Thankful for My Anxiety for One Reason

I never ever thought I’d actually be thankful for my anxiety. But there’s one reason. It confirms that I’m not a psychopath. If you can’t tell, I’ve been watching a lot of true crime. I’m fascinated by what would prompt a serial killer to do what they do as it’s unfathomable to me to inflict such pain of any degree on someone. The psychological aspect is beyond fascinating to me.

My problem is being overly concerned with what other people feel and having deep anxiety over it. I should be grateful as this is in the opposite end of the spectrum to a psychopath.

A psychopath has no empathy or anxiety over hurting people. They have no concern over people or societal norms.

I kinda envy the freedom of being a psychopath. I can’t even imagine not being concerned about what other people think or not caring how they feel. I am an overly concerned overthinker and perhaps I often misread signals. I hurt myself a lot this way and imaging worse case scenarios that I’m deeply disliked. And I just can’t shake it. My rational mind tries to tell me otherwise but my anxious mind can’t be convinced in the slightest.

I am certain it’s due to the trauma I endured as a child. Being on constant high alert for hours with no chance to let my guard down. It was part of my survival. But wow, what a liberating existence that would be.

Naturally anxious people or empaths, who are usually drained all the time with people pleasing and are constantly worried about how others may be feeling. I often wish I could just, not care, for just a day, but it’s impossible.

I would like to be the bully for a change. No, just kidding. That would be deplorable. I would never want to be that. Been on the receiving end countless times so I hope karma is real. Doesn’t seem to be, as bullies seem to go far and get rewarded by toxic capitalist societies.

Came across a Tik Tok by someone who was diagnosed as a sociopath and revealed how they would use people without any qualms. How they would mimick acceptable behaviour to fit in and get ahead at the workplace depending on who could get them ahead. It all sounds so draining, but sadly too familiar.

They went for jobs they are not qualified for and would get them. They would also do anything to get to the top. Looks like I’ve worked with quite a few sociopaths, as I’m sure, have you.

My anxiety was definitely nurtured as well due to trauma. I recall having anxiety as soon as I had to start kindergarten. It reached a peak with abuse (SA) as a preteen and teenager. So I often think perhaps a different path may have led to me being confident and having less anxiety. I often think about that and wish I could have a do-over, like in a computer game.

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Been Almost 7 Years Since that Cancer Diagnosis in 2016

My oncologist is so pleased every time I get a good tumour marker reading. She always tells me well done, although I honestly feel like I’ve done nothing.

I just lay there. Everyone else did everything. Well I did try not to crumble to pieces putting on a fake facade.

It’s all down to luck, chemo and radiation (although very harsh), her compassionate treatment and most of all, loads of love from my family members for which I am forever grateful. They honestly gave me a strong reason to live. I believe the mental strength my medical team and family gave me helped more than anything.

I was absolutely tickled at my last visit when I asked my oncologist truly what she thought of my prognosis and she said she didn’t have much hope when I had a recurrence a year after my first diagnosis. I found it hilarious. Finally she felt confident enough to state it point blank.

I’m so glad she was honest because during my treatment I know that she hesitated to tell me the worst. Patients always want to know everything. We can take it. It’s better than suspecting. It gives us back the control we have lost.

Something I already knew as statistics showed I had a 58% chance to survive the next 5 years and that dropped to 17% with the recurrence.

Many cancer folks like me love the dark humour of it all, because it just seems so taboo for those who don’t have it. Humour is the best stress reliever and coping mechanism by far and especially in a support group of like minded ladies around the world. Not only those with endometrial cancer but other cancers as well. It feels like we are all in it together and happy for the good results of our friends. Also devastated when we loose anyone in the group and have survivors’ guilt.

Aside from the guilt, beating the odds feels truly incredible. Miraculous even. Is this what they call radical remission? But usually radical remission term is reserved for those who do alternative treatments and I didn’t go that route as it is statistically highly risky.

I have been actively avoiding the annual full body CT Scan due to covid and the hospital situation being risky and yes also that fear. That ever present fear no matter how cocky I may sound with my fellow cancer folks. We have all the same fears.

