26 February 2016

As You Are

“I envy people that know love. They have someone who takes them as they are.” ~ Jess C. Scott, The Devilin Fey 
I've been watching couples lately.  I watch how they interact with each other in public, and I listen to stories from friends and even strangers about their relationships.  I am curious about the mechanics of how relationships are supposed to work.  I feel as though my track record with past relationships has not been very good.  Did they all fail because of me?  Did they fail because of the men who I chose? Why have all my relationships failed?  Was I too intense?  Too clingy?  Or was I too distant and not open enough?  

I try hard in any relationship in which I am involved.  With my last relationship, I tried so hard that I felt exhausted and spent at the end of it.  I try everyday, by being supportive, by listening, by rearranging my days and schedule to accommodate theirs, by taking care of them, and by being the person who I believe they want me to be.  

I have spent most of my adult life being a skewed person of myself.  I have contorted myself to be someone else to make others happy, and along the way, I have forgotten who I am inside.

But the "me" inside, the "real" me, wants to come out.  It wants to be seen, to be heard, to be felt, to be needed, to be taken care of... to be loved.  When was the last time someone took care of me? When was the last time someone bent over backwards for me?  I have been so busy twisting and turning myself to take care of others, but they in turn don't do anything to take care of me.

Every day, I see couples on the train, on the streets, in office buildings, and at grocery stores.  I see them holding hands, leaning up against each other, or even kissing.  I look at the faces of these couples, and I examine the smiles on their faces.

The other night, I was at the grocery store.  I walked up on a couple arguing in the parking lot.  "You want to walk, don't you?"  the man said to his wife.  "Ha!" she replied.  "I can't believe you said that. You are so walking." he said. She starts laughing. "Then you're going to have to call my mother and tell her you made me walk home."  They both laughed and he put his arms around her.  As I walked past them, they both smiled at me.  Here was a couple comfortable enough to fight, but yet remain loving and playful with each other.  I felt a tinge of envy.

I deserve that, too.  I deserve to be loved, just as I am, and not have to work so hard at twisting myself into the person others want me to be.  Maybe if I didn't try so hard and just be myself, it might just happen.  

23 February 2016

Rain and Rainbows

“If you want to see a rainbow you have to learn to see the rain.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Aleph

Sixth Avenue, NYC | Photo by ♥ N o v a

It was a dark, damp, cold, and rainy day.  I wanted to go outside for lunch today, but decided to stay inside the office instead.  It is nice to walk in the rain on warm summer days, but not so fun in the winter when the raindrops feel like ice daggers stabbing your skin.  

Rainy winter nights are perfect for staying home and curling up under warm blankets, with a cup of warm liquid in front of a fireplace.  

My apartment in New York is small, although quite big for city standards. What I miss the most about living in the suburbs is the spacious living area.  I have no fireplace here, and the rain makes me nostalgic for the house in which I grew up.

I remember a lot of evenings of when I was young, and how my family dealt with being relegated to the indoors because of torrential rainstorms.  We would sit around the kitchen table and play board games.  My favorites were Boggle and Monopoly.  I recall one afternoon when my whole family was home.  We were living in prairie land Nebraska, and it was during tornado season.  The high winds and powerful rain pellets knocked out the power, and so we lit candles and tried to wait out the storm. For entertainment, we had an hours-long Monopoly match.  I was always a sore loser and wanted to win. Unfortunately for me, my father was very competitive and so it was from those sessions where I learned to accept defeat.  It was during those times when we were trapped in the house that, looking back now, my mother was always so happy.  Maybe if it were not for the voice of Mother Nature telling us to slow down, we might not have ever stopped home long enough for all of us to be present at the same time.  Since my mother was a stay-at-home mother, she was home alone for most of the day, with me and my siblings off to school, and my father at work.  She must have loved bad weather for it had forced us to be all together at home.  I have many fond memories of her chicken and rice soup that was a staple for when the weather was bad.  It is from those experiences and those memories that make me love staying home whenever rain comes my way.  For me, rain has always equated to home and warmth, and whenever I am in a relationship, I look forward to staying home with my partner, cooking together, watching a movie together, or making love to the sound of the raindrops on the windows.

