Monday, 14 September 2020

Celebrating Wins is Part Of Celebrating Life

 


Cheers!

I think somedays we don't celebrate enough. I think somedays we get too caught up in life we forget to appreciate the joy of winning. I think sometimes we look down on the small wins because we are too distracted to appreciate it in its entirety. I think somedays we feel bad for celebrating a win when the rest of the world, people, friends or family aren't. I think sometimes we just keep quiet about our wins in fear of sounding proud, arrogant or condescending. And some days, we just completely overlook the wins that happen in front of us out of denial. 

Well, I refuse. Again, call me a rebel. Call me a rule breaker. Call me an outlier. Call me a freak. Call me whatever you want to make yourself look and feel good, but I refuse to let my wins go down without any notice. I refuse to let my children's wins go unnoticed. I refuse to live a life of losses and placing wrong importances on the wrong things. 

So even when the world is quiet and bleak, I still celebrate. When the world is out for a pity party, I throw my own celebratory party. When the world wants to make me feel sad and depressed, I choose to celebrate the small wins that happen. When the world wants to smother me with the feeling of guilt, I choose to ignore that and have a heart of thankfulness. 

In our family we celebrate wins. We celebrate good grades, days that go well, good health, good sleep, a sale, a good friend, family and everything in between. In our family, we never overlook wins. We see the effort and hard work put in to win. We see winning as a blessing and favour from above and we give Him the glory for each win. We choose to celebrate wins because the world has enough sadness and darkness and I refuse to let that be all my children remembers. We choose to celebrate wins, even the little ones, because each win makes life just as much as losses do. We choose to celebrate wins because the world will hold your failures and losses over your head, so why can't the wins be just as important?

And in our family, we celebrate life. And winning is just as much as part of life and deserves to be seen, heard, appreciated, treasured and celebrated. 

-Ally

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Inspired, not pressured.

 

Turned 32 in great company. There comes a quiet that comes with birthdays for me. A reflection of all the blessings and wonderful people and things that came into my life, a flashback of memories that made me who I am today both good and bad, and an affirmation that I can be better but it doesn't mean I'm flawed... just can be better. 

I can be so much better and I know it's okay to admit that because I'm not arrogant enough to say I have everything, know everything or is everything. I know there are areas where I need work on, dreams I have that are not yet accomplished and ambitions that are just starting off. I know the work I need to do and I know the healing I still have to accomplish. I'm far from being done.

But that isn't to say I am flawed. Nope. I am not flawed. I am not damaged. I've learnt to never let these things steal my value. I know my value. I know my worth. I know my strengths just as I know my weaknesses. My strengths make me good at what I do. My accomplishments are mine and no one can take them from me. My good qualities are good and strong. My foundation is not built on who I am not, but who I am and I am confident, loved, talented and persistent. 

I have learnt to lean on facts and not what others think is facts. The fact is that at 32, I have accomplished a lot. The fact is at 32, I have a very blessed and privileged life. The fact is at 32, I've found acceptance and self-love for myself, my worth, my time and my value. The fact is at 32, I have found love and a home. The fact is at 32, I can be so much worst off but I am not. The fact is, no one will ever be me, but me. 

I will never call myself a mentor. I will never say my life is perfect. I will never say everyone needs to be me to be perfect. I will also never say that I am the standard because I am not. I am only MY standard. I am only MY version of success. I am only MY version of a perfect life. What I can do is inspire, just like how I have found my inspiration in other people. Growing up, I've never had a mentor and I never really looked at someone and said: "I want their life". I don't want someone else's life, I want my own life. I may be inspired and aspire to have certain characteristics, admire the right choices others have made, learnt their lessons from their failures and gain wisdom from their experiences - but never once did I allow myself to be pressured to be someone else. 

Today, I don't want you to be me. I don't wish for you to be me either. Because you cannot be me. You will never be me. Our circumstances are different, our walks are different, our personalities and characteristics are different - there's only one me, and there's only one you. Watch me, take my strengths, my wisdom, my rights but don't be me. Be better than me. Be your version of me. Take my mistakes, flaws and negatives and do better. Be better. That's what I always tell my children. I tell LittleLim and LittleJLim to never aspire to be me or their daddy. Be their own version of us. Find yourselves and most importantly, be someone you can love. Love yourself first. 

You can't love yourself if you always chase to be someone else. 

-Ally

Thursday, 6 August 2020

"Mommy, I can't see" - Lazy Eye (Amblyopia) & Severe Myopia


Not a post I wanted to write because I struggled to come to terms with what was happening. It's been a month that I've been hush hush about LittleLim's condition. I didn't feel ready to share it publicly and I just shared it with a handful of really close friends. I didn't tell family too because I wasn't ready to deal with the questions, regardless of how meaningful the intent was yet. When I first found out, it took me a week before I told close friends because I just didn't want to accept it. But here we are, one month in. LittleLim has been a trooper and I've had time to deal with my feelings. 

"Mrs. Lim, LittleLim is squinting a lot in class." 

