The Merry Month of March

I’m sad but I’m euphoric at the same time, a dangerous combination at the best of times. What this means is that I’ll probably spend too much, give gifts away freely, end up in the bedrooms of strangers, on the ledges of bridges and eventually inside a clinic or two. Yes, I’ve turned into a walking cliche.

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New Year Resolutions (belated)

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On the eve of the Year of the Rooster, I solemnly resolve to…

  1. Actually finish a book, instead of leafing through its pages and abandoning it to the pile at the bottom of my bed.
  2. Read more fiction, again.  Overcome the emotional numbness I feel when faced with fictional characters. Sustain my way through a narrative instead of feeling lost, confused, tired, disoriented; persist.
  3. Lose weight.
  4. Improve my mental health through plausible means, e.g. light exercise, light reading, light social interaction, vitamins both metaphorical and literal.
  5. Stick to the job I have and not moan about it.
  6. Save up, like the good girl  I’m supposed to be.
  7. Keep trysts with strangers to a minimum.
  8. Put love before sex.
  9. Stop flirting with implausible and impossible people, from those hopelessly out of my league to no-hopers.
  10. Write like there’s no tomorrow, once again, however crap or inconsistent the outcome.
  11. Make new friends, instead of rehabilitating old friendships which are half-desiccated anyway.
  12. Travel to somewhere familiar yet exotic – a place I’ve firmly left behind, for instance, now irrevocably changed.
  13. Take better care of my aging skin, accept that my hair is greying, and greying fast; embrace the inevitable.
  14. Love the old people in my life – a.k.a. my parents, more, and match that love with actions big and small. From swallowing my anger to pouring them cups of tea, be the filial daughter I once thought I would be.
  15. Hold on; keep on keeping on. Find the green light, locate the Yellow Brick Road, book my plane ticket to a place beyond the proverbial rainbow.
  16. And if there’s no green light, no Yellow Brick Road, no rainbow at the end of the tunnel, accept loneliness at its most crushing, and learn to find hope in small places.

Because, at the end of the day, there but for the grace of God go I… …I know, deep down, that it could easily have been me, the homeless man in the subway, the hanged man in his own living room, the terrified inmate in  the care centre.

Happy New Year (to no one in particular), and God bless!

Miscellany

daisiesOnce there was a girl who wanted to be a nun.

 

Then she wanted to be a video store clerk, then a waitress in a 50s-style diner, then finally settled on ‘writer’.

 

Then she got greedy – she thought she could do more. She crammed things into her already squeezed brain. One day, it exploded. And slowly, she watched the proverbial figs ripen and rot and fall at her feet.

 

‘Plop, ‘plop’, ‘plop’.

 

Then finally, she went crazy, and nowadays it seems like an increasing likely reality that she’ll indeed spend the rest of her life as a waitress in a 50s-style diner, her love life that of a nun’s.

 

Except there are no 50s-style diners around anymore.

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On side note, this little girl once wrote ‘I want to be a boy’ when asked ‘What do you want to be in the future?’ during her elementary school days. But that’s a whole different can of worms, best left to another day.

 

The daisy chain of love

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  1. Grateful for old friends, for burgundy manis, for oysters, roast chicken and gin, but also frustrated that I haven’t seem able to make proper new friends since the advent of the, what can i call it, ‘mental accident’? it’s almost as if I’m stuck in a bubble in the past, and every time I meet someone for some everyday thing, I have to time-travel at an almost impossible speed in order just to catch up.
  2.  Have been to a multitude of weddings in the past few years,  and have grown used to the standard mix of boring/touching/yawns/tears. Some, of course, stood out because it was more touching than boring, some (acquaintances rather than friends) I have now half-forgotten because it was more boring than touching, and I was glad to beat a hasty retreat across the dance floor. But tonight I heard, from my parents, the strange story of a wedding they’d just been to – the bride was beautiful, the groom old and decrepit, albeit enormously rich, and also enormously gluttonous, egotistical and snobbish. Apparently, he said (several times) that he’s marrying her because she was ‘so beautiful’, but said nothing about inner beauty…whereas she remained dumb and silent throughout, as if posing for a shot in which smiling is strictly forbidden. Throw a loud, braying sister into the mix (‘I would just like to make sure that I’m understood, so for those who can speak English, please raise your hand’?!) and you get a Greek tragedy. ( the groom is Greek). My mum said the wedding left a nasty taste in her mouth – it wasn’t a celebration of love; rather, it was about two people using each other for their separate ends. But to each their own of course. And I trust that given the unreadability of this blog the stars of this story won’t ever read this? phew, indeed.
  3. it’s that time of the year, rainy, summery, in-between, whatever, when I feel like quitting again. Summer is a pile-up of courses I just can’t teach – Hardy’s poetry, random Asian poems, Balzac, things which I am no longer good at analysing, apparently.  Add to that my general traumatic experience with teenagers and I’d have to say maybe it’s adios between me and _ _ _, the three-letter company for which I work?
  4. Judging by the frequency of my meetings with Dora, I could almost conclude she’s the love of my life (Not). But there’s just something comforting about a face known of old, even if that face is framed by the worst perm ever. She lectured me half-heartedly about job/marriage as usual, but then relented and told me if i find things too stressful and my mental health too precarious, maybe I should find a part-time job which doesn’t require the use of my brain. But doesn’t she know, all jobs require the use of brains, even scooping ice-cream and tallying up the bill, maybe especially that? (not to mention that it’ll give me sore wrists as well)
  5. Everything I used to love dissolving in sea of fissures. Reading, writing, movies, men, women, animals – everything is cracked and fucked. I find it difficult to read more than a page before wondering if I’m secretly dyslexic, writing is becoming an increasingly uphill battle (unless blathering here counts as proper writing), intellectual movies I find a chore, and as for humanity, well, it has just stopped making sense to me, when everything used to be crystal clear, however complicated. Where will I ever be able to find my man/woman/animal if this continues? Will I ever?
  6. Lastly, reproduction, the final daisy in the chain of love. Everyone is having babies these days – pregnant is the new black! My best friend (ostensibly) is puking day and night because of said pregnancy. Ran into an old friend the other day at Eric Kayser and lo and behold, looks like the baby’s gona pop out anytime soon. And etc, etc, until it feels like everyone is on this mad dash to adhere to Nature’s timeline and reproduce before it’s officially too late.i’m jealous, but what can i do? out of the prerequisite ten strokes, i’m not even on the first yet, as my mum says. It’s odd, saddening, and frightening, but where they used to be electricity through my bloodstream, there’s a new sense of frigidity, and it shows in my body language. no longer can i hold someone’s gaze for a heartbeat before letting my eyes flutter to the floor; no longer can I say ‘come hither’ without it sounding like an imperative to be ignored.
  7. Trying to read so many things at the same time, and failing. The girl in the spider’s web, Between the world and me, Mona Awad’s 13 ways of looking at a fat girl, Chrstine Montross’s into the fire – perhaps I should just give it up and look at Bible verses instead, in order to re-educate my mind. For yes, there is something comforting about the fire and brimstone of the Old Testament – all that drama, all that punishment, and all that redemption.

