The glorious and triumphant return of now-19 year old Blogger, the revival of a once-grand and dare I say influential webspace that produced daily content, and the crippling anxiety of a young woman who no longer has any time or motivation to write, and feels like any ability she had acquired in the past through repetition and sheer will alone is now slowly slipping out of her grasp. Brief history of the Blog and Blogger can be found here.

Here be personal journal entries, observations, slices of life, questions and conclusions, as well as exploration of social and political topics seen through the lens of a Malaysian Muslim, feminist, lesbian, Marxist, and horse enthusiast.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

You Gotta Pay Your Dues Before You Pay The Rent

Foreword: More anger, a realization that's been a long time coming, and the deepest desire to live the quietest of lives. A song by Pavement that makes me want to sink into the ground and live a badgermole's life.

Week 5

Jackie Lehmann

We all have these notions that we're going to be waking up tomorrow - and I must insist, tomorrow! - and suddenly everything will fall into place and we'll have just the most productive day ever! On Sunday night, I had such notions that Monday was going to be the beginning of a new life, a new cycle, a new incarnation and one that was going to be bigger and brighter and insert all of those cliche songs about tomorrow being a new day! We were excited for Monday, genuine, actual excitement that soon fell to shit because life is like that. My mother told me to print the letter that would officially get me out of that wretched school, handing me the pendrive and hanging around suspiciously behind me, telling me not to change a thing on the document, as if I had a secret desire to return to school or something. She was hiding something and I soon found out what it was. She was hovering over my shoulder as I tried to figure the printer out (it was set to the completely wrong settings and I was at a lost as to how to fix it) and I kept telling her to let me handle this because I didn't want her to watch as I make mistake after mistake, a girl's going to develop a complex that way. When she was gone, I discovered that there were two pages on the document and the first letter was written to some high-ranking official in the Ministry of Health, a plea to transfer my sister to a hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

She had recently been accepted to one of the big hospitals in JB and she was all set to move in with Kirsten and at first I was confused at how little my parents seem to care after the initial disappointment. It was like they had caved in. But I guess that was all for show. Two-facing my sister into believing that she was on safe ground while all the while they had planned this all along. I mean, I sound so paranoid writing it all down like this because of course I understand. Like I said in my previous post, last week's post, I do not see myself being as stupid as her in the future. I am capable of loving a guy, I know as much, and I am capable of seeing my future with a guy, so I am not going to go around troubling everyone else and creating problems for myself more than anyone by, well, straying from the path. It is undeniably stupid, to succumb to something like this. I am such a hypocrite. I can't believe it. This is the most hypocritical thing I've ever admitted myself to committing. Stupid, stupid cognitive dissonance.

I could very well be devoting my entire future towards this cause. This is something I feel strongly about. I am willing to face the dishonor and humiliation of out and proudly supporting LGBTQ* rights. But for me myself? And for someone so close to me as my own sister? I just don't see how any of this could work itself out in her mind. I don't think she's thought that far anyways, and I know for sure she doesn't suspect of not completely supporting her a hundred percent. I don't. I can't. Because I have been raised to sacrifice myself and others for a cause I believe strongly in. I sacrificed myself and my parents in order to be something else outside of the school environment, in the very dim and dumb hope that maybe I will wake up a better person one day. I'll sacrifice my honor for this cause in the future, and I'll sacrifice my own desires in order to be the person my parents want me to be, because at the very least I can give them that. This is, for lack of better words, ridiculous.

I lied and told my mother that I had not read the first letter (if she were computer literate, she would know that that would be literally impossible because the font type is not at all small enough to be unreadable) but a few nights later, curiosity got the better of me and I handed her a wrongly-printed version of the letter. She had a talk with me that night, with my Dad there saying nothing and displaying no emotions other than fatigue. My mother thinks that Kirsten is trying to convert my sister and I don't really care if that's true or not, you know, by all means, do whatever it is you need to do to find spiritual satisfaction in this life. I know so little of her that I can't form proper conclusions just yet, it wouldn't be fair, and she seems on the outside to be awfully nice. My mother thinks that every time Kirsten interacts with her, she (Kirsten) acts guilty and shifty and my mother nailed that down to her being a crazy Christian converter. I'm thinking it's more along the lines of 'sorry I'm dating your daughter' kind of guilt, but I have no way of looking into her heart, really. If she really is that sneaky and conniving, the shiftiness and guiltiness really would manifest itself as well, I guess. All through the 'talk', I kept asking my mother (and later on, my Dad) why they think Kirsten's gotten so close to my sister and they don't know. They just... don't know. I mean, them dating was one of the first few things that popped into my mind when my mother started getting suspicious. I read too much gay porn, but even if there wasn't the constant influence of that in my life, it would still be on the list of plausible and possible reasons why my sister's shacking up with a 'crazy Christian converter'.

