Talking about courage and moments of clarity

On Finding God and Being Vegetarian

A couple of years ago I decided to find God.

They say that God is everywhere. They also say that our body is a temple. So I decided to find God in the closest place to me. It is a place that I can feel with my heart but I can’t see with my own eyes. I decided to find God inside me.

So I did a drastic thing. I turned vegetarian. On top of that I also cut out all the greasy, chemical-ey, artificial junk that I’ve been eating my whole life. I thought maybe my body was so congested with so much crap that God got lost inside there somewhere.

When I say God, I don’t really mean that guy in a white robe with a radiant halo around his head. Some religious scriptures say that there is a Guru inside everyone of us. Some kind of a Holy Spirit, living in us which was created in the very likeness of God. You might have heard the story of Baby Krishna opening his mouth and inside it was a whole universe. That was the kind of concept I was feeling. I wanted to find the ruler of that universe within me. Simply put, God.

I’m not really religious. But I was feeling lost. And sh*tty about myself. So I was in desperate need of guidance. I couldn’t really count on the chance that something like the Twelve Commandments to suddenly fall down from the sky. My interpretation of this God that lives within us in a simpler language is this: within us there lies our intuition that might lead us to where we need to be. It’s our inner voice that we constantly ignore in our attempt to get on with society and to fit in. Screw fitting in, it was time to make myself heard!

So back to being a vegetarian.

FOOD, CULTURE AND FAMILY
I come from a long lineage of meat eaters. My family is Indonesian, and traditionally, meat has always been the centerpiece of our meals. We limit ourselves to cows and lamb/goat (if it bleats, we eat), also chicken and a bit of fish and other marine friends. I loved them all indiscriminately. I even went for the weird parts – let’s not elaborate on that. My late grandfather refused to give up meat when he found out that his body couldn’t take it anymore. ‘If I can’t eat meat my soul will die and I will suffer a more painful death’ he said. Such is the love for meat in my family.

Okay, I might sound a bit crude. Let me paint a clearer picture about how food is regarded in my family. My family is a bit religious (I would say more culturally so), and food have always been considered a blessing. We treat it with utmost respect. Each meal begins with a prayer. Children were brought up to believe that food CRY if we don’t finish them. It is considered disrespectful to say nasty things or behave insolently in front of food, so please, no arguments at dinner! We make sure that the animals we eat are slain as humanely as possible. Basically food is held with reverence. No food is bad food unless it’s detrimental to your health. Or if it was stolen (bad karma!). So even though I gave in to temptations too often and ate too much at times, my relationship with food has always been amiable.

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Here goes nothing!

COMING OUT
I was surprised that giving up meat was easier than I thought! The harder thing was coming out. My dad is pretty health conscious so he took on the idea pretty well. My mum just thinks that I am on a diet. I didn’t even try to explain to my extended family due to one occasion when I got labelled a snob when I refused to eat meat. My friends were pretty okay with it, although I had the suspicion that most of them thought I wouldn’t last very long.

Starting out was so much fun. I began to explore foods that I’ve never heard of. I dabbled with new recipes. I also tried to be a responsible consumer and I started shopping at either the organic section when I could. But mostly I stuck to buying local produce. Because life as a vegetarian (and I was also staying away from junk food) could be boring if you don’t explore, I started trying out things that i would never eat. Hello quinoa! Hello fennel! Hello beetroot! Hello you strange purple carrots!

I also felt like I belonged to an exclusive club. I would catch up with fellow vegetarians over meals. We would talk about vego-friendly dining, cooking, convincing our partners to eat more veg if they don’t share the same diet, and we would bitch about paying the same as our meat eating friends when we split bills at restaurants. I imagine newborn religious followers would zealously discuss topics along the same line with their peers (oh how fabulous our lifestyle is and oh how sorry do we feel for others who don’t share our faith).

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I feel good!

