I've so many topics I want flesh out into full-fledged posts... but I can't make this a side note. Neither can I wait until later.
I can't afford to give into my defense-coping mechanism this time around now that I recognize it.
April 16th. It's been a frequent topic of late in my life.
Particularly since this week we got sent 2 Security Notice emails on what seems to be a continuing incident. I know exactly how I'd have felt if this happened before 4/16. I would've thought, "Well, that's random and jeez, what a weirdo!"
I'd have shrugged it off in the next heartbeat.
But I can't do that any more. My guard can't help but be up, and I'm waiting...for what? A tentative fear flirts in the back of my mind. Because nothing is ordinary, even as life goes on... Life is different.
For the record, I've complete faith that all the different police forces working together are doing their utmost to protect our community. They're every inch deserving of our respect and gratitude. I remember the Morva incident last Fall (also a Monday) on the first day of school. How some students took the opportunity of cancelled classes to hang out and play volleyball while the police were searching for Morva. Granted it was a beautiful sunny day, and Morva was quickly labeled off as that crazy kid off his rocker. I understand we are college students, and simply tend to go with the flow, even if it's somewhat bizzare. In fact, Facebook groups along the lines of "I survived Morva" were already being created!
But all that pissed me off. I felt it was so very disrespectful. An officer (Officer Sutphin) was killed early that morning while protecting our safety. It was my first week as a Resident Advisor (really, all things imaginable and un-imaginable happened to Res Life last year), and I was thankful my residents respected my wishes, our police, and the university lockdown.
I remember going to Officer Sutphin's memorial service Thursday.
How in making sure all my residents were okay with what happened, I had forgotten to make sure I was. There I was sitting in the pew, just listening. Honoring his life. Then I couldn't stop crying and crying, realizing belatedly that I forgot to bring tissues. It hadn't occurred to me that I might've needed them.
This is how I cope. I need to be forced to let it all out. To deal with the aftermath repercussions.
The day of April 16th, a girl came knocking outside of our dormitory's exit nearest to my room. Her boyfriend had been shot and he was hiding with her friend behind the tennis courts next to Cassell. In the face of all her extreme distraught, I became extremely calm by default. She thrust her phone into my hands. I verified her boyfriend's location. She wanted to know if she could take him to hospital and would the police prevent her since they had blocked off all streets (like I said, she was really and understandably distraught). The moment I said of course, that she can and should...she was running back to the tennis courts.
I never got her name.
My cell phone wasn't working of course, so I used the campus phone to notify the police. Then, it was time to let my supervisor know (she was in another building) and that's when all the adrenaline I had put on pause started rushing in, full-forced. My heart was running a mile a minute. And, I was pratically incoherent, stuttering like a broken record over sentences, as I told her what had happened.
After April 16th, I refused to watch or read any media for rest of school. I had residents to take care of, friends to simply be with. Classes were cancelled for the week, but I had duty the night of the Candlelight Vigil. I also took emergency duty for one of my staff, so I only went home for 2 days that week. I didn't mind at all, in fact I wanted it to be that way. I was in the mode, you see. A zombie. Supportive and empathetic, yes, but a walking zombie nonetheless.
Basically, I didn't fully mourn until I finally came home in May.
I appreciate all the positive changes that have resulted because of our university's tragedy (though, still skeptical of spending $22 million on a building). Even the frenzy of playing blame-game has its benefits because when people ask questions, seek answers...holes in the system are receiving due attention.
As a collective, my friends and I have recovered from the worst of the aftermath. But we are still recovering. We are comforted to see our mixed, complex feelings reflected in each another's eyes.
Unable to explain. Just understood.
April 16th is a part of my subconscious. It's a memory, lessons I will carry for the rest of my life. However, the warning alerts about this a guy around campus brings that subconscious to the forefront, into my conscious thoughts. It makes me want to go into that mode again.
Thankfully, writing can be a form self-therapy.
Friday, August 31
I've so many topics I want flesh out into full-fledged posts... but I can't make this a side note. Neither can I wait until later.
Thursday, August 30
Never heard of it? Seems to make no sense whatsoever? And, in fact, looks more RIDICULOUS by the very minute?
Shoot. I feared as much.
Yet, I refuse to change my title because I'm having entirely way too much fun playing around with these symbols (from a friend who almost succeeded in getting me to share her MySpace addiction). A friend whom I've instead converted over to the Blogging World.
Because hot damn I am THAT persuasively passionate with my addictions.
Right. Back to my shameless use of symbols.
First, allow me to
overdose you with symbols translate:
A³ ⇔ Triple A (or the 3 A's)
♥'s ⇔ Matters of the heart (specifically of yours truly)∴ A³ of ♥'s ≈ "On the Second Rule of Courtship"
So, did I lose anyone in translation?
Or is everyone more anxious that a currently-in-college student has possibly forgotten how to count? No worries, here was my First Rule of Courtship.
Hm, I call them "rules." However, if truth be told, I live to stretch any and all rules whenever possible.
Yeah, if truth were really to be told...
When I'm not feeling a bout of lonely resentment I don't feel that the person who said "It's better to have loved and lost than not loved at all" is in any way delusional whatsoever. I strongly believe in living every experience--good, bad, and the blahs--out to the full. It's why I'm sure I still retain tunnel vision even after mending my broken heart this summer (aka I've recovered, but am not ready to completely give my heart away just yet). Having said that, I admit human complexity will make sure we are never going to be sure about anything.
Hence, I felt it prudent to make a disclaimer. Therefore, in the words of James Thurber, "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception."
Now, on to the awkwardly titled 3 A's of My Heart equation.
So the other day I realized that I needed to cover some additional crucial points on this particular matter.
You see, my sparring partner Dan (yes, we've evolved into a whole theory in the works now) jokingly created a dating ad for me based on my 5 Signs of Serious (Physical) Attraction, 10 Non-Firsts, and recent adoration for Helmut Lotti:
"SAF seeks sweaty SM hand-model with delightful derriere, full head of hair and baritone voice for outdoor adventures."
Thanks, Dan. As usual, you are hilariously right on the money! Though after this post, I think I'll need to order an updated dating ad to include the following...
My Three A's:
ON WHY I NEED ACCOUNTABILITY
It's being responsible for your actions. Don't say what's not meant, and do what's been said. Hypocrisy is insincerity, laziness, and unattractiveness all rolled into one big, fat Ugly. And, not being able to trust makes a relationship feel empty, if not prone to disappointment as well.
