Saturday, May 18, 2019

KENDAMA

I received rejection emails from two of the colleges. I guess I've been expecting it, but of course I'm still really bummed. It makes me really sad and I feel like I wish I were better at life. It just feels like I've been living so haphazardly, and the worst part is that Singaporeans tend to have a cookie-cutter route in life, so I just feel more and more inadequate and incompetent. I know I'm not the only one trying and perhaps not succeeding at something, everybody has made attempts to improve their situations in life, everybody wants something, and sometimes don't ever get what they want. Some people want to study, some people want better work opportunities, some people want babies. I'm exhausted, it's been a tiring week and I just want to sleep. I saw a butterfly at work two nights ago, at first I was excited about it because butterflies are supposed to be a sign of change and metamorphosis, and now I realize it might have been dead, which would then signify stagnation, and the fact that no matter how hard you want it to, some things never change.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

REYNOLDS NUMBER

I went to the CUNY student center website and the status of each application is still pending, it still says it's being reviewed. So I went to Google it, and apparently applying through CUNY, it doesn't send my applications to all four colleges at once. They send it to your first choice, then wait for the status to be confirmed, and in the case of a rejection, they send it to the second choice on the list, and so on and so forth.

Anyway, we were at work and we wrote letters for Father's Day and eventually this photo was taken.


This was the content of my letter:
Dear Dad,

We are writing a letter each to our fathers. From the things going round my circle of colleagues, it sounds like half of us don't have the healthiest relationships with our dads. We are making jokes about it but it clearly affects us more than we'd like it to. Perhaps there is a lot more to being a father than simply having children. I thank you because seeing the way you and Mom raised your children equipped me with the knowledge of what to do and what not to do. Perhaps the things you've done are due to things that have happened to you that you have been unable to process. I hope that one day you have the courage and initiative to seek help, so that you can correct the behaviors I think don't reflect as good traits for a parent to have. Maybe one day you will be financially responsible, you will be faithful, you will be a good role model for your kids, and so that you can be proud of yourself. This is my sincere wish for you, so that all your kids would be able to see how far you'd have grown and developed.

Happy Father's Day,
Sarah

Monday, May 13, 2019

OOH BABY DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT'S WORTH?

Yesterday I had a great birthday lunch with Pamela, and then I met Han for a chill dinner. Both were great, I filled them in about Lucas and they all want to meet one another. They asked what I felt about Lucas, and how it's been different from the other people I've dated. I told them Lucas seems much more dedicated and committed, like I have not had a moment of worry or doubt. I've gotten so used to being anxious in relationships or in dating, like wondering why someone hasn't texted back, or why I feel ticked off at something they've said, but it's so far been smooth-sailing and stable and calm, and I could get used to this.

This morning, Lucas sent me a text:
Just want you to know that I did in fact dream of us tonight. It was a really wonderful dream in which we were an elderly couple. We looked like dates but we were cute. Not gonna lie, this is something i want to work towards. This dream has got me feeling so much right now.

I really love you a lot Sarah. There are so many reasons to love you each day.

I love your qualities. You are a strong, wise, caring and resilient woman who has been always been able to move forward through everything life has thrown at you. You are like a superhero to me.

I love how I can be myself around you. I can be vulnerable and truthful without fear of judgement or ridicule. You are supportive, kind, understanding and so gentle with my heart.

I love your kisses. I love your smile. I love your smooth skin. I love your boobs. I love your cute dimple smile. I love your manja energy. I love your BDE. I love and appreciate how much effort you put into us.

This is just a small sample of the many reasons why I love you from what I’ve discovered so far. As our relationship grows I cannot wait to continually find new reasons to love you.
I sent a screenshot of the text to Tami, a friend from work, and she said this: OMAGAAAAHHHHH KYAAAA!!!!! Lucas is THE MAN! Pls proteccc him at all costs this kind of man is critically endangered!!

I laughed aloud when I read critically endangered. Don't I know it, my love, don't I know it.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH


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I turn 29 tonight. In some ways, I am older and in other ways, I feel younger than the number. I am glad to turn 29 and I am grateful for the privilege of being me and having my life. The privilege of caring just little enough about embarrassing myself that I come across as weirdly funny, of genetically-inherited looks that allow me to go through strange life experiences (for example, I sent someone decently-clothed selfies I would have posted on Instagram anyway, and he wired me $100 when assured it was exclusive to him: my best friend says this is a #lifeachievementunlocked -- this was by far the easiest 100 bucks I've ever made), of using my brain and always being curious and inquisitive, of having gone through mental health rough patches to empathize with others and to equip me with the desire to lift up other people from their struggles, of having worked and navigated my way through my depression to feel proud of myself, of not having grown up rich, so that I developed a personality instead of becoming a random sorority sister with no clue of the world. Happy birthday, Sarah Mei Lyana. There is no one in the world quite like you. #29 #birthday #privilege #selflove #bde
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I had an early birthday dinner with my family last night. We had lots of fun, and delicious food at Badoque. My mother got me the wireless earphones that I used to have but eventually lost, so now they are replaced. This morning, I watched San Junipero with Lucas, and we both cried, not for the first time for either of us. San Junipero is the episode of Black Mirror that's about giving old people the chance to relive their younger days, by uploading their avatars/memories/a mix of the two, onto a cloud where they can live out a second experience. I think Lucas and I relate to the episode quite a bit in our own ways. I feel like I've missed out on a lot of things thanks to my religious upbringing, and perhaps Lucas feels a little bit of the same, added on to his romantic history. We then watched Taylor Swift's Reputation tour on Netflix. Lucas is my dream non-binary partner. He got me books, one of which is The Handmaid's Tale, a story with strong feminist underlying values. He's read the book and strongly recommended it. I was introduced to his housemate today, the one with the wall of post-its. Her name is Reetz. She found out it was my birthday and that I like ice-cream, so she popped out and surprised me with a tub of ice-cream. Lucas and I went to have oysters, and then I sent him off at the airport. He's gone off to Malaysia for close to two weeks, for therapy, as it's much more affordable there and he would be able to receive more sessions than he would here. Lucas is my boyfriend now, but because we've progressed so fast, we jokingly said we are in a lesbian relationship (IDK if that's the stereotype) and he's my lesbian boyfriend. We watched a few music videos at his apartment, and he told me about his friends. His friends are all somewhat the same type as he is, they all seem so fluid and non-binary. They have hairstyles you wouldn't necessarily see on their gender, and clothes and expressions and photos, and I feel a little bit scared that I won't fit in. Apart from my mindset, I'm quite the mainstream person. I'm afraid I won't be cool enough. I only have one tattoo and four piercings. Will I make the cut!!!! Anyway, my mother sent me a birthday wish via text today and she didn't mention God or anything supernatural, which I regard as a high improvement. I was telling Lucas that even though his own mother might be religious, the era of Catholic guilt is a little outdated. The people I know in the US or otherwise who grew up in Catholic or Christian families, may not have their parents' approval, but their peers of the same age, their cousins and friends, no longer really believe in such things, so that guilt doesn't follow them. In contrast, I am a very uncommon non-Muslim Malay, and the Muslim guilt is real. My friends who were born Muslim, will never think I am doing right by myself, by letting go of the faith. This is despite me telling them that one, the idea that a God, any god that presides over the Christian or Muslim or any faith, saying only the subscribers to one denomination will be accepted into "heaven" is toxic, and it's akin to a parent pitting their children against each other. That's not what a being of a higher nature should or would do. Second, whether it's Islam or Christianity, I know that there is a clause that says backsliders and disbelievers are the worst of sinners, and they deserve the worst level of hell or whatever. This is precisely why there are so many people who still practise, because people work through fear. Thirdly, even in this age of information, where Google can be used to fact-check everything that you read, a vast majority choose to believe the first thing or the thing they read most often, instead of verifying the credibility of its sources. Imagine being back in the early days, when some man decided to write a fantasy about another man who parted the sea, someone who turned water into wine, a man who was willing to sacrifice his son thanks to the voices of a god. Back then, they didn't know planes would ever exist, they didn't know water evaporates to create clouds to eventually become rain again, they didn't know that the stars you saw in the sky could eventually be reached and marked and mapped with technology. The world has moved on, and religious believers need to do so, as well. You might feel fear at knowing the foundation upon which you've centered your lives is false, and you might feel better thinking this salvation that awaits you is real, but the danger is that in living in the future that may or may not exist, you have lost sight and grasp of reality, and that is never going to help society. You need to know what is real, to be of any real use to society. All this to say, it was a great birthday. I love Lucas very much.

