Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Are u an introvert?

So while I was in Bali, a huge discussion on whether or not we were introverts or extroverts came about.

A friend of mine declared that he was an out an out extrovert, as was another newfound friend that we met. I'm... not so sure about that, because I have seen him been rather reclusive as well. But maybe he just doesn't notice it.

As for me, I announced that I was an introvert. And everyone started laughing or saying nooooooo way. The thing is, I am. And I've always been.

I pretty much think that I am an introvert that has trained to have extrovert qualities. Yes, I enjoy being in front of the camera, and that is where I feel most at home, and most... myself.

But the thing is, a long, long time ago. After being insanely cute child model for a while, Sara evolved to be a cute, but fat kid, who hardly had any friends in Primary School. Got bullied quite a far bit. And basically was fodder for mean girls.

I was rather shy when I was young, also because well, when I wanted to take ballet, I still remember my aunts cackling loudly and saying, "Aiyo, you so fat, no boys can lift you, only a crane can." Or, "Cannot la, you will crack the wooden boards."

I found solace in the world of books. I loved reading. Loved finding out about the way the world worked. My best friend was a guy who would play with me in the neighbourhood playground. Skateboard over to my house. Watch me as my mom brought me to the park to run "like an albatross that couldn't take flight" as she would say. While he waited for me, patiently by the swings. I could never understand, till that day in Science where they taught us about pivots, why whenever we played on the see-saws, he would always be up in the air, and I would always be down on the ground.

Honestly - that science lesson changed life in the playground for me.

But I digress.

Yes. I am an introvert. And from a young age, one of my aunts was convinced that to draw me out of my shell, I should go for contests.

And so, I was trained. Crying and crying and crying, I would memorise and recite poems, stories, and was entered yearly into competitions.

And strange enough, I won. One after another. So I became competitive.

Poetry recitals became storytelling competitions that became oratorical contests that became debates. And before I knew it, I was onstage, holding a mike, emceeing events. Talking to crowds as if I always had.

While I was popular in school, on tons of committees and boards and councils.. and what name you.. I more often than not, spent most of my half-days in school after a big celebration, walking home by myself after clearing stuff up for a event I helped organise.

I know I still am an introvert, when I become a total idiot in front of a guy I like. Not knowing how to act or react.

I handle relationships better at a distance now.

That is, if I even get a guy to like me long enough and see past my weird eccentricities.

For example, I may or may not make an absolute fool of myself in the first month, where I will lose all motor functions possessed by a normal, functioning human being around a guy I like.

I have been known to have actual balls of drool hanging from a goofy grin. But sigh. That's another #comedychannelforthegods type story.

But, while I was in Bali, the day after we were talking about introverts and extroverts, I serendipitously stumbled upon this article in twitter from Huffington Post

23 signs that you are secretly an introvert.

So.. I decided to go through all of them here, or at least, those that I definitely am so you guys can get to know a little more about the real me.

1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.

TRUTH. I do. I find it disingenuous. I hate shallow. I hate small talk. And I'm not very good at it to be honest. It's why sometimes I run away at events after speaking to someone, like an awkward turtle. 

In fact, my ex-business partner actually became my business partner, after we had a long, meaningful conversation at a small-talk type event and I confessed to him how much I hated random chit chat.

But, when I am stressed, small talk, will be my diversion *cloud of smoke*

2. You go to parties -– but not to meet people.

TRUTH. I have my phases when I love partying a storm. Also have times where I totally go into my "batcave" - in that phase currently - but, I do enjoy going. But when I do, meeting people is rarely my goal. I usually will hang around people I know and feel comfortable with.

3. You often feel alone in a crowd.

TRUTH. I often feel alone in a crowd. I often feel like an outsider in the middle of social gatherings. And sometimes, especially in front of my fabulous friends, I feel like one day, they'll find out that I'm just this geeky nerdy girl who is really ugly. And just not love me any more.

4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.

TRUTH. Also see #1. 

5. You've been called "too intense."

TRUTH. Story of my life.

