Thursday, August 24, 2017

Familia

This entry took me about 2 weeks to complete, and sat in my draft folder for another 2 weeks.

TL;DR: I grew up in a dysfunctional family and was subjected to emotional/psychological abuse.

~9800 words ahead.

I've wanted to write about this for the longest time ever, but I've never managed to. Mainly because I know my mother—a small town woman whose mental well-being depends highly, if not entirely, on people's opinions of her and our family, to the point it's as if she lets words of others dictate her life, even though she hates them so much—will be devastated if the skeleton in our closet comes to the townsfolk's knowledge, after she has tried so hard for so long to not let anyone look through the curtains. Another reason is that, I have no idea how much details I am going to have to include to paint the whole picture, or whether I am capable of accurately portraying the actual situation, without downplaying or exaggerating any aspect. Oh well. I am going to try.

Two days ago, I got done writing up the blog post about my trip to New York with my in-laws last year. When I reached the part about meeting up with Anna, I wanted to go into how much she meant to me and how we became close in the beginning, but I didn't. Realized I couldn't. That blog had quite a readership among the townsfolk I went to school with, and I never mentioned anything negative about my family on that blog. Of course I am aware that whoever still reads that blog might know the existence of this blog and might come across this post eventually, so there's a chance people will run their big mouths and there's a chance those words will make their way to hurt my family. Probably not much difference to be writing about it here, I don't know, I just feel inhibited to bring it up there.

Anyway, back to Anna— apart from her being in the circle of East European slash Middle Eastern friends my ex was hanging out with, Anna and I initially bonded over our similar backgrounds.

We're both from broken families.

Perhaps "dysfunctional" is more accurate to describe mine, since my parents still aren't divorced, just estranged. In a way they have been like that for a very long time, but it wasn't always the case. Before I left home, around one third of the time they were in good terms, and they seemed to be really in love when they were okay with each other. Those times weren't consecutive, but rather, sandwiched between small and big fights which were usually followed by not talking to each other for days, sometimes weeks.

The atmosphere in our household was rarely warm and loving— rarely, but not never, so I did get a taste of how a normal, healthy family should be. Sometimes I don't know if it's a good thing having those good times, because they left me yearning for more as a kid and as a teenager, and it was torture because most of the time, all I got was disappointment. If I never had those good times with them, it'd also be easier on me today to cut them out. Hate on them. Or just don't give a damn. As opposed loving them, having hopes, being disappointed over and over again, forcing myself to grow numb and indifferent to avoid feeling those heartaches. I don't know.

I don't know which hurts less.

What they fight about, you ask? Everything and anything. They were high school sweethearts, but they had so many irreconcilable differences they really shouldn't have stayed together.

First of all, there was this history of feud between the two families. I'm still not entirely sure of the root cause, but I was given the impression that it was due to religion— my mom was, still is a church-going Christian. So were/are her mother and her elder sister. My grandpa was agnostic until he was converted on his deathbed, when I was 10. In short, my mother's side of the family were not superstitious, ancestor-worshiping Taoists like my father's side. I was told that when they were dating, my paternal grandmother would cuss at my maternal grandmother (referred to as 'grandma' onward) on the street.

My parents got married anyway. Mom gave birth to me when she was 24. A month after I was born, my paternal grandfather passed away. That was, according to mom, the first crack in their marriage, as dad started to develop this blind filial piety. He became aggressively protective of his widow mother. He would attend to her every whining and tantrum, and would do anything to fulfill her unreasonable, sometimes mean-spirited demands. My paternal grandmother's hatred towards mom also could've been rekindled following my paternal grandfather's passing; likely something to do with my grandfather's death happening soon after my birth, and that mom and I didn't attend his funeral. Well, Taoist Chinese funerals involve a lot of burning, joss-sticks, joss-papers and whatnot, as well as loud noises from chanting and traditional instruments. Mom was still in post-birth "confinement", and I was an infant with severe asthma. I had no recollection, but was told I had an episode so bad they had to send me to a hospital 3 hours away from home one time when I was still a baby. I don't think that episode happened before the funeral, but either way, a noisy Taoist funeral full of smoke isn't really the best place an infant should be brought to.

Regardless, my early childhood was a happy one. My parents and I lived in a rented wooden house that was rotting away, infested by termites, mice, cockroaches. The front part of our house was a shop loft, where aunt and mom ran a pharmacy slash convenience store, selling traditional Chinese medicine, over-the-counter drugs, snacks, stationery and essentials. My aunt would play with me when there was no customers in the shop. My maternal grandparents lived two blocks away. Mom would put me in a stroller and bring me to my their place for lunch and dinner everyday. My grandma cooks meals for the family up till today. Dad would also drop by during lunch break and after work, and we would have meals together around a table. Mom would pack lunch and dinner for aunt, as aunt had to look after the shop and couldn't join us. At 9PM they would close shop, and my aunt would go back to sleep at my grandparents' place. Mom and dad would bring me to a nearby hawker place for supper. They would always order noodles, and she would bring scissors to cut the noodles for toddler me. Sometimes we would had supper at home, mom would cook Magee or instant vermicelli. On weekends they would bring me to shopping malls or the playground.

Whenever I caused trouble, they disciplined me by spanking or caning me— probably not worth making a note of, since it's a common tactic employed by all other typical Asian families. But there were times I got caned all over my arms and legs for things I didn't even know I wasn't supposed to do. I assumed, in my childlike naivety, that they were just really angry and that I deserved the punishment I got. Like one time when I was two, I poked straws into boxed soy milk our shop was selling and ruined a pack of 6 because no one would want to buy an already open drink. I thought I was helping out because that's what people did after they bought the drinks? That led to some badly bruised cane marks on my legs from mom, which she later applied Zum-Bak on. One time after taking a beating, I told them I no longer wanted to be their child. It was 11PM, dad opened the door and told me to get out if I really meant what I said. They wasn't expecting it, but little 3-year-old me really ran off, the fastest I could, towards the 4-lane main road in front of my house where cars were passing by. Dad managed to stop me before I attempted to cross the road, and I got another beating.

Funny how I can have vivid memories of things that happened at such a young age eh.

But yeah, despite the occasional beatings, I was a happy kid. To me, "family" included my parents, my maternal grandparents and my aunt. We would do many one-day trips Melaka every year, and I always looked forward to my birthday. My first birthday celebration was when I was three. Grandpa got me a cake, my parents ordered KFC set meal take-out, each of them prepared a gift for me, and photographs would be taken on Fuji films. It became a tradition. For many years, they were everything to me. After I was taught how to pray, every night before I went to sleep, I would pray that we stay together forever.

They were my whole world.

