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Archive for March, 2011

While you were dreaming

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When I Grow Up

by Fever Ray

When I grow up
I want to be a forester
Run through the moss on high heels
That’s what I’ll do
Throwing out a boomerang
Waiting for it to come back to me

When I grow up
I want to live near the sea
Crab claws and bottles of rum
That’s what I’ll have
Staring at a seashell
Waiting for it to embrace me

I put my soul into what I do
Last night I drew a funny man
With dog eyes and a hanging tongue
It goes way back
I’ve never liked that sad look
From someone who wants to be loved by you

I’m very good with plants
When my friends are away
They let me keep the soil moist
On the seventh day I rest
For a minute or two
Then back on my feet to call for you

You’ve got cucumbers on your eyes
Too much time spent on nothing
Waiting for a moment to arise
The face in the ceiling
And arms too long
I’m waiting for him to catch me


I first heard Fever Ray’s other song Keep The Streets Empty For Me in Red Riding Hood. It was dreamy and haunting with a tinge of bittersweet dark (just like dark chocolate), the kind of music I like. I love the voice too. And it was perfect for the mood of the movie, which incidentally was directed by Catherine Hardwicke. I recognised her style easily (I hadn’t known she was the director when I booked my ticket) — very Twilight, which I liked very very much :-)

So I downloaded the album, also named Fever Ray. It was released on 18 May 2009 as the debut solo of  Karin Dreijer Andersson. She was formerly from the electropop duo The Knife. After the success of their critically acclaimed album Silent Shout in 2006 (another great album), she took a break to have her second child.

But Karin continued writing and this is what was said about her style, on her website:

Small wonder the post-natal period proved so fertile. She composes best in that state any new parent will recognise, awake but exhausted, where reality blurs into imagination and ideas flutter in and out. “Half of what the songs are about is the subconscious,” she says, “ideas of things happening. A lot of it is like daydreaming, dreaming when you’re awake, but tired; a lot of stories come from that world. I try to write when I‘m in that state…. I like to keep it as minimal as possible…. It’s very important to keep the magic and the feeling of something you can draw yourself. You don’t want to be too literal.”

I guess that’s why I prefer writing in the early hours of the morning, and often way past the point when my eyes are already half-closed. Though sometimes, it’s because of the generous helpings of Baileys. Hic! Heh.


Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 29th, 2011 at 10:24 am

Posted in the dark side

Same same but different

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She had changed shortly after, he said, shaking his head as his face darkened.

Later on, he would say she had been that way all along, but she hid it well, as many women are wont too in the early days.

“Men too,” I added emphatically, my eyes holding his. “Everybody changes, at some point, if not points, in their lives. You do know that, don’t you?”

A faint shadow passed his face and there was something like a keen regret and pain that momentarily flickered within the dark depths of his eyes — he had lost something precious to him a long time ago, something that can no longer be relived. Time waits for no man.

As his eyes came to rest on my face, as they sometimes do, like a solitary searchlight in the darkest of nights, moving from left to right, and back again (I, Poker Face), I wondered if he was thinking too — as I did, of myself — if I would change, or shed my mask as she did, in time to come? (I can only hope, for my sake if nobody else’s, that it is for the better.)

I remember feeling bemused at some point, and I must have had one of those smiles on my face that S often asks me about (“What is that smile on your face? What is it that you are so bemused about?”) whenever she makes an ‘interesting’ observation during counselling.

If he only knew that the person before him now was not quite the same person not too long ago….


Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 28th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Mother and Child

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After more than a year of “Do I really want another tattoo?”, “What and where will my second tattoo be?” and “Who will ink me?”, I had decided on the polar bear.

“Polar bear’s medicine includes the ability to navigate along the earth’s magnetic lines, introspection, ability to find sustenance in barren landscapes, purity of spirit, strength in the face of adversity, solitude, expert swimmer through emotional waters, finding one’s way back from the brink, communication with spirit, dreams, death and rebirth, transformation, creature of dreams, shamans, mystics and visionaries, defence and revenge……”

But it was really difficult finding an image that I would want on my skin and more importantly, could live with for as long as I breathed. As irresistibly adorable as I find polar bears, they just look fat/lumpy/shapeless from most, if not all, angles.

Or else there is too much desolation for my comfort.

I think the armoured bears in The Golden Compass are damn cool but too fierce, yes???

And then I found the mother and her cub.

I, who remain ambivalent about having my own children, was strangely drawn to this blissful scene of two sleeping bears, of a cub lovingly cuddled in her mother’s protective warmth, as a weary traveller is drawn to the welcoming glow from a forest cabin on a cold winter night.

At that time, I had thought it was my subconsciousness trying to express my maternal instincts, and my need to protect…. something. I thought it had to do with my growing responsibilities at work and the impending change in my role  — Queen Bee; Mother Hen; I the Protector and the elves my wards.

