Sunday, September 29, 2019

STREET FIGHTER

I went to a session held by Penawar tonight. Penawar sort of means healing in Malay. They have community healing sessions for Muslim-raised women and non-men in Singapore, whether or not those people still identify as Muslim. Today's session was about relationships. One of them said she's also atheist, and she's polyamorous. We discussed societal pressure, mostly from our own family members and communities, to subscribe to conventional relationship structures. We discussed how women get pressured to marry, when they are in relationships or even if they decide to pursue their careers or other passions instead. One of them said a rideshare driver told her that by doing her PhD while she was nearing her 30's, she was basically ruining her chances of getting married, never once asking whether she has any interest in romance. We also discussed healthy strategies in approaching romantic relationships for those who were so inclined. We talked about fighting styles and how we could learn to fight better and more productively, with our partners. We shared our different reconciliation gestures. It was refreshing because this is a community of people who were raised similar to the way I was raised, and they broke out of the same pressures to think the same ways as I do. I felt very validated and affirmed in my life choices. Fifteen people ain't so bad. I don't feel alone and unheard. Yesterday I felt really angry at something silly and irrational from something one of my family members did, and as I was seething in anger by myself, I thought I needed to seek help. Today I learnt that everybody has a dark place when they get really angry, and that anger is just as valid an emotion as any other, as long as you don't choose to act on it to hurt anyone else. People shared their fits of rage, some of which sounded quite violent, and I realized it's only violent if there is destruction. Otherwise, if you scream into a void, it is perfectly healthy because all that overwhelming burst of energy has to go somewhere. Women are particularly disadvantaged because rage and anger are more prescribed as "male" emotions and reactions, and sometimes I don't feel justified in showing my anger, but we are all angry and we have the right to be. Also, many of them chose unconventional ways to be in relationships, and I feel emboldened and empowered by them. Everybody has a different definition of happiness and everybody has a right to pursue it.

Friday, September 27, 2019

ECHO CHAMBER

If I ever decided to raise kids, I would get them into the practice of meditation early in life, and let them be adept in it as a skill for their own future. The thing about meditation is, I used to think it was about emptying your mind, which was impossible to me, but recently I've been using an app for guided meditation. It works wonders (I say, well aware I sound like an infomercial). When I meditate, the person - who has a soothing voice - tells me to think about certain things in the present, in my present, feeling my breath, listening to sounds. I don't know about you, but as a person who consumes as much media as I do food, my brain never stops. In my head, I am thinking about Hasan Minhaj and Jameela Jamil, Tan France and Taylor Swift, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren. I think about my ex-boyfriends and about my current boyfriend, I think about whether my current boyfriend will ever become an ex. I think about how much I actually like and accept change now. I think about the impeachment and how much I don't like to consume media about Donald Trump yet am constantly bombarded by such information. I think about brownface and sexual assaults, I think about the games I am good at playing, I think about many, many things and I am always thinking. So when I meditate, I think about one specific thing, and I'm being trained not to think about anything else. Your brain can only focus on one thing at any one time. So I focus on my breathing. It acts as a divider, between my constant streams of consciousness. I like meditation and therapy and I am glad they work for me most times. Sometimes I forget about the tattoo on my spine, it says "the fact that you're alive is a miracle" and I do feel such a way, indeed. I went for my pelvic ultrasound scans last week for the terrible period cramps and will have a consultation with the doctor next week. I hope I am okay.

Friday, September 20, 2019

VINDICATED

I watched the three-part Netflix series about Bill Gates, it's called Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. It touches on the Bill and Melinda Foundation endeavoring to solve public sanitation in developing countries, eradicate polio, as well as deal with climate change. In one of the episodes, he says when he was young and still coding, he would just lick orange Tang powder off his fingers because the body already has water inside it and it would be mixed for him (!!!!!!!!!!!!). I thought the dynamics between him and Melinda are very interesting, she was also a computer scientist but she doesn't have a brain that processes information as easily as his does. Sometimes Lucas says I am smarter than he is, and I don't like when this happens, any time I'm in a relationship that my partner says I'm smarter, I'm unsatisfied. I don't quite know why. I think it happens quite often in my relationships though, because there is something about me that is relentless in pursuing, consuming and processing information but I feel like... I don't know if this is quite the right way to put it, but I feel like I want to be inspired in life and if I don't have a partner who's "smarter" than I am, then I will not be inspired. Of course, there are many ways to define smart and intellect, so there's a bit of a see-saw on that. In any case, Bill plays bridge with his partner Warren Buffett, and I love playing bridge, it's my all-time favorite card game. Not many people know how to play it in Singapore and I know it has this reputation of being an old-person game, but I love it and enjoy it and could play it for hours and hours. Bill Gates grew up with massive luck and opportunities, his family was well-off, and that connected him to more wealth, monetary and otherwise, in the world. I wonder where I'd be now if I had had his fortune. I don't have his brain, but I do always think I would have achieved much more if I only had the connections to the right resources. Today I learnt that Bill Gates aims to solve climate change by using nuclear energy. Before today, I was under the impression that that would be a staggering risk that's not the wisest choice to make, but the third and final episode of the miniseries made some rather compelling arguments for it. I know by default I'm supposed to hate people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett because they're rich, old, white men who've amassed so much more wealth than should be necessary for anyone's lifetimes. Morals notwithstanding, he's a genius, and like it or not, at a time of climate change and in an aura of doom, some innovation, intelligence, education and optimism is appealing and very contagious. Whenever I watch shows like this and people are pushing boundaries, I think perhaps there is hope.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

