Alone.

I am a rental flat. Where people come home to only when tired and has no other place to go. They don’t even call me home. I am just a place to spend the night, to soak the tiredness away from that body and to abandon by day.

I am a sun. That’s all I am. I give life that is taken for granted and blamed when the rebellious rain strikes. Too hot or too distant.

I am alone. And maybe that’s just how everyone is, too.

Used and useless.

When your feelings, your experiences and you become a minority. Honestly, nobody else cares.

And everyone thinks it is just your problem alone instead of asking how they can help or do better for you.

Because in the end, nobody cares about another person.

Always on the outside looking in.

The wrong gender. The wrong institution. The wrong crowd. The wrong behaviour. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

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Uber Ride Uncle #2.

In the same week (as the previous Uncle #1), I got a ride with another uncle. Possibly the same age as my very own parents, so around his early 50s. He seems strict and with deep wrinkles sitting on his weathered face.

We started talking, since he initiated a conversation and I sat in the front passenger seat.

– Girl, how old are you ah?

– 23 this year.

– Wah, so young. Good lah. Uncle old already. So you in university?

– Yeah, I am.

(At this point, as I have mentioned, I always just assume a role and don’t feel the need to be strictly specific about what I actually do.)

– Uncle also thinking of studying. Got accepted already. For a Masters in Project Management. Don’t know want to take a not.

– Oh, that’s nice. Why you want to take Masters?

– You see that building? I inspect one. I am a building safety officer. So some projects are given to me, and I check the building standard.

He then goes on to wave his hands animatedly as he points out all these buildings we are passing. All the details. What companies, from which countries, who’s the bigger company and why so many condominiums are growing on our land. He spoke with so much passion and I could feel his spirit.

But then he quietens down for a while.

– But now, sometimes, no projects. The last six months, nothing given from the association. I ask them why, they just tell me. No budget. Have contract also no use. No jobs. Then his little centre compartment of his aged Honda clicks open. A little lanyard is lying in there, slightly faded. – That’s my Tour Guide license. I do that on the side, but also nothing. No use. All overseas one and big companies do now.He clicks the compartment together a couple of times to make sure it remains closed for the rest of the ride.

I didn’t know what to say, so I just stayed silent and nodded whenever he is saying something.

– So, girl, I ask you. What field good to study now?

– Hmm. A lot of people going to do Business degree. Most transferable. Opens more options I guess?

– I have two children. One law, one doctor. But now law also very difficult. Too many lawyers so little jobs. How? Like me also. My diploma project management, go take masters in project management at least 50k gone. After take already, also don’t know got job or not.

Traffic light: red. I turned to look at him. He stared off at the roads ahead, mind no longer here. His eyes grew redder, as if reflecting the light. He wiped them and looked down at his lap.

– Nevermind. Uncle just work lah. Drive Uber now, since got car. Just work. Work until I cannot work anymore. I also don’t know how.

My heart broke when I heard his voice on the verge of breaking yet succumbing to resignation. The sense of helplessness with a lack of fight, but driven by perseverance and family.

He went on to pick up two other passengers, who shower no interest in his talk about their respective condominiums and eventually the ride was driven in silence. Even my responses weren’t enough to spur him to speak again.

I was the first rider to get off. I was actually hoping to be the last, just to get a chance to say something back. Not let the conversation we had end so abruptly and with heaviness.

But as I stepped out of the car, with the two ladies busily fumbling with their phones, the uncle looked at me.

And said:

– Okay, thank you girl. Good luck with your future. Keep trying.

I smiled and nodded.

– You too!

And the little old Honda drove away to Mandarin Orchard.

I really wanted to cry but I guess that’s just life. I wish him well, and I hope he knows that he is not alone.

Uber Ride Uncle #1.

I boarded the Uber car home. It was a pool ride and we had to drop two others before it was my turn. Usually that happens. I am always travelling from the city area all the way East. I am always the last.

When the rest of the riders are gone, the driver started to talk to me.

Usually this happens too. Conversations happen when there’s only one rider. Otherwise, the ride will be done in silence with poor radio content providing some background music.

