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Last Chance Idol 2: Crossing the Tease

I met Lloyd online, like I do most people. He started following my video blog when I talked about performing stand-up comedy. See, he ran a comedy club in LA, and he was always on the lookout for new talent from other parts of the world. I guess I fit the bill considering I lived in Malaysia at the time. He often left flattering comments on my videos after that, but I didn't think much of it, until he complimented my turquoise hair and cute outfit in the video I did after I changed my hair from red.

I sent him a private message after that. "Are you flirting with me?" I asked.

When he replied, he simply said, "I'm married, but you're still gorgeous, despite that. Can I not tell you?"

I smirked then. It wasn't the first time an unavailable guy had said something along those lines to me.

"I'm married too," I replied, "But we're polyamorous, so I'm allowed to see other people."

"I was kind of poly in my younger years, but my wife wouldn't allow me that freedom now." It sounded to me like he was disappointed about that, but I tried not to read anything into it. I didn't even know what he looked like yet. How would I know if it was worth encouraging? Discouraging it never factored into the equation. I can't turn down someone's desire to flatter me. It's not like we were going to see each other, what with being an ocean apart.

"That's too bad," I wrote back. And left him to figure out my meaning.

Lloyd didn't reply to that. The next time he said anything to me was on my next video, but that was perfectly bland. It was about a month before he said anything flirtatious again. I'd posted a video talking about the difficulty of trying to pick up Malaysian men. His response? "Obviously they don't know what they're missing. Or they're blind. Possibly both."

I sent him another private message. "You better be careful or you're going to get yourself in trouble with your wife."

"She's in Japan right now, visiting her extended family. She's not paying attention to what I'm doing online."

"So you're what? Just going to tease me with all that flattery?"

"I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it."

I took my time to mull over my response to that. It was hard for me to know what to do. I ended up deciding to go with, "Too bad I can't do anything with words." I hesitated, then added, "Why don't we Skype sometime? For... purely business reasons. We can talk comedy." Admittedly, I also wanted to see what he looked like. "If you want to add me, I'm bitemeimdeidre."

It was a couple of days before he said anything. I was working on my next video using my computer's webcam when a Skype message popped up in the corner of my screen. "lloyd.fletcher wants to add you as a contact."

I paused my filming and accepted the request.

"Hey," I wrote, after a couple of minutes. I didn't want to seem too eager.

Lloyd: I wasn't expecting you to be online. It's 5pm here. I was just getting on to talk to my wife.
Dee: Oh, right. She's still in Japan. No big deal. It's 8am here. I get up early when my son wakes me, and then work on my videos when he's settled in to watching Disney Junior so he doesn't distract me. Send me a message when you're done?
Lloyd: It might be a couple of hours.
Dee: No worries. Just in case I'm around.

I was making a snack for Mackenzie when I heard my computer make a Skype noise. After handing him a bowl of grapes on the couch, I went back to my study next to the kitchen and sat in front of the computer. I clicked on the Skype icon in my iMac's dock.

Lloyd: Are you still around?
Dee: Yeah. Finished talking to your wife?
Lloyd: A while ago, yeah. I had dinner after that.
Dee: What'd you have?
Lloyd: Leftover pizza.
Dee: Nice. That's what I was planning to have for lunch.
Dee: So you want to video chat?
Lloyd: I don't know if that's such a good idea.
Dee: Then why'd you add me?
Lloyd: Good question. I don't know that either.
Dee: What's the big deal anyway? You've already seen me on video a bunch of times. I can just give you a bit of a personal perspective on the Malaysian comedy scene if you want.
Lloyd: Okay.

I hit the video button and waited for him to answer, which only took a couple of seconds. And for the first time I saw what he looked like. White. Blue eyes; dark hair. Slightly overweight. Not really the epitome of attractive. But that smile he gave me upon seeing me. There was something about that.

"Hi," he said, probably wondering why I was taking so long to say something.

"Are you at home?" I asked.

"Yeah, I don't have to be at the club tonight. It's an open mic night so I don't always go to those. It can get a bit irritating seeing the same people popping up week after week with the same stuff." Lloyd's voice was kind of soft. A little sensitive, maybe.

"I know that feeling," I said. "It's why I usually only go to shows when I have a spot. Unfortunately that means I don't tend to get as many spots."

"That's a shame," Lloyd said. "You're funny in your videos, very creative. I like seeing performers like you."

I laughed a little. "I'm not the same on stage as I am in front of a camera, though. I'd probably only be as good as your open micers."

