Today this new friend of mine, who doesn’t know about my love life/history asked me if I had a boyfriend. I answered no and from there the conversation travelled the usual trajectory - why not - I don’t know - well what kind of guy are you into - I don’t really have a type - well what did your old boyfriends look like - well I haven’t really had a boyfriend.
Actually the middle bit often changes, but the conversation inevitably arrives, at the same place - at the whole “never had a boyfriend” thing. Which is always a bit of a shock to them. Not because I’m particularly attractive or anything, it’s just plain WEIRD for someone - anyone - who is just a breath away from turning 30 to have never been in a relationship.
Anyway, the whole conversation was happening in Chinese, so then she asked me something I didn’t really understand. She pulled out her phone to translate it, and kind of look embarrassed because we were in a restaurant and there were people nearby. So I thought she was asking if I was virgin. And I was very close to saying “virgin? moi?” when she showed me on her phone the word “star sign”.
I felt like slapping myself because I totally know that word in Chinese (and the word virgin, for that matter). Chinese people are highly literate when it comes to star signs, which makes sense because they’re a superstitious people who already have animal signs. But I also think doesn’t it complicate things a little? What happens when your animal sign conflicts with your star sign?
Anyway I’m not really into either, and I ended up saying that part of my problem is that when it comes to guys looks are really important to me, and one rarely meets a good-looking guy. I wish I was kidding when I’d said this.
8 Apr 2013 / 3 notes
Here are two facts about me.
1. I’ve never had a long-term relationship.
2. I have been blessed with a handful of truly wonderful and long-lasting friendships. People that I love and would be offended if I didn’t involve them in my hypothetical wedding that’s never going to happen.
I’m not sure if there’s any correlation or causation between the two, but I am starting to wonder if friends are a much better investment than relationships. Good friendships are like putting your love into a series of low-risk, steady investments. These are far more unlikely to fall apart in any spectacular way, they grow slowly over time, and by spreading them over several portfolios you minimise the damage should one or a couple fall wayside.
Whereas love is - to be cliched, or to finally fully understand the cliche - a high-stake gambles. Big returns, and potentially bigger loss.
Whether you do one, or the other, or some of one and much of the other, is surely personal preference. And is it any surprise that as someone who has had to manage the trail of destruction that erupted from my parents’ divorce - the aftershocks of which still maim and cause damage over 10 years later - that I have subconsciously chosen to invest in friends, over a relationship?
Tonight my auntie said that I look so young for my age. I told her my secret was the fact that the only serious relationship I’ve had with a boy is with our dog Dray.
25 Jan 2013 / 3 notes
I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately. The paid kind. Parts of it is probably some of the best writing I’ve ever done. I say parts, because what I mean are parts of the pieces rather than whole pieces. I have passages here and there which I genuinely love, but overall all I can see is just how far it have to go before I can look myself in the eye.
The other issue is the knowledge that what I am writing is content rather than art. To be perfectly frank, in a way I can be nowhere else except with close friends, I want to be famous. The kind of famous where people stop me on the street and tell me how they love my stuff. The adoration of strangers. And it’s never going to happen if I keep writing in third person.
Very specific detail, isn’t it? But it doesn’t matter how well I write in third person, no one ever cares about the author of third person pieces. Brilliant third person pieces are always about the content. The author erases themselves. But with brilliant first person pieces one always falls in love with the author.
But my feeling right now is that my best stuff lies in other people’s stories, not my own. I am best standing outside, looking in. We do, after all, live in an amazing world full of weird and wonderful people. And I always amazed at the way they are wiling to let me into their life and share some deep, dark things they didn’t even know they wanted to share. I’m honored really.
But people want to hear from their writers, and parts of me wants to give it to them. I call it “strategic panty flashing”. Not something I will do all the time or even often.