The first drama in the family I could recall when I was 5. My father was a carpenter working for an employer at the time, and was offered a job at Kuala Lumpur— at least 4 hours drive from home. A job offer in the capital was a big deal, but mom was strongly against it. We couldn't afford moving to KL with dad, and she didn't want me to grow up only seeing my father on weekends. My paternal grandmother was pissed, so one day she stormed to my grandma's house while we were there for lunch. She bawled out at mom, said that mom obstructed dad's bright future and many other demeaning things despite grandpa and grandma's presence. Dad tried to comfort his enraged mother; mom was sitting across the table in tears.

Needless to say, mom was upset that dad didn't defend her, and the rest of the family was pissed about the humiliation mom was put through. Disgruntlement built up and led to a screaming match between my parents days later. I was so scared I curled up in a corner and covered my ears. It ended with dad telling me goodbye: he walked up to me and told me that I would no longer have a father, that I wouldn't see him again, and walked out on us.

I burst into tears. Mom was crying too. She held me tight in her arms.

Dad didn't really leave us, but I believe that was when my fear of abandonment started taking roots, which later was reinforced repeatedly with the same stunt over the years— sometimes by dad, sometimes by mom, telling me in all seriousness that they were going to disappear from my life, that I should blame the other party for how things had escalated.

They never really left, things would cool down and they would make up. But those words never leave me. I still carry the emotional scars those words have left on me.

Some time when I was in first grade, after being asked several times over the years whether I wanted a little brother or sister, I told my mom on the car ride to school that I was ready to become a big sister. A couple months later, my mom was pregnant with my brother. After Donut was born, they stopped giving me attention like before. Donut was sick a lot, mom no longer had the time to cater to my emotional needs. She started to become a tiger mom with me, and military style parenting started to take over. I was expected to behave myself, win competitions and get highest score of all subjects in exams.

During mid-year school break in second grade, I was brought to participate in weekly coloring contest held in shopping malls. Winners got to bring home gift baskets. Whenever I didn't get into top three, even if I got a consolation prize, my parents would be mad at me. I would get scolded and shamed everyday, until I won something in the next contest. I was held to the same high expectation for my academic performance. I still remember the day I got 92% for my Chinese test. When school was dismissed, mom fetched me at the staircase of my school building and asked if I got any exam paper back. I told her my score. 92% was the lowest score I had gotten then. Mom immediately sat me down at the school canteen, examined the exam paper and started berating me, calling me worthless and stupid for making those careless little mistakes, telling me how much of an embarrassment I was. Students were walking by us towards the main entrance, some snickered, but she didn't stop, nor lowered her voice. I tried my hardest not to shed a tear in front of all the other kids. You see, I was the class leader and ranked #1 for academic results in my year. I had too much pride and didn't want to show emotional weakness while still inside the school compound.

In the first two years of primary school, I got beaten up a lot by some classmates for being a telltale— but reporting things to the teachers was exactly my duty as a class leader. One time my head was grabbed and violently banged on the door; another time I was kicked in the stomach after being knocked down onto the ground. For some reason I didn't report to the teachers nor tell my parents about it, but dad noticed the bruises and found out eventually, then intervened by having phone conversations with parents of the bullies. Physical bullying had stopped then, but verbal bullying, covert bullying and alienation from peers continued to haunt me for the next 10 years.

As a family, we did alright most of the time those few years. Once in a while there would be issues related to my paternal side of the family, but nothing too damaging. In fact, we were doing so much better financially. Grandpa finally had enough savings to buy a house we could call our own. He was looking at a few places, brought me along and let me have the final say. He purchased the one I picked. It was a 3-story shop-house. The first floor would be our little shop, my grandparents and my aunt would live in the second floor, my parents and I would live in the third floor. Despite having to adjust to no longer being the only child, despite having to perform well and be the perfect star kid they wanted me to be, life was good.

After I finished second grade, renovation of our new house was completed and we moved in. A year later, the wooden house we used to live in burned down in a fire that started due to electrical malfunction. An old neighbor informed us about the fire and we went back to watch fire engulfed the whole block of shop-houses. I wasn't too sentimental about it. I was happy that my whole family now lived under the same roof in a nicer, bigger house. Little did I know, another long-dragged drama quickly ensued. My paternal grandmother hated the fact that her son moved in with his wife's parents. She didn't want relative to say that dad was incapable or leeching off my grandpa, so she started spreading lies— saying that my father paid for the house, that my maternal grandparents were leeching off her son, that she should be the one moving in with us, not them. Mom was infuriated and demanded that dad straighten out the facts, but he didn't comply.

Not long after we moved in, they decided it's time for dad to start his own business of making customized furniture sets. I think it was an occasion dad was talking to some friends about his new business, he mentioned that his mother chipped in a few hundreds, but didn't disclose that a huge part of the fund to get a work space, buy machines and such came from my mother's side. Predictably, it led to another prolonged fight.

Sad isn't it, most of their fights were about these petty townsfolk disputes that needn't, shouldn't be initiated in the first place, that could have been nipped in the bud had they not succumbed to their small-minded, hot-headed, bad-tempered nature. As if it wasn't enough to have those quarrels just once, they had to keep a list of old conflicts to be brought up and magnified over and over again whenever they fought about something new.

The only wise, civilized person in my family who knew that rumors end with sage was my grandpa. He didn't engage in, or feed to all those ongoing ridiculous chaos, and although his indifference didn't cast a positive influence on the rest of them, at times he was able to restore some order when things got out of hand. They feared and respected him, not just because he was the head of the household, but also because he was a well-read, knowledgeable, and self-made man of integrity. Grandpa told me stories everyday— folklore, mythology, ancient Chinese history, new scientific advancement, fun facts and trivia. He helped shape my inquisitive mind in the early years, and his collection of classics helped develop my taste in literature as I grow older. One thing done right in my upbringing was that I was never denied access to books or channels to cultivate my talents, even though we were not rich. My parents sent me to art classes since I was 5, Chinese calligraphy class when I was 9; grandpa installed a home-karaoke system for me to practice singing when I was 8.

Unfortunately, when I was 10, grandpa was diagnosed with terminal-stage cancer. At first he didn't want any treatment because he'd rather left his savings behind so that my brother and I could afford better tertiary education in the future. But we persuaded grandpa to take a chance, and he agreed to it with the hope of living long enough to visit my brother at kindergarten— when I was in kindergarten, he used to visit me everyday during recess until I found it embarrassing and told him to stop. Grandpa didn't want to be hospitalized, so he'd come home after sessions of radiation- and chemo- therapy, and a local doctor would put him on IV drips. The side effects put grandpa in agonizing pain, and soon the cancer metastasized so aggressively to the point continuing treatment was pointless. He passed away after a few months of suffering, exactly 5 days after my birthday that year.

