Tuesday, November 12, 2019

November 4th 2019
I had a conversation with someone I hadn’t seen in over a year the other day.

“you look happier now”

For the hours following our conversation I couldn’t quite get those words out of my head. It caught me by surprise because I didn’t even realise it: I am happy. I may not have been before, and I know I will not be forever. So I’m enjoying it today, because fearing that it wouldn’t last would take the happiness away.

Lately I’ve been looking at life a little differently. I stopped looking at my work schedule like it was a puzzle I needed to fill every gap up with. The world never stops, and if I kept going along with it I’ll probably loose my mind. Taking a break is a scary thing. We’re conditioned to boast about how busy we are, encouraged to keep going and going and going. Having to give a reason on a leave application is so daunting to me that sometimes I’d rather work than to ask for some time off. I finally got the courage to (or maybe I finally got too mentally exhausted) and cut back on my working hours. It's crazy how much a little extra free time in a week can do. 

I started journalling again, on paper because I just can't quite catch on with digital journaling quite yet.
The plants in the garden aren't wilting anymore, and it makes me happy to see them growing. (The other day, we harvested a bunch of mulberries!)
I have breakfast with my grandmother more often now; even though she would question my life decisions every time we sit down over a cup of Milo in the morning.
I’m trying to write again. Trying not think so much about who is reading this, and what you might think.
My mind is full of lyrics I hadn’t written down, and right now I’m just sorting through the mess of ideas.
I made it home in time for dinner with my family.
It’s the little things that make everything feel more whole, and I guess I found it, and then got lost in everything, and am now finding it again.

It seems happiness is something we don’t really prioritise. We’re always looking toward the next thing, getting from one place to another, not really able to be happy with where we are. Sometimes we put our happiness in material things we don’t have. We’re comfortably uncomfortable with the way things are, knowing that it needs to change but not really willing to make a change.

The biggest thing I realised is that I didn’t let myself feel happy because of the fear that it might slip through my fingers, worried I might get too comfortable here, but I'm learning to let it go and just be here in this moment.

Anyway, that's my little journal entry/thoughts on happiness. Thanks for reading <3 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Album launch, radio charts, and trying not to freak out

“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, 
just go right along and you’ll start happening too.” 
-- Dr Seuss

March 8th 2019
There are no cherry blossoms here in Malaysia, but the sun has been shining way too much that it almost seems as though it brought thunderstorms as a side effect. The flowers on the trees; pink, yellow and white have been making my drive to work and back a little more mesmerising. I wish I could just stand by the trees and stare in awe of the colour and calmness it brings. 
This is me jumping out of another post I never published. I wrote so many journal entries but couldn’t bring myself to put them on here for some reason. So here’s one of quite a number of posts that have been sitting comfortably in my draft notes finally seeing the light of the day. You’ll be seeing a lot of these in the coming future.

Hi. I’m sorry for disappearing. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have noticed- and I don’t mean it in a rude way- its just that there’s so much going on all the time, sometimes I feel like there’s no need for me to add to any of it. Wouldn’t you feel like staying in the quiet for a little while too sometimes? 
It has been an insanely crazy, busy and exciting few months. It’s been such a rush, and I still don’t know how to wrap my head around it all. Today is the first time in a very long time I have absolutely nothing to do but breathe, and let it sink in.

I think I feel happy.
No, in this very moment all I feel is happy. 
(and maybe a little tired)

This year I went to China, did TV and radio interviews, had an album launch, a song placed NUMBER ONE on She Wolf Radio, and top 10 in a few other charts (!!!), amongst many exciting things. I don’t think I will ever get used to media interviews, I have become significantly less panicky though, but it still always freaks me out. I got to do a couple on my own and a few with the pH artists, and (I know I say it a lot) but it doesn’t feel real. April came in such a rush, and now its May. Sometimes- no most of the time, I feel like I’m living in 2018 still. Reminiscing on the carefree summer evenings spent in Nashville. Now, for some reason even more so than ever. Almost every day this week while driving to work I see a car or a motorcycle with the licence plate: ‘BNA’ (Nashville’s airport abbreviation) and I can’t help but wish I were there. 

I turned 23 this February, and we were preparing for a radio interview when everyone managed to successfully surprise me for the first time ever. To be honest I don’t really like surprises, so I try to be on guard and look out for any signs it might be happening. And every single time I managed to figure it out, except for this time. I don’t know, maybe 23 is growing on me. I feel different, but I still feel the same. Happy and sad, and still a lot anxious about a lot of things, but its all okay. It really is. Learning to stay calm through chaos and accepting that everything happens for a reason. Learning to enjoy the peace when it comes- not worrying about how, or why it is here, or when it will be gone. Or when it will be coming back. Maybe its acceptance, maybe I’m learning how to understand my feelings and myself as well as the people around me a little more.

We had an album launch party, and that was really crazy. I felt super nervous, at the same time tried my best to enjoy the moment. I don't think there was much excitement but more nerves and anxiety. I was worried about the turnout, if we booked a place too big, and a million and one other things. Everything went pretty much better than I could've expected, and I'm so thankful for everyone's support. I can't believe my album's out!

Thank you so, so much for supporting me and my music <3 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Going to China (!!!)

