Life Post 1: Quitting. What comes after it?

A sickening freedom.

You see, after a long (damn long) hiatus of soul-searching, I’m back at it again. Writing. Dreaming. Seeking more than just ‘freedom’. In order to understand the meaning of quitting at its purest form, we have to go back in time where life was simpler.

Times when you were a child, you look up to your nearest hero and heroine- waking up early to feed you and rush to their obligation to the world. It excites you for some reason.

For many of us, we often wonder how life would be if we are a an adult at that time. We thought that if we work too, we are capable of materializing our short-lived desire with all the money we are about to earn. We prayed and wished upon the shining stars,

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I can’t wait to be an adult!”. Oh and it usually comes with, “I hate school, I want to grow up fast”, and possibly, “This house sucks, I wish I could just grow up and live on my own. No rules”.

Oh the naivety.

As much as I wish I could turn back time, the horror of going through all those years again allow me to regain my stupid focus. Nevertheless, I was and still am naive. Thinking that everything will go my way once I reached adulthood. More so now that I’m married.

The Art of Quitting

 

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First job: Lasted a month.

Well, I was 17, and it was a part-time thing. Most people during that age were dead-set on having their own pocket money. It was our first time experiencing our short freedom. I worked with a palm-oil company. It was a small company so there wasn’t much pressure. Except for my job position; handling accounts and payments.

A part of me really liked it. But since I have to work 6 days a week was pretty exhausting. Mom was pissed, yet she hated it when I’m at home doing nothing. Anyone can relate? Dad had no choice but to convince me to quit. But there’s still a month left before my enrollment.

Regrets: I didn’t stood my ground. I wanted to continue for an extra RM400 a month, yet I succumbed to obligation.

Second job: Lasted 2 months.

It was a job I accrued during my last semester at a local university. Boy this job hits me hard. I hated it yet I lived for the experiences this boss of ours taught. At a glance, our work seems legit. Days later, I loath it personally. See, our (my batch mates were in it too) job was to handle and manage events for collectors’ items.

Some of the items were considered rare. They claimed it was from a certain movies – items like movie script all the way to its prop. Boss claimed it was the real thing, bought straight from an auction. Convincing? You be the judge. In any case, we went with it. From giving tours, wearing props, going through concerts filled with crazy people – twas’ nerve-wrecking.

Regrets: I didn’t keep in touch with him because I hated the pressure. Looking back at it, he taught me all kinds of worldly experience that I never knew existed.

Third job: Lasted a year.

The moment I graduated, I managed to secure a job in the administration department. It was a ‘green development’ company – a start-up one at that. At least, at the managerial level. Point is, I was introduced to a corporate world. We deal with all kinds of VIPs, including the former Chief Minister of Sabah.

I managed to lasted a year because of the contract. Truth is, I never supported the project. It was convincing at first but months later, I wavered. The protest of our local people, funnily enough, reached me, not the board members. After a year I applied to multiple jobs in the West. The moment I quit, I secured a job.

Regrets: If I resisted the protest of others, I will no doubt had a handful of people to network with in the corporate world. At the same time, learn about sustainable cities which I am extremely fond of.

Forth job: Lasted 8 months.

Damn this one is hard. You have no idea how happy and content I was of this job. It wasn’t necessarily because I write for a living, but it was the people in it. For the first time in my life, I thought I finally found it. A place where I can truly commit to for years to come. We bonded, went hiking, had our breakfast routine, scolded by our supportive boss and the annoyance of our crazy manager.

One after another, we had crazy deadlines. Scolded for not performing but evolved for committing. It was harsh to work as a writer with crazy deadline but then again, such is the nature of the job. But I miscalculated my timing.

Regrets: Can’t believe I’m saying this but deep down I wished I didn’t quit. I thought I could continue working, further away from my spouse. But after much discussion and arguments, I decided to go back and set-up my life together with him.

Fifth job: 2 months and counting

Currently it is a part-time English tutoring. Not much to say here except for being bloody underpaid…

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I realised I quit a lot. From the moment I finished secondary school, to pre-u classes, my road had seen closed door and unfixed bridges. Currently, I’m tip-toeing on broken glass.

