I Could Never Hate Him – Part 2

In preparation for an article I was writing, I had interviewed 9 divorced women – each with their own tale to tell. While writing the article, I thought of every single one of them and would hold them in my thoughts while I grieved for them. This is a series of fictional stories, inspired by their lives and strength.

Any resemblance to real persons or other real-life entities is purely coincidental. All characters and other entities appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, dead or alive, or other real-life entities, past or present, is purely coincidental.

Singapore, 2021

The sun hasn’t yet risen and Bee Leng has woken up ahead of her alarm clock again. Fluttering her eyelids open, she looks at the ceiling fan whirring round and round…..she takes a moment to register how she’s feeling today. “How are you feeling today?” She places a hand on her chest and takes a deep breath in.

She allows her body to slowly creak and groan awake – aware that ageing has changed her body and grateful that she’s still able to actively move around and do the things she want to independently.

Today is Thursday and she and her group of close friends are going to the yoga studio. After their hatha yoga class, they all sit in the cafe section of Yoga Movement at Robertson Quay and have brunch.

“So…what do you mean by he looked at you in a suggestive manner?” Bee Leng’s friend, Amy said, in between sips of her chai tea latte.

“I’ve known him for so many years, the look he gave me wasn’t innocent. It felt like the good old days when we used to flirt back and forth.”

“And then so what??! He married you, decided he didn’t want the marriage anymore, married some young chick and now wants to win back your attention?? Bee Leng, seriously this Paul is not a gentleman at all. He doesn’t deserve you even saying his name” Rani exclaims animatedly.

Bee Leng’s two best friends – Rani and Amy have seen her through it all. They were her bridesmaids during the wedding, they were there when Sarah was born, they were also there when she had to move to her own place after Paul declared he was abandoning her.

In that moment, Bee Leng felt herself being drawn back into a memory – one she has battled with since the day IT happened.

5 years before

“Paul, come pick out the fabric for the curtains. What do you think – this or this? I like this colour better but the material is not as good. This one however, is sturdier and look, it says here that there’s a 3-year warranty,” Bee Leng says to him.

Bee Leng and Paul are standing in a shop along Balestier road, about to buy some things for the house.

“Leng…..” Paul has a sunken look on his face. “I don’t want to get these curtains.” His voice is soft and meek, and he’s avoiding her gaze.

“Okay yeah I agree. Neither of them are very nice. Let’s go to another store.” Bee Leng remarks.

“No, I mean. I don’t want to….I am….” His voice is hesitant.

“I’m leaving you, Leng”

She hears his words and even registers them but she’s immediately confused. Huh??? and What??

After what seemed like an eternity, Paul takes her by her elbow and ushers her out of the shop. She lets him.

“Leng, say something.”

“What do you mean, you’re leaving me?” Bee Leng hears herself say.

“I mean…I met someone else. And maybe if I didn’t meet her, things would be okay. But Leng, you also know that things between us haven’t been the best. We’re not communicating anymore, we don’t have common interests, and we’re not even sleeping together. I’m sorry. I just can’t hide my affection for her anymore and I want to be with her.”

“How long have you been seeing her for?”

“Two and a half months”

“You’ve only just met her, and you’re willing to throw our marriage away for her?”

“Um. Yes?”

Bee Leng doesn’t even hesitate before saying, “Give me her phone number now. I’m calling her.”

“No…no. Why??”

“If you want to leave me, at least let me meet the woman who is destroying our marriage.”

“No Leng, it’s not her fault. It’s mine. I am the one who’s leaving you, please keep her out of this.”

“Either you call her and arrange for us to meet, or I do it myself.”

“Fine. I’ll call her over.”

——————————————————————————————————————–

An hour and a half later, a stranger is standing in the living room of a house that Bee Leng and Paul call home.

She was pretty – and young. A little too young for Paul maybe??

Bee Leng notices that her husband has chosen to sit beside his mistress instead of her. The three of them were seated around their wooden dining table, each fiddling with their glass of water.

“So. Paul has told me he wants to leave our marriage for you. Did you know that, Coco?”

“Yeah, of course I do. Paul and I share everything, we don’t hide secrets from each other.” Coco replies.

“I see. Well then Paul, you can explain to our daughter Sarah that you’re abandoning our family for Coco. She should be arriving any minute.”

Paul’s face immediately went white and a look of terror flashed across his eyes.