My mom some times warns me and tells me to tone it down. But I never notice when it happens. My head, almost always, literally looks and feels like the photo above. X 100 times more thoughts. Zooming. Crashing. Colliding.

It's why some times, when in an argument with someone I love, I take so long to reply. I retreat into my shell and it takes time for me to form a proper, logical sentence from the thousand thoughts and emotions whirring in my mind.

It is a blessing, because apparently, I think laterally and do things slightly differently. But it is a curse, because... 

Photo credit: by Vicki McClure Davidson

'Nuff said.

6. You're easily distracted.

TRUTH. But in both ways. The article says that extroverts get bored when they don't have enough to do. And introverts get distracted and overwhelmed with too much stimulus.

For me. It's both. I get bored when there isn't enough. I get bored, when there is too much.

I know.

Try being me. It's worse I assure you.

7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.

TRUTH. Why should it. But that is the thing though. My friend who claims he is an introvert, says he gets charged by being with and around people. This article says that introverts need to recharge by being alone.

Again. I am both.

I recharge at times, by retreating to my batcave and not emerging for a while. There are times, where I get my energy from being around people.

Case in point, last year's Formula 1 weekend in SG, where I was partying non-stop, then going to work.. from Thursday all the way till Mon morning, and survived on 5 hours of sleep. And then rocked into the studio and rocked a photo shoot.

No kid.

8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.

HELL YEAH.  Apparently, I am in good company. Lady Gaga, Emma Watson, Christina Aguilera - all introverts.

Talking. Presenting. Performing. It's who I am.

But then when I have to mingle.. I get scared. 

9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench -– not in the middle.


10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.

YUP. This applies too. I do zone out. BUT, I do also get second winds and start partying it up again. So it really depends.

11. You're in a relationship with an extrovert.

Jury is out on this one folks. Refer to picture with bananas.

12. You'd rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.

Hmm. Not sure if this one is true either. More often than not.. I get obssessed about something new. DO it. Get so into it. Love it so much. Recommend it to everyone I know. Rave about it. Then.. *poof* interest dies. Or I get bored. Something new comes along. And the cycle starts again.

And I've always said try everything at least once.

13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.

When I am on stage doing my 'thang, its a different thing. But like... when PUT into the centre of attention without warning, I loathe it. *cringe*

14. You screen all your calls -- even from friends.

ALWAYS. Especially if I know its not work related.

15. You notice details that others don't.

Almost always. I do have a tendency to be sharp and notice small details. But, there are times where I am in my own world, and I don't notice anything at all. 

16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.

YES. But its not like what the article describes. My brain is just.. constantly talking to itself. It gets noisy in there sometimes.

17. You have low blood pressure.

EXTREMELY so. At times. Has dropped dangerously low before. But I assumed it was health related. *shrug*

18. You’ve been called an “old soul” -– since your 20s.

TRUTH. Try since I was 12. At my primary school classmates 13th birthday party, where I was sitting inside with all the mothers and talking, and they asked me, which kid outside was mine.

My classmate was 14 days older than me btw.

19. You don't feel "high" from your surroundings

Not entirely true. I can feel high from my surroundings. I love nothing better than an energetic crowd that spurs me on. 

But I don't need a crowd or an ambience to get that "high" either. I can get there by myself too.

20. You look at the big picture.

YES. I do enjoy abstract discussion at times. But there are times where I would rather go home and watch Geordie Shore. But yes, I've been told I'm a big picture person.

21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”

Hmm. I've been told as many times to open up, as I have been told that I'm too crazy and "get back in there" - the world can't handle this much of Sara cray.

22. You’re a writer.

Have you seen the length of my posts?

23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.

YES. This be true.

And I think in Bali.. I maxed out. I needed to just withdraw a little. Recuperate. Not sure if I'll emerge in time for F1. But we'll see!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Life is a roller coaster

I feel like.. I've been on an amazing adventure since June. One that was thrilling. Filled with ups and downs. Was exciting. Confusing. Intriguing. Hurting. It healed me as much as it pained me. And I experienced lots of things I never would have expected. Got closer to people I already knew. Met new people whom I'm sure I will still cross paths with.

