Time to be Cheerful Again

In Preparation

In Preparation

It’s been a while – and I realise the year has almost finished and I have only written TWO full blog posts!

Well what can I say? 2014 has been so incredibly up and so incredibly down. I will say that this is the year that I turned 25, and then turned 30. About 5 years of aging… seems about right? Hopefully it was only mental – having a 54 year old mother who is frequently mistaken for 34 means pressure – I have some very youthful shoes to fill (sexy strappy sandals with a 5″ heel, to be precise). And the only things she credits are: sun block, excercise, and plenty of fruits and vegetables! Thanks Mum. :P

A’s due date is fast approaching. We named her. It is a beautiful name and I will tell you that it begins with the letter A. I worried that I would be falling apart this month but really – I have reached a space. Memories of my pregnancy are filled with joy, so I feel joy when I remember. Memories of my miscarriage and the months following are filled with pain, so I feel pain when remembering. I can feel both emotions fully and completely and still continue to feel and experience what is present, whatever that is. Thoughts of the future… well I have so many scenarios in my head with so many different emotions.

I take care of my health more. I’m more paranoid about pills, herbs and meds. I was never a big drinker of caffeine or alcohol but I have cut down even more now. And I feel kinda weird around 2nd hand smoke – like – the Crazy in me starts to yell out “GETAWAYFROMMEYOUAREKILLINGMYOVARIES” even though my logical brain knows that 2nd hand smoke exposure has been found to be dangerous during pregnancy when experienced daily, I think the number was about 4 packs of 2nd hand smoke a day?? YES I have checked the facts. A couple hours outdoors, around smokers, one day a week, is not going to hurt me or any unborn babies – according to the research.

But generally speaking, I am more paranoid about my health. I spent 25 years with a strong sense of trust in my own body and that suffered a major blow. I question EVERYTHING.

The miscarriage and the months following were the hardest in my life so far. I got a crash course in emotional management. That is: cry 1 hour before work – go to work and go HAM – go home and cry for another hour… or however long I need to for the evening. I actually allocated slots of time for myself to just cry non-stop… I had no idea I had that much control in me but it’s what I had to do, so I did it. Eventually, that daily schedule turned into an every-other-day schedule. Now its more like an evening once or twice a week. There were some adjustments along the road as well. Eventually I had to toughen up for my husband who was also suffering but differently. I’m not saying anything very new here but it should be said nonetheless: two different people in a relationship will react to everything differently. Relationships survive when you understand this fact and do not try to fight it. The emotional consequence of losing a baby can be equally as painful for men as it is for women. Because of our macho culture, men can feel very caught off guard to be feeling such pain after a miscarriage (not that we aren’t caught off guard, it’s just that the emotional pain is a little more expected of us), but for many men it is still there nonetheless. They may not all show it the same ways we do, but it’s still there and it still hurts.

To say work was crazy when I went back after my week off is an understatement! Whether this is coincidence or not – I have no idea. But professionally, I have grown a LOT. Once again – out of necessity, being thrown into the deep end and all. My boss resigned days before I found out I was pregnant and for the next couple months it was all easy and quiet despite being the only employee in my department. Then, somehow, I came back and major presentations and deadlines just APPEARED! I worked a tonne of extra hours that first month in order to take part in my first ever presentation as a professional. I’ve been going to fancy meetings, taking control of several projects… I have crossed several milestones in just 6 months… and I am very impressed with myself. I can even say the same for my husband experiencing the same thing! All this acheived while sorting through so much pain. I actually felt like I was losing my mind through all of this and that is not an exaggeration. Seriously considered going to therapy, however that would have meant taking more time off work as NO ONE makes appointments past 4pm. Plus, that sh*t is EXPENSIVE. Husband and I decided to tough it out with friends and family. Whether we would have benefited from therapy, I don’t know, but we have survived.

The reason why I have named this post “Time to be Cheerful Again” is because finally, I feel like my husband and I are in sync again. I feel so loving towards him and I feel so loved by him. After months of distance between us when neither of us felt much of these things towards each other, I feel so blessed to be back here again. We are not perfect, we never will be, but we work and we are in love again.

