Learning to Say No to the Naked Girl in the House

Let me tell you a story.

At the time when I was completing my undergraduate studies, during my last two semesters, I was up round the clock doing my part-time job and drafting up plans and brainstorming ideas with my team to lay the foundations of my business.  I also had to work on my senior project – which was, much to my pride, apparently the first actual human experiment to be conducted on-campus.

At that time, one of my juniors who was a foreign student would always hang out in my room because her rented room was too far from university. Sometimes she would bring another friend along with her baby. Most times she would turn the music on loud and walk around the house naked. Yes.

I also had another friend from a different faculty who would come every evening to ask me to help her with her assignments because her English sucked real bad. By real bad, I mean real, real bad. She did not understand what her lectures were about. She could not comprehend her assignments. She could not even remember what I taught her. I ended up going with her for days to the library just to help her with her assignments.

Okay, I was being quite helpful. Never did I express my tiredness or lack of time for my senior project. But as days caught on, I realized I was putting off a lot of my own assignments and postponing several deadlines – deadlines I set for myself. I began feeling as if I lost my value and energy. My hard work seemed to be running down the drain dealing with all the drama in the house.

Due to all the stress, I lost the job that had been feeding me for the past three years. I told my girlfriends no, I am sorry, but I cannot possibly help you anymore. But did they understand what I was telling them?

Well, I moved in with the one from the other faculty because she was willing to help me with the accommodation. But what I did not realize was that she did not even know how to send an email or write to her husband in English? I always wondered why the heck she could not write to him in their own native language? I also noticed that although I told her that I was quite busy with an exam the next day, she still asked me to help her with her presentations!

Oh, I hope you do not get into the same problem as I did. What did I do to solve the problem then? I scolded them vehemently. I also unfriended them. On top of that, I got up very early every morning at approximately 6AM, did my prayers, and then walked 500 meters to school. Every morning before the sun rose itself.  I tried studying in the library… until my friend who couldn’t understand English turned up again out of nowhere to ask me to assist her! One day she even brought another friend who was having issues with her own project.

God bless my heart and my soul. Why was getting away from my girlfriends so important? I had definitely sworn myself out of lesbianism, to be sure. So why did I have to give them a hearty scolding every time and run away as if I were the thief?

Because it is very crucial for my subjective well-being. I needed a lot of time to think about more important matters, like my fees – I was graduating soon anyway.

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Here I am talking to you on my video. And please, when you say no, please mean it. Don’t you dare laugh after saying it because there is nothing funny about the “No”. And no, I am not naked. (Photo credits to Alicia Leng)

Alone time. Hard, death-like situations are opportunities for growth, and to grow, you need to think. You need to rearrange your thoughts and give yourself a little peace of mind as you navigate yourself well. Even if you are not in a dead-end situation, you need some precious time for yourself. For growth. For self-care. That moves us to the next section.

Self-care. You only have all the time in the world to attend to every matter around you. Give yourself a little gift of time. Sip slowly over a hot cup of green tea, read your favorite detective novel, or simply do nothing for awhile. This leads to the next point.

Well-being. A holistic approach to self-care looks at not only proper functioning of the body, but also the well-being of the mind. We got a brain to think, not just for ourselves but also for others. This mass of grey matter, with all its fancy nucleus accumbens, mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways, and the stuff in your hippocampus (pardon my language) that puts you to making the right judgements – resembles other muscular tissues in the body, and requires consistent exercise to keep running. And as far as we help others do their thinking, we have to give ourselves a break to redirect our focus too.

Exercise. As mentioned earlier, self-care in the positive psychological perspective involves working out on a timely basis to keep physically and mentally fit. Join a dance class to get the entire body moving freely.

Opportunities for Self-development. Time is of essence, and the time in which we invest our time is very important. When you are already tied down with a long list of things to do,  it’s okay to say no. Just say it. Don’t even feel obligated. You need time to fine-tune your strengths, because stars don’t grow overnight. They always emerge from the core of mysterious nebulae and take millennia to mature. In the same way, great ideas always form from muddled-up minds of a plethora of experiences, knowledge, and wisdom altogether. You just need to reorganize your thoughts so you don’t leave them hanging. When you mix the ingredients for a cake in a bowl, and then put the whole thing in the microwave, you’ll get a cake in the end. Of course however well it’s done requires all the love, care, and patience it needs too. So you need to be very clear to anyone who is begging for your attention while you are trying to make an amazing cake, to be able to concentrate on making such a nice cake.

