Monday, February 17, 2020

ASHE

When I used to go on first dates, from Tinder or otherwise, at times I would be lazy to put in any effort, and I would text my dates I wouldn't look too much like my profile photos as I would have no makeup on and I would be wearing my glasses. This wasn't just bashfulness, I've had colleagues and friends tell me I look wildly different with and without makeup, and I didn't want my dates to mistake me for anyone else. Last week for Valentine's Day, Lucas and I went to The Projector, which is an independent cinema, for an event in which comedians in Singapore would read sexts or romantic poetry. Preetipls was there as the host, and it was incredibly funny and entertaining. I loved it and I might have fallen in love with Pooja Nansi's writing, as well as a local queer icon, Marilyn something. I clearly don't love Marilyn something bc that was the first I'd heard of her and if I truly loved her I would have found out her family name by now. Pooja and another icon, Alfian Sa'at read phrases out of context as a conversation between Preetipls and our Law Minister, whose name I will not mention so as to keep myself out of trouble. Preetipls is in trouble with the Singapore law just for standing up for her own race, so one day if you asked me in real life I will explain the situation to you but until then, this will have to suffice. That night was colloquial yet universal and I find that magical. I went home and for some reason, I cannot fathom how the human brain works but for some reason I stalked Alfian Sa'at's Instagram and I noticed he would post many photos of himself travelling with another Singaporean man, whom I assumed but cannot confirm has been his partner for eight years. I then went to the man's Instagram profile, but there was nothing. I wondered if his partner isn't comfortable with admitting they are together, or perhaps I am wildly wrong and they're not even each other's partners. In any case, it reminded me of when I was twenty and in a three-year relationship with a Christian boy who wouldn't tell any of his family members about me, although I was always gushing about him. The human experience is always so universal. When I come home from work tired out from my retail job, Lucas gives me the most amazing foot massages and he's been doing this for months, and I feel like the foot massages are part act of service, part quality time, part touch, and the best way he could show his love for me, and the time at which I love him infinitely. When I watched To All The Boys I've Loved Before: PS. I Still Love You, which is a silly Netflix chick flick that only works because its protagonists are so cute and young and naive and good-looking, Lara Jean keeps comparing herself to her boyfriend's ex, because for every first she has with him, he's done it all before with his ex. That's such a young thing to feel, to want to be the first or have all the firsts with someone. It's like if someone was the first to tell you about the Spanish lisp and now everything that comes afterwards reminds you of one single person. Of course there is a person like that for me, but I also remember every single person who's told me about every single thing, so I suppose that makes it really good for me, that I have a selectively very good memory. I am happy this morning and I hope you all are too. This is my Valentine to you all. Go out and make someone's history, just by being you.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

ELON TUSK

I had my first ever strength and conditioning session last week. I did Turkish get-ups, inverted rows and kettlebell swings, all for the very first time in my life. The trainer was the owner of the gym, and he's represented Singapore in weightlifting for the Olympics. He said he opened his gym seven years ago, because Singapore is a place that only provides support to athletes when they're already gaining traction and recognition, but there aren't many gyms or places in Singapore that motivate or allocate resources to people who are just starting out to be athletes. I found it to be such an inspiring cause. Yesterday we met Lucas' mom again, she was on the way back to Australia and had another layover in Singapore. She brought back an entire heavy bag of goodies from Poland, for me to try, including a bottle of cherry vodka, which makes me think she maybe really doesn't realize I come from a Muslim family, or she knows and doesn't quite care, which is fair, given I don't quite care, either. She showed us photos from her trip, the architecture was really quite a sight to behold because you can't find such sights in Singapore, but Lucas kept making fun of her boomer ways and was surprised she knew how to connect to the airport wifi. In all honesty, though, you will eventually become obsolete and Lucas himself doesn't know how to fully utilize technology sometimes, despite working in IT. Technology will always outadvance us, so instead of making fun of our parents, I think it's safer to keep tabs on the things that are already outpacing our own knowledge. On a perhaps not relevant nor related note, I have read some things about Elon Musk, and I wonder if he is legitimately losing grip on reality. Huh.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

ABSOLUTION

I learned something that really has been taking up space in my mind last week. It is that people's brains and minds function differently. Although a majority of people have verbal thoughts in their brain, some people actually can't and don't. Like, you know (or you might not!) how there's a voice in your head narrating your thoughts and your life, about 20% of people experience it differently. Some people don't have a voice in their head and conversely, they might also never know that a lot of us think with voices in our heads. They may experience their mind in a more visual manner instead, and therefore there's no audio narration that accompanies their life. For example, when you look into a mirror and have a thought about your reflection, some people have to either mouth it or say it aloud because the voice doesn't exist internally! I thought about it and I thought, well, that changes things! What if, because I do experience things in terms of words and literal translations, I am more affected by some things and it could also actually turn towards my depressive episodes because I keep turning words over and over in my head, because that voice exists in the first place. I wondered whether visual-brained people may be less inclined towards depression, because perhaps when they receive verbal feedback, they are inherently unable to hear those words being repeated by the voice in their heads, and it doesn't weigh them down as much. I wonder if you could train yourself to be more of a visual person instead of someone with a narration in their head, or vice versa!

Anyway, Lucas and I moved into the new place and it's much more spacious and very clean. It makes so much of a difference. Our room now has its own bathroom so we've each got space for our own toiletries and personal effects. We put a little essential oil in the corner for a nice fresh scent. I'm trying to build up my collection of Lush items so I can rotate the products I use in the shower, based on my mood. The location of the apartment is also ideal, it's easy to commute to and from, and there are so many food options around! It's a lovely experience to have a daily lifestyle that revolves around how you smell and what you feel like eating. I could get used to this. Last night I cried though, Lucas said something about money and I couldn't hold it in. My biggest insecurity in life must be about money, if you haven't been able to figure out. I always feel like there's a power imbalance in our relationship because I don't want to feel like I owe Lucas anything, I don't want to feel like my love stems out of gratitude or indebtedness. Money aside, I think I'm a pretty damn amazing person but money being a factor, I feel like I can't contribute as much to the relationship. The stability of our lifestyle is thanks to Lucas' capacity to pay for the rent and take care of me financially sometimes, with the doctor and other things. I wish capitalism was not a thing and you could barter trade or something. I could do so many things for so many people, if only Singapore didn't employ such a hierarchical view of employment and monetary benefits.

Recently I've been trying to be more mindful of unlearning the conditions I grew up to believe. I used to feel with very strong intensity. In my childhood household, bad things that happened were disastrous so conversely, any good incidents in contrast would turn out like a high. I don't feel with such intensity when I'm with Lucas, and it takes an immense amount of repeated and conscious efforts to remind myself that sometimes not feeling in intensities and extremities can be a very good and healthy thing. The longer I live with Lucas, the more I'm exposed to the feeling of safety he gives me and the less I can revert to the dysfunction of my family's individual behaviors. I really like our new room and am going to try to enjoy the next few months of mental health and stability.

