A friend told me last night, “Everyone has flaws.” Of course, everyone does. It’s just that when it comes to my best friends, the people i love, i have a much harder time accepting flaws. Because i’m too much of an idealist.
I hold the people i love to a much higher standard. I want them to be perfect. I want them to be the kind of people everyone respects, adores, and emulates. I want them to be the shining ideal of a person, a representation of all the things i stand for. And when they fail to be that, i’m crushed and inconsolable. It hurts me deeply.
And that makes me afraid i’ll never be happy with anyone.
You encounter a problem. A big, but simple problem that can be resolved in one of two simple ways, one of which hurts you. You know how this problem will be resolved, and you know it’ll be resolved in the way that hurts you, and you know there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s like being trapped in a maze, a maze with a “good” exit and a “bad” exit, except you don’t get to find your own way out; you’re getting dragged towards the “bad” exit, where pain and suffering await you.
It’s not fate. There’s no such thing as fate in this world. It’s like being at the mercy of someone else, having a say in what they do to you in this maze, and being heard—intently and with great consideration—but ultimately not having any power to change their mind.
It’s unfair. It’s unfair because you can’t shake the feeling that you have a right to influence the outcome—the right to make moves of your own—but you can’t plead your case because it’s just a feeling, not a fact.
And meanwhile, with each passing day, with every turn you’re forced to make, you inch closer and closer to the bad exit. How would you feel? How are you supposed to feel?
If i were the one making the moves, i’d not only listen, but change my mind.
A birthday isn’t a celebration of your birth;
it’s a celebration of why you live.
Friday was my birthday, and it was… different. It’s the only one i remember enjoying. It’s not like i was ever miserable on my birthdays, but i just never assigned much importance to them. I don’t remember my childhood birthdays, but for the last eight or so years, my attitude was that it’s only another day in the year, nothing to make a fuss over. My parents would ask me what i wanted, and i’d reply, “I don’t want anything. Who cares about birthdays?” I’d hate having to have my mom’s seaweed soup (a traditional Korean birthday soup), because i hate seaweed soup, and she’s not a good cook. I used to threaten her that i’d stop being her daughter if she made me any. But this year was different.
I didn’t do much. I woke up at around 5pm, wrote a few emails, and headed out to FedEx to send out my last document for a job. UPS was supposed to come by my house to pick up something, but instead of knocking and picking up my package, the delivery man just stuck the mailing label on my door. (UPS, you have a lot to learn from FedEx.) Then i went shopping with my parents for “teacher clothes” (more on this in another post) and finally had the ddeok-bok-ki i’d been craving for weeks for dinner. The ddeok-bok-ki was really good, but the draft beer tasted strange.
And so, it was an altogether unremarkable birthday. But i was strangely happy, and it was only yesterday that i figured out why, when i was up at my usual summer pre-bedtime hours in the morning. I’m at a point in my life where i’m perfectly satisfied. I know where i wanna be in a few years (grad school for Philosophy), and i know what i wanna do before i get there (teach). And now that i’m closer to making that dream of teaching a reality, i feel completely at ease and confident at the same time. This is the perfect opportunity for me to take some time off, get away for a while, make new friends, and also have a bit of time to myself to read and practice philosophy in preparation for grad school. And i value this opportunity because it’s what i wanted most.
Filed under love, personal
Today, i got the closure i needed. I was hurt a year and half ago and brutally reminded of that hurt two weeks ago, which made forgiving very difficult. But i’ve come to realize that it’s not forgiveness that matters—it’s the memories. Sure, he’s made mistakes, but somehow, my memories of what he and i shared remain untainted. I recognize the good in him, and i remember the love we shared, and that’s all i need. It’s unfortunate that it had to end this way, but that doesn’t diminish the power of what we had, and it doesn’t weaken the love we still have for each other, and forever will.
Today, we vowed to never forget each other. And that’s enough.
What do you do when he who has hurt you irreparably wants to get back in touch?
What do you do when you can’t forgive him but don’t want to hurt him either?
What do you do when you know that forgiving him would mean hurting your loved ones?
artist credit: Kevin Townsend
There’s something about New York. It’s amazing and depressing at the same time, and i’m starting to feel more of the depressing part these days. Despite having grown up in urban and suburban areas, i feel like the city is becoming too much for me. All i can think about these days is retreating to nature. I used to love taking aimless walks here, so i went out this weekend to take advantage of the warmer weather, but i didn’t enjoy the walks this time. It was an opportunity to think to myself, but the roads, the cars, the crowds just got to be a bit much.
