Number One

“I want to be number one.” When the words left my lips, I resisted the urge to laugh, to make light of them. I watched his expression closely. His lips had curled into a small smile, I knew half a dozen sarcastic comments were making their way through his mind. Then he caught my eyes. His expression became serious and that was the signal I needed to continue.

I don’t want to be a convenience, a rational choice, the summation of everything checked off an arbitrary list. I don’t want to be a “why not”, but a resounding “yes”. Not to be a fetish or an idol. Not to be molded into something else but to be wanted for the person that I am.

I want to inspire someone, to make him feel invincible, to have the same effect on him as cocaine would. I want to be the train that hits him straight on, the lightning bolt that strikes him, the rain that soaks him to his bones.

And in return, I want someone for whom I would move mountains, one tiny pebble at a time.

As for all those verbal agreements I had made in the ignorance of my earlier youth, the plans that began with “if we’re both still single by the time we’re…” I declare them all null and void. I am not afraid of solitude. I will not explore life with zeal only to settle in my love life.

So don’t ask me “why not”. That’s how I operate my travels, not my relations. Not anymore.

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Never Fight With Someone You Love

Recently I got into a fight with someone I love very dearly.

I don’t have the best temper in the world. I know this and I’ve been working on it since college. It’s not an easy task, changing a part of my personality. My temper has improved a great deal since I was 18 but I’m fully aware there still exists the Hyde to my Jekyll.

Usually when I feel the tempest brewing within me, I extract myself from the situation. I mentally press pause and leave the room. I go for a walk to clear my head. By the time I return, the storm has passed. You’d be surprised at how trivial most fights will seem if you only give yourself a ten-minute break from it.

This time, however, I forgot the reason I control my temper. This time, I decided to unleash my rage. This time, I met her hurricane with my own tornado and the resounding collision threatened to destroy our relationship.

As I gazed at the debris around us, I did not feel an inkling of triumph. Both of us were wounded, defeated. I decided then to fully commit to protecting our relationship, to never give another storm a chance to rip us apart. I remembered then why I try so hard to control my temper.

Never fight with someone you love. Nothing good will come of it. No one ever walked away from a fight with someone they cared about feeling like a winner, wanting to high-five themselves. Everyone loses. Stop yourself from saying anything you’ll regret later. The anger will pass, but you’ll never be able to take back those words.

Decide how important the relationship is to you. Regard the person standing in front of you as you feel the upcoming storm, weigh your anger in one hand and your relationship in the other, decide if you’re in it for the long run.

Tell Me Something Good

My friends were married last Saturday at the Sofitel in Redwood City. The hotel is located just across the street from Oracle, where they met. The wedding was small and intimate; I had never seen a happier bride. I have much love for the couple and was honored to be included as one of the attendees.

As I watched the couple hold hands and exchange their vows, I thought: that doesn’t seem so scary, I think I could probably do that someday. That was a big step for me, even as a thought. Well, I have to give full credit to the bride, she made it seem so easy.

bride

My cousin is getting married tomorrow. Regrettably, I won’t be able to make it to the wedding. I had to fight the impulse to purchase a last-minute ticket to Shanghai. I called my aunt earlier tonight to send my regrets and was told she had planned for me to be a part of the wedding. “It’s okay,” she said. “I’ll wait to attend your wedding. You better get on that.” I just laughed.

Wish I could be there for the wedding tomorrow. I could almost see my grandparents’ elation and the grin on my cousin’s face. I’m sure my aunt will be crying. I’m sure it’ll be beautiful.

All my love and the warmest wishes for the happy couples.

The Passion

“Love, they say, enslaves and passion is a demon and many have been lost for love. I know this is true, but I know too that without love we grope the tunnels of our lives and never see the sun. When I fell in love it was as though I looked into a mirror for the first time and saw myself. I lifted my hand in wonderment and felt my cheeks, my neck. This was me. And when I had looked at myself and grown accustomed to who I was, I was not afraid to hate parts of me because I wanted to be worthy of the mirror bearer.

Then, when I had regarded myself for the first time, I regarded the world and saw it to be more various and beautiful than I thought. Like most people I enjoyed the hot evenings and the smell of food and the birds that spike the sky, but I was not a mystic nor a man of God and I did not feel the extasy I had read about. I longed for feeling though I could not have told you that. Words like passion and extasy, we learn them but they stay flat on the page. Sometimes we try and turn them over, find out what’s on the other side, and everyone has a story to tell of a woman or a brothel or an opium night or a war. We fear it. We fear passion and laugh at too much love and those who love too much.

And still we long to feel.”

Jeanette Winterson

Month of Love

In February, I felt inspired to write a series of entries tagged “month of love.” It was a hectic month for me, a feast of love and obligations. I’ve got enough sense to know how lucky I am to have these “obligations”, that I had traveled halfway across the world for these “obligations”, but they took a lot out of me nevertheless.

