Friday, January 18, 2019

I WANT IT
I GOT IT


Ariana Grande is all I want to be. I went on the most perfect date last night. We were at Slate NY, the most amazing place for a first date. It's a bar with a slide, a bowling alley, beer on tap, a giant connect-four board, arcade games, a foosball and ping-pong tables. It's got the works.

I didn't finish my Philly cheesesteak arepas (which were bomb, but I'm the tiniest-portion eater in the world), so he asked some guys next to us, if they wanted the one I didn't touch, and the guy loved it so much (told you it was bomb) he got us each a tequila shot, which was incredibly cool and nice of him.

We talked effortlessly for three hours. I was stunned by his chiselled cheekbones, and I could not believe my luck. Here is a man who is easy on the eyes, who has some form of brainy as well as social intelligence, and who made me laugh with his banter. We left at midnight, and it had started to snow for the first time since I've been in New York, or at least it was the first time I was seeing it.

I looked up at the sky, gaping at the snowfall, and he said I looked cute, watching the snow in wonder. It was the most perfect magical first date, and we are seeing each other again on Monday. I was telling him I'm excited to go to the Women's March here in New York tomorrow, and he told me his sister got arrested for protesting at Kavanaugh's confirmation.

It's surreal, finding someone on the same wavelength to flirt with endlessly. Maybe this is it, bitches.

(PS. there's been some anti-Semitic talk about the original Women's March cofounders, so Tina and I are going to an offshoot)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

PERSEPOLIS

Dear Sarah, I'm sorry that I didn't handle the situation very maturely. I'm sorry that when your mother found out and you fell into depression, I was not responsive. I'm sorry that I only popped up in your life when it was convenient and I missed having you physically in my life. Dear Sarah, I'm sorry I was selfish and I said I would wait for you up till the end of the year, and then I didn't really do my best at accommodating your mental health. I'm sorry that you uprooted your life and then I couldn't be there to support you through it. I'm sorry that even before you flew over, you did bring up the fact that you'd like to be friends first, so you could settle in to New York, and not have the latent effects of major life adjustments pouring into our relationship, but I said we had become too intimate, and I did not want to wait. I'm sorry that I was selfish and tried to initiate what I could not follow through. Dear Sarah, I'm sorry I befriended then used you when I was away from a loved one I'm betrothed to, without telling you, and eventually hurting you and giving you trust issues for years to come. Dear Sarah, I'm sorry I have allowed you to constantly and consistently bend and fold to the whims and fancies of men. I'm sorry that you've always felt your worth to be tied to how men perceive you. You are worthy of love. I am sorry that I have never reminded you, but you are worthy of love. You deserve a man who loves you fiercely and unabashedly. You deserve a man who makes you feel like you are worth their damn all, someone who's proud of you and proud of loving you. I'm sorry that I made concessions to all the wrong men, and I'm sorry I allowed them into your life, making you feel lower and lower about your value and self-esteem. Dear Sarah, I'm sorry and it will not happen again. Today, and every day from today, we do things for us. It is time for us to put our self-interests first, because we deserve it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

CHORIZO

There are some things that remain inexplicably vivid memories in my mind. For example, I saw the words "be brave" yesterday and I was immediately taken back to three different things at once: first, the billboard of The Man in the High Castle I saw in LA, it was screening on Amazon Prime at the time, second, I remember reading the copy of The Man in the High Castle voraciously, a copy that Joey's mom had gotten him, and third, I think of Sara Bareilles and the fact that my cousin, our friend Amy and I all danced to the song Brave in public in New Zealand. The first two have barely any connection to the last, but whenever I see the words "be brave", all three are conjured up simultaneously, and extremely strongly. I don't know why these three memories are so vivid. Perhaps because in some ways, the essence of what I was doing in all three scenarios were actual depictions of the meaning of the word "brave" and my brain wants to neon-signpost it? Maybe. Maybe not.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

WHO WILL FIGHT?

I started the day by having a video call with my best friends. It was 7 in the morning for me and they were having dinner together in Singapore. I told them all the anxiety I'd been feeling, everything that's been weighing me down or causing me to feel hollow. My three best friends listened, and they gave me a pep talk. One of them is a doctor, but she didn't get through the first time. She took a long way round to get there, and yet become a rare Malay female doctor in Singapore, she did. You could even say at this moment that that particular setback perhaps, very likely made her stronger and added to her character. I'm reading Michelle Obama's Becoming, and she failed the bar exam her first time. I mean, yeah the bar is supremely difficult, just like becoming a doctor is, but she also failed. My best friend gave me her "TED talk", she said, you don't have to feel good about it, but you have to get up. You have to get up, and go on. Get up, and go on. Get up. Get up. Get up. Also from Becoming is this anecdote, after Michelle Obama was told by her high school counselor that she wasn't Princeton material:
I’ve been lucky enough now in my life to meet all sorts of extraordinary and accomplished people—world leaders, inventors, musicians, astronauts, athletes, professors, entrepreneurs, artists and writers, pioneering doctors and researchers. Some (though not enough) of them are women. Some (though not enough) are black or of color. Some were born poor or have lived lives that to many of us would appear to have been unfairly heaped with adversity, and yet still they seem to operate as if they’ve had every advantage in the world. What I’ve learned is this: All of them have had doubters. Some continue to have roaring, stadium-sized collections of critics and naysayers who will shout I told you so at every little misstep or mistake. The noise doesn’t go away, but the most successful people I know have figured out how to live with it, to lean on the people who believe in them, and to push onward with their goals.
I walked into a building today, and I hadn't known it, but the building also housed an office for Hunter College. Lin-Manuel Miranda went to and also taught at Hunter. It reminds me that I want to go to college, eventually. I might take the long way round, but I'll get up. And go. Life is chess, not checkers. Today when I stepped into that building (not for Hunter College, not today), I received my first positive news in perhaps two weeks. I don't know if it's that, or it was letting out my deepest, darkest worries to my best friends, or it was that I dressed myself well with a proper amount of thermal wear, but today has been a most beautiful day. I walked around SoHo on the streets where the sunlight was hitting directly, and there was no wind to bite my face, there was no tightness in my lungs, struggling to breathe without pain from the cold. I felt warm from top to toe, and I walked and basked in the sun. The streets of New York are built beautifully, you cannot deny this. The buildings are well thought out, and they make sense to me. People stop and compliment me on my (Marceline) boots, a thing that happens very regularly here. I love New York, and today I was reminded why. Unlike in Singapore where people keep to themselves and sharing your thoughts is weird, here it's okay to be weird. Here, it's weird if you're not weird. It is a beautiful day, and the sun is shining, and I am in New York. I am in a cafe, eating a spanakopita, a Greek spring roll of sorts. I was first introduced to this with Han, when we were in LA the first time and couchsurfing at Nick's. Nick was probably the first Greek person we'd met. There are so many people in New York, and I am one of these people. I have gotta get up, and go on.

WHO WILL LOVE YOU?