There is a term – scanxiety. Often I want to be an ostrich with my head in the sand but soon I’ll have to go for the test that my oncologist had already booked sensing my reluctance. Well I guess only then will I feel the shackles truly loosen.

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Confused & Conflicted (Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder)

I don’t feel old, but I feel old in comparison to those under 30 especially.

Grateful to learn from them as they introduce me to a new world. New terms and new ways of looking at the world. A kind of self assurance that is so beautiful. That I wish I could embody as well.

I am enlightened by the body positive movement (that all bodies are worthy), but it seems that diet culture is something that is a no-no. I can certainly understand why. And it’s why I refrain from talking about it recently. Dieting that is. Even though I never stopped attempting it.

But then I think, I’m not being authentic to myself. I do want to feel physically better and sadly that means to eat healthier and dropping in weight. And I have no stamina to exercise so diet is just the easier option for me. Mostly intermittent fasting because I just can’t cut off foods that I love. I would crave them too much and end up bingeing.

How I wish I could just eat what I love and what makes me happy, but I can’t. I have crap metabolism and that’s a fact. If I was granted a wish, that is what I would wish for. Seriously, not even money. Oh the freedom of that just blows my mind. You see I use food to medicate. Or should I wish for a society that truly embraces all bodies or doesn’t judge you based on it?

I grew up in an era when not much offended, but its hard to navigate the current era without the fear of causing deep offence. I am so conflicted as I hated being fat shamed my whole life and that caused a lot of trauma and resulted in further depression and ironically binge eating and weight gain. This together with dropping 25kg in 8 months through excessive exercise (orthorexia) and essentially starvation. (Anorexia as food was like poison to me at that time). So I do love that younger marginalised folks like me are taking back the power. Refusing to suffer the same.

But you want to know the truth? I have been fat shamed for so many years and bombarded by images of skinny bodies that are placed in a favourable light that I can’t seem to change my own brainwashed mind that slimmer looks better. Beauty is an extremely subjective thing. Just look at when the no eyebrows plucked foreheads were attractive in the Elizabethan era. Or hardly any brows in the sixties compared to thick full brows in the current Kardashian era. Also different cultures value different features. We all don’t find the same celebrities attractive for instance. I don’t agree with many on People’s sexiest person list.

Well I do think that chubby can be rather pretty and chubbier faces definitely look younger. No need for any of those fillers or Botox.

I am definitely a work in progress and thankful that social media exists, because it’s keeps me current. It’s a less lonely existence when you can find like minded folks and the power of those who would otherwise be forgotten or trodden upon.

Just airing my thoughts as I usually do, considering that I haven’t done this in a while.

The most beautiful to me are those with the kindest hearts and humblest personalities and that just shines through.

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Curious about Natural Menopause

I wonder when I would have actually had menopause if not for the surgical one at 45. My friend at 52 hasn’t reached menopause yet. And my mum thinks she had menopause in her mid fifties.

Honestly I feel robbed of my youth. So my advise to the young ones out there is to always get checked out even if everyone thinks you’re being a hypochondriac. It’s your body and your life. Also don’t be afraid, as getting cancer is much worse. Yes, I know easier said than done. I still have fear. So who am I to give such demanding advice.

But I’m glad to be rid of periods. Have always had a hard time with them. I was either flooding due to physical or mental stress, had excruciating pain due to medications and so forth. Sometimes my period went on for months but the doctor said it was just an imbalance of hormones and I was put on the pill Diane35 for that. Later on there was a discovery that a mixture of estrogen and progesterone is not too good and this pill was withdrawn in certain countries. Many also don’t know that if you’re genetically prone to it the pill also increases the risk of blood clots.

Once the pain was so bad I wanted to just lay down on the floor in a mall. My pain was induced by the medication though and wouldn’t have occured otherwise. The pain during my periods was always tolerable so this was alarming. I also developed severe back pain and couldn’t even lift myself off the bed without assistance. The pain was from the contractions.

More women should be warned that painful periods are not that normal and there should be more regular tests for cancer and not just after age 60. This is the average age for endometrial cancer so it’s often overlooked in younger patients. Another ignored and vague symptom is chronic fatigue and with that, brain fog.