And though I enjoyed being needed by family and friends, I needed me too. I needed me to sit by the window and watch the snow drift silently outside. I needed me to call Expedia, pick up my dry cleaning, and respond to emails! I needed me to light some candles and sink into a tub of bubbles.

I was drowning and writing saved me. I wrote late into the night after each exhausting day. The lack of sleep did not mitigate the chaos of February but it allowed me to breathe. I wrote about love as uncensored as I could. I took full advantage of the month and the at times unclear distinction between fiction and non fiction.

For the first time since I started using WordPress, after leaving behind more than seven years of faithful Xanga blogging, I finally took an axe to the previously formidable bounds of rwmscrambled. I hope it’s only the beginning.

In the month of love and since, I have received a lot of unsolicited advice. Advice such as “don’t take the risk or invest too much, you might get hurt,” “it’s better to not have feelings,” “don’t even try because it probably won’t work out.”

Come on!

Is that what life is supposed to be? Carefully planned steps that ensure we risk little and gain even less? Running away at the first sign of uncertainty? Locking our hearts in a steel case next to our dreams and tossing the whole thing as far as we can? Placing limits and conditions on our abilities and feelings?

I can’t live that way. Love has made me a believer.

Love it seems can survive even a war and a zero winter. Like the snow-raspberries, our host explained, love is like that, and he told us how these flimsy delicacies appear always in February, whatever the weather, whatever the prospects. No one knows why, when pines are withered at the roots and rough sheep have to be kept indoors, these impossible hot-house things still grow.

The Passion

Stages of Love

It always begins with denial: “it’s too early to be love, I don’t even know him all that well.” At what point do you know him well enough to love him? When you know the color of his eyes, the names of his sisters, or the story behind each of his tattoos? Is it enough to have felt every scar on his body and to know just what to say to make him smile? “Oh, he just told me his grandma’s maiden name! That’s the last bit of information on my checklist! Now I can call it — it’s love!”

For the longest time, you struggle with the word. It seems… too grand, too much. “I’m fond of him,” you tell yourself. “I am not irritated by him, there, I said it.” Then one day you discuss the possibility of the l-word with your best friend over gchat and you feel lighter, somehow. You make a few attempts to say it out loud when you’re alone, just to test what it’d sound like, just to see if it’d feel right. You gasp out loud, “I can’t believe I just said it!”

Then the anxiety begins. Because it’s been awhile since you found love knocking on your door. Before you even decide what to do, she’s already let herself in. You close your eyes and count to ten, maybe it’s all a dream. You open your eyes to find that she’s made herself quite comfortable. Should you politely ask her to leave? But what if she never visits again? So you carry on like nothing’s amiss, yet you see her from the corner of your eye and it makes you unsteady. Her presence changes everything.

You dare to hope, even if hope has led you astray far too many times.

And one day, you find yourself overwhelmed with joy. JOY. You want to shout it from the mountaintop. You can’t wipe that silly grin off your face. You’re positive you’re glowing. They say your brain in love is equivalent to your brain on cocaine. You’ve never tried cocaine but it’s nice to know you’ve got options if this love thing doesn’t work out. At this stage you learn of your many superpowers: you can levitate, you can soar with eagles and hang with clouds. You wonder how you ever doubted the existence of this feeling. Now that you’ve seen what’s on the other side, how could you ever go back to life before, to indulge in senseless pleasures? How is it possible that one person can make you so damn happy? Your friends are worried about you. “You’re still young,” they say. “You should keep your options open,” they say. Everyone else suddenly seems so much more rational than you, or maybe more cynical, you can’t decide. You ignore them, they’ve forgotten how it feels to soar, they only remember the fall. “You were right,” you tell your friend who understands, “it does feel like being hit by a train.”

All too soon, you’re brought back to earth by doubt. You feel better with your feet planted firmly on the ground. What are the odds that it’ll all work out anyway?

Do It For Love

Because too often we are motivated by fear. The world outside is too vast and unfamiliar; what’s more frightening than the unknown? Fear of failure demobilizes us from pursuing our dreams and desires and only love can push us forward. Love is what fear is not.

Because life kicks our asses on a daily basis. Day after day, we drag ourselves to work, until the monotony of it makes us forget why we do it at all. We no longer remember that we had once loved this field or that our families are depending on us. It is too easy to drown in resentment and love is our only life-line.

Because life is so fragile and all too quickly, gone. One of these days, before we know it, we will have reached old age. We will come to know the frailty of our bodies and it will scare us. We will have to rely on others for the most ordinary tasks and it will make us feel helpless. Love will be our strength and guide; it will be the legacy we leave behind.

Because we all take it for granted. Because so few of us have it written on our daily to-do lists. Because our loved ones will not be around forever.

Because no one has ever proclaimed on his deathbed, “I wish I had loved less.”