The Simplest Reason

Someone asked me why, someone said you weren't suitable, someone said I could do better. 

They don't know anything.

There's really no explanation for it, my sweet, except you slowly, insidiously stole my heart with the fact that you were looking at me, long before I even looked back at you.

You wanted to keep me safe, and care for me, and keep me happy, even before I even understood that was what you were doing for me. And you never told me any of that. You were just there, never demanding, never expecting, you just loved me and loved the moments when I smiled back at you. 

My laughter was all that mattered to you when other men might have felt short-changed by my ignorance and my lack of reciprocation.

You are good, and you are kind, and you see all that is beautiful in me, when all I can focus on are my jagged edges and my teeth and claws.

You make me want to love myself more. 

And that, my love, was all that was required to convince me that you were worth disregarding the rest in order to return your affections.



Doing everything that keeps me busy and my mind too occupied to wander back to the thoughts that slowly kill me. 

Times like these, I find that there's an overwhelming crazy desire to end relationships and shut out the people who really matter to me. I want to tell you that I don't love you anymore and I wish you would take yourself out of this messy equation and allow me to simplify my life.

I just want to be alone alone alone, I'm so self-absorbed I don't see how you being here can make it any better, all I see is the burden on my already broken heart.

I have almost everything I could wish for and I'm recklessly contemplating throwing them all away because of a moment of emotional upheaval. #firstworldproblems indeedy.

Grief makes me so selfish and so unreasonable.

Please forgive me as I hide away awhile to contain all this unreasonable madness and keep the rest of you all safe from my hurting.


I Miss You

This is a nightmare I'm waking up to, instead of from.

You're still everywhere, your toys are everywhere, I'm half-expecting to be woken up by furry ball of claws and teeth and soft pink tongue launching onto my bladder in the morning, but you're not here oh god you're gone.

Your favourite toy is still where you left it, yesterday morning, where I was sleeping... I woke up this morning and found it still there and started weeping. It's been three hours and the tears aren't going away.

I made myself breakfast and sat down, and automatically took all the precautions I usually take so you wouldn't steal my food, and then realised I didn't have to anymore.

The fridge is stocked full of the meat we just bought and packed for you few days ago. I'm not sure what we'll do with all that but I don't want to deal with it right now.

I was supposed to go for an early morning run with you this morning. I curled up around a pillow and started sobbing.

I don't want to wake up anymore.



so you died
on my watch
and now the house is so very silent
except for the sobbing of my mother
and my father's stoic grief

i thought briefly of taking something to numb the pain
a pill maybe, i've got plenty
or smoke a joint
or finish that bottle of wine
and then maybe sleep and pretend none of this is happening

but i know that
i'd have to deal with the hurt eventually anyway
so i sit here unmovingly
eyes as blank as yours as you faded away

my ex, he mailed me
he bought you for me when i was overtaken by grief
by the death of the other
knowing how much you'd make me smile again

he said not to cry too much
i sobbed even harder
i wanted so much to cry in his arms again
because only he would understand

but like the rest of it
i can only suck it up
and ignore those foolish notions
when things have come to past
you can't hope for a button to rewind

loving is letting go they say
and that makes me so selfish
i keep wondering who'd do tricks at my command
make me laugh and cry
by devising sneakier ways to steal food
who'd run with me in the mornings now
who'd sleep on my knees

yes i'm selfish

i want you back
to fill the silences
i need you back to love me
when nobody else has the time to

i'm so selfish
and i'm so human

and you are gone

i'm so alone.



Mmm. Not having a Facebook account with much of an audience is liberating in strange ways: I suddenly feel more compelled to update this blog since that completely random decision to reduce social networking connections.

Anyway, just meant to say, the updates here have been erratic at best, in part because my life has really changed a lot to encompass more than just spending a lot of time in front of the computer, writing.

In the past two years I've been slowly fighting to regain some semblance of sanity and happiness. It's been a largely-successful bid, which I'm quite chuffed about, but it does mean some major lifestyle changes.

To quote Voltaire, albeit in a oft-referenced, somewhat distorted-through-translation rendition of what he originally penned down: "I have decided to be happy because it is good for my health."

