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balance (2): January 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010


i read something recently that said (paraphrasing) a friend is someone who feels comfortable going on about themself to you. people are inherently selfish, and the more you appeal to their egos the more you own them, and vice versa.

'x' and i definitely use each other as sounding boards. but we have a rare friendship that transcends our respective egos, at long last. i love 'x' (more effusively than i can reveal to his stern and prohibitive demeanor), ever since the day i first ran into him in the hallway of our workplace as youngsters, where we had a strange moment of fatalistic recognition that i can replay with startling clarity to this day in my head. i love him because we have had a tumultuous 14 years or so of trying on personalities with each other, auditioning various relationships as if we were robot scientists experimenting impartially with human traits. at times we mesh and it is smooth going. at other times it seems our entire acquaintance is based on sadistically reducing each other to snivelling heaps of doubt, insecurity, and despair, and we purposely lose touch for months at a's been an invaluable education though overall, and i think that finally we are growing up, graduating. we have both passed each others' rigorous tests and shown that despite our defenses (and persistent mental illnesses), we have each others' backs for life. i admit i find it hard to like an integral part of him, which is his lifestyle as a crass "sexpat" in asia. however his being the one person who has endlessly inspired me and cared for me in his sometimes disguised and passive-aggressive way so unwaveringly throughout my life, when everyone else ended up revealing monsters and ineffectual losers behind intricate masks, means i will accept anything he is in the end, however repulsive it can be at times. and he is really complex enough that his abundant generosity and kindness to those who finally get through his obstacle course, balances things out. i worship him unconditionally. i feel so lucky to have someone in my life who is ultimately genuine, and even imagine that he might be acceptable compensation for the fact that my family was mostly a bunch of dim-witted, misdirected narcissists who treated me like an unwanted pet my whole life, until i sprouted wings, dismissed them from my regard, and flew away.

'x' who never lets me sneak pictures

i am happy that i managed to squeeze two trips to see 'x' into the past year (first in scotland/amsterdam and now in asia). this trip to his art compound in the philippines was relaxing, and enlightening in a lot of ways i didn't expect. first of all, i didn't realize the extent to which he had succeeded in his work, and in such an accelerated fashion(!). for years we were on the same level with our similar careers, but somehow he skipped way ahead of me when i wasn't looking (jealous!). he has built an amazing house in his little brothel town- complete with a gorgeous pool, a hot tub, a perfect gym room which i took full advantage of, a fully stocked bar with companion pool table, and 4 bedrooms equipped with elaborate entertainment systems to accommodate his visiting friends. there was really no reason to leave his paradise abode at all! i took a jeepney through the decrepit streets of AC, from my turbulent plane to his barricaded warehouse. he welcomed me from the depths with a bottle of rare wine bought at auction, which we twirled sophisticatedly in stemware (giggling at our pretension) next to his lush garden, with his awkward maid-slave and pet finches eyeing us curiously from the peripheral. aside from the initial catch up, we spent the days idly doing our own thing, existing in friendly silence, until the evenings when we would meet up and ride his motorbike through the drab streets, to a strange korean massage place where tiny women in robes poked at us clumsily while fellow massage recipients moaned in sleepy pleasure from adjacent recliners. to a gun range where i shot a handgun for the 3rd time in my life, but was shocked neverless by it's terrifying force and volume. and to decadent dinners of ostrich steaks and champagne, followed by the requisite touring of the dens of sin which pervade the small steamy town populated mostly by the male gender and those who serve them. i am not ashamed to admit i feel entirely comfortable in whorehouses. the girls who work there have a background i can relate to, a hardness i can empathize with, and they recognize that in me and open up in a way they can't do with their customers. they are definitely more interesting than the average person i meet, and i can chat all night about life with these girls. the filipino ones are so disarmingly sweet compared to their thai counterparts that i leave them intoxicated, in their little bikinis, to their aging patrons in their dim bars blaring cheese pop quite reluctantly, with affectionate embraces, feeling like sisters. 'x' and i also managed a couple trips to the (male) 'hosto' bars, for old times' sake, to watch the 'exotic boys' dance innocently in tighty whiteys with muscles rippling, shooting fetching glances towards wrinkled ladies in sparse wigs who tip glasses in the audience. the transexual counterparts lisp horrid renditions of 70s ballads from underneath garish costumes, and the spurious waiters hustle you constantly for overpriced drinks. ah- asia is home, even these skeletons which should be relegated to deep dark closets of eastern history ironically make me feel safe and accepted and unrestrained and alive.