Of course in reality the cake is you, and I bet you are sweet too. What about those girls who came into the picture from the start of the story – did they stop asking me the same goddamn question? No, they didn’t.

Poor girl.

Red Scarlet

PS.: No one could find any photographs of the naked girl, so pardon me.

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Marry My Ghost

Footsteps pounded on the pebbled ground in the rain tonight, splashing water and drips of mud around as the boots advanced. The thick raincoat swayed hastily in all directions as if attempting to catch up with the speed.

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Work of art by Alicia Leng.

I stopped writing to look out from my window and noticed the dark shadow of a woman sliding past the wall of cold, lifeless stones caught my eye. Eager to find out who that was, I picked up courage and dashed downstairs, out of the door of my apartment. The footsteps were still ringing clearly at the other end of the alley. I followed the direction of the sound.

Quick. I had to be quick.

At the end of the alley, however, I could find no shady woman. No black raincoat. No heavy shoes.

There was a lamp-post standing at the wall. Its light was weak and flickering, as if agonizing over every last breath that it had left.

Something gleamed from a bundle of old cloth hanging from the wall. It was an old mirror, about eight feet in height.

Pulling the cloth down, I hurriedly wiped off the centuries-old dust with my bare hands. They were wet from the rain, so cleaning a little was fairly easy. But then – my heart stopped.

My very own reflection. She was looking hard into my eyes, trying to speak to me. Her pallid face was a beautifully molded plastic mask that shone in the dark, the only source of light. I instantly fell for her. It was madness!

Could she possibly be me? Her beauty was perplexing; but was it really her after all, sneaking up through the alley at this time of the night to catch my attention, only to lock herself in an old mirror? I was spellbound; I couldn’t think rationally.

She raised her right hand and touched the glass from the other side, as if to answer the thousands of thoughts that were speeding through my mind like a bullet train – and I raised mine. I did not know why I did but I just followed her. Her palm touched mine… and in the next instant, a mighty force tugged me hard into the mirror, away from the physical world and all its beauty where I used to belong.

THE END

Red Scarlet

Postscript: Some say that when you have loved yourself too much, you start falling in love with all your dark secrets and truth. When you have become so enchanted with your own inner world, everything else that is in existence no longer matters anymore. You pick up the pieces of the past and put them together. You speak to your heart. And you become one with your soul.

2015 in a Bottle

Gazing blankly into the ghostly sky with its morning star hidden right behind the thick, heavy clouds, I downed my cup of espresso.  I tried to shut my thoughts and listen to the sounds around me.  I sat still in my wooden chair trying to capture some form of hope for my trusty pen to thrust its wildest dreams on.

If I could, I would.  Definitely.  I would part this sheet of paper from the book, roll it up, and then put it in a bottle – and set it free.  Well, what if I actually did?

My thoughts would have the freedom to linger off through the water surface, forever encased in its protective covering.  Hopefully it would seek refuge from raging storms, and finally meet with amicable weather in the Atlantic, before sailing smoothly into the Indian Ocean.  Perhaps, thousands of years later someone would be lucky enough to stumble upon it when it gets itself stuck in the soggy sand.

Parts of the lines are quite cheesy, and I do have to apologize, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, for borrowing the words in your lyrics to vent my dissatisfaction.

Thank you for calling me a bitch.  Thank you for assumming that I am a slut.  Thank you for piercing through my heart all your sharp arrows, of setting my soul to flames.  Thank you for calling me stupid, and whatever other names you felt befitting.  I have never once been that, and I shall show you that I mean it.

The players are going to play, play, play.  The haters, on the other hand, they are just going to hate, hate, hate.  What can I possibly do about that anyway.  I sort of knew you were trouble when you walked in to my life, so maybe shame on me now?  Hmmm.  All too often I was just left in blank space, baby; because all boys only want love if it’s torture, if it’s pain, if it’s hurt, and if blood oozes out from their hearts.  What do you really, really mean?  You were, in the end, the reason for the teardrops on my guitar (well, ok; it was really your guitar, but I held it with my dainty fingers sometimes).  Finally, your friends talked to my friends talked to your friends talked to me, and so we are never ever getting back together.  Not like I actually cared even.  I only have to shake it all off my head.  Yeah.  Loving you was so red, in fact forgetting you was like trying to know someone I never met.

