Hello Holiday Season

Hello everyone,

So Christmas just passed and New Years eve is just around the corner. Everywhere people are posting about what a great year they have had and what they hope for in the coming year. It’s very human of us to behave this way.

It is so easy to look back on this past year and pinpoint moments of elation and happiness and base my judgment of the year on that because most of us are programmed “Bright Side-rs”. We look back and at the very least we can be grateful that we survived and lived to see the end of the year. We forget the hard learned lessons very easily sometimes in our efforts to be able to look back on our lives and see a series of happy memories and accomplishments to be proud of.

Who wants to look back and see all the bad? I know I don’t, and I’m sure a lot of others don’t either. It would be thoroughly depressing. This Bright Side approach is aided by the fact that we are constantly being reminded to be grateful, that things could be a lot worse. Which is undoubtedly true, things could be a lot worse.

What my problem right now is that this Bright Side approach sets me up year after year to repeat the same mistakes. Not identical ones, mind you. When i say “same mistakes”, I mean mistakes that are caused in essence by resilient character flaws in me that I just don’t deal with much less correct because at the end of each year, I want to look back and be happy about the good things and not dwell too much on the bad.

I make bad decisions about people I choose to trust and count as friends and each year I tell myself I will be smarter and yet, at the end of the year I look back and see all the party moments, all the laughs and all the good cheer and think “awww man, these people aren’t so bad”. And the same shit happens again…and again… and again… It might not be the same people but its the same pattern. I am stupid about how not to let people control me, how to not let them be able to hurt me.

I am also a terrible planner. As much as I suffer from OCD and want to be super organized, sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me and I overwhelm myself, which in turn leads to me getting nothing done, rushing last minute, or missing out on opportunities entirely.

These are the two main reasons that I am being consciously very critical of this past year 2014. I had a great holiday earlier this month and I think this holiday is part of why I have come to this realization. I learnt many things on this trip, about the world and about myself, and one of the lessons I am taking to heart is that good things happen when you stop relying on and waiting for others and just DO stuff you need to get done or want to get done. Another lesson is that I really need to get smart already as I approach my quarter-of-century mark and need to finally take some serious control of my life.

So here I am, saying that, I am flawed. I have some serious faults. But I am also realizing that I can control them, maybe even fix them. The first step was to realize that I am the architect of my own misery. For instance, it is my character flaw to be naive and trust the wrong people, because people are just who they are and what they do is what they do, so if their actions hurt me then in a way its my own fault for making the wrong decisions about said people.

This realization has brought with it a strange peace. You would think that by essentially taking away the crutch of blame throwing, I am being forced to really take a good long hard look in the mirror (which is not easy) and this should not equate to peace. But it does, and I am clearer in my mind and in my vision than I have been for years. I am at peace with people. It isn’t their fault. It’s my own, and because it is my own fault: I CAN FIX IT.

That’s where the peace is, knowing that finally there is an answer. If not an actual answer then at least an inkling as to what I need to do, some guidance in what has been a series of years marked by my stupidity. I have a project that inspires me and drives me: MYSELF.

And that is my main resolution for 2015….I will take care of myself, I will enrich myself, I will protect myself and I will better myself. Its about bloody time too.

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A lesson in useful non-English vocab….

Words that don’t exist in the english language:

L’esprit d’escalier: (French) The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said. Translated it means “the spirit of the staircase.”

Waldeinsamkeit: (German) The feeling of being alone in the woods.

Meraki: (Greek) Doing something with soul, creativity, or love.

Forelsket: (Norwegian) The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love.

Gigil: (Filipino) The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.

Pochemuchka: (Russian) A person who asks a lot of questions.

Pena ajena: (Mexican Spanish) The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation.

Cualacino: (Italian) The mark left on a table by a cold glass.

Ilunga: (Tshiluba, Congo) A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.


So sure I’ve suffered my share of GIGIL as an adorable child, but after many instances of PENA  AJENA as I was growing up, I finally realize that being aPOCHEMUCHKA, though increasing your own knowledge, tends to piss others off. So I broke the habit, and it became like a CUALACINO, a mere fragment of something that used to be there, except I then started to suffer from an accute case of L’esprit d’escalier.
My life is complicated >_<

Anniversary post…or the one about failing health inversely proportioned with renewed inspiration.

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So yesterday was my anniversary on WordPress, and ever since then I have been wondering what I should make this post about.

I have been meaning to write a new post for a week now but I had so much of an abundance of reference able material that the opposite of productivity happened: Stagnation…which in turn lead to feeling like a total failure. That happens to me a lot, where I am so overwhelmed with ideas that I actually wind up demotivated, fearing I will never be able to do my ideas justice. This inevitably leads to the final defeatist statement my little inner voice shuts me down with, “whats the point then?”… But I am doing this now.