LittleLim's class teacher told me this last year and I thought nothing of it. Why? Because LittleLim never complained about having poor vision, she never squinted in our presence and I just chalked it down to "bad habits". It wasn't until this year while having lunch with my aunt who is also a nurse. My aunt told me LittleLim's eye looked a little abnormal and she suspected it could be a "squint" or "crossed eye". She told me to make an appointment with an Ophthalmologist the soonest possible. And then MCO was implemented and I forgot all about it.

It wasn't until months later when LittleLim told me "Mommy, I can't see" that I remembered. I tested her right away - close one eye, how many fingers do you see? "Mommy, I can't see." Moves closer, how many fingers now? "Mommy, I can't see." Moves even closer, how many fingers now? She squints. Two. I was very near to her now and alarm bells rang in my head. This is NOT normal. I called the International Specialist Eye Center (ISEC) Mid Valley to schedule an appointment. My whole family has been going to ISEC for all our eye problems and it was a no brainer to bring LittleLim there because they had all my family medical history on hand. LittleLim was scheduled to see Dr Choong who was a specialist in pediatric eyecare.

The Eye Check 

I scheduled for my appointment the same day so that LittleLim could do all the preliminary checks with me as well and she could see what I did and wouldn't feel so afraid. That was the best decision ever as it helped with her nerves. Then it was my turn to get my eyes checked with the machine and Dr.Fang was so nice to let LittleLim sit in on the examination so she could see what usually happens during an eye check. 

Soon it was LittleLim's turn with Dr.Choong. Dr.Choong was very gentle and very warm towards LittleLim. She instantly felt comfortable in his presence and the nurses were all very smiley and respectful. Dr.Choong talked her through most of the examinations he was doing so that she knew what was happening and would not be afraid. A few eye checks and tests and we were given the diagnosis. It was not a squint. "I am surprised she is still walking and not bumping into things!" Dr.Choong exclaimed. At -675 / -350 she was diagnosed with Amblyopia (lazy eye) and severy Myopia (short-sightedness). 

Amblyopia & Severe Myopia

Hereditary. She was born with it and because we did not catch it early, it deteriorated over time which explains the severity. Screen time does not cause this much increment in power at her age. 

This is why children should go for yearly eye checks once they turn three. Even earlier if you notice any abnormalities. For LittleLim, it wasn't very obvious. There were moments growing up that suggested a squint but it was so mild that sometimes it felt like I was imagining it. On top of that she never once complained she couldn't see until that very first time she said: "Mommy, I can't see". 

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) is different from Strabismus (Crossed eye). Basically, the difference is : lazy eye affects eyesight and crossed eye is the misalignment of the eyes. Which means lazy eye always comes with sight problems. LittleLim's case is considered severe because myopia at -1000 is dangerous as her risk for other eye problems increases tremendously. Because I have a family history of glaucoma as well, her risk is even higher now and she has to be monitored closely for that as well. 

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Myopia. LittleLim will have this for her whole life or until she is old enough to get laser treatment for her myopia. Thankfully medicine and technology have come a long way. LittleLim has been put on Atropine eye drops every night to help reduce the rate of deterioration. She also has to wear glasses to correct her vision. We paid David, our regular optometrist (MOG) at Curve a visit to get her glasses. We told David to give her the best and the best he did give. After much research and discussion, we ended up getting LittleLim the Zeiss Myokids lenses - with active control, blue light and uv protection to help control her myopia.

Lazy eye, on the other hand, can be corrected especially with early detection. LittleLim has to do eye training using eye patches for 2 hours everyday. Placing an eye patch over the good eye and doing near-sighted activities like colouring, joining dots, stacking legos etc. so that her weak eye is forced to work harder and communicate with the brain. We managed to get some really fun eye patches from Shoppee and LittleLim loves it because she gets to match her outfits to her patches. I learnt that it is NOT easy at all. The first time she wore it she struggled with something as simple as colouring within the lines which she usually has no problems with when using both eyes. She also struggled with walking in a straight line because she couldn't see the line. It's small things like this that we take for granted with two good eyes. 

I'm so thankful we have the means to give her the best treatments available. We are considering Ortho-K once she is able to take proper responsibility for her treatments and if she wants to do it. 

Involvement

Right from the beginning, we have never hidden from our kids anything about themselves. We were not going to start now. From the moment LittleLim said "Mommy, I can't see" we had involved her and told her everything about her condition. From the eye doctor to the treatments. We wanted her to have autonomy over her body. We didn't push anything on her. We just told her what was required and we allowed her to make decisions - what colour and shape her frames would be, what time to put the eye drops, the design of the eye patches, what activity she wanted to do and to take note of improvements and difficulties, and to feel free to ask any questions that may arise. Since day one she has stepped up and taken control of her treatment. As her parent I feel so proud of her and how she has been so mature about this whole thing. LittleLim loved being involved, to be seen and heard especially when it comes to something so personal and serious like her health. Her voice matters and I'm glad we managed to give that to her.


