Numbness

I haven’t updated the blog for almost six months. Every time I tried, I had a mental block. So much has happened, so hard to put into words. But this time, I’ll write something for real, even if it takes me the whole night.

I spent my 27th birthday with R. No, not the guy who knocked me up. Someone else. Someone I’m friends with benefits with. Not sure I’m happy with this title, but I don’t think I’m unhappy either. I’m not madly in love with him. Maybe a little attached, but it’s all pretty benign. He’s good company and a decent human being. At this stage I’ll accept what I am offered.

In the same vein, I got a job beginning of last month. Finally, after months of searching and after taking a massive pay cut. I despise this job – the management, the clients, the nature of the job itself. I am so tired of being a vet, but I need the money, and there is nothing else I’ve been trained to do. So I go to work every day, like a drone – no passion, no enthusiasm, no anything. I’ve become one of them.

People say happiness comes from within, but I’m not there yet. I’m still a product of my environment, and right now I’m cranky, I’m exhausted, I’m hopeless. I feel like zombie, on a never-ending journey, going nowhere. In a way it scares me that this will be the rest of my life, but in a way I’m also numb. All my nerve endings have been blunted. Maybe it is a protective mechanism. Too much sensitivity is bad for the soul.

I don’t know what I’m doing, but I don’t even care anymore.


PostSecret

 

Dancing saved my life, in every way imaginable.

I am a very passionate person. I feel, I empathize, I get emotionally involved. Yet I cannot express myself through verbal communication. Words have failed me, time and time again. Only through body movements can the real me be revealed. Only when I’m instrument to the music playing around me am I the most alive.

Dancing allows me to live in the moment. There is no dwelling on the past, no foreseeing the future. The present is all you have. Right this second. Dive in it. Enjoy it. Let everything else go.

That’s life.

***

He is sleeping with someone else. She’s a hottie too. I don’t know for sure, of course, but I’m 90% certain. That’s the female intuition for ya. Strangely, I’m not upset. Again, I thank God for self-love. Truth is, deep down I think I’m pretty awesome too, despite everything that has happened. And even though I whine and I bitch and I moan, perhaps a tad too often, the reality is I’m still hanging on.

I haven’t given up yet.


Job Hunting // Soul Destroying

People ask why I decided to become a vet, and I tell them it’s my calling. This is why it’s so damn frustrating to not be able to find a job in my chosen profession. I worked hard for my degree, and it’s a good degree. I passed all my exams; I did all my placements. I’ve got one year of actual working experience in a decent clinic in a developed country. In addition, I’ve volunteered; I’ve attended conferences. I have good references from superiors who know me. Unfortunately, none of these seem to matter.

Australia – the place I want to go back to the most – doesn’t want me because of the whole visa issue. I’ve lost count of how many times I got rejected because employers weren’t willing to wait three months for my work visa to come through. Hong Kong doesn’t want me because I’m not experienced enough and there’s basically no jobs for new/recent grads. I’ve tried Singapore and China – no luck with the former and still waiting to hear back from the latter. Not going to move back to the UK (too cold, lacking in sunshine, generally depressing weather) and not terribly interested in the States (where the unemployment rate for vets is allegedly pretty high) and New Zealand so haven’t tried these places yet.

I feel really stuck, like I don’t know what the fuck else I should be doing. I’m doing everything within my power and it’s still not good enough. Mum’s been bugging me and I don’t blame her – who wants to still be financially responsible for their adult child? I can’t help but think that gen-X had it easy – graduate secondary school and you were almost set for life. Work you arse off and you (and your two children) would probably be okay. Not so in this day and age, where a college education means nothing. Property prices (in HK) are so high it’d be a miracle if you could afford your own box-sized flat before the age of 35.

Maybe I expected too much in life. Like most people, I thought I was invincible in high school. I thought I could achieve anything, and of course the world was supposed to be my oyster. And then I graduated uni. And then I realised my first job sucked. The rest is history. What the hell happened?

I’m just so disappointed. Call me self-entitled, but no one told me life was going to be like this. All I was taught was that as long as I did well in school, I’d be able to get a good job and live happily ever after. A big fat fucking lie. People should have been more honest with me, then at least I’d be a little more prepared.