Friday, May 10, 2019

KIRBY

Me when I don't have a boyfriend: men r trash the entire male population needs to level up
Me when I have a boyfriend: men r trash the entire male population needs to level up but also


TELL ME, PRINCESS

The past two nights, Lucas called after I ended work and we talked about past dates and past lives. He said he had a pet lizard when he was young and I asked him for an estimate of how big it was, and he said 27cm. Twenty-seven centimetres!!! Does it seem like I can gauge how long that is??? I told him to tell me in terms of like an arm or a shoe or something. He says I have BDE, which I kinda do, truly, when I'm not in a depression phase. We went to the REWILD climate change exhibition today, it's based on Netflix's documentary Our Planet and it was interactive and pretty cool. Then we went to pop his chili crab cherry at Newton Circus Food Centre, which he gave a solid 8.4!!! We went back to his place, which he shares with two cool girls. It has a rainbow scarf hung above the window and posters of badasses like RBG, and on one wall his housemate has post-its pasted all over. Green ones are things she wants to promote or see flourish in Singapore, and they include but are totally not limited to: guilt-free breaks, vulnerability, honoring discomfort, spectrums and fluidity, revisionist histories. White ones are things she'd like to see less of in Singapore: binary thinking, capitalism, scarcity and competition, andro-centrism, gender and sexuality, heteronormativity, etc etc. She's basically a person I want to be!!!!! Also, she's lesbian so I would totally date her!!!! I'm dating her housemate instead. Today, Lucas said he would delete his dating apps because he didn't see a point in seeing anyone else, so we both did. This man has handled my heart with such care and caution, I am endlessly amazed at how gracious he is. He turns 27 at the end of this year, and I remember saying a while ago that I would only date men over 30 because they would have "mature" mindsets. Then I think the past three men I have dated (Lucas, Bennett, Adam) were all younger than I am, and I realize, as with my colleagues, that even a couple of years can make a stark difference in society and mindset. The younger generation seem much more open and sensible with their feelings, boys are hopefully more encouraged to be in tune with their softness and sensitive sides, and it truly shows. Saturday is my birthday and Lucas is taking me to eat oysters because we both love oysters. It is shaping up to be the most amazing year indeed. What a lovely gift. The sunflower will always bloom towards the sun.

(As always when I'm dating, I think it's much easier to follow my adventures with Lucas on Instastories because it captures the visual details better than I ever could. Lucas has blue eyes. And for now he has a hickey on his neck, AHAHAHAHA.)

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

C++

So it's the second day of Ramadan and this morning I posted this on Instastories:

We're going to send my sister to hospital cos she's been having chest pains through the night and we have no clue what it is but she's thought on previous nights she might be having heart attacks. And my mother is asking why i'm not fasting bc i'm not having my period. Is there any priority in this family? First of all i have a tattoo so technically i cant pray (not that i ever did) so what is the point of fasting (especially cos i dont want to, which is the bottomline)???? Second of all, you shouldn't even be putting your bodies through something as taxing as fasting when you're unsure of your own medical conditions. This fam will be the death of me.

So I went with Lyssa, she got an ECG as well as an X-ray done. The doctor said they came back normal and we have no history of heart conditions, so they gave her muscle relaxants and painkillers. If she ever dies of a heart attack, we have it on record there was medical negligence, otherwise I am glad that there isn't actually anything seriously wrong with her health.

Before the chaos of this morning, I texted Lucas a list of things for us to do, because I like lists, and it turns out, so does he. They have a pasta maker in their apartment so we can make pasta from scratch! Also he joined SIA's movie review committee and he asked if I wanted to watch the films along with him every month. What, wait, honestly, this man exists?

Here is our list. Feel free to steal any of our plans and make them your own. 

i) Mustafa centre for kebabs n curries and to walk around
ii) Geylang bazaar
iii) let you try tulang merah
iv) chilli crab and mantou buns
v) bring you to Orchard Towers
vi) Haw Par Villa
vii) JB for more food
viii) Botanic Gardens
ix) cook squid ink pasta with homemade angel's hair
x) movie reviews

We can combine some of those activities + food on some dates hehe. (Yes I text in chunks. My brain thinks in prose.)

Also, that list doesn't include our date for this week, we already registered ourselves for the climate change session. I cannot wait to see him again. My fam is whacked~~~

Sunday, May 05, 2019

LUCAS

i: We have been texting for about a week. I'm a little nervous to meet him. He's not like the type of guy I tend to date, which is maybe a good thing, considering how that hasn't worked out yet. I dress differently from how I would usually dress, it's a little edgier. I wear my sister's black Vans instead of any of my standard pink shoes. I wonder if I'm trying to curate myself the way I see him being presented on his Instagram feed. We meet at Golden Mile Complex, and have cheap Thai food. The food is not the best, I know much better cheap Thai food elsewhere, and perhaps we will have that someday. (Orchard Towers has amazing fluffy omelette. It's a seedy place, but the seediest places have the best food.) We talk about family and work. He's also gone through religious trauma with his family, and he jokes as a white person, he always wishes he had a regular chill white-person family, but I think I much prefer this Lucas than I would alternate-universe-chill-family Lucas. He works at Singapore Airlines, where my best friend is an engineer on the aircraft, but he does IT. I show him a few memes and Tweets and comic strips that relate to whatever comes up in our conversation, I tell him I have a millennial brain that thinks in terms of Tweets and comic strip panels. He says he likes the way my brain works. I like the way my brain works too, so that makes both of us. He has a Singlish accent, or at least he uses a lot of Singlish phrases but he doesn't understand and can't pronounce some things, like teh in teh o peng (iced tea with no milk). I tell him to say Taylor Swift and take the first syllable. I also explain what kena means. He has the cutest accent. It is a shortish lunch date because I have to go to work. He texts me that we were wearing matching colors, which is the first time a man has taken note of such a thing or at least mentioned it to me. We arrange to go to Art Science Museum for an interactive climate change exhibition for our next date, but we also mention that we should go to the Botanic Gardens 'cos he hasn't been. He wants to see Haw Par Villa, a sort of religious derelict place that tells stories of how Buddhist (or is it Taoist? Or something else?) people will experience Hell. There are all sorts of weird torture contraptions and it has become a trippy destination for tourists and locals alike. It's like a Ripley's Believe It Or Not: Religious Edition. He says his favorite place is Mustafa Centre, which I'm sure I have mentioned as being one of my favorite places in Singapore. It's different from the glitzy glam malls, it's cheap and you can find anything and everything, from TVs to spices. It has character and I would enjoy going there with him. I have to let him try chilli crab with mantou buns, he hasn't tried it but we both love lobster rolls (also he used to work as a cook!!! Dream!!! Man!!!). This feels like how a healthy relationship could and would start. He pays attention to me and is soft and kind and sweet. I like him a lot. Inb4 anyone asks, yes he knows I applied for school and do not yet know what my future holds.

Friday, May 03, 2019

SHOPPING LIST

So I did the love languages quiz again, and the following are my scores. I know it's a very fluid thing, I took it six months ago and it was very different from how it is now. I like to take it every so often (like twice a year), so it is easier to love myself, and it is easier for other people to show their love for me. Love languages are valid, to me, it's why sometimes even when two people feel that they love each other and try to show it, the other partner doesn't seem to feel or sense it, if they don't have the same languages as their strongest. 

I also think it is why I make friends easily, or bond easily, because I register details about every individual, and I can roughly gauge what their dominant love languages are, and I show it to them in that form. You have to bear in mind, that the stronger a person's love language is, the easier it is for them to register or perceive love for themselves if you use that language, so even if it isn't necessarily your strongest love language, you can and should use those forms, if you want to show your love, and they will then do the same for you. To put it simply, if I speak English, Malay and Mandarin, but my dominant language is English, the best way I can understand anybody is if they speak to me in English. Simple, right?


These are the rough explanations of my top three love languages.

Acts of Service: Can helping with homework really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an "Acts of Service" person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: "Let me do that for you." Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don't matter. When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.

Quality Time: In Quality Time, nothing says "I love you" like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there — with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby — makes you feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Whether it's spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.

Words of Affirmation: Actions don't always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, "I love you," is important — hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up.

