getting what they desire. I have been proven to be right in this belief. I've realized now that my recent chain of actions have been brought about by years of tolerance which has led to many frustrations and disappointments. I guess I couldn't take it anymore. And that is why I pulled the plug. No regrets there. I don't have to tolerate nonsense any longer.

Now that I'm traveling lighter, I sincerely believe I will go much further than ever before. Hooray for little old me!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

By the way...

Paulo Coelho says that writers can only write about themselves. And he does. His journey through life. I would be naive to think that I am the only one who totally agrees with Coelho. His pen is truly mightier than his sword as a Warrior of Light. I can only dream of such brilliant talent.

In my silence, I have struggled to find the words to speak my truth. Not for lack of words in my vocabulary, but more because I lacked depth of understanding of what I am going through. Some call it midlife crisis. Others term it as pre-menopause. Experts blame it all on hormones. I, on the other hand, only know of one true thing. I am changing.

Apart from the physical signs of aging, I feel different. I think different. I know of things I don't yet know and don't know the things I know. I can't explain it. Maybe because I'm still not done. I've not reached the end of this path. And as much as I'd like to share my experience with those whom I love, I cannot. To bare my soul will be to open the door for criticism and judgment. I have enough of those within me to last my eternity. 

Although some may have their own thoughts as to my choice of companion (which, by the way, are Coelho's books), I care only for my own opinion of myself and of my own needs. After all, Coelho did articulate it perfectly by saying a reader buys whatever that reflects his/her state of mind or the status quo. My spirit is intact. It is my body that is going out of control. And I'm neither here nor there. I am not in a limbo of sort. Just in progression towards something I have yet to discover.

In my solitary introspections, I've learnt that I have never been faithful to myself. I have always strived to please others, fashioned my life to the approval of others. To conform. Just to have a sense of belonging, after which I will leave behind in search of a new sense of security. Safety. Can it be found in the darkness of solitude? And yet I have fear of loneliness. How I contradict myself continuously. Maybe its time for me to have a session with my supervisor. Maybe he can help me sort things out in my head. And still I won't be able to tell him everything. I simply cannot do that. Am I seeking understanding from him? Or just a confirmation that whatever I am going through now is normal and nothing out of the ordinary? Maybe all I need is for someone to assure me that I will be alright in the end and not doomed for hell fire. That's the tip of the iceberg for you, Freud.

Here is why I am writing this entry. A note for my loved ones and for those who are sincerely concerned for my holistic well-being. A message in a bottle from me on a stranded island:

Dear ______,

You may have not seen me as often as before. You may not have heard from me as frequently as once upon a time. I am still alive. My soul is, that is. I'm not quite sure what the hell my body is going through. And in that process, my heart and mind gets dragged along this arduous journey. This tempest within me can only be stilled by Him. In His cocoon, I am safe from harm. That, I have full faith.

But I need to be away to sort things out. I need to find out who I am now. The me you've grown to know and love, has expired its shelf date. I've been marked out. To partake in my life right now will prove to be toxic for you and our relationship. 

What was once acceptable to me no longer applies true. What used to annoy the shit out of me is now, somehow, less offensive. I guess my life is being reviewed and revised. The process is painful but necessary. I don't expect you to have the patience of a holy saint, to wait for me to come around. Please do carry on with your own life. We'll see how things are upon my return. If things we've had in the past still maintains true, so be it. If not, we know its time to embrace change.

I have learnt that I have been carrying the burden of my past on my shoulders, with a horrid garland of guilt around my neck and a crown of regrets upon my head. I cannot do that anymore. I am weary of having made bad decisions that may affect my present and my future. Right now, nothing works for me. I have to take my life apart and take a good look at each individual parts that makes up the whole of me. I have to clean every bit before putting things back together again... Not in the same way as before, mind you. It would have to be the way that suits me best now. The me that I am soon to become.

I pray for you to have patience and trust in me, that I know what I'm doing... even though, at most times, I am totally clueless. I embrace my ignorance with a shawl of curiosity and pray to God that this won't get me into further problems. I should think what I have on my plate is pretty overwhelming already, as it is.

I pray that when I am through with this journey and I reach the other side, I can still be accepted, respected, loved and understood by those who matter to me. By the very least, I would pray for my own conscience. May I be able to accept who I become when I reach the end of this meandering path into the forest.

I'm sorry I am not able to remain the same to suit your comfort zone. I'm sorry if it proves to be a challenge for you to categorize or label me into whatever method of processing you use to make sense out of everything and everyone. I'm sorry if I can't be there for you in your time of need. I need me more than anyone else, right now. And If I can't be here for me, I can never be sincerely there for anyone else.

