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i am not insane

I am from sunshine, sweat, and bricks of humid air.

I am from have you eaten yet.

I am from rice, salted fish, stir-fried greens, from soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, from ginger, star anise, and cayenne peppers.

I am from concrete jungle, clothes lines stretched-across the rooftops, the smell of sun in the fabrics, of gardenias, jasmines and sweet osmanthus.

I am from morning glories winding along random barbed wires, coconut trees lining the streets crowded with motorcyles, from white azaleas strewn on the ground after thunderstorms like discarded Kleenexes.

I am from greetings, and salutations, from strangers in the streets who are also uncles and aunts and brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and grandmas and grandpas.

I am from blood is thicker than water, from you don’t turn your back to your family, from families stick together.

I am from proper, ladylike, and demure. From handkerchiefs and silk scarves and pocketbooks. From you should always make sure your hand is not empty and idle. From knees together, ankles crossed.

I am from politeness, decorum, and unwritten rules that everybody abides by.

I am from hospitality, from it takes a village, from gossips and busybodies.

I am from if you swallow the watermelon seeds it will sprout from the top of your head, from don’t point your finger at the new moon otherwise she will come and cut off your ear when you are sleeping at night. From if you cry or misbehave, Auntie Tiger will come and eat you up.

I am from humility, gratitude and contentment.

I am from nobody owes you anything, from be grateful even if someone gives you a mere roll of toilet paper, from nothing you get is because you deserve it.

I am from temples, incenses, and gods and deities.

I am from reincarnation, from Karma, from eighteen layers of hell.

I am from lurid ghost stories of vengeance, from spirits within magnificent rocks and towering trees.

I am from convention, contradiction, and confusion. I am from Post-Colonialism, Late Capitalism, and Rampant Materialism.

I am from the proletariat.

I am from the hushed wrath of my father, the quiet disappointment of my mother.

I am from a bottle of Aspirins.

I am from the deafening silence of a mid-summer afternoon when the only thing you could hear was the cicadas.


Many thanks to Elly over at BugginWord for writing her beautiful piece “Where I’m From” and for alerting us to this wonderful writing exercise. Of course, I did not follow the rules in the template, not because I am some rebel chick but because I am not good at writing descriptive scenes. 


Friday, 22-April-2011

22:03:12 On my way to see the band The Boxer Rebellion that started at 10. It’s 10 now. Am nowhere near Double Door the bar/concert venue. Panic attack

22:04:58 I’m going by myself again. [I went to see them for the first time last September]. With extra tickets. Maybe I’ll give the ticket 2 some random passerby, reassuring them that they don’t have 2 talk 2 me

22:06:38 Forgive me 4 tweeting you sweet nothing nonstop. Going 2 see band by myself. Not yet used 2 it. Started having panic attack early on.

22:09:11 Tweeting helps calm my nerves. Like I have someone w me. Anybody write an academic paper about social media? Invisible Strangers as entourage?

22:11:27 I almost didn’t. Panic attack. Would’ve been easier 2 just stay home. I kept on delaying till husb said, Why are you still here? Get the F out!

22:13:59 It’s just a band. Not a big deal. After the last time [and the first time when I went to see them also by myself], I now know there’s no risk of me having to struggle to say no if a band member asks me to elope with him [because it did not happen and it will never happen, of course.]

[I actually felt quite embarrassed going all gaga when I met them last September for the first time. I think I managed to keep my excitement under wrap, appearing to be nonchalant. Not that it would have made any difference, but all four band members are married. More importantly, they don’t seem to be that kind of band attracting crazy psychotic screaming fans.]

[Fine. I guess telling people that their song “Flashing Red Light Means Go” saved your soul is by no means being nonchalant… How pathetic it was to have failed at being nonchalant in front of your favorite band?]


22:42:21 @SunnySingsBlues Thanks! I’m in! One vodka cranberry down and I’m one cool kitty. Inside my head at least!

22:46:47 @SunnySingsBlues Thanks!!! I am on 2nsd Vodka cranberry! [Less than 5 minutes. I was rather impressed by myself too!]