My parents and brother are coming to visit in 5 days and I cannot wait. I have missed them more than ever, I just wish my sister was coming too but she has a dissertation to write :P so I understand completely, having been there before!

Praying for health and love through the next step.

A’s Mother.

Sharing About Pregnancy Loss

OMG ignore the typo!

I found out that I had a missed miscarriage on the Monday of Holy Week this year, I then had an ERPC on Holy Thursday and stayed home for the rest of Easter Weekend. It was my first pregnancy. My husband and I really wanted this baby. I was 12 weeks. I am currently working on a blog post about the whole experience of being pregnant and then having a miscarriage, but it’s getting so long. In the mean time, instead of writing my whole story I have decided to just write this quick post.

I have read over and over a million articles about miscarriage and also getting pregnant again. I am also reading a book, considering buying a second one. I look in the mirror and my eyes see the same person, but my mind and my soul feel as if I have aged a few years over such a short time. It’s not that I am not the same positive and life loving person, it’s just that being that person takes a little more effort now.

When I was pregnant I had, at some point, read the statistic: 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That was jarring to read but I had hardly ever heard anyone talk about it, so I figured for whatever reason that it was unlikely I would have one. I fully immersed myself into this pregnancy. I sang for my child even though she barely had ears yet. I knew she would get the message somehow! She has a soul, she’s connected to me, so she must be able to “hear” me. I sang songs that I wanted her to hear and learn from. I sang songs about love, life, strength, heart break, pain, resilience. When my husband and I had an argument (I can’t even remember what the argument was about now) I told her afterwards that this is ok because there will always be arguments, they happen, but our love would always be there to carry and support her.

I miss the company. I miss the feeling that I was carrying a tiny person with me every day, who I would eventually get to show all of the beauty of this world to. I still sing to her. And send my little random messages. Any time I pray it is for her, I pray that God is taking care of her even though I was upset with Him for a long time. I knew in my mind that He does things for reasons that I may never understand.

For a while I was in two minds about writing anything. I’ve always had this irrational superstition in my mind that if I talk about something, I will jinx it. But the more I read, the more I realise and agonise over this silly lack of information and awareness! It was so naive of me to think that I would not be part of the 20% statistic. 20% is a big number. But when everyone and every bubbly pregnancy website seems to skip the subject as if it’s nothing then what am I supposed to think? When I told 3 of my friends (who I had not actually told about the pregnancy in the first place) I got back 3 warm messages, 2 of which stated that both of them had been born after their mothers had also suffered through miscarriages. So why the silence? In an age when so many things are well out in the open there is no need for all of this silence about ANYTHING. Even as a feminist and also a Catholic at the same time, I should be allowed to say all of these things and feel acknowledged and understood by both sides.

So here I am, I am open to talk about this because my pregnancy, my baby, has become as much a part of me as my religion, my marriage and my culture. All of these aspects of my being which are usual topics of discussion and expression. So I have no reason to hide one.

Love.

How To Grow Up Without Losing Who You Are

:-)

Thought Catalog

As I get older, many people have confessed to me that they feel a certain anxiety about what it means to mature. They’re the kind of conversations that usually happen late at night on a sidewalk, or after a few glasses of beer. This friend, or that coworker, will struggle in so many words to explain that despite leading a full life, despite the relief of being over her “angsty teenage years,” there is a vague sadness, a shapeless worry that creeps in the corners of her mind. It’s as though, in accepting the norms of adulthood, they are losing some integral part of themselves. The more fiery part. The part that could quit one’s job at a moment’s notice and run away with the love of your life. Feelings of success are tainted by images of the Corporate Zombie or Empty Housewife, enhanced by films like American Beauty and

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Making Decisions Is Impossible

Hmm… I can relate. Yes I did make ONE big humongous decision recently a.k.a. MARRIAGE but in other areas of my life (work life, social life etc…) this is how I often feel and I am now on my way to 25! Bleh. This world has so many uncertainties and only a few constants. I hold on to and cherish my constants!