Grandpa had been getting me a birthday cake every year for 7 years straight, even the shop owner remembered him. His passing marked the year I stopped celebrating my birthday, all the way until I was 23. That was also the year I experienced grief for the first time in my life, overwhelmed by shock and sorrow upon realization of human mortality. Witnessing firsthand how brutally sickness stripped grandpa off his dignity and sanity towards the end of his life left a massive impact. For months I had this paranoia of losing another loved one, whenever I saw one of my family members asleep, I would instinctively look for signs of them still breathing. No one taught me the proper way to mourn; I wasn't even sure if I was allowed to mourn, as I was supposed to believe in the existence of heaven as my Christian faith claimed.

Life went on and before I was done mourning, I already moved on.

After my grandpa's passing, dad found out that he had chronic Hepatitis B infectionNow that I've gone into the biomedical sciences track and got to know more about the disease, my guess is that my paternal mother had it and passed it to him, he had it his whole life but wasn't diagnosed earlier. Which could explain why blood test result showed that mom already had the antibody: she had been exposed to the virus long ago. However, at the time the diagnosis was made, the lack of medical knowledge created a havoc in our family. At first they suspected him of contracting the disease via extramarital sex; after dad broke down in tears several times begging them to believe his innocence, they shifted the accusation towards his mother and coworker, still putting the blame on him for contracting the disease and exposing our family to the risk of catching the same infection.

Before we could receive vaccination, we had to do blood test to check if anyone in the family already caught it, or had the antibody and didn't need the vaccine. My brother was only 2 at the time and was petrified. When it was his turn, he wouldn't stop crying and went into a hysteria, so we didn't insist on having his blood test done on that day. I held his hand and led him to the hallway to look at the aquarium, not noticing that dad followed us out. Seconds later I heard a loud smack, so loud the other patients waiting at the hallways were shocked by it and suddenly went silent, then Donut cried his lungs out. I instinctively shielded Donut and yelled at dad in disbelief: He is only two, have you gone mad??? Beat me instead! Beat me! Beat me now! Don't you dare lay another hand on him! Beat me! If you need to beat someone be it me! Beat me! BEAT ME! —I was shaking and in tears. HE WASN'T BEHAVING! Dad's raised voice filled the entire hallway, his bloodshot eyes glaring at me with rage. I stared back at him fiercely with my fists clenched so tightly: I will never forgive you for this. 

Dad looked like he wanted to say something. but he turned around and left.

When grandma and aunt found us, I was sitting on the floor with my arms around Donut, both of us sobbing. I remember myself mumbling to them: I am never going to forget this. Never.

Dad never apologized for this; or did he? If he did, I don't remember.

But he had always apologized— he would come into my room after I fell asleep or when I was about to, and explain why it was necessary to scold/beat/punish me, assure me that they still loved me and ask me to promise not to hold grudges against them. Mom was never pleased when he did that, she thought of it as dad playing the good cop, i.e. making her the bad cop. She also thought of it as showing weakness, which contradicted with the ultimate authority she was trying to impose upon me. He never showed the same affection with Donut, which the rest of my family repeatedly pointed out as we were growing up: Your father only loves you! Fucking spoil you! When was he ever a father to your brother? When was he ever nice to your brother? He doesn't love your brother! He treats us like shit and you take his side. Did you see how he treats us? We are strict with you for your own good, but you see us as demon and him a saint. He knows how to get your heart and turn you against us. Bla bla bla bla bla.

I think Donut was convinced that he was less loved. Truth be told, I am not sure either whether dad really did love him less, or that the noticeable differential treatment was due to our genders, as in how dads tend to show more affection with daughters than with sons. But I remember those days when dad would take both of us out on his motorbike after dinner. Dad would go around the swamp near my house and try to spot the group of monkeys inhabiting the swamp at the time. They weren't always spotted on the same tree, sometimes they hid deep in the swamp and were not visible from the roadside, so spotting a tree full of monkeys on top was like winning a prize.

Maybe I remember the good times so vividly because scarcity made them stood out that much from all those mundane days that just blurred together. Other than having to listen to their never-ending petty fights, I felt imprisoned. I was expected to spend all my time on my studies. I was never allowed to go out with my peers. I never went to anyone's house or attend anyone's birthday parties. After a while, I didn't even bother asking for permission to go anymore. The only times I got to spend away from my family were at school and tuition classes. Even phone calls from my peers got intercepted and half of the time I wasn't even allowed to talk to them. My parents would tell them that I wasn't home and hung up. Watching TV was only allowed during meals. The only escape I had was my non-academic books.

Soon, my paternal grandmother's health started to plummet. Her kidneys failed due to diabetes, and she needed dialysis three times a week. Dad was the one who sent her to and back from the hospital. Mom wasn't happy about it and thought that the duty of taking care of my paternal grandmother should be shared with dad's 5 other living siblings (dad has 7 siblings, two deceased - one drowned as a kid, another was a drug addict and overdosed). Of course dad wouldn't bulge.

I remember the night when we got the news from dad that my paternal grandmother had just passed away. I was 13. That night when dad received the phone call from his sister, he thought it'd be another false alarm and didn't immediately rush over. When he arrived at their old house, she already passed. He was weeping in the phone, blaming himself for not being able to see her one last time before her last breath. We were told to go over for this tradition of addressing her by what she was to us for one last time before they moved her corpse into the coffin. I remember the car ride over because there wasn't any bit of gloom, but rather, a delightful sense of relief loosely suppressed by funeral decorum. At one point, the realization of what this could mean to us as a family kicked in and I couldn't hold it back anymore: "It's finally over. I'm so glad. No more dramas." 

"Yeah. Finally." aunt smiled. Mom was smiling too.

I thought to myself, this is so bizarre and fucked up. How inappropriate to be smiling! How improper to feel amused by how improper we were behaving! I was so happy I started humming and making jokes. The rest of the car ride was filled a sense of triumph: we made it through. All these years. All these fights. We fucking made it through. It would be smooth sailing onward. What else are they going to fight about? The evil woman is dead!

"Grandmother." I addressed the corpse on the floor with faked solemnity, then went to hang out in the living room.

Mom stood at the door, trying to gather all her strength to utter the word 'mother'. She looked at my paternal grandmother's corpse for a good 10 minutes, then she gave up.

"I really tried. I looked at her face and I tried forcing it out of my throat. I couldn't."

