6.25.2006

bits and pieces

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When the best you've got just isn't good enough, you have to seek the kind of help you've never sought before.

...

Lunch with AnnMarie was positively delightful. I've just recently been making efforts to fall back into the swing of things and contact friends I've been out of touch with for the past weeks or months, in her case. We dined at La Mediterranee for my first time ever and spent the afternoon catching up and filling in. We talked a bit about how it felt like to grow up, and she asked me, "What does being a real grown-up mean to you?" Certainly stability. The transition I've been going through for the past six months has proved far less than stable, and it's prevented me from feeling like I would ever get a grip on the things that are supposed to compose my real grown-up life. And though I believe I still have a long way to go, slowly but surely the pieces are falling into place. For the time being, I can be a real kid pretending to be a grown-up. And I'm okay with that.

...

I took two of my Pi's out to the city last night to party with some high school friends of mine. We had a great time making introductions over $2 Chuck and sharing stories over shots of vodka. On our way to the Bubble Lounge in North Beach, I had the chance to talk to Daniel, a friend from years ago whom I maintained contact with due to the fact that his youngest brother was dating my little sister. We discussed the recent tragic events of late, and at the end of it all, looked at me and said, "It's so sad. But life goes on, you know." Hearing it from him, someone who felt what I felt, made me realize that yes, it actually does.

...

The hours wore on, and the effects of the alcohol I consumed were starting to take hold. We danced the night away to 80's tunes, and as much as I thought I was tired of AiR music, the minute "Love Shack" came on, I flipped out. It was fantastic.

It felt so nice to be in the presence of so many of my friends, and for a good reason this time around. As we danced and laughed and sang along to the familiar music, I felt all my worries melt away. Though there was one thing - or one person, rather - that never managed to escape my mind.

And I realized, I'm not quite ready to give up yet.

...

Driving back to Noe Valley where we would be spending the night, I allowed myself to partake in one of those conversations that I so steadfastly avoid. But in the presence of two people who knew exactly what I was talking about, it was easy to let down my walls.

Through my slurred and stuttered speech, I insisted upon the fact that being single means being better. Observing others' relationships has taught me that strength comes from the individual, and dependency, which so often reigns (something I know from my own experience), can be alarmingly detrimental. It is important not to settle when it comes to love; do we ever let ourselves settle for anything less than perfect in other aspects of our lives? Not at all. My most interesting and fulfilling relationships have been with people who have a strong definition and understanding of themselves. They're more enjoyable that way.

True, it's difficult to battle feelings of inadequacy, especially when you're faced with a seemingly constant stream of rejection. But just like everything else, we have to learn to pick ourselves up each time we fall. Eventually, something amazing is bound to happen.

...

I lay on the floor, curled on my side, in the position that always brought me so much comfort. But in the early morning hours, it seemed as though no comfort could possibly be found. My insides churned, my head pounded, and my conscience said, "You really didn't need that last drink. And you knew it."

This only goes to prove that I still have so much to learn about myself.

...

Best hangover remedy ever: blueberry muffin, potatoes, eggs, cheese, more potatoes, and bread, bread, bread. Oh, and you can't forget the bajillion glasses of ice cold water.

...

SF Pride 2006. Free love and general debauchery for all.

Total naked person count = 12. That's a lot of naked people.

6.19.2006

bad to worse

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Due to reallocations in our budget, several people in my office are experiencing a reduction of hours, effective at the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1.

This includes me.

I must admit, I am startled by the instability of this field. I've just completed my sixth month of employment, and already, I am experiencing a reduction of work hours. I don't really know how I'll be personally and financially affected by the change, but my supervisor offered some comfort in the fact that with the raise I received in my second month of employment, my reduction in hours will result in a gross income comparable to the one I was initially making when I began the job. I guess that's okay.

I guess.

Truth be told, I am bored to tears whenever I am in the office. So I suppose the less time I spend there, the better it is for my own sanity. Moreover, since other employees are having their hours reduced more than I am, I'll have to pick up some of their responsibilities to maintain the administrative team operations. That means I'll finally have something to do.

My fingers are still crossed - very tightly - for the job I interviewed for last week. With all that I've been through in the past month, I feel like I deserve some sort of compensation.

...

I recently found out my two miniature poodles have become deaf.

