Was It Just Me?

You’ve read this blog.  And no I’m not high when I write my posts (yes, been asked this – you know who you are).  I’m just unconventional perhaps.  I must be because all that’s ‘conventional’ is plain dead uncomfortable around me (yes, been shown this – you know who you are). 

As a child I assumed my experiences growing up were ‘normal’.  But judging by the outside world’s reaction to the adult finished product, I’m starting to suspect not.  

Help me out people.  Was it just me?  I need to know:        

Was it just me … who was forced to wear a traditional bright gold embroidered imperial style padded Chinese jacket for her grade 4 primary school photo, looking like some kind of under-aged warlord midget pimp amongst a bunch of Aussie kids in shorts and t-shirts?  

Was it just me … who had a scheduled ear cleaning session with my father every month where he shone the blinding light from a lamp into my ear like the ear was being interrogated?  And then with an actual ear cleaning stick (they exist – purchased from the Asian grocers, thin with a mini scoop at the end), attempt to dislodge and remove stubborn bits of ear wax which usually turned out to be actual parts of my inner ear?

Was it just me … who was told by her mother that I shot out of her one day while she was on the toilet and looked down to see something random floating in the bowl with a pair of eyes?  Clearly the stalk in the sky explanation couldn’t convey my value as an addition to the family as much as this particular version of events.  

Was it just me … who was forced to fast for 24 hours before we went to an all you can eat buffet restaurant in order to ‘build up the hunger’ and therefore get our money’s worth?

Was it just me … who was then restricted from picking non-protein items and potatoes from the all you can eat buffet because they wasted stomach space reserved for the ‘expensiveful’ offerings – ‘Why eat 3 bowl chips, eat 18kg prawn, we pay saaame pliiicce’.         

Was it just me … who asked my mother for a perm to revamp my generic poker straight oriental hair?  Only to be taken to the ‘local hairdresser’ of my aunty’s garage to be given a perm on purely just my fringe? (my ‘bangs’ for the North American crew). I wanted to go from chinky to kinky.  I stayed chinky except now I had a new mini afro sprouting from my forehead.  Where’s that can of Soul Glo when you really need it?   

Was it just me who … was told by her father that 3 fried eggs piled on top of one another was called ‘quiche’, toast spread with ketchup was called ‘pizza’, and boiled lettuce with soya sauce was called ‘salad’.   Assimilation is his middle name.   Asian ‘fusion’ cuisine is his game.

But chill – perhaps it’s possible that despite it all (and oh there’s so much more … so so much more), it can be argued that I have ended up stable, demure and respectable.  Always composed.  Always refined.  Never out of control.  Never caught off guard.  ‘Only god can judge me’ – Tupac Shakur.

 

The Greatest Show on Earth – The 1st Episode

‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ is often used to describe and sell some kind of flashy grand Big Top circus show.  I often use the concept of a circus in attempts to explain and provide insights into the inner workings of my family.  And indeed this comparison is extremely harsh and unfair – to the circus.  Because even the circus as a commercial enterprise has some manner of standards; restrictions on its performances regarding the extent to which the audience should be shocked and baffled.  In fact this is the case with any kind of performance – whether it’s in the movies, on television or up on stage in the theatre.   Even fucked up feral material like people shitting on each other or people trying to hump animals, vegetables, dwarfs etc has classifications to enable degrees of choice and control with what you see & hear. 

There’s no communal cross-shitting or pet pumping going on in my family (that can be proved) but I wish that sometimes I could just be pre-warned about their relentless show-time antics – so I can at least prepare to cover my ears, close my eyes, change the channel, boycott the theatre or just fucking get the entire show banned (and the ‘cast’ deported) altogether.  The family’s a recurring theme in my blog – because the family’s an unavoidable theme in my life.  And I’m arguing that it’s also one in yours whether you currently choose to have anything to do with them or not.  I’m an adult now but there remain things both said and done by them that still continue to unsettle the fuck out of me, behaviours and choices that won’t cease to confuse and unhinge me making me go ape shit crazy whether they’re near or far:

