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some time more, and may will turn to june, the nights and days increasing in unbearable cold. if i had any wisdom to impart, perhaps i would say that it is better to acknowledge than repress, to accept tension rather than numb it away.

on my bed i dream of travels and countries i use to wander to, and think maybe i can revisit them one last time, before the teetering crumbling walls crush utterly around me and i will be forced to confront a new world, the terrifying adventure of lives instead of lands and bondage instead of independence. but paul said it right when he told us we’re slaves either to one or another. we’re never our own.

no more will be the exhilarating trepidation with which i embark on my own two feet; when children come my fortitude will manifest in stocking chocolate and bandaids and staying back to let these fragile things fly. but these days are far away and meanwhile my lungs continue to inhale, and exhale, and i whiff the fragrance of mushrooms rising up my nose. it makes me think of vomit.

can romance be found in the larder, the settling of garlic and shallots, the sizzles of a chicken in the pan? is it possible to be existential about dough?

Would you go along with someone like me

_20150523_065040– we went deep sea fishing yesterday; i held the rod patiently while fish flirted with my feelings by nibbling on soft plastic thingys meant to resemble shrimp 25 metres below.

– courage and wisdom have been on my mind and in my prayers

– john nash and his wife were killed in a car accident! :((

– i have never sold a car before, this marketing and advertising of mr atn is not my favourite to-do task of the week; guess it’s a good thing i’m not in sales.

– it’s g and cl’s last weekend in perth. after that, -F will be made up of just john and s. my feelings are mixed on this one. but it’s okay. wisdom and courage, remember.

– my laundered bedsheet has officially dried between my electric blanket and duvet, but just the thought of heaving and tugging everything into place is tiring enough. bleah

– i feel like maple syrup with freshly made waffles. mmmmmm.

That… it’s about faith, and trusting in His promise that… I won’t die, even if I feel like I can’t make it. 

Every day, I pray to keep my eyes on today, to be able to live day by day, instead of projecting futures I cannot control, … I don’t ask to be taken out of the situation, but for God to be with me, and I commit the day to him. It’s so simple… (but) it’s the best I’ve got. 

Sometimes, … if I were to put it in a picture, I feel like the future is me stepping into the stuff that makes roads, tar, and entirely submersed; stepping into an olympic sized pool of tar and I’m just asking God to be with me. 

I guess it’s about the frameworks of fear and faith. When I think of the worst scenarios, fears rises and clouds my eyes, and when I see through it things look so dreadful and I get so down. But when I turn my eyes towards faith, sometimes I – there’s even a possibility of excitement – but fear comes so easily.

Just this morning, I was doing my quiet time, and suddenly – I guess maybe – it was God – who spoke to my thoughts and said, ‘Look around you. Just look around and see what I’ve provided’. And outside my window is a screen of trees, and behind those trees run a creek. And I realised, you know, God provided for me in Perth when I had nothing back in Singapore before I came; he provided accommodation with a lovely family- I didn’t even know where I’d be staying when I came – and a church we love. And I guess when I looked around me I felt almost sheepish. And maybe God’s like… yeah… (laughs). Yeah… he can provide for me in France, too, if we go there.

I reckon… It’s about God, not me…

Not me trying to save myself from the horrors of the exactitude of the unknown, and even that changes its face when met with equanimity and courage. Three times today I questioned myself in front of others the change that came after marriage. Even accounting for attachment and oneness that ought not be put asunder, where has my fearlessness gone? When was it replaced with cower?

Driving home with the mood of the conversation still upon me, I might have remembered a few lines I wrote in 2010 whilst preparing for the solo part of my grad trip. Essentially, it was a pre-travel measure of who I was, and an honest one – and I knew I would not fall short of what it took to realise a fortnight on my own in a foreign land, weakness in detail (n) and all. And if I, my father’s daughter, have still got his guts and grit, I can do much more than this.

Through this framework, then, even the stressors of figuring out the details (confessed weakness) of which mode of transport I would choose, the very real possibilities of his being confined (many times I think of writing an essay to the SAF asking the wisdom behind their practices), who would meet when, where and how, driving 1200+ km every weekend to see him + the earlier fears of navigating a land whose language I do not speak, loneliness, marriage, and all – these simply become factors to be sorted through, and settled when met. Hi, detail of the weekend, how shall we decide this? A specific question which can be answered with enough knowledge from research.