Tomorrow I’m starting a temp job selling candies and cookies. I hope it’s at least going to be fun, and that I’ll learn something – be it communicating with customers or making small talks to people. And I hope the pay is reasonable. I wish I could be content selling sweets for life, but for someone who is convinced they have a calling – a duty they’re meant to fulfil – this is unlikely to happen.


Tai O – Photo Blog

Tai O is a little fishing village on the western side of Lantau Island in Hong Kong. It’s a local rarity as urbanisation has miraculously not spread its claws over here and the traditional way of life is still observed.

***

Dried seafood: I don’t cook (I know I know, cooking is a life skill, I should learn, etc etc) but apparently you can use these guys in soups and stocks, rehydrate them and mix them into stir fry dishes, or incorporate them into the fillings of dumplings, wantons and egg rolls.


Dried starfish: I can’t say I’ve tasted these guys so I don’t feel qualified to comment.

Fresh water creatures / soon-to-be seafood

Freshly killed


Charcoal-grilled seafood

Cart noodle with fried fishballs, cuttlefish balls and squid

Yin and yang: Tofu pudding mixed with black sesame soup

Maltose candy: Basically a snack made up of a blob of really viscous syrup sandwiched between two biscuits. Very popular in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan about two decades ago, not so much now.

Cha Guo: It literally means “tea fruit”. The pastry is made from sticky rice and the filling can be anything you fancy. They are not very popular these days and according to mum almost no one knows how to make these anymore.

View of the river: It’s hardly Venice but it has its charm.

Stilt houses: You can see them on the opposite bank.

Cheese-grilled seafood: Very greasy but oh-so-yummy


Macau-style snacks: “Fung wong” rolls, almond cakes, etc

Deep fried street food: Fish balls, squid, you name it

Seashell crafts

Seashell wind chimes

People standing in line for the famous charcoal-grilled egg waffle


Pouring egg mixture into a special waffle iron


Heating the whole thing above a lump of charcoal

Here’s the finished product


And finally, a photo showing toys from my mother’s generation


Lessons. Cliche. Common Sense

For someone as rootless as I am, the first thing I had to learn was to never get attached. Not to a person, not to a place. Nostalgia has no place in the life of a wanderlust.

It’s been a few years, but I’m slowly getting there. Yes, I still hurt. Heart still breaks. Tears still flow. Yet the emotions are less intense each time. I move on fast, forgetting the past, leaving the pain behind. I’ve had a fair bit of practice, which, as we all know, makes perfect.

People say to love like you have never been hurt before. I think it’s stupid, for I’m a great believer in self-preservation. Protect yourself; love yourself. Dampen the feelings, but don’t block them out. It’s art.

I’m grateful for my exes. Through pain I progressed – I’m the type who has to learn the hard way. D – not exactly an ex, but a guy who never reciprocated my love. Or maybe it wasn’t love, but I was convinced it was. I wanted him – wanted him to want me. Wanted to live happily ever after with him. I was naive, with no practical experience. Three wasted years, ignoring signs that he was uninterested, letting him string me along. I was his emotional tampon. I listened to him whine, bitch, moan. In the end, he didn’t even respect me as a person, as a friend. My heart shattered for the first time, loud and clear. A sharp, excruciating pain followed. This was when I realised I had to love myself first and foremost, because if I didn’t nobody would.

Then there was P. Physically speaking, he wasn’t my type. He was tall and slanky and most of all he was two whole years younger than me. I never thought I could fall for someone like this, but I did. Was it love this time round? To be honest I’m not sure anymore. It was a very passionate but short-lived affair. Controlled by hormones and blinded by lust, it’s no exaggeration when I say we fucked like rabbits. Day and night. Twice a day. Kissing, making out, thrusting, spooning. Him going hard, me going wet. Him on top, me on top. Doesn’t matter. Maybe it was the sex, the phremones, or the fact that I was now with someone whom I’d never thought I’d end up with. I genuinely saw him as “the one”. I told myself that one way or another we’d be together, somehow. So when he moved away after two months, I stupidly decided to go on a long distance relationship with him. Given that we were both terrible at communication, it inevitably ended in disaster. When he broke up with me four months later he said it was because he didn’t want to settle down just yet, and that he didn’t want to drag me along with him. In hindsight of course it was a fucking lie, but at the time I was devastated. I also thought maybe if I moved to the same city as him, we’d have a chance. So I did – perhaps not purely because of him, but he was a big factor. It was then that I discovered he’d already found someone else – he called her his soulmate – just two months after we’d broken up. I can’t prove it now but I suspect they’d started way before we were officially over. It killed me that while I was pining for him during the time we were apart, he was intimate with someone else. I instantly felt a knife slicing through my chest. I was inadequate, not good enough. I was never good enough.

