My relationship with food

My relationship with food

I think it all began a year ago when I became obsessed with slimming down. I was not overweight nor was I unfit; it’s just that I desired to be slimmer and more beautiful. In my eyes, my body was fat, ugly and with too much blobs of fat bulging out at the wrong places. I began to hate how I look and as a result, I turned to social media.

To me, social media is both a blessing and a curse. It motivates me to become skinnier with shots of slim and toned women glowing and being beautiful. Yet, it began to dictate what I should look like, what I should eat, when to exercise and how to live my life. Consequently, my relationship with food took a wrong turn.

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Avocado and black pepper on toast for brekkie.

Food used to be a source of happiness. It used to be something I used to fuel my body with when my stomach growled with hunger or when I crave for it. It wasn’t a source of fear, regret and self-loathing; it wasn’t something that I restrict; it wasn’t something I obsess over. However, it is all of that now. Ever since the beginning of last year, I began to set boundaries for myself so as to achieve my desired physical appearance- I began to define what the ‘perfect diet’ is (mostly salads, less carbs, no animal products, no oil, no salt, no sugar); I began to count calories (only 1200-1400 calories per day was allowed); I began to categorize what is healthy and what isn’t. Such extreme restrictions was terribly harmful to not only my body, but my mind as well. With so little food taken in daily, I was tired and grouchy all the damn time. I could not concentrate in my studies; my social life was heavily affected; I began to despise going to school and went home early several times because I was ‘feeling sick’. Worse, my body began to crave what it was not allowed- and that resulted in my binge-eating (I am still unsure if it was a disorder; what makes it one?)

Binge-eating was the last straw for me. It was an endless cycle of restrictions followed by uncontrolled indulgences followed by more restrictions. It drove me to the lowest point of my life- I was depressed and filled with self-hatred; my weight was the heaviest at that point in time despite wanting to slim down so badly; I was not me. An average day of my eating habits was like this:  a ‘healthy’ breakfast followed by a small lunch in school of only 300 calories despite my stomach growling throughout the whole morning; a ‘healthy’ dinner and lots of desserts, biscuits and ice-cream in the evening (as I was restricting myself the whole day and being a sweet tooth, I gave in to my cravings. Once I took a bite, thoughts of ‘I already ate this; might as well eat everything’ took over.). Lots and lots of it- so much so that I could finish a whole tin of cookies and was in pain most of the time. As a result of this, regret would flood me and I would restrict myself once again the next morning, and the whole torturous cycle would repeat.

The most inspirational influencer- Remy Park
Instagram @veggiekins

I guess what got me out of this was my change in perspective of how I perceive food, what being healthy means and how I perceive my body. Remember what I said about social media? Well, it is a blessing too as I stumbled upon this amazing wellness influencer called Remy Park. Her Youtube videos, blog and Instagram are huge sources of inspiration for me and have shown me a whole new perspective on food. At this point in time (as I am writing this post), I have gotten much better- to listen to my body, to indulge in my favorite foods now and then, and most importantly, to find that balance in body and mind. This is not to say I have fully recovered; I’ve just recently bounced back from a mini relapse and am still in the process of accepting, appreciating and loving my body. We are all humans after all; what matters is to recognize that we are perfectly imperfect and to go back to the path when you strayed away from it for a moment. As this post is just about my relationship with food, I will delve into more of this for another post.

To all those wonderful human beans who are on a journey of self- acceptance and self- love:

know that you are not alone,

that you will reach a point in time where you are at peace and in balance with your body and mind, and that

each day is a new chance filled with endless opportunities. ♥♥♥

 

 

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The 1920s

The 1920s

I’ve been enamored of the 1920s in America and Europe recently; struck by the elegance and beauty of European culture, Jazz music and the Flappers- a generation of women wearing loose-fitting dresses and bobbed hair.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Taken from: http://www.pottermore.com

I suppose it all started with my watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for the second time, as I began to appreciate the intricate and beautiful backdrop of 1920s New York in the film. The Roaring Twenties, I think, was an awfully magical time to be young- to enjoy a cheeky cocktail at a speakeasy during the Prohibition era; to wear flashy and brightly-colored shorts and skirts as a result of a new sense of frivolity experienced after the war.

1920s paris
Taken from: http://www.buzzfeed.com

Naturally, this led me to hunt for historical novels based in that time period and The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown is one of them. With her lush descriptions of the Années folles– the decade of 1920s in France- her writing brought me to a world that I can never dream of.

Oh, how I wish to live life in such an amazing era- dancing the Charleston to the jazz played in nightclubs, daydreaming in a Parisian café, exploring the streets of New York and Paris with their grand architecture!