As I had hoped for, for a few years there weren't any major issues between my parents; only typical squabbles now and then. But the tension between my parents and I worsened and peaked during those few years. I barely said 10 sentences to them every day, except when we argued. When I was in Form 2 (8th grade), my overall results no longer ranked #1 in my year. Mom didn't take it well after I ranked #1 for 7 straight years. For the next couple of years, she would fly into a rage whenever she found me doing something else instead of studying, and whenever I didn't score the highest in my year for any subject (which happened most of the time since then). She had slapped me on multiple occasions when I talked back. Sometimes she'd grab whatever nearby and hit me. I was criticized, called names, humiliated, intimated and given ultimatums almost every day. She had called me "more worthless than mud" and all other derogatory phrases she could think of.

"You owe it to me. Had I not been strict with you, you wouldn't even be in top 10. You are a disgrace, you know that? You made me lose face."

In hindsight, it did occur to me that I was being mentally abused, but I wanted to believe that it was normal and inescapable. Insults, put-downs, shouting, threats and sarcasm seemed to be a regular gig in the days and months of my adolescent years. The abuse crept into my life effortlessly and I subconsciously learned to survive through the horrific dysfunction of my family. We would have great normal days, but then someone or something would cause a trigger reaction where there would be arguing, threats, and intimidation, then denial, and blaming. There was never an apology, but there was always a guaranteed silent treatment that followed and lasted for days. Sometimes when the emotional pain was too much to cope, I would inflict physical pain on myself as a distraction. At times, even the subtlest snide comment could hurt me as much as the louder and more obviously denigrating statements. I made many attempts to alert mom to how her words and mannerisms made me feel. Sadly, she was intolerant of any opinions that differed from her own and blamed me incessantly, accusing me of provoking her or telling me that I deserved it. She shunned my explanations and what I might say in my own defense. She would count all the sacrifices she had made for me to make me feel indebted to her. She told me to feel grateful that I never had to endure physical violence (which in her definition, "real" beatings that resulted in visible bruises and scars all over). I tried telling her that emotional abuse is more insidious than other abuses, and just as damaging. However, she was deeply entrenched in denial over her own abusive behavior. The other 3 adults in my family were of no help. They were oblivious to how much the constant belittlement and invalidation scar me. They allowed mom's inherently detrimental parenting style to go on, sometimes even encouraged it, convinced that it was the best way to push me to strive harder. Eventually, I gave up my ability to be combative in argument, because I'd rather wait it out than to trigger another emotional outburst.

Dad secretly bought me a mobile phone when I was 14. It didn't stay a secret for even a day, as my aunt stumbled upon me using my new phone when she sneaked upstairs to check on me. Mom confiscated the phone. Fights. More fights. I walked out when they were too busy fighting. I walked around the neighborhood in a rainstorm for 3 hours, and eventually had to go back at midnight because I didn't have any money with me. They were out separately looking for me when I got home. Grandma had me call and inform them that I was home. Dad was crying when he picked up. He told me bad things could've happened to me and asked me to promise not to wander off like this ever again.

Mom was unfazed. "I knew she would come home eventually. She needs us for food and shelter."

I used to write in a diary my aunt gave me. Came with a tiny lock. I was puzzled why mom and aunt seemingly knew about all my crushes and would constantly shame me about it I was in 5th and 6th grade. When I finished 6th grade, dad confessed to me that he read my diary and asked for my forgiveness, then went on to lecture me about how it's too early to have any relationship and such. It then dawned on me that mom and aunt had also been peeking into my diary for years. I stopped keeping a diary. I still secretly exchanged letters with some friends, but I never talked about crushes and whatnot anymore. One time dad discovered a letter I wrote, in which I mentioned that once I gain financial independence, I will move away and never go back. He questioned me about it and told me how heartbroken it was to him. I told him I didn't mean it to get the topic over with, but I didn't change my mind. Whenever mom demeaned me for my academic performance, I even proclaimed to her that I would get a scholarship to go overseas and never go back.

Truth be told, the times I wanted to leave were immeasurable. I wonder if they ever recall those episodes, because I did exactly what I said— I moved to the United States in 2011, and have only gone back to visit twice in 6 years.

I had my eyes set on moving to United States since I was 16. I knew that my family couldn't afford sending me overseas, so I began to work single-mindedly towards getting top grade (1A) for all 11 subjects in SPM (a national examination taken by all fifth-year secondary school students) to compete for a full government scholarship for college education overseas. I was rarely caught not studying anymore. Mom's attitude towards me started to soften as she started to realize that I would soon complete my secondary school education and leave home. One day, she broke down in tears and apologized to me for how her parenting forced me to grow up fast when my peers were enjoying their childhood. She explained that she might have gone the wrong way to push me but everything she did was truly out of good intentions, and asked for my forgiveness. I told her even though I never agreed with her parenting, I never doubted her love.

Mom started to leave me to my own devices. Our relationship started to mend. I started to tell her things that happened at school. I started to share gossips with her. I even cried in front of her telling her how bad I was getting bullied. She became less of an authority figure and more of a supportive friend.

Ironically, my relationship with dad grew increasingly distant. He was rarely home even when he was not at work— either out catching birds (his hobby that my parents had quarreled about countless times over the years), or out drinking with "friends". He started to develop a strong addiction to cigarettes, even though we felt very strongly about it (we were convinced that smoking was what killed grandpa). When he's home, he was either sleeping or watching TV. At times when I walked past him minding my own business, he would sarcastically announced his presence: Hello, Mr Hollow Man is right here. He liked to remind me how I used to be a clingy daddy's little girl, then asked me why we barely interacted anymore. I didn't know the answer. What was there to talk about anyway? My academic performance? He never really paid much attention to it. My school gossips? He didn't even know who's who. Where and how did I start, when he hadn't been keeping up for years? It's hard enough to have a intellectual conversation with my mom; with him, it's hard to even have a civil conversation of any sort. Whatever topic, he would either constantly try to prove that he knew more, or make snide remarks about everything.

It's not that I didn't want to have deep, meaningful conversations with my family. Trust me, I tried. We just didn't connect. Whenever I attempted to bring up anything controversial or philosophical, they would tell me that the books I read had poisoned my mind. Or that I unnecessarily overthink things. Mom would ask me to stick to Christian values: Don't try to be a smartypants, cleverness often overreach itself. At times she would quote the bible, [Proverb 3:7] Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

I had since decided to save my breath, and have intellectual discussions only with the few equally well-read close friends instead.

Anyway, dad started to lash out more often on trivial matters, maybe due to mid-life crisis, or grief of losing both parents that wasn't properly dealt with, or his new alcohol addiction, or inferiority, or a combination of many factors. Squabbles between him and my mom would escalate into explosive altercations (by then I had repeatedly begged them to just fucking get a divorce and stop making the whole family miserable). I also witnessed dad threaten a neighbor with a knife, just because our neighbor provokingly asked him "whachu looking at". He would pretend to be a father once in a while by yelling at me for something he didn't like, then continued to disappear. One time I asked if he could turn down the TV volume or watch TV downstairs (I was trying to study), he got pissed and left the house. Heck, he even stormed into my room at 2AM because I was still cramming.

