Posts tagged with "realization"

200 miles just to learn

The only time Rob and I ever had a pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion was the night before Aaron’s wed­ding, when we were the last ones up out of the grooms­men stay­ing at my house. Aside from that, I wasn’t sure if I’ve ever con­nected with him on a per­sonal level; I’ve been dis­cov­er­ing how dif­fer­ently some behave when oth­ers are around, and with Aaron or Mel in the mix, he’s got even more to prove than usual.

But I could always tell that under­neath the brash and indomitable impres­sion he gives the world is a wis­dom not shared by many. It was exactly that kind of aware­ness I was look­ing to be in the com­pany of, so I took the chance to visit when it would be just the two of us. Even though we’re so dif­fer­ent in so many ways, it turns out the things we have in com­mon are more sig­nif­i­cant, and I dis­cov­ered he’s exactly the kind of friend I need right now.

photo montage

The man-cave mostly fea­tures posters of comic book heroes and car­toon fig­urines, the only pic­tures being found in a lit­tle frame next to the com­puter. It was strange to see two of myself in there next to one of him suck­ing back a beer with Trevor. That was back when I rocked my hair with a part down the mid­dle and occa­sion­ally some solid colour, though I don’t remem­ber any­thing about it oth­er­wise — a strange anom­aly in a per­son with a pho­to­graphic mem­ory. Lost the hoodie, still have the coat, won’t be caught wear­ing those glasses again.

The only other peo­ple who have a pic­ture of me in their homes are Aaron and Alex. I always take those pho­tographs as a telling sign of your rela­tion­ship with some­one. It means they care enough to want you around even when you’re not there. I guess that’s why each of them have more pho­tos of me than both my par­ents com­bined, and why Rob calls me brother.

changing dressings

The nurse comes every day to change the dress­ings and keep an eye out for infec­tion. Aside from the list­ing hob­ble, you’d never have an idea of the pun­ish­ment this body has borne under­neath, until a wince when the tube drags against his shirt. That and the fact that there isn’t a bot­tle of Blue in his hand. Otherwise, the acci­dent didn’t change Rob at all. He’s still the happy-go-lucky, take-it-on-the-chin kind of guy. To him, the world has always been sim­ple, an equa­tion that can be solved with mus­cle and mass, and he car­ries both answers in spades.

Under any other cir­cum­stance, I’d hate him. He’s obnox­ious, stub­born, and proud; a type I don’t get along with. But I’m also on his good side, which means he’s loyal and lov­ing unlike any other, and he shows this every time he squeezes the breath out of my chest until I’m weak and com­ing up for air. Through him, I’m learn­ing to under­stand and accept the peo­ple I’d oth­er­wise turn away from.

frame of mine

I’ve made peace with this body. It hasn’t been an easy peace to come by, as I seem to get con­stant reminders about the diminu­tive size of my stature. Most recently, I met an older Chinese woman who admit­ted that she thought I looked sick and weak only after she dis­cov­ered I had col­i­tis. It was as if she thought col­i­tis caused some kind of mal­nu­tri­tion that stunted my growth, and she didn’t want to bring up the fact that I was this size because it would have been too embar­rass­ing unless it was caused by a med­ical condition.

Asian male self portrait

 

I’ve been deal­ing with all kinds of sim­i­lar com­ments since I was a kid, so when a girl­friend would say that she liked a par­tic­u­lar part or por­tion of my body, I always thought they were just blinded by love. Eventually I real­ized that if they could come to love this body, then I could too. It will never look right in any­thing but slim-fit extra smalls from Mexx. It will never be good enough for my par­ents. But it will always be who I am, and I’ve learned to accept that.

cause you're bored and you can doesn't mean you should

I always won­der if I’ll ever reach such a com­plete peace that I’d stop writ­ing com­pletely. One of the rea­sons I started this blog was to have a place where I could get things down and sort my thoughts out on a page, but I don’t need to do much of either nowadays.

I know so many peo­ple who’ve con­tin­ued writ­ing, even after find­ing that kind of hap­pi­ness in their lives. Unfortunately, hap­pi­ness has robbed them of lit­er­ary inspi­ra­tion, and now they have noth­ing inter­est­ing to say. It wouldn’t be so bad if they stopped writ­ing, but they post for the sake of post­ing instead of hav­ing some­thing to say or express or vent, and it reeks of des­per­a­tion and insecurity.

