You guys will not believe how many drafts I have for this blog at the moment. I know it seems like I have forgotten everything but no. I stumbled upon a few difficulties and I don't know how to bounce back from it and continue writing my Chapter 21 series. I just need to settle a lot of things that's going on at the moment and I will refine and publish those drafts. I am quite demotivated because the memories are not that fresh and my feelings and thoughts might not be as raw as my previous posts. I also have trouble putting it into words and into this blog. So it sometimes needs me to be in the right mood for it. Another problem I might encounter is when I am in the mood, I might choose to write my book instead of my blog. So that would delay the whole blog post publishing as well.

Plus, Chapter 21 has not ended yet. I have so many more to say about my journey into being 21 and I am still experiencing it, writing my own path and what not. It is on going. With that, I might be publishing things out of order though the archive would still be in order depending on when it happened and when I started writing them. So ya da ya da ya da. I don't know why I am explaining this to you. Maybe I am so frustrated seeing all these drafts and this long hiatus is KILLING me.

I don't know, I am sure I will get all of this arranged. It's so hard to maintain and commit to something, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Before You Click Share

Photo cred : We Never Look Up

In the age of social media and fast networking, information can reach us within seconds and viraling an issue is as simple as clicking the share button. The moment an air-flight company deny service to someone in The United States, next minute you know, a girl in India who is lying in her bed got the news. This tool is deemed powerful and also useful to get attention to recent events that needs a collective effort from many people. However, are we too quick when it comes to sharing?

We are very reactive towards things that has the ability to play or touch our emotion, be it an issue, an event or a creative work. Perhaps it is something about our past that made us able to relate to it or a deep fear we have towards an issue or a passion towards certain topics, we constantly share on social media according to our preferences. Different people share different things. But there's one thing that constantly puts you in a difficult position if you do not share it. Have you felt like a bad person when someone actually tells you "Please forward this to everyone you know" or "Please spread this" and you didn't?

These kinds of favour actually varies from asking for donations, help finding a missing boy to public awareness on scam syndicates or a new imposed regulation. Many wants to use the amazing power of internet and networking in their favour to get these messages out there. We all know what the internet have done and can do. We've seen too many viraled stories and too many cases of people getting famous just because their stories are out there, constantly getting shared. It's like a high school gossip channel where you get to know who is dating who and what Sarah did last break. Only this time, high school consists of the entire world and Sarah can easily be... well, anyone. Many figured, oh, if Sarah matters, why not me or my message?

First thing's first, we have to understand, though the internet seems as if it works like the high school gossip channel, it doesn't. You may not know Sarah personally but you might have seen her your whole life. There's a more humane touch to each news sent and received. Fact checking is easy because you can walk up to people you hear stories about and ask or you might know who is a reliable source to fact check certain rumors. You are also more likely into getting involved in an activity you heard about because you know who is organizing and why they are organizing them. Not getting left out during your high school life may be one of the important things in your social life. You get in the loop, you are a part of the group. However, on the internet, you do not know everyone. This lack of personal touch can make people quite mean and ignorant. They also may simply disregard the important things you have to say. Plus, high school stories always go around the same thing. Love life, social life and achievements. The real life is not like that, there's more to it. There's politics, economy and technology advancements that require attention of everyone in the world. There's also local cases like people losing their things, missing people, local activities and charity work. But all these things are being shared through the same platform. So how are we going to go through all these, keeping updates of what we need or what's important and not getting some news or information lost?

Social media has improved so much now to meet users' behaviours. One that I appreciate the most is the filter feature on Facebook. You can choose who can see your posts. They also have auto-clustered (you can also do it manually) your friends into groups like friends from work, school, friends living in your area, family members etc etc. This way you can target your post to specific people, if the issue is not something general. You can also customize your preference for your news feed. From who do you want to give priority to whenever they post something to who you want to unfollow. Unfollow on Facebook is not the same as unfriend. You are still friends of each other though you unfollow. This way, you will not lose their friendship, but at least you don't have to constantly see updates on that band your friend is obsessed about. You can also choose to block stories from certain apps. Done with which celebrity your friends look like because you don't care? Block the app and your problem is gone.

