So you want to be a writer?

When I was a kid, whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, my reply was always 'I want to be a writer just like Enid Blyton'.
The response is also always the same, 'But why? You are better off becoming a doctor/ engineer / (insert any other high-paying jobs)'.
Even my father was not very encouraging, telling me to get good grades in school and take a practical course in college such as business administration or architecture.
"You can write in your free time," was his reply when I told him I only want to write, nothing else. Architecture indeed! Imagine, clumsy me designing a building. I can just imagine forgetting to include a column or two into the building structure and the building crumbling into pieces the moment someone sneezed at it.
So, for the greater good and for the sake of everyone's life (I don't want to accidentally kill someone by bungling up in any of the above-mentioned professions), I decided to stick with my dream.
Of course, I have quite a few others who would tell me to ignore the sceptics and continue chasing my dream.
My number one fan was my mother who encouraged me and took the trouble to read the many stories I penned in my teenage years. My other fans are my circle of school friends who would wait patiently to read my short stories (most of which are romances since I was into Mills & Boons and Harlequin books at that time) and ask for more.
Now, years later, I am still working to fulfil this dream. I still scribble storylines and ideas whenever I have time. I started blogging to keep my creative writing skills honed and active.
Somehow along the way I managed to land myself in a writing job as a news journalist with a local daily. It was not what I wanted, but hey, it pays the bills.
Again, I get the same scepticism from other 'serious career minded non-journalist friends'.
"Are you sure you want to be a journalist? There's not much future in it, you know," one well-meaning friend would say.
"Well, since I do not have a college degree, I can't possibly be a doctor, can I? Nor can I be an architect, so I will have to settle with what I do best, writing," I told that well-meaning friend.
Fortunately, my circle of good friends continue to support me. One actually made sure I continue writing down my story ideas by nagging me at every turn.
"Have you completed your book yet?" he would ask when we 'bumped' into each other online recently.
"Err...not yet but getting there soon," was my sheepish reply.
"It's been ,what, ten years?? When are you going to complete it? Until you turn 99 with one foot in the grave?"
"Well.....I've been busy..."
"Excuses! I thought you wanted to be an author? Whatever happened to that?"
"I am working on that, really, honestly, believe me..."
"Hummpphhh...if you don't work on it, then don't come whining to me about having to write boring news articles day in day out!'
"I don't whine. Besides, how can anyone whine through an online chat? And I have a toddler at home to care for and a lot of work in the office and house chores to boot. so there!"
"Again, excuses, excuses."
"Hey, if you volunteer to babysit my son every once in a while, perhaps I would have completed the book by now!"
"Hah! Nice try! We live in different states and I am, thankfully, thousands of miles away, remember? So, don't try to foist the blame on me!"
"Okay, okay, stop nagging me. I don't need the extra stress, ok? It's not my fault that my husband is not a millionaire and we do not have a maid at home and I have to work to help pay the bills. I promise you that I will have the manuscript complete by...err... end of this month, so there!"
"We will see then," was his ominous reply.
Now, it is mere days from the end of the month and I am only at Chapter Four. I better not logon for too long, he might see me!
Better go, I have another six chapters to write, daily news articles to write, house chores to do, hyperactive baby to control and less than 48 hours per day to do all that! Oh, @#$%, I have not done my taxes yet too! Whose idea is it to only have 24 hours per day anyway?


To blog or not?

