Bittersweet future with every milestone

I wonder how long I am going to pine for someone who didn’t really exist except in my imagination.  How long am I going to miss a person that doesn’t miss me?

It seems like every milestone brings up this grief and sense of loss.  I took my child to school for the first time.  It went well and there’s no reason to be sad.

Except I am missing someone now.  But not a biological relative who has passed on or lives somewhere we can’t easily reach.  Instead I miss someone who would rather imagine my life than keep in touch to learn the reality.

Of course, it’s my own fault this person isn’t in my life.  It’s my own fault my heart aches so terribly right now.  That is what happens when people date people who not that into them.  The people who don’t care are fine and don’t even have to “move on” so much as just quit.  Even forgetting is easy for them.

I don’t even have a perfectly sound explanation for why I care so much.  I do know this person is more comforting to me than my parents or anyone else I dated.  I felt safe then in a deep sense when he held me in a period were little felt alright.  Perhaps he was the person I was most attached to in my life.  Probably because I met him at an incredibly wounded and vulnerable time in my life and he didn’t regularly criticize me in a judgemental tone as I proceeded to fail at life.

But he didn’t “get” me either.  He didn’t adore me or even prefer me to other pretty women.  He just put up with me because of his own insecurities after his compassion got him in over his head.

I don’t know even how there could be a mutually positive conversation between us now or in the future.  Unless I lie and keep to myself that I miss him and wanted to talk with him.  Certainly impossible if I show any jealousy.

There’s a void and when I miss him, it represents that void.  He somewhat filled up that void, but it wasn’t quite enough and it didn’t last.  Even when I was with him, I felt desperate and depressed daily.  I wanted someone who knew me to deeply love me.  He barely knew me and he didn’t care much for me the better acquainted we became.  He couldn’t give me a steady kind of love but apparently he came the closest experiences I have ever had.

It’s oddly painful to feel grief where before I met him there would have only been dull emptiness.

Perhaps missing him shows a really ugly side of me.

“I really like you,” he said.

He really likes me. That’s what he said.

He said I was beautiful.

He said I was smart and interesting.

He said he wanted to get to know me better.

He said he wanted to see me again.

And I told him I wanted to live in Asia.  And he told me he didn’t want to live in Asia.

So, that’s it.

Great listener, sweet, accommodating, chivalrous, interesting and passionate guy that I don’t want to see anymore.  He was also tall.

But I have dreams to ride the subways and bullet trains, eat food from stalls and food carts, visit the beach, sing karaoke, walk the little alley ways, shop at the street fairs, visit the temples, drink fancy teas and lattes in the eclectic coffee shops, and feel the strangeness of a world apart from ordinary.

It’s like out a movie: drying clothes on the balcony or roof on a line, walking everywhere on paved roads and sidewalks, quietness on the mountainside, clean and clear taste of green tea, the furniture and design of the homes, seeing a rural house of wood in the old design, and a crane on the river.

I miss my adventure.  I miss the excitement of the first six months in an utterly foreign environment that has the same blue sky.

So, do I want to give up the one goal I could accomplish?  Do I let my dream die to not be alone?

Or am I willing to be alone now to not give up on my dream?

I used to want to be with someone no matter how I had to change. I believed in compromise and adjustments.  But I was alone anyway.  Romantic relationships didn’t last.  The person I truly am was not loved.  I wasn’t even considered seriously.

But now, I want to hold onto myself.  I want to value my feelings, hopes, successes, failures, beliefs, and self-respect.  Joan Didion wrote, “However long we post- pone it, we eventually lie down alone in that notoriously un-comfortable bed, the one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends, of course, on whether or not we respect ourselves.”

And so, in the end, we are all alone in ourselves.  I have to sleep by myself at night.

Brush Yourself Off

A friend told me it “happens and then you get back up”.

“How?” I asked.

“How with two broken legs, sprained ankles and messed up knees?”

Let go, move on, pick yourself up, power through, move forward, get over it, be stronger, stay positive, get better, try harder, gotta do it, don’t give up, carry on, hold on, it’ll be better soon.

Fun sings, “May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.

And I do want that. My feet, their step, resounding sound, eyes straight ahead. walking forward.

But for now, I’m stuck in this hole.  The sides go up above my head.

How did I get in this mess? Was it my fault? Someone else’s? Fate or destiny? God’s punishment or His gift?  I don’t know. Could I even remember with my memory slipping away? And does it matter anyway?

Because all I can see are these walls all around me.  Surrounded by the dirt on every side with only a glimmer of light at the top of my world.

Am I strong enough? With all these broken bones?  With this debilitating fear?

I feel weak. I feel pain. I have wounds. I wake from nightmares to this nightmarish world.

I am just sitting on the dirt ground for now.  I know that I must have fell down here.  How? I don’t have the memory. It seems like it has been this way a long time. Maybe always.

Given a little time, I am going to get up.  Going to climb my way to the top.  It is going to take sweat, dirt on me, smeared all over me body.  Muddy dirt during the rain isn’t going to hold my weight. I will slide down even as I try to get higher.  But I can’t give up.  I don’t remember what is up there, but there is absolutely nothing down here.  Not even food or water.  So what will my life be here and how long will my life be?