There's one problem with this feature. Though Facebook is smart to guess which type of friend you lie into, they still heavily rely on data and if those data is not provided, even Facebook can't do anything. I understand and respect people that wants to guard their privacy and do not fill up their current information on social medias. They have the right to do that and I am sure they have their own very relevant reasons. But knowing this, many do not depend on the feature that Facebook has to ensure their targeted audience gets the info. For example, you are one of the committee in an event on your campus. Of course you want to spread the news to people who you know can attend the event which means you should set your post to "Near your area". However, you don't want to risk people not seeing it due to how many people not letting Facebook knows their location, you set the privacy to "Public" instead. Now the whole world knows there will be an eating competition on your campus. True, social medias also takes relevance into consideration but how far can it go? Whatsapp for example, can never filter information for you. I know you are starting to get bored of some friends that keeps trying to sell their stuff on you work group but Whatsapp can't possibly know that you don't want to see that.

Using social medias has started to become an annoyance and a waste of time. It is quite hard to go through or endure all those information. Saying "You should get off of it if you feel that way" is so 2012. Instead of going backwards, why don't we go forward and instill good sharing ethics. Let's start off with Whatsapp group. Before sharing anything, think this way. If everyone in that group is in front of you, would you have said the same thing to their face? If no, do not share. If yes, then by all means, go ahead. If you do not know half of the people in there, maybe you should consider not sharing. Remember I told you about how connecting through devices lacks human touch? Annoyance can happen not because they feel a certain way towards you but they become less considerate towards your situation. What about Facebook? Well, if you ask me, that's the perfect place to share anything you like because people who intentionally turn to their Facebook wants to pass their time so anything you have to say becomes relevant there. However, do be careful when you are sharing things you do not know who it is from or what the real story is. Sharing something untrue makes you just as guilty as the one starting the controversy. Do not react too fast. Again, think before you click share and putting your comments. On Twitter, I believe people should start knowing how to differentiate between being funny, witty, pathetic and stupid. If you feel a tweet can hurt someone's feelings, why would you want to retweet that? I know, I know, Twitter is a crazy jungle and trying to clean that mess up is impossible. But do consider being responsible on your retweets as well, it is important that dumb tweets do not get attention.

Now back to my original concern, why can't you use Internet to help you forward messages? Power of the people has the mind of its own. If it is worth spreading, it will get spread. Randomly helping people is good, no doubt. But just like how you would think twice before donating to that stranger in the streets, that's what you should do too before you waste your time and other people's time by sharing that one post you don't even know who it's from and how bad the actual situation is. I know, in time like this where kindness is so scarce and would be highly appreciated, why do we want to stop ourselves from sprinkling a little of it along the way? Because we have to be smart in being kind and simply putting a little kindness to one person before the kindness to many others is not. It's not fair to waste people's time on some other person's petty story that you could have not be apart of if you just didn't click share.

So, before you click share... THINK.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Afraid To Fall

What is it about being all grown up that we are constantly in fear?

Remember when we were younger, we were not afraid to climb whatever we could climb, we were adventurous. We wanted to do crazy things because it looked fun and we did not know what danger was. We were constantly curious of things and we would actually quench those curiosity. Remember all the discovery we made? Remember all those skills we learned because we were not afraid to try. We wouldn't have been able to ride that bike if we were afraid of falling because we did fall. But we got back up. We wouldn't be able to swim because we would drown and there were times we lost our breath and adrenaline brought us back to the surface before we gasped and our heart would beat so fast. But we tried again. Our best friend wouldn't be our best friend right now if we did not made start the conversation, tagged along without fear and did things together. We have achieved and learn so many things because we were unafraid. Were we too brave that we came to an incident we almost or actually did endanger ourselves and it scarred us forever? Or was it the constant nagging of how we need to be careful by be it our parents or teachers or maybe after observing too many accidents?  Was it all those rejections and backstabbing that hurt us so bad that we constantly guard our heart before picking who we get close to?