"I doubt that."

I leaned back in my chair, perking my breasts forward. I was wearing a nice top that highlighted my cleavage.

"Don't think I don't see what you're doing," Lloyd said.

I leaned forward again, but kept my cleavage in full view. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Are you trying to make me comment on it?"

"Comment on what?"

He whispered. "Your cleavage."

I switched to a hunch position and gasped with a hand over my mouth. "Oh, my," I said finally. "Why would you do that? You're the tease with all your comments. Not me."

While he went back to talking, changing the subject to something about his club (I don't remember exactly; I wasn't paying much attention), I began to sit upright again, and lightly ran a finger down the inside of my v-neck collar.

"... Okay, you can't tell me that's not intentional."

"I can stop if you like," I said. "Or I can keep going. And show you more."

He swallowed hard, but otherwise didn't reply.

"How about I just keep going while you talk to me, and you hang up if it gets too much?"

"Well that would be pretty rude of me, wouldn't it?"

I shrugged. "Just tell me more about your club."

As he talked about the various theme nights he had, I pulled my shirt off entirely, exposing my bra. He talked a lot slower then, and struggled to think. When I pulled the bra off, he stopped talking altogether.

And I thought, that'll teach him what happens when he flirts with me. I just wondered where it would go to next.

Last Chance Idol 1: In the Garden

When my husband Ben and I moved from Australia to Malaysia, we went from a small Melbourne apartment to a four bedroom house with a nice big garden in the backyard. There were hibiscus trees blooming with red flowers, a banana tree, and an assortment of other flowers I couldn't name. I didn't know the first thing about gardening, and had little desire to learn, but that garden seemed so well maintained considering no one had been living in the house for nearly a year before we moved in. Part of me hoped it would stay that way without my help.

While Ben was at work, I liked to sit in the garden on a director's chair and read, while our son Mackenzie played in the sandpit Ben built for him. It helped me think clearly and come up with ideas for video blogs I wanted to do.

When Mackenzie was three and a half---about eighteen months after the move---and I was so pregnant I was about to burst, Mack waddled past me and pointed up at the banana tree.

“You want a banana, Mack?” I asked him.

“No!” he said defiantly. “Look!”

I put my book down on my chair and walked over to him, so I could follow his line of sight. Crouching down on my knees behind him, I tried to figure out what he was pointing at, but all I could see was the tree.

“What do you see?”

“A light.”

I blinked my eyes a couple of times, but the sun was behind us, and I couldn't see any other light.

“Do we need to get your eyes tested?” I asked.

Suddenly his hand dropped to his side, and he stumbled backwards into my lap. Then he started making shooing motions with his right hand.

“Ow!” he yelled, and cupped his right hand in his left.

Confused, I asked, “Do you need a kiss?”

He gave me his hand and I saw a small prick on his palm, where a speck of blood appeared. I gave him a kiss there, and wondered what did that to him, since I didn't see anything.

When I looked up again, I saw a tiny, glowing woman floating but a ruler's width in front of me. I hesitate to admit this, but with the wings, she couldn't have been anything else but a fairy. Her dress was made out of petals from one of my hibiscus trees. The scarlet shade matched my hair almost perfectly.

“See, Mummy?” Mack said, jerking me out of the daze I'd fallen into when I noticed the fairy.

“I do now,” I said softly, gazing back at the lady. “But why? Why couldn't I see her before?”

She flew forward and landed on my shoulder. Leaning into my ear, she said, “I can answer that,” in a calm but quiet voice.

“You speak English,” I said.

Meanwhile, Mack got bored and wandered back to his sandpit to play.

“Yes, Dee,” the fairy said as I stood up.

“And you know my name?”

“Of course. Your husband calls it loudly enough when you're out here and he wants you.”

“How...” I mumbled, but I didn't know how to finish. I wasn't sure what I wanted to ask.

“How long have I lived here? Longer than you. Who do you think is looking after your plants for you?” She paused to fly over to my other shoulder, switching ears. “Me. Mei.”

“Mei...” I trailed off, passing my gaze over everything in the garden. I knew it was too much to assume it took care of itself. “So... why can I see you now, but not before?”

“Because you touched the blood of innocence pricked by a fairy when you kissed your son.”

I smiled a little, then. I could've been furious at what she'd done, but clearly Mei wouldn't have pricked him if she hadn't wanted me to see her.

“Thank you,” I said. “I hope we can be friends. It's been pretty lonely around here while Ben is at work.”

“We will be,” Mei said. “See you tomorrow,” she added, before fluttering off my shoulder.