What exactly happened when you quit?

It sucks, plain and simple. At first, the thought of securing another job before quitting takes precedence. Over the years, I hated it. I feel like I have to succumb to the needs of society before my own. So I suck it up and threw away all the insurance of the world and took the leap.

Backups are extremely helpful don’t get me wrong. But there are times when you just want to drop everything and recollect yourself by not committing to any work. That is what I’m feeling at the moment. It was great at first because eventually, you realized your mind is the most powerful asset you possess.

No matter how jobless you think you are, once you’ve regained your composure and equipped your resolve, your next job isn’t far of. Sure it will take some time – unanswered emails, failed screening, flunked interviews and well, repeat.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

See, all the motivational talks and readings you sought will always have such lines. Things like the only way to fight the negativity harboring in your heart is to be positive….girl what? Do shits you love, take some time alone, go to the gym, spend some time with your friends. Bullshit.

Here’s the real tea:

Your savings are depleting fast because no matter what you do, nothing seems to work.

It is horrible. Everyday you are cutting off food from your table just so you have enough to get to the next promising interviews. Everyday, you are spending lesser and lesser just so you can feed yourself with what money you have left. Your rent is due, phone bills are stacking up and so is your car.

Slowly, you have to let go all of it. With it, your self-confidence is deteriorating. You started to disconnect from the people around you. Giving excuses to not meeting them because you can’t afford to spend money on restaurants or cafes. Your social media gone silent and no one hears from you for months.

Do shits you love? Take some time alone? You don’t have the money to travel, or buy the books you love, or go hiking because of the cost and effort you have to do.

Go to the gym? …if only they don’t cost a ton just to spend 1 hour doing actual workout and the other hour breaking the mirror with selfies.

Spend time with friends? Unless you friend won’t mind hanging out at your place and bring food every time you wanted to hang out then yeah.

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Aren’t there any lights in the tunnel!!???

I will be lying to say there isn’t or else this post is going to be extremely depressing. Take a deep breath and hear me out.

1. There’s always choices.

No matter how lonely you think this road has been, you have a choice to change that. Pat yourself in the back because you managed to set your priorities. This post isn’t just about securing that next job, but it is also about looking after yourself too. I don’t know how you are going to look for options but I would suggest you to start small.

Reach out to others – preferably your friends, close one. Share some of your problems. I know it might cost you, but you wouldn’t know if that circle of yours might connect you with others who can provide you with opportunities. Next thing you know, they might just have one.

If you are a family-oriented person, then you should know what to do. Be with them, connect with their friends and their friends’ friend. And what better way to cool your head with the family you grew up with. Spend time with them, regroup your thoughts and work it out with them.

For some of you, your spouse. Don’t ever neglect daily communication. Catch up to each other’s feeling, and most importantly, goals. Work it out with one another to help you face this hurdle. If both of you really meant to be with each other, then start having that best-friend talk a norm.

2. Keep the effort going

I learned this the hard way. Quitting without a backup plan isn’t for the ‘faint of heart’. If you know you can’t handle being in such a pressure, don’t do it.

If you are in my position, my condolences to you. Guess you have a boat to paddle to eh? Point is, don’t stop. It is frustrating, I know. But the moment you stop you’ll regret it even more. Point number 1 is always there.

The horizon is overwhelmingly vast at the moment with no land to be of sight. Please do not let that discourage you.

Do not be afraid of it. Be more afraid because you didn’t try. Somewhere far across the horizon lies your destination. Remember, hold on to that oar and keep paddling.

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3. Your time is yet to come

Let me list down some of the late bloomer I personally admired so you get my gist;

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – He transitioned his career twice. From football to wrestling. In his mid 30s, Time named him one of top 100 influential people in 2016. He is Instagram famous too. Follow him for your daily dose of motivation.

Ray Kroc –  The owner of McDonald was once a milkshake-device salesman. Yup. At the age of fifty freaking two, (52) he bought McD. Slowly, he turns it into a franchise and you know what happened after that. A happy meal.

