SACRIFICE

hide your pain

for someone else’s joy

rein your tears

for someone else’s smile…

you feign bravery

to allay another’s fear

you laugh out loud

to shield a muffled cry…

repress your choices

to grant the other’s wish

abandon your beliefs

and let the other thrive…

you despair to scream

out loud!

silence is a must

your voice fading in a cloud…

fold your wings

for the other to fly, high

step aside or out and

the other shines through…

you’d stop breathing,

let the other live

dying is a risk

for a new life to begin…

You love, hence you sacrifice.

A Photography Journey: I Got Blocked!

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Social media has certainly made it easier for professional and amateur photographers to better connect with one another.

I am one of those amateur photographers who gets fascinated by browsing through the work of others. Hence, the inspiration to share my own.

I have recently joined an online photography community but got blocked without warning after posting just a few photos of my own. It was such a disappointment. It always takes me awhile to join a group that I like, that is why I found it harsh that I was dropped instantaneously. Just like that. What have I done wrong? I had to find out.

Okay, I defied the guidelines. Fair enough. In my excitement, I have skipped reading the  rules and regulations and got carried away posting my snapshots.

Rules are rules. I get it. But, maybe a reminder first before blocking?  Other administrators do that. They give a gentle reminder to those who have failed to comply and the member/photographer simply edited his post. It’s different for repeat offenders, of course. By all means, block ‘em!

It has been weeks since, but as of this writing, I am still blocked by the said online community. So, even if I want to, there’s no way for me to rectify my mistake.

I must admit though that being blocked taught me these lessons:  what  ‘street photography” is all about and to absolutely read and obey the community guidelines.

Have you ever been blocked? Just like that? Thoughts?

Here’s more of  my photography journey: Finding My Place

 

 

Depression : A Story of a Mother’s Immutable Fear

if-you-could-read-my-mind-youd-be-in-tears-quote-1Mental health. A condition we’ve become more aware of nowadays and try to understand better. Many have made an effort to be heard. But, there are those who are still trying to contend with the stigma that accompanies their admission. 

I am here to share stories related to anxiety and depression, hoping to keep the flame going for mental health awareness.

Here’s a mother’s story.

“Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Causes of death: Suicide by hanging. Three days apart. Unbelievable but true.

Depression does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, whether you are rich and famous or just an ordinary person, like my daughter.

These recent events on mental health have brought me back to a phone call that I will never forget. It was from my daughter who revealed that she was on medication for depression.

Since then, I have been living my life in constant fear of the worst.

Suicide?

”Yes. I couldn’t even bring myself to say the word. And because my daughter was living away from home, that fear was compounded by my guilt of not being able to physically protect her. If it were up to me, I would have encouraged her to come home. But of course, that was not feasible. I cannot tell her to abandon university, come live with me and then what? Make drastic changes to her career path and her future plans? I simply can’t do that. Besides, I knew such decisions were not up to me.

My Anger

Then it dawned on me. I actually did not know what to do! Yet, it was happening! And to someone like me who least expected it. I was caught off-guard and felt like I was thrown into a battle which I was not ready for. I was at a loss. I got angry! What was I supposed to do?

I felt helpless. I found myself wanting and needing for depression to be a physical entity, so I could see and determine how to fight and keep it away from us.

While I groped for answers, I suddenly realized that I was seeing it all wrong! This was not about me at all.

Acceptance

It was about my daughter. I had relegated my own concerns, my anger, and especially my fear, to the background. Doing this paved the way for me to focus on the real issue and accept a painful reality; my daughter has depression. She’s got to cope with it for the rest of her life. But, I am her mother and I’ll make sure she won’t be alone to face it. We are going to deal with it, together.

My Daughter

A friend has said to me. “You know, I admire your daughter very much. I think she is smart. When she recognized that she was having problems, she did something about it. It must have been difficult but she decided to fight anyway.”

I never saw it that way until then.

Indeed, when my daughter was struggling and having thoughts of ”it was better for everyone if I’m gone”, she knew she must seek professional help. And she did.

It must have been difficult to bravely make that phone call and open up to me. But, she did. For this, I am incredibly thankful. It meant another life saved.

It is true. You can not fully understand until it happens to you.

To follow: A Daughter’s Story

Please read: The Onlookers’ Story

and   The Gamer’s Story

My Blog is Two Years Old!

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I barely even noticed its first anniversary. Yet, it’s still up and running on its second year. That notification above is quite right,too. It is an achievement especially for someone like me who was unable to blog that much in a span of two years.

Good blogging? I am not sure about that. Apart from the stats confirming some long periods of inactivity, I must admit that I have quite ignored my site. Why? The concocted answers are in The Kind of Writer I Am, I would like to think that I penned it to know more about myself and not because I was making alibis. Whichever, it helped me realised how my writing habits affected my blogging activity.

‘Opinions Matter’ is a blog site about anything. Therefore, there is no limit to what I can write about. A lot of ideas could stem from the daily routine at home and at work, from a chinwag with a neighbour or from a meeting with a friend over a cup of coffee. I have incorporated my travel experiences, (Summer in and Around LLandudno), and yes, there are more to come! The movies and TV programmes we watch and anything we read are also lucrative sources of blogging information. Not to mention those meaningful encounters with strangers (One Day, Two Stories).  It is fascinating when these circumstances inspire topics that become alive in anyone’s blog.  They can motivate, uplift and help raise awareness (Depression and Anxiety).

