Thursday, 22 August 2013

Taste of Oranges Pt. 2


I don't remember what I said exactly in my panicked state. What my mother understood was that this stranger, this grown man, came into our garden, took some oranges from our tree and bullied me into staying silent because  I was a 5 year old girl who had the nerves of a mouse. I did not refute this because she was right about one thing, I was truly as frightened as a mouse.

I wanted to say something, believe me I did but I just couldn't. By the time I gathered my courage, my mother has already gotten herself into an indignant rage. She marched over to the man's house, through our interlinked backyards, pulling me along as evidence, and knocked on their backdoor sharply. She stood up taller and frowned as she waited for a response and I stood besides her, numb and horror stricken. 
After what felt like a million years, a grumpy lady in her pyjamas (presumably the man's wife) opened the door and looked us up and down, judging us, intruders to her home. She stood silently, as my mother started her rant, interjecting ever so often to refute something my mother said as she accused the woman’s husband of every crime under the sun. This misunderstanding was definitely not my mother's fault, how could it be? I respect her. She was a brave woman who believed that she was protecting her child and did what she had to do to get her message across despite only being able to argue in her broken english. 
Eventually, perhaps worn down by my mother's persistence or just irritated by our presence, the lady called the man out, and scolded him in front of us as if he was a child. He didn't manage to say a full sentence the whole time the lady was abusing him, until he stopped trying to interject and just hung his head like a student being lectured by his teacher. In the end, he had to get all the oranges I gave him and gave them back to us whilst being warned to never go on our property again.

He was a kind man. He got me the birds nest I wanted, risking falling off the tree without hoping for anything in return and what does he get? Misunderstanding he could not refute, he could only take it and could not defend himself against all the accusations.
The worst part is, the absolute worst was that the man had a mental disability. I don't know what it was but he could not do anything except hang his head and listen to his wife put him down with words without being able to explain his side of the story.
Why must things have played out like this? I don't know where that birds nest that I placed such high value on is now, I don't know where that man I need to apologise to is now, I don't know why I couldn't say something or do something.
The ending of this story is a sand one. The man didn't get to keep the oranges, and mother was not any happier with the oranges back in her possession.

The moral of the story? I guess it's just to speak up for what's right. Don't be a coward because that's easier because what you did or didn't do will truly haunt you for the rest of your life.
To the man I have wronged, I am truly sorry and if I could turn back time, things would definitely have played out differently.

Taste of Oranges Pt. 1

This is a tale from my childhood. Although the details are blurred, the feeling that comes along with it has not changed. This is a story I want to bury in my heart forever. I want to forget the shame, guilt and sadness but... that's not fair is it?

When I was five year old, my family lived in a unit house (a row of houses linked together to save space). The place was...cozy. I’m telling the truth when I say that the backyard is roughly the size of the living room of my current house. The one thing I loved about that house was the orange tree that grew in my backyard. 
If I had to tell you one thing about that orange tree, it would be that the oranges from that tree taste bloody amazing. They were big, juicy and slightly tart when you first bit into it that would soon fade into sweetness. It had a very faint citrus scent that invades the air and clings to you. I didn't mind, I loved that smell. I used to try rub the orange peel into my hair so I could always smell like a freshly picked orange. I really did feel emotionally attached to that tree and the fruits it would bear. They were MY oranges even though I played no part in their growth. 
Some people say you get a really communal feel when you live in a unit house. I don’t think our family ever got close to our neighbors but the environment we lived in was certainly designed to pack us into a small space that seemed to almost force us to interact with people living next to us. If you go out the back door of my house, you could see that my backyard was immediately linked with other people's on all three sides. My parents rented the house because liked the gates on either side of our backyard that separated our little section of land however they could do nothing about the lack of separation from our neighbours in front of our back yard. I could literally walk in a straight line and find myself in their space in no time.
One day, I was just playing in the backyard, and I suddenly spotted a bird’s nest sitting on one of the higher branches of the orange tree. I was extremely fascinated with it and really wanted to take it down and examine it. However, I was not the type of girl that dared to do anything to get what I want.
 At that time, my neighbour (the one whose backyard was connected to mine) was also out in his backyard. He must have noticed me, a little girl, standing under a tree silent and unmoving whilst most girls would have either braved the climb or forgotten about the nest entirely. I remember talking to him and somehow convincing him to get that bird’s nest down for me. 
He was a man in his twenties or thirties and had a kind face. The nest was less than 2 metres of the ground and it was a relatively safe climb but he was clumsy in his movements and knocked many oranges off the tree. I was scared for his safety but more scared my mother would see the bruised oranges lying on the ground and demanding to know what happened. Thinking back, I remember feeling extremely excited when he jumped down from the tree, nest in hand. I immediately forgot about the danger I put him in and was simply filled with happiness at possessing this new and exotic object.  Thankfully I still had a bit of manners and I picked up some of the oranges he knocked off and gave them to him to take home as a toke of gratitude. He thanked me and two thoughts crossed my mind as he left, back into his section of land- ooooh, nest! and what a nice man, pity I’m never going to see him again.
I was so wrong. I genuinely don't recall what she noticed or why. Maybe it was the disappearance of oranges from the tree and the round globes lying innocently on the ground. Maybe it was my possession of the birds nest which she refused to grab for me earlier and knew I wouldn’t dare get myself. I don't know. All I know was that my mother was angrily demanding to know what happened when she wasn’t there.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Dreamer (Personality Tests)

