Friday, October 15, 2021

ANOMALISA


you call me again drunk in your Benz
driving home under the influence
you scared me to death
but I'm wasting my breath
'cos you only listen to your fucking friends

I don't relate to you
I don't relate to you, no
'cos I'd never treat me this shitty
you make me hate this city
and I don't talk shit about you on the Internet
never told anyone anything bad
'cos that shit's embarrassing
you were my everything

and all that you did was make me fucking sad
so don't waste the time I don't have
don't try to make me feel bad

I would like to make a disclaimer that I am simply linking this song because it's been in my head since I first heard it at the Friendsgiving dinner I went to on Sunday evening. I think it's a good song, and I love the contrast between how calm and serene it sounds before it turns into an absolutely ragey rant, and it still works so well together. It's one of those songs I think will stay in my mind for years to come. I absolutely did not expect this.

This has been a lovely week for me. Kass invited me to a Friendsgiving dinner, where I had my first sweet potato pie that was topped with marshmallows. North Americans eat the weirdest food, but it works, so. I had my first mid-term test this week, I have consumed a lot of media for school and have written a lot over the course of the past seven days, so I don't quite have much more in the way of words.

I shared a password to a media platform with someone who has been in my life for a literal week, and he shared his password to another media platform that I don't have a subscription to, and I don't quite know why, but this feels so intimate. I am possibly ascribing more meaning to something than it inherently has, but that's me, as you well know. People have been very nice to me, and I am smiling, and laughing so much, and even though it is way too early to tell and I will never know why, I think I know which direction I am leaning toward. What do I mean? Who knows? We'll see. 

As always, I wish you the best weekends and the best lives. :)

Saturday, October 9, 2021

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB

It has been a long day, but a very good one. This morning I gave my presentation on Dante’s Vita Nuova, I was proud of my slides and the snarky words I’d chosen to highlight Dante’s sheer audacity. That was at the start of the class, and my professor said after that, that it was such a high bar for the rest of the class to match up to in their weekly presentations, and that my professor herself didn’t want to follow after me, to conduct the class. She was being very sweet and kind to me, but I felt so relieved and appreciated for the work I had put in. I really like this professor, I want to be friends with her and her co-lecturer, who is such an interesting and fascinating character, with the most wondrous collection of knowledge. My presentation lasted five minutes, so we had one hour and twenty-five minutes left in the class. It is the liberal studies class, where we discuss important texts about love and friendship, and two of my classmates engaged in an organic debate about the parallels between Dante and Diotima (from completely different texts) and they got so involved, one of them began visualising an entire new premise of his own, and drew it in the form of a graph on the blackboard. We mathematically and graphically tried to represent philosophy, and spoke of asymptotes (I’ll give you what the axes represent if you ask me, it’s a long, 2000-year-old story). I felt like I was being treated to the first, unrevised versions of my classmates’ respective future TED talks, if TED talks are a thing that will continue way into the future. Sometimes I worry about money, I wonder how I will afford to pay for all of my tuition, because my loan doesn’t cover all of it, but in that moment, I gave myself leave to enjoy education and knowledge, for the sake of the education and knowledge I was receiving. My heart was full of love and joy. It was a moment that will live in my memory for very, very long, and I cherish it. I wish education were affordable and accessible to everyone who wants it, and not done for the sake of capitalism and earning higher wages. 

I did some work in between, until DnD started at 5pm. Every week, I get more terms added to my lexicon, I learn how to say “nat twenty” for a natural 20 on the die, “soft twenty”, which is when your die adds up with your character bonuses to give you twenty, and today I learned “dice jail”, which is the funniest and most endearing thing I learned about the superstitions of my fellow players, who are otherwise pretty darn intelligent and rational. We were well into our session when one of them said he wanted sushi. I haven’t had sushi in Nanaimo, it’s supposed to be really fresh and good and cheap here, because we’re right by the sea, so I said we should order sushi. Then the girl next to me said she should probably eat because she hadn’t eaten for the day and she had gotten started on a new medication for ADHD, today itself. We took forever to order because all the nearby sushi places that delivered were closed for the day, etc etc, but we got into some pretty whackass hilarious conversations over the phone, as a group. In the end, we couldn’t get sushi but I insisted that we order pizza, for the sake of the girl who hadn’t eaten. It was pretty alright pizza, incomparable to sushi – a food I would marry if I could, but at the end of it, she sent me a personal message on Discord thanking me for being kind, and again, I felt the same love I’d felt with my professor in the morning. I have strong protective instincts, it comes with having many younger siblings. I’m not the best elder sister, but I know the people who hurt my younger siblings, I would be down to… do something to them in return. I also have strong protective instincts because there are a lot of people in my life who have always fought to protect me, because I suppose I’ve had lots of bumps in my life and I didn’t grow up the same way they did, so I learn from these strong protective forces in my life, all the time. Alternatively, I also don’t like it when people don’t have their meals on time, because I know sometimes when you’re not mentally all there, when you’re just too preoccupied with life, it just takes you more spoons to make sure your body is equipped with the basics it needs. Self-care can be impossible for the people who need it most, so I needed to make sure this girl fed herself.

I’ve been quite homesick, there are many things I miss about being home. I feel like I would sound ungrateful if I voiced it, so I don’t, but I know everything I know, everything I love is back there. I love Canada, I love the part of Canada I’m in, every day has been such a joy but I’ve been trying to be honest with all the conflicting feelings I’m having. Today, today I felt at ease, and joyful, and loving and loved, and I was proud of today. Today someone was kind to me and I was able to pass that kindness on.

Friday, October 1, 2021

EXIT PLAN

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 

― Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, September 27, 2021

STUFF WE DID

A thing that I'm getting used to while I'm here, is how comfortable some people can be about themselves, by themselves. They text when they want to text, they don't text if they don't want to text. They say what they really mean, and mean what they say. I think it's a little bit of a culture shock. I don't know if it's particularly my gender or Malay-Muslim community or the fact that I was in fact a woman and grew up in the Malay-Muslim community, but I suppose a lot of my identity in Singapore had to do with how I relate to others, how good of a friend I am, how much of a big sister I can be to my younger peers at work, how I interact with my family members. A lot of who I am hinges upon what I can be or do in service of other people. It is the first time I am living on my own, properly and for the long-term, and I have all the freedom in the world, within reasonable boundaries. I would like to explore the sliding-scale of my personality, and find out who I am, and how much of who I am is what I thought other people wanted me to be. I have spoken to Joey more and more, and I think he is trying to make me have some sense of the person he really is, so I don't live in my head or portray an ideal of him in my head. In a way, I've always known the person he really is, of course, I just didn't want to contend with it. However, I find that this might work just as well, if I'm to really find peace and move along. I've been playing catch-up on my schoolwork, I think it's going as well as can be hoped for. I don't have much to say about school, I feel like it takes up a lot of my brain juice so I don't have much energy to think about anything else. DnD has been fun, I am at the babiest of steps of creating my character, and I have about 99% more information to absorb about the entire realm, so that's yet another information overload I'm constantly engaging in. MJ gave me some very significant advice yesterday, and I do hope that if a romance unfolds here, it will be like the one I had with him at work (not that it was a romance), but I hope it's a dynamic in which I make a friend, and we grow to know and trust each other, and I hope if I fall for the person here, they fall back for me. I miss MJ, he's so much more mature than he portrays himself to be. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