DAYLIGHT

Oooooft. It's been A Week. I saw that a new Netflix show had dropped, it's called Hello, Privilege, It's Me, Chelsea, a documentary by Chelsea Handler. When I saw the title, I was apprehensive because this is a white woman who's made it in the comedy world, making a documentary about white privilege. How many ways could this go wrong? Oh, so many. I watched it waiting for it to go wrong, I thought "oh no, she's going to profit off of her own privilege of the ability to make this documentary and she either doesn't realize it or is conscientiously doing so!!!" She starts by interviewing a room full of people of color in college/school, and the good thing is, they were not afraid to call her out on it, on all the things that could also go wrong. I think they made her feel rightly uncomfortable, they didn't hold back, so that was a good tone to set for the rest of the show. She goes on to interview black men, a table of Republican white women (who, of course, true to form, did not see any privilege), she goes to Oktoberfest and calls out other white people, yadda yadda yadda. I thought it was a documentary done very well, even as a person of color who anticipated all the ways it could have gone wrong. She interviews an ex-boyfriend, highlights the fact that when she was in her late teens dating a black guy, when they were caught doing drugs or breaking any law, she always got to slide under the radar and the boy always got punished, and he did 14 years in jail, in total. The only difference between them was obviously? Their skin. The message from the documentary is it no longer is about people of color holding the conversation and justifying their pain, their disenfranchisement, their disadvantages in society. White people have to have the conversations, and they have to be comfortable with making other white people uncomfortable. I do think this documentary should be viewed by all white people, but if you are a white person who doesn't already believe white privilege exists, and that every white person benefits from it (regardless of the class of society you are from: white trash vs upper echelons), I doubt you would be here, reading this? I hope everyone I know would certainly be aware of the privileges they hold.

Two days ago, Lush Singapore had its staff party, and I got ready at Lucas' place, while he was at work. One of his housemates, Sonia, is battling breast cancer, and she's on hospitalization leave, so that was the first time I got to properly talk to her. I told her I'd seen my mom go through her battle with breast cancer too, and we compared notes on family and whatnot. Sonia went to graduate school in London, and she told me the best place for fish and chips is Poppie's in Camden Town. Not that I have any plans to travel to Europe anytime soon, I'm going to be a broke student for at least the next four years. We shared our love for tea, and she loves Disney, so she lent me her seashell-shaped Tarte makeup palette for me to bring as an accessory to the staff party, 'cos I was going as Ariel. I had a very chill time bonding with Sonia, and I look forward to becoming proper friends with her.




I had lots of fun at the party. I was in the lip-sync battle, and I "swam on the floor", and even though I can't do splits, I did a death drop, just to make my RuPaul's Drag Race-watching friends in my team proud. If you'd followed my Instastories, you'd have seen all my awkward moves, but lots of people replied saying I was cute and I'm so glad these people love me!!!!!! It's all worth the bruises I have on my knees from the death drop (also documented on Instastories)! I made a major booboo on that night, though.

So firstly, because I'm in Singapore and because a majority of Singaporeans wouldn't know, I gotta say that cisgender people are people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, according to their sexual organs. For example, I identify as female, which aligns with the female sex organs I was born with, so I am cisgender. After the lip-sync battle, after I'd taken off my Ariel wig and swam and rolled and done the split, I was panting and I looked at the other representatives of the other teams. My first response was "oh my god I'm the only girl here", and the girl next to me, she's not cisgender (meaning she's transgender) but she identifies as female and for as long as I've known her, she's identified as female. She said "and what's that supposed to mean?" and then I knew I'd fucked up, so I apologized and I've apologized again since then, and I think she's forgiven me, but I'm not sure.