Just a day ago I typed a really long blog on romance and sex and clicked on the 'publish' button as usual.
Of all the irritating, annoying, confounded thing to happen, an error message popped up and when I refreshed the page, the whole thing is gone, zilch, disappeared into the strange workings of cyberspace.
Now, I am not an IT whiz and though I like playing and fiddling with all these modern tech gadgets and stuff, it doesn't mean I really know what I am doing, that includes fiddling with the world wide web and everything to do with it.
Even this blogging business, I created a few blogs years ago and until now, I am sure the blogs have met other blogs, mated and created other blogs on their own with grandbloggies and greatgrandbloggies, all without any intervention on my side.
Yep, I am definitely guilty of totally abandoning my blogs which only have a few posts and are probably dead and have turned into cyberdust by now.
I just find it troublesome to log on, type a few thoughts of the day and click on the orange button to find that
a) by the powers of cyberspace, some error had occurred and the 30 odd minutes I spent typing down whatever mostly-unread-boring opinions I have are wasted because it has disappeared into space
b) the post was published but strangely was riddled with misspelled words, typo errors and made me sound horridly stupid and emptyheaded.
So, I deleted those blogs after awhile and decided that I am not made to be a blogger after all. Then why again, now, you ask? Well, I have always have this dream to be a published author and though I have loads of novels in progress stored safely in my laptop, I never got around to completing these works and are always complaining to my good email friend, Nick, about my lack of courage to actually complete the manuscripts and start sending queries to publishers.
"Why not start a blog?" he had suggested.
Naturally, I was very reluctant and instead, accused him of trying to fend me off to the unknown blogging world so that I would stop whining to him in my emails to him.
Somehow, the idea took hold and insidiously began to grow and without going into the nitty gritty details, I found myself actually blogging, again!
Now, blogging is actually fun despite the fact that nobody except for yours truly and another blogger actually read my blogs. I mean the anonymity is fun, I can rant and rave about my immediate 'licenced to shout at subordinates' superior without fearing being caught or penalised.
Sadly, there are bloggers being sued for defamation and libel nowadays. Nobody can voice their opinions about anything anymore these days. A well known blogger in my country was brought to court for some comments he made about someone. Of course a lot of his fans and other bloggers cry foul over the suit. After all, he was only voicing his opinions, not accusing the person of some crime or anything.
Being a blogger is not so much fun anymore. Suddenly there are suggestions and legislations and proposals everywhere to regulate what bloggers are posting in their sites and many are pressing for responsible blogging. Talk about stifling creativity!
Though I am not out to defame anyone, I feel that too many people are just plain too serious by taking blogs much too seriously. Blogs are just personal opinions by individuals. Heck, some are just downright recounting of figments of the bloggers' imagination!
Though some misuse blogs to defame and cause serious harm to others, I am sure most are like me, innocently venting out to clear the heavy load of stress on our shoulders.
Just like rumours, all blogs should be read with a pinch of salt and if it is unpleasant to you, just close it, never go back to it and go find something else to read!


Guilty as charged!

If ever there was a crime against over-indulging in sweet creamy chocolate, then I am guilty as charged.
Fighting a life-long weight-problem and trying to lose the gadzillion pounds I put on during pregnancy, I embarked on another seemingly 'healthy lifestyle' slim-down plan.
Even as I start the slimming plan, I realised (not for the first time) that chocolates and dieting do not go together. In fact, it is pure hell trying to keep my hands (and mind and mouth) away from the sinful yet so wonderful sensation of sweet melting chocolate sliding down my throat, giving me a rush of euphoria and a desire for more.
I am sure all chocoholics out there agree with me that no trip to the store is complete without a trip down heaven lane (by that, I mean the aisle choked full with chocolates and candies of all types ready to be picked).
So imagine my chagrin when I discovered I had to cut out chocolate from my daily diet to successfully lose the unwanted fat and bulges spilling out at unwanted spots of my body.
What? No chocolate???!! **gasp** It already sounded like pure hell and I have not even started the diet yet!
Now, the exercise routine I can take. After all, we have all heard of 'no sweat, no gain' (in this case, 'no sweat no lose').
So the progress of the diet goes as follows:
Week One :
Wake up at the crack of dawn to squeeze in the compulsory 30 to 50 minutes of exercise consisting of cardiovascular and strength-training exercises. believe me, it was hard enough getting my eyes to open at 6am in the morning, much less go for a brisk walk, climb the stairs, do squats and lunges, sit-ups and push-ups and whatnots to get the muscles going. Somehow I managed to survive this week minus the chocolates! Hooray, I am on the way to obtaining the perfect figure (or so I thought).

Week Two:
Still waking up at the crack of dawn, but not everyday. Hey, the aching wobbly muscles needs to rest to do its work of burning the gadzillion calories stored in my hips and waist. My stash of dark and milk chocolates in the fridge are calling out to me every night.
'What, don't you miss us? You have forgotten us! How could you forget us like this? " they wailed every time I open the fridge to get the soya milk I have been drinking in substitute of milk.
Turning a blind eye (and deaf ear to the pleadings of those insistent buggers), I resolutely shut the fridge door and thought of the perfect figure with a wasp-like waist, slim hips and long sexy toned legs.

Week Three:
I have lost a total of five pounds and several inches overall. Time to celebrate! I am sure a bite of the poor neglected bar of dark chocolate with fine nuts won't hurt a bit. Besides, I am still sticking to my exercise regime quite religiously, not daily but still, it's more than three times a week.
The first bite into the delectable morsel of sweet treat was pure heaven! Before long, I found I had inadvertently swallowed half a bar of the chocolate. No matter, I will work it off in my next workout.

