Apr 11, 2011

Girly Time on Valentine's Day!

Malaysia is awesome, even an irreverent day like Valentine's Day could be an issue. What made me laugh so hard was when a Muslim religious authority said that it was a Christian holy day. Woot!

There are only three things my father asked me to do. First, work in an air-conditioned room; second, NEVER buy a second-hand car; and third is to NEVER venture into politics. I have thankfully done all three. The only reason I mentioned this was so I would remember the moment in 2011 when Malaysia would consider Valentine's Day as HARAM. I see what you did there, Malaysia. Nais.

So what did you do on Valentine's Day? Me? I was... a bridesmaid.

Yep, you read  that right. Big ol' me became a bridesmaid. And no, Ganaesh does not magically appear in this story. He was doing Ganaesh-y things on Valentine’s Day. :3

This is not a story about the wedding. That is Lia’s story to tell. This is just a story where I became selfish and pretty and tired and happy in the space of one week.

Warning, bapak panjang post nih!

My cousin (who I love so much and would do anything for, including putting my big butt into a tight, short dress in front of my relatives) once asked me to be her bridesmaid for her, and I said yes. That request was made waaaay back during my high school years, and it surprised me to no end that she still remembered that promise. Though my body has grown horizontally since then and she is kinda myopic in things like this, (Me: But I’m so... big. Her: What? Manada. Ok, ba tu.) I said yes (with trepidation) to the offer. (Refer previous post). That was over a year ago. I thought I could lose a ton of weight before the big day.

No, dear readers, that didn't happen. What did happen was this.

I joined a 10km marathon, a 7km sunset run, a 4km city run, and a 2km World Walking Day event. The "losing weight" part didn't really work out, but I did get a few inches of my waist back. Her wedding was scheduled for December, but one of her relatives passed away and it was pushed back to 14th February. It’s not just that it's Valentine’s Day but it also marks the day of her engagement a year before. A normal person would continue on exercising and slowly go on losing weight. I'm not normal. I stopped running and exercising. When the week before the big day came along, I was cursing myself for being fat. But Lia, bless her soul, said it's okay. Just come to the fitting and try out the dress. They already tried it on her elder sister (?) and her uncle (?!) and were confident I could fit... and it did fit, somewhat. It was too short for church (it was a bit above my knees) and the one of the hole for the hand is too tight.

The dress itself is sleeveless, gold in colour with lace, and has a bandage/layer detail on the skirt. It has a band under the bust and my favourite, two pockets. It also comes with a brown belt. When I wear it, I look like a member of Wonder Girls.

So, all that was left was the alteration on the dress, finding a pair of white shoes, manicures, pedicures, contacts, and getting my eyebrows trimmed. The most important thing was for me to maintain my weight; it's too late to lose any, but I have to keep myself from gaining anymore.

Now, I'm not a girly girl (look at that pic!). I neither have the grace nor the elegance to be one. I just can't be bothered by playing a role that I'm not comfortable with. I was raised to be able to do anything regardless of my gender (whatever this means). The caveat was that I be a good girl, and that's it. I remember the times when I would go to church with Lia and her family, and during the service Lia would be pushing my legs together because I was sitting like a boy. She must have been so relieved with this dress because it forces my legs together. XD I'd love to be a girly girl, like the heroines in soaps or shoujo mangas. It’s just not in me. *sigh* So, being a bridesmaid, a girly girl, was a bigger challenge for me than for most people.

This is the story of the transformation.

First! I went and bought myself contacts (both clear and coloured) and practiced wearing them for a week. It was so weird and scared the life out of me. I couldn't tell if it’s there or not, and the idea of rubbing my finger on my iris still creeps me out to this day. It's such an inconvenience because I felt like rubbing my eyes the whole time. One eye is blurry because I have astigmatism in that eye, and the optician had warned me that it will only be 80% clear. (In my line of work, 80% is great; it’s already an 'A'. I found out later how wrong I was) It was kinda okay after the third day. I had to sing the Hokey Pokey every time I put the contacts in though.

Second! My eyebrows. They are thick, bushy and dark. My only consolation is that they don't form one line and create a unibrow. XD Anyway, I was really going to go to a beauty salon and get them trimmed or at least under control, when the bride's sister said, "It's okay, the makeup artists will do them on that day."

They didn't.

