Happiness 

When a friend once asked me why i look extraordinary happy since the last time, she met me (yes, i too once hit rock bottom). By then ive already graduated, but i did not have a job yet. I was also anxious about a lot of things, but mainly because of not having a job. 
And then i did get a job, but i still did not feel happy. Then, I quit and felt happier because I don’t have to keep on a brave face, fake smile, doing something that no longer makes me happy.
Then i went through some internal journey, trying new things, giving myself a break, spending some time with nature though I don’t like to spend too long in it without human communication (I’m an ambivert) 
And then slowly, find myself involved with small projects here and there, that lead me to one thing to another, sometimes from helping my parents, sometimes from co author writing research papers, sometimes from creating workshops – sometimes out of request – sometimes initiated – but always have something to do no matter how small it seems.
My first answer that came into my mind was, first, I am debt free. Alhamdulillah. Ptptn wise, I have returned what i owed so that other people can benefit from it.  
Secondly , i have made peace with whatever that was bothering me, my past, my regrets, and all the things i hoped for but did not happen..was better than what i hoped for. That my delay was His blessings in showing me other path opened up for me
Thirdly, because i realized that you can create your own job, when you start to believe in yourself, and self motivate yourself. That rizq is not from a person, an employer or worst, settling yourself to a job that is not worth your time, peace of mind and importantly your own happiness because . 
Instead, by the people who support you and you supporting them back. Not in a scheming way of asking for favors, etc. but through real life social networking that i never realize i was fortunate enough to have – family who support you – understands your circumstances- friends who accepts you – believes in you – keeps in touch wih you – there for you though mostly you have to turn to different friends for moral support if one is not available. Who doesn’t ask for anything in return except you continue to be a friend. 
They come sometimes from people you never expect, who believed in your ability when you couldn’t see that from your own point if view until somebody point it out to you. 
Certainly it wasn’t an easy journey to let go of your own expectations, and self doubt, even until today, you still struggle to find the meaning of life and making sense to every changes in your life. But it feels a lost better to not carry this heavy imaginary burden that haven’t happened yet (I go by if it hadn’t happen yet, don’t waste time worrying about it & focus on the present kind of life goals) 
Somehow that gave me peace, and calm because as cliche this may sound, its true, when you stop putting your happiness to please people ortrying to meet certain expectations – even your own, you learn to breathe a little better. 
Also it made me notice things more , the simple life pleasure, like taking a walk, making your own food fixed, eating obviously, and everything around you, you see it differently. 
Like a wise men once said, don’t put dunya (the world) in your heart but instead in your hand, and you will conquer the world. Not in a do inating kind of way, but being aware that life is too short to let other people dictate your happiness or let them effect you negatively and simply let go – for the ake of your own peace of mind. 
Alhamdulillah m life has been kind, and I would like to teturn this kindness to those who might be struggling like me , by sharing this post.  
Take a break, and try again tomorrow. Repeat. Until you no longer have to find happiness but see it in yourself that it was there all along.

Happiness is a choice, sometimes given, sometimes taken, but always returns in a different form – better than you wish it to be.  So, go in, make someone happy, and see how it returns to you by the mere smile  of the person you made their life slightly happier, sorrow less heavier, and just being there , even if the only thing you could offer is our presence. 

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Hugs

My niece way of expressing her love, is through hugs & kisses – lots of it sometimes I run away from it. Touch, hugs, and kisses – we don’t grow up with that. Maybe briefly when we were a kid, but I don’t remember it.

Call it tough love, it doesn’t mean that we did not receive love at all. Love was expressed differently, through kind , loving , encouraging words. Through cooking , treating us to nice dinner or going on holiday, or simply spending time with each other.

Thats the kind of love i knew and raised with, values and all. 

Perhaps one significant memory that I remember was when i was hospitalized for an operation and somehow in vulnerable state where i wanted to hug every member of my family who visited me at the hospital. I was 14 years old and it was my first major operation as a teenager , so I was really afraid of being left alone at the hospital as everyone leaves me alone. Though my mom, sometimes my sister takes turn to accompany you, but there’s this time when you have to be alone.

