I don’t have time for you. I have work to do.

You come to visit again. My old foe.

You make me feel that I’m not good enough to do what I’m doing. I’m not capable. I’m not worthy.

You make me feel everything doesn’t make sense, that everything I do is to fool myself.

“I’m kidding myself.”

“I’m heading nowhere.”

“I’m wasting my time because it’s just the wrong thing for me to do.”

You are the creator of my creative funk.


You always come back when I’m standing alone. You feed on loneliness.

You return to me when I’m impatient to achieve my goals, when I’m obsessed with utilitarianism. You are hungry for the urge and greed for gratification.

You visit when I lack practice, when my streaks are broken for too long. When the skills are unfamiliar and the hands are stiff.

You grow strong and vigorous in time gaps.


But I don’t have time for you.

I know that I will eventually get over you and know you are merely a shadow of my own mind.

So why not now?

Why do I always go through the cycle of letting you mess with my thoughts, waste my time to live and to create, and then get myself out of your mind game only after you’ve had your fun troubling me?

So pack your bag and leave. I’ve got work to do.

Don’t bother going back (because you can’t)

Ok, in this post I’m going to sound like a really old person:

I don’t want to say “my best time has passed” (even though by saying so I’m actually saying it). But I do miss how I used to feel when I was younger.

By younger, I mean, when I was in junior high, primary school, even kindergarten.

Not even high school. I already got too “grownup” when I was in high school. I was scared of how other people might think of me. I was timid; I hid so that people wouldn’t know how awesome I could be so that I could judge or admire those who didn’t hide.

I wouldn’t say I was fearless when I was young. 16 years old was a curse to me in that sense. What I want to find back is the version of me that was not yet ruined by the growing-up hormones.

I didn’t care what others thought of me. The less I care, the better results I got.

But I was a believer until I got disappointed.

Things were easier to accomplish when I was a believer.

Writing was easier to enjoy if it’s just about writing and building up stories in my head. No consequences. No time being wasted.

It’s a luxury to enjoy things as how it is. As doing, no thinking. As being, no trying to be.

My point being…

Is there anything I can do, anything at all, to get back those qualities of mine when I was a kid, but still be an adult, grownup woman, wife, and mother?


“Wanting to go back is resulted from not being ok with who you are. That’s why I never want to go back.” I used to say this in my early 20s.

Now I’m in my early 30s. What changed? Why suddenly being me as how I am is not good enough, and I want to travel back to my childhood to feel something good about myself?

What changed?


If I’m not able to travel back in time, I want to be ok with who I am now.

The “peak time” I felt when I was younger was not because I was really at the peak. There’s no peak in life.

There’s only the peak of feeling. And feelings you can get back.

I don’t want to bother doing something that’s impossible to do — going back to be a kid, enjoying the luxury of not caring and not taking the weight of life on my shoulders.

I want to get back that feeling from not caring, just doing and enjoying, out of love and curiosity.

Find a job that doesn’t kill me. Or do my own thing that I enjoy and doesn’t starve me.

Life is so short. It might be even shorter than I expect. Don’t bother wanting to go back. The current me is worth loving too.

On a day that feels “wrong”

Do you have such a day some time?

Something doesn’t feel right. Either you feel tired, down, doesn’t feel like doing anything; or you just want to do something that numbs your mind.

No matter what others say. They might say “oh you can and should get out of that funk state.”

You can go out for a walk.

You can meditate.

You can take a bath.

You can do sport.

You can do anything that works for you.

But you can also just rest.

If this kind of “low state” doesn’t appear too often, like once a week or something, you can just rest.

You should allow yourself go to rest — disregard all the things that drain your energy — just have that “free” day.

If you can afford it.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Tomorrow you are back on the road.

Take a day to let yourself breathe.

Love yourself and find your own way.

To yourself: be kind, be fair

The language we use yields much power. Especially when we use it to describe events in our lives.

I’m not talking about affirmation here. It won’t help you if you tell yourself repeatedly again and again the things with your mouth, but in your head you deny it, because for you it’s just not true?

What I mean is this: be aware of the role of yourself in your own story. Are you putting yourself in a hero’s position? Are you an active doer or a passive receiver? With what intention were you making decisions? Because intention and outcome aren’t always hand-in-hand. They should be judged separately. Too often people are judged by the outcome of their actions only. And no one’s interested in the backstory involving their intention.

What’s your backstory? What roles do you see yourself took on?

People are subjective. We all are. But at least we can try to be fair with ourselves.

For most of us, it’s easy to be kind to others, but not to ourselves.

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.

We can’t escape who we are

We cannot escape who we are.

We spend most of our time as creatives to observe. To observe others, how they are, what they are doing, and how they have become who they are today.

We observe to be inspired.

But that’s when we fail to observe or to know who we are.

Our characters.

Our passion, not for others, but for ourselves.

Observing and learning about others, fascinated by others, by the experience of watching.

But the downside is, it’s easy to get lost in the observing. It’s easy to forget ourselves in the process.


Like the ability to love, we can love others better if we love ourselves.

