Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Getting Through the Day


I was a freshman in high school when my friend Barbara was accepted into a college in Canada. She took up political science, under the impression that she would pursue a law degree. She had a boyfriend here in California before she left, but they broke up because she didn't feel like he could be faithful  during a long distance relationship.
 We had been close friends ever since I started high school, so we kept in touch, mostly through Facebook chat. We talked to each other about three-four times a week, and talked about everything there was to talk about. Barbara was usually buzzed, if not fully intoxicated. It was in college where she discovered her weakness for red wine, the cheapest kind with the highest alcohol concentration.

Most of our conversations started with her sending me a message so she could complain about how college has been going. It was mostly just random stuff, and I barely listened, as I had my own problems at the time. Our conversations were never actual conversations, they were more like monologues that neither of us were actually paying attention to. We both talked a lot, but neither of us took the time to listen.
I didn't notice the amount of alcohol she consumed, or the stream of complaints on life she made. I also didn't think she noticed how wrong everything seemed to me, how I was so tired of living life the way I was.
The fact remained that she was there more as a comfort, even if she never really understood or cared what I was going through. And a few years later, when we reconnected, I learned that she felt the same way about our relationship. To her, it didn't matter that I wasn't listening, or that I was too absorbed with my own issues. The important thing was that we were there for each other, and that was what she needed more than anything.
The funny thing was, I wasn't a good friend to her honestly. But she wasn't a good friend to me either. We were just way too caught up in our own worlds to care about anyone else. But that doesn't matter now. We were there for each other when we needed a person the most. At the end of the day, that was enough for the both of us.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Musings


The first time Steph told me she loved me, I told her that she didn't know what she was saying. It was too soon to say things like that, I thought, and I was afraid that she didn't realize the full extent of what she said, or of the commitment that this implied. I told her that maybe she made a mistake, and that she didn't really mean it. I gave her an opening to take back her words.

The next day, I told her I loved her too. I truly loved her then, and whether or not she felt the same wasn't the problem. It was the truth for me and I had to say it. I thought she loved me, but more than that, I realized that my feelings were a small price to pay for the love that I thought I had.

This is what I learned from my experience: we sometimes sacrifice our feelings (particularly happiness) for the possibility of someone liking us back. But why do we put such importance on being in a relationship? Perhaps it's the fear of being alone that drives us into relationships that we probably shouldn't be in. I can say for a fact that I stayed in a relationship with Steph for a lot longer than I should have, all because I was too afraid to be alone.
***
It's often said that to love someone you have to be able to sacrifice yourself, or at least parts of yourself into the relationship. But I don't agree with this view. Love should elevate the people in the relationship, make them into something better than who they were before. Though these people may add up to be a couple, they are whole in themselves. I feel as if a lot of times, shows and movies romanticize at least one broken person looking for someone to waltz into their lives to fix them. And oftentimes we rush into relationships because it feels like time is running out for us to be worthy of love. These concepts, of running out of time or waiting for someone to "fix" who we are, those only help in making rash decisions and ultimately bad choices in relationships
***
But at the end of the day, I feel as if a certain amount of faith is necessary for any relationship to work. Just as many people have faith in the religion they believe in, people in relationships ought to have faith that the person they are with cares for them in the same way. Just because the media tends to over-romanticize what it means to be in a relationship doesn't mean that I have given up on finding "the one".

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Love: A Tragedy



It was a Wednesday afternoon when she first messaged me, through the Tumblr messaging app. She wasn't exactly my type, not someone I really found attractive. My friend Natalie pointed out that I should take a chance with her. I typed out a quick reply and left it at that. When I got out of my class, I had already forgotten about this interaction, and was ready to move on with my day. Little did I know, she had already written a reply back, so we kept talking. Eventually, I gave her my number, because why not. She also seemed like a decent person, which was hard to come by.