So, Abi pulls me asideand said that i must not get used to touch, hugs and all, because he worries that i might not be able to let go, when the time comes. Eventually, i stopped. 

Anyway, growing up, I never feel the need to express or show love through hugs or any form of touch. Instead i used to run away from being hugged or kissed by anyone , even if they are just a hello kind of hug which last like 3 seconds. 

When i met a few friends who is such a hugger and all, i get anxious, and wanted to run away from being hugged.   Slowly some of them manage to hug me and makes me feel comfor  enough to receive hugs though not too often. 

In a way, hugs is like a form of trust and expression of someones love or care about you. Though for people like me, its hard to receive one, when you are not the one who gives hug. Also, it helps if people would tell someone , like a heads up, that they be giving out hug as it will help you be more mentally prepared to receive one. 

Still, it does makes me slightly sad and surprised when my niece asked me,  why i dont like her, this is probably because  every time she tries to hug or kiss me, i try to avoid it. Only because i am not comfortable of receiving too much of it. So, i  explained to her that its not that I don’t like her so that she doesn’t feel like bad about herself. Then, later try to play and spend some time with her. 

I hope one day she will understand that just because you don’t give out hugs and kisses doesn’t make someone cold, some people express their love differently. Still, i super admire people who can easily hug it out and express their love through touch.  I don’t know about my future children, you probably will be getting tough love from me lol! Im a work in progress, so please don’t expect me to change overnight. 

There is this thing called , ‘haphephobia’ okay!

“What do you do?”

I think the kindest word is when a stranger whom i met only at an interview and met again when i quit my job is this…”Sakiinah, you have so much talent…and lots of potential, i am sure even though you choose to quit here, one day you will find the career that will make full use of your talent and be happy about”
For some reason he made me feel that its okay to quit something that does not make me happy (though there are some parts of it that im happy about )
eg, i get to know new friends, i get to meet some of my friends in kl often, and i get to try new food places with nice kuih or bihun to grrab every morning, or i get to be in the nature whenever i feel stressed & i get to learn how to be a project leader – something i only step up when i do my group assignments but never professionally, and get to learn about the working life, managing my finance, also being entrusted by a very challenging boss and yet learn so much from her in a short time
It seems like you are only respected when you have a job, and that being unemployed seemed like you are not doing anything useful. But talking to some of those who is going through the same thing, even though i dont have that 9-5 job where i can tell people where i work in. I would like to assure you, that you are no less than anyone else out there, and it is not because you are not good enough but the economy is not so good to hire qualified , talented, person like you. 
What i am doing right now is taking a few steps back to figure out what kind of job i can create for myself to make use of my experiences. To be content with what i already have, to be happy with things the way they are. 
Sure, i may not have a job, a house, a car and whatnot. But at least, im now debt free (eg no longer have ptptn to pay thanks to my previous job). At least i have some time to help my parents with some papers or workshops, taking photographs, and spend some time with the few friends i still have.
And meeting some of them is something i look forward to, the kind of friends who never judge me when i made certain choices in my life, those who assures me its okay to be different and be happy about it. 
So for those who havent found a job yet, create one, look inside you, think of what you can offer the world, become the person the child in you wish would be, and be that person. Success is a long road, celebrate the small success , and accomplishment you made for the years you worked on. 
A friend said to me, if you still have parents, you being there for them is a priviledged, because very few children gets to spend time with their aging parents. Being able to serve them is a priviledge. Rezeki bersama ibu bapa, is a luxury that very few can afford to spend time with.
And as for me, my ambition back then is to be so many job in a day. I wanted to be a police, doctor, nurse, teacher, all in one day not knowing that you only have 24 hour a day. 
So for those who is asking what is my job now? My answer today is, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend to people around me. Also, a part time blogger , who writes ocassionally… 😉

One day at a time….

