My Memory Project: Part 1

My Memory Project: Part 1

I recall:

Lunchtimes spent with Sandra and Eugenia in Room 9 or 13. Doing homework, studying, ranting. Complaining about the J1s then. Talking about you-know-who.

Always trying to find people to share the papadums with because they come in packets of two. Chicken tenders from the Malay store, which we got upset when they stopped selling. Potatoes with cheese. Baked rice from the western store. Calling straight red tea “curved red tea” or “gay red tea”. Milo ice-creams. Eating from the chicken rice store because nobody buys from there so there isn’t a queue. Iced milo. We don’t really like eating in the canteen.

Odette walking to the TG table. Throws her green (new balance?) bag on the table, which I recall she got as her 17th birthday present. Generally the TG don’t really talk to each other in the morning but how would I know, I’m always late anyway. Plus I was quite absent the last few months of school because I had, umm, other concerns ( I now see another possibility of my memory loss: the fact that a lot of my school life was about you-know-who and I am not the kind to wallow in rejection, so getting over him effectively wiped away all my memories of him i.e memories of school.)

Alright, that’s enough for today. It’s getting a little bit hard, the blankness is setting in again.

 

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My memory project

My memory project

A couple of incidents that occurred recently really scared me. I am not sure for what purpose exactly but I was trying to recall my economics tuition teacher’s name, when I realised I really cannot. It’s just gone, despite so many months of being with her, of texting her. Only after several months did I finally manage to recall her name, from a (recalled) image of her contact in my phone. The next incident scared me even more. I was trying to text my JC economics teacher, when I couldn’t. It was only after forcing myself to think, to actually think, did I remember that his name is Kelvin, and not Kevin. It was ridiculous that I could not remember his name, for he wrote my recommendation letter and anyone who knows me from school knows that I am obsessed with finding out details about his life.

How could I forget? How could I forget these details, when they have always been a big part of my life? I really feel like I’m floating, living in a another world, and I get this weird distant feeling of déjà vu when I step into the school. I feel a little piece of me come back somehow, but it’s not complete; it’s almost as if I’m on autopilot and my whole yes-I-remember-everyone-and-everything falls away when I really sit down to think: do I?

Some days, I feel like I’m losing my memory. I love cracking this joke, “IB is like childbirth: the process is painful, the end fruitful and you forget everything after it”. It’s really true for me, and I am half-afraid that it is due to the degeneration of my brain. However, inspecting the pattern of my memory lapses, it seems like I am forgetting everything about economics, as the econs final exam brought me a lot of pain. If I think really hard, I recall being driven to tears because I was so tensed up for the exam that I couldn’t remember what I’ve studied. I remember crying my heart out because I ended up having so little time to do the questions. I remember always tearing up at random times in December, because I was positive my IB score would be less than 40 and it hurt me knowing that my predicted was near 44/45 but I wasn’t able to perform well for the exam. I think (and sincerely hope) it’s my brain’s way to forget the trauma by first forgetting associative memory: teachers, classmates, events.

So I’m embarking on this little project. I already find it a bit easier to recall things as I write this post and I am forced to actually think, think about what has happened. For the next few weeks, I will attempt to recall major events in my life. It’s not necessary, but the blankness and the desperation of trying to recall my life scares me.

 

 

Untitled

Untitled

Fragments

Fragments

Fragments

Fragments

Fragments

of my soul

everywhere.

Broken into pieces

Threatening to break.

Demons

everywhere

Inside

outside

under my bed

haunting me.

I want to say “I won’t break”.

A pat on the shoulder and everything’s alright

But it’s not true

I’m tired of holding myself together.

I’m tired of seeing how happy other people are.

Tired of being let down.

Again

and

Again

My thoughts are in a mess

Forget “equilibrium”, how precarious it is.

Easily tipped, like a glass of water

I’m tired of stress

Tired of tears.

Tired of anger.

 

Of feelings

 

Tired of being affected by the little things.

 

F*** life, sometimes I don’t want to live anymore.

