The dream to be a dreamer

I dreamt to be a dreamer, when I was a kid.

A dreamer is someone who creates stuff in her mind, and tells others about them.

The things in her dream make her happy, and others hopeful.

She sees the world around her, and discusses the truth and the disguise with philosophers.

The things she creates in her dreams come from the inspirations she gathered from everything in the universe, from dust to galaxies.

So she’s gotta travel. Her body and her mind.

Yes, she’s also a traveler. And yes, she’s also a reader.

She’s a good listener, and speaker.

She’s not only smart so that she understands, she’s also empathetic so she can empathises.

She’s a dreamer who creates wonderful stuff in her mind.

She tells the world these stuff so everyone is hopeful, and healed.

Today, I am her.

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The Choice

When I first realised I was going to be a mother, the question with which I struggled the most was “how do I be a good mother and at the same time be myself and have freedom?”

Yes, Freedom.
The thing that drove me 7500km away from my parents and my home.
I guess freedom is not a thing; it’s a feeling. When I can decide where I want to go and what I want to do, the feeling I have filling up my chest and makes me feel brave, excited and invincible.
That feeling.

“I don’t want to lose my freedom.” I wrote in my diary, “Would i still be free when I have a child? I want to love it, protect it, be there for it. But if I’m there for my child, I won’t be able to be wherever I want to be. A friend told me that she was never able to completely focus on other things again after becoming the mother to her son. She said there was always a part of her that’s with her son, thinking about him, caring for him, and loving him. Like her soul was split into two… I’m not sure if I’m ready to give myself up like that… Will I still have that feeling of courage and excitement for the next destination in my chest again? Or is there only going to be breast milk in there…”

I thought I had to make a choice between being a mother to her and myself. I guess most girls who consider themselves independent and free-spirited think so too. That’s why we think that being a mother will be a burden to “us”, or change who we are.

But we are changing all the time. Nobody changes us. We change ourselves, or let change happen to us.

What’s more, by the time I was pregnant, I hadn’t been able to travel alone anywhere for three years. This so-called “freedom” that I was after is not a feeling anymore. It’s just a possibility of a feeling – its the ghost of the feeling that I had many years ago.

I can’t speak for every person who became a parent. But I didn’t have to choose from “myself” and “being a mother”. Because I became a mother. I’m still me. And I just have a person more in my life that I can love with all my heart and soul. That seemed to be a good deal for me.

I can still create, speak up my mind, stand up for others, care for the ones I love, see the world, listen to stories. I can still be me.

And the good way to be a mom, as I concluded in my diary, is being myself, to show my child that being oneself is the only way to love oneself; and loving oneself is the only way to love anyone and anything in this world.

Now my daughter is here. I feel that feeling again inside of me: I want to show her the world. My world. So that one day she can discover and explore her own.

Kites and eagles

One of my favourite childhood memories is going kite flying with my parents on the riverbank.

We went at least twice a year. Once in Spring, once in Autumn. “That’s when the wind is strongest.” My mother told me, when I asked her why I couldn’t go kite flying on a cold, winter day.

“But you told me once, that if the wind is too strong, it’s going to take the kite away. Because the string will break. Why would we still want strong wind?”

“Because only with the help of the wind can a kite fly. Even if the wind might break the kite, that’s the only way a kite can fly.”

Both my parents were very good at flying kite. And the riverbank was the perfect place to do it.

“When you grow up, you will be like this kite, flying up high in the world.” My father told me once, after our kite flying day outside. He’s the romantic one in our family. “And your mother and I will be on this side, holding the thread, waiting for you to come back once a while.”

“It’d be better if I could just… fly. You know? I don’t want to be a kite. I want to be a bird. An eagle, maybe. Eagles fly high and far. Right?” I was excited, imagining having my own wings.

“Yeah, they do.”

Parents think their children are the kites. They fly far and high. Always come back, if wind doesn’t break the tie.

But the children like to believe that they are eagles. They fly far and high, as if home is the sky.

What are you really doing?

A friend of mine one day came to me with a personal problem.
“Clear, I don’t think I can be with Simon.”
“Why not?”
“He wants us to get married.”
“So?”
“I’m a feminist and I want to be free. You know? I want to be able to go wherever I want, whenever I want.”
“Do you love him?”
“Yes, of course! I want to be with him. But I have to be free. You know? I can’t get married.”
“You are not married right now. Do you think you are free?”


My father always complained how my mother and I always put our coats and jackets on the couch, while we were supposed to put them in the closet.

He used to tidy the living room up, including the couch area, by picking up our clothes from the living room and throwing them on the bed.

The result was obvious. The living room was “tidied up”, while the bedroom became messy.

“It’s like putting a messy bunch of things from one box to another box.” My mother used to say. “It’s just the same mess in another box.”


Sometimes we might think we are doing something while going the exact opposite way, heading to where we didn’t want to go.
We think we are liberating ourselves, as we slowly imprison ourselves in the superficiality of liberation;
We thought we are being productive, as we waste time in not working on the things that move needles.
We thought we were breaking confinements, as we use the bricks we took down to build another wall around us.


Be aware of where we are going. Ask why. And see beneath the surface.

Leaving out the ideologies and the fancy terms. What are we doing?

So to step on a path that we won’t regret.

I don’t want to miss out

When I was busy typing on my computer today, feeling a bit stressed by my daily duties to learn and create, I saw my baby daughter lying next to me, trying to pull out the pacifier from her mouth and stick her thumb in there instead.

I don’t want to miss a second of her life.

I want to soak in every moment with her, every image of her. I want to imprint them in my head so I will never forget, and so that I can always take them with me wherever I go.