P and that girl – her name is C – are still together as far as I know. I’m obviously completely over P now, as I met T shortly after P. You can read the full story here. Anyway, a bit about C. She is a professional make-up artist – voluptuous, Caucasian, everything I’m not. She looks a fair bit older than him, although I can never tell as she has an inch-thick layer of foundation on every time I see her (all three of us do Latin dancing, so I saw them quite often when I was in Brisbane). That’s not important, though. For some reason she looks to me to be the motherly type, which I think is exactly what he needs. I think she is probably better suited to dealing with him than I am. I hold no grudges against her. In fact, I wish them the best, truly. I’ve learned to forgive, and to know that relationships are fluid and ever-changing. I’m not angry he met someone else; I’m pissed off because he lied to me. After all that time, I believe I deserve some fucking honesty.

After P came T. And the unwanted pregnancy. And the abortion. Such memory, so distant yet so close. I’m finally able to see sex as what it is, that although it can be an expression of love it’s definitely not love itself. Total common sense, but it takes practice to fully grasp the concept. I’m no longer hung up on finding Mr Right, because nothing lasts and expecting things to is what brings disappointment. I’ve stopped trusting my gut – a transient connection doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything. I miss T – I’ll admit it. When I close my eyes I see him still. Smell his after shave, feel his touch, taste his tongue. I think about the first time we slept together, the second time, the time when we did it on the couch… I’m working on getting over him, but I’ve had no closure so it’s hard. At least this time I – we – ended things on a high note. No one had unrealistic expectations – no one tried to drag it on. I hope he is well. I hope he finds someone better than myself.

If you love someone, let them go. Let them find their happiness. Yes, I think I’m definitely getting there.


Close To Breaking

Ever since I graduated from uni, life has been one disappointment after another. Currently, there are so many things on my mind I don’t know where to start. Plagued by intertwining issues that seem to have no real solutions, I feel incredibly trapped. While everyone around me is moving on with their lives, I’m going nowhere. I am on a never-ending hiatus. I don’t know what the future holds.

I guess I’m warming to Hong Kong. Instead of resisting, I’m going with the flow. This place isn’t half as bad as I thought, I suppose. Yes, it’s grossly overpopulated. Yes, there is an extreme lack of space. Yes, people can be rude and impatient and selfish. But it has its charms too: efficiency, convenience, a vibrant Latin dance scene. I’ve found some very good instructors to help me improve in various things: zouk dancing, hip hop dancing, horse riding. I feel like I’m making definite progress in these areas. At least in terms of self-improvement, I am fairly content.

I still want to go back to Brisbane, though, because that’s where T resides. I hate to admit it, but I miss him terribly. I want to see him, talk to him, hug him. I need to know that he doesn’t dislike me because of the horrible stuff that has already happened. I want to make sure he’s happy – whether with me or with someone else. He is a good guy and he deserves that much. At least I’ve learned something from my past experiences. Letting go is truly an art form. I am finally perfecting it.

Even if it’s not for T, I’d still like to go back to Australia. For some reason I have a stronger sense of belonging over there than I do here, even though I’m gradually adapting to the Hong Kong’s way of life. Plus, my cat – my baby – is still in Darwin, spending his days in a boarding cattery. The question, now,  is how to get back. Finding an employer to sponsor me is proving to be a problem. Upon hearing that my work visa will take at least eight weeks to come through, everyone drops me like a hot potato – no matter how qualified they think I am .

