An open letter to Marianne: The most powerful emotion is empathy

Marianne, I count my lucky stars when we met.

I have asked myself again and again why you dwell in my subconscious.

I ask myself why you come to me in my recurring dreams – always crying.

I don’t know you at all as a person, but a teacher disguised as You came to me so often, I had to first pull down that mask to discover the true lesson. And you have taught me an important lesson. That the most powerful emotion in the world is not actually love, but empathy.

The greatest “good” in the world is only as powerful as the greatest “evil”. But what exactly is good and evil? They are only but strongly opposing emotions, unable to agree on the agreed upon rules.

Empathy is powerful because having empathy means knowing both sides. She isnt all knowing but because she chooses to understand, she allows both strong opposing forces to flow through her. Empathy allows us to acknowledge both sides of a coin, both dark and light, yin and yang.

Just as showing and receiving love is something we can choose to do, once we learn how to, showing empathy is uqually the same.

Yes we are not only as good or as bad as our actions but we can also decide to act differently precisely cause we embody both good and bad, and that’s how we are supposed to be.

Alas however, it is still important that we choose our actions wisely. For when it comes to our karmic patterns and following our soul’s purpose, It’s not who we ARE but what we do. And everytime we betray ourselves by reacting disproportionately and unfairly to events, we lose a part of ourselves and forget slowly who we are.

We have to remember we are all completely capable of both “good or bad” thoughts, intentions and emotions. Because, at the core of us, at the centre of us all, is not only love. Its pure energy projected into actions, motivated by intentions. And intentions matter, because they govern our actions.

What we think is good or bad is too simplistic by nature. We are such complex beings.

Black and white are different shades of grey. And you have to realize that within us, exists both postive nd negative pulls.

People are BOTH shadow and light.

By now, Marianne, I understand now that the You I often keep in my subconscious may not really you, but it’s Me. Because I don’t really know you, do I?

Your actions just reminded parts of me I hadn’t been in touch with for a long time.

The anger I had against you, was really just directing my attention to my past. Not just trauma that belongs to me. But intergenerational trauma belonging to my mother, my mother’s mother and my ancestors before.

Marianne, I hope you know by now, you’re just reading about my experience as any reader would, unsure about what I’m actually trying to say. Those who know, will know. Those who understand, will understand. And for those whose these words will awaken, they will.

I have so much anger towards what you did to me, but I know that love and hate lie on the same spectrum, and by hating your actions I’ve also learned about the shadow side of my self. Because of your hateful behaviour towards me, you showed me how important it is that I work on true forgiveness and embracing my shadow.

This lesson matters so much to me, because I always knew I found love overrated. But true love can only come from true empathy, and so in a way, love still is a powerful emotion. Yet without ever having experienced true love before, it’s difficult to understand how to love or be loved.

How do we experience true love?

We touch base with ourselves, and as cliche as it sounds, we can easily tap into pure love, by looking within. Meeting you has taught me so many important lessons. That we CAN cultivate love as a natural resource within ourselves.

Especially as women, who hold womb power within us.

Marianne, there’s nothing to forgive.

You’re just on your own path and I am on mine. We’re two people on our own karmic paths having to right the wrongs of our ancestors. Go your way and be set free.

Ep. 49 “Hey, Gideon”

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

[In a parallel universe]

23rd December, 2029. Singapore

We are at that restaurant you like in East coast – Smokey’s BBQ @ Joo chiat

It’s been at least 10 years since our marriage separation, 7 since we last had contact with each other.

You’re wearing a white shirt again, with khaki berms, and you’re smoking on whatever newage device they have in 2029.

Your hair is still the same as always and you’re wearing an expensive watch – one that’s more suitable towards your mid-life preferences.

You’ve put on quite a bit of a belly, but you look healthy, strong, calm, and contented.

– “How have you been?” We both speak at the same time.

– “How old are they now?” I ask

– “1 is 6 now, and the other one just turned 3” you tell me.

– “Cute ages! Clarissa’s kids are also around the same age” I tell you excitedly. We exchange photographs.

You show me the photographs of your children, and I show you the hundreds of photographs I have with my good friend’s children.

We eat. You order a plate of ribs with a side of fries and a pint of beer. I order a plate of grilled vegetables with a side of garlic bread.

– “You order garlic bread now? You used to tell me it was a waste of money” You ask me with a small laugh.

– “Living in Europe for 3 years can do that to you. You start believing in bread religion. I once went 40 days without eating rice. Can you believe it?” I say. We both laugh.