Days later, I was still feeling dislocated, and we were both nursing sore throats. Barack and I got into a fight—about what exactly, I can't remember. For every bit of awe we felt in Kenya, we were also tired, which led to quibbling, which led finally, for whatever reason, to rage. "I'm so angry at Barack," I wrote in my journal. "I don't think we have anything in common." My thoughts trailed off there. As a measure of my frustration, I drew a long emphatic gash across the rest of the page.

Like any newish couple, we were learning how to fight. We didn't fight often, and when we did, it was typically over petty things, a string of pent-up aggravations that surfaced usually when one or both of us got overly fatigued or stressed. But we did fight. And for better or worse, I tend to yell when I'm angry. When something sets me off, the feeling can be intensely physical, a kind of fireball running up my spine and exploding with such force that I sometimes later don't remember what I said in the moment. Barack, meanwhile, tends to remain cool and rational, his words coming in an eloquent (and therefore irritating) cascade. It's taken us time—years—to understand that this is just how each of us is built, that we are each the sum total of our respective genetic codes as well as everything installed in us by our parents and their parents before them. Over time, we have figured out how to express and overcome our irritations and occasional rage. When we fight now, it's far less dramatic, often more efficient, and always with our love for each other, no matter how strained, still in sight.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

My hormones in imbalance mean that my period is slightly delayed. As long as I don't get my period, my hormones stay imbalanced (unbalanced?) and I actually get more emotional. I think, well listen, Sarah, if he was unwilling to go through some of your toughest times with you, if he's not ready to take on that burden, if he's not willing to love you through the dark, he's not the one for you. Then I think again, I made him cry so loud I heard him while I walked down his apartment building. I made him feel so much he's either still angry at me as a direct result of being hurt, or he's refused to feel anything and has chosen to feel apathetic towards me. I think again, he liked reading what I wrote about him, he liked to see me post my happy stories about him, he wanted it to be a neverending cycle, but that's unrealistic. A relationship has ups and downs, it will always have ups and downs. I think of the precarious situation I am in. Adam liked being in the spotlight (when it was positive), but who's going to be okay with me writing the truth, writing my truths, for an audience my partner himself might not understand? Many people are private and even if they aren't, most people would hate for their flaws and their weak moments to be on display. Who will be comfortable with me? Do I change my truth and only post the good things, even when I know I am experiencing turmoil? Or do I just stop all of it, say neither good nor bad? I yearn to be loved, I don't understand why I am not loved unconditionally the way I love, unconditionally. I say the very same thing on Instagram, and then my friend Rai from Lush in Singapore, she says "but... I love you." I begin bawling, because the women I know are capable of loving me through so much, my friends have loved me through my anxiety and my rants and my emotional rollercoasters. They have, they honestly have. They listen to me ramble about man after man and feeling unloved, and my pride of goddesses love me fiercely and unconditionally, regardless how unstable I am. I never have to show them only my good or happy side. I just want a man who loves me like that. I want a man who accepts me and loves and doesn't get bored of me, and chooses me through it all, through everything. I wish someone could see the future and tell me, with full assurance, that there is a man like that for me. Because I am tired and I have felt like this too many times to believe anything otherwise can be true.

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

I went to see If Beale Street Could Talk. The opening scene was magical, they were in color-coordinated outfits, but not so matching that it would look intended, although of course, it was intended to be just so by the costumes department. He was wearing a denim jacket with a yellow undershirt, and she wore a yellow coat with a blue dress. It was an epic love story, and the dialogue was strong. I shipped them so hard, and it reignited my hope in love. The cinema laughed really loudly at times, despite the difficult story, the banter was so believably humorous. Still, I felt it was missing a little something. I'm not sure what, I'd heard so much hype about it and I'd expected to cry, but I didn't. Perhaps the book will make me cry. I didn't feel moved as much by the political position of the film, perhaps because I was simply too focused on their one powerful, immense love story. I had two scoops of gelato, one was cinnamon and the other peanut butter, from a coffee shop called Clever Blend. The gelato was delicious, I daresay in the top three of gelato I have had in life. I got myself a dose of sunshine. Yet, despite seeing a good film, despite eating ice-cream, I was not happy. Breaking up sucks, and trying to pretend I'm not affected is clearly whacked. We broke up because I was facing issues, I didn't have friends here, and life here is uncertain for me. In the past week or so, I've tried to convince myself that it's okay, I'm okay, we'll be okay, but of course I'm sad. I loved him for the good part of a year. When something ends, you want to blame something or someone, and yet I can't. I wanted so badly for him to be stable and strong enough for me, but he wasn't, and I cannot blame him for it. He wanted badly for me to be happy, he didn't acknowledge his feelings nor discussed them with me. I remember when I first ranted about the ass weather, about it raining my entire first weekend here, about myself hating constantly being wet and cold, he somehow took it upon himself to make me feel better. Like I thought the weather was his fault. He said he wanted everything to feel right, that I'd done the right thing by making the move to New York, and I know that's why he didn't surface any of his feelings of unease. I feel sad, because instead of being in his arms now, I have to come up with reasons why we didn't work with each other. I loved him before I ever met him. Fourteen months before we ever met, I already loved him, and to say that I'm okay, is not true and isn't right. He's not the bad guy in this story. He may not be strong enough to carry me through this, but he's not a bad guy. And that sucks. It's harder to move on when you know you inherently love someone but it can't work out. I'm feeling so many things. I'm feeling sad from the loss of a love, I'm feeling lonely and isolated, I feel a general moodiness at the weather, I'm feeling completely overwhelmed by having moved across the world. I need to connect with more people, and I want a meaningful connection. I just want to feel okay again.

Monday, January 07, 2019

FLIPSIDE

It's been a week since this happened, but I think it's only fair that I include it here to paint a better picture of my interactions and dynamics with people I might have had altercations with. My mother sent me this text on New Year's Eve. Perhaps this has contributed to my general feeling of ease and well-being.
Hi sweetie. Its going to be 2019 over here in abt an hour. Wishing you a very happy and wonderful coming years ahead. Now I take the opportunity to say Im sorry for hurting you in the past. Never ever meant to make your life difficult or miserable. As a mother I would do the best i could for you. Just sometimes our ways might be wrong. I hope you will forgive me and will still be the good daughter you are. I love you so so much and I miss you a lot darling. I really want to hug you... And i miss your laughter
I enjoyed my first session with my therapist here, and she just checked in with me again this morning. I'm looking forward to the next session, although I'm not sure what I will talk about. I feel like I have nothing more to say at therapy! Life feels actually okay. I'm doing a year in pixels thing, where you basically record the general mood of your day, and the past four days have been a happy color for me! Everything is going well! Is this the real life???