As you grow up, the desire to define yourself becomes a bigger and bigger part of your life. 
It becomes such an overwhelming drive that we will let just about anything have the power to change what we see ourselves as. 
If -insert some authoritative figure- says I'm not leadership material, then I must not be then. If -insert friend here- thinks I'm goofy then I guess I have to be the clown for the rest of my life!
No. You define yourself. Nobody knows you better than you and just because everybody's arrogant and wants to pretend like everything they say is factually true, that does not give them the right to tell you who you are! Ignore them.

When I used to feel lost about who I was, I went through dozens of internet personality tests in the hopes of somebody else (anonymous and behind a screen) defining me, essentially boxing me into a personality type that was based on something ridiculous from said person's imagination. I knew that those tests were for entertainment purposes only but at the same time I couldn't help but let them influence me. I think saved myself by finding a test that was extensive and not constricting in the way it was presented. It defined me in a positive and reliable way that has really helped me be happy with who I am and introduce ways for me to constructively improve myself. Yes, the Myer Briggs test that I'm sure many of you know of and have tried. If you haven't? Try it! (if you're put off by the registration process, this version is also very extensive)

After doing this test (multiple times for the past year) , I have come out as an INFP again and again. This stands for someone who is more Introverted (rather than extroverted), relies on iNtuition (rather than sensing), Feeling (rather than thinking) and Perceiving (rather than judging). By providing four categories to separate different parts of your personality, it makes the breakdown more personalised and relatable for people as there are so many different combinations of letters you can get. As I read through the description provided, I could not help nodding along to all the similarities I felt in my own personality. 
"INFPs (dreamers) are introspective, private, creative and highly idealistic individuals that have a constant desire to be on a meaningful path. They are driven by their values and seek peace. Empathetic and compassionate, they want to help others and humanity as a whole. INFPs are imaginative, artistic and often have a talent for language and writing..." 
From that point onwards, by having a scientifically approved (as much as a test on the internet can be) way of determining who I am, I have been constantly improving my flaws based on that information. I'm not saying I have let this personality test define me, but it has certainly helped me find myself and is important in letting me know objectively where my weaknesses lie.
However if the test does not give you a desirable result, don't worry! Here's an interesting idea for you. 
Do the test as someone that you want to be. Perhaps who you see yourself in 5 or 10 years. Read through the results and know specifically what you're striving for, and start changing yourself from there rather than feeling unsatisfied with who you are and being unable to do anything but complain. Remember though, don't make changing your personality an obsession, I've been there. (story for another time?) At the end of the day only you can balance what you inherit and what you alter to become the best you that you can be and that's good enough. There's always a place out there for everybody, whoever they are.

P.S I'm not in any ways affiliated with the Myer Briggs personality test and to be honest they should pay me for free advertising

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Believe in Dreams

How many languages can you speak? 
I can only speak two. Three if I have the audacity to claim that my elementary level español counts and it really doesn't.
In such a multicultural world, two languages is simply not enough to get by. Today, I met a girl who knows five different languages. German, English, French, Japanese and Latin. That's a bit too extensive for me personally however her aspirations lie in the translating field so she's on the right track to achieving her dreams. 
Being of asian decent and migrating when I was young, I'm essentially a "forced bilingual" and my mother used to constantly suggest that I should push this edge I have over the competition and become a translator. At the time, I did not even consider that option because I thought the job was beneath me, being the narrow-minded and spoilt child I was. This girl, she's changed my mind about translating completely and she is now one of my sources of inspiration for life, as dramatic as it sounds.
No, not just because of her skills in the linguistic department.
What I envy most of her is the absolute certainty she holds to her dream and the efforts she is putting into achieving them, evident to me after just a brief chat. 