You may not understand what I am going through right now but your turn will come, sooner or later. Be kind, so you will receive kindness when its your turn. You will find kindness most comforting and reassuring. 

Thank you for your time in reading my ramblings. I hope to return the favour in future to come.

"In my case, I did the only thing I should have done, or use my writings to get to know myself better.." - Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Moving Fiction

Its been a long while since I picked up and read a fiction book. After many years of reading books my mom bought, books by authors like Danielle Steele, John Grisham and Jeffery Archer, I grew tired of reading fiction and went on to favouring non-fiction books such as anything relating to psychology, self-help, alternative therapies and spirituality or religion. Recently, I stumbled upon a quote by Paulo Coelho that stopped me dead in my tracks! And then I went on to search more and more quotes from this author. I fell in love with each and every thing he has to say! I can't explain why I find myself so moved by the simplicity of his words. 

My daughter bought me a paperback copy of The Alchemist. It sat on my bedside table for many weeks. I would sometimes take a peek into the pages and found myself sucked into his story. I could sense that this author has the magic of pulling the reader into his fictional world and yet leaving us able to use the wisdom and lesson gained into our daily lives. 

On my recent trip to Penang, I brought the book with me. I read it on the bus, on the hotel bed (under the covers, as usual) and finishing it off on my return bus ride home. The impact of that book was so profound that I was left speechless! And so, I decided to share some parts of the book with my husband by reading it out loud to him. My husband is not a book lover but he loves having me read to him.

My husband was intrigued by the story line and characters in the story. But most of all, he was deeply moved by the wisdom contained in the story. Almost each line in the book is a quotable quote! As for me, as much I am well aware I am not a good writer, I now feel inspired to keep on writing until I can be the best writer I can be!

I find this book spiritually enlightening, full of ageless wisdom, simply written, and profoundly moving. I felt the paradigm shift happening within me when each line is devoured and digested. Now I am determined to hunt, purchase and own all of Coelho's books. I am intrigued by his character and mind. He has allowed me to travel through his creative mind and I am craving for more.

I am so grateful for the day my daughter bought me this book. I am more grateful and amazed that my husband has begun reading. Generally, he hates reading books. But I think its safe to say, he is hooked on Coelho. Well done, darling! Let's keep reading together....

Pure genius is a person who can move others by his creativity and wisdom. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Life, Love, Dreams and Regrets.

I'm sure some of the followers of this blog are wondering why I had not made entries surrounding my birthday recently, as I normally would. I needed some time to ruminate on the meaning of my life up till now. I had a lot and nothing to write on until a few minutes ago. Here are my current ramblings:

My grandfather was taken ill a few weeks ago and was admitted into a local hospital. He got upset when he casted his eyes upon me and this saddened me tremendously. And then I was made to understand the reason behind this. Mentally, his memory has regressed to back when my mom was around my current age. Although he was looking at me, it was my mom whom he was seeing. He kept on saying how he wished he had taken better care of me. I know now, he meant my mom. For I know for sure, he took very good care of me, beyond his scope of filial responsibilities.

What struck me most was the fact that my grandfather, someone whom I see as a person who has achieved so much in his life, still has regrets despite all that he has done. Which led me to ponder upon several things, namely how I want to be when its my turn on the deathbed and also how I want to live my life from hereon.

My mom once told me that regrets and guilts are hell on earth. I agree with her. I have my fair share of regrets and no matter how hard I try to undo my mistakes, its humanly impossible to turn back the clock and fashion my past differently. I have to figure out how to make the best of my time left on earth and not amass more regrets that I can sure live without when I am old and dying.

I realize that there are times in life when we have to differentiate between wants and needs. You may want to do something a certain way but life does not give you the means to do it your way. So instead, you are forced to live life based to your needs. Your heart is left in eternal forlorn, wishing things were different that it really is. Because as much as you try to live life idealistically, you need to be realistic. Meaning you will have to come to terms with what you can do within your means. As much as the next Jane wishes she can afford to drive the most luxurious car, she needs to learn to be grateful for whatever bone rattler she's driving now as a means of getting her from point A to point B.

I have made certain mistakes in my life where the lessons I learnt from them are basically the fact that I am only human and far from perfect. I am not without my weaknesses and flaws. I can only move ahead by accepting that I am still learning and slowly coming into my own self. I need to learn to forgive myself in order for me to stop repeating those mistakes which I know will be my major regrets when I am on my deathbed. I also need to make certain adjustments to my ideals so that I won't be too hard on myself when I fail to meet my own personal standards. I may be too idealistic for my own good. I need to keep it real.

Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that forgiveness is indeed a charity that needs to begin at home. I forgive myself. I forgive you. I forgive all those who may have wronged me. I fervently hope and pray that in time, Allah will have mercy on my poor soul.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mes premiers pas vers l'apprentissage du français.

J'ai toujours aimé la langue française. Juste à écouter quelqu'un parler dans cette belle langue est assez pour me faire sentir comme si je suis assis dans le jardin avec la Tour Eiffel dans mon arrière-plan. Ma récente visite en France avec mafamille a stimulé encore moi d'apprendre le français avec plus d'enthousiasme.Avoir le soutien de mon mari, il est beaucoup plus facile de poursuivre mon rêvelinguistique.

Me voici donc, faire ma première entrée du blog en français, quoique l'on utiliseGoogle Translate. Un beau jour, j'espère être capable d'écrire sur le mien. Voici ledébut du reste de ma vie belle.

La vie est belle!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Sorry, Mad...

.... but although 3 years have passed, I still miss you. No one can ever take your place. You're just irreplaceable. I've accepted that fact now. I know I never said this when you were alive, but I loved you then and I love you still. You'll always be the brother I never had. My biggest fan. My truest friend. My most loyal champion. My clown on a see-saw.

Mohamad Abdul Rahman Zubaidi Al-Hasawi.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Bucket List - Revised

Almost 2 years ago, I wrote an entry about my bucket list, inspired by the movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Today, as I reread that entry, I made a few observations regarding the status of that list and what I have successfully fulfilled.

1. Perform my Haj.
2. Go to Mekkah with my family. ✓
3. Repay all my debts. ✓
4. See God's earth with my family. - In progress.
5. See the 7 wonders of the world. - In progress.
6. Learn to speak fluent Arabic and French. - In progress.
7. Have a fantastic relationship with my daughters. - In progress.
8. Live a simple but fulfilling life. ✓
9. Learn psychology to the highest level. - In progress.

Considering the fact that I made this list almost 24 months ago, I would think that its quite an achievement to have been given the opportunity to complete several items already. I hope to be able to write an entry after having completed all of the items above.

My goal to perform my Haj is now a good possibility, after repaying all of my debts. However, now I need to focus on saving up and preparing myself for that spiritual graduation. The past few months have seen me slip and fall several times that I truly believe I am back at square one as far as my spiritual journey is concerned. Allah is Most Merciful. But I am a lot harder on myself than anyone can ever be. Call me idealistic. I have my own non-negotiable terms that I impose onto myself.

Since the beginning of this new millennium, my family and I have suffered great financial difficulties due to the economic and political scenario. Not someone to assign blame onto others, I rolled up my sleeves and worked hard to put food on the table and keep clothes on our backs. We worked together as a team and did what was necessary to keep us together and weather through the storm. I can personally testify that nothing beats the feeling of relief when we managed to get rid of the biggest financial burden we had. No one truly understood or knew the real hardship we went through, not even the ones closest to us. We told no one because it was our test. Our challenge. No one else's.

My recent trip to the U.K and France with my family was something I had prayed for, for a long time, as part of the 4th item on my list. Its an ongoing process, of course; as we're all well aware how expansive God's earth is. And I would like to believe that during this time, my relationship with my daughters had strengthen. I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn French! And although it was barely enough to assist us through our travels in France, it was a good start and now I'm hooked! Our next stop will be Egypt to see the pyramids. Arabic, anyone...?

I have always dreamed of living a simple but fulfilling life. I guess I am living my dream now! My needs have always been simple. Security. Debt free. Portable. Useful. Simple. I live in a rented condo with my family, near enough for my children to go to work, school and socialize with their friends. My private practice is thriving, alhamdulillah. My office is nearby. Dear hubby's brains may be doing the mental backstroke right now but soon he will be an MBA graduate and secure himself a lecturing job. From then on, we will work towards affording and rewarding ourselves with travels to widen our horizons.

I'm also very grateful for reconnecting with Ann, my Welsh mum, over the past years. And during my visit in Swansea, she has shown great interest and enthusiasm in getting me started on a research she's conducting and also for me to consider doing my Ph.D in her university as well as establishing a practice in the UK to help sponsor my own education. Darling hubby and the girls are pretty keen on the idea of living in Swansea for at least 2 years. That will be able to earn me a nice ✓ for my last item on the list! Nice move, Johana! Good chance to get away from green and toxic people.

So, there you have it! My progress report as far as my bucket list is concerned. Yes, I do have several more things to add onto this list. But I thought I'd complete this one before adding on more things to do. I want to keep things simple, right? Life is complicated as it is. No need for me to contribute towards that aspect of life. But life is also beautiful, if we know where to look.

This is my introspection on my journey. This is how I make sure I'm on the right track. How's your life doing...?