Cupcake on denim and a confession of everything that is wrong in my life

Cupcake on denim and a confession of everything that is wrong in my life

I’ve been dressing for comfort these days and fallen totally in love with this Alexa Chung for Ag romper. Denim is always such a utilitarian fabric and this collection has the perfect balance of tomboy edginess set with a 1960s feminine chic. Of course, the little cupcake bag (a gift from my fashionable babe, Regina) and the silver loafers helped to add some whimsical touches to my outfit.

It was a day of running errands and I popped by to Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands for lunch. Loved the wonderful service but found the food to be rather lackluster for Gordon Ramsay’s standard. My friend, Wendy, later told me that the stars of this place were the desserts which I had skipped so I guess there could be a silver lining for them. Anyways, it’s the company and conversations that count the most and I wanted to share an interesting perception I gathered from a colleague, Amy, recently.

Amy had an Instagram account with photos so immaculately put together that makes me jealous. Think white brick walls with an ice latte in hand, floral bouquets artfully sticking out of her totes, effortless but chic looking weekend outfits and delicate tea sets with the prettiest colored macarons ever. In case you are wondering, she doesn’t blog and she doesn’t consider herself a social media influencer yet she rakes in 200 to 300 likes every time. Maybe it’s her awesome filtering skills or her always on point photographer but to put it in a nutshell, her photos are just picture perfect and many a times I wish I too could have had that winning life. So naturally, I was shocked when she shut down her Instagram and her Facebook page.

Amy started sharing with me about her personal life (I will not go into details even though I had her permission to share it on my blog). In simple terms, her life is a mess with multiple financial issues, abuse and disappointments. In fact, she’s undergoing therapy for depression and has already tendered her resignation. She felt that it is a good thing to finally start telling people the truth of her struggles and to shut down her seemingly perfect life on social media. She started the social media accounts because it was the ‘in’ thing to do in this day and age and life was beautiful for her at that time. However, when problems started to appear in her life, she found it harder than ever to share the ugly side of things. There was a built up expectation from everyone who thought they knew her and her beautiful life. She felt like she couldn’t disappoint.

It was in this same conversation that she continued to share how she admired my positive attitude, my youthful looking looks, my work accomplishments, my courage to travel and my ability to hold my life together despite wearing multiple hats. How strange that as much as I believed her life to be perfect, she believed the same about mine.

Let’s clear this up. I’m grateful for the opportunities my life has given me and for my youthful genes but I struggle through life just like anyone does and maybe it’s time to share the struggles I’m currently facing.

I work really hard to make sure that I am worth my salt. I gave up a cushy nine to five stable job with expected yearly promotions years ago. Instead, I decided that I will consign my services on a project consultancy basis so I can make time to travel or to expand my interests. That means I have to deliver on deadlines by hook or by crook even if I  have to read reports till 3am on weekends (which happens a lot during my project closing phases) before I can allow myself a big travel break. When I do take time off from work to pursue travels, it means I’m not taking on projects. That translates to me having no income and I would have to dig into my savings.

My house is in a complete mess. It’s an embarrassing, unlivable kind of mess. I have plans to do a big spring clean but finding the time and energy (at the same time) is like chasing the elusive unicorn. It was supposed to be at least half cleared two weeks ago but based on my current schedule, realistically, I can only set aside time in May to truly detox my clutter. My air-con needs fixing and it’s about time for me to go shopping for a new mattress.

In my rational head, I want to eat healthy and excercise at least twice a week. The truth is I’m weak against temptations and I easily wolf down containers of butter cookies and other snacks throughout the night. It didn’t use to be an issue when I was younger with a high metabolic rate but now I do see the impact it is having on my waistline. I don’t drink enough water because I have a small bladder and find it irritating to take restroom breaks when I’m in my productive zone. I have a wonderful membership with Updog Yoga yet only attended yoga classes twice in the last 6 months due to traveling and work schedules. Right now, I’m struggling at a last ditch attempt at some sort of training routine to make sure I don’t get too unfit for my climb to Everest Base Camp next month.

I have my share of woes on the family and relationship front and sometimes I leave issues unattended because I hate conflicts and fear emotionally draining conversations. When people get emotional, tempers will flare and conversations heated so I like to tackle issues when I know my stand but with relationships, the heart and mind doesn’t always take the same sides.

Being introverted, I take time off when life gets too much for me and I’m glad my close friends understand that. These are the days where even getting out of the house is a complete chore for me. Of course, this also makes me appear cold and distant to anyone that doesn’t know me well enough since I supposedly have a bubbly personality on my more sociable days.

My blog is so backlogged and I have piles of products lying around waiting to be tested and photographed. While I enjoy sharing my thoughts through words and photos, blogging is passion that requires time commitment that I can’t seem to find in my typical 24 hour day. As of right now, I’m leaving the comforts of my bed and typing this at 6am in the morning even though I only reached home at 1.30am last night. Do the maths and you can see how much sleep debt I accumulate. You can also attribute any grammar and spelling inconsistencies to this.