Feelings

I broke down. Cried like a baby. Hated myself. Hated this thing that was hiding in our DNAs. When I saw her wearing her glasses and eye patch I broke down and felt so sad. I felt like I've let her down. It was irrational, I know. But my logic and feelings were not seeing eye to eye. I grieved. Some days I still blame myself even though I know, I know, it's not my fault or anyone's fault. I know it's not something any parent would purposely wish on their child. I know it's not something I did or didn't do. I know that LittleLim was BORN with it. 

I still felt the guilt of bringing my child into the world and putting her through all these diseases that came from our DNAs. I don't really know how to explain it without sounding overdramatic. Perhaps retrospectively, I was overreacting from the weight of what was happening. I felt that I had put a sentence on my own child just because I wanted her. I felt that I had her irresponsibly and not checking what kind of hereditary illnesses that lurked in my DNA. I felt unprepared when I found out. And I just felt like I've failed my child. 

I'm thankful for my community. I'm thankful for my friends. For the encouragement and the stories shared with me about their own journey and how they became strong women who overcame their own sight problems. I think it's a parent thing and even more, a mother thing to blame ourselves even though it's not even our fault. But I know myself and I know I just had to allow myself to feel what I needed to feel. I had to let myself process this on my own time and accept it because there was no way to change what has happened. I couldn't stuff her back into my womb, I couldn't rewrite her DNA and I certainly didn't wish to NOT have her. If anything I loved her more and wanted to protect her at all costs. It was just letting myself feel those emotions and come to terms with it. 

It is what it is. As her parents, we have done everything possible to give her the best treatments. The best doctors, the best frames and lenses and best treatments available. We will continue to pray over her and to monitor her. Seeing LittleLim take charge of her condition, her treatments and loving her clear vision puts me at ease and makes it a little easier as days pass. Most of all, I'm happy that it has not shaken her confidence at all. If anything, she walks with pride and I know, she will be okay. My little girl is a fighter. 

If you're a mama and your child is going through a health issue that is caused by genetics, know this, you are not at fault. Yes, it's our DNA but it's not selfish to bring our children into the world. No one wishes for their own flesh and blood to get sick. No one! Don't blame yourself and don't let the guilt eat you. Take all the time you need to process, to grief, to feel and to accept the reality. But never let it cripple and steal from you. You can still make so many amazing memories with them. Whatever illness they're going through - it doesn't define who you are or who your kids are. Whatever they are born with, it doesn't rob you of the opportunity to make the best of every day and to create amazing moments with them while they're around. 

-Ally

TL:DR - if you're a parent, get your children's eyes checked yearly. Early detection and intervention for any eye problems is ideal. 

Resources (not sponsored)
ISEC Midvalley : Dr. Choong Yee Fong
MOG Curve: David (03-77325792)

Thursday, 30 July 2020

The Problem Is Not Marriage. It's WHO You Marry.

So lately I've been getting bombarded with posts and articles about how women are choosing careers over marriage. It brought me back to my teens where I too was one of those people adamant that marriage was not for me and that I would dedicate my whole life to my career and work. That I would never choose to end up like my mother, a SAHM and nothing else to show other than photos of her amazing house, husband and kids. I would shoot down every notion that "I would regret it" or "you'll change your mind" or "but women are more fulfilled in marriage and having kids". Maybe it was just my generation or what is coined "modern woman" but I was certainly one of those people in the article that did not look too kindly on men, marriage and kids. 

Until I met Hubbycat and got married. Now I realise that the problem is NOT marriage. The problem is NEVER about marriage. Marriage in all terms is just a contract, a piece of paper, a written promise to make the relationship OFFICIAL & LEGAL. So when you think marriage is essentially that how then is marriage the problem? It's not. It is essentially no different from being in a committed relationship - just that you get a paper. So you cannot condemn marriage and say you want to focus on a career when you're in a relationship. 

The problem then becomes WHO you marry. For me, I made it clear to Hubbycat that entering into a relationship with him does not mean I am suddenly responsible for the household, the food, the kids and all that. I was not his mother and getting together with him did not suddenly make me his mother. We both had a clear understanding that we enter on equal footing - we BOTH take care of the house, the food, the kids, the finances and all that. There is no "I'm the man, my job is to get the career and you as the woman just follow and trust me completely, ignoring all your ambitions because when you agree to marry me you agree on letting go of all that and focus on the sole responsibility of your womanhood - giving me babies and taking care of the household." Of course, oversimplified but you get the gist. 

Hubbycat and I have a working relationship and a personal relationship. Everything in our life is a relationship - we take charge of everything together. Work, kids, household, finances - there is no this is your territory and this is mine. I got married, I run two businesses, I am a mother and I am my own person. Did marriage stop me? Hell no. I am able to do all the above because the person I married is supportive and respects me enough to let me do what I want. The person I married did not expect me to give up my ambition or dreams to fulfil his. The person I married saw how these things made me happy and have supported me in every way possible to make it a reality. The person I married does not feel threatened that his wife earned the same amount of money as him. The person I married did not ask me to slow down because his ego felt threatened. The person I married is my equal and the person I married treats me as his equal. If I didn't want to take care of the kids, I know in a heartbeat he would find a way to empower me to do that. If I suddenly wanted to find a 9-5 job, I know in a heartbeat he would send me out there with kisses, love and all his support. 

