Thursday, February 28, 2019

LINDA

Some nights will always be harder than others. You will not know why. I do not know why. I just know that I am happy for you, you who have found somebody to lean on, who have found someone who's got something you need, have found a darling who has stood by you and will stand by you. The thing is just that I am ready to be that person and I don't know where that person for me is. Tonight is a tough one and I don't know why. Some nights like tonight, when I don't feel very good, I am actually reminded of when I was much younger, maybe up to the age of ten. When I was at my dad's apartment, I don't know why, but I somehow knew clearly that being at his place, on weekends with or without my mom, did not make me happy. I would stay up at night, either crying silently or just not being able to sleep. I don't know why, I just didn't feel safe, or maybe I didn't feel loved. It wasn't so much as anything that ever happened, I can't explain but I just didn't feel good or cared for. Feelings are feelings are feelings, and you know, in retrospect, I can't really remember what went on at any point of time to tell you why I felt such and such as a kid. I don't like tonight, because it makes me remember bad nights as a kid. That's all. It will pass.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

CHIDI GETS A STOMACHACHE

So the scene where Chidi and Eleanor receive a montage from Michael, has actually been cut by NBC themselves and is on Youtube. It's all in the soundtrack I think, they use Lost Fur from Where The Wild Things Are and wahhhh, it just shreds away at my heart. I really want to find my Chidi and not be separated from him. Today I thought I should really learn to drive, and of course, of course I remember the first and only time I was allowed to drive. 9000 miles away from where I am, in the parking lot of a Kaiser Permanente. Did you know Ken Jeong used to work at Kaiser, when he was a practising physician? When you go somewhere with all your heart, you will leave pieces of it, pieces of yourself everywhere. I want to find a partner, whom I can drive with, by my side for years and years and years. I don't want to leave them behind and have to forget them. Ah Jesus, The Good Place is the ultimate worst.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

TRAINING

I don't know why I need to pen this down now but here I am. One time, when I was changing to an L train, we (as in all the commuters from the train I was on who were also transferring to the L) were rushing down a stairway, 'cos we'd seen the sign on the platform upstairs that said the L was there and leaving. There was a couple who were in front of me, taking a leisurely stroll and chatting with each other happily, and I was behind them, and there was a man behind me frustrated that the couple were technically blocking the way and taking their time. He snapped "can y'all move along, the train is here and it's leaving!" but given that it was an interchange, it was noisy and I don't think they even heard him. I felt the same sentiments as the man, but as a Singaporean sheep, I don't express when I am upset, I keep it in and whine when I am home. When we had all got into the L and were seated, for whatever reason in the world, it was just waiting there and didn't move off anyway. I sat in my seat and I thought, how strange it was that we were all taking the same train, and the couple were in a good disposition despite not rushing for it, the man was irritated and had hurried in vain since the train was not moving off, and I was silent throughout, observing the futility of getting yourself all flustered. This all took place within three minutes at the maximum, but it's been on my mind for weeks.

Monday, February 25, 2019

RAMONA FLOWERS

I just rewatched Scott Pilgrim and now my head is full of those sound effect words, like "kapow" and that kinda thing. Also, I am sorely tempted to cut my hair and dye it a Manic Panic color, like all pink, then blue, then green. But I'm 29 this year, and I really don't wanna be that girl who still lives like she's a movie character. Like Ramona and Scott, I have seen signs of exes reappearing in my life. For example, remember Jon who had another girl at the airport when I was in a cab with him from his apartment? Yeah he started following me on Instagram. I am not interested at all in dating him again. In fact, I am not interested in any man I've dated in Singapore, so I'm not gonna be dating for half a year, which will be the longest it's been since 2014? It feels good though, my mental health/mood-tracking app has been stable and on the positive side and it's nice to know that my non-dating streak will be working in tandem with that. My deadline for writing is Feb 28, which gives me three days. 28 is my favorite number but deadlines? Not my favorite thing in the world.

A SIMPLE FAVOR

You know being in Singapore, a past British colony, I was raised to spell the British way, meaning I would use realise and favourite and colour, and then I grew up and I mixed with more Americans and I've spent a cumulative seven months in the US, over three different trips, and I started spelling things like realize and favorite and color. I am currently writing something rather lengthy, and I keep mixing up the way I spell things, and the thing this makes me think is I really tend to be caught in between: the past and the future, the radically conservative and the radically liberal, the emotional and the rational. Also, there is a deadline that I have to meet so I'd better write, and not get distracted on a tangent. Have a lovely week ahead! So much love x