Monday, January 27, 2020

STATIC DYNAMIC

I'm posting here to prevent myself from falling asleep and missing my stop on the way to work. Over the weekend, I watched The Circle on Netflix with one of our housemates Sonia. I feel like there was quite a bit of character development for one of the players, that you might grow from being annoyed by them to actually being fond of them. The Circle is a game of social media and is reminiscent of the Black Mirror episode Nosedive, and I grew to love Shubham and Sammie, Shubham is a pure wholesome cinnamon roll too good for this world. Speaking of character development, I got to thinking about the first Ben I dated, before Ben Glaser and Ben Kolber, two years ago. When I dated the first Ben, I think he knew I wanted to be in a relationship more for the fear of being alone than anything else, and at the time I wasn't able to detach myself from the situation to discern the signs of each, but I think I do now? I spent time with Sonia because Lucas is away for a solo trip to South Africa. He's only been gone for two days and already my sleep cycle is fucked. Lucas never sleeps late so I'm usually pressured to sleep at the same time he does, by midnight. In the last three months that I've lived with him, we have never slept later than 1am, even on weekends. I suppose that's the sort of stability he brings me. Last night I stayed up till 3am making a Finsta account for myself. If you're not so inclined, a finsta is a fake Instagram where you post more candid and personal photos than on your main account, but I do think it's a misnomer 'cos only closer friends or family are accepted on finstas and they probably see more of the real you than the curated photos on a main account. This weekend, when Lucas is back, we're moving into another apartment. It's bittersweet because the apartment we're in now, it's an enclave of pretty chill roommates. Sonia is going for her breast cancer surgery this weekend, and Reetz is a super cool person (who started a mental health initiative in Singapore called YourHeadLah) and I'm gonna miss seeing them and talking to them. Also that reminds me, Reetz is also away and I gotta water and talk to her plants the way she does. I think talking to plants is cool, I'm used to talking at people with no feedback anyway, so same diff??? The new room we're moving into is bigger and newer and also nearer to both Lucas' and my workplaces, so that will be great. We'll see how that goes. January has been a mixed bag but with the new place, February could turn out better.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

NASTILY EXHAUSTING
WIZARDING TESTS

Whenever I am on Bernie Sander's Instagram page and I read the comments, there are always so many Republican/Trump-supporting trolls. They must be living in echo chambers, because they don't seem to ever engage with any sort of logical discourse. More than that, because all things are connected in one way or another, I've been thinking about whether I should postpone my studies by another year, to fall of 2021. I don't think I could live and study in New York if Trump wins again and stays for the next four years, just the thought of it makes me feel almost physically sick. If the opposite happens and Bernie Sanders wins, then I'd be in college for at least three years to witness his long-overdue presidency. I could not, I could not go away from Singapore only to end up in a Trump-supporting America for four whole years. I'm gagging.

Friday, January 24, 2020

DE JURE & DE FACTO

Chidi:


This man has a very soothing and calming voice while he tells us about the inherent flaws and contradictions of capitalism. I almost feel like no one else could talk about it in such a charming and endearing manner as he could. I've been reading Bernie Sanders updates and the like. For example, the fact that government and corporations don't want free tuition for colleges and higher education because a person struggling with loans is exactly the kind of person that's easy to recruit for a lifetime of toiling in the office, or even to enrol in the military. It keeps the military going when people run out of options and think that going to war is a good and safe choice for them.

Eleanor:


Today, Tina posted that Chidi and Eleanor are my parents because I'm an equal mix of both. I feel like that's one of the best things anyone has ever said about me. I'm loud-mouthed and brash but I also think so hard about the impact of every action I take it gives me aches and anxiety. If I were the child of any fictional couple I would want so hard for them to be two people that are individually flawed but better together.

Even though The Good Place is coming to an end in two weeks and it's one of my favorite TV shows, Lucas has never watched it. He's also never seen the bootleg version of Hamilton that I have. We've really been together 8 months, huh? Last night, we watched the first episode of Star Trek: Picard because he's a big Trekkie.

Apparently I have a vocabulary of at least 800 Spanish words now. When we were in Vietnam, there was a Spanish couple who were on the same boat as us in Ha Long Bay. They spoke very little English and when I spoke to the lady in Spanish, Lucas said her face lit up and she was very happy to interact with me for the rest of our boat trip.

I don't think I've ever listened to a fully Spanish song, but I've heard little bits of Spanish rap in English pop songs here and there, and D Smoke (who won Rhythm & Flow on Netflix) also raps in Spanish. I feel like the easiest way to absorb a language is by engaging with its media, so it would be great if anyone could recommend me Spanish songs or films.

I aim to be as proficient in Spanish as I am in Malay and Mandarin, meaning to say I can watch a movie without needing subtitles, or understand the meanings of songs, and also sing along to catchier ones. Not that I sing well, you feel me, even though I know the lyrics of Malay and Mandarin songs, listening to me sing is a whole nother story.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

IN YOUR AREA

Yesterday, I posted on Instagram that I wanted to try eating only vegetarian meals for a week, to do my part for the environment. Today, I am in the Dhoby Ghaut area where the first Five Guys branch just opened in Singapore, and already I have eaten a hamburger for lunch. The burger was not even that nice, I mean I know it's just fast food and I didn't expect a Michelin-worthy meal but I stand by my opinion that Shake Shack has better burgers than the average. Tomorrow I have a hot yoga session, which is free thanks to Lululemon, so I'm feeling pretty stoked. If there is anything I have learned in a capitalist world, it is that you should never pay when you can have something for "free". Lululemon is part of fast fashion, which definitely contributes to climate change, but then its employee welfare is also fucking awesome, so there's that. I think a lot of society is too lethargic to be active in their... activism, and it's easy to be like this, because there's such a big disconnect between our actions and the consequences of those actions. For example, while I work in Lululemon, I get free sweat sessions, so all I see are my strengthening muscles and toned body. I do not see the fact that somewhere across the world (although tbh they could be closer to me than to you, because I am in Asia where all the sweatshops are) somebody is living below the poverty line to make the clothes I sell. I wonder how many people in this very Starbucks that I'm at, are affected by compassion fatigue. Some days I want to just say fuck it, quit my job, and lay down in front of Raffles Place MRT, disrupt all the corporate office workers, and start a protest. I want to gather all the people my age and ask them, do you also think like me, that you don't need another eyeshadow palette, another pair of tights for spin class, another bespoke bracelet, another reformulated body lotion. I fantasize about all the millennials in Singapore protesting like Hong Kong did and are still doing. I daydream that one day, we're going to wake up and realize that we never see any of the money we're working for, and we need to stop producing and consuming, and give this goddamn planet a break so it can cool down. The rat race has gone too far you can even feel it in the weather, and still we're going around like the robots we've been programmed to be. And then I think, I had one choice to make today, and I still chose a hamburger because it was convenient to me and I had a fear of missing out, so. Also, if I start a protest in the middle of the CBD (in which I mean central business district and not cannabidiol), I will be arrested for fucking real, I can bet you $100,000 on that. On two unrelated notes, last week during dinner with his mother, I found out Lucas thinks that an apartment in Singapore costs $50,000. I don't know why he had such an impression, he's been working here for close to two years, he works in IT and has some semblance of common sense, Singapore is one of the most expensive cities to live in, in the world, and still, he thought an apartment costs fifty thousand bucks. I obviously told him a halfway-decent apartment starts at $300k, and if it were fifty grand, I wouldn't be such a gripey bitch about my government and would start saving towards an apartment. Lucas thought I was just bitching because the government won't let you buy an apartment if you're single unless you reach 35 years old???? I don't understand! If apartments in Singapore were 50Ks they would be sold out in like, ten minutes, because they'd be bought out by property developers and Chinese investors or whatever. Chinese buyers buy out apartments everywhere in the world!!!!!!! Sometimes the way Lucas does his computing.... does not compute to me. On the second note, yesterday my sixteen-year-old sister Aqilah went back to her secondary school to collect her 'O'-level results, and the school didn't allow her in because she'd recently dyed her hair red, even though she'd sprayed it back to black for yesterday. Our other sister Lyssa then griped: "honestly singapore is a shitty country / or schools and uniforms in general just / I HATE THIS!!!!! ITS MY BODY!!!" and it is testament to how jaded I've become, because honestly, Singapore recognizes no such thing as civil rights and this hair-dyeing incident is not a surprise. My sister has already graduated from the school, for fuck's sake. She just needed to step in to collect her results. In any case, in true rebellious familial fashion, she was top of her cohort for the English exam, so that's a fuck-you to governmental bureaucracy.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

SINCERITY IS SCARY


I'm sure that you're not just another girl
I'm sure that you're gonna say that that was sexist
I feel like you're running out of all the things I liked you for

why can't we be friends when we are lovers?
'cause it always ends with us hating each other
instead of calling me out, 
you should be pulling me in
I've just got one more thing to say

The saxophone in this track always makes me feel like it would be nice to groove to at a wedding, but the lyrics are quite cynical, but then again they do encapsulate a real relationship.

