Thursday, 28 April 2011

Tick Tock

We're approaching the second last day in the apartment. Friday.
And Saturday is the final day.

A new beginning awaits.
Back home with the dogs.
And the folks.
And the brother.
And the whiny kids who come over for classes.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Real Online Chat #1

Blogging because a record of this might eventually come in handy.

i can't believe i'm squandering so much potential earnings by turning down the music jobs
i don't think i should do it at the expense of my mental health
don't u agree?
please agree
i'm secondguessing (and third-guessing) myself

its hard for me to say nicky, only you can decide :/:/
but i am always of the opinion
of following my gut instincts about whether something is going to be good for me or not - regardless of what looks like the logical thing to do from the outside 

i guess
i dunno
it's a lot of money
it'll probably drive me nuts doing the music work
i dunno
oh shuddup nick
stop thinking and overthinking
i've got voices in me head 

if you don't feel comfortable doing the musical stuff at this time, then dont do it. 

that tell me i'm useless
and then another voice goes "no you're not nick"
and then a third voice goes "OH ALL OF YOU SHUT UP"
i think i'm going mad
ok i'm making it sound worse than it is
i know it's all me
i'm just venting

you need to be confident in yourself and your decisions

but i'm NOT confident in myself
that's the problem
i can't make decisions
every decision i make, i second guess
and then i second-guess the second-guessing
yes,i have spoken to my therapist about this
i just wish i wasn't this way
i look at someone like Terry who's going on holidays and parties practically every night and i resent it
i don't resent him, he's my best friend
i resent the fact that he's apparently happy
and enjoying his life at 31
and i'm just... sleeping at 7pm


you need to stop comparing yourself to others
yeah i get what you mean 

i can't help it

but as long as you dont have confidence in yourself
you'll keep doing it 

i don't feel i'll ever be successful, or beautiful, or desirable, or loved
so what's the point of planning for the future 

thats the thing, you only focus on what your NOT

that's the thing isn't it

instead of embracing what you ARE 

why can't i see the positives?

and take compliments people give you seriously 

i think it's because deep down, the things i'm not are the things i want the most
but that's the way with everyone, right?
i mean, a lot of the time, at least? 

but thats with everyone, yeah 

i want to be loved
i just feel like that will never happen 

we all want to be something were not


i feel like god himself doesn't love me 

we want what others have 

xxxxx would probably say she's 30 and never been in a relationship
but she knows God loves her and nothing shakes that
but what happens if your fundamental belief in a loving God doesn't exist anymore either?
and you're getting into conflict with friends
and family
who don't seem to understand?
where do you go to then? :'(:'(
oh bugger i'm spiralling
i should go eat
and try to snap out of it

why do you think god doesnt love you?
that he loves everyone else in the whole world except you 

i  don't know
i just feel betrayed by him
i don't know why
because i feel like my life sucks
and it's his fault
i dunno 

to him you are perfect 

i can't believe in him
if he truly loved me i wouldn't be going through this shit
that's what my brain is telling me
i curse F words at him when i'm alone in my apartment
oh right, i do that on my blog too

i noticed... 

i can't believe in God because the american cunt believes in him 
i think that's a large factor
and i don't know why the american cunt plays such a big part in my life and my thought processes and my feelings
but he does
and i can't shake it
it's why the music's tiresome to me
it's why theatre's tiresome to me
everything that once meant EVEYRTHING to me is now tedious and painful
what do you do when the places you'd USUALLY turn to in times of difficulty end up being the places you CAN'T turn to anymore?

Brilliant Metaphor Alert #1

Excerpt from an online chat between Judi and me.
hmmm... lunch was a bit dissapointing
didn't taste as good
as it did at the BBq
oh well
life's like that
one minute something looks good and tastes great
the next it leaves a sour taste in your mouth and heartburn.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Wow, it's been a week of ups and downs. Mostly in my mind, of course. Let's see, where do I begin. Last week, I had a mini breakthrough regarding the American and my thoughts of feeling like I'd ruined our friendship. The truth is, it was impossible for me to ruin the friendship when a friendship was what we never had - at least, not from my perspective. I mean, the feelings were there pretty much from early on, so any attempt at being friends were just an exercise in denial on my part. So having come to that realisation, I felt better about it all, like I was able to finally accept things and move past them. We can't be friends. We were never friends. Deal with it and move forward.