It works both ways, really, because through my decision to be happy, I've inadvertently began improving on my level of fitness and health, which has made me even more happy.

I started with kayaking, and then hiking, and then I got Alyx and running became an activity regularly incorporated into my life (how ironic, because I never enjoyed running, and sometimes still find it a challenge to motivate myself to do so), and then I added in some swimming, and finally, in the past six month or so, some core-strengthening exercises, which led to some resistance training and body-weight exercises. Now I'm even thinking to join the soon-to-be-opened gym near my house (gasp!) and maybe get a trainer (GASP!!) for say, a month, to help me with some of the weaker parts of my body that I really need to improve on.

To think that a year, two years ago, I would disdainfully reject the idea of me even wanting to do an indoors workout routine on a regular basis. I still really find the idea of a gym workout a bit unappealing (too many people, the stench of all the sweaty human beings in one place, posers who aren't there to actually do shit), but I am possibly at the fittest I've been in my entire life, and I've learnt more about my body than I ever expected to.

Anyway the main concerns I've been working on better understanding for the past year or so can be split into a few inter-linked areas:


Started out very cardio-oriented because it was fucking gratifying to see the body fat melting off so quickly, until I realised one day I'd overdone it with the running, swimming, and Tabata intervals. Granted, those abs were really starting to show... but I also lost what little arse I had at the time.

Arsefree.jpg. These jeans were ridiculously loose in the back at this point. Now I'd be lucky to be able to accommodate a single arse-cheek in there. Hahaha.

So after I came to that realisation, I switched to incorporate more resistance training with a focus on squats, lunges, and the such, to strengthen my fucked up knees and hopefully grow my glutes. Right now, I think I might have been a tad more successful than I expected to be, because most of my shorts and mini-skirts are either no longer wearable, or I look so obscene in them I'm pretty sure Nicki Minaj would approve...

Nowhere quite like this yet, but this is definitely not the aesthetics I was going for anyway...

Aside from that, I've also figured out how to fix that bad posture of mine as well. Still heaps of room for improvement but it's much better, and I've stopped having those horrible achey shoulders after a day of working on stuff at my computer. Apparently the muscles along my chest needed to be stretched out so the muscles along my shoulder blades weren't being pulled forward unnaturally. Very interesting fact and makes a heaps of sense... I'm surprised I never really thought about all that before.

And as expected, my weight went down to 50kg at my leanest, and then was maintained at a 52-53kg for awhile while I put on a little bit of muscle, which was replaced with a higher body-fat count during summer when I stopped really exercising and ate and drank quite indiscriminately, but since then, with all bad influences gone back post-summer-hols, I've leaned up a bit and gained another few kilos of mass. I'm now at 55kg, and weight-gain really doesn't faze me as it used to, as long as it's the healthy, desirable sort.

When I started really exercising, the idea was to gain strength and endurance to do the things that made me happy. Aesthetics was something that featured secondary to that, and right now, I guess my immediate goal is to find some sort of balance between all the stuff I'm doing, to optimise my fitness level. Funnily enough, physical appearance somehow become even less a concern as I lost the fat and toned up, and I think right now, I'm really not the super-svelte sort of "ideal" female body-shape either, but it sure feels great to be stronger.

My immediate aim now is probably to look into working on my back and core a bit more effectively, because that chronic back injury would really benefit from that. Since we're on the topic of fixing chronic injuries, I really must say, the best outcome of all this experimentation with various forms of exercise is this: my knees have shown vast improvement since I decided to consciously strengthen up my legs, and that's a very encouraging reason for me to keep at this, indeed. 

Yeah, it's fucking awesome to not constantly worry about the weird popping, creaky sounds coming from my knees, or stand up after being in a cold theatre for two hours and find myself barely able to walk. My hiking experiences have also improved vastly, and so has my love life, although that is probably a statement to filed under "too much information" lol.

I'm probably going to register for that gym membership next month, when the monsoon weather really hits, and it gets more inconvenient to do as much of the outdoors stuff that I love so much. Year-ends are depressing for me, I tend to end up moping indoors a lot and gaining weight.