“She’s coming here….now??” He exclaims.

Just then, the door opens. Sarah enters the living room and immediately, a look of confusion hangs from her expression.

“Mum, Dad. What’s going? Mum said it was urgent…..I had to take a half day lea-”

Bee Leng cut her off mid-sentence. “Sarah, your father has something to tell you.”

Sarah looks at her father. She has always been a Daddy’s girl and she knew from his expression that he was ashamed – but of what?

Sarah joins them at the table, next to her mother and she can’t help but notice a stranger is sitting next to her father, a lady not much older than herself.

“Dad? What is it?”

Paul can’t bring himself to look into Sarah’s eyes, his hands are clasped together and sweat is forming around his temple. He doesn’t make a sound.

“Paul? Say something. This is your chance. You promised me you would tell them.” Coco turns to Paul and when he looks up, he realizes all three women’s gazes are on him – unwavering and unyielding.

“Sarah. Your mother and I are splitting up.”

“Don’t even think to involve me, tell her the truth.” Bee Leng’s voice is quiet but furious.

“I….I’m the one who is leaving your mother. And I’m going to be with Coco from now on.” Paul’s hands are tightly clasped together by now that they have gone red.

“WHAT??! How could you? Dad – are you thinking right? Is this woman forcing you to tell us this? Is she bribing you? Did you get her pregnant? Dad, we can always solve problems together as a family, just tell us what she wants – is it money?”

“I’m not bribing him for anything okay, and yes I might be pregnant but it’s not because of that. Paul loves me and I love him. He doesn’t love your mother anymore so don’t pin the blame on me. Your mother is the one who couldn’t satisfy Paul’s needs and now, looking at her, I understand why he’s leaving her.” Coco raises her voice at Sarah and Bee Leng.

Bee Leng’s mind cannot take this anymore and she notices herself drifting off. She’s no longer listening to the conversation even though she knows Paul is now saying something.

Voices raised.

Hand gestures are flying around.

But all Bee Leng can replay in her mind is “He doesn’t love your mother anymore…..now, looking at her, I understand why he’s leaving her.”

Bee Leng gets up from the table, opens the door, and walks out of the condo. She walks past the bus stop, past the school where Sarah went to, past the post office where she used to send packages to Paul whenever he went overseas for work, past the coffeeshop where the three of them would have breakfast every Saturday morning.

28 years of marriage. 30 years of loving Paul. She gave him everything……all of her.

Wasn’t it enough?

Chrysalis

I arrived at the airport of Milan, ready to depart for Singapore but was denied entry on the flight because I wasn’t vaccinated in a VTL country, so they wouldn’t let me on a VTL flight.

I didn’t intend to come home so soon but because of some administrative events, I had to schedule to come home earlier. Leaving Marco in Italy is sad, but knowing that when we reunite, it’ll be in my home country makes me excited. I’ll get to show him My Singapore.

The journey home wasn’t super smooth, it involved alot of hiccups, having to spend money for extra tests and flights, a 12 hour wait in Milan airport and another 12 hour journey back home on a flight.

As I went through the entire journey, I kept track of how I was feeling. How do I feel to be going back home again? This time, feeling so different? This time, feeling like a different person?

I’m no longer the Jane I used to be, but I’m also acutely aware that I’m in a transformation process – like a caterpillar spinning in a cocoon. I can feel the process happening and I’m aware of this change.

I’m excited honestly. I think in healing inner child wounds, I’m really allowing myself to dream and create like never before, to break down past thought processes, to break through and vibrate to higher frequencies.

To let go of judgment and fear of being judged.

Because this is real life, and humans are one big boggling mess.

None of us are ever acutely aware and in control of our lives and how we behave in them.

We make mistakes, we cry, we hurt, we suffer, we lose, we forgive, we mess up, and the cycle repeats.

We lose friends, we gain friends, we break up with family, we reunite.

Everything is always in balance though – the entire universe is.

What we take one day, we will have to give back on another.

How we behave one day, will always reflect in turn, onto us.

The words we speak to people, will one day be spoken to us.

And the way we hurt people, will always come back to haunt us.

This entire covid situation has been a great chance for lessons. It has forced us to quieten down, to reflect, to rethink and to act differently.

Is there a need for over-consumption? Do governments know what they’re doing? Do societies know? How are laws formed? Do children have future-ready jobs? What does the future look like – can anyone know?

