the backstage epiphany

where reality is so subjective it's entirely optional

Monthly Archives: January 2008

Curtain call

Am now officially unemployed, and as this is the last day of OPT, am also officially unemployable. Cannot believe the year is up, and in some ways am thankful that the year is up. The circumstances of this employment almost seemed to make a mockery of the job, and all the more so because it was a job I actually loved. One good thing that has come of it is that I know now what I want to do with my life.

Will now spend the next three weeks packing, babysitting and working out. Yes, working out. Have made Johns swear on his new three-piece corduroy suit of which he is extremely proud that come hell or high water, he will drag me to the gym when he goes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Am shipping about 97% of worldly belongings home, and so far have packed the shoes and sorted out the clothes.

The ICCA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal Round 1 (have just discovered that the Quarterfinal links can actually be clicked on) is this Saturday at Pennsylvania State University. Will be leaving Buffalo at about noon — though, knowing most of the Pitches, will probably end up leaving late again — and will come back as early as possible on Sunday morning. Am not looking forward to the four-hour drive, but fortunately this time have made a pact with Maddi, Aziza, Lila and Shaina for them to go in my car so that will not have to put up with anyone else’s backseat road rage.

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Denial

“Denial. It’s not just a river in Egypt. It’s a freaking ocean.” – Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy

In the most typical method of birth control, one pill a day is taken for 21 days, and then life is dictated by Aunt Flo some time in the next 7 days; the phase of a woman’s life that has always come and gone as it pleased can now be fully controlled from every 28 days to every four months, until it can no longer be put off. The same can be said about going through a transitional phase in life; we know it’s coming, but we choose not to think or do anything about it until it’s ready to slam into our faces and we have no choice but to deal with it. But it’s how we deal with it that makes a difference: we either sedate ourselves emotionally so that we don’t end up freaking out and bawling our eyes out, or… well, we end up freaking out and bawling our eyes out. No marks for guessing which method I use.

NO, I don’t freak out or bawl my eyes out. There may be a tear here and there, but Christ, give me some credit.

The emotional sedation (more commonly thought of as ‘denial’), however, could end up being a little more difficult to deal with. At least, the side effects of it. Deep down we’re so overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done that we block out all thoughts and feelings and concentrate (perhaps a little too hard) on the task at hand, and in the end, when the transition has been made, the reality of it finally dawns on us and we realize that we never knew how to deal with it in the first place.

When we get that feeling that something doesn’t seem quite right, and we think and think about it but still can’t figure out exactly what the problem is, some might say, “It’ll hit me eventually.” Obliviousness notwithstanding, is it also possible that somewhere (extremely) deep in our subconscious, we secretly know what the problem is, but our refusal to accept it — and disinclination towards dealing with it — has us scraping the barrel for something else to pin the problem to? And if we’re denying the problem, are we denying it because we wish we didn’t feel this way, or because we wish we didn’t have to deal with it?

That old feeling

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” – Hamlet, William Shakespeare

It’s like looking at a painting of a woman. It’s an exquisite painting, but in the back of your mind you know something about it just doesn’t seem quite right. You stand there until it literally hurts to look at it, and then you realize what it is: her eyes are each a different color.

I’m still looking at my painting, but I still can’t figure out what’s wrong with it. Either it just hasn’t hit me yet, or I’m imagining it.

Family matters

It’s a noun, not a verb

Just got off the phone with Mom, who refuses to admit to how ecstatic she really is about the impending return home. No matter how adamantly she proclaims to support her children’s hopes and dreams, at the slightest inclination of a return home she immediately adopts an ‘if you say you’re coming home then you’re damn well coming home’ air. Snippets of the conversation went as such:

Part I:

Mom:
You still have clothes in your closet here, by the way. You’d better decide what you want to do with them.
S: I haven’t been home in over two years; I highly doubt I’d still be able to fit any of those.
Mom: Oh God, how much weight have you gained?
S: It fluctuates. My point is, I don’t need them anymore. Just get Tini (the maid) to clear the closet and get rid of them.
Mom: Well, we’ll take them out of the closet and you can take them to wherever you want to give them away to.
S: Do you really think I would know where your version of the Salvation Army is? Just get Justin to take them away or something. I’m sure the clothes I ship home will suffice.
Mom: You could clothe a whole third-world country, I should think. Will all the clothes you have now fit in that closet?
S: No.
Mom: So where will it all go?
S: I’ll put what I don’t wear very often in Justin’s closet. He’ll be gone soon anyway, and don’t pretend his closet is so full that it’s creaking at the hinges.
Mom: (Ominous pause, and then very quietly…) And what about your shoes?
S: (Silence)
Mom: Oh, dear…

