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Feb. 10th, 2012

What point would there be in an update? Life - mine in particular - travels far too fast for that kind of luxury. The past few days has been a blaze of catching up, or being about to catch up, with just about everyone.

Do you have any idea what it's like to have everything you've ever wanted, within the width of your palms and the breadth of your reach?

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I'm sitting in bed eating a really delicious cupcake (I daresay it's dark chocolate icing, god how divine), alone for the first time in over a week - since Christmas my boyfriend and I have been inseparable on account of the holiday season, and for things are remarkably boyless it's a bit strange, and it's been about the best time ever. And I think we're done absolutely nothing for days on end sleeping in, watching Rome, going as old school as possible on his Nintendo, cooking and walking and basically doing what lovers do, ooze about squishily at each other beaming and in love. Tonight, however, I must get things done, and I have this cupcake that is all all mine.

2011 in ReviewCollapse )
Who had any idea that being happy could be so exhausting? I'm in Maryland with my serious, long-term boyfriend Chris (so serious and long-term that it will be a whole year in January for me, and February for him, because apparently we weren't on the same page for starters and god, what an understatement that would be) at his parents' for the third time ever. Dear America, you do your holidays like no other, I'm sold sold sold. I was about to do my traditional yearly review when it occurred to me for the past two years it's remained in the cesspool that is my computer. As such, here's 2010 - I don't think I was quite ready to face up to the fact 2011's ending RIGHT NOW anyway, it's been too damn good a run.

---
I find myself in New York, apparently realizing everything I've ever wanted, and that I'm sorely mistaken, or at the very least, misguided, having labored under the illusion that I knew just what that is. I'm distinctly more miserable than I intended to be, but then again I thought I would be wildly, unimaginably happy, and here I am trying to figure out why.

2010 In Review

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
I think, most significantly (or at least it feels that way currently, being the most recent change), I'd never fucked off overseas alone before, or lived by myself, for that matter, and I've never had the nearest person close to me several thousand miles away. I think this is a significant change, one that is likely to shift my spheres of reference considerably; I don't think I'm unrecognizable, but even then I think there's a marked difference though I don't know just what that constitutes yet.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I honestly can't remember what I resolved to do last year. In any case I'm incapable of resolving anything (to do or otherwise) this year - I've already got too much to try to square with and I think I'm a bit too morose for that at this juncture.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My aunt had another baby, so I'm a cousin again. (Or was that last year? I don't even know.)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. God, I hope I never have to start answering differently, as unlikely as that's going to be. In any case I hope it's a long way off, god I'm in such a funk this question depresses and distresses me.

5. What countries did you visit?
I feel kind of terrible coming up with this list, because I feel terrible about feeling terrible since clearly I'm unbelievably blessed, and undeservingly privileged. Right, Paris, France in February (for a law school negotiation competition), London, England, Krakow, Poland, and again, Paris, France in June (a summery, somewhat motherly vacation) Beijing, China, (for a law study trip - part of my curriculum at school) and New York, United States of America (two-month film school) in December.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Conviction - I want to not be despairing and inarticulate, there's too much I need to believe about the world and myself to be happy and I think if I had just that much, I'd be content, at the very least. Year after year I find myself wishing for love in some manner (in all honesty, that seems to be the uppermost thought in life generally, and mine especially), but this year I'll stop short of said annual stupidity; if I found love I would not know what to do with it besides fuck it up rather deftly. As much as I would enjoy it, let us not find ourselves lost in boys and dreams and dreams of boys, unable to tell the difference the further in one gets.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm going to go with 6th December, because that was the start-date of my stint at NYFA, and t'was to be when my life would begin.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Considering I rarely do anything exceptional (and when I do do something halfway meritorious I compensate for it by being either wholly dreadful or just abysmal at everything else), this year it's a toss-up between a few things, mainly academic. It was a big deal to me, getting selected to represent my school in Paris, and it was a big deal to me getting my A on Intellectual Property since before that I didn't even want to practice law, and that meant that there's an area of law I could see myself doing that I wouldn't be terrible at, and then it was a big deal to me getting $1500 for topping one of my classes. I actually won a prize for something academic and I think my Dad especially was pretty pleased, having conditioned himself to expect nothing from my dealings with law, I guess it was a nice break from being regularly disappointed.

