What’s a mum

I feel like a real mum, juggling work and a new puppy and waking up early for Dylan’s packed breakfast and lunch to Nami’s morning kibbles to potty training and packing Nami’s puppy kit to bring to the office to booking an appointment with the vet and taking Nami around in a carrier to coming home and cleaning and making dinner and doing laundry, to bringing Nami to the backyard to make sure he goes potty and waiting for Dylan to come home from the office so he can look after Nami while I do some work that I didn’t get done during the afternoon because I was looking after Little Nami.

What a busy week it’s been but every moment has been worth it.

Onto the next milestone

When my boyfriend and I moved in together during the early days of dating, it felt like a pretty normal and expected progression of our relationship. Maybe a little too early but since we were both renting, it meant more savings financially, so it was a no-brainer.

When my boyfriend sold his motorbike to get a car so he can bring me to places easily, I felt like, hey we’re really taking this relationship seriously. I didn’t technically buy the car, but it felt like my car too.

When we decided we’re getting a dog to raise together, it felt like we’ve stepped up our serious-couple game. If we’re playing puppy-mum and puppy-dad, it feels like we’re starting to build our family. We must really be in for the long-term.

And you know what? I’m fcking excited. And that’s probably an understatement.

First win for 2021

I’ve been feeling quite down the past few weeks because I’m dancing two steps forward and one step back with eczema. It would seem like my skin is healing…and then it isn’t. I’ve grown very desperate, and so far I’ve tried:

  • Raw honey / manuka honey on my skin
  • Tea tree oil
  • Vitamin D supplements
  • Probiotic supplements
  • Hayfever tablets
  • Not wearing pants (I’m always at the cusp of healing when I’m working from home, then everything is aggravated after a day of wearing pants)

Are they working? I’m not sure.

What I haven’t tried:

  • Less work. In fact, I always find myself getting new responsibilities on a regular basis, I’m on a solid self-denial that I am constantly feeling imposter syndrome.
  • Less stress. I was crying almost every evening the week before Christmas. Some nights I can’t sleep. I felt a similar tipping point sometime in January, which thankfully didn’t last long.

With the way things are going, I am not winning my battle with eczema. I’m stuck on a stalemate, and that’s not the happy news I wanted to write about.

Things have a bright side, as cliche as that sounds. Because if I don’t believe in bright sides, I don’t think I’ll convince myself I have the grit to endure. Ever since I’ve tried to emulate Secretary Kim, it’s been ever so slightly easier and more habitual to take on every thing Life tries to fling at me. (And with an idol like Secretary Kim, I aspire to handle every thing with finesse.)

No, my first win for 2021 is not my battle against eczema. It is my 4-day work week!

I’ve always been secretly envious of my colleagues (past and present) who work only 4 days. It’s been a while but ever since I received docked pay due to COVID-19, I’ve always wanted to negotiate for a 4-day work week. Now that I’ve reached a milestone at work, I finally achieved it!!! (My colleague says once you experience it, there is no going back.)

I don’t know yet how this will change how I live, but I know for sure it’s a big, good thing.

A New Normal

I don’t think there’s any going back to what the world was before COVID. 2020 has forced people to move, forced some to stay, forced people to make decisions and hurled others into unexpected problems or setbacks. It forced people to adapt and change, or risk being left behind.

More than a week into 2021, I’m trying to get into my new ‘normal’:

  1. Cooking at home and learning new recipes
  2. Going on road trips and exploring new places
  3. Doing ‘some’ outdoor activities
  4. Buying physical books (!!!)
  5. Forcing myself to write down the conversations I keep in my head

I’ve spent most of 2020 trying to survive and cope. But I need to start growing again.

Footnotes:

  1. It was a long journey for me before I felt comfortable cooking, but lockdown and work stress turned cooking into a destressor and something to look forward to. I could barely cook when I started dating my current boyfriend, but look where we are now ;)
  2. We are overcompensating from a hard Victoria lockdown.
  3. Trips with a primary ‘eating’ itinerary was less than ideal for the weight, hence we are slowly trying hiking.
  4. I can finally imagine myself settling down here, so I greenlit myself to start building a collection of physical books again.
  5. My friend did a tarot reading for me recently, and I was advised to get a hobby.

After the rain, earth hardens

There’s a number of things that I feel I should write down. The last two weeks felt like tall waves crashing onto the shore — natural, even expected, forceful and a little strong. I’ve left my first job in Melbourne to start another journey of self-worth. I’ve ended a relationship of 8 years. I’m relearning what it means to trust and rely on someone.

The earth continues to rotate, space continues to expand, and life goes on. This time I don’t have to carry the disappointments and unmet needs that built up over eight years. I’ve let go of the expectations and missed opportunities of the last eight months. I’ve been exploring what it means to not be alone in the last eight days.

Maybe some of the things weren’t what I expected. It took a long time for me to accept breaking up was the best decision for myself. Work goodbyes felt lonesome, but some people I didn’t imagine were supportive and I received words that touched me and made me believe I’ve done my best. I never would’ve guessed I’d hear, “I’ll take care of you”, from someone when I’ve been well enough on my own. Those moments felt poignant, but also sincere and heartfelt. Maybe I should trust myself a little more. I’ve already gone a long way, after all.