I spoke to my therapist about this, and she said she was very proud of me for having come to that realisation on my own. So all in all, it looked like I was on the mend. Earlier that day (i.e. the day of therapy) I'd sent my car for a tune-up and waiting in the lounge for it to get done. I had my laptop with me, and with nothing else to do, I decided to risk checking out footage of FTL. And to my surprise, I could actually watch some of the scenes without feeling too wistful about it, without it triggering off emotional thoughts and responses due to the association with the American. So that seemed positive.

Over the weekend, I was busy with KLPac's Short & Sweet Musical Theatre workshops, co-hosted by Llew, who had directed Little Girl Lost last year. That's where things started to unravel all over again. All the talk about musicals, and Broadway, made me start to think about things. And then my brain began to do that thing where it diminishes my self esteem. At one point early on in the workshop, I realised I had run out of things to say, and Llew had to jump in and take over. I began to tell myself I was useless, that I couldn't do this, that I wasn't good enough or qualified enough to handle a masterclass... that this was a disaster and I ought to just give up... and in fact, I had to struggle to just remain in the room while Llew took over the task of educating the crowd. WTF is up with my lack of confidence? And what the hell is so wrong with not being fully knowledgable anyway?? I had to berate myself: it's okay to be in a position where you have to delegate and learn from someone else. Instead, I felt insignificant. Useless. Oy.

It wasn't a complete waste though - I began to regain some confidence when we got round to the composing part of the workshop, where I had to personally work with aspiring composers and writers on songs and musical ideas. Suddenly I was back in my element, and I knew what I was doing. So that felt good. Collaboratively Llew and I managed, I think, to pull off a great workshop: we had four writing teams who each were forced to come up with a potential idea for a ten-minute musical, and then go away and work together to write a summary of the script plus song titles/ideas as well as come up with one or two original songs from scratch. Not an easy task, and yet they did it! Later on they presented their scenes and songs, and it was all very thrilling to hear and see.

The way the workshop was conducted was: we had three four-hour blocks: the first was with composers/writers to get them to come up with ideas and go away and compose; the second was with performers who wanted to learn the ropes of singing/acting/dancing (Llew handled most of that one); the third was a combined session where we got the new performers to perform the new writings. All well and truly inspiring, I thought, for the participants. So that was a pretty good weekend's work, all in all, despite some negativity from my troubled mind.

But since the weekend, my brain has gone back to self-hating mode. I keep focusing on the fact that I fumbled and wasn't able to handle one session on my own without Llew's help (despite realising fully that Llew has been doing theatre for over a decade and has been teaching and conducting workshops for most of the past ten years, while this was my virgin attempt at doing it). And all the talk about music and theatre kept reminding me of that American bastard, so from acceptance and greater peace just a few days ago, I'm back to a state of constant denial and resentment, trying to stop my brain from thinking about him, and from my heart (cough) to feel things. Subsequently I'm back where I'm started, I think. Tonight I was so depressed, I ate two large McDonalds value meals, half a box of chocolates, and promptly slept from 7pm to 10pm. I've put on, like, 8kgs in the past month. But who cares? I'm lonely anyway, and apparently unloved. Even God doesn't love me, but that's okay because he doesn't fucking exist anyway, happy fucking easter to you, God. So might as well be fat and eat my blues away. Who knows? With any luck I'll die of a coronary or diabetes or something.

The other day as I was preparing to move back home, I got angry at my parents. My dad doesn't seem to be helping my mum out to move furniture about, etc, and prepare for me to move home. Subsequently all my mum has done is whinge, whinge, whinge about it, without actually talking to him about why it bothers her that he's apathetic. So all I've been hearing is: "Don't know how we're going to do this. Trying to move two houses' worth of stuff into one. Such an inconvenience." Grumble, grumble. I'm beginning to think my folks don't actually want me to move back home. I'm beginning to think this truly is a major inconvenience to them, and they'd rather I find another place. In all fairness, I tried - just last week an acquaintance of mine said he was looking for a place, so we teamed up to explore finding an apartment to rent. But the attempts have been in vain: cheaper units within desirable locations weren't available, and those that were available were out of our price range. So I think that plan's been shelved.

