Saturday, 17 June 2017
Almost five years ago, I met a guy.
The first few memories I had of us hanging out can only be described as magic. And even though I've since tried to erase these memories from my mind, there was no denying that at the time, I genuinely thought it was one of the best periods of my life.
I remember immortalising one particular night we spent together as a story in an old blog post (on an old blog), describing just how much brighter the stars seemed to shine, and how much more majestic the night sky was when I was with him. I was in a completely different state of mind. So happy. So light-hearted. Caught up in an insouciant mood. Feeling like the world around me was a hundred times more beautiful, and that nature was a hundred times more wondrous. I was getting into new literature, new films, new genres, new everything. Life inspired me everywhere I went.
When it came crashing down, I had never realised I could feel as much pain as I did when I was depressed many years prior. In fact, I'd say I did become depressed, but never did I think it'd be because of a doomed romance. To be fair to myself, the fallout was instigated by other people, who judged him very harshly, and whose racism towards him/us I had to deal with constantly. This experience completely traumatised me and jaded me to the reality of how superficial most people were. I vowed never to judge a potential partner based on any aspect of their appearance.
The days after we broke up were devastating to me. There was a particular movie called Before Sunrise that I associated with us. He had introduced me to it, and it told a beautiful story of an American man and a French woman who happen to make friends on a train in Europe, and end up deciding extemporaneously to spend a whole day together in the city of Vienna, where they toured breath-taking historic sites while forming what you knew was an instant, amazing connection. They talked about politics, love, family, death, the future, their dreams... It was one magical, unbelievable good day they had together. When they had to leave each other and go on to their respective destinations, the sadness was physically palpable and left shivers down my spine.
For days after my breakup, I kept thinking about this film, and a particular song that plays when the main characters end up squished into a little listening booth in a record store. They can't help looking at each other, but then end up catching each other's gazes and shyly looking away. The unadulterated joy and chemistry that is expressed in this moment and through this song, still tugs my heartstrings, and I often cry when I hear it.
He and I never speak anymore. I couldn't, not after the trauma. I was so depressed that I couldn't write anything creative for at least a year. Nothing inspired me anymore. I used to express myself so much via blogging - I'd listen to a nice song and write a story; I'd catch a small moment of kindness between two people and I'd write a post; I'd be walking home, feel the last rays of a blood-orange summer sunset catch my face, feel its ever-so-slight burn on my skin, and the intense crepuscular light blind my eyes, and I'd feel like writing about this small little moment I had.
So for the longest time, I lost interest in a lot of things that used to drive me and was what made me so passionate about life. It will have been a year on, and I would have been completely over him, yet something in me had never quite recovered. The way that our relationship had been picked on by others, the way I was made to feel when I was with him, and the many derisive comments I fielded, absolutely murdered me and made me forget all the little things I initially thought was so beautiful about the world.
Sadly, I ended up hating him post-breakup. For the indescribable emotional pain that our relationship caused me. For a while, I thought - I wish I had never met him. I wish I wish I wish.
But then if it weren't for him and what I went through, I wouldn't be so much of the (frankly, pretty awesome) person I am today.
Because of him, I now love everything science fiction.
Because of him, I developed an even greater love for film.
Because of him, I became an incredibly accepting person, and have learnt an important lesson about how hurtful even the most inconspicuous judgments about a person can be.
Because of him, I show immense gratitude for all my friends and have shown as much of my love and care for them to ensure that they understand, we're all here for each other no matter what.
Because of him, I have learnt to be more resilient.
So in fact. Thank you to him. While he did not teach me these things, being with him did. And so I don't regret the one and a half years of emotional torture I endured, sometimes without his knowledge.
You get what comes to you in life. You gotta be stoic, make the most of it, and move on.
Enjoy the happiness you have now, and don't take it for granted. Be grateful for the people we end up meeting, for the friends we end up laughing with and crying to, and even the things that hurt. Because once you can do this, you'll be a much stronger and happier person than you were before.
Thursday, 1 June 2017
And when he smiles, I smile.
When he laughs, I laugh.
I feel his fingers around my waist.
His eyes on my face.
And I know this won't last.
But I relish all of it.
That endures a second too long.
I love it. Love it. Love it.
Friday, 26 May 2017
Enclose her with my embrace.
Let me sink into her.
