It’s the second year you haven’t shown for your birthday. No worries, we love you still and cherish you anyway: we’re not insulted, though we’re hurting a bit. Banana, dad and mom talk about you all the time; they bring up the anecdotes related to whatever we’re talking about/doing in relation to how you would react based on your past antics. They can laugh about it and find joy in sharing memories of you.
I felt like a jerk standing up someone whose company I enjoyed previously. I was anxious and sexually wound up: I wasn’t sure I could contain myself if I went ahead for another date. My confusion spoke for me when I cancelled on him but my need for physical contact kicked my butt to ask him for another shot at the date . He was game on that cold, extremely windy October night (even hopping into my car to help me find a parking spot).
While we “watched” Minions (terrible movie plot but ADORABLE cast!) at his place, we talked throughout it. He pointed out the places he’d demo’ed in his apartment and the interior design was perfect and very neat. I found it sweet he had his apartment cleaned from top to bottom, knowing I was coming and lit some candles. We killed the lights and I did my best to stay on my end of the couch… until he confessed he’d been wanting to kiss me from the moment we met. Quickly, he grabbed my hands and pulled me close as we straightened our bodies out on that large, comfy couch. I was incredibly tense lying half on top of him and talked a little faster.
Louis CK on self-love verses self-awareness (I completely agree that self awareness is much more important than loving yourself in some circumstances) and being an asshole. I think true best friends are the ones who will risk wrath/hatred/resentment to tell you something you don’t want to hear, whether it’s about yourself, your decisions/actions, philosophy/view(s) or your life/situation. They’ll do the things in your best interest especially, if you lack foresight or perspective (i.e. the big picture) because they love you enough and they believe your friendship is strong enough to weather through the temporary stages (e.g. the five stages of grief).
Thusly, two weeks ago I had help packing up everything that reminded me of Beck (stuffed animals, other mementos, journals, etc.) into three boxes. As my friends help me shift furniture to make room for some new additions, I didn’t notice one had disappeared with two of the boxes until I smelled something burning. PTSD is triggered and I frantically search for the source of heat that smells like it’s in the house: where’s the fire! When I turn in desperation to the remaining two, I notice how calm they are and how diligently they’re standing in front of the doors and by the windows. I bolt for the backyard because I can see the smoke but I don’t get farther than the screen door as one bars the doorway with his frame and the other wrestles to keep me inside as I’m screaming and screaming at what I see: my boxes of memories are burning! It takes the two of them to drag me down as I’m cursing and using my surprising strength to get outside and save the things I know are beyond saving: I still have to try.
Ever wonder ’bout what he’s doing
How it’s all turned to lies
Sometimes I think that it’s better,
To never ask why
Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Redemption can be sought by even the most damned by making amends. You can regain admiration, respect, loyalty and your integrity by setting things right with people/family/friends, animals/living beings, etc. you have wronged. The first step is always admitting your mistake(s), then apologizing for them. The key is sincerity and genuine effort in mending broken bridges. You can be someone worth while and looked upon as a noble soul, again, with the right timing/intention(s).
I should not despair that one facet of my life is to teach someone how to love themselves. What I give of myself and energies, I receive back times three. My heart is quickly mending now that I released so much pent up anger, pain and sadness and refused the negativity any re-entry. I thought I needed Beck and I don’t because what I really feared was losing the parts of him I’ve grown to love: the people and places we’ve been to, memories inside my car (that will soon go the same way as my MidnightMyst) and around Flushing/the city and the cultural blend that was hard fought and hard won. It is enough for me, knowing they chose me over him: something I didn’t expect and didn’t dare hope for because you can never ask family to give up on blood lines. Just knowing they did it once (and everytime I get to see smiles on faces I cherish) was liberating but knowing they make the same choice whenever I hear their voices or fall into their embrace: I’ve never known such unconditional love since my grandmother passed away.