I don't want to be a Singaporean cliche, or worse, a law school cliche, but looking at the sheer length of this section, it's clear that in some way I'm validated by having gone to (and just about graduated) from law school. I've spent all my years at university in too much pain and boredom to give a shit about things like doing well (or rather, I'd give a small shit, but not enough to subject myself to anything further to achieve anything), and yet at the end of it it's become important to me, an inextricable part of my identity, and as such suddenly and belatedly being half-decent at some parts of law at least has recently revealed itself as being of some import.

At the same time I'm really proud of the film I did, a two-minute black and white 16mm deal without sound. I've never seriously made a film, or screened one for that matter, and to sit in class absolutely petrified as it is screened, and then to come up front to take comments and criticism like a real film-maker, I don't think there's anything as exhilarating as that. To know that you've done something that people take a view towards - I just don't have the words for how fucking amazing that feels.

9. What was your biggest failure?
As in all my relationships, goddamn I am such a Drama Queen. Though in my last relationship I was seriously outclassed in the histrionics department, I do wish that I could have been less ridiculous and more rational. Why is it I always feel like the world is ending in relationships?

Also, I'm not proud of this inarticulate cosmic funk that's been possessing me for the better part of the year. In terms of sheer length of time, I'd say this particular failure is pretty sizeable.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a small surgery, if that counts.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I can't possibly think of anything.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My parents - who suffered the aftermath of my relationship (again!), and just because this year I think I got a lot closer to them, my dad especially, and I've never explicitly said it to them before but I love them, they're my world.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
It's a toss-up between mine and Jeremy's, what a mad mess of a relationship that was, especially because in the end all that grief was founded on misunderstanding - it would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travelling - Europe on both occasions really cost me.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I'd like to say New York, but that may be laying it on a bit thick there. In truth I was flailing about madly trying to get through the term and all the administrative shit, so by the time it swung round I was too tired to be appropriately enthused. I was also really excited about Paris and the negotiation competition, but at the time I was a bit distracted by the ugliness of long-distance as that relationship fucked itself over.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Neil Young's Heart of Gold. 2010 made me feel a lot older and so much less sure, but even then I'd like to believe I still believe in things.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Sadder. This time last year I had a couple of months with the boy I loved, and while occasionally heart-breaking it was honestly all I wanted at the time.
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter. God, this is a brutal survey. Maybe I should make some resolutions after all, like to stop eating entirely.
iii. richer or poorer? I think I'm about the same - right now I'm being funded by my dad which feels marvellous, but then again that's not my wealth so.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I'd watched more movies, read more, listened to more music, or perhaps done more work so that I'd be less abysmal academically. Right now I wish I'd actually gotten around to organising my life a bit more.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Feeling languid and less than great - I tend to do that a lot nowadays.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent Christmas playing a desperate, desperate game of charades, without real food, at a film friend's house, not drinking nearly enough to feel properly festive. T'was strange, and I was inwardly (I hope I was, at least) morose.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
Is there ever a point in time that I'm not on the brink of, languidly longing for, or suffering the aftermath (or the lead-up to) being in love? I think not.

I'm nothing if not in love.

Answering this question more prosaically, I would say, on a couple of occasions, almost.

22. Did you break any hearts?
Just the one, I think.

23. How many one-night stands?
This year I seem to have really gone for a record there, though technically I've never done anything too transactional.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Dexter - it is one of my favourite TV shows of all time, and frankly I've not had too much time to watch television lately.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Um, I don't think so. A few people make me feel pretty uncomfortable, but I don't think I've been sufficiently involved to hate on someone properly.

OH WAIT I JUST REMEMBERED! There is someone after all! I hate Jared Leto - I was helping out with his crew for this pathetic excuse for a music festival, and Jesus, he's such a fucking dick. A genuinely awful person, such a bad musician, such terrible music, oh god.

26. What was the best book you read?
I don't even remember reading this year. Off the top of my head I really enjoyed John Truby's the Anatomy of Story, and Sidney Lumet's Making Movies was the last book to make me tear up a little.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Jesus, this is a tough one. Oh actually no it isn't - Neil Young, hands down. But in the event that he really belongs to the year before, as is likely to be the case, Jackson C. Frank.