One of the good friend i met recently, are now off the social media. In the beginning, she just deactivates now and then, but recently she deleted completely her social media accounts as she feels rather stressed out seeing peoples life posted on social media seems to be doing well (despite their own career seems to me pretty secure and earning well)
These friends i know way before they become successfull, and seeing how far they have climbed their career ladder made me feel proud and happy for them. No discussion on work are allowed except that how they are feeling since the last time we met. 
Its been a rough year for my friend (and maybe others too behind the carefully selected photos they share on social media). And so she felt that for her own good, it is better to be disconnect with social media and reconnect with herself and live her life one day at a time without any pressure from the things she sees on social media. Smilingly, i told her that its okay to take things slow and focus in her own self nourishment because self care is important or else you would get caught in the illusion that everyone is happy all the time (when in reality its not always sunny all the time) 
I myself sometimes do feel like riding on a bullet train, until one day i had to pull the emergency break and take a look at myself and people around me. Slowly, im trying to be content and happy with the little i have rather than what i dont have. Because, whatever i already have, is already enough for me. Family esp is everything i have, time with them, and being able to play with my nieces and nephew those sometimes i get tired from playing , also the very few good friends i have whom no matter how far ahead they are in their career life, never forget to look back and pull me up together whenever i feel down. There was also people who had nothing much to give, but still gives, if not just a piece of cake, chocolate, or ….time – by phone, by eating together – their presence always makes me happy and look forward to the next time we meet (though some took years to finally have time to see each other again). And yet, these are people who understands that everyone have their own life, and we dont have to see each other everyday…but next time…the see you when i see you kind of friends.
As for that friend, she says, she finds it very exiciting to know new things and updates about each others life in person rather than looking at their latest instagram photos or facebook posts etc. Because back when she was very plugged into the internet, she already know what we did last week, or eat a few hours ago. By the time they meet, there was nothing to talk about or just ‘like’ each others posts.
As for me i can be both connected and disconnected, but when i meet people, i try as much to put the phone away and focus on the entire conversation (except if its my parents calling me😅). I love learning new things, hence why i share a lot of videos or posts when im online, whereas when im offline, i share my recent ‘adventure’ in living my one day at a time life since i chose to free myself from a soul-crushing job. Maybe one day i will create my own job with the little experiences i collected along the way. But for now, im just going to enjoy my own journey. Its only after going through such a hectic life, i learn to appreciate the slow and steady life which others might see as normal – mediocre life – but happier life as i now have time for myself and the people around me.
I genuinely appreciate the very few people i can honestly talk to, and comfortable of sharing my feelings and thoughts. Thank you for reminding me that i still have my people when things gets rough, and pull me back to the shore when i start drifting. Thanks for checking up on me, i feel blessed! Alhamdulillah~ ^^
You know who you are 😉
  

Perks of being a forrester

A month ago, i had the chance to work with an institute involve with conservation of the forest. The offer came in without me expecting and with a twist of fate, I receive a call to ask if i’d be interested to come for an interview. Story cut short, here i was with a friend of mine who happen to go for the same interview as i was not sure if i was qualified for the job, and should i not qualify, perhaps my friend would be a better candidate?

It was just two friends trying their luck for a job we don’t know much until we actually start working there. Then, we were house hunting , while at the same time trying to juggle between getting our job done and trying to understand our job scope.

 

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All of the sudden we were in the middle of forest collecting baby trees for conservation at their nursery. Mixing compost and soil , planting the trees we collected in the poly bags, labeling and making inventories.

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We also learnt how to wrap the plants so that we can preserve it later for pressing and drying plants. Trees have soul, so even if you want to take it out from its home, we must have good intention and tell the trees that we are taking it for the benefit of people and plants that will grow in other area.So when we pull out the roots, we must quickly wrap with tissue and spray some water to keep it hydrated , and place it carefully inside a plastic bag until we arrive back to our conservation site. Since the hike can take up to few hours or days so the knowledge on how to wrap your plants collection the right way is important for any forester who goes for plants collection.

