The 100 Days Challenge

written on 16th September 2017, 

I like challenges but I am so good at giving up within the first few weeks. On the other hand however, when I do start something new without necessarily calling it a challenge, I find that that usually lasts longer.

Since mid May for example, I have been vegetarian and now I don’t even have to think about it. This was an easy decision. I had just taken a trip home where my parents were on a new raw vegan diet. Now, they are both in their 60s and I don’t think they made as many bad diet decision as I make. So for me to see them struggling with health complications where they are told that the answer is in eating right makes me want to take a close look at my own current life choices.

So I came home, and on my next meal, I actively chose a vegetarian option and now it’s been 3 months and I didn’t die.

There are now exactly 100 days to Christmas. So much can happen in that time and at the same time, if you are not intentional about it, that time can go by and you end up have wasted that time or unconsciously regressed.

So, I accept the Challenge. For the next 100 days, I will;

  • Not have any added sugar (in tea, coffee, juice. No chocolate, No biscuits)
  • Dedicate 10 minutes of French Class every single day. ( I missed day 1, so today I did 30 minutes of Pimsleur’s French 1, lesson 4) I will be using duolingo
  • Do 15 minutes of some sort of exercise. Every single day. The minimum being walking.

It might sound like a low target but I have faltered on these for so long, I’d rather start small and work my way up.

Achieving this, will be my gift to myself at Christmas and it will be part of my process in improving discipline, being more conscious about my life decisions and aware that I do not have forever.

It’s 9:45am and I’m thinking about that Tofu that is waiting in the fridge. I should probably learn how to make my own meals. Might cut my monthly expenses in half.

– PK

Thinking about words that hurt


I was reading a post over on Ruzele’s blog titled I am fat and it got me thinking about my own past experiences and struggles with dealing with difficult words from people and wanting to not be affected by them even when I knew I could not escape that.

It made me think about how much power words have. I am an introverted person and I treasure silences,  mostly because when I am out among people, it seems my ears can’t help hearing what others are saying. I wish it was just a hum that I could ignore. About 5 years ago I almost got run over by a taxi, the driver, one part relieved and three parts pissed off leaned out and yelled an insult. He spend on and I stood in the island and tried to catch my breath. I would never see him again and even if I did I wouldn’t recognise him. I brushed off what he had said. It was three words in a local dialect that meant I was a dumb person because of my hair. A more direct translation would be that my hair had sucked all the sense out of head.  It was crude and delivered with enough vehemence to make a person wince. I did not. because I am strong and I am not bothered by search nonsense. Yet every time I have let my hair out and allowed it to puff up into what looks like a glorious afro to me, I hear those words again, thrown at me, and I feel .. something.

In Ruzele’s post her passive attacker says to his friend – ‘look at that fat slut’

This is the bit that I don’t understand. Yes she is fat, this is just a descriptor like someone being tall, or having a green sweater. But that was not quite enough, no, he had to throw in the ‘slut’ now, this, this is what I don’t understand, why was that necessary. My only explanation would be that it was meant to hurt.

Kids, in their developmental phases will happily point out things ‘Look, a cat’ ‘look mum, a bus’ and the parents often humour them until the seventieth time when they decide this is tiresome and they will nod and hum in absent minded agreement. I feel at this point, the only way to get the parent’s attention back, is to switch up your descriptors. ‘Look mum, there is a cat with blood in its eyes!’ Now, you have an audience.

Is that why people say these things? I don’t know, never mind if the cat was just trying to be a cat, now he must dash off and find a mirror just to make sure it is not true.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say within my scope of hearing ‘Look at her hair’ or ‘That girl has a lot of hair’ I usually don’t even turn and look, it is a statement of fact. But I have also heard people add other things to this to allude to the fact that  it must be dirty, I may be smelly or my favourite that  I am homeless, or mentally unstable (I live in a very conservative town)

So, why, knowing that this second bit is not true do these words still hurt?

The second thing it made me realise with a great degree of shame was that I had been guilty of this behaviour. Waiting until I believed I was safely out of earshot – to the best of my knowledge – to nudge my companion and whisper ‘..hey, did you see that guy’s forehead?’ the companion looks over, smiles and says ‘oh, wow’ and then we carry on with whatever conversation. A day A couple of hours later, the incident and person is completely forgotten. No thought is spared for the person that might have overheard these words and what pain that could have caused them. Ugh. I am disgusted with myself.