In our voices you can hear how much we’ve grown – not just in age but the way we talk. Our words are now driven by self-confidence. Our pauses, sighs, laughs, and nods all show signs that we’ve matured so much more now.

– “You know, Jane. I always wanted to tell you this but y’know, you’ve always been the wiser one…..

– I’m really sorry. Truly. For everything that happened between us. I’m really sorry.”

I let your words seep into my being and I allow my body to take in your words. I push my mind aside for a bit and I feel the sensations within my body, letting them tell me how I truly feel.

After a deep certainty of feeling only happiness, I look to you and smile.

– “I can’t lie. Marrying you was the greatest mistake of my life.” And I look straight into your eyes – dead pan.

After a few seconds, I start sputtering laugher and we both break out into fits. We’re laughing so hard we’re crying. Your head is thrown backwards towards the sky, you clap your hands hard as you do that. I bend forwards clutching my gut because the laughing is making my abs ache. We’re sharing this moment of pure joy, putting aside all the bitterness that’s left unsaid, the anger that once filled us with hatred, the sadness we both caused our families, and the unforgiveness we didn’t want to cede to each other.

For those few moments of laughter, we became of one mind again.

And that’s when I break out of laughing and struggle to keep a straight face while saying

– “No but seriously. I’ve learned so much about myself and found my direction in life, all because of that mistake we made.”

You straighten up a little, upon hearing my words and we both get ready to have the discussion we’ve been waiting to make all evening.

– “Gideon. First of all, I really need to acknowedge your apology. Thank you for that. For a good 3 years after we separated, that was all I wanted to hear from you. I just wanted you to admit you lied to me and truly apologize for it.

——– Neither of us say anything.

For all the things that have happened, I just wanted you to acknowledge your actions. Because I was really trying to do that for myself. But you know, that’s where I went wrong. I shouldn’t have imposed expectations on you. Especially not when we were already separated. ”

– “Hey, thanks for saying that by the way. The whole pressure, expectations thing. I might have once, okay haha many times, made you feel like you expected alot from me. But I also want you to know that it wasn’t just you I thought this about. I thought this about everyone around me. My mum, my bosses, my dad, friends, people around us. I grew up being conditioned to think I have to live up to expectations of me, so yknow – anyway. Continue please.”

– “Ah okay, I guessed but didn’t wanna assume. Anyway yeah, I know that I expected alot out of our relationship and you. I know now, that it was because I was expecting so much of myself, and I didn’t even know how to show myself empathy – let alone you. I just really loved you, yknow? It’s been years and I know how I felt. I loved you Gideon. Not in the way I should have, because I always loved you more as a friend instead of a romantic partner, but I loved you so much and just wanted you to be the best version of yourself.”

– “I loved you alot too Jane. But yeah, just like you said, not in the romantic way, more of as a friend way. I’m sorry I lied to you about how I felt. Honestly, at that time, I had no idea what Love is. I hadn’t experienced before, how true love feels like. So, i really did think I was marrying you out of love.”

– “No, I get it. Love is a complicated concept. People always think there are different kinds of love, like we just categorized them. But yknow, sometimes I also feel like Love is just a kind of feeling. Like happiness, sadness, anger. You can make someone feel love by doing nice things for them, caring about their needs, listening to them, you know, the various love languages. So yeah, I do believe you can love many people but not be partners with them. Cos you know, a life partner is more than just someone you love, it’s someone you’re compatible with.” I say to Gideon.

– “And my….were we uncompatible……” Gideon says with a sly look on his face and we both start chuckling again.

– “Oooofffff, come on. We had such a dramatic past together. It’s insane. I felt like our real life was a Netflix show and I wanted to go back to the day we met to check if we had agreed to create a netflix show idea instead of dating.” I lay a hand out infront of you on the table, my eyes in wide disbelief.

– “You gave me such a fucking hard time, Jane. I had to deal with Marianne being so anxious, my family being disappointed with me, my work getting sloppy because of stress. My God. I was really having the hardest time of my life back then. But you know what, that was also when I decided enough was enough. I was done with you. I was done with my past. And I wanted to rebirth. I wanted to just clean out my slate and start afresh. Because it was too hard to think that my life was tainted just because of one mistake I made. So, I’m also saying that I understand you were giving me a hard time because I had given you such a fucking hard time back then. I’m so sorry.” Gideon puts a hand on my arm while still shaking his head.

Your touch on me sobers me up a little. And I feel your energy pulsate through my veins. A worry passes my mind.

– “By the way. How are you in life? How are things? Everyone happy and healthy?” I ask with a suspicion on my mind.