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Later on we moved to another site where we get to see Rafflesia where it only blooms only once a year for 7 days! Now the Rafflesia is quite a picky flower (with no leafs), since its a parasitic flower, so it relies on the Tetrastigma veins as their host.

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Tetrastigma host vine
And they need both male and female flower nearby to pollinate with the help of the animals to somehow plant the seeds to make a new Rafflesia for next year. Due to its nature, the Rafflesia doesn’t like humans to disturb them, so you cannot touch the flower but just admire the beauty of it.

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Me with Rafflesia, its already dying after they bloom

But then again, after giving myself some time with the work and all, the forest belongs to those who suits this side of the world. As much as i enjoyed learning some of the things they do, but my capabilities are better off in another world that I am more suitable to live in. Still, it was a wonderful short adventure and I thank them for the experience gained!

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Late bloomers

akhir2 ni jadi tempat org minta advice …
bab2 tak tau nak buat apa lepas grad, tak tau passion apa (sedangkan diri sendiri pun lost juga), lambat grad, lambat kawen dari orang lain…lambat….lambat ke? Bagi saya, orang macam ni adalah ‘late bloomers’, lambat berkembang tapi bila dah sampai masa, akan menyumbang kepada bidang yang memang sesuai untuk dia berdasarkan pengalaman yang dia kumpul sebab ‘lambat’ ni.
hurmm mungkin sebab saya ni memang jenis ‘lambat’ gak. Degree extend setahun, patut 3 tahun jadi 4 tahun sebab pergi exchange & masuk hospital sat kena tangguh dua sem. Parents cakap, takpa grad lambat, jadi ‘extended knowledge’.
Bila sambung master, setahun dok buat research quantitative, tup tup tak sesuai methodology, ubah jadi qualitative. Ubah suai thesis ikut cakap examiner, modify tajuk dan rewrite beberapa bahagian dlm thesis. Sebab kita tak boleh ‘paksa’ result tu untuk sama macam teori kalau ‘findings’ dia bukan macam tu.  Sama juga hidup kita..tak boleh paksa nak jadi juga macam kita nak, kalau kita memang tak ditakdirkan untuk dapat apa yang kita nak dan kena lalui proses dan jalan lain untuk sampai ke destinasi yang memang untuk kita. Lepas 4 tahun baru grad, tu pun jenuh kena paksa walaupun rasa nak berhenti je hari-hari hahahaa.
Lepas grad, banyak tolong parents buat research amik gambar, shoot video & my own little research yang saya minat (malay heritage). Mula-mula tu bercampur baur juga la perasaan macam rollercoaster, tapi lama-lama kita boleh terima yang ini satu proses yang penting untuk kita belajar dan berhenti hidup terkejar-kejar, jadi walaupun tak kerja yang bergaji macam orang lain, ada ja kerja nak buat dalam tak ada kerja tetap. Tanpa dirancang, sebenarnya saya sedang melalui proses ‘gap year’, iaitu dengan ‘taking a break’ daripada terus kerja dan buat apa2 bidang yang saya minat untuk tambah skill, orang putih cakap “Self development” tapi sebenarnya ia adalah proses “self discovery” bagi mereka yang tak tahu apa sebenarnya yang dia nak buat lepas ni.