A weekend of firsts

I haven’t looked forward to something in such a long time. The ball of anxiety festering at the pit of my stomach had been unfurling the past few days. If someone at work were to ask what I did during the weekend, I can finally say something besides laundry and grocery shopping.

I’m easing in, slow and steady.

Moments of impulse

Fuck, I can’t remember some bits from last night.

That’s my wake-up thought this morning after getting home from a night of drinking.

Well, shit.

I should scold myself more for my lapses of judgment. I mean, I’m not a college student anymore seeking short-lived highs and thrills.

It’s like I’m asking for it because something’s wrong with me and I like the loss of control. I close my eyes and ears and put on this whatever persona. Have fun now, think later.

But adulting means I should know better. Overcome the convenience afforded by stupidity.

It’s been an awful week. I believe I was totally asking for that opportunity to get drunk. I reverted to my college self the moment I’m in a house-drinking party (or, who am I kidding. The moment I’ve decided to go for it for an evening).

I can be introspective now but I still won’t recover memories my brain failed to save last night.

Well, no shit.

A scattering of motivations

I think I’ve holed myself up in a corner of disappointment and self-loathing over my writing. I’ve been staring at writing prompts and whenever I do, my brain freezes into a black hole of blankness. I imagine characters with no plots, and I’ve been writing short, bland pieces that’s never interesting enough to comment on. I just feel like I’m just really incredibly awful at writing fiction and I’m trying to make up for it by reading shoujo manga heroines that point me towards optimism and mental litanies of “I will work harder”, “never give up”, and “I will do my best”.

So rather than not writing at all, I’ve crawled back into this online blog of mine to ramble about my lack of progress, an absence of passion (since I’m not trying harder), and maybe a great deal of procrastination. What I’ve done most of, these past two weeks, was consumption.

To be honest, I haven’t actually read so much manga (and shoujo at that) in possibly the past three or four years as I have been these past couple of days. I’ve been reading on the train, in the toilet, during lunch breaks. I feel like I’ve forgotten what life felt like in high school and college and somehow believed I’d get some pointers from manga aimed at young girls. While most of them were a far cry from the complexities of characters in science fiction YA novels, there were girls that I identified with even at (gasp) this late age of almost-thirty. There were even a few gems that made me laugh, and stories with plots that kept me glued until two in the morning. Then I’d get up at seven, go to work, and force myself to bring myself down to my offline avatar persona.

Somewhere along the way I thought it’ll inspire me to write something, or figure out what I want to write exactly, but it hasn’t been the case. I mean, if anything I should probably continue to sit down and force myself to type anything even if the words don’t end up spinning any kind of story.

I’ve been thinking a little about this and also, why am I doing this again exactly? I need a short story written by March if I’m to remind myself of this quarter’s Key Result for Writing. For no other reason than a small desire to become a Light Novel author (maybe more like wishful thinking or imagination on my part. A shallow reflection of an alternate-universe me who took up writing as a career). It’s not really clear to me what this is for at the end of the day. Like, how would this ever benefit me or my career or my personal growth, I don’t know. Maybe I’m still hoping I’d eventually connect with someone through writing communities for as long as I keep trying. That one day I’d finally write something that would trigger any kind of response from a stranger. I don’t think I’m ever writing for the sake of telling a story, but rather I’m always looking to elicit a reaction, a reply, from somebody.

Most days though, it’s just silence and more silence much like this blog is bereft of conversation.

to desire everything and nothing at once and to desire it all the time

I pulled those lines from the poem Want, by Carrie Fountain.

To desire everything and nothing at once

I’ve managed to work an extra 36 hours in the past two weeks. My spirit is tired. Waking up at seven, leaving the office at five, then back in front of my monitor in my room-turned-office at eight. Watching a slice-of-life Chinese drama (Story of Ming Lan) and reading shoujo manga in between and I’ve managed to fill the vacant seconds with things — to do, to pay attention to. It’s dangerous, sometimes, to be in a tea party with only me and myself.

But there are still minutes, like the walk from the house to the station or the bus stop to the house, where I’m left alone with my thoughts. Without work or stories to distract from the memories that prod the scabs on my heart — it’s exactly like my skin eczema — I’m always subconsciously scratching on the thoughts of people, of something I don’t have.

In those free moments, I’ve been imagining my characters and their stories. I’ve picked up writing early in January and I’ve been playing out imaginary conversations, hypothetical situations, and non-existent relationships. Sometimes, they are what-could-have-been’s. While reading manga, I conjure scenes of friendships that endured. They are nice, and those moments make me wistful.

To desire everything

It’s not like the past hurts — those small wounds have scabbed over, after all. I just accidentally pick on my skin. I’ve been resigned, for a while now, of people that have come and gone. I’m not thinking things could be different for myself. I wake up every day, live another day. Life is like that.

I wonder if this is something I’ll bury with me when I die.

and nothing

The past is past, but today I thought, I must truly have been such a rotten person for two friends I kept close to reject me like that. I must have been disliked a lot.

at once and to desire it

Nowadays I’m not close enough with anyone to feel rejected, or betrayed. No shared moments, or special memories. Everything is as expected. Everything is okay.

all the time