Let me be with her.
Let her stay.
This one time.
I open my eyes.
Daylight seeping through the blinds.
It hits the spot on the bed.
Where she used to be.
It is empty.
It has been empty for years.
And I can do nothing.
Because last night.
Was just a dream.
Monday, 15 May 2017
Every few weeks or so, we'll have the same talk.
You'll complain about feeling empty inside. About being depressed. About not understanding why you're feeling this way, and not being able to even describe your pain. We know that something happened last year which was the catalyst for this. But even so, the situation has evolved so far beyond what transpired that surely, what you're experiencing now is a matter concerning something else entirely.
I try to understand you. But more importantly, I try to just be there for you. Emptiness and loneliness are killers. I've known its miasmic grasps, felt its tendrils clutch me and pull me towards a fucked up emotional black hole when nobody, not even I, expected it. So this is why I'm trying so hard to keep you from feeling the same way. It's difficult. I'm probably already too late, which is what makes me sad.
Because even though you can be damn frustrating, quite unscrupulous, and have hurt others gratuitously, you are also to me, irreplaceable. You are incredible. You have directly and indirectly brought me so much joy in my day to day life. And you don't even know.
When you complain about feeling empty, I think about all the accumulated hours we spent laughing together, bonding over our elitist yet puerile sense of dark humour.
When you say you have no-one who understands you, I think about our almost exact same tastes in movies, books, authors, prose, and even moral-philosophical leanings. The time I finished your sentence when you were quoting Oscar Wilde at my favourite bar. And all the other times we've agreed on the same things, sometimes to others' chagrin.
When you joke that you have nothing to live for, I joke that you're not allowed to kill yourself until I return from my work overseas, but truthfully, I worry about how ironic (or unironic) you're being.
And I think about me, and all the other people who still consider themselves your friends, who keep wanting to hang out with you despite your flaws. I think about your family. Your cats. Your sister.
I think about your excellent Chinese skills, your extensive general knowledge about the world, your insatiable hunger for good books, and proactive extracurricular life. Not to brag, but you're basically me, and I'm pretty amazing. Except there's the fact that your soul is being corroded by a deep-seated, inexplicable depression, which makes you lash out or act against your better interests.
I feel kind of helpless. I don't know what to do to make you feel better about yourself and the way life is for you right now. I want to help, but it's hard to help somebody who doesn't seem to want help in the first place. Who isn't willing to commit to their own future and wellbeing. When you isolate yourself, it hurts. And I didn't even knew it would hurt until you did it.
That's when I realised how much I love you as a friend. We don't need to have deep discussions about life or know every little thing about each other's childhoods and families. I just feel happy when I talk to you. I enjoy every minute we spend together, whether in person or online. And I'm so extremely grateful for all these little experiences, not to mention the incredible people you've introduced me to as well.
I guess in writing this, I just want to let you know in the strongest and clearest way possible, what you mean to me. I really care about you, and it would break me to observe you receding from the world, feeling unhappy, and depriving the rest of us of the wonderful person that you are. You're still floating above it all, but please don't get worse.
Anyway. Unless you really want to push me away, I will always be here for you. No matter where I am, what I'm doing, and how many years have passed, I'm still your friend. So try not to nihilistically torture yourself. Give yourself a bit of hope, because I have so much hope for you.
Friday, 28 April 2017
It's the dead of the night and the outskirts of the city have fallen into a trance. Old wooden street lamps with peeling skins of red and blue paint illuminate the hushed narrow laneways. Rusted metal bikes, plastic crates, and bits and pieces of gnarly wet cardboard are stacked high into hills of junk against the walls of people's homes.
In this part of town, the folks lived in low rise tenements; sleeping, eating, and shitting in rooms so small they could barely be called 'rooms'. One man's flat could be the equivalent size and stench of a cockroach infested, piss stained subway bathroom. Worse, he'd usually be sharing with others. A housewife. Young children. Septuagenarian parents. Colleagues from the local toxic chemicals factory. All these people stuffed like sardines in a weathered, dented, cold war era can... rotting away their souls in a frothing stew of boredom, spiced only with what was available - wanton crime and adultery.
