Sunday, December 31, 2017

EXPECTO PATRONUM

Several hours ago, a man I dated for a while this year, told me that one of the highlights of his 2017 was having met me. It was a sweet gesture and the kind that really warms my heart, because I've always been the kind of person who tells people about how I feel, etc.

It went on for about two months, which might not be the longest timeframe in terms of dating, but it also took up one-sixth of my year, which is a sizeable proportion if you think about it.

Although I no longer think of him as dating material or as a potential significant other, he and I have gotten to a point where we can be quite candid with each other about our thoughts and feelings, so I told him that I still want to talk to Joey, even though by all intents and purposes, I shouldn't.

He brought up extremely valid points: "why are you chasing someone on the other side of the world" "is it to relive whatever you felt while with him?" "you know that's all in the past"

He said this three hours ago, and I didn't have the answers then, so I went to sleep. But now, I wake up at 5am, and I feel like my brain thought about it while I was sleeping and I have an answer for myself, to those questions.

When I went to LA last year ie. 2016, I'd told myself to leave all my past burdens and worries behind. Everything from family issues to being used by men who were just lying to everyone and cheating with me, I put aside and said I had to get over with my two months in California.

So I did. While I was going through my summer and for a couple of months after, I genuinely and honestly felt that it was easily, without question, the best time of my life. I fit in several amazing, lovely things, with amazing, lovely people into a time of two months, which is a huge chunk of amazing lovely experiences if you think about it.

And then I got back, and found out that Joey and I had literally created a life, but then I lost it. Along with that, when my mum found out and reacted to me in her fit of anger and mistrust, I lost trust for my mum, the person I'd always looked up to and had thought I could always turn to for support. I struggled, mentally and physically, for a really long while.

It went from being the best time in my life, to the worst, in next to no time at all. I've only recently gotten back to what I would say is my normal self, or the person I have been over an average of twenty-seven years, so yes, I haven't had the time to go through new experiences, and make new memories, to reminisce about or enjoy or hold dear to me.

I know that given enough time, I will be able to enjoy someone else's company, and I will be able to move on. But I haven't. So I think about Joey. I think about the best time in my life, to anchor myself to the fact that I still have those memories, despite struggling through some of the worst feelings.

And there is another reason why I think Joey seems to stand out among the men I've historically dated. He's never been a man of words, or at least he wasn't with me. I don't know him long enough or well enough to know whether that is his true default, but I feel like that is probably the case.

With Joey, I never had to hold him up to anything. He was.... wise (?) enough to never promise a single thing. It was always: "do you want to race in the canyons?" "yes" "okay let's get you some jeans and a jacket" or "do you want to go to the beach?" "yes please" "let's go" or "do you wanna follow me to buy my bike?" "sure" or you get my drift, he would ask what I wanted to do, right there and then, and we would do it.

I wanted to watch The Little Prince, so we watched it, although I fell asleep and I think he watched more of it than I did. We watched Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, because I wanted to. We watched Rick and Morty, because I wanted to. He tried to watch Hamilton, but fell asleep, because I wanted to let him watch it. He would ask if I wanted to help him out with his car, and then we would do so. I would read a book while he fixed up the eleventeen million wires on his dashboard. I would read a book while he watched videos of Blue Origin launches and make snarky comments, and I would tell him not to be such an asshole, while we both giggled.

With Joey, he never planned to do things, he just went and did shit.

In contrast, there have been dozens of men who have planned so many things for me and with me. "I promise we'll get steak one day" "yes we will have a road trip and listen to our playlist" "I'll bring you to my favourite ice-cream place" "let's watch every season of this together" and it happened again and again and again, and these men, I know they're not malicious, they just... get too carried away, which is what I do, and then what's left is an abyss of empty promises, and plans unfulfilled.

I hate it, I hate when men do that, because I've never had the most trustworthy of male role models, and I just wish they would stop doing that. Don't promise me anything if you can't stick to your word. I have been disappointed enough for a lifetime, to go through it again.

It is about 18 hours to the new year in Singapore. This post might not have been on the most positive of notes, but I'm feeling quite alright about 2018. I think it'll be okay, which is better than I can say about 2017. Have an okay 2018, y'all. :)

LET’S GO BACK TO THE START

I know it’s the last day of the year and perhaps the usual thing to do is count your blessings etc and look forward to a new year but I just watched Hang The DJ, which is now my favourite episode of Black Mirror ever, and sweet baby jesus christ, this show has always been intense, but this one had me clutching my heart it was so well-planned and well-written and things like this always make me feel like I WANT TO BE THE ONE THINKING OF SUCH THINGS AND WRITING IT BEFORE BLACK MIRROR STEALS ALL MY CONCEPTS JESUS I love it so much and it’s so good and IM CRIES in other news it is the last day of 2017 and I still love Joey so yeah, the more things change, the more everything stays the same. I dunno????? Life makes no sense and nor do I, okay???

oh but anyone who knows what love is
will understand

Saturday, December 30, 2017

SHOOKETH

I’m still very confused. If Joey had really been from UC Irvine, that was an uncannily spot-on dream I had, that I was late to a school which he might have attended that I didn’t know about, nor included in my applications. If he didn’t attend, then some strange person is being misleading and I don’t understand anything anymore.

All things considered, I watched the first episode of Black Mirror S4, USS Callister, and it was an amazing one. Black Mirror remains my favourite TV series in all everness and inspires me to no end. Christmas came slightly late, the new year is here slightly early, yadda yadda yadda. I aim to watch all six episodes before the end of the year, which will take quite a bit of coordination because I’m still working 8-hour shifts of each day this weekend.

BLACK MIRROR 4EVA

Friday, December 29, 2017

WHAT THE FUCK EVEN

In a turn of events, I found out from an anonymous comment on my last post, that Joey apparently went to UC Irvine, perhaps for undergrad studies, if the comment is to be trusted? Who is this phantom? I always only knew he went to Oxford Brookes in the UK but realised that was probably postgrad because I read his masters thesis. I swear I never had any inkling that he went to UC Irvine (IF he really did, but I’m so confused???) but I dreamt that I was late for school there?! Where Joey went?!? I could have dreamt of UCLA, or Berkeley or the actual universities I actually applied at in the US but I dreamt of Irvine? What the fuck even anymore?

This world makes no sense. So many questions?¿

EDIT: BLACK MIRROR IS OUT, BITCHEZZZZ IM OUT I KNOW WHAT IM DOING THIS WEEKEND lol no im jokes tbh im working now and im working the entire weekend

All is right with the world again. Black Mirror is out!!!!!!!!

UC IRVINE

I’ve been pushing aside the thought of school so much it’s popping up in my dreams. I dreamt I was late for school at UC Irvine (which I’ve never even applied to) and I was rushing to find my Uber to get to class. From Singapore. I was trying to take a car for a 14000km journey in 15 minutes. Geez I’m tired. Three days to the new year and till I start applying for school again. Perhaps it is a good thing I never really had money to study and I never really studied much, because now all I want to do is study. A few of my peers say I don’t really have to study to get where I want in life, that I don’t need a college degree but I really just want to because I would enjoy it and it’s all my brain wants to do. Hey fraaaanz do me a favour and all of you just somehow hope and wish and put out good thoughts that I’ll be accepted to a good school for journalism (and sidenote wish for the finances to also sort itself out), please and thank you friends, it would make my 2018 xxxxxxx

The new season of Black Mirror is going to be out in the US in a few hours but Singapore has to wait a day because the US has to be ahead in everything even though we start our day first and I pay exactly the same for my Netflix. This is why I have the greatest love-hate relationship with all things stateside. They just want to be the first and the best in everything and I hate that I’m not part of them. Not yet.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

100 TRILLION SYNAPSES

Han came over to help me with an interview I’m going for next week. Fingers crossed I get it! We read a joke piece that involved robi737. She also saw my cat Mochi for the first time, and kept sneezing, because Han has asthma. I had a great day. It was a great day.

Did you know that the link between brain neurons is called a synapse, and to prevent the deterioration of Alzheimer’s or memory-related diseases, you can increase the number of synapses there are between your neurons?

For example, if your association with the word “hoe” is an object that is used for gardening, you can also create other bridges across to that word like making a pun on the word “ho ho ho” from Santa Claus, or the derogatory term “ho” which is slang for “whore”. The more synapses and connections you make to things and facts and terms, the more bridges you have to help you get to a word and the harder it will be for such a word to drop off from your memory or your radar of words.

Your brain has a capacity for up to a hundred trillion synapses. Use them and make them. Every fact you know can branch out to a hundred other facts.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

HUH OKAY

i. Do you find yourself saying humanly unacceptable things to your cat bc lbr if you don’t then what even is the point of having a cat tbh

ii. I watched the first episode of the Neil deGrasse Tyson reboot of Cosmos on Netflix, then read a National Geographic issue on astronauts, and thought of Joey bc lbr when do I not think of Joey? Then I got reminded of something Zack said last week. 

He apparently said something really smart but I completely forgot what it was because he followed it up immediately with something really hilarious, he said “take that, brainy SpaceX guy, I’m smart too” which amuses me to No End!!! So cute and candid!

Benchmark for guys to beat is now “brainy SpaceX guy” jesus cool beans but I told Zack I knew he, Zack, was smart too, of course because that happens to be my only prerequisite for dating and attraction, a man just has to be some kind of smart/brainy/intelligent and yet none of my dating adventures have turned out all that well?

Is it that the smarter a man is, the more douchey he could be? Is this a hypothesis to be tested? Perhaps so, my dear Watson, perhaps so, indeed.

iii. Today I came to my own consensus that any man would be lucky to have me. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This is why I have a cat I can talk to, because she doesn’t voice her opinion even if she disagrees.

iv. If I end up alone in life, it makes me feel better that in the grand scale of the Cosmic Calendar, we are only taking place in the last what, twenty seconds in the 13-billion-year-history of our observable universe? My life does not matter. Somehow, this makes me feel infinitely better. At least I have the cognisance of what has happened in the brief history of time. I appreciate being me much more than I would have liked being a dinosaur.

v. EDIT: perhaps some of me IS actually made of dinosaur dust???? COOL BEANS im so????? Confused???? Can this be true???? Here is today’s inane Google search of the day, holy cheese crackers, sometimes I can’t tell if I’m smart or stupid.
“Can I be made of dinosaur” — Sarah Mei Lyana, (2017)
No but like dyou know what I mean, if we’re made from stardust, what if there was another galaxy or another solar system or whatever world that had dinosaurs and then they became part of the stars that formed the people you and I know now, if there are multiple worlds I’m gonna say this is a possibility, however infinitesimal.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2018

Twenty-eighteen is going to be my year. As such, I will not use Tinder, OKCupid or whatever online dating application or sites to find or meet people. Not from Jan 1 all the way through Dec 31, 2018. I don’t give a fuck if I am bored, lonely, depressed, frisky, whatever. None of these counts as valid justification. Instead, I will spend my time doing all the things I desperately need to be doing and should have done all this while: writing my novel and/or short stories, learning to drum, reading, and applying for further education. So many things to do, and men aren’t one of them.

BOXING DAY

Dear Joey, I want to text you, but I don’t. I know my feelings are valid to me, but they don’t have to be validated to the world, and I don’t have to act on them. I love and miss you, even if sometimes I hate you and wish we had never met. I love and miss you, even if I am dating someone else and liking them as people and enjoying their company. I love and miss you, even as I am looking through Facebook profiles of people I haven’t talked to, and thinking there are still so many people I have yet to make acquaintance with, and they are so interesting and so impressive and so funny (at least in terms of online statuses and whatnot). I love and miss you, even if I have not seen you for fifteen months nor talked to you for half a year. I don’t know why you, I don’t understand my feelings, I don’t want to give power to them, but there they are, bubbling under the surface. I love and miss you, as I dream about the literal words “love of my life” and I semi-lucid-dream turning the man in my dream into you. Jesus. My only consolation is hoping everybody feels this way about the people they love until they find someone else to love, just that they don’t write letters about it.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

ADVIL

Today I got my period while I was at work. I never usually take painkillers when I get period cramps. I picked it up from my mother, because she doesn't like medication, so I also always tried to go the hippy, natural, wholesome, no-medication way, thinking that if I tough it out, the next time my body would be stronger and I will feel better eventually.