28. What did you want and get?
New York. Film school. If there's anything I've wanted consistently as far back as I can remember this would be it, to be somewhere I imagine to be amazing doing something I truly want to do. It was my master plan: I subjected myself to law school for this, half my life has been leading up to this. Thus far it's everything I asked for, and so much I couldn't even begin to anticipate, or process, for that matter.

29. What did you want and not get?
I wanted some measure of certainty, I think. Something, or someone, I could return to or rely on, without having to wonder what to do in said situations or how to be a person. I wanted to be sure.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Released this year, I would have to say Kick-Ass. I went in expecting nothing, and it blew my mind - Watchmen (if it had been a good movie, but in any case, the book) meets Reservoir Dogs and Leon the Professional? I'm so fucking there. Although to be fair, Black Swan was such an intense experience that when the credits rolled I had no idea where I was or how I got there.

As for film seen this year, I would have to say Waltz With Bashir, goddamn that broke my heart. There was something visceral and unnerving about its visuals (such breath-taking animation) and the fact that it's an animated documentary(there isn't a part of it I don't love intensely) and the soundtrack - I just don't have words for this film, only I felt really terrible after once I was done crying. (Also, I've finally seen the Godfather, only just, but I've seen it twice over three days to make up for my ignorance, and it's an altogether perfect movie which I need to watch a squillion more times. So that's the other contender this year.)

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
22. I had a quiet birthday which I spent mostly missing a boy. It's not really been a great year.

32.What is one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I would have liked China to have happened, to find myself in a foreign country with a boy I fancy that I barely new - that sounded like such an adventure, I wish it had actually materialised. Failing that I would have liked just a handful of days to wake up to and be with a boy I felt comfortable around, without anything further than that.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
God, I don't care, some clothes? Um, I'm really into black and white and grey, checks and the like.

34. What kept you sane?
Sitting (or lying) in my room, on my bed, listening to music that was occasionally classical. I liked movie soundtracks and scores in particular, and the handful of composers whose names I most certainly can't spell.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Jesus, this is a funny one, if IMDB is the yardstick for what a celebrity is.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I think war has terrified me in ways that I hadn't been before - between Waltz with Bashir and another documentary I saw about pretty shitty things like the Cambodian genocide.

37. Who did you miss?
Hah, easy one here, Jeremy. Even now I still miss him a bit, he was my best friend in the world, and still is one of my closest, it's a pity we can't hang out on account of being separated by oceans, which was always our problem for starters.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I've met some truly brilliant people in my film course, and I met some wonderful people in Paris, but all in all I would have to say either Jon or Si Hao, because back in Singapore I think I talked to them most frequently of the people I've met this year, or at least it felt like there were conversations to be had. But if you ask me to pick a favourite, well, we know where this is going.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
Find something you can return to, what ever happens, how ever you feel at any point in time, that doubt can't touch or throw your identity into question.
Find something you can count on that will never let you down.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Save your breath

I don't need an answer

You don't know what you've done

When I ask you, I hold my breath

'Til I go blue, I'm waiting for your move

Save your breath

I don't need an answer

To stand up to run

All for this headline nice idea

'Til I go blue, I'm waiting for your move

Here's a signal

Here's the signal

I'm waiting for your move
The words into my ear, they sound so fine

When I ask you, I sound so fine

When I ask you, I hold my breath

There's an open door I can just go through

There's an open door I can just go through

There's an open door I can just go-
Cooking for myself is endlessly fulfilling - I'm finding myself in fridges, atop stoves, corners of supermarkets where you know, you know exactly what your heart desires, and better yet, it can, and will, be yours! Interpol and Belle and Sebastian, an arbitrary mix of what inhabits your coldest, most personal spaces, what you've had today what you didn't what you thought of for tomorrow, and suddenly

suddenly all of it makes sense, culminates in a moment, where the sheer utility of things that you take for granted from day to day is absolutely perfect, surpassed only in magnitude by you getting (eventually, post-cooking, post livejournalling breaks, post planning the rest of your life or week, or, in the alternative, kitchen dancing, as worthwhile a pursuit as any of the aforementioned) everything in the world you could possibly (currently, anyway) want


I spent Halloween as a particularly gleeful couch - it's pretty representative of the entire weekend, starting with the glee, and then the supine position and general lack of activity. Personally I think it's pretty convincing, dedicated, for starters, in that you're confining yourself to just one locale, and with a dash of effortlessness, one doesn't just pretend to be a couch, it really is a state of being, being one with what you emulate, in the spirit of the thing. Far and away the best costume I've done.