Nevertheless, from the ashes rose a phoenix with wings so large they carried it away from the consuming fire.  I started showing gratitude and showering my appreciation on people, sometimes even people I do not even know who helped me in doing something.  I allowed myself to be as genuine as possible in dealing with the different kinds of people I have to meet everyday.  These things cannot go wrong.  As a result, I am proud of myself for having grown emotionally stronger and bolder than before.  It could be that my feelings have been numbed from the constant hurt, but my chains have been broken, and my soul has been set free.  I hope.

A few more months – just one more semester – I will be graduating!!!!  (I do wish I could insert a love icon here.)  I shall be done with my degree after a long, long time.  I should be so excited right?  Yes I am, but no, I am also not.  Oh gosh, my mind is wandering to so many places!  Life is an exciting venture, a beautiful journey bestowed upon Man.  There is no other gift more amazing than the gift of life.

This year also I am chasing time to kick off my positive psychology start-up as well.  While I am working on one SBU (strategic business unit, that is) now, I will directly after I graduate, start-up the other SBU.  Currently I am looking for sponsors and venues for investors.  It has been a crazy six months running about to widen social networks and contact suppliers, and so on, whilst studying final year.  I still have not mentioned that I am also doing sales.  Haha.  Crazy times.

I have of course had my fair share of repeating heartbreaks, but yet I did all I could to keep pushing on and on.  Whether it has got to be love, wealth, fame, or self-fulfillment, I wanted it to work out this year.  I probably went a wee bit overboard, pushing myself dangerously over the edge.  But I had already decided from early this year that I am not going to let things happen to me just like that.  I am going to make things happen to me instead.

So I just want you to know: I am fiercely fighting for whatever that is meant to be mine – my degree, my start-up, and HIM!!!!!

Never say never.  All I need to do is be patient. Perseverant.  Positive!!!!  The 3Ps!!!  Oooh – how sweet.

Red Scarlet

Burning Alive

The cotton pashmina that veiled the lady’s beautiful mind – it fluttered in the gentle wind as she glided gallantly down the ivory steps of the ruins of the fire-beaten Colossal pillars, her velvety dress sailing along.  Nothing was visible save her darkly distinguishable kohl hazel-brown eyes.  The light that shone through those piercing eyes burned everything she saw into flames.  But she did not seem afraid.

In a second little fairies appeared in the air; they flew around her, following her in a little camaraderie.  They tweeted cheerfully, with such childlike merriment and vigor.   She did not stop in her march.

Where did she come from?  Why was she heading to the fire with such passionate intent?

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Listen… listen closely.  Feel… feel naturally.  Think… think carefully.  Life waltzes in its own majestic ways.  No one could ever imagine how journeys would end, drastically, or with a tinge of fantasy.  One may lose himself in the tangle of cobwebs, but yes, he will cut his way out and yes, he will find his way through.  Darkness may plunge the anguished soul into the depths of the abyss where gargantuan monsters lie, waiting to gulp down a good meal.  Gunshots may fell the body into pits of raging fire, melting the skin, eating away at the muscles.

But you know what?  He will make it through.  He will push his way up, regardless of how thick the gooey mess he is in.  He will emerge from the pain of having his growing body held captive in the seemingly shrunken cocoon.

Today is Malaysia Day, and I have been spending the early hours of the morning to contact a few psychologists for interviews as part of my university project.  I have also spent a huge amount of time talking to my business partners about the event I am planning to hold soon.

The searing pain in the head; let it go, let it go.  It is hard to forget the past so sweet and which told of a future that was meant to be.  It is all a learning process anyhow, although it is hard to accept.  If only time could turn back its hands and work in reverse.

But how is that even possible?

I made a vow when I left: That I am going to heal like the issue never existed in the first place.  I am going to swing on my chandelier from out of your grasp, back to where I belong.  I am very aware of my points of origin, and whatever else I am doing.  I have given my best, too.  It is only for you to take it or leave it.  Whatever it is, you are still a part of me.

Love,

Red Scarlet

Only Human

Tonight I am going to speak out my heart. I am going to pour out every single thought that is trying to fight for space in my head.  Tonight I just want to cry out and forget.  I am going to climb up the rooftops, stand by the edge, spread my arms wide apart, my back facing the cold, dark night air… and fall.