This is an example of how the year in pixels is recorded.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

THIS AIN'T IT, CHIEF

I don't know what it is (reference to Rufus Wainwright song not intended), but I feel at ease. In years past, when things ended, I would be beating myself up and feeling like there were at least a dozen ways I could have changed my behaviors and actions to salvage whatever situation that happened to be currently crashing and burning and ending. Today, I feel massively different than those times. I think I'm slowly really reaching my center. I don't know what this center really means, and why they call it a center. Is it because you're right at the center of a metaphorical seesaw that is your mental health so it's hard to tip you off-balance, and you just remain level? Perhaps. Today, I am able to engage in a radical self-love that doesn't always occur naturally to me. I think I'm a mentally strong person, I've taken all the suckerpunches life threw at me, and I'm still intact. I'm inexplicably brave, I mean I moved away from my friends and family to this city of the great unknown and the ever-changing. Just the fact that I've taken both a life path that's foreign to the people I grew up with, and to an environment rather removed and foreign from the one I grew up in, makes me feel brave. I engage with all my feelings, and have pretty much felt everything with great intensity, including things that used to make me suicidal, and still I don't shy away from any of my feelings. I don't know what it is, whether it's my emancipation from a household that I felt restricted and depressed in for a couple of years, or whether it's really the fact that New York makes me feel at home, but I feel relieved, and I'm no longer trying to run away from nor toward anything. Today I read a quote by Lao Tzu: "If you're depressed, you're living in the past. If you're anxious, you're living in the future. If you're at peace, you're living in the present." And New York is a great place to live in the moment.

Friday, January 04, 2019

POST MORTEM

Alright, here goes. Another breakup, another round of purging. I think this is my least favorite part of a breakup. When I love someone, I sing their high praises and when the relationship ends, I have much more to look back on than what anyone else usually does. I have these thousands of words that linger in everybody's minds. Adam and I are truly over for good. I know a lot of it was my fault, but a relationship is a two-way thing and I think it failed because we are simply not meant to be together. When we were together, I harped on the good and nice things and people told me he was a keeper, and the truth is he is a good and nice man for sure, but he is not my keeper. Perhaps I held on to it longer and stronger than I should have, because we had both come up with our idealised versions of each other in the entire past year. But we did not love each other as we should have. Of course while I was dating him, I pushed him away and there were things like him asking me for 5 bucks for the stove lighter that I said my apartment was missing. To me, I feel like that doesn't seem like someone who truly understands what I'm going through and wants to help me out of it. Don't get me wrong, when I am stable and have adjusted to my environment, I don't want to depend on anyone and I would love to treat him to things but it really didn't seem like he cared that way. I didn't tell him about it, and that was my fault. I didn't love him enough to be honest and upfront with him. When it ended, it was because of a panic attack he had, he was angry at a few incidents that had happened since I arrived. It culminated in a panic attack because he did not know how to access his anger and express it to me at those points of time so, having bottled it up, it all came out at the end. Anger is not always healthy, but it is even more unhealthy when not dealt with. It's a lot of hurt and resentment that only gets worse the longer it festers. I wrote him a letter apologising and telling him I would work on myself because I think he was worth it, but he told me that all we do is drive each other crazy, that we are unhealthy for each other, and he does not want me to consider him for love. I recently found out that someone in recovery should refrain from dating in their first year of sobriety. I'm not saying he didn't treat me well in the past six months of him being sober, but there are definitely times I feel he is not in touch with his emotions, and he is not able to forgive, I feel like he might not be ready to commit to anyone. Of course I am also not quite ready but I'm willing to learn and be honest and raw with my feelings. The truth is, Adam is a truly nice and good man but is he ready to be in a relationship? Perhaps not. Am I? Maybe not, either. I love him as a person, but he deserves someone who appreciates him just as he is, and I deserve someone who appreciates me and treats me with the patience I require, someone who knows everything I've been through and commits to being by my side as I learn and grow. And neither of us loves each other that way. And that's okay. We both wish each other well, we both wish each other to find only the best people for ourselves, and that's enough. Godspeed.

Monday, December 31, 2018

NEW YEAR'S DAY

I have just scheduled my first therapy session for Wednesday. My therapist just wished me a happy new year. Her name is Soraya, which is uncannily quite close to my previous therapist, Sonya. I really hope we click! My first therapy session of the year is on the first working day of the calendar year, I'm thrilled. I actually really like therapy. Happy 2019, you guys. I love you. Thank you for being in my life, one way or another. This is gonna be a great one. It is already the new year in Singapore, but thankfully I'm on New York time, so I still have twelve hours. I wrote down things like the past, self-doubt, overthinking, being afraid to love, trust issues, inertia, toxic relationships and a lot of other things on strips of paper and I burned them up. It's on my Instastories. I'm gonna write positive affirmations and visualisations and have them up. We've got this.

SAME AULD LANG SYNE

As the year draws to a close, it would be remiss of me not to mention the people who have made my year, my year. This year I feel like I kept learning and relearning the meaning of family, that chosen family is just as important as blood-related family, that what makes a family is what you choose to do to support one another. I want to mention first and foremost the people whom I'm actually related to by blood, the three sisters I used to live with in my household. I forget how lovely it is when we all took turns to buy each other ice-cream when one of us was crying over a boy, or using the "my vagina is bleeding" card to demand hot Milo (this is a yummy drink that I'm slowly starting to miss) and other things. There were times when y'all truly surpassed my expectations, my decade-younger sisters and my bbsis, telling me you'd spend half an hour a day with me to have sister time, to watch anything I wanted, so I would not feel so depressed or that life held no meaning for me. I will always love you three. My mother, the only one I have, I do think it has been a tough but monumental year for us. I think she'd been raising me the way she was raised, and I didn't challenge it until very late in life, until I realised I don't want to live with values I don't believe in, and it was very hard on both of us. I do see that she's been trying, the whole of this year, to let me be the person I want to be, despite her own thoughts on the matter, despite the flak she might face from others among our closed-minded community. It is not easy to be my mother, but she has made some effort this year, so I am grateful for that. My cousin Hazwani, who is by blood my cousin, but if I'd known her some other way I'd want to make her my sister and chosen family too. To have a peer who understands the pressure I have from within, but who's level-headed enough to give me advice like a friend, to have someone who knows me well and is close enough to justify getting me a pink typewriter for my birthday, I am eternally indebted to her for juggling familial and chosen-family duties. To my best friends, Han, Sha, and Tiqs. They don't usually read this but they're so good at reading me. The ones whom I've spent collective hours and months battling in wit and composure. When the four of us would engage in conversation about refugees or war, or HDB prices in Singapore, or potentially any area of controversy, and there's always an antagonist, and yet we always somehow manage to see past our different perspectives and be able to share about and gain knowledge from our vastly different lives. Thank you for keeping my brain on its toes, thank you for always being there to catch me when I fall. I would trust you three in a trust fall anyday, you have got my back. To every single person I met at LUSH, I have no words. There are too many of you, and I want to adopt you all as my children. I want to thank Aileen and her team (can't say my team no more *bawls*), for making sure work was a safe place for me, whether I was seeking solace from my house or from boy troubles. If I could, I would write a book about our Question(s) of the Day. LUSH Vivocity was the first workplace I felt I truly belonged to. Everyone else I met through Lush, via social media or events, I'm also glad we crossed paths and you each embodied an aspect of LUSH that I was initially drawn to. To my constant cheerleaders, Pamela, Viv and Chloe. Three of you have probably never met all together, I remember you all being at different birthday parties of mine. One thing I cannot take away from is how much each talk means to me, whenever I meet y'all one-on-one (or Viv with Andrea), I again felt relaxed enough to talk about anything on my mind. Thank you for believing in me, for cheering me on, for knowing me as a human being with strengths as well as flaws, and allowing me to be. Each of you has something very deeply admirable at how you approach life, the chutzpah you display, the manner in which you love, and I am deeply in awe. My circle of friends from polytechnic, I didn't get to meet very often this year, but somehow they always make their love for me felt. Somehow they knew, from the very first day of school, that I was the misfit that did not know how to navigate life, this duckling that needed monitoring, and somehow they've pushed me through every step. Pearlyn, Andrea, Cuifen and Tim, I'm super glad life has taken y'all where it has, and y'all will forever be my signposts of how to be relatively functional adults in society (or at least I can pretend to be). Bhavs, Ekta, Irene, and Shereen, all four Indian Goddesses I met from debates, all four I don't meet often enough. I know none of us has enough time in our adulting lives, but thank you for the chais, the pani puris, the ayam gulais, when I came over or went out with y'all. I love being the token non-Indian friend, I love indulging in your colorful clothes, I love your hilarious stories about dramatic families that all come from a core of heart and warmth. I love the connection we make, knowing from background experience that people can have families that are batshit crazy, but turn out to be wonderful human beings full of compassion, kindness and empathy. I want to thank Ben, Zack and Adam. They are all men I have dated, but that also means they are men I would be fiercely proud to be platonic friends with. For every seven female friends I have, I think I have one male platonic friend. Currently, my male friends are Zack, G, and Tim. That's three. I generally gravitate towards women because I do think women are much better human beings and they are great at empowering one another, or at least the ones I know are, which is a thing sorely needed when the patriarchy is out here to divide and conquer us. However, as said by Tina in the previous post, men are socialised not to have feelings, not to express their feelings, not to talk about them, except within their intimate romantic relationships. If men don't get exposed to people talking healthily about their feelings, they are never going to learn to do so, and both genders stand to lose out, in friendships as well as in dating, as well as just as a society. I guess what I'm saying is I would appreciate having more male friends to normalise the fact that men and women can without a doubt be platonic friends (it is still quite an astonishing idea in the pseudo-conservative Asian culture, so yes I indeed have to express it). Having said that, Ben, Zack and Adam all helped me feel okay at certain times of the year. I would spiral and they would remind me it is okay, it is human. Thank you for caring for me so much, for giving me advice on dating, for reminding me that there is hope for men. Thank you for putting aside the dating and complicated histories, to ensure that I as a person was heading towards something healthier, in terms of therapy, of moving to a place I would belong. Thank you for being my solid pillars of support and rationale. I must thank my therapist, without whom I might literally have done something bad to myself. She meant my life to me. And finally, I want to thank Tina, for helping me end 2018 on a lovely girl friend note and to start off 2019 on a good one. I'm already in New York, let's do this.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