I wonder what she is thinking when she’s tasting her own thumbs, when she’s staring at her own hand, when she carefully studies her father’s face…

I wonder if my mother had the same thoughts when I was a baby.

I want to record everything about this time period in her life. So that one day, if my daughter asks, I can tell her exactly how she was when she was a baby.

Working on myself and moving forward on my own path don’t have to be in conflict with spending time with her. The trick lies in one thing: be present.

Being the present is the way not to miss out on anything important.

Prophecy

The tricky thing about prophecy is, if you want to prevent the thing in the prophecy from happening, your actions will lead everything to exactly where the prophecy says it would go. Your actions will be the cause of that.

Like a curse.

You might be becoming like the people you dislike and promised to go up and against.

You might have already.

So do we just give up trying?

Or we just keep self-reflecting, and adjust our course?

The only thing I know is this: I don’t want to end up living where I don’t want to be living, especially now. And I don’t worry about where I will be living in the future. Because I might change my mind then.

That might be the way to break the prophecy — considering it doesn’t matter anymore.

I will be your home

Today I learnt that newborn babies can have “womb-sick” (homesick for womb) for a period of time after they were born.

And I do have homesick. The real one.

Thanks to the pandemic, I can’t fly home. Being away from my family for two years hasn’t been easy.

Home is never just a place. It’s a combination of everything in an experience.

It’s your closest family. It’s the smell of your newly washed clothes. It’s the taste of your breakfast and dinner.

For me, that home is not where I’m living right now. It’s on the other side of this world, literally.

It’s where I grew up, where I learnt what is love, where my dream started.

It’s where I always go back. It’s where my roots are.

It’s where my mother was. It was, and still is, my mother.

Then I realised, I will be home for my daughter.

She will grow up with me, learn what is love, build up her dream.

I want to be her home so she can always come back, where she can sleep well, regain her energy when she’s tired.

I love my home. But I will be hers. I’m building the space, and being the essence of that home, for her.

Because I’m strong enough to be hers, even if I’m not at mine.

A mother’s jealousy

My mother was a jealous one.

She was jealous of my father, of my grandfather. Because when I was little, I loved spending time with them, having my arms around their necks, sitting on their laps all day.

So when my mother expressed her jealousy to me, I was feeling annoyed. “She’s like this because she cares about you, and she loves you very much.” My aunt told me.

“This is so pointless,” I used to think, “why is she so insecure? I won’t be like that when I grow up.”

Before my baby was born, my friends who had babies before me told me something surprising to me. They said that after birth, they were very protective and possessive of their babies, “on some very animalistic level”.

I didn’t feel possessive of my baby girl. I love it when my husband takes care of her.

But it hurts me a little bit when she smiles at my husband more than at me. To my luck, she’s too little to be away from me. I’m her food, her home — on an animalistic level.

I love being loved by her, even though she had no choice but love me.

We are the closest in this world right now. The most intimate. The most connected.

Or to say, not to exaggerate: we are one.

I can imagine, if one day she expresses more affection to others than to me, I will feel jealous. And that jealousy is more than justified.

But to use its power for “good”, we can see it as a form of the eternal bond. It’s not just “out of love”. It has ancient code hidden in our genes.

Being there, invisible

Being there. The thing that mothers do.

Last night, my baby daughter was crying, because she didn’t want to go to sleep while being extremely tired.

I was there, standing while holding her. I let her look at the kitchen lights the way she likes.

Watching lights always calms her down.

I rocked my body gently left and right, up and down.

I stood there for I don’t know how long.

Then I thought about my own mother.

She must just have been there for me when I needed her. Just like I’m here for my baby, when she needs me.

Through thick and thin. Awake and asleep. All the time. Non-stop.

Maybe that’s why, motherhood can seem to be unspectacular at times.

Because it is essential, sometimes it’s so invisible.

The belated understanding

We are destined NOT to understand each other. At least not at the right time.

We can try to do that. And we should.

But the only way to fully understand another person is to stand exactly where they are, wearing the same shoes as they are, having the same experience that informs today’s emotion and decision…

Or to put it simply: being them.

So that’s hopeless. Because it’s impossible.

Now I’m a mother myself. Suddenly I can understand my own mother to an extent that I didn’t think was possible.

I used to think my mother might have hated me when I was growing up. Because she forbade me to do so many things that were allowed by my friends’ parents.

“It’s for your own sake,” She used to say, “you will understand me in the future when you become a mother yourself.”

I didn’t believe her. And I didn’t even consider it could be true.

I thought, adults just say the most random things to get me to do whatever they want me to do.

Today I do understand my mother from 20 years ago. She was worried. She had fear. She had fear because of the unknown.

Unknown for her was the scariest thing. She didn’t want something for me that was unknown to her.


Yet understanding my mother doesn’t mean that I would do the same to my own child.

I would try to understand my own fear, and not let my fear dictate the freedom of experience for my own child. I might not do a better job. But I will try.

It was hard for a child to believe the rejections of requests she got from her own mother was out of love.

The truth of that love is what I can fully understand today, standing at where my mother was standing, living as a mother myself.


There is a gap between each of us with others in this world. A gap that makes complete understanding impossible.

Even if we go around mountains, following another person’s footsteps, and eventually getting to stand where they are, they might have left a while ago.

You can still see what they have seen, feel they have felt. Then you can really understand them.

But what to do with that view, those feelings and emotions becomes your own decision.

That’s what understanding each other really means — not to close the gap, because it’s impossible; but to see from where they’ve made their decisions, so that you can better make yours.