Between taking the quiz for love languages and reading Hold Me Tight, I really do think love and being in a healthy relationship are a science that can be learned and practised. I have done too much emotional labor for many people who are reluctant to go to therapy, people who don't like to look at their own flaws in order to correct them, people who just don't open themselves up. These are people in my family, at work, or my friends. It's tiring for me, and the simplest way someone can show me they love me, is by making a relationship (whether it's platonic or otherwise) easier, and working on themselves first. Tell me how you feel loved and how you want to be loved. Read a book about relationships, to see the thousands of times love and relationships have been troubleshot, all the hits and misses, so we can learn from them together, both the good things and bad things. As long as the things you do allow yourself to grow, and allow us to grow together, then that's a great form of love I would cherish. Everyone can learn and benefit from therapy. One of the best celebrity examples I note are Beyoncé and Jay-Z. He cheated on her multiple times, and after she came out with Lemonade to name and shame him, he finally saw a therapist. He's said in interviews that while growing up, he learned in his own personal black community and black culture that there was a certain way men had to act, and they could never talk about their feelings, so while he subverted his feelings, he kept cheating and doing things he wasn't proud of. He managed to look at his mistakes in therapy and slowly unlearn such unhealthy and abusive behaviors. I don't know why this story stuck with me, I just think you can't move on and receive better things if you refuse to look at your own problematic mindsets. Nobody said it would be easy, but we're all trying to own up to and resolve our own shit, and we can all do it together.

Anyways, here is another snippet of Hold Me Tight:
We are naturally reluctant to confront our vulnerabilities. We live in a society that says we’re supposed to be strong, to be invulnerable. Our inclination is to ignore or deny our frailty. Rather than face her sadness and longings, Carey holds on to her anger. “Otherwise I guess I’d turn into this weak, sniveling little needy person,” she observes. We fear, too, getting stuck in our own pain. Partners tell me, “If I let myself cry, maybe I won’t be able to stop. Suppose I lose control and cry forever?” Or, “If I let myself feel these things, I will only be even more hurt. The hurt will take over and be unbearable.”

We are perhaps even more reluctant to confess frailty to a lover. It will make us less attractive, we think. We recognize, too, that admitting vulnerability seems to put a powerful weapon in the hands of the person who can hurt us the most. Maybe our partner will take advantage of us. Our instinct is to protect ourselves.

When we are the loved one, we are sometimes loath to acknowledge signs of distress in a partner, even when the signals are obvious. We are unsure what to do or feel, especially if we have no template for how to respond effectively. Some of us have never seen secure bonding in action. Or we don’t want to acknowledge or get caught up in our lover’s or, by implication, our own vulnerability. It always fascinates me that when a child cries we prioritize this signal. We respond. Our children don’t threaten us, and we accept that they are vulnerable and need us. We see them in an attachment frame. But we have been taught not to see adults this way.

The truth is, we will never create a really strong, secure connection if we do not allow our lovers to know us fully or if our lovers are unwilling to know us. My client David, a high-powered executive, understands. He says, “Well, in my head, I guess I can see that always staying away from these big emotions, from my sadness and fears, kind of twists things. If I am hunkered down, avoiding every sign of upset from someone and listening for negative stuff so I can run, it does kind of limit how we connect.”

We want and need our lovers to respond to our hurt. But they can’t do that if we don’t show it. To love well requires courage — and trust. If you harbor real and substantial doubts about your lover’s good intentions, for example, if you physically fear your partner, then of course it is best not to confide. (You probably should find a therapist or even reconsider being in the relationship.)

When you’re ready to share your vulnerability, start slow. There’s no need to bare your soul. Often the way to begin is to talk about the act of sharing. “It’s hard for me to share this . . .” is a great opening. It is easier then to go on to reveal a little of what you are sensitive about. Once you feel comfortable, you can talk more openly about the sources of the hurt.

This should open the door to your lover reciprocating and revealing his or her raw spots and their origins. Such disclosures are often met with amazement. In my sessions with distressed couples, the first time one partner really owns and voices vulnerability, the other usually responds with shocked disbelief. The mate has only seen his or her lover’s surface emotional responses, the ones that cloak and hide the deeper vulnerabilities.

Of course, simply recognizing and revealing our vulnerabilities won’t make them disappear. They’ve become built-in alarms, signaling that our emotional connection with key loved ones is in danger, and they can’t be easily turned off. This probably reflects how important attachment is to us; data in a primary survival code aren’t removed without difficulty.

The key emotion here is fear, fear of the loss of connection. And our nervous system, as Joseph LeDoux at the Center for Neural Science at New York University points out, favors sustaining links between fear alarms and the amygdala, the part of the brain that maintains a record of emotional events. The entire system is designed to add on information, not to allow for easy removal. If we are to avoid danger, it’s better to err on the side of false positives than false negatives. These links can be weakened, however, as you’ll learn in the next chapter.

But even just talking about one’s deepest fears and longings with a partner lifts an enormous burden. I ask David, “Do you feel more hurt or scared when you let yourself connect with those difficult feelings and talk about this stuff?” He laughs. He looks surprised. “No,” he says, “funny that. Once I got that there was nothing wrong with me, that these feelings are wired in, it wasn’t so hard. In fact, it kind of helps to walk in there to that scary place and tie those feelings down. Once they make sense, it kind of takes the bite out of them.” As I look at him, he literally seems more balanced, more present in his own skin, than when he was busy dodging his fears and his lady’s “scary” messages. This reminds me of something my tango teacher, Francis, tells me, “When you are balanced on your feet, tuned in to yourself, then you can listen to me and move with me. Then we can move together.”

Vincent and James, a gay couple, found that out, too. Vincent moves away and goes silent when things get difficult with James. “What can I say?” Vincent tells me. “I don’t know how I feel. I don’t know what happens when he starts to go on about how our relationship isn’t that happy. James wants to ‘talk it out.’ How can I talk about what I don’t know? So I blank out, keep quiet, and let him talk. But he just gets more and more upset.” We know that when our safe haven with a lover is threatened we get overwhelmed by a helpless sadness, shame about feelings of inadequacy or failure, and desperate fears of rejection, loss, and abandonment. The basic music here is panic.

As we discussed earlier, our attachment alarm system gets switched on by a sense of deprivation: we cannot gain emotional access to our loved one and so are deprived of needed attention, care, and soothing — the soothing that Harry Harlow called “contact comfort.” The second switch is a sense of desertion. This sense may emerge from feeling emotionally abandoned (“There is no answer when I call, no response. I am in need and alone”) or rejected (“I feel unwanted or criticized. I am not valued. I never come first”). Our brain responds to deprivation and desertion with intimations of helplessness.

Vincent has not been able to grasp and voice these emotions and ask for James’s help in allaying them, so they have become reactive “hot” raw spots that signal instant peril and call up his protective distancing.

If Vincent goes through and unpacks the elements of his raw spot emotions, what happens? He begins to focus in on what happens for him just before the habitual “blank out” response that James dreads so much. What is the specific cue for this “blank out”? Once he slows down and thinks a little, Vincent is able to tell me, “It’s his face, I think. I see those brows come together. I see frustration, and I know I am a dead man. And if I tune in to how I feel in my body as I talk about this, I feel jittery, like there are butterflies in my stomach, like I’m failing a test in school. When I think about what meaning this has, it’s that we are doomed. It’s hopeless. Whatever it is that he wants, I obviously don’t have it.”

James says, “And all that adds up to feeling what exactly?” Vincent calmly tells him, “Well, anxious is a good word.” And I notice that his face relaxes here. Even when the news isn’t good, it feels good to be able to order your inner world. Then he continues, “So if the next question is how does this feeling move me, make me act, that is easy. I just do nothing. There is no way forward that won’t make things worse. I just stay really still and wait for James’s frustration to go away.”

So now Vincent can describe the raw spot that gets touched in him and how it sparks off his inability to respond to his partner. He feels sad, anxious, and hopeless and tries to stay still with the faint hope that the problem will go away. He tells me that his emotions are “unknown territory” for him, so it’s new for him to tune in to them. I compliment him on his courage and openness and I chat with him about the fact that his shut-down strategy works just fine in many situations. But in love relationships, it simply alarms his partner and writes the next part of the story with a negative slant. We talk about where this raw spot comes from. He remembers that he was very confident with James at the beginning of their love and was able to sometimes express his feelings. But through the years, they have grown apart. Their distance was exacerbated when James suffered a back injury that left him in such pain that he could not bear to be touched. Vincent then began to feel less confident and more and more wary of negative cues coming from James.

