From a Little Girl to a Woman

Parkroyal Upper Pickering, Singapore [photo by Rosalind Hong]

It has been awhile since I’ve captured my thoughts online. I remember having a blog back when I was 13 and remained active on it till the day I graduated. Funny how after almost a decade, I’m back again but this time as a woman and no longer the little girl I used to be. Now, where do I begin?

The Little Girl
I was an easy child to begin with. Food and sleep, that was all I needed since I was a babe (till this day even!). I was often smiling or laughing and there was never a dull moment when I was around. Easily contented with what I had and never demanded for anything more. I remember back when I was 7, my parents finally decided that we had to have our own home and some form of stability ; we moved places a lot since I was born. It was a difficult time for them financially but they knew they needed to do this for my sister (then 3 y.old) and I. I may have been young then, but I knew my parents were struggling to provide the best for us. Our house was empty when we moved in and there in our living room was my mom’s old Singer sewing machine. She was so focused on sewing the curtains while I happily cycled around the hall. That was how empty it was. Despite all that, we were happy, or at least I was.

On my 7th birthday, my parents asked me what I wanted. Seeing that they were struggling financially, I did not dare ask for dolls or toys of sorts. Of course I wanted to have a Barbie or a Cooking Playset like all little girls would but instead, I asked them for only one thing….a book. I knew that my parents would think twice about buying me toys but they would never deprive me of books. I didn’t just receive A book but I received 2 sets of a collection of books! The first set was a whole series of Peter & Jane and the second were English language practice books. Thinking back now, damn..my parents really made sure they got me books that would be useful for a learning child. Haha!

…and the rest as they say, is history. What did I learn as a little girl? Ask for books and it shall be given to you. But on a serious note, I think I was too young then to comprehend or learn much.

The Teenager
I did exceptionally well in my high school entrance exam. I had wanted to do arts but everyone including my teachers told me that I should do Science. Hence, I ended up living through my high school years struggling in all my subjects except History and language subjects. Since I was sorta forced into studying what I didn’t like, I ended up spending a lot my time in extra-curricular activities because it made me happy. I excelled in track events and also team sports ; sprint events, volleyball and badminton were my ultimate favourite. I don’t think I am much of an active person but I guess when you put your heart and mind to it, you’d do well regardless?

On the academic front, I failed Math, Physics, Chemistry and Biology through my years in high school but miraculously did above average for my college entrance exam. Again, when you put your mind to it…it will work out eventually. In my case, I knew I needed to do well just so I could enrol into the college and course of my choice (finally!). At this point of time, my parents were no longer struggling ; we were living comfortably so I discussed it over with them on my next path. I had wanted to take up communication studies or art & design. Everything went well, we had it all figured out and I was all ready and excited ; a year here to complete my foundation studies and I would later complete my degree in the States.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. In 2001, dad was hit with a career setback. Since I was old enough to comprehend what was happening, the first thing that hit me was that I could no longer do what I wanted anymore. I had to be an adult about it no matter how upset I was. My parents were going to struggle financially again and it would be unfair to burden them further. We decided on plan B and plan B was to do whatever it takes for me to graduate. I knew it was the right decision, I did not want to burden them now and have them struggle when it was my sisters’ turn to head to college and subsequently uni. That would be unfair to my sisters who were then just 13 and 8 y.old.

The sacrifice made was possibly the tipping point in my life. One that steered me to becoming who I am today. Back then, I learnt that you should always have a Plan B should Plan A not work out. This is something that may have possibly turned me into a major thinker in the years to come.

The Woman
Life begin when I, like every other 23 y.olds started embarking on this beautiful journey called work life. Not knowing what I wanted to do cause what I had wanted to do wasn’t an option anymore. Eventually, I found my way into the world of Marketing. Everything went from meh to wow in the years to come. I was living my life a happy woman. I had a great career, a great relationship, my parents were happy and no longer struggling, my sisters were studying what they had wanted to. At that moment, I figured, it was all worth the sacrifice. But somehow, there was still this little bubble of emptiness in me..something I often brush aside and moved on with my then life.

Over the 6 years, I turned into a person with focus and tenacity ; wanting to make the best out of everything I had. However, that also made me lose sight of everyone I loved and who loves me. I selfishly thought that with everything else perfectly planned and in place, I could finally focus on one thing, and that was me. So one day, a career opportunity came knocking and for the first time in my life I knew I had to make this happen.

In 2013, then came probably the darkest phase in my life. A time where I would never want to go back to or let happen to me again. A declined offer to take up my dream role and a 10 year relationship eventually tainted with distrust. Thinking back, it was probably just a tiny struggle but significant enough to make me question myself a lot. Questioning everything that I have done, the decisions I made but most unfortunately, I questioned my confidence and who I was then ; even now sometimes.

I have since moved on, learnt to forgive myself and people who have hurt me. I have become a stronger and more independent woman though sometimes I still lapse into my little corner of misery and loneliness. Nevertheless, what I have learnt over the years (now that I’m no longer a girl nor a teenager!) is that, everything happens for a reason. Whatever the reason may be, it will uncover itself when the time comes. There is no plan A, there will not be a plan B. What there is, is only everyday. So I have learnt to live my life to the best I can everyday, to be happy and contented with what I have. To radiate in positivity and just BE ME.