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.