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October 17th, 2017

12:30 am - The gift of love and positive change
I noticed a pattern today. When someone significant enters my life, significant in terms of they create a positive change in my life, I become very reliant on them and fearful that they should leave or heart-broken if they change their minds about me. It causes me to grasp and micromanage and even become "needy".

Today, I stared this tendency straight at its face. I realized what I was fearful about was that this positive change that they brought into my life, would go away when they went away. It sounds awfully selfish. But it was dejavu to me. To be fair, I probably never had a sense of security growing up, leading to this kind of warped need for security.

But today, I realized that even if these significant people leave me, I can keep that positive change, whatever they and their relationship with me has given to me. This fact was so impactful to me that I cried. It was so liberating. To find out that I don't have to spend my lifetime trying to pay back or earn someone's love. But I can simply receive and move on with it.

Thank you the amazing people who have entered my life and by just being themselves with me, brought me so much love and confidence. You have made me a better person and if our paths diverge, know that I am forever grateful to God, and always hold you close in my heart for the good that you have done and been to me.

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October 13th, 2017

06:34 am - Bravely
I was a bit tormented in my sleep last night. After shortly falling asleep, lying on my right, I felt a shadow landed on my left side. It felt like something physical, moulding onto my form, pressing down on me such that I cannot move and it felt evil.

By instinct, my demon-casting skills launched into action. Unable to move, I demanded in my head, probably, "In the name of Jesus, get lost." I said it a few times, and it vanished and I could move again.

That night, I continued to be haunted with fears and self-doubt, but I kinda held on to the hand of my old friend, the Holy Spirit. Just held on and He saw me through the night.

It is a new day today. I remember how happy I used to be everytime God wiped cleaned my slate and gave me a fresh start. So today, I put yesterday's sorrows aside, and bravely embrace this new day.

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October 9th, 2017

10:48 pm - St Ricarius Church, Aberford
A depressed person can do some of the craziest things. I remember feeling so down, feeling such a great need to escape, that I looked at my printing block hanged on my wardrobe that I bought from London a year earlier of an image of a church called St Ricarius church in Aberford, a very small town off Leeds. And I told myself, I'm going there.

Being so depressed, I wasn't able to carry out my solo trip plan fully that December. I also had a strange affection that I still have for winter. I felt one with winter, barren and cold. Yes, I had bought my ticket but was too weak to carry through and my Dad insisted I not go alone and postponed the ticket.

A year later, I went with Mom and Sis. Sis drove me there. We were on holiday after my conference in Birmingham ended. In my heart, I knew the silliness of it all. Yet, my family bought into it and carried it out with me. Not a single question about what so important about this church etc etc. We knew nothing about it and we just came as we were to find out.

We met the lady who told us about the bell. There was a wedding being held that day at the church so we took some pictures and sniffed in the atmosphere. And as usual, I did my rounds around the cemetery, checking out the dead, one of my favourite activities.

2016 was a very perculiar year, where I had to pick myself out from the dumps with a lot of help from the people around me, and especially my therapist, who did such a good job that I still hear her voice today speaking to me whenever I meet with some troubles.

That was a very special year. It was a year I worked with myself to help myself out of that severe anxiety and dysthymia I was experiencing. I did a lot of things I had never done before to show myself I was not dependent on anyone. I took a lot of risks. It was very courageous of me because I did all that with that very poor self-esteem I had.

I stopped going to church. I sought help from a therapist. I tried dating. And I single-sidedly fell for someone and got hurt in the process. I went on solo trips. I tried new sports like stand up paddle boarding and rock climbing. So many times I just wanted to be alone out in the ocean and let nature be my teacher and healer. I made friends, not because I had to, but because we had mutual affection and connection.

This year, things started to feel better. I still have a nagging feeling that I am autistic inside. But that apart, I think I've done pretty well to overcome and live with the social anxiety that I have. And to try to live a truer life. It hasn't been easy but I guess this is what growing up is all about.

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October 7th, 2017

03:59 pm - I miss You
I miss Your loving embrace
Your hand on my shoulder
Your hand in mine.

It's been so long since I prayed. Sit down quietly and just pour out my soul to the Lord. In this safe refuge of Thavy's home. I just apologized that I rebelled the way I did. Someone with a missionary's call running as far away from it as I could, this is Jonah's story. I rebelled with a lot of strength and power, purposely doing all the things we were told not to do.