Last night, I met Lucas' mother for the first time. She was flying to Frankfurt from Singapore this afternoon, using one of Lucas' dependent tickets and so she had a night of layover in our tiny city.

It's the last time Lucas can use his dependent ticket 'cos he's leaving Singapore Airlines and doing more of his IT work in another multinational corporation. It will be a new industry for him so we're hoping he will enjoy it more than he did working in SQ. Singapore Airlines is full of old corporate boomers so he didn't enjoy the working culture there.

We met his mother for dinner last night and brought her for a walk through the nicer areas of the city, and at a park this morning after breakfast. She seems to really like me, as is the case when you are meeting your child's significant other for the first time, I would reckon.

I was very amused during breakfast because she was praising me for being able to understand Lucas and accept him. Lucas is a very quiet and shy introvert when he doesn't know you, and so his mom must think it would take a special kind of person to be with him. To be honest, his mother and mine are pretty similar from his stories, she is a conservative Catholic whereas mine is a Muslim, and Lucas just doesn't open up to her because he knows he cannot change her, and that to be candid with her would just mean arguing.

She was nice and friendly to me, though, of course, because she doesn't yet know that I come from a Muslim family despite not having any beliefs, myself. She kept taking photos of me, saying she would show them to Lucas' babcia (his grandma) in Poland, whom she is visiting on her trip. She also began singing Lucas' praises, how Lucas has been independent ever since he started working and how he knows to save and manage his finances, especially with his Bitcoin and other investments.

It was like I was an interviewer, and Lucas was the applicant, with his mom being the recruiter/headhunter, talking up all his good points, so she could get a commission. I loved being in the position, because tbh I am actually the mafia lololol.

His mom was probing whether I would be interested in living in Australia or Poland, because Lucas can obviously live and work in Australia, and he could also have an apartment in Poland eventually, as his grandmother is there, but Lucas flat-out said no to her ideas, much to her grief, hehehe.

She also thanked me because Lucas has called his babcia twice while we've been together, which he hadn't done for years. She said his grandmother cried when he called, which I actually already knew because I was by his side, and listened in on the call, although I didn't understand a thing, because they spoke in Polish, and it's not a language I have any insight on at all.

It was a wonderful experience, but I would suppose it is a common enough occurrence whenever you meet your significant other's family members. I felt so many feelings. It was nice to see how fond Lucas' mother is of him, as mothers tend to be, and how we all actually instantly turn into kids when our parents are around, because they start telling stories of us and our siblings from our childhood.

It was a little disconcerting to, again, be questioned on our future plans together. Lucas is going to be starting his new job in a couple of months, and I want to go back to studying in the fall of this year (meaning to say fall of the northern hemisphere), and I always yearn for adventure. I don't know if Lucas is necessarily all that fond of adventures, I think he loves me and by extension, he likes to be adventurous when I'm involved.

In the past few days, before meeting Lucas' mom and sending her off today, I was actually in a bit of an argument with my own mom, via text. It started with her sending a video to our family group chat, of someone called Zakir Naik giving "intellectual answers" to an atheist at a forum, right. I watched it, and then I did some research about the man.

He believes that thieves deserve to have their arms chopped off, and that it is permissible for a man to beat his wife "lightly." He recommends the death penalty for homosexuals, and he also says that the theory of evolution is an unproven conjecture at best.

My mom said that as I was already watching videos on Youtube, she also recommended Nouman Ali and Mufti Menk. I then did a quick Google on them, and told my family that Menk thinks the LGBT society are worse than animals and has been banned in Singapore, and that Nouman Ali Khan actually used his religion to prey on women, basically engaging in spiritual abuse.

I told my mother that if she wanted to recommend people she should find out about them first so I would take them seriously, or they were all bigots to me. My mother then said "one mistake done by a person doesn't mean the whole cause by him is wrong."

Yesterday, my mother sent me an image of a quote, apparently a verse from the Quran (Al-Isra: verse 36), it says "don't pursue that of which you have no knowledge." To fight on her level, I Googled another quote from the Quran (Surah Taha, 20:114), in exactly the same format, with text in front of an image of a sunset, it says "My Lord, increase me in knowledge."

I told her that anyone could Google Abrahamic verses on the internet and it neither proved nor disproved whether they were good people. I said, the two verses we'd each provided had literally the opposite meanings, because one was to discourage people from seeking knowledge where they didn't possess any, and another was literally a prayer for seeking knowledge. I asked her what it meant, that it had contradicting verses, clearly that it was to confuse its readers into not doing anything, which is precisely a great message to lead people without being bombarded with logical questions.

It culminated when my mother said "a person who only has scientific reasons to live will never believe of mukjizats and miracles" to which I responded "if we only believed in miracles and not science some of us would actually be dead by now..." when the conversation ended.

I finally realized, there and then, that my mother has an extremely complicated form of survivor's guilt. She beat cancer not solely on her God's terms. She went through chemotherapy and surgeries, obviously, and that was science, that was not miraculous.

One day, I will set out to read the texts of all three Abrahamic faiths and underscore just how many contradictions there are, that cannot possibly exist if they are supposedly perfect. I'm going to take one for the team so that future children of religious parents have an anti-thesis to look to for responses to their parents.

My mother survived her cancer, and she believes it was because God loved her enough to let her live, and her prayers worked, along with the science (if the science was at all necessary to cure her, lol). My aunt, who is my mother's sister, also had cancer. She also prayed, and the entire family also prayed for her, but my aunt died. When she died, everyone said she moved on to a better place, and that God loved her more. So if God loved my aunt more, does that also mean he doesn't love my mom as much then? Either ways, that's a whole lot of survivor's guilt to deal with.

And then there are verses that say "God will never test you beyond what you are capable of." When someone has a mental illness and commits suicide, it is a sin, and somehow the idea of God only testing within your capacities is erased, and no one talks about it. What does it mean then, that you are only tested within your means, in what realm is it valid???

Also, nobody ever talks about the abuse of power within religions. This is not exclusive to Islam, but nobody ever wants to talk about how verses are always written to protect the interests of the people who were and who are in power, and to keep anything from changing. How come the person to whom the Books were apparently "revealed" are all men, and all the verses are always about men being leaders of the house, and that men have the right to discipline their wives?

What if I decided to start a religion right now, and I said, oh a divine power has told me that women are the more powerful sex, and therefore women should control all the money in a relationship, what would a person's natural instinct be --- would it not be to say: this woman clearly just wants to protect her self-interests, and she has unfairly written the law to be on her side????? Why don't people question these very same things then?????

Lucas just received a text from his mom and sent me a screenshot, it says "please look after Sarah. She is a good girl."