15 Nov 2012 / 8 notes
I have recently returned to my childhood bedroom and in doing some cleaning found this old diary entry from when I was high school, back in the days before there were blogs in which to spill your guts. Allow me to let my seventeen year old self find a public forum in which to air her ails:
He does this to me every time and I never learn. I’m hurting. It feels physical. I’m cracked glass. I’ve been poisoned. I wish I could see him as I see a chair. Solid and benign. And we can be two chairs in a room. When I’m with him I feel soft as warm water and all I want to do is love him but he is always closed to me. I am a chair to him, and he is the world to me.
7 Nov 2012 / 1 note
I’m just a few months shy of 29, and I’ve decided that in order to make my last year of my 20s truly awesome to write a bucket list. Let this be the year of living dangerously.
A great man once tweeted, “Always happy, perpetually unsatisfied.” And that great man is Ashton Kutcher, according to a friend.
I’m sure if I took stock of my 20s overall, I’d find many things to be proud of. But it isn’t my habit to be satisfied. There is always the ‘next thing’.
I know anxiety about “30” is retarded and cliched - I mean what an artifice, right? - but there is a line. And perhaps it is blurry and in reality one crosses over it silently, but one DOES cross. Whether you wake up at 35 and see it’s lying behind you, or it’s a series of little things which reminds you it’s happening, eventually you will see that the bloom of youth has left your face.
And for me, I am giving myself permission to act the fool, for one year. One contained year to commit all the foolishness and blind faith that one’s 20s is so wonderful for. After which I will knuckle down and get on with this serious thing called real life.
Enough talk. Here is it.
1. Get my driver’s license.
2. Be published in a tier 1 publication.
3. Pash a celebrity (no faux or semi-celebrities).
4. Perform a stand-up routine.
5. Swim in a lake in China.
6. Do a handstand.
There’s a good chance I will be spending a rather significant portion of this year living with my crazy mum, in the suburbs of Sydney, and likely a large portion of every year going forward. The reason for this is to give my poor, teenage brother who has been shouldering far too much responsibility, a break.
The key to not going completely bonkers at home will be to take ownership of certain spaces. Thereby letting mum have a majority share hold, but eating into what has been her sole domain.
She has not been a good patron. She lets the dog shit and piss all over the house. And our house is carpeted, so you can imagine. She has let a giant hole in the roof go untended, causing the house to experience serious water damage. The electricity here goes out often. There is also something wrong with the plumbing causing several of the toilets to occasionally backup.
She is pretty crazy, and not in the kooky, loopy, fun kind of crazy. More the regular, original-flavour, crazy.
The house is an extension of herself and a physical manifestation of her own mental wilderness. And much like the way she won’t allow us to tend her soul, she won’t allow us to touch the house.
But I can’t live in the gardens of her madness, and I am determined to carve out portions of the house as “rooms of my own”. They will, as is my style, be immaculately clean and tidy. Broken things will be repaired. Carpets will be ripped off to make way for polished floor boards. Bed sheets will be aired, and cupboards cleared out. No dogs allowed!
They will be safe havens amidst the chaos.
Every time I get off the plane the light in Sydney seems to assault me. How does anyone think with all that clean, bright, white, light invading one’s brain? (Taken with Instagram)
I would say that $2000 US/year is a fair estimate for how much I have spent on international flights in the last 10 years. $20,000 is nothing to be sneezed at. It represents many hours of - sometimes boring - work.
And what did I buy with that money? Not international experience, because that could have been bought with one ticket and actually staying/ living overseas.
What I bought is a certain restless lifestyle. Where I neither have to commit to here or there but instead live in some sort of awkward in between place. I have bought the opportunity to know my passport number off by heart. To have two wardrobes, in two countries, and never have to check-in luggage.
I have obstinately refused to make Beijing a true home. I divorce ties there at least every half a year, if not more regularly. But to give one’s life a shake every few months is not spring-cleaning. Roots can never take place when the soil is constantly being tilled. I am simply a casual participant and light observer. This suits me fine. Perhaps this is as much life as I can handle - be that Chinese life, or life more generally.