It’s always bothered me that i never miss my dead relatives. Not even my maternal grandfather who loved me dearly and played with me often when i was growing up. I never think about them, and when someone reminds me of them, i don’t get sad or reminiscent. I feel nothing. And then i feel bad that i’m completely unaffected when the person who brought up the dead relative gets sad.
When i heard that my maternal grandfather died, i only cried because i felt that i should. At the funeral, i felt more awkward than sad. What left the greatest impression on me that day was how the heavy rain and run off on the hills made the whole ceremony seem like a scene right out of a movie. Perhaps if other people were uncontrollably crying, i would have been sad out of empathy, but everyone, including my mother and grandmother, was fairly composed. I’m sure it would be a different story had it been my mom or dad that died, but it still disturbs me that i never even think about those loved ones that died. I can’t believe i’m saying this, but i don’t think i’d be crushed if my only living grandmother died tomorrow, and i’m very close with her. I love her, but i’m not afraid of losing her. And i’m not afraid of death. Is this normal, or am i cold and unfeeling?
Filed under love, personal
I was taking the E train downtown as part of my usual daily commute to school, when a homeless lady came to the center of the car and asked for food, any tidbit, anything to eat or drink. I wanted to give her something, but i didn’t have anything on me. A young lady sitting in front of me gave her a granola bar. When the homeless lady moved to another car, a little girl sitting next to the generous young lady questioned her mom about the homeless lady. “She’s hungry. Why’s she hungry?” The mother whispered an explanation into her ear. Then after a few moments of thought, the little girl went, “I’m hungry too!” The young lady and i laughed along with the mother. One stop later, the young lady started to cry. A few stops later, the mother and daughter got off the train, the daughter tickling her mother, going “Tickly, tickly!” And at West 4th, i got off, making my usual way to class.
I’ve been told that i’m pretty good at expressing love, but sometimes even i have to resort to nonverbal expression, because i have my shy moments just like anyone else. Here are the ways i express love nonverbally:
-impromptu gifts, usually ones that will only make sense to me and the significant other
-sharing beauty, usually in the form of art
I’d say the most subtle way (and therefore the easiest to accomplish, emotionally speaking) would be the last one. Whenever i see something beautiful, i want to share it with a loved one. Sharing art isn’t just about sharing taste, and neither is it only about letting someone else express your love for you; it’s about experiencing the beauty of life with a loved one. It’s a union not only between you and another, but also between you two and the universe. The most ideal way of sharing beauty would be experiencing nature together, but you have to admit, in our increasingly technological world, finding an untouched enclave of nature, planning the convenient time and method to get there, and finally getting there with your significant other is difficult to do. But what has become much more efficient is communication, and that’s what makes it so easy to share art, which, by contemplating the human condition, is what comes closest to embodying the universe.
And now for the inevitable question: how do you express love nonverbally?
This is a personal tradition i started in 2007. I decided to make a soundtrack for every year of my life with a song for each month. Here is my 2007 soundtrack:
2007: My year in music
Pre. Zero 7 – “In the Waiting Line”
Jan. Radiohead – “Up On the Ladder”
Feb. Republika – “Poranna Wiadomość”
Mar. Mackenzie Phillips – “Another World”
Apr. Tori Amos & Ani DiFranco – “Silent All These Years”
May. Duncan Sheik – “Half-Life”
Jun. Imogen Heap – “Hide and Seek”
Jul. Joe Purdy – “Isn’t Love”
Aug. Cat Power – “Evolution”
Sep. KT Tunstall – “Universe & U”
week 1. The Doors – “The End”
week 2. Neil Young – “After the Gold Rush”
week 3. Aqualung – “Garden of Love”
week 4. The Poems – “Ballad of a Bitter End”
week 5. Ingrid Michaelson – “Keep Breathing”
Nov. Brandi Carlile – “That Year” (live in Birmingham)
Dec. Nick Drake – “Time Has Told Me”
Fin. Simon & Garfunkel – “The Only Living Boy in New York”
I know, there’s a prelude and finale, and October has five(!) songs. I’ve got a lot of explaining to do.