Sunday, February 24, 2019

SHARK TANK

I started watching Shark Tank. I think it recently got added to Netflix Singapore, and people here had never heard of it. There are also no other shows like it that exists locally, at least not to my knowledge. So someone with an idea for a business or a prototype for an invention pitches it to a panel of "sharks", who then decide whether they want to invest in the idea or business. Sometimes no one invests, sometimes they try to outbid each other to win over the business proposition. I have always had a phobia of the actual animal shark, and that's why I always wanted to be lowered in a "shark cage" in one of my trips, one day, just to say I faced my fear, but today, I realized, perhaps facing a round of shark investors may not hurt either. (Definitely doing the shark cage once in my life, even though I do think there is a risk I might really pass out in the water.)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

LAUV

to be young and in love in 
New York City
to not know who I am but still know that
I'm good long as you're here with me

to be drunk and in love in 
New York City 
midnight into morning coffee 
burning through the hours talking 

damn, I like me better when I'm with you 
I like me better when I'm with you 
I knew from the first time, I'd stay for a long time 
'cause I like me better when 
I like me better when I'm with you 

I don't know what it is but I got that feeling 
waking up in this bed next to you 
swear the room, yeah, it got no ceiling 
if we lay, let the day just pass us by 
I might get to too much talking 
I might have to tell you something

CLOSER

Friday, February 22, 2019

MOONSHINE

The moon is possibly the biggest I've ever seen it. It's time for moon shots, for everything you know to be set aside and for steps to be taken outside of the frame of mind of everything that's been done before. If you don't ask extraordinary questions, you cannot know the extraordinary answers. The moon has always been constant, and yet it appears to be so bright tonight. So big and bright.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT


So I'm not a dancer, I don't dance but this is now my new favorite dance scene, it's from The Umbrella Academy, which is a series worth watching. This is from episode 6. I want to dance to this choreography with my husband when we get married. It's okay if we're not dancers, we will learn this dance. Also you should prolly watch the scene on Netflix for the quality, the cinematography with all the flickering lights in the park is really quite stunning.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

HOLD ME TIGHT

The message of EFT is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection. Adult attachments may be more reciprocal and less centered on physical contact, but the nature of the emotional bond is the same. EFT focuses on creating and strengthening this emotional bond between partners by identifying and transforming the key moments that foster an adult loving relationship: being open, attuned, and responsive to each other.

Today EFT is revolutionizing couple therapy. Rigorous studies during the past fifteen years have shown that 70 to 75 percent of couples who go through EFT recover from distress and are happy in their relationships. The results appear lasting, even with couples who are at high risk for divorce. EFT has been recognized by the American Psychological Association as an empirically proven form of couple therapy.

There are thousands of EFT-trained therapists in North America and hundreds more in Europe, England, Australia, and New Zealand. EFT is being taught in China, Taiwan, and Korea. More recently, major organizations, including the U.S. and Canadian military and the New York City Fire Department, have sought my help in introducing EFT to distressed members and their partners.

EFT's ever-broadening acceptance and application has also brought growing awareness of this approach to the public. Increasingly, I have been besieged by pleas for a simple, popular version of EFT, one ordinary folks can read and apply on their own. Here it is.

Hold Me Tight is designed to be used by all couples, young, old, married, engaged, cohabiting, happy, distressed, straight, gay; in short, all partners seeking a lifetime of love. It is for women and for men. It is for people from all walks of life and all cultures; everyone on this planet has the same basic need for connection. It is not for people who are in abusive or violent relationships, nor for those with serious addictions or in long-term affairs; such activities undermine the ability to positively engage with partners. In those instances, a therapist is the best resource.

I've divided the book into three parts. Part One answers the age-old question of what love is. It explains how we often slip into disconnection and lose our love, in spite of the best intentions and the greatest insights. It also documents and synthesizes the massive explosion of recent research into close relationships. As Howard Markman of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver says, "This is moon shot time for couple therapy and education."

We are, at last, building a science of intimate relationships. We are mapping out how our conversations and actions reflect our deepest needs and fears and build or tear down our most precious connections with others. This book offers lovers a new world, a new understanding of how to love and love well.

Part Two is the streamlined version of EFT. It presents seven conversations that capture the defining moments in a love relationship, and it instructs you, the reader, on how to shape these moments to create a secure and lasting bond. Case histories and Play and Practice sections in each conversation bring the lessons of EFT alive in your own relationships.

Part Three addresses the power of love. Love has an immense ability to help heal the devastating wounds that life sometimes deals us. Love also enhances our sense of connection to the larger world. Loving responsiveness is the foundation of a truly compassionate, civilized society.

To help you through the book, I've included a glossary of important terms at the end.

I owe the development of EFT to all the couples I've seen over the years, and I make liberal use of their stories, disguising names and details to protect privacy, throughout this book. All stories are composites of many cases and are simplified to reflect the general truths I have learned from the thousands of couples I have seen. They will teach you as they taught me. This book is my attempt to pass that knowledge on.

