I have abandoned my diaries, my blogs, social media accounts and even email addresses all my life. I thought I was just not the sentimental type. I didn't bat an eyelid when my phone died on me without having been backed up. All in the past anyway.
Anything that left a trace of my human existence, I did not hesitate to wipe away.
|I was not aloof. I was just guarded. (Photo from 2016)
In one of my early diaries, I wrote down my most intense feelings for an older man. I was so afraid someone would read it and learn about my secret infatuation. Even after I tore the pages into small pieces and chucked them down the rubbish chute, I thought that still worried that someone would put the pieces together. I was so embarrassed that I had those feelings.
One of my email addresses boasted my ex-boyfriend's last name. It felt natural because my life was so intertwined with his family, given how much time we spent together. My own family never did anything together, so I was always available to hang out. We were together for four and a half years - my husband and I haven't even known each other for that long! It felt certain that we would get married one day, but feelings lie. That relationship feels like a lifetime ago now. I don't even know if my ex realised that I had a thing with older men?
|My ex's family always treated me like I was family. (Photo from 2017)
If you can't already tell, all of my writing is very personal to me. I tried Medium but it played to my perfection-procrastination. I hardly wrote. I tried the captions on my Instagram posts, but it felt too attention-seeking. I have decided that the home for all of my musings will be this new space.
I refrained from drawing attention to my life, because I married a man who is more than twice my age. I would prefer if people do not judge, but I no longer care. I even want to write a book and call it 'Daddy Issues'! Broken or not, this is who I am.
|The night we got our rings in Lithuania. (Photo from 2018)
I think about my father quite a lot, even though we have not spoken since mid-2018. He is the main reason why I have had so much healing to do. We lived together until I started to travel the world on a whim. I finally returned home after eight months of travelling and I brought my partner with me. It was unclear if I was going to stay in Singapore. My father wanted me to finish my degree, but I was disenchanted. (Tertiary education is a well-oiled, cunning money-making machine.)
I would never forget one of the last things my father had said to me: 'Go, don't come back ah'. That was the last threat he ever got to make. The next day, I took all my belongings, furniture, everything and left. I never came back home again. Even when I found out that I was pregnant and flew back to Singapore for a short visit, I booked an Airbnb instead of staying with my dad.
|There was a brief time we enjoyed playing family, towards the end. (Photo from 2018)
I have seen the destructive threat-making parts of my father show up in my husband. Many times. I am pretty sure that is why I married him. My ex was not terrible enough to remind me of my father, so I never fell head over heels in love with him. That is my logic anyway. I pitied myself for being attracted to what was familiar, even though it was bad for me. There is no escape.
In freely abandoning the things that I hold dear, I am in fact abandoning myself. Growing up, my father would threaten me with all sorts of things. He would threaten to confiscate my laptop or my phone. He would fine me for turning on the air-conditioner or using too much water. It was not so much what he did but the cruel way he did it. His power play turned me into somebody who did not care for anything or anyone.
|Frankenstein and Caliban, two fictional 'monsters' inspired me to be human. (Photo from 2017)
Here is an apt quote from Tara Westover's memoir, "Educated":
Then I was able to tell myself, without lying, that it didn't affect me, that he didn't affect me, because nothing affected me.... I had misunderstood the vital truth: that its not affecting me, that was its effect.
I have since set foot in my dad's house. He was hospitable. I visited with my own family (my husband and then 6-month old daughter). My mother and sister were there too. I have lived in that house for 24 years, but it no longer felt like home. Strange how that is.
My relationship with my father continues to be an enigma to me.
I know he did his best to provide for me, to pay the bills. I believe that he has never received from his parents the love and affection that I needed from him. His way of threatening our long-term relationship for a short-term change also shows me that he is not emotionally mature. He never prioritised his own emotional and mental well-being, so why would he have prioritised mine?
|I am still glad that we got to do those last few family lunches. (Photo from 2017)
When I was still living at home, I have always wanted for my dad to follow me on Instagram, watch my stories and check out what I was up to. I guess my wish got granted because he does that on a daily basis now. He likes watching my videos of his grand-daughter, whom he does not have any communication with. Ha, what's new?
Hi Papa, if you are reading this. I am starting to write about the things in my life that you never cared to ask. I have stopped hiding myself under the blanket. I used to be completely immobilised, whenever you marched into my room to scold me about something I did or did not do. I never had the guts to tell you how much psychological harm you have caused me.
But I hope you are well.
|I loved you when this picture was taken. (Photo from 2017)