Thought Catalog

This week in my creative writing class, my professor mentioned that he had recently read The Poetics of Music, a work by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. In it, Stravinsky mentions how, when composing a piece of music, he was sometimes utterly paralyzed by the “infinite possibilities” at his disposal. Every choice he made — each carefully placed note, chord, and phrase — could affect the composition as a whole.

Like Stravinsky, I am also sometimes utterly paralyzed by the infinite possibilities before me — though my particular paralysis is more existential than artistic. As college students on the brink of our twenties, we are led to believe that our four years represent the blissful purgatory between adolescence and — shudder — adulthood. During this time, we are free from serious responsibility; for the most part, our parents and professors still coddle us.

However, the decisions we make during college…

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The Wedding Post!!

I AM MARRIED! :D OMG I can’t believe how crazy everything was in the 10 days leading up to the wedding… and how at peace we finally are now!

Wow.

I kinda half expected to be calm throughout the whole thing, I was ever so slightly worried about it being anti-climactic and just feeling like nothing was different. Very glad I was wrong!

The week before was a tough one though. I was perfectly calm despite being really busy up until the cake lady called me on the Friday before the wedding saying she had no notes on what I wanted…. not “Sorry, I seem to have lost my notes.” But “Hi, I need instructions as to what you want on your cake” despite the meetings and phone calls made months in advance to sort everything out, and many follow up calls to try and find out when we should expect to receive a costing. Despite all that, the cake lady called me exactly one week before the wedding day to find out what I want as a wedding cake and seemed to have completely forgotten that we had spoken many times before and that I had in fact watched her write at least 2 pages of notes! Anyway, I told her to speak to my future Mother-In-Law. I did not want to hear from her again!

That set me off, from that moment up until the wedding day I was being bombarded with phone calls while running up and down all over the place, feeling nervous, busy, worried, tired, overwhelmed with all kinds of adrenaline spikes showing up throughout each day.

Basically I think the underlying worry (sugarcoated with cake issues, bouquet hang ups bla bla bla) was the dreadful thought that I could potentially ruin a wonderful mans life by marrying him. Yea I sound a little crazy, didn’t think that I would be that bride ESPECIALLY after being with this same wonderful man since we were both 14! But I was. Why was I worrying about that? Because I have no real idea what kind of person I will be 20 or 30 years from now. My Dark Side has managed to surprise me in the past… I hate to think of what kind of surprises it has waiting further down the road. Ugh!

The worst was every morning when I woke up early to do whatever else needed to be done for that day. I woke up with all these tasks looming over my head, plus that worry! All my belly could handle was fruit :P I think I lost some pounds in that week, not on purpose because my dress had fit like a glove by the end of my last fitting!! My stomach just doesn’t handle food and adrenaline very well :-s

Anyway, once I got busy and surrounded myself with my wonderful family and bridesmaids I calmed down by the end of the day :) the hen/bachelorette weekend was wonderful. We went to my favourite hike in the whole world!! It is a beautiful river in a jungle and you can either walk along the river or wade/swim up the whole way until you reach 3 pools one after the other. I had not been back since the last time we lived here in the year 2006. Went with my family and my bridesmaids :D One of them was very scared as she had never been on a hike before and was worried about snakes, I re-assured her that she was safe but of course she was still scared, I almost offered to end the hike but she kept on going and I really feel she deserved a medal for trekking on! And then doing 3 more hikes as well before going back to London after the wedding! Anyway… I can’t put in words but the end of that hike was beauuuutiful and I was so happy to share that with 5 of my favourite girls and again with my family!