It’s a thought that just washes over you, a sudden motivation, drive, to not exist.

A thought that comes too easily, too frequently, too enticingly.

But it’s a thought that doesn’t hold water, thank God for rationality that tells me what I’m thinking is completely nonsensical.

I’m putting this picture here, to remind myself if these thoughts drop by again.

recite-z1ji57

I can’t just give up because someone made me upset. Even if they make me feel useless, make me feel used, make me feel like there’s always a dark cloud hanging by.

So f****** tired of everything. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

 

 

 

 

Deleting all social media except for WeChat as it’s a communication tool for me. I need time away from it all.

 

 

 

 

The Pill

The Pill

Two months ago, I started taking the pill. Not just any pill, but THE pill.

After 2 packs of Mercilon, I cannot more acutely feel women’s frustration at their partners’ insistence on the pill instead of other contraceptive methods. While contraception is not relevant to me, I understand what women go through when they take the pill.

As I write, I am lying on my bed, trying to ignore the waves of nausea. The pill is not just any pill. It’s one that got me crouched in a fetal position yesterday, repeating to myself “oh my God, oh my God” because I really did not know how to handle the nausea. It’s one that forces me to take an antacid every time I take the pill because my stomach complains if I don’t. It’s one that makes me double up in pain from cramps when I forget to take it.

I repeat, the pill is not just a pill. Don’t ever, ever think that the pill is the best contraceptive method because it only requires swallowing a little white pill. Its effects are more far-reaching than that: Nausea, Weight gain and a decreased interest in anything romantic in general. It’s not fair to place the burden of contraception of women because women have to suffer a lot due to it. It’s not fair that women are only the ones suffering.  Contraception should be the responsibility of both parties.

For me, I’m on the pill because I get painful periods. There, I’ve said it. I’ve always felt a bit shy about saying things like that (due to society’s socialisation that such things should not be revealed), but I realised that the reason I’ve been mistreated and belittled over the years due to cramps is the lack of knowledge of the extent of period pain among people, especially those who are male and sometimes females who have never experienced cramps. That’s why I have to speak out, to let people know that cramps can be very painful. You don’t know what I’ve been through. You don’t know I’ve spent thousands of dollars to this day trying to treat cramps. You’ve never seen me lying on the couch sobbing my eyes out because I’ve maxed out my painkillers and don’t know what else to do to deal with the pain. You don’t know my desperation when I become tolerant to yet another painkiller. You don’t know how many marks I’ve lost because I was so uncomfortable during the exam that I couldn’t concentrate on the exam. You’ve never felt it, so I’m telling you now. This is how much it hurts. It affects my life, and it stops me from attending class and other fun activities. I’ve sacrificed so much; I no longer eat ice-cream or drink anything cold in general because they say it makes it hurt more. Boy, I don’t know when was the last time I ate fruits other than bananas and avocados, as everything else seems “chilly” in nature.

Some girls suffer as much as me. Not all girls, but some. We have problems, but the doctor can’t detect them. So until then, we suffer. Stop suggesting exercise. Obviously I’ve tried it before. Don’t go “all girls have it, what makes you special?” Or “does it mean I have to excuse all girls from activities if I excuse you?”. You know what? Yes. Because we can’t help suffering, so cut us some slack. We don’t want it, but we can’t help it. And if you are a girl, I know sometimes you are inclined to disregard and belittle another girl’s pain because you think you know what she is going through and don’t think much of it (whilst using yourself as a basis of comparison). Trust me, if you haven’t had really bad cramps before, you have no idea what we are going through. 

It’s not easy, I know. It’s not easy to imagine the pain and the nausea. But it’s easy to show a little kindness and a little kindness is all we need to make life feel much better. 

 

Equilibrium

Equilibrium

My life is finally in equilibrium.

I feel settled. Calm. I no longer worry about things I cannot control, like boyfriends and just people around me in general.

