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The room was dark like midnight, save for a crack in the curtain. She was propped up, half committing to get fully in bed. There was a pause. The ceiling looked black too. She spoke and directed the words to herself.
“I’m talking to you. I know it’s weird to be doing this out loud. No one else is obliged to care for you so you have to care for yourself, okay? We can do it.”
Good luck 世界。
My latest project is a video focusing on discrimination at the University of Oxford. The video is sort of split into three parts. Disclaimers, talking about my personal experiences of discrimination, reading out accounts shared with me of other students’ experiences of discrimination at the University of Oxford.
The video goes live at 4pm GMT. Click the link above to watch, and please do consider sharing it.
If you decide to make a video talking about discrimination at a renowned educational institute, good luck 世界。
此致敬礼，欣妍 – From Xinyan ☕️☕️
This Christmas I filmed a ‘Question and Answer’ video with the help of my younger cousin. I did this alongside the ‘Korean spicy noodle challenge’.
I actually decided to use the noodles as the topic for one of my Korean essays. If you haven’t heard of them before, basically there’s a brand of noodles that has become known for its spicy flavour. A few years ago there was an online trend of eating the noodles as part of an eating challenge. Once the trend went viral outside of Korea, the company actually tamed down the level of spice by a bit, but foreigners still find it spicy lol.
I talk a bit more about the noodles in the video, but on the whole its quite a fun video of me answering questions and slowly succumbing to the suffering from spice🙃 As my blog audience still probably doesn’t know me too well, I think you can definitely see another side to me from this video. Enjoy~
Click here to watch the video, or scroll up. Don’t forget to ‘like’ and ‘subscribe’!~
If you try 불닭볶음면 (Korean spicy noodles), good luck 世界。
此致敬礼，欣妍 – From Xinyan.
Let me clarify what this post is before we get into it. I want to share a ‘method’ I created for supporting a friend who may be depressed, uninspired or in some low mood. I’m simply sharing one tip that I have used in the past. It therefore goes without saying that there will of course be many other things that you could do to help a friend in need besides what I am sharing. Primarily letting your friend (or whoever it may be) know that you are there for them or being willing to listen to whats on their mind is quite important). However without further ado…
I had a close friend who sometimes experienced low moods. Once I wanted to gift them something so I prepared what I will be sharing in this post. In short, the gift is a glass bottle full of hand written notes that your friend can reach for when they need some cheering on. I made this gift a few years ago but came back in contact with it recently. I’ve been thinking it would be nice to share with you guys incase someone finds it helpful and also because my ‘life advice’ posts seem to be something my readers enjoy.
When I made this I went to a home store and bought a cute vintage glass bottle with a lid. You can use any container, but a small glass bottle would work quite well. Ideally something see through would be good because we want to make something with visual impact. When your friend sees the gift it will be a nice visual reminder that they are cared for, even when they’re not in low moods.
Feel free to decorate the outside of the bottle how you see fit. I tied a silver ribbon around the neck and looped a pink ring through the ribbon. I drew some stars and signed the bottom of the bottle using a pink coloured Sharpie pen (basically a permanent marker). I also wrote a short cute message on the inside of the lid. You could perhaps stick some stickers on the bottle (but obvs not too many if you want it to remain see through). I would probably pour some glitter inside the bottle too😛
The notes for inside the bottle are the most import part of the gift. The key is to making them effective is to personalise the messages. I’ve kept aside some of the neutral (non-personal) messages that I used so I can share them with you a little later. Depending on who you’re gifting it to the tone of your messages will of course change. You might write notes mostly with an uplifting tone for a friend who is sad; or notes telling your friend things you like about them or sharing happy memories you’ve had to remind them that they’re loved; or maybe just prompts for random things to do for someone who is in a bit of a funk. Some of them can even be random doodles and drawings. 你自己看看吧～You can figure that out for yourself, but I personally think it’s best with a mixture of different types of messages. After all your friend might not reach for the gift for the same reason each time.
The photo at the start shows some of the notes I included in my bottle. I used various mediums to write on. Cute sticky notes (memo pads), different coloured paper, a page from a desktop calendar, be creative! Try using different coloured pens too~ I also threw in some random objects that fit into the bottle to add more variety. It makes the gift a bit cuter and less medicinal yknow. Objects I used includes a mini multicoloured dice set (I phrased it like that because ‘mini dies’ looks weird lol), a random wheel from a mini toy skateboard, a (new) earring stud, and some small hearts I coloured and cut out. I’ll now share some of my more ‘neutral’ messages with you incase you need inspiration:
So there’s quite a long list of short messages you could use/edit. I’ll share a few more that are slightly longer for variety sake. Remember the key is personalisation and variety.