ON WHY I NEED ADVENTUROUS
It's having a zest for life. You don't need to go off climbing Mt. Everest, spend a month trekking across Alaska or go try jumping out of planes. If you've done that, then good for you! But adventure shouldn't be used to impress or to prove something to people other than yourself. Adventure is a journey to be enjoyed. It's having a curiosity, a thirst (as my mom likes to call it) for Life. It's also a willingness to try new things—be it an activity, food, way of thinking...or inside the bedroom.
ON WHY I NEED ATTENTIVENESS
It's not just altruism, but being appreciative. Flowers and sparklers aren't expected everyday or some other cliché. I'd like flowers to be meaningful (and you never need a reason to play with sparklers!). Surprising me with a Just Because shows you can be thoughtful and appreciate how special every day is. Small gestures—when heartfelt—can go very far. Love shouldn't be routine, but a renewal. It's not for one person, but for ALL things in connection to that person.
A x A x A = A³
Which makes A³ what again?
By this Law of Attraction...well, somebody really Attractive.
Wednesday, August 29
The ability to stand and walk on one's own feet is the permament and common one.
Self-doubt is a frequent visitor to my life.
Although, not because of a lack of self-esteem. I think it stems more from an acknowledgement for the uncertainty of Life.
Of being only human.
I can and will confidently (or some might call it young bravado or what have you) walk my own path. Yet that doesn't mean I won't stubbornly question each decision every step of the way!
For looking back in regret is something I'd rather not suffer.
I much rather understand (and admit) that even if I could go back...be given the same situation in the same point in my life, I wouldn't have done it any other way. Probably couldn't have, either. I live to experience, and hopefully, I learn. So I strive to improve, and thus, I seek.
Ergo, I end up with some pretty freakin' ridiculously tough questions...and well, as you might imagine, some very unwelcome periods of self-doubt as well.
"You look different."[I lost 12 lbs in 3 days, it was NOT fun. Particularly strong in my memory is how I could only watch as my family merrily wolfed down sushi and other Japanese goodies at Narita Airport in Tokyo. Boy, was I sorely tested.]
"Really?! What do you mean?"
"I saw you walking in front of me, and I thought, 'Is that Joanne? No, that's not her...wait! It is!"
I laugh. "Yoga must've really done something to me, huh? Do you know, I'm down to the same weight I was last Thanksgiving break when I got food poisoning. Remember that?"
"Yes, I do. But, wow! Your body shape has changed somewhat...it's different." She's in her fitness-trainer-mode now (meaning she's giving me the head-to-toe inspection), "You look very healthy."~~~
"Well, thanks," I reply before admitting with a chuckle, "I'm also a LOT happier now!"
She nods. "It shows."
Honestly, three months ago? I was only 6 lbs more but was also lugging around this hefty load of invisible baggage. Or, so I thought was invisible. For my more astute friends (and immediate family members, esp. my mom), some things showed despite my putting-up-of a brave front.
Although, it now seems to have been more of avoidance and denial than any thing brave. You know, just like how there are some things you can't run from. That you shouldn't run from. That remain there until you finally work up the gumption to confront it.
At last, I think I can fully understand why every single one of my friends (female and male alike) did not like my former...um, what do I call him when I can't simply say his name (as I do to friends who knew him)? Well, psuedo ex-boyfriend will have to do.
So lately, I've been riding this spurt of re-ignited self-love and renewed appreciation for all it's worth. Besides being in that honeymoon phase where I'm falling in love with my friends all over again after summer separation...for the FIRST time in my life, I really love, love, love my classes.
I know! Doesn't that sound weird?
And, I've got yoga at least twice a week worked conveniently into my schedule. I've been gauging my body's response, paying attention to what I eat because I truly care. I want to continue enjoying that feeling of doing something good for my body...mind and spirit.
Now don't get me wrong. I've still the usual run-of-the-mill worries, and some latent ones, if my dreams are any indication (what? being a pirate king's daughter?!).
But, I'm not as...anxious.
I worked hard to land on my feet. And here I am, finally seeing how I can use them to walk across new possibilities.
It's funny how I realized in yoga class today that hey!...they actually looked quite pretty!
(sometimes, I'm just so weird like that)
Monday, August 27
Am I missing something? Why are all my friends getting engaged?!
I thought I had a couple more years before that started happening.
Oh, wait. It has been a couple more years.
Still, it feels surreal. Really, have I already matured to the age where getting a boyfriend can translate into getting a fiancé?
Jeez, Time flies. It seemed like only a short 2 months ago, I finally was able to legally drink.
Oh, wait. That was 2 months ago. So, what's the rush?
I'm mulling over this particular question because today I had the pleasant surprise (read: hour-long detour) of "yapping it up" with Holly.
Now let me digress for a moment—
As I am utterly compelled to express just how much I ADORE this spunky curly-haired sensation. We are so different on paper, but in my hearts of hearts...she is like an older sister. I value her judgement as much as I enjoy making her laugh. When chatting so intensely that we forget our ice cream bars are melting, I am ever more reassured that I have not made certain realizations too late...but, in fact, am making such decisions later in my life at the right time. For me. Whether it's academic, familial, health-wise, or personal. She is that kind of an inspirational friend. She's that supportive. That real.
Well, we finally got around to saying good-bye when Holly suddenly asked me,
"You probably know about Megan, right?"[insert flip-out session of surprised happiness]
"Yeah!" Then I pause when I realize haven't had time to catch up with Megan since my summer social-life hiatus, "Wait, what...?"
After recovering, I exclaimed, "I knew this was going to happen! Only I didn't expect it quite so soon."
"I know, I could tell she really wanted this last year."
I nod. Jim's not only a good man, but really good for Megan. Actually, they're really good for each other. I clearly remember the whole saga of last year, especially crying tears of joy over his sweet letter of confession (finally!) to Megan. I swear, Res Life staff last year should've been part of its own TV drama series.
Anyhow. Apparently people get engaged when I re-initiate my social life the first week back to school. Megan takes the personal tally count to a whopping 3. Which doesn't seem like a lot, but when you've never had a friend (or cousin for that matter since I'm on the older side of that generation spectrum for my family) be engaged, it practically seems like a quantum leap!
