Tuesday, January 29, 2019


When I left Singapore, my manager wrote me a letter. It was funny 'cos Aileen always said she wasn't good with words, and as long as I was working at Lush Vivo, they always knew me as the girl who was good with words, right. But then Aileen wrote me this goodbye note, and I bawled. I think, given my strange childhood and many suckerpunches in my past, it is really hard for me to inherently believe in my worth, but when my manager who works with me and sees me on a weekly basis for a year or so, writes good things about me, I just feel good to know I'm special. I'm special, and sometimes it scares other people that I'm so different, but that's on them, and not on me. I must remember that if ever any man doesn't think I'm special or doesn't treat me like I'm special, I can do without these men. My worth is more than a man who is scared to admit and see me for what I am. This is what my manager wrote:
Dear Sarah,
I actually don't know what to write. You see, I'm terrible with goodbyes and I refuse to say goodbye. From day 1, when you were wearing a red shirt, clutching a book, undies showing (in a good way) claiming to be feminist, you already stood out amongst the crowd. Nope it's not your fluent impressive way of introducing yourself, nor your height. =) It was your kindness. Somehow I knew then and there you were a good person. There wasn't anything that changed my mind: your non-religious way, history, lifestyle, beliefs. No matter what you do or say, we just knew, you were a good person. So much so it scared some people. At first, your sincerity and kindness were doubted and I would like to apologise that I wasn't able to protect you, and you had to go through a difficult time at first. But not long after that people really saw who you really are and you started taking care of everyone, including me. I don't think there's any way that I can thank you enough for being a good friend/sister/staff/colleague. My only regret is we don't have much memories outside work (but God knows even if I turn back time we still won't have much cos we're that old and lazy to go out). Lol. Also, every time I work with you, it doesn't feel like work, just hanging out with a friend. That's why in general I don't need to hang out with you outside of Lush to consider you one of my dearest friends. I really suck at expressing my feelings but I hope you get the gist of how much you mean to me and how much I'll miss you. I pray to all Gods that they guide you while you chase your dreams in New York. I believe in you Sarah, we all do. Please do not forget us when you're a famous New York Times best-selling author. Stay in touch. Text me when you need someone to talk to. I promise to reply. Even after three months.
you. Aileen.
Damn, people always hustle me, saying they're not good with words, and then they make me cry!! I'm supposed to be the writer!!


Sarah: Maybe one day i will reconnect with him when he and i are both in better places

Tina: But I think having a hard boundary like you said is healthy. Only dating people who make you feel good is a requisite most people don't bother with when they should

Sarah: !!!!! I'm glad that i finally learned it

Tina: Do you watch wong kar wai films??

Sarah: This man compliments me, tells me he really likes me, talks through his feelings with me, tells me about his life story, and i've been settling for non-commital emotionally unavailable men for what???
Sarah: No what's up!!

Tina: awhhhhhhhh
Tina: Sarah
Tina: That's so sweet
Tina: I'm surprised you haven't! He's like PEAK Asian cinema. A lot of his films are about lost love though
Tina: What you said reminded me of one of my favorites by him called "2046"

Sarah: I'm gonna see it when i'm back in SG, looks good but i can't do lost love now when i'm grieving New York and completely knocked over and beat up
Sarah: But i do want to see it!


Sarah: Oh geez

Tina: Yeah I don't blame you
Tina: I'm so freaking cathartic
Tina: I douse all my wounds in salt lol
Tina: but do try them when you're feeling better. most are actually set in Hong Kong though there are some bits of his films set in old Singapore I think
Tina: Bennett sounds amazing

Sarah: Okay i will and will let you know what i think!
Sarah: Bennett is a very special man

Tina: I'm glad you could find a real connection that makes you feel good

Sarah: I'm glad too
Sarah: We keep telling each other
Sarah: He says he's happy he had a perfect week with me before i leave, but i think he's sad and upset that i got the bad news a day after he actually asked me to be his girlfriend, so i think i won't be seeing him again before i leave bc it's just hard and sucks for both of us

Tina: Oooohhhhh no
Tina: Now that's salt in the wound
Tina: Well if you think that's what you need then don't see him

Sarah: Yeah i think i'm more salt than wound for now
Sarah: (shrug emoji)

Tina: God
Tina: You're romantic but like
Tina: So much more reasonable than me
Tina: Or most of my friends even lol

Sarah: Haha i dunno, i think i've been through enough bad things from my environment that i really don't wanna add on to it of my own accord, if i can help it. I really really really cross my fingers that in a couple of years or so, i will be able to be with Bennett and we will both be in better places in our lives. As a hopeless romantic, i do want this to happen.