I was afraid I had lost some of the best pieces of myself when Beck told me he was in love with another woman within weeks of professing the same to me. His choice of words when he asked if I would feel betrayed if he went out with this ____ on a day we had habitually saw one another only registered when he called himself out as an asshole ex-boyfriend. He knew what he was doing was wrong but he went ahead anyway and as a monk reminded me, Beck did me a great favor. I am the greatest eagle to grace this planet who cannot be tamed because a tamed American Bald Eagle is a dead one: some creatures were never meant to be penned in by lesser beings. I am the fragile but magnificent monarch butterfly whose 3,000 arduous migration is one of the Earth’s great wonders and I am the phoenix who lives brilliantly, dies and is reborn without resentment or fear of what it must endure to become light itself.
Ask me what it’s been like to be me again and I will have no words. It’s in my bright smile, laughing eyes and warm embrace. What makes me up is in the trail of turned heads, rhythmic strut of hips and strong thighs, the opened doors and golden opportunities awaiting my arrival. I am a person’s desire to please me, to unabashedly look upon my face and figure for a moment longer and to go above and beyond to service me in any and all ways 😉 The posture of a gymnast, the grace of a ballerina and the strength of a typhoon. The quick wit of a scholar-athlete espousing the wisdom of her elders and peers enmeshed with the wonder and silliness of a naive child. Someone who knows heartache but is willing to keep her own heart open to it time and again for the journey of deep, soulful love/commitment alone.
On Monday, it occured to me that my first love was Jeff, Taiwanese guy, who was his own shit show at age 16. I was in love for the first time and felt like I had to stay when he revealed his suicidal tenancies (it’s the heroine complex much like Beck’s hero’s complex) and we stayed in touch until college. By then, I had already dated two other guys and guy number two would stick around for 7.5 years (to the extent of putting me in the hospital after messing up my face and throat with ugly bruising and lacerations). In parallel with my ex, Chris, I would meet Jed and it’s here where I began falling deeply in love with someone. Jed was a philanderer who shared my high intellect/drive but he had the heart of an artist/musician, too. The stories he would write about us, the poetry he’d share or dedicate to me would make me swoon so hard, I didn’t notice my feet had left the ground. Jed would be the first lover to touch my body in ways I still crave – it’s a sensuality I haven’t come across as often or as intensely as I’d like. Our bodies would literally move as one and it took me 5 years to get over him (though not ever completely). I see a hazy pattern running through my relationships founded on love: Jeff (first love), Chris (rebound/stable love), Jed (soulful love), Beck (jury is still out) and Mr. X (true love) but being that I can’t paint a detailed picture, who’s to say I know what I’m talking about?
What do a pilot, chef, two musicians, two writers, a pharmacist, doctor, nurse, dentist, four financial advisors/investors, two teachers, one law enforcement official, two advertisers, three artists (graphic and traditional), one lawyer, one programmer, one engineer and three sole proprietors have in common (aside from wanting me to choose only one of them)? A willingness to fall in love and take on this world with me as their mate for as long as we both shall live 😉 I promise, I have good stories coming up on the dates I’ve endured for your amusement, cheri!
Growing up, I could be an angry child or a really happy, peppy one. I was the teenager always flashing a bright smile and probably speaking in a pitch many coffee-addicts find unbearable anytime before 10 am. There was nothing I couldn’t conquer and yet, my fragile health could demolish the foundation on which I placed my pride, ego, faith, strength and intelligence. I was very aware of a duality warring within my body for dominance: in a way, conscious of being at the extreme end of things all the time. It made me high to know all that I was capable of and the insane opportunities waiting for me to pluck them or having them fall at my feet.
Only now am I able to grasp serenity. I don’t go to war with my mother everyday and hours at a time. She’s been surprisingly supportive of me post Beck; not of the break-up itself (boy, did she push and push me to reconcile with him and forgive the transgression for weeks) but aware of my inner turmoil. I know she and my father are terrified they could lose me again like they did back in 2007 when I entered a depression over my health prognosis and gave up on living. The painkillers meant to alleviate the pain of radiation, a failing G.I. system and a dying nervous system kept me in a stupor but not great enough of one to dull my wish to die more quickly and spare my family and friends anymore of my languishing body. I mistook numbness for serenity, then but understand I do not mistake this peace for anything less than the highest cause humans should be elevating themselves to.
