Plato believed that we lived in a world of
images, three-dimensional shadows of the true one. What we see with our eyes is nothing more than a cheap imitation of its true state.
example, the chair we see before our eyes is nothing more than a shabby image of the true chair that exists. We carry on everyday with
flawed perceptions of the true ideal form.
Life After College:
Year 3 - In Transit
[Saturday, December 30, 2006]
Now that I've lived in this apartment for 2 years, it really does feel like something less-transient. For the first time since 2001 - I've stayed in one place for more than a year. I guess this is how it feels to be stable and have roots. I came back with all sorts of goodies from Christmas and edible goodies from my parents. The first thing I did was put on my new snow-pants. My brother refused to get them for me for Christmas because he doesn't approve of my snowboarding habit (considering how bad I am - I can see how he thinks it's hazardous to my well-being), so I was forced to buy them myself. But I put them on and admired myself. Mmm mmm good! I looked pretty delish considering I was wearing a men's small and it showed absolutely nothing of my girlish figure. Then I decided to put on my ski jacket with it just to have the whole look complete. And my snowboard boots, which I retrieved from the basement. And my goggles, which rode on top of my head. And my new liner gloves (courtesy of my wonderful friend Dana) with my snow mittens over them. I was pretty impressed with my own reflection in the mirror. I tromped up and down the steps and around my apartment feeling very snowy and pleased with myself. Then I started to feel drowsy so I laid down on my bed with my booted feet hanging off the edge and fell asleepy. I woke up drenched in sweat. It was disgusting.
I wish it was a little chillier. It doesn't quite feel right with temperatures in the 50's. It's not really the holidays unless my legs turn numb when I go outside. I wish it would snow.
Posted by ink |
[Wednesday, December 27, 2006]
There's no place like home for the holidays.
Christmas in our household was no different than any other Christmas. But this year was better than prior ones. Just a smattering of tensions. No flat-out fights. We don't do well with holidays.
I was talking to my friend Pooh Bear today. How is it that some families get along so well, and others simply don't? Is it the nature of the parents? Laid-back parents vs. parents who want to be involved? Parents who don't know how to let go? Is it a consequence of the personalities in your family, and the resulting dynamic? Perhaps it's all a crapshoot. Like being grouped into teams in school. You're just born into a family and if they happen to get along that's great. But you're just as likely to end up on a family 'team' that has conflicting personalities.
The problem with my family is that we're all set in our ways, and we all care entirely too much about each other. We love each other so much it's painful. My brother insists that I can never travel again because of the dangers involved, and forced me to watch Wolf Creek on Christmas Day to prove his point. And he thinks there's only one way to live your life and do things properly (the Right Way), and it's usually not whatever way I've decided to do it. My parents are all about not-admitting-when-they're-wrong, never-apologizing, and all the other cornucopia of issues that comes along with immigrant parents from the Old World. I'm perplexed by their inability to compromise with us while simultaneously being aware of their culture where parents didn't have to answer to their children. My parents are set in their ways. And I'm equally set in my ways of requiring compromise. In fact, I refuse to acquiesce and compromise with people who I feel are being unyielding and uncompromising. This of course, led to a tussle between my parents and I. I'm really getting too old to be fighting with my parents. The whole thing is a little ludicrous.
Along the way - I find myself taking mental notes. Things I liked about how my parents raised me and things I'd like to do differently. I feel like becoming my mother is inevitable as everyone always says that you become your mother whether you like it or not. But I'd like to think that at the very least - I'll be version 2.0. And my daughter will likely be version 3.0. One day, we'll have the perfect family operating system with each iteration. Maybe families are like little microsystems - each one evolving on its own. Perhaps other families, whose dynamic I envy, are not really better than mine (I do have to admit a fierce attachment and loyalty to my family, even despite all our problems), but just simply further along the evolutionary scale. After all - my parents let me know how much they love me every time they have conniptions about my most recent life decision. My brother's intensity in twisting my life into a semblance that he registers as 'successful' is mirrored in his love and desire for me to be happy and safe. We've got the love thing, down pat. And I can't say that I want my family to care less. We just have to work on the getting-along thing.
Posted by ink |
[Wednesday, December 13, 2006]
The birth was quick but the death is slow. -Stars
I broke up with Tad yesterday. The past month has been less than ideal and was making me miserable. Med school is miserable enough without having to add more to it. I'd been waiting days to have the talk but he was out of town. I'd made a bullet point list of things I wanted to say, things I thought were wrong, things that I wanted out of a relationship. I had been having the conversation in my head and out-logicizing myself. It was driving me batty.
