Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Unbearable Darkness of Being

Today, over at Balloon Juice, Cole posted about a commenter who had recently killed herself shortly after her beloved killed himself.  I think her commenting tapered off before I started frequenting the site because her name only vaguely rings a bell.

The reason I am blogging about this is because her last note (on one of the FB Memorial pages) really struck a chord with me.  She talked about how she supposedly had all these things going for her and how it wasn’t enough (I’m paraphrasing).  Her explicit reason (wanting marriage and children more than anything, and feeling she would never find it as she was thirty-four) is not mine, but the similarities between our thinking made me uncomfortable.

I was seven when I realized I would die.  It scared the shit out of me when I thought about not existing for the rest of eternity.  I would jump out of bed, scream, and run around my room because I couldn’t handle the idea.   But, I had a rough childhood.

I first thought about killing myself when I was eleven.  It was frequently on my mind.  When I went into a deep depression for fifteen years (22-37), I thought about it every day of my life.  I thought about the different ways I could do it.  I thought about what letters I would write and to whom, trying to explain my reasons for killing myself.

You know why I didn’t do it?

1) Inertia.  As anyone who has suffered a deep depression knows, sometimes it takes all one’s energy just to drag your ass out of bed (hours later than planned).  I didn’t have the goddamn energy to kill myself.

2) Pessimism.  Life sucked.  Who said whatever is on the other side will suck less?  No one.  And, because I am pessimistic in many ways, I thought that the other side would be worse than this side.

3) My loved ones.  I live alone.  If I killed myself, it might not be noticed for days (though I have a heavy internet presence).  The idea that one of my friends or my brother would find my body made my blood run cold.  In addition, after I got my boys, I realized that if I killed myself, their whole lives would be disrupted.  Sure, I had friends who would give them a good home, but they got it pretty cushy here.  It would seriously disturb them if I were to kill myself.

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Waiting for Godot (Lauryn Hill), Part I

Waiting for GodotLast night, I had the chance to be cool.  This is very unusual for me since I have lived a life of ultimate un-coolness.  My best friend emailed me a few weeks ago and said she could get tickets to the Lauryn Hill show.  Was I in?  Let me think.  I like Lauryn Hill’s music and her lyrics AND she’s cute.  I get to dress up, get my dance on, and maybe flirt with a cute young thang.  Was I in?  Oh, hell yeah.   So, last night, I took more time than usual getting ready.  Normally, I can be out the door in ten minutes.  Last night, though, it took me a good half hour to decide what to wear.  I wanted to wear my cute little black dress that made me look gooooood  (ladies, you know what I mean), but it was supposed to hit sub-zero temps last night.  And, while I love the cold, even I am not that crazy.  At least not in the temperature sense.  So, instead, I threw on a pair of black velvet pants, a black tank, a black wrap over the tank, and declared my wardrobe complete.

And yet, accessories!  Every woman knows that the secret to a glam look is how one accentuates one’s positives.  The problem is, most of my earrings are missing one of the pair or are broken.  I like to wear big, bold earrings (partly because I have such long hair), so I was flummoxed.  I had one pair of big black hoops made of African rubber, but that meant putting my hair up.  I pulled the front part of my hair up into a high ponytail, and, because I’m OCD, spent fifteen minutes making sure it sat just right.  I added a few rings (silver, I hate gold), a bracelet, and some lipstick.  Cyber, by MAC, a colored girl’s best friend (in makeup).  I have to admit, I clean up nicely.  I threw on my stylish-yet-practical black boots, and I was good to go.

