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Posts Tagged ‘learn’

When I looked at you, my life made sense. Even the bad things made sense. They were necessary to make you possible.
-Jonathan Safran Foer

I wonder if there really are people out there that come into your life and throw everything into complete disarray…and yet you accept the disarray because, well…because it made sense.  Maybe part of it is because you allowed everything to happen the way it did. You turned a blind eye, told yourself you’d deal with the consequences later on, or worse–you believed that it was okay that things were bad because it was just how they were. It was the only way to make that person a possibility in your life.

How does someone like that make sense?

Maybe if only to show us that it doesn’t.

A person’s life can’t all be made up of good things. It’s part of the theory of relativity. Each person is tested by their own fire. Each person has their own demons. Each one has that one person that only exists to remind them of how things can be so good…and how things can be so bad. Each one has their polarizing person. Or two. Or three. Who knows? Maybe as many as it takes to learn your lesson.

Maybe it stays painful for as long as it takes to learn what’s good for you.

You’ll keep seeing this person, keep feeling this person because…well, it just makes sense and still does.

I don’t get it, and I can’t possibly explain how I feel. Except that…the quote above reminded me of you. And maybe who you’re supposed to be in my life.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

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…um…okay. I guess.

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Today, I was sitting in the coffee shop studying for the California Bar when this guy just comes up to me and asks me if I thought the music was too loud. I look up, pull out one headphone, assess the coffee shop music and give a small cursory nod of agreement. “Yeah, it’s kind of loud,” I agree.

He nods, “That’s what I thought. I just asked them to lower the volume.”

I shrug, pop my earphone back on, then turn back to my books.

“So, do you live around here?”

I pause in the middle of trying to remember exactly how to analyze res ipsa loquitur and look up at him again. I pop out the earphone again. “What?” I ask, politely.

“Do you live in downtown?”

I’m a nice person. I wouldn’t just give this guy the death glare. But I was mildly irritated. I was focused dammit. Do you know how hard it is to get into the zone with Torts?!?

So, I give him a small smile. “Yeah, I do.”

“It’s a nice area.”

Really? Really?! Small talk? I nod. “I like it, yeah.”

I try to turn back away. I mean, it was obvious, right? He’s standing over my table, I’ve got my laptop, my books and an assortment of papers all around me, and I’m popping my earphone back in.

“So you’re in law, huh?”

OMG. If only lasers came out of my eyes.

“Yeah…I’m actually studying for the Bar…”

“That’s cool. Where did you go to school?”

Can someone please tell me how to not be evil and cut this person off? Cuz it turns out, I don’t know how, and I spent a good solid 20 minutes talking to this guy.

I find out he’s a neurosurgeon. He owns a condo in downtown and a house in Newport Beach. How can someone so successful and awesome on a resume just not get that I was in the zone?

Finally, he goes off, grabs a seat somewhere and reads the paper.

An hour later, he’s back. “Hey, so I’m leaving. Let me give you my number.”

I’m snapped out of my zone again. Wtheck, man?! I have a schedule. A regimen.

And besides, how do I say, “Actually, no, don’t.” or even politely smile and say, “I’d rather you didn’t.”???

So, I smile politely and say, “Um, okay?”

He takes my post-it pad and tears off the front page where I had scribbled some pages on the book I had to review and writes his number(s) down. Wha—? Nobody rips off just anybody’s post-it notes! NOOOO!

He looks at me, straight in the eye. I swear to you it was like the staring game. I was too scared to blink. “Call me,” he says.

Um…no? I really don’t want to? — again, how does one really say that?!?

I don’t really say anything. Maybe I mumbled an ‘okay’ or smiled and nodded. I don’t know. He waves and leaves the coffee shop.

I sigh. Here’s one more number I don’t know what to do with.

So, I don’t get it: Aren’t guys supposed to ask for my digits?  What’s with the “let me leave you my number” or “here’s my number if you want to hang out” or the “I left something on your desk”?

Coop says it’s a no-risk move for a guy.

What about for the girl?

