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

One of the advan­tages of hav­ing cats is that you can blame them for scary, unknown house noises.

3 years ago
Me @ Twitter

You kinda remind me of an Asian Edward Norton in Fight Club” #not­surei­flike

3 years ago
22 Jun 12

don't give up on me now

In the last ses­sion, I explained to my ther­a­pist how I felt more respon­si­ble for and in con­trol of my own hap­pi­ness, and less depen­dent on oth­ers for a sense of iden­tity or ful­fil­ment (things I’d strug­gled with before). I also told him how I’ve been more vocal about my needs, to give my friends a chance to be involved in my life instead of always putting my feel­ings aside, and how I’m lucky that they’ve responded so pos­i­tively to that. I’ve made some major life deci­sions that I believe will lead to pos­i­tive changes, I’ve been pro­duc­tive, and I’m happy for right now instead of being deluded by a hope­ful sense of what the future may hold1.

When I brought up idea that it may be the med­ica­tion that’s been help­ing me so much, he said it’s good but not that good. Otherwise, he’d be pop­ping pills every time he needed some sort of per­sonal epiphany. Instead, it’s there as a way to help me think more clearly in cer­tain cir­cum­stances, but it doesn’t do any think­ing for me. This came as quite a relief, as I didn’t want to think that I’d be depen­dent on some­thing for this sense of men­tal well-being.

My therapist’s ini­tial goal was to teach me how to take bet­ter care of myself, due to the fact that I had insuf­fi­cient cop­ing mech­a­nisms. Now, he believed I could han­dle that suf­fi­ciently, and after say­ing that I looked “delighted”, we agreed that I didn’t need to con­tinue with our ses­sions any­more, some­thing he’d never said to me before. I walked in and out of there feel­ing good. I like the fact that he respects me, cause he’s one of the few peo­ple who truly under­stand me.

On the other hand, I didn’t par­tic­u­larly care for my psy­chi­a­trist, an hoary man who didn’t seem to have a sense of empa­thy, whom I met for the first time a few weeks ago. As a sign that my expe­ri­ence with him was part of Canadian health­care indus­try, he had no clue why I was there, when it was a doc­tor at the same clinic who had to write the refer­ral for me. At the appoint­ment, I was asked to fill out a ques­tion­naire that included things like:

Sometimes he talked over me, as if he wasn’t inter­ested in hear­ing what I had to say, although it’s hard to blame him for that, see­ing as how his role is to mon­i­tor my med­ica­tion instead of deal­ing with any kind of psy­cho­analy­sis. At the end of the appoint­ment, he said I had a lot of options cause I had a lot of inter­ests and intel­li­gence. The only thing is, I don’t think I told him any­thing that would have given him that impres­sion, so it all came out as flattery.

At least I won’t have to be see­ing him for much longer, as I was told that I could stop my dosage, but he rec­om­mended that I con­tinue for at least six months after I start feel­ing bet­ter (not after I start tak­ing it), which means I can’t still can’t drink until some time around Christmas. But by then, hope­fully I won’t have to.

  1. One thing I’ve learned is that real­ism is more valu­able than opti­mism (and a lot more valu­able than pes­simism) when it comes to psy­chol­ogy. []
Me @ Twitter

The fact that I’m still play­ing Skyrim 30 hours after I fin­ished the main quest is a tes­ta­ment to how good this game is.

3 years ago
19 Jun 12

change and productivity

I spent the last few days con­vert­ing the guest room1 to my new office, after giv­ing it two coats of The Plaza and mov­ing my com­puter out of the bed­room. This deci­sion was spurred by the fact that I found myself spend­ing an unhealthy amount of time in a sin­gle room of the house, the excep­tions being when I was eat­ing or poop­ing. Now my work area is delight­fully bright, and I have a view of the sum­mer foliage out of the front of the house.

new office with cats


With half the fur­ni­ture now moved out, the mas­ter bed­room looks espe­cially min­i­mal. I’m keep­ing some of my pho­tog­ra­phy light­ing in there, includ­ing a large soft­box, which is a dec­o­ra­tion that fills the room nicely but also makes it look like a cheap porn set.

I used to be trep­i­da­tious about cer­tain things, like com­mit­ting to a paint colour or walk­ing into a room with large num­bers of peo­ple, but now I find it a lot eas­ier to get over my anx­i­ety. It makes me think my anx­i­ety used to affect me more than I real­ized. Doing things that were out of my com­fort zone was a test I needed to give myself every now and then, but now I don’t find those things to be uncom­fort­able at all, and I tend to act with­out think­ing too much or overanalyzing.