That's right, mofos!!!!! I'm the bestest girl, and you best not forget it.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

PANIC! AT THE
STATE OF THE WORLD

I am reading 1984 in the plane back from Hanoi to Singapore. It is my first flight in 2020, and I am seated in 28A. This is a fact that anyone who watches my Instagram stories would know, because 28 is my favorite number and I felt lucky to have been assigned the seat. Hanoi was a strange and curious destination, we ended the last decade and began the current one there. We stayed in our hotel room while the decade turned, watching people across the world celebrate it on Instagram and hearing the Vietnamese people honk in traffic in acknowledgement, hearing fireworks but not seeing it from where we were. We went to Ha Long Bay, where we kayaked and I swam, in cold waters which reminded me of when I was alone at Manhattan Beach, swimming by myself in an ocean made cold by the Pacific currents. Are they actually the Pacific currents, I don't know, I don't have Internet on this flight to help me check facts. Lucas asked whether reading would help one write better, and I said yes. I don't know why he asked this, but I also told him writing helps one to write better. This I know, because I have been writing for twenty years, and as Winston Smith discovers in 1984, the more you write, the more you will discover and hone your ability to write. This holds true for most activities, of course, as universally known. I know how to weave together words in a pleasant or even unpleasant manner, to evoke some sort of emotion in some sort of person or another. Sometimes I see my family members or even my friends, and I know the people who have lost their loved ones (in death) are the ones who most hold on to the idea that there is a life, or at least a something that happens, after death. It helps them to make sense of life and the world. It helps them soften the blow of the loss, so that the loss is not permanent, and that indeed they will one day be rejoined by the person whose presence they have greatly missed. I understand this raw and desperate need, I once felt it when I went through my miscarriage. I also understand the need for things to make sense, just for me to craft a narrative. God took my loved one away because He loved them more. It is a human need, that perhaps connects us all, to have things make sense. In this flight, for any number of reasons, I am thinking of all the persons and things I have loved and all the stories I have crafted about them. There is Joey, whom I believed and still believe would be a good feminist, because once when I said I wanted to be a designer, replied that I could do anything I wanted, which at once lent itself to the fact that I had the agency even as a woman to have desire and to act upon it, while also betraying his great Americanism in believing that you could in fact do anything you wanted, regardless your person or status. It is in stark contrast to what my family believes. My extended family members and I, with the exception of a very few, have a push-pull, love-hate relationship with each other. The more often I use my voice, whether online or in person, to elucidate that I have a mind of my own, that I own my body, that I am in very palpable undeniable fact living with a person I am not married to, the less they communicate with me. It is not so that they dislike me, we have mostly gotten along since I was young, my cousins and aunts and uncles are very funny people and I love joking with them, but they do not so much approve of nor agree with my lofty ideals. A woman is to know her place, and her place is in getting married, not in educating herself and questioning God or religion or in knowing that it is in fact more accurate to measure distance in terms of time, given that space and time are irrevocably linked. There was Ben, who was soft and tender in the most admirable of ways. He saw me at one of my many broken periods and tried to put me back together, in the tangible way of actually paying for therapy for me. There are losses he had suffered, that eventually turned into his appreciation for Hamilton the way I had so wanted someone else to, when we watched the bootleg recording together. When I listen to Sincerity Is Scary by The 1975, it brings me back to when it was played as the theme on Terrace House, which of course takes me to the first time I laid eyes on Adam in person. I was so tired from my flight to New York via London, and I was ready to collapse. I hadn't seen him in the crowd at first, but when I did, he had spotted me first and he was getting ready to envelope me in a great big hug to welcome me into the bitter winter cold of New York. There is of course Bennett, who set the standard so high for a first date I doubt it will ever be broken. If you could outdo bringing someone to Central Park for their first time there and asking them if you could kiss them, please tell me how 'cos I want to know! All these men, they are quite possibly, very probably, regular men with ordinary lives, but as is my inclination, I weave them into narratives that make them sound like great characters. Not that it takes away from the people they are, I would not replace any of them with any other person in the world. While in Hanoi, Lucas and I had egg coffee, which is now one of my favorite drinks, along with horchata. I finished my egg with chocolate so fast, I ordered an egg with cinnamon, and I also really liked that one. If you have the chance, please go to the original Café Giang, the creator of the first egg coffee, because I also tried a competitor's version, and only the original was amazing. Lucas knew I liked the drink so much, we went to the same café again yesterday, before we left Vietnam, and I had an egg matcha, which I also greatly enjoyed! If you'd like food and activity recommendations for Hanoi, feel free to let me know. Lucas and I were also shown around by his Vietnamese colleague who also happened to be back in Vietnam, and we ate at some delicious back-alley stalls that we'd never have found without a local's know-how. In my previous post, I said Lucas feels like my comfort zone, and Tina told me it's amazing that I have a comfort zone, because when you have mental health issues and you don't quite feel like you belong, sometimes there are parts of you that may only feel safe enough to show up around a select few people and I realized she was right. Through the past eight months of unearthed, recurring, repetitive trauma that I faced with my religious family, or with capitalism, Lucas saw me when I was at my lowest, when I was (and still am) taking the birth control pill to manage my period pains, when I struggled with money and when I raged, when I went to therapy to figure out my sexuality, when I was being irreverent, when I was completely bitchy, when I was politically engaged, when I was basic and boring. I was and am all versions of myself with him, and that's not a thing that happens very often. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

END OF AN ERA

Yesterday, Lucas and I built a small wooden house from an arts-and-crafts stencil.



The quality of it wasn't fantastic, it felt like it was 3D-printed material. We broke certain parts, and argued while building because again, our problem-solving methods are not the same. Towards the end, Lucas asked if we should just chuck it out, but I continued putting together the tiny final parts. He then said "you have the most patience" and I joked that I knew and that's why I was with him.

It was a joke, in many areas Lucas is extremely patient with me and in some areas, I am the most persistent person ever.

At work, they asked us to step out of our comfort zones for the new year, and at times I wonder whether my comfort zone is being with Lucas. I have probably never felt this comfortable in my life, but I don't know whether it'll eventually get to a point of stagnation. Comfort is a welcome thing though, I don't remember the last time I woke up from a nightmare in cold sweat, my subconscious now knows that however bad it is, Lucas has my back, literally and figuratively.

For Christmas, Lucas got me a voodoo doll as an inside joke. It's just a basic doll-shaped pillow that came with a few pins as well as a marker. Just the week before that, I was in rage mode at a woman who was holding up the laundry line, in the most inconsiderate manner. I said I wanted a voodoo doll so when Lucas chanced upon one, he got it for me. It is the funniest and somehow best gag gift I've gotten.

He also actually bought me a session at a rage room.


I must make a disclaimer that raging physically is not the solution every time you feel anger, but it is fun and novel, and also helps with alleviating anxiety. If you do have rage issues, you might want to consider a therapist, which I would see if I had all the disposable income in the world, but I don't. Therapy is expensive.

In a couple of hours I will be flying to Vietnam. It will be a nice way to end the decade and start a new one afresh.

The past quarter of the year has been an alright one. I'm still getting accustomed to the birth control pill, hence slowly edging out period pains that used to accost me every month. Thanks to Lululemon, I've been going for yoga and boxing, and I've also been swimming more regularly. I'm gonna say it once, exercise will not and can never make depression magically disappear, but when I'm not in a depressive episode, the exercise and routine really bring much more stability to my life. I'm finally getting muscles in my arms, instead of simply being lean.

It's been a wild ride. I wanna thank everyone who's been there for me, whether or not we're still there for each other at this current moment. What are your twenties for, if not falling for people who might be secretly engaged, or bros who would never take a day off work for you, precisely the ones who remind you of your extremely flawed father, right?? Now fuck off and let me enjoy my thirties in peace.

To be honest, of late I really feel a tension headache and the sort of anxiety that gives you a stomachache, only because of monetary issues. It really presses me that I don't have savings as I should have, at my age, especially comparing myself to my peers.

However, I have been trying to sit with this discomfort and unlearning it. It is precisely a capitalist society that ties personal worth to "productivity" and the measure of financial output someone can bring, that makes me feel this incapable. I am worthy. I face up to the realities of life and accept challenges, I allow myself to acknowledge my flaws and seek help for them, and I have always grown in those ways.

I don't exist in a vacuum, though, so it would be much appreciated if someone could just give me ten thousand dollars. I'll try to invest it and grow it myself, but 10k is nothing to some people!!!!

