Thursday, April 23, 2020

NEW HORIZONS

A while ago, Lucas said I should start a Twitch stream and he thought I could succeed at it, but I didn't know what I would play. Today I saw some really cute, hilarious, entertaining Youtube videos of a Twitch streamer on her Animal Crossing: New Horizons island, and I thought wow I'd love to do that. Unfortunately, although two of my sisters have the Nintendo Switch, I am saving up for my studies so I do not own one. I think I could do well on Animal Crossing, I'm fastidious and meticulous and I have certain qualities that would make me good at this game, like I was at Harvest Moon and Spyro. Sometimes I wonder why I'm still going through the traditional route of getting a degree when I really can't afford one at this time, but I really want to do something useful and contribute in some way to the world.

Anyway, in the past week I've been adjusting better to the quarantine and made sure I've gotten enough sunlight and stretching. I cooked every day, I cooked a beef stew, broccoli penne rigate in a cream sauce, keema, and a minestrone soup, all from scratch. My mom and sister had high praise for the soup, although honestly, recipes can be really simple to follow.

I had therapy today, and this is the second time my therapist has really liked me (the first was Sonia), she said she really enjoys the one hour every week she gets to spend with me. I also really like my one hour of therapy a week. I told her it is possibly the one hour in a week that I'm as present and mindful as I can ever be, and she said she knows it. I know my therapists appreciate me because I'm committed to working on my issues, I'm open and vulnerable and I can say the things that I know I should fix within myself. I'm also very receptive towards all the different activities that she suggests for me. Today we learned that I might be actively closing myself off from connecting meaningfully because I'm usually living in the past or the future. This is true, you will always find me reminiscing about my past endeavors or also really just fantasizing about my life in Canada, or the future I lead in any place but here. I recognize that it would be hard for anyone to reach out and really trust me or deepen our connection when I'm really not fully here, and I'm not so invested in the here and now.

I've been reading a book called Learned Optimism, and I haven't gotten too far yet, but I appreciate its lessons so far. I do hope it carries through, because one of my biggest disappointments are books that start out with a strong theme or idea but then sort of become meh halfway. I read somewhere, not in this book, that the human brain matures at 25 years old. That means that's when we start to think about the future, wanting to have savings in place, thinking about long-term consequences of our actions and our lives instead of just living in the present moment without a care. Sometimes I really discount my foundational toddler years because when my parents were together, I didn't have a healthy environment so I would give myself a free pass that now, when I am thirty, is when I'm probably reaching twenty-five. I give myself enough credit for being however mature I am now, at the age that I am. (Speaking of thirty, I will be spending my entire birth month of May in the apartment thanks to the quarantine and that really, really is getting to me.)

In a post not too long ago, but before COVID blew up, I said I wish I could go out to the central business district and start a protest and convince everyone to stop participating in mindless consumption or even to stop perpetuating the capitalist system by just refusing to work, but I was afraid I'd be arrested in this city that outlaws protests. Now, I have been given my wish, because we are all staying home and are even being given a tiny little bit of financial incentive by the government. That means, this could properly be a revolution, if more people could acknowledge that we are actually doing fine without engaging in mindless labor, without constantly buying new things to distract ourselves. The emptiness and the silence on the streets may not feel normal now, but we're humans, we've always been able to train and recalibrate ourselves to new forms of normalcy.

My therapist seems to like me because we were doing work in which I chose the values I want to align with, and one of mine is justice. I talk a lot about social justice, and climate justice, and I can tell we would get along if we were friends, because I would assume many therapists also care about such issues. If they didn't care so much, they wouldn't care about trying to help other people. I, however, am aware that not all therapists are good therapists.

Alrighty, have a good weekend ahead, y'all. Also I am still very sad that I will be turning thirty at home. Please cheer me up.

Friday, April 17, 2020

CELLOPHANE

I just went for a run around my neighborhood and now I'm just seated at the staircase crying. I had a bad argument with my mom early this week and I've spent the past few days trying to decompress from it. The lack of sun has gotten to me and affected my serotonin/melatonin levels and I've just been in and out of a perpetual slumber. Again and again, I wish my mother wasn't so pressed about what I do with my body. If my mother didn't make me spend so much time and energy defending my clothes and hair and sexual autonomy, I could spend the same amount of time and energy potentially coming up with a solution to climate change?? A vaccine to COVID??? I actually really like hugs and being hugged and this quarantine has made me dip into depression. I haven't felt supported in ages and I just want to be tightly hugged for a straight five minutes. These are what they call hard feelings.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