In a future world maybe women can be rid of these, and there are artificial wombs so no more period or labour pains. I’m certain that’s a possibility.

But I wish I did not have to loose the protection that comes with all those essential hormones. Cancer patients can’t get hormone replacement therapy (HRT), so that makes things a bit difficult. A friend of mine told me her friend who was in remission for seven years died of a recurrence after being placed on HRT. The doctor relented as she was having a hard time with early menopausal symptoms.

Well just decided I should write something about cancer awareness as I haven’t really been doing that lately.

Grateful to be in remission and hoping it never returns. I just need to find ways to reduce stress. As always I am keen to share what works. And I will never stop being grateful for fellow cancer patients online, who are the best mental and spiritual support.

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Have Not Been Writing

I don’t feel an urge to write when I feel I can’t be completely honest. It’s like – what’s the point?

In my entire life I have never lied other than doing it to spare someone’s feelings. Like an insecure classmate in junior college repeatedly asking me if she was pretty. Of course I said yes even though I didn’t think so. That’s the kind thing to do. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t tell someone they are beautiful if I didn’t really think they were. I mean when it’s unsolicited. So if I give you a compliment, I mean it. And for me inner beauty can’t be separated from the equation.

I’m very self conscious about what I put out there and feel like I’m expected to only be positive and see the silver lining and not ever complain, but honestly that’s far from what I actually feel. And the more this is expected of you, the less you are inclined to share.

If I’m sharing personal stuff with you, it means I trust you and it’s because you’re open with me as well. It’s a two way street, which is why I’ve let go of superficial relationships. Life is way too short for small talk.

And I’m good at keeping secrets. If you want me to be a vault? For sure. Is that the Scorpio in me? Well I do believe in loyalty.

Some may see me as oversharing, but that’s what a stage 3 cancer diagnosis and loss does to you. Every cancer survivor in my support group does exactly this, so I’m not alone. When you’re faced with not just mortality but a scary one, it immediately crystallises what matters in life.

I am wracked with anxiety and dramatise situations in my head constantly and berate myself for saying or doing something I deem as stupid. It might be totally negligible to anyone else, but I magnify it. Why did I do that or say that? I should have done this instead. What’s wrong with me. Is it my extreme fatigue and brain fog that leads me to making mistakes like this? Am I of low intelligence? Did all that anaesthesia and chemo affect my brain? Or was I just born with a low capacity and have been kidding myself that I’m any better?

I am painfully self aware and I am the first to know that I overanalyse everything. I so want to stop. It’s beyond exhausting. But even when I try, every insecurity appears in full force in my nightmares. There is no suppressing the subconscience.

Is that the mark of a writer? Or should I say curse?

Whatever it is, I’ll just use it.

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Thinking of My Uncle A Today & Wishing him All the Joy in the World

He looks way younger than his years and I have always admired how he works hard at being active. He has always been adventurous in his youth so perhaps it’s no surprise that he still has the stamina.

He has a lot more energy than me for sure, going on more than hour long walks. Age is truly just a number. And I often have this niggling feeling that perhaps time is not linear.

He has always been a doting indulgent dad, but you can just see the pure love in his eyes for his grandbabies. He would do anything for them in a heartbeat. I am sure they are aware of how they are adored. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

I’m thankful for what a great uncle he is (since I was born, he told me he used to feed me and push me on the swing when I couldn’t sleep) and all the family stories he’s shared with me. I do recall that he was always there in my early years at my grandmother’s house. A constant presence. And as we got older he never hesitated to help us whenever we called. Like that time we accidentally locked one of the doors in our home.

He’s so encouraging and supportive. I truly appreciate those kind text messages. When I’m feeling blue, they always lift my spirits. This is tremendous considering that his generation is not used to texting, as the technology only came by relatively recently for them. Considering that, he’s a very fast learner.

Just wanted to write a post to wish him good health and happiness. I’m always wishing that for him and when I see that he’s happy, I’m happy too.

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Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce

I have been obsessed by this song from 1973 lately. It has the perfect haunting melody, and most poignantly beautiful lyrics. Poetry in fact. In my opinion, pure genious.