Week Four:
I am supposed to have lost about 20 pounds by now but the scale seemed to have a stuck needle. No matter, I can drown my sorrows in a choc while reading the ebook I recently bought and downloaded which is against the law. No, the choc is perfectly legal but the ebook isn't. It's not stolen if that's what you thought but it's one of those banned reading material in my country, an erotic romance book. My conservative country's censors have archaic moral standing, anything with the word penis is banned, kissing scenes are snipped off from movies, even pictures of breasts in breastfeeding manuals are blacked out..but that's another story. Anyway, I took 'time off' from my slim-down plan and indulged in what I thought was a well-deserved treat of chocolatey heaven. I am sure you know what I mean. Nothing beats biting into that rich delectable bar of chocolate, tasting its sweet chocolatey sensation, licking the melted creamy chocolate off your fingers and letting it all slide blissfully down your throat, blazing a trail of satisfaction and adrenaline pumping euphoria in its wake. Needless to say, there is now a dent in the small hill of chocolate stash in my fridge. They have also stopped bugging me to take notice of them.

Week Five:
Diet? What diet? oh, yeah. I was supposed to exercise and avoid all sinfully fattening food such as dairy and red meats and oily stuff. Well, I can proudly say I kept to my exercise regime which is now relegated to 'as and when I am able to get up in the mornings'. I have also cut out a lot of junk food such as the ones by fast food chains and pizza parlours. Refined carbohydrates? They do not stand a chance! My cupboards are now stocked up with whole wheat and whole meal and whole whatever. Not a single white flour and white whatever.
Whoever said chocolates are a type of carbohydrates? okay, so it is essentially all sugar and calories but recent scientific findings actually said chocolates are good for the heart. So, I must take my daily dose of chocolate. Don't want to die of a heart attack, now, do I? Like I have always said, 'a chocolate a day keeps the doctor away!'

Hooray! I can now fit into my favourite pair of khaki shorts without worrying it would split in two the moment I bend over although I still have to hold my breath and suck my tummy in before I could button it up. I took a look in the mirror, the wobbly bits are still there (albeit, a little less wobbly thanks to the exercise), my thighs are still contenders to defeat those of an elephants', my hips..sigh...are...still there and my legs are nowhere near long and sexy, not even when I stood far away from the mirror and stood on tiptoes. Sigh...there goes the dream of achieving to-die-for legs, tiny waist and slim hips. No worries, my good good friends, imported Swedish chocolates, are there to console me.
So, excuse me, while I make a trip to the kitchen. I can hear them calling to me now...


The closet introvert

My dearly departed mother was an avid reader. My dad also loves to read. Naturally, I too am a bookworm. Reading has been my only avenue of escape from the real world. Though most people consider me an extrovert, I know that I am an introvert through and through deep inside.
After all, I don't really like going to parties, hanging out at clubs, attending dinner functions, attending weddings, cocktail parties...etc...I find those events a real pain and could only wish that I can wiggle my way out!
I am not a social butterfly. I do not thrive on huge crowds. Perhaps this stems from my dysfunctional growing up years with an even more dysfunctional family and of course a really low self-esteem.
I mean, who doesn't get low self esteem from being called 'fatty', 'big butt', 'fat girl' and other similarly demeaning nicknames all my life.
I was born underweight and was skinny as a young child but as I started schooling, the pounds started packing on. I have a naturally big frame and is considered tall in my class but the pounds continue increasing (thanks to my mom's wonderful cooking at that time).
Before long, I am the 'fat girl' in class. As I reached my teens, I grew taller but did not get skinnier. Instead, I was still rounded but no longer in the obese category. Still, the old 'fat girl' nickname sticks.
After all those years of ridicule and being treated as 'one of the boys' in school because I am just too fat and too plain to be girlfriend material (believe me, teenage boys are just so shallow!), my self-esteem could not be worse.
The only way to survive was to have plenty of sense of humour and the wonderful days of solitude burying myself in my storybooks. Books beat having loads of friends. Reading beats going to any functions where I usually get disgusted stares or were ignored out right.
Along the way, I somehow lost some weight and looked better but the low self esteem remained. I made new friends and kept some of them.
But I was obsessed with my weight, I exercised and dieted. I became thin but still I do not feel good! I still felt inadequate, as if I do not belong here. I was suicidal at times and depressed at other times. I have really morbid thoughts of dying in various circumstances.All this while, I kept a cheerful front. Nobody suspected anything.
What really kept me going were my books. Even as I dropped out of college to start working, I withdrew more into myself. Books were my haven, my doorway to freedom and paradise. From Nancy Drew to Harlequin Romances to Mary Higgins Clark, I devour them all.
They were my salvation, my light in the dark and importantly, my reason for living.
Now, those dark days are gone and I have learnt to look on the brighter side of things. Once I read that we can accumulate as much wealth and assets as we want but still won't be happy. Happiness is a state of mind, we can be the poorest person on earth and still be happy if we want to.
Yes, it is definitely a state of mind. So, happy I will be till the day I meet my mom wherever she is now!