Five seconds later, Ben called out to me. “Dee. I'm home.”

Last Chance Idol

Putting my name back in the hat. After all, I was only voted out last week! I want another try.

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Idol 9.21 The Music Made Me Do It

Stand-up comedy calls to me the way music resonates so well with most of the world. So much so that instead of working on an entry this morning like I should've been, I was looking up tickets to see Dave Chapelle and Jerry Seinfeld. Unfortunately, Dave Chapelle is on tonight, too late for me to take public transport to see him, and yet I still wanted to go. Tickets sold out in five minutes.

Jerry Seinfeld, however, is performing next month, at a venue closer to home. I'd tried to get tickets to him earlier, but by the time I'd checked for tickets, 3 days after they went on sale, he had already sold out. Yet something called to me today, to check again, and lo and behold, a second show had gone on sale 10 days ago, and it wasn't yet sold out! I managed to scoop up a ticket! I ummed and ahhed over it for a while, though, messaging back and forth with my husband about it, to see if he wanted to join me. At $80 a ticket, though, he thought it was too expensive. He wanted to go see jazz with me instead. That's his passion. Eventually I got tired of waiting. The show was calling to me, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see such a stand-up legend.

Because how often would an opportunity like that come up again? I don't know. What I do know is that when I got to see Robin Williams live, and flew all the way to Honolulu in order to see him, I did not regret it for a second. And now, less than four years later, he's gone.

Comedy has been a part of my life one way or another since at least my early teens. When other kids in high school were going on about the music they listened to, I was getting tickets to see my favourite comedians when they toured to my area. I flew across the country for a comedy festival with my own mother during my final year of high school, and for the two subsequent years without her. Heck, I started performing comedy when I was but sixteen. It's been there for more than half my life, acting as a saviour, pulling me out of depression.

I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area now for nearly 3 months, and comedy calls to me even more than it had before. Over the weekend, I attended their annual Comedy Day in Golden Gate Park, where I got to see Margaret Cho on stage, and my eldest son on the drive back said, "I want to go back there again," when it was his first time really seeing stand-up comedy. How many other people would take their 7 and 4 year old children to see stand-up comedy? I had to be there. I wanted to take my family.

And earlier this month, I had the opportunity to see Chris Tucker live. When I saw his name on the front of the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, I knew I had to be there. Comedy sings to me. I can't resist its charm.

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Idol 9.20 Shibusa [intersection week]

The murky waters of the Yarra River flowed slowly as it carried the sludge and pollution. Across the river sat the old Crown Casino complex, now decrepit, and windows long since smashed. That's where Simon saw her. The first human he'd seen in more than a year.

Simon pulled himself slowly across the remains of a bridge, holding tight to the stone rail, as most of the road had fallen into the river. Once across, he trudged across the cracked concrete and made his way over to the doorway the young woman was leaning against. The closer he got, the more he was able to take in her features. The dishevelled brown hair; the scrappy, dirty clothes. Her arms were folded across her knees, with her feet and bottom flat on the ground. She stared blankly at the opposite side of the doorway until Simon's feet scuffled and drew her attention toward him. Her brown eyes looked up at him, expectantly.

"Hey," Simon said. "I'm Simon. What's your name?"

As she rose to her feet, the woman replied, "Maria." She paused briefly before adding, "I didn't know there was anyone left in Melbourne."

"There isn't," Simon said. "Just me." He shrugged and asked, "What brings you here?"

"My mother's spirit." Maria left it at that, turned around, and wandered into the dilapidated casino.

Simon followed Maria in, slowly and with caution, unsure of how to take Maria's mentality, but curious to know more. It had been some time since Simon had last been in the building, but every time he went, he noticed a beauty in its imperfect state. This time, though, despite it being mid-afternoon, the sun barely breeched the entrance, and there was an overwhelming dankness about the place. There was an eery feeling that he was being watched, but he told himself he was just creeping himself out because of Maria's words.

"What do you mean, your mother's spirit brought you here?" Simon asked in a loud whisper.

Maria turned and simply placed a finger to her mouth, before continuing on her journey into the depths of the casino.

As they passed an upended card table, a breeze that seemed to come from nowhere in particular washed its way through Maria's hair, freezing Simon in place. Maria continued on as if nothing unusual had just occurred.

When Maria turned around to face him again, Simon watched in horror as some invisible force pushed her violently against the wall, thrashing her about. Her mouth was wide like she was screaming, but no sound escaped it.