i left 'x' with a formal pat on the back, gulping down a lump in my throat, as always (we are now grown up enough not to sob openly as we did as kids). him being able to see right through me, he left me with plenty of advice on how to get on track with work so i can one day enjoy the freedom he does. he also suggested professional counseling for the fact that in reaction to trauma in my teens, my development has been stunted and i am frozen in the guise of a puerile, rebellious, antisocial and diffident girl, whose progression is impeded and who is pathetically bottlenecked and repressed. i trust his blunt assessment, because i wouldn't be where i am today (which is on the right path overall) without having taken his advice every time before. and so i left the philippines for thailand with a feeling that i do have some "family" after all whom i can depend on and trust, and to whom i will be thus be thankfully devoted until i die. and that was that.

back in thailand feeling so glad i made this trip.


Monday, January 25, 2010


i don't know if i can really put into words what is going on with me right now. i think that with my solitary lifestyle i have more opportunity for introspection than most people, and i am digging deep despite my normally repressed self at the moment, so deep that i am lost. i don't even recognize me right now.

i feel physically and mentally the best i have felt in years. i just finished my few days of fasting, detoxing, and cleaning out the ol' pipes in my wonderland getaway (i will spare you the gory details of self-administered colonics and the laxative and liver flush drinks i had to choke down daily. it was a paradisical time on my lush ex-island home otherwise, i'll leave it at that). this is probably the closest to newborn i will ever be again physically. as cheesy and cliché as it seems, i feel high on life! and i have always been the last person to be susceptible to self discipline of any sort, ever since i made a pact with myself in my junior year of high school (when most aspects of my life had hit the fan), that i was not going to deny myself anything that i wanted from then on... but i think i am finding that what i want has changed! and the discipline makes me feel good, and alive!

i have avoided meeting or talking to many people on this trip to thailand in an effort not to taint my small self discovery. the funny thing about this place is that not only is it ridiculously easy to meet new people (basically i just have to sit somewhere in public and people traipse up to me, making me wonder why people in NY are so uptight and closed off?), but it actually gets to the point where it is annoying after awhile! i find myself dissuading people from sitting down with me, to avoid getting stuck in conversation with someone like the naive, co-dependent korean package tourist who was my verbose bus partner this morning, who gushed about her businessman husband and american icons such as whitney houston, oprah winfrey, and her infatuation with the 'twilight' series (rolls eyes). i amused myself by shocking her with glimpses of my piercings and tattoos (i'm such a bad girl!) and subversive stories of my experiences in the red light district in bangkok... but i am not so into the tourists, blushing with youth and fickle idealism, cute as they are. they are of course transient by nature, and as i have said many times, i have no use for acquaintanceships. plus staying long time in a country that is rife with these revolving door clones (yes i know i am one too at times) sort of makes you averse, since inevitably you have the same conversation ad infinitum (where are you from? where are you going? how long are you here etc.), with nothing ultimately learned or gained from the patter. i am happy to meet expats and locals, like the nice taxi driver i had on my way back from trat to the airport to catch my flight to bangkok (i managed an entire hour of conversation exclusively in thai! most of which was trying to break it to him that if he wants a foreign girlfriend like me, he probably should not divulge the information that he is married with children to her right off the bat!)... if people with the potential to be longer term friends make the effort with me, i am happy to learn them. but overall, for once i am preferring, even embracing my solitude, and enjoying the peace and harmony that i feel in my balmy adopted home. i think i am finally resigning myself to not being one of those people who has a stable and nurturing set of kindred spirits around me, and i am feeling ok with that, content with my own company, with the prospect of a future alone. i am pretty good company, after all. :)

i also am realizing, with my return to lush nature, that i want to find something in life that is more satisfying, inspiring, and entertaining than the bottom of a bottle, or the stub of a joint (not that i will ever be totally averse to either, but i am finding that i appreciate things more when i take space from them). & more and more, i am aching to exist in a place that is close to the earth again, and live a more organic and free lifestyle in general. have a little farmhouse, open a bed and breakfast or a coffee shop. something quaint and quiet and warm, which i can run into my old age. with animals around, and children (though not my own, thanks... i am not changing that much), and friendly neighbors- am i contradicting myself? someplace where i can write a book, and not feel constantly on the run trying to evade the corporate rat race, existing by the skin of my teeth (though ultimately pretty comfortably, if i do say so myself.) i growing up?