OKAY this was supposed to be a post to thank the past decade for happening. Peace out, y'all. I'm leaving this decade a much better person than I would have been if not for it. When 2020 and the new decade come along, I invite peace, stability, love, acceptance and wealth into my life, and into yours.

Friday, December 13, 2019

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TAYLOR SWIFT


One time, I wished someone a happy new year, and he said “we're all just hurtling thousands of miles around the sun.” I'm not sure what that was supposed to mean, perhaps that yearly human affairs of counting seasons mean nothing in the grand existence of the universe. He was right, I guess. I, however, am relieved for an end to my own personal previous decade. It was a decade in which: my mother found out she had cancer and the family battled it for a couple of years, my father's continued cheating tendencies were revealed to me although I didn't seek this information, I got involved with a soon-to-be-married man without my knowledge and I actually quite liked him before I knew, I fell in love with a man who impregnated me, then miscarried and started facing severe depression over the perceived morality of it all, I ended many close friendships because I have become more political than I realized, without much company. Of course none of this matters to the universe, it has always gone on and will always go on regardless of all the tiny nitty-gritties in any one singular human being's life, but boy, am I glad the entire chapter is pretty much over. I have made several choices that might count as mistakes, but above all, I still think many of my decisions validate me as being very human. I'm glad to have lived this life, of having taken every risk I could have taken, after having weighed the pros and cons that I could have seen and known at each point in time. I'm ready to say peace out to this decade and can try to move through 2020 and the next decade with 20/20 vision. This is metaphorically speaking, because in terms of my physical eyes, I have 20/800 vision and yes that's possible, and yes, it also means I'm almost legally blind, if you look at me wearing glasses you will see how much light is refracted through the lenses and how much distortion then happens. 🙃🙃🙃

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

MARRIAGE STORY

I watched Marriage Story on Netflix. It's about a couple played by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, who have a young child (six, maybe?) and are getting a divorce, each trying to get custody of their son, between LA and New York, where they both work in theater/TV. There is a running joke about the space in LA (hilarious gag!!!!!!! A++++ execution) and there is a scene somewhere in the middle where they are just realizing how much shit has been thrown at themselves by the other's lawyers, including allegations of alcoholism and adultery, some true and others not. The scene is about four minutes long where they start by wanting to talk things out, but it increases in intensity and they're screaming at each other about all the things they've resented about each other through the years that you must keep bottled up if you treasure any relationship. They're red in the face and physically exploding, not literally, and saying the most hurtful things about each other, and I felt it was really believable, and very, very sad and human. I teared near the end, but by that time, they had resolved certain things and accepted the circumstances while growing apart, and settling into their new lives, because you knew they would always love each other, in certain ways. The lawyers were also really well-acted, super well done, and for a Netflix original, I think this is the sort of family movie you should watch instead of Love, Actually for the holidays this year. Or perhaps you can watch this first, before putting on Love, Actually to end on a more maudlin note.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

I'M THE HERO OF THE STORY
DON'T NEED TO BE SAVED


I don't know if I identify more with Summer or with Tom now. I used to be Tom, because I would break my own heart, I guess you could say. I used to think Summer was a right, real bitch, but now is she, really? Lucas says his mom will be flying to Singapore in January and she asked whether she could bring anything for me, and my fight-or-flight instincts kicked in. I haven't met any of my exes' family members since more than ten years ago, and even back then, I only met one ex-boyfriend's family. A character like myself, I think I'm gonna need much more therapy than I've currently received. On the one hand, I don't like to be tied down, and I'm so contrary. If the government and my family want me to settle down, I don't want to do so precisely because they want me to. On the other hand, I also.... don't like to be alone, I don't think? Or do I? It's so strange now when I think about myself whinging when I was single, I don't quite understand why I do that, I enjoy doing many, many things by myself that are apparently not enjoyed without company. I like watching movies by myself, I read by myself, I love eating by myself, especially in public when I can wax lyrical in my own head about other people's lives. Today I thought about the song I would want at my wedding (if I ever get married), Toploader's Dancing in the Moonlight, I thought about whenever the song comes on, I dance by myself in public, and I wondered whether Lucas would dance freely with me. We've never danced and I've never seen him dance, I know he says he can't dance and so he doesn't do it, but I can't dance either, though I don't let that stop me. I'm going to hyperventilate and also I wonder if I will ever get a stress ulcer because money issues are worrying me to death and I can't change these issues. My insurance agent asked to meet up next week, and I wonder why, she's either gonna ask me to up my premiums or she'll give me money, right? I don't know, why do insurance agents ever want to meet you? If she wants more money, I swear I'm gonna develop a stress ulcer right there and then. I feel like Chidi. Also it just dawned on me that I've only broken up once in my life and every other time, I've been broken up with. Not that it's a scoreboard. Is my life just one giant, continuous session of cuffing season? Is that everyone's life? I'm not having an anxiety attack.

Friday, December 06, 2019

THE SUN IS A STAR


bagai bintang di syurga
dan seluruh warna
dan kasih yang setia
dan cahaya nyata

oh bintang di syurga 
berikan cerita
dan kasih yang setia
dan cahaya nyata

This is one of my favorite Malay songs. It feels like.... the Malay version of The Scientist or Yellow by Coldplay. To me, it's a classic. I was telling Lucas all about the singer, who got caught in a sex tape scandal. This performance also reminds me of Adam, for some reason. It's something I wonder if Adam would listen to and say "this slaps!" Adam and I follow each other on his band's Instagram profile, and I think he has a girlfriend. So I think life is going quite nicely for each of us. What a difference a year makes.





The past three days have been good to me. I've spent some time cooking, swimming, and reading. My current read is Budi Kritik: a collection of essays by and about the Malay community, pertaining to topics such as language, religion and gender, among a selection of others. I have greatly enjoyed the read so far, I think it's important for Malays to read it but also for just about anyone as its principles can translate for any other language or community. Sometimes I do things that are peak-White-Girl, I travel with no regard for my safety and I eat avocado toast for brunch. I will always love my Malay culture though, despite criticizing the insidious patriarchal nature of the decade past, I also love Malay songs at karaoke, and I would feed every stranger in the world my nyai's sambal telur and ayam lemak cili padi. I love codeswitching between Malay and English humor, saying things like “sukati kau la nak.” The pictures are not related except to tell you that my odds are stacked, I'll go back to black. The following is an excerpt from Budi Kritik. Yet, there is something to be said about the uniqueness of a language that makes its loss all the more devastating. The Austrian-born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein expressed it best when he said, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” Untranslatable words are the very epitome of this erudite line. Let us consider the Malay word ‘sayang’, once a theme of the Singapore Writers Festival in 2016. The term has no one-for-one English equivalent. It infers intimations of love, yet it can also conjure regret, even loathing. Such were the chatter on the ground as the festival unfolds, but it is also notable that the first to get at its multifarious meanings is not an ethnic Malay (sorry not sorry, ultras) but a Singaporean writer of Indian descent, Gopal Baratham. As so eloquently put by his protagonist Joseph Samy in Baratham's novel Sayang (1991), the word “describes a love bound to sadness, a tenderness trembling on the edge of tears, a passion from which pity could not be detached.”
A post shared by Sarah Mei Lyana (@sarahmeilyana) on

I created a trip itinerary on TripAdvisor to try and win business class tickets. I made an itinerary for Old Souls in New York based on my experience. This was what I wrote:
Washington Square Park: You might have seen this park in movie scenes, or your favorite poem could have been written here. Soak up the atmosphere permeated by artsy folk, who have been haunting this joint for centuries, to sing, write and dance in summer. Even in winter, you can feel a buzz of people ringing in the new and inviting fresh memories into their futures.