I need not fear. I am my father’s x2 daughter. I have my heritage of guts and grit, zest and nose for adventure. Pah, who is this whimpering child? Both my fathers’ blessings go with me – and they are a power I would not underestimate.

Maybe this has been too frank a disclosure, too unabashed a talk. But if I could mourn openly at the beginning of the year, why would I not post my victories?

landlady: isabelle, did you pee in the bathtub?
landlady grandbaby (brightly): yes!

1) so the young marriage is apparently not like others; the question is, what meaning does that make for me?

2) still i ask myself how this can go on for another ten, eleven years. it has to, but how? i see two distant figures so battered, emerging from this season

3) Given these gains, communication is one of the most frequently taught skills for the improvement of the marital relationship. However, communication skills are only as effective as they are employed. There are myriad reasons for neglecting communication skills. For instance, in seasons of conflict, a partner is likely to be rather disinclined to make the effort of active listening, empathising and validating that is so important to good communication. Fowers thus argues for the inclusion of virtues in a discussion of communication skills. Fowers also perceptively observes that the goodness of a marriage is more than the sum of a couple’s communication skills, and that other capacities, such as the ability to articulate the rich narrative of a strong marriage, and the personal character strength of the couple, is perhaps even more fundamental to a deeply satisfying marriage

I’ve been working on an essay on marital communication. I especially like the last few lines – the goodness of a marriage is more than the sum of a couple’s communication skills, and that… the ability to articulate the rich narrative of a strong marriage, and the personal character strength of the couple, is perhaps even more fundamental to a deeply satisfying marriage (than pro communication skills).

For instance, active listening comes with the character quality of self-restraint, or self-control. Practising self-control allows the listener to hold his or her defensive tongue and attend to the partner’s point of contention. Without self-control, active listening is near impossible, especially in heated disagreements. Self-control allows the gift of attention to come through and acknowledges the spouse’s right to be heard. Incumbent with this gift is the value of generosity – one has to be generous, or gracious, to place one’s spouse before oneself, to allow the spouse to be listened to, acknowledged, and engaged with. Fowers points out that acknowledgement of one’s spouse can be costly, especially when the spouse is putting forth unflattering views of oneself. In such circumstances, acknowledging the right and validity of the marital relationship can be very taxing. However, the refusal of oneself to acknowledge the spouse’s concerns or validate them can be extremely damaging to the marital relationship. Validation affirms the right of one’s spouse to claim truth, even if the truth is very unpleasant (Fowers 2001).

Validation affirms the right of one’s spouse to claim truth, even if the truth is very unpleasant”.

So much to go on here. My thoughts so far: not all communication is consciously intentional and reflective; perhaps, sometimes communication needs to float on a sunny sea before the heavier stuff feels safe to emerge – because they read the barometer and know the weather can hold them.

More stuff: Burleson and Denton discovered an interesting difference in cause and effect for men in distressed and nondistressed marriages. In the latter, husbands were better able to identify their spouse’s intentions, and consequently reported greater satisfaction with their spouses and marriages. In distressed marriages, however, husbands were less able to identify their spouse’s intentions, and appeared to care little whether they could or not, preferring to completely drop the ability. Overall, the lesson appears to be that husbands like more of a good thing and make efforts to unearth more of their spouse’s positive intentions, but when upset, retreat within themselves and stop caring.

I am clearly verging on non-academic writing – nearly put the word caveman in there – did you spot where? – and also clearly lapsing into disjointed thoughts and nonsense. Oh, but it is getting late… you should see my first drafted attempt at understanding academic befuddlebunk – I’ll show you

“Gendered – when they are happy they chum better – i happy, i can tell your intentions, and i’m pleased that i can plus means our marriage is good. i not happy, i cannot tell, i don’t care whateverz.”