RAVEN

In Love and Friendship this morning, we further discussed Plato’s Symposium. Diotima says love should be a love in the abstract, a general love for the general, whereas Alcibiades makes it very, very personal and asserts that for love to be love, there must be one particular object to direct your love to. In it, there is a speech made by Alcibiades, he proclaims his love for Socrates and it is a speech I very much identify with. There is a kind of desperation to his tangent, I like the speech very much, as I can be relied on to admire most ideals of love. I think the kind of love I know how to do is the kind that feels both possible and impossible at the same time, the kind that makes you feel there’s no love that’s not laced with hate. Contrary to what people may believe or want to believe about me, there are far fewer people I love and care for, than the ones that I do. It takes me a lot to actually love someone, I think, of course there are prerequisites that must be fulfilled, the foundational level has to be ticked, before you go up another level, and then another, and then eventually, you reach the point of love. I find that I have been compartmentalising much more than I thought I was, there is an entire box of things, in my brain, that exists without my contributing to it. It’s a box with wardrobes and shelves, it knows without ever expressing: the RX8 is his car, this is the model of bike he rides, that’s the truck, these are the Vans he wore, that’s what he drinks as a meal replacement, what series did we watch together way back when, what school did they do their Master’s at, what colors does he mix up from color blindness, this is how he laughs, that’s the kind of joke I already expect him to make, he likes dulce de leche ice cream, this is what he can benchpress, what time and what day will he respond, what product does he use in his hair, how do I make his bed because I’ve never had a flat sheet for mine, who am I thinking about when it comes right down to it? Who is it? It infuriates me because I keep this box pretty well-sealed but somehow it seeps through and the feelings I get from it are stronger, they are more vivid by the time they reach my senses, they make me question everything and nothing — and I, I am currently a scholar of at least one philosophy module but the more I learn, the more I learn that I don’t know anything.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

VETTEL TAKES A STROLL

I feel like this week is the week that has made me feel like this is now my real life. It has been such a week, and it’s only Thursday. I wore the wrong top to school yesterday, and it was suddenly windy when I walked home, so I was pretty sure I was going to get hypothermia. I’ve begun to feel the little inklings of stress that comes with being in school. The worry from the night before an assignment is due: should I stay up now to complete it or will I be able to work better if I sleep and do it early in the morning? Will I wake up in time to do my assignment or will I miss my alarm? Yesterday when I got home I was completely out of energy from the cold (and from my nine hours in school) and I was too lazy to cook, so I heated up a can of soup, soup that probably had minimal amounts of nutrition and also tasted terrible. My only respite was Money Heist. When I watch Money Heist I feel like the Spanish in my brain that I learned from Duolingo, it comes alive, but then I go out into real life, and I forget everything. Yesterday I was outside a classroom where I could hear a level 100 class of Spanish being held. It was cute. Two years from now a handful of them will only be able to order off a Spanish menu and that will be pretty much it. That’s as conversational as it gets.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

IN MY HEAD
I DO EVERYTHING RIGHT

I found out why I was having such fever dreams and almost texted Joey. Almost, but I did not. Sarah 1 - 0 hormones. I got my period, obviously. I wonder if other girls get this damn horny in the build-up to their periods. Why doesn't anyone ever talk about such things? I find it strange. I find a lot of things strange, but I do find this strange as well. Like, it's a natural mechanism for the human body to feel hungry, and it's okay for me to say I'm hungry three times a day, and say I'm craving Mexican food. And then my body tells me to jump someone's bones, because it's in heat, and suddenly it's taboo to say. Why? Who set the damn rules? The Bible? The Quran? HAHAHA. 

I had my first day of school yesterday. It was so long, both my 3-hour classes actually went on for 3 hours each, so I had six straight hours of classes. I do not understand why my schedule is so heavy on only one day, but I think when I accepted it it was because I'd planned to work on my free days, which is still supposed to happen. I had my first lecture for a liberal studies mod, it's called Love and Friendship, which sounds like ridiculous bullshit, but I enjoyed it so very much.

It's basically a course where we parse texts ranging from thousands of years to decades ago, we're reading the likes of Plato and Goethe and Sophocles, and we're taking everything that was said in those texts, about love and friendship. We do also discuss some rather more contemporary influences, like Virginia Woolf and MLK, Jr. Both the co-lecturers are so, so engaging and funny and entertaining (one of them broke out into song and dance, and I swear I fell in love with her, but no, I can't - because power dynamics in a school). 

We were talking about love in two of its Greek forms, erōs and philia. Plato describes each human as having been a full four-legged creature and so when we were split into two, we all have a yearning for our other half, through ages and ages, looking for them. I'm going to tell you exactly what went through my head as this was being said in the lecture. I thought of Joey. Listen, I don't know how my brain works, I don't know how anything works, but Joey was the person who scratched Taylor's Love Story for me when we first met five years ago, and in case you just met me, Taylor Swift is my favorite artist of all time. My only frame of reference is my entire life of experiences, so yeah. I don't quite have a fair chance of asking my brain to jump to anyone or anything else, immediately, when such incidents are discussed. 

Anyhow, I also had my first Feminisms and Genders (they are two different modules) seminars yesterday, those are the classes that stretched across six hours. My professor is the head of the department and she's rad. I love her too, she's head (and creator) of the committee to deconstruct the syllabus and make everything anti-racist. She's very respectful of the lands we live on, and she taught us to say the Native names of the territory and its people. I said when I started school I wanted to go by Sarah Mei, and true enough, in my Feminisms seminar, we have three Sarahs (fuck me I TOLD YOU it's the most common name), so she immediately picked me out as Sarah Mei. 

This semester's going to be super great. I can tell I'm going to enjoy my classes phenomenally. I definitely need to have a coffee to start off every Wednesday though.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

CHRISTA MCAULIFFE

Okay so, tomorrow is my first official day of school. It’s a Wednesday and Wednesdays are my longest days. I have three classes from 8.30am all the way to 5.30pm. The good thing is there’s a Starbucks in the building of my first class, and as a planner, I’ve planned my day to include a Starbucks drink, if I’m feeling a little decadent. Otherwise, I’ll just drink whatever I have at home. As a planner, I’ve also planned many other ridiculous things in life. I’ve planned what to go as for Halloween (that’s like seven weeks away). Here is what’s ridiculous about it: it’s a couples outfit, and I have no romantic partner. I’m nailing this planning thing. I’ve also planned a trip to Mérida, Mexico! That’s where Samin Nosrat went to in the Netflix episode so I figure I can find really good food there. I already found out how much the return tickets will be. Not quite dirt cheap, but not exactly expensive. It’s not gonna be out of my pocket, anyhow, so I might as well travel while it’s still valid. I’m just gonna settle in to school, get used to my workload, and then I’ll book it. Perhaps in November or December, when it’s cold here and I want a week of sun. Perhaps, if my schoolwork allows it. Can you tell I’m nervous about school? Because I am. My schoolmates are all a literal decade younger than I am, what are they going to talk about??? Animal Crossing? TikTok? Oh my God I’m ancient.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