22:59:22 At the Boxer Rebellion concert! Sold out bitches!  [From “OMG I don’t know what to do. I am so scared I don’t want to go!” to rubbing it in people’s faces. All in under one hour…]


The Boxer Rebellion at Double Door


[From @deathbydonkey: Hope you’re having fun. Solo concert outings can rock if you just go with it. It beats dealing with a non-fan companion, anyway.]

23:14:02 @deathbydonkey OMG. Totally agree!!!!

[And that’s why when The Husband said “Go and have fun by yourself!” I did not cry. I would have been so worried about him or whichever person I managed to drag with me not having fun and unable to fully enjoy the experience]


23:14:57 @melme thank you. Tweeps are the best people to go to concert with!!

[From @melme: Damn right!! Woo! Take it off!! 😉 ]

23:28:42 @melme Ok! Let’s just say I did! LOL


[Tried not to tweet too much during the concert. Most of the time I had my eyes closed and it felt like I was there all alone, with the band. Just the music pounding, pouring, seeping into every fiber. The most gratifying thing to witness was how much fun they’re having on stage. It almost made me feel jealous. I wish I could play an instrument, or sing, or paint, or sew, just anything really.]


Saturday, 23-April 2011

00:24:50 @doubledoor Here’s a shout out to Mark the bartender who loves his job and Andy who’s adorable!!!

[Here I was sufficiently buzzed that I became extremely friendly and talkative, in a non-slutty way, at least I hope so… I was even able to talk to Mark at the bar. Probably because he called me Sweet Heart. I wished him a happy weekend, to that he replied, “I will be working though.” I asked, “But not bad if you love your job, right?” A pause. “Yes, I do love my job.” “Well, that’s more than what a lot of people could say.” He nodded somberly.]

[Regarding “Sweet Heart”: I knew not to get carried away by terms of endearment such as this. That’s merely a sign that I have aged. When you reach a certain age, people start being nice to you and calling you “Sweet heart” “Young lady”, thinking they are doing you a favor. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate that.]

00:25:44 I’m at the “I am lucid but I care no shit” stage. 5 vodka cranberry later.

[See? Tru dat!]


00:29:50 It’s endearing when the band is small enough that they are at the mercy table to talk to the fans

[It’s supposed to be MERCH, for “merchandise”, table. But the typo was kind of correct in the way that the bands are at the mercy of their fans when they are on their way to make it]



[They’re really really awesome and sweet. I did tell Todd the lead guitarist (See? I am hinting that I am on the first name basis with the band!) that I am a psychotic fan. ZOMG. I really should have kept my mouth shut. But I cannot control what comes out of my mouth whenever I am nervous. Perhaps next time I should preemptively put my foot in my mouth… He asked me what my Twitter handle was. “So, you are subWOW?!” Ok, he probably did NOT sound that excited. Just let me think that he did, ‘k? He and Piers the drummer (pretended to) remember meeting me last year. See? I told you they are very kind…]


Todd and Piers at The Empty Bottle last September

Me as an apparition (last September)


[Here’s something else that I told Todd, “I look forward to the day when you are so huge that I would no longer get to talk to you like this.” And I mean it.]


00:45:24 Asked the band mebers of @BoxerRebellion to sign my arm, Nathan the lead singer responsibly told me I’d regret it. We shall see.


Picture from last time: Todd & the lead Singer Nathan who told me this time that I'd regret having them sign my arm. Nathan's a Southern gentleman, naturally.


01:06:15 Do people know, for realz, in details, what they have to give up when they have kids and move to the burbs?

01:08:21 Like a pseudo bipolar that I’m, I’m coming down from the high from talking to my favorite band straight to the pit.

01:09:31 On the train back to the burbs. Feeling like being turned back into a pumpkin. Do men feel the same way too?

[Before I stumbled off the train, I saw this guy with a big giant tattered duffel bag eating peanut butter out of the jar. I have no idea what came over me, not pity nor sympathy. I think it was closer to a sudden surge of love that I felt towards my fellow human beings. I pulled out a $20 bill and handed it to him. “Happy Easter!” I said, and I quickly ran off. He did not even look up but smiled to himself.]


