Hello guys! Did any of you miss m–
Hahaha…oh well. Unfortunately I’m not back today with a recipe post (soon, I promise!) but I have some things to say so if you like grab a chair–this will take a while.
(warning: this is a wordy post with some personal thingums in front and EXCITING STUFF BEHIND so do scroll on down low if you aren’t in the mood for heavy stuff)
At any rate, there’s been so many things going on. Firstly, you might have seen this. Yes, I was featured by Instagram! They also did a feature on their blog here. I only found out after my math exam–all grouchy and pouty because i was 100% sure i would fail it (spoiler: i did, and very badly. oh well)–and i was shocked into a stuttering, incoherent mess for about 10 minutes. i’m really very thankful for this opportunity, and it was so heartwarming to see sweet comments telling me i had done my country proud and all of that stuff. it even took away the sting of math, which is no easy feat i tell you.
But what really stunned me when the newssites started featuring me. I was really stunned–after being tipped off by a comment on my picture, I went and scoured the net and found many, many news articles on me. Little old me? Being featured in NEWS? I didn’t believe it for a few days. My brain kind of went incognito and stopped processing everything–it was quite overwhelming, to say the least! I never expected that everyone would have so big a reaction to my account. Me blithering away and making really bad jokes, making my food that features an extreme excess of chocolate, taking photos. I never imagined it would become this…big.
Here are some sites that have featured me (shoutout to abcnews in particular, their article was particularly insightful and impactful and i’m ever so grateful to Joanna for putting it together seamlessly): huffingtonpost, blisstree, and abcnews.
Now, part of the reason for this post is to also address what I feel about all this media hype (serious mode on…you can skip this giant chunk if it’s too heavy for your reading palate). You’ll know if you’ve followed me before this happened that I preferred the anonymous and quiet side, since it’s integral to the privacy of both myself and my family and my eating disorder was a very personal experience. I chose to share it on my older blog in order to chronicle my thoughts, try to talk myself out of the rut I was stuck in–and it worked. It didn’t happen overnight, it didn’t happen in a month, it didn’t happen in a year. It took one hospitalisation, endless fights, many, many tears and many days of just wishing so bad that I could remove all the hurt I had caused my family. I had to come face to face with many truths I had tried to bury about what was happening to me, and it was very tough. Dredging up the days where I had run myself into a situation where my heart was in danger of stopping at any moment and I was a shade of life, telling myself that that wasn’t normal and telling myself that I needed to get better–that was no easy thing to do. People on the social media have expressed both doubt and cynicism (sometimes rather cruelly, but it’s okay–they don’t know the real story and that’s what happens on news everywhere) at how I managed to recover through what they think was purely my Instagram, and I think I needed to clear up some misconceptions to everyone.
I didn’t recover 100% through my Instagram. I don’t think anyone could recover on a plan solely subsisting of posting pictures! There’s where one of the major misconceptions lie. I recovered through my family’s support, many mistakes, many days, a doctor’s monitoring of my progress, slow gritty determination. And of course, my passion–which is cooking, baking and photography. That did play a major part of my recovery, but it was not all of it. My love for photography told me to add a little more crushed nuts here to make the dish look better, which went again everything the eating disorder believed in. Slowly, passion brought me through this tough time–not wholly so, but it greatly aided the movement, and I will be forever grateful to the little community I first had that spurred me on to take better pictures, cook better food, and eat better. I clung on to this little thing that made me happy– it made me many new friends both older and younger, local and from abroad, and taught me tips and tricks about food styling and food photography through trial and error (note: lighting is very, very important!). So yes–Instagram has greatly helped me in my recovery, but it wasn’t the sole axis around which my recovery spun (I’m sorry, it’s been a tough week and I can’t think of a better analogy).