FEELING GOOD
Soon enough, I was feeling some positive effects from my new lifestyle. Physically I felt like I was over the moon. Yes I was craving for friend chicken from time to time (the hardest thing to forget!), but you get over that kind of stuff if you focus on how good you feel. I had so much energy. I never felt penitent for feeling sickly full after a meal. And I was no longer drowsy and lethargic after a meal.

Mentally and emotionally, it was definitely a whole new level. I get it why people fast or do lent. Being able to say no to temptations and to turn your mind towards something that you actually need rather than want is, my friend, a powerful thing. The more I could resist to giving in to the smells and sights around me, the more determined I became in my daily tasks. I was finding myself jogging at 7am, and god knows I was never a morning person. YEAH! I was a fortress on legs!

Slowly, I got mentally stronger. I was able to walk past a barbecue without my mind reacting to the smell. I could stare at a KFC ad and felt nothing. And when I was unaffected by these external senses, my mind started to be able to discern which ones of the desires I felt was actually coming from what I need (internal) or coming from what I think society thinks I need (external). Before long, my shopping habits also began to change. I no longer succumbed to the allure of a pair of $300 heels that I would never wear. Of course I still have some naughty days where I would indulge, but it was done with awareness. Besides, who could resist a strawberry milkshake after a bad day?

I also started to feel more grateful of the little things that I took for granted. Being presented with a more limited option for food does that to a person, I think. There were times when I’ve attended functions where all I could eat was lettuce and I was looked at with sympathy. Although I really didn’t care. I’d rather come see my peeps regardless of what’s there to eat.

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‘My bad!’

FALLING OFF MY HIGH HORSE
With all the good stuff that was happening to me, and also because I am only human, the glory did get to my head a bit. One day I was invited by my friend to her place for dinner with her family (her mum, her husband, her kid). My friend’s mum prepared her specialty meat dish, and unaware of my diet she eagerly offered it to me. When I rejected her she looked absolutely crestfallen. At that moment I felt horrified with myself. Here was an intricate dish cooked by someone who has welcomed me into her house with utmost hospitality, and did I consider it for a second before I pushed it away?

Ashamed of my insensitivity, I reviewed my ways. Some buddhist monks live on alms and have no choice over what food they eat. How could I act so high and mighty thinking my choices are superior to others when some people don’t even have a choice (insert the usual ramble about hungry kids in Africa here). I wanted to change the way I eat to find the God within me. Snobbery was not part of my plan.

I made up my mind if someone offers me food out of kindness, I would be more considerate and accept (unless if it really is detrimental to my health to do so). Funnily since I made that pact with myself, I was never in such situation again.

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Upside down is the right way up!

COMING FULL CIRCLE, BUT BETTER
Sadly, my dalliance with vegetarianism did not last very long. A few months ago, my health began to deteriorate. I had headaches that were debilitating I couldn’t get anything done. Lethargy. Crankiness. Loss of feeling in my limbs whilst exercising. All that plus the dark eyeballs that made me look like a druggy. After some blood tests, it was discovered that I was low on blood and I was running low on iron amongst other things.

I tried upping the iron pills at first, but my body didn’t seem to absorb much. After a lot of internal monologue – ‘Does this mean I admit defeat?’, ‘What would my vegetarian friends say?’, ‘My non-vego friends would think I gave up.’ , and mainly ‘Will I turn back into the mindless irresponsible eater that I once was if I give in?’ – I accepted that maybe I’m just not built to be a strict vegetarian. With all that generation of meat eating in my family, dependency on meat is probably imprinted in my DNA. And if my body is a temple, and God lives in that temple, I best honour it.

Hence I started eating meat again. Albeit occasionally. And I’m keeping it strict to kangaroo which is highly charged with iron and protein yet it’s low on fat cos it’s so lean (also it’s widely available here in Australia and far more ethical and environmentally friendly – read more here). I also reintroduced fish again. Good for the brain, they say.

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‘I gots inner peace!’

