Monday, December 31, 2018

SAME AULD LANG SYNE

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

THE FAVOURITE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah: ❤

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 30, 2018

HOW TO LOVE

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A TEEN

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

Friday, December 21, 2018

+1

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

PINK IN THE NIGHT

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

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

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

WARM BODIES

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

Friday, November 30, 2018

SOUND OF SILVER

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 22, 2018

CHEERING FOR ME NOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 12, 2018

THERAPY

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

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

MID-TERMS

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

Friday, November 02, 2018

YOU LOVE JAZZ NOW

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

FLIGHT

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

Friday, October 19, 2018

SUPERCUT OF US

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 07, 2018

CLAVICLES

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


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


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

Monday, October 01, 2018

STAY ALIVE

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

Thursday, September 27, 2018

A LUSH LIFE




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

Thursday, September 20, 2018

BY PROVIDENCE

So, a lot has happened since my last post, and I will try to place them in linear chronological order so you might be able to follow my thought process in the past, I dunno what, five days?

The day after it was posted, Luca (who happens to be British), the last guy I dated, said to me in a text: "just to offer a non-Singaporean perspective, a doctor here told me that they very rarely prescribe SSRIs to locals and also seemed to think that medication could be a hindrance to therapy. I think that Singapore is lagging behind in this respect."

Of course I'd already known that, but he was sweet though, and I appreciate it. I know pills aren't a surefire method, but the people here are still very resistant to the idea of medicating for mental health. It's like, if you thought sex was taboo here, I think they shudder at taking pills for mental health.

I think it's even worse in religious communities, where of course, anything you think or feel is usually pinned on you, for not being "close to God", because to them, God is the solution to anything and everything. I just feel like it's a double jeopardy situation, where my mental health is closely linked to my familial bonds, but even when I know I'm doing poorly and want to seek help, I can't find the moral support to treat it, medically.

I don't know if my manager Aileen read my post, but she could see on Instagram that I hadn't had a stable week, so she texted me too.
Aileen: Hi Sarah
Aileen: I hope you're feeling better
Aileen: With whatever you're dealing with
Aileen: I'm here if you need me to listen
Aileen: Even after three months
Aileen: But I just wanted to say thank you. You have a good heart. You're a good person, thank you for supporting our team. Your presence makes me calm and happy.
Aileen: Thank you Sarah. Thank you for being part of the best team I can ever ask for
We have a joke between us because the last time she had a personal story to tell me, we somehow never got to sitting down and talking until three months after I first asked her about it. I love Aileen, she is the best manager you could ask for, she's usually calm and composed and encouraging and so very accepting.

The team has been nothing short of amazing. I don't know if I gravitated towards Lush because it's a campaigning company, and we are one of the very few companies in Singapore that are openly accepting towards hiring the LGBTQIA+ community, etc.

Sometime on Saturday, I was like, this is it, I can't stay in Singapore, this is not the place for me, so I tried to open a Chase savings account so that less money I earn would be contributed to this goddamn stupid dictatorial Singapore economy. I obviously needed a social security number, but I don't have one unless and until I get my working visa, yadda yadda yadda.

I think if I apply for Lush in the US, I might wanna try to do manufacturing. We don't have a manu team in Singapore, 'cos we don't have a Lush factory here. I think it might be fun to make the products, instead of selling them in retail, I dunno. I think retail staff really do God's work, facing people all the time.

Viv then told me about a friend of hers who'd also received similar treatment (or lack thereof) at the Institute of Mental Health, who'd received much better treatment from JCU's psych office, and whose case would be expedited even with a waitlist, based on the same details she'd provided. I emailed JCU psych, and they called back within two days.

I told her my story over the phone, my tendencies for suicidal ideation, that I veer very easily between being okay, and my depressive moods, and the fact that sometimes I'm okay makes it very hard to catch me suddenly drop in moods for no reason. She was very worried, and she says she would also try to expedite my appointment, even though there definitely is a waitlist.

(I infer from the fact that there is a high demand/long waitlist at JCU's psych, that either the psychiatrists/therapists available in Singapore are not providing satisfactory services, too expensive, or there aren't enough psych resources, and also there must be more people who have mental health issues than you'd think there are.)

Between the last post and this one, one of the aunts I'm closer to, also checked in on me and told me I could talk to her if I ever needed or wanted to, as well as my real dad. My dad asked if I was still seeing a therapist, and whether I paid for it myself.

On Monday night, around midnight, my mother texted me that she loved me, so I texted her back that I loved her too. And then, I'm not sure how or why it transpired, I don't know if someone else had clued her in to my dispositions, or she just felt like it, but at 1.14am, she said "please forgive me if i haven't been a good mother" and I started bawling insanely, just by myself in my own room.

It reminded me of some pages I'd read in Educated: A Memoir (because of course I am one of the biggest perusers of books I know of in person).
There was a pause, then more words appeared—words I hadn't known I needed to hear, but once I saw them, I realized I'd been searching my whole life for them.