– “Er…..” I see you hesitate, your eyes blanking over as you calculate the risks and rewards of telling me the truth. In the end just before your eyes glaze back, I see the real message for a fraction of a second and know enough.

– “You know. Life is hard. Life is always full of ups and downs right. But no lah, everything is good. What matters most is that we’ve got family around us to support us. We’ve gotten alot closer to my cousins. Marianne is good friends with them as well. I’m also really close to her family. We’re very happy to have such a supportive family system.” You tell me.

You smile at me with your eyes, genuinely and sincerely. And I realized this was the first time you had ever held my gaze for such a long time. You were finally ready for me to look at your truth. You were finally 100% your authentic self infront of me.

I look at you and consider you for who you are now, ignoring all of our past, all of our words exchanged, even the fact that we once got married. I look at you with a stranger’s pair of eyes and I smile back at you.

I feel only a quiet confidence within you that you have grown since our divorce. It’s mysterious to me and confirmation I never truly knew who you were back then. You were just hiding so much from me back then I never got to see who you really were.

Infront of me stands a decent guy. A guy who has made mistakes, like anyone else has. A guy who once decided to turn his life around. To stop letting his past wounds manifest into his false self. A man who loves to take care of his family and whose family cares for him too. A good, contributing, honest man as valued by society.

As we say our goodbyes and walk towards our modes of transport – yours, a mercedes but a family-sized car, mine – an electric car small enough to seat just 2 – I ask myself how I feel about you and your life now.

I feel nothing.

Really? I ask myself.

Yeah, nothing.

And then I asked myself how I felt about myself.

Immediately, the answer came. I felt so happy! So happy I was able to express myself in a safe and honest space. So happy we were able to have a decent conversation even after so many years. And so proud that we were both able to put our differences and history aside to show each other politeness and gratitude.

I drive back towards Tanjong pagar and park behind Duxton hill.

I walk towards the bar, a bartender raises her head at me and calls her boss.

My beautiful friend Jasmine looks over in my direction and comes gives me a hug. She then points me to where my friends are sitting at. And my girl friends and I order some drinks. We talk, we laugh, we hug, and I’m basking in the beautiful day of love.

Love amongst friends. Where good friendship is rooted from.

Ep. 20 ‘Pink boots & Micron guy’

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

19th February 2020

I’m at the airport waiting to leave Boise for Berlin.

Compared to the last time I left Boise, this time I’m actually really happy to leave.

The last time, I remember transiting in Salt Lake City before the next flight would take me to Mexico City. Salt Lake City was where Gideon and I got engaged and so all I could do in those 3 hours was sit in a corner of the airport and play “Sudoku”. In that moment, while I was sulking, a new friend messaged me. He was someone I had matched with on Bumble, back when I was newly single after D-day. We never met up of course, but for some reason, we got along well and continued messaging each other.

Later on, he would share that he too had come out of an engagement. His fiancee had left their relationship to be with someone else. So he knew my pain.

Even though we weren’t going to go on a date anytime soon, E could sense that I needed someone to talk to. So he stayed with me on the phone and we messaged for about an hour before he went to bed, later than his usual bedtime in Singapore.

I think about such times in my life and I can’t help but feel that they were my guardian angels. Each of them appearing at different times in my life when I most needed someone. I didn’t want to burden my family or friends and I had no money to afford therapy. I had given all of my money to paying our debts and whatever I had on me was given to me as a red-packet by my parents before I left. They knew that I was going on a journey to heal myself and they wanted to help pay for some of it.

I arrived in Berlin and lugged my big suitcase around, looking for my friend’s apartment.

I had met these two friends in Puerto Escondido where we stayed in the same hostel. They were volunteers there – volunteering in Mexico meant that you would exchange 25/30 hours of work a week in exchange for free accommodation and breakfast. Even though accommodation wasn’t expensive in the hostel ($8 sgd per night) it still helped to save expenses by a good amount, especially if you’re staying there for 4 months. The work would include doing reception work, laundry, cleaning duties and organizing events for guests. Once their work was done, they would then spend the rest of the day surfing, sun bathing, playing volleyball or whatever they wanted.

S and JS both lived in Berlin and while S remained in Mexico, JS came back to Berlin around the same time I had decided to visit Europe. After Mexico, I had fallen in love with slow traveling. Now, without a husband and a job waiting in Singapore, I was free. Free to go wherever and do whatever. Off to Europe it was.

My 2nd night out in Berlin, JS brings me out to a club.

It was where everyone went to feel happy.

I had never been to anywhere like this before. It was a huge building with different floors, different rooms and each room was themed differently. Each room had its own vibe, its own music genre.