"Eventually" has dragged itself out for what, fourteen years? And seriously, if I died tomorrow, would it have been worth it to have lost one to two days for every month of my life to feeling chronic debilitating pain, in the hope of some imaginary future? Nope.

In any case, my work day had almost just started and I needed to power through so I took an Advil from a colleague and quite immediately I almost forgot I was having my period. Jesus H Christ, this year's Christmas present to me came in the form of an Advil, and I will always make sure to take it for future periods.

I pick up the weirdest habits from my mother. It's time to unlearn all the inherited weird thinking, at 27. Never too late, right?

I told Han about the Advil 'cos she's having her period too (best friend period buddies) and she reminded me of the time she had a bad headache while she, Nick and I were having Korean BBQ at Koreatown.

Exactly two years ago to this date, I was starting to fall for Nick when we met him in LA. I think at this time he was probably letting us skateboard but Han and I were too cold. Psh, we're such noobs, LA doesn't even really get a winter.

Will I forget my feelings for Joey if I fall for someone new? Is it ever going to actually happen? I thought I'd fallen for men this year, but now I just don't feel anything for any of them. Why Joey, though? Does another man have to knock me up to take his place?

Holy mother of god.

Friday, December 22, 2017

I DON'T LOVE YOU
AND STILL I ALWAYS WILL

So one year ago, I wrote a post titled A NON-DENOMINATIONAL HOLIDAY NON-LOVE LETTER and published it on December 25. I deleted my copy of the letter and everything I'd written in the past decade, but I only just realised Google's cache of every single page I'd published still exists and is accessible.

Which means the saying is true: anything and everything you post online will never truly go away. Also: it has been 365 days, and still, the letter seems to hold true. Good job, and well done, Sarah, you have truly outdone yourself. #sarahcasm
When I was staying at Bill's house, he asked me about the trip I'd had so far and although I had experienced so much prior to meeting you, I could not stop gushing about you. Bill said "you really actually love him, that's amazing. I've never had that, and that's so rare to see."

I knew that I was and am inherently different from Angelenos, where everybody is busy working and carving a career for themselves to put too much care into love: heck, even in Singapore, I'm the girl who feels too much. So I say, tone it down and check yourself, lest he be wary of you and all your emotions.

I don't love you when I tell you my life story and cry and you say "I would want to run away if that was happening to me", I don't love you when you call me at 3am as I'm asleep somewhere in Tahoe and I'm groggy and I ask who you are although of course I know who you are, of course my heart knows your voice, and you say, offended: "what? it's Joey!" I don't love you when I'm reading beside you while you are working on your car in the garage and Ti'aan teases that you are always thinking about me when you're drunk, which Ti'aan says is a good thing because a person loses his inhibitions when drunk and what you say is what you really want to say.

I don't love you as you tell me about the smart kids who get school trips to SpaceX, and their really intelligent questions, and I don't love you as I wish I'd been passionate enough to ask something that you would deem intelligent. I don't love you as I see you playing the keyboard and I want so much to hug you but I feel you would be overwhelmed, that you would know of how much I don't love you, so I hold myself back and watch you through the mirror.

I honestly don't love you when you ask me what my favourite movie was as we're eating sushi, on the day we went to Thousand Oaks to get your Triumph, and I got really pissy because you'd already asked me for my favourite film, and you didn't remember.

I don't love you during my last weekend that we spent in Hermosa, when you gripped my hand tight to lead me back to safety, all the while I needed to pee and would not stop bugging you about it. I don't love you as we reached your place, and finding that Russ was also concussed there, and you take care of him and put him to bed.

I especially don't love you when we were at Hermosa and I stop myself from running my fingers through your newly-cut hair, and while I was in your embrace, you say "I'm gonna miss you" but you refuse to say it again when I pretend that I missed it, either because you are so loath to express your feelings thanks to a culture of toxic/fragile masculinity or because you don't want to legitimise it because I'm leaving soon. I don't love you at all.

I don't love you as I'm showing you a bootleg of Hamilton and you fall asleep, then defensively say "it's muffled! I can't really hear what they're singing!" although of course you can - if I can make out what they're singing, surely any American worth their salt can make it out.

I don't love you as I tremble in my bedroom, finding out life-changing information, wondering how we could have done something that would eventually change my life and me as a person, while simultaneously thanking God that if such a thing was happening, it was with you, because I'd never felt safer in my life.

Happy holidays. I don't love you, and I always will.
Oh my god help is there a timeline where Joey and I don't cross paths, can Rick and Morty exist so I can switch to an alternate dimension, please help. I want to pretend all this isn't true anymore and it doesn't affect me but that is not me as a person. The person I am simultaneously acknowledges everything she feels and resents herself for it. Suddenly I'm reminded of the episode (Morty's Mind Blowers) where Morty realises there are times when he's fucked up so bad that he gets Rick to erase those experiences from his memory. I am such a Morty yeurgh oh well at least I'm not Jerry.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

GRIT

Exactly two years ago, Han and I boarded our flight for my first trip to LA. She and I have been feeling extremely nostalgic about that trip, her because it was her only Couchsurfing experience and she felt it was an authentic immersive time, down to the cosy Topanga Christmas party we were invited to, and myself because, well why not? LA literally changed my life.

Yesterday, I watched The Mars Generation on Netflix.

It was nice to see SpaceX, and the rooms that I'd been in. Not gonna lie, I tried to see if I could spot Joey in the scenes of SpaceX and reusable rockets, hahahahahahahaha. He was probably there, somewhere, but no he didn't appear in the show.

It was adorable to see all the kids at Space Camp, so intelligent and such curious minds, doing experiments that would cause their rockets to lift off while protecting the payload of their eggstronauts. I remember asking Joey whether he enjoyed his job, and he says it's interesting, because sometimes he gets kids asking very smart questions.

Am I gonna start waxing lyrical about my love for Joey? No, but you know I will always love the man. Both for practical reasons like the fact that he housed me for weeks while I was a complete stranger, and for completely illogical reasons, because love does not make sense.

This morning, I received an email from Ted Radio Hour. I'd been gushing about them and recommending the podcasts to pretty much anyone who would listen, then realised I should send them some feedback and validate the work they were doing.

I'd almost forgotten I'd written them a lengthy email (because I am a fairy of words) and it was nice to know that they read it and even made time to respond. It also reminded me of my own focus. Come on, Sarah, there are people who were made to be rocket scientists, or aircraft engineers, or doctors or lawyers, but this, your journey was for you. Among seven billion people in the world, this one's for you. Don't lose focus.

Sciencespeed. (Yeah, I decided to come up with this as an alternative to Godspeed.) If we ever colonise Mars, we'd better not bring along myths of gods, and anyone who's religious can sort themselves out on Earth.

SATURN RETURNS

Today I went to the market with my grandma. We didn't use any plastic bags, just used the trolley all the way home. This might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but in Singapore, everybody still uses plastic bags and older folks definitely ask for double-bagging for their groceries. Geez.

It worried me a little, shopping with my Nyai. She asked me to get potatoes, and meat, and quite a few things, more than once, after we'd gotten them. :( When Shahida was here last weekend and ate my grandma's cooking, she said, not for the first time, that my grandma is a living treasure. I think it might be high time to start learning to cook/get some of her recipes down before her memory really fails.

She's the one who raised me and up till now, I think she still has qualms about me living overseas on my own. Traditions are hard to break out of.

Today I was too lazy to walk the twenty minutes to the pool so I decided to stay home and do the only thing I can do and enjoy doing -- planking.

One time, I tried to do yoga by myself, did it for ten minutes and somehow fell asleep for an hour. Anyway, I realised that I haven't cycled for a really long while - it's a good thing you can't forget how to swim or cycle.

Time to go for a cross-country cycle? You bet.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

LET IT SNOW

Zack noticed that my earstuds are origami cranes, so he showed me a plastic container of origami cranes he had been folding, because he’d read somewhere that folding a thousand of those grants a wish. It’s slightly different to the meaning of my studs, which I’d got and have been wearing since three months ago, because I think they signify healing and acceptance. He’s currently at sixty-odd cranes. I asked him what he’d loved most about his ex-fiancรฉe, and I could still feel his love for her, despite what she’d done to him. Then again, if you asked me about people who’ve crossed me, romantically, I could probably still think of them all fondly. Perhaps we are all individually capable of forgiving the people whom we really love. We listened to an NPR podcast about manipulation, it was about false memories and one of the interviewed neuroscientists did research on an Eternal Sunshine-esque memory modification technique, after a recent bad breakup he’d been through. I’d just told Zack that one of my favourite films is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, countering his favour for superhero movies (what the fuck do people see in superhero shows? I could churn out ten with absolutely no creativity whatsoever). We watched a bit of John Oliver. When I get home, I have some editing to do, for something Han had helped me with on Sunday. I read a piece of news about an Amtrak train accident in Washington, and linked it to her, because she and I had taken an Amtrak from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and it was one of our quaintest, loveliest experiences on our trip — like meeting families travelling together for the holidays and recommending us the best local ice-cream places at each stop. I am so glad to be talking to her again.

Edit: I am home and my pack of horchata arrived.

I already had a glass and you cannot imagine how wide my grin is. It is exactly as I remember! This drink I last had a year and four months ago, on Venice Beach, or in East LA, which is very densely Latino-populated, or wherever the heck else I'd had it, stealing sips from my hosts.

I AM SO HAPPY YOU DONT EVEN KNOW now every time I miss LA/the US I can drink horchata, and oh my God why is the US so far away from us

Monday, December 18, 2017

WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND

four for four :)

Bread, goji berries, clam chowder, minestrone, carrots. Go figure. One day, years from now, those are the clues to help me recall what today was about. Also: my manager sang “Sarah Claus is coming to town!” and looked so proud of herself. I love her so much, silly girl.

13 days to a new year, but I’m finally enjoying myself right here, right now.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

ALL GOOD THINGS

Today, I met my best friend Han and we had high tea. We'd been going through some things, so I think each of us was a little apprehensive of meeting, but we pushed through and as always, I think we're on the better side of things. I hope we will always be stronger after rifts and not let them break us apart.





We talked about a lot of things today --- the thing we'd been facing, why non-black people shouldn't be allowed to say the N word but not demand the same of black people (because in that case, white people still want to retain the power of who is able to say what ie. a child saying if I can't play with this toy, nobody can), men wanting equality instead of feminism per se.

Today I found out after 15 years of my friendship with her, this person I consider to know my deepest darkest secrets (not that I have many, but still), that she doesn't believe that humans evolved from primates. She was asking about whether I believed in God, so I brought up evolution and then we came to a standstill. We were both equally stunned to find out each other's beliefs.

Like... my best friend the engineer, thinks that I am more unnatural for believing in evolution than I think she is unnatural for believing in God. Of course our discussion went on for much longer than I can dream of summarising in these paragraphs, but I suppose that's why I have always toyed with the idea of just doing podcasts of my life and my conversations with my favourite people.

I had much more to say, but somehow, I am just happy to say all of that. The words Han and my best friend in the same sentence. Today was the third consecutive day I'd met Zack. Yeah, his name is Zack. We walked around town holding hands and people-watching and going to the Apple Store and fiddling with the iPhoneX and looking at Christmas lights. I don't know what this means.

But I am happy. I hope you are too. Christmas is going to be great! And so will 2018! And so is life! You get a car! And you get a car! You all get cars! I'm delirious from being tired from a full weekend. Good night, and good week ahead. :)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

FROM ROOFTOP TO RATCHET

As I was leaving work tonight, looking at how I was dressed, many of my colleagues cheekily reminded me that we all have an 8am meeting tomorrow. By tomorrow, I mean in 7 hours, and that means I should be sleeping.