The odd thing is - I somehow feel worse today. A few things came out during our conversation that left me frustrated. He wanted to try again and start over, but I'm not sure if we can resurrect this thing. Sometimes it's best to leave dead dogs lie (is that the right quote?). It became evident that we have completely different communication styles. I like talking things out. He doesn't. I like bringing up issues, he'd rather forget about it. If I'm frustrated, I want to share. He doesn't want to think about his problems and would rather withdraw into hiself. I like giving explanations for why I do certain things. He doesn't want to hear it. It was driving me insane. At the time, I agreed to maybe give it another shot but I've been feeling bad all day. I worked so hard to get to a point where I was psychologically comfortable with who I was, and now this guy wants me to edit myself. It makes me feel like I'm a flawed unit. Like they should have a recall in case my battery suddenly catches fire.
I don't think I can try it again. Not now at least.
I think the problem lies in the fact that we moved too fast without getting to know each other well enough. Spending too much time together in close quarters doesn't work, as all reality shows tell us. All the flaws come out, and without all these positive memories to balance them out, they start to overshadow the person. Instead of being quirks in their personality, it becomes a deal breaker.
Posted by ink |
[Saturday, December 09, 2006]
I have this fantasy...
I have this fantasy of going camping. I've been thinking about it for years. I love browsing the gear section of REI and looking at all the tents and new technology, but I've never actually camped before. In my fantasy, it'd be a 3-5 day trek, backcountry hiking. None of this campground car-camping stuff. We'd carry all our supplies, not shower for days, and see the wilderness. I'd carry the iodine pills and tang, and every evening we'd brew up something that would taste delicious no matter what. Things always taste good when you're tired. We'd sleep to the stars and the owls and the trees, and wake up the next day to the sun. We'd splash through streams, be covered in bug bites, but be ultimately happy. Because man was made to roam the woods, not the concrete jungles, and we were made to move, not to attend meetings.
Posted by ink |
[Thursday, December 07, 2006]
I've been thinking a lot tonight about James. I didn't know him personally, but he's managed to affect me very personally. I cried when I saw the video in memoriam of him. Because it reminded me oh-so-personally that it could've been me. It reminded me of that night I spent lost in the mountains of China with M. James died of exposure and hypothermia. That's exactly what we were afraid of that night. It had rained so hard, and the temperatures had dropped so low. We tried to start a fire. If we hadn't found that hut, it could've been us.
The incredulity is only now beginning to set in. As I think "If only they'd taken a different turn. If only he'd set out on the first day when his strength was still strong. If only...", I also think "What if we hadn't come out of that ravine at that exact spot?" We would've never found the hut. It was in a small clearing surrounded by brush that went above our heads. Thick brush. I know because we had to battle through it to get out. Ten more feet to the right or to the left, and we would've never found it. We came out instead into tall grass, and we barrelled through it blindly, with no compass, and no sun because it had gotten dark by then, and magically stumbled onto the hut. I had privately named it the Blair Witch hut in my head, but no longer. Because that hut saved us. James had no hut. Until tonight, it had never occured to me that people don't always make it out of situations like the one M. and I were in. I kept expecting a news report saying that James Kim had similarly made it. He'd be shaken up the way M. and I were, but he'd be alive. I was stunned when I read the reports that he'd died. Stunned. And guilty. Because James was out there looking for help for his family. M. and I were just two stupid kids.
I wonder what James was thinking during his last hours trekking. Was he making deals with God? To trade his life for the safety of his family's? Was he thinking the same things I was? Was he going over the myriad of accomplishments in his head that he was supposed to be 'proud' of, and noting that they were utterly useless to him in this moment? Was he thinking bitterly of the irony that he'd worked so hard for this piece of paper called a "Bachelor's degree" and that too - was completely useless? As he wondered whether he'd have to spend another night out in the forest, did his in-depth knowledge of gadgets mock him the way my knowledge of Perl programming mocked me? Because when I was in that ravine, I scanned by brain over and over again for some hint of something that might help me get out. And over and over again - I came up with nothing. I had no idea what plants were edible. I had no idea how to start a fire without a lighter. I had a vague idea that I could rub sticks together or strike rocks, but I knew those were difficult. And yet I had in-depth knowledge of how to perform a Lachman test in case a soccer player tore his ACL.