After the rain has left, I look forward to seeing the rainbows.

22 February 2016

Cleansing

“After all, perhaps dirt isn't really so unhealthy as one is brought up to believe.” ~ Agatha Christie, Murder in Mesopotamia
I read somewhere that the first step in organizing your life is to organize your living space.  And so, I started first by organizing my mail and bills, piling them all in neat little stacks.  Most of my mail was junk mail, and the rest were bills or bank statements.

I made binders of the various papers, categorizing them by name and sorted them in alphabetical order for easy access.

Once I cleared away all the papers, I was able to dust and vacuum.  I even steam-cleaned my drapes and couches.



It is a lovely feeling to be able to come home after a long day at work and relax in a cozy and clean environment.

17 February 2016

Eeyore

“Each of us must decide: Am I a fun-loving Tigger or am I a sad-sack Eeyore?  Pick a camp.” ~ Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Among my friends, I would say that I am the sad-sack Eeyore.  I do not mean to be, but I suppose that is just who I am.  I am not sure if I just feel things more deeply than my friends, or if they just hide it better, but many of my friends seem to skate happily through life, despite any traumas they may experience, while I seem to take to heart every little affliction that comes my way.

If something happens to me or if a thought crosses my mind, I like to examine it, process it, re-examine it, ponder about it, and then either hold onto it, or let it go.  When things happen to my friends, they may think about it for a while, but then they let go of it immediately.  They move on with unbelievable speed, and then you do not hear of it ever again.

I suppose part of the reason why I keep a journal is because it is a way for me to chronicle my life and thoughts.  I told a friend of mine once about my diary habit, and she laughed and said that she would never waste precious time thinking about any event or idea long enough to ever write about it.

Do people like her heal more quickly than people like myself who analyze everything?  I tend to think so.  She has had her fair share of disappointments in life, but she seems to take things in much better stride than I ever would.  People like her are like Tigger, fun-loving and "bouncy" while people like I am are like Eeyore, sad and ponderous.
     
I guess the Tiggers and Eeyores of this world need each other to balance out one another.  



16 February 2016

Nobody Knows

“He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that's what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you." ~ Hannah Harrington, Saving June
I recently lost my mobile phone and lost all my data along with it.  I was quite lax with syncing my mobile and saving my data to a "cloud."  As such, I lost hundreds of songs that I had saved on my phone.

Thinking of songs to download and then to upload onto my phone has been quite tedious.  Rebuilding my music library has been painfully slow.  Oddly enough, as I was flipping through channels on my television, I stumbled upon a 90s music station and I sat there and listened to the songs for a good hour.

It was like having the radio on, but over the television.

Although I really consider myself an 80s music kind of girl, the 90s were also an important decade in my life.  It is the decade in which I graduated university, and it was also the decade when I first got my heart broken.  I've always believed that you are not fully an adult until you have had your heart split open into a million pieces.

I spent much of the 90s loving, and then pining for the one who I have come to call my Immortal Beloved.  I am over him, now, but during that phase in my life, every breath that I took, every beat of my heart, and every thought in my head was for him.

So, as I sat in my living room over the weekend, transfixed to the 90s music station, I was transported back to that sad, lost, and depressed girl crying over her first lost love.

Listening to the music, I remembered the pain that I had felt back then, and the hopelessness that ran through my veins.  I did not know then that the heart is an incredibly durable muscle and can withstand multiple wounds and even be put back together after it has been crushed.

One song that I heard on the music channel was Nobody Knows by the Tony Rich Project.  It is a song about lost love and living with the pain of that loss everyday and no one knowing about it.  This song perfectly expressed my life when my heart was first broken.



