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.