Showing posts from June, 2007

LEAP graduate

We are all lepers now, quipped Jing. Yeah. We've leapt! I said I'd write about whatever realization I'd come across during our weekend graduation. There was nothing profound. Everything was startlingly simple. I went home with a song in my heart. I will never be the same again. ;)

The final LEAP

I am graduating LEAP this weekend. I'm 100%, I guess, but I don't feel it. Or maybe it's really just me, not knowing how to celebrate my own victories?

I'll be back Sunday night. Will have some realization again by then. See you all!

Or, as my French students say, "Ciao, ciao!"

The difference now

What a difference a single shift makes. Coming from my realization last Saturday, I decided to not run away from him, to not fight whatever I'm feeling, but to embrace it. All it really says about me is that I'm a person capable of unconditional love. And how can that be bad?

My LEAP declaration anyway is, "I'm a shining reflection of God's love."

That single shift in my own perspective has already started some changes. Yesterday, he surprised me by sending many texts, which has never happened in the five years I've known him, the cheapskate that he was. Before it would just be one text now, and another one weeks later.

This time, we were able to hold some sort of discussion, talking about things I'd wanted to ask him when I was trying to call him to slay the dragon that was keeping me from moving on. I got several answers.

He said he still loves me, would love me always, would never love another. But he wants me to move forward; he doesn't want me to get stuck because he loves me. And he's proud I still love him, even this way.

This is a good start. And I'm not even feeling the urge to go and have my head shaved bald!

Dragon alert

I heard from him again. We'd been texting--120 characters every month or so, and I could handle that. This time, he emailed. It was a long one, considering.

I'd wanted to call and he had avoided me, and he sent me email to explain. Yesterday was horrible; I suddenly had a headache. I felt a down slide, like every good thing I'd been building was starting to show cracks.

To cheer myself up, I went to a neighborhood salon because it closed late. I got a pedicure; I asked about relaxing. The manager was rude; he said from the couch that I couldn't get a "relax" because my hair was "damaged." He just took one quick glance at my dry hair, assumed I'd been having it straightened and all without even touching it, and announced to the whole room it was damaged.

I was rude back. He didn't speak well: he ate his words and spoke like his tongue was too short. My dark side--the snotty one that puts people down--pounced. I was able to control my words, but perhaps not my energy, because he for sure felt it. After I spoke (neutral words, like, "Can you please repeat? I don't understand."), he looked like a cowering pup.

Of course I felt guilty. The service was bad, but there's no good enough reason for a personal attack.

I got an "aroma" hair spa treatment instead. In the middle of it all, as I was reading a sorry-looking Cosmopolitan magazine from 2004, the electricity went out. The power went back on after half an hour, and I got my pedicure. My nails are colored "Silver Sands" now.

I went home, tried to write, felt deflated. I fell asleep in the clothes I wore out.

Yesterday definitely wasn't my day. And all because I heard from him.

It's amazing how much power I'd given to this person. It's enough to turn my life upside down. I remember Sharon Stone's character in Casino. I should be moving on with Robert de Niro, but I just can't completely turn my back on this one guy.

But I had a beautiful realization. I'd written my reply to him and sent it before going out, and sitting in the salon in the dark, and, later, while the lady was pushing out dry skin from between my toenails, I had time to think about what I'd written.

I wrote him that for the longest time, I'd been questioning why my love for him is still as strong as it was before. I'd been willing it to go away. But now I see that it will never go, because it's mine. It's of me. I chose to give it to him.

Thinking about my email, I found a nugget of empowerment I had known all along. That I love him--and not just romantically--is my choice. That I chose to love him is my power.

Thus, the power he has over me, I have power over it.

There won't be any bad days anytime soon.


I was in my mid-20s when I saw tick, tick... BOOM! and as with Jonathan Larson's more famous musical, Rent, I also resonated with this one. Even if I wasn't even pushing 30. Around that time, I felt I was headed nowhere as a writer--I wrote newspaper supplements, had an editor who provided zero training, couldn't see beyond a week of my life...whine, whine.

Now that I'm in the final year of my 20s, I find myself thinking more and more about Jon, the musical's main character (brilliantly portrayed by Jett Pangan!) who's turning 30 soon and worried he made the wrong career choice by sticking to the performing arts:

JON: In one week I'll be thirty. Three-zero. Older than my Dad was when I was born. Older than Napoleon was when he ... did something that was probably extremely impressive at the time – I'm not a historian. I'm a composer. Sorry, a "promising young composer." I should have kids of my own by now, a career, but instead I've been "promising" for so long I'm afraid I'm starting to break the fucking promise.

Even if the space I am in right now is nowhere near Jon's, I find myself going over the things I spent my 20s on. It's not always a happy trip down memory lane. Sometimes I cringe, sometimes I feel the urge to bury chunks of it deep in the pit of forgotten things, sometimes (a few times) I want to go back and relive some moments all over again. And sometimes, I just want to go back into time and whip somebody's ass. Hehe.

Ultimately, though, I have no regrets. Well, actually, that's not really true. I do have some regrets, but not the kind that bears down much on my 29-year-old self. Mostly, I wish I hadn't wasted so much time holding back. But that's the past now. And where I'm in, it's all about looking forward by being in the present.

One of my best friends, Sherwil, turned 30 last weekend. That's two out of four already, because Emily turned 30 the month before. We had dinner last night at 20/20, the resto bar on the 20th floor of Bellevue. As a toast to the new decade, Sherwil had a cosmopolitan. Em and I have weigh-in early this week, so we just had coffee.

On Sherwil's birthday, thinking of Jonathan Larson and his autobiographical character namesake, I texted her: "Today you say goodbye to being young and promising, and say hello to being relatively young and accomplished." It was sort of a message to me too, because I'm also preparing the stage for my own dazzling show.

Initial plan of attack for 2007:

1. Slay dragons
2. Be financially responsible
      2.1. Get a steady job
      2.2. Open new savings account
      2.3. Pay outstanding bills
      2.4. Start investing
3. Take care of self
      3.1. Join gym
      3.2. Update hairstyle
            3.2.1. Get a haircut
            3.2.2. Have hair relaxed
      3.3. Reach ideal weight
4. Finish graduate studies
      4.1. Finish thesis
      4.2. Pass thesis defense
5. Have thesis published into a book
6. Find a loving, lasting, committed relationship
7. Travel out of the country

Looking at the plan right now, it looks so simple and doable. And it really is, when I shut my own unconscious chatter up. In tick, tick... BOOM! Jon asks himself, "Cages or wings? Which do you prefer? Ask the birds. Fear or love, baby?"

Wings! Love! And, like Jon, except that in my case it's prose:

JON: I want to write music. I want to sit down right now at my piano and write a song that people will listen to and remember, and do the same thing every morning for the rest of my life.
When you know what you really want, the "ticking" is really easier to deal with. And you're more than happy to pay the "price" for pursuing it. Grateful, even, that you have the opportunity to.

One last quote from the libretto:

JON: The tick tick booms are softer now. I can barely hear them, and I think if I play loud enough I can drown them out completely.