I feel every single word and you will too, if you love someone, anyone, and often feel that life is tragic in its brevity.

And of course it makes me think they don’t make music like this anymore. Now it’s all about sex appeal, visuals, danceability, and not the pure ability to write songs, instrumentals and voice.

I just learnt through Wikipedia that the song writer and singer Jim Croce wrote this for his son when he heard his wife was pregnant in December 1970.

He did odd jobs like construction and welding to pay his bills as he pursued his musical career. Very tragically he died in a plane crash (due to pilot error) when he was just 30 and his son was just 2 and the song became a hit after his death.

His wife sold the rights to all his music for $5 million to a record company in the 80’s but now his music is worth a few million each year.

Time in a Bottle (lyrics)

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day 'til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you
If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure, and then
Again, I would spend them with you
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with
If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory of how they were answered by you
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Jim Croce

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What I Dreamt

It was very vivid. I was desperately trying to text my dad. I wanted to text him that I miss him so much, because he’s been away for two weeks and also that I love him so much. The desperation was that I hope I’m not too late and maybe I still can. He’s there with his phone, right now, ready to receive my messages. I just have to be quick.

Then I woke up.

My Papa was taken 19 years and 2 months ago.

October does that to me.

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#17. Simple Joys: Meeting My Partner For Lunch

He’s usually not free due to various meetings. It was nice to chat non stop.

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#16. Simple Joys: Reading Books with Kids

Reading books with the best kids. Books they actually enjoy. I get so much out of it and their comments and things they observe are so interesting. I appreciate good illustrations as well. Children’s books are very therapeutic and calming to read.

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Tasmania Trip 2019 Day 5: 4th February – Kelvedon Beach

Tasmania has some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen.

Relaxing drive
Stunning turquoise
Had to get up closer

Love being barefoot on the shore
Kelvedon Beach
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Tasmania Trip 2019 Day 5: 4th February – Beauty of Nature at Mount Wellington & an Amazing Brunch

I’m blogging about a trip that took place before the pandemic for three reasons. 1. To re-live the beautiful experience, and 2. perhaps someone out there may find the information useful if they are lost on which state in Australia to visit. They may even be Australian but never ventured out to Tasmania.

Singapore is just too tiny though, so if I don’t get to travel I feel very claustrophobic after a while. I feel like I’m not fully living. At the same time I’m picky as I want to travel to places with clean air and dread polluted or high crime places. Tasmania is a paradise in this way. Looking at the pictures I can almost get a whiff of the sweet air.

3. Just to intersperse the posts which may sound negative with some that are pure gratitude and joy. But personally I think it’s healthy to share no matter what anyone feels may be negative. There’s too much toxic positivity out there. Toxic in the sense that it stops you from sharing and offloading your truth which always helps.

Grateful to our wonderful young guide who is obviously a nature lover. Glad my sister found him on the internet.

A very leisurely drive and he took us right up to the most beautiful spots. Great for my mum who is not too steady on her feet especially at steeper gradients.

The long clouds reminded me that we are pretty close to NZ
I always trail behind as I love taking pictures for memory

And then we were treated to the best brunch ever at the summit. I prefer simple food like this. So good.

The nicest lady
Best pie ever
My sister loved the banana bread
Shared a latte with my mum
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Psoriosis October Update

It’s getting worse.

I’m trying the steroid in lower doses as my lips starting cracking too much and I broke out around my chin earlier. Think the steroids went into my blood stream and I tend to be very sensitive to medications.

My immune system has already taken a huge hit with the chemo and radiation. It’s not surprising at all that my body reacts badly to all this.

My next step is to find a TCM to see next month. Perhaps also to see a counsellor as everything comes back to stress. Seeing more and more spots on my body doesn’t help. Trying not to think about it, but I mostly feel it subconsciously. Skin is just peeling off like scabs. It’s grossing me out and I feel very embarrassed and sad about it. Mostly it’s my vanity. Doesn’t help that aging itself is hard.

One thing I’m hopeful about is what my aunty recommended. To take good quality probiotics as that may help with the gut health and calming the immune system.