Another thing I thought I’d share. I don’t wish to become known as “the Instagram girl who had an eating disorder”. My eating disorder, while admittedly a huge part of my past+Instagram journey, doesn’t define me and I hope it never will. I am a person beyond my eating disorder–a clumsy girl who stumbles terribly at math and laughs in wheezing gasps and gets too excited once you mention anything even vaguely related to chocolate. I would like to be known for my love for food, my belief in a balanced, wholesome and nourished lifestyle, my food photography, my writing, my bad puns, my bad jokes, my weekly TGIF lunches. I would like to be known as the girl who is living, and coloring her life with the things she loves. I would like to be known as someone who can now appreciate the life she is loving and who is grateful for every little thing even in the worst days, because that is the key to happiness. And with hope, dear reader–you might be able to view me that way.
Amongst all this hype, I made a promise to myself that I will stay humble, grounded and real. I am no different than anyone else regardless of how many followers I have–I am human and I am very very much flawed (have you seen my math test results?? i hope you haven’t, because i would burrow into a hole and stay in there for the next eon or so give or take a few centuries). I am willing to learn from everyone, and I am but a 15 year old girl still full of naivete and doubts. I’m glad I have all of you with me though. Thank you for hanging on to the ride, especially if you’ve been here from the beginning.
Speaking of real…we’re past the serious stuff now! Wake up! Here is the very interesting part, especially if you’re living in Singapore.
Nothing to do all weekend except twiddle your thumbs and watch korean dramas one after another? (ha, i got you there. i know i did.) How about popping down to *SCAPE on the 24th and 25th of May for a really exciting event by a really lovely group of people?
Introducing Project Made Real, a passionate group of individuals with a cause. Made Real is a social enterprise that empowers youth with a more positive self-image through nutrition, self-love, and fitness. They aim to rally support for a healthy and balanced lifestyle, which is essential for physical and mental well-being. From fitness junkies, to average Joes, to people facing health difficulties, Made Real is the local advocate for a wholesome lifestyle that can lead anyone to be a better version of themselves.
Why do they want to do this? Their cause is one dear to my heart: they set out to advocate a better lifestyle for the public in the hope to tackle the increasing problem of body-image dissatisfaction among youths, which is closely associated with eating disorders and obesity. To shape a community conducive to recovery and health improvement for these individuals, they promote open discourse to eliminate the taboo of destructive self- and body- image. In terms of food, fitness and self-love, they have been advocating for a better community in the hope of eliminating the taboo surrounding the issues of eating disorders and obesity, and to raise social awareness that will breed acceptance and support for these individuals. They also hope to cultivate a healthier lifestyle, for youths and young adults in general, that becomes both a preemptive measure and remedy for a destructive body image.
It’s rare to see such a group in Singapore especially, and this is a matter that has been increasingly pertinent with the alarmingly worrisome spike in poor mental and physical health regarding body image all over the world with recent years. They might be one group, but every action starts from a thought–I believe that they’ll be able to do great things in Singapore and I hope they’ll be able to start a change for the better. A change that might, with hope and a little help from everyone, stop this trend of body dysmorphia that has affected teens all over the world.
If you’re still not convinced, how about this video–they’ve filmed the making of one of my recipes, the chocolate banana muffins! You might get really hungry after this though. Better have some chocolate and banana at hand.
This weekend, they’ll be down at *SCAPE with exciting stuff planned for everyone. It’s definitely worth a drop past, so do pay them a visit especially if you’re in the area! They have in line partnerships with zumba/kickboxing/yoga instructors for the fitness component, and will be setting up a confidence-boosting photobooth (Chioboost!), along with a tree of love to write notes of encouragement to sufferers of disordered eating. For the food segment, they’ll be giving out recipe postcards that I’ve helped them with, featuring dishes like chocolate hazelnut granola, pancakes, and noodles tossed in a miso dressing!
At any rate, even if you don’t live in Singapore, they’re worth a follow to learn more about what they have to say. Hopefully more and more groups all over the globe decide to take action and ensure that future generations will grow up with a healthy mind and soul, and that–fingers crossed–eating disorders may, some day, be a thing of the past.
You can find Project Made Real at these spaces:
So that’s all today, see you next time…with a recipe 😉 I’ve got some interesting things planned for this space, so do stay tuned!