i had that idyllic life once in thailand. you readers don't know much about it because i stopped writing at the time- when i am content i am usually more inclined to live life than write about it. but my taste of that happiness was fleeting because thailand, as much as i adore it, is not the right place for me, long term. it's too volatile, too ingenuine. too mystifying a culture. too dangerous for someone who is obstinately true to her moralistic values and unsophisticatedly straightforward in her speech. i am realizing that here too now, and it is sort of a bittersweet feeling. it's the same feeling you have when you are in a relationship with someone whom you truly love, but you know you are not compatible enough with, despite that love, to have a real future together. but there is a huge wide world out there, even within my own country, and somewhere is the right place for me (somewhere near the coast!). and i will never completely put thailand behind me- this country (this hemisphere!) and i are hopelessly entertwined for life.

i do know that NY is not the place for me either. i knew this before, years ago, despite my sophmoric crush on the city... but i guess i just forgot. NY is a trophy spouse. it looks good on paper. there seems to be more opportunity there, but in reality i am thinking there is less, for what i really want out of life. NY is a place where hard up, you turn tricks for cash, you hustle "the man". NY is digging through the swamp of pretension for your golden ticket out of there, to real life somewhere else. there is no me in NY, even when i am in NY. there is only the shell of me doing time. (or at least it feels that way, this time around.)

still, life is what you make it, so i am hoping to change that, at least in this interim phase i am in, between my failed utopia and my future one. i am hoping a healthy lifestyle and another sloughing off of people who don't have the same priorities as i do and who drag me down (i really don't think i need anyone!) will help me to find my way there again, with more of a solid foundation.

meanwhile, i don't need to worry about it, as i am off to lounge about in the voyeur's dream, the tantalizing, enlightening city of sin in the philippines (angeles) to visit my favorite sinner, 'x', on the morrow. yay for the continuation of this much needed break!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


sometimes when i am travelling i get the sense that i am not meant to be where i am, everything just feels wrong. that is not now. i am in thailand and i feel at home! i am so exhilirated to be back in asia, which is something that i didn't really anticipate. in fact, i was so anxious in NY before i left, that i drugged myself up with xanax and lay in bed for most of the 3 days prior to my departure, and i even bought travel insurance for my trip (unprecedented) to counteract the sense of impending doom. as soon as i got on the plane though, that doom dissipated. i spent the otherwise grueling 27 hour trip chatting to a sweet taiwanese nun (who lives at a temple in new jersey), and a lovely vietnamese guy and his loquacious little daughter who got on at alaska. i fell a little in love with the latter actually, and my stomach twisted mournfully when we said our farewells at the airport in taiwan. never before have i had such a pleasant journey to the other side of the world.

now in bangkok, i have been luxuriating in the tropical warmth. gorging on the food, meeting loads of new people, getting daily massages. 10 months was way too long to be away from here, but it has made me appreciate it. i went to dig through my storage unit yesterday, the intended purpose of this whole trip, and decided to pay for 3 more months rather than closing it out, because the truth is, i think i want to live in asia again. my first instinct is to write NY off as a waste of my time. i am so not happy there. but being realistic, i just returned to it in the midst of a recession and a harsh winter. when both of those end, which is hopefully soon, things will be better there. but comparing NY to thailand, the quality of life is so lacking there! thailand definitely has it's drawbacks but the quality of life for westerners here can not be beat. ideally, i would like to work it out so i can live 30% of the time in NY, 30% in thailand, and travel the remaining %.

for some reason i am on a health kick. i have not touched a cigarette, drugs, or alcohol since arriving here, very weird in a place that normally brings out all my vices. and for some reason unbeknownst to even me, i am checking myself into a detox resort in the jungle for the next few days. i will be fasting, doing yoga, lounging in the herbal steam room or by the natural pool, getting high colonics(!), and having daily massages for a bit. i figure i might as well get into top form before i have to return to the rat race.

