Week 4

How do I place it in words – Part of me strongly finds Tembusu a mistake; The other insists that it has always been the right decision.

Former argues that you listened to her, made her the reason, which resulted in a terrible choice. Latter retorts by saying that the Former is overthinking: “You are causing your own misery.” Former, at a loss of words, says that you should never have met her. Latter tries to find something to pick at, and concludes that you need to settle your own emotions before it destroys you.

Former always goes into a downward spiral. Former is asking many questions: “Why am I so ugly”, “Why did I fall for her”, “Why am I vying for her attention as if I were desperate for love”, “You haven’t changed since 10 years ago, haven’t you”, “Will you ever learn”, “Is there beauty”, “Why am I so hideous”, “Is it because she no longer has time for me”, “Why am I so selfish”, “Why, why, why”.

Latter exhales: “Clearly you went in with very high expectations – The returns are simply awful.”

Latter continues: “Clearly, she is a friend. She will always be. Find another phase.”

Former, not listening, mentions: “You’re transgender – You do not deserve love. You’re disgusting. Remember how people forget to use “she” when referring to you. Remember how someone mentioned that there are only 6 girls when there’s 7. Remember how the state fails to recognize you. Remember how you can never be the woman you want to be. Remember how the moment she stopped singing your praises, and you realized that you were petty, ugly, undesirable, jealous, and all the longkang metaphors became true and your being is stained to the last grime.”

Latter, also not listening, says: “Do not tie your self-worth to her.”

Latter ends with: “I’m going to give up.”

I just finished reading ‘Sugarbread’ and was left deeply impressed by acute depictions of religious corruption, and casual racism on this sunny island since its independence. This book also centers on the struggles of the Protagonist’s mother in dealing with her traumatic past. It brings to mind of my own.

A friend tonight mentioned that, overhearing a conversation I had with my Mother, about the frustration I had my voice. I seldom talk like that to Mom – It was more of how she purchased financial products (super low-risk ones like the Savings Bonds) for quite a while now but still didn’t understand it fully. But it always hurts when she claims that she’s too stupid to understand anything. It’s a complex she had for years, paralyzing her in times of immense stress. I should have been more patient, in hindsight.

It brought to mind about how Dad was elitist when he was still with us. Before he left he argued with my Mom over rather trivial matters but insulted her intelligence. I don’t understand how someone can take so much pride in their own intelligence just to put down others. Just because she was a diploma holder while he held a degree. I’ve seen him talk down service staff and lower-income job holders, too.

Mom doesn’t want anything to do with her own family, especially Dad’s. Dad’s side consists of people who are mostly Christian, and upper-middle class. She was acutely aware of how my aunts were subservient to their husbands, and unconditionally accepted their gaping personality flaws. In some way, Dad and his brothers were either sexually promiscuous, had terrible tempers, or were condescending in general. She disapproved of my aunts, degree holders and professionals in their own capacity, of putting up with the antics of my uncles for the sake of a religiously-fueled vision of a family.

I’m glad I write poems about her occasionally. Her mother, my Grandmother was a domestic helper who had to deal with her cheating husband’s and drug-addled son’s shit. Great-grandmother fled her home in Hong Kong during WWII just to endure 3 years of occupation by Imperial Japan in Singapore. She sold bee hoon in the north back then, raising five children singlehandedly. Both matriarchs in their own right. Mother is the next in line in generations of incredibly resilient women, all who unfortunately had to suffer due to the men in their lives being poor excuses of people.

At least by writing , I can count the mistakes of the men in my family, while celebrating the women who have made worldly things possible.

 

 

No Sleep

My deck is hinting that I require someone as reliable as the King of Pentacles. Or maybe that I should aspire to be like him. Or perhaps all I really need is some form of immense stability – Something sorely lacking this month, and the next. My current deck tends to be a rather harsh Mother that understands me better than I understand her.

I have been trying to keep my infatuation in check. Friends who know me know how I describe it nowadays as a pie I cut for many wonderful individuals, the intensity of it reduced in this manner. Except that by this point I am now cutting more pieces for a singular person, and alarms are ringing alongside with allure. She is incredibly talented and precise, not that I can understand any of her nuances.

Maybe I should write something about illusions. My namesake is filled with exactly that.

Something like infatuation is riddled with ideals, even the idealization of flaws. I know this, and I will have to restrain myself until the day I am able to drown in work and distractions.