You were my child. I should have protected you.

I lived a lifetime in the moment I read those lines, a life that was not the one I had actually lived. I became a different person, who remembered a different childhood. I didn't understand the magic of those words then, and I don't understand it now. I know only this: that when my mother told me that she had not been the mother to me that she wished she'd been, she became that mother for the first time.
The thing is, I haven't actually had the time nor chance to see nor talk to my mom since that text, so I don't know what the text meant for the both of us. From the anecdote above, I also know that sometimes words are spoken but nothing changes, so I honestly don't know what it will entail. I want to believe it's a major breakthrough, and I hope it is, I hope perhaps that she and I could even go to some therapy sessions together.

Friday, September 14, 2018

THE HUMAN CONDITION

On a very bad night, after I am done crying, I write letters. I tell my grandma I no longer believe in a god, or heaven or hell, so she does not have to worry, I will not be in pain or suffering nor face any punishment. All I will be is gone. I tell my sister she can have my meagre worldly possessions, and I hope she appreciates the number of inside jokes I have included. I hope she remembers me by my jokes and all the things I did to make them laugh, even though I know she would be very angry at the onset. I write letters to tell everyone that nobody is to blame. My mother is not to blame. My father is not to blame. None of the men I have ever dated is to blame. Nobody is at fault. My brain is not wired the same way, that is all. It is so strange that for the only things in the universe that can try to make any sense of the universe, sometimes brains themselves just make very little sense. I have tried, and I can make not much sense of why my brain does this. Logically and factually, I know that I have nothing to be depressed about. I am an attractive person, people are always telling me to be a model or a flight attendant or one of those things. I also have brains, I use them most of the time, I have the capacity to change my life, day by day. I am also the person who throws her head back and laughs fully, I let things slide at work, I am witty and naughty and I tease and am able to play. But sometimes, it doesn't want to. Sometimes, when it's at its lowest, all it feels is that regardless how many people are next to me, or holding me, they will never be able to alleviate the dread I feel, the pointlessness of it all. I am scared of becoming Sylvia Plath or Virginia Woolf, writing often of their depression and simply dragging it on until one day they gather enough courage to end. I write and write and I hope that this pain doesn't spill over, I hope everyone who's directly related to me in my life doesn't think, oh it was something I missed, we should have done something more --- there was nothing to be caught. We all know I have depression, and nobody could have done anything more. I hope my best friends and all my loved ones forgive me, and forgive themselves, for everything. If there is one thing my words could do, I hope it is to convince everyone that I have always loved them, but sometimes I honestly can't say any of this is worth it. This is what I feel on my worst nights.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

YELLOW FLICKER BEAT

I'll say it again, I don't date white guys only because they're white, but because they tend to be the lesser of two evils, in my opinion. They're not Singaporean/Asian, the kind of men who think they own women. I see the ones whom my family members and friends are dating, the men who don't quite like their girlfriends wearing this outfit, or going to that club at night, the ones who think they have a say in a woman's life under the pretext of caring for the ladies. Of course, this happens because the women themselves allow it to happen, because our parents have all taught us that women must defer to men, and it is natural to defer to a man's opinion, and to cater to his happiness. So no, I will not date Asian men, especially Asian men who are so insecure they have to make snide remarks about Asian girls dating white men. I am not here to please you, nobody owns me, my mother does not own my body, and I will not allow you to own me.

A couple weeks ago, or whenever it was before Jon left for the States, he asked "why do you like me?" and this was because we both knew we didn't want the same things, and he could be very mean to me, so what he left unsaid was, "why do you like me despite my making myself dislikeable to you?" I asked him, "why don't you like me?" and what was left unsaid was, "why don't you like me, despite my being incredibly witty, funny, sweet, and making myself likeable to you?" I hadn't thought of it at the time, but it wasn't the first time I was asking such a question. I'd asked many other men before him, the same thing, in different ways and forms, and I realise those weren't even the first times, they were all echoes of my trying to win my parents' approval, which I never earned, despite my sincerest, deepest efforts to. I cannot find love from anyone else, if I cannot love myself the way I am.


After I'd been meeting with Professor Steinberg for a month, I wrote an essay comparing Edmund Burke with Publius, the persona under which James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay had written The Federalist Papers. I barely slept for two weeks: every moment my eyes were open, I was either reading or thinking about those texts.

From my father I had learned that books were to be either adored or exiled. Books that were of God — books written by the Mormon prophets or the Founding Fathers — were not to be studied so much as cherished, like a thing perfect in itself. I had been taught to read the words of men like Madison as a cast into which I ought to pour the plaster of my own mind, to be reshaped according to the contours of their faultless model. I read them to learn what to think, not how to think for myself. Books that were not of God were banished; they were a danger, powerful and irresistible in their cunning.