Of cause… tak semua orang ada peluang ni, tapi jika ada ruang, ambillah peluang untuk volunteer bekerja di mana-mana tempat yang boleh tambah skill & pengalaman sesuai dengan minat masing-masing. Tak kira lah jika korang baru lepas grad ke, atau sedang kerja ke, carilah minat masing2 dan cuba sesuatu yang baru yang boleh tambahkan pengetahuan dan kemahiran masing-masing. Panjang atau pendek ‘gap’ yang korang buat terpulang pada korang, yang penting jangan terperangkap dengan routine sedia ada.
Wpun sekadar tukar rutin, dengan mula bersenam,join program2 hiking ke marathon ke, berenang ke, berkebun ke, volunteer ke, wall climbing ke, bermasyarakatlah semula…cari komuniti anda sendiri yang minat dengan apa yang kita minat. Dari situ kita akan belajar kenal pelbagai orang dan buka peluang untuk networking dengan orang-orang yang kita tak tahu satu hari akan membuka peluang baru yang boleh kita teroka & sesuai dengan minat kita.
Itu yang saya belajar sepanjang saya ‘berehat’ sebentar dari ‘berlari’ sebab saya sudah penat terkejar-kejar dalam persaingan dunia yang semakin hilang nilai kemanusiaan, tak ada sense of belonging dan semangat kekitaan dalam komuniti. Sebab saya tengok ramai yang bersikap individualistik dan hanya sibuk dengan dunia sendiri sampai kita terpaksa buat appointment untuk jumpa kawan sendiri sebab sibuk dengan hidup sendiri.
Semakin lama, saya bertanya pada diri sendiri “Apa yang saya kejar?”
Dan saya jadi ‘lost’ sekejap, dan perkara ini saya beritahu kepada si penanya,
“Its okay to get lost, because that’s how you will find yourself. Its okay to take your own time and explore your options, because that’s where you gain experience and learn to know what really suits you in the future. And one day, leads you to someone who is looking for the same thing you are looking for, who will want you because of who you are ” <—ni bukan pasal jodoh je tau, jodoh kerja pun boleh jadi hehe.
Apa2 pun saya memang jenis take my own time, and walk my own path, bukan melawan arus, cuma tak suka terkejar-kejar dengan ‘competition’ dunia. Mungkin dah memang tersurat perjalanan hidup saya memang bnyk detours & reroute….sebab yg plan tu Dia juga.
Jadi, kalau korang rasa macam apa yang saya rasa, bawa bertenang ye..rezeki untuk kita tu tetap ada jika kita berusaha dan bertawakal pada Dia. Kadang-kadang rezeki datang dengan cara yang kita tak disangka-sangka dari sumber , orang, yang kita pun tak sangka.
Jadi, bersangka baik dengan perancangan Allah swt, jika muslim. Jika bukan muslim pun, dalam Islam pun kami percaya yang rezeki sudah ditentukan oleh Tuhan tak kira kamu Islam atau tidak. Yang penting kita berusaha untuk keluar dari situasi yang kita berada. Berbaik-baiklah sesama manusia, bukan kerana nak minta ‘sesuatu’ dari orang tu, tapi kerana kita ikhlas nak berkawan dengan mereka, berjiran dengan mereka, sebab bila kita ikhlas dalam pekerjaan kita, tak kira apa yang kita buat, akan ada je orang nak tolong kita.
Kenapa? Sebab setiap perbuatan kita, ikhlas kerana Allah Taala, sebab kita tahu walapun orang tak balas balik pertolongan kita, Allah swt tahu apa yang kita buat, dan cukuplah Allah swt bagi kita sebab tak ada yang lebih baik yang boleh membalas setiap perbuatan kita melainkan Allah swt. Jadi ‘remove our thinking that ‘people’ owe us for what we do (tapi jangan lah sampai kena pijak atau digunakan), tapi mintalah pada yang memberi rezeki, yang Maha Kaya dan Maha Memberi. Barulah berkat hidup kan?
Gituuuuu….(boleh tulis buku motivasi ni hahaha)