For everyone curious as to what these topics/articles of interest that became the bane of my creative existence, then what follows is a list of links to these:

 

1) Happiness and it Disconnects

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/13/happiness-and-its-discontents/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=opinion&_r=3&

2) 25 professions and what its like to date someone in them

http://thoughtcatalog.com/chelsea-fagan/2014/04/25-professions-and-what-its-like-to-date-someone-whos-in-them/#Up2RIQXLDGgKjuIO.01

3) 13 ways to identify someone who has their shit together 

http://thoughtcatalog.com/christine-stockton/2014/04/13-ways-to-identify-a-20-something-that-has-their-sht-together/

4) 30 things to stop doing to yourself

http://www.lifebuzz.com/just-stop/#!FwPgZ

5) 5 regrets of the dying

http://www.lifebuzz.com/5-regrets/#!FwPhh

6) Ten life lessons to excel in your thirties

http://markmanson.net/10-life-lessons-excel-30s

 

As you can tell, dear reader, most if not all the posts are from other blogs. Other, more established, better managed blogs. Let it not be said that I am not interested in blogging but sometimes it can be a daunting experience, as I am sure many of you will agree, specially when you are subscribed to and regularly read some fantastic blogs yourself. How does one even begin to compare???

So I am going to just start adding random post about…stuff… here.

For instance, in reference to the title of this post, let me fill you in. I have suffered the worst combination of allergy-sinus blowout, asthma by proxy, hormonal tornado (Hot flashes and all) and splitting headaches only in the right section of my cranium.

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This image should eloquently and quite clearly present my state of mind these past few months. Needless to say I am exhausted. It is hard work being a full time student, while your body just basically insists on hating you and being uncooperative, and all the while there are raging bush fires right down the damn road. Add to that a strange lack of rain in tropically wet Borneo, and you have a very cranky Ramsha Penguin.

 

BUT

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Looking on the bright side now. My boyfriend and I celebrated our one year anniversary earlier this month. It was probably one of the simplest yet sweetest nights I can ever remember. He went out of his way to make it as special as it possibly could get (on a budget, because we are both kinda broke this month haha) and I will remember it forever. I am grateful to have him and all the things he does and I hop for so many more years of having him. He is surely one of my blessings.

I also had some great times with new friends and old. I got closer to my two girl friends than ever before and met some really great new people too. They both feature on a short documentary I am filming currently for class, which I will hopefully be able to share. Its always great to know you can attract great people into your life that feel that you are worth getting to know, worth KEEPING, regardless of how messed up or damaged you might be.

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That is, by the way, one of my all time favorite dialogues of any film ever (Casper, 1995,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casper_(film), Devon Sawa).

Yes it is nice to be wanted and kept around, but nicer to be accepted and welcomed.

Another fun thing to happen was that last week I visited KL with one of my new friends. Four nights of broke adventuring, chasing after bakeries and hunting down an Indian barbar shop so that my very white, very Australian companion could get a shave. I ate some good food, drank some Strongbow and met some old friends. All in all, it was hectic and frenzied and super fun… I will not go into the bad bits here because this is the BRIGHT SIDE SECTION (but trust me, there were some).

Here are photos of said fantastic bakery, Tous Le Jours (check it out here: http://tlj.com.my)

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How absolutely beautiful is that? Its like a buffet which also serves delicious coffee and teas in HUGE mugs. All of which equals massive doses of happiness. Kuala Lumpur always leaves me feeling exhausted and refreshed simultaneously. So here is hoping I can land a job there once I graduate, because the city is just exhilarating and liberating and I love every brightly lit street and dodgy dark alley. Or maybe that is just rose colored holiday glasses talking? Either way, KL was great.

So in conclusion to this super long, ranty post, Id like to say that I will be posting more because I have stopped caring to achieve a certain standard, and just try to make my own standard. I’ve been unwell and blessed all at the same time, and I am finding myself spoilt for choice when it comes to inspiration materials. So heres hoping for greater productivity all around!

I represented Pakistan this morning, in a University event

I represented Pakistan this morning, in a University event

The trial period…

So, am I the only one that takes the first few days of the new year as a trial period, like a get-out-of-jail sort of a deal, where I can test run all the new resolutions I made or try out the changes I want to implement. So now that its the eleventh and the trial is over I think I can finally release the official list of my Official New Years Resolutions for 2014.