"Why the fuck are you still studying at this time? Who the fuck studies past midnight, when every other normal person is sleeping? A truly smart person can study during the day! A truly smart person can study even if I turn on the TV loud! Go to bed now!"

I tried explaining how I couldn't focus after 6 consecutive hours at school and 2-hour tuition classes, how I took naps during the day to recharge, how it was more effective for me to study past night, because it was cooler (we didn't have air conditioning back then) and quieter. He didn't seem to understand a word I said, or he didn't care, because he continued to do so a few more times. Until one time I could no longer stand his stunt and blasted away,

"I'm working my ass off to get the best results I can get in SPM. You know how fucked up the system is and how difficult it is for a non-Malay to get a government scholarship. I am competing with the whole fucking nation, you do know that? My results have to be TOP. Not just decent or good, but TOP. I only have this ONE shot. Every single minute counts. I am not even asking you to be supportive, but at the very least you can restrain yourself from interrupting my focus, wasting my time, and adding to my stress. Because if I don't perform well enough and fail to get a scholarship, who the fuck is going to pay for my college education? You? You can't afford it. Who do you suppose I should go cry to, when I can't get the future I deserve? I am not bothering you in any way, so can you please also stay out of my way, leave me the fuck alone and let me study the way I want to?"

Harsh, I know, but it worked. He stopped intervening.

Fast forward, I scored straight 1A's in SPM and secured a full scholarship to do 2 years of American Degree Transfer Program at a local private international university + 3 years in the US. I moved into my assigned dormitory room. I finally got to know how it was like to be in an environment where I was not bullied or alienated by my peers. I had no problem adjusting to a life away from home. In fact, I enjoyed my freedom and independence very much. Home was only 3 hours bus ride away, but even during semester breaks I was reluctant to go home, so mom and dad would drive to my dorm and drag me back with them. Every new semester, after sending me back to dorm, mom would cry for one week straight because she missed me too much. I learned later from mom that not only dad didn't comfort her, he told her to shut the fuck up and stop crying. His lack of empathy further widened the crack between them.

A year into the program, yet another drama happened in my family. Dad wanted to invest in a massage center business, but kept it a secret because he was aware of the stigma that most massage centers operated by women from mainland China were brothels in disguise. He knew my family wouldn't be supportive. Mom found out about it when the bank informed her that dad tried to wire transfer a big amount of money from their shared account to an account in China. Imagine the initial shock my mom went through when she received the phone call from the bank— she thought her husband was cheating on her with a gold-digger. As dad predicted, my family objected to his investment plan. Firstly the stigma and how it would affect our reputation. Secondly there was no guarantee that they would run it clean, even though they claimed they would. Thirdly my family worried that those women might be an underlying threat (potential homewreckers). Lastly, how were we to ever be sure that the business would actually take off?

Dad couldn't proceed without mom's approval, because he didn't have enough in his personal bank account (his furniture business wasn't making much profits), but he wouldn't give in and let it go. I was home on my semester break. I asked to speak to him alone. At first he wouldn't listen. He insisted that the other investor assured him the business would be legit and legal, and that he didn't give a damn what townsfolk might think as long as he could make profit out of it. He also insisted that we should trust him to remain faithful. Then he started badmouthing about how mom dated someone else before marrying him, which I blatantly told him that it's irrelevant the issue at hand, that it's her freedom to date whomever she wanted before she committed to him, and that it's a dick move to talk of her like that to me. I then thought of a last resort to talk senses into him: I asked him if he would approve if my future husband were to invest in a business as such.

That did the trick. He finally came around to our reasoning and apologized to everyone.

I left the country when I was 20. When the plane took off from Malaysia, a peaceful sense of relief slowly filled up my chest, as if I finally get to be on the path to fulfill my destiny. The good times I had in my hometown made my life back then bearable, but could never balance off the ugly, painful memories associated with the place I never felt I belong. When I landed my feet on the American soil, I felt I could finally breathe for the first time in my life. I felt I was home.

I skyped my family once every week. If dad happened to be home when we skyped, we would exchange a few sentences. Just the usual greetings. I got the impression that he was becoming more and more like a stranger to our family, but mom never mentioned what was going on. 

Came my first summer break. I got the news that the first cat I adopted, Notty, whom I left behind with my family, started to become ill. Mom sent him to the vet. The bill became increasingly high as they ran tests on him to find out why he was sick while treating him for dehydration and several other symptoms. I was extremely attached to Notty, I even considered flying home to see him. I communicated with the vet via emails to keep up with their progress. A week later, the vet informed me that a man who appeared to be my father showed up and took Notty home, despite their advice against doing so. Apparently he thought the bill was getting too expensive, even though I had told mom I would take care of the bill. He made the decision that it was not worth putting Notty through treatment without discussing with the rest of our family. I begged mom to bring Notty back to the vet, but dad wouldn't let her. Few days later, mom managed to send Notty to another more affordable vet. They figured out Notty contracted FPV, but he only had a very slight chance of recovery as the infection had already resulted in severe complications. Mom took him home so that he could die in the comfort of home. When Notty passed, mom called me and was crying throughout our 1-hour phone call. She had grown to love Notty as much as I did over the 2 years he was with my family.

Weeks later, I found out that mom and dad had not been in talking terms for months. Dad tried to make amends when he started to notice mom's aloofness, but it was already too late. All the unpleasant events over the years had finally taken its toll. Mom was already completely disheartened. She was convinced that the man she married would never be capable to reflect upon himself and change. Dad couldn't fathom that their marriage was already damaged beyond repair. He couldn't see where he did wrong. He started to stay home more and do little gestures for mom, but to no avail. He started initiating contact with me more frequently, but it was always to talk about himself, his situation with mom. He never asked how I was doing. He didn't care if it was already past midnight when he called and I had an exam the next early morning. He would cry talking about how my whole family ganged up and mistreated him. I tried to put in good words for him, but mom was immediately enraged and threatened to end the skype session if I were to say another word.

I was extremely saddened. I put the blame on myself, thinking that if I hadn't left home, I would be able to prevent all these unpleasant events and keep the family intact. I went back to visit them that winter break, hoping that I could fix things. I couldn't. I spent an afternoon with dad, and the rest of my family became infuriated. They spent one whole hour condemning me for still considering him my father, telling me how they felt betrayed by me, reminding me all the wrongdoings he had committed in the past. Basically they demanded that I take their side and give dad a cold shoulder. Since they ganged up, like they always did, I had no choice but to comply. Days later, dad bought Donut a birthday cake, but no one showed any appreciation for his effort. The silence was awkward as fuck. Once dad went upstairs, they started telling me how it was the first time he bothered buying a cake for Donut's birthday, how it was just a calculated move to gain my sympathy and buy my love, how I should never believe that he actually cared for my brother.

