Of Many Legs


This is a pill millipede. It is not a pill-bug, even though they have developed the same defence measure against threats (by rolling into a ball) through this amazing thing called convergent evolution. Pill millipedes are classified under the superorder Oniscomorpha, and have eleven to thirteen segments. This particular specimen was found on one of my hikes (Wallace Trail, up Bung Muan a.k.a. Bukit Peninjau), and was fortunate it didn't get tenderly placed in a "safe" place by my well-meaning animal-lover friend. Two of its brethren ended up rolling a fair distance downhill the week before due to such kind sentiments.

Anyway, today I just feel like doing that - curl up into a tight ball and pretend the outside world does not exist. Such a self-absorbed, self-pitying emotion, and I won't pretend I am getting rather impatient and irritated at my extend duration of intermittent emo. I've grown to despise Whingy Irene, and I think Emotional Irene is pathetic, so I deleted the post I initially wrote, to replace it with a picture of possibly the cutest variety of millipede ever (yes, I just called a leggy invertebrate "cute").


On the topic of millipedes, I've been seeing heaps of them on hikes lately, because it is the rain season... these fellows love the humidity. 'Pedes are common on the tropical jungle trails I take, of course, but for the past few weeks we've been observing a way larger amount of them just casually ambling along, in so many different forms and even more amazingly, bursts of colour.

A particular specimen that I photographed last week (image just above), the silvery plated individual I found (along with another of its kin) along the trail to Gunung Gading's Waterfall 7 seems to be a favourite with my friends for its very industrial-looking aesthetics. This species does not curl up in self-defence; five minutes spent on prodding and flipping it over with a twig only resulted in it walking off away from me rather unhurriedly.

Just below this paragraph is this rather flamboyant giant-sized millipede that is my favourite, so far. With its gaudy colouration of black, pink and yellow, friends have gone as far as to nickname this species as "the Elton John millipede" and even "Beyoncepede".

Spirobolida (Image credits: Alvin K)

Not too sure if this one has the habit of curling up but I read somewhere that it releases a foul liquid in response to threats that whilst is not toxic to humans, isn't exactly something you want to touch either, so it's a case of just appreciating its beauty from a distance.

I'd really love a terrarium with just these three species inhabiting it though, they're so diverse in shape, size, and colour, yet pretty much require the same diet (decomposing plant matter) and living conditions. I do wonder, however, if a tank full of these different species might result in fighting for territory? Not too familiar with their habits in this regards.

Anyway this has been rather therapeutic. What started out as a whingy load of self-pity has somehow gone off on a tangent into an enthusiastic description of these many-legged creatures... what a nature nerd hah.

Ya know what? I shall aspire to charge through the depressive fog of the past few days, with all the single-mindedness of that stoic little silver 'pede, and just keep going and going and going and going instead of being a total wuss sitting here blubbering in front of my PC.


How Hope Got Perverted Into Something Else

"You don't have to "deal" with it you know, I mean, how do you "deal" with it... you kinda live it through," the cousin tells me.

I know that, but what I meant to say is, I'm not living anything through, what with the current escapist route I've taken.

I've had pets die, friends die, family die, even ex-lovers abruptly passing on. I've always accepted, no matter how badly devastated I have been, that the dead are dead, and are no longer here with me, as depressing as that acceptance is.

With you it's different. You know, I used to scoff at tales where parents leave the bedroom of a dead child as it was, for years and years, unchanged and untouched, just because it feels like their deceased offspring might just return home one day.

I scoff too much at these things, I think. Maybe it's bad karma, because I end up experiencing the same pain, sooner or later.

I'm not moving on. At all. It doesn't feel like your death has actually sunken in yet. Most days, I wake up expecting you to barrel in onto me. Every creak in the house makes me feel like I'm not alone, as if you're just hiding from me somewhere, ready to ambush me when I'm relaxed and not expecting you to do so.

I've been busy with work, with non-stop hikes over consecutive days... exhausted and sore and sleep-deprived, so I no longer have the capacity to think or feel.

What I do not tell anyone is my phone memory is running out of space, and I usually clear out my photos and videos every few weeks, but I've not even dared to scroll through old files because there are too many images of you, photos of you being so lively and so there, videos of the things you do to make me laugh...

I can't scroll through old posts on Instagram because I'll come across #littlemissalyx posts.

It's as if pretending you're on extended holiday away from me, and not thinking too hard about you, or the circumstances of your passing, will save me the pain of acknowledging you're gone.

And I don't know how to snap out of this self-denial.



The time differences are tiring me, the silences are getting longer, and I am too exhausted to rectify that. I'm finding that I'm out of words, for the moment, for either of you.

Juggling as many as I can - filling up my time beyond fullest capacity; it's a dangerous game, I'm sure to drop a ball one day.

I'm sick of keeping confidences, sick of secrets, sick of dealing with this alone. I need a friend who'd understand, but I think the decisions I've made are not exactly fathomable by anyone except myself.

I'm not so sure if honesty has been any better on my heart... might lose friends in the process, or even family. Maybe that's already happening. Maybe in acquiescing to your persuasion, I've been set on path where there's quite a lot to lose, and we don't quite know what the conclusion will be just yet, and if the price to pay was worth it.

Someone once reiterated to me over and over again, "The truth will set you free." Does it, really? So much melodrama over the things none of us ever really had any control over. I'd say it was unfair, but then again, so much of life thus far, hasn't exactly felt compliant to any definition of justice.

I won't regret any of my decisions. I did not do wrong when I chose love over apathy. I have lived in carefully-cultivated indifference for so long to know how it gradually erodes away at the spirit, and it was you who reignited my desire for something more than this carefully-moderated handful of muted emotions.

As rational as that train of thought is, it does not make me feel any less shitty about the eventual sacrifices that have to be made. If only we could have it all, but life has a way of taking as much as it gives. Maybe my earlier statement was inaccurate - there might just be a rhyme and reason to what you gain and lose in the course of figuring out an existence, I don't know.

Either way, I suppose that in looking out for myself, in embracing something that felt like something good for me, I've come across as being selfish, and it'd do me good to brace myself for more recrimination to come.


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.