Everyone was just doing their own thing – no one cared about what you were doing. No one cared if you were watching them do their thing. There was no judgment. No “bottle service”. No VIP treatment. It was so different compared to the clubbing scene in Singapore.

Singapore’s clubbing scene was really more of a chance for people to show off their wealth anyway. In my many years of clubbing in Singapore, I can truly say that 70% of people went to hook up with people, show off their wealth, and only 30% of us really went just to dance.

Here, it was 0% judgment and 100% no fucks given. Everyone was responsible for having their own fun. Everyone showed love to each other.

Man…..I wish I’d come to Berlin earlier.

This electric energy…..it was so amazing, so pure.

I saw a middle aged man wearing fish net stocking, thigh high pink boots and a sailor’s cap. He was topless and had two bands on his wrists to absorb his sweat so that he could shake people’s hands without grossing them out. He had come with another friend who sat next to me. This other guy wore a t-shirt, jeans and looked like he works for Micron or something.

When it came for the time where everyone was happy, the two of them started dancing like there was no tomorrow. They each had their own way of movement, but they vibed so hard with each other, with other people, on their own. I couldn’t help but watch and be mesmerized with their spirits being set free. They danced to express. They danced to connect. They danced to celebrate life. They danced because they wanted. They danced because they could.

Later on, I would learn that the guy with pink boots is actually a mathematics professor and the ‘Micron’ guy is a chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Never. Never. Never judge a book by its cover.

What’s the use of judgment anyway? When we judge others, we are inviting judgment onto ourselves.

If we don’t wish for others to judge us, shouldn’t we begin by re-conditioning our minds not to judge anyone first?

But they did it first.

And now you can stop it first.

We are all responsible for our actions. Don’t point fingers. Let them go on their journeys of self-reflection and self-love. Just focus on YOU.

This is a reminder I tell myself all the time.

It’s hard to resize leather when it’s already cold, but add a little warmth or lubricant and you’ll see how malleable leather can get.

It’s not easy to change our old ways but it’s definitely possible. It all starts with an intention.

Ep. 19 ‘My mistress says you can’t come home’

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

11th February, 2020

After a dizzying and life-changing month in Mexico, I’m back in Boise, Idaho.

2 weeks ago, I wrote Gideon a love letter. One that told him of my intention to work on the marriage if he wanted to. I acknowledged my part to play in the failure of our marriage and I told him to let me know of his decision when I came back.

1 week ago, he messaged me and said, “Marianne is here in Boise, she’s deciding to extend her stay. I’m trying to get her to buy a ticket back to Singapore but she wouldn’t do it until she’s sure you’re not coming back. Can you please send me a fake message so I can show it to her?”

I complied. Because I really wanted to see my cats for the last time and also have a last talk with him. Before I left Mountain Home for Mexico, something happened between us that gave me the feeling he wasn’t quite sure of his decision to leave the marriage. He had also said some things that made me very unsure of his decision.

I just wanted answers. I needed to know if I should start moving on or not.

So here I am, living in a beautiful Airbnb in Boise. The owner has a dog and he’s amazing. The apartment is amazing. It has a big backyard, a bar, a huge kitchen and is close to a dog park. I volunteer to walk his dog for him when he’s out working, also so I get to walk.

For my whole month in Mexico, I learnt the beauty of walking. From walking around cities like Guanajuato and Puebla to walking along beaches in Puerto Escondido and Chacahua, walking has helped me tremendously. It gave me an immediate solution. It allowed me to immediately channel my pain into something.

When you’re deeply traumatized, your mind can’t help but circle around the wounds like a flock of vultures would. Walking helped me by giving my body something to do, this form of movement therapy – I would learn about later – is something people with Post-traumatic stress are asked to do. Movement therapy can be in so many forms other than walking – dancing, swimming, yoga, rock climbing, really any form of sport or movement. Even just stretching the body for an hour could help if you can’t go out of your house.

After a whole week of hiding out in Boise, it was time to face the music. I had enjoyed my stay so much that I asked the owner to keep his room vacant for me to return in 2 days. I just wanted 2 days with Gideon, that’s all I asked for.

“Okay she’s finally gone. I just sent her to the airport and I’m coming to get you now. ” he messaged.


After he picks me up, we go to a korean restaurant because I was really craving a good asian food. Mexico has amazing food, but I really missed asian food.

We ordered and were sitting down opposite each other. Then, he said, “So…..we have to find some way to get you into the house, because Marianne installed a security camera outside of my apartment, just in case you came back. It’s automatically linked to her phone so she will know whenever someone comes in or out.”