MELIPONA

I applied to join two different student clubs in school. I'm not sure if I'll be accepted, I don't know how they work here, but both are activities I've never really dabbled in, so I'll be in the deep end of the pool. I do know I'd love to learn all about how each different aspect of life works, it would be cool to grow in territories I've never stepped on, so we'll see. I just finished watching an episode of Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat, I have one more episode left (the Heat episode). The Netflix series basically explains how each of the four factors plays a part in cooking, and so I've bought the cookbook to use in my future kitchen adventures. I've been cooking a lot since I got here. Mostly because it's cheaper to cook, but also because I enjoy cooking. I didn't used to cook as much because it was my grandma's domain, she shows her love for us through her cooking and her food is really good, anyhow, so there was no need for me to step into the kitchen. I did enjoy it, though, there were a few recipes I would always make that my friends loved to eat, and my mom knew I liked to cook, so she got me an apron that I brought along to wear when I cook here. I'm looking forward to using the Salt Fat Acid Heat cookbook because I've really liked how she's approached it almost as a science, I've never seen a cooking show that worked like hers. The reviews for the cookbook are stellar too. In the Acid episode on Netflix, she went to a village in Mexico where the residents bring their little cornflour/masa to the community mill to make their tortillas, and it's so adorable. I love the idea of communal living and facilities. Everything they made in the Acid episode looked amazing, from the tikin xic to all the different salsas with habanero and without, to the pavlova (looked! stunning!). There's a little Mexican restaurant a block away from our place, that looks super good, it's always packed, and I think the owners/chefs might be actually Mexican. They have horchata! I saw the menu but I haven't eaten there yet. I love Mexican food, but in Singapore, we don't have Mexican food like they do in this part of the world. Don't get me wrong, the Mexican restaurants in Singapore serve great food, but it's not like when I was in LA where I got to visit small shops making their own tortillas instead of using machine-made ones. Plus, you can't find horchata in Singapore. I wanna see Mexico sometime. Y'all know I won that flight credit from the TripAdvisor writing contest thing (I must have mentioned when I won it), and I used some of it on the way here, so I've got like $10k left to use. I'm guessing flying to Mexico from here wouldn't take up too much money. The only thing I need is for the pandemic thing to settle, I think I can travel out of and back into Canada, if I test negative for the virus, I know I was exempt from quarantine because of my vaccination status, but I don't know. I don't wanna take my chances, and the damn PCR test is invasive as heck. It feels like when you accidentally swallow a gulp of water when you're swimming, but instead of water, it's.... a solid stick. Bluergh.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

UNDERCUT

Yesterday, I went to the Value Village at the University Mall near my place. Value Village is a thrift store, and I was looking for a secondhand kettle and rice cooker. When I was cashing out, the girl at the cashier said she liked my skirt and asked me where it was from. I told her it was from Singapore, so she asked if I was going to uni and I said yes. We found out we're taking the same philosophy module this semester, and she said some of the reading materials for that course could be found right there, secondhand. I made my first friend, her name is Skyler! Cannot wait to see her again in school!!!!


I thrifted maybe half the things I would need, like cookware and bedroom furniture. One of them was this mirror. I did a room tour, which is a stories highlight on my Instagram now. It's a little silly to do a room tour 'cos the room isn't big and I don't have very much, but as I said, my Singaporean friends are eager to see all about my new life here.

On my first day here, I was a little miffed at my roommates because the kitchen was messy and they had left me literally no space to use in the shared fridge. One of them had her boyfriend over and they were in her room, so I didn't see her for all of two days. I eventually found out that the other roommate, Sunny, had been in a bike accident. She's walking around in crutches now and she had to have surgery after her accident. I'd planned to get a bicycle for my commute around town, but now I'm thinking about it again. I tend to err on the side of safety. Sunny dropped a bowl of sugar on my second day in the apartment and I helped her sweep it up, and I cannot afford to rely on anyone like that if I'm going to school. 

Sunny is a 52-year-old Korean, which my other roommate and I found out yesterday because I asked, and we were both shocked. She has a 26-year-old daughter but she looks like she's only slightly above 30. I guess Korean skincare does work.

My other roommate is Poonam, she's also going to VIU but she's in her final semester and graduating soon. Her boyfriend has gone back to India so they'll be doing long-distance for a while. Poonam helped me clear out some fridge space, so all's good now. We're also going to the city today, she's helping me set up my bus pass and all other admin matters.

On the day I landed in Nanaimo, I was struggling with my 10kg backpack, yoga mat, and two huge luggages. To help me get out of a coffee shop, a lady went out of her way to hold the door open. On the way to my apartment, I also didn't know how the buses worked yet, so the bus driver asked for the vicinity of my place, drove me as close as he could to it and stopped where there wasn't even a bus stop, and he didn't charge me because he knew I had no clue what was going on.


The sidewalk right in front of our house has a row of sunflowers planted along the side, and there were kids' chalk drawings on the ground!!!!!!

All of that happened on my first day here, so if that's what Canada is going to be like for me in the next four years, I'm very excited for more.

Yesterday I also shopped for groceries. I wanted more lavender ice-cream, like the one I had with Joey in LA. The grocery store didn't have any. Perhaps when we are in the city today, I will find some. The weather is actually really nice in Nanaimo right now, but I know the temperatures are gonna drop soon, and then cuffing szn will begin. It would be nice to rest my head on Joey's shoulder, have lavender (or any flavor, tbh) ice-cream and watch the rest of The Kingdom. Dang. I am a creature of familiar comforts indeed.


Currently, what is intimidating me are Canadian coins. You know you are comfortable in a place only when you've gotten familiar with their coins. I currently have $16 worth of coins, and I'm going to remedy the situation by spending some of them today.

It has been one of the greatest weeks of my life. It hasn't always been smooth or pleasant, and I was really tired from my journey here. Yet I know this is only the foundation, and the beginning. I swear I will always remember with gratitude, everybody who contributed some money, to give me a little margin to get started with, to indulge in a little bit of fun before I get down to srs bsnzz. I am grateful for everyone who's stuck around and comforted me with wise words when my anxiety got the better of me. I'm even actually really, really happy to have met one of the loves of my life, to have seen so much growth, in him, and perhaps in both of us. It's been a solid first week, and I feel encouraged to see and do more.

Calm just reminded me I haven't meditated at all this week, so I must do so tonight. I wanted to do so on the night I arrived at Joey's place, because a 16-hour flight is something you need to meditate from. But then when we eventually got to bed, it was pretty much 2am and I didn't wanna keep him up 'cos he was driving me off at 4.30ish. So! Long story short, I have a lot to meditate on tonight.

Have a safe and lovely week, wherever and whenever you are. You are always in my thoughts. Edit: I got a Canadian number now, please hit me up if you’d like it, on Instagram or whatever! Otherwise I won’t be responding to my Singapore number anymore.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

PERUVIAN VIPERTOOTH


Tina’s in Peru for a wedding so she’s actually closer to me in timezones than she would be in NYC. I wish she would just fly here so I can spend time with her. Today is my first day meeting my housemates, one of them has her arm in a cast because she broke it in a bike accident. They also left no space for me to use in our shared fridge. URGHHHHH I fucking hate having to establish boundaries. Also re: Tina’s last question, I thought I made it quite obvious. Hmmmm. Tina and Joey would like each other ‘cos they’re both ridiculous. Also because I clearly have very strong feelings for both of them. Joey said he’s contemplating a work move to Seattle and I’ve been thinking about it way too much even though it has nothing to do with me. U R G H what am I going to do with myself.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

THE LONGEST DAY IN THE LIFE

we were both young when I first saw you

This post is going to talk about all kinds of love: the platonic kind, romantic, physical and fun love, an agape love for your neighbor and each individual in the world, familial and filial love, and some of them are mixed in with one another. If you cannot tell what kind of love I mean, it probably means I'm confused and can't tell either, and I'm not even being coy. I really don't know.
 