On this end of the world, the job market sucks, for lack of a better term. I doubt I’ll find anything decent anytime soon. With unemployment comes a severe lack of cash flow. I hate asking my mother for money. It’s humiliating. At my age it really should be the other way around. I see everything Mum has done for us – me and my sister – her little family – and I feel nothing but shame. I’m not contributing to the household financially. I’m incapable of doing anything to help. I’m a total failure.

Sometimes I wonder how someone like me – a college-educated, professional female in her 20’s – ended up where I am. Jobless, living at home, with no prospect for either a marriage or a career. Depressed. Once the golden child, I’m now barely existing. I’ve been doing some reading lately about the soul. According to one theory, souls exist on Earth for one purpose only – to learn and to grow. Now I really don’t know what I’m supposed to be learning whilst in this funk – and most importantly how the fuck I can get out of this. I am close to my breaking point and if something doesn’t give fairly soon – if I can’t see the silver lining behind the cloud – I fear I’ll do something drastic in an attempt to end it all.


Grief

Abortion was only supposed to happen to other people. I was never meant to get knocked up at this stage of my life. I said I didn’t feel guilt, and that was the truth. I know on a logical, intellectual level that I’d made the right decision for myself. But I’m hurting. I’m grieving.  From time to time the question still pops up: what if I’d kept it?

His sister can’t have kids. She and her husband have done the whole IVF thing with no success. I did seriously consider carrying the baby to term and adopting it to her. She even said she would fly me to Australia and pay for my medical care. I had a few good reasons to say yes: I’d be giving her the gift of a child; I could escape Hong Kong, albeit only temporarily; I’d get to experience pregnancy, a topic I’d always been fascinated about. I ultimately decided against it, however. My excuses were plenty: I could not handle the constant fatigue, nausea, and bloatedness; I was (and still am) abusing laxative which couldn’t have been good for the foetus; my baby would probably have depression, eating disorders and a bunch of other mental health issues; and most importantly, given how horrible the world is, and how many kids are already in the system needing loving forever homes, I cannot justify adding to the problem.

But I can’t lie to myself. A part of me wants it – wants the whole thing to work out like it should. Wants to settle down and come home to the same guy every day. Wants to have it all – career, family, kids. Wants to raise them to be useful members of society. Wants to have something to love, to call my own. Wants the perfect life. I’m greedy, and greed is a sin.

I am angry, mostly at myself. For being such a failure, such a burden. I also have a lot of displaced anger. If my mum was rich, she would be able to help me with a new baby. If the ex had wanted to be in this together with me, we would have made it work. I see pictures of babies, of happy parents; I hear of people talking about what a joy their children are. I’m jealous. These people are so lucky and they don’t even realise it. To have the privilege to be parents, to be able to afford kids. Maybe I could have done it, the hormonal side of me thinks. Now I’ll never find out.

I think back on the boys I’ve dated, gotten attached and opened my heart to. Boys who have passed me over for someone else – someone better, perhaps. D is getting married – Facebook said so; he never told me in person. P is now with a professional makeup artist / belly dancer – apparently she is his soulmate. As for T? God knows what he’s been up to. All the wrong people, all the frogs I’ve had to kiss. I feel so unlovable, so disposable. Replaceable. What if I disappeared? Was found dead? Would they cry for me?

I hate to admit it, but I am one of those people who need a boyfriend to be happy. One hundred percent content. It doesn’t matter I have amazing friends, that I have family who love me. I want – need – to know that I can be enough for someone, that I am his world. I want to love and be loved – romantically. Completely. Wholeheartedly.

“That, I think, is the greatest tragedy of love, that those who love and long to be loved are not always loved in return, that the warm love that fills a human heart is sometimes left to curdle and dry up or turn bitter and sour for lack of anyone to give it to, or else it is lavished in vain upon someone who does not want or even deserve it.”
-Emily Purdy, in Mary and Elizabeth-


The Abortion

I’m not the type of girl guys move mountains for. I’m the kind they flirt with. Fuck. Have a fling with. Casual. No strings attached. No commitment. Easy.