And when I am up there, I am going to leave everything behind.  All those feelings and all those things I saw before are going to be gone.  No people from the past, just people in the future.  No memories because even if I clung on, my brain won’t go along with that.

Even down here, I don’t want to remember anything. I don’t want to dream of anyone I used to know. I don’t need anything that before I used to love or use.  I don’t have room enough in this hole to care about anything else, but where next I will place my hand or foot.  There will be new songs on my lips and I will give up the words from before.

I will do more than brush off. I will become clean. I will use the rain or a lake or a river or even the ocean if that is what I find.  Because I won’t let fear win. I will leave it behind in that dark hole.  I will know I am the strongest after climbing up those dirt walls. And already now, that fire of a belief swells up, feeding on the oxygen of my breath.

To live, I will give up everything. Everything I have known. Everything I remember.  Everything I believed. Everything in my past.  Because I want to see the future become the present.

There is nothing back there. Nothing of my past is coming up with me. I don’t want or need it anymore.

Party culture and inequality

Something I have been think8ng a lot about is the mixture of fun-loving, crazy and outta control pursuit of pleasure in America and the growing wealth inequality in America.

There used to be service-oriented jobs and younger people or wives tended to work these lower paying jobs. Now everyone does. A huge percent of America does qualify to pay income tax because they make less than the minimum amount or they are below the poverty line. Then you have Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z singing about suit ‘n’ tie events, truffles, and luxurious life. Even Lorde singing about all the wealth glamorized in pop culture, such as in socialite reality TV or celebrity news.
In history class, I heard that the Roman Empire put on circus performances, battles, and gave out free bread in the Colisseum as the empire began to crumble. And Marie Antoinette was vacationing in her garden residence putting on plays when she needed a break from the decadent jewels, cakes, and fashion in Versailles,  until the government was overthrown by the working classes.

I feel like the working classes are grasping at pleasure as fast as the wealth try to find sufficient pleasures to defeat their boredom.

Also, the generations born in the 80s have been described as childish and unwilling to grow up but most people I know live at home, don’t marry, or wait to have children because of employment and financial considerations.  When someone who is 26 can’t make more than someone who is a teenager, living a different kind of life is very difficult.

Professional jobs probably have the same competition other jobs do, and just finding an office job that pays decently is difficult.

This and our nation’s own debt, make me wonder where our nation is headed.

The federal government used to tax alcohol makers and it was more than half of the federal budget … then teetotallers got a federal income tax … but when some people make 8 dollars an hour and other people make 500,000 dollars a year … I guess, it is frailty of the psyche and the desperation of those with the least which should move us to change something.  Because if the culture of fun is just an escape, how long can we ignore what is tearing apart our communities and nation.

Daily Life in Korea 56

Because the elementary textbooks and lessons are so rigidly structured, there isn’t spare time to teach cultural sensitivity or differences.

I think this is a loss, because frankly, there probably isn’t going to be any practical or reasonable time for my students to EVER use English.  I say that because I don’t think learning English to speak it during an interview with other Korean people is reasonable.  Actually, it just seems pretty stupid to me.  Also, it is pretty likely all they ever learned was Konglish.  Yes, my students are only learning English for their future job interviews at big Korean companies.

Grieving 2

Dreams can be very revealing.

In sleep, we process our lives.  So of course, in our sleep, we deal with death or loss as well.  But dreams about people gone from our lives can be strange when one wakes up.  I have had several dreams, where in my sleep, a person has been impacting or affecting my life.  Then I wake up, only to remember that this person can never physically enter my life again.

I can dream a person is hurting me and I am very frustrated or afraid.  Waking up from this dream, there is always a painful thought, “He is gone” when I remember reality.  That is slightly relieving but also very sad.  The sorrow comes from me obviously still needing to process my hurt and pain.  Even if the person that hurt me is dead, I am still alive and I was hurt.  And there was never an apology.

But sometimes, the dream is happy.  I am happy with this person in my dream, but upon waking, I remember I will never see this person again.  That is much sadder, because all the good memories and all the memories I wanted to create in the future are over.

But what is most painful about dreams is how reality and the dream are so different.  It feels like I was lying to myself in my sleep, whether I was still afraid, angry, or hopeful.  My beliefs and reality didn’t match up.

Panicky Packing

Okay, at least I have started packing a few days before my international flight. My possible permanent international flight or at least, the flight that is moving all I foreseen needing in America with me out of South Korea.

But I am baking. Cookies. Because I had the ingredients for a recipe from scratch, a cookie mix from home, and an oven. Sigh. Yeah, I am baking instead of stuffing clothes into boxes or suitcases.

And I am depressed. Not just because I lived my life with my heart unaligned to the true north of joy. Not because I let someone pick me apart and dash me to pieces. But also because I am really leaving my home. The first and only home I made on my own. No family, no roommates. Only temporary pet guests.

Everything of my life from the last two years is coming before my eyes again. So many memories. So many hopes. So many disappointments. So many dreams. So many joys.

I am American for sure. I have way too much stuff. I have so many things to recycle, throw away, or give away.

Good bye home. Hello homelessness.

What will my life include in the future?

At times like these, I don’t always want to walk forward into the new future that awaits me.