Fall all the way down.  As I descend through the wind, I shall look into the beauty of the skies, perhaps for the very last time.  The sack of questions slam me further down, but no, I would not budge.

I breathe in, and out, in, and out; the raw air fill my one and only lung (I lost the other a decade ago), bringing oxygen to my blood.  One by one statement after statement surface into my concious.

“My name is Alicia Ai Leng, turning 24 very, very soon, and I study psychology.  This does not mean I have answers to your every question.  I too have questions myself – many of them used to be unanswered, but more and more are getting clarified.  I daresay I know a lot more than some people, but I feel too.  I also break down and cry.  I need a hug as well every now and then.  I have the breaking point, just like everybody else, where the limits are pushed to the maximum.  But just how far are these limits?”

For the most part, my life at this time seems like an endless struggle.  If you have heard of the saying:  She stoops to conquer.  Well, I have stooped so many, many times.  I was nearly killed in an accident.  I nearly killed myself.  I nearly  lost myself to insanity., the complex of Nature and the supernatural.

My old soul is slowly fading away into the past.  Now is now, and I have to act very swiftly.  I have drowned myself completely  into positivity, completely into work, and studies, and business, and enterpreneurship.  And wallahi, for all of heaven’s sake, love!  Oh god, what is going on?  Why is this happening?

The answer is because people change.  With time, people deviate from the norms of tradition – I know this might sound sad, but it is not the time to shed tears now.  I change.  You change.  We change.  All of us change.  Like all other humans I have blood running through my veins.  I breathe the air just like everyone does.  My heart pumps life into my body just like other living being.  I eat.  I pee.  I poo.  I cry real tears too.  I am definitely not a Bobo doll, a punchbag everyone hits mercilessly.  I laugh so loud you would have thought I were out of my mind, so long you could have thought that I were out of my mind.  There are occasions of burnout too everyone experiences that I also experience.  Of course in reality I am only literally meaning what I say.  Whether there are ups and downs, I acknowledge that I am imperfect as I am; I cannot please everybody.

Ich schwore, that is just me.  I could probably use a hand sometimes.

Show You Off

I have always wondered… are writers considered artists?

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein (Photo credits by Alicia Ai Leng)

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein (Photo credits to Alicia Ai Leng)

Where knowledge seeks to understand, imagination strives to satisfy its curiosity.

If we could turn back in our journey, wherever we may be leading ourselves to, and look at the origins of the term, it would mean a “lettered person” in Old French.  On the surface level, art is about utilizing creativity and imagination to come up with something innovative, fun, and, well, creative.  Most of all, to me it means a method of self-expression, the work itself symbolizing happiness, anger, jealousy, hatred, and madness.  This does not come easy to all of us.

We express ourselves in various ways.  Some of us spin around the dance floor, some of us write songs – but some of us also prefer to keep to ourselves and let the voices in our head do the talking.  And it comes out; it comes out in shades of red, blue, yellow, and orange.  At times it comes out in streaks of the pen as the nib scribbles through a blank sheet of paper.  It gets petrifying, once in a while, especially when the mind is doing all the talking, and the poor, unfortunate pen has nothing to do but etch out the mind’s jibberish.

Hell yes, writers are artists too.  Writers of every kind dances along the lines of words, making music in his own way – the words find a certain kind of harmony, a certain kind of tango, with a high or low pitch, and then connect themselves in coherent flow.  Just catch a glimpse of Shakespeare’s work; how meticulous it was written, that till now, hundreds of years later, people are still scratching their little round heads over the meaning behind them all.

Anyway, there goes…. I have been “wearing” this hairdo for nearly a week by now – and it makes me strangely cool.  At least that is the way I think. What do you think, anyway?  Is it not a spectacular piece of art? Haha.

Breaded [sic] hair. (Photo credits to Alicia Ai Leng)

Breaded [sic] hair. (Photo credits to Alicia Ai Leng)

Artists have the capacity to imagine to greater heights.  They have the ability to “wow” the average human being, because that is just what they do.  Even the most famous inventors are artists, too.

So, yeah.  Writers – we are cool just like that.  We are bold.  Brave.  Courageous.  In our own silent way.

PS.:  Apparently my body needs a bit more body-rocking to get going.  Just saying.