I started seeing couples in the early 1980s. Twenty-five years later, it amazes me that I still feel passionately excited when I get down in a room to work with a couple. I still get exhilarated when partners suddenly understand one another's heartfelt messages and risk reaching out to each other. Their struggle and determination daily enlightens me and inspires me to keep my own precious connection with others alive.

We all live out the drama of connection and disconnection. Now we can do it with understanding. I hope this book will help you turn your relationship into a glorious adventure. The journey outlined in these passages has been just that for me.

"Love is everything it's cracked up to be..." Erica Jong has written. "It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, your risk is even greater." I couldn't agree more.
I started reading Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson today. Your only takeaway from this should be that if you are interested in dating me, whoever you are, you should also be reading it, because from this point on, I will only date anyone who has read this book.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

BERHENTI BERHARAP

For some reason, for any number of reasons, today I thought back on my life. I just sat and thought about things that have happened, decisions I have made, memories I have kept and tweaked and deconstructed and reconstructed, whether accurately or otherwise.

When I was nineteen or so, I had my second boyfriend. He was Christian, and he didn't want his rather staunch family to know about me, because they wouldn't have approved that I came from a Muslim family (at the time, I was also a half-assed Muslim believer, although I was never practicing).

I was never really able to talk about him online, or mention him by name, even though we spent pretty much all our time together in school, and he was my best friend in the debates club. I made things very difficult for myself, and very likely for him, and we were on and off for a long time, because even at that time, I was already fond of transcribing my daily life, and sometimes, he would be there in all my ramblings and he wouldn't ask me to take it down, but it almost always strained things between us.

We were happy, though, when we were in love. It was very romantic, and I never doubted that he was true to me, despite the running around in half-secret. It made it all the more precious, I suppose. I don't know if I was his first love, but he was mine. I don't know why I never felt the same with my first boyfriend, I guess you really don't choose who you love, but with this second one, I felt it always. I wasn't the best of debaters, I wasn't consistent, sometimes I would make great impassioned speeches, I liked being the whip speaker, or the last in the team, but it wasn't like I had a formula down pat, it was almost always a fluke.

I remember really admiring this second boyfriend of mine, he was the president of the club when I was vice-president because we studied in the same cohort/class/year. I remember he would be encouraging in debates, when I did well, he would be extremely supportive, and when I didn't do well, he would always give me constructive feedback. He felt like my partner. He is happily married now, and I'm extremely glad and happy for him, although we are not friends anymore, and it no longer affects me, which was a hell of a long time coming.

The thing is, as a person who feels things with almost an acute intensity as I think in tangents, it is near impossible to let go of anything I witness in life. I went and fell for someone I barely knew, and I learned that he used Head and Shoulders shampoo (I still remember it was the almond variation). I asked him what animal he would like to be, and he said an owl, because owls can turn their heads round almost fully, and I was intrigued by this because I didn't know why that was even a factor in wanting to be an animal.

I answered his 3am calls, knowing full well he was not serious and would most likely break my heart. I let him drive me around Malibu, we were scorched in the afternoon heat, then let the breeze run through our hair while I took in the stars in the night sky, knowing it was not going to last. I tend to ask the men I date what they think is a pressing problem in the world, so I asked and he told me religious extremists, which I did not know at the time was such foreshadowing and would become so pertinent in my life, showing itself in large part because of him. When I left, I wrote him a note on an owl postcard.

I got pregnant, and to be honest, even now in my mindset, I don't think it should have been such a big deal. I knew my family wasn't going to take it well, though, so my brain and heart were in turmoil, and true enough, when they eventually found out, even though I had already miscarried, it didn't go down well.

I grew up and am still living in a household that still dictates what clothes I can leave the house in, that still makes comments when I paint my nails. Even though everyone pretty much knows I have a tattoo, I am possibly never going to wear anything that will expose any part of it to them, because it will likely actually break their hearts, metaphorically. When they found out, they retaliated in the weirdest but most passive-aggressive reactions. It was like everything I did upset them, but the tattoo remained unspoken of.

When I was going to New York, both my mom and grandma, who both live in the same apartment as I do now, explicitly said things like not to make the same mistakes and to be a good girl, meaning they expected me not to sleep with men that I am not legally wedded to.

Of course, the easy thing would be to continue doing whatever I wanted to do (which I did) and not speak of it, because that's what a lot of people do. I couldn't and cannot bring myself to do it that way, because apparently I have no gene for self-preservation.