Third! Shoes. Not just any shoes, high heels. After my convocation fiasco which unfortunately brought me to tears (I wore heels and I cried because it was so painful; my feet became swollen!), I hated high heels with a passion. Kitten heels are fine, espadrilles (wedges) are fine, just not high heels. I wear selipar jepun everywhere, much to Ganaesh's dismay. My feet are shaped like duck feet. They don't have sexy curves or anything fancy. They're just a practical pair of feet, which is fine by me. But even I have to agree that weddings require heels. Hm

At the wedding reception dinner rehearsal (it was at the Grand Borneo Ballroom, a really fancy-schmancy place) I admitted to Lia that I haven't bought shoes. You know what she did? Told me it’s okay and I go my merry way? NO! She did more than that, she dropped everything and brought Beth (our friend and also the maid of honour) around 1Borneo to find the perfect white shoes for me. *touched* We visited Vincci, Bata, Charles and Keith but no luck. We finally went to Lea's Shoes (Lia jokingly said, "Ya, mari pigi kedai kasut saya!") and found them there.

Fourth! Manicure and pedicure. Lia was actually in the middle of a manicure when she went to the rehearsal and subsequently the impromptu shoe hunt. So Beth and I went along with her. Oh, I forgot to mention, this was the day before the wedding. (Now you can see how inconsiderate of me to find shoes at the last minute and what an angel my cousin really is!) Lia got 'scolded' for chipping her manicure and it had to be redone. She did the whole nine yards! Manicure, pedicure, waxing, wax treatment, etc. While waiting, Beth and I decided on doing a manicure and pedicure, respectively.

Beth’s shoes would completely cover her toes, so she just wanted a pedicure. My toenails however, looked like a herd of elephants stomped on them, and moss and other gunky stuff started growing in them. Besides, my heels were strappy. It was a crime not taking the pedicure. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford a manicure. It was nice seeing my toes got treated so royally. Lia picked the colours, and yes, the three of us used the same colour on our toes.

Well, except for Beth. It was on her fingers.

Fifth! Hair and make-up. On the morning of the wedding, I went to Lia’s house. It was already brimming with activity and everyone was doing something, even the babies. I didn’t take a picture of me before the makeup, but here’s a picture of the hair.

Nice eh? No, extensions were needed, no fake hair; just my own (with at least a can of hair spray). I’ve never seen it so... coiffed before. I’m such a lazy hair owner, I just let it grow and grow and when I feel stuffy I’ll cut them myself and then go to the hairdresser and get scolded by them.

Anyway, before that Lia was giving me a hard look because I was wearing my glasses. I quickly said I’ll change into my contacts then she relaxed a bit. I changed into my colored contacts and felt that they were much better than the clear ones because of the balanced degrees on both eyes. It was around that time when I realised that I should have worn a shirt so I could just unbutton it and change into my dress later, but I was wearing a T-shirt, which would destroy any makeup or hair if I removed it. Thankfully there was an extra kain sarung nearby... so there I was, walking around the place wearing kain sarung, tied up above my chest. XD

I sat in the ‘makeup section’ of the house and got myself a new face. It was the first time I wore fake eyelashes. To be honest, I hated them. My vision was cut in half as if there were blinders on my eyes. And I didn’t like the colour of my lipstick. It's fine, and it looks good, but I still don’t like the colour. Here’s the final result. What do you think?

I finally looked like a girl! <3 It was a lot of work, but I guess it was worth it. :) I felt beautiful the whole day.

Oh, the wedding? It was at a church near my house. I almost burst into tears at the part where her father gave her away. The wedding was conducted in Kadazan, but when they exchanged vows, it was in English.

It was so touching.

I love you Lia. May you and Arch be happily married forever. Gimme some kids for me to cuddle and spoil, will ya? ;)

P.S: I danced at the wedding reception. The poco-poco (Oh, no! HARAM DANCE IS HARAM!), the sumazau, the joget. The only dance I bowed out of was the first dance with my partner, one of the groom’s men. Forgot his name. (Sorry!) He played the guitar in the band. But it was for the best; it would have hurt more if we did because he’s not Ganaesh.

Apr 8, 2011

A Coward, A Dreamer.

It's been a while since I posted up any sketches. It's there in my book, just that I haven't transferred them digitally. Since the last time, my netbook's been reformatted and upgraded a bit. The Photoshop at least. It looks like a monster I've never met. Kinda scares me a little.