THE CONCLUSION
How do I feel now? Balanced. I have the energy to do the things I love, and no weird numbness in my feet during card. Did I turn into the mindless glutton that I was before? Nope. My journey have taught me a valuable lesson in mindfulness that I don’t think I could forget. Did I get rid of my sweet tooth? Unfortunately no (chocolate is too good!), but I don’t overindulge like I used to.

But did I find God?

When I looked at my brief time of being a vegetarian, I considered it as my big cleansing period. I was freeing myself not only from the traces of the unnecessary food I’ve been feeding myself, but also from external influences that I’ve mistaken as my identity. In doing so, i felt that I was able to hear myself more clearly. That inner voice is my Intuition. It is the commanding voice of my inner universe. The more I listened to it, the more truthful I stayed to myself. And who am I? Nobody. Just another soul striving to be the very image that it was made from: God.

x

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Hairy Tales and Cousin Itt

I AM CHEAP!

What I mean to say is I am low maintenance where some things are concerned. And one of those things is my hair. In the last three years I have only gone to the hairdresser once. I do not use fancy products on my hair. My hair conditioner of choice is SLS free, vegan and only $3.50. from the local supermarket. It comes in a bottle made from corn (how is that even possible?). Oh and I always keep some coconut oil around. It’s hair food.

So, obviously, without my pruning and trimming, my hair has grown long, wild and unkempt. Kind of like the Secret Garden when Mary Lennox discovered it for the first time. My hair gets tangled everywhere: all around my hand bag, all around the stranger next to me’s handbag on the train, house plants, you name it. On some days it chokes and smothers me when I squirm out of my clothes (and then I usually yell ‘HAAAALP!’ and le husband would come running to aid, Hallelujah! I get it why fine ladies in the olden days had maids to help them dress).

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Dapper Cousin Itt

If you’ve watched the Addams Family you might remember Cousin Itt. He’s a flamboyant bachelor who’s always impeccably dressed in sunglasses, a derby hat and gloves. And he’s entirely shrouded by long hair – which I think must be the reason why his voice sounds high pitched and gibberish. Anyway, I feel like Cousin Itt sometimes. Although his hair is way more sleek and silky than my own. And I am no flamboyant bachelor with an extravagant lifestyle (which is plain to see from my cheap bottle of hair conditioner).

The last time I went to a hairdresser I paid $85 for a trim and a nice chat (he was a nice man with nice tattoos and we talked a lot about bicycles and inner city living). It was expensive but I thought what the heck, it’s a once a year thing. At least I thought it was going to be a once a year thing, but I made such a big deal out of it that I psyched myself out of my next visit. So here I am, a woman with crazy hair. And so big is the burden of going to a hairdresser, I’ve taken the troubles of trimming my own split ends. By the sunny window, with an itsybitsy pink scissors purchased from Daiso.

The thing with letting my hair grown so long is I have bonded with it over time. Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing my follicles a little bit, but my hair is sort of like my friend. It is worthy of moral care and affection. It’s been there with me through this whole time. It knows the heights of my ups and the depths of downs like the back of its metaphorical hands. It’s also the best indicator of weather, providing me with reading of the humidity in the air.

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Inuit woman, Nowadluk, with long hair (by Lomen Brothers)

There have been many literature on long tresses. There’s our famous damsel-in-distress Rapunzel. Oh, and strong Samson (can you believe Delilah for her treachery?!). There’s also Lady Godiva who rode into town butt naked, covered only by her long locks. An evolutionary psychology theory explains the allure of long female hair : it reveals a person’s health, genetic strength, status, and of course fertility (everything always seems to come down to procreation). My hair is not at all shiny and lustrous like silk satin. After all living in Melbourne where the weather condition is fickle and extreme, healthy hair is difficult to maintain.

I came across an interesting article written about long hair in Native American culture. Apparently the U.S. Vietnam war special forces (or something of that name) recruited several Native American young men with exceptional tracking abilities. Men with some mad skills. However, once enlisted, these men seemed to lose their abilities. It was a peculiar thing!