I don't like pretending to live by someone else's rule, because for one, it just sets a precedent that you also believe what they are doing to be right, which I don't, and then you have to set the same example that they set for you, for future generations. I don't like abiding by bigoted rules, nor pretending to do so. It is whacked, the standards they live by and the standards I live by are completely contrasting.

They really inherently, honest-to-goodness believe in an afterlife, and they would rather live in denial, than accept that I don't believe in the same thing, because based on their beliefs, the consequences for a person like me are too unfathomable and thus the fear instilled in them makes it easier to deny the truth. It's been so ingrained.

I think, if not for my family, I would be quite relaxed, and I would be able to have fun and live in the moment (as much as is consistent with my personality -- I mean, I'm not even much of a partier). Living in fear is a thing that bothers me, I don't think fear is a thing that motivates me.

The confusion I went through during my pregnancy and miscarriage, eventually turned into full-blown depression. This affected me intensely and for a very long time, and it got so bad, even on my good days, I wondered whether the emotions I'd felt and the things I'd done, were me, or my depression/mental health. I questioned the extent of my self as opposed to my mental health issues, I didn't know if my happiness was real happiness or the high point in a manic-depressive situation. I didn't know if I would ever be really okay again.

I say all this because I truly believe if I had had the support of a family that was rational and logical, and I wasn't made to feel like premarital sex was a sin, that my having gotten pregnant was a punishment for having gone against a higher power, that the depression from my miscarriage was a premeditated test for my character, the last couple of years would have gone much differently than it did.

I think about my desire to live in the States, and of course there is a lot of.... white noise, I feel as if I might be taking up space there, I don't know if I would be accepted, I ask myself why I can't just take the easy route, and live where I've always lived. And then I think of Hamilton, and the story of US independence. They used to be a British colony, much like most of the world's countries. If they hadn't felt unsettled and restless enough, they would never have pushed to be free.

This is the person I am, the same one who likes and loves random people off the street. The one who makes my exes' current and future girlfriends uncomfortable because I just want to be friends with and understand everyone, and because I want to remain friends with everyone I've dated. The same person who makes my dates feel like they have to compare with previous men because I can't stop rambling about people I used to love in my life.

Today I also even thought, even if seemingly unrelated, about my real dad. Before I left for New York, he asked to meet for dinner and I agreed 'cos I thought it would be good to leave on a good note. He then came for dinner with my youngest siblings, both younger than ten years old, and let me know that he was broke.

The fact that he was broke and that I had to foot the bill for us was not even what really gnawed at me, it was the fact that during dinner, he mentioned Under Armour headphones for working out with and whether I could look out for them while I was in the States. This was at the same dinner that he was too broke to apparently afford. The only reason I didn't mention it anywhere is 'cos I knew my mother would lord it over my head, she used to think that every failure of my father's, is a personal victory for her, even though my very young half-siblings could be affected.

Today I think about how the chosen family members I have made for myself have proven to be more reliable, than some of my own blood relatives. I thought about so much today and my conclusion was: if you want a simple life, don't be Sarah Mei Lyana.

Monday, February 18, 2019

MARTIN SHKRELI

I was watching Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj. Today's episode is about prescription drug pricing in the US. Insulin is priced stateside, roughly the same per unit as LSD and Chanel No. 5 EDP. Big Pharma is pretty much the epitome of rich fucks who have too much money and time and nothing better to do with their lives. Today I learned the term Pharmacy Benefit Manager, or PBM, who are essentially parasites or middlemen who don't actually bring any value to any transaction.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

TREMOLO

So my youngest sister found my PSP and I began replaying Loco Roco, which is the most inane game but has the funnest soundtrack and adorable characters. You can switch to even a pink blob.



(i. Yes everything I own is pink and ii. Yes I should be writing, leave me alone!!!)

Also, one of Lyssa's favorite things in life was to watch me play Spyro: Year of the Dragon, and one of my favorite things in life was to play it just for her to watch. That's our all-time favorite game in life.

I decided that to propose to me, someone has to get a Playstation (do they even still make those?) and a Spyro: Year of the Dragon disc and let me complete the game again for Lyssa before I will marry.