My brother quit his job recently. That means I will be the only one working and with a salary. I did some calculations and with my salary, it wouldn't be enough to cover everything, especially if there's an emergency. I would need at least RM300 more. Lord, if only I make 3K per month...

...but I don't, and life goes on. I remember my first payback, way back in 2009, with my first job after graduation. It was only RM400. It was so stressful and I even had suicidal thoughts. I had no idea how we survived at that time. My brother was only working at a tuition centre back then. I really don't want to live through that dark stage again. I need to make a change, but how?

Taking on a second job is impossible. I go to work at 8 a.m and finish by 5.30 p.m. Because I take the bus, it's another 2 hours to reach home. Weekends are precious because its the only time I can catch up with housework and maybe some rest.

Am I giving too many excuses? I feel I am. Maybe I'm in a comfort zone right now. I want to break out of this funk. But I am a coward. I am afraid of failure, I am afraid of my own future.

But I am a dreamer too. I'm thinking of setting up, opening an online shop. I'm looking into something I CAN DO in my own time. I mean, RM300 might not be a lot of money for some, but it is for me. I need a way, a solution to my problem. I just can't see it yet.

Apr 4, 2011

Future: Uncertain.

Tonight is the second night I've been kept awake. You should turn away from this. My brain is all over the place. Need to sort it out.

Dad's gout kicked in. His body is warm, his right wrist if painful and he can't stand without assistance. That leaves me to help him anyway I can.

Last Thursday, he fell backwards an the floor and cut his right toe on the edge of the door. He just suddenly lot his balance, like he was light-headed. I can't explain this better other than illustrating this for you, but I'll try. The tip of his big toe was cut, it's not deep but the skin became loose in a kind of circular shape. It bled like hell. That's bad news in itself, but my dad is 70 years old, diabetic and has high blood pressure. A disaster. A small cut that bleeds will take ages to heal. Managed to get the bleeding to slow and stop but the bandages got wet because of his frequent trips to the toilet. My head is bursting with the possibility of the wound getting infected. Took him to the doctor with my brother and he said he'll need frequent dressing change. Dad got a tetanus shot, antibiotics and some anti-bacterial cream. This was the second accident in March.

Last Saturday, idiot that I am I bought him some food (rice and chicken cooked in some kind of sauce) for lunch. I was out with my brother for some grocery shopping and I was worried he'd be hungry because he was waiting so long for us. I didn't taste the gravy. It probably contained some sesame oil because later that evening dad complained of pain in his wrist. I got an earful from my brother. The whole night, he needed assistance to and from the toilet. And he would talk and shout and talk. It's so frustrating because I can't guess what he wants. His garbled speech is a matter of frustration to me. And when he can't get what he wants... God. Its a struggle not losing my temper, not shouting back. I'm not perfect.

The dogs are having fleas. Have to find a way to clean them up. Shit. I'm a shitty pet owner. If they're my children... fuck. I suspect Fefanie is pregnant. Should have gotten them neutered and spayed but I didn't have enough money. Can't even get them properly vaccinated. I can hear it now, "Why get pets if you can't even take care of them? Take care of yourself?" Mesti kena marah from  Catherine or Daphne...

Fuck me. Fuck that I don't have emergency money.

I'm sorry dogs. You have a shitty owner.

The car needs servicing. There's a wedding I promised I'd go to, in Kuching. Need to buy tickets. Electricity bill. Phone bill. Medicines for dad. MQA coming in April. Prepare for finals. House in disarray. Overgrowth in the compound. Blocked drains. Lighting fixture. Food and petrol for the rest of the month.

I don't know what to do. I'm working but I barely make ends meet each month. I can't afford a lot of stuff. I can't afford to get hired help, I can't afford to fall sick. My mind's in a spiral. There's a workshop in KL next week. I don't know how I'll make it. Leaving dad like that?

I can't think right now. I'm just writing this to see if I can make sense of any of this.

Can't talk about this with ibi yet. Might get all emotional and cry over the phone. Might fight over the phone.

Cannot give up. Please don't give up. Cherane. I'm sure it's impossible to think of doing further studies right now...

Hold on. Don't give up. Its gonna get better.

Bleak. Uncertain.