February read

Have you ever had that nagging doubt about whether you’re truly a creative person? Yeah, me too.

I’ve come to realise something: creativity isn’t just about creating masterpieces; it’s about the process, the journey, the constant motion of putting things out there, whether they’re perfect or not.

Reading “The Creative Act: A Way of Being” by Rick Rubin was like having a heart-to-heart chat with a wise friend who gets it.

Rubin’s book dives deep into what it means to be creative. It’s about baring your soul, expressing your unique perspective, and making art that matters because it’s personal. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “The personal is what makes art matter.” It hits home, doesn’t it? It’s not about how technically skilled you are; it’s about pouring your heart into your craft.

Lines like “Great art is created through freedom of self-expression and received with freedom of individual interpretation” are like little bursts of inspiration that make you go, “Yes! That’s it!”

It’s the kind of book that sticks with you. I found myself wanting to share its insights with everyone I know.

I started off reading the e-book version. Now I loved it so much that I’m thinking of getting the physical book too. There’s just something about having it on my shelf, ready to flip through whenever I’m feeling stuck or in need of a creative boost.


January reads

First off, let me confess something – January flew by in a blur, and if I didn’t scribble down my all of my reading, they’d probably be lost in the abyss of forgotten memories. I thought I read more books but couldn’t remember all the titles. For instance, I have a faint recollection of delving into a book about yoga, but alas, its title remains a mystery.

Nevertheless, I managed to keep tabs on two gems that I devoured cover to cover. Book number one on my list was “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth. Now, this book got me pondering about grit – that blend of passion and persistence that propels us toward our goals. As I flipped through the pages, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own journey.

You see, I’ve always been a bit of a dabbler, flitting from one interest to another. Yet, amidst the whirlwind of changing hobbies and pursuits, there’s one constant: writing. Since my primary school days, the ink of my pen has been dancing across countless pages, weaving stories and capturing moments. Sure, my dedication wavered in my younger years, but as I entered my thirties, something clicked. I shifted career from a Geophysicist to a Corporate Writer. My commitment to the craft deepened, and today, I can proudly say that writing is my anchor amidst life’s ever-shifting tides.

Duckworth’s insights also sparked ideas on nurturing grit in my children, though I’ll admit, translating theory into practice within the chaos of family life is no easy feat. Nevertheless, I’m determined to instill in them the resilience and tenacity to pursue their passions.

Now, let’s move on to book number two: “Talk To Allah: Finding Comfort by Making Du’a To Him” by Ayesha Syahira. This little treasure of a book struck a different chord with me. It felt like sitting down for a heart-to-heart chat with a dear friend, one who listens without judgment and offers solace in times of need.

During some particularly challenging week, this book became my refuge. Its gentle reminders nudged me to engage in frequent and sincere conversations with Allah through du’a. With each whispered prayer, I felt a profound sense of peace wash over me. It’s a comforting notion, knowing that I can turn to a higher power and express my needs and desires openly.

In essence, January was a month of introspection and inspiration, thanks to these two wonderful books. They reminded me of the power of perseverance in chasing dreams and the solace found in faith and prayer.


36-yo big deal.

Let me tell you about my little adventure yesterday.

I packed my bags, took a deep breath, and headed off to Johor to visit my grandmother and stepmother. Sounds simple, right? Well, for someone like me, it was a bit of a big deal.

Since I was a young child, I’ve mastered the art of avoiding interactions with my relatives as if they were the plague. I’ve never really delved into why I am like this. Some people may think there must have been some childhood trauma or something similar. I don’t want to overthink it yet, but I know I need to improve my efforts and frequency in reaching out and maintaining connections (extending silaturrahim) with my relatives.

My anxiety isn’t just your run-of-the-mill jitters. It’s like a stubborn little gremlin that’s been living rent-free in my brain forever. And when it comes to family gatherings, well, let’s just say I’ve perfected the art of ghosting.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my relatives. They’re a bunch of wonderful, loving people. But there’s always been this invisible barrier between us, especially more with my dad’s side of the family.

And then, to top it all off, I went through a divorce a few years ago. Cue the isolation mode – population: me. I became a hermit, avoiding human contact like it was my full-time job. The only time I’d reluctantly emerge from my cave was to fulfill my duties as a daughter and child, visiting my parents once in a while. There, I got to meet some relatives.

You can imagine the Herculean effort it took for me to muster up the courage to visit my grandmother and stepmother. And the kicker? I didn’t have my parents to hold my hand through it all (Yes, I am a 36-year-old this year). It was just me and my rock-solid partner-in-crime, Hakam, navigating this uncharted territory together.

So yesterday, I won’t lie, I was nervous as heck. The thought of awkward conversations and forced smiles made my stomach do somersaults. But guess what? Stepping into my grandmother’s house felt like a warm hug from the universe. Suddenly, all those nerves melted away, and I felt… relieved.

(I can’t really talk about the visit to my stepmother’s. She’s very nice, but for the love of my mother, the details of the visit will just stay with me forever.)

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, it was… dare I say it… enjoyable. Turns out, all those years of avoiding relatives and family gatherings were for nothing.

And as I sit here, reflecting on yesterday’s adventure, I can’t help but feel proud of myself. Proud for facing my fears.

So, to anyone out there battling their own demons – whether it’s social anxiety, fear of the unknown, or anything in between – I see you. I feel you. We are not dramatic. This is real. And I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. Take it from me: sometimes, the scariest journeys lead to the most beautiful destinations.