First of all, I was supposed to fly ANA to Narita, then onwards to Vancouver last Sunday. When I was checking in, the ground crew told me that my Covid PCR test was not going to be valid for my arrival time in Nanaimo (where I will be studying), because I'd taken my PCR test too early and my layover in Narita was going to be too long, and therefore I wasn't allowed to board my flight. Most of my friends and family members were there at the airport with me. I felt completely dejected, so I went home and cried, and just bummed around, before booking a more direct flight through LAX.

Anyhow, on that Sunday night, Jaysen passed me a wrapped book that he said was supposed to last me through the layover. It was the book Humans by Brandon Stanton, and it contains 400 or so stories about and by humans all over the world. If you're familiar with the account Humans of New York on Instagram, it's basically the same concept, but done with people from all over the world. As I had two days before my next actual flight to LAX, I finished reading it at home. I loved it. I love books like that because I love human stories, and I especially love the Humans series because on my second time in LA (in 2016), I was reading the Humans of New York book, and somehow I found myself in New York next, so I just... really feel an affinity for it. I left the book at home because I'd finished reading it and I didn't have much space in my luggage, so if anyone in Singapore would like to borrow it, let me know and I'll ask one of my sisters to pass it to you.


Jaysen wrote me a card to accompany the book. The intro of the card is like that because some of them (my clingies hehehe) had written me a card for my farewell, and Jaysen wrote his message in it last minute, while he was in my house restroom, when they had come over for dinner. Jeez. In any case, Jay said he knows I'll move on to do powerful and meaningful things in the world, and Monica said in her farewell message that she'll always support my changemaker ways, and hearing words and messages like that always pushes me forward. Sometimes I think people think I'm unrealistic, I'm too dreamy, and when I try to push for a replacement of capitalism, when I denounce the grind of life, when I argue for a degrowth economy to make a final push against climate change, I feel really silly and I think most people in my life just look at me like I'm weird. So it helps to know that some people do believe in the things I believe in, or at least they're not discouraging me from my beliefs. 

On my actual flight to LAX, I'd arrived early for check-in, and the ground crew was almost done with my pre-boarding, when she said she couldn't complete it because it would beep her to key in my ESTA number. If you're not familiar with ESTA, it's a sort-of visa alternative for countries that have good connections with the US or whatever, so Singapore is part of it. Before Covid, Singaporeans didn't need an ESTA for layovers and transits, both the ground staff and I confirmed it, but apparently it had changed just for Covid. So, I applied for my ESTA right there and then, but time kept passing and it wasn't being approved. I was losing hope because at the time I applied for my ESTA, it was 6am in EDT, which means even earlier (3am) in PDT, and I was so done waiting and trying to get around Covid procedures.

I left the boarding counter, and found my friends, Syai, Aishah and MJ on the departure kerbside. They weren't allowed into the terminal because in Singapore, the Covid protocol is only passengers are allowed into terminals. I sat there, lamenting my entire PCR test and ESTA fiasco, and telling them I didn't want to go to Canada anymore, Canada hates me, and every part of my journey seemed jinxed. All three of them (and Nate, who used to fly with SQ) told me they would wait for me till the very last minute. They called the ESTA hotline, they Googled ESTA durations, they tried to find loopholes. I was ready to retrieve my luggage to go home, when at the actual very fucking last minute (the email's timestamp was 6.41pm and my flight was at 7.50pm), I received the email saying my ESTA had been approved. 

I ran the fuck out of the terminal and gave everyone a hug, then ran to board my plane. If I graduate, I mean when I graduate, because clearly I will graduate, it will only be because I have people like MJ, Aishah, Syai and Nate who sat me the fuck down and told me not to give up hope.  

I eventually boarded the plane to LAX, and found out I had three hours of complimentary wifi. My Instagram inbox had been flooded with well-wishes as Singaporeans (who are still not completely allowed to leave the country) said they would live vicariously through me, watching me in my studies. Sandi texted me saying I had "main character vibes" and I suppose, I'll try to be a good main character?????

When I arrived in LA, I met up with Joey. This plan was only 2 days in the making, because you understand I'd only booked the flight ticket through LAX two days prior to flying. On the way there, while in the plane, I was very unsure of it. I hadn't met him since 2016 when, if you will recall, we accidentally got knocked up lololol. We haven't had the smoothest relationship online for the five years since, either. He said he would meet me, but I didn't know if he would stand me up, or whatever. 

He did end up picking me up at the airport, along with all my luggage. I'd intended to leave the luggage at the airport, but all the lockers got removed after 9/11, so the more you know. We'd planned to get ice cream or dessert, but we went to a couple of places, and they were all closed, because by the time we had driven out of the airport, it was half past ten ish at night. I did, however, see a lululemon in one of the malls. I got excited, even though I fucking hate lululemon (it pleases me so to be able to say it after two years). I hate lululemon just by virtue of it being fast fashion, otherwise the clothes are pretty decent. I've been wearing only lululemon through my entire journey (which has now taken thirty-two hours, and the clock is still ticking). 

So he brought me to Ralphs, which is a grocery store/Trader Joe's type-beat supermart that closes late, and we got ice-cream in a tub. Joey also said I smelled like animal crackers (what in the fuck, I do not understand) so we got a pack of animal crackers for me to smell. We went back to his place, and we watched the first episode of The Kingdom, which was just Joey making silly comments about it, whilst I complained about the lack of zombies (spoiler: they only start turning up at the end of the pilot). 

He gave me a tour of his current house, and it was actually a pretty nice place. As expected, he had random bolts from previous rockets, all his geek-type shit, but then in the parking lot! There was a limousine!!!! I don't know why he or his housemates have a limousine, and it just again reminded me of how.... absurd his life is. He works for Elon Musk at SpaceX, and I don't think he has as critical a mindset of billionaires as I do, of course. In any case, seeing a limo in his parking lot just made me feel a lot. On the one hand, why the fuck would anyone have a random limo?????? On the other hand, Taylor Swift also goes around in limousines and I love Taylor Swift, although why I'm comparing Joey to Taylor Swift, I do not know. Los Angeles is fucking weird. 

Joey and I made up a joke about giving him 5 stars on Yelp, because he'd been such a considerate host the entire night. When I was in his car, he asked if I was feeling warm or cold, and then when we were at his place, he asked if I needed another blanket or pillows while I was in his living room, and he told me I could get water from the dispenser, etc etc. Also, something that made me smile was Joey now carries a waterbottle around his house to drink water from, which is a huge improvement from five years ago. He used to have cartons upon cartons of bottled water to drink from!!!! At the time, it didn't bother me that much because I wasn't as aware of climate change, but if I saw it now, it would bug me. I wonder if he made the switch because of some other woman in his life, because if he did, the world has only her to thank.

After midnight, while Joey was going to bed, I teased and flirted through text, and I'm saying it upfront because we need to normalise women having physical desires and expressing them. This is also why y'all always see me posting about my toys on Instagram, because I would like it to be normal accepted behavior!! So, even though he had been completely gracious and made not a single move on me, I basically jumped him in bed. I would like to say, firstly, that doing stuff at 26 and 27 years old, and then doing it at a jump later at 31 and 32 years old, feels different, and it felt much better now. The good thing is Joey does what he says he will do (men need to underpromise and overdeliver), so even though it was daytime in Singapore time and I should have been awake, he induced me to sleep without even any external.... appliances. HAHAHA I amuse myself so much does anyone else even appreciate me making a clown of myself?????? 

While we were both drifting in and out of sleep (we only had like three hours of sleep between the time we actually went to sleep and the time we had to wake up for my flight to Vancouver), I counted the number of times we both had the sleep jerk. You know, when you're falling asleep-asleep, sometimes you kinda have a little spasm when you actually fall asleep, I don't know why but last night, it preoccupied me to observe how many times we did it. Could have been because I'd already had a longass journey, and my brain needed something to do.