I looked at him with wide eyes and a gaping mouth.

A what????????

Much later on, Marianne tells me that Gideon was the one who begged her to extend her trip. He was also the one who suggested to install a security camera to soothe her insecurites.

All of it is just surreal to me.

The only thing I can register is that there is a security camera outside my husband’s house….mainly because they don’t want me to go back to the house. Am I trapped in a Netflix show?

Ep. 18 ‘Maybe, it’s all my fault’

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

28th December 2019

I’m sitting in Gideon’s good friend’s tattoo shop in Peace centre, somewhere in Dhoby Ghaut. She’s doing her thang, being super cool and creative, and I look at the people around in the shop.

This is not my scene. I’ve never considered getting a tattoo. My father always told me that if I got a tattoo, he would pay for me to remove it.

Before D-day, I belonged in a world without trauma or pain. Before my husband abruptly left, I had never suffered any other real difficulty in my life. Now that I have this immense pain in my life, getting a tattoo seemed like a reasonable desire. I’m sure my dad would understand.

J looked at me watching her client get a tattoo and said, “Nope, you’re not getting a tattoo today hon.”

I was sitting in a tattoo shop talking to Gideon’s one good friend that I really like. I’ve always liked the way she would call things as they are. I needed that today.

“Jane, can I ask – why DID you suggest you guys date other people? Did you secretly also want to date someone else?”

“Yes. I did. I wanted to give up on the marriage but I was too cowardly to call things off. I was desperate J. I didn’t know what else to do. For 1.5 years he has been avoiding our problems. I know that in a marriage, we have to stick by each others’ sides through thick and thin. I know. But what if I made a mistake? What if I made a mistake by marrying him? What if this is the rest of my life and it never changes?”

“You have to forgive yourself hon. I know that it’s hard and I agree that he handled things in the worst way possible. But as his friend, I know that he loved you very much. And maybe this is his way of getting revenge on you. This is his way of hurting you back for giving up on him.”

“You’re right. I shouldn’t have suggested it. It was so stupid. I read about this in a novel – this couple who had problems and who decided to take a one year break to find themselves. At the end of the book, they realized they loved each other and they decided to work on their marriage again. That’s how I feel about us. I feel like when we met, we were two lost souls. And along the way, I started realizing that who I want to be, is not possible if he stays in the Airforce. What I want my life to look like, is not possible if we remain the same, if we……”

I can’t tell her. No, I can’t. It’s too embarrassing.

I walk away from Peace Centre that day, carrying a lot of guilt in me. J was right. Maybe I was the coward who wanted to leave and maybe I had made him feel unloved, so much so that he has now done the unthinkable to me.

Maybe it really is….all my fault.

Ep.17 ‘wow no wonder it didn’t work out for you’

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

11th of August 2021

Marco and I had a good day at the beach yesterday.

I had a mini meltdown because of the trigger. I got badly triggered by Marianne’s email. She sent that to hurt me, and no matter what anyone else might say. You can’t will for something not to hurt you. If it hurts, it hurts.

Marco and I had gotten into a stupid quarrel, and amidst the fight, I broke down. I started crying. Even though it was just a silly email, it bothered me so much. It triggered all of the unhappy memories I had from before. After crying however, I felt much better.

Marco cooked me dinner, we watched the sunset together and I had a good sleep.

When I woke up in the morning, I saw that Marianne had emailed me again.

” Before you draft a lengthy reply on how you’re such a good and kind person and that we are “people in pain” LOL, I suggest you read all of this because if you don’t and you do something silly again and then cry wolf when you have to suffer the legal consequences, that we didn’t inform you beforehand. Don’t worry about anything else related to the house. Cancel everything you deem necessary you don’t even have to inform us of it.

Let’s take a look at the big picture. You didn’t want the marriage, and you’re sore that he chose someone else over you after you fucked up your own relationship. And in multiple bids to restore your broken ego, you go on a sad 1.5 year long rampage defaming him and calling me names so you look like the innocent saintly victim. But let me tell you this one last time. Go be kind or a saint elsewhere. You aren’t wanted here in this space. 

It’s quite clear for everyone and for us to see what’s really going on and how people are mocking your public posts lol sometimes it’s like you have a dual personality. To your public audience you act like the poor scorned ex wife who is free from all this but behind closed doors you’re still gripping at loose ends. Sometimes i look at all of this behaviour and i think “wow no wonder it didn’t work for you”. So let’s not forget your role in all of this and your contribution to your failures. 

