Weekender

The weekend! That wonderful breather from the weekly grind.

It’s the weekend! 

Over here, I love the weekends because that’s when Deric will be around all day and we get to do stuff as a family which we can’t do at other times. 

Jamie is also generally happier when everybody is together, just as I am too. 

This weekend, we haven’t done anything too fancy so far, but a lot of what we did was influenced by a desire to create fun and happy experiences for Jamie. 

Actually, that basically sums up a lot of our motivation whenever we find ourselves with a considerably sized block of free time. 

This time around, it was about taking him on a train ride via the LRT line that runs near our place as well as letting him linger at the car workshop while we sent one of our cars for a routine service. 

Along the way, he had other delightful wishes fulfilled too, like yet another ice cream and a chance to use his new kid sized umbrella. 

It’s interesting to note how our focus changes when we’re a family now. 

Back when Deric and I were just dating, weekends were wide open for whatever we fancied doing. We would often go for dates that lasted all day (and night too, sometimes). Eat lots of nice food. Hang out with friends. Practically anything. 

But now, we need to break our weekend activities into segments to make sure we don’t get our chirpy toddler into a nasty grumpy spell. 

And then there’s the consideration of how crowded a place might be and how unsuitable that might be for him. And limiting dining options to venues where there’s something decent on the menu for a young tummy to ingest. 

These and more. 

But the part that makes our hearts sing the most is when his face lights up while experiencing something that we had planned for him. 

There’s hardly ever enough time on the weekends, and usually not much from my To Do list gets done, but these tiny moments we have, these joy inducing ones, they make it all seem worthwhile somehow. 

Making memories with our son is the little bit of magic that we have been afforded and for which we are grateful.
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Shift, twist

I guess the way I blog really needs to change. No more long and windy posts. Mostly because there’s not enough spare time to write them. 

But still thoughts and feelings and stories aplenty. If only I can manage to find the words to describe them adequately… 

This shift in style and approach begins now. Let’s hope for better things appearing here.

Midway point

Midday breather.

This is us at 1.40pm in the afternoon. He has just fallen asleep. 

What happened prior to this was a pretty much non-stop blur of activities. Right from the time he opened his eyes and woke up as I carried him into our apartment, having just returned from dropping my husband off at the LRT station, where he would catch a train to work. 

I have not yet had my lunch. He hasn’t either. But he had a pretty sizeable breakfast, involving 2x as much bananas as I expected him to consume. 

He also wanted to do art activities with BOTH markers AND paint right after breakfast, much to my dismay. 

But overall, there’s still plenty of daylight hours left to salvage so off I go. 

I shall attempt to tell you more true to life tales of my everyday adventures soon. 

Just so you know though, this is what life at home feels like. Not as leisurely as you’d imagine. Pretty packed with chores and mundane things. But with some occasional magic to spare.

Hidden treasure

The days slip by quickly, and each time something shifts in leaps and bounds.

Dear Globetrotting Friend,

As wonderful as it is to see these picturesque views you encounter at each magical destination you arrive at, I often wish you would not post them on social media. It’s not that I would want to deny you the right to revel in the beauty around you, but sometimes your endless stream of picture perfect images makes me feel a little out of place.

I spend most of my hours behind the same four walls, living a quiet, unnoticed routine. Views like the one you see above are what my eyes feast on every day. It is nothing extraordinary, but it was important enough to me that I decided to be bound by them. To be this hidden person, seen only by a tiny pair of eyes to whom I am the world.

I wish I had inspiring images to show others just as you do, but the ones I take are instead mostly commonplace. They do little to hide the mess behind them. The haphazard tumbling through hours. Days slipping by quickly, one after another; each time something shifting within them, an unnamed thing, growing in leaps and bounds.

My husband is often discouraged with this dull, mundane world we live in, enamoured instead by the adventures you tease us with from your Instagram feed. He always had this bit of wanderlust gripping him, and at times, I feel sorry as if I am the one holding him back.

But this is the life we are building now. And it is called Family.

Beneath the mountains of laundry, behind the unkempt array of toys strewn all across our living room, there is this little boy coming into his own. His is a slow and steady journey, years stretching ahead of him, yet uncounted, unwritten. Mine is the heavy burden to shape this life, to offer it meaning and hope in a universe that often cares little for the crumbs that fall from the tabletop or the stories that need to be read… aloud…. and right now. Or else.

I don’t envy you, my dear Privileged Traveller friend. I just wish I didn’t often find myself making comparisons between us , thinking how vastly different our paths are now, and how we were walking the same trail once upon a time, long ago, when we were but youth.

Because it seems like I have lost myself, and that my days will be endlessly meaningless as they feel. And that I am not living life to the fullest and condemning myself to a predictable outcome.

Perhaps someday I will find greater confidence in the choices I have made.

It’s just that right now those photos of yours don’t seem to be helping.

Tales from home

It's a rare moment. I am able to sit here with the leftovers of my latte and cake (from my Mum's birthday celebration earlier today) and write. This is too good to be true. I expect to be interrupted anytime. Perhaps soon.

So… while I can, I'm checking in here for a bit.

Here's a brief snapshot of what things looked like for me this past week:

Prolonged mealtimes at the dining table with Jamie. Overwhelming restlessness and boredom felt. Lots of "I don't want" which strangely morphs into "I want" the very next second. Plenty of crying. Some shouting (from me). The usual helpings of guilt afterwards. Just so you know, he's two years old.

Most of it was down to an ear ache. Which turned out to be an infection, as confirmed by the paediatrician. It was yet another visit to the clinic on a Wednesday night. The night we are supposed to attend cell group. Which we have not been attending for months. Probably since Jamie was born, actually.