[Intermission: Driving. I really did not want to be turned back into a pumpkin…]


01:43:06 2 am. At the quintessential American melting place: highway oasis. Here everyone is passing by



01:46:25 I do appreciate the fact that my husb is ok letting me out by myself being a tramp.

01:48:37 Sitting here at the empty oasis, I’m humming Hallelujah. I’m not even Christian…

01:59:25 I really like the oasis like this: quiet, with free Wi-Fi. I enjoy watching the cars, imaging jumping off. Of course I won’t.

[Did you know this French word, L’appel du vide? “The call of the void” would be the literal translation. It refers to the urge to jump from high places…]


02:35:00 Listened to Queen’s A Night at the Opera all the way home. Truly my favorite album. What I would not give to watch Freddie Mercury live.

02:59:18 You know how they made Mama Mia with Abba song? Someone should make a musical based A Night at the Opera.

03:00:50 Why? Yes! I have been sitting in the garage listening to A Night at the Opera since I got home. How did you know?




p.s. I did update the tweets to correct the typos and grammars, update the abbreviations, so it is easier to read and understand.


This paragraph from A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, which won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award (ETA: AND the 2011 Pulitzer Prize!) for fiction, is one of the most hauntingly vivid descriptions of a marriage that I have ever read. At the same time the description sounds clinical, meticulous, it strikes me as one of the saddest things I have ever read.


Yet each disappointment Ted felt in his wife, each incremental deflation, was accompanied by a seizure of guilt; many years ago, he had taken the passion he felt for Susan and folded it in half, so he no longer had a drowning, helpless feeling when he glimpsed her beside him in bed: her ropy arms and soft, generous ass. Then he’d folded it in half again, so when he felt desire for Susan, it no longer brought with it an edgy terror of never being satisfied. Then in half again, so that feeling desire entailed no immediate need to act. Then in half again, so he hardly felt it. His desire was so small in the end that Ted could slip it inside his desk or a pocket and forget about it, and this gave him a feeling of safety and accomplishment, of having dismantled a perilous apparatus that might have crushed them both. Susan was baffled at first, then distraught; she’d hit him twice across the face; she’d run from the house in a thunderstorm and slept at a motel; she’d wrestled Ted to the bedroom floor in a pair of black crotchless underpants. But eventually a sort of amnesia had overtaken Susan; her rebellion and hurt had melted away, deliquesced into a sweet, eternal sunniness that was terrible in the way that life would be terrible, Ted supposed, without death to give it gravitas and shape. He’d presumed at first that her relentless cheer was mocking, another phase in her rebellion, until it came to him that Susan had forgotten how things were between them before Ted began to fold up his desire; she’d forgotten and was happy — had never not been happy — and while all of this bolstered his awe at the gymnastic adaptability of the human mind, it also made him feel that his wife had been brainwashed. By him.


I read this book over the winter holidays and till this day, I am still haunted by this passage. From time to time I would take this book off from the bookshelf, flip to this page and read this passage again, word by word, while caressing the rough edge on the side of the book as if it were an adequate substitute for human warmth.

Of course, per usual, I identify with the wrong character. I want to jump in and rescue Susan.

Wake up, Susan. Wake up. Remember what it was like. Remember what you were like. I want to give her a blog.

Here’s to being decidedly alive even if at the risk of being miserable. Here’s to kicking and screaming. Here’s to never be folded up into a tiny pocket.

Here’s to never forget.


This post is dedicated to a dear friend who is standing arms akimbo in defiance in the land of lotus eaters.


“How to Be Alone”

August 10, 2010 therapy in session

I was going to write something about BlogHer… But my besties that I have had the good fortune to meet and grope in magical New York City have all done a much better job than I could have, esp. since after three days, I am still pissing and sweating vodka… So if you haven’t been […]


The white flag goes up…

November 12, 2009 therapy in session

Remember the tagline of my blog? These posts are supposed to be my therapy sessions. Ranting about the demise of Thanksgiving and gloating about making shotgun Christmas ornament is not very healing. The following is one of my therapy sessions. I am getting on the coach now. You have been forewarned… I am not quite […]