In every great revolution in time, there exists two types of people – one kind who learn from their past and move on to be better, the other who hang onto their egos and insist on their old ways.

Which type of people will we choose to be?

I Could Never Hate Him – Part 1

In preparation for an article I was writing, I had interviewed 9 divorced women – each with their own tale to tell. While writing the article, I thought of every single one of them and would hold them in my thoughts while I grieved for them. This is a series of fictional stories, inspired by their lives and strength.

Any resemblance to real persons or other real-life entities is purely coincidental. All characters and other entities appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, dead or alive, or other real-life entities, past or present, is purely coincidental.

Singapore, 2021

Bee Leng’s heart is pumping as she approaches The Trumps, a condominium in Singapore where her daughter is living in. Sarah, her only daughter, just gave birth to a son, and they are all gathering to celebrate his first birthday.

As she approaches the lift to go to the 9th floor, her palms start sweating and she can feel cold sweat trickle down the back of her neck.

It’s been 5 years since she last saw Him and she can’t help but feel anxious about this reunion. When Sarah gave birth to her sweet son, Ben, it was during the first covid pandemic lockdown and people couldn’t do visitations at the hospital. She felt relieved then, knowing she could avoid an awkward situation of bumping into Him.

But when Sarah called her last week to invite her to today’s celebration, she couldn’t make up any excuses. After all, if Sarah is fine with Him being around, after all that he did to them, why should Bee Leng not be?

After putting down the phone, she immediately made an appointment with Karl, her hair dresser. “Karl, I have to meet Paul next week, can you schedule me in tomorrow or the day after please? She asks.

“Oh my goodness. Paul? Like THE Paul?” Karl, who has been her hair dresser the last 10 years is a dear friend who has been there for her through it all. “I’m fully packed the next two days but honey, I got you. Come by at 8pm tomorrow, we will fix you right up. “

It’s a week later, and Bee Leng is ready. Dressed in a white suit, new curly locks and fresh lipstick, Bee Leng takes a deep breath….. and presses the door bell of unit 09-324.

She deliberately arrived an hour late because she wanted to let him see her. She wanted him to take notice of her when she first walked in.

To her surprise, it is neither Sarah nor her husband, Amos, who opens the door. The first thing that greeted Bee Leng’s senses was the overwhelming smell of perfume that Coco drenched herself in. “Bee Leng, it’s youuuuuu” Coco squealed and hugged her. She doesn’t resist it because she has no time to but she feels bile rising up her throat as her face is forcibly buried into Coco’s hair. Bee Leng resists the urge to push her away and instead, immediately places herself at an arm’s length away from this bundle of energy.

Coco is the woman Bee Leng’s ex-husband, Paul, married after he left their marriage. His announcement to leave her and Sarah had come so suddenly. “I’m just not in love with you anymore.” He had told her. That one-line had determined her fate for the last five years. That one-line still haunts her from time to time, creeping in her dreams, day and night.

“Paul and I weren’t sure if you were coming but I told him you wouldn’t miss it for the world. Didn’t I say she would come, baby?” Coco says to her husband, as she ushers Bee Leng by her elbow, into a living room that wasn’t hers, right infront of Paul.

Bee Leng stands up straight, and looks up at Paul. She notices more than a few white strands at his temple, and realizes his neck has gone a little saggy. He looks like he’s aged 10 years even though it’s only been 5. He’s smiling at her, and it’s genuine. He’s happy to see her. 28 years of marriage with him…..she always knew how he felt even before he said anything. She knew before, when he had looked at her, trying to find the words to say “I’m leaving you”. She knows now that he isn’t lying when he says to her, “Hey Bee Leng, it’s really good to see you”.

For a man who’s nearly 60, Paul looks as ragged as a 70-year-old old man. But it was never his looks she fell for – it was his kind heart, soft temperament, and tenderness that she loved. Not anymore. Not since she decided to let him go, just six months ago.

So many things have changed…..since six months ago.

“Mum! Come meet your grandson,” Sarah had noticed the awkward silence between her divorced parents and decided to break it.

It’s only then that Bee Leng is able to take stock of her surroundings and shifts her attention to her beautiful grandson. She takes him in her arms and smells his forehead, and she whispers to him, “Ben my darling, you’re so precious…..so so precious.”

Holding new life in her arms takes her back to when she first held Sarah in hers, 25 years ago. When her water broke, she was alone in the apartment. It was 3 p.m. and she knew he was in a meeting with some big clients so she decided to call upon her neighbor, Sofia, instead.