Plus, I figure in my current state it's better for me to have the support of my family anyway. Except... oh, I don't. Perhaps it's not their fault; I've not spoken to them fully about why I'd like to move back home; i.e. because if I have to wake up alone in an empty apartment for much longer, I'm liable to jump out the window. The flipside of that is that my parents have known for the past month that I'm depressed, but they don't seem interested in talking about it, or finding out why or what's causing it. To them, being depressed means Nick's sad for no reason, whatever. Meanwhile, my brother's physical health they're all worried out of their minds about. Newsflash, parents: while you save your older son's physical health, your younger son's mental health is going down the drain. And with the amount of unhealthy foods I've been consuming in a desperate attempt to cheer myself up, it won't be long before my physical health falters too! Salut!

I sent out an email today to Jenny, director of Children's Theatre in Perth, saying I'm withdrawing from doing the music this year. I can't. I just can't. With all that's going on, the thought of sitting at the keyboard depresses me. The thought of music, and theatre, depresses me. Really, folks, there's very little joy in anything in my life these days. The other day my mum asked me, "What do you want to do in the future?" (a discussion in conjunction with whether I should move home or find my own place). The answer is, I don't know. I don't know what I want to do in the future. I don't even feel, right now, that I have one, or deserve one or whatever. All I know is, I'm living day to day now, and if every day ends up being like today, I'd sooner not have a future than have such a tedious, hopeless, miserable, joyless one.

I also withdrew last month from a choir project, and tonight offered my resignation from writing songs for a CD project. I'm not sure what the hell I'm doing here - ruining and sabotaging my own professional life, and losing out on thousands and thousands of ringgit. I mean, the Perth job would have earned me over RM4k. The CD project is a charity project worth RM2k. And the choir project was RM250 an hour. But you know what? Fuck all that. I don't deserve it. I'm not an artist. I'm not a musician. I'm just not fucking good enough. So go and find yourselves a professional, a consummate musician who knows what the hell he's doing, because that person sure ain't me.

Monday, 18 April 2011

All By Myself. Don't Wanna Be... All By Myself... Anymore...

Today I've been feeling down again. My brain just keeps on going with thoughts that I don't wanna think about, especially pertaining to certain persons and certain situations. Sometimes I think it's no wonder that some people put a bullet into their skulls. Not that I would. I don't have a gun. Heh. Not funny. The thing is, I'd like to distract myself by listening to music or writing a script or something, but all these things, these pleasures that I used to enjoy, that used to be distractions from emo and angsty moods, are now perpetual reminders of the situation that I'm in. So there's no more joy in these things. I've been robbed of the joy, and I feel angry and resentful about that. But anyway.

I was having lunch (on my own again), feeling rather blah, and the music playing in the shopping centre was All By Myself. I nearly had to laugh out loud at the apropos sadness of it all. And then it went into Take A Look At Me Now, which made me sigh and realise I had to finish my meal and get out of there. I swore, if it went into Lonely, I'm So Lonely I'd probably stab myself in the brain with a chopstick in the eye. Fortunately it went into Everything I Do I'd Do It For You, though I'm not entirely sure that was a better option.

I had time to think about why I keep finding myself alone, having meals by myself. It's because I don't call people to spend time with them. And why is that? Because, apart from Terry, I don't have many other close friends. Yes, there's Debs and Phaik Leng, dear friends, but I don't have as much in common with them as I do with Terry. And I think it's because my current state of mind means that talking about anything else other than me, me, me (which, as we all have learnt, is what everyone else is dying to talk about) is trite and trivial. That's coupled with the fact that right now I have very little engagement with the outside world: I don't listen to music; I haven't been to the movies in ages; I'm avoiding the newspapers; I'm barely reading anything other than fluff novels to get my mind off of things. So then it comes to matters topical, I've got nothing to say. Apart from television, which is another thing Terry and I talk about.

The other reason for my alone-ness? It's because the rest of my friends are in the arts/music scene. And believe me, that's a topic I don't want to broach right now. So... yeah. It's kinda a catch-22 now.