I was wearing a little black dress, I'd painted my nails my favourite colour, I was wearing heels. I was going on a proper date. We went to Southbridge, an oyster bar on a rooftop, overlooking the river and the gorgeously superficial, superficially gorgeous skyscrapers that grace our skyline.

I wanted to take photos, but I was an adult lady, fully accustomed to proper fancy dates, so I didn't. Christ Almighty what has become of me. We shared an array of oysters, hot oysters and cold oysters with different squeezes and sauces, which were really good, aphrodisiac-status-notwithstanding.

I also had duck pastrami sliders, he had tuna tartare.

He's from Sheffield, but he doesn't have a British accent. Which sucks. Why would you date a British person with no Brit accent, when the accent is the sexiest part??? He teased me about my love for America and American boys. Like my best friend G in Paris, he says I have a boy at every port.

That is a completely nonsensical claim. First of all..... I haven't been to many places/ports. Second of all, I don't have any man, anywhere!

I had an enjoyable night, but the only thing that doesn't sit right with me is that he, and I quote, doesn't like the term feminism, and he prefers equalism. I kid you not, he said the term equalism, and I can barely type it with a straight face. Because in a world where girls aren't allowed to go to school, in a world where women aren't allowed to drive, in a world where a woman's right to birth control is in the hands of rooms of men, the issue someone should have is that the term for progress should signify equality to both genders, instead of highlighting the gender that is disenfranchised most often and widely across the world.

I feel like he is the type of person who would believe in men's rights, and that is where I most definitely have to draw the line.

Regardless, I am keeping an open mind, yadda yadda yadda. As you can see, unlike with the people I have loved the past few times, I haven't fallen flat for this man. Usually when I like someone, I go from 0 to 100 on the double, but this time, I'm just enjoying the company. Perhaps this is a good thing.

In any case, I went from rooftop to ratchet real quick. When I got off the train, my feet were aching from my heels, and I had to get McWings for my grandma (she raised me so whatever she wants, goes), so I took off my shoes and walked home barefoot.

Jesus McNuggets, I hadn't been so ratchet since the company's staff party two months ago. On that night, I was drunk and wearing a long skirt with thigh-high slits on either side. After I'd taken the train on two different lines and when I was transferring to my last train, I realised that the back portion of my skirt had ridden up and was tucked into my underwear ever since my visit to the toilet near the bar where the party was held.

I am ratchet queen. But I am happy. Oysters were good. And I guess he was nice, even if he believes in equalism. I cannot. HAHAHAHAHAHA. I'm out. Have a lovely weekend. x

Thursday, December 14, 2017

BURRITO PROBLEMS

So I just finished eating a chicken burrito that had been in my family's fridge for at least seven days, then realised it tasted a little sour so I Googled it. According to Google results, it was good for 3-4 days. That can't be right, if food only lasts 4 days, what use is having a fridge?


One time in high school, I ate an entire pandan chiffon cake that had grown mouldy all over, just so that I could take a medical leave from school. Nothing happened, I didn't feel even the slightest bit queasy so sometimes I'm convinced there's still bacteria from that time in my stomach.

My stomach is the best. Unless... one day I have stomach cancer, which would not surprise me because cancer runs in my family. But also: Brooklyn Nine-Nine needs to load, stat. I'm so stoked, there were two episodes released tonight (that means last night but by the time it gets uploaded online it's the next night here, thanks for nothing Singapore)!

I'm done with my burrito, I have nothing else to occupy my time. But also also: the new iOS kills me. Why, Apple, why?

Edit: Jake just said "are you guys on Venmo" after having to leave the most awkward conversation with Diaz's parents oh my god this is the best show on TV why doesn't everybody watch this help im dead

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

TELL ME MORE, TELL ME MORE
DID SHE PUT UP A FIGHT?

Last night I got home early from work and watched Grease on Netflix. What a silly, gender-divisive show. A few of the songs are still quite catchy, though.

Before I came home, I got myself a new piercing on my helix. When I was going to bed, I knew that I had the piercing so I slept on my left side, but my perverse human brain kept telling me that I was uncomfortable and that I wanted to try sleeping on my right, despite knowing it would be painful. Why do people do that? For things so smart, our brains can be really stupid.

Having a helix piercing reminded me of my adventure with Indy, my industrial piercing. Once upon a time, years ago, when I was still young, wild and free, I got an industrial piercing on my left ear, which is two opposite sections of ear pierced, connected by something called an industrial bar.

I felt cool for all of those few days, until my cartilage got infected and my left ear literally collapsed. I was hospitalised and literally everyone I knew in life visited me. For an ear piercing that nobody else gets hospitalised for. I learned my lesson that of all the things I was in life, I was just not meant to be cool. So I stuck with just my two earlobe piercings for the longest time, until my helix yesterday.

This Sunday, I am meeting Han, my supposed best friend forever, whom I haven't seen for months. I suggested doing the bungy (Singapore's first step-off-a-platform proper bungy) or the giant swing, but Han says she's slowly losing her taste for scary things, so we were gonna do the vertical skywalk, in which you descend the tower by walking facing down, but then we decided not to do that.

If my best friend starts getting more fearful of exhilarating rides or activities, who will I do those things with? Who am I gonna take the world's craziest rollercoasters with?

Truth be told, I also think I should confront my fears and do the swimming with sharks thing as soon as I can, because I might not have the threshold for it beyond my 20s. I've done a real bungy in KL, skydived in New Zealand, the only thing left is the shark cage.

I actually have a real phobia of sharks, my brain always forgets what the phobia is even called. If a shark appears on my feed while I'm holding my phone, I drop or throw my phone, and if a shark appears on TV, I instinctively close my eyes. I don't understand why it gives me such goosebumps, but I guess that's what is meant by phobia.

Where am I going to go for the shark cage? Definitely have to do it in 2018 before I get older and chicken out of such things. I just want to do it and possibly try not to pass out.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

STRING OF LIGHTS

I had dinner with one of my best friends, Pamela, tonight. We talked about a lot of things, and perhaps the things we talked about will be pertinent five months later, or perhaps not. What matters though, is that I am grateful for Pamela and I love her a lot. 

Last night, I got home from work to three packs of classy-looking tea in tins (chamomile, earl grey, rosehip and hibiscus) on my bed. My mum had gotten them for me ‘cos she knows I love tea and she wrote a note asking me to cheer up. The best part is they’re all ethically-sourced/fair traded tea! :)

One of my ex-colleagues at I am... is getting married in a couple of weeks at the start of January. I mention it now because that was where Pamela and I dined tonight, my previous workplace, and my colleague passed me the invitation. Top off my head is what I’m going to wear to the wedding. 

It doesn’t hurt to have thoughts like what to wear, not least when the whole of Los Angeles seems to be on fire (at least it seems to be from all the news reports) and an explosion went off in NY, not half a day ago. Stay safe yall, I don’t believe in prayers but yall are in my thoughts x

Monday, December 11, 2017

DON’T READ THE LAST PAGE

hold on to the memories
they will hold on to you
and I will hold on to you

please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognise anywhere

More and more, I am filled with a really quiet, little sort of peace that makes me smile to myself, a small secret smile, just for myself. I listen to lyrics and see photos of the beach and read Malay words and think of birthday celebrations and watch animated films and drink tea and get reminded of the dozens of men whom I have loved, who have made me happy. 

I have lived a rich life. What a life. It is going to be even fuller.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

CLOSURE

Two nights ago, I asked a friend if he had seen Trump’s declaration about Jerusalem, and we wondered whether Trump would really singlehandedly start World War III. My friend then asked me what I would do if WWIII really happened. Before I could think of the layers of complications, second-guess what anyone would think about me or my decision, I said I would ask Joey whether he had a girlfriend and use all my savings to stay with him or travel with him, all things being suspended.

I wonder how much value my money would have in wartime, though.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM

Today was a good day.

In the train, I watched the video of my two months in Cali last year, and I smiled the entire way. It just made me think, I might not be financially well-off, but I am so very rich in experiences. By virtue of Couchsurfing and Tinder, I got to stay with amazing people.

A man who saved his local cinema theater, someone who was writing his own film and had books and DVDs literally all over his apartment, that I indulged in reading/watching while he worked. Courtesy of a lawyer who was driving upstate to his friends, I stayed in a lodge in Lake Tahoe, kayaked and karaoked in the town (where grandmothers were belting out Miley Cyrus' Party in the USA), played Scrabble with a soul sister and her fluffy cat Princess, climbed a mountain that I had not even anticipated doing during my summer there.

I went to SpaceX and saw parts of rockets literally blackened from the launch into atmosphere, got housed by a rocket scientist who raced me across Mulholland Highway/Snake Canyon, both in his car and on his new motorbike, that he purchased while I was right next to him, grumpy from my hunger while the store checked his credit score.

Musicians and engineers and teachers and lawyers and writers. I met them all and loved them all. Who else would have done all this shit? Not a single person I know. And the thing is, you cannot buy those experiences. No amount of money would have gotten anyone I know, the summer I had. I should be a poster girl for MasterCard or something. A 2-month summer in California? Priceless.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

COME ON, SKINNY LOVE

25 days to the end of the year. Sometimes, when I meet up with people I haven't seen for ages, they tell me I've lost weight or become skinnier, and out of those times, some people ask how I do it. Well, I do admit that my genes probably help because my mum is tall and lanky and my biological parents are athletes so I don't have to work out much to look fit. The real reason why I'm usually skinny, though, is because every time I get jilted in love or go through a rough patch, I lose my appetite and then I lose even more weight. I try, I try to eat my regular amounts through my ups and downs, but it's hard when I'm depressed and my stomach doesn't feel hungry. So yeah, if you're envious, perhaps you might wanna try getting knocked up, miscarrying against your wishes, falling out with your family and then losing the ability to trust or to maintain a meaningful relationship with anyone. That could work.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS

When I woke up, I went to the swimming complex. After my swim, I felt tired enough to conk out early. Yet, here I am, lying awake in my bed, my eyes closed, my mind on Joey. I can't figure out why Joey: I have not been in contact with him for months. I can't quite place what the hell I feel about him, at times I honestly hate the bejeezus out of him for spiralling my life out of control, at other times I think of how contented I was when he was teaching me to drive, or when I poured neon orange coolant liquid into the engine. The question is, does any of this matter? No, so let it go, Sarah, close your eyes and go to sleep. Let sleep take you. You will be okay. It will be okay.

Monday, December 04, 2017

HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW

Today I have reached the pinnacle of my ability to sleep anywhere, anytime. I fell asleep while my eyebrows were being threaded. I felt so embarrassed when my beautician had to nudge me gently to wake me. What the hell is wrong with me? Threading is a painful experience, honestly I hate having to get my eyebrows maintained, and yet I still fell asleep.

Perhaps I am just knackered because I went swimming this morning. That is a really good reason. It is probably true.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

MISMATCHED EXPECTATIONS

I went for dinner with Bhavs and Ekta tonight. We had vegetarian Indian food at Nalan, Capitol Piazza. It was really good. While having cheesecake for dessert at Starbucks, we got to discussing our dating experiences, especially through online dating apps. After some banter, I asked for their respective deal breakers, and Bhavs said she just wants a very nice guy.

I then had to think quite a bit, because I would say I've had a pretty extensive and comprehensive dating experience and even so, I haven't met too many very nice men. I then came up with an idea of making an app specifically for Very Nice Guys.

Bhavna's initial reaction was: "but then you'll find all the men there!"

I would think the opposite though. I think, in our society, and in many societies, men haven't been taught to be nice, or to prioritise being nice. A man is expected and taught that it is important to be successful, to be wealthy, to be handsome, or really intelligent, interesting even. But it is not a man's job to be nice, that is traditionally for the women.

In fact, I would make it hard for men to qualify for the app. First of all, like the way Tinder started out, a man who wants to be on our app would need a verifiable Facebook account, and secondly, he would need five verifiable female Facebook accounts to vouch for him as a very nice guy, to be allowed an account on our platform.