CANNONBALL

should've known I'd be the first to leave
think about the place where you first met me
in a getaway car
no, they never get far
no, nothing good starts
in a getaway car

we were jet set, Bonnie and Clyde
until I switched to the other side
it's no surprise I turned you in
'cos us traitors never win

I just had a session of therapy. Before the session, I had a lot of things to write here but now I've forgotten what they were. I had a dream about someone who used to be in my life. I really like my current therapist. I recently finished watching Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender, and I'm currently watching the spin-off, The Legend of Korra. If I were a bender, I would most likely be a firebender and start Agni Kais all the time. I love Zuko/Zukara and I think Zuko was robbed. I stopped watching Terrace House because I don't like one of the new members, Vivi. Last week I opened my Skype account for a work interview, and found a message from Ben Glaser on it. It was a message telling me that he'd seen from Instagram that I was in New York, and he wished me happiness with Adam. It made me laugh and shake my head, and I don't even remember whether I'd read it when I was in New York, 'cos I don't use Skype often. One time, I had a friend who said I had a man at every port in the world, which I laughed off. I wonder if that's why I sometimes feel unsettled, because at any time, I could open an app and find a notification from an ex. Sometimes I lie awake at 4am in Singapore, and think this is the time in Brooklyn where you'd be smoking a joint, or it's the weekend where you'd be on the beach in SoCal, wondering where the plane that just flew overhead had come from. I've been thinking about values that are important to me, and I wonder how there are people I know who think having sex by yourself is inherently wrong, and I also know people who swing with multiple partners. How do you bridge the gap between? The pandemic has been making me feel all sorts of anxieties. I feel like the world is coming to an end, and that makes me think of several situations in books and movies. Whenever an apocalypse happens, people forget all their inhibitions and do what they really want to. In my session of therapy, I told my therapist that I wanted to manifest love because I think I've forgotten what love is, and how to do it, how to show it. Anyways, I don't know if you remember the TripAdvisor itinerary contest I'd entered, but I won, so I have two business class tickets. I'm probably gonna use them on my move to Vancouver, but who knows. No one knows jack shit.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

10%

I've been trying to download Catalina on my MacBook but it refuses to. I've done everything the troubleshooting page told me to, I've made sure my Wi-Fi and Internet connection are working, I've cleared storage space, I've shut down and rebooted my laptop, I've tried multiple sources but it won't start. Today, I realized the reason I can't do push-ups is 'cos everything I've done so far has only trained my biceps, and my triceps have had no work. So, I started doing tricep-building exercises, so with any luck, I will come out of quarantine as someone able to do... a couple of real push-ups. I wonder if the government knows that some people need space for their mental health. I might get a little paranoid if I stay cooped up all the time, as it is, I tend to go into overdrive. Can you imagine me being in the same apartment as six other people, most of whom don't even validate my feminist atheist existence? I might spontaneously combust. When I moved back here from Lucas' rented apartment, I did not foresee Singapore going into a strict lockdown. Nobody foresaw COVID-19, and yet here we are. My therapist has introduced me to a method called drop-anchor. Basically when I have an emotion I would usually get wrapped up in that one singular emotion, like say sadness or anger, and focus only on that one thing. When you drop an anchor, similar to a ship in a thunderstorm, you have to ground yourself to everything else that's happening outside the sea or storm. It's like the layers of an onion. I have to first observe my feelings, then be aware of perhaps how I'm feeling physically and observe those, then go a step further and observe the layer around those, like my surroundings and what I can see and hear etc in the environment. It helps, because then I realize that my feelings are not all there is, that I exist and my feelings exist, but that's not all there is. When she taught me this method, I told her it reminded me of when a young child is feeling anger, and when their parents tell them to count to ten, to give them time to process their new feelings. Please have conversations with me, I could try my darndest to read all I can, and exercise indoors, and distract myself with all the lessons in the world, but y'all know I'm a highly social creature, and I need help in the form of conversation. It's only day three here, and already I'm beginning to question how time works. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

REMIND ME TOMORROW

Today I did floor pulls, overhead presses, and glute bridges, vinyasa flow for 20 minutes before dropping out, and ran in the rain for five minutes. Despite my forming arm muscles, I am still nowhere near doing push-ups, so I'm training up to them with inclined push-ups (do them at an angle by pushing up from a sofa, etc). In the past week, I have had my Lululemon peer evaluation with my boss, had work meetings, been interviewed, watched a movie with Lucas, had a therapy session, all via Zoom, and tomorrow, my Lululemon team and I will be having lunch together on Zoom, for the first time.

I had a list of eight things I wanted to do during this one-month lockdown in Singapore, but already I will have to delay one of the things, because the government has a zero-tolerance policy on leaving your home even to meet one person at their home. Given how much surveillance Singapore conducts, even I wouldn't push it.