We can tell stories better if we know our own stories.

Find who we are, so that we can then improve ourselves, our craft, in many ways.

Just mind that there is no point to wanting to be someone else.

There’s no point even to trying to escape. Think about Don Draper.

Stop playing a role.

Accept and make the best out of how we really are.

Because that’s who we are. That’s how we can truly be happy as human beings.

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.

Journaling was not good self-therapy

Not for me.

It worked for a while. I’d get up early in the morning or staying up late at night. That was my time alone. And when I’m alone, the voices in my head get stronger.

So I journaled.

I wrote down what I dreamt of last night, what I thought about today, how the things were not going my way, and how I blamed myself for everything that happened and didn’t happen.

I wrote down the solution, the resolution, how I’m going to improve myself, building up a system and sticking to it. And I also wrote that I should stop being lazy and a disappointment.

Because EVERYONE can do it. Whatever that “it” means.

If I CAN’T do it, it’s my fault and my fault alone.

That was what I journaled, every day, for a year.

Then I got depressed. Who wouldn’t?

Journaling serves as a way of looking internally, of saying the truth, of self-reflection.

But when things — those negative things — started to repeat, I should have stopped writing and notice that pattern.

I was so busy with self-reflecting, I didn’t see that I was trapped in that negative, self-blaming circle.

Journaling not only let you express yourself, it also helps you discover the truth that’s hidden behind your consciousness.

But there’s a vital step to do beside only writing, writing, and writing — you have to actually read what you wrote, in order to see much about yourself that you didn’t know.

And this if step is missing, journaling is not helping you as the way it should be.

You know you can’t stop now

You know you can’t stop now.

You’ve made it this far.

Starting was difficult. But you’ve done it. And now here you are.


You know you can’t stop now.

You’ve given up many times. You’ve given yourself enough chances to start over.

You know even if you don’t make it to the end this time, you can still start over.

But truly, you are tired of “starting again”.

You are tired of being stuck at the starting point, and never finishing it.

You are tired of being a “beginner”.


You know you can’t stop now, no matter how frustrating it is.

“A good start is half-way to success”. Now you know think it might be a lie.

The excitement wears off. Motivation becomes only words on a poster. Adrenaline decreases to a healthy level. That’s how everything goes.

But when it gets less exciting, you get bored; when you are bored, it’s difficult to move forward.

“Where do new ideas come from?” “I don’t see any progress.” “I feel drained.” “I’m not sure if I can go on.”

The first 100 days is hard. The next 100 days might still be.

The beginner’s level is fun. But you have not yet started if you didn’t get passed the first hard phase.

If anything is “half-way to success”, “pulling through the first hard phase, until you do your practice and ship your work every day with ease” is it.


You know you can’t stop now.

“At the critical moment, holding on and not giving up, so that desperation can become hope.”

“How do you know when you are standing at the critical moment?”

“Every time you want to give up is a critical moment.”

Now it is one. You ARE hanging on the edge of giving up. You are at a critical moment.

Now you can’t give up.


You know you can’t stop now.

You’ve made this far.

Cooking, a job, and the default role of a woman

My mother used to say: “Don’t learn how to cook. You’d be serving others your whole life.”

She was the best cook I knew.

I’m not pressured to cook like my mother was. She had to cook for my father and me, and for the big family, because she’s better than everybody else at doing it. And it was what her mother told her, that it was the responsibility of the wife to cook good meals everyday, every meal.

In recent years I realised that I actually enjoy cooking. But there’s somehow an inexplainable inner need for me to put a good meal on the table, which feels almost like a “job” and “natural responsibility“. As if I have to cook because I should cook. If I don’t cook once, I feel almost guilty; when my husband cooks a nice meal, I feel thankful and even a bit spoiled.

I’m doing these things, even after my mother told me not to, even when I actively tried to avoid doing them.

I tried to be conscious about the default role of me, the woman, in our family. I let my husband do some things that were “my mother’s jobs”, while feeling guilty in secret for not doing them myself, and judging him for not doing them well enough.

My mother didn’t teach me cooking. She said if I don’t know how to cook, I won’t serve others, but be served by others. But what she didn’t know is that since she passed away, all I wanted to do was to taste the food she cooked again — those tastes of various dishes, smells in the kitchen, and the consistency of those handmade noodles are some of the strongest association I have with her, and her love for me.

I know she felt it was unfair that she had to cook while others were waiting around, chatting and watching TV. I know that at the beginning, she had to do it because that’s her “job” as a woman; but later she couldn’t stop cooking for everyone because she’s the best at cooking. And nobody else was good enough to be up for the task.

When she couldn’t get out of it, cooking for everyone, every time, became a burden.

But I believe she also enjoyed cooking for us.

I believe besides “labouring”, she was also loving us through cooking amazing meals.

I didn’t inherit the “burdened” role of the woman in the family from my own mother. What I’ve learnt is also how she showed us love.

She was not a hugger, nor a very expressive one of her feelings.

But I know her loved me very much.

I guess I will just need to find my own way of expressing my love.

And expressing my love is a responsibility I’m gladly to take on.