Tuesday, May 28, 2019


So in my recent times, I was wearing a dress that you might call revealing, because it had a plunge neckline as well as being short for someone of my height. I was sitting outside a mall, using my phone, near a smokers' area, so there were many other people smoking and using their phones. There I was minding my own business, when a security guard came up to me and said "sorry, miss, but there are people looking at you" and from then on, I felt uncomfortable, so I went into the mall and walked around instead. I told this to everyone I knew, and one of them said perhaps the guard was trying to be nice and helping me out. Personally, I would say that could have been his well-meaning intention, but it still made me uncomfortable. I didn't appreciate it for the fact that he told me, because I'd gone from being in my own space and feeling myself, to feeling like I had done something wrong and had to move away. I also thought it curious that he felt it was his business to tell me when I was alone, and as much as I ponder it, I don't think he would have done the same if I had a male companion and other men were still staring at me. This means that as a woman on my own, I would need to be policed and looked after, whereas with a man, the man would have been enough authority that I wouldn't need any other person to save me. When I told this anecdote to multiple people and one of them told me the guard was trying to help, this person also said, so you'd rather if people didn't say anything? So if you were witnessing a rape, you wouldn't have helped? And this triggered very strong emotions in me. I told this person outright, that that was an inane ridiculous parallel to have made. First of all, the guard made the decision to inform me that people were looking at me, meaning that he thought I should be changing my behavior to fit my surroundings. If I witness a rape, I'd be stopping and bashing the rapist, not focusing on the victim at the time of the incident. This person I was talking to completely missed the point that by talking to me about my attire instead of telling off the men whom he thought might have been indecently leering, he was essentially giving off the signal that men own women's bodies, that if I'm dressed skimpily, that they have the right to leer at me, and that they cannot and shouldn't be stopped. On the one hand, I'm cool with it, myself and my big dick energy, I get enough stares regardless of my clothes so I know assholes will be assholes. On the other hand, the guard clearly doesn't think it's okay for the men to be "looking at me", so why did he talk to me about it instead of the other men? Because he's a misogynist who thinks women should only fit themselves into spaces that the men allow them, that's why. Further on in my conversation with said person who made the "rape example", I said this is why I think I belong in LA or NY or anywhere with more liberal values than in Singapore, because my tits could be showing through my clothes and people would be comfortable enough with it to allow me to be me. This person then said, these are different places with different values, of course you can't expect Singaporeans to react the way those places do. Then the person brought up that they had also watched Knock Down The House, and they didn't understand why I'd want to move to the US, where there is constant turmoil and people are still fighting for insurance and gender equality, etc. I figure the person probably meant also the Alabama situation, where they basically overturned abortion and reproductive rights by decades, but by that time, I realized we had very different views and it was a night I didn't wanna spoil by talking politics. As with everything else, it eventually has to resurface though, so here it is. First of all, as I recall, I've only mentioned my desire to move to either the West Coast or the East Coast of the US. Those two states have vastly different state laws than the Midwest and wherever else might be backwards in USA. The USA is a gargantuan mix of lands and people and therefore, politics, but there are federal laws and then there are state laws. I consider myself well-informed enough to know where I would fit in and be happy, and obviously I would not ever choose a red state like Alabama. Also, as compared to Singapore (which has no mininum wage so a retail worker like me is never presented as having as much value and worth to society) New York State's minimum wage is $15USD an hour, which is SGD$20/hour. This means that I could be doing the exact same job that I have right now and I'd be earning more than twice as much. When I was in New York, I was happy because regardless the state of politics, the people there care enough to riot and make a big fuss and fight for people who are being failed by the system. This is the state that voted in AOC to overhaul their previous Congressman with all his money and connections, for fuck's sake. In Singapore, the motto is keep your head low, and to live and let live. I don't know if you've noticed, but I don't live by that motto. This person I had this conversation with, they said I couldn't dress the way I'd be able to dress in LA/NY, because I'm not there and I should mind my place, but then they also said they didn't understand why I'd want to move to the US, because with a grand old paintbrush, they decided to paint a nation of fifty states with one similar stagnant color, the way Singapore has always been. I don't like my own decisions to be undermined, it might have taken ten years longer in my life, but I know where my happiness lies, and this country I was born in ain't it, chief. This ain't it.

Friday, May 24, 2019


It's been a rather hectic two weeks. May always seems to be busy, I think because it's also the season of weddings. I went to Pamela's hen's night last Friday, where we experienced an #incrediblelightnessofbeing HEHEHE, attended an Indian wedding on the weekend, got my nails did courtesy of Pamela for her bridesmaids. Tomorrow I will be a bridesmaid for Pamela's wedding. Last weekend, my h03 best friends surprised me with a staycation at a lovely hotel, JW Marriott South Beach. Last night, my best friends from high school brought Han and I to Wanderlost Lounge. I have loved this week. I received an email from Queens College, saying I'd have to take CUNY's undergrad admissions assessment tests, to proceed with my application. I'm gonna see if I can take them remotely from Singapore, because I clearly am not rich and cannot afford to fly to NY to take a few papers.

My boyfriend Lucas has been a dream come true. He scared me a little bit, with his earnest and eagerness. He says if I get into school in New York, he'd move to Toronto and try to find work in New York, 'cos he's had enough of living in Singapore. He's also been telling his friends that I'm definitely moving to New York in September, which I appreciate as being supportive, but it's not at all confirmed, and I'm scared by how much he believes in me. I love how he's completely convinced that he loves me, even as he's still learning about me, and we're still learning about each other. It reminds me of the times I've told men after three dates, that I loved them, and believed it with all my heart. I always felt let down when they wouldn't fight for me. I have of course always held the belief that someday a man would sweep me off my feet, would tell me to drop everything and marry him. I think I've subconsciously internalized the feminine responsibility of taking care of other people, but I want to be taken care of. I want to never worry about finances again, I want to go after what I want, I want to be free and happy. I feel like I see a part of myself in Lucas, the part that's honest and vulnerable, and for all those times I've wanted a man to take a chance on me, I'm going to take that chance on him. I think, as I was growing up, I fell into the cliché of the girl with daddy abandonment issues, and I thought that a lot of different things were love. My father was never really the most stable of father figures, but he always came back and said he loved us, so I thought, that was just what men do. I thought that when men were cold and distant, but paid attention to you after weeks, it was love. I was confused for a very long time. I think, with the help of all my closest loved ones, I managed to relearn the meaning of love. I feel it with Lucas. I feel it when he puts my love on top, and doesn't treat me as second to anything. Sometimes he and I get a bit pissed off and depressed at the capitalist nature of the world, leading to it literally burning up, and I think he feels as much as I do, that the length of time we have on this Earth isn't guaranteed, and all we can do is try to improve its quality by spending it with the people we love.

This has been an ideal and wholesome week, and I am ready to take on being 29 for the next fifty weeks. Thank you, friends and family. I am grateful.

Friday, May 17, 2019


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.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


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,

Sunday, May 12, 2019


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


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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


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

Thursday, May 9, 2019


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.)

Monday, May 6, 2019


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~~~

Saturday, May 4, 2019


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.

Thursday, May 2, 2019


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.


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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


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. 


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.


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.