The story she told me about how she came about wanting to be a translator goes something like this:
"You know those Lets Play videos on youtube? Yeah. Those ones where gamers play all sort of different games. I was watching one of those and they guy was playing what was originally a japanese game translated into english. The gamer was complaining about how the translations were crap and I agreed. The English translations were horrible. It was then and there that I thought, you know what, I could do much better so I will."
Such a small incident yet such a major turning point in her life.
I guess I shouldn't be envious. I know what I want to do with my life as well (despite not having a pivotal point or back story) in a blurry sort of way where the harder I think about it, the more out of my grasp it seems. Some tell me it's impossible, others remark it's ambition-less but it has been something that's been with me for a long time.
I want to travel the world and I don't care how. I will generate my own money whether it's through working with jobs I can find in the countries I'm in whether it's at cafes, schools or through taking photos and blogging my experience. The closer it is to the real deal the better. I want to trek through the Sahara Desert, I want to do research and wildlife work in Antarctica, I want to visit North Korea and document the life, find spiritual peace in Tibet, I want to experience the lead up and the aftermath of national festivals or spiritual experiences etc. in the cities they occur in. I want to truly be a global citizen, and when I finally chose to settle down, I shall bring everything together into a book or a documentary that truly represents the whole world, with objectivity but not devoid of emotion as I want to explore humanity at it's core as well as geographical landscapes. This, is what I want to do. 

What about you?

What keeps you going when you feel like your dreams are unreachable? I dare you to record your dreams down like I have. That makes them more tangible and harder to take back. Remember, it's okay to let others influence and shape who you are but never let them live your life. No task is more meaningful or less meaningful than another. Dream big or small, it doesn't matter because there is no such thing as something being too good or not good enough for you. Believe, work hard, and ignore the people that don't want you to reach success. It's only by living like this can you die without regrets, and be someone worthy of being remembered. 


Monday, 29 April 2013

superlative conclusion


Today, I stumbled upon this survey which asks you to recount the happiest day of your life for an article on PsychologyToday.

The answer I submitted was: The happiest day of my life had to have been my proudest. The day when everybody else loved or looked up to ME.

This answer was obviously very vague (I still submitted it anyway because it's an honour to possibly be featured in a post by someone else and possibly get analysed isn't it?-fun fact: I was!) and it did not provide any insight on what specific day of my life brought me the most joy.
This was not a deliberate attempt to be mysterious. Instead, it stemmed from being unable to recall a specific moment of happiness that stood out to me. Although this is not a roundabout way of saying my whole life has been a depressing series of unfortunate events that have left me with no joy left to spare, not at all!
I can confidently assure you that I would be equally lost if you asked for the SADDEST moment of my life. In fact, I would mumble and grumble through any situation where you asked me to make a "superlative decision." I define this as producing an answer that is final and including words similar but not limited to best, favourite etc

This is possibly due to the comparative nature of life. Ever since we were children, we have been comparing or have been compared to everyone else.
Why can't you be more like this? Why can't you do that? She is so much better than you. He is a better friend!
Constantly looking at things with a comparative mindset is almost second nature. This is both good and bad.
Comparing is a technique necessary for learning how to make good, educated choices that leads to positively defining who you are.
On the other hand, it can lead to lack of self confidence and always feeling like you cannot measure up. (You really can't considering you're comparing yourself to the heightened and improved version of others that you create yourself.)
Despite the positives and negatives of making comparisons, it is undoubtedly easier than making a "superlative decision." This is why in many instances where "quickfire" questions are asked to a celebrity, comparative questions are asked rather than superlatives to make it easier for them to produce an answer under time pressure.
Here's an example.
There are many different arguments as to why our brains might work this way. One might be the fear of unreciprocated feelings. There is nothing worse than telling your best friend that they are, well, your BEST friend only to have them tell you you're just one of their many "good friends".
Another fear we have is the fear of people calling us out as liars or cheats. Superlative answers seem very final. Unless you believe in saying things like "this was bester than the bestest thing" a superlative answers seem like the most unchangeable form of an answer there is. It feels like once you utter one of these, there is no going back. As we are so changable and favourites continually replace each other, there's always this sense of doom that surrounds a situation like someone accusing you of being a hypocrite for going back against your word on something as unimportant as your favourite style of music.
These are just a few examples of where the problem may have started. There are other issues that might affect this such as lack of confidence or stress levels but ultimately, it's just fear fear and more fear. Fear instigated by ourselves, our surroundings or the media.