So women, don't berate on marriage. The problem is not the ring or the piece of paper. The problem is who you are in a relationship with. If the man or woman does not support you, your wants, needs and ambition then please, don't even get into a relationship with them. I hate it when people say as a wife you need to support your husband even if that means giving up your dreams because that's not how love works. That's just selfish to me because if the wife gets happiness in working, how dare she is forced to trade that for a life that she is not happy with just to make man happy. Of course, if the wife is happy doing that, by all means, go ahead. There are women like my mother who derive happiness that way. But to say ALL women are responsible and should behave that way is nonsense. 

Marriage is not the problem. It's the person you're marrying. If you can't find the right one, you're seriously better off not being in a relationship with that person. Don't even talk marriage, you should have nothing to do with them completely. Marriage should never change the dynamics of a relationship. Marriage should never be a reason to expect men or women to be someone different altogether. Marriage should ultimately be just an "OFFICIAL CONTRACT" of your relationship. And if your relationship is riddled with trouble, obviously, don't get married. I hate it when people make marriage more than what it should be because I've been married since 2012 and I've learnt that marriage is NOT more or less than what a committed relationship is. That being said... then why get married? To be honest, legality. But really, if a marriage doesn't work for you, don't get married. 

For me, the problem isn't about getting married or not. It's people belittling marriage and making it sound like a death sentence. A death sentence to a woman's ambition and career opportunities. A death sentence to a woman's autonomy and power. A death sentence to a woman's independence. It's not. I know of so many powerful women who have achieved so much and are married. I know businesswomen who run multimillion-dollar companies and are married. So really, marriage is NOT a death sentence. But marriage to the wrong person is. 

-Ally

Thursday, 23 July 2020

I am NOT a great mom. I'm just a mom.


When I first became a mom 5 years ago, I had a meltdown. First 6 months I was a mess. Those were 6 months of self-doubt, insecurities and so many questions. I was ill-prepared. I was over-advised. I was too little me too much everything else. I was conflicted. I was drowning. I was just overwhelmed. There came a point where I was just scared to do anything because there was so much advice out there that CONFLICTED which each other. 

It wasn't overnight but it was a conscious gradual process of always choosing what was right for me, us and our newest family member. Sometimes that meant going against every advice you've ever heard. It wasn't easy because at that time I was still in some grand believe that I had to be a GREAT mom. One day in the shower while I was crying my eyes out, thinking about running away - I came to my senses. This was not how motherhood is meant to be. I didn't want to do motherhood this way. I didn't want my child to sense my unhappiness and resentment. I just didn't want to be that mom who was "great" in the eyes of the world but was in turmoil inside and to my child. I was reminded again, to just do things my way. To just be a mom and let mom-instincts dictate how I will be a mom to my kids. How to be the mom my kids need me to be. How to be the mom I will be proud of. How to be the mom the younger me would be inspired by. How to be the kind of mom that my daughter will one day want to be. 

I just needed to be a mom.

Here are a few things I learnt:

1. There's no right or wrong way of taking care of a baby. Just be a mom- whatever a mom looks like to you. 

Seriously there isn't. Your baby sure as hell doesn't care the method you use, she only cares that she's taken care off and loved. When you understand this, you'll realise all the "mom" debates are utterly and completely useless and nonsensical. There should not even be a debate in the first place. There should just only be information. 

Breastfeed or formula - who friggin cares?! Your baby sure doesn't. All she needs is to be filled up. If you want to breastfeed - good for you. If you want to formula - good for you. Just don't starve the poor child in your ideals of "perfection" because perfection looks like a well-fed baby who's content and not screaming in hunger. If you ever feel conflicted, like I do, I just remember this golden rule: Just be a mom.

A mom has her baby on her boob. A mom also has her baby on a bottle. A mom is also the mom making formula. A mom is also the one with a pump on her breast. A mom is one who feeds her child. 

A mom is one that sleep-trains her child. A mom is one who sleeps with her child. A mom is one who does anything so that her child sleeps. 

A mom uses cloth nappies. A mom uses disposable nappies. A mom uses wipes. A mom uses water. A mom uses organic creams. A mom uses cream. A mom is one who will not allow her child to sit in stools and will do whatever it takes to keep her baby clean. 

A mom sings to her baby. A mom doesn't sing to a baby. A mom goes to work. A mom stays-at-home. A mom cooks. A mom orders in. A mom takes naps. A mom hangs out with friends. A mom is someone who makes sure she herself is in tip-top condition so that she can give her best to her family because she understands that her happiness is the key to all that. 