Grace is walking away with my head held high and going above and beyond to tie up loose ends. I know many would disagree with me/my course of action but I’m not doing it for them: I always do it for me. Grace is admitting my wrongs without expecting forgiveness in return and grace is admitting I still love/am in love with Beck, I always will be, but having the strength to let him go. Grace is accepting I will have many suitors of whom many will not keep my attention, many who will go above and beyond to keep it but it’s necessary to go through them anyway if I want a family of my own. Grace is wanting Beck to be the best he can be: to hope the poet, the artist, the entrepreneur I’ve seen in full swing finally obtain enough momentum to break down his own walls. Grace is the ability to enjoy the happiness of others without intruding and definitely without impeding.
He’s leaving his wife, family members, friends and me again to serve our country. I felt like crying for hours today because I don’t want him to go. I know you can only roll the dice so many times before you hit 7. He’s been unharmed, physically and mentally and returned to American soil safely five times. If I have angels, I really hope they wrap him in their safe embrace for another year in a war conflicted area. My Marine, my oldest and most sincere friend who has the courage to return to active duty because his country asked it of him will deploy for a year or more. Protect him and salute him. Semper fi, Jared.
As a child, do you recall your fascination with helium balloons and refusing to release one, if you were lucky enough to have it, and the despair/tears if one managed to slip passed your tightly clenched fingers while you listened for the ice cream man or realized it was beginning to snow? I remember taking my birthday balloons, after the adults had gone back to their conversations and games, and tying to the ends of the strings the love letters for my grandmother I had carefully penned on notebook paper. I’d tell her how much I missed her and how I loved her every single day. I’d apologize for not knowing the exact address of Heaven and for not having the money for stamps even if I did but I hoped she knew how much I needed her because I was giving her my best birthday balloons. I was always sad at some point on my birthdays, missing someone I was forbidden to name but who I knew loved me unconditionally. I’d look at her picture in a place of honor in the apartment and I’d hoped, the hope only children under 10 can do, that her eyes could see me. Then, I’d take the balloons and squeeze them passed the safety bars of the windows, give the letters a kiss and let go. I’d watch for as long as I could before they inevitably drifted beyond the next building or were pulled quickly into the city’s night sky. I was always happy and sad to see it go. I waited a long time for response.
The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is to love and be loved in return! ~Moulin Rouge
Below are frozen frames of moments that I need to carry with me and that I need to share. I think it’s a good time to change things up ^_^ No more burden on my heart and soul, no more overthinking things.
At temple –
Me: I’ve lost my way and I don’t know how to be anymore.
Monk: We must keep the mind pure and release all emotion – no more sadness in your eyes, no more hurt in your heart; deeper and slower breaths from your lungs; repair the vessel that holds a gentle but powerful soul. Be one with the Universe, freely and wholly, as you were before and can be again. Be as your grandmother would have been when she was alive and now, is in Nirvana.
Me: I can’t – I’m afraid of losing myself.
Monk: Let that go, too. Regret is a greedy beast that will sap of you clarity, strength and purity. Focus, focus on the bubble and place within it, everything. Life is suffering. But suffering does not have to make up your life.
Me: I’m scared if I let go I won’t find my way back. I’m scared I won’t want what I discover even if I do.
Monk: Inhale and exhale. Enjoy the feeling of the air being taken into your lungs and the released pressure when you let it go. Raise your head, straighten your back and kowtow your most abbreviated bows to Buddha, your honorable parents and the Dali Llama. Your journey does not end here.
Me: The journey is lonely-
Monk: No! You are not alone. You are never alone. She is with you, she has always been with you. You are her favored, you are her copy and you are the greatest gift to those around you. Do not give up now. Do not fear tomorrow.
Me (crying): I’m so tired. Even a rock can be worn down…
Monk: Do you accept that there are consequences for every action, thought and we are judged for what we have done, not done? We will be measured against everything we chose to do and say, think and feel. Do you accept that you may just have to leave things as they lie and pursue no more? NO matter how little, how small peace is, it is still peace. Understand?
Me: Yes, I accept. Come what may, I will play my part and do what is willed.
Monk: Be like the greatest sculptor on Earth, be your element – be like water.
(there’s more to this coming)
William: Do you ever regret?
Me: I try to regret very little.
William: I can feel your pain over your relationship and ex. You’re very interesting and you have a big effect on everything around you.