Being happy's a terrifying thing, thinking about being happy's worse - right now I'm figuring squarely in both columns, this man I'm with who has slowly become more and more of my life, he's everything he's enough, for me, for this particular moment and the ones following (and preceding), this lifetime and the next and everything in between, but I want more, I think I want him to fill in everything else, the spaces between when the days we spend together, I want more and I want it badly and I didn't know this before.
The Shower
by Charles Bukowski
(shorter version, as read in the documentary Bukowski: Born Into This)

we like to shower afterwards
(I like the water hotter than she)
and her face is always soft and peaceful
and she'll watch me first
spread the soap over my balls
lift the balls
squeeze them,
then wash the cock:
"hey, this thing is still hard!"
then get all the hair down there,-
the belly, the back, the neck, the legs,
I grin grin grin,
and then I wash her. . .

another kiss, and she gets out first,
toweling, sometimes singing while I stay in
turn the water on hotter
feeling the good times of love's miracle

Linda, you brought it to me
when you take it away
do it slowly and easily
make it as if I were dying in my sleep instead of in
my life, amen.
You know that thing, that one thing, about being in a relationship? And how it's like a standing invitation to be wholly fucked over, at any given moment, rinse and repeat until satisfied, even when everything's going well, especially when everything's going well, exquisitely well

It makes me sick, just a bit, just a little, I think I'm being played even though I know I'm not, like I wouldn't know any better even if it were the case, I'd probably blame anything anyone but the man because he couldn't possibly, not because I refuse to believe he couldn't possibly, but because I just can't envision it, that's not within my conception of the world, processing that is far beyond my capabilities

but what I experience now, it's a strange sort of wordless, indescribable void, where you think of a person but can't make out a distinct memory -- I wonder if it's because, and we talk of love, whatever the hell that's supposed to be, it's visceral and that's how you know -- maybe that's why it's recollection (and the cloud of ideas associated with a lover) leaves so much to be desired, an accurate invocation would be cruel, unbearable -- everything is left to be desired. And that's just too much -- everything -- so why shouldn't we leave who we love when left somewhere less demarcated, why sound out each fiber of what we're missing out on when there's such an excess of it

at three in the morning, my mother asked me how many times do you think you can have your heart broken in your lifetime? Five? I told her I didn't know, but I really would rather not do it again, and she said I should tell him so. I'm afraid it's too late now, for caveats and concessions, promises proclamations what difference does it make, sentiment especially throws me off, it just gives me one more thing to be taken from me for nothing, tell me is that not what love is

Jun. 3rd, 2011

BEFORE EVERYTHING IS OVER
by George Wallace

before everything is over i would like to make love to you
the same number of times as a gentleman knocking on a
door that will never open for him.
the same number of times a mirror fails to reflect the spirit
of a ruined man. the same number of times a young woman
discovers in the middle of a noisy party
that she is alone. i would like to make love to you like a man
leaning his face from the window of a passenger train to catch
one more look at the one woman he ever
truly adored, but now he must leave behind. like a circus
performer looking up at a ceiling of trapeze rings, crazy
lights and precarious high wires,
knowing he will never climb that high. like a washed up prize
fighter reaching for the canvas because it is his only friend.
like a bum reaching for a twenty dollar bill
that is blowing across a busy boulevard. o i would like to
make love to you before the passersby pass by before
the falling sun falls out of this world
and into the next, before the brown bear of winter falls
into his magnificent winter slumber. i would like to make
love to you with my forehead
pressed to your naked waist. with my platelets pulsing in
your veins. with my brain on fire and snow falling on your
hissing flames o i would like to make
love to you a hundred times with the shuddering knowledge
of you, with your frozen smile and untraceable fingertips.
you with your indecipherable dreams.
because i am doomed to live with you even when i am
without you — you with your incomplete shoulders. you
with your rainbow colored lips.
you with your empty hands. your perfumed silence, your
perfect elegance. you, with the sunlight that leaks out of
your darkness and into my world.