Today, Lucas sent me an article with a photo of Justin Trudeau in blackface for a college party twenty years ago. He was supposed to be Aladdin. I can't speak on behalf of Justin Trudeau and what his thoughts on it now are, he's been interviewed by Hasan Minhaj on Patriot Act and sometimes it does seem Trudeau is yet another lip-service kinda guy, and he doesn't really follow-through with his policies, so I can't vouch for his character. The photo was from two decades ago, though, and social stigmas change, so I don't think it's fair to hold him accountable unless he truly doesn't show remorse for it. I always think it's shady when political opponents bring up events from beyond a decade ago, because we've all made mistakes, and we've all changed and moved on from things we used to believe and do. I used to believe in God and sins and I felt guilt at premarital sex, and now I'm a completely different person in three years, so I'd say twenty years is a long enough window for someone to have educated themselves and moved past their old mistakes. I do, however, believe that when you've fucked up, you should just own up to it and believe you've fucked up and are changing to do better, and then commit to that. I'm saying this because I know I fucked up with my "I'm the only girl here" comment, and it was wrong and I was in the wrong.

I really want to attend a Patriot Act live taping session. I'd love to meet Hasan Minhaj. My four favorite people in the world are all in New York: Hasan Minhaj, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Taylor Swift. I'm not there yet, but I will be soon enough.

Friday, September 13, 2019

ALLURE

I went to therapy today. First of all, I might really be bisexual because I keep thinking about my therapist's voice and laughter. So that's not cool. I already have my own issues piled up, and I never imagined sexuality to be added on to the pile. I also don't know how to bring up to my therapist that I might be attracted to girls because I've never felt it before but I'm feeling it now for her. She must be like "omg here we go again, yet another client thinks they're falling for me" and also, half of my session I'm talking about my relationship with Lucas, so how would this even fit in with the rest of my feelings?

This week, I was resting at Lucas' before work, and I found out the extent of how messy his hidden stash in his wardrobe was. He had charging cables tangled with contact lenses on top of socks stuffed into umbrellas in a mess of hair products. I called him a man-child, which he wasn't happy about, then we set on a project to organize his room, buying compartments and bins from Muji. I'm a very organized and tidy person, if you didn't know, my wardrobe is color-coordinated and everything I own has to have a place where it can be kept. I thought that was the Asian in me, until I learnt the ways anxiety can manifest. His room is much cleaner and more organized now, and I felt extremely productive this week.

Next weekend, we have tickets to The Projector, to see a recording of a BBC interview with Margaret Atwood, who wrote The Handmaid's Tale and its sequel, The Testaments. Both are about a sexist dystopia in which women have practically no rights. I've read The Handmaid's Tale, it was Lucas' gift to me, and he wants us to watch the TV series together before the interview. I liked the book for how it was written, but the subject matter weighed heavy and drained me. Sometimes I think Lucas doesn't feel what I feel, of course he's not a woman and in this lifetime, men will never be stripped of their rights the way women are. He watches and reads things for entertainment but I come from a community (regardless of the fact that I don't believe in Islam nor any religion), that in certain areas of the world, make it dangerous or impossible for girls to go to school.

I can now see and hear my therapist the way I can visualize Lucas in my head. She reminds me of Ruby Rose because she dresses and presents androgynous but her voice is soft, definitely softer than mine. I find myself very intrigued by her. Do I bring this up to her or???? Is there a conflict of interest, should I change therapists? *rubs my temples* ....why does my brain make things so tough on me.... I just snorted at a retort to no one... You know how everyone thinks I only date white men? Well my therapist is Asian and I'm clearly attracted to her so take that!!!

Saturday, September 07, 2019

MISS AMERICANA
& THE HEARTBREAK PRINCE

Taylor Swift's new album, Lover, is quite a bop, I think there are an equal number of tracks between this and on 1989 that I really love. The only bonus is perhaps this one has The Man, a song about feminism and how much more a woman has to do to be "on par" with a man, and Miss Americana, which is an ode to politics. It's about the general vibe of American politics, and how her team is on the "losing side" and how she's so sad she paints the town blue. Taylor Swift singing about politics is character growth and maturity and I'm very proud of her I don't care what you say!!!! Apart from those two, I really, really like Paper Rings, which is a fun bop about how if you like someone, you'd marry them, even with paper rings.

I absolutely adore my therapist's smile and laugh, and voice. So that has me a little confused, but sexuality is fluid and on a spectrum, so!!!