 

Why/why not/why the fuck not?

marilynminter_blackorchid_homepageI’ve always trusted my gut instinct when it comes to love and career. Perhaps that’s why I’ve failed terribly at both. I quit before there’s any chance of failing or succeeding. I curtail things before they come to fruition, before even the words ‘I love you’ has been said. Basically, I try very hard to not try, most of the time, a depressingly teenage attitude I thought I would’ve gotten rid of by 2016, but clearly not.

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The scent of old money and cheap fabric

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Opened my wardrobe and realised I’m regressing in more ways than one – the babydoll dresses, the Peter Pan collars, the mini-skirts, the multi-coloured stockings. It’s the 1990s again, except it’s so blatantly not, especially when I encounter things like smartphones, ads of a half-naked Justin Beiber and my own aged face staring back at me from the mirror.

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Love in the time of schizophrenia

Came upon a cache of old photos in my computer yesterday night…was riveted by my younger self. What I wouldn’t give… …do I want to be 21 again? Not really. But do I wish I’ve never met the friends I’m doomed to have met? Perhaps. And do I wish I’ver never fucked the people I should’ve politely asked to fuck off instead? Hell yes. Definitely. In fact there are days when I long to return to a state of utter virginity, before any flesh was breached.

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Hello darkness my old friend

‘Maybe next life time… ….’ sang Erykah Badu once. I feel that way about everything i feel like I should’ve rightfully achieved, but haven’t, due to personal failings, frankly terrifying circumstances and a wonky gene pattern.

So many things I have to postpone till my reincarnation. Travelling to Macchu Picchu, getting promoted, getting married, having kids, getting book(s) published. At least, that’s the way I feel on days like this. The rain and the damp doesn’t help.

On days like this, it’s as if the blues and the mean reds collide together in one toxic cocktail, knocking me sideways.

I know everyone hurts, though. The proliferation of suicide hotlines in this city is proof enough of that.

How terrible it is that I have to remind myself of the power of life by referring to other people’s misery, and potential deaths. But at least, well, we’re not alone – we’re all in the same mad, bad, boat.

Curling up with a good book and beyond

My reading wish-list for the New Year. That is, if I ever find the energy to read (time – well, that, I have plenty of) 

1. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (please, please, paperback soon?)

2. The Lagoon by Armand Marie Leroi (again, paperback, pretty please)

3. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (the paperback problem persists)

4. The Beautiful Fall – Fashion, Genius and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris by Alicia Drake (Yves Saint Laurent grows from shy teenager into fashion supremo in this really readable biography. Dishes the dirt, but still smart and literary – at least, this is from the bits that I’ve read so far!)

5. Saga Volumes 2-4 (Why haven’t i discovered this earlier! Such glorious artwork and smart, heartbreaking writing! The most gripping mainstreamish thing since I finished Sandman years ago)

6. After Theory by Terry Eagleton (I keep promising myself I will finish this)

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Probing the limits of normality

When does normal officially become abnormal, for other people? Is it when you get a clinical diagnosis and inform them, or when behavior simply becomes too bizarre to be ignored? For many friends and family, watching a loved one struggle with mental demons is like peering into a snowglobe – they can watch and react in perplexity and (eventually) horror for all they like, but some things are simply beyond understanding, despite the best of intentions. And perhaps more importantly, they might not even realize that what they’re looking at is mental illness itself, so blurred is the line between normality and insanity. I mean, we’re dealing with psychology here, not physics!

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