We ended up talking all day. Her name was KB. We texted about where we came from, the things we liked to do, where we wanted our futures to go. She seemed like a lot of fun, definitely someone I could see myself with. She lived in New York, making her 3 hours ahead of me. Eventually, it got late. She asked if she could talk to me tomorrow. I smiled at the thought of us talking all day tomorrow.
***
We had been talking for about two or three weeks, and I thought that there could be something serious between us. There was joyful routine, both of us were happy (at least that was what I thought). She told me she thought I was her type, I told her she didn't know what she was saying, but I texted all my friends anyway. I  was happy, mainly because I felt I was still lovable, especially after the rough breakup between me and my ex. I believed my friends when they said they were happy for me.
***
Pretty soon, I started noticing small things that would make me uncomfortable. KB was polite for the most part, but she would make fun of me for my interests, under the guise of "teasing". She would say things that would bother me, and whenever I called her out on it, she would always find a way to twist the situation such that it would make me seem like I was overreacting. But always, there were the excuses. It would be okay for her to do something, but not okay for me to do the same exact thing. We fought constantly, I was living in a state of constant tension, not knowing when the next fight would come.
***
It was a Thursday morning when I got the text that I was expecting for a while now. She said she wanted to "stay friends". We had lasted for about two months.
***
It was a routine: dinner with a few friends as a form of breakup therapy. They told me they never liked the looks of her, she had the look of a self pitying attention drain. They insisted it would be better for me to just walk away. I took another bite of sushi and agreed. I desperately wanted to believe them.
***
I kept tabs on her Tumblr for a while. A few months later, we reconnected again. She had met someone new. I didn't know how to feel, but at the end of the day, it didn't matter. The other girl didn't feel the same way about her. We talked for a couple months more, and it became apparent to me that she hadn't changed at all. She was still the same condescending, self-righteous person I had thought she was all those months ago. After a few days of not talking, she sends me a message with just a "Hi". When I didn't respond in about a day, it became apparent that she had blocked me on social media and blocked my number.
How childish, I thought. But then again, how predictable. At this point in my life, I simply just didn't care.
About three weeks later (as of Oct. 14, 2016), it feels like nothing has changed in my life. I guess that's how you know you've moved on from someone: when talking to them feels more like a hassle than anything else. My friend asks me if I had bothered to check up on her since, and my response ran along the lines of, why should I, when things are going great for me?
***
A few days ago, a friend asked me how to get over a girl that he had feelings for. My solution for him was simple: find the right someone, and things will figure themselves out. I had the good fortune of having met someone who had a stellar personality, someone who helped erase all trace of KB from my memory. It might seem impossible, but good girls are hard to find.
My friend Natalie asked me how I felt about this situation. I told her, people who break up end up in competition with each other, even if they won't admit it. In order to win, you need to live a better life. I'm pretty sure I've won.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Blogging as Art


Writing has been really frustrating to me lately. Writing ideas (at least for the past few months) have been difficult to come by, and putting a writing idea into words just seemed to hard. But a few weeks ago I wanted to get back into creative writing again, so I just stopped making excuses and just started writing. I needed to fight the feeling to just lay down and not put any effort into writing anymore, which gets worse the longer I stay lying down, which makes the act of writing even harder than before. But pretty soon I realized that sometimes I just need to get up and just write, regardless of the quality; otherwise, I might as well pack my bags and stop blogging altogether.

Which I have no intention of doing. I've been blogging for years, and I love this blog. I've just been too wrapped up in everything else that's been going on. 
The problem with blogging is that usually it's a one person project, and if this one person is not capable of keeping up with a certain number and frequency in terms of a posting schedule, then the blog just dies a pretty natural death. Not death in the sense of the person stops writing, that's really up to the writer themselves, but more so in terms of the lack of readers that would still be interested in your work after a long absence. And for people who say that they don't care about the traffic or having a set number of readers come back on a regular basis, they just want to put their work on paper. I call BS on that: everyone wants readers. Maybe your goal isn't to have a lot of readers, maybe you just want your friends, maybe just one or two strangers, but you still want people to read what you have to say. Otherwise, posting your writing online would be pointless. Why not write your work in a notebook? Having a blog or an online site is putting your work on a public space, which means that when you post, you aim to share your work to the public (even if the "public" means a few friends). It's similar to the philosophical question about trees and forests: if your blog doesn't have readers, or as some people say "having readers isn't my goal", what is the point of having a blog in the first place?
Because a blog is something that requires readers, then maybe some standards are supposed to be set. What is the point of doing something if you're only going to put in half the effort? You might as well give everything you have. This applies to blogging as it does for anything else.
This brings me to the point of this post: that blogging could be elevated to something of an art form, in the same way that poetry, or fiction, or novels are considered art work. Many people view having a blog as a hobby, which in itself isn't really a bad thing, but I think many bloggers tend to limit their views by thinking that having a blog is just a platform to create something else, something "greater", rather than having the blog as the end result. I understand that attitude, and one of the main reasons why I blog is to practice writing so that I eventually get better. But that doesn't mean that blogging instantly becomes something "less than" a book, or a poem. Some of the best blogs that I have come across have connected to me on a personal level, whether it be emotionally or  psychologically, and honestly, who is to say that this connection is less valid only because the connect was made in a blog? When the goal of your work is to connect with people you've never met on a humanlevel, where does the art begin and the hobby stop?
It's interesting to see how similar the end goal of bloggers and artists are. Those aims are, in essence, based on the love for what they do.
So this is what I'm trying to say. My suggestion is that bloggers stop feeling that blogging is anything less than any of the accepted art forms that are established. At the end of the day, we are all artists. We create content for others just like any other art form. In my opinion, blogging can be the future of what art can look like.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The First Morning I Forgot You