I think, given the choice, I'd still say I would rather improve on fitness the way nature intended for us to - getting my arse going and doing functional stuff such as clamber up mountains, swim in the sea, or hike across terrain that isn't pavement-flat. That said, I can see how improving on performance and strength at the gym to be better equipped to cope with the outdoors activities makes sense, and I suppose I should start doing more of that, in preparation for my Everest Base Camp trip next year...


OK, so diet has always been a bit of a tricky issue for me, especially in recent years, what with my IBS getting worse. I've pin-pointed the things that I shouldn't be taking too much of, which are dairy, greasy, spicy, and sugary foods.

Anyway, one of the complications of my inability to digest things properly that I've started taking note of recently is this: I suffer from reactive hyperglycaemia, which means an intake of too much simple carbs causes an insulin spike which knocks me out. Sounds ideal for an insomniac, doesn't it? No. Because I end up unconscious for an hour or two, where despite sometimes being somewhat aware that I shouldn't be wasting time lying down on a couch, seemingly dead to world, I just cannot move my body, which feels heavy as lead. And then I wake up groggy with a pounding migraine.

It seems like the logical thing to do is to switch to a diet which is high in fibre and protein, and low in carbs, which I did for the longest time, by eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables, and heaps of protein such as meat, soy products, and eggs. Sounds pretty damned ideal, right? No, once again. Since I started increasing my level of exercise, I've been ravenous. In part, I figured out that losing my butt was also due to my diet. I was burning a lot, but not replenishing in a way my body required, and so I went into catabolic state for awhile.

I've since eased up a lot on the low-carb restriction, and now quite happily gorge on heaps of that. That is probably in part why all the sudden increase in muscle recently, I think - I started listening to what my body needed. The key is to avoid over-doing the simple carbs and the sugary stuff that makes me ill and renders me unconscious, and to take more "healthy" carbs such as wild rice, couscous, sweet potatoes, pumpkin... you get the idea.

A meal I packed for a hike few weeks ago: grilled pumpkin, brown rice, bit of sambal petai for flavour

That said, because of how much higher my metabolism has gotten recently (let's not go into detail how we measured this one hah), I can afford to eat junk such as cake which I've been craving a lot of (and fortunately doesn't knock me out as badly as say, bread, or potatoes) and so I eat that fairly fucking regularly too, as long as I primarily stick with being relatively healthy otherwise, and I do try to lightly moderate things so I don't aggravate my stomach too much.

Cake + coffee at least once a week makes Irene a very happy girl indeed...

To sum it up, I've stopped being too particular about my food restrictions, and I'm not even adopting the If It Fits Your Macros philosophy, because I'm ALWAYS so hungry and never been one keen on counting calories, I think it's more a "I Don't Know My Macros" approach instead. It's working for me, and since everyone has a different body, I wouldn't suggest that you follow what I'm doing. I'm just chuffed that I can afford to eat the way I am eating now and feel good about myself. =)

The Other Stuff

Since summer ended (no, we don't have the four seasons here, but I go by those because many of the important people in my life do), I've stopped drinking much. Actually, that's not particularly note-worthy, considering I've mostly reduced on my alcohol intake for the past couple of years, due to worsening IBS, my outdoors activities (weekends spent hungover are weekends wasted not being able to properly do things that require you to be in somewhat decent physical shape), and a general desire to be happy without requiring too much inebriation.

However, I've also managed to quit smoking, due to some sort of health scare in September. I mean, I've cut down dramatically since my two-pack-a-day habit, but I've relapsed into a social smoking sort of thing. Managed to kick even that cold-turkey, and I'm pretty glad to report that I don't really feel much of a desire to light up anymore, maybe because I'm still fairly traumatised, but it's a good start. Might as well quit while I'm ahead of myself.

Ironically, for the first few weeks after I stopped, I was coughing quite a fair bit. Might be due to lungs clearing out whatever gunk's in there, and/or the body adapting to the absence of the drying effects of cigarette smoke.