Please try to laugh along, I really don’t take life very seriously in general (except for a few aspects which are indeed very, very serious, and should be taken as such). So here is the list:

  1. Try to be more organized: I happen to have many talents. and that is not just a boast. I can back that statement up. But couple that with an inability to say “NO”, I am constantly rushing from place to place, busy and on the verge of total collapse. So I will try and be more organized with my commitments and really try and manage my time better
  2. Try to be more organized (Part 2): This part pertains to my personal MATERIAL life. I have three houses where my possessions have been split up into. One is my family home in Islamabad (the permanent residence), then there is where my parents currently reside in the neighboring city of Lahore, in a rented house. Finally there is where I live in Malaysia, my second home. MY home (though this too is rented BUT under my name) *do you sense the pride?*…. So because of this three way split I have accumulated waaay too many possessions that are becoming hard to manage. So I am trying to SORT MY SHIT OUT, as they say.
  3. Enjoy the now: I have a tendency to sometimes get very caught up. Couple that with a slight issue of nerves and lack of stress management skills and I tend to lose out on the joys of today, for the fear and stress and panic of an uncertain tomorrow…and WOW did that sound all philosophical there just then! But really, I need to chill out.
  4. Read more: In this day and age of technological addiction, I seem to be losing my one and only oldest habit that I have managed to hold on to from my childhood, other than that annoying one where I ask questions…a lot. But it pains me to admit that I have not really been able to commit to reading in a long time. And that scares me. I am loathe to lose the thing that makes me who I am, because I have truly been shaped by the things I have read. And so I shall endeavor to stay away from tech-y stuff long enough to read something. I really love and need my books, more than anyone could possibly understand.
  5. Take better care of my skin and hair: I take some serious meds. I mean really serious ones, and regularly on a daily basis. And this has taken a massive toll on my physical appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way a totally “Monet” as the phrase from Clueless (the movie) would go. But I have personally noticed a drastic amount of hair fall and thinning recently as well as a strange unnatural dryness and dull tone to my skin. Big no-no, I am only just about to turn 24!
  6. Learn to be selfish: This sort of pertains to the first one, but is a problem big enough to deserve its own numbered bullet point. I cant say no, and even when I do, it takes a lot of effort. And this is bad, not just for my physical health, because honestly, a girl gets tired running around trying to meet commitments, but also bad for me as a person. I am not a door mat, and I need to learn that if I say no to people and they turn away from me, then they don’t deserve my help to begin with. I need to stop fearing that I will offend people or be left out or cut out. I need to make time for myself and the people I love.
  7. Cook more proper food: This has to do with the fact that I am a measly 4 feet and 11 inches tall. This means that any, even an amount that would be negligible on a normal person, weight gain is a BIG no. And here I am getting thunder thighs and a belly! Yech! People my size are affectionately known as petite. But lets be real, all that means is that I am small. And gaining weight is painfully visually obvious. So I need to be more careful and make better culinary choices, to help boost my metabolism and shed some pounds before it is too late!
  8. Sleep more: My mind is incessantly ON. I have so much trouble shutting it down to sleep! If it is not the insomnia then it is just my driving curiosity to click that next link, read that next article, watch that next episode. Always  the next thing. Until I exhaust myself and the next day is ruined.
  9. Be more competitive and really exercise my creativity: I have, over the last few years developed a new tendency: to downplay myself. It’s one thing to be humble and another to totally step out of the race! I do not remember when this first began, that moment when I became complacent with mediocrity. But I recently realized that I have missed out on some great opportunities since I became, let’s just say it: LAZY. But no more! I think it is time for some reevaluation of my skills and dusting off my playing shoes.
  10. and finally, Be a better friend: I am terrible at keeping in touch. As you may have understood by now, if you have read so much, or are an old reader that has been following me for sometime, I tend to get caught up. I really need to start committing to relationships with my family and friends and stop losing touch with the people that care about me. It hurts them and in turn, hurts me.

And there you have it! My top-10s. There are sub categories to each one though, I wouldn’t be a very good OCD person if I didn’t micro plan even my resolutions, but I will spare you those details. I hope I can keep to these and in turn, improve my life for the better, for me and for those in my life.

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New Year Cheer (or Same Old Thing We Did Last Year)

Well it’s come to that time of the year. A time where mass texts are sent out to people on contact lists that you may never actually talk to all through the year, except last year, to the date, when you sent the same message to the entire contact list, just like the year before. The same recycled message with a couple of words switched in here and there or new ones worked in, maybe some phrase you though would make you seem hip and up to date. Or as my Facebook feed will stand testament, an inundation of status updates full of well wishes and pseudo-philosophical statements, declarations of love and lists of resolutions, most of which no one will achieve before 2014 is out.

But that’s just one way of looking at it. A very cynical, downright nasty way, if I do say so myself. The other side is the coma inducing sweetness of the people behind those well meaning, if cheesy and stereotypical, text messages and Facebook updates. They are optimistic and bright, happy people. And that too is a way to be.

