last trip;

First day back in Perth and for some reason when I touched down last night, a sense of relief poured over me. Still in a place with people, but I just felt that I was away from the society that judge. 

Only when I have arrived in Perth, I realised how cautious I was of myself when I was back. Cautious of how people looked at me, of what they thought of me, and if I was good enough for them. 

This wasn’t just felt towards my friends and strangers, but also to my family. I just feel that I can no longer look them in the eye without thinking that they’d be judging, that they’d be secretly shaking their head in disbelief of my indecisive behaviour and strong-headed character. 

When I said I needed a getaway from Singapore, I think I really meant it. I just feel that I’ve disappointed too many people at once and I really can’t face them until I’ve accomplished something and even then, I’m not entirely sure if I can.

On my journey to Perth last evening, I read a book that was recommended by my mum – never found the time to read it ’cause it is sort of a self help book and looked boring. The book’s name is, “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

In the book, as of the end of Chapter 2, she spoke about how women should be more wiling to take risks, reach out for opportunities and fight on a level playing field with the men on the corporate ladder. And that many are holding themselves back because they think that they are women and can’t achieve as much or are not supposed to be as ambitious as men (as deemed by the society).

While reading, she said so many things that I could relate to deeply. Like, “How individuals view what they can and should accomplish is in large part formed by our societal expectations.” Which is in fact, really true. Almost like how a woman shouldn’t be an engineer – even if she succeeded, she’d feel that she’d never be as good as the men in the field, and how a man shouldn’t be a make up artist or model. 

Since young, most Singaporeans or Asian parents in general, would bring up their kids, telling them to aim for careers like doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers and bankers (DEALB). My mum however, never advocated that mentality. When I said that I wanted to be a gardener/florist in kindergarten, she supported me whole heartedly. 

Now that I want to study law, which sadly but coincidentally falls under the top 5 ideal field (made by Asian parents), I’ve been receiving a lot of negative remarks (ironically), from both my friends and family. 

Yes, it’s true that sometimes we need the people around us to tell us the truth that we, may sometimes be too blinded to see. But above the truth, support should also be given. And not words that could potentially bring the person down. 

I just feel that everyone should be given a chance to try whatever they want to in life. And whether or not it interests them, is a different picture. Curiosity kills the cat, but satisfaction brought it back. 

As what Sheryl Sandberg said in the book as well as Natalie Portman in her speech at Harvard’s Graduation Ceremony, sometimes, we have to take calculated risks and we should always challenge ourself. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to what we think we can do, but have a breakthrough by accomplishing things we never thought we could accomplish. We should also not stop ourself from achieving things just because of our insecurities and weaknesses, which is actually something especially easy to say and incredibly hard to carry out. 

If we decide on a route ourself, what we make out of it depends on us and us alone. And when the going gets tough, there’s two ways you can go about dealing with it. 1. Give up or 2. Gain strength and fight everything that comes in your way – through this, you’ll become a stronger person despite the outcome. 

If we decide on a route ourself, we only have ourself to blame when things go wrong. Everyone tried talking us out of it, but we chose the tough road anyway. So, succeed and prove them wrong, prove that you can accomplish what they didn’t think you could and show them what you’re made of.

May you be blessed with the strength and courage to take up all the opportunities, despite your self-perceived shortcomings and to fight all the giants that may come in your way x

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