Then there's this matter of my self-esteem bringing me down, so that whenever I hear of other people being happy or doing well for themselves, I can't help but feel sorry for myself. I know that sucks. Believe me, I know. But in my current emotional state, everything good that happens to someone else is a reminder of the bad that's happening to me. And yet I'm logical enough, still, to know that really, my world isn't that bad. In fact, I've really got it good, when I think about it. I just wish my feelings could match up with my logic. But it doesn't. So while I try to muster up happiness for someone else's good fortune, my brain goes, "See? You're a loser, Nick. You'll never be as successful as xxxxx." And then I wonder what it must feel like to be happy, and content. And it drags me further down.

Anyway, you might not think this based on what you've just read, but my mood isn't entirely negative right now. If it were, I don't think I'd have the courage to type all that out. But I have, and it means that I'm confronting these realisations, and am trying to pull myself out of this mire of self-inflicted misery. It's a painful thing to be perpetually resenting one's life and one's predicaments, especially when one really doesn't have much to be resentful about in the grand scheme of things... but this is where I'm at, and I've got to continue to figure out why this is happening, and I've got to overcome all these things, even if it means having to grab the bull by the horns and really confront the issues rather than yell at myself, "Shut up! Don't think about it! It doesn't exist!" and push it all down into the little locked panic room marked Denial.

Incidentally, I think a good confrontational step would be to wonder outright if I actually fell in love with the American. And that by pretending I didn't, and trying to cultivate a normal friendship, I fucked around with my own psychological state. Rightyo, that doesn't sound remotely dramatic at all. "Fell in love." Who the fuck knows what love is, right? All I know is, this is so much more ... I dunno, intense ... than anything I've ever been through, and it's messed me up in ways that I never imagined. Even the previous major encounter with Cam, five years ago, was never like this. I mean, Jesus, I started believing in God again because of the American! I started praying again! Contemplated going back to church! Started writing stupid fucking religious music! "People come into your life for a reason!" "God has a plan for you!" Fuck that shit! Right now I'm still angry and confused about it all. And I'm thinking, ah heck, if hell is a place that's devoid of the existence of God, then maybe it's not so bad, and maybe I'm there already.

Which leads me back to my brain thinking this right now as I type: "Oh shaddap Nick. Push it all down into the little locked panic room marked Denial, because this is all too much to deal with." And yet I've typed it out, which maybe means, even in a small, frightened way, I'm starting, dear Jesus fucking Christ forgive me, to start to start to start dealing with it.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Therapy: Session One Proper + Late-Night Visits

Eating dinner alone on a Saturday night is always fun. As is blogging from my mobile phone. Sigh.

Yesterday I had Therapy, Day Two: The Official Session One. Ya, apparently last week's didn't count as an official session. Yesterday there was mainly a lot of talking, mostly by me. I sense this is what therapy is mostly gonna be like, oy. But some new technical terms were thrown into the fray, like "cognitive behavorial therapy" which is apparently what we'll soon be embarking upon. No idea what it all means, but all I know is, there'll be homework involved. Like for this week, I'm supposed think about what activities I could possibly do that would leave me feeling "productive" without productive being synonymous with "creatively prolific". Because apparently I equate the two, which means that I'm frequently frustrated when creativity doesn't hit me, since I equate that to being unproductive and therefore time wasting. Hmm. Fascinating.

Anyway, I was given a list of "pleasurable activities" to peruse, which immediately made me think porn and wankery. True enough, having sex and making sex-partner lists and masturbating were on that list, I kid you not. Turns out the list is from some sort of American help book and is just meant to be a guide, i.e. to provide suggestions, for purposes that really don't apply to my case. In other words, my therapist just happened to have it on hand, and since the topic of activities had come up, I might as well see if I could glean any non-creative inspiration from it. Stupid Americans.

[Appended on home computer] On Thursday night, the doorbell rang at about midnight. Thinking it was the security guard about to ask me to turn down the volume of my TV, I opened it and found three former cast members from FTL standing there. Turned out they'd been trying to call me (and I had been ignoring them out of being in a down state) and they were there to make sure I was still alive. As one of 'em put it later, "We were relieved to hear the television on. And then we thought, no, wait, let's make sure Nick opens the door, just in case the TV's been left on for days." Arf. (Sidebar: A part of me was very moved and grateful that they'd cared enough to check in on me, but another part of me was also embarrassed and kinda irked by it. Like, "Oh, thank God, I have friends who care, please pay attention to me and validate my existence!" and "I don't want your pity and your attention, so go away!" This dichotomy in my head is, as mentioned in my previous blog post, part of the problem: the constant duality of thinking that's almost perpetually in conflict within my mind. As Terry once remarked, I seem to be like a narcissist, or egotist, who craves and yet simultaneously, enigmatically, resents being given attention. How did I end up this way? And how do I put an end to it? Oy. Anyway.)