The fact of the matter is, with a comparative, the choice of answers is narrowed down to only two options. Whilst a superlative requires more thinking and boasts more options than we could ever imagine.
If you're dealing with someone who is indecisive or you're under time constraints, try asking them comparative questions rather than superlatives. This may save you a little bit of time and give you a lot less headaches!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sinful



Personally, I have always been interested in the 7 sins because I believe they're the root to all evil. I don't believe it's all spiritually based (as I am still unsure about which religion I align myself with) instead I view it as a way of live on an everyday level. If you can identify the sins you're more prone to committing, you can easily find ways to improve yourself to become a better person no matter your "religious-orientation."
There are many quizzes out there about finding out your worst vices. Most are tacky, vile and utterly useless, however, there are some that are really helpful like this one (if you ignore the horrible layout & background). It gives you an idea of not only what your biggest sin is but also the level of sin you commit for all 7 sins.

My Results (in order):

Envy: High 
The root of this sin lies in negativity and low self worth. If you were satisfied with yourself and your life, there would be no need to want what someone else has. To conquer this sin, you should really pick apart every thought you have. 
Question yourself, WHY am I envious? Is it because of:
A) something irrelevant to the issue such as a grudge against the person whom I'm envious of, someone I like praising the person I'm jealous of or just plain they're getting too much attention etc. 
B) is it because they got what I felt like I wanted or deserved?
If it is the first case, tough, get over it. If what you're jealous of something ridiculous (like someone who doesn't learn chinese being envious of their friend getting praised for getting top marks in a chinese exam) STOP, nobody will have any sympathy for you. There is no need for feelings like this! It's very easily seen as attention seeking as you're simply creating unnecessary negativity in your life. One way to do this is despite the envy you feel, go congratulate the person who have achieved success. It may feel fake at first but sooner or later you will learn to mean it, fake it until you make it, right?
If however, the source of the jealousy is from true desire, use the negative energy and turn it into a drive for success. Give 100% to your efforts of achieving what you want so there are no regrets next time round. If you know you have tried your hardest and your means simply aren't enough you just have to accept the unfairness of life and revert to step one-congratulating the person who bested you or keep your head high, try, try and try again.

Greed High 
We have all been the centre of attention once. The world used to revolve around all of us when we were children. In most of us, this develops a selfish streak. (for the rare people out there who manage to be naturally selfless, I salute you) Most parents out there want what's best for their kids, smothering them in love love love and teaching them to "never lose out" in life. This develops a competitive environment with your peers to always have what's best because that's what you've always gotten. Some of this may stem from our ancient "survival of the fittest" complex. It is this exact selfishness that helped us survive all these years to create a society where the trait is not needed. It is going to be hard to fight these instincts but accept that our world sees selflessness as a virtue and start making an effort to do one good deed a day whether it's by being generous/sharing or giving a compliment where it is deserved. It's acceptable if the deed does not come from a desire to put others before yourself but under no circumstances must these actions be completed with hopes of rewards or recognition, deeming the exercise useless. This makes it a great feeling when you do gain positive responses, initiating more selflessness deeds hopefully eventually forming a positive circle of giving and recieving.

Sloth medium 
Laziness for me personally is purely based on always choosing the simpler option when it is available. Why learn to play chess when I can just not? Why practise my flute when I can just sleep now? This is something easily fixed by giving yourself a kick in the behind, aka. a reality check. The world does not stop if you refuse to move, everybody will just continue on challeinging themselves. Giving life a sprint or a jog as you walk on the spot. Remind yourself that living is a privilege  get what you can out of it before it's too late. 