They had moved into this neighborhood just a year ago, 50 miles away from San Francisco, where Paul had accepted a new job as the CFO of a mid-size company that sold IT components. Paul had said that the new neighborhood would be better than living in the city – the house would be bigger and the environment safer for their baby girl. Soon after, they made fast friends with their neighbor, a single mother with 2 children of her own. Sofia and Bee Leng became best of friends.

“Sofia! Sofia!” Bee Leng knocked frantically on her neighbor’s door. Sofia works from home and she was bound to be in at this time.

The two of them rushed to the hospital, and within five hours, Bee Leng held Sarah in her arms. It was just the two of them in that birthing suite when Sarah was born – all 10 fingers and toes, with a full head of hair and big bright eyes. The minute Bee Leng held Sarah close to her chest, she was convinced that Sarah would save her. She wasn’t even sure what kind of saving she needed, but she knew – that her daughter had saved her life.

Paul came in when Bee Leng was fast asleep – by then it was already 10p.m.

“I’m sorry, I had my cellphone turned off. I only found out when I saw all the missed calls on my phone. I’m so sorry.” He had said.

Bee Leng forgave him. She was sure then, that the three of them would live happily ever after forever. She had been so sure then.

“By the way….since everyone is here….we wanted to announce something,” Coco says.

Bee Leng looks up while cradling her grandson and her gut lurched into a tight knot. The little bump on Coco’s stomach didn’t go unnoticed when she first wrangled Bee Leng into an embrace.

Coco grabs a hold of Paul’s hand, waits for everyone to look at her, then glances back at Paul again, who, at this point, looks a little embarrassed and hesitant. Before he could say anything however, his 35-year-old wife squeals and says, “WE’RE PREGNANT!”

Bee Leng doesn’t startle at this fact but merely observes the looks on the rest of the people’s faces. Sarah and Amos look like deer caught in headlights. Bee Leng’s sister, Anita and her son, Bryan look confused. But the funniest look came from Paul’s own mother, Mary, an 85-year-old woman who has always adored Bee Leng and vehemently rejected the idea of her son leaving their marriage, only to marry someone nearly half his age barely a year later.

Mary didn’t hold back at all and scowled at this announcement. By now, Paul’s face has turned bright red and he polishes off his glass of whisky, leaving Coco to excitedly share details of her pregnancy with Sarah and Amos.

Bee Leng smiles to herself, and walks over to the balcony where Paul is standing on, looking out into the distance.

“So…I guess congratulations are in order?” Bee Leng hears her calm voice speaking to Paul.

“I….don’t even know what to say. I never thought I’d be a father again, at this age.” Paul says , looking slightly bewildered.

The sun is setting now, and clouds are scattered across the sky, light orange hues lining them. It has been 5 years since Paul and Bee Leng stood, side by side, neither of them angry nor shouting at each other. The atmosphere between them now holds only understanding and comfort – a world of difference compared to back then, when they were filing for a divorce. Things had gotten really messy – but in the end, Bee Leng had walked away with what she deserved.

“How are you – Bee Leng?” Paul finally asks, afraid to look up at her as he asks this.

“I wasn’t good for a long time, I have to admit. But I’m much better now, Paul. I can finally say I’m much better now.” She turns directly to him and waits until he summons enough courage to gaze back into her eyes.

Her eyes hold kindness and forgiveness, they look right through him, as they always did. The truth is too much for him to bear, and he peels his eyes away from hers.


An hour and half later, everyone is gathered around the cake and it’s time to take photographs. After Sarah and Amos take a family picture with Ben in their arms, Sarah requests for one with her parents. Paul and Bee Leng look at each other, and go to stand beside their daughter.

As Bryan counts to 3, Bee Leng feels Paul’s arm around her waist and doesn’t pull away. His touch feels familiar and yet completely foreign.

At the end of the night, everyone says their farewell and Bee Leng can’t help but notice Paul’s gaze at her. He’s been stealing glances at her the whole night and Bee Leng doesn’t think he wanted them to go unnoticed. He wanted her to know. He wanted her to feel his unwavering attention on her.

As she gets into a Grab car and sets off for home, Bee Leng can’t help but feel stirring in her heart. “What is this feeling?” She asks herself.

“Be still, my heart.” She whispers to herself.