Memory of Us

Memory of Us

Time flows like that of water-always running; never really waiting for you. Trying to find time is like grasping air between your fingers; it is almost impossible to do so, but you do it anyway. Controlling time is what humans have been wanting to do and failing for centuries but, one must know that some things cannot be in our control. When time ends, you will know, like knowing you love, or like in a dream you know that the other person in the room is familiar, even if you do not know their face.

 

My time is ending. I know it.

 

Memories of her, of us, come rushing back to me, fresh and clear like spring water flowing down and gurgling along a river in a mountain somewhere far, far away. They come like a tidal wave crashing against the edge of my skull, bringing with them the salty breeze of the sea. They come and lodge themselves into my brain with a force as fast and as strong like that of a bullet released from the barrel of a Glock 19 pistol. Memory after memory resurfaces in my mind non-stop, as if they are reminding me to remember them. Is this what it is like to die? To see your whole life flashing by before your very eyes? To see her?

 

Time is also equivalent to a sly, cunning devil – making and forcing you to remember things you do not want to.

 

I see myself playing with marbles in the living room of my parents’ house. I was very young then; the little girl with her brown hair neatly tied up into two plaits and frilly dresses that were always too long. I remember what it used to be like to see the world through a glass marble, to see the magic and mystery and sparkles, to see the world turn focused yet blurry at the same time. I was entertaining myself with my improved vision in childish glee before she came along.

 

It was always like this: one moment the world was vivid with beauty and the next second everything turned grey, like that of dust settling over the surfaces of furniture left in a room long forgotten. The air around me would turn heavy all of a sudden, and a stench similar to rotting corpses would waft into the room, suffocating me.

 

“Alice!” she cried in a girly and high-pitched voice like mine as she skipped in joy towards me in her light blue dress, like mine. She looked like me but was not me. I soundlessly turned away with my back facing her, my small body trembling with fear. I would not look. I would not. I was afraid, afraid of what I would see in and on her.

“Alice, look!” she persisted. I knew she was pursing her lips in frustration and I knew she was standing with her feet apart and arms akimbo. I just knew. Then, I felt a familiar, yet not so familiar hand placed on my shoulder, tugging me with fingers like ice. I shuddered involuntarily and shut my eyes, my breathing coming in fast and uneven gasps.

I would not look.

 

“Alice, please,” she whispered in a sad tone and I knew she was crying with fat tears running down her small, pale face. I knew. She was begging me to look, begging me to look at her for just one time, begging me to talk to her, play with her. I sighed inwardly before reluctantly turning around to face her.

I would look. Just once.

“Alice, DON’T!” a third voice, sharp and shrill, screamed in alarm in my mind and forced me back into reality. Shutting my eyes, I scrambled in another direction to find a safer place in desperation.  Any place, any at all, to get me out of here. But it was too late.

I saw her.

And screamed.

Yet no sound came out.

 

Time, ironically, is like a clock. It ticks and ticks, orbiting around you in the same methodical fashion like that of Earth travelling round the Sun in a galaxy full of endless blinking stars.

 

I remember seeing her on my wedding day. She was always there, hidden in the dark shadow in the corner and trailing behind me, like a shadow stalking its owner relentlessly with malicious intent. I was looking at myself in the full – length mirror, fingering the edges of the white, satin fabric that was my wedding gown. My reflection was more beautiful, more mature, with my eyebrows drawn, my lips coated with a layer of shimmering pink lipstick and my eyes surrounded by long, black eyelashes with the help of a mascara. Admiring myself in the mirror, I twirled in circles like a princess, watching the gown fan around me in varying hues of white and silver. So immersed in childish joy that I failed to notice the shadows surrounding me, failed to notice the air growing heavier by the second, failed to notice the rotting stench that was creeping into the room like the gnarled hands of witches.

 

She was standing at a corner of the room by the clothes rack, hidden in the shadows, watching me.

And when I do see her-

I always do-

I saw myself in her face. She looked like me but was not me.

 

“Alice!” an ancient voice, similar to mine, weary with the burdens of a lifetime, surfaces into the empty space beside me. I know that the person in this room is familiar, even though I do not know her face.

She is here.

“What is it?” I croak, my voice hoarse and barely a whisper as I force the words out with great difficulty.

“Please look,” she says for the last time.

I do not know why I was so afraid of her for the past 80 years. Perhaps it is the way she looks like me, sounds like me and behaves like me. Or perhaps it is because she frightens me like that of a child being scared of a monster. Perhaps it is all of the above.

Perhaps I was wrong.

Perhaps, as time passes, my fear of her will soon disappear and I will see something I want to see.

Perhaps.

 

Slowly, my eyelids flutter open and I find myself in a blinding, white room that makes my eyes water. Dark figures-some standing, some sitting, some pacing, but all crying with grief-are surrounding me, enveloping me in a warmth I have not felt in ages. With excruciating slowness and a burning agony in my neck, I use the very last ounce of energy left and turn to look.