But as if you knew I needed this stage in my life, You simply protected and loved me through it. I lost my church family but you continued to love me through isolated members from your universal family and also helped me forged deep friendships with new friends who love me.

I rebelled very strongly in the area of my career and relationship. Yet, You protected me throughout.

How my soul and being crumbled over the two years of exile. How depressed and anxious I was. Yet I was never harmed. I was built up by so many experiences and Your loving kindnesses.

So now I know I am a rebel indeed. At this point in my journey, I stop, and just say Thank You. Please take care of all my loved ones and friends, especially those who have loved me and whom I love so dear. I am going to let go and trust You for the next lap.

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October 5th, 2017

01:12 pm - CBT and random musings and freewriting
There are a few things that helped me a lot with my emotions. Maybe as a younger girl, meditating on certain bible verses really helped, like Philippians 4:6-7. After university, cognitive behavioural therapy really helped me - looking at my thoughts and seeing the distortions and correcting them, and for that I really have David Burns and his compassion to thank. More recently, I discovered what being self-compassionate meant and not being so hard on myself. Gosh, I think I have abused myself a lot growing up. I was very internally verbally abusive. I remember my brother, John, always telling me that I have been too hard on myself. Lately, I am seeing how being more mindful and not holding on to certain thoughts and emotions can help.

This is a bit against maybe how many Christians deal with thoughts and emotions. There is recognition that not all thoughts are ours. But... okay, prior to learning on these, I was really harsh on myself because I corrected every evil and wrong thought that I had. It created a lot of guilt and shame. It is much better for the heart and mind to just ignore these passing thoughts and feelings, rather than grab hold onto them and frantically repent.

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October 4th, 2017

04:17 pm - Maybe ranting a little would help me...
I met the most disrepectful doctor, who make little effort at all to convey his expertise, to show his care and concern or listening ear to his patient. He made me feel small, stupid, and unimportant. He made me feel very lousy about myself.

If you ever want to be a doctor or you are a doctor, please don't be like him. Treat each patient who cares to look you up as a full individual worthy of your attention and time. Spare the world further suffering. The physical sufferings we already have are enough.

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September 25th, 2017

03:51 pm
They say it's very normal for a graduate student to consider quitting the PhD at least once during that few years of studies. It happened to me in June 2017. I was all prepared. I had a plan, I was to go volunteering at some whale shark conservatory for a few months, and then return to restart a new career, who knows maybe journalism? No more academia for me. But when I was in Korea for what was supposedly my last conference, something miraculous happened when I visited the National Museum Of Korean Contemporary History. As I walked down the hallowed grounds of the museum, looking at pictures and possessions of student activists who died for love of their country, and looking at the history of the nation, how it became one... I was reminded of a promise I made to myself to visit as many history museums around the world as I can to learn about patriotism of different countries... And suddenly, I felt that I had to change my PhD topic back from Storytelling to Patriotism. A heavy shroud that covered my soul for a few months suddenly lifted off me. And here I am today, continuing on this PhD journey.

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September 24th, 2017

07:02 pm - How I became a Christian
People tell wondrous conversion stories about how they come to the faith. Mine was simple.

I felt loved.

I felt loved by a God who said He created me and I was His daughter whom He dearly loves.

I felt loved by the church community. People who has no blood relation to me at all but treated me like that spiritual bond was much stronger.

It was this love that I was most afraid to lose when my faith started wavering.

How can I live without God's love and will I still be loved should I sever the spiritual bond between my sisters and brothers in Christ?

When I first tried to tell my friends this fear particularly the first one - of losing God's favour, kindness, goodness, love towards me, I will not be able to speak but tears will fall.

I realized today, tears still fall.

I want to be loved.

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September 22nd, 2017

06:57 am - Mistrust
I realize I don't trust Western doctors. I don't like how they come from a position of authority and don't entertain challenges to their opinions and views. It's like they're used to making people feel small.

Sorry for the exaggeration here.

But I would never entrust my health to a doctor. I will always read up and experiment to be in charge of my own health. And take his or her opinion as just one of them out there, rather than the truth.

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September 19th, 2017

09:44 am
Oh my. I dream of Zachary, my crush from secondary school and diatonic harmonicas... those feelings of sensing he's near, looking out for him. And saying goodbye. So real.

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