2. Everyone will have something to say. Some will support you. Some will not. But ultimately, you do you.

Everyone and I mean everyone will have something to tell you. Even nurses that you've only seen once will offer you advice. I've learnt that it's just our culture and most times it comes from a place of good intentions. I've learnt to filter through the advice with almost medical precision. Sit with the advice regardless of where it came from. Roll it in your head and tongue. If it doesn't sit well - discard. Even if that advice comes from your family. They don't live your life, you do. They aren't the ones raising the baby, you are.

Your voice is the only one that matters in this narrative and let's face it, everyone can have something to say but in the end, they're just noise. Remember your child is watching you. Your child will learn to either listen to their own voice or the noise. You don't want them to listen to the noise. 

3. Be the mom you would be proud of. 

I am a little ashamed to admit that the first 6 months of motherhood, I was not the mom I was proud of. I was too fearful. Too overwhelmed. Too caring of what people thought. Too afraid of offending. Too afraid of stepping up and protecting my child. But that realisation was the wake-up call I needed.

If you're ever unsure of what to choose, choose the choice that will make you proud of the mom you are. Choose the choice that will make you the best mom to your children. Choose the choice that will ensure your children knows you are their mother, the voice of reason, their moral compass, their wise advisor, their protector, their confidante and their fierce mother who will not let the noise overpower her ability to make decisions. 

And if I have only one advice to give - it's essentially this: Do what feels right for you.

I can share what feels right for me and I have, but that's all it is. What feels right for me. It may not be for you and I completely respect that. My goal is not to push my methods on you. My goal is to empower you to be you. My goal is to provide you with more information to make a choice you are comfortable with. That's all. In the end, you're the mother of your children. This is what makes me be the mom I am today. If you chase after being a "great" mom, you will be a very unhappy and unsure mom because greatness is so subjective. That's why there are debates - everyone wants to prove that they're great. 

Well, I'm not a great mom and I can't be a great mom. I'm just a mom. A mom I am proud to be.

-Ally

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Talking to Children Without Exhausting Them


"Our children are EXHAUSTED by how many questions we ask them."
- Rosalind Wiseman

Saw this quote on Instagram and wrote a small IGstory on it. Thought it would make a good blog post too. 

Growing up I would get really annoyed when I'm bombarded with too many questions. Most of the times I will shut down not because I'm cautious (although sometimes I am) but most of the time it's because it's exhausting. Exhausting because these questions sound like I'm being interrogated and it's overwhelming. Too many questions and I flare up or shut down. While kids are generally okay with questions, there is such a thing as TOO MANY questions. If you find your child shutting you out or shutting down, most likely they're just overwhelmed and exhausted by all the questions thrown at them. Sometimes it's because they're really just too tired and sometimes it's just that they're uncomfortable opening up to you and that discomfort is overwhelming and mentally exhausting.

For me the moment I feel like I'm being interrogated, my guards shoot up. When I'm already so exhausted or not in the mood, the last thing I want to do is think about the "right" answers to questions. When that happens, children always turn to one-word answers "okay" "fine" "no" "yes" as their coping mechanism. It's frustrating for everyone - as a parent, you're upset because your child is not connecting and as a child, it's annoying because why can't your parents just leave you alone. It's emotionally very draining and simple questions can feel like a bomb.

There's a method my mother uses that I use with my children today. My mother doesn't ask questions she tells us stories and she does the talking first. Especially when she senses that I'm just too tense or too overwhelmed to answer questions. Choose the right time as this won't work when your child is overwhelmed. If you see that they're too strung out, too exhausted, too frustrated - give them space. Don't force them to engage in conversation with you. Don't force them to "talk it out". Give them time and space. For me, my favourite time is during meal times. My mom doesn't ask questions but she starts the conversation by telling us about her day, a story, news she read - basically anything to break the ice. Start with something light and build up from there. She would always make it relatable that the more she shared the more I connected.

As she's telling the story, she's also melting the ice and easing tension. Eventually, something she says will connect with me. That's the trigger. The bridge as I like to call it. The invitation to talk. Then it's my turn to ask questions because I'm curious. I want to know more. I start to open up because I want to go deeper and I want to hear what mom has to say. By then, I'm comfortable with talking because I know she won't judge me knowing that she has gone through something similar. That's how a conversation happens and now mom is able to ask questions to "better learn" the situation. Now we're having a meaningful conversation. An enriching conversation. A conversation that replenishes my emotional bank and not depleting it. 

At the end of the day, the reason we ask our children questions is to form a connection. As a parent, you want to know more about your children. You want to be present in your child's life. You want your child to feel enriched from talking to you. Most importantly you want your child to see you as someone who they can come to with everything. How can you be that person when you can't even be human to your children? If you're not able to talk about the hard things how can you expect your child to come to you with those hard things? Would you show weakness to someone you saw as didn't have any weaknesses? Would you be human in front of someone who was "perfect"? Would you talk to someone who left you more drained and worst off? I wouldn't. If you wouldn't how can we expect our children?

