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Monday, January 22, 2018

35 Acting Like 15

I spent the morning and lunch time talking with 3 different friends about my reluctance to ask a guy for a double date. Yes. You read that right. Me, who aint afraid of no ghosts.

And they were deep analysists as well, the kind that you'll see during football commentaries. "But he did this, so it must be that," or "I think what happen was..."

Did it work? Not really. I got some encouraging insights but I still feel like a shy school girl when faced with this cute senior: "What if he doesn't like me *that* much??"

Yes. I am 35 acting like 15. Sigh.

Yes, I know I can slay. I know I have the balls and strength to do whatever I want and still be standing in the end, no matter what. I know I will still be smiling in the midst of havoc.

Yes, I know I flirted with life and danced with destiny. I know what I am capable of and what I am uncapable of. I know if I set my heart into it, I most likely will get it.

Yet here I am acting like a teenager. And it feels great.

Since my first relationship I have been geared towards one thing: Happily Ever After. Marriage, kids, family, the house with white picket fence. It has to be perfect.

I got it all. It didn't last. Yet even though I gave up on happily ever after, I still carry the weight of relationship. Everything has to be meaningful. Nobody should get hurt. It has to be perfect.

And here I am, deliberately fretting over asking a guy on a simple date when I have no qualms on asking for worse. Knowing fully well I can go "Oh fuck it!" yet choose not to.

In a way, I was never 15. And now I am.

The world is on the brink of destruction, I know. War, inequality, climate change, divisive interest, hatred and ignorance, I am aware of all of this and more.

To add it up, there's my own personal growth, my office life, my writing career, my work and ambition in financial service industry that I should really think of instead of fretting over a date.

Yet finding this purity is a blessing.

This is not about 'a date'. This is me learning to live in the moment instead of keep chasing the horizon. This is me learning to let life lead the dance, instead of me controlling it.

This is me finding out that falling asleep on the sofa next to somebody is almost as satisfying as good sex. [Well, not really, but close enough].

This is me, unable to predict the future yet still enjoying it. This is me, enjoying the uncertainties and butterflies in my stomach. This is me being naive and innocent for once.

Do I need this? Yes. Yes, I do.

It's too easy to get drowned in the negativity of life, to feel everything is meaningless and utterly hopeless. It's easy to get defeated to the point you don't want to fight back.

Yet there's these gems of life everywhere, things so trivial we often overlooked when in fact they are what makes us happy, what we need to stay loving and sane.

Everybody needs this.

I am 35 acting like 15 and I don't care. One might say I am immature, I say I'm taking "Dating 101", a class long overdue. And I am loving every moment if it.

To each of their own happiness, and this is mine: a teenage fling so beautiful and fun in its uncertainties, so imperfect and fragile. For once, I am decidedly reckless enough to not care how it ends.

What is your beautiful thing? The one that makes you smile and forget your woes for a bit, the little respite in this treacherous world. They are everywhere, if you care to look.

Because we need more love and happiness
Because we deserve shy giggles and silly laughters
Because we could use fun adventures and quiet comfort
Because we should embrace and enjoy life to the fullest

I'm 35 acting like 15. What about you?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Applesauce and Cranberry Bread

My phone rang while I was on the bus home. It was my best friend. I frantically picked it up. He never called me at this hour, what on earth has happened?

"Hello?" I said in a panic voice.

"Hey," he said, "somebody wants to say something to you."

Next I heard was the sound of two kids on the speaker, one voice on top of the other, "Thank you, Ary," "Thank you for the applesauce,"

I started to giggle and then laughed with joy. The two kids giggled hearing me laughing so freely. They liked the applesauce I made and I got an affirmative "Yes" when I offered to make some more. Life can't be better.

The last two days I have been out of it. The world seemed to be a hostile place to live, with hatred and blindness all around. I spent two days in limbo trying to write my feelings and thoughts, but nothing came out.

A lot of things came out, actually. None that I see fit to published. None that I see can change the situation I'm living in. Human sucks. No matter how hard I try to sway them, human will always be a piece of sh*t.

And then they called. Suddenly life was not that bad anymore. Their honest gratitude for a very simple thing I make, the sheer happiness of my friend looking at how happy his kids are, make me suddenly feel whole again.

Isn't it a wonder how simple act of gratitude could turn your world inside out? How a simple thought of "Maybe they'll like this" can transpire into an intricate mandala where everything is beautifully connected?