That did not all happen on Monday, of course, but this week was the week that I started officially studying. My schedule's flexible and easy on the hours and the breaks are as rewarding as they are appropriate in length. I've filled every extra second I had around the house lounging around watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and this weekend, The Legend of Korra. But like I said in the foreword, this week wasn't about delving headfirst into a new and intensely addictive fandom, it's about after all that was said and done, how I feel at the end of the day.

Sitting in my bed alone, I couldn't help but finally think it all through. Nisa has been slightly distant lately (only slightly) and I am not making assumptions as much as I am trying to understand and build upon what she had said a few Sundays back. I think she's just as scared as I am that things between us won't last, that we'll dissolve and disintegrate into a once every other month type of friendship like Raihan or a completely virtual one like Afreena (not possible since I don't have Twitter or Facebook and have since stopped resorting to Skype to interact with people because I am too much of a coward to see Maze online, and also too much of a coward to just get rid of him). I was having this out-of-body-experience of sorts, where I finally admitted to myself, hey, I totally don't have friends anymore. Not like I used to anyways. Because when I was at school, I was free to pretend and create a persona of myself to present to other people, a persona that may or may not have been real and probably was just entirely a figment of my imagination. But at home, now that I have severed all ties to that school, I can't pretend anymore. I can't pretend that the people I have recess with are my friends because they aren't. I can't pretend that I am happy in my place in class because I am not there anymore. I have stripped myself of all the armor I've built out of lies and dreams and all that's left inside is pure, raw loneliness. And it was liberating to tell myself that, but it made me realize that rock bottom? Already there. Nowhere to go but up is really the only silver lining.


It's a humbling thought. And it's led to realize that this is literally it. I made my choice when I left that school, I've signed an agreement in blood that I am ready to accept this life, that this is me for now, at least until I go to college and develop different aspects of myself that might or might not attract different types of 'friends'. You see, guys? You see? You wanted me to be humbled? To feel some sort of humility? This is it. This is the type of humility that you've wanted me to realize all along, whether you admitted it to yourself or not. That you all don't like me and find me a nuisance that much that all this time, all you wanted was for me to realize that at the end of the day, when the discord dies down to an eerie sort of calm, I am alone. I am alone because I don't deserve anything else. This is not at all me trying to be emo, I am a hundred percent as realistic as it gets.

It's the first of my many pangs of regret. I don't exactly regret leaving, and hearing stories about their school life just makes me feel a strange sense of disconnect with no associations to any type of emotions whatever. I just regret that this is me, this person who's so unlikable, apparently, and I am so used to that, really, I have grounded myself in it and sort of reveled in it sometimes that I just don't care for a change. I just realize now.

That loose lips sink ships. All of the things I've written to Pri. The things I called Maze during our fights. My sister sharing her secret with me. Hanna giving me a piece of her mind, even if she couldn't do it in a way that was more dominant than her innate submissive nature. What Elyna wrote about me. Words wield power to hurt, to destroy, to force someone to begin their life anew. All these years I've denied this, I've acted like words were just words and those who were too weak to face them and too weak to overcome them don't deserve anything that comes their way. And just like it was the biggest slap to the face last year, when I had tried to be this impossible pillar of honesty, and my sister just said it, she just said six words spanning a thousand meanings, and my life was forever changed. This year, it was more like a command, an owner to his dog, 'Sit'. Sit, because you've been wrong all this time. Sit, because now it's finally come back to bite you in the ass. Sit, because everything in life is nothing but a boomerang. Sit, because you know now and what are you going to do with that knowledge?

I have gathered collection of quotes that makes me want to jump out my window (it's only a two-storey house, don't worry).

"Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way." 
- Janet Fitch

"Don’t promise me of staying forever
promise me that our separation would be a mutual decision,
Leaving is a whole other life, you don’t have the right to choose it by your own."

“I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin. 

And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin. 

I love movies about “The Big Moment” – the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn’t what it looked like in the movies. 

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat.

The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearl. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies. 