To write my essay I had to read books differently, without giving myself over to either fear or adoration. Because Burke had defended the British monarchy, Dad would have said he was an agent of tyranny. He wouldn't have wanted the book in the house. There was a thrill in trusting myself to read the words. I felt a similar thrill in reading Madison, Hamilton and Jay, especially on those occasions when I discarded their conclusions in favor of Burke's, or when it seemed to me that their ideas were not really different in substance, only in form. There were wonderful suppositions embedded in this method of reading: that books are not tricks, and that I was not feeble.

I finished the essay and sent it to Professor Steinberg. Two days later, when I arrived for our next meeting, he was subdued. He peered at me from across the table. I waited for him to say the essay was a disaster, the product of an ignorant mind, that it had overreached, drawn too many conclusions from too little material.

"I have been teaching in Cambridge for thirty years," he said. "And this is one of the best essays I've read."

I was prepared for insults but I was not prepared for this.

Professor Steinberg must have said something more about the essay but I heard nothing. My mind was consumed with a wrenching need to get out of that room. In that moment I was no longer in a clock tower in Cambridge. I was seventeen, in a red jeep, and a boy I loved had just touched my hand. I bolted.

I could tolerate any form of cruelty better than kindness. Praise was a poison to me; I choked on it. I wanted the professor to shout at me, wanted it so deeply I felt dizzy from the deprivation. The ugliness of me had to be given expression. If it was not expressed in his voice, I would need to express it in mine.

I don't remember leaving the clock tower, or how I passed the afternoon. That evening there was a black-tie dinner. The hall was lit by candlelight, which was beautiful, but it cheered me for another reason: I wasn't wearing formal clothing, just a black shirt and black pants, and I thought people might not notice in the dim lighting. My friend Laura arrived late. She explained that her parents had visited and taken her to France. She had only just returned. She was wearing a dress of rich purple with crisp pleats in the skirt. The hemline bounced several inches above her knee, and for a moment I thought the dress was whorish, until she said her father had bought it for her in Paris. A gift from one's father could not be whorish. A gift from one's father seemed to me the definitive signal that a woman was not a whore. I struggled with this dissonance — a whorish dress, gifted to a loved daughter — until the meal had been finished and the plates cleared away.
I've been reading Educated: A Memoir for the past few days. It's a factual memoir written by a lady who was raised in Midwest North America, in a Mormon family, by a father who had bipolar disorder.

The writer and her siblings were not allowed to go to school, for her father's fear that it was brainwashing from the Government. They also never went to the hospital, and never took pills, because "if you believe in doctors, you believe in the devil and not God's work", etc.

Although my family is not such an extreme case, I do recall the resistance that my mother would have towards medicine and painkillers, with the explanation being that it would take years to flush out of our bodies, making me inherently suspicious of painkillers, until only very recently, because of course a parent's suspicions tend to also become their children's.

I know not many people are born wealthy, but I'm guessing everybody sometimes wishes they could be really well-off. Or is it just me? Sometimes I really wish I were a legacy kid. That I could have had a clear and encouraged path to academia, in Harvard or Oxford or wherever my parents went to. That I didn't have to worry about money or health or living in the same room as my parents and siblings during my childhood, that I could have pursued whatever I wanted to. I wish that I were in an alternate universe, where nobody judges me for wanting to study when I clearly can't afford to, or wanting to study for the sake of studying, which I know is frivolous and impractical. I wish I were so rich that nobody thinks I'm a sellout for enjoying the act of studying, of reading and writing essays, and using my brain's capacity for synapses in learning to code, or being an activist on gender and race studies, or I dunno, just doing creative writing the formal-conventional-university way, instead of struggling with my physical tiredness in an industry I do not enjoy. Sometimes I hate saying such things here, because I know it sounds like I'm whiny, but this is my space, and I'm allowed to feel and say what I want. I'm not asking anyone to sponsor me, I just wish things were different, a lot of the time. I wish that I were challenging my brain to make a difference in an avenue I could be useful to, instead of remembering the thousands of details I know about men I've met. I mean, my memory could be so useful, my best friend depends on me to remember tiny details from our shared past, or to navigate in foreign situations that we've only been in once, and all I use it for, is men. Men, who appear, and leave. I wish Rick and Morty were real, so I could travel to an alternate universe.




For the next couple of days, my workplace @lushvivocity is holding a contest in which you choose your favorite perfume from Lush and write or draw how it makes you feel. You stand to win a bottle of it! We contributed our submissions (although nope, I can't win - but if you have the time, I totes recommend that you pop by our store and enter!) and because I am not the most artistically-inclined of people, I wrote about 1000 Kisses Deep: "this reminds me of my favorite memory in my life so far, my happiest and the prettiest picture I can paint in my mind. I am watching the sun set in a pink sky, over calm waters on RAT Beach in California. even though the place and its people eventually brought me to depression, there is a love I will always have for Cali, that lies deep beneath the turmoil, and I think it is the kind of love that is a thousand kisses deep and cannot be shaken." #lush #lushsg #gorillaperfume #1000kissesdeep #love #rightaftertorrance
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On a lighter note, I was in Bangkok with my family for four days, and my mom still apparently does not know about my tattoo. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.