We Don’t Have To Stay Loyal To Anxiety – But We Can Befriend It

It took some time to realise this, but I was in a constant state of anxiety for more than a year.

I remember not being able to sleep, getting startled by noises easily, being more sensitive towards temperature changes, and in general, not being able to focus on conversations or tasks as well.

I didn’t know it then, but I was on a persistant fight/flight mode. I was in shock. My reality had shattered into pieces and my mind was trying to protect me.

Shock from certain traumatic incidents that happened. Incidents that triggered a lot of feelings from events that happened years and years ago.

It was only after working with my therapist that I found out I was dealing with anxiety, depression and that my triggers are linked with emotional neglect (when I was a child), betrayal, and a fear of abandonment.

Anxiety puts us in fight/flight modes whenever we get triggered. Triggers can come really randomly – opening Spotify and seeing a playlist your ex used to make for you, a brand of cereal you used to buy together, or the name of a person.

I’ve learnt through therapy, that when we experience anxiety, the first thing our minds try to do is put us in a survival state – some people freeze up while others will go on fight mode and start attacking others.

Our minds, in order to protect ourselves, will try to control the situation and think of different scenarios that might happen – and how we can defend ourselves in them.

But what anxiety doesn’t do, is show us reality.

The easiest way to beat anxiety, is to use various methods to come back to the present, and realize that we’re in a safe place.

While reading the book ‘ The wisdom of a broken heart” by Susan Piver, I learned one method to help bring myself back to center: Take deep breaths, scan your surroundings and name 5 things that would include your different senses. For eg: There is a palm tree outside my window and it’s slightly swaying in the wind; Someone is having a barbeque outside and the smell of food is great etc. After this, take deep breaths again and note 3 things in your surroundings you’ve never noticed before. Take your time to slowly scan your surroundings. It can be for eg: The fridge has a magnet that’s chipped, someone has left a pair of socks on the floor etc. This exercise would immediately bring you back to reality and help you see that the big scary thoughts that are happening in our minds are just created by us – they’re not actually happening. It could be a horror story unfolding in our minds, and our bodies might be reacting in response to our thoughts (heightened senses, inability to focus or perform tasks, chest pains etc) but in reality – nothing is actually happening: we’re safe.

The reason why we immediately think of worst case scenarios is because we’re basing on past experiences and we fear that it would happen again.

While working with Rella, she taught me a few ways to help me beat anxiety. One would be to breathe in through my left nostril, and the other, to rub my palms together creating heat and place them over my eyes.

Amongst the many things I learned from Rella – one of them stood out. That my mind has been so used to feeling anxious that even if I’m ready to let go of it, it might not want to let go of me. Our minds want to stay loyal to feeling anxious, because it’s a place of comfort and familiarity.

That’s why, we could be feeling perfectly fine and happy sometimes, and then immediately enter a state of anxiety whenever we meet with triggers.

Rella said, “Ask yourself, are you ready to let go of anxiety? Are you ready to embrace the change that comes after”

I liken it to trying cliff jumping for the first time. Your feet is inching towards the edge, step by step, and you can feel the back of your hairs rise, a trickle of cold sweat down your neck. The longer you stay at the top, looking 10 feet down into the water, the harder it will be to jump. Yet, you just have to embrace the unknown of what will happen after you jump into the water. Even if you’ve already seen 20 people jump before, and you know you’ll be fine, trust can only come after you’ve jumped yourself.

So the point is – trust the process. Sometimes it just takes that second of being illogical, of being reckless and fearless, to help you overcome a challenge.

“Describe your anxiety in a way you would like to, so that you wouldn’t be afraid of it, but want to befriend it” Rella tells me

“Are you ready to go on an adventure, anxiety?”

“Are you ready to explore this city, anxiety?

“Are you ready to learn more with me, anxiety?”

Maybe the point is not to eliminate anxiety completely, because I do believe it’s a great signpost that teaches us things about ourselves. But maybe the point is to befriend it, to not be scared of it, and to be able to stay calm when it becomes overwhelming.

Maybe the point is not to beat anxiety, but to conquer the debilitating effects of anxiety when it hits us.

Either way, I’m learning alot through therapy and books now, and I feel that it carries through in my conversations with family and friends. It also helps me to find my voice and strength and not be afraid to stand up for myself when the need arises.

