Thursday comes along and I do everything else but the one thing I am supposed to do. I turn my gaze away from all the piles of blank pages and rows of pens that sit on my desk. They all look pitifully at me, as if they know something I don’t. I have been avoiding writing. I have been avoiding breathing. Sometimes it hurts to breathe. Sometimes it hurts to be alive. And I want to escape myself – to stealthily crawl out of my skin and take some time out from feeling everything and nothing. Read More
She smiled at me, her rosy cheeks instantly blooming red as the frosty morning air touched her face. Melbourne in winter can make even grown men hug themselves. She was wearing white and black crocodile shoes, a flowy gray scarf and a black winter coat. Her short black hair was cropped back, revealing a face that was unmissable. She was stunning. I was drawn to her, intrigued by the sureness of her steps and her confidence in apparel. What was she wearing? Read More
When doubt arrives at my house with his suitcases, I know trouble is brewing. He is not an easy guest to host. Sometimes I survive him by reading poetry. Lines of sentences on a page, a word here catching a word there, can be grounding to a soul steeped in never ending suppositions. Poetry gathers all the pieces of me that life strews allover the place, bringing me closer to myself in those times when the only thing I need is healing. It pulls all the parts of me together. It makes my heart start beating again and slowly I can recognise my limbs, my face, my lips, my voice. There is nothing more nourishing to my soul than words that fit. Words chiselled to hold me tight; to make magic inside of me.
I once was a girl, small and fragile. On the days we went to town, my mom would hold my hand so tightly, pulling me close, protecting me. I would sit on the bus with my curious big, brown eyes taking in everything. I would watch big people and dream about how and when I was going to be like them- a self written in the stars, bulletproof and perfect. Read More
Photo credit: Jo Chin
I thought I was doing the best thing for her.
I was wrapping my arms around her like it was all I was born to do. But she wriggled in my arms, restless and troubled.
Don’t hold me too tight all the time, she said.
I was offended. How could she say that to me? My own life resisting all the effort I went to to direct it in the path I wanted it to go. I took my arms away, determined to give up, determined to not care anymore about jobs, people, life paths, writing plans and schedules, timetables and goals. I had had it. Everything I did for my life seemed to come back empty-handed. It made no dent in the larger scheme of things. There were no earthquakes or explosions in all the purpose and intention I exhaled out into the world. This is how I saw it. So I refused to be comforted, not because I didn’t crave comfort…and assurance but because my heart shrivelled up inside of me and wanted nothing to do with all of it. And I was at a loss. Have you ever been 33 going on 34? Have you ever lived with your all yet have nothing to show for it? Read More
There was something about caressing the spines of the books that charged my heart back to life. It felt a lot like bolts of electricity travelling from the tips of my fingers, up my arm and into the parts of my being I hadn’t felt for a very long time. There was nothing strange about it. I love bookstores. I love being caved in by shelves of books upon books, worlds contained in characters and prose. I love the smell. I don’t even have to touch anything for it to hold onto me. It comes to settle on my skin simply because I’m there. Read More
Walking home in the sunshine, she dragged her feet. It was too lyrical to rush through, the sun, the moment. Her feet stuck to the ground resisting the pull of gravity. The earth beneath was bold and beautiful, demanding stillness in everything that lay atop of it. Read More
I gave Malaysia a second chance.
This time it was far away from the hustle and bustle of concrete cities. It was far away from the boring eyes of faces contorted into question marks, and the discomfort of jostling crowds. I was not in a hotel room on the 37th floor wishing for the ground to open up and swallow me alive.
This time around there was no darkness. There were no eyes soaked in tears, and no unravelling that left me cradling myself on the dirty carpet. Read More
I’m editing what looks like the final draft of my dissertation. And in the last few weeks I have sat on my couch cradling my books and my laptop all through the night to the break of dawn. Day after day. I have been missing the quiet my soul knows so well. I have been missing writing on here. Words have seemed heavy and incomplete. Read More
I was shaking in the airport lounge; legs trembling beneath my seat and fingers twitching as they curled around each other in my lap. My body went taut, as though by being rigid I was creating a force field that would ensure nothing else could penetrate to hurt the soft parts of me. My eyes filled with unbeckoned tears.
I was leaving Australia for a few days when the hostage shooting happened in Sydney. The news came to me as I fumbled with my bag ready to get onto a plane that would carry me across the sea to my best friend in Singapore. My heart was broken. From the news and my own fear that was unravelling me from the inside. Read More