They're 14 years old.

Whenever I come home to Antioch, I spend a lot of time with them. They can't hear me anymore, but I still sing the songs that made them happy when we were all so much younger. I do it for them, but more than that, I do it for me.

...

He fell back into my life because of an unforeseen circumstance. And though I know it's not right, I find myself wanting to be with him all over again.

It's easier to seek comfort in his empty promises than to wait and see if you could be the real thing. That's why I'm willing to give you up and give him a chance. My heart can't break if I don't let it.

Story of my fucking life.

6.17.2006

a solitary saturday

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I didn't have any plans for today except for returning home to Antioch this evening to reunite with high school friends and celebrate one of our peer's, and my fellow Cal Bear's, college graduation. The weather was beautiful as ever, and on a whim, I decided to go for a walk to explore my neighborhood by foot for the first time.

I walked a short distance on Piedmont, taking notice of a few shops that had never previously caught my eye. I took in the quaintness of it all, and I felt happy with the decision I made to move out here, in a place full of life and culture. I headed towards Telegraph and 51st for the Temescal Street Fair. Once I got there, I popped by Walgreen's to buy a bottle of water and was solicited by a young boy requesting donations to help send his basketball team to Atlanta for a national competition. Though I normally decline these sort of requests, his soft-spoken tone and downward stare softened my heart, and I gave a small donation to his cause. Whether or not he'll actually use it to help fund his trip to Atlanta, I'll never really know. At the very least, it was less money I had to spend on frivolous snacks.

I browsed the booths lining the blocks between 51st and 48th. Most were selling Native-inspired jewelry and hand painted drawings; nothing that really sparked my interest. I stopped to watch a youth jazz band play a tune, which was enjoyable. I walked in a few stores, all of which I had only ever seen in passing as I drove my car from Oakland to Berkeley. I found a game store that held tournaments for patrons, and I smiled at the adorable group of old men readying themselves for a round of Scrabble. I took a peek at Bakesale Betty's and stood in awe in front of their display of cookies and cakes. The best part, by far, was the number of dogs trundling along Telegraph with their owners, wagging their tales and enjoying the sunshine.

A little over half an hour after my arrival, I decided there wasn't much else I wanted to take a look at. I walked back towards home, stopping by Long's to make a copy of my house key for my Something New Sunday partner in crime. I continued up Pleasant Valley Road and slowed as I approached the cemetery. I couldn't remember the last time I had visited my grandfather's grave, which lead me to believe it had been too long. I had no other plans for the afternoon, so I went to the flower shop on the corner, bought some daisies, and proceeded to the cemetery.

As I entered the grand gate at the end of Howe Street, my iPod, which had been playing at random, ceremoniously switched to Seasons of Love from Rent. Quite appropriate, I thought. I walked up the winding path to my grandfather's grave and considered how beautiful the cemetery really was. Perched on top of the Oakland hills, you can easily view large portions of the city, and from the side where my grandfather's grave is located, the Golden Gate Bridge looms across the Bay.

After tracing the familiar path, I quickly found my grandfather's grave, cleaned off the fallen leaves just as I had seen my grandmother do so many times before, and placed my flowers on top of his grave marker. In the 17 years since my grandfather's passing, I had never visited his grave on my own. I thought that much of my desire to do so today had stemmed from the fact that I had experienced so much loss in the past couple of weeks, and I was still searching for answers or, at the very least, a little bit of comfort. Also, with Father's Day just a few hours away, I decided it would be nice to visit my grandfather and tell him that after all these years, I still thought of him.

I stood there and tried to conjure up memories of the short time we had together. The best I could do was elicit images of faded photographs and hear my father's voice telling me stories of his childhood. I do have one vivid memory of my grandfather's life from the year prior to his sudden death. I was visiting him and my grandmother at their home in Oakland, and he was showing me how to fold a piece of paper into a boat. He then turned the boat over and said it was now a toilet. At four years old, I thought that was the most hilarious thing ever. I ran out of the room, shrieking with laughter, beckoning my grandmother to show her what I learned. The only other memories I have of him are of his funeral and burial, things I couldn't comprehend at that age. 17 years later, I'm ashamed that I never felt any sorrow.