James responds to Vincent, “Well, until now I never saw your anxiety. Not for a minute. I just see someone who disappears on me, and then we go off into that demon thing. It’s frustrating to talk to a blank, you know.” But he is also able to tell Vincent that he is beginning to understand how it’s hard for Vincent to put his emotional world together when James gets so mad so fast. James is then able to talk about his own raw spot and how he feels that Vincent has “deserted” him for the excitement of his acting career. When Vincent tells his partner, “I may be a big shot on the set but I still get totally freaked out by your angry messages,” he is dealing with his vulnerability in a whole new way. He is more present, more accessible.

Generally in love, sharing even negative emotions, provided they don’t get out of hand, is more useful than emotional absence. Lack of response just fires up the primal panic of the other partner. As James tells Vincent, “I get so I just want to strike out at you to prove that you can’t just turn me off.” Vincent and James are now on the elevator going down into each other’s emotional world. Changing the level of the conversation clarifies our own emotional responses and sends clearer messages about attachment needs to our partner. Then we offer our lover the best chance to lovingly respond to us.

Let’s take some snapshots of James recognizing his raw spot and how Vincent helps him in the process. Vincent asks about the cue that triggers James’s frustration. James considers, then says, “I am just waiting for it to happen now. Watching for you to ‘forget’ about our plans to spend time together.” But then James gets sidetracked into all kinds of details about how this “habit” of Vincent’s started. So Vincent suggests that James try to focus more on how he knows when this is happening. What is the cue and James’s first take that something is wrong?

As James’s eyes close for a moment, I hear the emotional down elevator begin to ding. “It’s like Vincent looks distracted. He doesn’t focus on me at all,” James says, tearing up. If we quietly stay with our emotions, they often just develop, like a fuzzy image gradually getting clearer. James continues, “So I get this lump in my throat. I feel sad, I guess. My brain says, ‘There he goes again. Off to be by himself with his book. And here I am, by myself.’ We have this lovely life, lots of things. But I’m all by myself in it.”

Vincent, who in previous sessions reacted by talking about how much he had given James and how James should be more independent anyway, is now listening attentively. I validate James’s loneliness and his longing for loving contact with Vincent. James continues to listen to his feelings, reaching for the message in his emotions. His voice goes quiet now and he murmurs, “I guess, I decide then that Vincent doesn’t need me. He is always there but just out of reach.”

Now James’s voice is even softer, and he turns more toward Vincent. “If I don’t get mad, I feel a little shaky. I feel shaky and sad right now. And I don’t want to look at you. I am thinking that you must just be put off by this. Your work is your real love. I try to accept that, but all this fear and sadness just turns into bitterness.” He passes his hand over his face, and suddenly there is a defiant anger where just a moment before I saw sadness and vulnerability. “I don’t want to be here. Maybe we’d be happier apart.”

Oops! A flip into anger. It’s hard to stay with our more profound feelings. But Vincent is brilliant. He sees that James is struggling and helps him out. “So under the frustration, you are telling me that you are shaky and sad. You want to know that it is not all work with me. Okay. I’m not good at talking about needs. I’m just learning now. But I sure as hell do need you to stop with the ‘happier apart’ bit. I’d just as soon be miserable as hell with you, if that’s okay?” James collapses in laughter.

They are on their way. They are learning to deal with raw spots in a way that brings them close.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

YAM

I am physically tired tonight but I'm feeling good. It's about nine days to my 29th birthday. I like celebrating milestones and 30 is my next one so I'm looking forward to being 29 and then enjoying every step I take to become thirty years old. I was planning to write to some of the biggest/my favorite entrepreneurs in the world, to ask for assistance with tuition, should I get into college. I've compiled a list of all my Shark Tank favorites, my favorite feminist business owners, my favorite writers, etc. I don't even know the status of my application at the four colleges, but hey, it doesn't hurt to dream, right? At least it doesn't hurt yet, when your dream is not crushed. I am a remarkable person, and tonight I am at peace with myself.

CAPTCHA

So I saw that Knock Down The House is rated 5.1 on IMDB and I was enraged. I made an account on IMDB and wrote my own review. I will die on this hill!
I don't know who these people are who have been giving this docu 1-star ratings, but I'm betting they wouldn't have said such things in real life. They're clearly biased or did not watch the same documentary. You know you must be doing something right when people take to leaving 1-star ratings saying things like "libertard" and that they felt nothing watching this. Really? A mother lost her daughter because of their lack of insurance and you felt nothing? People are losing their health to industrial lobbyists and you felt nothing? Well boo for you, you're a heartless, money-minded robot who can't think critically for the good of a nation. Please, pay no attention to such senseless ratings, watch this and decide for yourself. 

FERGUSON

I just watched Knock Down The House on Netflix. I cannot stress the importance that you watch it. Whoever you are. It is important that you watch it. Please watch it. Please do. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is in it, but she's only one of four women who ran for U.S. Congress featured in the documentary. One of the opening scenes shows Ocasio-Cortez scooping ice in the bar she used to work at, and I related to it strongly, because it's what I still do at Lush, preparing the fresh face mask bar. It's very inspiring to see these women, because they were really pretty much nobodies, running against the establishment, running against the people with money and power, both Democrats and Republicans. Also, I follow Ocasio-Cortez on Instagram and she does stories that range from down to earth like her tending to her community garden plot and then there's her talking about the Green New Deal, that's supposed to be across political divide, working against climate change. Damn I have never had a girl crush this bad. Also, one of the candidates was Amy Vilela, who ran because her 22-year-old daughter died of a pulmonary embolism after a hospital rejected her medical test requests seeing that she had no proof of insurance. When that kind of thing happens often enough, and enough people are angry enough to organize, you can't be surprised anymore that people no longer want to support the establishment. Please watch the docu. I cried right at the end. Ugh. So inspiring. I'm so glad we saw her at the women's march.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

LUST

I would like to expressly state that in the event of my death, I would like to be cremated and have my remains scattered. I'm not really particular where I want the ashes to be released, as long as I'm not buried. Do not under any circumstance bury me, I am an adult and these are explicitly my wishes. Also, I don't know why this popped up in my head, it's not like I'm dying soon, I just really, really don't want to be buried when I die.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE

We all are vulnerable in love; it goes with the territory. We are more emotionally naked with those we love and so sometimes, inevitably, we hurt each other with careless words or actions. While these occasions sting, the pain is often superficial and fleeting. But almost all of us have at least one additional exquisite sensitivity — a raw spot in our emotional skin — that is tender to the touch, easily rubbed, and deeply painful. When this raw spot gets abraded, it can bleed all over our relationship. We lose our emotional balance and plunge into Demon Dialogues.

What exactly is a raw spot? I define it as a hypersensitivity formed by moments in a person’s past or current relationships when an attachment need has been repeatedly neglected, ignored, or dismissed, resulting in a person’s feeling what I call the “2 Ds” — emotionally deprived or deserted. The 2 Ds are universal potential raw spots for lovers.

These sensitivities frequently arise from wounding relationships with significant people in our past, especially parents, who give us our basic template for loving relationships; siblings and other members of our families; and, of course, past and present lovers. For example, recently when my husband John’s eyelids began drooping while I was speaking to him, I hit the ceiling, enraged. He was tired and drowsy, but it sent me back to days when an ex-partner would fall instantly asleep every time I tried to start a serious conversation. Dozing off was a not-so-subtle form of withdrawing, disconnecting from the relationship. This experience made me hypervigilant — sudden sleepiness signals emotional abandonment to me.

Francois, one of my clients, is highly sensitive to any hint that his wife, Nicole, might not desire him or may be developing an interest in another man. In his painful first marriage, his wife was openly unfaithful to him many times. Now, he goes into total blinding panic when Nicole smiles at his accomplished friend at a party or when she is not home when he expects her to be there.

Linda complains that she really hurts when her husband Jonathan “holds back from telling me I look nice or that I have done a good job. It is like being instantly flooded with hurt, and then I get resentful and critical of you,” she tells him. Linda traces her sensitivity back to her mom. “She refused to ever compliment me or praise me for anything and always told me that I looked unattractive. She once said that she thought that if you praised people, they would stop striving. I hungered for that recognition from her and resented her for withholding it. And now, I guess, I long for that from you. So when I am all dressed up and I ask you how I look, and you just seem to dismiss me, it hurts. You know I need that praise, but you refuse me. At least that is how it feels. I just can’t see straight, it stings so much.”