No doubt, past experiences and memories keep us safe from making the same mistakes. It is our body's survival mechanism, there is nothing wrong with that. It is vital to keep us alive. But don't you just wish you can forget certain things that result to unexplainable fears so that your subconscious won't hold you back on many potentials you can tap on now that you are older? I, for one, find it so difficult to pick up a new skill. Three years ago, I started equestrian and though I was brave enough to start trying, I was not making much progress because I find myself not able to believe I wouldn't get hurt if I, perhaps, go a little faster or try to canter. I didn't say no but my body was being too careful. But I thought, well, it make sense. Trusting a majestic beast is not easy business. Dealing with horses is dangerous so I didn't think much of it then. But when I took up skateboarding, the evidence were much clearer. This is why I got to know myself so much through skateboarding. It took me 3 times practicing just to be able to push myself on the board at MINIMUM speed with confidence. It was not because it was hard... well.. that too, but it was more because I was being too careful. I didn't want to fall. Maybe it was the worse thing I could imagine happening, But when it did, I got back up and it was not a big deal. Through skateboarding, I have fall numerous times in front of sooooo many people so why is that fear and embarrassment still so deep in me that I still can't fully commit to a trick?

When I went to the ice skating rink back in Madrid, I was always only at the side lines, constantly just holding the rails, Same thing happened, it is as if I never learned. I was afraid of letting go but when I do, each thrust forward, I become a little panic and when I start to lose control, that's when I hold the railings again. It was so hard. Sometimes I would love to look at people in the ice skating rink. For kids though, they picked it up so quick. I saw some children that needed help from their accompanying adult but when they were ready, they just did it. Of course they would fall but I like that determination. The way their accompanying adult picked them up, they brush the ice on their jacket off and they continue like nothing happened. The adults that are just learning always look like they are ready to fall instead of ready to move forward. I know it is instinctive, they can't help it but that what made me ponder.

It is not just about picking up new skills, it is also about how we bring ourselves. I am an extrovert so, making friends come naturally to me and it is easy. But there are cases of some people I met that might give me a certain vibe that makes me afraid to try to connect with them further. Maybe they are just a naturally melancholy person, or maybe he or she just reminds me of bad memories but no matter how much I convince myself, I still can't bring myself to just forget that. Was it due to past rejections that I unintentionally reject this person? It is definitely unfair but I can't help myself. And there's the case of love life where rejections and failures is normal. Well, at least that's how it is in my case because I am still not lucky in this. Now, I choose not to act on my feelings sometimes or unwittingly make negative assumptions to guard my heart instead of taking chances. Most time it saved me but I can't say much because I am still single and for a very long time too. It is great and all because I only have to think about myself but it makes me wonder how much has fear play a role in our lives.

However, I have found a cure to it. It might not be perfect but it does help. I found that motivation drowns fear. There was this one day when I was in the skate park, I wasn't even thinking of learning ollie. At the time, I couldn't even lift turn yet. I have been skateboarding for a month and I couldn't lift turn! That was how slow my progress was! A guy saw me trying to lift turn and he figured my truck was a little loose so he offered to tighten it. But that was not it. He taught me to lift turn and ollie all in that 3 hours and I managed to do one bad ollie and but it was amazing progress in that short period of time. All he had to do was encourage me. When I fall, he would lend a hand to get me up and said I was close and I can try again. When I landed (though it was not an ollie) he cheered and it made me want to try again because I feel like I was close. I was motivated to continue. Motivation can come in many ways. Talking to friends would also create a motivating environment when it comes to feelings. There was this one time I felt like I wanted to at least make an effort to know this one guy and I made that decision after I talked about it to my friends. They rationalized my fears which made me think it was not a big deal to try and the knowledge that someone thinks it is not a bad idea to do it made me actually think so too.