New York Transit Museum: The entrance to this museum looks like just another entrance to the subway, so be sure not to walk past it! Inside is a collection of all the different MTA train car designs through the decades, for you to take photos and appreciate posters from campaigns past. Don't just do it for the 'gram though, definitely take the subway when in New York to see and interact with the heart of the city: its people.

Brooklyn Bridge: Did you even go to New York if you don't walk across this bridge? No one would believe you did. When I was here, I witnessed a man proposing to his girlfriend, and the entire crowd burst into awwws. There might have been onions around me too. Whatever your expectations are, this city will surprise you in delightful ways. At the very least, crossing the bridge while admiring the skyline of New York City should inspire a little awe, if not a lot of warmth and fuzziness inside you.

The Strand Bookstore: The Strand is a great place to meet other old souls. If you don't like them in human form, then you might want to let yourself get lost in the stories of thousands of books. The book that's been on your wishlist, it's definitely here. That book you've been meaning to write? Could maybe already be found here too. ;)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Millennials know The Met from Gossip Girl. Besides its iconic steps, it holds some of the greatest pieces of art within its towering rooms. You don't have to be someone who's "artistic" or a regular museum visitor to appreciate this place: there's something for everyone and when you've found yours, you might stand mesmerized for hours.

Grand Central Terminal: The first time I was here, I was on a first date. I'd like to think I fell in love on that night, yet I will never know why. Perhaps there's something about a crossroads location where thousands of people commute each day, leaving tiny parts of themselves behind, to intermingle with the souls of yesteryears. Time runs thin here, everyone is catching a connecting train to somewhere but if you have a moment, stand from afar as you guess the lives of all who pass through here.

Central Park: All across Central Park are benches with personalized plaques on them. These plaques contain personal quotes, or descriptions of people who have passed, contributed by family members, friends, and anyone whose life has been changed by the subject. One day, I aim to spend an entire day reading every single plaque there is, but until then, perhaps you will find your favorite before I do.
I am such a hopeless romantic. I really done fell in love with the city. Also its people. I love New York City. The magic is in its thousands of people organizing against the police to protect homeless and poor people of color from being criminalized for not paying MTA fare. The magic is in thousands of people like me, going there to change the world, for a change in their own lives, to create things of their own, all of it spilling into one another's bubbles. I miss New York. I miss the way I felt happy to be alive when I was there.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

FACTS AND FIGURES

I had the luxury of having spare time yesterday so I picked up a copy of Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think. I bought it because I wanted to have some hope about the world and our future, and I thought perhaps exposing myself to certain facts would help. I read about a third of the book and I have decided not to continue. Anyone who wants it is welcome to get it from me, I have a physical copy and I don't know what to do with it. The book was published sometime in 2017 and outlines that as humans, we are outrageously bad at knowing the conditions of the world and predicting trends that are expected to happen. There are many good and nice things reported in the book, and indeed most of them are true and factual. In the past two hundred years, the world has indeed progressed at astonishing rates like never before, and the writer predicts that this trend will continue. Something the book sorely lacks is a grounded view of climate change, they do not acknowledge that climate change has happened as a result of our progress and industrialization and therefore the fact that should our financial conditions improve, the climate will also steadily become worse. There are dozens of locations in the world that have been burning non-stop this year. He also brings up only facts that serve his case, meaning economic wealth and overall lifespans may have increased, yet at the very same time, mental health has been on the decline. While we're at it, the fact that mental health has only recently gotten the attention it needs means that there are barely enough resources to equip future generations with dealing with it, so ya. The book didn't make me feel better, it feels like an ostrich burying its head in the sand to avoid looking at hard facts. There are already more critiques of the book readily available online. I read them and they are chock full of more relevant facts than the book is. I really didn't think it would be like this, I read it because I wanted to be hopeful about the future of the world but the way to be hopeful is not in denying reality. I really want to study gender and women's studies, then become a therapist for women, and also write a book while I'm at it. If the world is going to end, I might as well try to go out with a bang, right????

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

DEXTER'S LAB

I was talking to a friend from work, she moved here from the States 'cos her husband got transferred for work. I asked who she would vote for next year, she said she hasn't done her research yet so I tried to sway her to Bernie's camp lolol. I was very transparent about the fact that I like Bernie because he's passionate and he would make college tuition-free. I'm hoping that I would have to only pay for my first two years of tuition (which I enrolled for at a community college so it would be way cheaper) and when I'm converting my associate's degree to a bachelor's the two years after, college would be free in New York! I thought I would take a bank loan and have certain family members as guarantors (who are not my parents because my parents are always struggling with cash, read: four children per parent) but said family members tried to dissuade me from studying once they found out I was an atheist so basically, SNAFU. What else, what else. I still have $28,000 held by the government. I really don't want to spend $28,000 CPF back on the government on a goddamn flat, but that's the only thing I can do. Not that I can even use it to buy an apartment for income unless I get married, so..... Again, whatever. This government hates someone of my demographic and I hate them equally mutually. Will the patron saint of Sarah Mei Lyana please step up and PayPal money into my account?! I said PLEASE!!!! Y'all think I'm a comedy queen but I really ain't playing. I'm going to be broke all my life. Speaking of which, actually not at all speaking of which, y'all need to watch the latest episode of Patriot Act, about why billionaires won't save us, and why billionaires should not exist. Even Bill Gates, or anyone as well-intentioned, should not exist as a billionaire. I would write more on it but tbh Hasan Minhaj and his team has already done all the research and made it humorous enough on his show, so if there's one thing you do for me this year (besides Venmoing me cash) please go and watch it.

Friday, November 29, 2019

ICARUS

I went for another session at CruBox this week. Bebe, the co-founder who was also holding our session, came to my punching bag during a round of knockout (that's when they just let you go ham on the bag) and she said, "this is the day you've been waiting for, go harder and faster" so I did. I also made potato salad and cooked dinner twice this week, and this gives me immense satisfaction. Last night, Lucas and I watched Icarus, a documentary about Russia's state-sponsored doping for their Olympic athletes. They highly likely killed off an official involved but then reported it was a heart attack. Today I ended my shift at Lululemon (this is why I get to claim workout sessions) and the entire mall was jammed 'cos people were shopping out Black Friday sales. Two nights ago, we watched the fast fashion episode of Patriot Act and I have restrained myself from buying any article of clothing, seeing as I don't really need one. My heart sank seeing the massive turnouts at the sale, not that I would blame them, anyway. When you're not in the ruling class and capitalism makes it so hard and expensive to buy things, I understand that splurging on sales to get more value for your money could contribute to some measure of satisfaction. Of course nobody has the time to think of the real cost of all the cheap clothes: the cheap labor that earn close to slave wages, the oils and plastics and unsustainable material that go into each single piece of clothing (I'm not one to talk, I work at Lululemon lol). Today I thought about the Russians who place no value on a human life, who don't see the moral implications in killing someone they used. I thought about the crowds of people spending money that doesn't even technically exist on things that don't matter, and I thought. If climate change wipes us out, maybe it's a way to start over. We started millions of years after our ancestors died in ice ages past, and maybe climate change is yet another factor in the ebb and flow of life and nature. I mean, if you compared the two situations down to the minutiae, we have seven billion people currently in the world, and the average lifespan has increased to the longest a human has ever reached. This is both good and bad, seeing as the misery of billions of people is now prolonged, and on the flipside, we have had much more time to explore our individual and collective potential. We are only as strong as the weakest of us, and there are people who still value new clothes for Christmas or protecting their so-called world reputation over saving humanity, and if that is the case, which it is, then how much of that is really worth saving from climate change? Perhaps as a species, we have all flown too close to the sun. All this to say, there is no answer, but Eleanor is the answer. If you Google the phrase "there is no answer but Eleanor is the answer" you will see the internet having a meltdown over our collective favorite TV couple, the only TV couple that matters and that is real, tbh. There is no answer to life, and you will always be the answer. The Good Place still makes me believe in romance, and I will always laugh and cry at it. Deep down, I will always know what is right, and it is what I have always felt.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