Toni Morrison – Have you read her books!? At the age of 39 she finally published her novel. But, it wasn’t until later that she won a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer for her book titled ‘Beloved’.

Oprah Winfrey – The famous line, ‘Oprah wasn’t built in a day’. Her show made its way to the public only when she is at the age of 32.

Stan Lee – You know who this is if you are a Marvel fan. He began drawing and creating his first character at the of 43. Finally at the age of 86, his work reached a breakthrough with the debut of Iron Man on screen.

Those are to name a few.

This is not a post to remind you of your fragile footing, because I too, currently struggling with landing the perfect job. Be it working for myself or once again serving others, I’m not about to make the same mistakes I did.

During this Ramadhan, I wish all my muslim readers a blessed month and to my non-muslim readers, I hope you find this post motivational.

See you at the next one!

 

*Lina.

 

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Tale as old as the last blue moon that occured.

Once in every blue moon, the mountain behind her village will be torn in two and a faint sigh is heard from it. What they failed to mention is the appearance of a streak of blue and yellow colored smoke, seething from the opening towards the village’s direction.

Twas’ a tale as old as the last blue moon that occurred. Loa, the farmer’s daughter is at the age of maturity. Dark brown hair draped on her shoulder – wet, no thanks to the stormy weather. Upon reaching home, she quickly sat in front of the fireplace. While she is taking in the warmth, a cup of hot tea was offered.

Her father then offered her extra cloth, forcing a smile. Loa refused the cloth and began sipping her hot tea. Disappointed, he hung the cloth beside an old wooden chair at the corner of their hut. Home, to Loa, is an exaggeration to the other villagers. No home is home if her mother is absent.

Earlier that day, the villagers were restless over the Initiation for the chosen one. The Earth did not stir. The seniors have waited 2 days. Staring at the pile of stones, gathered in a circle – bathed in dried up blood.

Loa and her parents are not significant to the village. And yet, at the 3rd day of the initiation, the ground shook the entire village and that day happened to be the final calling from the Earth- the final bond of her family. The Earth is calling, the seniors yelled. Others bowed their heads on the ground, chanting for protections and peace.

Peace. Loa took her cup in her hand and threw it to the firepit in front of her. Her palms pushed the Earth as tears swelling up from her eyes and into the Earth. Disappeared instantly, just like her mother she thought. Her father, stared from the corner of the room, anxious. He hid his face and accepted the tears.

Her mind wandered back to the horrible scene happened in front of her. The stones moved. Hundreds of them when the Earth stirred. Everyone was scared, you can see it in their eyes, their movement and their mouth. They ordered it to stay away – ordered their sacred premonition to stay away from their family members.

But Loa and her father didn’t. It is not because they are scared, but because they are scared. Unable to even move. It happened so fast. None of them were ready that day, none of them. The stones started to stack; the ground took the form of the stacked stone and what appeared before them is the Sacred Glom.

Dabbed with Earth and the stains of blood, it made its way towards Loa. But it turned its hollow gaze towards her mother. Silence filled the air. Loa was breathless. Her mother faced the Sacred Glom. The Earth was shaking, Loa was shaking. Everyone backs away. It was an honor knowing you my lady, the senior would repeatedly utter that from under their slow, pathetic relieved breath.

Loa grabbed herself up. Walk her way towards the door, glaring over the splitting mountain. Her father is silent. Hands on his face, his body now lying on the ground, unfazed by any noise, unfazed by Loa, who just walked out from the hut. Wet hair, bruised feet, clenched fist. Loa is aiming for the mountain.

***

“That is all I’m getting from this hut. Nothing else.”

“No problem. That’s all we need. At least we have a brief idea on what’s going on with this village.” Nial placed his hand over the wooden chair, the cloth mentioned is now lying on the floor, bloody.

Irilia was standing in front of the door, staring at the mountain. Unsplit. “The vision, however, mentioned a split mountain. This one appears to be, well-” she paused as her eyes wandered back in the room, specifically on the corner beside the door.

“The father?” Nial crouched and touched the half-buried, dried skeleton. “I believe so.”