So the people in charge looked into the matter, and several studies later, they found that the reason why these men failed to perform was because of the military haircut they were required to take. Without their long hair, they couldn’t sense or read subtle signs from their environment. No hair, no magical powers.

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‘Tell me you hair care secrets!’

It seems that being an extension of the nervous system, hair (on head and facial) act like feelers that transmit important information to the brain. It’s quite a fantastic story, and there may be some truth in it. Ever since I started growing my hair out I do notice that I’ve become more aware of certain things. There’s wind direction and speed. Strong winds would send my hair flapping and whipping, which always leaves me feeling overwhelmed. There’s also humidity, of course. And I think every girl with naturally frizzy hair would be sensitive to it. Oh, and there’s also smells that seep into the follicles. If by any chance amnesia should happen to me, I only need to smell my hair to find out where I’ve been last night (Pub? Beach? A shopping centre?)

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Emulating Cousin Itt, straw hat instead of a derby because it’s summertime

I do enjoy having my long crazy mane. It’s a statement of my can’t care less attitude towards trends and fashion. It’s symbolizes my laid backness. It brings out my inner hippie flower child. And contrary to what people think, it require no fuss (bad hair day? Tie it up in a bun and forget about it). It’s also good for shrouding me from people I wish to avoid. But like some relationships, I know that one day I will say goodbye to my hair and chop it off. But in the meantime, my hair is here to stay. And if Cousin Itt really exists, I’d love to hang out with him and trade hairy tales.

x

ps: You can read more about the article I mentioned here

I Dream of Tigers

Discovering key thinkers like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung made me realized that by observing what’s inside my head, I might discover more about myself and the people around me. I might find an explanation for my dislike of eating ice cream and cake TOGETHER or my obsession with images of people floating in water. Hence, in my endeavor to unravel the bizarreness that is my own brain, my thoughts and dreams rarely go unnoticed. So keen I was on observing my own dreams, I have become somewhat of a dream oracle amongst my friends. In other words, they come to me for an interpretation of their dream. It’s kind of fun.

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I am one of those people who are blessed/cursed with lucid dreams. I say cursed because, sometimes, my dreams are too happening that I find it hard to wake up. They’re like movies I want to keep on watching. So when my days get a bit same-same, sleeping becomes almost like a free entertainment. And to me it’s definitely more interesting than, oh I dunno, an episode of Glee?

I definitely agree that dreams is made of real life happenings and debris of my own thoughts, desires, fears and frustration. They’re such funny things. Sometimes they can be laden with so many symbolisms and metaphors. Sometimes they can be as trivial as reading a magazine while drinking a cup of tea (I tend to confuse these realistic dreams as memories of events that actually took place in reality). I have noticed that the qualities of dreams that I get during naps and sleep are also different (I tend to get more nightmares during naps). And I’ve noticed going to bed with a full stomach can give me bad dreams, Which then explains my nap nightmares because I usually take them after a heavy lunch!

So you see, I am a big observer of my own dreams. One thing I like noticing is the types of animals that turn up in my dream. I have read somewhere that our dreams are made of everything that we’ve seen. Our brain can’t construct imaginary people or creatures or things that we have never seen before and put them in our dreams. So if that’s true, I have seen thousands of different animals, but why do only a selected number of them keep coming up in my dreams? What are their significance? Why do they come up at certain periods in my life and not at other times? Also, I really love animals. And thinking about them wards off boredom.

Below is my attempt to record the different animals that I’ve dreamed of and the timing of the dreams. I hope to see if the dreams were related to incidents that I have experienced. Freud said that dreams are always self-centered. People/objects/landscape that appear in a dream represent some aspects of ourselves or what they mean to us. So please bear with me as I go on a journey inside my subconscious to see if my crazy dreams held any meaning. (Note: this is the closest I have gotten to being Scientific! I am so excited i can barely hold my horses!)