Don't forget the end goal - you don't want to add to your child's exhaustion. You don't want them to shut down towards you. You want them to talk to you. You want them to open up to you. And for you to do that, you first need to show that you understand and are deserving of being in their lives. You first have to be the safe zone for them and you have to be respectful and unjudgemental. That when you have to correct their mistakes or tell them that they're wrong - they see it from a place of care and not from a place of judgement. Most importantly, you don't want for every conversation with you feel exhausting but enriching. That they come out of it better and ready to face the world out there.

-Ally

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

As A Parent, I Don't Own My Children

As a child, I always struggled with the idea or notion that my parents owned me. For the longest time, I hated the idea that I wasn't my own person. Whether it was because I was "too young" or "too dependent" or "too naive" or whatever the reason was that made me the subject of my parents' desires, wishes and dreams - I hated all of it. In my head, it was an excuse to control me and make me into someone they wanted. Not someone I was or what I wanted but what they wanted. It almost felt like I was theirs to do as they wish, throw or love, spoil or hit, allowed or not - it was always what they wanted. 

I struggled for a long time. Struggled under the guise of "obedience and honour" or whatever it was the bible said a child should do for their parent. I struggled with guilt and to be honest, as I am uncovering myself more and more each day, I realised I suffer a lot of guilt. Guilt that would eat me up and the fear of hell and disappointing God kept me in control. Control that felt almost like my parents owned me and I owed it to them. That I owed them everything. It also felt that every gift was a transaction that required my "obedience" as payment. As a child and until I became an adult, I fought so hard to be my own person. I fought through the shame, the guilt, the snide comments of "you are so ungrateful", "you're selfish", "you're dishonouring us" right down to "I hope your children don't treat you the same way." If the goal was making me conform and obey- it sure didn't happen. If anything it made me angry. My best friend anger would come to protect me from the unfairness of what was happening. But as a child, I kept it all in and "obeyed". One day when I become a parent I'll understand.

***

I became a parent. I'm a mom of two beautiful children who without a doubt I will die protecting, sacrifice to provide and love unconditionally. Two children who are my pride and joy even when they're at their worst. Two children whom Hubbycat and I have given shelter, food, finances, toys, healthcare and a promise of a good life. As a parent, I understand alright. I understand how wrong it is to believe I  as a parent own my children. I understand how ridiculous it is. I understand how egoistical, unreasonable, selfish and manipulative it is to think that as parents you own your children. As a parent, I don't own my children. I never have and I never will. I am their guardian, their safe keeper, their holder, their protector and their guide. 

As a parent, I don't own my children. They are not mine to do as I please with and they are not drawing blocks where I project my wishes, dreams, wants and ambitions on. They don't owe me anything - not for the food I feed them, the clothes I clothe them in, the money I provide them, the education I offer them - none of it. They don't owe me for it because it is my responsibility as their parent. It is my responsibility and it's not a gift. They do not have to earn it nor work for it because the moment they are my children, I have the responsibility to ensure I give them the best life. I don't do it because I own them, no, I do it because I chose to have them but ultimately it's because I love them. 

I love them. As a parent, I love my two children. I love them until my heart recognises them as my own. I love them until seeing them have the best makes me happy. I love them until I know they are who they are meant to be - whole and secure with their identity, their ambitions and their desires. I love them with my whole being that I respect the person they were born to be and I will guide them into becoming that best version of themselves. Love makes me want to give and give and give. Love makes me want to see them happy. Love makes me want to uplift them, bless them, say words of protection and affirmation over them. Love makes me want to do all that without needing them to repay me in any way, form or desire.

As a parent, I don't own my children. I never will. I have been appointed their guardian, their temporary caretaker until they're old enough to take care of themselves. Till then (and even after quietly), I will watch over them the best way I can. I will guide them the best way I can. I will respect their space and individuality the best way I can. I will provide for them the best way I can. I will honour their wishes the best way I can. The best I can because I don't know everything. There will be moments where I have to trust my children know better than I will ever do. I have to respect my child to know what works best for them. Moments where I will never understand the whys or hows but trust my ability to be understanding, open and receptive to their needs because it's about them and not me. Because my children are not my property. They are their own person and I will do my best to protect their person without needing any compensation, gifts, obedience or respect in return. 

I am a parent. I am not their owner. I understand.

-Ally

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Putting Myself Out There



Old habits die hard. 

I've always struggled to let myself be open with others. I've also struggled to let people in. I've struggled to be honest about how I feel. I've struggled to let people see me break down, struggle, get hurt or just be human. I've struggled to let people see me lost. I've struggled to allow people in at my weakest. I've struggled to talk to people about myself. 