This means that women apart from his mother must agree that this man is indeed a nice guy. Five is a safe number, just because some women, like men, want to see other people burn, but getting five people who want to watch the world burn with you, is quite a stretch, and the way Trump sometimes gets blocked from carrying out his ridiculous executive orders, these five women can now be judges of whether a man is on the app for good and justifiable reason.

I think it's a brilliant idea to get women involved, because women know what hurts other women, and for example, I've never known a lot of females who would help a guy lie to cheat on his current partner. That way, this weeds out all the men who might be looking to stray from their partners. I think women should all be helping other women.

I also think that if a man has been on our platform, and the same Facebook account is back on our app, we would look for his most recent matches and allow these female partners to verify whether he was a nice guy and things didn't work out amicably, or whether she sensed red flags and he was abusing the rules. I say this because I've been on and off Tinder multiple times, probably eight times at least, in the past four years or so, and I'm sure there have been douchebags who have been on the app, on and off, again and again, for at least the same amount of time as I have.

I'm not saying that all men have bad intentions, but to have an app like Tinder where some men are looking for things that girls are not looking for, is just not productive. Men who want to have fun, who are not ready to settle down and find something serious, can stay on Tinder, and match with women who are looking for the same thing.

I'm definitely saying, though, that men abuse girls' trust on Tinder far more often than you think it happens, even when the girl in question (ie. myself as case example) states what she is looking for. You wouldn't think men who are in relationships would be on Tinder, and yet I got inadvertently and unknowingly involved with an engaged man. And somehow, that's not even the worst of it.

If a man is willing to go through the various forms of verification before being allowed to be on our Very Nice Guys app, then you'd know that he's really serious about dating, too. It's a win-win for all parties.

The following questions are things I thought would be useful to ask men who might wonder whether they would qualify for the app. Most are from my own experiences, a few are from my female friends' experiences, and although not the same man might have committed all these little crimes, if you are guilty of at least one of these, as a man, I hope you take some time out to yourself and reflect on what you've done, whether it was worth it, whether you can really call yourself a good person.

Now, I'm not gonna be sanctimonious, I know I've made my own mistakes while dating, but let me assure you, I have never been one to abuse someone's trust while dating. I've always been serious to start dating in a committed relationship, and honestly, I think if that's what he wants, that's half the battle won for a man who wants to call himself a very nice man, who wants to get in touch with girls looking for very nice men.

Questions:

Do you find yourself explaining things to women in a way that they might perceive as talking down to them?
Are you married or in a relationship?
Do women apart from your mother generally tell you you are nice?
Have you ever called a female person a slut/whore for any reason?
Do you feel comfortable when talking to male friends and they call women terms like whore or slut?
Are you ready to commit to a serious relationship?
Do you think it is more important to be nice and good and kind than it is to be any other trait ie. successful/smart/wealthy/handsome?
Have you ever insisted on sexual activity even when rejected by a female partner?
Have you ignored texts from girls unless they are sexual in nature, or responded only in sexual forms?
Have you ever stopped texting or responding to a female partner after having had sex with her?
Are you ready to take on emotional and mental issues your partner may have, with the understanding that it would be mutual for her to accept you and your issues?
Have you ever neglected your partner's emotions or been emotionally isolated and used your previous experiences or issues as justification?
Are you currently recovering from/coping with getting over a recent long-term relationship?
Have you ever done physical things with a girl and, knowing that she already has feelings for you, continued to engage in physical/sexual activities, although you only have platonic feelings for her?
Have you ever found yourself intentionally mirroring someone's experiences to get them to trust you and let their guard down with you?
Have you ever led a girl to think that you would commit to her although you would only want sex from her?
If you have answered yes or no to any of the questions above but regretted it since, would you say you have changed and would not do it again?

I now need an app developer and a psychologist.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

BITCH, PLS

Eleven-twelfths of this year are gone, and I'm closer to wasting another new year. As the one rocket scientist I know would say (and did say in January this year), years are a social construct and we are always hurtling towards the sun. Or whatever the current scientific truth is. I am on the way home from work. I just want a sugar daddy or someone who believes in me enough to invest money in me so that I don't have to have a job and I can be sitting still long enough to write. Come on, law of attraction, work your magic. What do you mean, I don't have all the problems in the world? *rolls eyes*

Friday, December 01, 2017

DUSK TILL DAWN

you'll never be alone
I'll be with you from dusk till dawn
baby I'll be right here

I cannot wait to be back in the US. I cannot wait to be able to call it home. It might not be the best country (if such a thing exists), but it is the greatest, in my opinion.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

HARDWIRED


This perhaps now ties for my favourite TED talk. I always knew my joke about getting cancer sometime in my life had some truth to it. I also always knew there had to be some sort of explanation for my impulsive nature. And the tendency to be depressed. etc etc etc.

However, now that I've watched this talk and learned the causality, it also of course, on the flipside, equips and enables me to say, hey, okay, so those things happened and perhaps it increases some health risks, but those things can be mitigated, and I can always choose not to engage in high-risk behaviour.

Which perhaps is more significant and important to me than you could understand.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

SPANISH LISP

I remember watching a clip of Trevor Noah talking about the Spanish lisp. I don't know whether it's historical truth or an urban legend but apparently Spaniards began talking with a lisp when one of their kings (presidents? Idk?) had a lisp, instead of correcting the king. The first time I learned about this was when Joey told me about it. We were having Mexican food. I don't remember what the name of the Mexican chain was, but the food was quite good.

I thought of the Spanish lisp today because today I was talking with a little bit of a lisp thanks to an ulcer I have on my upper lip. It is in the same spot as I used to have ulcers in when I had my braces on. I no longer have braces on, of course, but the ulcer's back, and it hurts.

Monday, November 27, 2017

HORCHATA

It has been a year since I've been in the US, and it's such a strange thing that my favourite drink is horchata, which I have not drunk since I was in the US. But I remember how it tastes. It's so weird. Whenever people here ask how it tastes, I can't quite describe it to them, and know that they know what I mean, besides using the descriptions from its Wikipedia page, which does not do justice to the taste/flavour at all. I've been to a few Mexican restaurants in Singapore (not too many here, we need a bigger Mexican cuisine industry --- there are too many Korean places recently) and none of them serves horchata. Tbh I think I should just order the sacheted instant ones off Target. I'm going to do that now.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

DARK MATTER

I have been taking some time out for myself, and reading, and listening to NPR podcasts. I love NPR, they have episodes on space, and oceanography, and human resilience, and crisis and response. I feel like NPR has been more of my life than my life has been a life. I think one of the recent podcasts I was listening to was titled Shifting Time and a physicist was talking about how the universe is expanding, and at a constantly accelerating rate, which is mind-boggling. The more I listen to NPR, the more I feel like, we are too small to matter.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

719.1 km²

It's been a pretty long and tiring year. I have learned some, and grown some, I think. I haven't stepped out of Singapore in 2017, and if you didn't know, the length of Singapore is 50km from left to right, meaning I have pretty much stayed within the confines of at most 50km for the past 330 or so days. If you think about it, which I have, this sounds ludicrous, considering I used to always be the kind of person who would up and leave whenever I felt constrained, and needed to get away. This year, though, I was disciplined and I saved, for the future I have planned towards. I haven't left Singapore. I haven't used my passport in the past year. This is amazing. If it doesn't amaze you, it amazes me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES
ALL THE WAY BACK AROUND

One of my chronic issues is in learning to let go, and I always had trouble in letting go. One of the men I dated in June/July this year (his name is Suff), decided to text me again like a week or so ago. He said "I've always cared for you, just not in the way you wanted."

The funny thing is, three different men I dated from three different times this year, had the same idea as Suff, within the same two weeks. I do not know if they had the same motivation that Suffian did, which is that the year is ending and he wanted to end things on a good note. I suppose it could be true, although I didn't much entertain the other two men, because I hadn't spent that much time with them. 

Although we were talking like friends, pleasantly and comfortably, I realised that the lesson he was teaching me about letting go, could only be fully fulfilled, if I let him go. So I told Suffian I didn't want or wasn't ready to be friends again, not yet. Especially not after we were more than friends (yknow what I mean), and especially not because he ghosted me and reappeared when it was convenient for him, then he didn't apologise. I fucking hate being ghosted lol.

Friday, November 17, 2017

DEFINE: DANCING

I recently decided to remove most things I had online. By remove, I actually deleted them, meaning I don't even have them to look back on myself, but it's alright, they're kinda intact in my memory. Kinda. I have a pretty great memory, so, that helps a little. I realised that in the past year, everything that had happened last year, and the years prior to it, was the first and sometimes the only narrative people would think about or would use to form an impression of me. I don't mind talking about it or telling people about it, but I think it's time to set out on a new narrative. I am not someone things always happen to, by virtue of my family or my dating experiences or whatever. I have agency over my own life. I am not defined by my circumstance.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

WHEREVER YOU GO
GO WITH ALL YOUR HEART

I feel like this post should be in the form of a video log, because I'm gonna ramble on about several different things, and I kinda wanna have more of... a conversation where you can jump from one train of thought to another, then go back to the previous thing, without having a linearity you usually have to have when you're writing.

Anyway, anyhow. If you're here, please read this entire post before forming any conclusion about anything - if you are the sort to have conclusions. I'm not sure if there are any conclusions to be formed, because I have none myself, but I'm just trying to avoid any judgment from anyone, about anyone (myself included), as far as possible.

/ being human:

I turned 27 three days ago, on May 11. At this moment in time, as I'm writing this, I feel like I'm in an alright headspace, and I'm glad to be alive right now, glad to have been alive for the past 27 years.

Late last year and earlier this year, for a rather long while (when I was going through it, it felt like a long while but in the grand scheme of things, life always does manage to go on and nothing really seems to be a long while in your memory, once you've gone past the stage of living through it), I didn't feel very well in terms of my mental health.

I had thoughts that I didn't enjoy having and I'm not proud to have had, and as much as I tried to steer away from them, as much as I tried to surround myself with #positivevibes (how bullshit that sounds now), there was a major hormonal imbalance in my body and until I acknowledged it, I wasn't able to cope with it.

I blamed myself, because of course I had to hold myself accountable for it. I told myself if I hadn't been so carefree and careless, none of it would or could have happened. I would be lying if I said I didn't feel any resentment towards Joey. He was one-half of the equation, of course I 'blamed' him as much as I 'blamed' myself.

To be honest, I think each of us might still think it was more of the other's fault for not taking our own steps for it not to happen. Perhaps that is what usually happened in our previous individual experiences and we took for granted that it is what would happen. He could have done his part in taking precautions, I could have done mine, yet neither of us did. There was no excuse, we were both young and careless. (I wanted to add "wild" but the truth is, neither of us is too wild, we are relatively tame, safe people, except for an aberration of that one summer with all the consequences..... ;P)

After the incident, I didn't realise how badly I would be affected. When I heard a random stranger in public talk about blood, I couldn't breathe and my mind blacked out, and it was only after some time to myself that I realised I'd been triggered to thinking of when I'd bled out. (Yeah, I know right, triggered, what a ~millennial~ sort of word to use.)

I spent a long time going round and round feeling bad about myself, for having made such a big mistake, for not even being financially capable of handling it by myself, I felt ashamed because it's not culturally appropriate or even acceptable, the way I was raised. Basically, everything that I'd done in my life felt like a bad decision and wrong and I'd fucked it all up. It was the hormones making me feel this way, but usually when you're in such a position, you're too far gone to be rational about hormones.

A line of questions that I kept harping on was, "why did this happen to me? why me? am I a bad person?" It was pointless and destructive and I never got anywhere but finally, when I got right down to it, I accepted that it happened just because I was and am fundamentally human.

It's easy to forget that people are flawed, and for some of us - terribly flawed: because most of us like to think only about shiny, happy moments, and try to make life about only the shiny, happy moments. But it isn't. Being human and living a human life means exactly that there will be times when everything feels like it's going to complete and utter shite.