THE FAVOURITE

I've been friends with Tina for about two to three years, we got to know each other through a feminist women of color group on Facebook, and I'm glad upon meeting up, to know that we have much more in common than just being feminist and Asian, because I've been able to feel a proper friendship growing between her and myself.
Tina: Sean and I normally just lay around but I thought it would be good for you to get out

Sarah: Yeah i think so too, i think i will have to be around people and that would be somehow better than not being around people, even if i'm still a little bummed

Tina: I always feel like there’s a delicate balance of being in your own head vs staying out of it when life upheaves itself
Tina: I’ll poke around and see if I can find a good bar!

Sarah: Okay thanks Tina, and i read a really nice post today about female friendships and i thought, hey even if i'm not spending it with a romantic spouse this new year's, i would gladly take being with a potential good girl friend
Sarah: You might like this
Sarah: http://jemmawei.com/2018/12/20/2084-to-all-the-girls-ive-loved-before/

Tina: god I wish I could find it but I saw a post not long ago that has heavily been on my mind
Tina: About feminism, and how stereotypical gender dynamics hurt everyone. The piece itself was talking about emotional intimacy and how women are very fluid and aware of our emotions. We’re socialized to be one with them, to talk about them, to fully feel them. Women can be emotionally intimate with anyone, man or woman, platonic or not. We can talk about our feelings.
Tina: But that’s not the case for men. A lot of men are socialized to not feel fully, to be “strong”, and the only time men are emotionally intimate are in romantic relationships.
Tina: It talked about how this leads to the confusion when a woman views a friendship with a man as platonic and a man assumes because there’s emotional intimacy, that it’s romantic. Both people get hurt when those relationships come to a head.
Tina: It’s why women can cope with heartbreak better, and snap back, because they have other means of emotional support outside of romance.
Tina: But men don’t. It even talked about articles citing that if a husband dies first, the wife tends to live longer than if the wife dies first.
Tina: I have just been thinking about that a lot lately and how that means
Tina: In a way I haven’t really talked about with other people before
Tina: You almost have to be more delicate with men  if you think about that context
Tina: Which yeah
Tina: We should be delicate with everyone we love
Tina: But it just made me think about all my amazing female friends
Tina: And the different men I’ve been with who’ve pinned too much on me
Tina: And I’m sure you can relate, anyways I’m rambling
Tina: How are you doing?

Sarah: I totally relate, and i know it wasn't your intention but i just started tearing again at your texts, because they are true, but also because yknow, i'm inclined to crying every few hours in this period of my life.. but i've been coping as best i can, i watched something light-hearted, i showered and have been having my meals, etc
Sarah: I'm trying to remember to allow myself to feel, because i know it will help me heal

Tina: It sucks to cry, but it’s important.
Tina: Sometimes when I’m having a really bad time
Tina: I’ll walk around the city and just cry
Tina: And it’s kind of nice because you’re alone but you’re not
Tina: it’s very important to just
Tina: Let the pain out and let it breathe.
Tina: ❤

Sarah: ❤

Tina: the one thing I can tell you is that
Tina: No matter what happens
Tina: It’ll be okay.
Tina: Okay always comes.

Sarah: I do believe it
Sarah: Thank you Tina ❤

Tina: Well I’m glad you live here
Tina: And I’m so looking forward to what I think will be a most charming friendship

Sarah: I'm glad i live here and you live here too, and i also do look forward to something special unfolding and bearing in mind all the things we've been reading, put in effort and care into nurturing our friendship
I do want to cultivate some healthy platonic friendships as well. I also just registered myself for therapy, so. Fingers crossed I get along well with my assigned therapist.