I am eager to take this to the next level and become an artist, a writer. Without an office, and regular working hours. No longer will I have the same 50 people to say “good morning” to. Instead the field becomes the space from which I work and China’s 1.3 billion citizens are my workmates. It is a nice idea, although I fear I’m not good enough to pull this off. I figure I might as well try though, fling my last year in my 20s into the cherry-blossom wind.
9 Jun 2012 / 1 note
It probably comes as no surprise that we’re all inevitably better at understanding the faults (or perhaps defaults is a better word) of our friends than ourselves. One step removed seems to make all the difference in the world. The terrain is more neutral, and free of all the booby traps (ala defensive mechanisms) that our ego scatters around.
For example, a male friend of mine in his mid-30s despairs over his singledom; last man standing in a field of married couples. But I find it difficult to muster pity when I see the way he conducts himself in the matters of love. He only seems to go for these hotties that are, to put it plainly, out of his league. Of course my friend is not without attractive qualities, but he is a certain type, and the women he seems to find attractive are not only out of his league, but in a different one altogether. He is Woody Allen chasing after the Kim Kardashians of the world.
And of course, the other issue is that he doesn’t find them intellectually stimulating. At the least he should be Woody Allen chasing someone attractive and quirky like Zoe Deschanel.
I have pointed this out to him before but the only reply he is able to give is that he can’t help but only find these kinds of women attractive. He is his own worse enemy.
It has recently occurred to me that I should turn the tables on myself and wonder if I too am my own worse enemy.
I have ridiculously high standards when it comes to a man’s look. I am almost, without exception, attracted to the man that every woman in the room also finds attractive. The gold standard of hunks, rather than your niche brand that most people end up hooking up with. I like the guy you see on billboards and television ads. And it is a failing that I find embarrassingly superficial, and yet a small portion of me probably defends with a sense of indignation. I mean why can’t I chase after the best? To someone who is incredibly attractive, as well as all those other important attributes that one needn’t list.
Well of course perhaps I am entitled to it, but these diamonds in the rough are hard to come by, and in waiting for one who is likewise into me I have waited 28 years with no avail.
The other question I should pose is that perhaps I too am pitching out of my league. Because I certainly am not the girl you are seeing on billboards and television ads.
But what can be done? I, like my friend, can’t help but only find these one-in-a-million superboys attractive. And I really want to be attracted to my boyfriend. I want to want to have sex with him.
Really I haven’t written in this enough. I haven’t bared my soul quite enough, what with baring my soul being quite my modus operandi. It isn’t at all myself to be like this. To be quite so professional. To be without that risk is to not live at all. I must promise myself to not delete this, no matter how much I cringe later. What is living without a little unclothing?
I have been terribly nostalgic lately. I fear I’ve been nostalgic since 2006, which I can pinpoint as being the end of my peak. Every moment since then has barely compared. It was the year to which all years will fail to live up to.
There has been two emails of late from friends - actually they’re more accurately called a reader and an acquaintance - the contents of these emails of which have inspired much nostalgia. It’s not worth going into the contents of these emails except to say they have reminded me, so painfully, of how much promise existed in those bright eyes of mine, and how much youth I now seem to grasp onto but with every year, month, day seem to slip through my fingers.
I am 28, going on 29. And I have determined that this really is the last hurrahs of all hurrahs. And I will live it like there’s no tomorrow. I will expend every moment. I will “slut it up” because I know that this body of mine has an expiry date. And I will take every artistic impulse that possesses me because after this I must be serious and dignified and realize that I am grown-up who must do grown-up things.
But for now the “2” is still tangible in that age of mine which gives me a free pass - albeit it a final free pass. To burn through the moments, rather than plot it out on a singular path. I want to repossess the ‘in the moment’ feeling that seemed to encapsulate my early 20s and again light a match to which there is no end in sight. You simply burn, burn and decide to pick up the pieces later, and if there are no pieces later that is of no consequence at all.
2 Jun 2012 / 2 notes