I mean it is definitely extremely heartwarming to see several of my good friends find It with someone. I'm not exactly sure how to explain what that is since I've never experienced it myself. However, I've seen it happen to people I care very much about. I'm seeing it happen to one of my friends, even though she doesn't know it herself!
And, I'm lucky enough to see it in my parents' own marriage.
Despite all of my parents' still teenage-angst-like fights (you'd think they'd tone it down a tad after passing fifty...maybe there's something else to be said for college sweethearts). Admittedly, it does make for some high expectations. Though only because I know finding, creating, living that high of love is actually possible. That it's worth the wait, and search.
And, okay! I'll admit that a part of me is a bit envious. It's that kind of good-natured envy I have for all my friends who always knew right off the bat exactly what they wanted to do with their life (career-wise). But of all of Life's lessons, of the most valuable is learning how to accept patience. Developing a yoga mind has helped a LOT with this.
So most people are really surprised to discover I've never had a boyfriend.
And, that until last fall, I had never been kissed.
I mean, even my kid sis—five years younger than yours truly—had her first kiss before me (some poor boy named Billy is on my Protective Older Sister Watch list). Looking back in 20/20 hindsight, it probably has something to do with me being a tomboy who'd punch any boy who tried to peck me at recess and then me being the oblivious bookworm nerd who attracted guys too shy to make a move worth following-up on... Although, it being middle and high school might've helped explain it.
As of right now, I know I'm only just starting to further realize (and accept) the complexities of my own self. So, I'm currently satisfied with—if not a bit apprehensive of—remaining patient until right timing meets opportunity.
So, my lucky friends. I'm all ears...who's wedding cake ought I plan on eating next?
Sunday, August 26
I must confess, I have a thing for widgets.
It's a lot like love, but I'll be real here. It's a helluva lot more like obsession.
See, I've been tweaking my blog layout since...well, since I started it. This is why I claim it's a lot like love. In turning all things I love doing into a continuously active process, I'm celebrating my passion for it. And, I'm rewarded (and fueled) by ever new discoveries. Granted, there are those days when I desire to ruthlessly murder certain widgets.
Fortunately, those days are far and few in between. *knock on wood* However, as can be imagined this "celebrating" led to quite an accumulation of widgets all over the freakin' place!!! Header, footer, left and right sidebars, in posts--if I liked it, you better believe I'd fit it...somewhere. Except I never stray far from my Buddhist roots, as laidback as they may be. So, I realized I had to start trimming my blog's unnecessary fat. Er, at the very least, relocating the fat.
For a useful guideline, I recommend checking out 50 tips compiled by Skellie.
Anyways, there I was merrily trimming away extra fat. Every single day this week I was making progress. At the risk of sounding like a weight-loss testimonial, it felt grrrrreat!
Then along came Uniqlock. Correction: along remained Uniqlock.
Now, I can't explain why in the world I should keep that widget at the top of my left sidebar. All I know is that I absolutely adore it!
I must thank my new friend Jon, who's probably thinking, "What?! I don't even have Uniqlock!"
True, but Jon did a spotlight post on SnapClap that cracked me up so much I followed the link he provided. There on SnapClap's side bar, I became mesmerized by the choreographed dancers. Again, I can't explain why I am so fascinated.
I could only think of 3 reasons that might possibly explain my awe:
- Watching them, I almost...almost...felt compelled to try ballet (keep in mind yours truly is a ballet teacher's worst nightmare come true).
- They all look the same!!!
- Each girl has the kind of Asian hair I don't.
I don't NEED a clock widget cluttering up my left sidebar. Time is irrelevant on the internet where people come from all over the world. It'd be an utter waste of space on my blog.
Except for Uniqlock, of course. Remember, just don't ask me why.
By the way, is "widgetal" even a word? Or should I just play it off as new Jo Jargon. ;)
Saturday, August 25
Human memory fascinates me.
Over the summer whenever my brain needed to recover from reading Dialectic of Enlightenment, I always stole a chicklit from my sister's room. One week she was reading Season of the Witch. And, unduly judging the book by its cover, I was doubtful of it being worth my time.
But besides needing a break from reading heavy philosophy, I knew Kim had tastes for chicklit that ran deeper. So, I gave it a shot one night when my mind was being restless. One cannot (I repeat CANNOT) read Horkheimer & Adorno in ADD-like fragments...train of thought gets lost and ended up re-reading a lot. I think it took me 30 minutes to even get past 5 pages that night.
Anyhow. As per usual, I was pleasantly surprised by her choice.
The book places a huge emphasis on the human mind, specifically on memory as a muscle. A muscle that has been deteriorating throughout the centuries as we become more and more dependent on technology to help us remember things. I understand you could argue that in this day and age we have sensory overload with all the things our mind has to process daily so we need to depend on our gadgets and whatnot. But haven't we evolved to be a little bit too dependent? I mean, what about the Greeks who had to remember verbatim what an orator said in order to pass the knowledge on to the public?
I can't even begin to imagine being able to quote a whole lecture from a professor. Or even a brief passage from Shakespeare--I mean, I could if I tried...but it'd be all short-term, you know? This is a gal who will take a voice-recorder to class when the professor goes really fast (or when there's a likelihood of dozing off).
Either way, having been really inspired by what I had read, I'm working on expanding and toning my memory. To flex that particular muscle more often. For the record, I've noticed an improvement from compiling The Quote Books I and II with my sister. When we discuss quotes you naturally want to be able to recall and credit it correctly.
Or if quotes aren't your thing (insert shocked gasp) you can practice with Pi, as my new dueling partner² has recommended. Personally, I think it was put best when he wrote about the benefits of such self-improvement in The Pleasures of the Mind: "We can achieve whatever we desire, if we put our minds to it."
¹Natasha Mostert, the author of Season of the Witch, recommended a book by Frances A. Yates called The Art of Memory. It's on my must-read list now.
²Why are we dueling? I've no idea. But it's so on.
Thursday, August 23
They have those words printed on the glasses at Sharkey's.
I want one!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, since I'm no longer an university official (Resident Advisors are considered as such), I feel more comfortable writing about my observations/opinions. And, one of these days I'll publish a post about that day and what I did--I didn't before because RAs weren't allowed to talk to the media (ack, I know, as if personal blogging counts, lols).
And, THIS I gotta share.