Tina: You're so optimistic. I love it.
Tina: Obviously I didn't know you very well before you were here
Tina: But it seems like you've done a lot of important growth in just a few short months
Tina: And no matter what happens, you're prepared for it, and you're better because of it.

Sarah: I am, i am better, but to be honest also, having you around to bounce off my feelings for the past two months, i'm amazed at how you always say the things i need to make me feel so much

Tina: honestly like
Tina: I just ADORE you


Me: it's okay, it will be okay, I will be okay
Also me: *sobs and lies in my own pool of tears for 24 hours*
Me, ever the eternal optimist: crying is good, it releases manganese in the form of tears and relieves the amount of stress and sadness I feel


When I was growing up, as many millions other people would have when they were growing up, I heard the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I think this is definitely an inspiring question, but it also feels a lot like Disney. Disney tells you that if you are a good person, then at the end of the day, good things will always happen for you. If you are a pretty princess, you will always find your prince. If you work hard enough, then you get to be what you want to be. Outside of Disney movies, it isn't so simple. You can't just be an astronaut if your country doesn't have a space program. Love doesn't magically happen and continue happily ever after. Sometimes you fall in love and they live ten thousand miles away from you. If you're born in Asia, in a conservative religious family, sometimes what is expected of you is wildly different than what is expected of a person born in America. I have many close female friends in Singapore, but across all my social circles, I have never been able to discuss female masturbation. It is a taboo, and I wonder if any girls in Singapore have close friends that they talk about it with. I wonder if I just have to increase the variety and diversity of my social circles. I was walking on Union Sq/4th Ave, and I met a homeless black man. He pointed out my Marceline boots, and then he proceeded to have a 30-minute session telling me about James Jackson and Emmett Till. James Jackson is a white supremacist who used a sword to kill a homeless African-American man two years ago, and James Jackson is on trial now. James Jackson said himself, that he feels angry when he sees black men go out with white women. When James Jackson was growing up, I wonder if anyone had asked him what he wanted to be, and I wonder if he'd thought he wanted to be a white supremacist who kills black men. In the Hamilton musical, the theme of leaving a legacy is a strong recurring one, and Alexander Hamilton never saw the legacy he left behind, he died before receiving any real recognition. In Michelle Obama's Becoming, she highlights that even though she did work hard and stayed in school and was a planner and an exceptional lawyer, and became the first black First Lady of the United States, the work had been put in generations before her own efforts had started. Her great-great grandfather had been a slave, but her grandparents worked hard, and her parents worked incredibly tirelessly, to make sure Michelle Obama and her brother got everything they needed to climb out of the South Side of Chicago. The idea of a legacy unbalances me, I don't think I want kids, especially because of climate change, and I have no idea what kind of an Earth I would be bringing my children into. My parents didn't personally see me through a steady education, which I understand, because they had me when they were eighteen. I was ten when they were twenty-eight. I'm 28, and I don't even know what I'm doing with my life right now, let alone if I had a ten-year-old kid in tow. I think, what I'm trying to say is, what I'm trying to do is, somehow allow myself to feel better. Millions of people didn't become the things they wanted to be when they grew up. Millions of people aren't doing what makes them happy. Some people are happy because they wanted to have families and be good parents, and some of them have achieved that, at least. It's not what I want. What I want is to know that I have value in the world, even if I never achieved my ambitions, and even if I don't create a path for my kids to achieve what they want. I think the problem with Disney is it teaches you to crave positive outcomes by working hard, and sometimes that's not the case. I have been a good person, and I have lived bravely. If you ask me now what I want to be, I'll tell you I want to be an American. Yet the two are mutually exclusive. Even if I don't feel I belong in the country I was born in, even if the environment is not one that encourages and supports my happiness, I want to feel like a good person, that I have done enough to be human. And I think I have. Every time you feel a fear of failure, but take a step towards overcoming that fear, I believe it makes you human. Every time something bad happens to you, but you use it to understand other people and how they have been shaped, instead of allowing it to shape the person you are, you are human. Every time you recognise your behaviors have been problematic, and you look back on them and allow yourself time and space to learn and grow instead of never facing your issues, you are human. I have done enough to be human, and I can live with that.