People can have several raw spots, although usually one is paramount in terms of putting the spin in a couple’s negative cycle. Steve feels a double whammy when his wife, Mary, says she would like to have sex more often. This could be taken as a very positive request. But for Steve, her declaration is a guided missile that demolishes his sexual confidence; his amygdala screams “incoming,” and he hits the floor. Steve reacts to Mary by shutting down and shutting her out. “It’s like I am suddenly back in my first marriage, hearing that I am this big disappointment and getting real anxious about performing in general, but especially in bed.” An echo from his childhood also inflames this raw spot. Steve was the smallest kid in his class, and his dad constantly asked him in front of his brothers, “Am I talking to Steve or Stephanie?” That experience left him feeling that he was not “male enough for any woman.”

But raw spots are not always a reminder of past wounds; they can crop up in a current relationship, even a generally happy one, if we feel especially emotionally deprived or deserted. Raw spots can occur during big transitions or crises — such as having a child, becoming ill, or suffering the loss of a job — when the need for support from our partner is particularly intense, but it doesn’t come. They can also develop when a partner seems chronically indifferent, producing an overwhelming sense of hurt that then infuses even small issues. The failure of our loved one to respond scrapes our emotional skin raw.

Jeff and Milly had a great relationship until Jeff’s best friend got promoted to the job that Jeff had worked so hard for and Jeff fell into a depression. Instead of offering comfort and reassurance, an anxious Milly hounded him to “just snap out of it.” They had found their way through this crisis and back to being close, but the experience left Jeff hypersensitive to his wife’s reaction to any expressions of distress on his part. His sudden, seemingly irrational flashes of anger whenever he thinks Milly is unsupportive soon have her withdrawing into defensive silence and feeling like she is failing as a wife. You can predict what happened next. They got into their Demon Dialogue.

Helen was devastated when she found herself being blamed by a therapist for her adolescent son’s drinking problem. During an assessment session, Sam, Helen’s generally loving husband, echoed the therapist’s viewpoint. Later, when Helen expressed her hurt, Sam got caught up in justifying his opinion, and a series of painful arguments ensued. Helen then decided to put her “foolish” hurt aside and concentrate on the good things in her marriage, and she believed that she had done this.

But suppressing significant emotions is hard to do and often ends up being toxic to relationships. Helen’s hurt begins to leak out. She pesters Sam for his opinion of her every action, and Sam, unsure of what to say, says less and less. Suddenly they are fighting about everything. Sam accuses Helen of becoming more and more like her “paranoid” mother. Helen feels more and more lost and alone.

Jeff’s and Helen’s raw spots are being rubbed, but they don’t see it. Surprisingly, many of us miss the same thing. Indeed, we don’t even recognize that we have raw spots. We are only aware of our secondary reaction to the irritation — defensively numbing out and shutting down, or reactively lashing out in anger. Withdrawal and rage are the hallmarks of Demon Dialogues, and they mask the emotions that are central in vulnerability: sadness, shame, and, most of all, fear.

If you find yourself continually stuck in a Demon Dialogue with your lover, you can bet it is being sparked by attempts to deal with the pain of a sore spot, or more likely, sore spots in both of you. And unfortunately, your raw spots almost inevitably rub against each other’s. Chafe one in your lover and his or her reaction often irritates one in you.

Consider Jessie and Mike, who have done nothing but fight since Jessie’s twelve-year-old daughter moved in with them. Jessie says, “Suddenly, like overnight, Mike changed from this warm tender guy to this tyrant. He gives orders, makes all these rules for my kid. He is screaming most of the time he’s home. He looks just like all the abusive men in my family. I just can’t bear someone yelling and giving orders. No one protected me, but I can protect my kid.”

Mike flips between sad protests about how much he loves his wife, even though she refuses to speak to him for days on end, and loud indignant rants about how he never wanted to become a parent to her impossible, disrespectful child. He goes up in flames when he speaks of how he had pampered Jessie for years and then found that he “doesn’t exist when this kid is around.” Mike recalls falling ill with shingles but Jessie, he says, was too preoccupied with her daughter’s issues to “comfort him.” Smacking each other’s raw spots has trapped them in the Protest Polka.

Tom and Brenda’s raw spots sent them into a different Demon Dialogue, Freeze and Flee. Brenda is obsessed with their new baby. Tom’s attempts to draw some attention his way irritate Brenda, and one night she blows up. She’s tired of his demands, she says, and calls him “oversexed” and “pathetic.” Tom is stricken. Although he’s a dishy-looking guy, he is quite shy and insecure with women. He’s always needed to feel desired by Brenda.

He retaliates: “Fine, fine. Obviously you are not in love with me anymore, and all your stuff with me in the last years has been a sham. I don’t need hugs from you. I don’t need to be with you. I’m going out dancing, and you can just take care of the baby.” He leaves signs around the house indicating that he’s flirting with a woman in his ballroom dance group. Brenda grew up feeling like the plain girl and has always wondered why attractive and successful Tom chose her. Terrified, she withdraws more into the baby. Tom and Brenda barely speak. Constantly protecting their raw spots completely sabotages the loving responsiveness they both long for.

Stopping these destructive dynamics depends not only on identifying and curbing the Demon Dialogues (Conversation 1) but also on finding and soothing our raw spots and helping our lover to do the same. People who have grown up in the haven of secure, loving relationships will have an easier time healing these scrapes. Their raw spots are few and not so deep. And once they understand what underlies their negative interactions with their loved one, they are more able to step out of them quickly and soothe the hurts.

For others, though, who have been traumatized or badly neglected by those they have loved or depended on, the process is longer and more arduous. Their raw spots are so large and so tender that accessing their fears and trusting in a partner’s support is a huge challenge. Kal, an abuse survivor and army veteran, says, “I am just one big raw spot. I crave soothing, but lots of times if my lady really touches me, I can’t tell if it’s a caress or another cut.”

Still, we are not prisoners of the past. We can change for the better. Recent research by psychologist Joanne Davila at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, as well as others, confirms what I see in my sessions: that we can heal even deep vulnerabilities with the help of a loving spouse. We can “earn” a basic sense of secure connection with the aid of a responsive partner who helps us deal with painful feelings. Love really does transform us.
I remember starting a list of things a partner has to do before I commit to marrying them, if I actually do eventually marry someone. One of them was to read Hold Me Tight, which highlights emotionally-focused therapy at the center of relationships. Another was to do the Allison/Luther choreography from The Umbrella Academy. One was to purchase a copy of Spyro, but I've already done that, and I'm halfway through the whole game now, so. At the moment the list ends at two things.

I LOVE YOU THREE THOUSAND

I had a good day. I met Kyrene, one of my closer friends from work. We played a couple of arcade games, one of which was racing, and that reminds me I should probably be more consistent with my driving lessons. We watched Endgame, and I cried. This is no surprise because I cry at anything. I am also proud of my ability to cry, in this world that pressures you not to show your feelings. We went to Tami's house because she recently had a surgery and has been recuperating at home. We watched I Think You Should Leave and definitely detected Andy Samberg/SNL humor in it, which means it was whack as all hell. Loved it. We talked about dating, because Tami is married, I can't find a suitable suitor here, not least because I have no interest in staying here and no interest in the people here, and Kyrene has a paralyzing fear of talking to potential suitors, although Tami and I think she's a total badass. Tami tried to give us both advice. They both joked that I should really try a stint on 90-Day Fiancé. I don't understand why, from what I hear, it seems like the participants on that show are problematic in one way or another. If I appeared on the show, I would feel like I have less worth because I'm resorting to such means to find either love or a green card. I think I'm a decent, dateable person, just with pretty much no boundaries of privacy. I resolutely refuse to believe no man would love me and marry me and live in the US with me, just based on the person I am. I must be an okay person if the men I date keep wanting to stay friends! They're just all not looking for someone to marry yet. If I weren't a semi-decent person, they wouldn't want to keep talking to me and being friends, especially the ones who don't try to make booty calls. Right? Have I got it all wrong and twisted? Are men completely different from women? Have I been thinking completely wrong as a feminist? Fuck me up real good, fam, this yo chance.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

BURNING MAN

Not sure why I'm feeling so burned out today but I really think, after all the emotional labor I've done in my life, that I deserve to marry a man who loves me and whom I love and who can afford to let me take a break, even if for a while. I fucking hate hustling with no end, sometimes you keep working and you end up nowhere, you want to study or improve yourself and you don't receive the opportunity, you try so hard and you don't succeed. The saying "if you try and work hard enough, anything can happen" is bullshit and I hope everyone knows this. I mean, yes you can try, and yes sometimes there's a slim chance you can beat the odds, but most times nothing happens and most times no one does. I'm tired. If I hear the word "hustle" one more time today, I will kill someone. I hate people who've already earned more than enough for several lifetimes and who still perpetuate the idea that you should be hustling even when you're middle-aged and already affluent and comfortable. You have more goddamn money than you can ever spend, give that money back to society and stop telling them that the reason that money doesn't belong to them is 'cos they're not hustling enough. This idea that you're alive in this world just to hustle, hustle, hustle, needs to die. Enjoy your life. Fuck the money. Earn enough of it so you don't have to stress about rent and health issues, but fuck the money.