Then for the actual hen night we started off at my best friends house and they surprised me with food and drinks and of course explicitly shaped confetti and games and drinks… oh yea I said drinks already hehe! :D it was great having my mum and sister there too, plus my now Mother-In-Law and Auntie-In-Law and Cousin-In-Law’s and a bunch of old friends from high school. I had not partied with my mum and sister in a while! In fact I don’t think I had ever properly partied with my sister before! Then the Mother-In-Law and Auntie-In-Law left and the rest of us (with my mum) went to a gay bar :D most likely the ONLY gay bar in this country. One of my friends had got his connections there to book us a separate booth which was great :D and we got a surprise show at the end while we were sat inside the mini-bus. Some guys decided to start wining up in front of the bus, and then would stop and try to look inconspicuous as soon as anyone walked past.

Then the next day was a big family get together at our house in which my family were introduced to a LOT of the Husbands family. I loved it! My dad especially made sure to socialise with EVERYONE and we all enjoyed ourselves so much! That was another blessing because our families are so different I had always wondered if it would be an awkward introduction but it wasn’t. It was just perfect!

Then from that Monday to the Friday was back to business and worrying with a break for the rehearsal dinner on the Thursday. The Friday I had a good cry to at least 2 of my bridesmaids and also the Husband. All at different times of the day. They each managed to reassure me that I probably won’t become a horrible person in the next 20 or 30 years :P I just needed to vent! I had hoped to spend that last day relaxing with my family, but instead ended up getting caught up with more tasks all the way up until 8:30 that evening. As I sat down ready to close my lap top and head over to the hotel where I would spend the night with my family, I checked my voicemails and had an ANGRY message from the nun! One of the documents she needed for the marriage certificate was not there, so luckily my dad was already on his way to pick me up. I just told him we needed to go and deliver this document to the nun’s convent which happened to be on the top of a hill that was deep into one of the not so nice parts of the country :-s at night as well! The Auntie-In-Law managed to direct us all the way there and I was able to deliver the document to the nun who lowered a basket on the end of a rope from her balcony for me to put the document in… felt so old school! My husband calls that nun Sister Thug. She is very assertive and strict and opinionated.

I finally got to the hotel at about 10:30-11ish and spent a few hours sitting and debating social/racial/historical issues with the rest of my nerd family INCLUDING my relatives from Canada and Fiji who I had not seen since my cousins wedding exactly 11 years before my wedding date! That is a complete coincidence by the way! Her wedding was on the 10th August 2002. She was 24. Now I am 24 and our wedding was the 10th August 2013 :) Aaaah life! But after sitting and talking with them it is very easy to see that despite distance and time, we are all one family of hard core nerds :P I ended the night snuggling in bed watching cartoons with my sister and brother as we have done so many times before. OMG this post is getting long….

Anyway, the next day I woke up and got married!! :D It actually went by so well, it was beautiful. My nerves all seemed to go away as I walked up the aisle. Even as my dad whispered “you know, it’s not too late to turn back now! :D ” and I turned and whispered “SHUT. UP.” I was just cool… like this is exactly where I was meant to be. We hugged and then Dad “gave me away” to my husband and as we sat down I realised… wait for it… my calm and collected man was very nervous!! I squeezed his hand the whole time, and to be honest, this helped me a great deal. I loved that I could support him just as he had supported me. My favourite part of the wedding was reading out our vows. We went with the traditional vows as although they are simple they are also as perfect as they can get. Husband and I used to talk about writing our own vows years ago when we were teenagers, but over all this time it’s kind of like we have said everything we could possibly think of that we are happy now with the vows the church has given us. It’s like they are the only thing left to say.

My heart was pounding but I can’t call the feeling nervous. I just remembered to tell myself not to stumble over my words, to focus, to concentrate on what the priest was saying. I was telling myself all this in my mind because these had been big worries of mine before as well. I often think of the worst way I could possibly mess up at crucial situations so that I can try and make sure it doesn’t happen. Believe me, I can think of many ways and they can get pretty bad! But even though I was telling myself not to mess up I didn’t need to. I felt so relieved to hear myself say each word and I loved to hear each sound as I said it. As I said, this is exactly where I am meant to be.

Oh, another little detail, it was POURING rain throughout the ceremony! There was even some thunder that happened to come at a crucial point… I can’t remember if it was during the priests homily or right after the gospel reading. Perfect timing anyway :P Will have to review that when we get our wedding video… It continued to rain as we took our family photos in the portico for shelter.

