'Who am I' she asks : A creative explosion of paradoxical remarks the student replied.





Would relapse be those mornings I wake up too soon
to find that you were on the cusp of my imagination.
It seems to make more sense before I confess aloud
these longings that seem so ridiculous now.
I feel like I’ve been drunk or high,
but what it really is, is to wake up;
you’re not here anymore.


It was a tough day today. Woke up only to take another nap and spent a little too much time pondering the specifics of how my generation of millennial are in lack of mentors.

Thoughts to be tackled at a different time.

Yesterday I posted to the gym’s public page before training – “Ladies, you’re only one workout from a good mood.” So I went to the gym tonight despite myself.

Here’s what I found.

You can love yourself and change yourself at the same time. More often than not, I get so wrapped up in my own words, so intent on trying to sort everything out and find the big picture, I ironically lose sight the more I try to gain it. All thanks to this thing I fancy to be my ‘intelligence’.

So with lesser words, I just thought nothing when I entered the gym and started my work out. Let me deconstruct myself.


I have loved working out at a women’s kick boxing gym for the last 2 years. Strength is not defined by how hard you hit the bag – it is absolutely satisfying – but strength I found, was to inspire fellow women who works out with you and admires your form and technique.


As a trainer, I am far from perfect. I ate chocolates in bed at 1am last night. I said this to a woman who complimented my intensity when I performed my exercises and said she hopes to do the same soon. I told her you can absolutely transform yourself on the floor, because let’s be honest, you just feel bad ass doing so. And badassery tends to catch on.


But behind my wraps and gloves, behind those tight fists, I am also just a girl. Sometimes lost, led astray in my vision and I don’t feel like my own superhero as I’d fabricate in my head of kicking some cocky dude’s ass (come on ladies, someone tell me they do this too). Sometimes I forget what it feels like to be an example on the gym floor.


With my glasses back on, I can revert to being soft spoken and shy again. And it’s really such a shame to even temporarily forget the empowerment I’ve achieved with my gloves on.

This is the same girl that spent the better part of her day on the couch with her cat, watching Good Will Hunting as an elixir for feel good entertainment, and subsequently cried because she found so much of herself and people she knew in all the characters’ confusion in life.

Sometimes there’s just too much to work on and I ought to remember the basics. In kickboxing, altering just a small part of your stance and eventual execution elevates you from a new try-out status to someone in training. I observe women all the time in how to instruct better and give them pointers, and to be honest, even the best have things to work on. Naturally you don’t approach someone with a list of their shortcomings and tell them to simultaneously mind 5 alternative parts of their body while in midst of performing their exercise. At the least you wouldn’t expect them to catch on all 5 tips.

You tell them, “It’s okay, it is hard.”

So, simply stated, I just have to tell myself – it’s okay, life’s hard.

I put myself out here because this is the only way I know how to get things done – to be an example. Certainly there are plenty better photographs of extraordinary women kick boxers to be fetched from the internet, but what kind of trainer would I be if I couldn’t get through the same exercises?

I said in the beginning that this would be in lesser words, but here we are again in the 600 word counts while I worked through my wordy thoughts. Progress, right?



Okay/Not Okay

I woke up at the early dawn of 5:30am in the morning and thought about him. Originally I had intended to write this post last evening when I came home from the gym, and all through the early hours of this morning, the sun rose to what appeared to be a tiresome day while I contemplated how my mind can be on two opposite spectrum. Powerful and lost.

What can I say? I suppose societal pressure dictates to us the amount of times that you can seek condolence from your peers after a breakup. Coupled with my rigorous X-Y-Z mentality, I tell myself all the logical reasons how I am going to get through this. People tend to digest the news better when they hear that you’re fine. And I am. I feel easier, with my daily thoughts less congested. Every so often, a sweep of bitter emotion/jealousy over what could have been does consume me. I tell myself this does not take away from the purity of how I felt. You are only human and these short-lived poisonous emotions will fade.

What actually helped was this cruel karma that at least I, happen to see in this light. Everywhere around me, the universe seems to be teaching me a lesson. Binge watching season 9 of “How I Met Your Mother” –  I watched Ted struggling at 34, rapidly losing faith in finding the love of his life, and realized how impatient I am. TV shows are easy though, they congest 9 years worth of the possible contingency’s of one’s love life, no, a fabricated character’s life no less, scripted in roughly 20 odd minute episodes to relay to you how many things can change and happen over the course of time. Witnessing that, I felt like being the child that picks up a book and skips to the end before they begin

I’ve never been that child. I read books cover to cover and relish it all the more for the body of paragraphs in between.