At one point, melancholy has not spared my blog and it was poignant in a poem,  In My Arms.

The point is, and I say it again, the world we live in has so much to offer to the blogging world.

Two years ago, I knew very little about blogging. I started it to feed my passion for writing. Today, it still does. Two years ago, I created Opinions Matter because I know I have something to share about life itself. I have never been and still is not driven by stats but every notification of likes, comments and follows I get brings forth a genuine gratefulness from my heart.

Well, you’re welcome WordPress and thank you for letting me fly with you. Though it’s a turbulent ride for me, I intend to fasten my seatbelt and enjoy the journey!

Depression and Anxiety: The Gamer’s Story

When depression or anxiety affects a work colleague, a friend, a friend’s family member or someone dear to your heart, it becomes surreal. Somehow, one begins to truly understand the kind of battle these individuals have to fight everyday.

May I share some stories of people I personally know who experienced these feelings or condition. I realized that each story is individualized and as such, each person coped differently. I write these to help raise awareness. That’s all.

photo of person typing on computer keyboard

Photo by Soumil Kumar on Pexels.com

The Gamer’s Story:

“Did you know that I may have had depression?  A few years ago, I left home due to a family misunderstanding. It was then that I started to be overwhelmed with feelings of being useless and that  I was a ‘good-for-nothing’ person. There were times when I found it difficult to get out of bed and do just about anything. Everyone thought I was just being lazy. I was hesitant to talk about what I was going through. I assumed it would be dismissed as “just one of those days”.

It became worse when I was often left on my own in the house.

It hit me.  I was all alone. Loneliness got real.

Thoughts on ending my life? It did cross my mind. But I could not bring myself to hurt my loved ones. Not that way. I could not let them suffer picking up the pieces and live with unresolved guilt forever.

I had to force myself instead to try to live a normal life amongst those around me. Life became a routinary blur of work to house and vice versa. During this time, I immersed myself into online gaming.  Looking back, it has, in a way, diverted my mind off miserable thoughts. It still does. Suddenly, I was not alone anymore. I was talking to people. Online. But, I was communicating.

Today, am I better? Maybe. My online gaming turned into a live streaming channel and has built a considerable number of followers. More importantly, some hamers became my friends. I was was able to travel and meet them in person. We remain friends to this day and keep in touch constantly.

I am back home. I still have those days when I get glued to my bed, but I would like to believe that  I am better equipped to deal with that. I have opened up to my family in the hope that they will have a better understanding when I fall into the dark again.

The other stories soon to follow. The Onlookers’ Stories

A Photography Journey: Finding My Place

Definitely, an ongoing exciting journey.

My interest in photography has developed over time. It took awhile before my photo collections found their categorical place on my social media accounts.

I am an amateur photographer. I don’t use any sophisticated gadget but my mobile phone camera. Still, I take pride in what I was able to put together; my snapshots, my edits, my own perspectives.

Below is one of my photos on Instagram.

I recall a verbal English proficiency exam years ago when I was randomly asked about photography. The question took me by surprise and I realised how little I knew about it. I answered with the basics: the use of a camera as the foremost tool for taking important images. These images are embedded with memories of a lifetime. Photography has made it possible for these memories to be printed-off and be filed in a photo album, for future reference.

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A travel snapshot shared on Google+

Photography became a passion when I was able to travel more, even halfway around the globe. I could not simply ignore the scenic views and the magnificent panorama that I thought I would never have the chance to see with my own eyes! I needed to document every experience and my camera made that possible.

I was cynical when the DSLR cameras first came out as they were huge and heavy. It was kind of unsettling because, for someone like me who isn’t tech savvy, they looked complex to use. All I wanted was to take photos with less fuss and fiddle.

However, times indeed, change. Social  media sharing became rampant. I, too, was caught in it. Who wasn’t?

The mobile phone companies smartly embraced this change and the smartphone invasion became unstoppable. Of course, I jumped into the bandwagon and thank heavens I did! I ditched my other camera(not totally, I still use it from time to time) for the more convenient, truly handy and user-friendly mobile phone.

The ease of taking photographs with my smartphone has immensely kindled the hobby more. Also, with the advent and continued availability of free, easy-to-apply photo editing applications, photography has never been more fun to explore. I, for one, can say that the innovation of the mobile phone camera has made the art of photography more accessible to a lot of amateur enthusiasts like you and me. So, let’s keep it up and click away!

Here’s what inspires me:

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Do visit my photos on Instagram

My photo collections on Google+

This journey continues:

I Got Blocked!

Two Sides

 

you believe what you see

you are oblivious

to how things are

one side, that’s all you’ve got

 

yet you say those words

you deem right and kind

you mean well, of course

but senseless to a betrayed

 

aim to understand

hence, make a stand

what you do now

is intrusion, no doubt

 

Back off,

demand for truth

listen, speak-up

exactly with facts.