Debauchery

At an event that I spoke at this year — I was sharing my experience as a freelancer during COVID-19 — someone “porn-bombed” the Google Meet where the event was being held.

That person did it at least three times, using different accounts, jumping into the call each time someone kicked him out.

He (I assume, based on voice) hijacked the screen share and had his computer open to Pornhub’s home page. Amidst the sea of shocked voices, he said one thing, “Why are you guys reacting this way? This is normal.”

And yes, sex is normal. Sex is part of our biology. Like eating and moving and growing, sex is a part of what makes us alive. But somehow, we see sex in a different light.

It’s something private, sometimes illicit, generally improper to talk about. Why?

Why is it okay to talk about it in some settings, but not others? Why is some sex “bad”, or “wrong”, or “over the top”?

What is it about sex that’s so incendiary? I mean, great sex is usually incendiary in a good way 😼… but what about the topic makes it so controversial?

It’s something I have on my mind a lot, so when I started my first podcast in 2016, I chose this subject that I have endless fascination for.

Almost five years later, I find myself exploring the topic of sex again. As a second season for the podcast, yes, but also, as a potential thesis topic.

Does this make me a pervert? Totally debauched?

Maybe, maybe not. But more importantly, does it matter? And so what?

Anxious

Yesterday, I experienced an overwhelming bout of anxiety (due to a combination of hormones, working with someone I think is genius and concerns over me not being able to produce tangible deliverables).

Being the sort of person who needs to look for solutions, I reached out to a friend who’s currently studying psychoanalysis to ask how anxiety is addressed.

His reply?

“Sustain” it over scattered moments. Gradual brushes and encounters with it so it feels familiar enough, though not tamed, over time.

It was the first time I’d heard anxiety referred to in such “friendly” terms.

In my dealings with other specialists or doctors of the mind, anxiety was always an illness to be medicated or a monster to be figured out so that it could be vanquished.

But now here was someone, saying that anxiety was something to be encountered, to be made familiar, that it didn’t need to be tamed.

It made me wonder if my anxiety was just a part of me – like a mole or an extra bone (which I have btw) – that’s neither good nor bad. It’s just there.

Maybe it feels uncomfortable and maybe I don’t understand why it exists. Maybe sometimes it feels debilitating but maybe it’s also what keeps me growing. And perhaps I can learn to live with it.

“In short it’s not pacified,” my friend continues.

“Because anxiety means you’re closer to the truth you can’t confront.”

2019

Including this post, I would have written 305 posts on this blog in 2019 for a total of about 71,000 words. Although I didn’t achieve a 100% perfection rate for blogging every day, I’d say that I learned quite a bit about myself during the process. 

Writing is my way of making sense of the world. Whether it’s trying to understand an economic theory or figuring out how I feel about something, writing has always been my way of solidifying my connection to this world. On some days, just the act of writing something was therapeutic. 

Even though I’m interested in a lot of things, there are a few things that I keep coming back to. After a year of writing to publish, I realised that the three things I think about a lot are: 1) food & drink, 2) media & stories and 3) philosophy (including religion). 

I’d love to explore other media beyond writing. One of the things I did in 2019 was limit myself in terms of medium. I wanted to grow my writing so I focused on that medium for online publishing, which means I had limited time to practice photography and illustration — both things that I’d wanted to properly learn this year. 

So in 2020, there are three things I will likely do: 1) write more, but privately; 2) for this blog, zoom in on my areas of interest; and 3) emphasise the use of other media besides writing. 

If you’ve been reading, thank you! Hope you’ve had an amazing 2019 and that you’ll have an even more magical year ahead. 🤗

Vegan

Three nights ago, Ming and I had a vegan Christmas dinner with a couple of friends. None of us are vegan, but we wanted to see if it was something we could do. 

Could we cook an entire meal that was vegan on a budget? It turns out, we can. We ended the night with meringues made with aquafaba (leftover from the chickpea salad we’d made).

As I bit into the sweet, crunchy biscuits that melted in my mouth, I was amazed by how it didn’t feel “vegan”. I was blown away. Our night of veganism was a success! Or so we thought. 

It turns out, we didn’t go full vegan that night because we had wine from a winery that was not vegan-friendly. We also learned that not all wine is vegan because some wineries might use animal products in their processes.

We often don’t think about all the different things that go into the food and drink we consume, what kinds of chemicals are used when processing them. 

Although I’m not vegan and don’t intend to be, I practise it on and off only because I think it’s a great exercise in being aware of where my food is coming from and how it’s made.

It’s my way of saying no to defaults.

Spinner

This month, I missed about two weeks of daily blogging. But instead of beating myself up right away, I looked back on my month and thought about the things I’d been up to. 

I spoke at two events (both of which got decent local press coverage). I wrote a 30,000-word report on agriculture for an international financial institution. I organised a women’s health event. I travelled to two different states in Malaysia. 

And this was on top of all the client projects that I usually do. 

Time like these, I remind myself that I can sometimes give myself a little room to breathe. That I don’t have to meet all of the “rules” that I set myself. 

But it’s also a reminder that I could use a better system for saying yes to things. This system may involve saying no to more things. 

I have to constantly remind myself that to pursue some of my goals means letting go of some others, putting them on hold perhaps. 

Ming says he thinks I’m a “plate spinner”. That I feel the most calm when I have 1001 things up in the air. 

But to keep those plates spinning, a spinner has to know his limits.