equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
Me @ Twitter

Dear cin­e­matog­ra­phers: vignetting does not a movie make.

1 year, 5 months ago
06 Feb 13

tin cans and string for years

Man can­not remake him­self with­out suf­fer­ing, for he is both the mar­ble and the sculptor.

—Alexis Carrel

I’ve been dis­cov­er­ing that I don’t know how to take care of myself. Not in a prac­ti­cal, every­day sense, but a cog­ni­tive one. Consistent psy­cho­log­i­cal abuse dur­ing my for­ma­tive years meant I never had the chance to develop some impor­tant life skills, like how to nur­ture my emo­tional needs, how to make mis­takes, and how to view myself with­out judg­ment. The poi­son was in the wound, you see, and the wound wouldn’t heal.

So far I’ve just started rec­og­niz­ing these issues in ther­apy, and it all makes me feel dam­aged and defec­tive, likely why I’ve been hid­ing these parts of my life from oth­ers for so long. But I’ve been hid­ing them from myself most of all. It’s hard to go through the painful but nec­es­sary process of griev­ing when I’m alone; always eas­ier to ignore things and keep going.

I asked Tiana to help me through this, cause now I know I can’t do it by myself. It wasn’t easy. Even the sim­ple idea of ask­ing for help makes me anx­ious. People who’ve had major roles in my life have hurt me or let me down in a very sig­nif­i­cant way, so trust­ing oth­ers has always been hard, and I’ve avoided being vul­ner­a­ble for so long because of that.

Luckily, Tiana responded the way I needed her to, and it’s been a great com­fort to give myself up to some­one I can trust. To be able to cry in front of a per­son with­out feel­ing guilty about my emo­tions or how I’m mak­ing them feel. To be able to talk to some­one who’s recep­tive and atten­tive and gen­tle and car­ing and appre­ci­ates my open­ness as well. To be the lit­tle spoon, cause every­one needs to be held some­times. She lets me let go, and for the first time, I’ve been able to sur­ren­der myself fully and still believe that I’ll be okay. I can sigh with relief instead of sadness.

These are still baby steps though, and the whole process is ter­ri­fy­ing. My sense of con­trol is what makes me feel safe, even if it’s detri­men­tal to my growth, and I’m still learn­ing how to give that up. But I tell myself it’s progress nonethe­less, which is what I need now.

Me @ Twitter

Always a sad day when you change your beneficiaries.

1 year, 5 months ago
31 Jan 13

torpor

The hol­i­day sea­son is offi­cially over when it doesn’t feel right to watch Christmas spe­cials of Only Fools and Horses. The Trotter boys are out of their ele­ment, try­ing to strike it rich in exotic locales, and the Peckham flat is too far away for things to feel nor­mal. Still, watch­ing them makes me miss the UK more than ever. I’ve taken to episodes of Sherlock to get my dose of London nights until I can find a way to make it over there again.

girl in snow

Pointer of quarry, tamer of cats.

Over here, it’s been a faith­ful Canadian win­ter. Bouts of var­ied snow­fall, record-breaking lows, and a spot of freez­ing rain here and there. My gui­tar must be achingly dry as the mod­est humid­i­fier help­lessly fails to main­tain bal­ance against the con­stant churn of the furnace.

I’ve been pick­ing her up again, rebuild­ing my blis­ters and re-learning old songs. Sometimes I won­der how I was ever able to play cer­tain pas­sages, but know­ing I have before makes it eas­ier the sec­ond time around. This time it feels a lit­tle dif­fer­ent though. I have a bet­ter reach and a more con­fi­dent picky, along with some new pains that have found their way into my hands.

cat in cat bed

 

The cold that per­me­ates the house means Dolly prefers sleep­ing in her bed over any one spot, and I can carry her around with me from room to room to keep me com­pany. Byron is rarely far away. Even though he’s not as affec­tion­ate as Dolly, he’s still my cat in the way he comes to walk on me when I wake, and the rit­ual play­time we have after teeth are brushed.

With the cats form­ing a lit­tle nest wher­ever I go, and the view of ice and snow just out­side the win­dow, I have lit­tle rea­son to leave the house nowadays.

Me @ Twitter

This is my new favourite thing in the world. cashcats.biz

1 year, 6 months ago
Me @ Twitter

I totally started this “@tianadargent: My group-art birth­day gift. ow.ly/i/1qR7U it was worked on by at least six peo­ple. I love it.”