Like, but not quite, a revolution

Dear Everyone,

it's my birthday, I'm twenty-three, I'm in New York with my man (because when you date someone above twenty-five they automatically become men, especially when they're essentially cradlesnatchers - just think, when I was 12 he was 18, that's so illegal!), we have a barbeque going on with all his friends from school, but at least they're not talking about energy (Columbia SIPA, that's International And Public Affairs to the happily uninitiated, and believe me, I've been in waaaay too many talkshoppy wind turbine and the future of energy storage conversations to tell you, yes, happily uninitiated is the word exactly). I've had a beer and some wine and wine is my thing, that gets me happy and properly drunk-- I'm not sure what it is about New York I can't begin to talk about me, it depresses me and is everything I could possibly dream of simultaneously

And back in Singapore the shit's going down, we've just started a bit of a democracy which may account for my celebratory drinking (substantially less heavy than my non-celebratory drinking) it's awfully self-centred but I feel like it's for me, like it's a birthday present from my country, this new veneer of patriotism*, and believing in shit, and I think we've got something going as a country, and I think I've got something going as a person, between the guy waiting up for me forever as I stayed out late last night on another music video shoot, between the production I'm trying to surround myself in and the crew guys saying "She wants to be an electric, let her carry that shit", between people telling me "you're the most adorable thing I've seen in years, there should be three of you", and the boy the boy the boy I don't know what to do with but I'm twenty-three I'm pretty sure the only realisation I'm supposed to have come to is that I don't know anything at all

and then and then being on a shoot to ridiculously catchy music, and realising you know, you know what you love to do and it's all there, you know what you want to do forever, it's five in the morning and you're sitting about holding stuff or fanning a light or a smoke machine or figuring out what an octobox is

It's all here, it's my birthday, I've got a man-child who was pissed off as shit at me for coming back late, god how wifey is that I know, denied DENIED the free pass that one should get on one's birthday feeling like shit waiting for the subway foreverever down in Brooklyn you know there are days like this and it makes it I think

*The low-down is that we've had people elected, a whole fucking constituency, five members and they're intelligent, viable opposition, and that's a fucking big deal, all I want is some extent of accountability, and maybe for said government stop being so condescending, I mean we all know you can do anything you like, just stop with the bullshit rationalisation already, and I think it's gonna, I really think it's gonna

Apr. 23rd, 2011

And then I'm off again - I was back in Singapore for a snatch of weeks, and now I'm off to New York, or rather America, generally - it's a law study trip, and it would be pretty much impossible to go to America and avoid NY entirely, and then it would break my heart so there's that, though frankly speaking these days I don't know anymore, what would I know about heart-break at this juncture, especially since my basis for assessment is constantly shifting?

Where do I want to be what do I want to do who do I want to be with it's ludicrous that I'm heinously fortunate (or selfish, in the alternative, or in addition to, god knows) to have all this (in Singapore there's everything and everyone that I love, in New York there's everything I could possibly want to do with my life, and I get to shuffle somewhat between both) and yet neither of them on their own nor any combination of these seem inherently fulfilling, and it's stupid and awful to be such a frightful expenditure and then not be truly happy, what is the point then

I can't decide if I feel like I'm growing into something, with a very adult sort of uncertainty and then all this financial concern, or receding into a particularly expensive variant of pathetic adolescent angst - it's a bit of a screaming careening need to be a person, and an adequate one at that. Right I think I'm going to hop a plane and feel bad about my upper middle class, first world problems, and kind of, you know, marinate in guilt and self-loathing. Sounds like a plan!

Of course the real solution is to just wait until I touch down (oh god, how much do I love New York? As much as I love Singapore, what a fucking happy problem trying to pick one I love more) and listen to more Neil Young till then, I'm just grumpy because I've been interning since arriving in Singapore, and then packing, and now I have a fifteen hour leg of a flight to make.