MEMORIES OF THE ALHAMBRA:
SPOILER ALERT

My sister and I started watching Memories of the Alhambra. It's about an augmented reality game, developed by a young South Korean boy living in Granada, Spain. The game looks and feels amazing and completely life-like and if it actually existed in real life, it would sell out for sure. We were just watching it being played and it was addictive, I can't imagine if we were playing it. The endorphin release pattern must be equally strong if not even stronger. The creator patents the game under his sister's business, that she doesn't know of. The sister runs a small, run-down hostel. One day, an investor is interested in her hostel because he knows about and wants to own the game, and he offers her a time-limited offer of 10 billion Korean won, if she signs within ten minutes. Every ten minutes, the offer goes down by a billion won. She eventually signs and receives the ten billion won, which is 12 million Singapore Dollars. Before the deal, she was maintaining the hostel, she was a tour guide in Granada for Korean tourists, she translated documents between Korean and Spanish, she works at a musical instrument store. After the deal, she's richer by 12 million Singapore Dollars. If someone offered me 12 million SGD, I would barely read the contract. You can have my soul for all I care. I would take the money, buy a visa to migrate to the States, get an apartment, save one million for potential health issues (one in three people will get cancer in their lives -- that could be you, me or a person unrelated to either of us, but then I've got the cancer genes), and then, assuming each person's undergrad and grad studies ran up to 500,000 USD, I would find ten girls from underprivileged communities and give them the money to pursue their studies. I love thinking about ridiculous things like this. There are enough people in the world who are wealthy enough to give away 12 million SGD (9 million USD) like that, it's not even a dream so much as whether you know how to talk to the right people. It's all just a numbers game. Some people love numbers, some people love games.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

JEREMY BEARIMY

So Lyssa was watching her all-time fave TV show, The Good Place, that I used to love when it was still being a comedy. She was re-watching the latest episode so far, S3E12, Pandemonium, the one where Chidi has to get his memory erased, and Eleanor would be the only one who remembers their love story. Before they proceed, Michael shows the couple a film reel of all their highlights together so far, and it has me bawling, even though I'd also seen it more than once. After Chidi has his memory erased, Eleanor talks to Janet, who is in summary, a robot who knows everything.
Eleanor: Janet?
Janet: Hi there.
Eleanor: Can you just, you know, like, tell me the answer?
Janet: Sorry?
Eleanor: You know, the answer. To everything. You know all there is to know in the universe. Crunch the numbers. Tell me the answer. What's the point of love if it's just gonna disappear? And how is it worse to not love anybody? There has to be meaning to existence, otherwise the universe is just made of pain and I don't like the thought of that. So, tell me the answer!
Janet: I know how you feel. Back on Earth, I had to watch Jason have no recognition of me. It felt like... right before someone pushes a plunger and murders you.
Eleanor: Sure.
Janet: The more human I become, the less things make sense. But that's part of the fun, right?
Eleanor: What do you mean?
Janet: If there were an answer I could give you to how the universe works, it wouldn't be special. It would just be machinery fulfilling its cosmic design. It would just be a big, dumb food processor. But, since nothing seems to make sense, when you find something or someone that does, it's euphoria. In all of this randomness, in this pandemonium, you and Chidi found each other and you had a life together. Isn't that remarkable?
Eleanor: Pandemonium is from Paradise Lost. Milton called the center of hell "pandemonium", meaning "place of all demons". Chidi tricked me into reading Paradise Lost by telling me Satan was, and I quote, "my type". A big, mean, bald guy with a goatee, I mean, he wasn't wrong.
Janet: Oh no, that's very on-brand for you.
Eleanor: I guess all I can do is embrace the pandemonium. Find happiness in the unique insanity of being here, now.
Janet: We'll do this together. In the words of the man that I love... "I got you, dog."

Friday, February 15, 2019

OH SARAH

How do you tell someone you miss them? How do you say life is short, fuck it, please think of me? How do you express the fact that being calm and cool is breaking you down, in a world that has demonised having feelings as weakness? I'm so tired. I just wish someone would fight as hard as I would. God knows the benchmark would not be set so high if I weren't such a fighter.

H'SUAN WEN HUA



Me on my bed reading these posts, actually shouting to myself: I WILL ONLY ACCEPT SOMEONE WHO LOVES ME THE WAY BARACK LOVES MICHELLE ALL OTHER APPLICATIONS ARE CLOSED
Also me: *clutches at my stomach from my period*
Me: why I gotta be so damn dramatic tho?

AUTONOMY

I'm on day two of my period and as usual, it's uncomfortable enough to keep me awake. This is after I've popped two Advils to avoid the regular excruciating cramps. I'm considering removing my ovaries, more and more, but I'm a little worried my life partner might want kids. I know adoption is an extremely viable option that I'm increasingly inclined towards, and my body is my body is my body and if a man thinks any less of me if I can't have kids then what the fuck am I with such a man for, right? But, I don't know, I've changed my mind about some pretty serious things in life in the past three years, what if one day I really find someone I want to start a family with and actually want my own kids? Jeez. Will there come a time I will value my blood relatives over someone I could adopt? Why do I have to be a woman in this world? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

MR. POOPYBUTTHOLE

Today I was going through my Instagram Story archives and I saw the one of Ben telling me about Grand Central Station while we were there and his voice soothed me and made me smile. If you don't think Valentine's Day has made me miss him to no end, I'm not sure if you really know me.....