10 February 2016

Auto-Pilot

“Water that never moves." I say to him. "It's fine for a little while. You can drink from it and it'll sustain you. But if it sits too long it goes bad. It grows stale. It becomes toxic." I shake my head. "I need waves. I need waterfalls. I want rushing currents.” ~ Tahereh Mafi, Ignite Me
Water that has been left out for too long becomes foul and stale.  Similarly, people who are stagnant do not expand their horizons and can become bitter and depressed.

Such is the case for me.  The last holiday trip I took was in November of 2014 when G and I went to Costa Rica.  We are now well into 2016, and I have yet to even plan some kind of meaningful vacation.

The main issues are time and money, as it is for a lot of people. Although 2015 was a much better year financially than the prior year, I am still struggling to recover from when I lost my job at the end of 2014.  The last few months I have been juggling one full time job, and two side consulting gigs, and so time has been limited.  As for the money, there just never seems to be enough, no matter how much I work.  I always wonder how other people seem to live normally, while I work 60+ hours a week and still struggle to make every end meet.

I am on auto-pilot, and there hasn't been much room for detour.  A typical day:  Wake up, shower, rush to drop off G at school to make the train, get to the office, work all day, rush back home in the evening to pick up G from school, spend time with G, make dinner, prepare meals for the next day, shower, go to bed, lather, rinse and repeat.

I am tired and depressed and desperately need to be thrown off this current ride.


09.02.2016 | Washington Square Park

04 February 2016

Aiza

“When someone you love dies, and you're not expecting it, you don't lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there's a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she's gone, forever —there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.” ~ John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany 
I first met Aiza in early 2004 on Xanga.  Through our public blogs, we shared each other's thoughts and feelings, and we had formed a unique friendship. We met once in person, in the winter of 2006, when she came to visit New York City from San Francisco.  We celebrated her visit to the East Coast by having dinner at the legendary Lucky Cheng's drag restaurant.  We both agreed that the food was sub-par, but the highlight of the evening was the drag entertainment.  After dinner, we walked through the city, and we promised that we would see each other again.  

She had been diagnosed with lupus before I had even met her.  Much of her blog was about her condition, her struggle to remain healthy, her frustrations and achievements in attaining her Ph.D. in Biology, her lab and research experiences, and her quest to find that one special guy.  

Throughout the years, we had remained in touch, mostly through our blogs and through Facebook.  I find it amazing that we live in an age where you can find true friendship online.  She even frequently commented here on this site (Cathe311), and although she no longer blogged as frequently as she once did, she often left very insightful posts on her Facebook which all her friends appreciated. 

Aiza passed away on January 24, 2016 due to complications from lupus. Although I had only ever seen her in person once, I miss her presence very much.

This is an excerpt from her eulogy:
At the time of her passing Aiza was in the final stages of finishing her PhD.  Aiza was a great wife, an outstanding mother, strong daughter, caring sister, auntie, cousin and wonderful friend.  Despite knowing she was diagnosed at a young age with lupus, Aiza was very appreciative and also aware of how extremely precious life is. She never took a day for granted and she was always willing to try and share her experiences with her family and loved ones whether it was traveling, dining out at new places, or even trying extreme adventurous hobbies such flying or jumping out of planes, and even spontaneously wanting to travel around the world. Yet, she was also able to make time to be with her family and many friends. Additionally, her scientific achievements will also continue to help contribute to the future of science.
Her poem:
Pieces of Hope
by Aiza Cathe Alejandro Go
I've tried to build my character
Instead, I'm beginning to shatter
Failures, death, complications
What else is there to gain?
Before things can get better...
Do I have to go through so much pain?
Can't get up, I'm down here on my knees
Searching for comfort...searching for peace.
Not knowing what to do...
I looked up at the sky
The perfect stillness of it
caused me to sigh
People must have turned to these stars
Hoping for an end to their misery
These stars must have witnessed
the pains, the sufferings, the needy
The stars seemed to pour light on me
It embraced me with so much force
I finally found pieces of hope..
It will help me throughout this course.

Rest in peace, my dear Aiza.  I love and miss you.