I don't know what it is about Joey. I know I'm starting a new life in Vancouver and I'll meet new people, and you never know the kind of people you will fall in love with, but it's been five years, and he still has space in my heart, and it's been two years since New York, and I know I will always have a soft spot for Bennett. For all intents and purposes, Joey and I are not exactly compatible. I think we are similarly intelligent but in vastly different aspects and disciplines. He likes rockets and space exploration (I would have found it more appealing a couple decades ago when space was the final frontier but I currently find the urgent matter of climate change much more significant than men stroking their egos), and he likes racecars. I like social justice and mental health, the preservation of nature and waste management, etc. I could not give two and a half fucks about racecars. 

And yet. And yet, you could have a hundred, or no actually, a thousand people talk about coolant and engines and it would mean nothing to me, but if Joey talks about it, I would be mesmerised and learn something new. The pheromones he produces are attractive to the transmitters I have. It's so weird, you put me in a car or on a couch with Joey, and he could say something completely mundane and I will be smiling like an idiot. Isn't it fascinating?! I find it fascinating, because I try to attribute it to his voice, his hair, the actually ridiculous things he says, but someone else could have those same things and do the same things, and it all boils down to how our bodies react to each other chemically. I love how I have fun with Joey, like a lot of the time, I'm using my brain and thinking about how to change the world, but then Joey wants to watch a zombie show and make fun of it, and it's a joyful thing for me. What the fuck even????

It's been a long, long, longass journey, and I want it to end, as in I would like to reach my place and shower, and clean the fuck up. However, I am also full of love from all the love people keep sending me, from my family, from my friends, from my lovers and ex-lovers alike. I am receiving love in the form of money, in the form of words, in the form of time. I don't know where anything will lead me to, but these moments, these moments of love from all of you, they are enough. I am so full of joy and courage, and I'm ready. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

AN ODE TO MING JUN

On Wednesday, I had a night to remember. It was a lovely night to remember Singapore by. As I’d said, MJ told me he’d booked massage sessions for us. So we left work, had dinner and teh peng, on his tab. We’d never really had the time to spend outside of work so this was the first time we were talking about past loves, the idea of the loves of our lives, and all that jazz. We then went for the massage. The two masseuses were very amiable and entertaining, at just the right amount. They both spoke Chinese interspersed with English. If you don’t know, I understand Mandarin but I try not to speak it in Singapore, because first, I don’t understand why Chinese immigrants expect non-Chinese people to speak Mandarin to accommodate them, whilst never putting in effort to learn a different language, say, the Malay language of my heritage. Why should I compromise my language and culture to accommodate yours? Secondly, Mandarin itself is a tough language. One of my half-Chinese half-sisters doesn’t even really speak the language even though she had ten years of formal education of the subject, and I am well aware it’s super easy to butcher the intonations, so I steer well away from it, unless I’m outside of Singapore and speaking Chinese actually helps me somehow. Anyhow, so my masseuse was massaging my feet and explaining the different flaws there were in my health, like sleeping late, not sleeping well due to waking up to pee, etc etc, and I was very amused because in contrast, MJ had none of it. I would wriggle in pain from my massage, whilst MJ enjoyed his thoroughly, all his masseuse said was he could feel that MJ takes whey protein for his gym sessions. Don’t ask me how he knows that, I’m not a massage therapist. When the massage ended, MJ said he would get ice-cream for us next, so we did. He got me a hot fudge sundae, and then we sat at the intersection in Singapore that reminds me of the famous Tokyo intersection, and had our ice-cream. Eventually, we began talking about more serious things. The lululemon Singapore leadership bench is going through a shuffle, and I know my team has been feeling…. not-so-good vibrations about the upcoming changes. Each team/store in Singapore operates and feels like a family, and families generally don’t like being taken apart. Even for me, I have a deep loyalty to my manager Sherie, I don’t think a lot of people know why, but I attribute my growth in lululemon to her. The year I joined lululemon, I’d gone through that bad friend breakup with my best friends of fifteen years ish, so I took very long to open up to my team. After a few months, it was Sherie who coaxed me to take a chance on my team, to trust them and watch the process unfold, and since then, the thirty or so people I’ve met in lululemon are some of the people I would trust most with my life. Okay, but I digress. MJ and I were talking about major life changes, and the fact that he doesn’t feel like he belongs in Singapore, either, but he feels more bound to his family than I do. A lot of what he said obviously resonated with me, that he’s a dreamer, and a believer, and I’ve seen it in him through the eight months we worked together. I know MJ has always been emotional, like I am, but I don’t think he’d ever felt encouraged to express his emotions, given that he’s a guy, and in Singapore, as in many parts of the world, men are still not encouraged to be sensitive. While I watched him struggle, I knew he was a kindred spirit, that he gets as attached to people as I do, that he feels very strongly about people, more than money, or any other factor. I began hugging him and rubbing his shoulder, and he started tearing in my arms while he sat next to me, on those steps right outside Ion. You should already know this about me, that I melt easily when I see people being soft. You might not know this part, but I’d already told MJ before that night, a while ago, that I was romantically attracted to him, but it’s not reciprocated. I don’t think he’s romantically nor physically attracted to me at all. At first, I was like, ack that sucks, I have dreams about him but he doesn’t have such dreams about me (disclaimer: I do not control what I dream about and also, working around physically fit people in lululemon, I’ve also had such dreams about the girls, but that’s another story for another day), but then I thought about the night again. He bought me dinner, brought me to a massage, and had ice-cream and poured out his soul to me, and he did all this, not with the intention of bedding me, but just for the sake of my company. On that night, I realised the whole thing about romantic love being overrated, and that platonic friendships should be placed alongside if not above romance! People who take care of each other, and go on friendly dates with each other, for the sake of wanting to take care of people without needing to be taken care of in a romantic sense?! That’s the basic sense of community. Ironically, community is also one of lululemon’s core intentions so indirectly, they got the job done. Anyhow, when I look back on my memories of Singapore, I will always, always be glad to have gotten a best friend in MJ, and I will always be fond of him.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

ALOE VERA

I’m in between two massages. What a bougie day I’m having. I booked my first massage session using ClassPass, which is where you can book fitness sessions and claim them through lululemon as an employee. However, you can also book beauty and wellness sessions and claim them, and lululemon will be none the wiser. Of course, that’s not what it’s meant for, but if you don’t tell, and I don’t tell, my employment ends in a couple of days and it will be the last thing I claim!!! Yesterday, my best friend from work, MJ, told me he’d booked foot massage sessions for both of us after our dinner later, and he said I couldn’t negotiate, and so that’s the story of how I have two massage sessions in a day. I know no one asked, but no one has ever asked me anything, yet y’all still end up here reading this shit that no one ever asks for?!?!?!

Anyhow. During my massage just now, I smelled something that brought me back to LA. It wasn’t the first time I’d smelled it in Singapore, nor was it the first time I was transported back to LA, but the spa was filled with many different aromas, and so I had to work my brain to pick out the one that was LA-related and identify what it was. For some reason, it permeated many of my memories of LA. I’d smelled it at the beach, I smelled it in the restaurants, I smelled it through cars and courthouses. While the very nice lady was massaging my shoulders, I thought “it smells like Joey” and then “no, this is not what Joey smells like” — then, “no, it smells like the mountain”, followed by “no, not the mountains” and then, because my brain neurons never let up, not even while I’m supposed to be falling asleep during a massage, I realised the scent. It was aloe vera, and the reason aloe vera persists in all my LA memories, is because my lips were very chapped during that hot summer, and I constantly used an aloe-flavored/scented tub of Vaseline lip balm. That’s why I thought it was Joey, because I would kiss him and he would probably smell like it. What a trip. Scents are wild.

