3 min read

Body, Wordles, towns

Body, Wordles, towns

Hi there!

I recently watched a compelling vlog on (East/SE) Asian gender presentation. It’s by Naomi Wu, a maker and tech influencer based in Shenzhen. Naomi is a buxommy hyper-femme, and she often clashes against critics of her gender presentation. This affects her livelihood, so she ended up explaining the context behind her identity, and how it intersects with her sexuality.

It’s a great video that has emerged under duress — Naomi clearly lays out her journey and the story is full of empathy for the people in her life. Some things cannot be fully discussed given her visibility as a lesbian in China, on YouTube and Twitter no less. Naomi navigates these circumstances with a savvy I am only able perceive in glimpses.

I relate with some of what she discusses, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. I have so much boobs, and in recent years, I tire of them. Throughout years of a daily exercise routine (a good mix of strength and cardio) and a fair amount of weight loss, my boobs have only ever grown — which is just offensive.

I have seen the monetary cost, physical discomfort, and recovery period of top surgery. I feel like I don’t dislike boobs enough to justify removing them. I’m not butch or tom, and I don’t experience gender dysphoria or body dysmorphia, so I categorise it as an almost frivolous desire that requires a large commitment.

I am a slow decisionmaker. I can take three years to purchase a book. Just knowing I could be asked to stop drinking coffee before and after the surgery can be enough to prevent action, possibly forever. But the idea of top surgery has never really gone away.

My decisionmaking looks very practical to observers because it is a personality trait born of circumstance. I recognise now that I tend to weigh some things as ‘trivial’ and minimise my desires if they are not immediately practical, as well as give too much weight to other obstacles. It’s partially how my anxiety manifests (avoiding risk), and partially growing up with enormous financial instability which persists in some forms in adulthood. I have little experience indulging myself outside of food. I am done making decisions that way.

I am not in the position to enjoy the full freedom of spending my earnings on myself.  But I am in the position to try. I write this post in the same day after starting a savings fund for my new goal. It may not materialise as a success, as Covid wiped out my previous savings and I don’t have control over all circumstances, but we’ll see.  

Maybe in February 2023, I will be flat-chested for the first time in 29 years.

In more predictable and mundane news, I too have fallen prey to Wordle. The game has quietly become part of my daily routine. I close every night with a Wordle at midnight (before I see any spoilers), and then head off to bed. My usual starting word is Raven.

Wordle has inspired a few side projects. There are accessibility generators for screen readers, Wordle in other languages (Malay, German, Spanish), VS Wordle, math Wordle, custom Wordle builders, or unlimited Wordles. There is a Wordle archive, if you want to attempt any of the previous 220+ puzzles.

My favourite is the chaotic Dordle. I’ll let the examples below speak for it.

Guessing two Wordles simultaneously, but using only one word each time — a success in six and five tries here
Sometimes I love Dordle
Guessing two Wordles simultaneously, but using only one word each time — a success on the right in five tries, a failure on the left (I guessed FIGHT as my final word, but the answer was SIGHT)
And sometimes I scream

Another favourite combines Wordle results with Townscraper, a cute AI game that generates townhouses on a grid. I find it meditative to click around, and I stop when I start imagining the impact of my town planning.

The start of my daily (Malay) wordle turned into a housing project — final form available here, if you want to try editing mine

Wordle has been purchased by NYT and its future in my life is uncertain, but that is okay. I have saved a copy of the website on my computer, but I don’t foresee using it much. I will just enjoy it for the simple joy it is now, and if it does not last, so be it.


PS: This newsletter is free, but you can help it grow by being a paid subscriber, or buying me a cup of coffee. Thank you for reading! 🏳️‍🌈💁🏻‍♂️🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