pity party

where’s the line between being honest with yourself and self-pity?

i gotta admit – it’s fucking blurry. i can’t see shit.

you know when you’re reading something online and then it just hits you: i’m not even really that good at the things i say i’m good at. i don’t even rate among the top 100,000 in the world in the things i think i’m good at. i’m so average at the things i’m good at, i might at well be not good at them at all. and then you say to yourself: ok, if i admit to myself that i’m shit at this thing i previously thought i was good at, it can’t hurt me and i can just go on with my life settling for what i clearly deserve.

and it’s mostly the truth. my strengths have always included: stringing together sentences (which, like, everyone can do, what the fuck) and knowing the name of that Actor’s Name who slipped your mind. the first thing, well. like i said, i am actually probably woefully average at writing. every one writes. if you write opinion pieces or anything that’s just Kinda-About-Life-In-General, there’s a limit to how good you can be, really. or at least, anyone can churn out 700 words on why they hate their life. and this isn’t revelatory to me, this news about being just Pretty OK, but sometimes you just got to wonder. when do i slide from being honest with myself to actually just fucking up my self-esteem and any potential future prospects that i would be proud at landing?

being honest with yourself is good – no one wants to be that guy who gets up on the X Factor stage genuinely believing they were the ed sheeran. but then, the mere concept of honesty has to be called into question, i guess. you’re stuck in your own mind 24/7; you can’t even escape it in your sleep. you’re bound to have a warped idea of who you are and what you’re capable of, and it’s pretty easy, even inevitable, for everything to get tangled up in there until it’s not honesty at all, but it’s really just you feeling sorry for yourself. and that’s the point that i just really can’t pick apart. i’m forever stuck in the middle of that hot mess, like a pendulum swinging between thinking i’m just being realistic and thinking i’m just being silly and self-hating.

there’s really no way to avoid it. you could always get an outside view, but people lie. people lie all the time. (i mean, how do you think that guy on X Factor got up there in the first place?) if you’re like me, you kind of just have to stumble through life, being vaguely confident in your own abilities but freaking out about it constantly in your spare time. like, it’s so easy to just sit there and tell yourself: “you aren’t good, and it is OK.” AND THAT WOULD BE OK! but what if i’m actually good??????

WHAT IF I’M ACTUALLY GOOD!!

(if you’re a life coach or motivational speaker, contact me.)

am i just an ‘asian writer’?

the-girl-in-questionI was having coffee with an Asian friend the other day who, over the whitest brunch imaginable (eggs benedict and a flat white), asked me if I felt comfortable being an “Asian writer”. By this she meant if I was okay with constantly re-asserting my Asian-ness in my writing, whether it was opinion pieces or fictional stories or a good old tweet. “Don’t you want to be known just as a writer?” she asked.

Okay, so. If you look at my history of the last few years, what my friend said may start to make more sense. During my very first semester of university, I took Sociology 101, where we were asked to write an autobiographical essay using a few key concepts. Most of my concepts surrounded race – internalised racism being one of them. Just last semester, I took a comic book class, where I did a little comic called “The Girl in Question” about growing up Asian in a white world. Asian diversity in Western media matters so, so much to me, and I am riled up enough to write-in to places discussing these Asian matters.

Rewind the clock back a bit to say, Year 2. Fresh off the boat from Malaysia, a tiny little five-year-old who sat alone on the very first lunch of her first day at school.

I quickly spun into erasing as much of my Asian-ness as possible, determined to be seen as a ‘real Kiwi’. I played netball. I shunned the groups of Asian kids who hung out together and only spoke in their own language. I tried so hard not to call my dad ‘Papa’ in front of my friends, even though that’s what I always had called him. I refused to learn Chinese (a decision I regret to this day).

Realising that I could be a ‘real Kiwi’ while embracing my Chinese culture was a long, slow process which took many years spent on the internet, reading posts and following blogs of other kids who went through the same thing.

It’s funny, because it’s not really this huge, angsty identity crisis that it may sound like on paper. Internalised racism isn’t obvious, and trying to undo it is also not always a visible process. It was really just teenage-me spending a shit load of time on the internet, reading everything that came along her screen. Lots of time thinking about why I liked it when people called me “not really Asian”, and then realising how fucked up that is.

So when I think about all of that, and I think about where I am now… I don’t really mind being the “Asian writer”. Do I want every single thing I write to be about being Asian? Do I want people to reduce me to an ethnicity? Do I want to only be given work that has to do with being Asian? Fuck no.

But do I believe in open discussion about Asian representation, Asian writers, Asian creators, identity politics, and, you know, just not being racist in general?

Fuck yes.

why did i make this

Full disclosure – I created this blog on a Saturday night, at home in bed, feeling very dejected after deciding not to go out because “I wouldn’t enjoy it anyway”. And then having a big pity party about why I wouldn’t enjoy it – because no one likes me, because I’m not cool enough, because they wouldn’t even realise I wasn’t there, because they aren’t really my friends blah blah blah blah. Typical shit that crops up from time to time, and usually just ends in a crying session and then going to sleep.

Except this time, I made a blog.

Pity party at mine is just a shameless acknowledgment that I never go to parties, and that I’m a chronic sufferer of wallowing in self-pity and not doing much about it. It’s my place to rhapsodise about the unfairness of life without people accusing me of being a huge fucking whiner, because newsflash – it’s in the title.

And because sometimes I want to write about stuff that’s not just me trying to churn out Relatable and Depressing Millennial content, I also added “eat your feelings” and “live vicariously” tabs, which are about food and film and television respectively. I do, in fact, eat out a lot, and it’s my ultimate goal to cash in on that and have people give me free meals or something. (I cross-post on Zomato in eternal hope of this.)

I also watch a lot of film and TV, so you know, sometimes I want to talk about that.

Even if blogging is a little bit like shouting into the void, at least it’s a void with a URL.