In my real life, this omnipotent message hasn’t lessened either. One of my colleagues just returned happily married from his newly wed wife, who has and still does live in India while he has been in Canada. When asked, he said, “Some long distance relationships work, and some don’t.”

To understand that this is the bread and butter of my book can be hard to digest. Like any growth spurt from fateful immaturity, I’d at least want to control the speed of which I can read through this chapter. Funnily enough, when I came upon the word control, I thought of many instances in life, but one of which I can choose to control right now.

Here is the division in mindset for me:

Focus on you.

That’s being at the gym and being a newly certified trainer for me.

“I want everything that you are to turn this way – and come at me.”

This sentence brings me to the moments of so many out-of-breath and haggard women, half way through the kick boxing circuit where I train, to suddenly alert their eyes upon me with the last few seconds as something I perceive to be permission granted.

“Yes, kick/punch/fight through this bag… and into me.”

I know there are many scientific reasons for exercise to make us feel good, but let me say this: to realize your dream is to get up in the face of tired, sometimes aggressively exasperated women, might I add with punching gloves on, and to yell at them to rock that upheld bag into your core – that has been the best form of therapy if there ever was one.

And this is what I do.

Whenever my thoughts drift amiss into the ironically shy, romantic girl that is also me, I think of what it feels like to hear the impact of my punches/kicks. Like cracks of fireworks that detonate across the gym floor. Make heads swivel. Make an example of yourself. For this work out, you will leave it out on the floor. Herd your power – think of the position of your body, turn your knees, swivel your hips, rotate your core, extended arm/raised leg, this is the last body of contact – bust it out.

This is my happy place.


It’s the duality of understanding that I am a women’s kick boxing trainer and a good one, because that’s important to me, but that I’m also human and romantic and lonely as a temporarily deflated young woman who has just gone through a break up. My mind races to soothe myself on why things happened a certain way with this man, but also how women come up to me after their work out for a fist bump because they’re grateful for my faith and enthusiasm into them. It’s okay to let yourself grief a bit, but focus on this energy because this inspires you. Bring your voice to the floor and command them to give you their best, then feel women of all shape and sizes rise to challenge themselves because of you. Train hard. Grasp this. Get your game on, Sarah. Focus.



“Damn, I look good.”

… is not a sentence that is uttered by many females.

I’ve always been a big fan of boudoir photography. I don’t know the technical definition of it [definition of Boudoir is French for a women’s private (thank god I didn’t stop reading here) bedroom or room. Adding photography is to capture the women in the most flattering poses that fit her body in a similar intimate setting]  – thanks Google. I just thought it was a reason for regular gals like me to get done up in porn star make up (and really cake it on, it’s your one chance) and get slutty every so often. Like selfies, but cranking it up a notch.

Why this enthusiasm?  Well, because, damn, I looked good.

I said it. I designed and set up a self portrayed photo shoot for myself with the simple tools of a flexible gorilla grip tripod and a living room chair dragged to the privacy of my room. Right after I got the pictures loaded up to the computer and after some basic cropping, I hardly waited to berate my close girlfriends about how proud I was for my body. Not to be taken aggressively – sure I work out and I love it, but I love food too, so pick your battles and eat just a little less or equal to what you burn – but to be so proud of your own body as a modern day female…gosh guys, I got to tell you, it feels great.

My high opinion of myself was blessed by my girlfriend for my creativity, because boudoir, or if you don’t feel that luxurious, just plain dirty photos of a girl can be made as a form of artistry. Ladies, we’ve got the better end of the stick here. Rarely do you not find some sort of beauty in photographing women. Our bodies are sensual, curvaceous, slender and everything else in between. Embrace it. Feel sexy and emboldened by your sexuality. Surprise yourself with your boundaries; make up themes , a persona even, and project in your mind all these mass propaganda of female model figures we’re exposed to anyway – make use of them!

For the purpose of my own privacy, I can’t share one of my favorite accidental shots that my camera captured, but below is a quick selfie I took with my phone. This particular one won’t be boasting the HD quality I received with my camera  (but don’t be afraid to really take a look at yourself in HD, honest, it adopts a sense of professionalism instead of just you dicking around with the camera and if that’s ease of conscience to you, then also take care to make the short leap and say you do in fact look good). As well I’ve cropped my eyes for publishing so we can’t celebrate the voodoo make up unfortunately, but I’m sure all ladies are born with the innate sense of a dark smokey eye. Of course it is my hope that the intention to share is received well. This post came as a bubbling forth of my cry to let women out there feel good in their skin. Matter of fact, my girlfriends wanted me to photograph them too after my enthused messages. I dare you, and then take a look at yourself and tell me you didn’t at least privately admit to yourself, “Damn, I look good.”