HOW TO LOVE

As a child of a dysfunctional family, I am not an entirely healthy individual who knows how to show my love. This is both a reason and an excuse. I know there are some ways in which I am capable of love and of loving, I accept people and make them feel comfortable when they are not at ease with other people, I forgive most shortcomings, I remember small details and cater to each person's needs and wants when the occasion calls for it. There are ways in which I am entirely maladjusted and unsuited for love and loving, though. I have been honest about my mother, and my father, and various men, and I've always tried to hold each person accountable for what they've done leading up to the person I am now. I know it must be tough, my mother reading my words about her and feeling like she's not a good-enough-mother, that she hasn't done a good job, that she's failed me. It's time I applied that same accountability to myself. When I was growing up, I wasn't shown healthy examples of love by a person's first and primary role models, my parents. They were almost always fighting, but somehow through the hysterics and histrionics, they would make up and stay together. As I learned recently, my mother engaged in emotional guilt to control me, which she thought was love, so I thought was love. My father says he loves his six kids, but there are still oddities with his behavior and responsibilities, especially financially, that I can't get past. It is not a love that I see from other parents and well-adjusted adults. Having grown up accustomed to such examples, on the rare occasion that I do find myself in a healthy relationship, I am not immediately cognisant of the fact that this healthy, smooth, stable relationship that makes me happy is one full of love. I demand more, I want a larger-than-life sign that this person loves me. I push them away, I second-guess their actions and intentions, and I even compare them to other people because in my head, to make up for the lack of love in my early past, everybody must pour in heaps of love for me, to repair all the damage done, but that is of course, not an onus on anyone else, but myself. In my head, I think, if I cause trouble in this relationship, and they still accept me, that is real love. I asked Adam for a break-up yesterday, because I was anxious about my own life here, and it was pouring into our relationship. I am a social creature, and I haven't made that many friends, so I felt mopey and depressed. Adam tried to help me by suggesting some of his friends that he thought I would get along with, but I said I didn't need his friends as pity, I just wanted to whine and for him to listen to me. Everything that he did for me was not enough, and it must have been exhausting. After having asked for a breakup on the whim of my anxieties and insecurities, I asked him to take me back. However, while I was at his place, he decided he could not handle it anymore, and he had a panic attack. This was at midnight, where I Googled how to help him through it. He was hurt and upset and angry at me, and I understood it, but I sensed that he was still not letting me see him at his most vulnerable. I left his place to come home, once he said it was really and truly over, and as I walked down his apartment building, I heard him sobbing in his shower. It was only then I realised, how selfish and callous and blind I'd been, that while assuming that I was the only one who had mental health issues to attend to, I'd forgotten he has them as well. That he's a human being with feelings and stakes in the relationship, that everything he'd done for me was out of love, and I responded with wanting and needing to be loved. As a person who's been hurt by so many things in my life, I am very rough and sharp around the edges despite having a warm, gooey center. I am as capable of causing as much pain as I have received, and I don't want to be this person. I want to go back to therapy while I'm here, to remind myself to be kind, to be kind, to be kind. I went to sleep a few hours ago, and then I dreamed that he called and said it was okay, and that he had forgiven me. I woke up realising that reality still hurt and I had to face my consequences. I want to do better and to be better, but if I am to be brutally honest about other people about their flaws and shortcomings and expect them to improve themselves, I have to start doing the same for myself.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A TEEN

This year, I saw a therapist for eight sessions, I think. I miss her. Unfortunately, thanks to strange rules in Singapore, we weren't allowed to exchange numbers (my sessions were all recorded on tape), but if anyone knows Sonya from JCU Psych Clinic, please tell her I miss her and she's the best person for me to have met this year. I made some solid friends at my job, and many of those friends I consider to be my family members. They were supportive when they had to be, they gave me the leeway to settle myself when I was unbalanced, they checked in on me when I needed it. I was a bridesmaid for my cousin's wedding and was an emcee as well as a bridesmaid for one of my best friends. I got a tattoo, and it was the first time I did something I wanted while solidly disregarding my family's approval and anyone else's impression of me. I got into a short but very solid relationship, with a man who's sweet enough to remind me that he's also in the city and is a friend should I ever need him. I moved out of my mother's house for the first time in my life, a move that according to Westerners should have happened ten years ago, but to Singaporeans is a damn feat, because we don't move out until we get married, and a lot of people still stay with their parents even after marriage, because there is a lack of land in Singapore, and apartments are therefore extremely expensive. Additionally, if you move out before you get married, somehow it signifies to your family that you don't love them and are not filial (like it did with mine, go figure). Not only did I move out of home, I moved to New York. I went to the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday, which was Christmas Eve, and I saw a man propose to the wild delight of his girlfriend. She cried and kissed him passionately and said yes, and everyone else there cheered them on. It was the first proposal I'd seen in my life. This is the New York I have always dreamed of, and this is what keeps me alive. This year, I met a man whom I'd been talking to for a year, and we got together as a couple two weeks after he picked me up at the airport. I was exhausted when I arrived after a day's journey, I'd had some trouble at immigration, and I was dragging two huge suitcases worth 50kg (which is almost my own weight) and I couldn't see him but he took me aside at the point I was ready to collapse. This year hasn't been the smoothest, it was indeed the year when I realised there is something immensely wrong with my mental health and I needed to seek help. I received help for a couple of months, and I would like to continue healing when I've settled in here. This year, I met and made friends and got close with more good, well-meaning people than the opposite, and I have received so much love, an abundance of real love from people near and far, and I would like to wish you all peace I've received this year. Happy merry love and joy.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

+1

After almost, I dunno, three weeks, I finally met the people who live upstairs in the same apartment as me! I live in the basement so I go through a different door, and I don't know what their lifestyles and times are like, so somehow we'd never seen each other. I'm gonna cook something Asian, though, as a moving-in peace offering to them. So their dog, that I've been hearing but never seen, is a schnauzer-poodle, whose name is Pepper. I haven't seen Pepper but she sounds super cute and sometimes she just, out of the blue, scrambles around, I think. My housemates are Paula who's a designer and Jackie, who's a producer. Given that being gay is not as big a deal here as it is in Singapore, I don't know whether Jackie is a she/her Jackie or a he/him Jackie. Paula seems nice enough. She said "don't be a stranger" so I guess maybe I'll be a little bit more friendly from now.

Yesterday I cooked ayam masak merah, which is a quintessential Malay dish, and gave some to the people who work at the pharmacy down my cross street. I'd seen them in my first week here, and Tanisha asked me questions about Singapore and I stayed there for half an hour answering her questions. I'd promised her I'd cook something Malay for them so I did so yesterday, and Tanisha was so surprised I actually made good on my word she gave me a hug. I was in a rush to get ready for dinner last night, though, so I didn't stay to ask her/the other pharmacists what they thought of the dish.