BIRDS
I don’t think I dream of birds very often. I think they are funny creatures and sometimes too smart for their own good. Magpies sort of scare me, I think they are plotting on world domination. The only time I had a bird dream, I was hugging a giant parrot. It is a nice image to remember and it makes me feel a bit fuzzy thinking about it. The dream happened during a time when I starting a new chapter in my life, and I was anticipating many lovely things to come (and they did). The parrot was probably a symbol of that. Although my husband thinks I was probably dreaming about meeting him (we haven’t dated yet at the time). He does annoy me with too much talking sometimes, just like talking parrots do.

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An illustration I did based on my parrot dream

BUTTERFLIES
I once dreamed that I was sticking hundreds of butterflies on a present that was meant for my friend who just had her first child. It was pretty, but boy how evil was I sticking down those fluttering wings with a glue stick. In this instance I think the dream represented me trying to capture fleeting moments of happiness, which is exactly how I feel each time I see my friend with her new, still young family.

CATS
Cats show up in my dreams ever so often that it’s hard to pinpoint what caused them to wander into my head. I remember dreaming about a rocket that crashed down to earth and it exploded, releasing hundreds of skinny kittens all over town. I wasn’t high, I swear.

The last significant cat dream I had happened after my husband and I were talking about our plans for having kids. In that dream , we were cruising around in a convertible when we saw a pair kittens on the side of a road. One was male and the other female. Instead of whiskers they each had a handlebar mustache (que?!) which made the dream memorable. I wanted to take the male kitten home because he was more my type. But my husband insisted that we took both kittens home and I relented. Based on our conversation topic before we went to bed, it’s safe to assume that the dream was children related. I still feel a little guilty for only wanting the boy kitten.

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My quick sketch of the kittens from my dream diary attempt

FISHES
I dream of fishes sometimes. Usually they’re ugly black things that have been washed away onto land. I take that as my unconscious trying to tell me my head is overflown with unnecessary thoughts (or that’s what I figured out from a dream dictionary, which makes sense to me).

When I was just a first year student at university, I dreamed of a deep sea angler fish flying outside my bedroom window. It was trying to smash the glass with its ugly head. I was probably just stressed from assignment deadlines. Thinking back, at the time I had a fear towards deep sea fishes. They are just so grotesque looking with incisors that make them look like chainsaw killers of the ocean. I know, the chance of me coming across a live angler fish is quite slim! But when one has an irrational fear, logic never seems to work. Oh by the way, some anglerfish fun facts can be found HERE.

GIRAFFES
When I was a kid, I dreamed about giant giraffe heads (necks and all) growing out of giant trees. They formed and arch over a road, and they were clumsily tangled into each other, neither dead or alive. That dream scared me to bits. As a kid, I had this fascination/fear of taxidermy because I couldn’t figure out why people are fascinated with restoring dead animals to they’re life-like state. And I also had a fear of unnaturally big things. Like dinosaurs (yes, even though they are extinct). They creeped me out. And those giraffes were both of those things: lifeless and crazy big. Although the dream happened during a nap (when my dreams are usually pretty wack), it definitely made a deep impression on me.

HORSES
During a time when I felt a renewed sense of purpose, I started dreaming of horses. They were wild, running free, and they would snap at anyone who was standing in their way. One of the horses actually chewed off a man’s arm because he was trying to stop them. Yikes! Personally, horses have always been a symbol of strength and hard work. We’re similar, horses and I. I love my freedom but I am also a darn hard worker. In dreams, I see them as a good omen.

RABBITS
Up to this day, I have dreamed of rabbits four times. And I remember each rabbit dream vividly. Three times out of four, they only showed up when there was some sort of sinister force present (aka nightmares). And in that instance, in two out of three dreams, the rabbits were white. One white rabbit was cradled in my arms while I was standing in a middle of an apocalypse, and the other was also in my arms with its nose bleeding while we were threatened by an evil spirit. In the third nightmare, the world was at war and two rabbits that were believed to be mutants (result of bomb radiation) were killed. I was going through some phases where I felt confused when I dreamed those dreams. Maybe the rabbits were a symbol of the innocent part of me that gets affected during those confusing times. I’ve also had pet rabbits once, and in taking care of them they taught me to be observant and sensitive (since they are sensitive creatures themselves). So another theory is, the dreams were trying to get me to be more in tune with myself.