MISERY BUSINESS

I met my best friends to celebrate Tiqs' birthday. We had a great time but before we all met, Han and I went to the brunch place together (because we live ten minutes away from each other and pretty much always have). So Han talked about how she'd read that I am now becoming even more open about my inability to have cum as yet, on here and everywhere else. I figure I might as well say it 'cos regardless whether anyone knew, it was still not happening for me anyway. She said it could be a little bit of a mental thing, but could also be physical, and she agrees with a lot of men that I should probably explore it by myself. It's tough because my family clearly does not condone such activities, and physically it's even more inconvenient because I currently share a room with my fifteen-year-old sister. Anyway, I was telling Han that honestly I really need to have strong feelings for a man before I lose myself and enjoy the moment, and then I get so frustrated because I can't tell the causality. Do I really like Joey and/or Bennett and that's why I enjoyed myself physically, or is it the fact that I could have pure fun with them, that made me feel strongly and miss them even now? This is ridiculous. I need to see a sex therapist. Half my misery and tension from life might be solved if I could cum. Or maybe that's pushing it, but still. I could have some release. I can't afford therapy so ranting to the internet is the next best thing. Right?

Saturday, April 27, 2019

WHALE SHARK

I just saw the first man in porn that I thought was cute, like in an attractive would-want-to-make-him-my-boyfriend kind of way. I couldn't find his name though, and then I thought, what the fuck would be the point of that, look him up and make him my boyfriend?? Jeez. The weird thing is I've never thought a porn actor is attractive in a would-date kind. They're just like, unrealistic, aren't they. Is that what men feel about the girls as well, or would you date the ones that look realistic? Me, bringing the real talk since 1990.

Friday, April 26, 2019

ROULETTE

This is my new wedding song, and if you're turning your noses down at my wedding song being a Taylor Swift song, you're not invited, anyway. She's so right, though, so many cool chicks, so many lame guys out there, sigh.


This is unrelated except about bad-ass women and Netflix has a new documentary dropping May 1, Knock Down The House. One of the women is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I stan!!!!!!!!!!!! I stan strong women!!!!!! I cannot wait to watch it.

Also, more than a wedding song, I think I just want my entire wedding to be the entire rainbow color palette/aesthetic of the ME! video.

HOLD MY HAND

11 hours till Taylor's new music drops. I was in a mall today and the radio station was playing Taylor's Long Live, in anticipation of her new music dropping later today/tomorrow US time. It made me happy. 

Tonight I met Pamela, her husband Peh and their clique of close friends, all of whom were being pepped for their Chinese wedding ceremony. I'm a bridesmaid for the third time! Pamela was telling Fenghui and I that she got a call back from the workplace she really wanted, after a year since she last got an offer and declined. She said she was so happy because she'd spent the last year regretting the fact that she'd rejected the job offer, and she'd been complaining to Peh. She said she finally got the job with the "law of attraction" so I joked that I should start really regretting some things, like perhaps letting go of the Romeo in my life. 

we were both young when I first saw you / I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you

Thursday, April 25, 2019

PRETTY HURTS

Mama said, you're a pretty girl
what's in your head, it doesn't matter
brush your hair, fix your teeth
what you wear is all that matters

A guy said he was no longer looking for hookups, then got my number and immediately asked if I had nudes to send him. We hadn't even met. Kinda mixed messages there. Fuckboys can be annoying but most of them at least know where they stand and don't pretend to be something else. I'm tired of men who have this holier-than-thou attitude, who say they're not looking for hookups. Who say they want to be friends, and then look for the first in to sleep with me. You think it hurts to be friendzoned? I wonder how they think it feels to be fuckzoned. Out of 10 men talking to me, 9 if not all 10 are thinking of bedding me. It doesn't even matter that I have one of the longest bios and profiles you'll see, talking about my miscarriage, or about intersectional feminism, or about Scrabble. Men here don't know shit, one thinks just because I'm wearing a revealing dress that he can place his hand on my bare back and lead me around as we walk. We are not good friends, please learn what boundaries and personal space are. The night I met Joey, he didn't touch me the entire night, until I kissed him. The date with Bennett, I held his hand first, and still he asked if he could kiss me at Central Park. I fucking hate being touched without my consent. I also hate hypocrites who are not self-aware. Please stop trash-talking other men and reflect on your goddamn self.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

DULCE DE LECHE

I just had ice-cream so I'm very happy. If I ruled a sovereign nation, I would make ice-cream the staple food and my land's happiness ratings would soar through the roof. I fucking love ice-cream! I just watched this video, and it's so stupid but it makes me so happy. (Also, the animations are actually so well done, I feel like I got all my money's worth --- it's obviously free, it's on Youtube.)


These are its lyrics:
what up, world?
it's your boy, just one of the guys down here
well, I could be more specific
uh, I'm a human, and I just wanted to, you know,
for the sake of all of us earthlings out there,
just wanted to say

we love the Earth, it is our planet
we love the Earth, it is our home
we love the Earth, it is our planet
we love the Earth, it is our home

hi, I'm a baboon
I'm like a man, just less advanced
and my anus is huge
hey, I'm a zebra
no one knows what I do, but I look pretty cool
am I white or black?
I'm a lion cub, and I'm always getting licked (meow!)
how's it going? I'm a cow (moo!)
you drink milk from my tits (moo)
I'm a fat, fucking pig
I'm a common fungus
I'm a disgruntled skunk, shoot you out my butthole
I'm a marijuana plant, I can get you fucked up
and I'm Kanye West

we love the Earth, it is our planet
we love the Earth, it is our home
we love the Earth, it is our planet
we love the Earth, it is our home
we love the Earth

ba-dum-da-dum-dum, ba-dum-da-di
we are the vultures, feed on the dead
we're just some rhinos, horny as heck
I'm just a giraffe, what's with this neck?
hippity-hop, I'm a kangaroo
I hop all day, up and down with you
I'm an elephant, I got junk in my trunk
what the fuck? I'm a clam!
I'm a wolf, howl!
I'm a squirrel, lookin' for my next nut
and I'm a pony, just a freak horse, heh-heh-heh
but, uh, c'mon, get on
giddee-up, let's ride
I'm HPV, don't let me in
I'm a koala and I sleep all the time
so what? It's cute

we love you, India
we love you, Africa
we love the Chinese
we forgive you, Germany
Earth, it is our planet (it's so tiny)

I'm a man (hello?)
can you hear me? (anyone out there? hello?)
I've trudged the Earth for so damn long
and still don't know shit (what's going on?)
I hope it's not a simulation
give each other names like Ahmed and Pedro
and, yeah, we like to wear clothes, girls still look beautiful
and it covers up our human dick, eat a lot of tuna fish
but these days, it's like we don't know how to act
all these shootings, pollution, we under attack on ourselves
like, let's all just chill, respect what we built
like look at the internet! It's cracking as hell
fellas, don't you love to cum when you have sex?
and I heard women orgasms are better than a dick's
so what we got this land for? what we gotta stand for?
love, and we love the Earth
oh, yeah, baby, I love the Earth
I love this planet

hey, Russia, we're cool
hey, Asia, all of you, c'mon
every one of you from the plains to the Sahara
let's come together and live
우-우-우리는 지구를 사랑해요
amamos la tierra
我们爱地球

c'mon everybody, I know we're not all the same
but we're living on the same Earth
(have you ever been to Earth?)
everyone who is listening has been to Earth, Ariana
we're not making music for aliens here
(are we gonna die?)
you know what, Bieber? we might die
I'm not going to lie to you
I mean, there's so many people out here who don't think
global warming's a real thing
you know? we gotta save this planet
we're being stupid
unless we get our shit together now
All the different artistes (Ariana/Bieber/Adam Levine/Kris Wu etc) are featured as animals or things on Earth and it's so dumb I love it. I completely second Leonardo DiCaprio and I think this is now my favorite song ever.

You know, I used to always hate guys whose bios are just "here for a good time, not a long time" on Tinder or whatever dating app. Guess what my bio is now. Fuck this shit. We don't have a long time, we can at least make it a good time, right?




