So I had two incidents in mind that I wanted to share here and had written up a blurb for, but was having a difficult tying them together. And then something happened at work that’s been bothering me a good deal, although it’s taken me some time — and a good deal of discussion with various fellow-Asian-American friends — to put form to why I’ve been feeling so bothered since last week.

The incident took place at the end of the day last Friday. Three white coworkers were chatting about 10 feet away from me, discussing the red lights shining at the Empire State Building (which we have a prime view of from my office). Incidentally, I was trying to join in on the conversation by asking for more details about the lights,  but they didn’t hear me, and then THIS gem happened instead:

Lady 1: It’s Chinese New Year-themed. They’re having some firework lighting at 6 to 7, I hear.
Man: You know, I don’t understand why Oriental is suddenly an offensive term.
(There is an awkward pause as ALL THREE GLANCE SIDEWAYS AT ME. I pretend not to listen, but am in fact listening quite intently.)
Lady 2: Yeah, I know…
Lady 1: It’s just one of those things.
Lady 2: I personally don’t think it’s such a bad term, but you have to be sensitive.
Man: No. This is one of those cases where people are just overreacting. You can’t be sensitive about everything.
Lady 2: (trying to be conciliatory) Well, I don’t mind not using the word.
Guy: I do. I like that word. It sounds very (emphatically gesturing) mysterious, and fantastical.
Lady 1: The Orient Express.

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Brown thumbs


After a few rocky months of uncertainty and disharmony, Boy and I have suddenly found our way back to happy love zone. This means that we’re again spending most evenings and weekends at home, rather than out and about. (This is also why I have no recent love games stories.) This has also been the perfect impetus for one of my latest (excessively numerous) hobbies: gardening. (I’ve also been on a massive DIY binge, but that’s another story for my next entry.) Plants, as it turns out, really liven up and boost the lovely factor of a home.

They’re also a lot more labor-intensive than you’d think.

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Not good enough


Breaking up — no matter how pretty the words are, it really just comes down to: You’re not good enough for me.

Think of it this way.

It’s not you, it’s me. (What about me? I don’t think you’re good enough.) I just don’t love you like I used to. (Why? Because I realized that you are/became not good enough.) I never loved you. (You were never good enough!)

You say it’s situational and that there are extenuating circumstances? I met someone else. (I chose them over you because you’re not good enough.) The long-distance is too tough to handle. (Your location isn’t good enough, or you’re not good enough for me to suffer the distance to be with you.) We’re too different. (For some reason, I was thinking of two people who speak different languages, or who come from two different cultures. In which case, you could say the cultural background is just not good enough.)

What about, You’re too good for me? In essence, I see that as coming back to some sense of insecurity on the part of the so-called “Reacher.” So along that line of logic, the “Settler” is not “good enough” at stroking the ego of the Reacher. See what I did there?

While this is, in essence, a blanket statement about breakups, I also don’t want to sound like this is a define-all blanket statement. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Sometimes, people just need time and space to grow on their own, or deal with unexpected challenges in their lives (death in the family, career change, a personal revelation like, I don’t know, realizing that your one purpose in life is to become a celibate monk). Sometimes, there are external obstacles to a relationship (Romeo and Juliet, anyone?). And sometimes, people turn out to be wrong about thinking someone not good enough.

That said, I find these situations to be very, very rare. How often are people willing to let obstacles stand in the way of getting what they really want? As humans, we’re fundamentally selfish and out for our own survival. We’re just built that way. On that note, when you truly love someone and don’t believe there’s anyone better out there for you, I don’t think many people are willing to let anything — read, anything — get in the way of keeping that someone around, even at the cost of all the other indispensables in modern life.

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High maintenance

Here’s a response to my last entry: One reader mentioned to me last week that it was “confusing”. I’m assuming that he meant confused by the various different streams of consciousness I was trying to reconcile into one small piece loosely connected by the theme of scars, and also how it tied into what I was currently feeling last week when I posted that. In both cases, I’m with you. I guess my only real explanation, observing in hindsight, is that, I was taking several different emotions and ideas and trying to run with them all, tossing every remotely related thought into one garbled mess of unrelated (but also related?) feelings. Or maybe just a collection of the conflicting emotions that leave their mark, even when you think you don’t feel anything.