We have a police officer making rounds around the Drillfield. Which sounds pretty routine right? Right. We had that before April 16th (albeit less frequent compared to now).
...but he was on a Segway.
I'll try to get my hands on a picture to show. They're these really nifty white ones. I think there might be some logo of sort, didn't quite catch it since I was busy trying to pick up my dropped jaw.
First time I caught a glimpse I was on the phone with my mom and I just started sputtering. I think I laughed in surprise. Our university has changed so much since my freshman year, and I'm not talking just about the tragedy. However, it does seem like it always takes an event to speed up change. Breaks my heart when it has to be tragic. Other less publicized, but just as transforming changes have ocurred years before. And, HELL yeah I'm still bitter that they chopped off unannounced that gorgeous big old tree to build another engineering building. I wanted a chance to protest.
But back to the segway...because it still blows my mind. Kath summed it up best with her usual dry humor, "They must feel so powerful, all they need to do is lean forward." We laugh of course because that's what you do when you hit upon some absuridity of life, even though I'm sure we both feel soothed by the show of support.
Still, it's really...weird.
Police presence is so high on campus--in addition to our own University police force, the Blacksburg police, we now have the state police. That's another thing I miss about my RA work, the close interaction with the police force. They're such sweethearts. Just this morning, one stopped by the Judicial Office to "get a break from the heat" and chat while I was doing my judicial office hours. He was so friendly and really yapping it up in cute southern twang.
However, afterwards it did make me wonder if with all the extra police here...they must feel sort of bored at times.
I mean, I as much as I love Virginia Tech, I can imagine that it can get old watching the freshman with their brand spanking new bookbags go wander circles because every building looks the friggin' same. Deer-in-the-headlight look is quite hard to miss. So is the loud obnoxiousness.
Okay, I'm being mean. I actually don't mind freshman so much. Really, most have grown on me. Especially since last year practically all my residents were freshman--one of the best gifts they
gave still give me is their unbridled enthusiasm...for everything.
"Joanne!!!!! When are you gonna come visit our apartment??? It looks so cute, you have to see it!!!!!"
"Joanne!!!!! Why aren't you an RA anymore?? But you were the coolest one!!!!"
"Joanne!!!!! You're taking the Human Sexuality course?? That's so awesome....we wanted to, but it was full!!!!!"
"Joanne!!!!! You promised that you'd party with us when you were no longer our RA, remember?"
Haha, as you can see. Verrrry refreshingly...energizing!!!!!!!!!
Seriously, all the exclamation points in the world are not enough to convey. Chatting with them is like taking a shot of expresso.
Hm. Make that a double-shot. =)
Wednesday, August 22
Spread the Joy, baby.
I was planning to write this other entry about my random musing during my classes today, but I discovered really, really good news, which naturally took priority. A must-share-NOW! kind of news.
Not earth-shattering as I'm making it out to be, as it is to me. It's the blogs of two of my very good friends.
So in the order of my discoveries:
First. My good friend Kath has her own blog, which she started because (bare with my momentarily inflated ego) I did way back when... Okay, not so long ago and more like only a couple of months ago (if even), but it feels like I've been blogging for ages upon ages--it's become such an intergral part of my life and daily thought process, you know? I'm totally addicted to blogging, ha. That's why once I publish this entry, I'm hopping over to catch up with her entries at Sketching the Flow. And not just because I admire her so much or because I dearly love her sarcastic wit and downright lethal puppy-eyes look. I only know how to do the harmless puppy-eyes, definitely must work on finding my Inner Lethal...I swear, hers can melt glaciers and cut glass. Honest.
Second. I knew that Vy started one at the start of summer, but she refused to show despite much pleading (ya punk) until she finished tweaking. But she finally confessed that at her rate, her blog would end up never making its debut. I mean, it's fittingly called Slackholic™ for a reason, right.
On an unrelated note, this evening I got an email from... Well, put it this way, a blast from the past. However, like I said, I've already set time aside tonight for blogging (not emailing).
And, I'm not changing my plans. Some things can wait. I learned that this summer.
See how much I've...changed?
Monday, August 20
Because of friends.
Date: Sunday, August 19, 2007 7:09 PM
Subject: where my cow at?
It’s unsettling how I have to keep checking your blog to make sure you’re still alive. More so when I have to relay that discovery to others (Vinh, Miki, Kath) so that they too are reassured of your living state.
Oh, she cracks me up (besides being totally right on this one).
Yeah, FYI of another personal quirk: I become a recluse whenever I go home.
People who know this about me are close or good friends. And people who don't...well, they get used to it. Family matters are always a priority and become the main focus when I'm home. Back to juggling academics, extracurriculars, and my college social life, I'm currently re-adjusting to fill all the extra free-time I've got since I'm no longer an RA. I almost feel guilty for being so relieved...and in a sense, liberated.
Anyhow. It seems when break is long--as summer is--I tend to get too settled in my comfortable crab shell (LOLs). Especially since in the beginning I'll maintain a high contact with my family to ease the transition, it'll take awhile before I fully emerge.
No lie, it usually takes a month or two before even I start using AIM again.
Funny because it's not like I'm this shy introvert--you're reading the blog of a girl who grew up in 8 different states! I've pretty eclectic tastes and interests, which is probably why it took me so long to decide what to do with my life (besides raising a family). So that paired with a sincere smile makes it easy to strike up conversation with anyone. I believe I'm more so of what Myer-Briggs termed an extrovert-introvert (INFJ). Even though I took it in high school, I think it's still fairly accurate.
I'll re-take Myer-Briggs just for the hell of it one of these days when I'm again bored, restless, and curious. A dangerous combination, I tell ya as I'm still recovering from the OCD-impluse I had last night...
...where I did face recognition on MyHeritage for 15 different photographs. Possibly 20!?
Sunday, August 19
Be Happy! -Keeks =)
“Kiki-ah, why did you quote yourself?” I ask with a chuckle.
"I messed up a quote but didn’t want to rip the page out.”
Apparently, little sisters are an endless source of amusement.
...and my kid sis never ceases to amaze me (besides being an
infernal eternal chatterbox). As a fellow quote addict, she came up with this killer idea last year. Due to an inability to mutually decide on a title, it is simply called The Quote Book, which is pretty self-explanatory, but just in case—it’s a book of quotes ;).