William: Come away with me to Bali, Fiji, wherever as long as there’s a beach and you’ll be happy.
Me: I need time. I met you 3 days ago and I understand you see me as a summation of everything you’ve been searching for: we share the same culture, the same dialect, I’m as Americanized as you, we’re extremely Type-A people and I know you find me breath-taking. But I would be doing you a great disservice to let you place all your chips on me and it would be wrong to do to your ex-gf/fiancee.
K: Do you think Beck felt emasculated by your strength and independence?
Me: It would be odd for that to be the case since my independence and sassy/bubbly attitude was his draw to me.
K: Do you think that could have been the case since he hasn’t provided the way he did in the beginning?
Me: Maybe but again, I never thought less of him as a man or individual – it was just a slump that he’d get out of and he’d taken care of me before! I didn’t pester him to get a job – I was just always concerned about his well-being!
K: Okay, but again – you recognize that work brings stress and that stress is released in a myriad of ways. You could have been short with him or distant and not been as aware/sensitive to his needs?
Me: …yes. I remember each time and I learned to temper my shortness- I just want to be able to say, “Show me you’re better than me. I need someone to look up to, to be my inspiration. I want someone to be waiting when I reach the pinnacle of human refinement.”
K: Maybe he thought he was no longer worthy of you and jumping the gun into a new relationship was his way of letting you find someone better. You know, every one older than you here knows, the relationship is a ticking time bomb.
Me: Stop, I don’t wish heartache on him because I’m going through it. My anger speaks volumes and loudly but once it dissipates, I truly have no idea what I was enraged about.
K: It’s not willing harm/bad to come to Beck but a reality check – you cannot enter a new relationship without settling the issues of the last one. The other chick’s moral compass is off, sweetheart. Every spurned woman will tell you that.
Me: I’m not spurned. I’ve had my dates and done my share of widening the distance…
K: Listen, when it dissolves, will you be there for Beck when he’s taken you for granted and further harmed/hurt you by acting out like that?!
Me: The better person in me says yes
(audible groan from every man and woman in the room)
K (eyeroll): Oh good, God! She’s still naive and hopeful
The priority with love should be to find one’s self, be secure in that self then, find their soulmate while making sure the people and world around them is better because you choose to make it that way. I’ve put myself in danger numerous times (pulling over to help a man with his stalled vehicle on the parkway and giving the stranger a ride to where he needed to be, helping a lost elderly woman who was confused and couldn’t find her way home after missing a turn on her walk from the Home Goods store [she also said she didn’t have money for a cab, didn’t have a cellphone and couldn’t remember her son’s address: it felt like a bad set up since there were stories going around about people being robbed/hurt while being a good Samaritan. Still, I made the decision to drive her home based on her memory of certain landmarks because I think most people deserve the benefit of the doubt. I’m still alive and so is she.], called in dangerous and meandering drivers to the correct police agency because I’ve witnessed what happens when people pass the buck on taking responsibility when I was an EMT: you scrape people off asphalt, glass and metal and I’ve stayed when I should have left for my own well being. Desiring to be selfless and helpful is a call people should be answering more quickly and frequently.
CH: You’re still so beautiful and full of that vitality everyone at UCLA would watch.
Me: Stop it!
CH: I don’t think you see yourself the way any person or any crowd does. People make way for you and they turn to watch you long after you’re gone. You prowl and strut, you don’t walk and you don’t wait.
Me: Trying to sing the song in my heart back to me?
CH: Nobody knows better than I do that you don’t need to be reminded. The sweetest song in your heart is something only you and one or two people will ever know and learn. So what? You’re a little battered and a bit tired but we all sense the tigress in you. We know better than to incur your wrath!
Me (laughing): Am I still that terrifying?
CH: Oh, hell yeah! D, you know the perfect person for you is searching high and low. He or she is following the trail of broken hearts, sexual energy and enlightened form your activities take on. Beck is but another drop of water in the ocean but you, you are the day’s eye ;o)
Me: I’m finding my way back to my patch of sunshine and I know I’m on the right track by staying single because I can feel the warmth of who I used to be and who I’ve become.
CH: Damn, straight! Throw that head back and ROOOOAR!