Life is worthwhile 🙂 And it’s great to finally be enjoying the life I’ve been living, and not just be alternating between extreme highs and lows. Self-awareness truly elevates us to a different frequency, one that can help us love life better, and in turn, love others well.

Someone has to break the cycle first

I now understand why people say forgiveness is for yourself, and not for your perpetrator.

I think that forgiveness is really the key to getting over trauma. The power of love is always greater than hate. And love can create what hate can only destroy.

I had a dream the other day.

That he and I met. And in that dream, he looked the same as when I first met him. I could only remember how kind, loving and genuine he felt. In my dream, we spoke very openly about how everything ended up so nastily. He finally told me about all his grievances and I spoke very openly about how hurt I was too, after everything that had happened.

In my dream, we forgave each other. We decided to put everything in the past and just wished each other well. In that moment, I felt such power in that act of love. That act of generosity. There was so much light, in that one act of connecting and empathizing with each other.

I woke up, and felt a little sad. That reality isn’t such the case. But that feeling of love stayed with me. And i want it.

So i’m working towards fully forgiving him, just as I ask for forgiveness for ever hurting him too.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean we have to forget. But it does mean that we look beyond, and recognize that everyone makes mistakes. Forgiving someone else, is also one step further to forgiving yourself.

I want to get to a point, where I can one day look him in the eye and truly wish him all my best. And all my love.

Because at one point in my life, I genuinely did love him a lot. Enough to be this hurt. And maybe his actions were the consequence of being hurt. Maybe by me, maybe by his past. Maybe he has so many welled up insecurities. Maybe he was so badly hurt in his childhood, that he’s not even aware of how they have manifested into his current adulthood.

I choose to forgive.

If I died one day

If I died one day, earlier than I meant to

I hope that people knew how much I respected life

I hope they knew how much I loved them

I hope I told them enough, how much they meant to me

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy life. Its that I did. But like walking along the path of zingaro, I sometimes feel like life doesn’t get any better than this.

What is our purpose in life?

For many, it is to have children, to grow love within families, and to achieve many things

For me, my only purpose is to love life and enjoy it, to realize that life is a gift. And that relationships should be enjoyable. I sometimes know that I’m still depressed but I don’t like the connotation that comes with it.

My grandmother was medically diagnosed as bipolar and I saw how her life was managed by medicines and therapy.

Why do we try to suppress one’s emotions?

Last week I told my mum that I supported people who committed suicides. It’s not that I want people to kill themselves. But that I understood them. I understand what it feels like when you just feel numb towards life.

It’s not that I hate life. I love it. Its just that I sometimes don’t see a point in it. You know?

It’s like riding a roller coaster again and again and again. You already know when the highs and lows are coming. It’s predictable.

Idk if I could ever raise children in this world. I’ve met some people who have shown me that having children is so difficult. It’s such a huge responsibility. The world is also not that fantastic in the first place, is it?

Most people are selfish. Most just want to put themselves first.

Sometimes I definitely feel tired of trying to find meaning in life. Or some sort of purpose I suppose.

But every day is a new fight. And every day has been rewarding.

So, I guess. We shall see. 🙂 until then, I’m happy to have known many people in my life. And I’m glad that life has been generous to me.

Fuck la Janeeeeee. STOP WORRYING

URLKGA;SLDKJFALKDSJ is the mood that can appropriately describe how I feel today.

Never heard of the word before? Just check the non-existent dictionary in my mind. It’s full of words that adequately sum up how I feel whenever the English language fails at this task.

LKASJLDKFuuiii$%^LSKFJ is the synonym of URLKGA;SLDKJFALKDSJ

Today I don’t even feel like I can write proper sentences. What am I feeling? Anxiety? Fear? Mild anxiety? 7/10 anxiety? 0.09/100 confidence?

A while ago, Ed asked me on IG “have u thought of freelance writing before?” he didn’t know I had emailed in to RICE applying to freelance write just a day before.

A week later, I received an email from RICE telling me to submit some pitches to them.

Today, I held my first few interviews for the first ever article I’m going to write for RICE.

It’s unreal. I think these are the moments that sometimes fly over people’s minds. I should be celebrating. But all I feel is anxiety.

It feels like I’m a ballerina who worked all her life to be the lead in the Nutcracker and she’s finally been chosen. But instead of celebrating, all she can think about is how she needs to perform well and not fall flat on her face during the performance.

These moments can be both crippling and terrorizing.