In the end I went for an abortion. I was the only one who was on her own. No husband. No partner. Just me against the world. What did I expect? Actions have consequences. You wanna have fun with a guy you’ve known for a few weeks without proper protection, who happens to be very good in bed? Well, this is what you get. Responsibility for your own stupidity.

To be fair, he never asked to be a father, and I a mother. He has a heart condition – pretty serious from what I can gather – and he takes life one day at a time. Settling down and being committed to someone are not parts of his plan. I get that, and I don’t blame him for it. I have no resentment towards him whatsoever.

Anyway, back to the abortion itself. I had a suction curettage under local anaesthetic – the only option offered by the clinic I went to. First the doctor did a pelvic exam to feel for the uterus, noting its size. Then two Misoprostol tablets were placed in the vagina, to dilate the cervix. After that I was sent back to bed to wait for the pills to work.

The next few hours were agony. I quickly developed a fever which sent chills down my spine. I was shaking uncontrollably; my joints hurt. I drifted in and out of sleep. Then I started having contractions – a dull sort of pain (a five out of ten)  accompanied by A LOT of discomfort. Because of where the uterus is my pelvic nerves were hyperstimulated, and I had the sensation that I had to poop – constantly. If it was just pain I would have been able to cope better. I can only imagine how much worse labour would be.

After what felt like ages the nurses came to check on us once again. I was given a pethidine injection in the butt and almost immediately I was zoned out. It was similar to being quite tipsy. Then I was wheeled into the theatre. I’m extremely short-sighted so I couldn’t see the inside of the room very well, and for this I’m thankful. I was helped onto the bed and asked to spread open my legs. Something rather large was inserted into me – a cannula, my rational mind told me. What followed was – what should I call it – not pain but again a huge amount of discomfort that made me gasp. I was hyperventilating and I couldn’t help it. They told me to relax but how could I? Fortunately the suction ended – eventually. I was cleaned up and wheeled back to my bed.

I was instructed to massage my belly – to help the uterus contract, they said. I did and half an hour later, I was better. The pain/discomfort finally came to a halt. It wasn’t over, however. They took me back to the doctor who did a trans-vaginal ultrasound on me. She said the material they’d gotten out was a little less than what they’d expect of an eight-week-old foetus. My uterus appeared clean – so the possibilities were: a) it was indeed a small foetus – perhaps due to my coffee consumption; b) I got my dates wrong – which is pretty much impossible; or c) I have an ectopic pregnancy. Of course they should have done a scan before to make sure it was an intra-uterine pregnancy, but too late now. They are pretty sure it’s a, but they’re sending me to an ultrasonographer anyway to make sure there’s no embryo elsewhere in my body.

By discharge time, however, I was feeling a lot better than I had been for the past few weeks. My transformation was rapid. My boobs were no longer sore, my appetite was back and the nausea was gone. I could also sense my energy coming back to me. The discomfort I had suffered in the previous hours seemed minor now and totally worth it.

I am so thankful for my friends, who have made no judgement no matter their own pro-life/pro-choice stance. For my mum, who despite being shell-shocked in the beginning and her own position on the matter came to accept that I’d made the best decision for myself. For the availability of legal abortions, without which I’d be sentenced to a life of single mootherhood and resentment towards my unwanted child.

My short stint at pregnancy has proven that I cannot be a mother and a person at the same time. I’m simply not designed to do the job. I have no maternal instincts towards human babies, and I feel no guilt for terminating an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy. (Or killing my baby, if that’s what you want to call it – although to me it really wasn’t a baby, and it really is better to be dead than to live a life of misery and very limited opportunities.)


Two Blue Lines

I’m pregnant.

It feels surreal to say it out loud. Most of me is still in denial, probably because I have no symptoms – although technically the absence of a period is a pretty obvious sign.

I’ve always envisioned getting pregnant by accident, because I cannot justify having a child on purpose, given how awful and overpopulated the world is. But I’ve also always imagined that if and when I do get pregnant, I’ll have a supportive partner by my side, cheering me on every step of the way. The reality, now, is that I’m carrying the baby of an ex I’d been seeing for a grand total of two months, and who is now thousands of miles away with no hope of us reuniting in the near future. Added to the mess that is unemployment and the humiliation of having to move back home, this cannot have come at a worse time.