It broke my heart to see dad became so forlorn, and it pained me to see the rest of my family with so much hatred and resentment towards him. I couldn't understand how things had gotten this bad in my absence. It wasn't perfect before, but never this bad. I didn't know what to do, or say, or think anymore. I was miserable the entire time I was there. Home was no longer home. I couldn't wait to come back to the States, far away from all the emotional burden and negativity that had drained me empty.

After I left, mom started to work as a kindergarten teacher to cope with my absence. It was also to create another income, as dad was barely making any money. Dad was angry that mom went ahead getting a job without consulting his opinion and tried to initiate another drama. They ignored him completely, and he turned to me, "She didn't ask for my permission, how disrespectful, bla bla bla bla. Is your mother having an affair? I think she is."

"Why did she need your permission? She is not your property. And no she isn't."

Perhaps they had successfully brainwashed me into magnifying his faults. Perhaps they were actually right about him. Perhaps I was just too exhausted of all these. My sympathy for dad started to wear out. I started to cut the conversation short when dad called me to repeat the same tirade. Eventually, he stopped calling. I stopped feeling anymore guilt for abandoning him, when one time during my skype session with mom, dad stormed into the room screaming obscenities and throwing absurd accusations at mom. The fury and hatred I saw in his scowl brought back memories of the all their fights I had witnessed. I began to apprehend why mom had become withdrawn.

Dad became a full-blown alcoholic. When they told me some gangsters he insulted came to our house and smashed up our cars, I started having recurring nightmares that dad murdered my entire family in cold blood. Sometimes I dreamed that they figured things out and everyone was happy again, then I woke up, face wet in tears realizing that it was only a dream.

For the next three years, my interactions with dad were as little as exchanging texts three times a year: my birthday, his birthday and Father's Day. Skype sessions with mom reduced from weekly to every fortnight. I stopped thinking about what I could have done to make their situation better. I stopped thinking that there was anything I could've done. In fact, I wished I could stop thinking about them altogether, because thinking about them made me depressed and helpless, and that helplessness paralyzed me. I want to live my life and be happy, how could I ever be happy if I kept letting their unhappiness weigh me down? Slowly, I learned to push them out of my mind during the day. Sighting of happy families on the street could no longer suffocate me. There wasn't even a single photo of my family on display in my apartment. But at night, those nightmares always came back to remind me of how much misery people I love were in and how much I was affected by it.

I rarely told people about the truth with my family. I only dared to confide in a few close friends with similar backgrounds. When I was asked why I never flew home during semester breaks, why my family never visited and didn't fly over when I graduated, why I didn't want to go back to my country after I graduated, so on and so forth, I kept my answers short and vague. How am I supposed to explain to people who come from perfect, happy families? Oh my parents' marriage is fucked up, but no they aren't divorced, yes they still live together, no there was no affair, and no my father didn't beat up my mother, but yeah they used to fight all the time and now they are not in talking terms, oh they love me, they do, but it's better that they love me from a distance. How do I make the constant barrage of psychological and emotional abuse comprehensible to them? How do I convince them that I am not seeking pity by exaggerating or making stories up about the environment I grew up in?

Where do I even begin? 

Before Hubs and I got married, mom had repeatedly warned me not to mention a word to him and his family. She didn't want them to look down on me. But she didn't know that I had told him everything since the very beginning of our relationship. How could she expect me to go through all of those alone? How could I go into a relationship not revealing my family background and upbringing that had shaped most parts of my identity? If I hadn't told Hubs, who do I have to hold me and calm me whenever I woke up wailing in the middle of the night?

I didn't even want to make our marriage public at first, because I knew a life event like this would warrant dramas in my family. I informed mom a few days before our registration, and texted dad about it a few days later. I didn't want a reception back home, but was soon pressured into agreeing. I thought they would come around for my sake, keep whatever disputes at a minimal amount, and make the whole affair smooth and pleasant. After all, it's their daughter's most likely once-in-a-lifetime wedding reception. Clearly, I was too optimistic. Not long after, I had to spill the beans to my new parents-in-law because my father wouldn't cooperate when we asked him for a list of guests he'd like to invite. He started lashing out and acting out for all the unjustifiable reasons: that I didn't ask for his permission to get married, —why did I have to? 1) I am an adult, a person of my own, not his property; 2) he hasn't been a father to me for years anyway, that we didn't involve him in the planning and decision-making for the reception —why should he have any say when 1) All costs were borne by my father-in-law; 2) It is my wedding, not his; 3) It's hard enough to plan a wedding reception that I didn't ask for from the opposite side of the planet while also pursuing my PhD, it would be hell if I were to consider everyone's opinion, my father-in-law and I were the only two people making the calls; 4) he hasn't participated in my life for years, he didn't even care to find out whether I was working or still in school, now he wants a say in how I have my reception? 

He started to put mom through emotional turmoil by threatening not to attend the reception. I repeatedly told mom that he's only bluffing and that I couldn't care less if he really decided not to show up, but mom wouldn't listen to me. Two months leading up to the reception, he used that as a leverage to blackmail mom every other day. Mom would then get anxiety attacks, panicked, broke down, and called to tell me how my wedding reception put her in extreme distress. She would tell me all the hurtful profanities they yelled at each other during their fights, and forward me screenshots of vulgar texts he sent her. She would call me unhelpful and unsympathetic when I reminded her that she was one of the people who pressured me into having one in the first place, and told her I wasn't interested to hear about any of it.

One month before the reception, he moved out.

Mom tried to call for a truce with kind words and gestures, but he wouldn't back down. He continue to spam us with angry drunk texts. At that point, I deeply regretted not standing my ground on refusing to have a wedding reception. What was the point of having one if it was just to put up a good show? I hadn't been back in almost 4 years, and this was how they wanted to taint my short stay back home? This was how they wanted me to remember my wedding reception for the rest of my life? 

Over the years, I had been telling myself that dad kept acting out because he's hurt, because of all the damages from within, but I could no longer justify his lack of attempt on being a better husband and a better father. Mom didn't suffer any less, but she perseveres with being the best mother she could be to me. I could no longer find excuses to empathize with his decision to hurt people who still try to show him love and just waste away his life like that. To say I was utterly disappointed is an understatement. I don't possess the necessary vocabulary to describe how I truly felt. 

I went back home on the eve of our wedding reception. Mom organized a buffet dinner and invited around a hundred people over. Halfway through the dinner, dad showed up. He reeked of beer and cigarettes, but I greeted him with a hug nonetheless. 