JIMMY EAT WORLD

So today I was so sick of shit I Googled "how do I end the simulation of life" ugh the simulation I'm in really sucks. Come on, what else can I do, I've tried to break all the fourth walls. I'm so sick of this crap. I was listening to a song today and I recalled a memory. When I was dating early this year before I'd met Lucas, I met an Australian guy. I wrote a bit about him but not this part. He works in oil and gas and I think he enjoys a pretty decent position. When we met and I asked what he worked as, he prefaced it with "I'm a bad guy" before telling me he worked in the oil and gas industry. At the time, I don't think I'd told him any of my thoughts about the environment. I don't know if he always prefaces his job with the fact that he's a bad guy, or he'd already read this website and had a gist of the person I would be. I wonder if people think I'm terribly judgmental, because I think I am, but not in a bad way, I don't think? Like it's okay if you're gay, bi, asexual, non-monogamous, but I'm very vocal about working in certain industries. And yet. And yet of course there are always contradictions. I wonder if I will always set the highest expectations knowing they are impossible to reach and for everyone to disappoint me. Can someone goddamn get me out of here, please?

Monday, November 18, 2019

ALPINESTARS

My sister was cleaning her room and found a box of my stuff. This was like, stuff. Kept through years and years of relationships and people and memories. I went and took a look at all of it, and I remembered the emotions I'd had when I first received all of it.



9 years ago, when I was twenty, I won the second prize in an essay-writing competition held by the Irish embassy in Singapore. I received the monetary prize on May 11, it was my birthday, and I remember exactly the way I felt walking by myself that night, I remember smiling and feeling grateful.


I used to have a best friend who introduced me to entire worlds, it is because of her I am filled with knowledge of Hamilton the musical, I used to laugh till it hurt and also cry till it hurt, with her by my side. I used to be completely obsessed with a celebrity Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and he was actually the reason I went to LA the first time, to find him! I didn't ever meet him, but I did eventually meet another Joseph and fell in love with that one instead.

I was terribly infatuated with Spring Awakening, and I made really amazing friends. A girl called Nicole was working in the production and she knew I was infatuated with half of the Spring Awakening cast, so for my birthday that year, she got all of them to write me birthday messages, and compiled them into a card.



There's this Singaporean celebrity called Nathan Hartono, who is super cute and sweet, he also did it. I still stalk his Instagram sometimes, his bio has always been "I stalk each and every one of you too" and I wonder if he remembers he made this fangirl in me deliriously happy with his little gesture. I got a photo with him because Nicole made it happen, I think? I look so young and so happy in that picture but I was such a nerd back then!!!! Am I still a nerd now??? I guess I am.

On one of my birthdays, my best friends at the time got me drumming lessons from the guy I'd had a crush on since high school, Khalis. They made me a certificate in the form of a golden ticket (as in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and they got me pink drumsticks, because of course. I shopped for real sticks with Khalis, and I still remember exactly what happened that day.

It feels bittersweet to be thinking of all my past experiences with so many people who are no longer in my life, but I really don't regret much anymore. I know that I've grown a lot, all year every year, and my views on life have changed.

I've become more confident in my own views and I know who I want to spend time and energy on. I used to be very aggravated by people who cheat, or don't work towards changing realities for marginalized communities, but eventually I suppose everybody has their own capacities. I can only be proud of myself for my growth and hope to meet other people with similar mindsets and growth trajectories.



I remember what I was wearing the night I received this gift, I had my long hair in two pigtails, and I wore a threadless T-shirt with a dinosaur print.

The first time I went to LA, to find Joseph Gordon-Levitt (this is why all my passwords incorporate Jorah HAHAHAHA), we couchsurfed at a host Nick's place. Nick brought us to his family's Christmas party, and it was the best Christmas party I'd ever been to, maybe because it gets a little cold there (there is no winter at all in Singapore!), and we had delicious homemade food.


We met the guy who voices Patrick Star, and we didn't even know it. He kept doing Patrick Star references during the party, and I was like, what???? Then he gave me a signed copy of the SpongeBob movie. LA is such a weird town to be in. I love it to bits.


These are my favorite books and films.

Last week, I was feeling very overwhelmed, I do think some of it might have been the birth control pill I've been on. But then I looked through all the memorabilia, and I thought, I have to hold on to the memories I've had, all the happiness I've felt through my life, to get me through all the tough times in life.

So I was going through an extremely low point last week, and then my sister Lyssa sent me this in a text:
hello just droppin by to tell you that you're a good person who deserves good things even though you probably know that already

i know you don't share the belief but i still send little prayers your way hoping you're happy it's okie if it doesn't mean shit to you but it means something to me

i hope depression doesn't take someone important away from me

love you girl
I felt better, right.

The very next day, Lyssa felt low because my mother and grandmother asked why she was taking so long with school, and why she's been "wasting so much time doing nothing", so Lyssa texted me instead.

You have to remember that both Lyssa and I have mental health issues, but I think I do better in this regard. I don't know if it's because I have let go of religion and stopped feeling shame and blaming myself for a lot of things, whereas Lyssa still does. I've always been high-functioning and held a job regardless how much I hate capitalism and toiling away at work. I've actually felt survivor's guilt since I left home because I knew that now I'm not there, being the eldest child in the household means that Lyssa would now get the brunt of the parents' critique.

If I had been there and heard my mother and grandma asking her such insensitive questions, I would have told them that neither Lyssa nor I received support for our mental health issues, not after our parents' divorce, not when my mother had cancer and we had to be the adult children, not when I had a miscarriage, never until I recently began demanding it. I would tell them that life isn't a race against each other, and there is no end point to learning, and that Lyssa might take longer because life is generally harder on her and her emotional capacity.

Honestly, one of the things I resent myself for is not saving money when I could have done so, so that I could financially afford to bring Lyssa with me wherever I go, whether in Singapore or otherwise. Then again, I guess she has to have her own course into adulthood and perhaps one day she will be mature enough to fend for herself and let go of anyone who's a detriment to her mental health and happiness. I hope she will be strong enough despite her mental health issues.

Anyway. I hope y'all have a good week.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

OK BOOMER

I think my therapist asked for my goals moving forward into the new year, and I said I wanted to make friends with intention. She laughed and said she'd never heard of the exact phrase about making friends, but I think I was serious, and I really want to practise it. When I do eventually move to the US, I would like to make friends with people who are politically aligned with me. I wouldn't be allowed to vote, of course, but I do support Bernie Sanders. Here are a couple of videos that I think highlight why only Bernie Sanders is worth the vote, you don't have to watch all the speeches, just his and perhaps AOC's if you wanted to.




I do have friends both in the West Coast and East Coast, and if you're voting for anyone else, you are welcome to direct me to materials and resources of your chosen candidates. I do, however, think that Bernie Sanders is the one candidate (backed by AOC, no less) who aims to really overturn inequality, in terms of wealth, especially with respect to systemic racial biases and discrimination.

Yesterday, I got really upset with Lucas. I'd booked a rather fancy restaurant for his birthday next weekend, and I was checking my emails on my phone, when he saw the thread and guessed that I was asking the restaurant to surprise him with a cake. There are several nuances to this.

First, when we are eating out, Lucas usually pays and so this was the one time I'm doing one thing for him, I wanted to give him a real treat and succeed at it. Second, I got really annoyed because he really likes to look over my shoulder to see what I'm doing on my phone. I don't know why! I don't know what he thinks I'm doing, emailing my ex-boyfriends??? I would just like to point out that this is impossible on two counts: I don't have any of my exes' emails (except Adam's, but that's 'cos it's autosaved on my Gmail), and second, if I were in contact with anyone, everyone would know because as you can tell, I cannot keep a secret, nor do I see any point in keeping secrets. I have no secrets from Lucas, and I just wanted to surprise him with a cake, and I goddamn failed!