I won­der if this is what nor­mal feels like. And how much of it is per­sonal growth ver­sus the medication.

In either case, it’s nice to be get­ting thing done again, when I had so recently found it hard just get­ting out of bed. Someone related to me his expe­ri­ence on phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal psy­chotrop­ics, and he said the period was marked less by what he wrote or cre­ated, and more by what he did or peo­ple he met and con­nected with. For me, it seems to be man­i­fest­ing itself as a period of change and productivity.

  1. Which, until last week, looked like this. []
Me @ Twitter

It has no tone or vol­ume con­trol knobs because he only plays it on full blast.” #mis­fits #jer­ry­only #fuckingawe­some

3 years ago
09 Jun 12

happy child

The sum­mer started unevent­fully, with a mix of rainy weather and cold nights. I long for after­noons in the bright sun, Lou Reed dur­ing his Velvet Underground years croon­ing to me over small speak­ers, with noth­ing bet­ter to do than wip­ing the con­den­sa­tion off a cold drink. It’s a life that doesn’t seem far away, and yet a life I never imag­ine mak­ing for myself. I always think it’ll just hap­pen some day, that things will fall into place if I can take care of every­thing else.

Friday Night Magic

It’s okay to be OCD about how your cards are orga­nized as long as every­one else is.

Aaron has me over for din­ner every week with Karen and the two kids. It’s a rit­ual he has yet to break, even though he told me he didn’t want it to be a cal­en­dar event when I asked him if we could do some­thing on a reg­u­lar basis1. Every Wednesday he leaves work early to let me in the house, and makes up the time by work­ing longer hours on other days, a sac­ri­fice that means more to me than he’ll ever under­stand, and some­thing I never had to ask him to do. It’s nice to be able to look for­ward to reg­u­lar plans, and some­thing I share only with him that makes me feel like I belong.

About as often are Magic nights with Trolley and Steph, and these invari­ably include some­thing deli­cious for din­ner, when Steph takes the culi­nary arts to a whole new level. They take care of me with food and con­ver­sa­tion and booster packs that they never let me pay for. I’m sure I owe a great deal of my san­ity to them, when Magic was the only thing that took my mind off the fact that every­thing fell apart.

pretty wolf

Nobody fucks Pretty Wolf.

In between are things less fre­quent, but no less impor­tant. Musical projects with Jesse or Seth that give me the kind of goals and pur­pose I’ve been look­ing for. Sessions with Lisa, when we get to share the things we don’t share with any­one else. Hangouts with Tiana to debrief on our ever-changing lives, and to give each other advice or a pair of ears. Dinners with Heather G when I need my dose of opti­mism and adven­tur­ism. Not to men­tion the peo­ple who send me mes­sages of check up on how I’m doing when they can’t be here for me physically.

big dog and two girls


It feels strange to be busy again. To be pro­duc­tive, and social, and to need days off when I’m not even employed.

Not that it’s been an attempt to stay occu­pied; more like mak­ing sure my needs are being met. That I have ful­fill­ing rela­tion­ships that pro­vide me with what I need, involv­ing peo­ple who make me feel hope­ful and worth­while and con­nected and nur­tured and pro­tected and sat­is­fied and accepted and under­stood and val­i­dated and loved and con­fi­dent and safe and in control.

  1. Only because it’s some­thing he wanted to keep casual, where nei­ther per­son felt any pres­sure. []
Me @ Twitter

You know you’re out too late when you run into the paper­boy as you’re walk­ing through the front door. #FNM

3 years ago
Me @ Twitter

Met Dave once and we shared our love of Gilliam in pass­ing. He brought this cause he thought he might see me tonight. http://t.co/AdFWnre0

3 years ago
06 Jun 12

hay. been a while.

You must be sav­ing the world as I write this, mak­ing it a bet­ter place for the ones like me who never seem to care enough to make a dif­fer­ence. Aside from the easy things like recy­cling and sav­ing my laun­dry for large batches, of course, but that’s what you’d con­sider bare min­i­mum, and it always felt like you used some­thing like that as excuse to keep us at a distance.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never felt as in the way as when I was with you. It hurt to think I was only slow­ing you down, when I’d already planned so much. There were more shots to take, more cheeks to pinch, and parts of the world to explore together.