The saying goes happy people don’t have to say they’re happy. You wanna say that we traumatized you LOL go ahead. You don’t get to harass us constantly while we sit here and receive your private blows and look like an angel to everyone else. I dare you to take a screenshot of this to show your little world the real truth. 

We don’t owe you anything. You are no one to us and we do not have to be kind to you especially when all you do is harass us. We do not want you as a friend, we do not want you in our lives, we have said this more than ten times now. Idk how to make it clearer to you…. stop trying to analyse us because it’s really pathetic and stop trying to analyse why his behaviour “changed”. He did it only to have a smooth divorce. Now that the divorce is done so is he! Guess what? If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is a fucking duck. End of story. 

Get that into your thick skull honey. Empty vessels make the most noise. Not everything is about you my dear child. Take a real good look in the mirror and stop acting like someone you’re not. At least we don’t pretend to be something we’re not. 

Yes i am being a bitch (or call me whatever name you want) i do not deny that but our past 9 months of silence while you defame him has already been a kindness to you, the poor ex who is healing from a marriage she didn’t want in the first place. Go figure. Our first move after this email will be to file a police report- not that you would get into any trouble so don’t worry yet, but so that we have an official record of what’s been happening. Also hold your dramatic horses because this isn’t a threat- we’re genuinely emotionally tired of constantly hearing from you and we aren’t public like you because honestly no one gives a real shit so this is our only recourse.

Our advice to you is to actually move on with some grace, composure and whatever dignity you have left. Handle your guilt for your failure in a better more constructive way and do something real with your life. This chapter is over so close it. Thanks and have a good life! 

Regards

Gideon & Marianne “

Again. I sent to it a friend of mine and asked her, “I guess Marianne doesn’t like that I’m processing my healing through my blog. I think maybe I should stop writing.”

“Jane. You can’t give into fear. You yourself said that. She just doesn’t want you to email them anymore, so don’t. Let a lawyer or someone else handle the house issues. You focus on your healing and you ignore them, you hear me? If you’re really ‘nothing’ to them, why would your blog or emails affect them so much? Plus, what did you do that was so wrong? I’ve read all the emails you send to him. You have only been communicating about the house and divorce stuff. Instead, every single change he has, he would use words to trigger you into a reaction. Narcissistic people all do this because they live off the ‘highs’ they get from triggering you. They love it when they anger it. They need it to feel SOMETHING because most times they feel NOTHING. You were stupid enough to fall for it. I love you but you were dumb. Never again, you hear me? Clearly, Gideon is still wrecked with guilt over what he did to you, and Marianne is too insecure that she can’t stand you. It’s not even about you. Anything you do or say – she’s going to hate. Look at the truth, look at the facts. You’re the wife that her current husband had to leave in order for Marianne to believe that she is loved. She needs you to feel miserable so that her happiness is justified.”

Promise me, you will ignore them. Okay?”

My voice croaked but I said, “okay”. I’m a lucky girl to have friends like that. Who knows what I’d do without them.

Ep. 16 ‘Enough is enough little spoilt brat’

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

10th August, 2021

Scene flashes forward to the future

I’ve received a bill from SP utilities. It’s a July bill.

Strange. My tenants moved out in June, why is there still a bill for July? Maybe his brother is living in the house. I check with Kelvin and he says that no one is living in the house.

“Should I email him the bill?” I ask my boyfriend, Marco. “Yeah, why not? You shouldn’t have to pay for it if he’s letting others stay in the house”

“But he has already been very on edge lately. He keeps threatening to ‘do the necessary’ if I contact him unnecessarily again”

“This is for the house stuff. How else are you going to contact him about it? If he didn’t want you contacting him, he would have asked a lawyer to be the middle man for all of this. He’s clearly just keeping you as a contact point because he enjoys triggering you. Just keep your email as formal as possible, don’t say things like ‘hey hope you’re well’ none of that bullshit”

I laugh at my Italian boyfriend’s way of talking. I love it. I embrace it wholeheartedly.

Coming from Singapore, where passive aggression and toxic-politeness are both deeply ingrained in our society, it’s been refreshing getting to learn what the ‘italian way‘ is. They call it as it is and they emote their feelings very strongly. Many times, I’ve mistaken his calls with friends or family to be fights. “What happened?? Why did you guys argue?” I would ask. “What do you mean? My mama and I were telling each other how much we miss each other,” he would say, looking at me with bewildered eyes.

I craft my message to be as ‘dead’ as possible.

Enclosed is the July utilities bill. I haven’t closed the utilities because I forgot. So sending you the bill here. I’m offering to help pay for this bill since I know you’re dealing with alot of other debt and bills already. Just let me know if that’s agreeable to you. Cheers.