I feel refreshed. Hopeful. I see the world with brighter eyes. I no longer fear the emptiness of time and of life itself. I see it filled with interesting activities—learning italian, french, russian, spanish, chemistry, history, chilling with friends—that make me more excited about life.

I am no longer bothered by non-response. I’ve reached a stage where I no longer care. It’s a good thing. I carry on with what I do in my life, regardless of people around me. And I try not to think too much about things. These are after all, things I cannot control.

As I scroll through facebook, I see pictures of couples, and those yearning to be part of one posting articles about love. Luurrr-ve. I no longer care. I used to be so scared of being unable to find a mate. Now that I have more things to do, I find it easier to focus on myself and not on my potential relationships with others. It’s alright if I don’t have someone, my time can be spent meaningfully too. I don’t get heartache when I see celebrities like Paulo Dybala. I appreciate their beauty and leave it at that. After all, we can only marry 1 person. A profession in law is as noble and interesting as one in medicine and one in football. Being a footballer is a profession. Becoming a wag is just marrying someone who works in football and it will just be like marrying a lawyer or a doctor or a teacher or a HR manager. Maybe a footballer will have a better body but then they are not the only people who work out in the world. It’s important to learn to separate a person from his/her profession. All this time, I was in love with the profession, and not the person.

I’m also taking it slow because I know deep down in my heart, I haven’t met anyone whom I really want. It’s difficult. Maybe it will be easier when I go to UCL. The thing is, I love a lot of things like classical music and european languages and literature and history. And I need someone who makes my interests seem meaningful. Language learners, have you ever thought: after learning so many languages, wouldn’t ending up with a completely “regular” person with little interest outside of work…seem kind of empty/meaningless? It’s ok to wait. Being settled in life means to accept that patience in finding someone is important and not equating a mate with meaning.

It’s great to be finally in equilibrium.

(Changing my theme into a lighter one and my font into a softer one because life seems brighter and lighter now)

 

Life with an inferiority complex

Life with an inferiority complex

Initially, I wanted to call this post “Life as an unattractive woman” but thinking about it, one cannot be truly “unattractive” as it is more than physical looks that determines one’s “attractiveness”. Things like personality, compatibility (the whole “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”) count, I suppose. And in that vein I realise that the reason I keep referring to myself as unattractive is due to the deep inferiority complex I have with regards to my physical looks. So this posts will be both about my feelings and life as an “unattractive woman”, and my deep inferiority complex.

It’s quite weird for me to have an inferiority complex, because as an Aries I supposedly ooze confidence (my friends might think I’m a taurus given how stubborn I have been over my “horoscopes are so real” theory;) ) and I am an epitome of an Aries. I guess most of my confidence comes from my belief in my ability and work ethic, one only has to mention physical looks to realise how low my self-esteem is with regards to my looks. And I got particularly triggered today whilst surfing the net and coming across a reddit article “What it’s really like to be an “Ugly Woman” . You can read it here:

I am an ugly woman. Objectively, I really am. Please don’t argue with me on this one, Reddit. I am not overweight, actually in better shape than most women my age, I dress well, I am great with makeup. But last weekend the world just had to remind me that despite all this, people will go out of their way to kick me.

I don’t often go clubbing, but Saturday night was a special occasion. A friend was celebrating her 21st, and it was also the weekend after a long week of brutal exams. It felt like a good time to blow off some steam. Because I don’t often go clubbing, I really tried this night to look nice. There was an outfit that I had bought a long time ago, but that I’d never worn because it was a little sexier than what I usually wear. A close friend had picked it out for me when we were shopping, and, in that “you go girl” kind of way had urged me to buy it. I did my makeup painstakingly, straightened my hair which always takes forever because my hair is huge, put on that too-sexy-for-me outfit. And when I looked in the mirror I was even surprised at myself. “Wow, is that me? I actually look…nice!”

I showed my friends. They all said I looked great. And they MEANT it too. Like, genuine happy encouragement. I could tell they were sincere and it made me feel so good, like for once I wasn’t just masquerading as an attractive girl with fancy makeup and clothes, but that I WAS the attractive girl. I hadn’t felt so attractive in ages, Reddit.