Instead, I am choosing to embrace these two rather scary emotions, and I’m telling myself, “SO BE IT”

Even if I fall flat on my face, so be it.

I’ve got to start from somewhere.

Just as I was looking for some uplifting message from the ‘universe’ today, I chanced upon Annette Lee’s old blog, particularly this post

She talks about how being an amateur is the way to go because

They (Beginners) take chances, experiment, and follow their whims. Sometimes, in the process of doing things in an unprofessional way, they make new discoveries

I particularly like this reminder that “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert mind’s there are few” (said by the monk Shunryu Suzuki)

If you’re wondering who Annette is, she’s a Singaporean singer-songwriter who I follow on IG. I love her work because she’s so true to herself and no matter what work she puts out, she exudes this confidence in her that I’m envious of

I’ve never been comfortable infront of the camera and i always feel awkward in videos. My medium of storytelling has always been writing.

Back to the today’s main rant

I managed to interview three different women today for the article I’m writing and each of them shared so candidly with me about their lives.

Suddenly, after hearing their stories, I feel paralyzed by fear that I won’t be able to write an article that would do them justice.

As the day comes to an end, I find myself worrying about alot of things as well.

Will I be able to write something of value? Will people find my article irrelevant? Will my article even be read by people?

For how long can I keep up this imposter life? Who the fuck is Jane the digital nomad? Will I be able to help the startup I’m working for get off its feet and receive funding? Will more people start buying our courses and will the teachers I’ve helped to recruit be able to get the secondary income they so need?

The list of worries go on and on, almost as if I’d been hiding them in an invisible wardrobe and locked them inside with an invisible lock.

I try to distract myself by burying my mind in a book, a memoir called The Only Girl In The World and fuck me….this memoir is so depressing I cannot read more than 10 pages.

I open up Tiktok and scroll through videos and I want to laugh. I desperately want to find something interesting enough or funny enough. Nothing.

I open up IG and I close it again in a few minutes.

I CAN’T. I JUST CAN’T.

I walk to my laptop and I look outside at the pool. Then I momentarily remind myself.

That I’m in a situation 100% better than I was a year before, a month before, even a week before.

WHY WORRY JANE. WHY WORRY ABOUT THE FUTURE WHEN I’M IN A PERFECTLY AWESOME SITUATION.

STOP EFFING WORRYING SO MUCH.

So I started writing.

And It’s helping.

Does anyone feel this way too sometimes???? Or does someone feel like slapping the fuck out of me to wake me up from this impossible cycle of overthinking and overworrying.

If I buy a package of 10 slaps can you add 2 free slaps please?

Does it work like acupoint massage therapies? The more I bludgeon my mind, the more I agonize my soul, the more “release” I’ll feel?

Hence……………………..

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Get Angry

Get angry. Get angry when you have every right to be. If you feel the rage start as a tingle, light that spark up and let it burn. Let it burn and feel the blood rush to your face. Feel that pulse coursing through your veins, carrying oxygen that will feed the fire. Let your blood boil. Feel your lips quiver and watch your pupils dilate. Stand in front of the mirror and just watch yourself get livid. Tell yourself “Let it fucking lit the roof up” and feel the heat rise to the top of your head. Put a song on and celebrate this anger. Celebrate because you are finally seeing your worth. Celebrate the fact that today you are realizing how much time and effort you have wasted on people who don’t deserve you. Feel your anger and harness it. Harness it into a power that you can use for good. A power that you can channel into a purpose that deserves your love and attention. Let nobody else ever waste a single second of your time.

Get angry.

Because it’s about damn time.

“Gideon and Jane” renamed to “29 & Divorced”

Hi everyone!

Thank you for reading and sending me lots of messages to share how the book resonated with you. I’ve been working on writing the e-book and just making sure I own the copyright to the book.

For people who have been asking for a life update!

Marco and I have been getting ready to leave Croatia. We will then be going to Italy for 2+ months before heading back to Singapore for a visit.

Thank you for sending all of your love and well-wishes.

Once again, sending love to everyone back home in Singapore.

Update Sept 2021: I’m re-writing some chapters and adding new ones!! There will be some proof reading that has to happen, an illustrator who will help me with my book cover, and then ill get started on boring admin stuff like copyrighting and blah

For those who are waiting for updates please check my IG for future ones! There will also be chances to get free copies of the ebook if you follow me there 😘 ig handle is janetoryl

Update: “Gideon and Jane” will be renamed as “29 & Divorced”

I just feel that it does the book more justice 🙂 This book isn’t just based on my real life story, it’s a novel that I wrote to stir up conversations.

