Hi, how have you been? I've been okay, I guess. I am not doing much in terms of work this month. I have clinic one day a week, and that pretty much sums up my February workload. Not that I'm complaining. In fact, I am glad to have some time off for myself. As you know, I have done nothing but buried myself in work last year, and I eventually realised this is not healthy for me. It is not healthy for my body, and certainly doesn't help with my spirit.
It's funny, isn't it, to hear someone with a medical background talk about the spirit. Scientifically, the terms "mental health" and "emotional health" are more descriptive and etymologically more acceptable. Yet, what is one's "spirit" but the amalgamation of one's mental and emotional well-being? When someone says, "My spirits are defeated", it means "I'm tired, exhausted, and sad". Chew over that with the pineapple tarts I sent, will you? Which, by the way, did you get them?
How was your Chinese New Year anyway? Everyone is now posting pictures of their reunion dinners on Facebook, and I wonder how much of it stems from the competitive narcissist in them trying to convince others that "my reunion dinner is yummier than yours-- look at the shark fin/ abalone/ lobster I'm having". I've missed out on reunion dinners and Chinese New Years for a long time now, but I don't miss it that much. Owing to the nature of my job, it is sometimes impossible to be home for the holidays. For instance, did I tell you I had to sit my exams on the first day of the Lunar New Year? By some miraculous intervention of the divine, I passed, so I will never forget how auspicious the day was. I celebrated by ordering a plate of fried kangkung with belachan that night. It was about as close to home I could get.
I remember wanting to reward myself with a long-coveted Chanel bag when I passed my exams. So the other day, I walked into Chanel and immediately fell in love with the classic red lambskin maxi flapbag. It was gorgeous, it was immaculate, and it was big enough to be practical yet not too huge as to overwhelm my petite physique. It was everything I wanted in my Chanel bag, down to its drop-dead shade of red. But when I enquired about the price, I was hit by a wave of nausea which took some time to subside, even after stepping out onto the street to get some fresh air. $6250. Yes, that's six thousand two hundred and fifty dollars. For a bag. For a goddamn bag hand-made in France. Short of throwing up on the sidewalk, I thanked the salesperson and said I would "think about it". What was I thinking? I was thinking, there are millions of children dying of starvation each year, and hundreds of millions of people who are malnourished, how could I justify buying a six-thousand-dollar bag for myself when half the world's population is still living in poverty? I couldn't. I was consumed by an intense surge of guilt, and possibly even shame and embarrassment-- at being a victim of the consumer culture that dominates our current society.
Maybe I will never be the girl who owns a Chanel bag. But that's okay. At least I can live with my conscience. For now, in my current, semi-jobless state of my own volition, I am resting. I read, I listen to music, I paint my nails in baby blue hues, I take long lunches and afternoon naps, and while I do have to drop in to the office on certain days to catch up on paperwork, I am resting. I am resting my brain, my body, and my spirit. Perhaps when March rolls around, I'll be ready to go to battle once more.