A great thing to note would be that I remain grateful to have found my current group of friends since the past year. I cannot say how lucky I feel to belong during these years of limbo.

The Four of Pentacles have come up. It seems like I really need to unwind my grip on things.

 

 

Crossroads/Stasis

I spent six years in High School. 

Lately, I’ve been having recurring dreams where the setting is more or less the campus proper. It used to be an eldritch combination of my alma maters (i.e. my Primary School and High School), but that has been shifted in focus to represent my high school in a more detailed fashion (excluding the extra-dimensional frameworks dreams usually manifest themselves in).

These dreams tend to depict an implied time period set approximately in my fourth/fifth year, with a strong foreboding emotion of an end-of-year major, major examination. This part is uncanny, since my High School, unlike most other tertiary educational institutions in Singapore, do not offer the Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘A’ levels. We spend six years studying for in-school examinations conducted each semester, the results of which contribute to our final GPA for our graduation diploma (our school follows the modular system that Universities/Colleges apply). There is no one, ultimate examination.

And yet, there is a sickening feeling permeating in these dreams that I have yet to accomplish something of a massive scale in the past – The reality is that I have obtained my lackluster diploma since two years ago (I recently finished my conscription cycle), and I’m currently interning while waiting to enter college.

I see the hazy faces of seniors, paired with an afterthought of moving on with life after High School, after University. I climb the stairs and walk the extra-dimensional, larger, more complex-than-life corridors in a haphazard, aimless manner. Struck with anxiety about not graduating. Despite already being an alumni of two years. Dreams tend to be visually unclear, but can be extremely stark in emotional nuance. Many objects or landmarks however warped is tagged with an emotive quality. My friends, juniors, seniors have moved on in life and I’m somehow wandering around, being constantly late or worried about preparing for a national examination that does not exist. Unable to envisage the sixth year or the future, plagued by a momentary amnesia where I forget that I’m already living in the future.

Somehow, these dreams have occurred before my decision to join Instagram. Perhaps they have been amplified, after seeing everyone I knew in High School having the time of their lives – The other girls previously from my batch on their summer breaks before their third year of College, seniors with their graduation pictures.

The stagnation is stifling, anxiety-inducing. I’m doing things, participating in art-related events, submitting my writings. However none of it feels like it is amounting to anything.

In time, I’ll matriculate. It for the best if I can leave these insecurities behind by then to make my time in College worthwhile.

 

Post-SingPoWriMo 2018

Whew. Okay I suppose the month has been long over so although it’s not like anyone is going to read this, i’ll place it here just for the sake of registers.

 

‘Moonrain’ was a poem I did on Day 21 – You can say it’s one of my personal favorites during the 30 days, hence my posting of it below ^ ^ The rest though, i’m not too proud of them but at least I’ve felt that I’ve pushed the limits of my current wordplay ability (Words are beautiful creatures though, ah).

 

I’m pretty confident about getting into the anthology, though i’m far from having a proper manuscript of poems. Gosh – I don’t even want to think about how my prose has been rotting in a unloved corner.

 

On the day of the closing party, I received a waitlist for my application to Yale-NUS, which was incredibly frustrating at best. It’s a feeling where you know you haven’t been rejected (I was rejected on my last attempt), yet it’s not as if i’m hurtling towards success. I spent most of the month in a rather deep anxiety, dreading judgment day until to my worst fears it seems that the day has been extended for two more months. It’s nightmarish, and it’s currently affecting my mood to do anything productive.

 

To think that even just last year, I’ve given up applying for a second time due to the sheer emotion that is rejection, until my family has helped me with their words of encouragement. By this point, of course I want it so badly and I must succeed, right? I’ve gotten even further than the last time. It has been my dream to be a student there since I was still pottering around in NUS High (and feeling inferior to my STEM peers).

 

My fingers are crossed, but being tired of waiting just hurts.

Absence Notes

Currently participating in 2018’s iteration of SingPoWriMo (“Singapore Poetry Writing Month”), where in addition I have also volunteered for the role of a moderator (which means lots of half-baked critique dressed in casual comments). I may or may not upload links to this space once this siesta is over.

Also, one of our good poet friends have been discovered to be plagiarizing stanzas from the very beginning – I worry since the impact of such an exposé on her might be that of falling off a building, but likewise, I think for the users unaware of the theft.

A part of me is glad that my metaphors can be harvested like sweet potatoes. Not the most delicious things – But there’s sufficient time for selective breeding.