You might have to go through a divorce, break up an engagement, lose your loved one, get diagnosed with serious medical conditions, experience failures in studies and in businesses, cheat or get cheated on, be bullied for your sexual orientation, have kids before getting married and be shamed for it, be assaulted or raped, be disowned by your family, have a miscarriage, and the list, sadly, is non-exhaustive. You will inevitably hurt yourself or someone else, or someone will hurt you.

The only way to avoid any of it is to stay indoors like Spongebob did in an episode, and not have any interaction with the outside world (I recognise that Spongebob is not a human being, but he is a personified sponge).

And so.... I just want to say that if you are going through something that you think is incredibly negative, or you feel like you've fucked up and nothing will ever go right again for you, welcome to the ranks of humanhood.

In the entire history of mankind, millions upon millions and perhaps billions of our fellow human beings have gone through some version of it before. The ones who are alive, who are around you, have either already gone through their own struggles, are going through it and may not be showing it, or may not have met with their personal ordeals at this point, but may do so in future.

And it's human to do so. It's human to have the very worst things happen to you. You could be feeling pain like you feel should not be humanly possible, you could want to lie flat on the toilet floor and never move or do anything again (Izzie Stevens ref, anyone?) for the rest of your life, like your heart is curling up so much you'd rather die, or that you're already dead inside. You might want the hurt to show on the outside, like a battle wound or scar, so that you can explain why you don't feel like going to work or go on with the rest of your life, because hey, look? I feel like I've been stabbed/shot/whatever, even though I'm physically intact. And you won't even have that as an easy out, because what happens in your heart, people say is just all in your head, even though you are consumed by your pain and sorrow and grief, you think you can't possibly feel anything good again. It happens because as a human being, you are capable of feeling hurt, even if nothing physical has apparently happened to you. And this happens to all of us.

I'm reading a book called note to self by Connor Franta at the moment. I haven't gotten through a substantial portion to decide whether it's good or bad or if I like it yet, but even in the first few chapters, there is this paragraph that resonated with me---
My struggle, my pain, my grief, my despair, my tears—they're not uncommon. They're shared. And once something is shared, it loses its isolating potential. That's something I've come to realize—once I understood that I'm experiencing something that millions of others have endured before, and are enduring at the same time, it somehow makes it feel less frightening, less heavy, less individual.
I guess I can say at this point, now that it's sort of behind me, that I, for one, am glad I felt all the negativity that I've felt, all through my life. It means I risked something. I risked many things. I invested myself in situations, in people. I have stories to tell. I'm in non-mint condition, I'm all banged and scratched up, in my head, my womb, my heart, my skin, all of it. I explored the spectrum of human emotion and have wasted none of it. My hope for you is, if and when you are experiencing the bad, dark, tumultuous, uncertain, stormy parts of life, that you remember that we as a species are equipped with the heart to feel it, and the brains to think through it, and that making mistakes or having mistakes or anything sad/bad/mad happen to you, is part of being human. We'll feel it and we'll go through it together. Because we're the only ones evolved enough to be able to. And because the best stories are the ones lived out.

(Plus: what happened to me/us was basic science, and for dating a rocket scientist, we really were selfishly careless, to assume that 1+1 would always remain as two. Hello??? It's not even rocket science to know that's not true when people are involved. I learned my lesson the tough way. Humanhood, right?)

depression:

In the past seven months or so, I tried to externalise whatever I was feeling, with the exception of in front of my mum and extended family. I think the fact that I was not allowed to feel it in its fullest with the people I live, prolonged the amount of time I needed to get through it, because talking/communicating outwardly is how I sort of get through and over things. I'm saddened to say that my values are not my mum's values, and her deep shame at whatever she has experienced in her life and that has happened in mine, made me feel much more negative about myself and the incident, than I objectively would have, and even do right now.

But that's besides the point. First I want to say, most, almost all of the people who were by my side through the past year, have been the greatest help, and I'm immensely grateful that they stepped up, spoke some words to me, showed that I wasn't alone, even if I felt I was. I made boundaries, saying what I thought would be okay for them to say or ask, and what I thought would upset me, and beyond just sticking to those lines, they said some really comforting things: don't feel like you need to set a deadline to feel better, take all the space and time you need, let the days pass, and don't count down or up to anything. Every day is just another separate day, every step is another step. A couple of people said things that weren't very helpful, but I'm going to assume they haven't had any prior experience in coping with depression, so that's fine. They tried, and I think that's what matters.

I am by nature an expressive person, and that's possibly why I'm articulate (at least on a screen even if not in person). I say things to people, loved ones, or the public. Anyone. I might be fortunate that I knew to set my initial boundaries of people wanting to express concern, and that people who were in the know generally were amazing at taking care of me. However, I still felt that during the time I expressed my darkest thoughts, certain members of the audience were uncomfortable with it, and they made me feel like i) I had no business expressing negativity, and ii) I should snap out of it, as if it was as simply done as said. I think that it's a nasty, pathetic side of social media that you feel pressured to only share the good things, so that you don't "affect anyone else". It's problematic, because as life goes, it's not always shiny, happy people, doing shiny, happy things. This is probably why people forget that life is quite often full of shite things happening to good people.

If any one of you reading this feels what I'm talking about, I hope you know that you shouldn't have to hide your sadness. You can talk about feeling down and out, despite trying otherwise. I hope that the people in your social circles are as kind and soft and generous as the ones who have been for me, and that you understand that people being people, there are those who will go through the worst of it with you, even though others put you through that worst. I hope that your loved ones step up for you the way they did for me. Otherwise, if you're ever overwhelmed, whoever you are, and wherever you're from, you can talk to me, because hey look! I am a fellow human being who is way too familiar with messing up. This offer stands, months and years from now, as long as I'm alive.

kids, adoption & perhaps the general state of the world:

In a semi-ironic turn of events, I have a feeling I will not be giving birth in my life. When the choice was presented to me, my heart and hormones overruled my head, and I felt I needed to have it. This was amplified because I generally hate and avoid making major decisions and am pretty much crippled from saying "no", so when I found out the news, I was leaning towards "okay, well that's it then, this is happening" but in a much more frantic, chaotic manner. I didn't think about it all that rationally, because I'm telling you, wait till you go through it (meaning: guys, you're exempt from this, as you always happen to be) and your hormones are a mess, the very word 'rationale' will no longer exist in your vocabulary.

However, since that choice was removed by chance (it happens to 80% of women, I learned a new fact!), I've had the time to properly think about it, about bringing a life into this world. Between my last birthday and this one, among the myriad of injustices are: Trump became POTUS, Syria happened and is still happening, multiple more "religious-backed" terrorist attacks took place and will inevitably continue to. The closest description to how I feel about the state of the world is... helpless. In this era of technology, there are people still living in poverty, or diseased, or lacking access to food and water, or all of the aforementioned, born with nary a chance of education or climbing out of their plight. Kids are brainwashed and recruited to join "religious" extremist groups, lest harsh consequences are carried out to themselves or their families.

All we do, all we can do, is close our eyes and numb ourselves. We raise our kids wherever the heck we are, try to give our kids the best advantage they can have, without acknowledging that one more kid we have is one less chance an impoverished child could have at making it anywhere in this world. Human life on this planet is a zero-sum game. The resources I take up, disadvantages someone else. We are overcrowded, overpopulated, and yet we care more about portraying our shiny, happy lives in saturated squares.

I don't know why I had this existential crisis but I think I might like LA because it's full of people trying to escape reality. Pick your poison: dance, date, drink, drug. Try to find your life purpose, buy into the lie and feel sorry for yourself, when to be honest, life itself has no meaning. We don't feel empathy for people we're not "related" to. The default human condition has to be sedated or we face the stark truth of life, unfair and full of suffering, too crippling for the average person to deal with.

The world is in a very sombre and sordid state of affairs, and I honestly think if ever I were properly ready to raise a child, I would adopt an orphan. I will not be bringing another life into existence and have to put on rose-colored glasses for them, pretend everything is happy and shiny. I think I would like to help someone who might be in a dire situation otherwise, and hopefully be for them the person I needed when I was younger, or even be the person that I still need now.

I hope I don't come across as.... perceiving that this is the only right thing to do. I'm well aware that not everybody has gone through the same things I have. Every individual story is their own. I'm happy for people who have found someone to share the rest of their lives together, and also really happy if and when they do have their own offspring. Perhaps they've got their lives well put together enough that they would raise their child to do good for the world, or perhaps they're a celebrity who can raise their own child and still manage to offset their carbon footprint, or fund another disadvantaged child's existence. Who knows? I'm not here to judge, and I'm not judging anybody.

Also: I'm barely twenty-seven, and I don't claim to know everything. Of course nothing is set in stone. Nothing ever is. Maybe when Trump is no longer POTUS nor instigating casual bigotry, the world will be a fairer place. Maybe people will be more compassionate towards immigrants and realise they're all just seeking brighter futures. Maybe racism will actually be acknowledged as a problem and cops don't shoot black kids just because they're perceived "threats". Maybe one day, terrorism will be tackled and the illogical problem-solution misfit of having too much food wastage in the world and yet millions of people not having access to any food will be solved. Maybe one day I could be motivated to give birth to my own kid, but looking at the world as it is now, maybe not in my lifespan.

....Especially since my father had six kids and my mother had four (overlapping two), and I feel like that's enough to make up for my portion of the birth rate/population control. Sorry, I tried not to go there, but I still did. ¯\_(ใƒ„)_/¯

/ love, dating, relationships & Joey

As well as being a hopeless romantic, I tend to be pragmatic, and those two concepts don't necessarily gel very well. So... I don't yet know where this is going to go, until it's typed and then we shall see, together. This could possibly be like five different tangents crossing over and tangling with each other, and I could be going back and forth about stuff.

My mother and I occasionally don't get along because we have differing ideas on gender performance and conformity. I subscribe to the notion that life would be much simpler if human adults were allowed to act on their natural instincts, but she subscribes to the idea that life is a test, and we don't live for this life. It creates some tension in our house and in our relationship, and I understand that she doesn't see my point of view, but she seems to think that my moral value is linked to the clothes I wear, or what I do with my body. As much as I respect our right to practise different lifestyles, I wish she would understand that just because I don't like all the things she likes, or I don't believe all the things she does, does not in any way mean I disrespect her or love her less. Love is love is love. I love her, but I also don't think you have to agree on everything with the people you love, or change them to be like you. I say this in this part of the blogpost because I have massive amounts of love for my family, but certain things strain our relationship, and I find it unnecessary.

I like to do things based on trust, and freedom. I know I'm not alone in feeling this way. Practically speaking, you cannot change a person's belief just because you believe in something. Not unless it's a scientific fact that cannot be disproved like, the earth is round. That's not how God and religion are, though, and even if God exists, I'm sure that "there is no compulsion in religion" would be a basic and true tenet. That my path in life is my own, and I should not be living according to how another believer wants me to live my life. That's not how it works. If the intention is not organically my own, and I'm only doing it because someone else is preaching to me to do those things, am I a true believer? I feel like as kind and sincere as a person's intentions might be, to be "religious" and spread the word, sometimes it backfires and pushes others away. We were not all intended to live the same way, we were all made different. I think this is why I'm so dissatisfied with living in Singapore, this place has no trust for its citizens, the sale of chewing/bubble gum is prohibited because we are not trusted to dispose of gum properly. I mean, how can a relationship be a happy one when it has no trust, no freedom and so much restriction? We also still have the death penalty, which goes to show human rights isn't the most forwarded of causes here.