It stopped raining just in time for our portrait session in the Botanical Gardens! Photos of just my husband and I with our Best Man and one out of my two Maid of Honour’s (my wonderful sister!) with us to help with the veil, bouquet, wiping sweat from my husbands brow etc! That was so nice and intimate, husband and I were talking to each other through most of it. The photographers were so professional while also very relaxed and interactive! Helped to let us just feel comfortable instead of micromanaging every pose.

Then we got to the reception and that is when I started to feel the adrenaline again! Neither my husband or I could eat more than a couple bites of the really good food. And we also only had a bite of our cakes as well, and completely forgot to ask the staff to cut it up and serve it to everyone. We are now desperately trying to eat all of my cake before it goes off :P. Husbands cake is a fruit cake with brandy in it so that is fine.

The speeches were beautiful. A little nerve wracking cos I was wondering what stories were going to be exposed to all of our guests but it wasn’t so bad. My sister was the one worst! She spent the first half talking about how mean we were to each other growing up to the point where she actually stopped and said to me “don’t worry, it gets better!” and it did to my relief!! We were at each others throats as kids, but since we both grew up we have definitely become much closer and I am very happy to have her. My husbands speech was very RAW and that is because he was so sure that he would remember everything he wanted to say without writing notes, and then as we stood up by the mic he made sure to begin with “I forgot what I wanted to say!” Psssshhhh, we all told him before to at least write some notes!! But oh well, he did actually manage to say most of what I remember him preparing to say before, it just came out sounding much more free-styled. He made sure to thank everyone for helping to make me and him into a wonderful couple, and also to tell everyone that he loves me with all his heart even though he usually doesn’t like all that public mushy stuff :P

The dances were a little awkward, especially since we just picked songs we liked rather than songs with a more dance-y rhythm :P plus my dad cannot dance at all!!! AT ALL!! That’s ok I lead our dance with a sort of two step thingy and we sang along to the music.  My husband and I just kinda cuddled and swayed to our song which was a very nice song, I wish it could have gone on longer :)

After that we went straight on to cutting the cake and tossing the bouquet most likely because everyone just wanted to start dancing and partying :P the ceiling was pretty low so I had to make sure to try and toss the bouquet directly behind me, and it landed right in my bridesmaids hands she didn’t even have to fight for it, just stood there… Husband says I cheated and was aiming for her :P I swear I wasn’t!

Either way, it was a very good wedding, I wish it went on for two days instead of just one but that would have gotten very expensive :P after the party my husband and I went home to pack our overnight bags and headed to the hotel. It was beautiful! Luxurious! Never stayed in a room so fancy! There was a shower with a rain effect shower head and it was placed in a glass enclosure in the middle of the room! For breakfast the next day I still couldn’t eat everything :P It was such a good night though.

We went on our honeymoon 3 days later as a lot of our guests only arrived a few days before the wedding and we wanted to spend more time with them. I have a couple of stories for that as well but I think those will have to wait for another post :P I might even write it tomorrow just because there’s still so much to say about the past couple weeks!

Of course there were mishaps on the wedding day as well. No one ever seems to mention those so people end up working so hard to achieve the perfect wedding, but the truth is, everything can’t go according to plan! I could list a bunch of mishaps! From little things like food stains on my dress, cake issues, to proper family drama on both our sides and even between ourselves (just a little bit!) as when you put enough people together in an emotional situation I think it’s just fate :P but the point is no matter how you put it, a wedding is a beautiful occasion and any mishaps do not need to overshadow this.

My husband and I are now united together for the rest of our lives by God. I think one of the nicest feelings that I am feeling right now is pure relief and gratitude that we got this far. Despite everything. Despite all of my issues, all of his issues, all of our drama that took us through ups and downs over the past 10 years we are finally here and married!

Thank God!

Lots of Love

Mrs. Smileyface

This One Time, at Band Camp…

I have just finished my first full week at my new job, and I feel like this entire week and a half has been one giant blonde moment!!