But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.”
- Shauna Niequist

On Tuesday, I went to Paradigm with Nisa to watch Madagascar 3 with Damia, Khairina and Mas. We arrived something like quarter of an hour late because Nisa forgot to ask permission from her parents. I mean, I don't want to blame her or anything, but that is honestly what happened. Damia, who had watched the movie before, was the one laughing loudest of all of us. Sadly she had to leave with Khairina before the movie ended. Mas lived nearby so she had planned to walk home. Nisa was seriously scared for her, just like she was scared of riding a cab with three other people, because she was afraid that she'd get raped. Realistic fear, but unrealistic given the fact that there were three other people in the cab ('gang rape!' she argued, and nobody argued back because they were too busy laughing). She has no problems travelling the LRT alone, though. The movie was fun and better than I expected.

Mas, Nisa and I walked around to find stuff for Violet's birthday present. I got her a lot of cutesy stationery and stuffed it all in a mug. Mas got her some clips and put it in a cookie box with pictures. I didn't ask pictures of what, though. Nisa and I had an early dinner after Mas left. I spent a shit load of money that day but I didn't regret buying anything. On Thursday or Friday, I can't remember, I went to Nisa's house and helped her burn the ends of some of the YE bracelets (every time I come there, I am a labor worker - every friendship has its price, I guess). She had to write a letter to be shortlisted for PRS President and Treasurer so I helped her with that (and by that, I meant, I wrote about a quarter of it, maybe half). I also helped Nurin. At nearly-nine o'clock at night, she asked me if I would help Lana with hers. Hell, no. I mean, sure, I talk to Nisa a lot, and I try to text Khairina as much as I can, but as for the rest, I can't say good things. I've never even seen Zaza since that Monday I came to school. I would love to come to school more, but since everyone thinks I'm crazy anyways, there's not much of a point, is there?

Weekly reminder that I hate the discipline teachers: "flying kite". Kayna resigned from the Prefectorial Board. She showed me her letter the night before she did it, not to get some grammar help or anything, I think she just wanted suport and my overall opinion of it. She’s thought so much about it that at one point it was all I remember talking to her about, trying to convince her that she should stay, which in hindsight I really don’t know whether that was the right thing for me to do or not because she questioned me without support when I dropped out. 

When she handed in her letter of resignation, the discipline teachers were awful to her. They said a lot of mean things to her, things I didn't even know teachers could say to students. I don’t even know whether they even want her to stay or whether they think that vitriol is really a good incentive for her to stay in the board. She has more friends outside of prefects, she seems like she would be happier if she weren’t a prefect and her mother supports her a hundred percent so I don’t understand what the teachers’ problem is. 

When I told them I was leaving, they practically begged me to stay and told me how much potential I had and that i was special (which only solidified my decision to leave - because i never wanted to be special, I just wanted to be normal) and piled on all these things that were personal but seemed like good enough tricks to get me to stay. I was just so angry. Khairina did more work in the prefect board than I ever did. Don’t the teachers appreciate her at all? And they said they’ll need twenty-four hours to think about letting her go and which part of ANY of this is their decision? If she wants to quit, she gets the right to do so. It's unconstitutional! 

On Saturday, I went out to watch Brave alone. I've been seeking out more and more things to do alone out of the house lately. I guess I'm just ready. Not to completely separate and sever my ties with my parents, but just to try to make it out on my own with their support. I know I don't have their complete support because they will never understand me as a person (another point against being a parent) but what I have is enough. I want things to be moving right now and they just aren't. I'm still intrinsically tied to the people of that school in a way that I absolutely do not want to be. I saw Jing Kai after the movie, ghosting around the mall. It was a shock to see her, mostly because I had forgotten about everything until then. I had forgotten about everything I had left behind until I saw her then. It's ridiculous to think that I left school because of a person, because I am so stubborn in convincing myself that I am independent, through and through, and that I make decisions based on what I think is right. But as much as this is a sacrifice to my parents, it's a sacrifice to me, too. I don't think anyone's actually happy in this situation, except for maybe Nisa, who's admitted that she's just been surprisingly happy lately and when I told her it was probably because I was gone, she didn't say anything to dispute it. But then again, it's Nisa. God knows what's in her head. Speaking of independence, Brave was all right. I guess for a Disney movie it was adequate but I had hyped the whole thing in my head because I keep seeing sexist movie critics making sexist movie criticisms, so I was all prepared to go in the theater, love the crap out of the movie, and log on the computer to continue defending the movie and Merida to my dying breath. Not that fun, though, it turns out, because it forcefully reminded me of the saddest thing on television other than The Fox and the Hound, which is Brother Bear, and also because for all that she is a Scottish posterchild for feminism and freedom and Girls Can Have Adventures, Too!, she barely left her backyard and the resolution was just... patching up the tapestry and covering her mother in it. I could've done that! (Except I can't sew but let's not get into this argument.)