This is also why I think travelling is crucial to personal development. People my age and younger are more open and accepting, regardless of the faiths they subscribe to. We've seen that there is so much to this, so much more to living on Earth. The world has seven billion people, of whom 1.8 billion profess to be Muslim. These billions of Muslims believe different things, live their lives differently. There are 1.8 billion ways of being a Muslim, and just because you believe in one specific, certain way does not allow you to override how I want to live as a Muslim. I think people who haven't seen the world are afraid of seeing that other forms of Islam, or even of Christianity, of atheism, and various alternative lifestyles exist, and that these people are good, and happy, and morally-upright people. It's a threat to their own beliefs, that you need to be or do things in a certain way, before you are considered to be living your life right. I feel bad for the generations before me, of course, because they've always been slogging too hard, too much of the time, to travel the way our generation does, and they tend to stick to what they know instead of expanding their horizons.

I understand that my mum's protectiveness comes from a place of concern, and I appreciate it, but I really want to say, what I need is please let me be my own person and live my own life. I would like to tell my mum that she's done a fine enough job of raising me, but I'm an adult and it is my turn to make my decisions, and trust that no matter what I do, it is fully informed and I will never regret the choices I make. One of my best friends said something that added to my perspective a couple of nights ago. She said, "if your mum believes that life is a test from God, then she should see it as a test for herself, that you were created differently from her, that you question and do things differently, but still try to accept you the way God would accept you."

The thing about it being tough for me is that apart from my sexuality and openness to the world, unlike certain people who have chronic issues with their relatives and loved ones, my family and I actually really love each other and get along well. That's why it's not as easy for me to just say, oh I'll pursue my freedom and do more of what makes me happy, because my mum would take it as a sign that I don't care for her, which is not true at all. It's like I'm stuck between a feather pillow and a really soft place, but either way, I will be smothered to death.

Right, so, anyway.

I love Joey, or I like him very, very much. I suppose there is no way I can deny this. I try to be conscious of why I do what I do, or why I feel how I feel, so I ask myself, why do you love Joey? I know sometimes people wonder whether race/skin colour/culture plays a part, because I've been dating mostly Westerners in the past couple of years. I can't say it isn't true. I've dated my fair share of Asian guys, and given my worldviews, I really find it easier for myself to relate to liberal Western men. Most men here were raised by women who, directly or indirectly, gave in to their boys' demands, much more easily than to their daughters. When men like these meet me, they expect me to also fold and cave, defer to them, the way their mothers did to their fathers.

I cannot speak for all of Asia, but in Singapore, and from the pool of Asians I dated, local men are misogynistic, and it's so internalised they haven't even begun to acknowledge or unpack it. It's in all the cultures here, even if we have the majority Chinese, and minority Malay/Indians. Our society, when it comes down to a basic family nucleus, will prioritise males over females. We still allow our boys to be lazy at home, but never girls. We believe in antiquated ideas like, guys can have sex with many partners, but not girls, or you will lose your "value". In fact, the very patriarchal concept of virginity still exists here. If you could just see me rolling my eyes now.... I don't even mean this to occur only in generations before my own, it's so ingrained that some of my best friends still subscribe to it. Until quite recently, so did I. In my own religious/cultural background, men are still the "leaders" of the household, and my female voice/viewpoint is dismissed so much more easily when I am speaking to a Malay man, than if I were to speak to a Western man.

I just had a conversation with my grandmother last night, and she's the sweetest, but she believes in things that make me outright scoff (I don't think I know how to scoff: Gabe ref, anyone?). She advised me to change my image --she literally used the word "image" which is a pretty big deal, considering she doesn't feel comfortable speaking English-- so that I can attract a decent man, to marry me. Because Lord forbid that "good, decent" men love "non-wholesome" women such as myself. Upside-down smiley parade!!!! Omg breaking news, I just found out you can use emojis on Blogger. ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ

I'm a feminist, and an overwhelmingly outspoken one at that, so I know that I will not get along with any man who was raised in a patriarchal/sexist way. Of course I know there are Western men who are just as sexist as any Asian man, and Asian men who are properly feminist, but the latter are few and far between. Generally, if you're an Asian man who benefits from the privilege you have over Asian women, I doubt you'd be too bothered to try to change the status quo. Also: if you're a feminist woman who's dating or in a relationship with an actual feminist man (and not the kind who profess themselves feminist just to get laid by liberal feminist women, because yes of course such sleazeball men exist), congratulations, you've snagged yourself a rare Pokรฉmon, and I am very happy for you.

Then there's the issue of money. I don't have to say it, but someone else has probably already thought it. I could have fallen for Joey because I'm attracted to money. I mean, of all the hosts I stayed with, Joey was the most well-to-do. He and I had a joke about his family being superprivileged because their house has three living rooms, for goodness' sake. Plus, he was also the one who drove the sports car, bringing me racing in the Malibu canyons. I must say, though, I've always loved adrenaline rushes, it's been one of my favourite things to take thrill rides with Han to celebrate our birthdays or overseas trips, so obviously, I would fall for the guy who drives racecars, right? I could unwittingly become the poster-girl for Good Charlotte lyrics "girls don't like boys, girls like cars and money." And it's such a tired trope, of Asian women being with white guys for their money. When I was in LA, there were Uber drivers who told me to find a man with a navy-blue passport (ie. the US passport, to the uninitiated) to marry, and I giggled, but also I was dismayed, because it really still happens, and I'm just like what?!?!?!?!

So yeah, it would be tough for me to disprove that I like Joey for the fact that he's a rich white guy. Because he's white and rich. But then I know that's not the person I am. I'm a romantic, I've never needed money to enjoy the best relationships I've had, plus apart from letting me live under his roof, Joey didn't pay for anything for me. One time, I think I was looking for cash for some takeout we'd ordered, and he was telling me I didn't have to pay for it, but he was hesitant and tentative about doing it. I dunno if it's 'cos he knows I'm a feminist and he thought I wouldn't be okay with him offering to pick up the tab, or if he didn't wanna insult me by insinuating that I wasn't able to support myself (although tbh I was indeed running low on funds). Or perhaps he just thought I was out to use him for his money. Who knows? ¯\_(ใƒ„)_/¯

If Joey was a regular working-class guy, I'd date him and probably feel more comfortable about it. If I wanna date a white guy, Joey or otherwise, I'd have to be financially stable myself, and work for my own livelihood, but because he's financially very comfortable, I have to work even harder to show that it's not his money that I like. It would be so much easier if he was broke like I am, lololol. Also: I have dated filthy rich guys and dirt-broke guys, and those other affluent men gave me no feelings and some guys with no cash were my favourites, so. Bottomline is, I shouldn't have had to prove it to anyone but money really isn't what matters to me.

The previous few paragraphs were: "not reasons why I like Joey", and the next few are "reasons why I do like Joey". Also, just as a heads up, sometimes I think being around me is like constantly having to remember the fifth amendment, because everything you say and do, can and probably will be used about you. It's not even only for men, I do the same thing with everyone. If you say/do something and I witness it, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll store it in the compartment of my brain that recognises who everyone is. It's my journalistic tendencies playing out in all my life aspects.

Anyway, anyhow.
He's empathetic, although he doesn't show it unless prodded. In the last few days of my trip to LA, one of my ex-bosses in Singapore passed away, so Joey and I had a conversation about prayers. I was being cynical, but then Joey said "well, people do what they need to feel better, and sometimes praying helps people feel better." When we ordered pizza, Joey gave the pizza guy more cash for tips, which had slipped my mind, because in Singapore "tips" are incorporated in the bill and we don't have a tipping culture. He said "we gotta tip him, he's on minimum wage and I'm a decent human being!" The first night I met him, I word-vomitted my life story up to that moment, and he said "I would wanna run away if that happened to me, too."
He is incredibly patient, he gave me my first-ever practical driving lesson in his Honda stick-shift, at a Kaiser Permanente parking lot. Do you know how many times I stalled the engine, and had to restart it again? More times than I can remember. In one afternoon. His poor, beat-up car. I feel bad for it. I also feel bad for him, because he had to explain how to rest my hands and how to move them to turn the steering wheel, so that they wouldn't cross over each other. He repeated this eleventeen hundred times and I still didn't get it, because I am a dumbass. (Also: shouldn't my level of hand-eye coordination be the same for driving and for drumming, but, how???) The whole time I was just amazed at how patient he was, and I wanted to kiss him. Maybe I wanted to see his patience for teaching me and how long it would have taken to push him over the edge, because I'm crazy.

One of the weekends, after we'd got back from racing his Mazda in the canyons, I left his car immediately because I wanted to get to his air-conditioned room. In case you don't know me, I suffer from hyperhidrosis, so I'm almost constantly perspiring. It used to be palmar hyperhidrosis (and I'd always spoil gadgets from holding on to them), but then I went for a procedure called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, which cut the nerves to my palms so I would never perspire there again, and now I just sweat equally excessively from everywhere else. That day was a hot summer day in LA, and Joey's Mazda doesn't have A/C (he removed it so it would be a light body kit ideal for racing), so his car is essentially a sauna in the sun. I wasn't really thinking about my car seat probably covered in all my sweat when I left the car (and I know how much it would have pooled because even in air-conditioned public transport I can see my beads of sweat left on the seats). I didn't mean to leave him behind, I just needed to get into the cool indoors. After the fact, though, I realised I should have stayed and helped him, because omg, it's my sweat, but the thing is, he never mentioned it, nor did he ever show anything to signify that it bothered him in the slightest.

You know? It's all these things that I find gross about myself, that certain people would just brush off and say "nah, it's human" that make me feel like, aww, that's really nice and understanding. As an aside, the fact that I have hyperhidrosis is possibly one of the reasons why I may never put on weight. It's not exactly a great trade-off. I mean, you should see the number of clothes I can soak in a day, from doing nothing but sitting down. Eurgh.

The night we were at Hermosa, I needed to pee, so I insisted on taking an Uber or lyft back, although he told me we were near enough to walk home. It took forever, because it was a Saturday night and everybody was waiting to get an Uber/lyft, but Joey and I sat at a bus stop (I don't actually know what the structure was, tbh), and I remember going on and on about needing to pee, but never considering walking home. When we got back, I realised that the ride was really short, and we could have walked for sure. It's moments like those, that I really appreciate him always giving in, and letting me have my way. For someone whose favourite word is adamant and who considers himself adamant, he's actually really sweet and.... pliable. Perhaps I can just be more adamant than he is.

Then there are all the little things, because it's always the little things, innit? The time I was FaceTiming with my grandma, Joey popped his head to say "hi, grandma!" but I said "Joey, duck! my grandma's not supposed to know I'm in your bed." The man was housing me for three weeks of the summer and yet I wouldn't let him be in my FaceTime frame with my grandma. Or when he brought me to meet his friends at parties, or for meals. When he was scratching Love Story by Taylor Swift, for me, and Russ came into the room unexpectedly, throwing both Joey and I off. That he's an engineer who works on the design of rockets for SpaceX, and I felt small, but then he said "you know lots of things I don't! you speak three languages!" and my head went: oh my God you are an attractive, intelligent, lovely, musically-trained man, please don't add humility to the mix, stahp making me fall for you even more, stahp, staaaaahp my heart is melting already.

Or when we started discussing limousines 'cos we saw one. He told me he and his housemates owned a limo for a period of time, so I asked whether it had any pull effect on girls, and he said "I dunno, I had a girlfriend while we had the limousine", which signaled very loud and clearly to me, that this was a man who would not cheat. He was offhand about it, he didn't know me well enough yet to know that my mind is a database of conversations, but I knew, as much of a party guy as he is, he doesn't see a reason to cheat, which is basically all that I look for, isn't it? It saddens me to say it, but I'm attracted to people who don't remind me of my father, and Joey fits the bill completely. He's faithful, honest and responsible. I can tell by his dynamics with his housemates and neighbours that he's usually the reliable one, financially or otherwise.

And then earlier this year, while I was back in Singapore, after having read my posts, he told me upfront that he was starting to see someone else. He stopped being in contact with me, but then he was no longer dating that person, so we started talking again. I was assured 'cos he understands that I just require complete honesty, after having been strung along, so many times. I was grateful that he told me, although he didn't need to be at all accountable to me, because we were never in a relationship and he's not obligated to, and also because I was also already dating back here (to get over the incident, I think it helped somewhat).