Surprise yourself.
And if any of you have a lucky guy to send that too – well, have him send me a large bag of Science Diet cat food as thanks. I’ll take it.
*for any of you who have known me, see, still the same. Sexy is a cloth I put over my head.

Betting My Happiness in a German Espresso Cup

Lots of time people say that happiness is a choice. I thought about that two days ago while peeling garlic and crying – note, garlic. I was just sad. Wondering what it was I was missing that didn’t seem receptive to the eye brightening impact that statement was supposed to bring me. A few hours after that, I had the best day ever.

Let me start over.

As with my second to last post, my first ever trip to Europe was not what I had imagined it to be. So a week after returning and lots of pondering and tears, I made a deal with myself and with this man I don’t even know if I will ever see again (that’s mostly said for dramatic effect – I’m sure this whole voodoo self granted happiness wouldn’t work as well if I wasn’t at least half sure). Anyhow, I made the challenge to teach myself positive thinking for 30 days. That’s what I told him anyway. His only job/input in this is just to be excited to hear from me. Excitement from him x3 of course, in order to equal mine. Fair deal. Words and trust were exchanged.

What positive thinking meant was not just the decision to simply up and stop crying and stop selling myself short. Those were and are my worse self and it won’t take just the miraculous month to solve them. Instead, I devote these 30 (now 28) days to give this man my unconditional respect. Even writing that seems to have the weird effect of sounding wrong in my very feminine mind, hard wired as we females are to give unconditional love and affection, statistics has been defacing all I feel natural for in relationships. Fact is, the book I first selected to prove my own words – citing: “…people are worth it…and someone will believe that I am…and I will do everything I can to make this person feel special.” in said video confession, wasn’t just a self-image improvement book. I chose a relationship, ahem marriage book – and now this may either be taken to be over achieving or just insane based on the short amount of time I have known this man – but let’s be positive shall we. And the absolute positive fact I have gained in this book so far is between these two sentences, lies the secret explaining the difference in men and women (again, spoken for exaggeration, but quite close I tell you)

  1. “I love you but I don’t respect you.”
  2. ” I respect you but I don’t love you.”

You tell me to which abject horror you can imagine it is to hear these words from a woman’s versus a man’s eardrums. It’s been 2 days and I feel the first 100 pages of this book has provided me enough mental tools to feel empowered enough to sustain a suspended disbelief of all my otherwise very real doubts and insecurities. I tell myself this each time a loose bad thought comes about, “but what about how you felt/feel about this? Aren’t you worried/scared that you aren’t good/fun/interesting/important enough?” – the list could go on – and rather than denying my fears, I tell myself all I need to do is fulfill my promise to give this man my unconditional respect in his natural comfort-ability, his decisions, his way for affection etc for the next 28 days. The rest of those doubts, I will deal with at the end of this. Already, we have communicated a lot better.

I draw back on some silly battles we picked when I was in Vienna and looking at it through my newly acquired and still being adjusted, men’s lenses you could say, it is quite laughable how completely misunderstood people can be.

The last day I was there before the flight, we were up at 4am in order to catch my insanely early flight. He went into the kitchen on auto-pilot to make his morning espresso. Already I had anticipated in my mind that he would forget to use the espresso cup I had bought him yesterday as a gift. This is my first fault, as a woman, to anticipate, and thus actively look for forgetfulness and faultiness. He, of course, returns with his regular glass espresso, to which I glance at and quietly mutter, “You don’t like my cup.”

“Oh no, of course I do. I just forgot. It’s not in my daily routine yet.” He laughs a bit  and goes about to find it. “Now where did I put it.”

“In your bag when I gave it to you last night.”


And right there, such a simple exchange could have been made to be excitable; fact is that he had ended up using my cup when I asked. Silly a deal as it was. It made me feel valued/special that he would use it, and though he forgot on pure accident, my pouty reaction to it only further proved to him in his mind that we are forever speaking on different wavelengths, to which he may feel he will never be able to satisfy my need for assurance or attention.

Just like that, I feel assured of everything.

All of this I thought about and laughed aloud at while reading this book. Feeling increasing light-heartedness in only beginning to see why we do the things we do. I can see the pit fall of guilt however that may capture me for a short while. Regrets for making someone feel so hopeless, left feeling criticized for their life and innate self. Most of all forgetting to express my admiration and respect for him – the very feedback that translates better than all my puppy love notes – for his hard working attitude, for his kindness (even if I am learning to spot them in the ways he expresses himself), for his patience (mostly with me, not in the least with public transit, ha!), and for many other attributes that I had and still feel in his presence. I let insensible doubts and fears alongside my personal want for security shadow that, and I am sorry. Sorry as I am, I dedicate these next 28 days to you. Certainly, assuring a gal of her special status proves to be quite shamefully shallow. Namingly, he remembered to use my cup.