that might not be for awhile though. i will head to the philippines next week to see 'x'. after that, i am pretty sure i have landed another remote contract, so i can actually extend my trip here. we shall see. loving life right now, either way.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


i am standing here on the divider line between my two lovers- NY and thailand. again. chilling for now in the comfort, knowing that i have made a commitment to one, but happy to go breathe in the other... i am a cheating bitch! will my second lover even accept me? or will s(he) spit me out for back-stabbing him/her as i just did to my sister-friend in london.

hmmm. the mean streets of brooklyn. i had a difficult interview at an agency( TM) today when i forgot i had sworn them off. it was nice though. an old loft under the bridge in the yuppie art district that is DUMBO. i am sure if i looked hard enough there would be a porsche or something cheesy. they are such snobs in their little factories. extroverted in their creative fashion, as long as they stay within the lines- LOL! i admit (though i don't feel superior, just averse) to me agencies are “the man”. i want a company that appreciates my skillsets and doesn’t have to meet about it all day long. clients I can make cool intranets for. i like to be proud of my hand-offs instead of my sales skills. i don’t want to sell my soul to their larger conglomeration. AND (rant) i can't help think that if they aren't willing to work with me the way i do best, they can't be too creative (right?!). as long as the end outcome is done well (which i ensure) it will all be ok.... but the truth is, they just have different kinds of projects than the ones i like, and theirs involve a lot of marketing and codependent collaboration- things i tend to abhor in my analytical haze. i always get nervous and twitch around these people (in their outfits that make me feel like i crawled out of a hole). they are so aesthetically pleasing, intelligent and eloquent, and i am sure good at what they do too... but i simply don't fit in amongst them. i am an entrepreneur, if an unfocused one. and i do have a good network, the people in it are just unpredictable. i will bravely forge ahead and keep trying to squeeze blood from zombified stone-people, aghast at media headlines of doom!

but years ago 'x' and i flew to amsterdam and spent all our remaining money (except a couple of months' worth) frolicking in heat and sin. and came back to the states, in a recession. we interviewed all the live long day to no avail with any companies. first we lived with a frazzled eccentric art lady aqcuaintance in her carriage house across the river from the french quarter in louisiana, where i slung jambalaya to tourists along with the black mamas (john waters came in once). the art lady kicked us out when she caught me sneaking in to her side of the place to do laundry. after that we had to live in a couple of very dingy and scary residence hotels in san francisco's crack alley (6th and market) and the tenderloin. even in portland oregon. there would be snot on the walls, men peeing in sinks. weird junkies and mentally ill. people from some stank cafeteria brought us food in one (were we in a homeless shelter and 'x' forgot to tell me maybe?) hmmmmmmm. i was so young and we were so poor and enslaved by our love of travel i guess! we worked as customer support for phone lines, and at one job, with AT&T, we had to actually raise our hand and ask permission to get out of line and go to the bathroom. i made it only one day and quit, said no more, went back to the laptop and started learning, and 'x' bravely fought on for a couple more days. we split a subway sandwich with the last of our money before real jobs appeared.'s all blurry now- but these memories give me pause. i have no idea what i would do if i came back to the US and had to move to those streets again, without 'x'. i would probably die ranting, picking lice out of my hair and blubbering while a redneck bangs on the flimsy door for his rent. i would not have any idea what to do without 'x's protection and guidance. i don't want to be there ever again, period.

ha- give me a cure for anxiety! tell me i am ok! these are the thoughts i have. especially when i am alone and about to travel! thank said lordy for the friends i do have! that is why i feel like i have to fly to see them!

the other night i dreamt (no shit) that i was in a rubber raft with a bunch of people, that was sinking, into deep water with a live snake in it. i was trying to get back to land from an island because all my credit cards were stolen when i was mugged and i had no longer my identity. eep!

i have always been ok, since i have been totally on my own... because i am smart and i do a really good job at what i do... i just get soooooooooo scared with no backup that it will take a long time to find someone i am compatible with again. my jobs are like relationships. they have to understand me and the way i work a little. i am introverted in an extroverted world. i run wider than the rat race. i want to yell at them trust me!!!!!!! think different, isn't that what they are spouting in there?! i just need to find the right match.

if any of you get a chance/are bored download and watch beautiful losers. and style wars… movies about the old subway graffiti/b-boy/ street art scene in NY. and man on wire- where this french artist guy watches the twin towers being built, and then does stunts on them! and a really great movie called good dick about a sad girl who is just like me (except rich). & of course the british comedies galore (mighty boosh season 2 last episode)…. sigh. this is my life. I finally turned off cable tv and started building my own network of download sites in lieu.

