Thursday, September 28, 2017

Love Letters to Friends and Strangers

Kindness is not dead, yet. Unlike the old Taylor (you knew that joke was coming, right?). I'd like to think that generosity is still alive and kicking, floating around maybe in small organs – your spleen, your toes and fingers, and that we are more than capable of being compassionate to one another.

As a storyteller and a non-fan of listicles, I'm here to tell you stories about the people and strangers I love online, in a non-creepy way (I hope) and that you are able to reciprocate some of that love to them too. It's strange (but wonderful) to think where blogging has brought me: many friends, funny stories and great fun; but most importantly the people that continue inspire me to curate tales that you seem to, for some bizarre reason, enjoy in my humble space...

Geez, there seems to be a lot of love going around on the blog this week, eh?


In the playing field of influencers and faaah-mes bloggahs, it's easy to forget that we're still ultimately, flesh and bones. A bus ride I'd taken to one of of my first blogger meet ups was with Vicky, and we talked like normal people. OK, it included the occasional flat-lay woes but there was largely normal conversation about life, politics, dating, and it's something I've always been grateful for.

Simple acts of sending messages, tweets, comments (you guys!) have always allayed my fears that no one wants to be my friend, and in a universe where we speak about the importance of the support we get from around us - there is no better time to shower your girl/guy blog crushes some loving. And I try, to leave thoughtful comments/suggestions, reply to tweets, and just... talk.

I don't want to make this about me (ha) but I've sent letters, cards, books over the years and it just makes me that bit happier to know we're not ghosts at different ends of the internet connection, and that keeps me going.

I always find that I bond with so many people talking about random things like Neopets. And who knew y'all took up my offer on getting a k-hiphop playlist (it's in the making, I've just been busy!) so definitely stay around for that ;-)

And although someone will always have better and prettier photos, some people who knows what to say to elicit a better response; all we need is one, one person to say hi to or send Brooklyn Nine Nine gifs too.

We can't solve the world's problems but at least I can try to make this small slice of online community a less daunting place.


Constructive criticism can be a hard pill to swallow, but it's often necessary. Leaving comments and having conversations doesn't always have to be x's and o's or even 'I love it I agree 100%'  because you can't always agree and that's okay, but when you do disagree, they should be well-informed. I talked about how it's okay to disagree with me, and a lot of you said you tend to shy away from getting involved, particularly if it comes to a more trivial topic.

Here it where I tend to be more critical - we are not all the same and we are not made up of some ideas. It's ok to disagree, and when I give my take on a topic, I usually reason with why I believe so and understand that my beliefs can also be subject to attack and counter-ideas. But that's how I learn about new things, and that's how I think bloggers can interact in order to open up their minds to something new, where they'd previously think differently. The art of persuasion has never been so constructive in such an innovative space.

But hate is the cyanide in the Pandora box that should never be opened. There's a difference between criticism to engage and inform versus blind words that are biased and unsubstantiated. The moment that line is crossed, is when the blogging community becomes less welcoming and why we (I say we liberally here) are sometimes seen as catty, judgmental, privileged and other such related Not So Nice words. 

Want to argue? I'm with you on that, it's great, do it. But do it with restrain and knowledge of your facts, and not when you know you're going in to set the house of fire deliberately. That's just self-serving and petty. I feel like my use of metaphors are becoming a bit stale but you get my point - blind hate is bad in all context, and brings out the worst in the community. 

Bottom line: critical thinking and feedback is part of self-development and the larger narrative of self-love, but what I don't believe is baseless thoughts which serve to harm or injure for some inane purpose. 


I see ya slight-roll your eyes: I say we should be loving everyone but then say it's okay if we disagree and give criticism, which makes me slightly condescending.

Like I say, I believe you can be supportive in ways that doesn't equate to 100% agreement. Whether it's offering suggestions, brainstorming for a project, I believe support comes in different shapes and forms and isn't always nice, but gives us the space to grow.

But above all, pay people you love with every inch of kindness you can muster.

I see Michelle's incredible forte at running her own business and her online shop, drool over Hanh's talent at videography and Becky's handmade interior pieces wishing I could do even one. I hope I do them justice by saying how great they've been doing, and know how much further they can go!

Start with hello, and hopefully end as friends. (Yes I know this is too much sentiment, even for me, but it has to be said.)


So, what now?

It's the moment y'all been waiting for, my embarrassing declarations of love to those I consider near and dear, some of whom I only adore from afar because that's all you can do because you're weird and scared like me, sometimes.

I don't want to play favourites, but here are snippets of love that I think should be said to people I have admired for some time now, for their personality and to thank them for allowing another stranger on the interwebs into their lives.



You are the wunderkind that I hoped I was when I was 22 but could not muster the courage to. Your spirit and incredibly talented soul brings me to tears and it's astounding how magical you are. I sometimes feel like I am you; your words carry a weight so heavy it drowns me . In a mystical way I believe we are sisters through words, and one day I would very much hope to meet you.


Your email last week was greatly needed in my time of stress (lol). Thank you for saying hi and asking about my life problems, and it feels good to be able to talk abut blogging and real life woes with you because I was getting into a bit of a self-pity rut last week. Just wait till the day you find an essay from me dropping in your inbox.


The very first photo I liked on your Instagram was your snap of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Then I stalked all your bunny photos, and read your so very beautiful words. Your words swayed me and I always leave profoundly content. Thank you for your soulful writing, and glimpses into your life.


Girl you watch too many movies. But goddamn I love you, you have the bestest comments and the funniest things to say. I remember telling you that I used to go to Jakarta quite frequently when I was still living in Asia, and it's sad that our paths didn't cross earlier. But I'm so glad we met, and that you are a part of this wonderful group of people I get to talk to! Thanks bbgirlz.


And I would go on and on but I ain't writing a dissertation here you guys. I probably should revive my You Whom I love series, where I share even more great reads. Let me know what you think. 

This week is another manic one, I can't even begin to describe it. Tell me about your days/week/life, go!

This is Week 3 of #TheBlogRace by Vix and Laila, you can send your vote if you've loved my posts so far and keep an eye out on Twitter when the polls open. Kindness was this week's theme, and I hope you enjoy my cheesiness and affection that I have for these lovely people, and of course, you! 

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