Part II:

Mom: Just so you know, she (grandmother, Dad’s side) thinks you’re really coming home because you couldn’t find a man over there. And before you exclaim at how primitive she is, I need to ask: how many tattoos do you have now? And how many more are you getting, only because I know you are?
S: I’m getting the sixth one before I go to Boston, and that’ll be the last one. And how is this relevant to what she thinks of my going home?
Mom: Once she sees your tattoos and your piercing she’ll be more determined than ever to ‘put you right’ by finding you a husband whom she thinks will have you.
S: Unless I prance around the house with no clothes on, she won’t see my tattoos or my piercing. And I’ll tell her I don’t want to get married. Speaking of which, what was your scary age, Mom?
Mom: (pause) My what?
S: Your scary age. You know, that age where — if you were a single woman — you start worrying that you’re doomed to spinsterhood.
Mom: Hmmmm…. I suppose whatever age that renders me too old and decrepit to work anymore.
S: You were going to start worrying about being a spinster at 70, then?
Mom: OK, well… 50. In which case I just hit it four months ago.
S: But you’re married. You don’t count.
Mom: With a marriage like mine, I do.

Maybe it’s just water weight

“Real women snort when they laugh, they’ve got fat arses, wobbly upper arms and get PMS.” – Christina McKinney, Ugly Betty

They say Asian women are built to be small and skinny. I’m the exception to the general rule. A hellaciously glaring exception that will be made even more glaring when I step off the plane at KLIA in April.

The one thing I love about this country is that Caucasians are so much bigger-built than Asians that to them I’m thin as a rail (“Sandra, you’re going to go home to the heat and lose 20lbs you don’t even have!” If Shaina only knew…). The one thing I hated about going back to Malaysia for the summer was being made to feel like an elephant compared to the seemingly waif-like girls in their XXS-sized tank tops who make men/boys go weak at the knees. Apparently big bones don’t count; you can have bones the size of a baseball bat and people will still pass you off as just plain chunky. Thank God for the empire waist.

A flaw in the plan

“The last time I saw you, you stole my patient’s heart. Then you got shot. Karma rocks!” – Erica Hahn, Grey’s Anatomy

Karma. It will be the death of us all. We know something’s about to happen, but we can’t wait for it, so we try to turn the clock forward so that it’ll happen sooner. But of course, just as we’ve sped things up as much as we’ve dared, something comes along and delays everything, so that we’re now forced to wait even longer for it. And that’s when that tiny seed of thought creeps into our mind: if we had just waited, would it have been delayed anyway, or would God have rewarded our patience by letting it happen the way it should?

Went to see Kate on Tuesday to schedule next (and last) tattoo, and stayed to talk to her for a good (thank God tattoo parlors close late) while because have not seen her since getting the first tattoo back in 2005, after which she went on one of her travels. Assuming from a 2006 article stating she was 62 years old then that she’s probably about 64 now, am amazed that someone like her has been able to travel all over the world by herself. When asked where she went this last time before coming back to Buffalo in mid-December, she said, “I went to Panama. I loved it there. But then I got run down by a pack of wild dogs who were chasing after a bitch in heat, and that gave me a few ruptured disks. So I decided that it was time to settle down in Buffalo. Yes, I’m saying it out loud: I’m settling down. My mother in Heaven must be very happy to hear that.”

Told Kate that am going to Boston to get the TEFL Certification, after which am going home, even though am not too thrilled about it because giving up the life and friends here seems unthinkable. And she said, “Sometimes it’s good to get a chance to regroup and think about your next step in life. Granted going all the way home to regroup is a little farther than you’d like, but there’s always something waiting for you regardless of where you go. If you tried to go to another country to teach, you might not make it as a teacher, but you could end up doing something bigger and better. If you’re going home mainly to regroup, you could end up doing something you’ve always wanted to do in a place you never imagined you’d be doing it. The memories you have now could be nothing compared to the memories you’re about to get.”

First look

Aiden at 8 days

What?

Jeremy: ‘Penis fish’?! The balls of you to say that!
Me: Considering the alternative, this was the safer option.

There are no words. At least, not anymore. At this point, there was really nothing left to lose.