But every once in awhile, I'm thankful that I do. Like I'm thankful I allowed my group of crazy friends into my life. How the 7 of us are different and living all over the world but our lives are intertwined. These 7 amazing human beings that I've had the privilege to do life with and grow up with. I'm thankful I allowed myself to be open with them and for them to do the same. A friendship that have no limitations, safe boundaries and complete honesty. I've never been ashamed to cry or whine or rant in this circle. I've always felt safe and accepted. When I lost my mom, they were with me. When I didn't want to talk, they quietly helped out any way they could while I sorted myself out. When I wanted to cry, they listened. When I felt like I lost a huge chunk of my life, these girls reminded me that I didn't lose everything. That no matter what, they were there. And they have been. 

I'm thankful I allowed Hubbycat into my life. I'm glad I didn't keep those walls up. I'm glad I allowed myself to be 100% with him. Granted, with him, it was easy. It has always been easy. Just like how in Normal People, when Marianne tells Conell "It's not like this with other people." It isn't like that with other people, he was the first. Something connected. I don't believe in soul mates, the one, first loves and all that stuff... but something happened. Something I don't understand till this very day - something inside that just connected and said, "he is it for me." I'm thankful I listened and put myself out there with him. Regardless of the noise that said otherwise, I did and I'm thankful. Because he has been there for everything - the happiest moments of my life and also the darkest. And what my life is today, is because we are who we are and we do it together. 

Then there's also amazing friendships I've made along the way. Friendships that started out as a business opportunity turned friends. Friendships that happened because of a connection - an online platform, an interest, my children or a common connection.Where a phone call and I know they'll pull through for me. I know that all these friendships could not have happened if I didn't put myself out there. I'm thankful I did. I'm thankful I allowed myself to drop the walls and masks and get to know them. To be open and have an honest connection.

The same goes for my businesses and work. All the collaborations, the clients and the merchandises. The first time I accepted a customer was the most harrowing. The thoughts and insecurities that came rushing in. The doubt. The need to put up some form of barrier to protect myself. The masks that threatened to come in so that I won't get hurt by the negativity. But I'm glad I didn't. Because my work is always honest because I am honest. It's that honesty that attracts people, that speaks to something inside and that connects with people. My work is always honest because I want to be honest. Yes, there will be negativity especially to something so subjective, but it's okay because with every negative comment there's a positive one. There's someone who connects, someone who needed to hear, see or read it and someone who is able to relate. And as long as one person benefits, I will always continue to be honest. 

Here's the thing, putting myself out there, it's always scary. It's always a rush of emotions and memories of being burnt, of being told to keep yourself back into your box, of being told that you're too much or not enough and that what you are is making others uncomfortable. It's always an emotional ride. One with a lot attached to it but every so often, I'm glad I push through the initial noise and put myself out there. Because if I had not put myself out there none of these would be in my life.

-Ally

Thursday, 9 July 2020

I am Enough but I live in "it's not enough".

"Why can't you be happy with what you have? Why are you always chasing more?"

Because my "happy" is in the achieving of more. My "happy" is in the achievements of goals, dreams and passion. My "happy" is not so much about the money, material things or how many things I have done. All these matter in the beginning, but I quickly realised that they don't make me happy. My "happy" is in the chase, it's in the planning, the creating and ultimately birthing something and nurturing it into something great, complex, memorable.

This I realised is something not many people will understand. You will not understand if you're the kind of person who "lives in the moment" or "enjoys the slow-paced life" or "you're content with having enough to eat, sleep, dress, live" or "you're just happy being happy". If you're those people good for you but I've tried that life and that life made me miserable. That life made me purposeless. That life made me crave something more and I found myself dreading each moment, forcing myself to "live in the moment" and feeling restless. 

Whenever I tell people I'm working on a new project, people tell me to slow down or life will pass me by. People are afraid of people like me because people like me make people uncomfortable. I get that. People like me make people feel inadequate, feel lesser than, feel like they're sinning when they're relaxing. But that's not my fault it's those people who feel that way. Just because I find happiness in the chase, the excitement that flows through my veins whenever I see something I've concepted come alive, the emptiness when it's done should not make you feel uncomfortable for not being me. You feel the way you do, I never forced you to emulate what I do, I never said my life is better, I never said you should follow my footsteps. You do you. YOU DO YOU. Why should I slow down, do lesser, achieve lesser when there's no happiness in that for me? Why should your comfort make me dream smaller, grow lesser, make space for others or myself when I feel miserable doing just that? 

There's a misconception that people like me are trying to make up for a lack. That people like me are overcompensating for something. That people like me have an inferiority complex. The truth is I know I am enough. I've always known I was enough. I always known that but growing up, people made me feel like I was not enough. I tried to be what people wanted me to be just to make others comfortable and that sucked. Now, I know better. I am enough. More than enough. But I still live a life that is not enough. I live a life of chasing more, wanting more and needing more. 