I drew the short end of the stick when it comes to health and come prepackaged with a whole list of problems. Other than being minor anaemic, mildly asthmatic and allergic to shellfish, I suffer from sinusitis that gets worse when the air is dry, dirty or when my immune system is low. Mornings are my most unglam moments where I sniffle and choke till it clears out. It’s been a lifelong issue and age isn’t helping. Believing in will power over matter, I’ve never let all this physical limitations stop me from pursing my travel adventures and passions but it is such a terrible nuisance.

Unfortunately, there is one health issue that might need more immediate attention in the near future. I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease years back. An accident caused by my younger sister (a story for another time) resulted in trauma to inner workings of my right ear. Although the injury itself is not too damaging, after an audiometry and head MRI scan, it was found that a scar tissue buildup is blocking the endolymphatic duct in my membranous labyrinth. I know it sounds very technical but just know that it’s basically affecting the part of the ear that controls balance. All this was discovered about a decade ago and over the years, I’ve learnt to live with sporadic symptom outbreaks of migraine, Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and vertigo. Symptoms worsen with stress, lack of sleep and age. After trying all sorts of medication, the ENT specialist recommended an endolymphatic shunt surgery to prevent future hearing loss. I have been putting off this surgery for quite a long time as I’m afraid of recovery pain and worried about having to suffer from intense vertigo, nausea and vomiting during the recovery stage as my brain learns how to compensate for the changes. Recently, more frequent symptom outbreaks has been occurring. It’s worrying and I’m advised to tackle the issue sooner rather than later to increase the healing efficiency.

Add to all these, I’m considering a possible relocation end 2016 and a change in lifestyle that requires sacrifices and uncertainties but might bring about many opportunities as well. I may even end up jobless for awhile. Although I appear calm and collected on the outside, I’m a creature of comforts and habits so these changes do cause me quite a lot of hidden stress.

Does all these sound like I’m enjoying the perfect life? It’s definitely not the idealised life that Amy (and many others) thought I had but what matters is that I’m presently happy. I fight my daily challenges head on and celebrate my little accomplishments. Life is a work in progress and change is inevitable.

The point I’m trying to make is for us to stop being jealous of someone else’s life. Stop the FOMO (kiasu is no longer just a Singaporean thing) and stop comparing your life to the idealised life of what you see on social media.

When you see someone’s wins in life, be happy for them but don’t obsess and start focusing on your own losses. We are all humans, we all have our own highs and our own lows. We all wake up with gunk in our eyes, we all get breakouts from time to time, we all see flaws in our faces and our bodies when we look into the mirror. At some point of our lives, we have had rejections, we have been intimidated by others, felt the need to lie, to conform or be self-conscious and to doubt our self-worth.

Instead of looking at some else’s selfies and spending hours in front of the mirror hating your crooked teeth, go for that yoga class and get that natural healthy glow. Instead of gossiping with resentment at someone else’s promotion at the office, push yourself to improve your skills. Instead of getting depressed at someone’s holiday photos while you are stuck in the office, use their travels as inspiration and learn from their experiences when you plan your next trip.

I know it’s easier said than done. Especially if you have let your insecurities and negative feelings creep their way into your way of life. But don’t let those feelings define who you are. Channel that energy to spin out positivity in your life. You may not realise it but we are all the same and someone out there is admiring (or being jealous) of the things that you take for granted.



  1. Bargainqueen
    March 15, 2016 / 10:13 pm

    Hi Renzze,

    I am your silent reader for years and enjoy reading your blog .Another angle of the picture perfect life Glossing over the perfect lifestyle of people of social media is a form of escapism from the harsh realities . Somehow, no harm instilling a bit of daydreaming and a dose of hope that one day the boring reader’s life might one fine day be transformed. It depends on the perspectives of the reader, might not be taken in the negative light . It is like watching a fairy tale knowing that it is not reality but it is a nice feeling to believe that that might be reality one day. Even cinderella need to pick her nose and has bad hair days.

    Kudos for sharing your woes. To live is to have problems. Admitting and exposing your vulnerabilities on social media is true courage. Courage to be human, to be your authentic self. Whatever happens, happen. Whatever it is, it is. Like yin and yang. If there is no darkness , light is insignificant. Instead of numbing the vulnerability , embrace it and work around it like what you do. To be weak is to be strong. I will like to share this video on the power of vulnerability –
    Hope that is useful to you.

    • admin
      March 28, 2016 / 10:06 am

      Hi Bargainqueen,

      Thanks so much for sharing the video. I like your view on how sometimes people just want to imagine everything is a fairytale. I totally get it! Afterall, I personally escape into books from time to time. As long as readers know how to differentiate between a curated ‘happy ever after’ and reality, it’s all good. 🙂

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