...well meanwhile, since i have to wait around for my next contract to magically appear as usual, if my karma is behaving (not sure!!!), i could go stock up on medicines, important things from storage, explore my best pal's art cave in the middle of a brothel, and drench myself in sunny sun sun for 2 weeks? is that bad?

i'm super cool right?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


cool articles about english icons

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


don't go to england to get away from NY in winter was the moral of the past couple of weeks. but it was still a much needed break, that ranged from wallowing in sullen despair and boredom, staring at the wall of a cold row house in reading, a suburb 40 minutes outside of london by train (rolls eyes and wishes i had pryed more as to location before buying my ticket). and being mad at my friend for not telling me she had no intention of hanging out with me (chatting online with her boyfriend instead, when not bitching about him). i was dying to discover the underground of london, & not being able to go anywhere else because england shuts down on holidays (no public transport or food- why didn't i know that?) almost made me crack!!!.... somehow we managed- her with her occasional dash across the ice in her little red car to a shopping center when they opened, and me with movies on my laptop and cups of tea. we had a gossip with the irish farmgirl alcoholic roommate and a few cozy, if silent, pub dinners in there too, and i felt like i was just living normal days in england. i think fondly of the alcoholic drinks and the accents. i like the bumbling, open, nonchalant english way of things.

in the middle, when things finally opened up again, it pissed rain. NY pisses rain too (or snow), but i never go out in it. especially when it is super cold. i just stay in my house. so do most londoners i assume. anyway 'y' and i rented a flat in kentish town, right next to camden, my favorite little hipster punk area of the city. i spent a very cold day touring it alone, but i liked all the little thrifty shops, hookah cafes, kebab stands, pubs. later 'y' and i ended up so offended by each others' contrasting opinions, habits, mannerisms, ambitions, and priorities (! phew) that we started avoiding each other as much as possible, or having to press our lips together and promise to restrain ourselves from saying what we really thought to each other. i didn't really see that coming but i think it'll be ok in the long run. it is just so hard for me to be close to someone so opposing in every way. telling me that she hates artists and thinks they should get real jobs and lives!... just set me right over that fence.... or telling me she aspires to corporate slavedom and posh labels. or telling me she would be pissed off if i let someone smoke marijuana in someone else's house!... these are just alien thoughts to very liberal me. as much as i feel like she is my young sister i give up trying to show her my way of life and have no interest in seeing hers.

yep, i guess this trip was about friends. i have a lot more of them from england than i do in the US. later on my trip changed to ecstatic joy at last, with old friends (and their babies/drug habits/weird propensity to get into bed with me/musical instruments and art). a few of whom traipsed in and out of various rooms i was in. the nerdy cockney boys i spent last christmas and new year with in thailand. the girls who were my best blonde yoga, life, and party friends on my island in thailand. some other thailand people in a party full of actors, comedians, musicians, and one terrifyingly large speed freak from nigeria and his matching rottweiler. friends kissing on new years at midnight and proclaiming undying love as they put me in a taxi. friends on my phone saying sorry they missed me, and on facebook too. it was so nice to be surrounded by people that i love.... and so rare for me...

i seriously considered moving to london! there is a lot more work for what i do there and all i have to do is buy some visa and i can work.... hmmmm. dreaming of a cute english boyfriend but not sure cute english boys exist outside of 80s new wave and noel fielding.

but i did vow to make NY work, so for now that is what i will do. i am back, having slept away the shock of transition again. vowed to detox and diet (been making smoothies for breakfast and cooking lentil soup and the like (!?)) so i don't look like a polar bear in my bikini. had a little chat at the thai restaurant below me with my nabe (who just got back from sweden), have plans to meet up with the flakier of my NY friends this week for lavish dinners and drinks (we shall see), panicking already because my contract is ending soon, thrusting me back into the scrambling and pathetic world of the unemployed, and wondering if i should take my ticket to the (seductive warmth and familiarity) of thailand in 2 weeks. another escape from NY winter? how can i say no?

lame pics here


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