January 17th 2019 
(I know it is almost June, but I don't know what took me so long to actually post all these blog posts up. Sorry about that! This, and the few posts coming up have been very comfortably sitting in my draft folder for half the year.)

It was a whirlwind of an adventure, going to China. Thursday morning, January 11th I rushed to the airport. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my grandparents because they went out and I’m not sure if my grandma knew where I was going.
With a suitcase full of clothes and my guitar as my carry-on, I met the rest of the team at the airport.

I didn’t know what China was going to be like. I had no idea what performing there was going to be like either. In fact, I didn’t even know I was going to China. I thought it was all plans and nothing was decided yet. Until the press conference it hit me “oh it’s actually really happening.”

It was a bit of a culture shock for me at first. Nanning was cold and gloomy this time of year, and everything was covered in a layer of dust. There were electric bikes moving in every direction, and the smell of meat (I don’t know what kind) cooking made me feel a little sick. And even though I am Chinese, I really wasn’t used to eating so much Chinese food. I could speak the language but I couldn’t read it. We went to a bubble tea shop and the menu was a vast array of gibberish. After getting help from the rest with translating the menu, I decided on tea. Without the bubbles (or boba as some of you might call it)- which kind of defeated the purpose of going to a bubble tea shop. 

We rehearsed in an underground rehearsal space with the artists from China. There was a lot of cigarette smoke and dust, but the excitement of it all made it okay. We played a music festival together the next day and that was a lot of fun. It was cold and I was shivering so bad I couldn’t hold the mic steady. This was also the first time I performed in Chinese, and without my guitar. Maybe I was shaking because of the nerves too. I looked out and there were so many people. It was pretty exhilarating. 

I learnt a lot that week, and had a really great time. I realised that there’s never really anything happening “by chance”. Everything is carefully planned and involves a lot of thought and hard work, not just from one person but from a group of people collectively. I am paraphrasing something a songwriter once said in a podcast: “Sometimes you’ve just got to get your foot in the door for things to happen”And it feels so weird when that’s happening. Seemed like we pushed it open instead, and maybe that’s what its like. I felt a little uncomfortable getting treated like we were special. Or am I just too comfortable and used to this semi-invisibility? Some moments where it was like like “Whoah, this is actually happening!”, and other times I felt very undeserving of it.

We also did a few tapings for a Chinese New Year program to be aired on Nanning TV as well as on Astro here in Malaysia. We had a rehearsal in the morning, one of the songs with about 20 dancers dancing as we sang. It was wild. We all went full-on glamour mode for the shoot, and after hair and makeup I barely even recognised myself.

We were asked to think about how we wanted the world to see us. To create a sort of “persona” that could possibly become something people would like to follow and know more about. I realised how much of a rebel I actually am- in a sense that I can’t bring myself to do anything that isn’t me or doesn’t feel right. I feel compelled to do the opposite when I have to do something I don’t want to do and I apologise for that. I see social media as an extension of who I am, and not me trying to be like someone else. It is so easy to change the way you look in a picture nowadays. There’s a setting to change the shape of your chin, to make you look slimmer, your eyes look bigger, and it goes on. It’s to tempting to just tune everything to the way you’d want yourself to look like. I made the decision not to do that to the pictures I take. It’s not that I’ve fully accepted and embraced my features, but maybe this way I will learn to. 

I guess I didn’t realise how big a deal all this was, and I didn’t really know how to feel about it until I got back to Malaysia and saw us on TV. Only then did it all sink in. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this adventure with this bunch of awesome people. 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

(no title)

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now. All my thoughts filling up and spilling over. It still feels strange. Everything does. The longer I am back, the further away I feel from Nashville. All these words sitting in a virtual draft box, collecting virtual dust. Its almost March and I started writing this in December.
What else do I say when someone asks in a casual conversation “So how was living in Nashville?!” except for “It was great, and I had a lot of fun!” 
Maybe I’ve been saying those exact words each time someone asks, but I don’t know how else to react. How do I say that I had a really great time, the best time actually. Travelling was as life-changing as people said it would be. A part of me wished I could've stayed a little longer. And I can’t help wondering what could’ve been if I actually did. 
I went from playing about four to five shows a week and writing every other day to not knowing when my next show is going to be, and writing by myself again but only occasionally. I started working at a new place, hence not posting or writing much (sorry). It has been good so far though. I am happy that I get to do what I enjoy as work. I’m trying very hard not to let work swallow me like it did before. Because I enjoy doing it, its easy to get caught up and so I have to consciously not let it take up all of my time so that I would still have time in the day for family and for music. 
As more and more days go by, I find myself holding on tighter and tighter, trying very hard not to loose all that I’ve learnt and who I have become. At the start of last year, I made a list of all the things I wanted to achieve if I had the chance. I wrote it on a little piece of paper and pinned it up over my desk as a reminder to work harder and to look foward: 

I'm so happy to say that in 2018 I managed to achieve all that I had set out to do. 
It was such a crazy, and wonderful adventure, and in January this year everything just went full-speed. I'm learning that there's so much you can do if you just go out there and try.

Thank you for reading this, and for your tremendous support. Will write more soon!