However I’ve also had one happy dream about a very affectionate bunny who kept nuzzling me and then making friends with a fluffy cat. It was a major dream ‘Awww’ moment. I have no idea what the dream means. Maybe I was looking at way too many baby animal photos on tumblr.

SNAKES
I haven’t dream of snakes in a while but they aren’t strangers in my subconscious. I personally don’t have an aversion to them, and I like to think that they’re misunderstood creatures. And after seeing a picture of a snake on an operating table because it accidentally ate a golfball, I saved a soft spot in my heart for our limbless friends. The last memorable snake dream I had was almost two years ago, and it was about a threatening snake that turned into a harmless caterpillar. At the time I was coming to a realization that someone whom I’ve always know was not who that he/she appeared to be. And I think the dream was trying to tell me that no matter how vicious anyone appears to be, there’s nothing that a big heart and a sturdy head on my shoulders can’t handle (kindness and sensibility is my lifelong adage.

TIGERS
Tigers are such special animals to me. I feel that there are some tiger-esque qualities that I also possess (along with the horse-esque ones I claimed to own earlier). Like a tiger I know how to relax, but when things need getting done I will get it sorted in a flash! It’s like my killer instinct. Also when I get hungry I get as fierce as a tiger. Ha-ha.

Once I dreamed of a pool in a garden that was overflowing with so many of fishes that it got so fed up and the water pushed out all the fishes onto the grass. And when the last one was out, a pair of tigers suddenly emerged from the bottom of the pool and they began to dance. It was a joyful kind of dance and I think they were showing off their strength. This dream happened on the first night after I moved overseas for a job, and little did I know at the time that I would go through a somewhat soul searching experience in the year ahead. The tiger dream is one of the most powerful dreams I’ve experienced. I felt that it was a sign that I was about to re-discover my true nature.

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An illustration I did inspired by the tiger dream

To conclude, I am glad that my brains keep creating these crazy dreams. It is a sign that everything is a-okay upstairs. Decrypting dreams reveal that my subconscious is my friend, it has my back and it never fails to warn me when things are askew.

x

Fashion Heroes

I am by no means a ‘Fashionista’. I pay no attention to the latest runway shows, I don’t buy the latest issue of Vogue, and I don’t care about what Karl Lagerfeld just did. In fact I try to avoid ‘fashion people’ as much as I can, fearing they might speak a different language and I won’t understand a word even if I tried.

But there are some things about fashion that I DO like. It has a this strange power to change how you see the world because it is a strong medium for self expression. And that’s just what I absolutely LOVE about fashion! I am in absolute awe of those who use it as a vehicle to take their creativity and self expression past the boundaries of what society deem as normal. They show me that ‘Hey, this is FUN! This is creative! This is LIFE! You are free! Stand PROUD and wear your heart on your sleeve! You are YOU!’

And when I see/meet someone like that I want to jump up from my seat and clap my hands and say ‘Bravo!!!! You have shown me that life is joyful!’ and shower them with bright colored petals and confetti as a metaphor of my gratitude!

I have been lucky to have found such people who have ignited that kind of fire within me. I call them my Fashion Heroes. They are not afraid to embrace their indivituality, to stand apart from the crowd, and they are not too worried about pleasing other people.