Also, I don't get how my phone can take photos with a depth-of-field to put DSLRs to shame, and my MacBook (2017) Photo Booth still takes photos that look like they were taken by a model of potato. POTATO I tell you.

I'm out, bitches.

IN MY HEAD

My sister just received a call that her appeal to go back to school was approved. She'd been automatically removed due to failing the same module twice, and her attendance was poor. My sister has had anxiety and depression, and she hasn't taken well to any therapist she's seen, so she hasn't gone consistently, and when faced with difficult situations like a module she's already failed, she would tend to avoid it rather than put in more effort for it. Last week, we went to talk to a panel of her course mentors and teachers, and I had to do most of the talking 'cos Lyssa is an introvert, I had to bring across her thoughts so that they would understand her. So they would trust that she wants this, and that she would henceforth be more consistent with therapy and that her drive and grit would be sustainable until she graduates. The funny thing is the module she failed is a Math one, and my best friend is an engineer and could and would have helped her all the way. I think sometimes we are too scared to accept our weaknesses and flaws when there is no need to be. We all have weaknesses and need help, even if they're all in different aspects of our lives.

I told my best friend Han that the appeal was successful, and I wish I would get the same news for my own school application. Han said pseudo mom duties really suit me. Just yesterday in Homecoming I read the line "you can't be what you can't see", a line I really believe in. It's mostly used to explain why women don't succeed in certain industries, like STEM, because they don't see their women peers doing it or having done it. You can use it as an excuse not to do something, or you can use it as the reason you do something, so that the people after you will have less of an excuse. In my head, I have this vision of setting up an almost sort-of halfway home, for kids who don't feel safe or accepted in their homes. It could be due to believing in a different religion or no religion at all, it could be due to poor performance in school, it could be for kids who have failing mental health issues who are not being advocated for properly by their parents, for people who are exploring their fluid genders and sexualities. I'm not sure if I will ever get the capital to set this up, but I have this vision. Even though my mom was not equipped to be the right mother for me through my miscarriage situation, I don't want to excuse myself that I would not be a good mother because I didn't see the values I can emulate from my own birth mom. I want to foster and advocate for surrogate children and even adults who are being failed, and I want to be the responsible adult despite what the system has allocated me. There are too many people who don't feel safe and supported in their natural birth homes, and they're not being allowed to succeed where they naturally would. You can't be what you can't see, and I want to be the person they can and they do see, so they really do become whoever it is they want to be.

This is why I applied to study psychology or women and gender studies, so I can understand people and perhaps advise and counsel them better. I want this halfway house to be the family they perhaps never got but rightfully deserve. I'm thinking there are this type of shelters in the US, but I don't think it's as prevalent in Singapore, but I'm not sure.

Monday, April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK

I watched Beyoncé's Homecoming on Netflix and it was brilliant. The marching band, her backup singers and dancers, Destiny's Child, the execution of everything was perfectly in sync and it blew my mind. She also talks about historically black colleges and universities, and how putting together her show for Coachella made her entire ensemble feel like a HBCU. I would highly recommend it.

I also watched Someone Great, from which came this monologue that Gina Rodriguez's character wrote down into a book:
Do you think I can have one more kiss? I'll find closure on your lips, and then I'll go. Maybe also one more breakfast, one more lunch, and one more dinner. I'll be full and happy and we can part. But in between meals, maybe we can lie in bed one more time. One more prolonged moment where time suspends indefinitely as I rest my head on your chest. My hope is if we add up the one mores, they will equal a lifetime, and I'll never have to get to the part where I let you go. But that's not real, is it? There are no more one mores. I met you when everything was new and exciting, and the possibilities of the world seemed endless. And they still are. For you, for me, but not for us. Somewhere between then and now, here and there, I guess we didn't just grow apart, we grew up. When something breaks, if the pieces are large enough, you can fix it. Unfortunately, sometimes things don't break, they shatter. But when you let the light in, shattered glass will glitter. And in those moments, when the pieces of what we were catch the sun, I'll remember just how beautiful it was. Just how beautiful it'll always be. And we were magic. 
It's one of those feel-good films, kinda? I mean, it did make me cry because it's about a nine-year relationship that ended and the sad, sad breakup but it's also about ending things amicably, and about the friends that have your back through such phases in life.

Yesterday I read a line that said "love shouldn't be a metric in relationships" and perhaps something I would identify closer with is that love shouldn't be the only metric in relationships. I also read today that just because your relationships end should not necessarily mean that they were or are failed relationships. If you've grown beyond each other, and you break up to allow each other to grow, then in many ways I think that's a success. Staying together when there is no personal growth nor growth in the partnership is a failure even if the relationship continues.

I think it's really quite hard to adopt such a mindset in Singapore, because a lot of the society here are either religious or conservative. The idea that you can break up and be alone and be healthier when you're alone while having had a successful ended relationship isn't a pervasive one, and moreover the community I come from is Muslim. The more "failed relationships" I've had and the more partners I've had in my life, the higher the likelihood is that the people I come home to are looking down on me like I'm "used goods" or that there is something wrong with me that no one wants to pick me, instead of the fact that maybe I just have not found real happiness and I'd rather date around and find out instead of settling.

I've grown so much, through all my relationships and dating experiences. I'm happy with myself, for trying time and again. I've learnt so much about people, about myself, etc etc. To be honest, I really think every time something gets me down, I just gotta keep watching and reading things to reframe my mindset.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

ACAB

I got home from work today, and after not having seen each other for at least three days, my mother commented on the fact that my top was not long enough to cover my belly. I am 28 going on 29 in two weeks, I have a tattoo that stretches along my spine, I rarely even wear bras anymore (I have small breasts so thankfully I can afford to do this) but my mother still polices my clothes. Consider me amazed. I just want to get married and get away from here. I'm done, I've done enough advocating for myself at the very least, if not for other people. I just want an agreeable husband, who would watch similar Netflix shows, who reads some books that I do and some that I don't. I want a husband that maybe has a few throwaway tattoos, that don't even mean anything. A husband who understands the terms intersectional feminism and emotional labor and agrees with the expunging of criminal records of black and colored folks for marijuana use. I want someone who will never police what I say and wear and do. We can live in a small apartment, it doesn't matter, I'll cook and clean. We won't have kids because the way I see it, climate change is at this point still irreversible and I do not want my kids to have to see the end of the world within their lifetimes. We'll use public transit and laugh and make up stories about the other commuters that we see. We can hang out with his family if they're cool, or we can just both not hang out with either of our families if his has also been toxic. God, I'm just so done.

CLIMATE CHANGE

I read this Tweet and suddenly felt the most panic I've felt this year.


This makes me really sad. The world is going to end (or at least get hotter and colder than it's been) and I will die and not have gotten married nor ever had an orgasm in my life. I'm very sad I'm going to cry myself to sleep. This is a joke I'm not going to cry myself to sleep. What is a joke is if I never move out of this country and earn enough to see a sex therapist. My life is a joke. Goodbye. I'm outta here.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

CARRY THAT WEIGHT

Currently, there is a big story blowing up in Singapore. It's about an undergraduate, Monica Baey (@monicabaey), who lives in one of the dorms of NUS, Eusoff Hall. NUS is the National University of Singapore, the top university in Singapore, and regularly ranked among the top in the world, in terms of academic performance. Monica was filmed while showering, by a fellow NUS undergrad who lives in Eusoff Hall, a Nicholas Lim studying chemical engineering. His only excuse? He was under the influence of alcohol. Bro, in what universe does being intoxicated lead you to even consider filming someone in the shower, and think it's the right thing to do? If you're that intoxicated, you probably wouldn't be capable. If you weren't that intoxicated, you're in control of your actions. The worst part is he was only suspended for one semester, during which he's apparently already gotten a job in the insurance industry, and the school has said they wouldn't take any further action against him unless he makes another wrong move in school. Already, there are comments on her Instagram saying that she's trying to seek attention and that he's already sought recourse by writing a letter of "apology", so his future shouldn't be further destroyed. First of all, he didn't even proofread his letter, it's been posted on her social media, and even as an outsider I feel like he only wrote it in a flurry because he had to, not because he felt any remorse. Secondly, he filmed someone in the shower and ruined her mental health and safety, and she has to seek redress with therapy and whatnot, and his future is the one at stake???? Third, why should a sexual offender be able to commit a crime twice before being justly punished? Was the first victim's duress not enough? When it comes to drugs, there's no second chance in Singapore. Why is there a discrepancy for sexual criminal activity? Is it the patriarchy in Singapore manifesting itself? Monica has been interviewed and has spoken on her own social media. Hundreds if not thousands of comments from the other universities and schools in Singapore have piped in, saying that the universities in Singapore, much like every other establishment on this island, care so much about their public image, that this has definitely not been the first few times this has happened. Victims have always been told to keep quiet any time this happens, and that's why perpetrators keep doing it. There is no deterrent if the institutions don't take it seriously enough to side with the victims. It's time that Singapore grew up and moved forward with the rest of the progressive world. Remember perpetrators' names. Remember Brock Turner. Remember Nicholas Lim. We're going to believe women.