I went to Kurt and Rachel's housewarming last weekend. Kurt is college buddies with Adam, and Rachel is best friends with Adam's ex, who was also at the housewarming. I tried to make eye contact with his ex to smile at her, but she would not look at me, I don't know if it's 'cos she thought I was always beside Adam, or whatever. As far as I know, they didn't end on the worst of terms, but I don't know. I mean, I didn't wanna be friends or whatever, I just wanted to smile at her. Sometimes I think I do things that are totally out of the code of conduct, but I guess it's just me. I don't see why you shouldn't be nice to your significant other's ex or your ex's future significant others, we both liked the same person, that must mean we have more in common than you'd think, right? Also, given that I am the Malay-Muslim girl who shunned her Malay-Muslim practices and have pretty much turned my back on "Malay-Muslim" customs no matter how much my community says they are "praying for me", you can tell I'm not one to follow traditions for tradition's sake. Adam took me out for an early Christmas dinner last night, 'cos he's going back to his parents' house for the week ahead. We went to Milk and Roses, and I had the best lamb ribs I've ever had in my 28 years of living. It was so delicious, and done so well, Adam broke his "no-sharing" rule and ate more than one bite of mine. I am happy. Happy holidays, y'all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

PINK IN THE NIGHT

It hits you in the ways you don't quite expect it to. Yesterday, instead of watching The Good Place on my Netflix account like I did in Singapore, I watched the latest episode on NBC, because it's not available on Netflix here. Because it was on NBC, I had to watch the ads that were screened and slotted at certain points of the episode. I watched ads about Botox for migraines and fire tv, and car commercials and toys and UPS services, and I realise they were all new to me, we don't have the same services in Singapore, and things aren't marketed for similar purposes, and every single packaging is different. I felt so overwhelmed, I had never heard of fire tv before, and suddenly everyone here is using it. It was a sensory overload, and I needed much more time to process everything I was and am learning. If I mention all the services that I know of from Singapore, nobody here would know any of them, and all at once, I felt like an outsider. It was such a surreal experience, to feel like that from TV, of all things.

On my first weekend here (which was already two weekends ago, wow) Adam and I went for brunch, where I pointed out to him that many people here are overwhelmingly on the good-looking/attractive side. It's not even my attraction to white people, people here are Hispanic and Asian and Middle Eastern and God knows where else they're from, but they're all so pretty or handsome and have got such strong features. Adam looked around and he agreed, and he said perhaps he hadn't noticed it as much because he grew up here and he'd gotten used to it. I told him I felt a little intimidated and I didn't know why, but then of course, he says very honestly to me: I think you put a little stock into being attractive, and in Singapore, you felt assured by having looks, and it might feel like if everyone here is good-looking, then you don't have that much to offer --- but people don't like you because you're pretty, they like you because you're funny and sweet.

For all the trashy men I've gotten involved with, I think Adam negates all of the negativity and gives me hope for the male species. That's saying a loOoOOot. Ok bye.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

WARM BODIES

I don't know what everyone else is aware of, but sometimes I learn things much later than other people, based on the fact that I've been quite sheltered from the real world for much of my earlier life. I wish I knew everything that everyone else knows, this is a thing that I really do wish. I wish I knew as much music as Adam does, I wish I knew engineering and nuts and bolts like my best friend does, I wish I knew how to be patient and understanding and how kids work like my friends who are teachers. When I was spending time with Adam, I suddenly felt a strange feeling, I didn't want to tell him, because I was anxious that it meant I wasn't ready to be dating him, or that he would take it to mean that way. I started tearing a bit, and despite being overwhelmed by my feelings and not wanting to face them, Adam coaxed me to communicate. So I told him, I had a thought of missing Joey, whilst I was right there with Adam. Adam held me in his arms and told me it was okay and understandable, that the last time I was in the USA was with Joey, and being in the US evokes similar feelings in me, and yeah, I did like Joey a lot and for me to feel similar things while I'm with Adam that I did with Joey, makes sense. He said, we're not just our thoughts and feelings, and it's human to have very strong feelings about significant others, past and present. I went from feeling nervous and anxious, to extremely comforted. This is the man I feel safe talking to about what I think makes me a basketcase. We met his friends at a holiday get-together on Friday, and they were just as funny and warm. If you've been following my Instastories, you'd have also seen that he cooked chicken pesto linguine on Friday, and steak last night, for us. I know it's a thought that's been expressed before, but I feel it now: he's so familiar it feels less like we are getting to know each other, than it is like he's always been part of me, and we're getting reacquainted. I don't know how I can explain why it feels that way. We watched La La Land last night, and he liked it and appreciated it, maybe not as much as I do. I love La La Land the way Sebastian loves jazz, but I'm glad he finally saw it with me, and he likes the score and the colors and the old-timey feel. Next up, Hamilton! Adam is now my boyfriend, hehehehe what a lovely word to roll off my tongue. What a lovely Christmas present. I have something solid and healthy with someone who keeps me solid and healthy and so very happy, and I wish you all nothing less. Don't be afraid to catch feels!

Friday, November 30, 2018

SOUND OF SILVER

Somewhere in my 24 hours of transit, I looked at my entertainment screen tracking our flight progress and it said our ground speed was 870km/h. I looked out at the clouds and the same clouds seemed to be beside us for a while. I wondered whether it didn't feel like 870km per hour because that hadn't factored in wind resistance, or because the aircraft has been built so you don't feel the velocities at which you move. It doesn't account for the fact that the clouds seemed to be moving with us. I wish I'd been travelling and that I am here with Han, my best friend the aircraft engineer. She would have had an answer, she was geekily excited at telling me the aircraft I was going to be taking, it was the one she's currently learning about. It has been one day and although I don't even meet her that often when we're in Singapore, I suddenly miss her. The perfect foil character to my life. She deals with the technical, and I maneuver the emotional.

Where I'd previously arrived in LA both times in the day greeted by pinks and oranges in the sky, New York by night is a sprawling, tangled web of pure gold and silver. Is it all street lights and traffic? Perhaps, but within those cabs and buildings I imagine dozens of conversations happening between families, friends and lovers. It is simultaneously less and also more romantic than LA is. I'm still 35,000ft in the air and I can already see this is the city that never sleeps. While I'm still elevated in an airplane (that handed me a sandwich with a sticker: Served with clouds on the side), New York I Love You, But/And You're Bringing Me Down, has never been more apt.

Adam already seems a little unnerved by the fact I've been comparing every detail in LA to every detail I've seen in New York. He is defensive of New York, though I would not say oddly so, because everyone I've known from NY is protectively proud of New York, and everyone I've known from LA is protectively proud of Los Angeles. It is the most intense yet endearing rivalry I've seen. Adam and I are navigating what seems to be the most major-scale first date in the history of first dates. He smells really good. All this to say, Brooklyn has been a dream and I hope it continues to be.

I'm in the midst of adjusting all my timezones to EST. This post and everything else will now follow my time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

CHEERING FOR ME NOW

so they're cheering for me now
in the streets, hear them cheering for me now
right up Broadway, they're cheering for me now
and one day, all the enemies I've made 
might hold their own parade
but not today

I came here with nothing
like hundreds before me
and millions behind me
you know you can find me in New York
where everyone's different
but share the same island
polluted and loud
but you're safe in the crowd
here in New York

today it's my city
tomorrow, who knows
today we're a country
let's see how that goes

upstate doesn't trust us
they're safe in their sameness
they're scared of what's strange
but each corner means change
here in New York
where else can you wander
and hear every language
we fight like a marriage
then share the same carriage
we suffer the weather
we bind and we tether
this nation together

I'm just getting started
and time's of the essence
I can't say I've made it
but I'd never trade it
they've thrown a parade
ha! in my New York

cheering for me now
can you hear them cheering for me now
Obviously Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a new song for Hamilton and releases it the week before I move to New York. He's reprising his role as A. Ham in Puerto Rico. If anyone brings me to watch it, you have my loyalty forever.