I wish I had something like that to make me think of New York City, but I don’t. New York didn’t smell like anything particular to me, and nothing viscerally brings me back there. I remember it being cold and windy, and perhaps if I have bagel with lox, I get reminded of New York. I don’t have bagel with lox very often, and it’s not so much a visceral response as it is my brain making its own connection.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

ALL OF THE TIME

If you still haven't watched Bo Burnham's special, Inside, I'm not sure what you're doing with your life. This song is stuck deep in the workings of my head, and I hope it doesn't drive me crazy in the two weeks I'll be spending waiting for school to start. I hope it doesn't play in my head while I'm out walking on trails and exploring nature, and setting up bank accounts and phone lines.


welcome to the internet
have a look around
anything that brain of yours can think of 
can be found
we've got mountains of content
some better, some worse
if none of it's of interest to you, 
you'd be the first

welcome to the internet
come and take a seat
would you like to see the news
or any famous women's feet?
there's no need to panic
this isn't a test, haha
just nod or shake your head and 
we'll do the rest

welcome to the internet
what would you prefer?
would you like to fight for civil rights 
or tweet a racial slur?
be happy
be horny
be bursting with rage
we got a million different ways to engage

welcome to the internet
put your cares aside
here's a tip for straining pasta
here's a nine-year-old who died
we got movies, and doctors, and fantasy sports
and a bunch of colored pencil drawings
of all the different characters in Harry Potter fucking each other

welcome to the internet
hold on to your socks
'cause a random guy just kindly sent you photos of his cock
they are grainy and off-putting
he just sent you more
don't act surprised, you know you like it, you whore
see a man beheaded
get offended, see a shrink
show us pictures of your children
tell us every thought you think
start a rumor, buy a broom
or send a death threat to a boomer
or DM a girl and groom her
do a Zoom or find a tumor in your
here's a healthy breakfast option
you should kill your mom
here's why women never fuck you
here's how you can build a bomb
which Power Ranger are you?
take this quirky quiz
Obama sent the immigrants to vaccinate your kids

could I interest you in everything?
all of the time?
a little bit of everything
all of the time
apathy's a tragedy
and boredom is a crime
anything and everything
all of the time

you know, it wasn't always like this
not very long ago
just before your time
right before the towers fell, circa '99
this was catalogs
travel blogs
a chat room or two
we set our sights and spent our nights
waiting

for you, you, insatiable you
Mommy let you use her iPad
you were barely two
and it did all the things
we designed it to do
now look at you, oh
look at you, you, you
unstoppable, watchable
your time is now
your inside's out
honey, how you grew
and if we stick together
who knows what we'll do
it was always the plan
to put the world in your hand

could I interest you in everything?
all of the time?
a bit of everything
all of the time
apathy's a tragedy
and boredom is a crime
anything and everything
all of the time

could I interest you in everything?
all of the time
a little bit of everything
all of the time
apathy's a tragedy
and boredom is a crime
anything and everything
and anything and everything
and anything and everything
and all of the time

Saturday, August 14, 2021

SHRIFT

I spoke to both Joey and Adam today. It was Joey first, I think he wants to be friends so I tried to set a boundary but I don’t know if it’ll work out in the long run. It may not, because I have very strong feelings for some very particular people. People should not insist on remaining or reappearing in other people’s lives if the other person has romantic feelings for them, that is highly inconsiderate. I don’t know why I like or love someone, I just do, and asking me to switch off my feelings is impossible, so then the onus falls on me to circumnavigate the situation around my feelings, which is like, why should I do that? Is the friendship worth it? What do I even get out of it? Someone I used to be in love with knowing I exist? Great. However, Joey does live in the timezone I will be living in, and so perhaps it’s best not to burn bridges at this moment. Who knows. I asked Adam if he’d asked me to read Normal People, because clearly when Joey appears in my life, it’s just a scene right out of the book. Adam said he might have, because he loved the book. So tonight he raved about it a little, and I loved that part of Adam, that we can talk about books and media. He’s a boy I will always be fond of, much the way I feel about Lucas, but unfortunately Adam didn’t elicit that feeling of “this is someone I want to be with” while we were together. Not that it matters, because he’s living happily together with his partner now, and they look very happy, and I’m super glad for it. You know the other person who elicits that “this is someone I want to be with” feeling, Bennett from Brooklyn? On the opposite end of the spectrum from Joey, he’s never texted me after I left New York, never popped up anywhere. I sent him an Instagram DM the start of the year and I don’t think he’s ever opened it. He may actually have a partner now, I don’t know, I haven’t been looking at his profile since I sent that message because I wouldn’t be able to deal if I see him with someone else. Modern problems and modern solutions. I hope I meet someone in Vancouver who will elicit that goddamn feeling again, and not someone who wants to be friends with me while I’m in love with them and then someone who’s in love with me while I want to be friends with them and U G H. I do acknowledge how much of a first-world problem this is. All just a slice of life. I truly enjoyed talking to both Joey and Adam tonight, both men who have been in me (HAHAHAHA), but my feelings or lack thereof have always made things more complicated than just: I enjoy it and so it is. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

LONG STORY SHORT

no more keeping score
now I just keep you warm
no more tug-of-war
now I just know there’s more

no more keeping score
now I just keep you warm
my waves meet your shore
ever and evermore

past me, I wanna tell you 
not to get lost in these petty things
your nemeses will defeat themselves
before you get the chance to swing

When I was younger, I would write every single detail, everything someone said to make someone else laugh. I don’t know if I’ve lost that interest or ability. It seems a little redundant, because I document many things on Instastories, and you can hear how someone laughs, you can really know the things I fall in love with, so it feels like my words don’t really match up. Perhaps I only wrote or write out of necessity. Who knows. I spent time at the beach last week, with Sandi, I’m sunburned now. It hurts, but it also doesn’t. Julia, Aishah and Monica came over for dinner tonight, Mon tried to recall the fifty nifty United States of America by singing a song, Julia said she wanted to drive from Canada to the Bahamas (???), and when we played Jackbox on the TV, Aishah named herself Bahamas to make fun of it. Sometimes everything just depends on context and I think I’m trying to live in the moment. Over the past week, everybody has been telling me they’re feeling excited about my adventure, and conversely, I’ve been nervous as I’ve ever felt. I don’t know why, for the first time in my life, I’m feeling scared and so much wistfulness for what I’ll be leaving behind. I love the people I spend more than half my week with. They look out for me, and I want to look out for them. I don’t want to be in a continent where I barely know anyone, where I feel like if I run into trouble, I will be able to call only Tina, who is literally on the other coast. I feel a range of emotions, it makes me feel so, so encouraged to know that there is an entire squad of people who want to see me off at the airport, who are supporting me in every way they can, even though I do not even know if they will be allowed into the terminal. I’ve spent some time building bonds and making a life here, and I love-hate my sisters and I want to eat my grandmother’s food all the time. I suppose what’s playing in my head is Lorde’s Supercut, and I’m playing a romantic reel of only all the good and nice things that I have here, because I know I’m letting go of it, but there is also the stress of life in Singapore, there is the existential dread I get from walking into and working in a mall everyday, feeding capitalism, and getting fed nothing in return. I love some parts of my life now, and I will miss it.