The doors to First Ave were supposed to open at eight, but that got pushed back to nine.  I made it to my best friend’s place at eight-fifteen.  We were standing in line to get into the club by a quarter to nine.  We were in the door and coats checked by nine, and we were ready to groove.  We hit the bar.  I had forgotten to heed Angry Black Lady’s advice and take some Pepcid AC before going out–I’m allergic to alcohol like many Asians, and she says her Asian girlfriends SWEAR by it–so I knew I wouldn’t be able to drink much.  Normally, I’m a bourbon and diet coke, gin and tonic, rum and diet coke kinda gal (I am the least allergic to hard liquor), but I was in the mood for something different.  I decided I wanted to try the Twisted Ice Tea.  It came in a 24 oz. can, and I felt a bit ridiculous holding it, but it was really really tasty.  Deceptively so.  I was drinking along thinking, “Mmmmm, yummy.  There can’t be any alcohol in this–oh, damn.  Yes there is!”  It went down smooth and hit me hard.  I think I might have drank a third of it.
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A Study in Contrast

A long long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away–oh, wait.  Scratch that.  Let me start again.  A long time ago, I was at an APLB (Asian and Pacific Islander Lesbian and Bisexual Women) conference in MN.  This was right after I came out (but several years after I realized I was attracted to women as well as men), and I was nervous as hell.  I learned many things that weekend (including how liberating it was to shout, “Asian Pussy Power!” on one of the U’s campuses), but the one thing that really stuck out for me was that the women were putting everyone on the femme/butch continuum.  One hot soft butch looked at me, thought about it, then announced, “I can’t put you on the continuum.  You don’t fit.”

That was one of the best compliments I have ever received.  In addition, I remember another lesbian (not at the conference), a self-proclaimed butch who would go into apoplexy because she couldn’t peg me.  I had long hair, but I didn’t wear makeup.  She told me I couldn’t like sports because I was into theatre.  It probable bugged her as well that I didn’t shave my armpits or legs (I’m Asian.  I have very little body hair), but that I would dress sexily from time to time.

I don’t care.  I’ve heard it all before from people trying to peg me.  I have a very eclectic taste in music, and I enjoy flummoxing people who can’t understand how I can like, say, VNV Nation AND Vienna Teng at the same time.   I have tried to streamline my personality in the past, but with minimal success.  In the end, I realized that part of what makes me the person I am is all the messy bits that don’t fit neatly into one set paradigm.   And, to the extent that I am a contrarian, I actually embrace the messiness that makes up my personality.
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Happy New Year and Shit

2010 is about to be history.  Gone, in the blink of both eyes.  2011 is on the way in, and she looks to be a feisty one.   I ruminated in my last post as to how fast this year went.  And, now as is my wont, I am looking back over the year to see the good, the bad, and the down right ugly. First, the good.  Well, I pretty much detailed that in the last entry and in the one previous to that.  But, I will just add that I am in a better place emotionally than I have been in years.  Decades.  My lifetime, probably.  And, again, it’s not necessarily because of different circumstances or anything like that.  It’s because of the hard, boring, tedious inner work I’ve done over decades.   And, I mean decades. When I think back to the person I was in my early twenties, she is unrecognizable to me.  Trapped in two eating disorders, but denying it, being someone completely foreign to me.  I had reinvented myself before going to college because I was such a loser as a kid, but the second incarnation of me was only better on the surface.  And, it caused me lots of pain as well. As incarnation 2.2 (the upgrade), I did manage to get an MA in Writing & Consciousness, so not all was a failure.  Alas, I also got my heart thoroughly trounced on for the second time and decided that love was for others and not for me.  I pouted and sulked a lot, if I remember correctly. I have written before about the lost 15 years, and I will do so again.  From the time I was 22 until the time I was 37, I shut down.  I hurt so much, I decided that the only way to survive was to go into an emotional coma.

And, survived, I did.  Barely.  Dubiously. But, I am alive today, so survived I must have.

I would like to say, I cannot emphasize how much Taiji has helped me.  I’ve been at it for almost three years now, and my emotional health has gotten steadily better since I started practicing Taiji.  It’s not because I have some magical Asian gene that allows me to do this shit by osmosis.  Believe me, I don’t have that gene. And, in addition, I’m lazy.  So, I haven’t practiced nearly as much as I should have/could have/would have.  I’ve been frustrated with myself because I know that I feel better after practicing, and I know that practicing Taiji puts me in a better place.
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