oatmeal pancakes with gula melaka

Perhaps it is not a good idea to watch a movie before sleep because my head will be filled with thoughts and how my own life can mirror that movie. I watched Lost in China, it was shown a while ago but I wasn’t into Chinese shows until the middle of last year. It is about a guy who gives up on his dream career as an artist and painter and turns to designing bra cups. He is an immensely successful designer, with many women wearing his designs, but he always saw his wife as the blocking stone to his old dreams. Then his old flame from university days comes along, and she’s a great artist, and after a few chases and action movie stunts he realises that he was not the only one who gave up on his dreams. His wife also gave up her dreams of a different university to stay with him, and his dad had his own goals too, until family and children came along. The only person who stayed with her dreams is also the one who lived in different countries and till now, is still single. And wildly successful and recognized and all that, but also alone.

I guess I’m at a point where I am very near the start of my career- an actual full-time job that I can’t quit after 6 or 8 months, although people do quit. I am wondering when will I get to start a family, when will I get to the point where I am confident of my skills. My dream was about how I had a very young kid of about a year old, and his sister was just a newborn, and I stayed there for about six months making sure the sister could adapt to earth.

But during that six months I kept thinking about another offer overseas and I didn’t want to let go of that offer. So when the therapist in the dream asked if I felt like I settled for a family and kids and responsibilities for the next twenty years I told her that when I look out of the bedroom window, or standing on the ledge of the balcony, all I saw were my past hopes, still possibly to be fulfilled, but not when I have to stay at home all day or even have half of my mind on the family. And I told her clearly that some things you just have to do when you are young and have the energy- like living alone on a different continent with a new job, or travelling through 40 cities in China in half a year. That if I were to walk away from whatever I had now, I would be extremely sad and hopeful that my kids would still recognize me, but I would also be free and I will not regret my decision.

In that dream I walked away, I didn’t take the kids with me but I left them with the family, and I packed all sorts of new experiences into two years. Time passed quickly, and when I came back it was to sign over custody of my kids to the male side of the family, because I knew that I can’t be tied down. When I saw the kids again they were roughly around 3 and 4 years old, and the younger one didn’t know who I was at all, which suited me fine. But the older one kept looking at me, even after I signed the papers he wouldn’t leave the room, although he wouldn’t hug me either. And as I was about to leave the house he started crying and when his dad picked him up he started sort of crying loudly why didn’t I want him anymore. He just stood there crying, he didn’t dare to come to me.

I guess, in that moment, I saw everything from his perspective. Why didn’t I value him more than my dreams and my need to be alone, if I was willing to give birth to him and stay with him for almost two years. I then remembered my foster brothers- the ones who would wait by the door when I came home from school. The really young ones get separation anxiety, they don’t like to be alone in a room even when it is nap time, and they always go around hunting for my mom if she’s away at church for too long. My house isn’t big so there aren’t that many places to be in, but they try anyway. Kind of cute but also sad.

I think a part of me doesn’t want to form relationships because I get bored quickly and I get irritated when people want more than I can give. It feels like I am obligated to be a nice and caring person when I am only interested in my own joys. New experiences, new humans.

In my childhood diary I wrote: “I have decided that it is better not to love anyone, because when you love people, then you have to be separated from them, and that hurts too much.
― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934