I brought this image to the tattoo artist, who had actually studied art at one of the local schools, for customisation. I had initially chanced upon A’s little studio by accident, while window-shopping after lunch on a work day.  I talked to him, looked at his portfolio and was pleasantly surprised that he also did pretty good animal and shading work. I liked his face, felt comfortable with him, and thought he could be the one.

I went away and it took me several more months of “Do I really want another tattoo?”, “Am I sure about the bears and where will I place them?”, “Do I really want this young guy who’s only been around a few years inking me?”. But I eventually decided on an image, returned with it to A and discussed in detail what I wanted. I liked the way he moved his hands and he had a very light touch that felt ‘just right’.

Another few months passed and A presented me with the sleeping bears in a decorative frame, incorporating my requirement for some kind of background symbolising the landscape (land/ice or sea) so that the snowy bears would be ‘grounded’. He decided on the element of water because of my affinity for the sea and came up with a frame of flourishes resembling waves. He also explained how he would shade in the fur.

A couple of days before Christmas 2009, I got inked again, almost 3 years after my first. The bears were done over 6 hours, with a few breaks in between, at A’s new studio. (Another odd coincidence involving geographical convergences, for retelling another time perhaps.) It was mostly painless. Like I said, A has a very light touch and it applies to his tattooing technique as well. However, the last hour or more hurt very much — perhaps my adrenaline had worn off or A was getting tired too.

So the last day of the year came, and went. It was mostly unremarkable, with a pinch of faint disquiet….

2010 got off to a good start on the work front. A very good start, to be honest.

Half a year later, my life as I knew it started to unravel, to my horror. My greatest fears had come to life — no, larger than life. You already know some of it.

I submitted myself to professional counselling in mid October 2010 (at my best friend’s insistence); even psychiatric assistance for a short while (I was desperate).

Things got worse for some time, actually. (My counsellor was very concerned that the sessions might have something to do with a particularly drastic step I took in late November 2010.)

Then it got better — no, better than better.

Life has been pretty good the past few weeks.

And I know now what I had first seen in the protective circle of mother and child —

What I had missed all these years;

The emotions and unhappiness I had buried and ‘forgotten';

The words that were never spoken and ‘lost’ (“Are you always this quiet?”);

The feelings I learnt to hide so well that eventually I couldn’t even feel them (I, Poker Face — nobody saw through the mask);

The times I was made to feel — no, told — I was ugly (regular, relentless reminders, and eventually, after years of harassment, a major surgical procedure at 24);

The times I was made to feel unworthy;

The times I was made to feel unloved;

The years I continued to believe nobody could ever love me, including myself;

The years I spent hating myself and perpetuating the emotional dramas from my childhood.

You see, I wanted to be that cub in my mother’s embrace. It was the picture-perfect childhood I wished I had.

And I didn’t realise it then, but the final framing of the bears set the stage for the forgotten emotional dramas I had to remember and relive the last 6 months.

I know the clock cannot be turned back and I cannot relive or reclaim those lost years. I also know that my mother possibly couldn’t have known any better — perhaps having never resolved, or even realised, her own emotional dramas, therefore revisited on her firstborn in the vain hope of reclaiming her own life.

I know the scars will always be with me — forgiven now but never forgotten. But I also know I can move on with my life.



* * * * *


There are no coincidences.

Only bears.

I ask of you — King of Bears, a boon of strength that I shall never fear again.

I call on you — Weaver of Dreams, for introspection and your wisdom, that I may embrace stillness and silence as you do.

I hear you calling — Protector. Survivor. Teacher. Healer.

I know you now — Spirit Guide.


Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 27th, 2011 at 4:32 am


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It was the first time we met; late morning, somewhere in town where they serve what is said to be the best piccolo latte.

An hour or more into a surprisingly easy conversation between two strangers who had only just met (who never would have met but for a half-hearted reply made at someone’s urging), where just-coffee turned into how-about-lunch-too, I made a comment about eyes, or something…. age makes recollections harder as more days pass and memories fade into wisps that you can only revisit in your fragile dreams.

He removed his small, round gold-rimmed glasses and rested his naked eyes on mine.

Taken aback, I looked down quickly, but not before I was momentarily blinded — the hapless deer in headlights. And so I fled, if only for those few seconds when I teetered on the edge.

Or I would surely have drowned and be lost forever.


“What physical features do you go for,” he had asked on another occasion as he was driving me home.

“Eyes,” I returned, not having to think about my answer, or to consider if he had meant other physical features — on the body, which was the case.

“Eyes….” he seemed puzzled. “Just eyes???”

“Eyes,” I repeated without a pause. “Because they are the windows to the soul.”

Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 24th, 2011 at 2:16 am

Cinderella’s shoe

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Circa 1 April 2004….

“Do you believe in The One? Or do you believe that there are more than one The One out there just waiting for you to chance upon one (or even more than one) of them? Or is it that these few are only potentials, and that at any one time, there can be just The One – the way The Child of Light and The Child of Dark ‘moved’ from body to body, in David Eddings’ Belgariad? …… I don’t know if there is one, or two, or three, or more The One out there. I just know The One is someone so special, you don’t need to think it through from A to Z. He is the missing piece in the puzzle, and when you finally find him and receive this missing piece into your life, you will be complete.”

- Intimate Stranger. 2 August 2002.

Perhaps, there is really never more than one The One. Perhaps, we just get so tired of finding or waiting for him that we settle for the next best, and make believe that he is one of the few. Or, for some people, they simply do not believe The One exists.

SF likened it to finding The Right Shoe amongst the myriad possibilities. Sometimes, you find a pair with the design and colour you want, but not the size. Sometimes, you settle for an incredibly comfortable pair of pointy-toed shoes, even though the colour is not quite you, because you think this is the closest you will ever get to your checklist for The Right Shoe. And so, you stop looking, and you stop listening to the faint aches in your chest. Sometimes, a seemingly perfect pair of shoes could give you a callus which you choose to ignore, but you choose to put up with the vague discomfort, and soon, you do not even notice the thickened skin. (Everyone saw the calluses on my feet. Everyone. Except me.)

Someone said that believing in The One was a cop-out, because of our fear of making the wrong decision, of finding ourselves with The Wrong One. On the contrary, I believe it takes Courage to believe in The One. Because even if your paths cross, you might miss him if you do not have the faith to believe in yourself. And because, you might not even find him in this lifetime.


I walked towards the windows in the room she had called ‘home’ the last 3 years, drawn by the bright afternoon light streaming in, illuminating a path through the handful of scattered belongings she had returned to pack up and move to her new home.

Perhaps in the dusty recesses of my fuzzy memories, I remembered having stood at that window a few years ago and looked out at the lone privately-owned apartment in her backyard.

My eyes rested on the petals aglow in reds and yellows, hovering over the sparkling blue of the circular pool — just like in the picture I had googled after he told me where he used to live up until 5 years ago.

“What is that building over there?” I asked, after a moment’s hesitation.

“Oh, it’s some condo — Hibiscus Heights.”


And more unspoken questions flooded my mind.


I realised during one of my idle moments when the mind wanders down drafty hallways and ventures into forgotten rooms, that they are the same age and share the same horoscope — except the first was born 19 days earlier within the same month (he of the misfired text message).

They even have a similar built and height, but the second works out and so is slightly more bulky than scrawny (heh). And both have that almost jaunty gait. But the second has stronger facial features, and dare I say it, such pretty eyes — eyes that I can’t stop looking into and will surely find myself drowning in soon enough. Yet, something in those eyes is strangely familiar — that same burning intensity that I remember from once upon a time, and had fled from (though for an entirely different reason)….

And like the first,  he likes his movies too, and we never seem to run out of things to talk about.

They call this chemistry, don’t they?

How strange this is all turning out to be….

Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 24th, 2011 at 1:22 am


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“Hidden areas of your inner being are activated in this place. Memories of a distant past resurface. Limitations and suppressed wounds from the past become real again. The central theme to your existence is to free yourself from these, and you turn to people who claim to offer healing. You come in contact with unusual people, meet outsiders and people with healing abilities. These are often people with a charismatic appeal, specialising in one field. Here, you will find release from your old pain and this becomes a turning point in your life. Perhaps you would like to be a healer yourself. Chiron/Moon’s Nodes are a good introduction to the different techniques and methods of alternative healing. You will discover teachers prepared to share their knowledge and help you to find and use your healing powers.”


I will make it to NZ this year or next.

I must.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 19th, 2011 at 8:56 pm

The Light

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I strode purposefully into her office, with a spring in my steps, feeling light-hearted and good about myself — as I have the last few sessions.

“So what do you want to do today?”

“Oh…. I don’t know.”

We carried on some small talk and S repeated her question.

“I really don’t know….” I shrugged and smiled, feeling pleased with myself.

But I did know.

I had noted the changes during our last two sessions, and how we had moved from healing to celebrating the progress I had made in counselling. I had also begun to run out of problems to talk about, or rather, the urge to talk about my problems had greatly diminished. Still, I cried at every session (I’ve just been crying a lot recently, about everything and everyone) — more from the mere surge of emotions than just sadness, really. I even cry when I’m happy. Go figure!