Episode 1: There’s been a long running feud between my mum and her younger sister in China.  It started a few years ago after my mum’s last visit to see members of her WuTang clan back in the motherland.  One moment they’re all close like some fucking ching chong version of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and then they abruptly morphed into each other’s public enemy number one.  What trouble brewed in the province?  Who the fuck knows? I don’t want to know (just like I don’t want to know why cash is so strictly enforced as the primary method of payment in the Chinese community).  All I know is that it went from them addressing each other on the phone traditionally according to Chinese custom, ‘Greetings elder sister/ Greetings younger sister, how is you?’ to behind the scenes references by my aunt of my mum as ‘that cock sucking fat slum hag in Australia’ (a loose translation has been applied here, but the overall sentiment is the same).  But then my aunt arrives in Australia recently for a visit and they chat, giggle and cook their way through the month of September.  They were making happy good time wok stir fry music together without addressing to anyone, and I suspect even to each other, the insignificant side matter of their 3 year term of resentment and estrangement. 

They don’t trust each other and it’s likely they thought nothing of talking shit about each other behind closed doors … even while living under the same roof.  But as the bystander watching their reunion and the farcical insincerity of it all, the ‘scene’ made me feel sick because it all seemed way too familiar – because it hit me then that this same show has been played out before way too many other times from the core to amongst the most far reaching branches of my extended family.  It’s a show that’s been staged continuously amongst various family members throughout the past like some mass money making Broadway hit.  And it’s most likely being played out right now somewhere in the present as I write and later on, as you read.  There’s too many multi layered secrets, criss-crossing claimed loyalties, and corrupt versions of re-written history and face-saving cover-ups to ever really know the details of the what, why and how of who’s playing and hustling on who.  I don’t get the plot but I do know this: there’s a large cast with a variety of different actors and many of them were born with the same surname.   It’s the way it goes – it’s the Greatest Fucking Show on Earth, everyone acting their fucking flat arses off.

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‘What the fuck was that?’  Indeed.  Stay tuned, the above is just a scratch on one patch of the mind’s surface.  Like with all 1st episodes of any show, not everything is clear and not all questions are answered.

Never Will be Still

A Chinese buffet restaurant in the U.S.
Image via Wikipedia

You might have already gotten the vibe from my blog that I’m an international woman – I like to travel, go global and get the fuck out to see the corners of the big wide world whenever I get the chance. 

 ‘Why’, some have asked. 

 ‘Because I can’, I tend to say.   

And until there’s a way to cross multiple borders and time-zones to arrive in an alternate reality without taking a shitload of LSD then I’ll continue to jet fucking set.  I’ve been told of suspicions I’m frequently smuggling shipment across borders up my butt for the local Chinese triads.  This is offensive as everyone knows that preserved abalone & pickled rhino penis doesn’t keep well up that passage.  That line was so wrong, even coming from me.  No, I travel as much as I can because I have a demonic curiosity to know what the fuck is going on outside of the small box that I live in – because that’s a core way to have a relationship with the outside world, to prevent tunnel vision and narrow mindedness.  Because if you have the financial means, physical strength and freedom to step out bearing witness to the truth with the power of language to report back on what you’ve found – then doing so becomes not only a mad time away but also in my opinion, a kind of responsibility. 

I haven’t been everywhere but I have covered some extensive distance: took a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, sailed past waving at the Statue of Liberty, ate ham & cheese under the Eifel tower, skipped along in tight pants past the Colosseum (heaps of hot men in Italy, so must wear tight everything), numbed my cheeks sitting on cobblestones in the city square of Prague, and most recently, imagined myself having a turbo shower staring at Niagara Falls.  Oh and then there was the freaky sight of what appeared to be millions of identical versions of one person huddled together in one place  – this may have been either China or a certain ‘all you can eat’ buffet restaurant at the Crown Casino.

Remember also: travel isn’t just about place, it’s also about people and the more space you cover the more you realise that you’re not limited to the people working in the same office or living on the same street in order to have a genuine connection with another human being.  I decided that I Never Will be Still when it hit me that someone who is usually sleeping while I’m awake, in summer when I’m in winter can be frustrated by the same bullshit as me, have enough insight to argue against my harsher judgements of me, and to just simply find the same shit funny as me.  I’m not trying to make a ‘we are many, yet we are all one’ etc community announcement – I’m just saying that everyone at some point or another will feel a disconnect with the situation and people they find themselves with amongst their immediate reality, and for those times when you feel somehow so far ‘out’, travelling outside where you are is what can pull you way back in.