Why is divorce still such a taboo topic in Singapore?

Why are so many people, women especially, so ashamed to be divorced?

I also want the book to send hope to people who have chosen to face their fears and meet with Grief and Trauma head on.

The more we choose to uproot from our comfort zones and take that first step to changing our unhappy lives, the more we will be confronted with truths we have tried to run from for our entire lives.

People often say that the first step is always the hardest, but I actually think that all the parts in between require a lot of stamina and continual determination and support to get us through the long marathon.

I hope the book also lends support to people who are running this marathon because I’m still running it alongside you.

I’m here. You’re not alone.

It’s okay to weed people out

I remember when I was younger, that I wanted to be friends with everyone. I didn’t have much attention from my parents while I was growing up, not because they didn’t want to take care of me, but because they had to work.

Although my parents made sure we spent quality time together during the weekends, I was mostly left alone to my own devices on the weekdays.

I loved my friends. I loved making new ones too. I had an attachment to my friends to satisfy a craving due to loneliness. Many people seek comforts from different things because of loneliness – food, alcohol, movies, art, pets, porn, or even a stamp collection.

In seeking to remedy my loneliness through keeping many friends around, I became a people pleaser as well. I would overly compromise on my needs in order to please my friends.

At the start of my secondary school life, I once asked a girl to slap me whenever she found me annoying. I had such a deep desire to please her because she had shown brief interest in me before becoming bored and moving on. I wanted so much to win over her affection.

Of course, over the course of 2 decades, I have learnt that I cannot possibly please everyone. But beyond that, I’ve also learnt that its not necessary to do so. My sickness of feeling lonely has long been cured by having closer relationships with my family, a tight knit group of friends I can always count on, and realizing that friends are found everywhere and anywhere.

Still, I had some left-over people pleasing tendencies in the form of keeping toxic people in my life. I always thought that friendships have to last forever. Why? Because I want to stay loyal to them. I often think that friendships can endure all time as long as two people make the effort and put in the work to iron out differences.

But over the last two years, especially while grieving and dealing with loss, I’ve learnt an even greater lesson. That self love begins with realizing how sacred our time and energy is. Self love is a powerful technique that if mastered, can effectively keep loneliness at bay most of the time, barring any isolated situations.

Recognizing our self worth means realizing that as much we want people to respect us, we also have to first respect ourselves to set healthy boundaries.

It’s truly okay for us to weed certain people out of lives, simply because they carry energy that doesn’t help uplift us in lives. Sometimes, these people can be friends, colleagues, relatives but other times, these people could have been our best friends or even our parents.

I know that weeding out best friends or parents can feel like the most difficult thing to do and I personally haven’t needed to do that. But I recently cleared my life of certain people who didn’t really matter anyway, and it felt really cathartic. I suppose that’s what the art of Marie kondo is all about.

Weeding people out of our lives can be a heavy and difficult topic. So what can we do?

For a start, it would help to consider a few things.

1. Have we communicated our feelings with these people? How have they responded and do we find them reasonable? Have we also taken accountability for our own actions towards them if we did them wrong?

2. Have we created a safe space with them so we can clarify misunderstandings with them? Have they chosen to respond reasonably or not?

3. Were their wrongdoings so unforgiveable that we cannot move past them? Or would an apology and actions that follow help to make us feel better?

4. Have these people tried to change and have they also chosen to be vulnerable with us?

5. Would weeding these people out bring us more or less joy or are they absolutely necessary to keep in our lives?

Perhaps something to consider would also be to keep a distance from people while we consider weeding them out. Sometimes, all we need is a little distance from them while we sort out our emotions. I’ve learnt the hard way, that I often say or do things on impulse whenever I’m emotionally charged.

So we can always choose to step out of a situation, pause and process our thoughts first.

It’s more likely that we find peace in our decisions when we make them with a calm mind rather than with an erratic one.

Regularly weeding not just people but bad habits in our lives is really useful so that we protect our energy and our minds from unwanted negativity.

If we weed out the truly toxic things in our lives, we surface from these situations feeling much lighter and happier after a while. Of course, at the start it might feel weird because we’re not used to such “aggressive” tactics. But give it a while, and you’ll see that decluttering your mental and emotional spaces was worthwhile.