With a lime green hardcover and copper spiraling, this journal is kept by one of us for several months at a time. For instance, these past two months I’ve dutifully scribbled quotes in its pages while she’s been in Chicago (for the Northwestern University academic camp I also went to). Now, she gets to keep it until I come home for Thanksgiving break and we make the switch again. And, we’ve started a The Quote Book II (yes, being unable to agree on a title is becoming the default) because the first is almost filled and being finished off at an exponential rate since the little perfectionist punk keeps tearing out pages she messed up on.
So, we've got a new book of quotes…and with new rules.
This time around we decided (dare I say agreed!?) to pen them in together. This way each page will have an equal meshing of quotes in both of our handwritings. Don't mind my bragging, but it'll look really cool.
Plus, it’ll temper our consumption of quotes a tad.
I mean, it’s one thing to be addicted and another thing to overindulge in the addiction. Nonetheless we’ve compiled SO many quotes that we’re starting to see accidental repeats, sometimes forgetting which quotes the other person has already added. Rather ironic since the basic reason for starting the quote book was to offer moments of diverting leisure. Some fresh words of encouragement. Of inspiration. Like some sort of sisterly support while I’m away from home…
Um, yeah. All that and an unspoken competition to “claim” (aka be the first to quote) new quotes! Ah, the utter irresistibility of sibling rivalry. Guilty as charged, we also take great pains to make every page aesthetically pleasing and without errors (the picky perfectionists that we both are wouldn’t do otherwise, you know).
Not that one shouldn’t always strive to give your best work; however, neither am I an advocate for workaholics.
Because clearly we are Quote Addicts, not Quotaholics.
Yes, there is difference.
Saturday, August 18
Granted it's hard enough living out those yearly resolutions (or living up to yearly forecasts). Ha! Well, try doing a 10-year one. I know, sometimes completing a daily To-Do List is complicated enough, so why jump to 10 years all of a sudden?
All because I read what Katharine Hepburn said "Wouldn't it be great if people could get to live suddenly as often as they die suddenly?"
Only I don't quite agree.
I wouldn't be so quick to think it that great. Call me morbid or pessimistic or whatever but no matter how sudden death is, one can be damn sure it's permanent. Whereas to suddenly live an epiphany is not...so continuous.
These passionate and appreciative moments always come and go in bursts. Bursts to live for (literally). For me, to live 'suddenly' is one thing while to continue to do so is much more deserving of the epithet 'great.'
This is beacuse in Chinese culture (or at least, as taught in the household I grew up in), a person's life is viewed in 10-year cycles, usually alternating the good and bad. Not every decade is going to be easy-sailing, but neither will it stay forever in the dumps. And if you pay attention, like correct any personal failings you may have and perservere wisely in shaking out a rough patch...you could very well end up successfully riding out each 10-year cycle with the maximum benefits.
Sweet, right. Although really easy to forget when seemingly insurmountable obstacle after obstacle is thrown at your feet.
I'm wondering, "Wouldn't it be great if I had more of that faith my mom has in my next (current) 10 year cycle?"
Maybe it's like losing weight slowly, you confront yourself in the mirror every day and don't see any discernable progress (and some days see regression!), but other people notice the difference....
Oh, this decides it! I'm the harshest self-critic, and in all likelihood, the most blind as well.
Friday, August 17
So, yeah. Finally the wait is over.
Score was finally released and it's about average as I figured, considering I only really prepped 2 months. Funny thing is though, the section I thought I messed up on (verbal) actually ended up being the highest score.
Completely deja vu from SATs, where I didn't pay as much attention to verbal and it ends up being the best. Maybe I have some form of test anxiety?
Either way, all this hardcore studying makes me feel I'm in the wrong major all over again.
I envy those people who know exactly where their skill is or have always known what they are most passionate for.
Wednesday, August 15
...Doesn't even begin to describe my present internal state frazzled nerves. Although, on the outside, I just seem slightly quieter than usual (only my mom can detect any outward sign of stress, but then again she's mom).
See, I've lots to say right now, but with all the packing left to do and dealing with high-strung nerves (because my score release is between today and Friday, EEK!!!)...I really don't have the quality concentration it takes to flesh out a thought to a full-fledged post.
So instead I will draw attention to the left sidebar to a new list I started, "Sites of Varying Degrees of Interest."
Haha yes, I do frequent Men's Health, the sex and relationships column in particular. I'm always interested in the male perspective...and for improvement. And, I must admit, some of the most insightful advice and honest words have come from my guy friends. They rock.
Hm, this reminds me of another amusing personal quirk...or rather, it's more of a confession, but either way it'll have to wait.
Because if I sit in front of my VAIO any longer with no idea what my score is (or when I'll know), I'll surely go insane. If I haven't already.
Tuesday, August 14
Then what am I?
Because I swear my hair is suspiciously Very UN-Asian-like.
Admittedly, I am--by no means--an expert on Asian hair (or on anyone's hair for that matter). Even my self-proclaimed 'expertise' in dealing with my own hair is rather dubious at times. However, I do possess a not-always-favorable-and-experienced opinion on this unruly mass momentarily restrained by several clips to a somewhat respectable entanglement.
Oh wait, did I say unruly in that run-on sentence? I meant curly.
Yeah, that's right. I'm this five-foot-nine Chinese girl with naturally curly hair.
Which right now isn't its natural black, but a dark reddish-brown. You see that picture (taken in March 2007)
on the side bar? It’s me…but with straightened hair. So, don’t be fooled.
Yours truly really is that tall Asian girl afflicted with curly hair, for life.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are many days when I appreciate (and yes, even feel some kind of lucky to have) these curls…
This is NOT one of those days.
Before I was introduced to Charles Darwin way back in elementary science, I was this blissfully ignorant kid who thought my wisps of curling tendrils were due to my mom's permed hair (haha!). Seeing every other Asian girl (this includes my younger sister) with naturally straight and thick hair, I didn't know how else to accept mine. Even the years after evolutionary biology shot down my naïve theory, I still don't know how to explain it. Everyone in my immediate and extended family is Chinese (last I checked).
By middle school, I went through a phase of denial and repeatedly blew-dry my hair straight, inadvertently damning it to a hideously frizzy mass (the memory so scars me that to this day I refuse to touch a hair-dryer). I went on to become a big fan of the ponytail and wore the messy bun practically every day, a style my mom claimed made me look like a spinster and my dad teasingly dubbed as "Bird's Nest Head." It wasn't until high school that I started embracing the truth, but then I was introduced to the oh-so wonderful ceramic straightener by my college roommate.
