There’s this saying here in Singapore that goes “Same same, but different”.
My last session with Dr. A, we did some work using imagery. While I went along with it, a part of me was doubtful about its effects. How can our feelings towards a memory change through thought?
See. I shared with her about two incidents that happened the day before our session. The first was when I was heading home from work and since baking in a school requires me to cover up a little more, I wore my standard ‘uniform’ consisting of a basic tee, sports tights, and trainers. It’s definitely not my favourite clothing type, especially the tights which hug every inch of my legs and butt. But they’re comfortable to work in and practical.
Anyway, as I was walking towards the platform, I realised that my train was about to approach so I started walking faster and darted past this young teen couple. While I was still within earshot, I heard the guy say to his girlfriend “Eh.. Don’t block people’s way la!… (mumble mumble)”, to which she replied “EH! She fat lah!”.
Now, I admit, I don’t know who they were referring to, but immediately assumed it was me. My ears perked up and I became instantly conscious of my butt and thighs. It was as though her words made them triple in size and suddenly, I could imagine myself as a walking bubble butt with jiggly thighs. I found myself feeling so affected and upset.
Next incident was when Flo, his visiting friend C, and I went out for dinner and we bumped into some friends of ours. AT mentioned that we hadn’t caught up in ages and for some reason, all I could think of was that she must be thinking of how much weight I’ve put on since we last met and how ‘fat’ I must look.
No. I’m not saying that it’s bad to be fat. It’s just that for me, AN links being fat to losing control. More than that, AN for me has always been like a protective armour. So, to realise that I was pulling away from AN suddenly left me feeling vulnerable – vulnerable to hurt.
Sharing these two incidents with Dr. A, and admitting that I know it was all in my mind and entirely assumption based, she suggested we do some imagery work beginning with the incident at the train station since that’s the one that affected me most between the two. She asked me to close my eyes and share about what I could remember about the entire scene and then how hearing those words made me feel as well as where I felt the emotions – I felt it in my stomach like a weight dropping into it, a sinking feeling from the heart down.
Thereafter, she asked me to think of a situation from my past, perhaps the first that popped into my head that gave me that same sinking feeling of hurt. And in a snap, I thought back to when I was about 11 and playing indoor badminton with my two closest cousins and brother on a Sunday evening. We were playing in their room as we did almost every weekend and as I lunged for the shuttlecock and landed on the bed, my older cousin said “Your butt’s so big”. Just like that, out of the blue, a knife stabbed through me and all I could do was laugh and go ‘yeah’, pretending I was fine with it.
Dr. A asked what the Now-me would do then if I could go back. I told her that I don’t think I would have been able to speak up still because that cousin was always the prettiest one, the most popular girl in school, the cool girl that everyone wanted to be friends with. Until today, I think of her the same. But what I did tell Dr. A was that if I were an observer, I would have told my cousin that what she said was hurtful.
Dr. A went further and inserted herself into that memory. She asked how I would feel if she had been there and she’d told my cousin that what she said was uncalled for and hurtful. What if she told little Nat that she was healthy, and beautiful, and perfect as she is; that perhaps my cousin had a bad day, or perhaps someone had said that to her too, and she was simply trying to transfer the hurt to me. Would I have felt different?
Instantly, I felt those pangs of hurt turn into a wave of calm, almost as though as I was at peace with what had happened. After so many years, I could look back at that memory and feel ok about it.
Essentially, what imagery does is it unknots the painful memories we have that may be holding us back from moving forward. I know that I was, and still am to some extent, a very sensitive person. I pay a lot of attention to words and how much strength they carry.
A part of me wished I’d turned around that day at the train station to ask the girl if she was calling me fat, and whether she said yes or no, I would carry on to say that either way, what she said was hurtful and that she should think twice before saying things like that – whether about weight or looks, whatever. I would have told her that her idea of a joke has the capacity to affect a person is ways she might not realise, at a magnitude she might not be able to imagine.
But I didn’t.
Going forth. I will.
And so, I came away from my session with Dr. A same-same, but different. I looked the same on the outside, but inside, I felt a little more settled about what had happened more than half a lifetime ago. Dr. A and I will continue to work on untangling more knots and hopefully, as they unknot, my ties to ED will loosen further until they are no longer.
And on this topic of ‘Same same, but different’, one of my most popular cakes is the Lychee Sponge with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Buttercream. I had a few lychees and some passionfruit leftover after having a wave of orders for said cake, so I decided to use them both and create something new.
I made a refreshing Lychee Loaf cake and glazed the entire loaf with a lovely, tangy Passionfruit Ganache. Initially, I wanted to go with a White Chocolate Ganache glaze especially since it would have made the passionfruit seeds pop visually. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough and so, topped up with some dark chocolate instead. Basically, it’s a milk chocolate ganache! Take your pick of chocolate because chocolate’s awesome whatever kind it is. Note that with white chocolate, you’ll need to use more of it and a lot less cream if any – for every 100g of white chocolate, you can use 25-30g of liquid (including passionfruit pulp).
Lychee Cake with Passionfruit Ganache (Makes 1 9×4″ Loaf)
10g Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
240g Greek Yoghurt
80ml Lychee Puree
100g White Chocolate
100g Dark Chocolate
2 Passionfruit, Pulp and Seeds
1/2 Tbs Cream
- Preheat oven to 175 deg C and line a 9×3″ loaf tin.
- In a big mixing bowl, whisk together yoghurt, sugar, eggs, oil and lychee puree.
- Sift in flour, baking powder and salt, and mix into egg mixture until batter comes together.
- Pour into baking tin and bake for 45-50min or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool entirely before glazing.
- Heat chocolates together with passionfruit pulp and seeds, and cream together over a bain marie until chocolates have melted. Allow to cool to room temperature before glazing cake. Let ganache set in fridge before serving.
I know that lychees are not always in season so you can do what I did and use tinned lychees.
I loved how fresh and light this cake turned out to be. It’s still a lychee passionfruit cake but totally different from the ones that I usually bake to order. I won’t say that one is better than the other because they are entirely different and completely individual in character. They look different, taste different, are texturally different, and yet, both are incredibly delightful to the palate. I guess the same can be said for every one of us. No two of us are exactly the same, but each of us are amazing in our own ways. No two people should ever be put up for comparison because really, who’s to say what qualities makes one of us better than the other? No one.