Some of these buildings were like prisons. They were grey, and boring, and the windows adorned by a facade of steel bars to supposedly keep burglars out. But of course there would likely be nothing of value to steal. The more accurate answer was to keep little kids from falling and splattering their brains on the asphalt while their parents handled and inhaled poisonous amounts of ammonia at the nearby factory for an unlivable wage. Poor kids. Poor parents. Poor town.
It was freezing and I could see whispers of my breath dance in front of my eyes, fogging up my glasses. It probably wasn't a good idea to take a stroll in this weather, time, or location, especially being a petite, short statured woman with no phone or items on me that could be utilised as a makeshift weapon at any given moment. But it didn't matter. It didn't matter tonight if the skinny guy with the permanently crooked smile from the tobacco shop decided to follow me, corner me, assault me. At least, I don't think it matters to me anymore. Not right now.
Finally, after weaving through several more laneways and trudging past mounds of inexplicable textiles, a syringe, an old broken scooter whose parts have yet to be taken by entrepreneurial passersby, and more plastic crates, I arrived at my destination.
I had never been this far and was surprised that the river had not yet transformed into black still ooze strewn with Coca Cola cans and plastic bottles. Surely, despite its somewhat healthy appearance, the chems from the factory two kilometres ahead would have poisoned it already. Regardless, this wouldn't make any difference. Perhaps, it would simply make the end more pleasant, which would be kind of ironic.
I walked over to the shoddy steel bridge and looked over the water. I knew it was deep. Many children have drowned here over the last decade. When the parents were away, toddlers were either falling out of storeyed buildings, running in front of trucks, getting stuck in drains, or wandering into rivers. Gruesome. Would there be any bodies left in here?
I climbed up onto the bridge railing, and it shuddered beneath me. My hands gripped the pole, but my fingers were trembling. For the fifth time in the last few minutes, I inhaled deeply, sucking in the air until I could no more. But this time, I held it. I had played this over and over again in my mind and I knew I was more than ready.
Goodbye friends. Goodbye mum, dad. Goodbye James. Goodbye earth.
I leaped away from the railing, arms wide open, eyes closed, and suspended in the air for those brief milliseconds - I embraced my newfound freedom.
Sunday, 2 April 2017
Last night, I had the weirdest pang of nostalgia. It hit me so hard I started getting super emotional and reminiscent about pretty much all the strongest and best cyberpunk/friendship memories of my entire life. Yeah, it's a weird combo, but it really defines me so well.
A montage of me from when I was a toddler, till now, started playing in my mind like an old school vaporwave film reel with the grungy 80s style music and flickering effects across the screen (yes, 'vaporwave', don't fucking judge me). It helped that I had just finished watching a video on Facebook celebrating the 18th anniversary of The Matrix's release, which is one of the earliest movies I ever remember watching as a kid, and it was undoubtedly a huge influence on me and my imagination growing up. Seeing those clips of The Matrix, and being in this particular sleepless, slightly tipsy (I was drinking), introspective mindset, really set me off.
So I'm laying in bed at 5am. It's still dark and I'm fully awake, scrolling aimlessly through my Facebook feed. I had just finished a two hour long video chat with a friend I've only known for a month. So far, he's one of the greatest persons I've met. He's super friendly, interested in everything, has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, consumes 'mass media' en masse as he claimed, he's funny, and I generally get along so well with him that I feel like we've known each other for way longer, and would be very close friends if we kept this going. We don't even really talk about 'deep' things, you know. We just talk about books, and films, his love and my avoidance of sports, and dealing with creepy people.
I have been making a lot of friends of this calibre in the last year and a half, and it is honestly shocking. Because I think for most people, it is so rare to make so many new friends in such a short time, and to make such great friends with people... Yeah.
By the way, I fucking never do video-chats. Or web-cam. Whatever you want to call it. It's just not something my friends and I have a habit of doing, so being asked to video-chat with a guy I've only gotten to properly know for the past three weeks is a little daunting. He does it a lot with his friends so it's nothing to him, though he clearly knows how much I was reluctant about it.
Anyway. Damn. Like. Snuggled up in my bed at ungodly hours, having a really good conversation with someone, feeling totally relaxed... it was so nice. And I just feel like I haven't had this particular experience with a friend in a long time.