I don’t know. I guess I can’t really explain myself. I’m sort of ADD, remember?

Anyway. Moving on.

I have a lot of different topics of musing that are going through my head at the moment, mostly spurred by — but not entirely related to — a long and fairly deep conversation I embarked on with an old ex last night, but I guess the prevailing thought at the moment is something a friend of mine once flippantly mentioned to me while we were in that nebulous stage in a relationship called “talking”. The context? He was talking about all the gifts he had to buy his ex just to keep her attention engaged on him. I was retorting that gifts were a nice accoutrement to a relationship, but not something I considered absolutely imperative to feeling loved and cared for by my significant other. Then I puffed out my chest and (dare I say with some pride) declared that I was “low-maintenance.”

My friend replied, “Nah. ALL girls are high maintenance.

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A smoke, a drink, a blink.


Irving Penn, 1949.

When I look back through my old creative writing, usually one of three thoughts cross my mind:

  1. This is better than I thought it would be,
  2. This sucks, and
  3. God I was so emo.

But for all that self-deprecation I afford myself so readily, there’s also the sense that I was more in touch with my darker emotions and eager to see how I could capture all that subjectiveness with the objective logic of word and line. Truth be told, sometimes I feel like I’ve closed off the better part of me and my deeper emotional potential, because I’ve gotten so tired of working on relationships that never work, and so terrified of being wounded.

And it’s true that for all my heartache in the past thinking of the unwilling goodbyes I would have to utter and all the once beautiful budding relationships I would have to watch wilt all too quickly, hanging listlessly from bone-dry stalks, letting go of opportunities has gotten all too much the easier.

So for my “emotionless” (well, not really, but relatively speaking perhaps) self, here are some words from a past self to help current self put definition to what I’m feeling.

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Much to the consternation and protest of my (hopefully) more developed ability to write and express and evolved maturity, I decided to go back through old Xanga. (Shall I reveal its whereabouts? My misgivings notwithstanding, I give you, Xanga.) Mostly, it was a collection of uber-emo, attention-whoring garbage — starting with the tagline:

“i look at husbands the same way i look at tattoos: like i want one, but i can’t decide on what, and i don’t want to be stuck with something that i’m gonna grow to hate and have to have surgically removed later. why can’t i just have a henna husband?”

Christ. I wanted to hurl, throw something, hurl again, then yell at my former self, who was such a goddamned poser obviously only soliciting for eprops (speaking of which, who the hell came up with the idea of allowing TWO eprops per post? I remember the one time my buddy gave me only 1 eprop for a post. Pissed me off more than if he’d given me none at all). I also hated myself for the recognition and admission that I still hang onto that dogged refusal to capitalize, namely on my Facebook (I blame e.e. cummings). That’s the end of that era, then.

Admittedly, there were a few (very few), albeit somewhat unrefinedly worded (is unrefinedly itself an unrefinedly worded word?) moments of clarity amidst all that lingering post-adolescent angst and still nascent process of adult-self-discovery that I could at least take away to… I don’t know, build my current foundation of “experience” and “age-based ‘wisdom'” upon, I suppose. Here was one thing I’d written (somewhat edited):

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Looking forward for 2013


What a lapse in updating. I’m all for taking a break, but holidays — what a way to fuck up your routine.

Anyway, now that that’s over and done with, it’s time to get back on task. That means clearing out my inbox of 3498230572398 unread emails, actually going grocery shopping, being hungry and not staying hungry because I’m lazier than I am hungry, so on and so forth. And actually finishing some of the goals I make for myself.

I suppose 2013 is about getting to where I couldn’t in 2012. 2012 for me was a lot about building a post-grad-school/post-Vogue foundation for myself and getting myself to that place where stability was actually a real, tangible thing, not some virtual pipe dream.

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