So the four of us went for supper downstairs and I filled them in on some of the basic details of what's been going on, including my self-imposed, much-needed break from all things theatre and music related. Which would be just as well if I didn't have this theatre workshop to conduct next (Easter) weekend. And then there's the children's theatre show in Perth. Wish I could feel a bit more enthusiasm for both these projects, but the absolute truth of the matter is, the performing arts right now is still very much a sore spot for me. I know that I most likely will get over it (heck, there's a work in progress as I type!) but at this present, theatre, especially FTL, has too many not-necessarily-positive associations which I really would like to get past and get over. I'm looking forward to that. [End append]

Wokay then. Well, that's it for now I guess. My dinner is here, and it hurts typing with one hand, and there are soup spatters on the screen - so I'm gonna go. Till later. Bye.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Self Talk Is A Pain in the Ass, and Not in a Good Way

So here's an example of how my brain goes into self-destructive mode and threaten to sabotage all my creative endeavours. Just recently I found out that one of my friends is the musical director for a local production of Cabaret. She's good, and she's talented, and she's definitely capable of doing a good job. But immediately upon discovering this my brain goes: "She's good, but you're not, Nick. She's talented, but you're not, Nick. She's capable, and that American guy is capable, but you're not, Nick." And then I have to have arguments with myself: "How would you know you're not capable if you haven't even tried?" And then my brain goes: "Because it's obvious, you're a failure. You're not a musician. You've got no talent. You should just give up." And then I have to go, "Oh shut up. Shut up, shut up, shut up." And then I realise I just might be losing my mind, and that therapy on Friday can't come soon enough.

So that's my neurosis going into overdrive. My therapist says she believes there's a lot of self-introspection on my part, a lot of self-examination and self-thought, but probably too much of it, too much destructive self-talk. So the trick now, I think, is to find out why there's so much self-talk, and how to get rid of it so that Positive Nick is all that exists, not Negative Pseudo Crazy Nick. Capeesh? Capeesh.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Therapy: Session One

Friday marked Day One of my therapy session. In typical Nick fashion, I rocked up to the counselling centre about half an hour late for my appointment. But hey, it wasn’t completely my fault – the traffic around the centre was horrendous, and there wasn’t any parking space, and the building itself was difficult to find, and when I tried calling to get directions the phone reception wasn’t clear, and and and anyway.

So yeah, I won’t go into too much detail, but Session 1 seemed pretty okay. Did a lot of preliminary talk, introducing each other etc, though I definitely talked a lot more than my therapist did. In fact, I warned her beforehand that I could get quite chatty and quite jokey, which I think she appreciated, arf. By the end of the hour-and-a-half session, she’d filled an entire page with notes on Nick’s dysfunction, and she admitted as such: “There’s quite a lot to work through here.” Oy. To which I quipped, “Um. Are you scared?” And she replied, smiling, “Do I look scared?” So I think this might be interesting.

Therapy is a big step for me, someone who has likely been depressed for years. I’d always been afraid of going because… I dunno, there’s this prejudiced perspective I have that local counsellors and psychologists are untrustworthy… like, whatever you tell them, they’re going to judge you, and not in a helpful, analytical, professional way. I think it’s because a couple of my friends have told me about being looked down upon by so-called professionals they’ve sought help from and confided in – medical doctors in public hospitals, for instance – which didn’t help to boost my confidence any. And I think it’s also my bias in favour of Westerners… y’know, having lived in Aussieland and all, and having this preconceived and probably misconceived perception of therapists as seen on American television. But I figure, at this point of near-breakdown, there’s really nothing to lose. Except for RM160 a week. But I’ll deal with that. Or if I can’t, then we’ll just have to go for therapy to learn how to deal with it. Heh. I’m so freakin’ funny.