Barbie VS Geisha

geishaWho’s prettier? Granted I don’t think geisha is even a legitimate doll for children to play barbiewith, but neither do I think the modern barbie is either anyway. It’s like a miniature version of Scarlett Johansson.

So taking afterthought of the Karate Kid with me, I’m here to explain what’s really real in Asia. Or, taken from someone who hasn’t been there in 6 years, what’s real for at least one Asian girl. In the west.

One of my biggest pet peeves about stereotypes against my race is that the girls are rather useless. If you’ve seen the Karate Kid, it’s like we’re all akin to that little 12 year old who can never run out of the flimsy clutches of scrawny boys. I won’t say anything for myself, not after having not done any real exercise for x amount of years. But I will tell you that my mother is about 5’2, I don’t know how she did it, but she managed my father, who was almost 6 feet with ease. I think her boastful voice has something to do with it. I guess that rules us out for being soft spoken.

So why am I speaking out about this and bragging about how unwomanly we my family is? 

Where I am, some poorly secluded Asianized area – not Chinatown – I cannot tell you the amount of girls that I see complaining about not looking like a washboard who hasn’t seen the sun in some gazillion years. Or the fact that their waist line isn’t as delicate as their ankle. And don’t be surprised if our thighs aren’t smaller than your arms either. We don’t actually eat like birds. I really thought that stuff should stay in the 60’s.

Seeing all these people who are so fascinated with Asia in general, I want to clarify some of the truth in the Karate Kid;

1. No, we don’t all know karate. And I sound like a hypocrite because my sister used to learn it..but point is, the only splits I’ve ever done were for ballet when I was 6-7.

2. Did I ever get kicked in the face by some karate bawl? As a matter of fact, I actually have. By my sister. While we were bickering in a car trip back in days where there was no room for a 9 year old to run to.

3. Sorry, but I haven’t tied my hair in pig tails ever since grade 4 – I’m not being mean, I just saw a fully grown Asian woman walk around with gigantic strawberry/bow hair ties downtown yesterday.

4. My Chinese name isn’t as cute nor fun as you guys might think. Everybody gives up right after the first letter, stopping at the one word in my name that I know means something nice – poetry. Thanks guys.

5. Again, hypocritical; I tan like a Mexican..while my sister burns like a potato. Nope, no porcelain dolls for you tonight.


I think the West has done a pretty good job in advertising that no Caucasian woman is really going to look like Barbie, so it mighty pisses me off that all the girls I look like idolizes (excuse me) ridiculously overdone k-pop artists who, like many here trying to imitate Barbie, go under the knife for their own deity. They’re just more subtle about it. What worries them is the size of their eye lids, not the height of their rack. As for emulating the paleness of a geisha, hint* that’s bird poop they put there. [Edit: My apologies if you’re offended, I was referring to an article I read awhile ago, disclosing what they used in the old times] Real ancient magic!    

Oh and one more thing, I’m never going to be able to talk like a true Asian I suppose. My voice box simply doesn’t go that high, unless I’m really squabbling. Seriously, nobody should be juxtaposed with Barbie or Geishas. So cheers to my family for keeping me grounded – My sister and I took Grams and Mumsy out to the Aquarium yesterday, for their first time! Oh I know, they really need to have more of a life.

That's me snuggling it up there with Grams. P.s - sorry Rohan, I just had to steal that pic.
That’s me snuggling it up there with Grams. P.s – sorry Rohan, I just had to steal that pic.

And eff it, I just realized my sister is doing the almighty peace sign.

If you had decided to skip all the tension, here’s some rewarding pictures I took – once again, inserting photos everywhere.



If I hadn't known better, I'd thought this was my summer fan.
If I hadn’t known better, I’d thought this was my summer fan.
Course I couldn't let go of an animal like looks like a Pokemon!
Course I couldn’t let go of an animal that looks like a Pokemon!


If Eric ever reads this, I just want to ask - does nobody else sees Le Clown here?
If Eric ever reads this, I just want to ask – does nobody else sees Le Clown here?
Oh you fawning fools, you must stop !

And last but not least. Salutations for my Grandmama, what a G indeed. I’ve watched a 4D movie there 5 times, had my legs up and my back arched throughout the show. *Never let your guard down. I still screamed when the chair poked me in the back.

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celeste lee cloud

writer & artist

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