made in kowloon

Category: Dating

“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

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Goodbye and Hello Again.

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time, well you might find just what you need…

And what I needed was a wake up call.

I reentered the dating scene again fairly recently – after a three year self imposed hiatus, and in those three years while finding myself and figuring out what it meant to be a single, independent person – someone who didn’t need anyone else to define or validate herself, I had completely forgotten how to date. I had forgotten about all the terribly, incredibly high highs and low lows. The rules of dating hadn’t necessarily changed. It was me who had changed (to a certain degree).

I became more of a hopeful, optimistic person, who was starting to embrace this new “romantic” side. I wanted to be open to whatever came next, to learn to take chances, and I don’t know… believe that people entered your life for a particular reason. Frank was my wake up call. In six weeks, he had managed to make me realize several things:

1) guys could be sweet and gentlemanly!;

2) I should expect sweet and gentlemanly actions. I had given guys too much of a pass in the past. Chivalry shouldn’t be and isn’t dead;

3) in some way, I really hadn’t changed all that much when it came to dating. Overthinking and second guessing my and his actions and words. Crushing a little too hard when things are on the upswing. I kind of drove myself a little crazy, and in turn, I’m pretty sure I drove my closest friends nuts too with all my rhetorical regurgitation;

4) dating should be FUN and is a discovery phase! Aside from all the stupid overthinking, I had a lot of fun and I laughed a lot;

5) the chemistry, the fun, and the sweetness are sometimes just fronts to hit it and quit it. I say this only because when he wasn’t and realized that he was never getting it (I’ve been on this ‘turning a new leaf’ kick, which I made sure he knew from Date number 3 and Date number 5), Frank administered number 6; and

6) people still use the disappearing act.

Maybe I’m wrong about number 5. I’m sure he has his reason(s). I’m just through with thinking about it because you know, it wasn’t me – I didn’t lead him to believe that I was someone I wasn’t during our time together, or that I wanted anything other than what I advertised or said. This was on him, and he entered my life so that I could (re)learn these six things.

This also gave me a sort of epiphany after some soul searching. There was someone who I had gotten to know years ago, and we had a good time. It wasn’t too different from my experience with Frank, even though it didn’t last six weeks with five dates, and just like Frank, I had pulled the disappearing act. I’m pretty sure I was acting on a selfish impulse when I called him up yesterday to apologize after years of not saying a single thing, but when you realize you’ve done something that immature (because let’s be real, not being honest with your intentions/ not manning up to tell someone that you’re not that interested isn’t the most mature action), you want to make amends. At least I did and do. I took a chance, and surprisingly, we had a really great catch up conversation that lasted almost two hours. It felt nice to own up to something.

So anyway, because I need a sense of closure without the necessity of losing face by contacting Frank again, and in the words of this show that I’ve been binging on in attempts to temporarily make myself numb and drown out all negative thoughts about my self worth (because to be honest, even though I know I’m kind of awesome on a good day, I can still wallow for a little bit over the fact that I did just technically get “dumped” in the most cowardly way):

Take care, Frank. Nice to know you.

Obviously his name was changed to protect his delicate disposition.

Happily Ever After…?

Mama Liu has been in the Big Apple with me for the past couple of days, and yesterday she saw her first subway rat after dinner at The Capital Grille. Her eyes got real wide, and she suddenly remembers this story from back in her secretarial/accounting days in Hong Kong. She paints this really comedic picture of how one of her colleagues trapped a mouse that had somehow scurried up one of her bellbottom pant legs. Apparently, those pant legs were really wide, and she hadn’t felt a thing until it was all the way near her hooha. (What in the world?!) She had squealed and screamed, yet tried to remain quiet as to not cause too much a ruckus in the office, but by the time she reached the restroom, the mouse had fainted from her superhuman grip and just fell out…

ANYWAY. this same woman was pining after some (hua hua gong zi) “playboy” who was trying to court my mother, and my mom, so cute and adorable, got all riled up in the subway station and exclaimed as she recalled that time, “Ugh, I would never in my life had gone out with him!~ Just thinking about the way he looked, I hate him!~ Thinking he’s all that and a bag of chips~” (Of course, she didn’t use a lot of this slang, nor did she say any of this in English, but that’s the gist of what she said.) Then she says,

“But the way I feel when I look at your father… There is an indescribable feeling I have in my heart/chest whenever I look at him…It flutters.”

To which I ask, “Even now?”

She vehemently nods, “Even now.”

“I wish I can find that for me one day.”

“You will. Everyone does.”

In the past couple of months, dating, my future for dating, and the possibility of marriage have been on my mind. Those who know me best would find the latter a bit of a surprise, as I have always been one to shun the idea of marriage, for me that is. I happily supported my friends’ decisions to get hitched – within certain time frames, no less. Independent woman all the way, am I right?  This five year old girl gets my drift…  Also, my current thinking about marriage in no way means I’m planning my wedding right now, nor am I really searching for my husband. I don’t even see myself walking down the aisle for a good number of years.

So with all these thoughts, my mom making such a candid confession about the way she feels about my dad is kind of like icing on the cake, so to speak. My parents will have been married for thirty years next March on the 11th. They’ve had ups, and they’ve certainly had some downs. I certainly wouldn’t say they are the most perfect couple in the world, but you know, it works. It works because they make it work, and it’s so rare nowadays to see people stay together – to make it work. I know there are some unforgivable sins that cannot be undone, cannot be forgotten, and will warrant a separation or divorce, but in general… I’ve learned so much about compromise and tolerance and patience within a marriage from my parents’.

As my folks grow older, I see their love grow too, and it’s so weird and wonderful and refreshing. They still have fun, and they still laugh together and at one another. To be honest, they’ve done that a lot more in recent years. It gives me a sense of hope, one that I refused to see and accept a long time ago because I feared that… I won’t have the same. Because we live in a generation where those virtues and values people had for marriage a while back are now luxuries… dying breeds. But I don’t know, maybe my parents’ history will repeat itself when I’m ready to create my own “love story.” Maybe I’ll let the traditionalist, romanticist sides of me win this time and I’ll continue to hold out for this hope. Apparently, my parents were a bad match because their astrological charts said they would be incompatible, but here they are, almost thirty years later and going just as strong.

Maybe I’ll find the guy who loves me and makes my heart flutter when I just look at him. Everyone does, right?

Now this is where I plug some links to articles and videos I’ve been reading and watching:

http://karenattiah.com/2010/07/28/a-womans-self-worth/

http://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/

http://elitedaily.com/dating/women-marrying/

http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/07/texting-exes-social-media-generation.html

http://johnsu.deviantart.com/art/How-To-Talk-To-Women-416921669

http://groupthink.jezebel.com/asian-women-arent-your-oriental-submissive-china-dol-1464199143

http://www.buzzfeed.com/annals/online-datings-icky-yellow-fever-fetishists

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWynJkN5HbQ