Not knowing what to do, Simon's body took over and ran to her. When he reached her, she collapsed in his arms. He sat with his back against the wall and just held her until she came to.

"What was that about?" he asked.

"Mother isn't happy. I failed her."

Tears welled in Maria's eyes, and she turned away from Simon. Immediately afterwards, she picked herself up and ran back toward the entrance, barely giving Simon time to understand what was going on. She was out the door before he was able to make it a third of the way back, but he continued to chase her.

The sun blinded Simon temporarily as he met the daylight again, and he couldn't see Maria anywhere. As his vision slowly returned, he looked up and down the south bank of the river, before setting his eyes on Maria standing on a metal rail, looking like she was about to jump in.

"No, don't!" Simon screamed at her as loud as his lungs would allow while he ran toward her.

Instead of jumping, though, Maria sat down on the rail, turned, and climbed down. She dangled her feet into the river, and when she brought them back up, they held an object. A simple piece of wood. Simon reached her as she was cleaning the sludge off it with her arm. Etched into it were words in a language he couldn't read. Maria held the wood in both her hands, and slammed the middle down over the metal rail, breaking it in two.

"It's over now, mother." Maria said. "I'm done. Your words have power no more."


---

I intersected with belgatherial, whose entry can be found here.

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Idol 9.18 Disinformation

Breathe in

Robin Williams died last week. He killed himself. There has been an outpouring of reactions, but for me, it hit too close to home.

Breathe out

The voice of depression lives inside of me. "How can you go on surviving? You push away everyone you love, after they tell you they want to help you not kill yourself."

Breathe in

"They don't care about you any more."

Other people might, but their wishes don't matter. Only the person I pushed away.

Breathe out

"How do you live with yourself?"

Breathe in

"Look what you've done. He's drinking now, because of you."

It might not be because of me.

Breathe out

I sent off several messages to Ramesh. He told me if I was so concerned about Lee drinking, I should just ask him why. But I couldn't ask Lee. Lee's still not talking to me. Ramesh agreed that I shouldn't contact him. He told me people change. Lee's changed.

Breathe in

How the hell has Lee changed so much in less than three weeks? How can Ramesh possibly know what Lee is thinking when Lee wouldn't even dream of talking to him or anyone else about what happened between us?

Breathe out

I can't do this any more. It's too much. Breathing is too hard.

With tears streaming down my face, I had the sense to call my health provider. I asked to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, and they patched me through.

"We should be able to call you on Monday to make an appointment for you."

"Okay. Thank you. Hopefully I can hold out until then," I said.

"Do you need me to get one of our crisis counsellors on the line for you?"

"Maybe?"

I could still barely breathe.

"Okay, just hold the line, I'll find someone."

Less than an hour later, I was at the psychiatry clinic, filling out forms, explaining what happened. Talking about previous lapses and bouts of depression. Both my crisis counsellor and new psychiatrist were surprisingly easy to talk to, easy to admit to my open relationship situation without judgement.

They both asked me things like, "Is there a gun in your house?" and "Any prescription medication?" wanting to cover all possible suicide methods to keep me safe. I convinced my crisis counsellor that I didn't need hospitalisation over the weekend.

"I want to die, but I don't think I'd kill myself. But then again, yesterday I didn't think I'd feel like this today, so I don't know that I trust my own judgement right now."

She called my husband and told him to make sure there is someone home to watch me over the weekend, and if things get worse before Monday, I should be taken to hospital.

Breathe in

I hadn't been thinking about suicide methods before showing up at the clinic, but I woke up on Saturday picturing different ways I could die. There's a busy railroad track a few blocks away. I could run in front of a train. What about suffocating myself with a plastic bag? Would that work?

Breathe out

I Googled that today. Apparently the warnings on bags to keep children away from them to avoid suffocation is only because children can die that way. Not adults. And suffocating someone with a pillow takes at least 5-7 minutes, so movies and TV lie about how long that takes, too.

Breathe in

Some days, the only thing that keeps me alive is the fear of surviving a suicide attempt, and living with the consequences. I'm not afraid of dying. I don't seek help for myself. I seek help because of the people who say they care about me. Because they want me to get better.

Breathe out

I just want the pain to go away. The depression to stop lying to me.

My depression and paranoia are like a voice of reason sometimes, blaming me for fucking everything up. It was my fault. I made my biggest fear a reality.

Logic and memories tell me Lee will forgive me eventually. That what we had was not for nought. The memories I have don't understand why it seems like he's throwing out our entire history together.

