made in kowloon

“I can’t do this anymore.”

i can't

Dear You,

There’s a good chance that you will never read this, and that’s all right by me. I think I just need a place to put down everything I’ve been feeling for the past several months since you entered my life, barraging down emotional walls like some kind of hurricane. To describe what we had as a whirlwind romance would be giving it too much credit, but in its own little way, it was something. It is something worth writing about.

I remember telling you repeatedly that our lives are a series of revolving doors, particularly of people, and I believe that each person who enters your life has a specific reason for doing so, whether you know it at the time or not. And as you exit my life this time around, you taught me a lot about myself and you reminded me to take heed of the lessons that I’ve previously learned. I want to take the time to thank you for that.

I had forgotten what it felt like to be so enamored by another person and to feel such connectivity with someone else. Something came alive inside of me, and it scared me. In the past I would have done everything possible to push you away. I would have done everything to sabotage it, but with you, I tried to be open. I wanted to learn to be vulnerable, and I thought you had allowed me to be myself until you revealed to me that you had made judgments of my character before we even went on our first date. The sting of those words as I read them on my screen… thinking to myself, how could someone who had his own kinds of experiences judge me for my past when we both had agreed that what we were building was a judgment-free zone? I don’t recall ever being as defensive as I was on that phone call with you with anyone else. I don’t recall ever wanting to justify myself so strongly as I did that day. And somehow we worked through that bump in the road. It was just the first piece that had been chipped away from my former self, and I had allowed it.

As our relationship progressed, more chipping occurred, and without going into the details, I was just tired of being made to look like the villain. I was tired of being tossed away when it was inconvenient for you and taking you back after listening to your excuses. You’re working through some shit right now? Everyone has shit they need to work through but they don’t drop the person who you spoke to everyday so suddenly and pretend like they no longer existed.

The entire time we were together, we were almost exclusively seeing each other. A part of us knew that, and I found contentment in it. Was it a little crazy? Sure, but what is life without a little crazy thrown in from time to time? Commitment scares you; it scares me too. Opening up to someone takes work and it’s hard because you have to trust the other person to catch you when you feel yourself starting to fall. I understood that as I’ve never opened up myself or trusted anyone enough romantically to allow myself this luxury. And whenever you felt like you were getting close to me, you pulled away immediately and with such a sudden knee jerk reaction – ignoring me after something scared you on Halloween and with the audacity to text me the next afternoon when YOU were ready to talk to me, “Do you know why I was upset with you last night?” How about you use words to communicate?

Your insecurities bled into our relationship and fed mine, particularly jealousy. It’s still funny to me when you say you joke about being jealous because it isn’t a thing to joke about. And you wouldn’t have had any reason to be jealous of anyone else if you hadn’t pushed me away by repeatedly telling me that I’m a single person who can do whatever she wants. After that, did you really expect me to sit at home waiting for your call to invite me to do something? When I dressed even remotely nice to go on a dinner date with friends, you immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was going on an actual date with another man. It was not my fault that you may have felt a certain sense of guilt after realizing that you had actually gone on a couple of dates with someone else. You may have justified it in your head a certain way – because she’s from a different state, because there was no possibility for a future, but just to be clear, it was still a motherfucking date. And your constant questioning of my fidelity to you (which is hilarious given the fear of commitment and the fact that we never established our relationship as an exclusive one) made me so furious that, yes, I did an immature thing and I played into your jealousy by going out with another man. Multiple times.

There was just a litany of things that went awry, strung together, accumulated to become something that I wasn’t sure I could overcome. Not by myself, and I just felt that I couldn’t depend on you to help. I could barely get you to initiate a time to get together any more by the end of it. It just seemed like you no longer cared, so what was the point when only one party feels a certain way and shows it? Isn’t give and take and reciprocity something that we were taught since childhood?

You are the Bojack to my Wanda. I’m sorry to my readers for this spoiler, but when she ended the relationship, she said to him, “You know, it’s funny. When you look at someone through rose colored glasses, all the red flags… just look like flags.” There were so many, but I just didn’t see them because I once again allowed myself to look at the “potential” and I wanted to focus on the “what could be” without realizing that I deserve those things now. I deserve to be treated with respect now. I deserve to be valued now. I deserve someone who cares about me the way that I know that I can care for them… now. Waiting is pointless… because I could very well spend my entire life waiting for something that will never come to fruition. I’m tired of holding on. I’m tired of waiting.