The morning started out as it normally did. I woke up early as usual, the quiet sounds of the morning chirping in the air, the day still cold. My roommate forgot to turn off her TV. I could hear the Game of Thrones theme song playing through the wall, the sound reminding me that I haven't finished the latest season.

I stood up from my bed, my head aching from general lack of sleep. My mind was still a blur, causing my motor functions to slow down. It was so early that at first I didn't realize that it was already the next day, and that I have a lot of work to do before the day is over.

After brushing my teeth and running my fingers through my hair, I decided that I was just going to go eat and work out before my classes started. I walked into the living room, and I saw my roommate. I pause for a moment, surprised that she had gotten up so early. She apparently had yet to change from her clothes from last night. Her face looked like it was carved from stone: filled with disappointment.

"When did you get back?" I asked her.

"A few hours ago."

"You haven't slept at all?"

"Nope. Decided it was a waste of time." That made sense. What was the point of going to bed if you have class in two hours?

"Did you have fun last night?"

"Nah, not really."

"What happened?"

"My date ditched me for some other girl."

"That's rough."

"Yeah, can't be helped. What did you do?"

"Nothing much. Just watched some Netflix and went to sleep."

She nodded, and finished her food. After a while, she changed and headed for class. I scrolled through the news on my phone, seeing if I had missed any major news that happened overnight. Nothing major had happened.

The microwave beeped in it's usual annoying manner. I quickly got my food out.

And right when I sat down to eat, I remembered you. Right at the moment when I started my computer, and the smell of coffee still strong in my nose. It was that moment when I realized that you were no longer the first thing on my mind.

This came as a complete shock to me. After months of listening to sad love songs, of self-pity, of waking up feeling like I was missing something, of blaming myself for not "doing better" in the relationship, I had just woken up to a morning where I didn't feel like a big part of my life was gone. And apart from the shock that was this realization, I saw how such a moment could be so mundane. All this was happening while I was at my desk, opening up Hulu, and looking like someone who just rolled out of a trash can. It was a moment that was as anticlimactic as one could be.
Yet, I felt like it couldn't have been any better. Even though this moment was lacking any of the drama that I was expecting, I felt as if a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

 "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Heartbreak


It was 3 years ago when I found myself staring at my phone at a contact that I both did and did not want to reach out to. I was lying in bed in my dorm room, with the only light coming from my phone shining on my face. I remember my gut clenching and my heart racing, and the small voice in my head telling me that I should just turn off my phone and that a conversation would not end well for either one of us.

I should have listened to myself. But against my better judgment, I didn't. I didn't know what I was feeling, just that I wanted to be with you more than I wanted anything. In the back of my mind, I knew that I couldn't have you, no matter how hard I tried. But I had hoped that I was wrong, that somehow, we would work out.

I found myself pressing the call button. While the phone was ringing, I had this unique feeling that I didn't own my own body, that someone else was in control. On one hand, I was waiting for her to pick up, while on the other hand, I was watching myself waiting. To this day, I can still feel my heart pounding and my gut clenching.

"Hi."

"Hey, it's me."

"Yeah, how's it going?"