But right now, I can't tell which is the bigger liar. Depression and paranoia? Or Logic and memories?

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Idol 9.17 "Scare Quotes"

You talk about "him" in an effort to appear "normal." Straight. But secretly you mean her. You change the pronouns because she doesn't want people to know she's a lesbian. But you want people to know you have someone important in your life, so you talk about her, just refer to her as "him."

"It's great, we went camping together last week. I'm such a homebody though, I didn't know what to do, but he grew up in Pinjarrah, and his family went camping all the time, so he set up the tent and everything."

Your friends have started to see through you, though. There's a little too much emphasis on the gender of your partner. They retort back, putting their own emphasis on the pronouns.

"I'm sure he does love shopping. Does he wear make-up too?"

"When do we get to meet him? Does he even exist?"

You don't know how to respond, so you don't. You cut the phone call short, make some excuse about how you're "about to go into a tunnel" and so you "can't talk any more."

You blame your friends for prying too hard, not allowing yourself to believe that the person you love is restricting you from being honest with yourself, and the people around you. Not understanding that you have the power to change that, because you don't want to risk losing her. Nobody else has ever made you feel the way she does, and you're scared that if you tell her you need to be honest, and she leaves, you'll never find anyone else who will make you feel that good about yourself again.

But you don't understand that she's not helping you feel good about yourself. She can't, because now you're questioning if you even matter to her, if she doesn't want people to know about you.

And then you hate yourself inside, just a little, for allowing yourself to question that.

Is she abusing me? you wonder. Does she even know how much this hurts?

The next time you visit her in her apartment in the centre of Perth, you confront her.

"I feel like you're abusing me," you say. "I need to be honest about us. I can't keep hiding like this."

She wraps her arms around you and whispers softly in your ear. "Oh, honey, that's not abuse. I'm not assaulting you, making you cover up bruises on your face and making you tell people you 'ran into a door.' I love you. Can't you see that?"

"Then when can I tell people about you? The real you."

"You can't. People, they won't understand, they won't accept it. They'll judge us harshly. My parents would disown me if they knew I was even seeing an Asian, let alone a female one."

"So? Why should their opinions matter if you really care about me? Don't my feelings matter to you?"

"Maybe I'll feel differently about this in the future, but for now, I just can't."

You want to hold out hope with her comment about the future, but you've had this conversation before. Nothing changes. It's been a year and nothing ever changes.

You start to boil the electric kettle in her kitchen, hoping that a cup of tea will help calm your nerves. You go to the fridge, but there's barely a scrap inside.

Closing the fridge, you turn to your girlfriend and say, "I'll go get some milk."

But you don't. You leave, and you never go back, because you can't take the secrecy any more.

You lay in bed and cry for a week, thinking about the good times, hoping she's missing you, hoping she'll change her mind, come and beg your forgiveness.

She doesn't even try to contact you to make things right again. You spiral downwards, telling yourself that it's a sign she never really cared about you. You want to believe she regrets the way things went, but you can't let yourself get too hopeful, because that only leads to disappointment if you don't get what you want.

One day, when you've cried enough tears to yourself, you'll pick up the pieces, and you'll go to your true friends. You'll tell them, "She broke my heart." And they'll listen, for as long as you need to talk, until the pain dissipates.

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Idol 9.0 Introduction

Most of my closest connections started online.

My husband, Ben, and I met on OKCupid.

Lloyd and I met through video blogging. Same with Jake.

My best friend, Tamara, and I met through old message boards. Do people even still frequent places like that any more?

I have a certain level of social anxiety. Befriending people online, where I can be myself through words and videos is just so much easier than trying to get to know people in the real world.

I hide it well, though. I perform on stage sometimes. The people who know about my social anxiety wonder how I manage to do that. But my performance is an art, and one that doesn't require much interaction with other people. It may not seem like anxiety and confidence are welcome bedfellows, but confidence can be faked, and it's about the only thing I can fake well. Well, that, and pretending I'm not sexually interested in certain people when it seems unrequited.

The only people I meet in the real world first, online second, are other performers like me. And family, I suppose. My husband's relatives, and the sons I've birthed. But I'm not meeting new family that way any longer.

So here I am, hoping to have time to write about situations and people that have impacted my life, online and off.

Idol Sign Up

I'm not sure if I'll have the time for therealljidol, but signing up just in case.

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Second Chance Idol Sign Up

Okay, I'm not sure that I actually have time for this, but I figured there's no harm in trying to fit it in.

Consider this my sign up for Second Chance Idol: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/527683.html