However, I'm not a morning person and I’ll be honest…I’m naturally lazy and do not like spending more than 15 minutes on hair and make-up whenever possible. And!!!! I found that after straightening my hair and showering, my hair curled even more!
I kid you not.
Oi. When you can’t beat ‘em…better off loving those personal quirks.
Gotta say though, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed baffling many a hairstylist in my young life.
Monday, August 13
Call me crazy, but don't try to convince me it's a good sign.
By all accounts (don't ask me whose), when a charmingly witty, surprisingly insightful chicklit romance (The Fortune Quilt, Lani Diane Rich) ends in happily-ever-after...and brings me to sniffling tears, don't tell me that's a good sign.
Whoever said it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all is delusional. Voltaire is totally right--optimism is madness. No matter how sweet, such madness can only last so long before breaking, before I need a break.
Because I got a glimpse of it. Because someone managed to come closer than anyone else before. Because I know what it feels like, I seem to miss it all the more.
Um, better to have lost than not at all? Yeeah, crazy.
Remember to slap me upside the head next time.
The single life before my present state of single-after-being-pseudo-not-single is a lot more appealing. Knowledge is power, ignorance is bliss. But why can't there be a cliché that goes something like, I don't know, knowledge is bliss?! You know, do a little harmless substitution to the equation and ba-da-boom...problem solved!
Yeah, yeah. I know that while my self-esteem was shaken after our non-relationship psuedo break-up, I emerged with more confidence in and love for myself (bear with the Unbearable Narcissist in me for it's always gloriously short-lived). That's a good thing, for sure. But jeez, it still really, really sucks.
I'm not an eloquent writer (those days are rare) so am hard put to find a better way to express these feelings of...utter suckiness. The closest analogy seems to be like randomly finding a tiny splinter under the skin of your finger. The irritating prick is hard to get out. You know it's there, see it...feel it. You alternate between trying to coax it out and forcibly squeezing it out. Playing the professional, you take tweezers to try to pull it out, but the splinter is settled too securely in your skin and just out of reach from the surface.
Almost as if taunting you.
Finally, you curse it to hell and try to forget about it. What's the point when it refuses to leave? So, you continue with daily life because no one will know that you've got a splinter plaguing your finger unless you tell them.
Then one day, you wake up and realize, "Hey! That irksome splinter is gone! Whee!"
The finger is all happily healed...
Well, for the time being until you come across another splinter.
Sunday, August 12
All it took was a pervert masturbating in public to ruin my time at the library.
Yesterday afternoon, the family and I made a brief stop at our local library. Keeks needed to check out some books, my parents wanted to catch up on their Chinese newspapers, and I was more than happy to take the time to browse through my favorite magazines.
So, there I was enjoying The New Yorker when I happened to look up as I turned the page. This sad-excuse for a man, judging to be in his thirties, was wearing light but reflective sunglasses and sitting on a footstool facing the wall of newspaper stacks. Nothing out of the ordinary. Except he kept staring at me and when I looked up he jerked his head away abruptly and just stared off to the side in a very still and unnatural manner. A bit weirded out, I went back to my magazine but kept track of him in peripheral vision. Mere seconds later he was back to staring at me. I looked up a second time...and was totally creeped out that to see the tell-tale masturbating movement between his knee-length basketball shorts. With shock and thinly-veiled disgust, I jumped out of my seat and walk a few steps away. My mom who as sitting next to me (not in line of the pervert's sight), asked me what's wrong. In whispered Chinese, I only tell her about the creep staring at me (and I don't disclose the encounter in full until we're all in the car). She leans over and produces such a cold stare (my mom has the most expressive eyes) until he leaves. I go in search for my sister to alert her.
Call me naïve or whatever, but what the hell. This is a popular library, by a small park with a basketball court. Elderly people come here for leisure, little kids for story books, high school students to study.
My sister comes every weekend during the school year.
I'm not an insensible innocent that I don't know that such perverts exist in the world, but this was my first such encounter. And, I hate that it happened in a place that is a bookworm's beloved haven. The slimy bastard.
Actually, I label him more a coward. Not that I'm implying rape is a sign of courage. I have equal contempt for all scumbags.
But I take the self-defense course taught every year by my university's police force, and this experience tempered my hubris.
Definitely a humbling reminder that a female needs to always be on her guard.
Saturday, August 11
I'm going back to school in a little over a week, and I worry.
Even as the eldest, I'm not a worry-wart by nature (in my family, that's my kid sis...which probably explains why she gets better grades than me, haha). In fact, my mom always jokes, sometimes half-despairingly, that through the last minute I still maintain this calm. She oft uses the Chinese saying, roughly translating into, "While the Emperor is in no hurry, the eunuch is at his wit's end with worry." Shoot, need to work on being less wordy when translating these things--the actual saying is only 8 Chinese characters.
After chatting a bit this morning with my mom, I realized it's her that I'm worried the most about. Bear with all the vagueness for now, I'm just jotting down this in a rush in between running errands before yoga today!
Wednesday, August 8
Writer's block never hits out of the blue.
You're welcome to disagree. But for me, I write about whatever I'm currently thinking and feeling.
Therefore, it means there's only two reasons I suffer writer's block:
- I have too much to say and ambitiously want to say ALL of it at once
- I attempt to write about something when my mind's full of another thing
However, I figured it didn't matter--I mean, there's always something to say about...something. So, I started a post and exhausted my energies on the subject because I took so long in choosing a suitable title. No matter, I simply opened up a new post. But then, I couldn't decide on how to introduce it. Ever the trooper, I tried yet another topic...though it soon became quite clear that even a coherent fragment seemed beyoned my abilities. By this point, you can imagine how worried I was getting. Taking a break, I remembered I hadn't drank my green tea yet. So, caffeine brings a fleeting surge of inspiration, but unfortunately doesn't last far down enough to get a scrolling bar created.
And now? Now I have 5 consecutive saved drafts on Blogger.
Although draft is an overstatement of actual length. This is not writer's block and more like writer's strike...it's like some voice keeps saying, "I know what you're really thinking about."
So what is yours truly really thinking about?