My therapist actually asked me what I thought of therapy, and I said it felt both nervous-making and exciting: the former because it meant addressing some long-denied issues and “taking down the bricks from the wall”, as Will in Will & Grace once put it to Karen, who mimed removing a brick from the imaginary wall that shielded her from her intoxicated neurosis and promptly screamed high-pitched and squeaky in horror; the latter because of the aforementioned American perception of seeking therapy, like it’s something “glamorous”, as-seen-on-TV. Stupid Americans. Terry seems to have been roped in by this too: a couple of hours before my  session, he texted me: “Two more hours to therapy! How exciting!” Oy vey.

I asked my therapist if blogging about our sessions would constitute some sort of confidentiality breach. She thought it over and replied it was really up to me because ultimately I’d be sharing my secrets, as it were, and that it wouldn’t really affect her that much, unless I were to post, like, defamatory statements, of course. So I guess the rule here is to exercise discretion in what I choose to share. I suppose we’ll have to see how these sessions unfold before I decide what to blog and what not to. Either way, check back in for updates, k? Till next time… see ya. Wouldn’t wanna be ya. (More accurately, you wouldn’t wanna be me. But that wouldn’t rhyme.)


Yesterday I woke up to the sound of something popping and snapping loudly outside. Curious, I wandered over to the window and looked out, and saw, much to my shock and perverse fascination, a house on fire. Yup, right there within vantage point, one of the village terrace houses was ablaze. Quite dramatic. Didn’t take too long for the fire trucks to get there – probably ten minutes or so, but ten minutes must seem like an eternity for the families and neighbours who were seen gathering in the streets amidst urgent hollering and the crackling of the blaze. Took the firefighters less than ten minutes, I think, to put the flames out, by which point all that was left of the second floor of the house and its neighbour were burnt-out frames. Oy.

Being the intrepid faux journalist that I am, I snapped some shots of the events as they unfolded:

Retrospective Blog Post #1: Where Art Thou?

Thursday, 7 April 2011, 9.45pm. Hi, everyone. Some of you might notice my reduced online presence lately, which might explain why this blog is being posted retrospectively. I just felt the urge to disappear. No biggie. I’ll be back in “real time” soon enough. In the meantime, here are some updates on what’s been going on.

Earlier this week I got into an argument with my landlord, who insisted I pay an increased rent even though he’s not renewing our tenantship agreement. Long story short, our phone conversation got heated (and he had this absolutely obnoxious, prickish tone to begin with) and he ended up hanging up on me after I lost my cool. Long story shorter, I’ll now be moving out at the end of this month… which means packing-up starts this weekend, and will take every weekend until I’m outta here. This also means that my long overdue FTL cast recording has to be shelved further, but I’m okay with that. In fact, I think I need to take an FTL breather altogether. It’s been on my mind for the past five years, and with all the more recent associations connected with the show, it’s time, I think, to let it rest and maybe revisit this sometime in the future when I’m… like… normal again, y’know? So yeah. Time to move on.

Speaking of normal, tomorrow, Friday, marks my first day at therapy. Yup, you read right. A week or so ago I decided to sign up for clinical psychology sessions, and tomorrow will be day one. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to blog about these sessions – nor am I sure if it’s at all advisable to – but I guess we’ll find out once I ask my therapist her opinion, arf. Meanwhile, Terry’s kinda over the moon about this. I think he links therapy, much like taking Prozac, to something rather exciting, momentous, television-ary. Which I guess it kinda is, heh. So… yeah. More on this as and when it develops, I suppose.

Speaking of Terry, a hilarious thing happened in the car earlier today while we were driving back from dinner. We were talking about a new musical idea I had, and at one point I said something that… um… well… Oh, I think this might be difficult to explain in writing; it’s one of those you-had-to-be-there instances. So as pointless as bringing this up was, I’m going to end the story there. All I need is this phrase to remind myself of the hilarity that ensued: “Nehi babuchi!” It’s Hindi, I think, for… um… well… I dunno. “No!” or “Help!” or something Bollywoody dramatic like that. But it was really, really funny… we laughed till we had tears in our eyes and couldn’t breathe. Yeah, you really had to be there. Oy.

Oh well, that’s it for now, I suppose! Till next time!