That night, I went to Violet's. I'll admit I was kind of shaking at first because these are people I have literally abandoned and it was probably all going to be a bad idea, but when I arrived, Mas was already there and it wasn't as awkward as it could be. (Always the optimist.) Xueh Wei was already there, too. Her party outfits are my favorite ever. The first game of the night was us having to answer some personal questions about Violet and it was 'what's her weight at birth' and 'what's her length at birth' and I was like, what the fuck? Do friends know these kinds of things about each other? I don't even know these things about myself. So I was kind of stuck with that 'what the fuck' face on until they asked 'when did Violet stop using the pacifier?' and people were firing off answers left and right and I figured I probably wouldn't be heard, anyways, so I just said that Violet never used the pacifier and I was shocked to discover that that was the answer. I kind of broke after that and sort of enjoyed the party. I was over-excited for the dots-assassin-like game, in which I regretfully mauled Elyza before the game even started (I am so sorry!). I think I made up for it the next game, when Elyza successfully managed to lift me up with one foot and we barely made it out of that game alive. Khairina came sometime during all that madness.


She told me that there was a new member of the Fix You gang now. It's Nadiah. Now let me tell you about the Fix You gang and let me tell you about Nadiah. When it first started out, I had no clue what the fuck we were doing. I barely grasped the concept behind the group because there was none. We were a gang based on a song and we weren't a tribute band or an appreciation group, we just were. The Fix You gang. And I didn't realize it until Khairina wrote it on her blog, but yeah, some days, it was the only reason I could get up in the morning and go to school, because it was the only point of my day that made me genuinely happy, hanging out with them. Khairina is a nice person, so much nicer than other people make her out to be, and Zaza's never treated me as anything less than human, which is how a lot of people treat other people, myself included, and even so, I've never been on the wrong end of Zaza's treatment. Nisa's Nisa and she can make me laugh and all of that put together equals to a judgment-free zone (other than Nisa) in which I can freely express my thoughts and feelings and be gay and revel in friendship and happiness and pure unadulterated stupidity because I have no fucking clue what a club revolved around a song is even supposed to do.

Hanna told me that she didn't want to be a Nadiah and when I asked her what she meant, she said that she didn't want to always be questioning herself on whether or not she wanted to be friends with me. That's another reason what Elyna wrote really struck a nerve in me, because she doesn't know what the relationship between Nadiah and I is like. We haven't been the same since last year and it's a fool who tries to deny that. Her parents don't like me. She doesn't like me some days and she's refrained from saying that she hates me because she's such a kind, gentle creature, but to be honest, come on. She represents everything that was right in my life becoming wrong because she was the first of my friends to outright admit (not to my face, not surprisingly) that she couldn't handle me and she didn't want to handle me. Having someone who represents that, having someone who has since stopped trying to care or trying to try to care about me, in the Fix You gang, in an environment that the four of us have cultivated together and one that I have deemed as my safe-place, the only reason I even considered going back to school, the only thing I would cry buckets of to leave behind, just feels wrong.

Sunday, I went with Syaz to a flower expo thing in Putrajaya. I almost typed Maze in there. It's very different being with Syaz. I mean, rightfully I knew things were going to be different, but it's hard to ignore how pressing those fundamental differences are. That didn't make sense. It's just, hanging out with him leaves me with a lot more hope for the future, maybe because I don't see a dead end every time I think about said future. I think about a space that's open for me to color in myself and a life that has me making the choices instead of fate or destiny making it for me. Rest assured, though, I am not an outdoors person, and it wast he worst experience ever. It was hot, there were people, and I felt like withering. We went to the Botanical Gardens after to cycle. We ended up switching bikes halfway through because mine was too high. We survived half an hour out of three possible hours we could have spent cycling around that lake, but it's safe to assume that neither of us are outdoors people at all, and that I would rather sit at home and introduce my boyfriend to The Legend of Korra, which is what I did when we got back to his house.
"When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change."
In other news, I am obsessed with ATLA and LoK now. Yip yip.

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