One thing I don't like about this solution I have is that it is the embodiment of dependency. You can only lose or drown your fear when you have someone to provide that motivation. I have tried motivating myself instead but it is not as effective as being motivated by someone else. It requires more effort too because you have a constant battle in yourself to conquer that fear you don't even realize you have some times. Well, at least I admit that I am afraid and admitting is the first step to resolve this problem, right? But that's as far as they go in those movies. "The first step is that you admit you have a problem". And then? Guess I will have to figure it out myself.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Chapter 21 : Healed

I don't know if you have guessed from the beginning of this story, but I am not really healthy. Worse part is I have guessed that I was not but now that I am better, I am sure that I was not. Whoa, what a way to tell a story, huh? Give the whole conclusion to the story in a few sentences and confusing us in the process. So here is the story of how I came to a realization that I am all healed from something I was not sure of having.

For those who have guessed from my tone in earlier posts, I am quite stressed and depressed a lot. I depend on things and people to make myself happy and I can get quite gloomy when I am on my own. A lot of things can demotivate me and there are times it was hard for me to get out of bed. I did find help. I went to the counselor's office a few times to talk things through and help me with whatever issue I might have at that time. I did took a little test with my counselor and it said I had slight anxiety, quite stressed and mildly depressed. I mean, it was just a basic test, it was nothing like... major where the result can be used to consult me to psychiatrist or anything like that. It was just to see what was going on with me. So I understood what was going on but I did not took it crazy seriously. I thought it was the pressure that I put myself under or the surrounding and groups of people I associated myself with. So I thought it might just be in my head and I can get better if I just stop.

That was another reason I went to Spain. I wanted a totally different environment and see how will I do. Honestly though it did look like I was having a lot of fun, truth is, everyday was me trying to figure out myself and I was constantly learning. I was trying to connect with all the important things in life and savoring every moment of that. I had a fair amount of time alone and with good companies. I learned a lot from them as well and listening to their stories and their takes on life. It is such eye openers to learn things from different people's perspectives and see how being heavily influenced with a different setting an culture would give different people different reactions and thought on things. Even before I have told you about the amazing people I meet and what we did so you would have guessed how it was.

There were moments I did fall into depression again. I mean it is one thing to feel sad, that's normal and you have to feel that emotion. But it is another thing to feel depressed, when you feel like everything just come weighing you down and you don't really want to do anything and you stay in bed though there is so many possibilities if you just get out of the door. I was in one of the amazing cities there is, I was in Madrid for goodness sake, why would I want to be in bed? But there were times when I did. And it was okay. I let myself understand that it was okay and I continue again tomorrow when I am all better. I make nice plans for myself or with friends, I treat myself small little things sometimes. Sometimes I looked lonely and most times, I didn't care and it did not matter. I was starting to be happy.

Before leaving Spain I was too scared to go back, actually. I almost felt like I didn't want to. I always say "Not yet, please". This was what my status looked like on my departure for Malaysia:

This post is hard.
I made full use of my final days in Madrid (I just want to use the word aprovechar because it is easier haha) that I used up all energy and muscles I have and end up too tired. My body is aching. I feel sad because I am leaving such an amazing place, amazing routine and amazing people behind. I feel excited to see my family and friends. I am dreading to go back to university for... reasons. I am quite nervous and fatigue from this traveling.
And all of these things I feel, just stirred up into this weird daze like I am just trying to get through any other normal day.So I have no other words to say except "Alhamdulillah" because He knows and this would not have been possible without His doing and if it wasn't Him that made everything easy.
Madrid was one of the best chapters of my life   ¡Volveré, España!

I know I should not let my past fears influence my future so I brace myself the best way I know how, just be positive. I have been practicing it for a whole 5 months, I was already use to doing that. And guess what, just like that, I am now half way through my semester and though I have a lot to study, a lot to do and a lot to learn, I am not depressed. I don't constantly feel anxious. I am not stressed. I know myself more, I know how to handle my problems and I know how to make myself clear so that I influence my environment, not the other way round.

Do I not have problems? Of course I do. I am 21, a student and I am alive. As long as I am any of those, I would constantly have problems. But I found out that it is how you take and perceive the problem that is going to effect your whole day and life path. And in order to do that I needed to have a healthy mind. So guess what? Just like that, I discovered I am healed, I am doing better without the struggles of being anxious, stressed and depressed. And I am eternally grateful.

Now all I have to do is maintain this.