But I’ll remember the way you looked at me while we were sitting down next to each other in that bar downstairs on the first day we met. The sun was out and lazily hovering over the horizon, itching to set, and the rays of light penetrated through the window casting shadows and creating halos around us. I can still see how blue your eyes were in that moment before you flickered your gaze down toward my shoulder and gently and carefully slid up the strap of my dress to put it back in its proper place. I remember giving you a slow curl of a smile as I thanked you, thinking to myself how cute this was and that I probably won’t forget it. Almost six months later, and it’s still engrained in memory, so vivid, so true.

I’ll remember the tired and happy mornings on my way to work as I thought about the endless conversation we had just hours before — conversations about every topic, our hopes and dreams, our pasts and possible futures, our present, our loves, our dislikes. My appetite to learn about you was voracious, and I knew, deep down, the feeling was mutual. I looked forward to the good morning texts, which were sure to be there when I awoke and the good night texts, even when we had just gotten off the phone with each other just minutes prior. And for a good four months, except for a couple of times, you were true to your word regarding consistency. Thank you for teaching me that consistency is achievable.

I’ll remember the night before our first date, when you promised me a good time, when you gave a theme to our date, “The Sky is the Limit.” And you wowed me with the effort in which you put into this meeting, mapping out the route from rooftop to rooftop. Despite speaking to you nonstop for well over a week by this time, I was so incredibly nervous to see you. You were but a stranger still and yet so familiar to me – we were so similar in many ways. You admitted to me that you were just as nervous, unsure that your plan would live up to my expectation. And I just want to reiterate that it far exceeded it. We shared our first kiss in the corner of our second rooftop and a remark from you followed by that boyish smile still makes me blush. That day you were a true consummate gentleman. “Yep, still thinking about you,” read your text the morning after and I beamed like a schoolgirl with her first crush who had acknowledged he’d liked her back. And somehow, I wish that these feelings had lasted to this day.

I’ll remember the time when the city was ours. The soft patter of rain against our umbrellas as we walked through the desolate streets of New York. Your hand warm as you held tightly onto mine, leading the way to our next destination, careful to steer me away from any too-deep puddles in the road. I remember nearing the bright lights of Times Square, as you told me stories about your childhood, what it was like growing up for you, and in that moment, I felt so close to you and I felt so honored that you entrusted me such knowledge, allowing me a glimpse into someone that was still a mystery to me in some ways. We were the only two people in the otherwise incredibly busy part of town – no person or car was in sight – the sounds of our voices seemingly echoing. It was our own little piece of the city that night, a special moment created just for us.

The rest is just a flurry of good times and memories… I’m not the best at receiving public displays of affection, but I tolerated and accepted them and even grew to like them from you. Your hand on the small of my back as we walked down the streets, holding my hand at the dinner table, lavishing light kisses on my face in front of your friends while we got lost to the rhythm of the music on the dance floor, wrapping your arms around me from behind as we examined a piece of artwork.

I know eventually these memories may fade as others replace them, but I wanted to take the time to document this so that I can say that we lived once and we almost loved. That I cared about you and on some level wished that I could still. “Have you ever needed someone so bad? But he isn’t willing to make it last […] And if it makes you cry, cry, cry. And all you do is fight. Can’t get no sleep at night. Sometimes you’ve gotta lose to win again.

Maybe that red string of fate tied around our ankles was never meant to be tightened, or maybe it is not meant to be tightened just yet. I don’t know, but I can’t hold on any longer currently, hoping that things will change in the future. I’m not that much of a gambler, and you knew that going in. So goodbye, or goodbye for now. I hope that you find the peace that you need and find the person that just syncs with you. At that moment, I’m just not her, and I’ll have to be okay with that.

Always,

Your TT

Here’s to you, Dr. Gwin.

I cried for you for the first time yesterday after recalling everything you had said to and done for me since the day I first met you. I cried for you for the first time yesterday and not on the day I found out the news because I was still in a state of shock, not fully grasping that you would no longer be here with me. What’s a girl to do without her mentor? The person who encouraged me to follow my dreams and love my interests, unabashedly? It’s been years since we had a real meaningful conversation, something that lasted longer than a few comments exchanged on Facebook, but in my heart and in my mind, those long talks we had about life will always remain with me. You will always remain with me.