I stared at my own last name engraved on his marker, and I thought of all the things we never had to share. I never got to know his wisdom or hear stories of his life. I never got to know his sense of humor. I was never introduced to his talents, many of which I firmly believe I inherited, particularly my mind for mathematics and my love for singing.

Until today, I've never let myself think that I could possibly miss someone who was never really a part of my life. But standing there, I came to understand that we can be incredibly affected by the actions or non-actions of others. I stood and wished for things I knew could never be possible. In that moment, his death finally felt real.

And for the first time since his passing in 1989, I cried for the loss of my grandfather.

6.12.2006

running on empty

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The past month has been scattered with episodes from Hell. What began as a seemingly innocent and pleasurable journey to Southern California quickly spiraled into an incomprehensible mess. While the whole of my group stewed over the unannounced disappearance of a member, I was silently toiling inside, longing to be back home to battle with a dissolving relationship that I alone was aware of.

One moving violation and drive-by scratch later, I was once again in Northern California. I returned to work excited by the prospect of built-up assignments in my absence. Sadly, little else awaited me aside from the few menial tasks I had postponed for the end of May. My job has never failed to make my education feel like a complete waste.

My world shattered to pieces Tuesday night with my dear friend Angelina's passing. I can't recall a time when words literally blew the wind out of me like they did that mournful evening.

In the days that followed the heartbreaking news of her tragic car accident, I discovered that I had absolutely no means to deal with what had happened. I had never before lost someone so close to me, with the exception of my grandfather, whom I scarcely knew before his passing just two days before my fifth birthday in 1989. I didn't know how to grieve or whether to scream or cry or run away. I settled for staring blankly at news articles on my computer screen for the remainder of the week, alternately fighting back tears and urging them to come because I couldn't decipher what I felt or how I was supposed to be feeling.

Friday evening, I was shocked to hear two of my good friends from Berkeley were in a car accident on University Avenue, preventing one of them from flying home for the weekend. I demanded an explanation and full details of the incident, falling into hysterics when I heard the car was totaled. Though both survived the accident with little more than cuts and bruises, I couldn't help fight the feeling that I was facing an impending doom.

Angelina's memorial service and funeral at the beginning of the following week offered a chance to seek the comfort I so desperately needed. I was reunited with friends from a distant past, most of which I have not seen or even spoken to for years. Despite the circumstances, it was a happy reunion, sharing memories of a loved one and catching up on all the days gone by. We shared a toast in Angelina's honor and pinky swore to maintain contact because we now understood that life is too short to wait around until next time.

Two days after returning back to Oakland, I heard news of another student from my high school who had recently passed away from leukemia. Though I did not know him, I felt overcome with sorrow and wondered how so much tragedy could befall a community. As I read articles and messages about him online, I received a phone call from my cousin who informed me that my sister had spent the early morning hours in the emergency room getting treated for lacerations to the head resulting from a fallen trophy at a party the night before. I felt my heart jump into my throat, pounding harder than ever, as I frantically requested details and the status of her condition. She assured me that my sister was alright, that her best friends were with her, and that she was currently sleeping the injury off. She received staples and had a CAT scan performed, which indicated no injuries to the brain at all, and she would be fully recovered in a few days' time. Relief washed over me, but the knot of anxiety at the pit of my stomach held fast throughout the day.

At the end of the day, I answered an urgent phone call from my best friend from home. She informed me that yet another student from my high school, and a member of our graduating class, passed away that morning in a fatal motorcycle accident. I clutched my forehead at the severity of it all but felt little more than that. Though we attended middle and high school together, I did not know him well, and combined with the sheer amount of terrible news I had been receiving for weeks on end, the news left me numb and void of emotion. My best friend and I discussed the implications of the accident and made plans to attend his memorial service the following week.





Here I am at the end of it all, downtrodden and empty of tears. In the short time that has passed since the end of the school year, I have been changed.

Away from home, no one can comprehend what I have went and am going through. Life moves on, that is understandable, but what I want is a friend who I can stand still with for just a moment. Someone to tell me that heartache transforms into memories of love, and someone to ensure me that I will be okay. The lives of those closest to me have been put at risk and one has been taken away forever. My insides are shaking with the worst kind of fear imaginable. I need some sort of solace to calm me down.

I wish pain like this didn't have to exist.