Monday, February 17, 2020

ASHE

When I used to go on first dates, from Tinder or otherwise, at times I would be lazy to put in any effort, and I would text my dates I wouldn't look too much like my profile photos as I would have no makeup on and I would be wearing my glasses. This wasn't just bashfulness, I've had colleagues and friends tell me I look wildly different with and without makeup, and I didn't want my dates to mistake me for anyone else. Last week for Valentine's Day, Lucas and I went to The Projector, which is an independent cinema, for an event in which comedians in Singapore would read sexts or romantic poetry. Preetipls was there as the host, and it was incredibly funny and entertaining. I loved it and I might have fallen in love with Pooja Nansi's writing, as well as a local queer icon, Marilyn something. I clearly don't love Marilyn something bc that was the first I'd heard of her and if I truly loved her I would have found out her family name by now. Pooja and another icon, Alfian Sa'at read phrases out of context as a conversation between Preetipls and our Law Minister, whose name I will not mention so as to keep myself out of trouble. Preetipls is in trouble with the Singapore law just for standing up for her own race, so one day if you asked me in real life I will explain the situation to you but until then, this will have to suffice. That night was colloquial yet universal and I find that magical. I went home and for some reason, I cannot fathom how the human brain works but for some reason I stalked Alfian Sa'at's Instagram and I noticed he would post many photos of himself travelling with another Singaporean man, whom I assumed but cannot confirm has been his partner for eight years. I then went to the man's Instagram profile, but there was nothing. I wondered if his partner isn't comfortable with admitting they are together, or perhaps I am wildly wrong and they're not even each other's partners. In any case, it reminded me of when I was twenty and in a three-year relationship with a Christian boy who wouldn't tell any of his family members about me, although I was always gushing about him. The human experience is always so universal. When I come home from work tired out from my retail job, Lucas gives me the most amazing foot massages and he's been doing this for months, and I feel like the foot massages are part act of service, part quality time, part touch, and the best way he could show his love for me, and the time at which I love him infinitely. When I watched To All The Boys I've Loved Before: PS. I Still Love You, which is a silly Netflix chick flick that only works because its protagonists are so cute and young and naive and good-looking, Lara Jean keeps comparing herself to her boyfriend's ex, because for every first she has with him, he's done it all before with his ex. That's such a young thing to feel, to want to be the first or have all the firsts with someone. It's like if someone was the first to tell you about the Spanish lisp and now everything that comes afterwards reminds you of one single person. Of course there is a person like that for me, but I also remember every single person who's told me about every single thing, so I suppose that makes it really good for me, that I have a selectively very good memory. I am happy this morning and I hope you all are too. This is my Valentine to you all. Go out and make someone's history, just by being you.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

ELON TUSK

I had my first ever strength and conditioning session last week. I did Turkish get-ups, inverted rows and kettlebell swings, all for the very first time in my life. The trainer was the owner of the gym, and he's represented Singapore in weightlifting for the Olympics. He said he opened his gym seven years ago, because Singapore is a place that only provides support to athletes when they're already gaining traction and recognition, but there aren't many gyms or places in Singapore that motivate or allocate resources to people who are just starting out to be athletes. I found it to be such an inspiring cause. Yesterday we met Lucas' mom again, she was on the way back to Australia and had another layover in Singapore. She brought back an entire heavy bag of goodies from Poland, for me to try, including a bottle of cherry vodka, which makes me think she maybe really doesn't realize I come from a Muslim family, or she knows and doesn't quite care, which is fair, given I don't quite care, either. She showed us photos from her trip, the architecture was really quite a sight to behold because you can't find such sights in Singapore, but Lucas kept making fun of her boomer ways and was surprised she knew how to connect to the airport wifi. In all honesty, though, you will eventually become obsolete and Lucas himself doesn't know how to fully utilize technology sometimes, despite working in IT. Technology will always outadvance us, so instead of making fun of our parents, I think it's safer to keep tabs on the things that are already outpacing our own knowledge. On a perhaps not relevant nor related note, I have read some things about Elon Musk, and I wonder if he is legitimately losing grip on reality. Huh.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

ABSOLUTION

I learned something that really has been taking up space in my mind last week. It is that people's brains and minds function differently. Although a majority of people have verbal thoughts in their brain, some people actually can't and don't. Like, you know (or you might not!) how there's a voice in your head narrating your thoughts and your life, about 20% of people experience it differently. Some people don't have a voice in their head and conversely, they might also never know that a lot of us think with voices in our heads. They may experience their mind in a more visual manner instead, and therefore there's no audio narration that accompanies their life. For example, when you look into a mirror and have a thought about your reflection, some people have to either mouth it or say it aloud because the voice doesn't exist internally! I thought about it and I thought, well, that changes things! What if, because I do experience things in terms of words and literal translations, I am more affected by some things and it could also actually turn towards my depressive episodes because I keep turning words over and over in my head, because that voice exists in the first place. I wondered whether visual-brained people may be less inclined towards depression, because perhaps when they receive verbal feedback, they are inherently unable to hear those words being repeated by the voice in their heads, and it doesn't weigh them down as much. I wonder if you could train yourself to be more of a visual person instead of someone with a narration in their head, or vice versa!

Anyway, Lucas and I moved into the new place and it's much more spacious and very clean. It makes so much of a difference. Our room now has its own bathroom so we've each got space for our own toiletries and personal effects. We put a little essential oil in the corner for a nice fresh scent. I'm trying to build up my collection of Lush items so I can rotate the products I use in the shower, based on my mood. The location of the apartment is also ideal, it's easy to commute to and from, and there are so many food options around! It's a lovely experience to have a daily lifestyle that revolves around how you smell and what you feel like eating. I could get used to this. Last night I cried though, Lucas said something about money and I couldn't hold it in. My biggest insecurity in life must be about money, if you haven't been able to figure out. I always feel like there's a power imbalance in our relationship because I don't want to feel like I owe Lucas anything, I don't want to feel like my love stems out of gratitude or indebtedness. Money aside, I think I'm a pretty damn amazing person but money being a factor, I feel like I can't contribute as much to the relationship. The stability of our lifestyle is thanks to Lucas' capacity to pay for the rent and take care of me financially sometimes, with the doctor and other things. I wish capitalism was not a thing and you could barter trade or something. I could do so many things for so many people, if only Singapore didn't employ such a hierarchical view of employment and monetary benefits.

Recently I've been trying to be more mindful of unlearning the conditions I grew up to believe. I used to feel with very strong intensity. In my childhood household, bad things that happened were disastrous so conversely, any good incidents in contrast would turn out like a high. I don't feel with such intensity when I'm with Lucas, and it takes an immense amount of repeated and conscious efforts to remind myself that sometimes not feeling in intensities and extremities can be a very good and healthy thing. The longer I live with Lucas, the more I'm exposed to the feeling of safety he gives me and the less I can revert to the dysfunction of my family's individual behaviors. I really like our new room and am going to try to enjoy the next few months of mental health and stability.