Again with the Bad Rap

If you’re reading this right now and you don’t like rap – remain calm and don’t leave.  This post isn’t about rap.  It’s about relationships and perhaps a little bit more.  Am out in Toronto right now and I’ve read some bad press here re Eminem’s song with Rihanna, ‘Love the Way You Lie’.  The word is that the song and video clip are evil in glorifying domestic violence and promoting abuse.  As though the soul destroying experience of a violent relationship – often arising out of intensely complex emotional politics, internal power struggles & fluctuating dynamics between 2 people can be so easily packaged and summarised as being ‘promoted’.  And this is based on little more than 4 minutes of lyrics and images of a man and a woman so entangled in each other that neither seems able to simply leave the self-destructive ruins of their union: ‘Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright because I like the way it hurts.  Just gonna stand there and hear me cry, but that’s alright because I love the way you lie…’          

Since when are long-term relationships (and even friendships) so one dimensional and simple?  He hurts you, you leave.  You walk out the door just like that – as though there is no internal dialogue to fight against, no pull of the past – theirs or yours, no fear of surviving without the other person, no having to painfully retreat from co-dependence … This isn’t about whether the person should leave or not, it’s about the fact that in real life it all just isn’t so simple.  And that’s all the song really intends to do – be a snapshot of real life – 2 people so entangled in and consumed with each other they just keep on hurting each other around in circles – until one or both of them breaks … If I wanted a clear cut linear moral or instructional message about how to conduct a relationship, I’d find a text book espousing the mechanics of building a manageable partnership or find some 14 chapter self-help manual.

I haven’t been in many relationships.  But nor do I live in my own micro-cosmos unscathed from the emotional angst or damage that can characterise even a short period or small part of the most solid relationships around me – if I’m not in one, I’m always the witness of one, in fact I live everyday being the product of one.  Listen to the song.  This isn’t called glorifying domestic violence – this is called a man lyrically conveying the raw experiences of parts of his life.   Music is an artistic expression thru which the artist tells a story. And often as is the achievement of a great artist, his or her story tells wholly or in part the story of somebody else – you, me, that person and the other.

Live And Not Learn

Nobody wants to be a stupid mofo.  We all want to think that we can handle our shit and process what’s right and wrong – but the mind is tricky, ego can be a bitch and hectic emotions usually fuck up our good judgement and blur the line between what we should and shouldn’t put up with.  This isn’t just what happens when you smoke cheap easy street crack, this is just what happens:

You have the ongoing friend who always finds the bad in your good situation.  You get a promotion and they keep on highlighting the extra stress, you get a hot new dress and they make out it looks like a shapeless caftan, you get a new guy and they claim to suspect he’s an ex prisoner on the run etc.  Everybody has or has had one – the bullshit friend, the bootleg version of someone you should trust but they’re as fake, cheap and nasty as that canned soya bean cube shit the Chinese grocery shops try to pass off as duck meat.  And each time their mouths shoot the shit out, you cringe because you know it’s not true honesty but poison resentment.  But their number’s still stored in your phone.  Why?  Because you feel there’s too much history between you, the way out is not easy, the social ecosystem of your friendship network risks collapse if this tie is severed.     

Another Example: You have the relationship that has you questioning why you chose him – as in, why the fuck you chose him over a colourful sturdy vibrator instead (boys, this is from the female perspective, but if you can still relate then great – no judgement).  Yes, relationships take work and you need to compromise.  But when you put up with someone who is always possessive, jealous, neglectful, abusive, needy, hypocritical, lazy, hopeless, immature, cheating, threatened by your strength and independence etc then you ain’t doing what’s called ‘compromise’, you’re doing what’s called ‘selling out’.  But you stay with this person even though they’re the human version of a pack of instant noodles with that shady sachet of MSG flavouring – no inherent nutritional value but it’s convenient and you’re willing to keep on having it simply because … it’s there.      

