Yesterday a question was put to me *What do you do ?*.
It stumped me for awhile ...... bald questions always do. The best description I could come up with was *a full time scrapper* ...... not very original (laughing to myself at the time) but it really is true. It's not a bad state to be, many would love to do what I do ..... but is that all there is to me ?
We all look for ways to define ourselves - as wives, as mothers, a daughter or son, as a friend. This journey is fraught with confusion and yes I've been a confused chick at some phases in my life, most of it due to family expectations and not knowing myself well enough.
There was a time in my younger slimmer, most importantly SINGLE phase when I saw myself as a fashionista ..... till I realised :
1) it took copious amounts of money to maintain a seriously up to the minute wardrobe ....... and no sneaking in that Mong Kok imitation dear, or risk being ripped apart for the faux pas.
2) alot of work at the gym ...... at three times a week I was still considered a slacker.
3) being in the right clubbing crowd ........ out till 5am every night effectively makes one useless in 9am meetings.
4) spending lots of time lunching and tea-ing at places to be seen ...... during working hours. I found out trying to escape the boss by sitting behind tall potted plants in trendy restaurants does not help ..... because the boss too goes to the restaurant, also looking for tall potted plants to sit behind for the legitimate reason of avoiding annoying clients (or the wife).
5) it was a pretty shallow existence.
Then I went through the Eclectic Bohemian, modern punk phase ...... till I realised :
1) AGAIN it took copious amounts of money ...... Vivienne Westwood outfits cost an arm and two legs.
2) clubbing friends thought I was mad ....... Gypsy sytled outfits are NOT clubbing clothes (where shorter and tighter were de rigueur ...... more Herve Lerger alot less Vivienne Westwood).
3) converting our appartment to reflect BOHO chic took more time than I was willing to give and IKEA somehow does not translate well to that style, distressing an IKEA chair was more work than I thought.
4) AGAIN it was pretty shallow.
Then I went to being a mum .......
Okay ...... alot of it was confusing anyway for most parents. It wasn't fun coming back to Singapore and having to grapple with the system that would educate my girls. The worst part of returning to Singapore was leaving our friends in Hong Kong and going to having NO friends, zero ..... slowly trying to find people I could click with ...... it was very lonely for awhile, the competitiveness and kiasu-ness of some of the parents shocked me ! Certainly I DO NOT WANT TO BE FRIENDS with any mum whose first question to me was : what marks did your daughter get for Math ? Apparently it's not in their vocab to say *hello, how are you ?*, general getting-to-know-you conversation a waste of time, they only wanted smart kids to be friends with their kids, bonding over *how to turn your child into a genius* enrichment classes.
The truth of the matter, there was not much time to think about myself ...... I was just trying to be *mum* - the chauffer, the cook, the mediator of fights, the homework whip cracker, the comforter of hurts both physical and emotional, the family's go-to person for *where is this .... ? why is this ..... ?* from missing black socks, to updating the computer, the leaky water heater, visits to the doctors for the girls and the vet for the cats ...... it was 24/7.
This is a sentiment from Melody Ross : trust your journey.
Back then, I wish someone had told me I was ok as I was ..... there was no need to be anyone other than myself, to trust my instincts more. I remember being confident in some areas but hopelessly wobbly in others.
The lesson I take from all this is to tell my girls that they are fine, it is okay to have opinions and ideas, to know they have a right to be themselves in all their different phases of their lives, the importance of expressing themselves well so no one misunderstands them, cultivating the essential skills of diplomacy, to NOT box themselves in with the expectations of others (even family), to be able to judge people accurately and choose to be with people who are positive and kind ..... it's ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them, and learn how to let go, move on.
Our experiences through life is what makes us who we are. Then, at some point in our life, we have have to trust ourselves enough to be able to make the best decisions, to believe that those decisions were made with good intentions and no matter how things pan out, to have faith the outcomes will be right (most of the time).
So, who am I ? I am .........
......... arty, love to laugh ..... happy at doing what I do as it allows me to meet so many people, it's never dull with interesting moments (some good, others less so) ....... need my alone time to re-charge creatively ....... understand that people are who they are and have power over me as much as I allow them to. Mostly hopeful and believe I am the creator of my own happiness.
Thanks for visting, have a good Sunday !