– Girl, studying?

– Yah.

– Where?

– Lasalle.

Okay. Usually I lie because I cannot be bothered to explain where and what and how I am in an obscure school where only 5% of the population knows.

– Oh the art art school near Rochor there. Study what?

– Uh…

Should I say theatre? I have said that before and the judgements are damn harsh. Well…

– Design is it?

– Uh, yah. Design. Graduating soon.

– Oh good lah. So after graduate how? Want to do what?

– Not sure lah. Still have time to think a bit.

– Yah, but must have dreams mah. Must aspire to something. If not how?

– Hahaha. Yah, I know lah. Maybe I will start my own company or what. Do my own thing.

– Yah. That’s good. Cannot always work under people one. Go nowhere. I retired already, was working sea imports/exports. Now just drive Uber.

– Oh okay. Cool.

– I tell you what. But you are a girl, so very good. Work, see see the world out there for three to five years. Then hopefully you meet a man and get married. Have your own family.

– Uh…

My brain kind of kept blinking a red emergency light, and I was in the front passenger seat. So I was really bracing myself for a typical boy more important than girl gender roles conversation.

– You just listen can already. No need to take what I say. Just think about it. I have a daughter, only one. I am coming 60 and my missus 61. She’s close to her cousins but when we are gone, who will accompany her and be with her? She second year uni now, and I am worried.

I notice how he sighs and drives slightly slower.

– Yah. You can work work work achieve a lot of things but when people family reunion, you go home to nothing. Family is family. Extended family is still not the same as your own family. Her cousins will go on to have their own family also. Then how?

Then he goes on about how I don’t have to share the same view as him. Apparently he’s talked about this a couple of times and people my age find his view severely unpopular.

The ride ends, I thank him and he gets out for a smoke.

– Okay. That’s my last job today. Girl, get home safe okay. If anything happen, shout. Uncle is here.

And I was surprised by the experience. Maybe those words are not meant for me, but more so for his daughter. Who is a similar age to me.

Also, family. What is that value? Now? Today?

It is nice and deeply touching to meet someone who really believes in something with such sincerity, and carries it openly.

Faster days. 

One day, I felt a little change in me. Maybe what I have been hoping for all year has finally happened. Maybe the chemistry in my mind has balanced out or shifted. Or maybe I have aged just a little bit more after turning a year older.

Or maybe I just woke up one day and allthe  little actions I have been taking this year added up and the difference is reaped.

I feel lighter and more free. My eyes are open to possibilities and I feel the forward momentum. Pulling at me stronger and sometimes, I feel like if I jump off the ground high enough I can float.

The days fly by and gratitude has been filling me up. A quiet joy. Slightly less dark days and time goes faster.

I’ve been spending my days writing thank you letters, making art and reading all the books I finally made up my mind to buy. Life’s been good, and if the rest of the year goes like this, I am content.

Gratitude holds such power over my being. And I am grateful that I have things and people, to be thankful for everyday.

A Little Hopeful. 

(October 17th, 7.59pm. Sleepy in the middle of tuition since the kid is working on a full paper. Under exam conditions. This is after I have had a full day of school and it is so stuffy here. The air is moving so slowly around me and my head feels so heavy.)

We have been happy. The last three weeks maybe? I haven’t felt this feeling in a long time. Nothing to worry about, in regards to us, our communication is going alright. Even though there’s friction every now and then, we deal with ease and a casual laugh. It feels easy. I am not stressed out by something he said. He is not ignoring me by always entertaining other texts before mine.

It is going okay.

I can breathe and talk about all the other things cluttering my mind. He would listen, nod or agree. Dish out some impractical advice. Laugh and take another spoonful of food into his mouth.

While all the feeling good is happening, we are mainly apart. Each at our respective schools, with our own friends, doing our own thing and barely texting. Some days, we only check in with each other about once a day. Less than 10 texts. Before submitting to sleep and other distractions.

Surprising.

Other times, I’d be disturbed or mildly petrified. Or he’d be spamming my inbox. He does it less now though, naturally. He has more persons to safeguard his happiness now.

