Monday, October 08, 2012

Act 2 or Act 3?

This is not the underworld, I'm not Sisyphus, and I'm not Atlas. (I'm a consumer living in a 1st-world nation.) Each of these is a metaphor for a holding pattern from which few escape. The truth, ostensibly, is that a great many holding patterns are commonly of our own making. It's not guaranteed, of course; a cigar is often a cigar, and a cell is often a cell. Nonetheless, I'm happy to report that my written flair for the dramatic still shares much with the desert rose; a dry, cheap, and easily-cultivated bloom against a stark contrast of otherwise muted appropriateness.

It's rather shocking to look back at the optimism and belief I had in the past.

I never had a simple view of the universe. Science remains ever-present at the forefront of my belief, but I've always assumed there was more to the story - and I still do, just not in the conventionally-accepted religious sense. I've known for a long time that I know not what that story is, and may not ever know, and must be okay with that; but I've recently been given insight into many other parts of my life that I had never thought I'd be able to see. So many, in fact that I wonder if my other questions have been answered after all; as if here and now, the veil was only partially lifted, and yet I still received more of a glimpse than was intended.

Due to my age, and other unfortunate shortcomings that have been brought to my attention somewhat latterly, I believe my next logical move is to make peace with who I thought I could be, and who I thought I would become; he must be laid to rest, along with the other relics of possibilities that might never be. All that remains must keep on moving (not the phoenix nor the zombie, but animated all the same).

I don't have unrealistic expectations of myself; those were stripped a long time ago (from carving or kindling I do not know), and once upon a time, I wondered why. I now know how. It seems almost cruelly-unfair, but in the end I am a better person, even as I rage against the bars of my own diffidence and now corporeal frailty, and at the still-wondrously powerful freedom of action and agency that so many others enjoy unknowingly and effortlessly. (But how can I be angry, when I know I live so well?)

The diagnosis of a physically painful variant of an already-unpleasant genetic disease and the complications that follow it is not a concept one can easily gift-wrap, but for me, everything finally snapped together into a cohesive picture, with only the last few pieces missing. (Specifically, a cure. Did I mention this hurts?) My view of the world hasn't changed. In fact, my view of the people in it has been vindicated, but I know not for better or worse. My view of myself has changed considerably, but if you know me, that's probably expected.

In this past year, I have seen many of these changes and vindications. I have burdened physical torment, the likes of which I didn't know I was capable of bearing. I have held shame and embarrassment, the likes of which I didn't know I was capable of shouldering. I have seen people change from afar and up-close. I have seen good people go crazy -- young, middle-aged, and old. (But were the seeds of insanity always there, only to bloom after years of cultivation?) I have seen crazy people take hard-earned steps to end their insanity. I have seen jerks become friendly and samaritans become idiots. I have seen myself take steps in a direction toward which I have until late, remained oblivious, but that's often the nature of the future. So many questions have been answered. Those few people who have stuck with me are now worth far more than I ever imagined. It seems like we're in the final act, even though statistically, we're not even halfway through. Anything more is a bonus, if you can still call it that.

Even if it turns out that things are okay, that tomorrow will be a better day, I will stand over the same precipice I did the day before. Something has to change. I have to change. Will I get a say, or has the choice been made for me?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Veil

I'm pulling the blag out of hiding. It's odd to have a short collection of rantings that haven't seen the light of day in forever and don't even have their original comments. It's somewhat obsolete, at least for my own purposes, with the seamless integration of Facebook everywhere. I even found a post from 2005 that another blogger outright stole in 2007 (They went so far as to remove the poem in the front, and my reference of Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible at the bottom). To be fair, it's my favorite post, so I could see why it was stolen. It feels safe to simply uncover this old place, now that the only people that use blogs anymore are either professionals or people who use 'em for scratch paper. It was a mistake to stop writing, but only now have I renewed interest, after experiencing all the bullshit that the past year has accumulated. I've aged decades in that span of time, with unfortunate revelations and life changes.

New life lesson: growing up sucks balls

... but the alternative is much more ... unpleasant.