EDIT: Uh, a few hours after I posted that, I woke up to these messages from Tina. Excuse me while I cry on the way to work?!?!

Monday, August 2, 2021

UC DAVIS

I would like y'all to know, Hasan Minhaj saw a story I posted and that's all this post is about.




I've watched him since 2017 (I went to look at my past posts), love everything he does. Homecoming King, from 2017, is still my favorite standup, and Patriot Act alone educated me on world issues. He rarely has any bad takes, although I do remember just a couple of episodes that I guess I thought could have been slightly more entertaining.

I rewatched Homecoming King and so far, it's still aged well, nothing has gone sour or offensive or tasteless, as of now. I'm gonna be in that neck of the woods when his new show The King's Jester drops, so I might get to see it live??? I don't know, it might be a lot of money when I'm still trying to find my footing, so yeah, anyone who wants to marry me and pay for the show, you are welcome to. You are also welcome to pay for the show, no marriage involved.

That's it. That's the post.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

NEUROATYPICAL


look at the stars
look how they shine for you
and everything you do
they were all yellow

I came along
I wrote a song for you
and everything you do
it was all yellow

so then I took my turn 
what a thing to have done
it was all yellow

your skin, oh yeah, your skin and bones
turn into something beautiful
you know, you know I love you so
you know I love you so

I swam across
I jumped across for you
oh what a thing to do
it was all yellow

I drew a line
I drew a line for you
what a thing to do
it was all yellow
yellow, yellow, yellow

your skin, oh yeah, your skin and bones
turn into something beautiful
you know, you know I'd bleed myself dry
for you, I'd bleed myself dry
I'd bleed myself dry

it's true, look how they shine for you
look how they shine for you
look how they shine 

look how they shine for you
look how they shine for you
look how they shine
look at the stars

Thursday, July 1, 2021

IKARIA

I went for a yoga session with my lululemon friends last night. It was at Gardens By The Bay, where there’s a Dale Chihuly exhibition. He’s known for glass sculptures. Mel said Chihuly is based out of Seattle, so I could see more of his works in future, potentially. Apparently there’s a ferry between where I’ll be studying, and Seattle, among other parts of the Western North American coast. Anyway, the session was beautiful. It had rained in the day, so the breeze and the darkening setting-sun sky made it the perfect weather. I was in my yoga practice and felt multiple bugs crawling over me, which would normally have unsettled me, but I couldn’t see what they were, I didn’t know what they were, and I didn’t care! It was a beautiful setting, and I was with people I love, and it was the perfect way to start off July and the second half of the year. I have cognitive dissonance about my work, but remain enamoured with the people I work with. I’m going for a spin session after work today, to support Annabelle’s debut as a spin instructor (yes those are the only times I go for spin). Next week, I’m finally going back to boxing, I’m so excited! I have no clue if I really like boxing or I like CruBox classes. CruBox is fun to me. I hope there’s a boxing studio near school. Speaking of CruBox, my boss Sherie (who’s also a spin instructor at CruCycle) said she would make an exception for me, in terms of work benefits, and it will really help me financially. It’s very sweet of her, and I’m going to miss her! In this final sprint, everyone has been helping me out, moneywise, whilst I have been writing essays for scholarships and grants. I need sleep. I will sleep tonight, after work and spin. Have a good weekend, a great July and a beautiful second half of 2021. :)

Friday, June 18, 2021

NOB HILL

I think I'd just said yesterday that I hadn't had any time to do anything for myself this week. Today, one of my babies from work, Megan, recommended that I read Normal People by Sally Rooney, before watching the TV series adaptation of it. I think Adam has once also asked me to read it, if I recall correctly. I may ask him one day, but today is not that day. Anyway, Megan sent me the e-book so I began reading it on my Kindle. Megan told me she'd thought I would like it because it is a twisted, sad book and she thinks I would appreciate the sad twistedness. I haven't finished it, but I already feel many things about it. My Kindle says I'm 59% through it, meaning it is a fairly short book, because I've only spent maybe four hours reading it, after I ended work.

Normal People is about two hurt people who grow through stages of their lives in their relationship to and with each other. I haven't gotten to the big reveal(s), but I'm guessing there must have been some tragic, traumatic event in each of their lives, there are allusions to such experiences. They keep misunderstanding each other, and making excuses for not having long, honest conversations. In one of them, Marianne thinks Connell is suggesting that they each see other people, which Marianne takes as him asking for a breakup (because, obviously, right?), but in Connell's head, he needed to move back to their hometown as he's from a poorer background and he thinks Marianne would want a richer, more stable partner, someone from "her station in life." 

I had to take a break from reading the book because Connell has found someone else and told Marianne that he loves the woman, and he had not mentioned the courtship to Marianne at all, even though they are supposed best friends. This leads to Marianne breaking down in front of him, before asking him to leave. I don't think I'm doing the book any justice, but I'm very overwhelmed by the feelings I'm getting from it. The way the book is written reminds me of my relationship (what a weird term to call it, a relationship, but I use it to mean our relations with each other, whenever it exists) with Joey. The story is written whenever the two protagonists have major interactions, so it could be days or weeks or months until the next time they are friends, or are lovers, or bump into each other again. 

The last time I spoke to him, he also told me out of nowhere, that it was "self-destructive" (I don't know which of us he even meant??) and that he was getting together with a woman he loved. This made me furious and embarrassed and furiously embarrassed. How was I to know?? I don't see him in real life and have no clue what goes on. It reminds me of the many times we've managed to embarrass and infuriate each other, even though I think, deep underneath it all, neither of us intends to and all we want is to see each other happy. 

It makes me think of when I was with him, and it was two weeks into us knowing each other, and I knew I was already having strong feelings for him. Then he ghosted me, and I realised he was overwhelmed by how quickly I was catching feelings. This upset me and made me cry, but then eventually, we talked again and he taught me to drive his car in a parking lot, and another one of my hosts said Joey must like me, men only teach things to women they like, and to this day, his car is the only car I've driven in my life. He spends a lot of time with me, watching people get tattooed and working on cars and watching movies till we fell asleep. In fact I lived in his room so it would have been impossible not to spend time with me, until he brings up the fact that he's been in a long-distance relationship before. I'd already known from experience that he didn't like to rush things, so I ignored the comment, even though I had to leave very soon, back to Singapore.

When I am back in Singapore, I find out I am pregnant, and I feel about thirty actual separate emotions, all at 84% intensity. He talks me through it and obviously leaves the decision to me, although both of us are shit-fucking-scared. I eventually have a miscarriage, and I am so traumatised I tell him to leave me alone, and I block him everywhere (I also send him how the miscarriage looks, just so he knows, and I'm sure he remembers). After I have blocked him, I go through my depressive episodes and battles with my mother, who for some misplaced "religious" reasons, thinks it's a blessing I'd miscarried. I intermittently feel angry at Joey, that I have to go through all hell and high water by myself, when it was as much his mistake as mine. Newsflash: it takes one person to produce the egg and the other to provide sperm. I write emotionally-charged words and direct it all at him, feeling very mistreated. This happened even though I'd explicitly told him to leave me alone. Every time I think of how much I paid for therapy, I get sucker-punched and think Joey should have had to foot half the bills, and the worst part is, he can fucking well afford it, rocket scientist that he is, while I struggled and continue to struggle on less-than-minimum wage.