Why? Because I'm wired that way. People like me love the chase, we love to dream of the next big thing, we want our next project to be bigger and better, we want more in life and you know what, it's perfectly okay. Do I feel burned out? Heck no. I feel alive and fired up. Do I feel like life is slipping me by? Never. Each waking moment I'm doing something I feel more involved than I've ever been. People like me can never sit idly and watch the world go by. We see problems and we want to fix it. We see things we can improve on and we work on it. We see flaws in ourselves and we work to overcome those. People like me and driven and our drive makes things "never enough". I've always been driven since I was a child. I was always trying to hit a new goal, the faster the better. It's just who I was born to be. It's the person I am. My parents didn't raise me that way and I certainly wasn't "brainwashed" by society to idolise people like me. I just am. To be honest, I'm okay with it. And if people who are driven like me makes you uncomfortable, what we have is just not in you. That's all to it. It's just not in and for you. 

Don't belittle us. Don't judge us. Don't say we are unhappy. Don't say we're missing out the big picture. Don't say we don't know how to appreciate the little things. Don't say we are lacking. Don't say we are not enough. Because that's further from the truth. I am enough but I live in "it's not enough". Because my happiness is being driven to do more, see more, be more and being limited frustrates the hell out of me. 

-Ally

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

What I Bought During Lazada 7-7 Mid Year Super Sale


I've been waiting all week for this sale. I've been putting things into my cart and waiting for 12am 7/7 to cart out my shopping cart. I went to bed happy to have snagged some pretty awesome products as well and saved some money as well. 

So here's what I bought. 

A) GROCERIES


So did you know Lazada has it's own flagship grocery store? If you don't know yet, now you do. I've been getting a lot of my nonperishables during the MCO when Tesco was impossible to get delivery slots. So when 7.7 was approaching, naturally I stocked up on my necessities!

1. Naturel Olive Oil (RM 27.99)

This is Hubbycat's preferred brand of olive oil and we've been using more olive oil now for our cooking. Vegetable oil is actually very damaging to our bodies so we are slowly making the switch. But Olive Oil is not very cheap also. So when the price went from RM33 to RM 27.99, it was no brainer to stock up. 

2. Kleenex Toilet Paper : Aloe Vera (RM 26.90)

You know the fiasco where there was a shortage of TP and then prices went mad. Yeah, now you don't have to freak out and just get what you need online at a steal (OP: RM 37.20) at almost RM10 less. So yeah, don't be caught without TP or paying premium when you can always stock up now. 


Also a staple in our house and the amount of laundry we do (thanks kids!) I'm always on the look out for discounts on our liquid detergent. Now you save RM 10 ok, stock up now or forever cry when you wash clothes. 


As a Starbucks lover, I also purchased this cause I was craving it so badly during MCO and Hubbycat was still a little reluctant to use GRAB / FOODPANDA etc. So I succumbed to this and I love it. So now it's on sale, BUY!

B) BABY ITEMS

1. Sebamed Baby Wash (RM 75.90)

35% savings!


We stocked up on this as well especially the small bottles for their school. Cause #TheTwoLims usually shower in school and are required to bring their own toiletries. 

3. Drypers Pants (RM 100.90)

Save up to RM54.00 and diapers is also another necessity since LittleJLim still hasn't been weaned off night diapers. 

C) BEAUTY

1. Innisfree Masks (RM 76.99)

Save 23% and it's awesome cause I use this once-twice every week. 

D) STATIONERY

1. Buncho Paints (RM 18.18)

I usually buy Crayola from Mysale cause it's way cheaper. Although Crayola has an official flagship store on Lazada too but Mysale is still cheaper. So while waiting for the Mysale sale, I got LittleLim Buncho to replace our dwindling stock for now until I can replace it. 

2. Book Strap (RM 1.35)

Also bought LittleLim some book straps to keep all her school books together. I'm using rubberbands now but as her books increase in number, the rubberbands keep snapping. So I decided to just get proper straps and not waste anymore rubberbands.


Jeremy uses these pencils for training cause it's triangle shape which helps with his pencil grip. Usual price is RM20.90 so this is definitely a steal!

For LittleLim. This is going for almost half price so it's definitely worth getting. Also good for birthday gifts etc. 

5. Erasers box of 50 (RM 7.76)

Because our kids loses their erasers sooooo quickly. It's either gone into a black hole of no returns or my kids use them to give to their friends. 

E) MISC.

1. Xiaomi Reusable Coffee Cup (glass) (RM 29.06)

This one is soooo worth it! I'm currently using one from "The Hive Bulk Food", but I like that this one is about the same size but it's leakproof and so cute! But mostly because it's LEAKPROOF which means I can dump into my bag without worrying. 


I also got this glass bottle to replace one I left behind in Pizza Hut. I've been using glass bottles for more than a year now and I swear by glass bottles. It's a bit heavier but it's safer for reuse. Glass bottles look more elegant but more importantly, glass bottles are better at keeping hot/warm beverages compared to plastic. Which was the reason why I got it initially to store LittleJLim's hot water for his milk. But turns out I fell in love with it and kept using it after. 

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT!! You still have time to shop and hopefully all the items are still in stock. Also do check out each shop because some shops do offer discount vouchers on top of the discounts for added savings!

HAPPY SHOPPING!!!

-Ally