Also, for the first time, I have no complaints about the government cracking down on us, in the name of safety and health, yadda yadda, I think. I'm a tiny bit worried because it feels like the start of The Handmaid's Tale, when nobody knew what was going on and the next thing you knew, the women had lost all access to their savings accounts, their cards, their identities and essentially their lives. If the Singapore government wanted to do the same now, to be honest, I don't doubt they could succeed.

My plan for the next month of working from home (I work in retail so there's really not much I can do from home) is: read ten books - that works out to 2.5 books per week, I'm done with the first of ten. I finished She Said from which this paragraph stayed with me:
During the testimony, the judge made some improbable statements. He called "Devil's Triangle," a term in his yearbook that had received media attention, a drinking game, when most people knew it as high school slang for a three-way liaison between two men and a woman. He claimed that Ford's story had been "refuted by the very people she says were there, including by a longtime friend of hers." That was not true: the friend, Leland Keyser, whom Ford recalled being at the party, had told the Judiciary Committee in a letter written by her attorney that she didn't remember the gathering and didn't know Kavanaugh, but she had also told the Washington Post she believed Ford was telling the truth. When Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, asked Kavanaugh if he had ever partially or fully blacked out from drinking, he countered by asking if she ever had, sounding defensive.
The book is about the Harvey Weinstein sexual assaults and investigations into the case, the Brett Kavanaugh vote, and the general #metoo movement. I would recommend it very strongly to everyone, but I am a feminist, so you would have expected that. It's written well, though, I really enjoyed their thorough reporting, and then the streamlining of cases into the feminist narrative. As always, I'm done with the book, so anyone who wants it off me just has to say so and it's yours.

In the month ahead, I want to watch the new part of Terrace House, in which there are twelve episodes, so I should be done with it over three or four days. Lucas has started to learn programming, so because I am a competitive fuckhead, I decided to make that one of my things too, although he clearly has a headstart because he works in IT. He keeps hustling and saying he thinks I would be good at it because I'm logical and I'm good with languages, but I hate having a bar set at all, because if you expect me to succeed at something, I will probably fail because of some subconscious self-hate or whatever.

I have been rewatching Community, and I just realized I'm so close to the Britta character. Britta is very holier-than-thou, and she's a crazy feminist activist wannabe. When I first watched it as it came out ten years ago, I used to really root for the romantic notions, for Britta and Jeff to be together, and rewatching it now, I just realized how casual their relationship always was. They were literal friends with benefits, and it feels so much cooler than I ever thought. I still like Britta, but I hope I'm never as pretentious as the extreme TV character that she was. I only started this segue because Britta is written to possess some measure of self-hate, but then, doesn't everyone? Everyone does---- riiiight??

I'm also supposed to sort out finances for school. I've applied for a relief fund due to loss of income from COVID-19, so hopefully that works out, or I might really defer my studies for yet another year, which honestly, I don't think my soul could tolerate. Apart from that, I can't go to the bank to ask about loans, because everything is closed and Singapore is a dead town. I wanted to buy a cheap skateboard to practise on, but again, the shops are closed and I don't want to buy my first board online, so that'll have to wait till the lockdown ends (in what I hope to be really only a month).

I am to practise yoga three times a week, which is somehow the easiest goal, because I work in Lululemon and the resources are everywhere in my face, if not on Youtube. My only impediment is my cat Mochi likes to be on the mat at the same time that I am, but honestly it's adorable as all fuck and I love her. I am to finish level 3 of Spanish on Duolingo by the end of this month, and have therapy once a week. My last therapy session was a week ago, and my next is scheduled (online) for tomorrow, so that's great.

As far as I can tell, I'm gonna smash all my lockdown goals (apart from finances, programming and skateboarding). That's what happens when you set easy enough goals, lolol. Also easy when you choose things you enjoy and look forward to doing. I acknowledge my privilege that I'm healthy, that I live in Singapore, that I have a roof over my head, that I have enough food for the month. I acknowledge my overwhelming fortune that I have the time to do things to be "productive" in this month, and if you are affected very adversely by COVID-19, please reach out. You can also reach out to me personally, I am aware of many aid forms and systems across the world, for money, for mental health resources (in fact I found my current therapist online because she was offering complimentary sessions due to COVID-19), any help you need to tide over this incredibly terrible global period, there is help available. Ask, and we will help you find it, or provide it for you.

One more thing, at no point during this month, no matter how bored I get, should you allow me to upload ridiculous workout videos. Do not let me do it! Do not!!!!!!!! Stay safe, y'all.