I definitely have other friends that I talk to till 3am sometimes, but the mood and atmosphere is usually very different. Tonight, I had other friends sending me videos of them getting wasted on a beach alone to 90s sex-pop-RnB anthems blasting through their phone, and another by default of his personality, sending me dank memes and joking about penises (mostly about how his penis is the biggest in the world and would rule all other penises etc. - he's two years younger than me and understandably immature). Altogether though, it is reflective of what a beautiful and quirky mish mash of friends I have.
After I hung up the call with the first friend, I sighed and even started feeling sad that he was an international student, so would only be here two years. And you know, I'm leaving for China to work after June, so I won't be here for the rest of the time. Then he'll fly back to Pakistan or wherever he'll be going. And staying there. Like, forever.
This made me a little sad. And bear with me - after I watched that Matrix vid (which was after we hung up), I started thinking about my childhood, including of course that time I sat in front a friend's massive home cinema in 2001, being five years old, and watching Neo and Trinity kick ass for the first time.
In my mind, I could really clearly see myself - the tiny figure of this little five year old kid, sitting cross-legged in the dark with bright flashy images of latex clad gun-wielding action heroes, having me in silent rapture. I even reminisced the screen projecting a flurry of light and shadows on my probably half-agape, awestruck face.
Then I started thinking about my adolescence - walking to the high school gates under the glaring morning sun, passionately reading Dan Brown (which we talked about), having lunch at the local food court with friends, watching anime immediately after I got home, making public announcements about how much I wanted to marry Edward Cullen, and staying up super late on MSN chatting to A and H, two really good high school friends I had at the time but don't speak to anymore.
And having this existential montage, I just got this fucking lame as thought... like - damn. Who am I? What am I but the sum of all these weird, unique experiences? What am I but the product of those I am closest to? These experiences have all shaped me so distinctly, and given me my current sense of identity.
I suddenly started getting super nostalgic, and really acute memories of certain sensations, smells, tastes, sounds, atmospheres - bombarded me.
- getting the Scholastic Book Club catalogues and spending ages picking out new purchases
- the smell of sand on a hot summer's day. Sandboxes. And young, sweaty children
- linoleum corridors
- that slight damp smell at the locker bays in high school
- staying up till 4am to watch a football match with A while we chatted on MSN
- going on MSN and the satisfaction of getting a message notification beep at you
- watching Bleach (an anime) and neglecting all homework
- going to M's house after school once and being introduced to mando-pop
- making a paper crown with the word 'Hitler' written on it and wearing it in Chinese class because I don't fucking know
- the smell of new school books
- having TVs that were still three dimensional and not flat
- watching Godzilla under the table cos I was scared
- school bathrooms (ew)
ANYWAY. Most of all, I started thinking about H, whom my new friend reminds me a lot of due merely to the fact that we seem to be able to talk about anything and everything until 4am. And that made me even more sad, since H left for Canberra when we graduated high school and though we were in the same country, we drifted apart.
I haven't really seen or spoken to H at all since then. One time, he made a surprise visit to my uni halfway through my first year, and I actually cried when I saw him. We hugged for a long time, and though it's not like we actually hung out a lot during high school, it was the connection I felt with him that was special.
*echoes inside my brain*
Damn. This is fucking sad. Time to go listen to Drake.
Monday, 27 February 2017
Speaking of sweaty people, last night I went to see Madeon and Porter Robinson live at Hisense Arena, and it was the first time I had ever been in a mosh pit. It was great being so close to the stage and being surrounded by people who were just as passionate about electropop/house as I was, but the worst thing about this was the Body Odour (BO), emanating from the overwhelmingly male crowd. it was absolutely terrible. It just reminds me that hey - yeah - there are people (lots, in fact) who actually suffer from BO and need to use, like, chocolate-candy-nutella-pot-pourri-pheromone-laced-smelling Lynx deodorant. Thank god I don't have a BO problem. I don't think I'd allow myself to exist if I went to a concert and people were forming a 2m radius around me like 'ew, you smell like weed, used socks and maybe gangrene' (lol idk).
I also learnt another thing about being in the mosh pit. If you're tall, you can get a great vantage point, but shorter people are going to freaking hate you. And if you push in through the crowd and 'inadvertently' block some poor girl's (i.e. me) view, I will hate you and abuse you. See, last night, two to three guys were pushing right in front of me, and they were ALL much taller than me. So I sarcastically remarked 'wow guys, this is like the Great Wall of China right here' *gesticulates to theirs truly*. Never mind that one of the guys was actually Asian and therefore this might have come off somewhat racist (?), they actually graciously tried to move out of the way and I even thanked them. Wow. Just goes to show, you gotta be assertive af. Show them who wears the pants in this mosh pit.