I know what it feels like to be looking for a road like James was. Unless you're near something that can be located on a map, you're Nowhere. And when you're Lost, all you want is to desperately be Somewhere. If you don't make it Somewhere, you want to at least be near it, so your body can be found. And roads always lead to Somewhere. Nowhere is terrifying. When M. and I woke up the next day to a glorious sunrise over the valley, neither of us noticed it. All we noticed was the fog our breaths made in the chilly air, that we only had two pieces of bread left and no water, and that the sun was heart-sinkingly rising in the wrong direction. We'd gotten turned around somehow. All thoughts of making it to our original destination went out the window. Our new desperate goal was to find people. Anyone. And when we similarly stumbled across a faint trail in the brush - the feeling of relief was overwhelming. Signs of life. Help.
It bothers me that James Kim can die, and that the cars still go by on the street outside my apartment, the sun still rises, and the hives keep popping up on my face. Yes, I know that this happens to everyone who dies. But I feel like the world should stop. It should stop.
This makes me realize our insignificance in this world. We can go out like a flame, and things keep going. We are special only to those around us. And so incredibly special we are. And so incredibly insignificant despite that. This makes me realize the important things in this world aren't making the AOA Medical Honors Society, or getting that next pair of designer jeans. What's really important are those things you think about when you're in that snow, or in that ravine. It reminded me of how important it is to live each day and live it well, and appreciate those who are special to you. Because God doesn't differentiate between those who deserve to live and those who don't. Because if that was the case, M. and I wouldn't have made it, and James would have.
Posted by ink |
[Monday, December 04, 2006]
I have a third nipple on my nose.
Ever since I got a cold two weeks ago, I developed this bump in front of my nose piercing. It's from all the blowing and snot that's been coming from my nose like a faucet. Not only is the bump embarassingly similar to an ugly pimple, but it's getting taller and developing a nice mini-bump on the top. Just like a breast. Wonderful. Why is Tad still dating me at this point. Anyone who would be into a girl with a third nipple on her face is pretty questionable.
My mother would tell me that this is retribution for mutilating my body in such a way - that is, that's what she WOULD say if she was speaking to me and hadn't disowned me a few days ago.
In fact, it seems like not many people are speaking to me these days. My friends still love me and speak to me quite frequently, but my mother doesn't, and these days - I question whether Tad even likes me, or whether he simply likes the idea of having a girlfriend. I used to feel like he was interested in who I was as a person. You know - we'd talk, exchange ideas, have conversations. That died somewhere along the way. These days, I feel like a warm body with a personality option attached to it. He's still very affectionate, but he doesn't really talk to me anymore. Besides "That's cool" or "Sorry, that sucks." Which I'm not sure counts as talking. Sometimes I think that perhaps it's because I'm not giving him a chance to express his thoughts, so I'll simply sit quietly. His response? Silence and pulling me over to put an arm around me while he watches football.
I knew the honeymoon period was over when he scratched his balls in front of me (in fact, he performed a reach-in in order to do it), but I didn't think the post-honeymoon period would be like this. Considering that I don't have a long history with serious relationships, I'm navigating new waters here. I can't figure out where things went wrong. Maybe he didn't like the cupcakes I made? Granted, I did burn the first batch, and spill the second batch in the oven. I had to try to fish them out with chopsticks without burning myself. This is all after I found out that you can use regular cake mix to make cupcakes. By the time the third batch came out, I was worried I wouldn't have enough cupcakes to spell out "Happy Birthday" and would have to make it "Birfday" instead. Luckily, one of the spilled cupcakes only had cosmetic damage on it that I covered with icing in order to have enough letters. But maybe this what happens to all couples? Fun-squashed-out, and dried-up-from-all-excitement. I'm too young to be boring and couch-and-tv-bound! I'd almost rather it be the cupcakes.
I'll wait till after he takes his boards before deciding whether this is a permanent new development or whether it's just a phase. As the magic 8 ball would say: Outlook Not Good. Phooey.
big change, the choices we make
in life, gut instincts, on-the-whim
hairpin turns, the search for truth, the desire to be happy, the journey to finding out what
makes us happy.
being young and clueless, hoping
that we're not blindly leading ourselves to our own demise with every
tentative step we take, the pitfalls of dating, the trials
and travails of being a young woman in the post-feminist era.