When we got to the club, we got a nasty surprise. We had been told that tonight there was no cover charge for girls, and so none of us had brought much cash on our person. Well, our info was wrong. They did indeed ask for a cover. Only one of us 6 girls had cash, and she only had enough to cover two people. When we got to the door and found this out, a group of guys behind us volunteered to help us out. They each forked over a couple of bucks to cover my friends, but not one of them offered to cover me. One by one my friends were let in and they waited on the other side of the door until everyone got through. The guys were doing everything to avoid eye contact with me. They were looking at the ground, the street, pretending to look through their wallets for cash to cover one more girl. It was so painfully obvious that I felt like just going home. Luckily, my friend with the extra cash covered me so I was allowed in.

Well, once we were inside I thought I could just forget about that incident. I had dressed up and come out, to have a good time and relax. So for a while I danced with my friends. It wasn’t long before other guys started dancing with us. We kind of paired off slowly, there was a guy whose two buddies had started dancing with other girls and he was left alone. At that point I too had lost track of my friends and was alone. He started dancing with me, but the whole time he seemed really distracted. Not once did he really look at my face, he was kinda looking around the club the whole time, like he was browsing the scene for another, more attractive girl he could bounce to. In less than 10 minutes, he had seen one. He peaced out without a word, and I saw him dancing a few minutes later with a very attractive brunette. The way he acted with her was just SO different than when he had danced with me. He was face to face with her, smiling, dancing enthusiastically.

That made my stomach drop. I went to the bar, found one of my friends who was sitting there with a guy. She introduced us, he bought everyone drinks. After a while I felt like a bit of a third wheel so I went back to the dance floor. Eventually my group of girls regathered together. Everyone had a guy, except for one of them who had a bf at home. So I danced with her, with our friends and their guys near us.

There was a photographer going around the club, taking pictures of the people there. I assume it was for some promo for their website or something. He got to our group, and literally circled us several times, taking several pics from different angles. I was kind of psyched about this, so I did my best to look like I was having a good time, made sure he could snap me at my best. But after a while I realized he wasn’t circling us to get our best angles. He was trying to get a frame without ME. If I moved closer to the center of the group, for instance, he would tilt his camera a little the other way. I couldn’t believe it until finally, he actually came up to me and asked me to get out of the shot.

I felt so ugly right then. For all the effort I had put into looking and feeling good that night, it seemed like it just didn’t matter. So the night ends with me leaving the club. My friend with the bf at home who was dancing with me left with me so I wouldn’t be alone. The rest of my girl friends didn’t notice what had happened with the photographer, so when they asked me where I was going I just told them I was tired and wanted to go home. And since I wasn’t leaving alone, they let me.

So yeah, that’s my story from the weekend.

I guess I just felt that this story is so…relatable. I feel really ugly most of the time, and honestly the experience the writer has narrated seems like it could happen to me any moment (and become my worst nightmare too). (It’s late and I’m tired so my thoughts are a jumbled mess but I’m just going to write them down because it’s cathartic) Because of my inferiority complex, I have resigned myself to certain beliefs that I am too tired to convince myself otherwise:

