by Ang Kia Yee

I know there’s something faulty about my desire to protect and solve everything for everyone, acting almost as a mother bird or shield for the people I love. It hijacks their agency on some level. It makes presumptions about what they want. It has a saviour/ martyr complex. It is another opposite of collaboration and trust.

The truth is that I am still not much good at collaboration. I find it hard to trust other people, hard to trust systems or rules or authority. I feel the need to enact some equity of power between myself and those who hold more power than me, and then I feel the need to extend what I acquire to other people who need it too.

Consciousness of my privilege compels me to exert myself especially drastically, as if my life is something I am using up. I am working my life as hard as I can. But I am also conscious of my limits and needs; I am learning to oscillate, to balance. Vent diagrams abound.

It’s not that I don’t have boundaries or habits of self-care and self-preservation, rather that my priorities are different. I am precious, but I am also a means of changing the world. At times, the world has to feel or be positioned above me, the self, for things to work. It doesn’t mean I am not conscious of my well-being, only that it is, for that period, secondary. Perhaps we can even say that in that moment, I am so enveloped that I have no need for a self any longer.

I am also thinking that to experience transcendence, often one must forget the self. The notion of “I” has to dissipate. To dissipate the self is to open up the possibility of becoming something else.