Everything still feels so surreal I am still having trouble processing what has happened.

Do I know where I belong now? I don't think I do. But what I know for sure, if I ever had any doubt: Home, is where the heart is. It is not a country. It is not a house. It is not a building. It is not a place at all.

It's a feeling. A connection. An emotion. A bond. It's family. Whether it be the one you are born into. Or the one you have chosen for yourself. Or even one that is thrown together by happenstance.

And love. Well. While you don't choose who you are attracted too. Love.. That is a choice.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

In The Spotlight: Leah Da Gloria - A star from Sydney

We all know I do love my clothes. But, I seldom am blown away by designs or designers. And, this time around at The Fashion Festival Bali, one 26-years-young designer from Sydney, Australia did just that.

An instavid shoot we did at the presidential suite of The Stones, Bali with Chantelle A.

With Leah's blonde hair and her red lips, I had already noticed this chick when she rocked up in The Stones, Legian. But when the dots finally connected, it was when I had my mind blown.

First, let me explain. Leah Da Gloria is fresh off Project Runway Australia where she walked away 1st-runner-up. But judging by the reaction of Australian celebrities that are in attendance at this event, she was by far, the hot favourite pipped to win.

The top 4 finalists in Project Runway Australia. Leah Da Gloria's was the stunning white piece. 
The winning entry was the futuristic black number, 3rd from left.

Rightoff the bat on the opening night hers was the only collection that blew me away. Yes, it was bridal couture, and yes, there are thousands of wedding gown places out there. But how many of them can claim to be doing everything by themselves? Whether it be stitching, pleating, sewing - there are no elves or little minions hidden away in sweatshops.

No, Leah is hardcore, working out of her home, every single painstaking stitch done all by herself, and over the course of one year and seventy custom gowns later, she has finally saved enough money to start up her own flagship store. No assistance. No mommy daddy atm. No loans. Nothing. Seriously.

I want to visit it. Except it is based in Sydney.

Ah well. Some time soon then. Not like I have any occasion to wear a bridal gown to. O_O

But I digress.

What makes this even more amazing, is the attention to detail. You can see why even though she has only been out on her own for a year, why she has has such success.

Here are some of my shots from Leah Da Gloria's fashion show at The Fashion Festival Bali held at The Stones.

Sequins embellish this number with a sheer train.

My absolute favourite, especially since it was a gown in mint.
This starred a thigh high slit and the most exquisite origami like mini-pleats on the whole outfit.

Not everyone likes a girly gown. So you can suit up as well.
And check out the detail on her bell-bottomed suit pants featuring a sassy fringe.

Yet another piece, this time, a bustier, with signature mini-pleats.
Very figure flattering, the dress floats on a wearer.

An elaborate corset gown featuring the most stunning lace.

And look at this gown. OMG. Simple and stunning. Both front and back.

I couldn't resist by try it on for myself when we were having fun in the presidential suite of The Stones.

We had a fun day with Leah. Which felt like a girly dress up day when we just went to town with her gowns. Organising an impromptu shoot all over the hotel.

That's Leah in the background fluffing up the gown she made, modelled by a pal, Chantelle. Isn't that just an exquisite dress?

It was great shooting in The Stones where we were staying because there were so many places that were just amazing to photograph- like this giant chess table, that was in the dining area.

Here, my BFF in Bali took a spin in one of the glorious Leah Da Gloria gowns as well while on the chess table in a shot taken by Wesley Kow.

Aaaah Casey. I miss you so.

She used to be one of the Hi-5 presenters and from the time we got stuck in the same helicopter ride to Uluwatu's Semera Luxury Villas. We were #BFF's.

Here was a video a good friend of mine did on the flight:

I mean honestly. With a trip like that.
You become family.

Well. In closing, since this is a feature on Leah Da Gloria and her fashion, I will leave you with a photo I took of my favourite Leah piece that we shot at the Helipad of The Stones.

Magnificent dress really.