Sunday, July 5, 2020


_heading to destination, or restrained from movement

Over the course of this pandemic, I have sat in front of my laptop countless times, typed all of 20 odd words, clicked save draft and walked away.

I have prepared over 300 meals, gotten on my knees and scrubbed toilets, vacuumed, mopped, washed what feels like a million dishes and even more piles of laundry.
I kept my children up to date with their Zoom lessons, sat down with them and explained concepts of multiplication, division, fractions, units of time, currency and weight, taken photos of their homework, uploaded them onto my computer and submitted them, until I just could not anymore.
I have done home workout videos, 100 burpees a day, cut over a thousand plastic aprons for our frontliners, taught zoom lessons, uploaded videos and tasks onto my social media feed to stay relevant, current, shared my daily life to ensure a sense of comfort and routine, a sense that we’re not alone in this, until I just couldn’t anymore.

At the beginning of the year I clocked in over a hundred circuit-training sessions that I committed to over the course of a year and a half. I showed up a hundred times and felt that my mental strength was stronger than ever. However in slightly over a hundred days I find myself defeated. Everything that I worked on for years, crumbled into an exhausted heap. Not sure that I can muster any more energy to get back up once more.
I stand in front of my wardrobe to grab a pair of tights but for the first time I find myself returning the pair of tights to its pile, I shut the drawer and head back downstairs, empty handed empty hearted.

 This pandemic has been difficult for everyone and even more so for many others. There is much unrest all over the world and I fail to see why my problems are even problems to begin with. This invalidation of my own feelings has led to the loss of my sense of self, my sense of being. To put it simply I am unable to write feely because I feel that I’m being an ungrateful brat. I am unable to find space within myself. I feel trapped, claustrophobic. This has led to shame, this has led to self-censoring, this has led to a sudden halt in self-expression, this has led to where I am right now.

 When we were all forced into our homes it was as if the reset button was activated. We were all placed at the first square of a board game and now that Malaysia is slowly easing back into the world I feel the all too familiar sense of being left behind. Some thrived and found huge spaces for themselves for self-care while others found themselves depleted. These others were the ones whose capacity for self-care slowly diminished while caring for the household.

 I haven’t felt like this in a long time. I thought I was done, I thought that I did the work. I thought that I was better equipped to deal with this. But I guess that I was wrong. Healing doesn’t end, healing is continuous. This time I am able to pin point what I am feeling and what to work on. It doesn’t make it any easier but at the same time it doesn’t seem as scary as it was the first time.

I fully accept this discomfort, I will allow myself to be awful, I will allow myself to be lazy, I will allow myself to do absolutely nothing and I will allow myself to let go of dance for awhile.

 There is no right or wrong way to doing things but I do know that I need to be kinder to myself. Over these past 3 months, I took it upon myself to maintain a sense of norm for the home. Of course no one told me to do this, but it was my responsibility. The house is my domain, I thought that I had it but I overestimated myself. While the house was my domain, so was the outside world and what I did in it to keep myself sane and to keep myself me. 

While I had physical space in all sense of the word it was the shrinking of the mental space that did me in. The mental load of keeping stock of groceries, rationing produce, ensuring that everyone had their daily intake of vegetables, proteins and carbs, the sheer noise in my house all day long, the con-calls, the children, it all became too much. My world, the space that I only held for myself vanished.

 I know I will find it again, but as always, it will only happen once everyone has  settled and are back on their own separate routines. My needs, space, wants, as always are appeased last.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

are you a girl?

by january low

are you a girl?
does it matter?
what are you going to be when you grow up?
does it matter?
do you dance?
does it matter?

do you know how to cook?
does it matter?
are you married?
does it matter?
do you have any children?
does it matter?
how many do you have?
does it matter?
will you have any more?
does it matter?

when is your next performance?
does it matter?
do you still dance?
does it matter?

are you a girl?
does it matter?
what do you want to be when you grow up?

are you kind?
are you generous?
do you say please?
do you say thank you?
are you patient?
are you helpful?
do you let the other car into your lane?
do you say good morning to the Starbucks barista?
do you say hello to the uncle in the grocery store?


are you curious?
are you brave?
are you capable?
are you loved?


then why does it matter?
if you’re a girl or not?

Monday, July 1, 2019

by january low

love was a silent telephone call
love was fixing my broken earring
love was the other part of a two piece pendant

love was shy

love was holding hands
love was valentine's day
love was a ring

love was destruction
love was tears
love was insecure
love was livid
love was rage
love was poisonous

love was no more

love sparked over half boiled eggs
love grew over beers
love spanned the bosphorous
love burned in snowy chicago

love became hard to see
love became unfamiliar
love became something else

love grew

love is a full tank of petrol
love is a grande cold brew coffee
love is salt and vinegar potato chips

love is quiet
love is strong
love is fluid
love is kind

love is ...