Irilia shifted her stance and faced Nial who is still observing the father, “Go on”.

“This is kinda impossible Nial. See, even if we managed to wait, or even, as you confidently predicted the correct night for the initiation, don’t you think we are 100 years too late?!”

*****

Thank you so much for reading. This short scene keeps on bugging me since this morning when I was going through some stock photos of mountains and lava. I’m not sure if this stir something within you but the idea of this story is basically, well random.

Not sure if this deserves a continuation, but for now, I’m going to leave it as it is.

Happy weekend everyone!

P.S: I’m open for any productive criticism for my grammar mistakes. Much appreciated.

-Axleina Maxwell

 

Managing life-who does that?

Lately, I’ve spent too much time in Quora – not that I’m complaining.

Thing is, questions are posted every day in Quora and it is amazing to see all kinds of people from different background answering and participating to them. Some questions are, well, ridiculous…but fun.

But I’m always compelled to the heavier stuff. After going through some shit these past few weeks, I received a notification from my email. It’s from my good friend Quora. She’s fine by the way and that day’s question is, well..;

“How can I manage my time to work full-time, run my startup, manage and grow my investment portfolio and live well and healthy at the same time?”

Before I click that link, I realized how much this question means a lot to me. I cannot manage it, I just do it. Minus the start-up, I am ‘freelancing’ my life away to people who need my skills. I don’t earn much, heck I’m finally starting it out on an international platform.

Point is, I suck at managing my life. I went from a year of working my behind off in a rat race to dropping everything because I can’t handle it. Out of some fate thrown at me, I got employed across the sea to West Malaysia. And now I’m crossing the sea of fire because, at any given time, I can be thrown overboard or burn together with my ship, over a silly mistake.

Not everyone is in their right state of mind when things starting to look bleak. Every thing you know, every thing you’ve worked hard for, as if they have a will of their own, stand on the edge of a cliff. One wrong move my friend, all the things you thought can carve your path to greatness will fall.

But I’m not writing this post today to tell you how I manage my life through all of this. I’m here to share with you an answer from a man who put things into perspective for me and I believe, to the rest of his readers as well.

Have fun reading his shared knowledge. He is named Al AlShamsi.

 

 

“What makes you happy today?”

I woke up with a strange sentimental feeling in my heart – the need to reconnect with people that I used to know. But I disregard that feeling immediately. Not to be rude to myself but I know, what I am now is not who I was before.

No former friends of mine need my presence as much as I need myself; holding on to what’s left.

The thought of reconnecting with these people scares me. Years ago, I moved out from the city I spent most of my time as a teenager. Living under the same roof with a police officer as a father does not grant you the privilege of staying put in certain place for a long period of time.

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“Duty calls” he would often say. Throughout my years of living, I’ve moved out more than 7 times – including the part where I have to study abroad. No real friends when all of that is happening. This place called Likas, is where I thought I would end my high school life with the friends I’ve known since I’m 13.

“Girl, I need you to move out with me and the rest of your brothers to Beaufort.” I cannot believe I’m hearing that after so long. It’s been a while since we have to move out to a different region altogether. It’s disheartening. 2006 or was it 2005.

Fast forward to 2017, social network is making it possible to for me to stalk- I mean reconnect with my former friends. No real conversation, however. You know the drill, scroll-like-scroll-like-repeat.

But in all honesty, it hurts. Knowing that I took action but there’s no ripple. And so I left. Not with the intention to leave completely, but to open up my mind to a different horizon.

Thing is, we lose friends along the way. We thought we still have them around but when a certain get-together commences, “Abort, abort, abort!” is the only thing you can hear, echoing in your head.

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Why? The conversation is no longer the same. The ‘you’ before did not witness the road to ‘their’ now. And so it creates this awkwardly enormous gap between you and them. The need to be relevant to their conversation kills the base you’ve created with the ‘you’ now because you are unaware of what’s happening to them.

To answer the title’s question, not sure if that makes me happy today. But deep down, I am content – not happy.