420

I'm at work and if one more thing happens I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. I only have three more hours to the end of this work day. And then I get to go home and take a long shower and wash away this entire week. Of advocating for my sister. Of trying to mend bridges with one of the loves of my life. Of just being frustrated with the state of things in Singapore and my inability to change them. This day will end. This week will end.

MIDNIGHT

I had a very long day at work. I don't know what it is about a bank holiday that just brings out the worst in retail customers, they are just dreadful, as if basic human decency also took a day off along with Good Friday. The physical exhaustion seeped into my mentality a little bit, and I just feel slightly defeated today, on everyone's behalf. I want to make apologies and I want to help and fix everyone, even if whatever broke them was about seven degrees separated from what I have ever affected in my life. I want to say, I'm sorry for causing a rift in your romantic life, I have never really meant to do it. I have never known your relationship status, so to be honest, I really never know what the situation is and what the acceptable response should be. I want to say, I'm sorry to your parents, and perhaps to mine, this must be a rude shock for any parent to find out about. I want to say, to all my exes' exes (the weird thing is my decades-ago-ex-boyfriends' ex-girlfriends-from-decades-ago read this and I will never understand why) that I must have been problematic at some point of time. I don't like female rivalry, I really, truly don't. I hate feeling like "fuck he's dating someone cuter now" because you know what, if any of my exes is dating someone cuter, good on both of you! I hope you both like each other and love each other and y'all are happy, and I wish this for all my exes, and my exes' exes. If, like me, you are an ex's ex and are single, then I hope you know that I am going to quote the Tinder profile that has been featured on Buzzfeed or wherever. The most precious person in the world, by the name of Jill, wrote this in her bio "Listen, I need to be clear about this: I think it is brave and good and pure of you to be looking for love and I know it can be really hard and defeating at times (we've all been there) but I hope that you don't let some stupid app make you feel any less valuable, loveable and worthy than you are. We might not match, not everyone is everyone's type, but I'm rooting for you and I hope you find what you're looking for." I am rooting for you, whoever you are. This goes out to an amalgamate of everyone I've dated or some form of person I've been: I hope you solve those daddy issues, I hope you stop gaslighting people, I hope you see a therapist and remember how to have feelings, I hope you stop allowing yourself to be gaslit, I hope you learn to trust again, I hope you let someone else in, I hope you find your happiness, I hope you heal. I'm rooting for you, and I'm rooting for me, and I'm really rooting for the person who's also looking for me, so they can root for me too.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

STAN

There are speculations that Taylor Swift has new music dropping on April 26. That's honestly the only thing I'm looking forward to, even though I'm also hanging on news from four different CUNY colleges. The current status is my documents have been received but they haven't been evaluated, so I don't know what that means. My grades should sort of make the cut based on the course requirements, but I'm not sure if they'll be evaluated differently because I've gone through a Singaporean/British education system, with the GCE O-levels and all that crap. Still. T-Swift is dropping music (we all think) on 4/26 and the world will be alright for about a month from then because Taylor Swift music always makes it alright, at least for me.

ON WORDS

Artistic expression really usually comes about from intense emotions. I know this because I have been through heartbreak and depression, and I have been in love, and both times were when I wrote really well. I want to write and let my words flow easily again, and I am not much of a masochist, so I obviously want it to be when I am in love. I remember when I loved and was in love with my second boyfriend. I remember the way I felt about Joey, before either of us had a clue about the pregnancy. I wrote paragraphs of him working on his vehicles, of us just hanging out with his friends and colleagues. It was mostly boring everyday stuff we did (apart from the racing) but when you're in love, the mundane becomes extraordinary. I remember loving Bennett in New York. We talked to each other endlessly, and I remember thinking his hair was such a lovely shade and so gloriously curly, it felt amazing to run my fingers through. To be honest, I think anyone would feel that way about someone's hair, the moment you're in love. I'm not sure if y'all have been able to tell, but I'm a demisexual, I don't really feel sexual attraction to people I don't have a strong emotional connection with. It is not something I can control, I have tried, but it doesn't seem to work. I really liked all three men I mentioned, so in bed, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I think some people think this is a "woman" thing but I've seen enough of the world to know sexuality is not dichotomized based on your sexual organs. Men can be demisexuals and women can have fun with sex, no feelings attached. I really miss being in love, in all the ways. I miss being cerebral and carnal, I miss writing about shit no one usually cares about because they are so ordinary, but tinted in such a way by love that makes people care to read it. I think that's why people even read this shit, tbh, because I love what I write about, and I love when I am writing, and somehow this makes for good reading.

NOEL

I told my sister that Joey deleted Whatsapp, the only app that I use to communicate with my American friends. Funnily enough, when I broke up with Adam and with Ben (Benjamin), they both also did the same.

Lyssa: and how do you feel about this

Sarah: a lil sad but I suppose
Sarah: its a good thing we got to apologize to each other
Sarah: and this time we rlly didnt end on a bad note even tho he tried to talk to me
Sarah: it was nice
Sarah: and it made me miss him
Sarah: but im just sad cos
Sarah: as a #noshitsherlock
Sarah: I like him
Sarah: I like him and I like Bennett and I like B (what I called my second boyfriend)
Sarah: and it's so rare that I rlly love people I like

Lyssa: :)
Lyssa: it's okay
Lyssa: at least maybe now you got the closure you deserve

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

THE CIVIL WARS

You know the guy whom I went on a Tinder date with two weeks ago? We'd mutually decided not to see each other romantically, but then he said he liked the things we talked about and my personality or whatever, and would like to stay friends. I declined. If you are a younger girl or any-gendered person reading this at any time between now and the time the world ends from human-induced destruction, I want to tell you that this is okay. If you don't want to stay friends with someone, it is okay. If someone doesn't want to stay friends with you, it is also okay. Sometimes I don't want to stay friends with an ex because I have too many feelings for them, and sometimes they don't want to stay friends with me because they have too many feelings for me. Sometimes you can both have many feelings for each other and still somehow like each other enough as friends to really stay friends, with nothing complicating it, and that's okay. Sometimes someone could get you pregnant and you could mess up each other's lives for years, and still somehow you want to talk to and be friends with each other. Friendships are a type of relationship and any relationship that requires interaction with another human being is going to be nuanced, complex and will take time to navigate before you can settle into a routine with ease. You will find that some friendships require more emotional labor and manoeuvring and at any time you find that the labor is more than the comfort the friendship brings you, it is okay to say you don't want the friendship anymore. I am a very sociable person, I am an extrovert, a thot that loves attention, but after years of dating and ending friendships (even platonic ones with girls), I find that I'm okay, and it's okay to cut off ties if you don't have the energy for it. Friendships and relationships take time and money and energy and your interest to be invested in someone else, and you are allowed to choose who you feel is worth all those things.

WEIRD FLEX, BUT OK

If you haven't cried in six years, you are not okay and this is actually not okay.


Today I was a good sister, good daughter, good friend and good colleague, all at separate times, so. Today is a win. If I don't get in college, whatever, man, I'm already a great person. Who needs a cert to tell me I'm brilliant and amazing?? It's your loss, COLLEGES OF NEW YORK. /passive-aggression

(Actually still waiting, sighz)

One of my favorite anecdotes of New York was the time Adam and I were in an UberPool. So we'd gotten into a shared ride first, then the driver picked up a gay couple. We were trying to make conversation, and the couple were still quite cordial, but then they said they were on the way to a Christmas party attended by gays, and they had to finish watching the latest episode of RuPaul's Drag Race that had just dropped, because they didn't want to be spoiled at the party. 

Adam and I acquiesced of course, and let them watch the ep together on their phone. I swear it felt so quintessentially New York, I love what a hot mess this goddamn world is sometimes, it makes no sense and I adore it. I miss Adam sometimes, I think we could be better as friends but dang, dating each other was not so great.