What helps the most is psoriosis support groups where the issues are discussed and you don’t feel like you’re alone.

In my real life I don’t know anyone with this condition so it truly helps to have these voices out there sharing things that helped a bit for them. Many say that steroids don’t work. But there are reports that alternative treatments help.

I now understand that episode where Kim Kardashian was so desperate to steal a bit of her sister Kourtney’s expressed breast milk and try it as a cure. It seemed like a plot device and too dramatic, but now I totally get it.

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Samy’s Curry at Dempsey has Been Renovated & We had a Good Lunch There

Went by for lunch. It was packed and there was a queue as we left. This is quite the institution for Singaporean style South Indian curry on a banana leaf. I truly love the cabbage dhal, fish curry and Mysore mutton. We usually go for white rice but decided to be slightly healthier with lower glycemic basmati yellow rice instead. The tea here is smooth and a very satisfying accompaniment to the meal. Only problem is I always feel too full after.

The fish curry is divine and so is the cabbage dhal
We always have the masala chicken as well.
The menu and some price increases were noted
Chandeliers, new dark decor, and new flooring
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Tasmania Trip 2019 Day 4: Dinner at the Drunken Admiral

My sister chose the place in Hobart, and food was delicious.

Saw this poster while walking around before dinner as we were early.

Interesting naval decor
Seafood Chowder
Yummy sauces
Complimentary wine at the hotel
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#7. Letter to My Papa

Papa, I’m glad you’ll never go through the hardships of aging, but I still very often think of how much better my life would be if you hadn’t been taken so early.

I don’t think I would have cancer or be this much of a mess. Well by society’s standards at least.

You wanted to do so much and never expected to go that early. How I wish I could have supported you in your endeavours. This blog is my feeble attempt to, as you never got to write your memoirs.

My too beautiful Papa. I miss seeing your soft eyes and your sweet smile as you blow out the candles on the butter cake baked by Amma. Your favourite.

I miss getting you a card and present from the 3 of us. In my fantasy, I’m getting you the present you always wanted – a trip for all of us to London to see all the literary and historic sights. Oh how happy you would been, but alas. I’m sorry I didn’t fulfil this wish for you. Truly deeply sorry.

All of Amma’s cooking was your favourite. I’m sure now you would long to tell her all the ways you appreciated her. Instead of criticising. We all realise too late.

Even though your relationship wasn’t the best due to lack of compatibility, and because it was arranged, I do recall a time when I was a toddler, that you would both laugh together so happily. You teased her when her back was turned. It’s like a video in my head and the room is filled with sunshine.

My mum admitted she thought you were very handsome. And as you both got older you did want her to always accompany you and you really did need her by your side. I too felt so much better knowing you were there looking after her. Well, in reality I didn’t gave it a moment’s thought. It was totally taken for granted as I selfishly galavanted off doing my own thing.

It always felt special that your birthday was so close to mine. I feel extra lonely in October, but it’s a month precious to me.

The 19th year. Seems like an ocean of time. You do know I will never stop thinking the world of you and needing you.

You were a young father, far from perfect, but the only Papa for me. No one else would have loved me that much.

It’s weird to think that the age gap between us is closing. I’m less than a decade away from you.

I can’t even imagine the day when I reach a chronological age that you never got to reach.

With time I gain more knowledge about the world and I yearn to share it all with you. It’s like you are suspended in time. Or have you been watching me all this time in a way I can never fathom. I wish that was so. I don’t feel it, but I sure do wish it.

My only wish, is for a redo, while retaining the maturity I have now, of truly understanding you. Because I am you, in countless ways. I’m thankful I have my mum’s softness though, especially when it comes to children.

There is this vacuum that I can’t fill. A gaping hole of regret and yearning to do so much for you. And that is grief.

Since then, I’ve felt deeply blue and extra anxious around this time. I’m in a state of panic. That is grief too.

I am Papa-less, but am grateful for loved ones who truly listen to me, and I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that I am surrounded by angels on earth. Some of them are so little and so absolutely pure, but with empathy beyond their years. My heart aches with gratitude.