I could try to rationalise it till the cows come home, but that's all probably after the fact. I love Joey, and there is no explanation for it. It's in how he texts me at some random time, I could be anywhere doing anything, and I light up at his text. It doesn't even matter what he texts me, I'm happy to know that he's alive and well. That I'm on his mind is secondary, just knowing he's okay is what makes me glad. If I could just know intermittently in life that he's okay, it feels right for me. It feels like everything is going to be okay.

So, you know, sometimes people ask whether Joey likes me, and I've also been wondering the same even since I was still in LA. Bill, this other really sweet host of mine, asked whether Joey liked me, because it was obvious that I liked him. My answer is always... I suppose? I suppose he liked me a reasonable amount, and Bill agreed, because yknow, he was patient with me and let me drive his car, I was the first person who rode pillion on his new bike, he thought of me while he was out with his friends, and Ti'aan, one of his housemates, said I was always on Joey's mind, etc etc. I suppose he liked me enough while I was in LA, for us to date while I was there, because it was convenient. But Joey is an ambitious man, and his work is important, world-changing work, so he's too busy to keep up with anything that takes too much effort.

And I get it. He grew up in California, and more than that, he grew up very comfortably in California. As a 27-year-old man, he has the prerogative to be carefree and have fun. It could be all that he has known, so I understand that. I don't know how attractive he is when placed against other white men, or how attractive he is to white people, or in the grand scheme of attractiveness, but to me, I think he's super cute. I feel very strongly attracted to him, and I used to think it's because I really like cuteypie boyish types (which Joey was) who have clean-shaven faces, but then a couple of weeks ago, he sent me a photo of him with a full-grown beard and mustache, and my brain instantly went "dayummm, this man is fine" so I thought this must be love hahahahaha. ;P
This next tangent may sound a little crass or crude, but if it does, you shouldn't be surprised 'cos I've always been crass/crude *fake gasp*. I understand that Joey wants to have fun and be free because frankly, I do too. He's an understanding, intelligent, rich, attractive, talented man, he should have no dearth of suitors. In a matter of heightened self-awareness, nor do I. Sometimes I get amused when the men I date say they were intrigued by me because they think I'm strong for having gone through so much, or they're fascinated by the way I think. I want to roll my eyes because if I looked less attractive, it wouldn't have mattered how "valuable" my life experiences are, they would have swiped left. I'm gonna be honest with you, if the men I date can be superficial and decide on me because I know how to wear bronzer to give myself cheekbones, or that I'm tall and slim and dress myself well, there is no reason why I can't afford myself the same luxury of being picky about how my man looks. Especially because I know beyond the makeup and clothes, I actually do have some substance in the form of my brains and heart.

When I got rejected by the men I fancied, which has happened several times in my life, they would tell me "Sarah, look at you, a girl like you will definitely find someone" and it could be just some standard template answer people give to the ones they don't fancy, and I never believed it was true, until now. Now, I truly believe there is nothing wrong with me. I have gone through enough life to know that there are guys who would go the extra mile for me, I am an intelligent, loyal, affectionate, independent, inquisitive, witty, sociable woman who can stand up for myself and hold my ground. I also am really busy with my own life. I barely have enough time to sleep: I'm always hustling to earn money, I have good friends to meet, movies and TV shows to watch and books to read to learn something new about the world every day. I have my own book to keep writing. I mean, look, there are people half my age, and some twice my age, who are reading this, from as far as thousands of miles away. For some reason, my words matter in some form or manner, to people I don't even know. I don't quite have time to date either, if I actually really sorted out my priorities by matter of importance. I think traditional men want women to perpetually be besotted with the idea of romance and love so we're too distracted to take over the world and run it ourselves.

This is me living out what I learned from the research in Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance. Our grandparents, and their grandparents, and everyone before that used to marry the first person they dated, and often within the same block, if not the same apartment building. But now, we live in the age of a multitude of options. Given our current lifespans, let's take the average decline of virility at 60, that means if I get married at 30, and assuming we want our marriage to work out, my life partner and I would have to be physically faithful to each other for thirty years*. I say this because I'm not the kind of person who would forgive my partner if they cheated on me. I especially cannot stand it when cheats go back to their spouse and say "it didn't mean anything". You did a wrong by cheating on me, you don't get to define what that wrong means to me. We made a promise to stick with each other through everything, so if you cheat on me, that means to me, the victim of your wrongdoing, that you consciously chose to forget about me and the promise you made to me, and that promise now means nothing. Sayonara, sucker.

*thirty years though, dyou know how long that is? That's longer than I have lived so far, and my 27 years already feels like an eternity.... The FOMO could be quite real.

That's why I think, pragmatically speaking, I do believe there is some good in exploring the options I have. This is possibly a bad analogy to use, and hopefully my husband is not the kind to think of women as food/objects, but here goes: when I say sushi is my favourite food, I am comparing it to every type of food I've had, or it would mean nothing. If I've only had sushi in my life, then my conclusion isn't even very objective or significant. So when I choose my life partner, I want to know that I've dated a range of men, and my favourite person that I want to settle down with is actually my favourite based on all previous experiences I've had, and not some "divine" intervention or a media-backed idea of "the one". While I'm doing this, I also hope my future life partner (if I have one) is doing the same, so that when we do commit to each other, he's well aware of the entire "sea of fish" that he's forgoing for a life with me, that he knows what I'm worth and, through at least thirty years, not think of what-ifs and could-have-beens. Also: the good thing about my not wanting to give birth is, now my biological clock can keep ticking, and I could still date. :)

I don't know if the idea isn't romantic, but divorce rates are high, and judging by some failing marriages, it should be even higher than it actually is. It's why I believe cohabitation is thoroughly important before a couple decides to spend the rest of their lives together. I guess that's how I actually developed some levels of connection with Joey. We knew each other's pet peeves, or when to do our own thing and stay out of each other's way, even when I was living in his house. Close to a decade ago, I forget whether it was before, during or after B and I were doing long-distance while he studied in Melbourne, Shahida asked "how often do you feel the need to meet your boyfriend?" and I said "maybe once every three weeks" so she literally, hyperbolically said, "wow he could be living on Mars." It's 'cos my favourite things to do are solitary activities, I don't need company for the things I enjoy doing. I like to read, write, watch TV/movies, and none of those things requires having someone else with me. In fact, I quite like doing them alone. I like being in my own head, and zoning out by myself.

One of my hosts, from much earlier in my trip, was sweet, but also very chatty, and I complained about it to Joey and my best friends. Joey doesn't really like to talk much, which was brilliant for me, because as you can all attest from the ramble of words above, when I'm in the mood, I can talk nineteen to the dozen. Like the time Big Wok would not accept my $1 coins from the Metro top-up machine and I ranted: "I'm gonna take this up with the government, I'm in the US now and I have rights!!!! I should be able to use coins that are valid US currency!!" He just rolled his eyes and laughed, I'm pretty sure he thought "this crazy Singapore girl."

So.... Yup. I no longer know whether I lean closer to romantic or practical, because I think, practically speaking, you have to try with a few potential candidates before you find the best fit, for a considerably long period of time.

/ Netflix and no chill:

TV used to be a form of distraction to keep the masses occupied. I suppose it still is, but personally I really love Netflix's great content. Considering I had to keep myself distracted while keeping my depression at bay, Netflix was such an amazing preoccupation, the things they've recently been churning out are entertaining, relevant, and I'd say could boost your brain cell activity, rather than killing them.

There are 8 shows on Netflix that I'd have to say I would recommend to anyone and everyone, and I would get Netflix accounts for all of you just so you could watch those eight. (Or at the very least: Black Mirror. Get on it, y'all.)

I really enjoy Chef's Table, it's a documentary about chefs/restaurants/food. It's my favourite documentary series ever. On the one hand, I don't watch many documentaries so you might not want to take my word for it, because what do I know about the topic, right? On the other hand, perhaps because I tend not to watch documentaries but have overwhelming love for Chef's Table, you might be convinced that it's a really interesting series to watch. ๐Ÿ˜

Each episode is about a chef with a fascinating story, like Grant Achatz who had tongue cancer, and had to create recipes without the use of his taste, but entirely from memory. I mean, c'mon, what? It's very diverse, too, there are Asians and South Americans, an Australian and as far out as Slovenia. Who even thinks of Slovenia as a place? Where are they? Who cares? Me, 'cos I wanna go to Ana Ros' restaurant, which is also literally her home, in one bungalow-building-thing.

The videography is visually stunning, and wherever it's filmed, you really get the sense of the place as a story, and why it played a part in the creation of the restaurant, or the inspirations behind the respective chefs' styles. Also: it always leaves me hungry. Even though some of it looks like art. It's like an ~experience~ just watching Chef's Table. I have a new aim in life that is to try and visit as many of the Chef's Table restaurants, or to meet the chefs and try their cooking (not all of them run restaurants, one is actually a monk in Korea). I know there were two episodes about restaurants in L.A. and another in San Francisco. I think I'll try hit them up the next time I'm in Cali.

I started watching Chewing Gum with two of my sisters, and we got hooked because it pretty much depicts myself and Melyssa. (Also: we're all trying to switch from calling her Lyssa to Mel, so when I say Mel, please get on board.) It's about these British black sisters who live with their excessively strict religious Christian mum, and how they end up being sneakily rebellious 'cos they're always thirsty and trying to get some.

If that sounds familiar...... ;)

It's set up in a British ghettoish community, and with the wry wit and dry humour, the things she and her sister get up to are unbelievable but hilarious. She had a cocaine trip without even knowing it. It was mostly a fun show to watch, and very short and few episodes, so if you wanna kill time laughing at nonsense, Chewing Gum is a great option.

(At this moment in time, because this post was written over a few days, of course - I don't have the luxury of spending too much time writing in one sitting - but anyway, at this point of time, my colleague just reminded me of glasses that were invented to help correct colour-blindness, she brought it up in conversation because her brother is colour-blind. Then I thought, hey those would make a good gift for Joey, who is also colour-blind.

Also, I just got a new laptop and I'm trying to get myself a sleeve so I don't destroy this one like I did my previous laptop. I'm on Amazon and I see so many things I like, but none of them ships to Singapore. Why, Singapore, Y DO U HATE ME? Imma have to ship it to my U.S. P.O. box --thank fuck for entrepreneurial initiatives-- then forward it to Singapore, meaning double the shipping time and prices. Ugh. #firstworldproblems

Yeah, that's all, goodbye. Go on with the rest of the post.)

Imma let you finish but Black Mirror is the best TV show of all time. Of. All. Time. It's a series set in either an alternative-reality or the near-future with even more advanced technology, such as the ability to store your memories in memory-card-like "grains", set a part of yourself as a "cookie" so that the rest of your brain can be used optimally for more important functions, etc. etc.

The best part about Black Mirror is that, while surreal, all the technology implemented seems like it could be real and happen very soon, and the moral issues that come about from the use of such gadgets were portrayed very realistically. I loved the White Bear, Fifteen Million Merits and San Junipero episodes, or the twist ending in Men With Fire. To be honest, out of thirteen episodes in the series so far, I think I could have eleven favourites.

I enjoyed everything about Black Mirror, from the universe it was set in, to the dialogue, to the brilliant acting. It was such good writing, it just made me feel like, this is the stuff I want to be writing!!! You might know that the novel I'm writing.... When anyone asks what genre it is, I tend to answer "sci-fi", although I try to avoid putting it into a specific genre, because it's not really, really sci-fi, and sci-fi makes people think of very futuristic, sciencey stuff like Star Wars or Star Trek. It sort of would fit into an episode of Black Mirror, or the film Her.

Sometimes I pretend that I watch Netflix for research purposes for my writing, but I think Black Mirror actually fulfilled that precise intention. In any case, I do try to watch and read things that I think might be similar premises to my novel, so I know what's been written and done before, and how novel my idea actually is. So far, so good, but you never know...