Usually when things start getting better, I start feeling just a bit more positive than my usual self, it all goes to shit.

So here’s a short note of commemoration for myself. That we are happy now. And we can be happy without needing to try too hard.

Happiness is here. It is in me, even if just a small fraction, it doesn’t mean any less.

The written word. 

(September. Overdue. Been having conversations with myself over this but shelved it for another day. Also, my digital footprint is so traceable. I am wondering if I should be worried or not?) 

Looking back at all I have written, or vomited out, over the past year or so, I realised that I haven’t been writing much. In terms of like mediocre poetry or trying to be poetic. 

A lot of posts, at least those past March and after, are about me. 

It didn’t use to be like this. This casual blog is a space where I used to let loose and post up written texts and monologues and poetry. I am not published anyway, and I just wanted to keep it up so I don’t eventually lose touch with the language. 

But I guess this space has started to reflect the person behind the blog. Me. I write about whatever that occupies my mind at a certain point in time, my feelings that I find difficult to convey to another person and almost a therapy I can actually afford. 

(Yes, mental health care is crucial but also really expensive to engage and maintain.) 

I spent a while wondering if I should be apologetic to people that follow this blog since it started, and then discover that it has evolved or maybe grown into a weird imbalanced mix of personal and hobby. 

It is my own space, in a way, but I am also largely aware of people that follow. So I am sorry that it has come to this, and my emotions are all running away from me at this point and my arms aren’t long enough to catch them and place them back into my pocket. 

I also contemplated deleting this blog altogether, for fear of judgment since I have been pouring so much out here and I actually have no idea how many people engage with this space. And then see me from a new light. 

But why am I so easily ashamed of my feelings and feeling so much? I am a contradiction but I doubt I will change. 

But I am starting to slowly find my way back to writing and thinking in words I used to love so much. So maybe, all these past posts have helped. Maybe also because I am finally ending this phase of my life to begin again. 

Thank you for your patience and silent presence. Perhaps I will grow this space back into what it was like before. xx

Bodybodynobody.

I have never ever in my life been skinny or mildly average in size. Always slightly above in the weighing scale. The digits never fail to rise. 

Of course I have the usual diet, exercise, calorie-counting and body positive advice that keeps getting shoved in my face every now and then. You can do it! You are beautiful the way you are! Thick girls are real girls! 

I don’t really know how I feel about that. You do you, as long as you feel good. I believe that. But I don’t seem to believe in that for myself. 

I hate weighing scales. Besides mandatory NAPFA height and weight back in school, I will never go near one. It is literally ignorance in bliss. The numbers cause anxiety. I hate it. Because I am never below a 50. And when you weigh, it is pretty much the lesser the better. 

For the last show, I finally had the guts to wear a torso revealing top with my tiedyed pants. I felt really good about myself. I have also been tackling the weather by being less insecure about my arms and wearing sleeveless tops out. 

For someone that actually doesn’t mind getting naked for other things, I am pretty damn self-conscious. 

Then two days later, I stood on top of the weighing scale, saw the number and felt like a complete fool. 

It is almost pathetic how just that number in itself can change my entire perspective about my body. 

I used to be adverse to mirrors too. Never had a full length mirror until recently. Even now, I avoid it when I feel really horrible about myself. 

But the thing is, my weight fluctuates. Whether I like it or not. I work out, perspire, put in time to do routines and then I lose a bit of weight. Then I get busy trying to earn money, my routine goes down the drain and I slowly put the weight back on. Not drastically but enough for the number to spring back up. 

But somehow, knowing this is how my body is, I am still not wise enough to be happy and move on. I am still always comparing, looking around, reprimanding myself and feeling super shit on bad days. 

So how much do I fight it? Should I fight it? Lose sleep trying to always work out everyday while committing to the rest of my life? Am I willing to be miserable diet-wise to look a certain way? Why am I so bothered by looking a certain way? Sometimes it is not all work, because some people are just born skinny. I am just not one of them. 

I don’t even know what all this is about. Just wanted to type it all out. Get it out of my brain. Until the next time I engage in this conversation with myself.