I'm standing in the middle of the rice field with Andy next to the holy spring. White herons fly in the sunset sky. My sarong dancing in the breeze. He's surprised me with a tight embrace, and then our lips fall on each other gently without closing eyelids. Down there, I could feel him hardening. And my yoni is swelling. Meanwhile, the clouds around the sun start to clear up miraculously. So does the cloud on my heart—the last few years of being single and lonely. That kiss reminds me of Neruda's poem. "I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees. You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop spring from coming."
It was spring of 2019. I just met Andy, an adventurous artist, with sharp piercing eyes. We hit it off right away. And after that first kiss, we went to his hotel room. I run my fingers down his spine. "You give me chills," he said, and I'm thrilled. We start traveling high and deep. We get wild in a small toilet on a shaky plane at ten thousand feet. In the lush virgin jungle among flying foxes and noisy pigs. Even under the sea. The waves hit me. I lost my snorkel and fins. I was struggling. I couldn't breathe. Andy grabs my hand and says, "Breathe, Ling, breathe." He keeps my head above water and navigates me safely to the shore. He saved me. From that moment on, I see Andy as the man who can always keep me safe and will never abandon me no matter what. It's exactly the man I've been dreaming of.
So I did everything to make sure he stayed in my life. I supported him in every little thing he needs my help in to the extent of being hyperextended. But as time goes by, I realize that when I want to get closer to him, even when we're inside each other's bodies, he's saying no to me, energetically. He's always keeping me at an arm's length. And also, I feel more and more lonely, not seen, not wanted in our relationship. I keep saying yes to him in everything until one day, after feeling rejected by him again, I locked myself in his bedroom crying, and I heard him outside the bedroom running around with another girl at the party, laughing crazy and throwing her in the pool right next to me—crying in the bedroom. Almost two years since our first kiss, I finally realized that this relationship was never what I wished it could be.
So I left with an empty heart that's desperate for a refill. Soon, I met Yuri on Tinder. He would spend one hour talking on the phone with me daily. He cares about me. He gives me healing recipes for my period. And unlike Andy, who says I'm just a hookup for him, Yuri says he's here for a serious relationship, even marriage. He starts to call me baby.
And one day, Yuri tells me about this investment that he has been in for the last few years. And he paints a picture of me and my daughter living in our dream home if I invested. Although it seems too good to be true, and I actually never met Yuri, I choose to believe that he is sent by God to compensate me after my emotional bankruptcy with Andy. And he said he can even lend money to me. It's the first time in my life a man is trying to help me financially rather than me give them money. So I send him all my money, and I am getting a good return on investment although, you know, there are ups and downs in the stock market, which sometimes feels scary, but Yuri is always there to navigate me safely through it.
You see, he is the man that keeps me safe and will never abandon me no matter what. It's exactly what I'm looking for. It was 5:00 p.m. on a Saturday evening in January 2021. A message from Yuri pops up. It's the day that we've been waiting for, that we're supposed to take our return on investment to pay for my bills. But instead, I'm getting the runaround from Yuri and the customer service in an investment company. And after the tenth call to Yuri without him picking up, I understood something. I have been the victim of a well-executed, highly orchestrated professional scam.
I lost all my money that I'd ever saved. Plus the money of my clients, who invested through me because they trusted me. And now, not only penniless but also in debt—two hundred thousand dollars. My heart sinks. A chill comes up through my spine. I couldn't breathe. I'm panicking. The only person I could think of at that moment was Andy, cos last time I was drowning, he was there. He saved me. So I call him. "Andy, please come now. Please. I just lost all my money. Could you please come here and hold me?" And he said, "Ling, this is your life. It's not my life. Breathe, Ling, just breathe." He hangs up the phone.
Over the next few days, as I was desperately looking online, on social media, looking for friends to come and keep me company, I saw the video of Andy with his new sexy fling. Dancing, traveling around luxury places that I wanted to visit with him while I, a few weeks after we broke up, end up in emotional and financial bankruptcy. "You are worthless. You are not wanted." These voices keep haunting me weeks after the tragedy.
My therapist asked me in one session, "What is it that makes you so hooked to Yuri and Andy? Is there any story in your childhood that reminds you of this?" I looked into the well of memories.
I'm five years old, and I'm crying alone on the small bed in my boarding school in China. My parents thought that was the best education I can get. Plus, you only get in because your dad works in the army. That's your privilege, Mom told me. But I hate this prison. I get bitten when I don't behave like a machine. I need some cuddles and bedtime stories from my mom when she's just five minutes away. For one day, it's Children's Day. And when my parents walk in, I'm so excited. I thought I would go home with them that day like many other kids, but as they turn quietly to leave, I can tell they're not gonna take me. I start crying like crazy. I was holding firmly onto the thigh of my mom as she's going down the stairs. And I'm dropping step by step like a fat heavy mop. Some teachers came and grabbed me and I had to watch her leave—desperately.
Right there, right then, I got a belief. Everyone I love is gonna leave me. I'm worthless. I'm not wanted. But maybe, like my parents said, if I become somebody as they wish, someone might notice me, choose me, and save me from this misery. So I work hard to win any game I'm in.
Although I grew up poor in a small house, sharing smelly toilets, messy kitchens with military families, I got to be that woman who makes a multi-six-figure business in just one year, empowering women in their sexuality. I transformed myself from that awkward, shy little kid to a powerful woman who speaks three languages, dances the wildest, and even gives the best blow job in the world. I am the most wealthy, well-known, and the only sexually liberated person in my whole family tree. But in the end, I still failed relationship after relationship. One abortion, one failed marriage, countless heartbreaking love stories. I became a single mom, penniless at the age of twenty-five.
And after working six years, six years of working my ass off to make money, at the age of thirty-one, just when I think that I can say goodbye forever to the humiliating life in poverty, my life crashed in front of me because I invested everything in the wrong relationship again. I have dealt with many adversities in my life—sexual abuse, domestic violence—but this time, I can't do it alone anymore. For the first time in my life, I had to let go of my pride and ask for help publicly for support and money. Then I got some comments.
"You were just telling you were financially free not long ago. Now you're asking us for money." "How dare you teach others on awakening and wealth and relationships when you're so fucked up." "You must be so greedy and empty. That's why you attracted such a man." You see, after all these comments, actually, I realize I'm not a victim of a fraud. I'm the fraud.
Luckily there are still some friends and clients and even strangers who see me and trust me when I don't even trust myself. A lot of them are here tonight. Some of you donated money. Some of you offered me services like trauma release. Pedro, my fellow speaker, was offering me coaching to rebuild my business. Daniela was putting needles all over my body to activate my stagnant energy. And Aren, he told me, "Your next public speech is gonna be 'How I was scammed for more than half a million dollars. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me.'" And Alicia. One day she told me, "Ling, all of these people love you because of who you are, not because you were successful or wealthy." This discovery liberated me. After I lost everything, I thought I need to be worthy. The unconditional love I received broke the spell of 'I'm worthless,' I'm not wanted,' or 'I need to be somebody in order to be saved.'
So now, three months after the greatest happening in my life, I'm standing here to share this story. And although I'm still single, in debt, messy, I've never felt so safe, so wanted, so worthy.
I learned that life is not a competition to become the strongest. Life is a penis. Sometimes it's up, sometimes it's down, but it won't stay hard forever. And we can make love to it whatever state it is in. Although the caprice of life can at any minute take away all my money, my business, the people I love, again and again, it cannot stop this swell from growing. Just like that poem said, "You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop spring from coming."