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

2 years, 9 months 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

2 years, 9 months 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

2 years, 9 months 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”

2 years, 9 months 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

2 years, 10 months 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Why does dub­step now feel less like an influ­en­tial form of music, and more like a way for unin­spired musi­cians to jump on a bandwagon?

2 years, 10 months ago
25 May 12

better living through chemistry

I can’t pin­point the exact moment I started to feel bet­ter, which is a very pecu­liar feel­ing in itself. There hasn’t been any event to which I can attribute the fact that I’m not so anx­ious about how scary the future is any­more, or how I’m not depressed about every­thing that’s hap­pened. The only vari­able has been the med­ica­tion, which means it’s working.

The side-effect that still affects me most is the insom­nia. I sleep for two hours, do some­thing mind­less for two hours, then go back to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. I don’t feel rested until night, at which point I’m soon ready to sleep again. It’s wreak­ing havoc with my moti­va­tion — not to men­tion my col­i­tis — which is why I haven’t started rebuild­ing my life yet. For now, I try to do one thing every day that will make me happy, so I can say it was a good day. Baby steps.

But I’ve also lost all inspi­ra­tion, and I’m left won­der­ing if this is another effect of selec­tive sero­tonin reup­take inhi­bi­tion. When I walk the streets, it feels like a com­pletely dif­fer­ent world from what I knew.

I used to pick up my gui­tar through­out the day and noo­dle. I used to carry my cam­era with me every­where in case some­thing caught my eye. I used to write almost every day. Creativity was a dri­ving force in my life, and a huge part of how I used to define myself. Now I never feel like cre­at­ing. I used to be ter­ri­fied of going on med­ica­tion for this exact rea­son, but I’ve dis­cov­ered that the med­ica­tion makes it all okay. It’s like Cipralex is both the cause and the cure.

At least I can go out­side now. I can face the world, and start fix­ing what needs to be fixed.

17 May 12

the tide you swim against will carry you back home

How quickly my world fell apart. How sud­denly things have changed, never to be the same again. No one blames me for being unable to cope when so much has hap­pened all at once.

When diag­nos­ing the sever­ity of your mood, the pro­fes­sion­als always ask if you have a plan. Even the two cops who show up at your door at mid­night cause your friends fear the worst will pose the ques­tion. I guess a plan is the sign that you’re in imme­di­ate dan­ger, and I had three.

It means I get to be self­ish now. I get to do what I need to sur­vive. I get to think of myself for once in my life.

Even if my friends have never been through this, even if they don’t under­stand, they still care, and they prove it to me with every lin­ger­ing hug, every meal they leave me, every call to ask how I’m feel­ing, every mes­sage left to let them know if there’s any­thing they can do, every reminder that they don’t want to lose me spo­ken through tears from those I’ve never seen cry.

I used to have noth­ing but guilt for wor­ry­ing them, but now I under­stand that guilt is the last thing they want me to feel. They only want me to be okay. They’ve done so much to make me believe this, and that’s exactly what I need right now.

14 May 12

morbid self-attention

My life has taken another turn again. The days can go on with reg­u­lar­ity over and over, one day indis­tin­guish­able from the next. A long con­tin­u­ous chain.

—Taxi Driver

Time loses all mean­ing when you can’t sleep more than two hours in a row, and every­thing else becomes mean­ing­less along with it. Some days I can’t eat, exer­cise, or face the world. All I can do is won­der when it’ll all end, and fight every thought that tells me to give up.

They said the med­ica­tion may make me feel worse before I start feel­ing bet­ter. This is how I dis­cover rock bot­tom is always rel­a­tive. A strange lit­tle hole I find myself in, where the days grow brighter with the chang­ing of sea­sons, insom­nia means I never miss a sun­rise or sun­set, and I have noth­ing but free time, but none of it mat­ters.

07 May 12

pharmaceutical intervention

Sanity is sup­posed to come from lit­tle por­tions of Cipralex, but I have to sur­vive long enough for the doc­tors to find the right dose. It may well be sev­eral months before they dis­cover what works, and every day in between ter­ri­fies me.

Until then, I can’t sleep, I can’t come, I can’t eat more than half of what I used to before get­ting full, and I can’t go with­out Gravol to fight the nau­sea. The side-effects are sup­posed to be bet­ter than the alter­na­tive — and I sup­pose cot­ton­mouth is good way to get me to drink more liq­uids — but every wretched day makes me ques­tion whether this unique form of hell is worth it.

This used to be one of my great­est fears, and here I am faced with it cause I couldn’t han­dle life by myself anymore.

05 May 12

what fool hath added water to the sea?

O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,
That shall dis­til from these two ancient urns,
Than youth­ful April shall with all his showers

—Titus Andronicus

I lost my life as I knew it, piece by piece, over days and weeks and months. Now things will never be the same. In moments of cri­sis, every­thing has been dis­tilled; what’s gone is gone for­ever, and what remains is what I will carry for the rest of my life.

And as the threads unrav­eled, I tore myself from the world away, my face unable to bear the bur­den to others.