It's been a godawful long week. I went to the hospital to see the gynae for my nightmare of period cramps and got prescribed very strong painkillers. In a couple weeks or so, I have to go back for a pelvic ultrasound to check whether I have endometriosis or whatever other dysfunction in my reproductive system, or if my cramps are just excruciating for regularly performing periods! Fun!!!!!! Also the gynae was in the exact same room as the one I was in during my miscarriage three years ago, because that's the only hospital in Singapore dedicated to women and children. Fun, fun, fun.

I'm sore all over, I need a massage, and until now I don't think I've felt like I want to marry anyone with a paper ring. In seven billion people, what are the odds that someone else aligns with you in pretty much all the ways that matter? Do you think I could find someone who doesn't believe in the death penalty, supports the LGBTQ+ movement and gender and sexuality equality, thinks the political centrist stance is basically one of cowardice and not a real stance, is willing to work to protect the environment for the sake of underdeveloped communities of the world who don't have the fortune enough to survive impending climate change -- as opposed to working for money until they die, believes Palestine is and should be a free state, doesn't believe in religion and is free enough to voice it to the world, listens to Taylor Swift and yadda yadda yadda? Am I the only one? How do I calculate the odds of this?

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

NOT SUMMER

The time has almost come upon us. I should have been asleep three hours ago but as you can see, I am clearly not. In about three days, it will be three years to the day I took the flight back from LA, then discovered that I was pregnant, then miscarried. At which point, my great depression commenced. Even still, I yearn for LA. Or perhaps especially so, I yearn for LA because LA was pre-depression. I love the sun, I love the beach, I like solitary hikes by myself because if you still haven't been able to tell, I don't even really like talking to most people!!! (Or perhaps this was a post-depression thing.)

Anyway, today I was watching the videos of my second trip to LA, the two-month solo one, and I actually giggled thinking of the man I fell in love with. He is (was? don't know) a scientist with SpaceX, and he raced cars and motorbikes and he did not treat women particularly well, at least not while I was there. When I told Adam that Joey insisted we tip our pizza guy, Adam scoffed and said "that's what we all do here!" ....I literally loved someone for being a decent human being, doing the bare minimum, least ever. Don't twist my words, I still don't think he's a bad guy, he's a guy with good and bad sides, like we all are, but truly, what on Earth was I thinking??

In fact, even Adam is a privileged kid, in my eyes. And the Ben who was in Singapore, his Harvard education was fully funded. (One of them voted Bernie and the other for Hillary.) My current boyfriend hates the corporation he works for, hates Elon Musk and Richard Branson and capitalism, and wants to join the guerrilla fighters to save the environment (what guerilla fighters??? I don't even know!!!!). What is even my taste in men and what connects them all to each other?? White skin and the fact that I can insult them all and they have to accept it 'cos their ancestors colonized my continent??

Sometimes, like Joaquin Phoenix's character in Her, I feel like I've felt the most intense version of everything I'm ever gonna feel in my life, and the rest of it will just pale in comparison.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

SIMULATION THEORY

A few days ago I had a dream in which we were all living in a simulation. After the dream, I have been feeling extremely calm. Muse is performing at the Singapore F1 race in two weekends, and I'm hoping to catch them live again. They were one of my two favorite concerts I've ever seen live, the other being Taylor Swift, so yeah, I guess I live in extremes. If I were a sim, I wonder if I'm an entertaining one. One time, Adam said that the way I think is very different from how other people might think. I hope my value as a sim is not in the way I'm perceived by men, that would be so boring. I must have inherent values and skillsets besides my dating history. I'm taking this way too seriously. My therapist might wanna know about it. Lucas has been making me watch Star Trek: Discovery, he's a Trekkie and wants me to be one as well. If I were in a simulation, I would find myself a very boring subject 'cos all I ever do is watch Netflix. Then again, if the non-simulated person was watching us in our simulation, and all they ever did was watch us, maybe they'd find it relatable that all we ever wanna do is watch Netflix. I was reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, and I was halfway through it. It was a chapter about quarks, integer spins and whatever, and I realized I could no longer follow it. I couldn't picture it in my head, I didn't understand and I began questioning why I thought I would be able to understand quantum physics from a book, considering I didn't do well in high school Physics. It did not track. I stopped reading it and perhaps I will watch it on a Youtube video instead, perhaps illustrations may enlighten me better, although again, why I even want to understand quantum physics is beyond me, besides the fact that I know my brain is capable of it (with patience) and I want my brain to know all the things it's capable of.