We have to be the change we want to see in the world. – Ghandi

Finding Clarity


It is somewhere in the second week of Feb and I feel like I am just now waking up. While I do admirably well with keeping up appearance, I am arguably one of the most scatterbrained people I know and every day seems like an experiment in maintaining some semblance of order. Yes I make ‘To do’ lists faithful, and there are days when I actually spend 4 hours at my desk working, but it is hardly ever in accordance with the list. It is almost like having an item on the list actually encourages me to veer off to another. In the end the lists become reminders of all the things I should attempt to do the next day.

Surprising though, I do manage to get out of bed, perform the customary hygiene maintenance routine, get to work, put in the hours, feed and find my way home and somewhere along the way I leave behind, unfinished text messages, phone calls that were never returned, emails forgotten in draft mode, and books that never got read to the end.

As part of the endeavour to put my life in order, I set myself goals and challenges and sign up for paid memberships and so on and so forth. This, as anyone that has ever suffered from serial procrastination knows is not a real deterrent.

At the beginning of this year, holed up in an upstairs bedroom in an apartment in Haarlem, The Netherlands, watching the never ending fireworks display, I took the time to consider what I had set out to do in 2015  against what I achieved (The easier thing to do would have been to only consider what I achieved)

2015 Goals  vs Achievements             

  • Make More Art: I did, I ventured into more drawings and learnt a lot from that
  • Read at least 2 books a monthI did, and even more but the quality of some of the books was not that good to be honest. My favorite was Stephen King’s Memoir on writing which I hope to read again in this life time. In 2016 I hope to read more worthy material.
  • Learn French: I did not *hangs head in shame. Somewhere along the way, I met a wonderful Dutch girl and decided to start learning Dutch instead. This month I got the babbel bill for 20 something dollars – in the course of 3 months, I had only gotten as far as 4 of 21 lessons. 
  • Visit Malaysia: I did not, I ended up going to the Netherlands to spends some time with the afore mentioned  Dutch girl. Malaysia, and my friend Maya are still high on my list. 
  • Meet soulmate:  I know, this is an odd thing to have as a goal, but really what I was trying to do with that is be more outgoing and make more of an effort or accept the possibility of dying alone. So I took out a paid membership on two websites, met some interesting people and somewhere somehow met someone in a place I wasn’t even looking. 
  • Eat Healthy, exercise 4 times a week. I did not do this to the degree I wanted, but I started making my own meals which has been really good. Exercise had good months and slow months and I kept switching up the routine. I intend to have a more stable routine this year.
  • Write short story (ies): I did not write last year and did not contact my writing coach once, I don’t know where the year went, but I blame it on me. I need to stop talking about this and just do it. 
  • Save 25% of my income: This worked out quite well, I have increased that number to 30% for 2016

I started this post to talk about my moment of clarity and then went off on a tangent.

So the 2016 focus in personal development is going to be Working harder on the creative side and starting a business. I am not quitting my day job but I am going to try to put my creative side to good use, so I will be building websites and doing commercial art (illustrations). In languages I will stick with my goal to learn Dutch.

The other endeavours like reading, writing, eating right, exercising and being more frugal are more long term lifestyle choice and not exactly goals or targets, they will not end after the year does, those are a constant that should remain.

How have you planned your 2016?

New Year, New Goals

It is now exactly 6 months to my 32nd birthday and I find myself almost 3 weeks into the new year and still putting the final touches on my goals for the year. At the start of the year, I was wondering why I bother when I could just pull up my goals from last year and start all over again. Since 2013, I have had the same items showing up on my list – Read two books a month (if Zuckerberg can find time to do it, surely so can I), Write creatively, Make More art, Save 35% of every franc I make, Eat clean, Lose weight – In 2013, I was around 64kg/132 lb,  my goal had been to bring this down to the recommended 60kg/120lb for my  5,1′, frame. I am now 70kgs and my goal is more modest – first, make it back to that 64kgs that seemed so undesirable all those years ago.

This year, I have added a few more items to the list, and also changed my approach to attaining those goals. This is my new list.

