Places, San Francisco

Five Years Later: How This Blog Changed My Life

Five years ago, I started this blog. Unbeknownst to me at that time, it would change my life. I was about to turn 30 and have been unhappy for as long as I remember. There were a lot of unanswered questions in my life to which I had no answer. I was married, like everybody else, but did not achieve the bliss it was supposed to give you. All my life, I’ve turned to books, literature and writing to seek the answers to questions I had no one to pose. I turned to this blog, which I then named “Girl With A Big Mouth” to express my feelings and thoughts. I didn’t expect that it would take me to the impulses I had and to the U.S., where I still live.

I wrote about everything – my frustrations, my sexual desires, poetry, short stories, Singapore – and to my surprise found a small but loyal following through my interactions with the BlogCatalog community. My “secret” community was my window into comfort, which I did not get in the real world. In the real world, I had a husband I hated, that I never wanted to marry, whom I married in haste because “everyone else was married” and “it was the right thing to do.” I had parents whom I don’t talk to (not really). I had friends who I didn’t really identify with — their priorities were so different from mine. But in the online world, I could say what I wanted to say, be brave, be funny, be sexual, be the person I wish I could be in real life.

If my online fans then knew the real me, I’m afraid I wasn’t quite as charismatic (and certainly not even now) as I portrayed myself to be. In many firsts, I expressed my sexual desire (or lack thereof) to a group of strangers and established community with these people I’ve never met. Particularly one. He was my biggest fan — and certainly the most intriguing one. We shared our secrets first in the comments section of our individual blogs and the discussion forums of Blog Catalog. Then, we would carry on what I would later call “an emotional affair” over Yahoo Messenger, almost daily. Ron was married (is probably very much still married) with four beautiful children. Obviously, I don’t know much about his real life, but our “secret” online life feels as real to me today as it did then. I thought I was in love with him and he was my soulmate.

He never laid any claims on me or “us.” I sometimes wondered about the viability of a real-life monogamous relationship with him, but things between us were not like that. It just never went that way. In a way, he held my “virtual” hand through my serious self-doubt and lack of confidence. In one of his poems, he called me his “queen.” He told me his deepest, darkest secrets. Once, he told me about a sexual rendezvous with a woman at a hotel on a business trip. It turned out to be his first foray into S&M. As someone who had never been very comfortable about her sexuality nor indeed being very mature in relationships, I was surprised at how unjealous I was hearing about his sexual escapades with others. He was my sanctuary in my darkest hour, times when I would sob uncontrollably because of extreme loneliness and desperation. Feelings such as these worsen because of my situation with my then-husband, who even as I think of him today, was a good-for-nothing former drug addict and chain smoker.

It was he who brandished fuel on my sexual repression and was there every step of the process when I cheated on my ex-husband. The first time was awful. The days before the actual event, I was pumped — I guess in my mind, I was excited at something happening to me and very possibly, that it was an escape route out of my miserable life. I had posted an ad in Craigslist asking for casual sex — I didn’t quite word it as casual sex, but yes, essentially, I wanted to have casual sex or in fact, just any sex. What I really wanted was to be desired and for someone to fill my void.

Timothy (not his real name) was a senior executive in his 40s at an international NGO and very handsome. I chatted with him very briefly via email and mulled over whether to meet him. You see, thinking about doing it was very different from taking the plunge. But it seems all the stars were aligned to make this particular event very possible. My husband was out of town on a business trip and he didn’t really give a shit about me so he would never call me if there weren’t anything he needed. I was horny and needed a man’s touch. So, I plucked up courage and met Tim. He was staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore and we had agreed to meet at the lobby bar. I was a bundle of nerves when he handed me his business card. I’m still not sure why he did that, since I never saw him again after that. But he did.

We went up to his hotel room and he ordered champagne to calm my nerves down. Tipsy, we clumsily removed our clothes and had rather disappointing sex. I don’t know how he felt at that point in time, but I felt like I was empty. Like someone emptied my insides and I was lost as to what to do after the deed. He looked at me, almost like a loving father, and said, “You are young and beautiful. So, why shouldn’t you be loved and fucked?” I gazed into his eyes, lost like a puppy that had lost its owner and stranded on a boat in a pond.

So there was that and there was the “Okay I have to wake up early” speech. I didn’t understand that until later, that was a thing that men (and some women) did to get rid of you. Back then, I took whatever people said at face value. I sincerely thought he had to wake up early and didn’t want to inconvenience him. I said, “Oh yeah, I need to get back home, too.” Which I really did, since I had a husband as well. He accompanied me to the hotel lobby and waited till I got into a cab. We said “Goodbye” and never saw each other ever again. In the cab, tears started flowing down my cheeks. Once I got home, I started bawling my eyes and heart out. Ron had left me a voicemail and several IMs. He had apparently been waiting up for me to be done with my deed. I replied to his IMs with some incoherent crap about feeling awful (I no longer remember the content of what was said, but I’m sure it was about how awful I felt.) He called me immediately and asked me to call him. He wanted to lend a listening ear.

I didn’t talk to him that night. I fell to the floor, continued to bawl my soul out for the remainder of the night. As to why, I didn’t question why. I guess I cried for my own morality and decency. I didn’t feel sexually liberated — I felt like trash. I felt like I had signed a waiver to allow someone to treat me like I’m disposable. I actively acquiesced to degrading myself. Although I didn’t quite see it like that then. I had never understood who I really was or how to be in relationships and how to manage men. I never really valued myself. Which was why I increasingly became distracted the next day. I was with my friend and checking my email on a limited data plan on my mobile phone. Back then, this was extremely expensive. Even though I didn’t really want to go through that experience again, I looked for an email from Tim. Like I needed him to fill my void and make this all better by making it more than a one-night stand. He never emailed again.

Back then, I was always looking for someone to fill that void. When I posted an ad on Craigslist, a bunch of men had written to me. So, in order to make myself feel better, I thought I should hook up with someone else. I found Colin. I feel like the hookups with Colin deserve another post on its own, so I’ll make the part about him brief. Suffice to say, we hooked up more than a few times.

Ron, in the mean time, had been communicating with me constantly. Despite our individual indiscretions outside our marriages, we somehow remained faithful to our correspondence to each other. If I had someone I would credit to the person I’ve become today, I would say he pushed me over the edge. In March 2010, I decided I would either kill myself or change my life. I told my husband then that I was going to travel to San Francisco for 2 weeks to clear my mind. Little did we know that I would never return. That 2 weeks has now been 5 years. Do I have any regrets? I honestly don’t know. Could I have done things differently? Perhaps. But it’s always easy to look back at things and say you could have done them differently. Five years ago, I felt trapped and struggled to break free. What happened in the past five years was absolutely necessary to my personal growth and who I am today. For that, I make no apologies.

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