Some are even virtual. They are writers like me who have lost their dads. I feel a deep connection with them.

It helps. To have people who understand the overwhelming enormity of loss. With them your pain is never dismissed or diminished.

In a way I should be grateful for the grief, as it always comes with a great love. Imagine if I felt relief instead, as someone unfortunate children with horrible parents do.

Being loved unconditionally is so important and I want all children, small and grown, to have that. Not based on status, or how much money you make, how intelligent you are or how well you do, but just for being you. If you have a kid, that is your responsibility. And thank you my darling Papa for more than fulfilling that responsibility for me. Thank you for never ever making me feel less than.

Happy Birthday Papa. I love you with every fibre of my being and miss you too much.

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Why Do People in Singapore Boast So Much? I Want to See the Good Ones Win for a Change

Office folk seem to be taking to cafes to conduct job interviews and they talk at the top of their lungs. It’s annoying as covid cases rise and no one wears masks. I dread it when they plop down next to me.

It’s like they love the sound of their own voices and mostly the interviewer boasts about what an amazing manager they are, and in this particular case, how terrible the last person who quit the vacated role was. It truly makes me seethe.

It feels like only aggressive bullies get ahead. Or those who know how to promote themselves or play the game. Life is so unfair and real life is like that horrible ‘Survivor’ game where the worst kind of person gets ahead through back mouthing, sabotage, backstabbing etc. Anyone else feel me?

On the other hand the interviewee seemed like a nice polite person (obviously capable as the interviewer seemed very interested) and hinted that he was offered only half his salary by HR, but was hoping for the salary to be matched at least. Hope he doesn’t get taken advantage of or even better, I hope he gets an alternative job offer with a more humble manager. Major red flag. That ego display.

Sorry but I just had to do a mini ranting post today. Our values are really twisted in this mostly mercenary country.

Glad there are lots of people I meet on social media that are not the norm. Who live on the fringes. I respect them the most, but often they get the short end of the stick.

There was this incredible teacher, loved by all the school kids, but the head of department was so political that he got jaded and quit. He felt bullied and was under extreme stress. That is how the profession looses good Teachers who truly care for the kids and not just ambitious ones who want to get accolades and get more money and power. Stories like these distress me as the kids he taught were so sad to see him go.

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#15. Simple Joys: Seeing Deepavali Decor in the train

Just seeing your upcoming festival being recognised was nice.

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Tasmania Trip 2019 Day 4: Stunning Displays at the Museum of Old & New Art (MONA)

The MONA experience was so unique that it has never left my mind. Definitely a mind altering experience at the Museum of Old and New Art that I would highly recommend if you visit Tasmania.

Arresting symmetry & precision
This was incredible – all the senses engaged
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Tasmania Trip 2019 Day 4: MONA

What we saw on the vast grounds of the museum.

The vast grounds
We passed the cafe at the entrance of MONA
Impressed at the architecture which is art in itself

After walking through the museum we had lunch at the cafe and then explored the grounds outside.

Nasi goreng for mum
A giant trampoline with a great view
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‘The Possession’ by Annie Ernaux (Audiobook)

These lines were arresting and expressed what I have thought a countless number of times. Oh the liberty to write with such freedom. But the author has bravely done so even when alive. She is shockingly honest. She speaks of all consuming jealousy in this book.

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I Listened to ‘I Remain in Darkness’ by Annie Ernaux

That was the first book (audio book) I got after placing some on hold at the electronic library. I use the app Libby on my phone and need to sign in with my library account details.

It was brilliant. Stark and beautiful. Sparse, yet efficient in the use of language in conveying emotion. I could listen to it again and I want to read it as well. If not for my weak eyes I definitely prefer reading over listening.

About her worries and guilt over her aging mother who has Alzheimer’s. Her recording of her mother’s decline is devastating.

The devastating effects of Alzheimer’s

As a grown daughter myself I’m constantly worried about my mother’s wellbeing. In that way life seems so cruel. I want my mother to be well always.

I’m glad that the Nobel prize committee has realised the importance of the genre of biography. How our struggles, especially those thoughts we hesitate to share as we want to preserve a good image of ourselves is often universal.

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