Monday, November 12, 2018

THERAPY

Today was the heaviest and probably most important therapy session I've had so far. After having taken all her notes of me and written a case file, my therapist shared my formulation with me, roughly how I became the person I am. She says I went through multiple forms of rejection and abandonment when I was just a kid, from the divorce and then my father not really being around, having the subconscious knowledge that my parents hadn't planned for me and thus I wasn't very accepted by the wider community. Apparently I also had to grow up and assume the role of an adult much earlier than I was mature enough for, like perhaps when my parents fought and I saw my mother being hurt, I would have been much more protective of my mom and little sister at the time, or when my mother would ask me to mediate for alimony transactions from my dad, or when I was approached by the stranger who told me to advise my dad about his philandering ways, or when my mother had cancer and my sisters were still tiny, and at the time, my mother didn't tell my sister and my sister was upset for months and I was caught in between. Those are possibly the things that cultivated the protective instinct in me. My therapist also said these form part of the confusing juxtaposition of my existence, or at least how it is when I am at home and interacting with my mother. My mother engages in emotional manipulation, a thing that many parents do, but that most are not aware of, because parents rarely, if ever, know what they're even doing as parents. When I was telling my therapist about my childhood history, I said my mother and I used to be best friends, I could confide most things in her and we would laugh and cry at the same things, perhaps also because she was and is a very young mother (currently I am 28 and she's 46), but that after I had gone through the miscarriage, my mother was much more distant and closed off from me. She withdrew her emotional support for me, to signal that I was only worth her care and concern if I do things that she approves of and agrees with. Although most parents actually use some forms of emotional manipulation when raising their children, apparently this affects me more than with other kids, because since I was young, I only recognised my mother as my singular parental figure, and without her emotional support, I felt like I wasn't validated or acknowledged as worthy, by anyone. This was why, in the past two years, I went through the emotional turmoil of being up and down, because I craved my mother's validation, but she barely gave any sign to show that she noticed my depression. My therapist says we have an enmeshed relationship, and a rather complicated one. Although at many points in my life, I have been subconsciously expected to assume a mature adult role in the family, at the very same time, my mother also treats me like a child, and shows her displeasure very clearly by cutting off her emotional support for me, when I do things like act out for not having my own privacy, or wear clothes she doesn't like, or get a tattoo, etc. I am at once an adult and a child, and I have been very confused, apparently, until now, when I decide that I will make my own decisions, as my own adult. My therapist spent forty minutes just talking about me, asking if I was okay, because she brought up things that I'd probably known and buried deep in my subconscious, and I wanted to tear at some of the things. She talked about factors that are called predisposing, precipitating, perpetuating and protective factors, and I hoped to retain all of the verbal information as best as I could, so that I recognise what is within my control, and what remains beyond. Before I left, she kept asking whether I was okay, because she didn't want me to be so strongly affected by her "raking up my past". I told her I was fine and I liked knowing it all, but I do think I'm feeling a lot of things and I should acknowledge it. I had ice-cream with Pamela tonight, though, at my therapist's suggestion I treated myself to something I like.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

MID-TERMS

So I stayed up following people who went out to vote. In fact I've been following it since people went out to vote early. Adam sent me a ballot that his niece wrote on, she said "mommy is the winr I love you" which is the most precious thing I've ever seen. I'm so proud of the citizens participating in the democratic process, y'all are so sexxxxy. I went on a bit of a ramble to Adam, on how you can't lose hope and just call out fascists as fascists, thinking it will change anything, because that's not how you change and tackle fascism, although of course I'm not living there and feeling the real bleakness of the future yet. Adam joked that he wanted to commit voter fraud and vote in like Florida, I think. I have 22 days till I leave here, and also 22 days till I arrive at JFK. Timezones are amazing. I am looking forward to the cold, and the ice-skating, I think. I have a midnight shipment tomorrow that will probably end late, Friday morning and I'm already tired thinking about it. There is something pressing that I'm not thinking about and it's giving me a stress headache and I don't know what it is. My sister Lyssa turned 22 yesterday, and she said both "I love you" and "I'm gonna miss you" multiple times to me, although she isn't the type to usually express her feelings. I wish I could take her with me. Aigoo, I wonder if all elder siblings think too much about their younger 'uns.

Friday, November 02, 2018

YOU LOVE JAZZ NOW

I have a better memory than most, so I remember things from ages ago. I have not let go of things from my childhood, and they weigh me down in my bones. However, I try to give credit where it's due. My real father sent me a text while I was working a late night, and while doing stock inventory, I started crying. This was what it said:
Hello dearest.
I don't know when or if we'll get to spend together before you go to LAX, so I thought I may as well just send you a message.
You've made your decision to move and for better or for worse I have to accept your decision, not that I don't want you to go, but I wish we'd spent a little more time together before you left. Mostly because there have been too many things left unspoken between us.
Of all the things I've wanted to say to you, the most important thing that I think you should know is that I'm sorry. For all your Dad issues. For all your insecurities regarding men. For all the things when you should have had someone to listen to you as a child/adolescent. For not making you feel like you deserve to be held & heard as a daughter.
I know I've never been close to being an okay father and I definitely didn't even seem to be trying. But seeing you hurt so much that you just had to leave yr family to be somewhere else definitely tells me I should have done better.
When you were pregnant, you didn't come to me. Obviously you didn't feel like you could confide in me. That's one time I failed.
When you had a miscarriage, you didn't tell me. Failed again.
You went to have yr uterus evacuated at my workplace. You didn't tell me. Obviously, you didn't think you could trust me. That alone shows how much I've failed to be yr father.
I do hope you'll find your inner peace and happiness wherever you decide to go. And no matter where you'll be, I do hope you'll know that there will always be people here who care about you and love you. And I do hope you'll realise that I am one of those people.
Love
Me
I showed it to the people I trust, and of course they asked me how I feel. One asked why I cried, and what about it made me feel sad. I think there is some truth in that most people don't want to move far away from their families, and there must be something not quite right with my situation that I yearn to move very far away from mine (although, don't get me wrong, there is also the shiteously controlling government who hold my 25k SGD/18k USD in an account that I can only spend on governmental housing, and which goes to complete waste if I decide I don't want to live in Singapore, which I don't --- plus I think it's this account that probably holds a lot of people back from moving elsewhere, because they don't want to burn their money?). I also feel a lot more things than sad. I thought, it's a bit late, that he writes all this because I'm making a major move to leave the country. On the other hand, I also finally feel extremely validated at the text, because, hey all those decades of suffering were not made up in my head, yes they were caused by some inconsiderate actions made by either my mother or father. I am exhausted. I haven't replied to the text, but I do intend to, once I have processed everything. My next therapy session is in six days, which means I have all the time to think about this before I offload it to my therapist.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