Earlier this morning I got praises for my Cranberry Bread as well. Both my friend and my coworkers love it. Even the calorie-counting one ended up eating a whole portion and not just a bite.

The thing is, I wasn't looking for praises. Which makes the compliment feels even more amazing. I have cranberries and oranges and apples I need to use, so I made things that I think people would like. That's it.

The world is bad enough these days, and I strive to bring comfort and smile to people around me. It wont magically change the world, but at least it can give the briefest solace in the midst of storm.

Turns out I was saved too. Turns out if you give a little light to people around you it reverberates and light up the whole area, including yourself. And you never realize how much you need that light until you are basked in it.

"I want to teach them to be grateful for what people do for them,"
"But it wasn't much," I said.
"We still appreciate you."
"I hope they know how much I appreciate the phone call,"
"They do. They laugh when they hear you laughing."

On and on the line went on, and in front of me I no longer see the desolate waste land that I so dreaded. Instead, a ginormous colorful mandala crochet was upon my eyes. Each part knitted with different thread, representing different kindness and different love.

If this is not what life is all about, I don't know what else. If this is not a sliver of true happiness God had promised, I don't know what else. If this is not what hope is, I don't know what else.

I know one thing, though. I know tonight I will sleep peacefully. The darkness is gone for now. I am safe. Thank you all for the light you share.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

This Is Enough

I could feel the taut body beneath me, and his steady, rhythmic breathing. Even though he was fast asleep, his arms still locked tightly around me. My hands rested gently on his hip, my head on his chest, my feeling in bliss.

"You'll find love," they said. "You deserve love," they insist. "Just don't be alone for too long," they told me. But what is love? Do I really need it? Am I really going to risk my sanity once again? What's wrong with being alone?
 
There were times when it was the only thing I ever wanted in life. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be a special person to someone. I wanted a person who wants me, and only me. I wanted the butterfly in my stomach and the happily ever after.

I got what I wanted, along with the added psychological thriller and the dark, twisted comedy. Princess fairytale with a twist, so to speak. I've been there. It was maddening, it was beautiful, it was beyond perfect, right to the surprising end.

And I don't want to do that again. 

To confess love or affection towards me is akin to entering a contest for the princess' hand in old knight's tales. If you do not succeed or you are doing it halfheartedly, heads will roll. I will not accept anything less. 

Am I really worth the trouble? I don't know. Then again, it's not about how others feel about me, but about how I feel about myself. If nobody thinks I'm worth it, it's fine. I love my life right now and I have so many things to be grateful and happy about.

There were times when these words sound hollow and empty, when it was a poor excuse to hide the loneliness inside. There were times where sex is the only way I can get human contacts that I was craving for, the little bit of attention I so desperately wanted. 

Yet the world is not that scary anymore. Life has beaten me with an aluminum bat and I came back with an even bigger gun. This is the first time I feel whole, the first time I can look the world (and life) in the eyes and say with a smirk, 'Come at me, bro'.

He stirred in his sleep and hold me closer. The movie was still playing on the tv. I snuggled cozily. 

I know I am not completely healed. I know a single word of love and/or affection could send me reeling back into hopeless misery. The doubt, the distrust, the fear, the painful memory, these all will turn me into a savage monster and may God have mercy for anyone who happened to be there.

"There is someone out there who deserved you," my best friend said. "Well let him wait. Or lose my number. I am not interested," I replied with a wink. "You know you want it. You know it will make you happy. I want you to be happy," my best friend argued. I shrugged.

Maybe I want love after all. Maybe I still want my happily ever after. Maybe, when I am not broken anymore. Who knows, I might be un-broken again one of these days. I used to be so scared of life and world, and here I am living it to the fullest. And that's all that matter right now.

The voices are not always silent, though. A part of me gnarled ferociously at the thought of I'm not the only current lover he has. Yet a different part of me, the part that's busy planning all the board gaming, swing dancing, and doing other shenanigans was like, "That's perfect. Our social schedule is PACKED."

And she is right. It's not that I don't need love. It's that I am loving myself right now.

When the movie ended, I woke him up, call an Uber, and kissed him goodbye. As I stepped outside I was greeted by the nippy Los Angeles chill. It didn't bother me, as my body was still warm from the warmth of his body. I waved my Uber and walked with a smile. I am content. This is enough.

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