Both Sides Now

A couple of years ago, I attended a funeral of a friend who was well-loved in the faerie community. The organisers asked me to sing a closing hymn in full drag. I solemnly obliged, and took to task to memorise a Joni Mitchell classic. The last words of the song hit me so hard that it was almost difficult to finish the song:

I've looked at life from both sides now

From up and down and still somehow

It's life's illusions I recall

I really don't know life at all

It would be erroneous for me think that life would actually teach me lessons, let alone tell me who I am. Life was a bitch, uncompromising yet strangely democratic. Why in the world would life bother with me?

I would like to think I am a stronger person by now, resilient, and wise, but I do not think — or feel — that’s any closer to my own truth.

No, I have no idea what life has told me of who I am. I really don’t know life at all.

The Paths We Take

I was a huge fan of Snoopy and Charlie Brown. I loved Charles M. Schulz’s comics — seemingly innocent and childlike, but with very adult themes that border on wistfulness and introspection.

Snoopy inspired to be a comic book illustrator. I drew and painted my own comics, created stories so fantastic that if I read them today I would cringe so much I would want to shrink to the size of an ant and scuttle away in a dark crevice.

But the desire to create endured, and it became the guiding light of my career. I was eventually accepted to a fine arts college at the state university. But fate had other ideas: a former classmate encouraged me to take visual communication instead of painting, and that prepared me for an entirely different path. I do not begrudge it. I am happy where I am now.

But I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had taken painting instead, and how different my career path would be.

Lost Remembrance

I cannot remember any stories from my childhood that taught me who I should become.

All I read about was news of a greedy dictator, the millions who suffered under his despotic rule, and the faceless who vanished from existence. It was a time of fear, desperation and excess. I doubt that any of those taught me what I should become.

It is but with much effort for me to reflect and dig up any relevant stories that I resonated with — the years have changed me as person, experience has moulded my values.

I cannot remember any stories from my childhood. They seem to have vanished in the mists of time, like the faceless who vanished from existence during that dictator’s regime.

Ginger Mushroom Chicken on a Bed of Rice

This morning before I logged in to work, I strolled to my favourite dimsum place just a block away from my place. The sky was particularly cloudless and bright blue, the sunshine hazy and warm. But all I thought about was the ginger mushroom chicken on a bed rice — the delicious savoury taste already flooding my mind even before a spoonful of morsel has hit my tongue.

I arrived at the dimsum shop, and I was greeted by a masked hunk: solid arms and strong hands that could have kneaded a thousand rice flour wrappings without breaking a sweat; a handsome chest that wonderfully stretched the fabric of his shirt; kind eyes that made my heart flutter.

“What can I get you?” he asked, breaking my thirsty trance.

“Ginger mushroom chicken, please,” I croaked.

“On rice?”

I nodded, clearing my throat.

He handed me a box of the steaming delicious meal, all the while thinking how delicious he may taste too.

I ate slowly at my desk when I logged in to work.

Uniqlo + Marimekko

Whilst shopping for a puffer jacket at Richmond Centre with Shirley, I described to her the perfect and comfy puffer jacket from Uniqlo in collaboration with Finnish designer Marimekko: a red and black cocoon jacket with retro floral prints. I told her I didn't get it at that time because it was for women, but I have been thinking about that jacket ever since.

That was 2 years ago.

"You can wear whatever you want," Shirley said. "No one will know it's for women."

I paused and reflected what she said. I have been wearing women's clothing for drag, and I was afraid to wear a women's floral jacket on a daily basis. A jacket that not only would make me happy, but would also make me comfy and warm. And it fits like a dream.

So I promised myself the next time I go shopping, I would venture over to the women's section and not be afraid to try on women's clothing.