But the fact is, whereas for several weeks, I endured 90% downtime and I lived only to savour the occasional highs that always ended too soon, I’m now experiencing a reversal with good moments that are sustainable and only 10% downtime. And during the latter moments, I didn’t run or tried to talk myself out of them. Instead, I stayed with the negative emotions, acknowledged them and let them have their obligatory lap around my system — until they got tired and simply faded.

“Coaching: A process where a person is encouraged and guided to discover the gap between where they are and what they would like to achieve. The focus is on outcomes and solutions rather than problems.”

“I think I’m ready to move on to the next level and get coaching, especially since I might be working again very soon.”

S smiled.

“I’ve been waiting for you to say that.”


As the emotions welled up inside of me, and I started crying again, I finally realised what these tears of…. happiness, are.

The light at the end of the tunnel that I once feared I might never see — that I might be trapped in this prison of my own making forever

I am standing at the end of that tunnel now….

In The Light….

I am looking out….

And it is blue skies, fluffy clouds, and diamonds are raining upon a sapphire sea that goes on forever, and ever….

Just like in my wildest dreams.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 17th, 2011 at 3:50 am

Here we go again

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“People around you like to help you, but too many opinions might make your judgment poor, which impact your reputation.”

I remember — very well — what happened the last time. And the…. incredible mess.

Still, I listened just as carefully to what everyone had to say this time.

But this time, I also listened to the one voice that I did not before.

I listened to myself.


“I find myself thinking about how my relationships with people will change, and they will change — particularly people who have become used to who I was. How will they respond to these changes and will they still be able to accept me?”

It is happening.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 6th, 2011 at 1:29 am

Posted in uncategorised


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“This influence will give you opportunities to assert yourself and your individuality and do things that you have never done before. The keynote of this period is “freedom to be myself!” Your physical energy level will be stimulated, so that you will be able to work quite hard at any task you want to do. You will not be in the mood for disciplined, self-sacrificing kinds of work. It is not that you are feeling selfish or self-indulgent but that you really understand your personal needs and are unwilling to compromise. You may be suddenly released from restrictions that have been holding you back from many activities you would like to engage in that would truly help your personal development, and this will give you a new freedom to act. At other times you may have felt the need to lash out and rebel against obstacles in your life, but now that is not necessary. The opportunities to get rid of the obstacles arise of their own accord. However, the opportunities carry an obligation to take advantage of them in order to understand more completely what you are capable of doing. This influence will enlarge your idea of your capabilities, which has probably been too limited in the past. You will enjoy taking chances and risks even if you have always acted conservatively, and you will probably discover that you have been too careful before. Freedom is important to you now in every way. You will probably be attracted to others who have experienced similar restrictions in life, and you will work with them. If you have ever been attracted to movements for social reform and change, it is especially likely that you will do this now. Having found out more about your capabilities by getting rid of restrictions, you will enjoy stirring up others so that they can find that out for themselves, too. However, you must recognize that the limitations you have encountered in life were not put there solely by powers beyond your control. You at least acquiesced to them, either out of fear, a sense of personal inadequacy or a desire to be careful.”


So the holiday to get away from it all is finally happening. For a while, I didn’t think it would — I’ve been really busy helping The Bestee with her nest and juggling my own…. stuff. And since I was more than gainfully occupied instead of twiddling my thumbs, I figured there was no need for a holiday really.

But in the past couple of weeks, so much has happened that I’m finding myself overwhelmed again — in a good way.

I now need that time alone space, far far away, to take stock of the roller-coaster ride over the last 3 months.

And more importantly, to welcome the arrival of this new being.


“In the realm of Native American spirituality, the dolphin spirit bears both kindness and ‘play energy’. It has also become a representative role as the keeper of mysteries. Dolphins are regarded as the custodians of the lost and ancient wisdoms of the world, as well as the symbolic messenger of knowledge from our unconscious minds (underwater) to our waking, logical brains (the surface).”

“According to Celtic beliefs, water has the power to “wash away” past problems and to rejuvenate a person. In this sense, the person is able to make a new start. Therefore, the dolphin represents the death of a past lifestyle and the birth of a new life. The ancient Celts also viewed the dolphin as a symbol of both prosperity and guidance.”

Sometime this year then.


What if all this were to end tomorrow?

I had asked, a tiny voice of doubt at the back of my mind.

And she answered, “But you now have the courage to face your fears.”

“For all his bluster, it is the sad province of Man that he cannot choose his triumph. He can only choose how he will stand when the call of destiny comes, hoping that he’ll have the courage to answer.”

~ H E R O E S


He was always solicitous and sought my opinion or consent.

But on this, it was never posed as a question. It was assumed he would render the ‘service’ and I would simply go along with what he had decided.

And there I was, all ready to sneak in a line about finding men who had the confidence to take charge — sometimes — without having to consult the lady every step of the way, sexy.

Mmmmm :-)

Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 4th, 2011 at 8:12 am

Posted in who am i