B: "my school was actually the basis, one of the three schools that were the basis for..."
S: "Gossip Girl? Oooh!"
B: "yeah.. the people that the characters were heavily based on.. were actual people that I went to school with"

How strange it was that I fell for him. When I was first listening to all of that, I did not know nor realise I would like him so much.

When I was in New York, one of the prompt answers I had on Hinge was Best Travel Story: I went to SpaceX when I dated someone in LA.

Quite a few matches I had that week, responded to that prompt with, "oh damn, that's a cool date to beat", which I find strange.

Maybe it's just the person I am, but I think people need to be nicer to themselves, regardless of their jobs. More often than not, people who hustle hard at their jobs are lacking in some other aspect. And people who have principles I find most admirable may be struggling, just 'cos they've got morals and are trying to work things out in life. It all just boils down to what each person finds important. And working for lots of money makes no sense to me 'cos in a world with homeless people, being a millionaire or anywhere close to it is not a moral outcome. It's all just pishy caca. You are not the company you work for.

SHAKE IT OFF


I am the love of my life until someone else loves me as much as I love myself. Happy Valentine's Day, Sarah Mei Lyana. You are one of a kind.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

SANS SERIF

I keep thinking about how excited Ben was at having found the same exact ramen that he had had in Japan, right in Brooklyn. I had ramen with my cousin when I got back, and the restaurant had a panel of The Great Wave off Kanagawa, a banner of which Ben had in his room, and which I gave him a lapel pin of, from The Met. What does it all mean? It means nothing, but it means all the things. Nothing is absolutely good nor bad, nothing is absolutely meaningful nor meaningless. Nothing is absolutely absolute.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

LIGHT

I met my cousin Hazwani last night, and I also had a workout session with Han today. Both times, I told them about Bennett. They separately asked things like, you're okay if he dates someone else? You don't wanna try long distance? I answered internally to myself, no I don't want him to date anyone else, and yes I do want to try long distance. But I'm unable to confirm where my life is going, not for at least a month or so, and it is unfair to expect him to wait on a word I am unsure of, not so soon after we'd just gotten to know each other. Ben did say sometime before I really had to leave, that he did want it to be me, and I do still want it to be him. I tell myself, well if he dates someone else and it works out, then good for him, I will be happy. Yet I will not be dating, I'm finally taking time to myself, to let the rest of my life fall into place. I have gone through this a couple of times before, sometimes you rush things and it still doesn't work out because it was never going to. If he and I don't find a more suitable relationship and neither of us settles for anything less, then que sera, Sarah.

JET LAG

I'm in the living room of my mom's apartment, listening to my sister Aqilah and her boyfriend do their homework. It's so strange how first relationships are, when girls don't yet realise what mansplaining is, or that it's being done to them, and they don't call it out. I don't say it out loud, because I think people should be able to make their own decisions and learn from them but wow, what a learning curve that is. I'm leaving home in a bit to go for a swim with Han, I hope that helps to set my sleep pattern to something that remotely resembles those of the people living in this country. This post is here to serve no real purpose besides giving me something to do to keep myself awake. I miss Ben. Mochi reminds me of Tux.

Monday, February 11, 2019

JAMEELA JAMIL


"....Tell him about sex. Not just reproduction, but sex. The fun, pleasurable part of it. The joy of equal pleasure and enthusiastic consent. Do not shy away from this. Do not make it an awkward topic in your house. Because if you push him into the shadows, he will find Pornhub in there and that will become his teacher. And nobody needs that shit. I believe that learning sex from porn is like learning how to drive from watching The Fast and The Furious, a fucking terrible idea. Tell him about the history of the word no for women and how new it is to our vocabulary, and how if he were to abuse our historical conditioning to bend to the whims of men, it would be the greatest sin and sign of weakness that he could show. And when it comes to sex, tell him technical consent isn't the gold standard. It is just the basic, complete, most bare foundation. And anything less than a woman being enthusiastic about something sexual that is about to happen is a sign that he must stop and talk to her. Tell him that being generous in the bedroom will be reported far and wide among the lands -- because we tell each other everything, and his name shall become legend among us...."
Jameela Jamil is an actual queen. Please watch this speech, I love it and it is very important and very true. A generous man in the bedroom is rare, and therefore very precious. And very cute. Okay bye!

SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD

In the many twists and turns of my romantic history, I almost feel like I've learned a thing or two from each stage so that I can utilise them for the big boss. Like Scott, some lessons had to be repeated so I would actually learn them properly. Fall would be a great season to love someone I've fallen in love with.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

RAISE A GLASS TO FREEDOM
(SOMETHING THEY CAN
NEVER TAKE AWAY)

Remember the time my mom changed my bike from a fixie to a freewheel, without asking or telling me, because she thought it was safer? So I came back and my sister Aqilah had added a phone-holder, a bottle-holder and I don't know what else to it. I mean, I know I left home but like, it woulda been nice to have been asked about my things. On the plus side, I guess I don't have to spend money on those additions. On the neutral side, I doubt they'll help me not cycle and fall right into a drain. That was 4 years ago and still the trauma lives. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Edit: also my youngest sister Arina left her wallet at home so I just passed it to her at recess so I'm now officially the eldest sister again. Why does anyone have more kids when you're expected to bail them out over and over again? This even includes bailing me out. Sigh.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

MOONSHOT

I watched Before Sunrise on the plane. I think it was my third time seeing it. It's one of my favorite romantic films, and all it is, is two strangers talking to each other. That's the best way to fall in love, talking non-stop about things. Also, I'm now in Singapore, but I'll be back where I belong soon enough. In the meantime, hello sun! I can now walk out wearing just one layer, and also flip-flops! Oh how my toes have missed being free. On the way back, I took ANA flights and damn, do the Japanese get food right. It's like somebody told them: airplane fare, but make it fashion.


Also my stopover in Japan is now my one and only time there but I had only one hour in transit. For someone who loves Japanese food, I've never been to Japan, which is a mighty waste. I must go there when I'm earning more, go on a food trail or something. One of my ex-bosses said something that has stuck with me for the past 5, 6 years? She said, don't keep spending your money travelling to nearby places, because chances are you'll find similar mindsets and cultures and lifestyles and experiences to your own. To really grow and push your thinking and boundaries and challenge yourself as a person, you should travel as far away as you can, and see how differently people live. I've kept that advise and used it, and I think I'm better for it.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

MY DEAREST, AMERICA


I did one for Cali so the least I could do was do a one-minute montage for New York, right? I didn't really take as many videos 'cos I didn't think I would have a deadline, but eh, I think I have at least as much fondness for New York as I do for the West Coast. As they say, Cali has the weather, but New York has personality. :P


If you compare the two videos, you'll see that the only thing they have in common is Hamilton. I doodled some Hamilton things when we ate at Wurstküche in LA, where they have wax paper and crayons to entertain you while you wait. One of the songs I used in the West Coast video is also from Hamilton.

Two and a half years later, I finally got to see Hamilton live in New York. Life is chess, not checkers. The day you plant your seeds, is not the day they grow. I'm writing a book, and by virtue of the book, I will meet Lin-Manuel Miranda. Watch me water my seeds. (I dunno why that sounds like innuendo, I don't mean it to be, jeez.)

PHOENIX





Sometime in 2016, I was introduced to @hamiltonmusical by one of my best friends at the time. Since then, I have gotten pregnant, miscarried and fallen into a deep depression. I also somehow managed to keep writing myself into even worse trouble, just because I inherently want to write the truth, despite my mother and grandmother always telling me that I shouldn't share "bad things" about myself. I have constantly found something to identify with in Hamilton, especially because the casts across all productions are always so diverse, and representative of the Great America of immigrants that the US has always been. Lin-Manuel Miranda makes me believe that I will attain the future I want for myself. I have a tattoo of the line "the fact that you're alive is a miracle" and it reminds me that it took immense strength and courage for me to persist on to this day, and the fact that every person's journey to existence, instead of the converse, is a miracle of odds. Today I finally saw it, in the actual greatest city in the world. I laughed, and I cried at It's Quiet Uptown. If you have ever known loss, you would too. I didn't sing, because I would have ruined it, but I mouthed along almost throughout. It is my favorite work of art, and I'm glad I'm alive for it. #hamilton #hamham #broadway #newyorkcity
A post shared by Sarah Mei Lyana (@sarahmeilyana) on

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

NO GREATER LOVE

Today I recalled again that time is not a measure of love, that I was with a guy for close to two years, and I didn't really feel much for him, that I liked being liked, and he was the first person who said they liked me.