I was sixteen when we first met, even though I had heard about you from my friends and fellow schoolmates — your lack of leniency when it came to grading, the difficulty of your classes, the dullness of the material. I sat in the front row of your classroom like the nerdy Asian girl I was back then, expecting not to enjoy my first day, and watched you stroll in wearing your usual uniform of a white short-sleeve button up shirt, suspenders, khakis (short or long, dependent upon weather), socks with sandals and your signature Santa Claus beard. But when you spoke, you commanded attention – a true storyteller. The passion you held for history reignited my interest for ancient civilizations, and I knew, after a month into sitting in your class, I would no longer declare as a pre-med major but a history major.

My dual credit program required all students to ask a professor to be their mentor, to guide them through their senior year of high school/sophomore year of college, and I knew I had to ask you. I was nervous, Sally Hawkins dance type of nervous, but ten times worse. Relief when you agreed would be an understatement, and I honestly could not imagine a better person to have discussions about ionic columns or medieval armor over coffee and French fries (fries were more for me, to be honest). When I got into a bit of trouble with one of the administrators for a seemingly small incident (which felt incredibly huge at the time), you were there to walk me through it and explain, in the nicest way possible, that I was being punished severely for petty bullshit. You didn’t treat me like a sixteen/seventeen year old. You treated me like a person, and I thank you for that.

I thank you also for having a sense of humor and doing something that everyone said you simply do not do. It was toward the end of my senior year and I was suffering from senioritis something fierce, and instead of focusing on my studies, I spent more time playing Soul Calibre II than anyone in their right mind would ever do. I’d always enjoyed your exams because they were never multiple choice, and I could simply just show you in so many words that I had paid attention to you – that I really loved your class. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the most attentive in the last few weeks, and it showed during the final exam when we were asked to identify “Cervantes.” Cervantes who? Certainly not the military leader and certainly not the author of one of the greatest works of all time, so I put down what I did know: “He is a character in Soul Calibre II.” When we received our grades for the end of the term and I had found out that I made an A in your class, I simply had to find out how I did on my final, and during one of our many talks in your office, I brought up my little gaff. And you just smiled and removed the stack of exams from your filing cabinet and showed it to me. You’d given me half credit for my Cervantes answer and said, “I believe it to be true because you would never lie to me. Although it wasn’t the answer I was looking for, it is still a correct answer all the same.”

And in a way, you weren’t what I was looking for. I didn’t take your class hoping that I would change the course of my academic career. I needed a history credit, and I wanted a challenge. But enrolling in your class and asking you to be my mentor were the most correct decisions I have ever made.

May you rest in peace, Dr. Gwin.

“Sue Actualization”

Written last Sunday, the 2nd, shortly after the pilot announces we will be arriving at Laguardia on my flight from Houston:

For the first time I’m not particularly worried about anything, and there’s a sense of calm that washes over me. It’s a liberating feeling, something great that I hope that everyone gets to feel at one point in their lives. I have student loans that I have to pay off. I have a car note. I have some credit card debt, but they seem so inconsequential. I can overcome these things.

I think this is my year. And I have never felt this way before. I don’t exactly know what’s in store for me. I don’t know what exactly will make it my year. Will my job take off and lead me into a direction I want? Will I find someone special? Will I be able to save as much as I want for that down payment on a place of my own? All of the above maybe? At this point, while I’m 30000 feet up in the air, I feel like anything is possible. It’s so strange to think that only three months ago I started this crazy impulsive plan to move to a city where, even though I knew a few people, I would have to start fresh. Where I would be living alone for the first time, without a job or even prospects for one. It was daunting, and I remember at times I wanted to just cry because nothing was panning out. I thought I would have to go home, tail tucked between my legs, marked and labeled a failure. But now with this accomplishment of getting settled into a workplace that I actually really enjoy — I found myself missing work when I left at noon on Friday — and can see myself excelling, I feel very blessed. Very grateful.

I haven’t been blogging because of the above mentioned bit about my new job. Overtime is pretty crazy, but I still attempt to make time for me. This is the start of my new year. This is my true beginning. I set goals for myself at the beginning of the Georgian 2014 calendar and over the weekend, it’s become kind of a reminder. A reinforcement of sorts of these goals. This is my year, and I’m going to make it a fucking amazing 2014 as a 26 and almost 27 year old.

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