So yeah, I guess this is an update that most of you didn't want to read, a long post on the health- and fitness-related aspects of my life that I've been working on, which led to the neglect of this blog. All that said, I think I posted this more for my benefit, so I can look back in a few months to gauge how my approach to things evolve, which it undoubtedly will. =)


Fun In the Sun

My father and I have hilarious conversations on a regular basis. This morning was no different...

Mr. Chan: Where are you going?

Me: Beach, with my friends.

Mr. Chan: Oh my god. Didn't you hike to a beach yesterday as well? Becoming so much of an outdoors person. Maybe you should roam the make-up counter to balance it out.

Me: What. I'm going with the girls. And I bought some fancy hair conditioner last week. And look! I am wearing a dress!

Mr. Chan: Is that lingerie?

Me: It's a white sun-dress.

Mr. Chan: Are you sure it's not lingerie? I can see your underwear through it.

Me: It's WHITE, that's why you can see my bikini through it.

Mr. Chan: Oh my god are you going out in that? You better change.

Gratuitous images from said beach trip, just because I just realised how devoid of .jpgs my blog has been recently:

Proof that even though it was done outdoors, it was really a girly, low-impact activity, for a change
Friends bring joy to your life by leaving goofy images in your phone, like just so...



I like holding your hands. Prior to meeting you, prior to you reaching across the table to make that first contact, to gently close your hand around my wrist and tentatively, curiously touch my scars; prior to you breaking down the first of the many walls I'd erected around myself to keep myself safe... I'd stopped allowing physical contact such as this.

There's something very intimate about your fingers intertwined with mine, how your thumb gently caresses the back of my hand, more so than the sort of interaction that comes with sharing a bed, because it's the non-sexual way you touch me that tells me you want me for more than the  pleasures I can afford you with my body.

You're sometimes emotionally distant, but you're always kind, and considerate, and I never stop appreciating how my feelings, my safety and my well-being are things that you always prioritise first, before anything else.

I'm thinking about all of that as we're cuddling together, fully dressed, post-dinner. I never expected any of this out of you: all the embraces you pull me into; your hand ruffling my hair; the playful way you jab at my ribs; right from the early days of you getting to know me.

I was so awkward then, the girl averse to hugs and the such  Finding out just recently, how you're not exactly the best with that sort of thing either makes it all the more meaningful that you did as much as you did to bridge the divide between us that I initially desperately tried to maintain.

As I lean into you, you're holding my hand again, and it's become something so natural. I chuckle a little at the realisation of the fact and my mind wanders to the memory of the first time you held my hand - I froze for lack of practice with these little expressions of affection; now I automatically reach for your hand and smile inside when you close your fingers over mine. It's been an interesting change in my outlook on things, in the past nine months, and maybe you've opened me up to the possibility of letting people into my life again.

You start talking, you're saying how you've not made the effort to actually pursue a relationship past the early stages of dating, in years and years. Easier to sort of let it taper off and die off after the initial bit, you say, you're the man who often lets women down by the way of simple neglect.

I laugh, in part at myself, because I know where you're coming from, because I do the same, and I know there's a reference to me somewhere in there, but I completely empathise with your stance; so I'm saying this not with just a small measure of self-deprecation, "You're too fucking cynical. Maybe you need to shelf that lack of commitment for awhile if you want something more meaningful."


Words can be so complicated, so many implications, layers upon layers of hidden meanings, and we're both so very good at deciphering and encoding all these hidden messages and double entendres from each other, but it does get so tiresome, listening to the cogs turn in your head, knowing how everything I say is carefully mulled over, as I do with the things you say to me.

Your fingers are still caressing mine, and my body is comfortably moulded to yours, as you spoon me from behind, and as I enjoy how it feels to be able to interact this way, unafraid, with a man, I realise that there's nothing but easy, uncomplicated companionship for the moment, so I choose not to dissect the deeper connotations of your speech today.

I love all the stories we've woven together... I initially thought you were going to be the only one constructing the literary universes I wanted so badly to immerse myself in. I never even dared dream that I would play that bigger role, and that somehow, along the way, you would gently step unnoticed into this world of my making to coax the words out of me to complement yours.