1 year, 6 months ago
27 Jan 13

parent time

When Karen’s at yoga, Aaron and I take turns cook­ing din­ner and play­ing with Ryan and Ruby (read: keep­ing them occu­pied and out of trou­ble). Then we gin­gerly con­vince them to eat what they can (good days involve uten­sils), make sure they’re bathed, and put into bed with a story if they’ve been good. Everything is man­age­able as one but eas­ier with two, espe­cially when the sim­ple act of get­ting rice into a child’s mouth can turn into an ordeal.

This is when I get to expe­ri­ence the joys of hav­ing chil­dren in man­age­able doses. That means not hav­ing to deal with dia­per changes, and read­ing the same 30-word book only four times instead of 400.

Ryan and Ruby

The new lap­tops were presents from Nana and Papa at Christmas. Now they can send/receive e-mails, and blog about the awe­some poop they just took.

Ryan used to be par­tic­u­larly excited to see his Uncle Jeff, leav­ing Aaron and Karen to won­der what got into him when I was around. Now that he’s a bit older, his face doesn’t carry the same glow when I arrive any­more, and he’s hap­pier to see the mar­bles I brought. But Ruby is begin­ning that phase of enam­our, and con­stantly clam­ber­ing into my lap to involve her­self in what I’m doing. Recently she started ask­ing me to carry her (which I’m told means mem­ber­ship in an exclu­sive club con­sist­ing of her par­ents and me), even though she’s just learned to man­age stairs by herself.

They seem to grow by inches every week, and they’ll soon be old enough to take care of them­selves. I’ve learned to appre­ci­ate the lit­tle chances I have to be truly part of a fam­ily like this, espe­cially after decid­ing last year against ever hav­ing kids of my own. And I don’t feel the need for chil­dren any­more cause this will always be enough.

Me @ Twitter

The best emails start with “I can’t share this pub­licly because its prob­a­bly racist…”

1 year, 6 months ago
Me @ Twitter

Victim of insult lotion”

Well that’s enough inter­net for one day.

1 year, 6 months ago
23 Jan 13

that I may cease to mourn

At some point along the way, I dis­cover that I’m ter­ri­ble at being alone. I need some­one to care for / spoil / love / give my exis­tence mean­ing. Echoes of a try­ing child­hood I’m just now sort­ing out. Otherwise, I’m con­stantly feel­ing empty instead of fulfilled.

Once a week I’m torn down so I can be rebuilt again, and some days I won­der: what of me will be left?

17 Jan 13

Protected: self-love

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Me @ Twitter

Every desk needs an adja­cent kitty tower. http://t.co/pwDU4GOt

1 year, 6 months ago
11 Jan 13

a heavier dose

I’ve been try­ing to stay vocal about my needs, lest I fall back into old life traps and defence mech­a­nisms. It means I’m still apply­ing lessons learned from last year, still try­ing to be open even if it means being vulnerable.

As far as I can tell, this has been work­ing in my favour. Otherwise, Seth wouldn’t be com­ing over on Saturday to teach me how to play the acoustic ver­sion of Sean Rowe’s Jonathan, one of those songs I’ve always wanted to learn before I die.

As a side-effect, it’s been a strug­gle to bal­ance my rela­tion­ship needs with over­stim­u­la­tion. The other night we smoked an apéri­tif in the car before spend­ing three hours gorg­ing our­selves on all-you-can-eat sushi, learn­ing that the small but sig­nif­i­cant priv­i­leges of our class come in plates of bite-sized fatty pro­tein made to order. Then we watched the entire first sea­son of Tim and Eric, Awesome Show! Great Job, and played Magic until 4:30 in the morning.

It left me burnt out and I must have lost two days, yet it still feels like I don’t have enough nights like that, shar­ing real moments with peo­ple who don’t per­pet­u­ally have some­where else to be or some­one else to see. I need more of those times in my every­day life, not just in the days marked on my calendar.

Me @ Twitter

My pol­icy on food is now “don’t judge me”.

1 year, 6 months ago
Me @ Twitter

Turns out three-way light switches aren’t all wired the same. They’re going to explain more next week after they give me back my man card.

1 year, 6 months ago