In Harm’s Way. 

(From July 10th.)

It has been a long day. 

A full day at school. Bumping into familiar faces on the street. Travelling to the wrong place. Finding the path back to the right destination. Watching a theatre show. Making small talk. Taking the slow train home while listening to strange comments – eh, seven children leh, how they afford sia, siao one – and listening to my iPod touch. Finally thinking positive thoughts – school wasn’t so bad, maybe this is what I want – and opening the locks on worn out gates I will not be seeing in three weeks. 

And there it is – tiny angry words, like black ants, swarming the walls on the inside of this four-room hdb flat. 

In minutes, my skin was covered in bite marks and has turned red. 

“You are so troublesome, you know. I already made two trips (to the old house) and you still say these clothes are wrong?” 

“You think easy is it? I am damn tired okay. Always want to take, take, take things. Walao.”

“Don’t even know when can move. So many things. Go and throw la. Keep, keep, keep all these rubbish and nonsense don’t know for what!” 

So red. It is almost a shade close enough to imagine the bleeding that is taking place under my thin skin. 

Burst veins and malfunctioning arteries. Too much sadness. Pressured from the shock of coming home to this. 

(Did I say home? What is home?) 

And I thought to myself: Maybe the worst I can do to my person is not the splitting of skin against blade. Maybe the most pain felt is not pouring detergent down my burning throat. Maybe courting death is not done through alcoholism, smoking cigarettes and starving myself. 

Maybe the best self-harm is living with a family that

Priorities their own feelings and bounce them off you like a punching bag. 

Defeats your minor victories one by one. 

Uses their own “good will” to guilt trip you or hurt you. 

Abuses what love is supposed to be and twists it so you never learn how simple or pure it can be. 

Makes you feel less than your gender, your looks, your sex, your skills, your decisions and your own person. 

Is toxic. 


The saddest thing is, these small aggressions linger, manifest and yet I find myself still staying. 

It is funny how these realisations occur only after many years of daily incidents. It makes me wonder if I am conditioned to think that this is the only way to grow up. It is slightly strange I get so angry but I don’t fight anymore, because I know how it will end. 

What if I am still here because I lack the will and am secretly courting death? 

I scare myself sometimes. 


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