I’m aware that this gift is not going to fully save them from their sorrows, but I know that sometimes people need something they can quickly turn to in moments of feeling low. How ever your gift is used, I’m sure your friend will appreciate it and that it will help them even slightly; which really is good enough💜 I have other ideas that I could share with you and I’m thinking of writing something on self care, let me know if you’d like to see that! x
Lastly, if you’re reading this to help ‘a friend’ and are maybe experiencing low moods yourself, let me tell you as an impartial voice that whatever you’re feeling is valid ❤ Please try to talk to someone about what you’re going through. Click here for a list of a few numbers you can call to talk to someone confidentially if you’re in the UK. Also feel free to contact me by commenting on this post (it doesn’t go public till I approve it) if you want to talk to an outsider or if I can maybe give you advice with whatever going on. You got this 💜
If you try to help a friend in need, good luck 世界。
此致敬礼，欣妍 – From Xinyan.
P.s. Happy New Year~ https://www.instagram.com/p/BsD5Ot_hzOo/
I love writing. Well I used to love writing.
I guess I keep it up through this blog, but I used to be more engrossed in creative writing, like poetry and short stories. I fell victim to perfectionism and eventually stopped completing my stories but used to orally retell them to family. My aunty who I didn’t see as one to be interested in a child’s silly hobby was quite a fan of my writings which was high praise for me at the time. I noticed back then that most of my stories would end with the protagonist being killed. It was not an intentional common factor but it was an interesting realisation. I did recently post a very short story on here which I prefaced by saying that my stories often hold dark narratives. I wrote it in Chinese and then translated it into English, click here for the English version of the story, and here for the Chinese version.
I didn’t think I had ‘dreams’ till I reflected on it recently, maybe I could share them with you one day because I think it’s quite interesting. Regardless of whether or not I’m in an extended ‘writers block’ phase, it’s still one of my dreams to publish a book. I have three and a half in mind. The title of the first book is the same as that of this post, I’ll get back to that in a sec. The second is a bit tricky because the nature of the novel is not something I am allowed to openly discuss and so I could only write that anonymously. That being the case I don’t think I’d write it at all. Lastly, the ‘half’ book would be something like an advice/reflections book. A friend of mine very eagerly told me that one day I should publish an autobiography. She was fascinated by some of the things I told her I had done recently, as well as the intersectionality of my identity and the unique situations that can arise from it, and some of my world views. I don’t know if I’m grand enough for an autobiography or if having one makes me seem like I value myself higher than I do, which is why I would for now rather write something articulating my thoughts on certain social issues.
Back to the title of this post. I thought I’d give you a brief synopsis of the first story I’d love to publish one day. Let me know what you think. [TW: Death, neglect, substance abuse].
The novel would be split into three sections with individual chapters for each section. Part one focuses on a young girl. Since birth her parents did not appreciate her and neglected her as she grew up, often leaving her home alone with little provisions whilst they went out to work. The girl would usually sneak into her neighbour’s house during the day to play with the children next door. When her neighbour’s were due to move home, the girl ran away from her parents and was fostered by her neighbours. After moving to a new city with her new family, things seem to be going well for once. One night the girl overhears her foster parents discussing their financial situation. They said that having an extra child in the house causes a strain they did not anticipate and they didn’t know what to do. The girl felt like a burden and tried to relieve her stress by going for a walk the next day. During her walk she sees a baby in the middle of the road about to be hit by a bus and runs to save him.
The second part focuses on a ‘stressed woman’. I didn’t get to develop her narrative too much, but in short her failure to keep down a job turns her to alcoholism. She has a young toddler son who she does not take care of properly and sometimes screams out her frustrations to him. On a particularly distressing day she takes her son in a car seat and goes on a manic drive. As she sobs in hopelessness she begins to blame her son for her failures. She takes out a gun from her glove compartment and contemplates using it. She pulls up to the side of the road and brings the car seat out with her. She places the seat in the middle of the road as she prepares to use her gun.
The final section of the story interlinks the first two, and explains the reason behind the title name. The girl from part one sees a child being left in the middle of the road and runs to save him as a bus approaches. She manages to shield the child with her own body, however in that brief moment the bus could not avoid them. The girl is killed by the direct impact of the bus, and the baby could not withstand it either. He died too. The mother of the baby witnessed everything from the sidewalk. It suddenly hit her that two lives were lost due to her actions. People start to crowd and tend to the children. Amidst this, the woman is filled with guilt and points her gun to her head and takes her own life. The pool of blood is now more red than the bus itself.
So that’s my story. Not a true story I should add. It’s very dark but I was proud of it at the time. Tell me what you think.
I linked this story earlier on but if you did not get a chance to see, take a look at the English translation to a short story I posted not too long ago entitled, ‘Unsettling Bridge’. Just like in the story I just summarised, I noted earlier that the protagonists usually die at the end of my stories, however I left this one (Unsettling Bridge) open to interpretation. If you have read it, what do you think happened?
If you want to publish a short story, good luck 世界。
此致敬礼 – From Xinyan.
P.s: The photo I added at the start is taken from a story I found on my old laptop. Again its a bit dark lol but I think it’s really cool because I wrote it when I was a lot younger.