Well, actually I keep cursing site meter. As I get a minor heart-attack every time someone from Germany stumbles across this page. Which happened twice the other day. I know, I know! After recovering, I realized that I needn't panic unless it's from Stockholm. Because the someone I've thought about so much in the past (and thus blogged often about) is still in Sweden and should not be in Germany yet.
Ahh, what a relief. Silly girl, you worry too much!
And then today, some innocent web-surfer comes along from...
Yep, you got it. Stockholm, Sweden.
Damn you site meter! A gal's heart can only take so much at a time.
Tuesday, August 7
I'm sentimental. I'll keepsake. And, I'm no exception.
Culture will always influence me, but I do wonder... Perhaps certain clichés come about because of some fixed basic human nature? I mean, of all things to keep reminders in, haven't I too succumbed to the timeless allure of putting things away in The Shoebox?
Everyday, it sits there in the same old corner. On top of my childhood dresser. And, right below my bookshelves, which are these two wooden slabs spanning across the entire width of one wall. So that every morning when I fish around in my drawers for a t-shirt and every night when I peruse my wooden shelves for some bedtime reading, my peripheral vision catches it.
It's gotta be a bad sign I'm starting damn that corner, isn't it? I'm always tempted to throw shoebox out.
Fuck sentimentality. Even without it twenty years later, I'll still be a romantic! ...right?
Yet, whenever I've half a mind to follow through on such a threat, I'll open the shoebox to look at each item...because, you know, it is the last time. Not surprisingly, it's not long before I realize that I can't bring myself to toss it. Not yet, I'd say, not quite yet. So, I shut the lid to the shoebox and once again return it to its damned corner.
Did you know? I used to just apathetically accept the shoebox as a clichéd tradition of sorts. Then my own experience caused me to recognize its...usefulness. On the outside, the ordinary look of a scruffed-up shoebox belies the once significant (okay, still meaningul) pieces held within. While on inside, why it's crazy how every thing (except a poster he painted with a special note on the back) manages to fit! Memories that I don't want to replay yet don't want to lose.
If you're like me--that is, a fellow inmate to the human nature of relentless curiosity--then, you might be wondering what's in this shoebox...
Well, there's the two postcards from Europe, his letter (on a notepad I had bought him as a joke because of the header's punchline, "INDECISION IS THE KEY TO FLEXIBILITY") that accompanied the first and only time he gave me flowers, and his even longer letter (also using the same notepad) that explained his bag of parting gifts: Haribo Goldbӓren (German gummi bears I love), a jar of Nutella, his old carabiner (he rockclimbs), a piece of string (because of the time I made him play Cat's Cradle with me, lols), Huggies wipes (for hugs), whey protein (he's not the only one who likes to tease how my arm muscles are non-existent), Hershey kissables (for kisses), and a bubble set (he calls me Bubbles).
Yep, all those things, even the bag and tissue paper they came in, are in the shoebox.
I also put in a pair of sunglasses he chose for me and his sleeveless shirt I borrowed for rockclimbing the last time we saw each other. He called the next day to say that it made him very happy to realize that I had 'stolen' his shirt. He mentioned how it was getting too small for him anyways, so I probably won't be able to convince him to take it back come Spring. For the record, I honestly forgot his shirt was still in my tote bag. Of course, he doesn't believe me and insists I stole it, haha! Oh, boy.
Granted, this shoebox only contains a portion of memories, but I think because there's a tangible representation, a physical presence...it's a lot harder than deleting voicemail and previous text messages. I keep our emails and old AIM logs, but have them moved to a separate folder on my computer. I figured, at least if it's out of sight...it'll be out of mind?
But these aren't the issues I have with the Shoebox. My problem is what my Shoebox Syndrome represents, which is saving the past. Saving = holding on + not letting go = not moving forward = bad*.
So, I've come to the same conclusion of no solution. Which means I'm waiting some more before coming to a decision.
Either way, I know there will come a time when I won't keep a box specifically for memories of him. Just as I know that whatever I decide, I'll be keeping the handwritten letters/postcards at least...BUT they'll be kept with a collection of handwritten stuff from other friends as well.
*for all the advanced math I've taken, I always did enjoy writing proofs the most.
Monday, August 6
Because the other day I did claim it all starts in the little things.
So, I'll admit. Yours truly has been putting up the good fight (but unfortunately for bad reasons) against doing these things:
- Changing the label to something with the word "Past" included and something more...ordinary than "Formerly 365." That way if I were again prompted to write as if the past were the present, my tag would serve as a warning reminder. Good idea, neh?
- Removing (before, I only lightened the font color and moved it from my header to the bottom of my blog) completely the quote of his words, "Remember the super stutter when you self-combust with joy." It's just that I really like that sentence...*pouts*...despite it being a chain-reminder that unleashes memories exponentially.
- Coming to a conclusion about The Shoebox Syndrome, which I'm currently afflicted with.
I've promised myself to post conclusions on my "syndrome" (and make abovementioned two blog corrections) sometime in the near future. Like, hopefully today. Er, I suppose tomorrow would be just as fine, no? Or, maybe it's a better idea to wait until the end of this week, at least?
I mean, there's a reason why it's called baby steps.
Seriously, I oughta stop this moping (and whining). And just make the leap already! You'll agree, I can't say I'm making a fresh start if all evidence points that I'm still at the top of the cliff. I must start at the bottom of the mountain again, right? New starts should be honest and genuine.
Plus, I'd rather think taking leaps off a cliff will be more exhilarating anyhow.
That is, if a heart-attack isn't suffered in the process. *knock on wood*
5 PM, same day: 2 down, 1 to go! Sweeet.
Sunday, August 5
Forget being dined and wined.
PBS (shush, I know I'm a nerd) was on Saturday morning while I did the family dishes, and my ears and eyes got quite the treat. The spotlight was on this Belgium native who had a voice (and style) reminiscent of Bing Crosby, particularly in his recent double album, The Crooners.
So, he crooned and I promptly swooned.
Helmut Lotti is not eye candy newly rotated in. He managed to secure a part of my loyal heart. He is my latest wonderful discovery. My new 'love.' I am crazy for his voice, yes, but also his for performance persona and style...I adore the way he carries himself. Every once in awhile, you're lucky enough to come across a star who just gets it. And boy has he got it! Why the man's making me laugh one moment and sigh dreamily the next.
All on PBS.