We all do it – see black and white in our mind’s eye but rationalise the bullshit away with our other body parts to why certain situations or people are allowed to continuously cross ‘the line’.  Those close to me say my line is pretty damn solid and uncross-able, maybe too uncross-able and I cut people out too easily and quickly.  But I’ve had my fair share of Live And Not Learn and I suppose I’ve made the call on the above situations that I’m done.  There’s no shame in being burnt.  And then burnt again and another 400 fucking times over until finally getting it.  But at one point you just have to get it – that the other person in the ‘relationship’ or ‘friendship’ is fucked up, pointless and just not worth it.  Some say, ‘But you never know when you might need them’ and ‘But they’ll always be there for me when I have nobody’.  I say, Live And Learn – as though the devil is the one who will save you from hell.

Female Friction

No it’s not the name of my latest porno movie release (as I’m still in the process of shooting the ping pong scenes – joking, Female Friction isn’t an actual movie … that I know of but I’m sure some pervert out there will Google it just in case).  Female Friction is what happens when you come across an irrationally threatened insecure bitch of a bush pig female who hates you simply for no other reason than because you are another female.  Empirical data that I have obtained from conducting controlled studies (talking to heaps of my chick friends over cocktails and straight vodka – no ice) tells me that this happens everywhere – from the office hag who hates the new girl because she’s seen as a rival for male attention at work to the random chick on the street who hisses at you because she thinks you’re going to leer at and thus try to woo her boyfriend (presumably the poor mutha-fucker who’s walking next to her).   

I don’t get it – I thought we were meant to be on the same side, what exactly do these types of women think that other women are going to take from them? Ironically as I grew up my father warned me about the ill intent of males: ‘Don’t let any boys touch your front bum’ he would wisely advise as I ventured out into the real world.  Well fuck that – it’s not my fucking ‘front bum’ I’ve had to worry about but more my back from being stabbed by malicious women who just don’t get that a basic adult responsibility is to try and sort out their own shit before flinging it out onto others.

In the same ways that sickness makes me grateful for health and hunger makes me grateful for food; the bitter crack-whores out there make me sincerely grateful for the many strong and self-assured females that do in fact exist amongst us all.  I bumped into a guy I knew from University at a party not long ago and we were having this chat about old times, what we’d done after graduation etc, and then out of nowhere some chick appears, storms over, glares at me and drags the poor fucker away but not before hissing ‘We have to go, you cannot talk to her anymore’.  Oh no!  This irrelevant male has a girlfriend!  He’s not allowed to talk to me anymore!  My Give-a-Fuck Factor: – 23.  Her Paranoid-Skanky-Hooker Factor: 97.8.

Shithouse Date

I’m not an expert on love and commitment but I sure as hell can tell if people sitting near me at a restaurant or bar are on a shithouse date.   The unfortunate problem is when the people actually on the date are unable to identify how shithouse it is.  Look – if you’re sitting there with your drinks (or with your shared milkshake with 2 curly straws etc) and you’re just staring at the table, the floor, the wall or worse still – at me (to the next couple that does this:  I’m going to come and tip your table over – creepy fuckers), you’re clearly not letting the good times roll.   I understand that if you’ve been in a long-term relationship or if you’re married you’ve got this whole comfortable silence thing happening but these couples generally look like they’re in their mid to late twenties max with that ‘been going out for a few months’ vibe about them.  If you have absolutely nothing to say to each other at this early stage or aren’t even making eye contact at the table then you both need to go in search of more stimulating company, pay for it if you have to but at least try to fill your night with some hardcore laugher, hardcore partying or anything that’s just plain hard. 

Why waste your time being there when you could just as easily be doing the same thing sitting at home at the kitchen table by yourself – the effect is fucking the same.  And then they start to listen in on the conversation over at our table (and sure it could be because I talk as loud as hell) but I presumed the purpose of a date was to be so caught up in the other person that you don’t give a fuck if everyone else around you is on fire.  

So unless you’re both in a relationship that’s been going on for so long you don’t even bother to shut the toilet door while doing a shit, this kind of silence is not acceptable.  The last incidence of this I saw was so bad with a couple on a date that the girl was reading the label of ingredients on her coke bottle while the guy was just plain sitting there looking like he was waiting to grow a dick.