  1. I no longer believe in love and relationships because I do not think it is possible for someone to even consider me girlfriend material. There will be nobody who sees me in a library and wants to go out with me. I won’t be the “love at first sight” kind of person/recipient. It’s kinda sad because I read those stories of footballers asking journalists out and I know something like that will not happen to me in a million years even outside the context of footballers/celebrities. Like, even regular people won’t care.
  2. But doesn’t personality play a role too? Nope, not for me. I’d like to think I’ve got kind of a go-getter personality, and this means I will always be seen by intimidating, too forceful, head-strong, manly by the male species. And I WILL generalise here because I have had enough people telling me men don’t like girls that independent and strong. I’m too tired to fight, especially I’ve got nothing to prove them wrong with. And few can ever truly understand this sentiment because I have a very explicit “I-can-handle-this attitude” that may come off as a little masculine, and however men protest that they find independent women sexy, a lot of them don’t want a woman that may cause a slight reversal of roles in the relationships. I’m not meek, and that’s a problem. It’s a complex problem because I don’t want to be meek either (anyone with even the littlest sense of ambition knows the undesirability of being meek especially in the male-dominated workplace + one cannot be meek in the corporate environment which can be quite cruel and demands one to be tough) but I’m still a girl, I want to be loved, I want to be appreciated. But instead I’m being perceived as bossy (so many times this word has been used on me), rowdy, not feminine etc. It’s like….my romantic ambition and career ambition cannot be reconciled.
  3. I used to desire getting married young but I scoff at that now. I don’t think I can even get married.
  4. And why on earth do I care so much about love again? Because validation cannot keep coming from oneself, or from people you know will definitely validate you. Like moms in general. Some apparently think I am not “unattractive” but that’s because I’ve got the bright-eyed-good-student kind of demeanor. But man, I don’t want to marry moms! What good is a bright-eyed-good-student kind of face?
  5. Not only do I not think that I will ever be noticed as a prospect, I am also struggling with ridiculous self-bashing when I face people. Besides the few times where I am in an environment I am completely secure in (like friends’ gatherings), I always think “I bet he/she thinks I’m real ugly” when I talk to someone I don’t know that well. It’s horrible. It’s like I feel that my unattractiveness is actually an eyesore and people can’t help but notice it. And it doesn’t help that when I was in retail, a kind-hearted uncle told me to get braces. I’m not going to fault him for his harsh comments; he knows I care about my career a lot and I guess he really wanted to help me. It’s confusing lah, somehow it’s inappropriate to put someone down like that but then again, he probably meant it as helpful criticism. Anyway, I’m on braces now (but it has worsened my inferiority complex because I feel that people can notice me sucking on my aligners which is not my fault, anyone would do that if they had such a big piece of plastic in their mouths)).
  6. I think my face is very broad, cheeks are very fat, nose is too small. But I don’t have time to travel to korea. I think I’m fat too but not that fat, and I’m working on it. At least I’ve for skinny arms. But I’m afraid to swim too much for fear of making my slender arms more muscled.
  7. I’ve now got all my convictions jumbled. I have a senior who has a Goddamn eating disorder and I found myself marvelling at how pretty she was, so skinny, and questioning why would anyone change that? Honestly, screw me and my messed up brain. She has a disorder. A DISORDER. And a disorder is not something good.
  8. I guess I’m lucky to be confident in my academic ability and passion/zeal/interests. But it makes the thought of failing/actually not doing well hurt a lot more. Because my confidence in the acad stuff comes a lot from the whole “you may be ugly but at least you ain’t stupid” belief so if I don’t do well, I feel that I’ve got nothing. I know I can be so annoying when getting results but my fear is compensatory. It’s because I know I have to do really well to compensate for my looks. It really seeps into so many aspects of my life. Recently I started learning chess but would berate myself for not seeing the danger of some moves because it made me feel stupid, made me look stupid. The same for Russian too, that’s why I work so bloody hard for Russian.
  9. I use Tinder way too much because it’s the only way I can seek validation from other people. But it’s bloody boring sometimes so obviously not sustainable.

Life with an inferiority complex is really hard, because the problem exists with me, and nothing anyone says can change that. It’s not that I don’t want to listen to you, it’s that the demons don’t go away just because someone says something nice. But I am not suicidal or anorexic, don’t worry. I just have an inferiority complex. I know some might find this post ironic (Oh, men don’t like women so insecure in their looks) but man, I can’t help being human, cut me some slack, let me be human. Maybe it will all go away when I meet someone (which is not remotely possible) but it will make me too dependent on the person to validate myself. I think it will go away with time. Then I can look back and laugh at how silly I’ve been.