Anyway. So now that I'm back at uni, I'm going to have to change my sleeping cycle... at least a little. During the last four months of vacation, I legit slept at dawn and woke up at anywhere between 2 to 5pm. I am positively nocturnal, still is, and having to get out of bed at 9am this morning killed me. Because I literally just didn't sleep. I lay in my bed until 9am, at which point I actually started feeling sleepy, and then I had to get out of bed and go to uni. Fucking terrible. What's even worse is that I immediately bought a can of Mother energy drink and just consumed that one thing until 3pm, whereupon I bought a pack of sushi at campus centre for the ripoff price of $12.50. And now, I can't sleep, am quasi-bulimic, and almost always destitute because I keep buying exorbitant sushi (and clothes).
What else happened?
So my second and last lecture for the day was Law and Social Theory, which is more like a philosophy unit than a law unit. While we were waiting for the lecturer to arrive, this girl sat down right next to me as opposed to one seat away like I had done to the girl on my right. You know, I'm in sixth year. I'm tired. I'm not really into being all cheery and 'omg hi what's your name?!' and repeating five years of the same dialogue. What I would be up for is a simple:
'Hey, know anybody in this class?'
'Nope, I'm a loner. You?'
'Nup. Let's be study buddies.'
'Okay. I'm *****, add me on Facebook'.
End of discussion. But obviously, smalltalk does not happen like that.
In the end, I didn't say a word to her, at least not orally. My empty stomach, on the other hand, was clearly in a different mood and felt like it was a good time to do a full-blown 自我介绍 before and during class. I hate when that happens. I feel like a freaking whale, warbling this echoey song loud enough for the soundwaves to carry across the fucking Atlantic ocean, and then these two Australian marine biologists in a submarine pinpointing my exact location on some beeping sonar radar, which they point to and go 'yes there she is, starving in lecture theatre E5, crying out for help, how melancholy'.
Onto the topic of singing. For the last two months, my dad has been singing karaoke at ungodly hours in the house. Wait, not just at ungodly hours, but almost ALL THE TIME. He discovered this Chinese app that grades and lets you record your singing, and then share it to your friends. You can also live stream yourself or watch live streams from other Chinese singers. IT IS THE WORST INVENTION IN THE WORLD.
3am AND HE'S STILL SINGING TRADITIONAL CHINESE BALLADS. WHY? DOES HE NOT UNDERSTAND THAT SOME PEOPLE LIKE ME NEED TO QUIETLY CONTEMPLATE THE MEANING OF LIFE AT SUCH TIMES OF DARKNESS? If he sounded like Pavarotti, Helmut Lotti, or hell, even Michael Buble on a Christmas loop, I'd be okay. But when he sounds like, well, him, just NOOOO.
I cannot stand this anymore. In fact, nobody else in the family can't stand it and we've all complained in one way or another, but unless you fully yell at him, it seems the temptation to blast us at 5am with bad operatic yodelling about the Tibetan plains of western China is simply too tantalising.
Ugh. Ok. End of post.
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Today, I went on a triple date with two other couples. Before meeting them though, I had a dentist's appointment at 10am. Now this is probably going to sound gross, but I can't actually remember the last time I went to a dentist. Like... early high school? Which must have been around eight years ago. I actually told my friends this at an Australia Day party we had last month and they were obviously shocked that my teeth weren't rotting and falling out. And I was just thinking - dude, I guess I brush my teeth pretty rigorously and have generally good hygiene? And I don't freaking eat chocolate fudge fondues with whipped cream and nutella or whatever the hell white people like to put in their foods these days. Also, I don't drink coffee (only energy drinks because that's the closest cardiac-stimulant I'll ever get to cocaine level strength without doing illegal shit). And fortunately for me, my teeth have always been naturally well aligned so I've never had to get braces, and neither have I ever grown any wisdom teeth.
So yeah, I'm lucky af.