And just for fun, the actual paragraph-

“We found complex and contingent patterns of association between individuals’ communication skills and their marital satisfaction. A particularly interesting result was obtained for perceptual accuracy, the ability to infer correctly a spouse’s intentions. Perceptual accuracy was positively related to indices of marital satisfaction for those in nondistressed marriages, but was unassociated with marital satisfaction for those in distressed marriages (with the sign of the association being negative). This pattern was most pronounced for men. Further, the magnitudes of the associations observed between perceptual accuracy and marital satisfaction differed significantly for the samples of distressed and nondistressed husbands. This pattern of associations makes a good deal of sense because spouses in distressed marriages had more negative intentions toward their partners than spouses in nondistressed marriages. Individuals, especially husbands, in nondistressed marriages appear to feel more positively about their spouses when they are better able to detect the spouse’s positive intentions. In contrast, individuals in distressed marriages like their spouses better when they are less able to detect the spouse’s negative intentions. Consistent with these results, social perception skills (i.e., levels of cognitive complexity) of nondistressed husbands were positively associated with liking for their wives, but these variables were unrelated among distressed husbands. Overall, these results suggest that perceptual skills may enhance the husband’s marital satisfaction when the marriage is basically a happy one, but further suggest that ignorance is bliss when the news supplied by perceptual skills tends to be unpleasant (Burleson and Denton 1997)”.

I acknowledge –

I acknowledge sadness
I acknowledge anger
I admit to the possibility of a sense of loss

The tension is better than numbness
I guess

 

today, we woke up in each others arms, sleepily blissful from a night of reaching out for each other, blankets strewn everywhere. lunch was a five hour conversation with his friend leaving perth and moving to the 76th squadron – or 79th, one of them. on the way back we talked and prattled. i said the scant contact time had been difficult. he offered daily half-hour phone calls for days when dinner together was not possible. i said i’d like that. the knot in my three-quarters undid itself after that. hopefully we’ll get the routine going smoothly. last night, he ate dinner at eleven thirty, on the passenger seat, wolfing down an uncertain mix of what i’d made while car drove through darkness and farms. he said it tasted good, although he’s said the same to anything i’ve ever scooped from the kitchen. the only time was when the garlic black bean sauce was terrible, though i’d done nothing to make it taste so bad. i suppose we both just don’t like garlic black bean sauce.

we think having a chalkboard wall in our love nest will be cool, the kitchen layout will be one-sided and we’re discussing how the second bedroom’s going to look like. space, hospitality and flexibility are big concepts, and personal preferences mix everything up pretty lumpy. i think foldable partitions are the genius solution, but he doesn’t like them, so he says. well, he didn’t like my suggestion of concrete flooring (volubly, i might add), then after i’d gotten my head round to other options he says they’re the way to go. if our wedding, prep and all, is any indication, we’re in for a ride that will turn out good.

i guess i could get used to the idea of recording the things we get up to <3

oh, i don’t know

May 12, 2015

Where home is. Wang Lee Hom is playing hauntingly in my head telling me all I didn’t know, and I read a book on the aftermath of the first world war today. I tried to cook for my family the second time and once again it wasn’t a great success. I’m wondering what is real.

I think my red nexus is dying; I would like a sumsung next. I would like it the same shade of blinding red. I went out for dinner last night and received a bright green nalgene at the table; a surprise. i didn’t know your bottle was cracked; I got it on impulse. and i think we’ve bought more bottles for you than you have yourself. too right, old friends. I don’t know why these blessings exist in my life.

Maybe friends don’t come in the form or age we expect them to, perhaps vintages can be a surprise. I promised myself at nineteen that I wouldn’t be the aunty who wrapped herself in her family and lose the crown of sisterhood along the way; some years now, I can see how easy it would be to. i don’t feel like being friends with her now, we’re diverging; I don’t think x and I could really go deep; I’m self-sufficient. but self-sufficiency is a lie.

I suspect such and such will be the country next, and for all my improvement I find it in myself to be ddisappointed. When will things be better; would married life really only settle after he leaves the military? And, why is it that the family is sacrificed for country here, but supported and a supporter of, elsewhere? I would like to feel that our family was supported by our country’s military, and in return wholly support his service to Singapore. As it is, I give him my blessing, but fight with them for my husband with the same breath.

Pastor said on Sunday, the more we know Jesus, the less we need to know the future. i wrote those words on the red packet I gave Jason and Gayle later that night. The more we know Jesus, the less we need to know the future- the only thing I need to know before marriage is that he loves God, the most important wifely prayer I can utter is that he loves God first. The rest will follow through, we’re told. And well. I have no other words to live by, so I’ll trod along with these-

一步又一步.

這是恩典之路.