 

Untitled

Untitled

It has been a long time since I last blogged. So much has happened since then— universities, trips, mental crises—that have left me exhausted and gasping for air. I have decided to write today as I am unable to get past a deep irrational fear of mine, and it has been weighing down on my life. A website said that it gets worse if I don’t write out my feelings, so I am doing so. This post is about death. If you don’t want to read it, please don’t. I know I should make this post private but somehow I think knowing that there is an “invisible audience” out there can make this attempt at catharsis a bit more effective. But it doesn’t mean you should read it. I don’t want my problems to become your problems.


 

I have a fear of death. There, I’ve said it. Initially, I was scared of my own death, the feeling of nothingness, of not existing. My fear came as a surprise to me as I have always thought that I was beyond that; I had rationalised early on that since I didn’t enjoy life much, I would hardly miss it when I go.

But, I realised my fear of death runs much deeper than that. It is not my own death which I fear, but the death of my loved ones. My mother. My father. This is how I spend my Sunday nights: I lie down on the sofa on my mother’s lap while scrolling Instagram or whatever, while she caresses my hair and uses WeChat or talks to my father. Contentment. Bliss. When it gets late, I reach forward for a hug, while she counts the kisses she gives to me. I get so much love from my family, that it hurts me to think that one day this would be gone. I’ve been increasingly accustomed to thinking life as a bubble—precariously fragile—but knowledge that what I consider bliss would one day cease to exist. A day in the distant future, but one day. I care less for my own death, because I know I won’t even be conscious to mourn or worry, but I know there will come a day I will no longer get to enjoy what I enjoy. Family dinners. Jokes. Hugs. Kisses. Love. It hurts me so much as as I write this, I am sobbing uncontrollably. But I must write on, as writing is therapeutic.

I suppose this fear was triggered a month ago on my birthday. I was in Beijing and I met up with a wonderful woman, a former professor of English Literature who’s a friend of my mother. She was going through a period of immense pain; her mother constantly tells her how much she fears death, to the extent that she was spending way too much time counselling her mother, whilst trying to ignore her own grief. It was heartbreaking; her expression cracked in the most painful way and she started crying. It brought out a lot of fear in me, and this was worsened when I found out that my estranged grandmother is sick. Apparently, she has Alzheimer’s, a sudden development a mere couple of weeks ago. It reminded me of the transience of life, and since then, I have (unhealthily) viewed life as almost a film, a bubble, that is so contrived, and would break in a very “matrix” style once I put my finger on it. It doesn’t help that my parents like to talk about grandkids; I think I am just over-sensitive given my already fragile mental state.

I’ve talked to my parents about it; they reckon that because I am now faced with a vast amount of time with nothing to do, my mind is too free and is constantly wandering in directions which make me unhappy. I feel that these few months with nothing to do have given me mild depression and anxiety. It sucks. Hopefully, it would get better when I go back to university, where I actually have a goal to strive towards, and really enjoy the moment, and not think about eventual loss and grief.

I have to be strong. Nobody can help me, besides myself. My father has a theory—that life is full of pain and grief and stress and is basically shit—and thus we should at least try to enjoy life a bit to make it a bit better. In a way this is a good theory to have as since life sucks, one shouldn’t think about “missing life” when we’re gone. I also had a theory, that life is theme park and the hurdles in our lives are roller coasters and we have to make sure we enjoy our lives in the theme park as we are in for the experience and that’s the point of theme parks but since theme parks get boring we would one day come to a point that we would be glad to leave. Most importantly, one shouldn’t always think about death as it’s a complete waste of time to think about leaving the theme park when you’re in it. They are similar theories, except my dad’s is more cynical.

I feel a bit more positive now. Life is painful, but we owe it to ourselves to take a deep breath to keep living, through stress, pain, sadness and all the bad times. I’m packing my schedule full to put myself constantly on the move, so at least I can be a bit excited about life. Tomorrow, I’m doing a massage with my TCM therapist, followed by driving lessons and maybe night study with my sisters. It’s going to a brilliant day.