The father doesn’t want anything to do with it. Maybe he isn’t such a nice guy after all. I’m not going to lie, I’m disappointed. In myself for not being vigilant with birth control. In him for not stepping up to his responsibility. I think back on the past 10 months – how did I get to where I am? All the mistakes I’ve made. Stupidity. Am I too easy? Am I just the girl guys want to have fun with, and nothing else? Out of sight, out of mind. They all run at the first hint of trouble. Maybe it’s not them, it’s me, for I am the common denominator.

He wants me to have an abortion. (His exact words: “My preference is that you don’t have a baby, however at the end of the day it’s your choice.”) I know logically, rationally, non-hormonally speaking, this is my best bet. I think bringing a life into the mortal world under the circumstances would be doing it a disservice. At the same time, a part of me wants to experience pregnancy. Find out how the clump of cells will turn out. Give it a chance. Maybe we’ll be fine. Maybe it’ll be my saving grace. All sort of selfish reasons. I want to hold on to the very last thread of our dying relationship. I want to have him with me – through our child.

I don’t know what to do. Or should I say I do, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I am so torn.


The Nice Guy, The F* Buddy

“I’m not GI Jane, I’m attachment Barbie.”
-Teddy, Grey’s Anatomy-

***

It started off pretty harmless. We were hanging out at his place when out of the blue he leaned in to kiss me. On the lips. At the same time his hand wandered down to my thigh. I hadn’t planned on doing anything with him that night, but oh it felt so good. His touches sent shivers down my spine. It was like I was with my ex again. So I let him feel me up and down, and one thing led to another. I called it rebound sex at the time. I was convinced I wouldn’t get attached, because a) I wasn’t turned on by his physical appaerance in the slightest (he is too tall, he has a beard, he looks older than he is), and b) I couldn’t imagine ever getting over my ex – the boy I was supposed to marry, the boy with whom I was meant to be.

How very wrong was I.

The next day came, and I thought nothing of it. “See, I’m fine. I can do this,” I told myself firmly. “We’re going to be f* buddies at most.” The following Sunday, we made plans to go horse riding together. Long story short, I fell off (I was tired and out of practice) and passed out as soon as I’d hit the ground. He ended up taking me to the emergency room and holding my hands throughout the whole ordeal. For the next three days I stayed with him under doctor’s recommendation. He fed me and looked after me, even though he was down with a cold himself and wasn’t feeling his best.

From this point on, everything changed.

We continued to spend every weekend together. The more I got to know him, the more I adored him. He was mature, responsible and reliable. He cooked, he cleaned, he picked me up in his ute, he paid for everything when we went out. And the sex – it was incredible. Mind-blowing. Way better than anything I’d experienced.

History was repeating itself right in front of my eyes, yet I was too blind to acknowledge it. Like with the ex, he and I got physical before we had a chance to know each other properly. Like with the ex, I wasn’t attracted to him to start with. And like with the ex, I got way too attached than I’d intended. As thoughts of the ex turned into thoughts of him, I knew I was screwed. “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” I believe it now.

I wanted so badly for a miracle to happen, for God to be on my side. Had I been able to get a job in the city, I would be able to stay, and he and I would live happily ever after. Something like that. But no, that didn’t happen. My visa ran out, and I had to go home. Leaving him was the hardest part, although I didn’t let it show.

“It was really fun having you around in the last two months. Keep in touch.” Those were his words. Then one last kiss, and that was that. So casual. So nonchalant. “Thank you for everything.” These were mine, equally cold and distant. No, I’m not that hurt, was the message I was trying to convey. I’ve done this before. It’s not a big deal.

After he’d left, I went and bought myself a glass of red wine at the bar. I let my tears flow. I pretended each drop was a part of him, and through my eyes he departed from my soul. There was no point hanging on. It would only bring hurt. Better to end the story on a high note, to leave a good memory.

“What’s meant to be will always find its way.” I’m still praying he’ll come back to me, although if he doesn’t I’d wish him the best. He deserves someone really really amazing.