My Fashion Heroes aren’t always celebrities. Sometimes it can be that girl that I see regularly on public transport who wears her colours proudly like a bird of paradise. Of course, I don’t really find it appropriate to take some snaps of my everyday Fashion Heroes. But nevertheless, I want to share with you some of these wonderful people. Below are some of the more famous ones:

IRIS APFEL
Interior designer, businesswoman
She has a collection of stuffed animals that she accessorizes with jewellery. Although she claims that they take her jewels from her jewellery box themselves. As a wearer of glasses myself, I adore her huge spectacles! Also, she would not pay more than $15 on a pair of jeans!Watch this interview, and you might see why I look up to this woman.
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Photograph: Martha Camarillo
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ANNA PIAGGI
Fashion journalist for Vogue Italia
She definitely loved her hats. Her carefully planned haphazard style reminds me somewhat of an urban mad hatter. If there was ever a boundary set to define averageness, Anna went a thousand miles past it.
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FRIDA KAHLO
Artist
I love that this strong woman was always seen in full dresses with flowers in her hair. It’s everything that power dressing of the 80s isn’t. She’s shown me strength in being a woman.
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Frida Kahlo in a Tehuna costume, with her pet hawk, 1939 © Condé Nast Archive/CORBIS
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ba024b9c-7f13-4529-a86f-63267cd2a824“Frida on White Bench,” photograph by Nickolas Muray, 1939

ERYKAH BADU
Soul singer / songwriter
I love love love her large colorful headwraps that I’ve almost wanted to wear one myself. I also absolutely love her huge hair when she’s not donning her signature headwrap. I think what I love most is the earthy eclectic look that she dons so comfortably. She’s my soul queen with swag.
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Image via last.fm
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Photography by Alan Foreman for Nylon Mag
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Image via last.fm

GRACE CODDINGTON
Former model, Creative Director of American Vogue
Probably the least colorful Fashion Hero I have in my list, but just as out of this world! What I love about her is the way she proudly embraces her mass of flaming red hair. It’s beautiful! I’ve just read her biography and I am humbled by her hard work and passion her vocation.
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Image via Jackie Gloves
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Image via Gooshness
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Photograph by Danielle Levitt via guardian.co.uk
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Photographed by Arthur Elgort for i-D

YUNA
Singer / songwriter
Yuna is a young singer hailing from Malaysia. Her voice is like warm spiced cinnamon chai with honey on a winter afternoon. When I first discovered this songstress I was blown away by her style. While most starlets are competing to see who can get away with showing the most skin, she remains modestly dressed. Yet her style is infused with personality. And oh the colorful headscarves (I seem to like colorful head gear a lot, I see a pattern here)!!!!!
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Image via Tongue In Chic
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Image by photographer Larry Hirshowitz via KCRW
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Image via Okay Player
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Image via Global Grind

MINNIE MOUSE
Actress, show production manager (House of Mouse), owner/executive president/head clerk of Minnie’s Bowtique
Last but not least, is a well known and well loved public figure, Minerva Mouse! She always appears in her white bloomers with an enormous bow atop her cute head. She got sass and style that has lasted through generations. I can say that Mickey’s got himself a real lady!
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I naturally notice female Fashion Heroes whom I refer to as aspirations. They have the qualities that I wish to cultivate in myself – uniqueness, individuality, courage, staying true to oneself, etc. It astonishes me every time when I see that those qualities can be communicated through, well, fashion.

x

ps: Writing this list down I realized that I have yet to find a male Hero. That is something for me to go and think about. After all, it seems a bit sexist to limit my list to just females.

A Headstand a Day

I’ve practiced yoga for almost two years now. Hardly a long time in comparison to the well seasoned practitioners but for me, this is the longest relationship I’ve had with an extra curricular activity (which ended up pervading many aspects of my life, in a positive way). Of course time is not an indicator of how much of an ‘expert’ a practitioner is. My first yoga teacher said something like ‘you can practice for eight years and do fancy poses, but if all you keep thinking about lunch each time you’re on the mat, then it’s no good!’ It’s like he read my mind!

There are thousands of poses aka asana out there that I’ve not had the honour to practice. I am naturally pretty laid back so I don’t get giddily impatient about wanting to do everything. A yoga Guru once said ‘Practice, and All is Coming’. No problem. My practice is still bumpy and rough around the edges.

funny_pig_picture_7I’d rather take it slow and smell the flowers

But in the core of my practice there lies a dark secret that is the bane of my existence. And I will tell you what it is. Here goes: I am sh*t scared of headstands!!!!!