Because, sure, while I didn’t particularly like the intrusion of the coffee-shop guy, there was one guy that gave me his number. But I wasn’t sure if it was a gesture of friendship or interest. And don’t get me wrong, I am interested in him. But man, now the ball was on my court and I don’t know what to do!?! I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.

I guess I’m a girl in the traditional sense. I like being pursued. I like being the one invited out as opposed to “calling if I wanna hang out”.

I don’t know. Am I just mental? Am asking too much in this modern world? Am I just really chicken-shit when the ball is in my court?

I think the answer to that is yes.

Maybe next time someone I couldmaybekindof be interested in tries to give me his number, I should just say, “Actually, lemme give you my number.”

Problem solved.

GENIUS.

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There is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these lovable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else; they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.

— Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself To Live

The score as it is now is pretty even. Some days, I feel like he still wins and that I’ll always compare everyone with him. But most days, I figure I’m happy. I have amazing friends, I find a reason to laugh and something to love every day.

And I’m convinced that someone someday will sweep me off my feet that I won’t even know what hit me. I won’t even have the moment to compare. I can only fall, fall, fall in love.

It’s not happened yet. So for now, I’ll concede that we’re even.

But be warned: I’m in this life to win.

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There are markers for the passage of time. The seasons change, temperatures drop or rise, one side of your planner gets thinner than the other until it’s almost time to buy a new one, movies that were in the theater are suddenly now on DVD or Blu-ray, friends’ birthdays come and go, and before you know it you’re standing right at the edge of a precipice and staring into the unknown. The kind of unknown that comes with the pages of your planner running out, or the next chapter of a story starts but you gotta flip the page to know what happens next.  The kind of unknown when you find yourself at a crossroads and you can’t know what happens next until you make a choice first.

Yeah, the scary kind.

There is comfort in the everyday. There is safety in routine. There is something very reassuring about knowing what’s next.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned living in this skin is that life is about change.  Life never really lets you be comfortable for far too long. After all, how else are we to mark the passage of time but in the changes in ourselves?

The only way we grow is to be pushed past our comfort zone. The only way to learn is to reach out towards the unknown. Sometimes we’re ready for it. Sometimes it more or less hits us like a line drive out of nowhere knocking us off our feet. And mind you, line drives have killed people. (Trust me, I watch CSI — and the Drillers’ first base coach, Mike Coolbaugh, is an example of a fatal line drive too.)

But change will come. And we just do our best to roll along. I’ve learned that if I try to hang on to things too hard, I start to turn a blind eye to things that would have helped me deal with the changes. Things that could have helped me grow, be better, be prepared. And you know, that’s usually when things get all screwed up.

If you keep looking backwards all the time, you won’t know what’s coming right at you. And when it’s a line drive headed for you, you might wanna duck.

But despite change, there are also things that feel like…they never changed at all. You go on living everyday and there are these parts of you that just somehow still stay the same–or at least not as changed as it ought to have been by now. Like old wounds that should’ve healed by now — but I guess I keep pickin’ at it, so it never really gets a chance to fully close.

And of course, I’m still me. Still the same girl throughout the years. Kind of spunky, kind of always in trouble because I’m too impatient, kind of scared but annoyed that she does get scared, kind of the jeans-and-t-shirt girl despite efforts at being not, kind of tomboyish, kind of girly, kind of smart but slightly ditzy, kind of a goof but more of a dork, kind of battle-worn from life, and kind of still hopeful.

But then of course, as the years go by, I’ve changed too. Maybe a little more jaded, a little more sad, a little less book smart, a little more street. I’m a little bit wiser and a whole lot older, the smile’s changed from the full-on I-grin-and-the-world-grins-with-me, to a more tentative will-you-smile-back-at-me one. I’m a little bit stronger, tougher, less cool. I have a lot less faith in people, but a little bit more in the world. I’m a lot more careful about being hurt, but a lot more reckless with my life.  And while I’m still hopeful, I don’t quite know what to hope for anymore. 

It’s that great paradox Jacob Dylan sings, “I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same.”

And in the end, time is just passing along, the seasons change, fashions come and go, the clouds in the skies change before our very eyes, and we move forward into that unknown.