I love Tina, and I am profoundly glad we got to know each other through a Facebook group for feminists, perhaps two years ago. We never really spoke to each other, and in fact I deleted my Facebook last year, so it was like we weren't even in each other's lives, just strangers who could have unfollowed each other on Instagram, but didn't. Tina has an exceptional memory, so she tells me what she learned in linguistics, about Kachru's concentric circles of English, how some Americans tend to be surprised that I speak English "very well", 'cos I don't come from a Western country. Singapore is English-educated, we were colonized by the British, so whether I like it or not, I speak English just as well as the British have taught me to. She tells me about Frankenstein, how Mary Shelley had written about it for her pain of having lost a child, and Frankenstein was basically her way of using pain to birth something greater. Tina talks about all these feminist notions and feminist writers and she also talks about her previous dating life. She tells me about when she was in more "fucked up" times, or at least about her misadventures in dating, and it helps. I feel like with Tina, I have found my tribe. She's half-Filipino so she understands the pressure of conservative Asian cultures, and yet she also lets me know if I have anything sexual I want to ask about, I can ask her. It's one thing to have friends back home in Singapore tolerate or give me just enough room to talk about sex or the like, but it is another to have a two-way conversation, to know that I'm not just being not-judged, but that I have a listening ear as well as someone else's stories to take away and learn from. Tina is sentimental just like I am, we feel so much and she reads a lot and she somehow knows the right thing to say or the right book or film or whatever it is to point me towards, so I can relate to something greater than I am. She likes silly things like astrology and she also literally serenaded me with How Do I Live at karaoke while kneeling on the ground, she's so melodramatic. She's so fun and live-in-the-moment I admire her so much and want to be her in those moments. I look at her and her boyfriend of four years, Sean, and I think, one day I will live with a long-term boyfriend and we will be like them. I'm so happy that she's found Sean, I'm happy that she does things like get balloons for him after a bad work day, and that they go bird-watching and lose their city stresses to the park, and they love each other in a comfortable, safe way even though they've both been through shit before this. In New York, as it is in other places, it is difficult to find love, and perhaps like anywhere else, it is also difficult to make real friends. I'm grateful that I found a sister in Tina, and I love her.

On our first date, Bennett ordered a grilled mac and cheese sandwich, which means yes, there is macaroni and cheese between two slices of bread, which is then grilled, because this is America. I noticed that he wasn't eating much while I was almost done with my food, which apart from being caused by him telling me about his life, he also said was due to the fact that he was nervous, and he gets nervous when you know you like someone new. I thought it was adorable he said it, men don't generally speak to me so candidly like that, I wear my heart on my sleeve but it is rarely reciprocal. Ben has two and a half cute somewhat-pixellated hearts tattooed on the left of his chest, like when you have three lives in a video game and you're midway through your first life. I have never met a man with such a dorky tattoo, and I have never liked any tattoo so much, as much as my own. (This is not to say that I saw his tatts at the diner, it is winter and we were both sensibly clothed in layers.) We walked around Manhattan, talking about sci-fi books, him gushing about Westworld, myself trying to take in his story as well as I was taking in every new view I'd not yet gotten accustomed to. He is the first person to have brought me into Central Park, that night there looked to be some sort of commotion going on, there was a South American country's flag being carried on but neither of us recognised what it was, though I think I guessed Venezuela. We talked about productivity, and trying to define what we each meant by productivity. At the park, before he asked if I wanted to make out (leading me to guffaw for a good three minutes), he told me something very tender. Sometimes I can tell when people say things 'cos they've been reading what I write, and sometimes I know that they try not to fall into that trap of just being what I'm seeking, and with Ben, I just felt like I'd met a male counterpart of myself. He's honest and vulnerable because he's honest and vulnerable, and I like it that he wasn't trying to hide it, nor was he trying to play it up like some kind of get-in-my-pants badge either. I talked to him about my life story, which we joked about quizzing him on because I'd embellished it with so many details, and then when I asked him questions I hadn't even mentioned in the story explicitly but just during our rambling conversations, he remembered all of them. He told me about his life story, and I remember all of it, and I won't put it here because those details are for me and not for you, but I found it the most endearing because men don't usually share their life stories so easily, you have to work for it, you get to five dates, you get one nugget of important information, etc, but Ben told me his life story, like I'd told him mine. There is a comfort I feel with him that I don't ever want to forget, I trust him so much, we did something together for the first time and I was loud in a way that I didn't even think about and embarrassed his housemates would hear, and I was like omg what is going on. We talked about good things and bad things and things we were good at and bad at, and he has the most gorgeous curly hair, and pretty eyelashes. He spent the first three nights saying "I really like you, Sarah" and saying good and nice things about me, without an agenda beyond wanting to let me know he felt it. I like Ben a lot, and you might doubt it but I wouldn't, I do love him. We played word games, because he also studied linguistics, and there is a point when chemistry usually ends and you're left hanging for the right words to say to each other, but I never felt it with Bennett. 

Monday, February 04, 2019

ANGELS

for New York, for Bennett, for Tina, for Cupid and Psyche, for all the guardian angels:

they would be in love, love, love
and every day I'm learning about you
the things that no one else sees
and the end comes too soon
like dreaming of angels
and leaving without them
and living without them
being as in love with you as I am
being as in love with you as I am
being as in love with you as I am
being as in love, love, love
love, love, love
love, love, love

xx