– Axleina Maxwell

 

When Your Mask Is Wearing Thin

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“The only one crying here is you El! Now shut up before I’ll-“

The last time I hear that coarse sound of his. He turns solid ice, cold as his last voice disappear in the abyss.

The three of us were never friends. Hurled towards the salty sea, we foretold our own end. As our raft took a bend.

El, ever since, imprisoned her tears. He, till the end, screamed for ears. I, from the beginning, begging for dear-

“Hope!” El chanted over a land shone. But he witnessed a mirage undone. And I, “We are not alone”.

Ever had a recollection of your own dream? Slowly but surely you whispered ‘Deja vu’ on the strict realm? Behold the mighty figure of your own emblem.

Chased us it did. He, “Run!” so we heed. The raft, ‘Farewell’ it bid.

Far from the gaze of our recollections, we hid in a cave. El began to cry, and he raised his hand in a rave. “Stop!” my voice gave.

Gone, gone, and gone.

El, “Sniff” without err, and care, as he lay dead and bare.

Scared, outside I go. Recollections at shore. My life is tore.

A violent churn. The ground to I, it yearn. El is stern.

Where do I even begin? To describe the hurt El inflict upon my skin. Crying still she, but this time with a grin. All because my mask is too thin.

-Axleina Maxwell

Falling Half in Love with Strangers

“I pried further into his life on the carriage ride to wherever we were going. He told me about his last girlfriend and how long they had been together and how it had ended. He told me about the food that brought back childhood memories for him, and how he had spent his birthday. At one point, clattering over cobblestones on a dimly lit, empty street, he nudged my thigh with his hand.

“What?”

“You want?”

His hand opened slightly, offering me the reins.

“Me? I can’t! Max, I’ll crash your carriage.”

He nodded insistently and put the reins in my hands.”

– Quinn

 

I’m not sure what to add because Quinn described it perfectly. We all have that one or two particular strangers that we accidentally meet along the way. On our way home, idyllic thoughts over a hot train ride. Standing side-by-side, awkward turn that sends a curve of both you, and the stranger’s lips.

‘Hi’
and he ‘Hi’ back.

Refusing to break that awkward starter, ‘Guess the air-conditioners aren’t working.’

Reluctantly he replied, ‘Yeah, sorry if I smell bad. I sweat easily.’

Made you smile. ‘All of us you mean. We are basically packed like sardines, and its a hot night.’

He laughed. ‘I bet! On your way home?’

And it continues until one of you reaches your destinations. Leaps off the train, knowing that you will never see each other again. A quick goodbye is all you need.

When Do I Get The Manual?

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I love being able to express myself in writing.

It feels more accurate somehow than speaking words. Talking for me can sometimes feel like playing tennis with a colander; I mean, it’s possible, I can do it, but it’s not ideal. The ball goes over the net, but just about. It goes where I want it to go… more or less. I can’t be sure it’ll hit it’s mark, but I can hope. Later, I’ll go home and think about how I could have done it some other, better way.

Writing is different.

Writing is a tennis racket. When I’m writing, I have the time to think about what I’m trying to say, and then mentally flip through millions of words looking for the one that slots into my sentence like that Tetris block you’ve been waiting five minutes for; the one that gives you a combo and wipes the…

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The Real Truth About Boring Men – And The Women Who Live With Them by Ann Voskamp

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Many years ago, a certain lecturer shared with me this piece – this remarkable piece that speaks a certain happiness over boring men, oh and of course the women who decided to live with them. It speaks volume and I thought of sharing it with everyone. Most may disagree but that’s okay. So long as some are touched, I am grateful.

Let everyone do their talking about 50 shades of grey, but don’t let anyone talk you out of it: commitment is pretty much black and white. Because the truth is, real love will always make you suffer. Simply commit: Who am I willing to suffer for?

Who am I willing to take the reeking garbage out for and clean out the gross muck ponding at the bottom of the fridge? Who am I willing to listen to instead of talk at? Who am I willing to hold as they grow older and realer? Who am I willing to die a bit more for every day? Who am I willing to make heart-boring years with? Who am I willing to let bore a hole into my heart”

– Ann Voskamp

Read her original post here. Trust me, you will not regret it.