When I say sh*t scared, I really do mean it with capital Ss. A tremendous fear. The thought of it brings me trepidation. Excessive paranoia that I might tumble back and break my neck and DIE!!!! Oh, by the way I am exclusively referring to the Supported Headstand, or in Sanskrit, Salamba Sirasana.

Now, even though I may not have the optimum physical strength for the more challenging poses, I have always accepted them with courage. When faced with the headstand however, I become absolutely chicken! Regardless of muscle strength (whatever),  the thought of falling backwards absolutely terrifies me! Give me face plants, I will deal with the pain/embarrassment any day. But falling while not being able to see where is the equivalent of being disemboweled by a bunch of hungry zombies!

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Where does my irrational fear of falling backwards come from?

A friend once told me that difficulties in certain yoga pose implies that there’s an emotional issue that you haven’t dealt with (or issues that you didn’t even realize existed!). For instance, difficulties in poses that require hip openers might imply that you are suppressing some emotions. Sometimes I hear about some practitioners who started crying after performing certain poses which means they’ve just experienced an emotional release. There are other types of release a practitioner can expect; pent up anger, sadness, etc (sometimes the gastrointestinal release aka GAS happens too and it can happen to anyone)!

Known as the ‘King of Asanas’ the headstand has many health benefits, if practiced correctly. It gives the body a break, reversing the actions blood pressure and helping the blood goes to the brain while giving your heart a rest hence improving blood circulation. And apparently the benefits also go beyond the physical! On further reading I discovered that this pose helps develop the masculine qualities of will power, sharpness of the brain, and clarity of thought. BINGO! Maybe that’s where my problem lies. Maybe I’m too relaxed and somewhat indecisive (a Libran trait? But let’s save star sign talk for another day). Sometimes I lack the conviction and will power to see a task right to the end. Interestingly, I was also going through a phase in my life where I was unsure of my directions (mostly career related).

WHOA!

Coming up to the second year anniversary of my relationship with my yoga practice, I think it is time for me to face my fear of head on (excuse the pun)! I decided that I would do the headstand once a day. Without judgement, without expectations. I’m still a little chicken so I do it close to a wall (but not resting on it, and I hope to move away as I progress, slowly slowly). My crazy mind can rest easy knowing that it’s there to break my fall (if I fall). I’m still a bit wobbly and can’t stay up for long, but at least I can feel that wall of fear chipping away bit by bit. HOORAY!

Thankfully, my practice has given my the privilege of having the insight to recognize and address all the happenings I experience physically and emotionally. It has not only helped me listen to myself, but in many ways it has brought me closer to others. Life is a process which I hope will help me find my own courage. This time I’ll start by proudly standing on my head.

elephant-sirsasana“Ommmm….”

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Oops, a daisy!

When I was in my early teens I came across the expression ‘Oops, a daisy!’ for the first time. It was written across a baby black tee (a 90s thang) in an organic handwritten script. I come from a non-English speaking background and I had no idea what it meant. I thought ‘how random, why would someone be oopsing about a daisy?’ What a curious saying!

I imagined an innocent soul skipping along and suddenly stumbling on what a little flower. Pleasantly surprised with her discovery, she then blissfully exclaims ‘Ooops, a daisy!’ She might pick it up and tuck it behind her ear, or she might just continue on skipping in good spirits from her daisy encounter.

That piece of imagination was how I saw the world before I became an adult. It was made up of happy accidents, much like unexpectedly stumbling upon a daisy. Somewhere down the track then I grew up and I grew around my inner child. The world became a bit dull and expected. Tired of feeling listless, I decided that I would wake my sleeping inner child and see her world from her eyes again.

That is why I decided to start this. I want to remember what brings me wonder and what fills me with joy. It’s about my journey with my inner child because she can lead me to where I need to be.


when life gives you daisies, make a daisy chain

All I see is daisies!

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