However, if your laziness is stemmed from a lack of motivation and not seeing the point in life, I suggest a break away from "mundane." Go on a trip physical or spiritual and try to find perhaps a place in the past you were happy with and try to recreate the feeling or find something you have never tried before. If that's out of the question, make it your goal to notice something new in your life everyday, try something new every week and continue to make positive changes wherever possible. Seeking professional help is also in the question if it gets to a point where you feel like you have lost all willpower and you are fatigued by nothing and everything.h
Motivational quotes: "It's never too late to be what you might have been"-George Eliot
"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" ~Will Rogers

Pride Medium 
Pride and insecurity are different ends of the same spectrum. A good balance between them is hard to achieve. To deal with pride, you should keep your feet on the ground yet remember to peek your head into the clouds every so often.  Prideful people are the worst. They're absolute DICK-tators. Remember, even though you're the main actor/actress of your life, you're only a supporting character, an extra or even a Person 3 in someone else's life. It's not always about you you you & you. Give others a chance! it's surprising what new things you can learn. At the same time, never ever criticize yourself without reason. A good question to ask yourself to stay on track is-Who do you think you are? Think about it and answer it seriously. 
For me at the moment, I think I am someone who has the potential to become a real blogger however I need to find the means to advertise my blog to gain a bigger audience. I feel like I have acceptable writing style, topic choices, ideas, consistency but I can improve on my viewership, developing my own opinions further, making my blog more psychology based which was it's intention. 

Wrath low 
Wrath is one of the emotions that are harder to deal with as your thinking ability decreases at a constant velocity parallel to the increasing hate & anger you feel. Don't let revenge (continuous wrath) dictate your life. Isn't it sad to let your life revolve around something other than yourself? 
A few tips to keep in mind are: 
It's better to be cry than to be spiteful. 
Think less bad thoughts, and if they do surface, write them down rather than say them out loud 
Don't be passive aggressive. This is the absolute worst as you are not efficiently getting rid of your anger and immediately distances yourself from others who may be trying to help you.
If someone's genuinely sorry, forgive, don't forget.
If someone's wrong, explain yourself, if they're an idiot, walk away and don't turn back.

Lust low
If it's lust you have to fight, I suggest reducing your time spent with sexually explicit content or creating sick fantasies. These are ways of objectifying and minimizing the importance of a partner and the respect, love that forms the bond between two people. To conquer lust, find love. Even it is unrequited, is it not better to have loved than to have never experienced it? Is it not more noble to love than to be loved?

The important message here is to find out what your sins are. I'm sure most of you already have an inkling of what drives the part of you that you hate. Have a game plan to deal with that certain sin and stick to it and never give up. It's the fights with your inner demons that are the worst however it's absolutely necessary if you want to be on a path to improvement.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

se7en

The Seven Deadly Sins seem to be as old as time.

It is believed that thGreek monastic theologian Evagrius of Pontus was the first to draw up a list of punishable offences (in increasing order of severity): gluttony, lust, avarice, sadness, anger, acedia (from Greek "akedia" aka. not to care/spiritual sloth), vainglory, and pride.

Evagrius believed the severity of the sin is directly related to the fixation with the self therefore pride as the most punishable of the sins. 


In the late 6th century, Pope Gregory the Great reduced the list to seven item by categorising vainglory into pride, acedia into sadness, and adding envy. His ranking of the Sins' seriousness was based on their offence against love. It was, from most serious to least: pride, envy, anger, sadness, avarice, gluttony, and lust. 

In the seventeenth century, the Church replaced the vague sin of "sadness" with sloth.

Thus creating the 7 sins that we think of today when we talk about "the seven deadly sins"

PRIDE: Excessive belief in oneself over others including God, called the sin from which all other arise. 
Punishment: broken on the wheel

ENVY: Not being satisfied with oneself's possessions and craving another's traits, status, abilities or situation.
Punishment: put in freezing water


GLUTTONY: A compulsion to consume more than necessary.
Punishment: forced to eat rats, toads & snakes

LUST: The desire for a physical rather than emotional/spiritual connection that pleasures the body.
Punishment: Smothered in fire and brimstone

WRATH: manifestation of a negative response to a situation that is reflected with fury rather than forgiveness or calamity.
Punishment: dismembered alive

GREED: Desire for materialistic gain rather than spiritual or emotional. Otherwise known as avarice or covetousness.
Punishment: put in cauldrons of boiling oil

SLOTH: Avoidance of physical or spiritual work, laziness.
Punishment: thrown in snake pits