I see her.

I see me.

 

Time, no matter how difficult it can be, is forever the most beautiful thing in the world. It washes away your thoughts which are initially drowning in dark waters and cleanses your soul. Humans do not matter to it but because of time, they forgive and forget. It leaves the best thing in the last moments of your life – when you know your time is up.

My time has ended.

And hers, too.

The New Age of Journalism

The New Age of Journalism

Let’s face it: every single one of us is a journalist. At one point or the other in our lives, we have put forth a message of ‘facts’, be it true or not, to those around us. The irony about journalism is that despite its purpose being to provide unbiased coverage of facts to the public, human beings are never accurate to begin with. Whatever we say, write and act hold a certain degree of biasness and intent; if not why do we do what we do? In other words, in my opinion, the whole debate on truth reporting versus ‘alternative facts’ is no longer relevant.

The amazing thing about President Trump is his ability to turn stories into facts, or as he termed it ‘truthful hyperbole’. His usage of strategic falsehood is able to result in his election as President of the most powerful nation in the world, political turmoil among Republicans in the White House, skillful transition to subjects he wants to talk about, among the endless list of destruction he left in his wake. While all these boil down to the issue of ‘truth’, I feel that rather than forcing journalists or President Trump himself to take the blame, it is ultimately how we handle all these ‘facts’.

In this digital age of uncontrolled and innumerable amount of information overflowing the internet, it is near to impossible to tell truths and untruths apart. As such, it is all the more important that we, as receivers of such information, exercise responsibility. Responsibility in the sense that we have to recognize the different perspectives of stakeholders in the issue before finalizing our judgement. While BBC is deemed trustworthy and credible in terms of news reporting, it does not hurt to read up on the same issue on Breitbart to gain deeper understanding from an alternative point of view. There is no right and wrong in this moral debate due to the blurred boundaries that separate truths and untruths; what is crucial is how we can draw conclusions as objectively and as rationally as possible.

Lastly, I believe in karma. Based on my first argument of truths being non-existent, it is not wrong for President Trump to twist ‘facts’. However, as the saying goes, ‘actions speak louder than words’- sooner or later, Americans will realize his incapability to deliver his promises and the very strategy Mr Trump is relying on- ‘truthful hyperbole’- may very well be his downfall.

 

Yell for the blue sky.

Yell for the blue sky.

“I want to tell this to myself that time. I want to tell myself who was looking down and crying a lot. That it’s not my imagination. That this sky watches my dreams. And it’s infinitely high and blue.”

-Tsubasa Ono

This Japanese movie is so beautiful. Its depiction of love, strength and hope serves as an inspiration for me, so much. Being a high school student myself, the struggles faced by the protagonist, Ono, resonate with me. Her decision to join a competitive brass band club despite being an amateur, her passion to blow the trumpet and most importantly, her loyal presence for her friends as she cheers them on. I want to be like her today. I want to have the courage to do what I want without worries, to be so passionate about one thing that my soul lights up whenever I speak of it and to be the one friend that someone can rely on without fail.

You see, Ono’s character is rather different from mine; in the sense that she’s quiet while I’m rather boisterous, she’s shy while I’m rather bold. Yet she has a quality that I don’t: perseverance. She has that perseverance in her to practice her trumpet till perfect and to not give up on her friends when they themselves do. I admire her so, so much because of that. I think, this intrinsic value of perseverance is something that is within all of us and have yet to be awakened. Now is the time (for me, anyway) to find this deeply-buried jewel within and uncover its beauty- to let it shine.

Ultimately, sometimes Japanese movies are not as shallow nor superficial as some think. The morals they tell, such as Flying Colours, have such great impacts on the audience due to their depths. And all these forms of entertainment we spent enjoying are not wasting our time as after all, we learn so much from them.

flying colours.jpg

It’s Spring!

It’s Spring!

Look at how beautiful the tree is. The glorious pink blossoms, fluttering elegantly in the wind, spiraling down in twirls as it reaches the patch of emerald green grass below. This breathtaking sight happened right inside my school and I could not help but grin with glee. As the new term started on the first day of spring, this amazing tree brightened up my otherwise gloomy Monday. Moreover, can you believe it? Singapore has an equatorial climate after all, so it is impossible to see pink flowers blooming around. It was literally a miracle! Doesn’t it look like the brilliant sakura blooming across Japan right now?

I’ve just realized that I had the opportunity to come across winter trees in the US and autumn leaves in Japan last year. It it really impressive to appreciate the beauty nature has for us and I’m extremely glad to be part of it.

It is spring guys; look forward with optimism to enjoy the wonderful days lying ahead of us! 🙂