He grabbed my arms, what the fuck is with these tattoos? 

I replied coldly, oh it pleases me to have them

He turned around and went upstairs. I went after him, showed him the blazer I'd gotten him. He tried on the blazer, then took it off looking unimpressed, then proceeded to threaten me that he might not attend the reception. I didn't respond. I went back downstairs to join the crowd. Mom kept telling me to go back up and beg him, to which I sternly shut down: Enough is enough. If he doesn't want to show up tomorrow, be it. Go beg him yourself. Stop bothering me.

As I expected, he did tag along to the reception venue in the end, and sat through the entire night without making a scene.

My most favorite part of the night was when it's finally over.

Dad only showed up once more during my entire stay. He didn't try to initiate a conversation, and I didn't have anything to say to him. He sat in the living hall for a while, finished a bottle of beer, then left. The night before my flight, he called. Mom had me lie and tell him a later time because she didn't want him to show up and follow us to the airport. I obliged. Told him the wrong time. Long silence. He sighed. Longer silence.

"Nothing to say?" he asked.

"Nothing to say." I replied.

He hung up.

The night of our departure, after we said goodbye and passed the security checkpoint, tears started to flow down my cheeks as I wondered if dad showed up at the time I told him and found out we already left for the airport. By the time we reached our boarding gate, everything that happened in the past few months, all the emotions I had locked away started to hit me hard all at once. I sat down, buried my face in Hubs' chest, and broke down sobbing uncontrollably. It wrenched my heart when I thought about how they have grown so much older during my absence, how I wouldn't know if I would see some of them again the next time I returned. But even so, I wouldn't have dealt with it any differently. All these years trying to hold on to what was left, I finally reach the point I have to admit how much better my life is to live far away from my family, and also how little I owe them my presence in the future. 

At times when I decided to talk about my family truthfully, I would get the same condescending response: No matter what our family did to us, we should always love them and forgive them because they are family. Especially our parents because after all, they gave birth to us and raised us. But how thick can blood be before I give up on my own happiness? I hate the idea of blind filial piety with no regard for actions. Dysfunctional families are damaging, but even more damaging is the commitment to the 'family' ideal, to that state of mind in which every abuse is permissible, every exploitation excusable, every screaming match just plain normal because it is within the bounds of 'family'. How can allowing such toxicity to continue affecting me just because of our genetic connection lead toward fostering a healthier relationship with my family? 

All parents fuck up their children. Mine might have fucked up more than most people, maybe still a lot less than the worse ones, it's all relative. But I have vowed to keep my family's influence on me to as little as possible, until they stop being toxic. And I no longer feel guilty for making this choice.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Surreal

Hours just flew by like that when I was with Nik, leaving me longing for more.

Sometimes sleeping with someone you feel you connect with would take you to that other level of consciousness for the person, give you that extra intimacy. There were points where I just lied on his chest in immutable silence, thinking about whether he's feeling what I was feeling, what this could mean, and what we could be. In the grand scheme of things, that whole situation, how we lied naked in my bed at that exact moment, felt entirely out of the sphere of reality from a cosmic scope of view. How our fingertips were touching, and how I could feel the warmth of his palm sweeping up and down my thigh. It felt so unreal, like a dream, and time didn't seem to make very much sense. I knew I had realities I had to face after he left my place, but at that point, that was everything my life was. 

It doesn't matter whether this extends to something more, whether we end up falling in love with each other in the future, does it? It's all serendipity. I supposed this is just the way things are. All part of chance.

But...

Maybe this is why I am romanticizing things. Sometimes I can't even be sure if I am really feeling what I think I am feeling, or is everything just how I imagine my perception of things should be. Sometimes I feel like my emotions are forced, and my thoughts aren't mine. Even my soul doesn't feel like mine. Like I am this consciousness being injected into this course of life that I've been assigned to go through before I perish. I sound like I am on drugs. I wonder if this is how Nik felt when he got tripping balls high on LSD.

I do believe in parallel universes.

And I really, really could use some romance in my life now.

*sigh*

Monday, August 7, 2017

Je veux ĂȘtre avec toi

Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… You give them a piece of you. They don't ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like "maybe we should just be friends" or "how very perceptive" turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love.
― Neil Gaiman, The Kindly Ones

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Remnants

I am writing a mega long post about my family background and my upbringing. The good times, the bad times, the dramas. It's very emotionally overwhelming, I've only managed to write at most 4 paragraphs each day before feeling too exhausted to keep going. It's close to completion.

But I just want to take a break and write about something else.

Dom.

I didn't see him for almost a month. He dropped by 3 weeks ago, but only stayed for a very short while. We should've fucked, but we didn't, as he thought he'd drop by again two days later. Ended up we didn't see each other for another 3 weeks, because the bible-monger secretly activated GPS tracking on his phone and found out that he had sneaked out when she was at church. I see she has finally grown some wits, but what she really needs to grow is some balls. Actually, both of them need to grow some, and end this petty thief and cop game. She confronted him about it of course, and he denied of course. That's about it. He left behind his phone at work and sneaked out to have lunch with me yesterday, but again, our date was cut super short because the moment he arrived, he told me she suddenly texted him and asked him what he's having for lunch (notifications popped up on his smart watch). He left almost immediately after ordering his to-go, and she dropped by his office to have lunch with him. Dom didn't reveal where he went, but she claimed she was at the mall we were at. Now he suspected that she had installed another GPS tracker in his car. If that's the case, I don't know when I'll get to see him again.

Then there is this business trip next month that he said he wanted to bring me along since the beginning of the year. I really looked forward to it and pushed for the trip to happen, but now she wanted to tag along, yet wouldn't confirm with him. My patience is wearing thin.

I haven't been obsessively thinking about him much since the bible-monger started going full-on apeshit and kept him a prisoner. I no longer sweat over the future of our relationship, but I never thought of taking the initiative to end it either, until Cece told me that I should, because it's toxic, and it's going nowhere. I don't mind that it's going nowhere, where are we ever really heading anyway? We all live out of the course of our lives, then die. So tell me where we are going. Of course I would like a more foreseeable future with someone, but you can never fully predict or control anything that involves another person. All that matters to me is the present.

So, the present. In my defense it's not really toxic at this point. At least no longer toxic compared to the past, because he can't really bother me anymore. I am kind of seeing another person and he doesn't even know about it, so it's not like I am losing any fun because of him. I told Cece I'll keep him around for whatever benefits I can get, emotional or physical or monetary. But these past few days I've been thinking. The infatuation I had for him and the attachment I felt for our relationship drastically subsided when his dishonesty was proven, now almost fully gone. Heck, he isn't even a dominant to me anymore. He has been reduced to an existence in my phone: regular texts and phone calls every day. No doubt a routine I might need to wean myself off, but do I still need this person in my life, or will I move on just fine?