A weakness is a weakness is a weakness, as Gertrude Stein once said about roses. I tell ya, yours truly is a sucker for a guy who successfully appeals to my romantic side. It's a common joke that men and boys alike tend to be led by their...um, other head. But it's not a joke for me to claim my romantic heart sets (in stone, lined with flowers but of course ;) the path I follow. It's been a truth, time and again.
The way he smiles, especially when singing...my favorite songs being "The Most Expensive Girl" (which has lyrics and a message reminding me of my parents' own marriage), "Caterina," "That's Amore," and any duet with Isabel Adams. And how his eyes twinkle! In this photo from a music video, he's on a balcony with Isabel Adams (not sure if that's how you spell her name) who sings just as unforgettingly. They used to be competitors while growing up so he's known her since she was 12...now they're a star duet. How sweet! Wouldn't you agree? Even if their relationship is platonic. Speculation does tend to possess a wild, irresistable charm of its own.
Anyhow. To say the least, this gal's fallen in for Helmut Lotti. Not head over heels, mind you, for then I wouldn't have been able to see clearly...and my eyes stay glued to the TV. Until it was unfortunately time to leave for Shoba's yoga class. Just like how today I want to gush some more on this subject, but alas! It's again time for yoga once more.
See how I can be such the dedicated student? *tee hee*
Friday, August 3
"Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable." -Voltaire
Then such sweet, sweet madness I am.
Because reinforcing the knowledge that I am not helpless--knowing I can actively tackle WHAT's been causing me misery--gives me joy and a peace of mind. To be more accurate, I ought to say WHO's been...since I'm pointing this finger at a mirror. While finding it easy to cut everyone else slack, I too often give the person who needs it the most (me), the very least. It means that I'm perpetually competing with myself to be not only BETTER, but the BEST I can be this very moment for the very next. A daunting (and as you can imagine, at times annoying and tiresome)
task inherent quirk tendency, but in the end--worth every shred of self-satisfaction.
To me, I've found restricting potential leads to a treacherous breeding ground for the wrong sort of regrets. As if there's such a thing as having the right sort of regrets? Or at least, better regrets? Ha, what an amusing paradox.
So anyhow, here's today's much-needed, long overdue (really wish I knew a catalyst to speed up these things up) epiphany for self:
ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN--WHEN YOU LET IT HAPPEN, THAT IS.
By refusing to dwell any longer on how my sentimental heart can’t seem to move on fast enough for the likes of my impatient mind, I am that less miserable. Instead, I am focusing on the fact that I can and have been moving on, albeit with MUCH frustration at the seemingly snail's pace. Whoops, there I go again! Basically, the fact remains: I am moving.
Where will all moving this lead me, I've no idea (hopefully less posts on the same old story of not moving on vs. maybe moving on vs. moving on, definitely been a topic overexhausted). Although, I do garner confidence in knowing that at least I'm traveling to a place better than before. Yippee for optimism! See how this feeds me hope? It pretty much fuels it. By remembering it's all behind me…well then, fear simply becomes this weak reason for my holding back (or, holding on). To remember to keep allowing myself breathing room (memo to self: remember to cut yourself some damn slack now and then!), there's growth...that means change is happening, and that’s...making progress!
Aww, now ain't THAT something? Seems like the Optimistic Diehard in me has resurfaced to light my life again.
Gotta admit it, though. I sure have missed her.
Thursday, August 2
Wow. And, that has got to be one of the worst post titles ever*.
That is, if your eyes can recover from all the blinding white my blog has become.
See, I can't change the fact that half of my posts are on a boy I wish I'd think less about (thus making it the biggest, literally, tag in my cloud), but I can change the dark look of old. I can, and have...obviously.
I found the unfathomable black comforting when I wrote about suffering the darkest hours of heartache. Damn, those days were bleak. Granted, I still have aches now...but all the depressing black was really starting to irk me. In fact, MORE irk-ish(?!) with every passing day! No longer comforting, and more like a symbol of the past. So, I felt that if I were to continue to post in black...well, it'd sort of be like I'm still in mourning of my lost heart, you know?
So, I've decided August is the month.
Fresh start on my blog-layout. Because it all starts in the little things.
*edit: it's the next day, August 3rd and jeez am I so very, very tempted to change the title. Must. resist. editing. urge. (this one time, at least)
*post-edit: it's August 7th, the title still drives me nuts, but has somehow grown (!!?) on me. And so, it stays...
Wednesday, August 1
Since I'm on the topic of fears, must give pause to momentary (I hope) personal crisis.
What if I've got all my priorities backwards again? What if I've LOST my priorities?! Damn fucking pride likes to get in the way of EVERYTHING.
Whew. Okay, feeling slightly better.
But only slightly.
Shiv (whose blog I like to read) and her Lucy Snowe Band have an upbeat song I just can't get enough of. The lyrics to "Twelve Two" are...perfect. Such range, and such a treasure. Go to their new Myspace page and listen to it. While reading these lyrics. Now.
The song sharpens the outlines of a hazy fear which was always lurking in the back of my mind (this something, mentioned at the end of this old post, I gave up trying to figure out last week). THIS is what's been bothering me and my late nights. And, reading the lyrics (while
What I fear--verbalized, celebrated and set to a catchy tune. I am reminded of what a part of me still can't help but hope for. What I love and long for...but yet am also so damn afraid of...of actually happening. I can still feel everything (and him) deeply. My confidence and percentage of surety wavers when I look too far ahead, if I try to consider all that may and will happen. This jumbled mix of feelings makes me unsure of my step. Wondering often if I'm just getting ahead of myself as I tend to do. A downside of thinking too much.
I like (as much as I do procrastinate) to be prepared, and my most valuable tool in navigating the Unknown also known as My Life...is well, knowing who I am.
I know what I could want in the future (when he re-enters my life 8-9 months from now)--and my god! has it been battling fiercely with what I know I don't want now. Except there's a small part of me that does wish for it, and now.
And, I've been stubbornly refusing to acknowledge its existence, my own weakness.
"Didn't know what hit me when I saw you standing there
You pull me closer, draw me back, and I am lost in you
And though I know the reason that we missed last time around
Remains as valid, proper, realised right now as it ever was.
We drew that line to save ourselves
'Cause we both know we're in no place
To offer what the other needs
But that's a risk that I will take
That is a choice that I will make
'Cause I know what it's like to wake up next to you.