Memories of High School

Today, I found myself reminiscing upon old high school memories, to the point of unearthing my dreaded high school yearbooks. First loves, old friends, and good times bubbled out of my memories unwanted and unbidden; I've NEVER done that before. I have resolutely hated (edit: resolutely hate) high school with a passion for so long that I must've repressed all but the most defining and embarrassing moments, mostly inherent mistakes, boasting abilities I thought I possessed, and numerous idiotic after-the-moment-has-passed realizations of high school puppy-love, and of course being "spaz-tastic." I was so stupid (and in many ways, still am), and it was such a reminder of all my many mistakes, misfortunes, miscalculations, misses, and plain old embarrassments that I simply attended college for my senior year, and never looked back until now. Some of those old friends I've been able to get in touch with, while others still remain amidst background radiation of ancient memory, never gone, but always fading. I never thought I'd say this, but finally, I admit that there's a great deal of high school that I miss, and I frankly regret skipping through my senior year. But, now that I've admitted that, I can put it all away and move on, because that's what I do.

Why I will never go back to that restaurant

This was back in 2009. December, I think? I haven't really posted in a long time. There goes my streak. Now, back to the post that should've stayed at 2009:

I will speak of my DC trip, but not now. I just want to say something.

Tonight, I just got back from watching Slumdog Millionaire with my friends. I found it to be a splendid movie. I was blown away by the story, the acting, and the directing, despite the existence of development segments where the movie suffered from dropping to a snail's pace.

Right after watching the Oscars, my friends and I decided on-impulse to see the movie; it had been on everyone's list, but no one had seen it. Half of us left to go home, while the rest of us piled into my car and caught the 10:35pm showing of Slumdog Millionaire.

I loved it. It was about love and destiny. Certainly, a bit of poetic justice is fitting at this point. In fact, the restaurant I tried on the previous night was ironically named Elle.

It's a great restaurant, but there's little food for vegetarians, and as I recently found out, due to the butter used in cooking, there's almost nothing for vegans.

I have very recently declared my desire to become vegan.

My status as a vegetarian has been an incremental set of achievements, somewhat coinciding with visits from my brother. It wasn't planned. It wasn't completely his influence either (says the follower. But realistically, by all accounts, my family is the biggest reason I am vegan today, although I'd like to think I would've been on the path towards such a goal anyway). Since 2002, I started taking various meats from my diet; first all meats but fish & fowl, then those, too - now eggs, butter, and dairy. For 6 years, I had been working towards this, without even knowing it was my end goal. And mind you, along the way, I have been quite lenient with myself in the process, not declaring any hard lines until long after I was comfortable with my diet and my choice. Even then, I still told myself I was keeping in-step with the diet as much as I felt was natural for me.

I surprised myself, considering that I want to gain weight.

Now that sub-story is out of the way, we can actually move to the title's namesake; the break-up dinner. I have never gone to a dinner to break-up with someone. I seriously hope to not ever do that again.

In fact, when I tasted my pasta rabe made with broccoli and asparagus, I realized something was amiss, and it wasn't the fact that I was forcefully trying my best to stay cheerful and light-hearted (And I swear to god it was almost working, but almost doesn't count for shit). I ate the meal, vegetarian but not vegan, and I couldn't isolate the flavor that signaled this horrendously over-dramatic, but painfully-apt metaphor. It should've been vegan, (and at the time, I thought it was) but the foul taste lingered in my mouth later, and the realization dawned upon my tired mind that the meal was saturated with butter. Okay, not a problem for the rest of you non-vegans, but it's something I chose not to do, and yet I did.

How she and I met and how we got along was the same way: wrong circumstances, wrong time, not enough time, and nowhere could we be fully alone (which didn't stop us), but this was definitely the meal I ordered. I wanted it, and so did she. It was what I asked for but cooked the wrong way. I only figured it out long-after I had digested it all.

This was beyond all things in my limited experience. My thoughts were not my own. I didn't want that. At least, I don't want it right now.

Mind you, I don't have an iron trap for a mind. This is one of those things that will stay with me.

Near the end of the meal, she said, "So, you're ending it because it's going too well."

Close enough.