I read it again and remove the ‘Cheers’. Keep it official. Keep it without emotions.

Less than a few hours later….he replies. Oh no, SHE replies.

Hi this is Marianne.

Gideon told me that you’ve been emailing him often and he doesn’t like it. He does not want to have anything to do with you. It’s clear from the bill that Gideon shouldn’t be paying for it because it’s for your tenant’s consumption. So i’m not sure what the point of the email is apart from a feeble attempt to communicate with my husband even though he has repeatedly told you not to. Leave my husband alone, or is this only applicable when it fits the self righteous Jane? 

Don’t embarrass yourself and have some pride and dignity. It’s really quite pathetic that we hear from the grapevine that you constantly write shit about him and us, and yet behind the scenes you’re reaching out like the sad ex. Enough is enough little spoilt brat. Don’t act out just because you can’t get what you want. Have some grace and dignity and leave. 

Thanks! 

Marianne

I read it out loud to Marco and he looks at me and says “Well then, I guess he’s married a psychopath, good for him”

We get along with our day and put her message behind us. It was clear that this message didn’t come from a happy place.

What do you do with unhappy people? You let them find their own happiness while you go on to find yours.

Ep. 14 ‘I need to go to Sun Valley’

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

5th January, 2020

Today, we’re meeting his friends. We’re going to Sun valley to snowboard together. I’m excited!!!

For the last few days, I’ve been cooped up in the house with the cats while he goes about to prepare for his work. Today, I finally get to do something fun. I’m excited. I get up early and I switch on the lights in the bathroom.

Shit. My eyes have swollen up to look like golf balls. No…. no no no no no.

I have an allergy to NSAIDS, and last time I took a pill to help me sleep. I wasn’t sure what was in the pill, I had gotten it from Walmart and didn’t check the contents. Stupid. So stupid.

In desperation, I start googling, “How to get swollen eyes to ease” and before I could open the third link on the first page, I felt tears streaming down my eyes and I heard myself cry uncontrollably.

I must have been crying really loudly because Gideon walked into the room. He saw my swollen eyes and he said, “Oh no….” followed by “You don’t have to come if you don’t feel well”

No. I want to go, I told him. I opened the freezer to get some ice but there was none. Gideon was going to get ice racks but he had forgotten. In desperation, I take a small towel and open the front door and stepped outside in my thin pajamas.

It’s snowing and really really cold, but my determination to go on this snowboarding trip was so strong. I scooped some ice into the towel and I start pressing it onto my eyes.

I didn’t care if I looked ugly. I didn’t care if I looked funny to anyone. I just wanted to go snowboarding.

So far, since we’ve been here, some of his friends have tried reaching out to me. One of their wives took me out to dinner and let me rant to her. She listened to my sorrows, told me that I was better off now, and wished me all the best. Another one of his friends told me, “I wouldn’t be able to do what you’re doing now, you’re a good wife Jane.”

Yet, no one really did care enough to do anything else. What COULD they do anyway? How do you pull someone out of such a situation? Especially when it seemed like she knew what she was doing. I had never felt so alone in a foreign land with a husband I barely knew. For the last few days I had been completely regretting my decision to come here.

But the one thing I hadn’t told anyone was still weighing on me greatly. This deep, dark, shameful secret was gnawing at me inside, and I let it. I let it eat me up inside because I just couldn’t let it come to light. Not yet. Not now. I have to use my entire will to hang onto sanity if not I might just lose it. And if I lose it……….No. Don’t think about that. Just focus on getting your eyes less swollen so you can open your eyes – just enough so you can see through the ski mask while you snowboard.

You got this Jane, you got this.

Ep. 13 ‘B’

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

4th January, 2020

Thus far, Gideon and I haven’t fought yet. We’ve still managed to be polite and civil to each other.

In our messages, I still call him ‘b’. Why? Out of habit I suppose. But also because I didn’t want to be forced to move on when I’m not ready to.

He still calls me ‘b’ back too. In fact, this morning before he left for work, he came into the room and planted a kiss on my forehead.

I had already woken up but when I heard him open the door, I closed my eyes again and felt him plant a soft kiss right where he usually does before he goes to bed.

I remember the many times I would wake up when he has to go for morning duties. While he got dressed, I would pack his lunch and send him off before feeding the cats and cleaning up the house.

