I realise I miss being alone – It has been more than two years since I had full control over my life and all the little mundane tasks: cleaning the house, doing laundry, washing my hair, cooking – actually contributed to a strange sense of zen that I realise I have abandoned since coming back. Things in my room are in disarray, I have been fumbling through things, passively knocking back on the bus. But I’ve been cycling to the station every day now and tonight I went to the supermarket after work, came home, cooked, sorted out some things, thought about life and things. It’s been a good weekend of re-discovering this again.
Old draft of my life that I found – when was this written? 2014, when I was all alone in London? 2013, when I was trying to make it in York? I have no idea but I want to keep this here, for posterity:
And then once in a a blue moon a day like this comes along, a day when you wake up in a cold room and frost shimmering out of your room and you feel as if you have been transposed into somebody’s else’s life. You lie in bed, your back to the wall, and remember. All you want to do, is listen to the slow lull of Chinese tunes and dance across HDB rooftops in the light of the setting dusk. All you want to do, is banter with the auntie in broken English at the coffee shop and feel the sultry heat melting beads of sweat off your back. You are brushing your make-up on, pulling your best clothes on, trying to be a strong cosmopolitan woman in this strange new world.
“It was a time that I felt really creative, because I thought through everything during my long periods of solitude. It was like being in a beautiful isolation tank, and I got to be alone with my own thoughts. It was a perfect setting for writing, though at that time I didn’t know that. I should have cherished it more.
During the weekends, I would travel to Seoul, and I would just sleep over in the saunas—the jjimjilbang as the locals call them—at night, because they are cheap, around eight dollars per ticket, and they don’t care how long you spend there.
When I wake up in the morning, I would go watch a movie, and by Sunday night I would take a bus back to Jeonju again. I was exploring a lot of Seoul by myself, and although I did make some friends and they were showing me around a little, most of it was by myself.”
“how we end up as women, without really knowing what got us here, and how society affects the way people treat us and the way we treat ourselves”
I like the way charmaine poh captures adolescence, society and womanhood in this stumbling wonder of a sentence. a nice piece on female photographers here – http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/lifestyle/arts/life-from-different-angles
friendship is like a warm bowl of affirmation – I realised how much these people who speak kind words to me matter, how important for me it is to be seen. I collect these words like tiny beads, cupping them into the folds of my memory. thank you to you and you and you and you. my time here has not been wasted at all.
last night I was thinking about those SYF days, how far we have all come since school, a conversation with WT I had online after so many years of not speaking. I went to bed with a fuzzy feeling feeling calm and mindful, and at ease. It’s been quite a long time since I felt so comforted.
Was meaning to start on my book review tonight but got side-tracked when I began doing research on the author and other texts that she had wrote.
I find that the themes that I have been interested in of late can be distilled down into these broad strokes – sexuality, coming of age, trauma, women and childhood. There is so much about these issues that have yet to be articulated.
This interview I found particularly illuminating: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/im-where-you-are-an-interview-with-heather-oneill/. I’m relieved now because it looks like I have a (fairly) stable April ahead and I’m hoping that over this weekend I can get some of my writing work outside of regular jobs sorted out.
Was in Siem Reap and Battambang over the last few days. I miss the disordered buzz of south east asia, the sense of being buffeted along in the thrum of city life – good or bad. There were all these people we met that I remember: a cheeky tour guide who told us he wasn’t going to speak about politics but later on levelled criticisms against his country’s rulers, Michael the sailor and his loving wife from the countryside in Newcastle who had visited Singapore in 1966 and went back again a few years later, an NYC man called Doug from MIT who told us he was going to run for political office, the small naughty Cambodian girl on our boat, Annelise our host who spoke about how her mentality and outlook on life changed after she moved to Cambodia. I love being on the road and taking in all these things, good or bad – they remind me that life in this world is so much larger than the confines of our everyday existence. I want to try harder at life again.
A quote from Heather O’Neill on writing, and being an outsider –
I think you need to have been a bit of an outsider. Being an outsider as a child, you try to make sense of the world. Why am I not fitting in, what do I need to change about myself to fit in? And immediately you start figuring out and deconstructing human behavior in ways that turn you into a writer and artist. If you’re happy and adjusted, you just exist in that world and accept it. You need some level of disconnect, and then the drive to change the dialogue and narrative of the world.