  • Read at least 2 books a month – Y/A books don’t count since I can go through one of these a day on a weekend.
  • Write a short story or 1500 words a month towards a novella.
  • Meal prep my lunches
  • Order out at most one meal, once a week.
  • Make $300 in nonsalaried income a month. – easiest strategy for this would be a good art or design project
  • Save 40% of every franc I make
  • Walk at least 3 days a week for at least an hour
  • Formally register and start a part time business.
  • Be kind to people
  • Retain my inner sense of peace
  • Be a better partner
  • Be more frugal. Initial strategy, only buy what I need, let go of what I do not and for heaven’s sake, clean out my closet!

That is it. I figure it is easier to break it down to small achievable goals, rather than giant far away targets. I am certain that I can easily do these without much more effort on my part from what I am currently doing. In fact this is the baseline. What I am really hoping for is to astonish myself by exceeding my own expectations by a whole lot and as an extra bonus prove to myself that I am much better than the procrastinating time waster I have slowly been turning myself into over the last few years.

Here’s to a glorious 2016.



August Challenge: Let go of one Item a day

I am doing it, I have quickly lost patience with the number of things I have and I am going to attempt to change that, slowly of course.  A few years ago,  I lived my life in such away that I could get up and start all over in a new place with just a backup. Today, I will dig and dig and dig for hours and still not be able to find that once favourite t shirt or pair of leggings. When did I become this hoarder, when did I become so extravagant. I have items that I have owned for over 10 years that I still use fairly regularly, << hello my beautiful stripped towel>> and then I have items I bought 5 months ago that are still in their original packaging. Also why do I still have all the boxes that came with the devices I no longer even own. What exactly am I hoping to do with these?

Continue reading August Challenge: Let go of one Item a day

Becoming a ‘woman of a certain age’

I traveled back to my home country for a 10 day break from work, and time to do admin things like renewing passports, cautionary medical checkups and checking that my parents are still alive and well. They are. Like most trips home, after the first day or two of seeing everybody that I have not seen in 6 months and finding out for the second time how they are doing, what happened to L, how far along is X, where did building M go, it all settles to a dull realisation of, I did not need 10 days for this, I would like to go home now.

I have always felt lost at home. Part of that is because I have been the odd man out for the longest time, and moving to another country didn’t help. The other part is knowing that you can never really trully be yourself. At home I might as well be a 10 year old running around with a runny nose, watching my parents and family from behind my hair, in the corner of the room trying not to make any noise because in the likely event that I do, they then see me, as I appear.

Continue reading Becoming a ‘woman of a certain age’

New book on the shelf

There is a universe and a timeline in which I only read one book at a time. This is not it. At any given time I am in the middle of 4 or more books and you would imagine that their state of ‘non completedness’ would deter me from starting on an even fresher book. No, no, it does not. 🙂

My friend slash reading companion Gen suggested that our next book should be Olivia by Dorothy Strachey, it was supposed to be similar to Sarah Waters but more Subtle, I thought, yay! I could use some good literature without tacky prose. I made it clear to her that I am yet to read anything that comes close to to the masterpiece that is The Price of Salt in that genre and it would take a lot for this book to impress me. Now, a few pages in and I have to say..I was wrong, this is a really well written book.

Proper review when I am done.

Trying to Smell the Colour 9

Re-exploring gender and sexuality

Two recent posts I read have had me questioning my life choices, not that I haven’t been questioning those things myself for a while. One of them mentioned something about growing up in a different time and not really realising that one had options, it wasn’t just girl, boy. OR even girls go with boys and boys with girls, no, there were many options.

That however also presented a new set of challenges. There are so many different words and names to describe  a person, that sometimes I just stand there wondering what to pick.

So far this is what I know; Girl, likes girls, also likes boys,.. and unicorns (no, that is not even true, well, I don’t hate them, … I just have no feelings toward them one way or the other) is not feminine, wishes she had a flat chest, muscles and stronger build, is working on it. Does that make me gay? bi? agender, pansexual, trans? non binary? butch? stem?  arrrgh why do we still need titles?

I honestly don’t think I can definitively explain who I am given this whole mix of choices. Not in three words like most people do, I can’t say… I am female or I am gay, I would need to add a but or two other sentences to full explain . The only thing that I know for sure is that I am human, and even that on some days I am not that sure of.

Also… why should we have to choose one thing for sure? I feel like every thing changes, for me at least. it is a never ending stream of contradictions.