Anyway. So last month, my friends were like 'wow, tell me what your dentist says about your teeth'. You know, because they were obviously expecting some epic shit to go wrong. And guess what??? My teeth were FINE! No problems at all, though the dentist was palpably not pleased that I had skimped out on a decade of dental care, and got all pissy about me needing to floss every day.
Welp. I guess I will try flossing every day if I can muster the energy. I already brush my teeth three times per day most days due to a personal need to feel 'fresh' after meals. This is also why I am obsessed with mints and always carry packs of it with me when I go out.
After the wash, which was really fucking uncomfortable and made me ominously gag twice in the chair, I texted my boyfriend and told him how "I finally understand why people hate going to the dentist". And then he texted something like - "LOL it was just a wash! #toothprivilege".
Sorry, forgot to check my privilege.
2. BRUNCH AND GOING TO IMAX
After the dentist's, I had to go meet up with two other couples for brunch at 11.30am in the city. Note - I never ever do brunch. Brunch is a goddamn luxury that I cannot afford either monetarily or time-wise. I mean, I sleep at 4am and wake up at 4pm a lot during the holidays, so it's just practically impossible. Today though, I actually had to meet with them that 'early' because we planned to go see a 3D space documentary called A Beautiful Planet at Imax, screening at 1pm.
Yeah, I know. Absolute nerdfest. But I love it. I love that me, my friends B and L, and my boyfriend are so unashamedly into nerdy science things. Last year, we all went out to 'Astrolight' at Scienceworks, which was a night time astronomy festival (yeah, those exist) filled with star-gazing and astronomy-related games and activities. We even got our picture taken by a sneaky Scienceworks photographer and had it posted on their Facebook page! #famous
Today was great. As we were waiting for our bus to IMax, I was joking about how I loved showing off our nerdiness on social media because "it just shows everyone that we're nerdy, intelligent and most importantly, smarter than them" as well as "the bona fide liberal progressive elite everyone loves to hate". And we all laughed uproariously with a totally inbred haughtiness.
When we got to Imax, the blonde middle aged lady who was serving us at the box office was a complete bitch. Proceed to imagine the sort of character you'd see in a British sketch comedy show - the fat old checkout lady with the horn rimmed glasses, staring at you with pursed lips while filing her hideous red painted nails. That was her, but mostly in personality. She was really curt with us when we bought our tickets, and when we all finished coming out of the bathroom to head over to the cinema at 1.04pm (four minutes after the scheduled 1pm screening), she shouted at us from across the room "IT'S DOWN STAIRS TO YOUR LEFT! MOVIE HAS ALREADY STARTED!" And I swear she 'tsked tsked' at us too.
Wow. I would definitely would have thrown a copy of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People at her actual face if it weren't for the fact that she's a fucking checkout chick and would never need to truly utilise social strategy in her vocational life. Though I do feel kind of sorry for her family.
A Beautiful Planet was very short. $17.00 ticket for a 50 minute documentary. I mean, yeah, it looked good, but I was honestly expecting so much more. Jennifer Lawrence narrated the doco and I couldn't help being annoyed at her raspy voice, as well as thinking about how dumbed down this documentary actually was.
We were the ONLY adults who were in the cinema out of our own volition, as opposed to the thirty or so primary school kids that were obviously there for a school excursion. They also stank. Or maybe it was the cinema itself. But yeah, it smelled like feet and betel leaves.
3. GOING HOME
Immediately after the movie, we all parted ways, and my boyfriend and I bused back to his house. Surprise surprise. He popped out of his room with a bouquet of roses! What. a. sweetie. I really wasn't expecting it because he is NOT a morning person, and he also NEVER does brunch. The fact that he even woke up in time for brunch, let alone get up to go buy roses in the morning, was much appreciated.
Then we took his car back to my house and we napped for a billion hours.
4. BLOGGING RIGHT NOW
It is now 4am and I am blogging. My boyfriend is sitting 4 metres away, playing a console game on his Mac. We are both incredibly awake.
Tomorrow, I have to go to a police station and get a Justice of the Peace to sign some documents. Then, I don't know. Maybe I'll blog more. Maybe we'll finish season 1 of Luke Cage. Maybe, I'll play 10 more hours of Invisible Inc, or more probably, start binging on Homeworlds 2. Maybe, I'll accidentally drink water out of a cup that previously held milk and gag because of residual milk taste and have to wash my mouth out for three hours...again.