While we're on the topic of alternative realities, there is also the Brazilian dystopian thriller, 3%. When I first started watching it, it was automatically set on the English dubbing, which looked so incongruous with their lips, that I initially thought it was part of the technology available in their reality. Like when the President was making his speech in Portuguese, the audience could hear it in English because it was translated into their language of choice in the transmitters in their respective ears. Turns out it was just my Netflix settings....

I think the twist that happens in the eighth and final episode of the series, of the... caveat for joining the Offshore, was really interesting 'cos it adds a new dimension for it to be a requirement. I thought it might have made more sense to reveal it earlier to create an intrigue with the audience, but then I suppose it also works that we found out at the same time as the participants, because they didn't know what was at stake, either. It's almost like we shared the same sense of betrayal and internal conflict that the participants would have felt at the blindside.

Also, once you find out, the little clues that they let slip up to the finale become sort of Easter eggs that fit together with the reveal. If you do watch it, please watch it in its original Portuguese language because the English probably loses some impact (who watches stuff that is dubbed in a different language, srsly? :/).

Love is one of my favourite things in life, if not my ultimate favourite. It is also one of my favourite Netflix original series. It's set in Los Angeles, and that alone wins hands down. They go around Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Silver Lake, DTLA, Topanga, on the Metro, farmers' markets all over, and the landscape is so familiar yet so distant, that I love seeing it all over again.

It's a love/relationship story formed between two rather dysfunctional adults, and so basically it's really relateable for everyone who watches. I love Love, it's funny, sweet, and features all the feelings that you get when you're just starting to get to know someone new, and all the kinks and hi-jinks and friction that occur even though you're both trying so hard....

It reminds me of a dialogue from (500) Days of Summer that goes like this:
"What happened, why didn't they work out?"
"What always happens --- life."
In season 2 of Love, they sort of do work out, don't work out, work out again, but life always happens, and that's love, too.

The three final and most important shows available on Netflix are Dear White People, Trevor Noah's stand-up show, Afraid of the Dark and Hasan Minhaj's stand-up show, Homecoming King. 

Dear White People exists in two formats on Netflix, one its original film, and then the television series. One of the first few lines in the movie is “Dear white people, the minimum requirement of black friends needed to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Sorry, but your weed man, Tyrone, does not count.”

I think the TV series is much better, possibly 'cos it's better expanded and elaborated, but the film is a great crash course if you don't have eight hours to spare for the TV series (but you definitely need to try). It's about a mixed half-black, half-white girl who has a radio show, called Dear White People, to deal with the issues of racism present in her college.

If you are the type of person who believes that racism was long gone from the very moment slavery was abolished (or that racism doesn't exist in Singapore), then I'm sorry, this is exactly the show for you.

There is one precise scene in which the college kids are partying, and everything goes innocently (or at least as much as a college party can be), they're playing drinking games and it's all fun up till the cops are called. When the cops arrive, of course they decide the cause of the commotion is the black student, and when the black guy (Reggie) decides that it was unfair for the cop to have asked only him for his ID, he gets a gun pointed right in his face for "not cooperating". This college kid, who's one of the smartest kids in the room, who didn't ask for trouble, gets ID'd and put at gunpoint. That scene was done to perfection, and it sums up pretty much the state of racial relations in the US.

I love the sarcasm that Sam White (radio show host of Dear White People) uses, and I love how every single black character was not a token black character, but a person by themselves, because truly, black people don't exist to serve as your "I'm-not-racist" token friend, they are people. I feel like I understand to a little extent how they feel, because in Singapore, Malays and Indians make up the minority whereas the Chinese majority here are sort of our parallel for white people.

I mean, I don't have people asking whether they can touch my hair (I swear to God if I were a black person with black hair getting asked this, I would punch someone's face) but one time, someone Chinese (a friend's parent, who thought it was... well-meaning? IDK?) said "oh, Sarah, you're quite pretty for a Malay girl", and I'm like, hold up, was that a microaggressive comment to end all microaggressive comments? Did you just think you were complimenting me by putting down my entire race??

Also, you can see that most beauty bloggers or influencers or celebrities here are Chinese, and obviously their beauty standards are not mine, because we don't look the same, we have different skin tones and different features, and it SUCKS that because they are the majority, everything is catered to them.

Wait I didn't mean to hijack the Dear White People section. Where was I? Um. If you want some top-notch crucial edutainment, please watch Dear White People, Afraid of the Dark and Homecoming King. They handle race issues with gracious wit and humour, so hopefully if you're a white person, you would no longer feel offended by the fact that you aren't allowed to "blackface" (gist of it is: being black is not a costume, you don't get to "wear their skin" for one night and soak up the laughs or the glamour of being Nicki Minaj, then not live with the hardships she had to go through because she worked harder to get where she is, on account of being black).

Also: I guess all three are light-hearted enough for the audience to just feel enough empathy for victims of racism, through relating to their experiences, without being too preachy about it. It definitely provides more humour and amusement than I can explain here.

Man I could go on forever. Another reason why I thoroughly enjoyed both DWP and Afraid of the Dark is because the protagonist of DWP is female, and Trevor Noah is woke enough that he has some feminist issues he jokes about. I would tap Trevor Noah again and again and again. Blogger doesn't have the 100 100 100 emoji, Blogger why can't you keep up with the times tho. (Also: Trevor Noah has a sort-of cute good-boy face, does he not? Is it just me?)

Afraid of the Dark and Homecoming King are my favourite stand-up comedy shows so far, along with Ali Wong's Baby Cobra. If you're in need of some laughing therapy, I highly suggest any or all of the three. People of colour, y'all are what's up!!!!!!

/ twenty-seven:

I turned 27 three days ago, and Han joins me in being 27 tomorrow. We've spent 15 years celebrating our birthdays together, which means I have spent more birthdays with her than without. Today, I have twenty-seven years (and three days) of experience to guide me to become the person I was meant to be. I am fortunate enough to have been born in Singapore, one of the most developed cities in the world. The cognitive dissonance that follows is that we have an overly paternalistic government that doesn't trust its citizens, not even to chew gum. It's like we're North Korea pretending to be USA.

I have a slight light-skinned privilege, although not enough. When I was younger, maybe in kindergarten, I realised that most of the kids were Chinese, and spoke Chinese. I learned from young that I'd fit in easier and better if I spoke Mandarin, so I did. I thought it was cool, and other Chinese kids thought it was cool. The positive reinforcement worked, so I began to pick up and speak something that I wasn't being taught to speak at home or school, but now I'm twenty-seven I wonder if it was worth it not paying attention to my own beautiful Malay language. I live in a country where the "elite schools" are majority, if not fully Chinese-enrolled. There is a lot to unpack and navigate for me, in terms of race, gender and identity politics. But I am, as the young kids would say in these times, woke. I don't have to struggle with basic necessities, so I struggle with a "higher" order of needs. Most of my problems are honestly first world problems.

I think about things that privilege prevents many from thinking about, because they don't go through such things in life and don't have to think about it, and they are not curious or motivated enough to want to put themselves in anyone else's shoes to think about them. I understand that racists can have friends of different races and token friends are a sure sign of racism. Playing the "but my best friend is black/Malay/Indian!" card does not in any way exempt you from being racist. Many sexist, chauvinistic men have wives and girlfriends, so yeah, they could be capable of loving or showing love to one woman in particular (if at all), but still not want to liberate women as a whole. Similarly, you can have a best friend from a disadvantaged cultural background but never lift a finger to forward the causes of their race/identity.

If you look at the sidebar of this blog, I have listed a few of my favourite things. I like adrenaline rushes, and I got driven through the canyons by a racing demon, I went to Six Flags in Santa Clarita with Han and we took all the extreme rides there, I've done the reverse bungy locally with her several times, I skydived with my favourite cousin Hazwani in New Zealand, and I did a proper jump-off-a-board bungy in Malaysia with my family. I also love the high of concerts/music in crowds, and I've been to watch some of my favourite acts live. Being in the mosh pit by myself for Muse was an orgasmic experience, Jason Mraz is always so chill and positive (the second time was a treat by another of my favourite people, Sha), I watched Ed Sheeran thanks to the generosity and selflessness of Shereen, who gave up her ticket when we were right outside the theatre 'cos I couldn't find anywhere else to even buy any at the last-minute. I went for Taylor Swift's 1989 with three of my best friends in life. Recently, Coldplay proved phenomenal, in terms of music and light display.

Love and friendship are my favourites, and I am blessed, extremely fortunate to have love in my family, and friendship in people who are pretty much like family. I have had strangers from opposite ends of the world take care of me, while barely even knowing me. People in my life and social circles who have stuck with me through the worst, and also allowed me to see the best that the world has to offer. I don't have to name them, they are mostly mentioned in the previous post, or featured on my Instagram, etc. I love to read and write, and I have been granted the ability to write such that people actually enjoy reading it about as much as I enjoy writing, and for that, I am humbled and eternally grateful. I love to travel, and made (hopefully) lifelong connections all over the world. I've seen how people live in India, China, LA, New Zealand, Australia, etc. My best friend and I got to watch the sunset from a yacht at Marina Del Rey, such a film-worthy setting, rather like many of my experiences in life.

Finally, a form of love and relationship I always have space in my head and heart for is my affinity for words, and therefore it makes sense that every time my birthday comes around, my favourite thing is to read long, lovely wishes. As I've said, Huda is one of my kindred spirits in terms of love and our shared love for words, and so as a matter of course, she included a book excerpt in her wish for me this year. Did I not tell you that (I'm not like that: Avril ref, anyone?) she and I have exchanged thousands upon thousands of words via email exchange, in real life, in text?
Life hasn't been the kindest to you, and I wish I could have done more throughout-- I know I could have-- I wish that life would have treated you better, gentler-- but I also know that everything that has happened has changed you and made you the person that you are, the Sarah Mei Lyana that I know and love today--.

I've been reading a book called The Course Of Love which I think you will enjoy. Here is an excerpt that reminded me of this mad friendship:

"There are other ways to look at love. In their philosophy, the ancient Greeks offered a usefully unfashionable perspective on the relationship between love and teaching. In their eyes, love was first and foremost a feeling of admiration for the better sides of another human being. Love was the excitement of coming face to face with virtuous characteristics.

It followed that the deepening of love would always involve the desire to teach and in turn be taught ways to become more virtuous: how to be less angry or less unforgiving, more curious or braver."

I think we learn from each other in ways that many shallow friendships do not, that crazy as our lives are we take from it what lessons we can, and try to teach each other in the best way we know how.

There are so many things you have taught me: how to be unapologetically me, to pick myself up after every fall, to love and to love and to love against all odds, relentlessly and unfailingly, to be loyal and to stay true. To yourself, and to the people around you. You have taught me to stand up for myself more, to recognise my worth, to know when I deserve better-- and I will always be grateful.
I think Huda's birthday wish to me is my favourite so far in all my 27 years, just like the cake that my colleagues got me on the eve of my birthday a few days ago, has my favourite message I've ever had on a cake. Whenever my colleagues ask what I want to eat, I say "dick", because I have a dirty mind at most times, sexual innuendos are some of my favourite things. I think and hope this will never change. The cake they got me had the message "Eat a D" and I! Love! It!!!! Photos on Facebook.

I am different from anyone else that I know, so it makes sense if I want different things in life. I have to keep bearing that in mind, anytime I start to think that I don't have what other people have in their lives.

Today I am going to go all out in enjoying myself with my best friends. This morning, Han and I had a birthday pool party, by ourselves. Tonight we'll be watching Captain Fantastic by the beach (it's called Sunset Cinema, all of us lounge around on deck chairs, pretend to be worry-free and watch a movie projected on a screen, listening through wireless headphones, get on it) and have a sleepover together with Atiqah and Shahida.

And then tomorrow it's back to the daily grind. I have a lot of hustling to do. I'll check back in with y'all sometime in the second half of the year. In the meantime, stay safe, so much love, always, Sarah Mei Lyana. xxx