That plus the fact that I still have a knack for word vomiting my entire life story in one conversation means…

I am still the Queen of Awkward! And T.M.I. (too much info… incase ya didn’t know!!) :-s

Ugh… school days…

Oh well… it’s still early days. God willing, I still have plenty of time to redeem myself… Please God!

Anyway… YAAAAAYYYY WEEKEND!!!!

Lots of Love!

Smileyface!! :)

My Sunday (Thoughts About Faith and the Material World)

Did you know that The Big Bang Theory was invented by a Catholic priest?

Look him up! His name is Georges Lemaitre.

I love science, so was very happy to find this out! About 10 years ago I did have some trouble with the whole “science vs. religion” debate as although I did want to believe that there was a God, I didn’t want to forget science. It was one of my best subjects at school! Luckily I learned a few years later that actually science and Catholicism can easily go together and one very useful way to see it is that science is merely another one of Gods tools with which he creates this world :)

Boom! I find that quite easy to comprehend, and any science nerds that still try to debate that whole aspect of religion with me (a.k.a. Dad, brother, sister, classmates…) I feel just can’t handle losing that argument :P haha!

I could write an entire post about science and religion but would instead rather talk about my day today! Might come back to this later.

Today’s Gospel reading at church was the one where the rich guy asked Jesus how to achieve eternal life and Jesus tells him to give up all his possessions and follow him. Then the rich guy walks away feeling sad and Jesus proceeds to say how difficult it is for a rich man to go to heaven.

Right.

I know this passage might bring relief to a lot of people who are struggling financially. As for me, on the other hand, this passage always makes me feel kinda uneasy. I’m a spoilt expat brat. No other way to say it! Sure, I have known P-L-E-N-T-Y of kids who were more spoilt than I am, but I also know plenty of people who are much less spoilt than me and all I can do to make myself feel better is resort to relativism e.g. “at least I am not like them!”  In this case, “them” referring to all the other spoilt kids I ever knew or encountered! Although, I do try to hide it as much as I possibly can I am sure it must show through sometimes.

Today has been one of those days…. Nuff said, moving on!

Another thing I can say is “well, I don’t know anyone who would be willing to give up all of their stuff!” with the exception of the few nuns I’ve met briefly at church of course… They are different!

And also, by nature, as an artist and a designer I have an undying desire to surround myself with pretty things! My clothes, my accessories, my home decor, my blog theme etc…. My career (oh yea! I finally got a job!) is based on the principle of making material possessions both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

Human beings appreciate beauty! I love just being able to see! From the trees and birds, to the cities, home decor, fashion, people and my own reflection. Yea, I said it. I am not one of those girls who always hates the way I look! No way! I appreciate it whole heartedly and I hope 30 years from now I can still say that!

I appreciate the things I see so much that I thank God for allowing me to see everything I get to look at everyday.

I also appreciate the things I see so much that I always want more. I always want more clothes, hair styles, shoes, ornaments, lamps, clocks, bed sheets… you get the picture?? It was a task being able to give away everything (yea right! Not everything!!) that I didn’t need in order to ship the rest during my move over here.

People do soften the impact of this particular Gospel reading by instead saying that it means that God does not want us to be “too attached” to our material possessions. That does make me feel better. I know that if I had to give away all my possessions then I could. If it was out of necessity. There are more important things out there and I know this at the bottom of my heart. I just hope that I won’t have to, and I hope that by writing this post I have not jinxed myself. Eeek.

Anyway, I am not quite sure how to conclude this post… I always suck at conclusions!

After hearing todays Gospel reading and then analysing my own attitude… I can at least thank God that he has brought this to my attention again and continues to on a regular basis through the world around me. I am reminded all the time that I should be grateful for everything in my life, material and immaterial. I pray that he continues to remind me, that I continue to grow in my ability to show thanks for all the good blessings in my life, and that I can grow and learn new ways of showing thanks and gratitude by contributing in my own way to the world I have been given.

Faithfully,

Smileyface! :)

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