For 2 years in that house, I was his wife. I did his laundry, I cooked his meals, I made sure that every time the coffee beans are out, I would go to Serangoon Gardens and buy some from the Italian coffee roaster. I knew his favourite food to cook – Chicken curry. I sat with him every night as he came home to tell me tales of his day. Stories from work. I knew all of his friends and their callsigns. I also knew all of the gossip they would spread to each other. I didn’t think that Airforce pilots would gossip so much with each other. It was like a network. They have whatsapp groups, telegram groups, brocodes, all to hide little secrets for each other.

I never liked the idea of marrying a military guy, let alone an Airforce pilot who’s been trained to be a weapon. Having been a junior diplomat for Singapore when I was young, I was acutely interested in world politics. I have a deep interest in finding out why countries go to war. It’s a natural interest for me. I always saw the world as one big place full of people who had the power to collaborate and coordinate with each other. But alas, reality is such that we live in a world often manipulated by a few groups of people in power. People who would use weapons, use arms, use soldiers to get what they want – Power.

In turn, the rest of the world has no choice but to arm themselves up in case they ever got attacked. They use weapons, arms, solders to achieve what they want – Defense.

This is the world we live in. It’s already hard to live in such a world of constant tension and power play. Yet here in a town called Mountain home, I was living in my own living hell – full of tension and power play.


Ep. 12 ‘It’s just Netflix’

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

It’s 8pm and we’re sitting on the couch, watching Netflix. He’s on one end of the couch and I’m on the other.

Marianne is calling again, for the 11th time today.

He goes outside to pick up her phone call. When he comes back in, he said, ” Hey i’m sorry, but I have to turn on skype and let Marianne see what we’re doing. She thinks we might be having sex.”

What? No fucking way – I thought.

“I don’t wanna be on camera though…it’s so weird. We’re just watching netflix.”

“Yeah I know…sorry. It’s just going to be me in the frame.”

Seriously. This was getting out of hand. I grabbed his phone, ran into my room and hid his phone in my bag. Then I came outside to talk to MY husband. The husband that I knew.

“Sit down, Gideon. We have to talk.”

He relents and we sit on the floor facing each other.

“Why do you let her do this to you?”

He ponders for a while and replies “I think that I owe it to her. I lied to her once and now I have to show her that I’ll put in the effort to make up for all the lies I told her”

I can’t register in my mind that he’s lied to her. In just a month?? What kinda lies could he already have raked up?? But it doesn’t matter. It’s not the question I want to ask.

“So….even though she’s your mistress….you would rather put in the energy to appease her and try to keep her around than try to work on our marriage with me?”

“It’s just easier. I know that what I did to you is very unforgiveable. And I know that even if you forgive me, we’re not going to forget this. This will be hanging over our heads forever. I know it’s cowardly of me to do this, but I’d rather take this easy way out.”

There – he said it. There was his answer. He had proven me right.

For the entirety of our marriage, he has been taking the easy way out of his problems. He finds shortcuts and excuses, and he combines them with his apologies and his pitiful eyes to get out of every single mess he’s ever gotten himself into.

This time was no different.

Rather than stand up to Marianne and tell her she’s being unreasonable for asking to put a video camera infront of us while we’re just watching Netflix, he would rather put the burden on me to feel uncomfortable. All because she’s now his new source of admiration. She’s now making him feel everything he once felt with me. I used to make him feel like the top of the world. But now, she does. So of course, he panders to her every will.

Forget that I’m legally married to him. Forget a basic level of empathy that is so clearly lacking in him. Forget the lack of respect for me and my family when she wants to parade around to the world that she’s someone’s mistress and that she’s won because finally! someone loves her enough to leave his marriage. Finally! Someone is choosing her. Finally! Someone is proving their undying love to her. Even if it means she has to put someone else through suffering.

To the both of them – nothing else matters but their own little world. Nothing else matters because they’re soulmates, they’re meant for each other. The world could burn up in flames for all they care. All they want is to be together.

Later on, when she makes a feeble attempt to explain why they obviously lacked any respect at all for me or my family, she says “I’m entitled to my right for posting these photos, they’re my way of storing memories.”

Okay can. You do you. By the way, there’s such a thing called Google drive now, but Instagram is definitely a better way to ‘store memories’…….

I turn back to Gideon and I ask him, “Why didn’t you tell me you had financial difficulties?”

“I thought I could handle it”

“You know I wouldn’t have quit my job if you’d just told me. Why didn’t you?”

“I’m sorry”

Every single time we argue or quarrel, it always ends with this. “I’m sorry”

2 words that could melt any anger I had for him. 2 words that could dissolve all of our grievances.

He knew that I would always try to empathize with him. He knew it, and he used it. Time and time and time again.