Where do I stand? With each passing year I am torn between my failures and successes. Sometimes I feel like I am perpetually doing the One-Step-Forward-Two-Steps-Back dance, more a failure the older I get. I mean people younger than me are doing so much more and I am still a second year bachelors student. On the other hand, after everything I have been through, I am, at the same time, damned proud to have made it this far and for the person I have become. The fact that I can emulate a semblance of sanity is a great thing, truly. There is a LOT I am grateful for and to be fair, a lot that I have managed to accomplish.

So for me, its bittersweet. Ill admit, deep inside I too am mushy and cant help but have hopes for the new year to come. On the one hand, tonight is just another date passing on the calender. On the other, its my new start. Every year I grow and mature and come to see more of life, in new ways. I meet new people, I eat new things, I try new dances, new dresses, new shoes, some years I fall in love, others I break my heart but learn a lesson. And it all adds up, and makes me who I am.

I am a mess, a jumble of nerves and contradictions. A lot of ideals and and fears, bravery and cowardice too. There’s lots of happiness and tears. But that is just me and I am Ramsha…

oh and in case anyone was wondering, this was one of the years I found love, and fingers-crossed-touch-wood-and-a-four leaf clover-too, I hope its for good 😉

Happy new year everyone!

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And so the new year approaches and I begin anew

Hello blog world. Again.

So this would be umpteenth countless time begging for a do-over. I know, I know, I always say I’m here for good, only to get caught up with other stuff and totally vanish. But this is, this blog, is for once part of my actual resolutions for the new year. So I am hoping I will keep it up this time. Another reason why I really want to try again is because someone very near and dear to me has asked me not to give up writing. He has faith in my ability to make sense with words and such. I sure hope he is right because I seem to have lost any faith I had in myself as a writer some time ago.

Everything I would come up with seemed so contrived, so alien. Like I was writing other’s words, their stories. I was so uninspired by my own life that I lashed out by burying my own visions and emulating the style of others, trying so hard to bathe myself in the literary glory of others, using formulas that lent them fame, only to realize that what worked for others did not work for me. In fact, I was miserable.

The realization took its time to take root. I figured out, finally, that if inspiration wouldn’t haul ass and come to me, then I’ll just have to pack my bags and go after it. I had no right to be angry at the Gods of Fate/Muses of Life and Art, because it was my own fault for falling into the trap of the mundane and mediocrity, the daily humdrum of sleep, wake, eat, repeat, shampoo, rinse, repeat.

But then I wound up meeting someone, around March of this past year, 2013. And after a long time, I didn’t feel so sad anymore. I was finally not alone. And that changed EVERYTHING.

And so here I am, as cheesy as it may sound, starting over. That phrase is so over used and dragged through the dirt it doesn’t seem enough to explain. Maybe I’m not that great a writer after all, vocabulary skills lacking some what. I can’t say I am reborn, really, I would not want to be. To start over and learn the lessons I have learnt would be horrific really. Some of those lessons were bitter but they have shaped who I am. So NO not reborn. Maybe when I know the right term, the one that feels right, Ill let you guys know. For now, lets just say, I’m back.

And I apologize if this post is a bit haphazard and all over the place. I am just going through a mish-mash of thoughts and new-year-type feelings. I assure and guarantee more coherency and depth of content from henceforth.

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Here, have a rainbow manatee as a sign of apology from me.

So this is what media students do…

I was recently given an assignment to create “web presence”. What this meant was that I had to create a blog or a wiki and then connect it to three contributing nodes.

Knowing WordPress best I decided to base my main node right here. The idea was simple, I wanted to create a social diary of international and local students studying in Curtin University, Sarawak campus in Malaysia.

Here is a link to our university website

http://www.curtin.edu.my/

Sarawak is one of two Malaysian provinces on the island of Borneo. Borneo is the largest island in the world, shared between Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. The two Malaysian provinces (combined, called East Malaysia) are Sabah and Sarawak.

Curtin University is based out of a little industrial city called Miri.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miri

 

The idea is simple. I have created another blog, which has a corresponding Youtube channel, a facebook page and a twitter page, all of which are basically one big social journal of what we get up to here while we study. It really is an interesting environment because we are all essentially foreigners, even the Malaysians from West Malaysia that study here. I wanted to chronicle how we interact and how well we get along essentially, people not only from different countries but from completely different cultures and backgrounds, political opinions, genders, race and religion. There is so much to be learnt in such an environment!

So if you, dear constant reader, are interested in seeing what goes on in this little slice of tropical paradise then here are the links you need. Feel free to comment, subscribe, post, give feedback and follow!

 

The WordPress blog page:

http://thepeopleexist.wordpress.com/

 

The Youtube Channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/ThePeople41

 

The Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-People-vlog/357850207658446