In the next three to four years, one of us reaches out to the other. I do not know why. I remember writing something very close to this, once: “I’m sorry for what you had to go through because of me. I promise to do better. I love you.” I never sent it. I think it's what I want to hear, as much as what I want to say. I never understood sometimes, when he approaches or reaches out to me, when it's a bank holiday weekend, he seems to want to be affectionate, and he insinuates that there is nothing going on in his life, and then, out of nowhere, he'd push me away, again. It made no sense, and still makes no fucking sense to me. 

Normal People feels like a story written about two damaged people in an unhealthy relationship, trying so hard to be good and fix things, but have never known how to do so. It reminds me of myself and Joey, and it also makes me wonder, how many people are out there, living such unhealthy dynamics, trying so hard to be normal people? The fact that it's a popular, well-read book makes me think, hmmmm, this doesn't feel like it is that uncommon. What a sad notion! I don't know why I wrote all that, it's just, the book feels like I could've written it, and I have many feelings, and I hope I don't get let down by it. I don't even know what I expect from it, but I want their backstories to be enough, to explain why they don't do better, for themselves and each other. Okbye.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

RANDOM-ACCESS MEMORY

It’s a mighty hot day in Singapore. It’s always mighty hot days in Singapore. I never used to be someone who enjoys the cold, but I truly look forward to the Vancouver/PNW climate. With climate change, the weather there shouldn’t be as cold, most of the time. Terrible for the world, quite alright for me. I’ve had and am having a busy week, haven’t had time to meditate or do anything for myself. The first dose of the vaccine went much better than expected, though, the syringe and the nurse were great, I barely felt anything. I’ve been working at both my jobs for the last four days, right after the jab. It was a little sore to move my arm, but otherwise, I look forward to getting the second one over and done with, and being fully vaccinated. At least, to whatever variant it’s resistant to, so far.

Last night, while falling asleep, I was feeling extremely nostalgic for times past. I thought about the times I fell in love in the US, on each coast. There was a time Joey drove us back from Malibu at night, and there were so many stars in the sky, and the song Yellow was playing in my head. I had my hand on his, while he was holding the clutch (it was a stick-shift racecar), I didn’t know if that was okay but I mean, he’s a very chill guy, I think most of the time he’d be like “okay I’m just gonna let this girl do whatever she wants” so I just tried my luck, hahahahahah. One time, we were in a store that sold motorbike/riding stuff, before we got coffee, and that was within the first 28 days of us even being aware of each other’s existence in the world. I went around, exploring the store, because it was different than what I was used to in Singapore, but I was always observing him, too. Whatever he picked up, there was a mental register in my head, noting what he liked, what interested him, and what didn’t. 

Two thousand eight hundred miles away, two years later, I observed Ben playing video games with his housemate. I watched him cuddle with the cat, listened to him talk about his grandparents and his Kindle. I saw him in his kitchen, making food and telling me the things he could cook, the things he was learning to cook. He brought me to an open square, where skater boys were, well, skating, and I picked up on his political leanings, a year or so before I would lean into them myself. We played word games, and he thrashed me at them, before he eased off a bit so I wouldn’t feel too bad, insisting that he wasn’t doing so, and then assuring me that he was really good because he works with games (valid point, of course, but I know when people are smarter than I am). Every time someone mentions Central Park, I think of our first kiss there, on a bench, overlooking a frozen pond. Every time. 

I’ve been in love twice in my life, and I cling to them, because it is what I know. I don’t know what’s coming in future, I cannot tell how fast climate change will happen. I do not know the pressing urgency of rising sea levels, of sinking nations. I don’t know what lies in my immediate future, besides studying, and making friends with people a decade younger than I am, and doing well in my studies. I see myself going out into nature and getting dirty and happy and calm. I do not know when I will next fall in love, so sometimes I just think backwards and I smile and am content for what has been.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

PERCH

I’ve finally got my appointments booked for my vaccinations. I don’t like physical pain and I’m quite a wimp when it comes to jabs. My first appointment is this Sunday morning and my brain is already in overdrive. I know why the thought of jabs makes me queasy and anxious. It’s ‘cos my veins are apparently narrow, so whenever I’ve had to have my blood drawn, the nurse has always managed to fuck it up, and would then have to repeat the process at another site on my body. This repeated poking and prodding has made me wary of health-related needles. It’s also the reason I’m not even able to donate blood, jeez. The health workers have told me that the amount of bruising I would get for the amount of blood they could obtain from me is not worth it. Hahahahahaha, what the fuck. It’s funny because I’m not tremendously affected by ornamental piercings nor tattoo needles, so I suppose it really is all in the head. 

Today the thought that formulated in my head was how there has been an imbalance of affection in my life so far. I suppose some people have loved me more than I loved them (my first boyfriend, for example), and then I have loved some people more than they’ve ever felt for me (this is probably Joey and Ben K), and I sure hope to whatever fucking stone in the universe, that I will find someone I love equally as much as they love me. I’m not sure why this thought formulated but then I’m not sure why any of my thoughts are formed anyway.

A few days ago, I had someone stay over at my family’s apartment, because she was unsafe at her own. I can’t say who it is because other people aren’t supposed to know. My sisters and I stayed up with her and watched a movie together, and then she slept in my room, on my queen-sized bed with me. I like this person, I think she’s chill and cool and we can vibe alright, but I obviously don’t often get people sleeping next to me in the same bed, with the exception of any of my sisters. I remember feeling a little awkward, and not sleeping too deeply the entire night. I know this because I usually toss and turn and grind my teeth at night, but that night every time I stirred I was still lying on my back, and my jaw had still been relaxed. It reminded me of the time I slept in my Couchsurfing host’s bed (his name was Dustin) at his place on Redondo Beach or whatever, and this only happened because I’d been scared by an experience in the other bedroom he’d let me sleep in and I begged him to let me in. It was awkward as fuck, we did nothing that night. I stared up at the bedroom ceiling and I kept wondering if he thought I was the weirdest ever person he’d ever met. 

This leads me to another story. That night at Dustin’s place, I had washed up and was ready to sleep, but the bed was adjacent to a wardrobe that had mirrors on its sliding doors. So I’m looking at myself in the mirror while lying on my side, and I hear a knocking sound behind me. It sounds like a knock on the window, so naturally that’s what I think it is, right? I turn around, but then there’s no knocking. I move the blinds to check for birds or the branches of a tree, whatever that could have made a knock, but there’s nothing. So I go back to bed, look in the mirror. The knock happens again. I turn around, and it stops again. I dial my sister on FaceTime, and this is when I start getting really freaked out, because it wouldn’t go through even though my Wi-Fi connection was strong. I’d been calling my sister with no problems for the past month, so this really gets to me. It is 1am and I cannot call my sister. I text Dustin, asking if he’s pranking me with the knocking and he says he wasn’t. Then I ask, pleading with him to let me sleep in his bed, one of the most embarrassing requests I’ve ever had to make in my life. (“What the fuck is going on???”)

Fast forward five years. A month or so ago, I was in my bed, in my own room, in Singapore. I hear the same exact sound I’d heard in Dustin’s spare bedroom. The realisation has me feeling extremely alert. I wonder why I’m hearing knocking beside my window, our apartment is on the sixth storey. I Google it, and lo and behold! The results say it could have been the air-conditioning unit (I don’t know what exactly about the unit, I’m really not a Sciencey person) that sounds like there’s a knocking going on. Five years ago, when I wrote about this, not a single soul told me it could have been the A/C. This year, I found out I made a fool of myself thanks to a goddamn temperature-regulating device. All this to say, supernatural things don’t exist and you only believe such shit if you were raised in religious Asian families. That’s all, folks.