FLIGHT

Last night, I formally told my mom about my plans to move, although I'd guessed and heard that she already knew. It didn't go well. She brought up LA, and the fact that I betrayed her trust by getting pregnant, and I hurt her as a parent. She asked why I think she doesn't show her love for me, when she's willing to die or kill anyone who hurts me, and I told her she was being dramatic. I said she has these fantasies of her idea of protecting me when all I need from her as love is to give me space, and she can't and won't even do that. I reminded her that the betrayal of trust actually happened in the form of her finding out about my miscarriage by opening my private hospital bill. To date, she insists that she had an instinct, that her god wanted her to find out and so she opened it. I snapped at her to take responsibility and own her own decisions, that she had chosen to betray my trust and my rights as an adult, by opening my bill. Also, just because I got pregnant in LA in no way means it was the only time I was sexually active, obviously, she's living in denial and I'm sick of it. My cortisol levels are through the roof, I don't sleep well, and I'm constantly on edge. I've been in a toxic relationship for so long that I keep second-guessing everything else, sometimes I talk to Adam and I wonder if he's being manipulative, and I'm wary of all the people I talk to, because I have internalised all the toxicity and now my head and heart think that everybody is nice to me on the condition of gaining something from me. I have a headache. This is unhealthy. I read a quote recently, "if you don't heal what hurt you, you'll bleed over people who never cut you" and I Need to remember it and remind myself of it. I'm out of here.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

SUPERCUT OF US

I've now been to two therapy sessions with my current therapist at JCU. The first two sessions were for her to get to know me, so I talked about the whole mess that my life has been -- the parents, the dating, the school, the everything. My therapist read my blog and saw my tatt and she likes it! She said her partner was getting a tattoo at an apparently famous tattoo studio in New York, called Bang Bang (where JBiebs and Riri get their tatts done), and my therapist was also tempted to get one, but she didn't. She used to be a model so she hasn't got any tatts yet. She's a model turned therapist! I am in awe!

She asked me what activities I used to do in school, so I said I debated in polytechnic. I said that changed my life, because after debates, I never stopped questioning everything and not taking things as they are. She said that was what made me different, her clientele are mostly local Singaporeans, and she says she doesn't usually see the streak of questioning whether something is the best for them, like there is in me. I still think I would be a much happier person if I didn't question the status quo, but again, I guess the fact that I don't accept the status quo perhaps also means the happiness I would attain for myself is a much higher level of happiness than I have staying here. I told her of my plans to move, so if we do keep up with one session a week, I will have gotten eight sessions with her, for some course of therapy, before I leave.

We talked about LA, she also loves LA, and I knew instantly that we would click. We also talked about New York and my move. She asked me about my book, and I said I wanted it to be sci-fi, and she asked if I watched Black Mirror, which is obviously one of my favorite TV shows ever, and we talked about our favorite episodes and Jesus, I felt it was love at first therapy session. In my second session, she asked me to talk about the relationships or men I'd dated that I found most significant. I talked about my second boyfriend, the one who was the president of the debates club while I was vice-president, my best friend for three years with whom I was really happy. I also talked about Graysonuvabitch, who somehow cheated on his fiancée with me, 'cos I am so naive. I told her that really gave me trust issues, because I'd told him I hated my dad cheating, but he manipulated me with the things I'd told him instead. We talked so easily, like we were friends, that when she next checked her phone, she said "how has it been an hour?" which was how I felt too, like, what, my time is up???!?!!

After I left my second session, hours later when I was alone again, I thought, I didn't think about the man who knocked me up at all during my therapy session. I didn't think to mention him nor did he even cross my mind. Then I realised, even though it was a cog in the system, that put the past two years in motion, that led me to here, the person himself was not actually a character that mattered, it could have been replaced with anyone else to do the deed, and it would have done the same thing.

Also, my ex-schoolmate and friend Zahidah sent me a text saying she was glad I was seeking help, and it really made my day. I think it really helps when people encourage me to seek help, because it means they believe I can get better, and I really do want to get better and feel better.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

CLAVICLES

So I was supposed to see my therapist on Wednesday, but she was on sick leave because the universe just apparently does not want me to stay here because my mental health is at stake. I went to see a sunflower exhibition instead. I guess I love sunflowers so much and they brighten my mood up it might have replaced a therapy session successfully, this once.


This week has also been one of the longest work weeks I've had in my life. We held Singapore's very first Lush showcase which I think, by any standards, was a great success!


I've never used Craigslist because it seems dodgy but I'm looking for apartments and need it to be cheap, and when living in America, do as Americans do, I suppose? I'm gonna go catch up on some sleep, but have a great sunny week ahead, y'alls.

Monday, October 01, 2018

STAY ALIVE

Last week was an immensely long week for me, as is the one ahead of us. On Wednesday, after having gone for laser tag, I came home at midnight, and my mother and I had a meltdown with each other. She basically cornered me into saying that I was okay with "sleeping around" and somehow loaded each sentence to make it seem like being this liberal non-believing adult was the wrong thing to do, and I also cornered her to admit that I would never be a good daughter to her unless I was the Muslim daughter that she wants. We did this and cried and raised our voices, till 3am, while I was naked, because she'd entered my room while I was washing up after laser tag with my friends from the store. Friday morning, my mother and I had breakfast together, we went to CBTL and it was the first time I was having a meal alone with her since 2016. We talked about work, our colleagues and friends, the rest of my sisters and family members. She agreed to go for at least one session of therapy with me, although again, it all started with her being skeptical about it, and why I couldn't seek peace with God instead. My JCU psych has been calling me regularly, to find out how stable I've been. I was supposed to be on the waitlist, but she was so worried about me, she had a cancellation this week and my first session with her is on Wednesday! I cannot wait! We can have a wager on whether I cry. I met Han for steak on Saturday evening, and I formally told her about Adam. She said the white guys I've liked have all looked very different, so I was like ???? I don't know which photos she's seen of Adam, but again I have to consider that people who exist in my life all keep tabs on me just in case I do something reckless (or they just like being entertained), and that's how everyone seems to know everyone else. If you see a writing prompt anywhere that you think I would be interested in, please pass it on to me. I want to practise my writing. My colleagues have a task for me to come up with a "very strong story" for a photo essay to be posted over Christmas, and I'm like, whoa, no pressure there. Adam says (verbatim), he thinks my story would do very well with American audiences, like just from a marketing standpoint, the story of a woman from a formerly colonized part of Asia with intense life experiences longing for a better life outside of the sheltered upbringing with difficult parents, has a lot of potential. My best friend Han also says I should just write a book. No pressure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who wants to pay for my time off work?????? :D

Thursday, September 27, 2018

A LUSH LIFE




all the shine of a thousand spotlights all the stars we steal from the night sky Like every family, this one has siblings that don't always get along, parents that may not know everything but are always trying and learning, good days and bad days and days where everything is completely off (although mostly, off days are gr8). Unlike some families, though, this one is progressive, and they accept you through changes and mental health issues, and see you not just for what you portray yourself to be, but for what you can become. At the heart of our family, we all want to do better for the people we know, the animals we care for and the planet we live on, at the heart of this family is a lot of heart, and I love them. We usually smell good too. (Also: I would like to thank the Academy and all my friends who voted me Best Dressed — I know it doesn't show on a daily basis but besides books and words, I do love fashion and clothes and I wish the industry were much more sustainable but in any case, y'all made a girl's dreams cum true!!!!!) #Lush #LushSG #LushVivocity #family #love
A post shared by Sarah Mei Lyana (@sarahmeilyana) on