I used to worry that hap­pi­ness would make me a bor­ing per­son too, but now I wouldn’t mind as long as I real­ized it and gave up this blog. It’s so embar­rass­ing to write out of a belief that it’ll make you inter­est­ing. Or even worse, to be obliv­i­ous to the fact you’re writ­ing about the most inane things.

round my hometown memories are fresh

It’s good to be home.

By the end of my jour­ney, I started long­ing for the com­fort of my house and slip­pers, as I imag­ined being splayed out on the couch, watch­ing a movie with a bowl of ice cream in my hands. It’s been more than a week since I’ve been back, and I’ve yet to do this. It’s hard to pull myself out of the old habit of being pro­duc­tive. Sometimes I need to be wait­ing at a ter­mi­nal in New York with a three-hour lay­over to be able to sit down and enjoy a film.1

large bud

It’s dan­ger­ous to go alone! Take this.

At the same time, I’ve never been more indul­gent, my lat­est vice being those bags of York Peppermint Patties. I fig­ured out that life is too short and I should be enjoy­ing myself when I was sip­ping café allongé on a patio with Karin on a beau­ti­ful Paris day, and I could finally appre­ci­ate this fact when talk­ing to Dennis over our lager on an Edinburgh afternoon.

This is prob­a­bly why I don’t feel over­stim­u­lated, even though I’ve been going full-tilt for the last two months. Darren came over as part of his sab­bat­i­cal, and we did the things I rarely find an excuse to do myself, like going shoe shop­ping or order­ing sushi. Last week I staked him $20 and watched him win $600 when he hit his num­ber at the roulette table, five min­utes after we stepped in the casino. He gave me back a per­cent­age of my win­nings, and he spent the night play­ing black­jack while I bet on the elec­tronic horses. We didn’t end up win­ning much after that, but we both left up.

Lisa even took us danc­ing2, where I learned that the entire appeal of strobe lights is their abil­ity to make every­thing look like a Michael Bay movie filmed in 24p. It turns out this is also a great way to do some people-watching, although you start to get depressed when you see a pair of kids from their respec­tive groups pick­ing a fight with each other cause they’re drunk, then mak­ing up and play­ing grab-ass on the dance floor. Ironically, I ended up being the one sober enough to drive home.

sushi platters

From left to right: Yummy roll (deep fried crab, avo­cado, salmon, white fish — served warm), spicy salmon pizza, eel spe­cial roll, green dragon roll (avo­cado on tem­pura shrimp and cucum­ber), shrimp tem­pura roll, and Philadelphia roll.

Last time I checked, there were over 5000 unread items in my feed reader, and tweets from over a week ago in my Twitter time­line. It’s strange to be so dis­con­nected from life as I knew it. I haven’t writ­ten any­thing in as long either, which is a very long time for me. I con­sid­ered delet­ing this blog, then tak­ing a month off instead, then decided I’d write when I felt like it. The thing is, I always feel like writ­ing, but lately this urge has given way to being pro­duc­tive in other ways or hav­ing fun. It’s like I’m finally on the Taoist path, dis­cov­er­ing that my trip has changed me more than I first thought.

  1. I ended up watch­ing seven on my trav­els, which is prob­a­bly more than all of last year):

    • Sunshine — good as long as you can get over one really big, really stu­pid plot ele­ment. Which I couldn’t, so on the whole this movie sucked, even though it had some of the best direct­ing I’ve ever seen in my life.
    • Network — Unbelievably ahead of it’s time in terms of media commentary
    • The Last Picture Show — a great coming-of-age movie directed by that guy who played Dr. Melfi’s psy­chi­a­trist on the Sopranos, and Cybill Shepherd in her debut role
    • Ladder 49 — I don’t trust Pat’s taste in movies anymore
    • Kung Fu Panda — they were pretty good at the Chinese details
    • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World — a fun movie over­all, the best part being that it’s set in Toronto. Also, very dis­ap­pointed at how much of a sell­out Bryan Lee O’Malley is for chang­ing the end­ing based on audi­ence reac­tions at test screenings
    • To Kill a Mockingbird — I wanted to be a lawyer after see­ing this

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  2. Which for me is pretty much just sway­ing back and forth while being mes­mer­ized by the gui­tar play­ers. []