Week Two. 

It’s been two weeks of growing my hair out. I haven’t touched the shaver since then. Most days, I even forget how I look like. Until strangers stare at me when I take my cap off or am walking around without anything covering my head. 

Funny how gender stereotypes would like to tell you how to even keep your hair. And funny how complete strangers seem to care about how you should look even more than people that actually matter. 

I still remember wearing sports bras and baggy shirts into public toilets when I was completely bald. Stares would happen when I walk in – first on my lack of long luscious locks and then the fact that I have a sports bra on to flatten my chest. 

Can I just say it is weird that one has to make up for the other to prove your femininity? 

Anyway, nobody would crowd around me when I join the queue for the washroom. Nobody would use the sinks next to me to wash their hands. They would rather wait for the other sinks to be available than be next to me. 

Can you imagine if you have to go through this everytime you are in a public space? Or even in the washroom? 

How mundane the chores, but so disturbing in nature. And what it reflects about ingrained biasness and judgments. We all just try to shape our worldview according to our ideals and wants. That’s why violence happens even though we already know how inherently wrong it is.

And violence exists in all forms, not just the physical bloody types. 

Maybe I am just unattached to my hair and how I look, so I am less affected. Which is great. Instead I am just curious and with my hair growing out, perhaps I can witness the behavioral changes that occur with me ingraining myself back into the “normal” beauty standards or how a person with a vagina should look like. 

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Last Monday of September. 

I am in a daze. Waking up and sleeping has become a seamless cycle. Some days I cannot tell these cycles apart. I wake in the day world and I sleep only to enter day once again. Sleep has become unfamiliar to me, especially the ones free of lucid-dreaming and active nightmares. Is sleep still restful if the mind is afraid of sinking into nothingness? I have a lot of questions, but few I actually want answers to. Sorry means nothing anymore and my time spent in different places are starting to look more and more like time wasted. If I am only surviving  in all aspects of my life, will I still feel I have nothing to lose? Or is time also a precious avenue to consider? If so, then aren’t we all just losing? I get out of my room and look around the empty house. Everyone’s left. Just me now. In the day the quietness is lovely, even. But in the night, I hate venturing even to the washroom. The dark seems to swallow everything and one day maybe it will take me too. I engage in my daily routine of freshening up and leave the house. Walking under the sun to the bus stop. Sometimes the only thing that reminds me I am really alive is how my body perspires under heat. Reminder that my body is still functioning with this ghost of a brain. I walk walk walk walk walk. Board the bus and take the seat right at the back. Alone and earphones in. Living in my mind for a while more before I have to be social with a lot of living beings I have no energy to care for anymore. The questions come back. My pulse is still going. I picture an accident in my mind. Maybe a car will swerve out of nowhere against this bus. What is that like? No, no, no. I can’t risk that. I doubt I have insurance. Anyway, I have hope because on better days I still fear premature death. 

Or am I just fear? 

I am in a daze. 

Meditation. 

I was effectively bald for more than a month. One whole month and two whole weeks, to be exact. 

(I am typing this mid-September, so by the time this post is up, my hair should be growing back and the aim is to – hopefully – have a pixie cut by December.)

It is actually pretty high maintenance to keep myself skin-headed for so long. M scalp was drying out, I had to apply baby oil and the constant routine of having to shave my head in the shower. And it takes perhaps, half an hour to an hour to get it completely clean. No patches or missed spots, or back in the shower I go. 

However, despite the steps and care I had to take (way more than when I actually had hair), never did feel troublesome or tiring. I looked forward to it. 

Showering is already a cleansing, to rid of the hustle and bustle of the day from your skin. Wash it all off. Have the water run through every curve and feel safe alone in that little space. Water on skin. 

But shaving brings my mind to a quiet. Eyes shut and mind empty. All my energy bringing to my hands as I blindly guide myself through my scalp and let the blade glide through. I hear no more voices but glides, stops and the water running in a steady rhythm. Then I shampoo my head, feeling my scalp and finger tips massaging the head. 

Comfort. 

It’s a meditation and a rare instance where I have to leave my mind, my inner dialogue to peacefulness, or bleed my brain out basically. 

I guess I will miss this. x 

Sitting on a Bench. 

(4th August 2017. I am early for tuition, so taking my time, I walked to my tutee’s place. Still with half an hour to go and not wanting to intrude on his own time, I find an empty bench. In a little corner by the road. Nobody’s here. I sit.) 

A bird is chirping. The same tune over and over again. Not tired of its own voice. Convinced of its purpose, maybe. One day, a response will come. It will. 

Macdonald’s delivery driving through the gantry. I haven’t had dinner but I am not hungry. Food doesn’t tempt me as much as it should, though I am not losing weight either. A pity. 

People walk pass. Some avoiding my gaze and choosing to look at the pavement. Others, staring at my lack of hair blatantly and questioningly. Almost with a judgment. But I don’t feel affected, just curious. 

A boy is walking away from me. Also on the pavement. Just clapping. He’s alone. Clapping softly then louder and louder. But he is too far now. I can’t hear him anymore. He’s disappeared. 

The bird’s still going. Perseverance is key. 

I have twenty minutes to go. 

Text messages and emails are coming in. It feels good that people remember me and swamp me with work, plans. Sometimes. But I wonder what my self-worth is if I get these calls less. Maybe I will just answer them later. 

I listen to the little bird. Nowhere in sight but such a loud voice. Always so cheerful. Happiness is such a questionable thing. 

A lonely national day flag sways in the soft wind. Tilted just slightly towards the ground. What is the flag about, and what does it represent? Do I feel it in any part of my being? If I don’t, does that make me unpatriotic? 

Water runs through the sewers. White tube-shaped pipes snaking about the ceiling of where I am seated. How do they know where to twist and turn, to be right? These mechanics fascinate me, but nobody really talks about them until they dysfunction. 

The bird is quiet now. Flown away, maybe? 

There is a man in a white shirt, standing by the road now. His arms on his hips. He is just watching the children of other families run around and cars passing. Waiting. Just watching. Listening to languages of a different skin. A neutral face. No comments. 

And here I am. Removed and part of this environment at the same time. Sitting on a green bench. By myself. Leaving now. 

Shave

I am called porcelain

A colonised white 

My blood blue ink bled 

Into flowers and mythical life
My face a reflection of the Gods 

No modern person believes and 

A Moon that only reflects

Never creates light
My hair too dark too thick too much 

For beauty a femininity too coarse 

A diamond is only a diamond when 

Burnt with fire
So I paint my image with flames 
My petite hands hold blades that reflect

Modernised moons and shave my 

Body seen unseen 

Hide the hairs weed the garden purify this porcelain 
My feet bound by Asian ideals and a 

Third culture loss 

Always too eastern stained with west setting sun 

Stay control clear the forest of dark 
I am called exotic 

Surrender on scarred skin 

My blood red rage marked in

An unreadable constellation of ideals