Anyway, if you feel like I'm spiralling, it's because I am. I have been on the birth control pill for the past three weeks, and this is my week off from it, to allow me to get my period. I started taking it because we'd exhausted the other options for my dysmenorrhea (severe menstrual cramps). When I was having the consultation with my doctor, she said some side effects would be some mood changes. I'd heard from several friends that they'd had bouts of depression when they started taking the pill, so I told my doctor that I was already inclined to mental health instability, so she said she would monitor me.

I think this first cycle of the pill has indeed affected me, some nights I just cry for no reason! I just feel so down and out and I can't help it at all. Also, given that the pill I'm on is for birth control, you'd think it would help in the bedroom, but! Conversely, my libido is now probably lower than a post-menopausal grandmother's. So... physically I guess there are no cramps, but at the cost of my sex life and also my irrational completely bottoming out and melting down into tears? Worth it? I don't know yet. I'll give it the three months of pills I got, before deciding.

Recently, Lucas has been following the impeachment hearings, he watches them while I'm next to him and I can hear it even while I'm not looking at his screen. I know Lucas knows I hate following news of Trump, because the things that Trump stands for directly affect someone like me and how I present to the world. Lucas is a white man, even though he is a Slav, outwardly when he's in the US, nobody will ever know. Even still, he watches the impeachment proceedings and here is the worst part, the only reason he watches is for the political drama. No matter which way the Trump presidency ends, Lucas just likes to watch Trump being stupid and laughing at it.

Also, in the past month of my extreme mood swings, some nights when I'm crying myself out (because there is really nothing I can do besides cry it out), Lucas just sleeps! He's just sleeping it off. So. I guess the bottomline of this is I don't know how people can get married without actually trying to live together, because there are dealbreakers that will drive you crazy, or you are legitimately sort of crazy and are always spiralling like me, at which point you might drive away your partner.

Life is tough.

Monday, November 04, 2019

INGLEWOOD

I went to The Conscious Festival on Saturday. It's basically a festival that's for cleaner, greener, more sustainable living in light of climate change. There was a booth by Underground Theatre Singapore. A performer was wearing a mask, seated in front of a typewriter. They asked if I wanted her to write a poem based on what she thought of me, and she began typing as I watched.

The world may take freedom as a fluffy impractical moss.
But your heart knows better.
That freedom is the fuel of our soul.
And your life is an example for the world to see.
An example that the world needs in this time of strife.
It moved me so much I'm still thinking about it. Sure, perhaps it's just one of several poems or sayings the person might have had and they were lucky to apply it to me, but it still really strikes me as very appropriate.

I went for a session at Crubox, it was the first time I'd tried boxing. I don't know if you know, but you have to keep your hands up at all times when you're boxing, so you can defend your face if you need to. My arms were the most tired they'd probably ever been, but it was fun. I think I'll sign up for a package at Crubox, since my new employment benefits allow me to claim them anyway.

It reminded me of my first ex-boyfriend, he had a punching bag hanging in his room. He said it was a good way to release his anger and at the time, twelve years ago, I didn't understand it and I didn't like this need for an avenue to release anger. Twelve years later, I realize what he meant. At the time I went for the Crubox session, I was going through stuff with my family, so I told myself to just take out my feelings on the bag.

For the past several years, I think when I go through things, I would automatically feel sad and tune into the sadness but recently, I think I've been channeling more and more of it into anger, which is a great fuel for energy.

Last week, I worked for fifteen days straight and I was so tired I ended up spending the last few nights just crying out my exhaustion. Along with Lush, I've also been working at another retail workplace, so when I wasn't at one, I was at the other. I was on my feet for pretty much fifty hours a week.

Sometimes I listen to songs, and I read things, and I know that the strength of a human being extends way past two retail jobs, I know people are struggling in poverty and there are parents juggling three odd jobs and not getting enough rest or sleep. I tell myself this is just how capitalism works, and if someone else can do it, so can I, but honestly, if this is the norm just to survive, it really needs to be changed.

At my new workplace, yesterday, there was a lady who was shopping, and her teenage daughter was waiting for her. The daughter told me she used to also have pink hair, as well as dyed the entire spectrum of colors, before having to shave her head because her hair was pretty much damaged to death. She said she didn't enjoy her head with a shave because she couldn't pull off the look, but her mother came along and said she looked super cute with a shaved head.

This suddenly made me emotional, thinking how some parents are supportive of their children regardless what they do and want to do, and how some parents would flip out if their daughter wanted to shave their head. Sigh.

I only just realized if I move to the US, I would probably be surrounded by people who speak Spanish, so I think those are my next lessons to go for.

You know, and it gets into this whole issue of border security, you know, who's gonna say that the borders are secure? We've got the House and the Senate debating this issue, and it's... it's really astonishing that in a country founded by immigrants, "immigrant" has somehow become a bad word. So the debate rages on and we continue....

I got one job, two job, three when I need them
I got five roommates in this one studio, but I never really see them
and we all came America trying to get a lap dance from Lady Freedom
but now Lady Liberty is acting like Hilary Banks with a pre-nup
man, I was brave, sailing on graves
don’t think I didn’t notice those tombstones disguised as waves
I’m no dummy, here is something funny, you can be an immigrant without risking your lives
or crossing these borders with thrifty supplies
all you got to do is see the world with new eyes

immigrants, we get the job done
look how far I come
look how far I come
look how far I come
we get the job done

it’s a hard line when you’re an import
baby boy, it's hard times
when you ain't sent for
racists feed the belly of the beast
with they pitchforks, rich chores
done by the people that get ignored
ya se armó
ya se despertaron
it’s a whole awakening
la alarma ya sonó hace rato
los que quieren buscan
pero nos apodan como vagos
we are the same ones
hustling on every level
ten los datos
walk a mile in our shoes
abróchense los zapatos
I been scoping ya dudes, ya’ll ain't been working like I do
I'll outwork you, it hurts you
you claim I’m stealing jobs though
Peter Piper claimed he picked them, he just underpaid Pablo
but there ain't a paper trail when you living in the shadows
we're America's ghost writers, the credit's only borrowed
it’s a matter of time before the checks all come
but...

immigrants, we get the job done

the credit is only borrowed
it’s America's ghost writers, the credit's only borrowed

ay yo aye, immigrants we don’t like that
na they don’t play British empire strikes back
they beating us like 808’s and high hats
at our own game of invasion, but this ain't Iraq
who these fugees what did they do for me
but contribute new dreams
taxes and tools, swagger and food to eat
cool, they flee war zones, but the problem ain't ours
even if our bombs landed on them like the Mayflower
Buckingham Palace or Capitol Hill
blood of my ancestors had that all built
it's the ink you print on your dollar bill, oil you spill
thin red line on the flag you hoist when you kill
but still we just say "look how far I come"
Hindustan, Pakistan, to London
to a galaxy far from their ignorance
'cos

immigrants, we get the job done

por tierra o por agua
identidad falsa
brincamos muros o flotamos en balsas
la peleamos como Sandino en Nicaragua
somos como las plantas que crecen sin agua
sin pasaporte americano
porque la mitad de gringolandia es terreno mexicano
hay que ser bien hijo e puta
nosotros les sembramos el árbol y ellos se comen la fruta
somos los que cruzaron
aquí vinimos a buscar el oro que nos robaron
tenemos mas trucos que la policía secreta
metimos la casa completa en una maleta
con un pico, una pala
y un rastrillo
te construimos un castillo
como es que dice el coro cabrón?

immigrants, we get the job done