Had a birthday so good, I think my heart bursted.
Started unlikely, with 1) a shopping trip 2) with Juans, 3) in 1 Utama.
I needed a shirt for a function, and I hadn’t had jeans that fit for half a year. Drastic weight loss left me with a wardrobe where the few things that fit were years old. Nearly thirty kilos shed in three weeks. I lost the weight of a whole child. What a miserable few months of recovery that was, I was so weak.
Now that I’ve regained my health and could go out again, I desperately wanted jeans I could wear without a belt. Wearing the belt reminds me of the drastic weight loss, and being sick, I hate it. Preferably this new pair would last for another five years, which seems to be the average amount of time I take to buy a new pair of jeans each time.
Ten years ago, I walked into Levi’s, told the butch salespeople I was looking for jeans from the men’s range, and walked out with the first pair of jeans they handed to me that I could wrap around my waist. I liked that they understood I wanted it to be completely fuss-free. Five years ago, I walked into the same shop, was happy to see terse butches still worked in sales there, and repeated the same process. I kind of thought it might go the same this year as well, plus some comments from Juans, but I was mistaken.
Shopping with Juans is interesting, she’s quite meticulous and has some knowledge about how clothes should fit. This time, I tried on several pairs, of various cuts and colours, in a few different shops. I had never seen my legs in skinny jeans before, I had no idea my calves were so big. Or maybe skinny jeans do that to legs. At least now I finally know what my former colleague Shan was wearing all along (I think).
Also got my first pair of shorts in years! Finally! Last two pairs of shorts: one from a budget shop in Kelantan, last year. Went to visit Chi for an emergency, was so stressed out about him being abused by authorities, I forgot my luggage. Another four years ago, visiting Penang with family. It didn’t cross my mind at all we would stay by the beach instead of George Town. A gigantic crotch hole tore into those shorts a few months ago before I went to Kelantan, I’m surprised they even lasted that long. Both pairs came up to RM10 combined. I’ve been wanting a proper pair since I lived in Melbourne, so I guess this has gone on a while.
- Me: These shorts look like a school boy’s shorts. Why would anyone want to get-
- Juans: –Well, I can think of a few-
- Me: –No! I mean, I’m gonna stop you right there.
Shopping lasted quite a few hours too, but I think we were totally done with the experience towards the end. Malls can really sap the life force out of a person. We did manage to sneak in some pretty satisfactory sushi though, and stopped short of ruining our dinner.
We went to Jac’s, carpooled for dinner to Lau Heong, then went back to Jac’s for cake, music and conversation. Jac baked a ginger spice poached pear cake, which I loved. She doesn’t want to be a baker, but I think she could rock it. It was kind of weird to see her not working. Jabber had such a time, so many women with long hair for him to fawn over.
It was such a good day, I wonder why I keep I can’t seem to think of how good this birthday was, without thinking of how awful or uneventful (by design) some previous ones were. 17 years after my 17th birthday — the last I would have at home in Ipoh. Crying into my beef teppanyaki garlic rice in Ipoh Parade’s food court, after dinner, miserable at how angry mom was to have to “do something” for my birthday, Gazel barely there. being ordered to feel gratitude. A super shit birthday following that in college, walking home with just one shoe, broke, no more cell phone, more family drama than I thought possible.
I think generally growing up without good birthdays, and not having much change in my first years away from home left me with an impression that birthdays are generally shit, and that the good things then are due to other factors. It feels like a silly belief, but I know that’s not entirely true, I just don’t enjoy the possibility of unnecessary vulnerability. Now that I look back on my college days, I know I also always avoided letting people know, or firmly played it down, or moved the celebrations to another day. I think it would have really upset me to have asked for a nice day and ended up with a shit day out. And then it just became a thing.
It’s nice to have an experience that breaks away from the last ones. I think I should try again next year to celebrate on my birthday itself. I don’t want to forget that I should invest in trying to make some days special for myself. And maybe I don’t have to avoid beef teppanyaki so much — since now memories of shit birthdays are so long ago, and the recent ones are so happy (including the sudden birthday kiss too).
I started driving for Grab car. Only two trips so far.
First trip was quite intense. Four Chinese girls, talking loudly, about relationships and studies. Didn’t really understand the Mandarin they were speaking.
I thought there was no way the second trip would be more intense. Then five burly male athletes got into my car. They were louder, their Chinese more incomprehensible (Hokkien/Teochew? + Mandarin) and my car felt so heavy, and this trip lasted to a sports centre in Shah Alam.
I don’t know if I can keep this up.
Had a moment last week to think about how happy I currently am. I’m emotionally fulfilled, my life is rapidly stabilising, my health is improving, I’m getting job offers, and I’m largely at peace even with turbulence around me.
Turbulence. I’m not sure what to do. I’m losing a housemate to circumstances beyond our control. I feel so much sympathy for her and her (now ex?) boyfriend, but can only hope her path eventually leads to happiness, despite the severe odds stacked against her.
I’ve had opportunity to realise that even though I cannot count on family for a lot, I can at least be sure they’re not out to actively mould and gaslight me into a version of Lainie they want to see.
I’ve mostly stopped gritting my teeth.
Lil surprise last week when I found out I was definitely leading a Reading Art tour in Ilham Gallery next month.