"I have something to say to you."

"I can't really talk. I'm currently with someone right now."

"Sorry. It's just that I needed to tell you something."

There was a long silence. I held my breath until she finally said "okay."

My words came tripping over themselves. I hated the way I stuttered when I tried to get my thoughts out. "I know that we're just friends, but it sometimes doesn't feel that way, you know? And I was hoping that one day that one day you'd realize that I'd be the one to be able to make you happy. I feel like I can be the one to be able to do that."

I couldn't hear anything on the other end of the line. I cleared my throat and continued, "I guess what I want to say is that I hope you realize I'm better at the end of the day." I knew that I had crossed a line that I couldn't come back from.

I had so much more to say, but I stopped myself. There was already enough damage. I knew her answer before I started talking, I knew it before I dialed the number on my screen.

"I can't be thinking about this right now." She was trying to keep her voice light. It didn't take much to realize that she was putting on a show for the person she was with at the time. "Let's talk about this later, alright? It's nice to hear about your concerns for me, I really appreciate it."

At the end of the day, there were no big realizations. There was nothing, and the silence on the other end only further humiliating me. I had put myself out there, but for what? It was pointless.

It struck me how silent a heartbreak could be. And at the same time, heartbreak could be so deafening to the person it was happening to.

Then, I realized something. I loved and cared for her, but that feeling wasn't mutual, to say the least. Maybe the word "love" wouldn't be appropriate to the situation. Maybe it was just an infatuation.
I shut off my phone, closed my eyes, and attempted to get to sleep. I hoped that when I wake up everything would be better.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Missed Opportunities



My first adventure towards dating in college was through this online chatroom. To summarize how this website worked, it was basically a chatroom where you could chat with the profile that you liked. Basically anyone could put personal descriptions on the home page, and if you liked someone based on her description of herself, you could just shoot her a message. If she accepted your chat request, then the two of you can chat privately. If the two of you agree that you liked each other, the next step would be trading pictures, and then finally make plans to meet in real life.

I talked to and met a few girls on this chatroom. Electronically at least. I wasn't really ready for an actual date yet. But talking to people online eased me into this process.

I remember a few weeks into this I met a girl named Laura. She seemed really interesting. We both liked the same things, so we ended up talking for hours on end. After maybe four or five hours, she asked if it was okay to call me. I was hesitant, but ended up agreeing. I gave her my number.

She was just as good with conversation over the phone as she was online. I found her very easy to talk to. After a while we bonded over appreciation over dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games and movies such as V for Vendetta. As a "sort of" date, I thought it went pretty well.

She then asked me to ask if I wanted to meet her in person. I knew this was coming sooner or later, but it still felt like a surprise. I didn't know what to say, so I stayed silent. I could hear the worry in her voice when she asked if I was okay. I told her everything was fine. Then I told her that I'd think about it.

We then hung up on that note. It was late, and we both had very busy schedules the next day.

 I texted her the next day saying yes to meeting in person. She said that was great, and we could meet at the Starbucks near campus.

I spent the entire day worrying about meeting her. There were a lot of things that were going through my mind. What if she ends up not liking me? What if I'm too ugly? What if she's ugly? What if I come across someone that I know when I'm with her? What if the date goes sideways? What do I even wear to a completely casual date?

I decided to take a nap to calm my nerves, but I couldn't actually fall asleep. I flipped through my phone for two hours instead.

Ten minutes before we were supposed to meet, I made a decision to not go to the date. I was too nervous. I closed my eyes to try to go to sleep. I still couldn't drift off.

I heard my phone vibrate. Then again. Then there were several rings. I never bothered answering. I deleted her messages without reading them. I already knew what she had to say. I was ashamed, but I was more angry than anything. I was acting like an asshole. I hated myself for doing what I did.

After that there was a voice in my head that told me that I would be alone forever. I was too scared to take a chance with someone. Maybe it would be better if I just lived my life alone so that I would not hurt anyone with my cowardice.

Later, I told one of my friends about what happened. She told me that it was alright, and that there would always be another girl who wanted to be with me. I agreed. Then I thought about the real problems that was bothering me. I couldn't put it in words. I knew that saying it out loud would make my thoughts a reality. But that thought was insistent to make itself known. "What if no one wants me?"