I thought about ending it. I imagined how it will go down, but I still don't feel the urge to do it just yet. Maybe it's in my nature to drag things out until annoyance takes over, so that I am sure I no longer want someone when I cut ties with them. I don't do the "leave before it turns sour to preserve the good memories" shit. I am a very binary person, it's either you are worthwhile to me or you are not. What good can preserving good memories possibly do me? They exist in the past, and the past is as good as never existed. The past serves to put me into my current condition and present situation, certainly, but it no longer exists. No matter how good the memories are, they are over and they don't play a part in my life anymore. But things turning sour does. It can give me new experience, new perspective: will it ferment into fine wine, or rancid milk with retching stench? Curious, so curious.

Therefore I'd like to exploit every last bit of essence before I discard something I have invested in.

I asked myself if I regretted carrying out the revenge/punishment. Had I chosen to be more accepting about his wandering dick and blatant lies, I might still be seeing him 2 or 3 times every week like before. Meals and dates and grocery shopping and sex. Spanks and kisses and giggles and laughter.

The answer is no. I regret nothing.

I enjoyed it while it was good. Or while I perceived it to be good. It just didn't sit well with me when I couldn't persuade myself to perceive things the way I used to perceive them anymore. I had to do something to re-calibrate my lens and find out how I want to perceive things next. I just had to.

All truths are easy to understand, once you discover them; the point is to discover them. ~Galileo

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Prejudice

Sometimes we don't like certain people just because they are ugly. 

Maybe most of the time in my case... I know this sounds horrible, especially coming from an aesthetically blessed person, but hey, at least I'm honest about it.

I pride myself for being mostly non-judgmental with people's motives and actions, but I am guilty as charged when it comes to judging strangers by their physical appearances. I've always acknowledged that I have slight negative feelings towards certain ethnicities/nationalities and people who are obese/ugly. Those feelings go away if I happen to get to know them and like their personalities, but I won't deny that I do develop biases due to personal aesthetic preferences. Even though I consciously try not to let those biases reflect in my actions, sometimes I just couldn't help it.

There were times I couldn't avoid Creepy Guy, especially when he dropped by our lab to use our facilities. He tried to be friendly, but I tried my best to minimize interactions with him. It dawned on me that my attitude towards him isn't really because of this incident... it wouldn't even have bothered me if he's not an unattractive Chinese fob.

Eh, whatever. I am cold and distant towards most people anyway.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Symbiosis

From time to time I forgot caffeine is not the way to go about boosting productivity... what caffeine more effectively boosts was often my libido and I usually ended up seeking relief (read: masturbation) instead of doing what I initially wanted to. Followed by a mild headache and a nap. -.-

But here I am, doing exactly what I said to Nik on our first date, "just fucking write".

I will just list out things I have wanted to write about next... whichever comes to mind first.
  1. Dom
  2. The First
  3. The Ex
  4. The ones I went out with but didn't fuck
  5. The ones I fucked once
  6. The swingers' party orgy
  7. Family
  8. Morality
...... why does it feel like I am writing a memoir, of my sex history? XD


Alright, first one on the list is an easy one. I haven't seen Dom in 20 days because... well, well. He is crazy busy lately, and is being kept on a very tight leash. She is so easily triggered, it's almost like she wears a big red button on her forehead... I never held her in high regard (obviously), but now I am convinced that she really is an imbecile. It really was so fucking easy to catch a cheating husband who lives under the same roof for christ's sake, especially with all the anonymous tips she has received! But instead of quietly, carefully planning her moves and setting up traps, she barked at him every time she received a new tip... also always while he's at work, which gave him time to erase all evidence. Seriously? The only plausible explanation is that she doesn't really want to find out the truth, all she wants is to make infidelity difficult for him and to force him to spend more time around her— yes, not necessarily with her, but around her. Either way, like I said, imbecile.

Dom got me a Coach handbag for my birthday. I specifically told him that I fancy Kate Spade over Coach, hate logo print, and prefer structured bags. He was attending a conference half an hour away from an outlet mall and insisted getting me a Coach bag since I didn't have one. He revealed on the phone that it's a light/nude colored bag, and I bet with him that I could guess the exact model with some internet research. He agreed that if I got it right in 3 guesses, he would perform a strip dance. I was so confident I could guess it right, but after 3 failed guesses, I started to worry.

"... as long as it's not a hobo covered in logo print."
"Wait, you don't like logo print?! Why didn't you mention?!"
"I DID— well it depends on the design, I don't mind subtle logo print."
"Well if you really don't like it, I can have it exchanged."

I browsed through the list of Coach Factory Outlet bags and my heart sank. All their light/nude-colored hobos with logo print were ugly af. I was distraught and ranted to Hubs, Nymph, Cece and Sister over the weekend. I know, it's only around a hundred bucks, but I wanted to get the most worth out of it still, since I couldn't possibly sell the bag while still dating Dom, and it's rude to have him drive an hour plus to the store for an exchange (Factory Outlet purchases can only be returned to Factory Outlets but not regular stores). Funny thing, Cece even mentioned this on her blog! lol

Needless to say, my expectation was very low, turned out I was pleasantly surprised when I received the actual bag— it's not a hobo (should've known better than to expect men to know the correct lingo), the logo print is very subtle, and size is decent too!

Dom requested that I showed him how I coordinate my outfits with the bag -.-

I recently started biking and I asked Dom to sell her bike to me— I knew he would just give it to me, and he did. It's an old model but in good condition because she barely used it. She asked him to get her one saying she wanted to tag along when he went out to bike around their neighborhood. Of course her true intention was to follow him and to know where he really went, after a few times she was convinced that his claim was true and never bothered to "tag along" anymore. The bike had been sitting in their garage for a few years. It doesn't really bother me that I am using something that was hers, I mean, this man I am fucking is supposedly hers too after all.

Whatever, man. Perhaps I don't really care that this man is cheating on his imbecile with me and mostly likely has cheated on me with other women, as long as there is enough compensation: free meals, gifts, grocery shopping trips, favors, attention, affection, sex. Hubs said he's worried that I'm turning sociopathic, because the way I talked about Dom recently was like I am using him as a tool. Meh. It's true, but Dom is also more than that. I'd rather believe that he's just a tool... though it's just a defense mechanism to give me a sense of control. I see nothing wrong with it, isn't this a world where we use each other anyway? Commensalism, mutualism, parasitism, you name it.


♪ ♫ ♩ ♬
Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
Travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody's looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused
♪ ♫ ♩ ♬