2017

2016 was like a rollercoaster of emotion, as i graduated in 2015, everything seems happy, family and friends congratulating,  and so whats next ?  So by 2016, like any graduate, i was hopeful that i will find a job that i like and passionate about although i still didn’t know what i wanted to do.

Without hesistating, i accepted a job to fill in for a vacancy available. I will not mention where and what because its facebook/social media where – professionally speaking, you should never post anything about your workplace on the internet (Rule number 1). Details aside, I didn’t continue my contract, I was not happy , the kind of happy where no matter what happens , you still look forward the next day. Give me any job, i will be very happy to do it, i get from my parents most , a hardworking employee (if there’s anyone more hardworking i know , it would be my parents!)

So i learn that, being good at something doesnt necessarily means that it’s your career but a job you do to fulfill your responsibility as an employee where you work in. Of cause not everyone have the luxury or priviledged to this. But if you do find yourself able to take a break from this, take a gap year and give yourself some time to figure out what you want to do next.

So, i went on helping my parents, sometimes as a photographer, taking photos of their research with community, sometimes makes videos of it, sometimes writing a research paper, sometimes about the people i come across with, simply because i am happy to write about people with such passion and inspirational. Little people making small changes to their community. So most of my friends on facebook would be reading it via ‘Stories Of The Day’ album. It was written out of the spur moment because my head is full of words that i needed to write it down and share it.

Writing came naturally to me, it was never something  I learn professionally. I just write whenever my mind have something to say, and can only be translated through writing. I remember being very excited to write the essay part in english class or exam. And i always wanted to write differently though my teacher never comment or praise  my writing, but i know what my teacher feels through the grade.

Growing up, my writings were sacred, keeping a diary was my refuge. But once it was discovered by my siblings, i was traumatized for some time and stopped writing. I forgave all of you btw, its just necessary that i write this part to connect to the next part.

After years of not writing except for school purposes, i stopped expressing my thoughts unless its exam time. As i enter my university year, i started writing again via blogspot but still i am easily found out online lol! Until one day a friend introduced me to another blog platform where you can anonymously write without revealing yourself. In some way, it helps me to channel my thoughts and whatever in my mind ‘freely’ without worrying what people might think or comment on.

Again, i was still found out by very few people i know who was using the same blogging platform. I deleted right away (even though my followers was growing) and made a new one, strangely, some of the followers consistently can recognize my writing no matter what url i change to haha.  So i gave up and just continue writing.

Tbh, i didnt like having that many followers, that button shouldnt exist! It makes you feel insecure of how many people are reading your posts, it took me some time to believe that people actually follows your blog because they enjoyed reading your posts. I see this from the comments and messages i received based on my posts . But i never take my writing seriously until i contributed the articles to The Vocket on my experience staying with Malay community in Capetown.

I was rather surprised by the feedback and happy that people appreciate and enjoyed reading it. For me, as long as the message i want to share with my readers received well, i am already happy even though i didnt get anything from it (it was done for free because i wanted more people to know about the malay community in capetown rather than about me going there).

Coming back to Malaysia, it took me a while to get myself adjusted to the attention people gave me both in Capetown and Malaysia. Not to say that i am now somewhat famous, but at least to those who has been following my journey, they were quite receptive to see the writing side of me. Some suggested that i write books, or documentary script, document it in something written but all i really want that time is to take a break from the whole social interaction that i had almost everyday. As much as i love meeting people, i also needed my own time to recharge and relax my mind from everything happening around me.

Psychology says i might be an ambivert , one who enjoys both socializing like extroverts do but also takes refuge in  her own solitude ‘mind palace’. Other names, might be extroversion introvert, but i think everyone have their own side which they most strongly connect with. Only that people might be selective with who they open up to or connect with, but other times can actually act like normal human being and not subjected to particular label or non existent boxes in their mind.
However, its thanks to the articles i shared in The Vocket, ithat made me realize, writing can be an influential and powerful communication tool to all kinds of people depending on the kind of message you want to post. It brings together the like minded people who is interested in the same thing we are passionate about or attract new readers to want to know more about what you wrote, as long as your intention is right.

I learn that you cant continue to hide your talent because one day it will show or someone will find out your talent. And if we keep on surpressing it and denying that we are good at something, we are injustice about who we are and the gift that God have given to us to do something forwhatever talent He gave us.

So, i started to accept that i might be a writer (or a ‘storyteller’ to some ) though not yet a book writer, but at least have written a fair amount of  things i wrote in different platform, academically or not. But it is up to me to write my life in the next 365 days. So every day is a chance for me and anyone reading this to write a new page. Although we cannot rewrite our past that brought us to where we are now, but we can certaily write the present which is, today! So, write a good one and may everyone of you have good year ahead! Happy new year!

*Slowly writing my own path…..