“It’s up to you how far you go, if you don’t try you’ll never know.” –> that’s from The Sword in the Stone, and it’s what my dad always told me whenever I got scared to try something or whenever I didn’t know what to do. And in the end, it’s still how I deal with change. It’s up to me how far I go. I can stay and be the same and rot away…or I can move forward with the changes and grow.

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I don’t really know the power of “Sorry.”

I was watching the Season Finale of Celebrity Fit Club (yeah, don’t judge), and Kevin Federline apologizes to Shar Jackson. He finally says sorry. And she proclaims that it meant “the world” to her.

I’m sorry…but No.

I’ve been at both ends of that word.

At one end, it is everything. At the other end, it is absolutely nothing.

When you’re the one who’s sorry, it can mean everything to you. It means that you’ve accepted that you’ve done something wrong. It means that you’re ready to move on, to grow up. It means that you’ve lowered your pride and admitted fault. It means that you’ve reached a certain degree of self-realization, self-acceptance such that you can look at the bigger picture of your life and say I did something that wasn’t good–that hurt someone else.

And you are SORRY. You will change. You will grow up, learn and be a better person.

But when you’re at the other end of sorry…well, it doesn’t really change the fact that you were hurt. It doesn’t turn back time and it sure as hell doesn’t erase all the pain and scars that were left behind.  Sorry just means you get left behind. It means the other guy knows he has done something wrong…and can move on from that. It doesn’t mean that you get to be all better, too.

It’s not fair, almost. When the other person says sorry for hurting you…does it mean you can’t be angry with them anymore? Does it mean you have to forgive? Does it mean you aren’t supposed to feel the pain anymore?

It just doesn’t work that way.

I think the flipside to being told the s-word is forgiveness. I’m sure it’s got the same effect as being the one who says the S-word.  And maybe, right now…I’m just not ready to forgive.

So when you’re sorry, I’m glad you figured it out and feel that way and can move on. But I’m not ready to not be angry because I still hurt. I’m not ready to forgive because I still can’t wrap my head and heart around it.  I do hate feeling this way and I am working towards it.

But for now, unlike Shar, your ‘sorry’ doesn’t mean the world to me.

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She was 90 years old.

She had 10 sons and daughters.

She had over 45 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She was the gravitational force that kept a family that large so closely-knit. She was the force of nature that had us always coming home, or knowing that we had a home to go to no matter what.

It was with great sadness that I said goodbye to my grandmother, Gloria J. Tan. She was the only grandparent I knew on my father’s side since my grandfather passed away in 1978, long before I was born. She was always strict. We had homework during the summers we spent with her. She was a school teacher that drilled education into all 10 of her children.

She hoarded and portioned everything.

In some ways, it was odd that all gifts to anyone in the family went through my grandmother first. But in the end, I see the bigger picture. With such a large family, there was absolutely no room for ideas of favoritism or any perception that one person was valued higher in the family than another.

She loved all of us equally.

When my father died, he was the first of her children to pre-decease her. I remember witnessing her grief. She had crumbled right in front of his casket, unable to move forward, unable to bring herself to look inside at her son.

Indi ni siya tarong, gid,” she cried. This is not right.  A mother must not have to see her children die before her.

I cannot understand that kind of grief right now. Mine was of a different sort. But she lived through the same grief two more times. I cannot imagine having the strength to relive my own grief three times.  It must have taken inconsiderable strength.

But from my grandmother, it comes as no surprise.

I will always love her. The lessons she taught (bulutong [pimples] if I don’t finish my rice), the idea of family that she represented, and the way she used to absolutely light up, open her arms wide and hug us whenever we came to visit.  She always felt like home.

Rest in Peace, Lola Amah. You are loved.

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Soul Hurt

“When I say I love you, it’s not because I want your or I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity, exactly what you are.  Thank you for everything that you have taught me and been to me. You truly are an exceptional being.”

“I feel like our love for one another runs deep and will always be there and we will be able to find our way home.”

I don’t know what to believe in. I don’t know how to feel. Sometimes I know deep down to my very bones that I am at peace with everything. And other times, it still hurts all the way to my soul.

In the simple words of Neil Gaiman, “I hate love.”

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