So we're on a course of antibiotics now. Jamie is, I mean. But it might as well be said as "we" since all of us were up at 4am when Jamie awoke and decided he was energetic enough to stay up from then till 6+am. We cooked in between. Again. YES. If you pass our apartment door at silly hours in the middle of the night, you will most likely smell nice things coming from our kitchen. And yes, we are sort of insane.

Books about cars. Jamie's got new ones, quite a few. It's his latest thing. And trucks. Still some interest in trains. But CARS! Lightning McQueen. Ka-chow!

Plants flourishing on the balcony. Testing out my own concoction of compost tea on them. Nearly dying from the stench (smells like vomit). For the first time ever, I have plants doing well on my watch. I still remember the ones that inevitably died when Jamie's delivery day rolled around. We were all so busy we forgot about the plants and a pandan plant died. Those are supposed to be really resilient.

The house is a mess. And laundry started piling up again. Often times, I don't know where to begin dealing with this chaos. We've begun plotting a solution to the problem of clutter and lack of space in the kitchen. Bought some stuff from Ikea to improve the storage part of the equation. But we have yet to fix a time for the handyman to help us assemble the racks. So the problems remain for the time being. Sigh. It's to the point that I have to waste time clearing or moving things around daily just so I can cook or reheat food. We really need to reclaim our kitchen counter space.

Thankfully, there is a lull in work at the moment. I am waiting for further instructions from my client before I proceed to complete my part of the bargain. So technically, I have time to spare for Jamie. Other than dealing with chores, that is. But ironically, I don't feel like spending time with him when I have the opportunity to do so. It's an odd feeling. I feel bad for even feeling this way. But I do. What do I do? I hope this changes soon.

I keep a lot of things in hopes of recycling/upcycling them. So this contributes to more mess at home. I need to get round to certain craft projects or home improvement projects.

Okay, Jamie is up from his nap and crying. Gotta run now.

Time and again

Ironically enough, it's become extremely hard to write anything that I feel is heartfelt and of significant worth nowadays. I've been feeling so ever since I made writing my official career path, I think.

Funny, isn't it, since you'd think that because you're devoting more time perfecting your craft, you should be better at it and everything should come so much more naturally than it did in the past?

But this is how it's been. Regrettably too, might I add.

I revisited the old, first proper blog I ever wrote, Veritas Project, recently. It surprised me just how differently I used to write. So uninhibited. So candid.

In some ways, I wish I was back at that place and time of my life, and that I had utilised those moments more fully to revel in the emotions of that season more, to write more wholeheartedly. Because now that I am where I'm at in life, here in my 30's, there's a great difference in the things I'd write and how I'd write them.

Yet, of course, I'm not discounting the value of experience and where it has gotten me. I write now through the lens of someone who has seen more, who realises what she is capable of, and who now knows so many more precious things about the world and the seasons and rhythms of life.

Time and again, though, I keep returning to this point of contemplation that I need to put forward a more genuine version of myself whenever I write. Particularly when I blog for a wider audience, like I do here.

The difficulty here lies in the fact that having been a journalist in the not-so-distant past, my writing disciplines have been shaped to habitually involve the practice of self censorship. We do it all the time in the newsroom, although the reasons for doing so may differ each time. The words we allow to escape our keyboard are filtered: tapered down in its depth of feeling, politically correct, shifted and sorted to take on a supposedly neutral form, appealing to the average reader. Which is, in reality, probably no one.

Here in Blogdom, everyone is writing nowadays to garner as much Likes as possible. Building a band of followers that will faithfully swallow whatever you put out for them, just because they feel like you know them. You are like them.

For that is what is being peddled. Writers putting on a front of being an expert and knowing something special. Teasing readers with minimal prose, abandoning the art of it all, and replacing it with GIFs, memes, haphazardly compiled lists of things that nobody needs but everybody identifies with and wants to know about. A place where words are money, so make as much as you can, with as little beauty infused into those sentences. Because, what is the point in poetry? It is unnecessary and underappreciated.

Then there are those writers' circles, those exclusive associations formed amongst writers on social media platforms. Where writers rant and rave about the perils of the realms of publishing and lament the naivety of rookies seeking their way into the fellowship. Spouting advice like, "If your writing is rejected by publishers, it's because it's worthless. Please move along".

I somehow cannot fit into this landscape.

As it is, I already have trouble believing that I am a writer, and even more so calling myself one. And all this… this massive community of successful people before me; corporations who make profits from the words crafted by others; the formality of it all; the formatting of pages, columns, fonts; the rigours of being part of the publishing process… all of this feels stifling to me.

I want to go back to that spot where simplicity and freedom of expression were. That quiet corner in the middle of nowhere that I could sit at for as long as I needed to, use as many paragraphs and pages as I wanted, and express precisely how I feel without fear of judgment or ruthless editing.

Where it was just me and you, my darling reader.

I still want to tell my story. But (and this may be hard to believe, coming from a person with a history like mine) I am having trouble finding the right words.

Turntable 

I think the way expectations are set up for apologies makes it way too easy for “I’m sorry” to be said and for grievances to be brushed off. 

That since it’s expected of gracious human beings to forgive, it is entirely possible to do whatever you like and then come apologising for it later on. 

Because if the other person doesn’t forgive you, then it’s all on them. 

You’re not perfect, are you? So you should forgive. It’s an expected response. 

Never mind that you don’t like the options left to you because of someone else’s mistakes. You were given options… so can you afford to be ungrateful? 

Suddenly, even though you’re not the one who made a slip-up, you can quickly turn into the one to blame. And it’s something that can even be taken offence of. 

Such a sad state of affairs. Sometimes I wish being kind wasn’t my life goal. Then I can be ruthless and rude and not care about consequences.