I know you needed a fighter to match your heart, but that’s not why I chal­lenged you. Not cause I was a skep­tic either, but because I wanted to be con­vinced. I wanted to be edu­cated. I wanted you to change every pre­con­ceived notion I had of agri­cul­ture and cor­po­rate farm­ing and sus­tain­able growth with strong argu­ments and sound logic. But instead, you mis­took it as apa­thy and con­flict, and just gave up.

That’s why I won­der why you tried to kiss me last time, when things had already fallen apart. And whether I should have turned around; if you would have seen you get­ting in your car and dri­ving off, or whether you would have lin­gered to see me wave through the glass. But I couldn’t look back, cause I’d had enough of you hav­ing enough of me.

The only things you left me with were a huge pur­ple bruise and three songs in my col­lec­tion, but I still need to thank you for some­thing rich and ful­fill­ing. Something that made me stronger, cause you were the only per­son to ever call them beauty marks, the only one to truly make me feel impor­tant and desir­able and validated.

That’s prob­a­bly why I think of leav­ing some­thing in the Dropbox folder to find one day. Something sweet and nice and com­pletely hope­less. But I real­ize it’s not cause I still like you. It’s cause I miss the idea of lik­ing you, the idea of hav­ing some­thing other than all this mis­spent love.

Me @ Twitter

Hazel likes me now http://t.co/gceCcf2X

3 years ago
Me @ Twitter

i think you should name it NGAN VS. WILD and make all your films as if you a sur­vivor explor­ing the wed­ding like a crazed psychopath”

3 years ago
02 Jun 12

the right ones

Before my ther­a­pist starts talk­ing, he has this habit of repeat­edly purs­ing his lips when try­ing to find the right words. It always makes me won­der if I have any habits too, and whether some­one could do a rea­son­able impres­sion of me by mim­ic­k­ing some man­ner­ism I’m unaware of. The only thing I can think of is this par­tic­u­lar way of clear­ing my throat out loud that Bronwen used to tease me about, some­thing I’ve since real­ized that I picked up from my dad.

The ses­sions are get­ting abstract and philo­soph­i­cal, a sign that they’re focus­ing less on details and issues and more on root causes. He’s been chal­leng­ing my think­ing, but he always does it in a gen­tle and encour­ag­ing way by let­ting me explore ideas myself, giv­ing me a lit­tle nudge in the right direc­tion if I need it. Most impor­tantly, he always makes it clear that I’m the one in con­trol, that I make my own deci­sions, and that he won’t judge me whether he thinks they’re healthy or not.

The thing I’ve learned most recently is that some peo­ple are sim­ply never meant to fill a cer­tain role in your life. Getting upset at them for not being more is like get­ting upset at your cat for not being able to play LittleBigPlanet with you. It’s a hard real­ity to come to terms with; not only am I faced with the sud­den real­iza­tion that some peo­ple aren’t who I want or need them to be, it means they’ll likely never be that as well.

But that’s the way the world is, and I’m learn­ing to let go, and to not hold every­one to the same stan­dards I hold myself to. The best I can do is con­nect with the right peo­ple, the ones who can be what I need because that’s who they are, not because they’ve tried to change for my sake.

Me @ Twitter

Note to self: 45 sec­onds in the microwave for one slice of apple pie = sweet molten lava. #burned­tongues

3 years ago
30 May 12

secret wedding

Lisa and Rolf got mar­ried on the fifth anniver­sary of their first date. It’s a fun lit­tle secret they’re keep­ing from peo­ple (includ­ing their par­ents), and as the actual wed­ding will be a non-traditional cel­e­bra­tion in August, the paper­work was done in advance. I was hon­oured to be the only one to know, as well as their pho­tog­ra­pher, and on Sunday we did the engage­ment pho­tos, fol­lowed by a quick stop at the officiant’s house to sign and wit­ness1, then a trip out to Denny’s for break­fast. Denny’s holds a spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance for them, as it was where Rolf took Lisa after he pro­posed, and ever since, they try to eat at a local Denny’s when­ever they travel.

It’s been a long time since I had a project to work on, and to see how well the pho­tos came out has been a delight.

couch in the woods

In the backyard.

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  1. The paper­work was about 20 min­utes, and the actual “cer­e­mony” only took about four sec­onds. []