the backstage epiphany

where reality is so subjective it's entirely optional

Monthly Archives: October 2008

Burning out

Sometimes I wonder why I bother, why I even try, when everything I do is taken into so little account that it’s immediately swept out the window. Sometimes I wonder if it would make any difference at all if I stopped. I wonder if it would matter in the least if I disappeared. And I wonder if I will ever have the courage or the heart to stop caring.

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And it all falls down

“You know, whenever someone says something really funny, and I’m laughing, I always look around to see if you think it’s funny too. Even when you’re not there, I still look around.” – George O’Malley, Grey’s Anatomy

It almost happened last night. I don’t know what brought me so close to the edge.

It might have been when you were uncomfortable that the people at the other table were looking at you, and when I told you to look away you said, “I’ll just look at you.” It might have been when you asked if I could put up with your melodrama and I shot back, without thinking, “If I couldn’t, do you think I’d still be here?” and had to restrain myself from saying a lot more. Or it might have been when you asked what was on my mind.

I thought I had sensed the tide turning when you came back, that ever-so-slight shift in the air that made me think something had changed while you were away. And for one fleeting instant, I was led to believe that I hadn’t imagined it. But maybe it was just the fact that you were away for all that time — even though two weeks seemed like hardly any time at all — and coming back here gave you a new perspective on things, because now it seems as though you’ve retreated into your old perspective, that comfort zone you so loved to hide behind.

There are days when I want to tell you, when I can almost hear myself telling you everything. But then I remember that day, and the silence drowns everything out once again.

A drop in altitude

All I wanted was a new pair of flip-flops, because my $20 pair from Macy*s had already given up on me after a surprisingly short stint. And I wasn’t quite prepared to go straight home after getting out of a deceptively ludicrous movie in a hypothermic theater, so I decided to brave the uncivilized masses at Mid Valley Megamall to hunt for a pair of replacement flip-flops.

The last time I bought a pair of Vincci shoes, I was still in INTI College and not as into shoes as I am now. I used to think that all one needed were a few good pairs and they were set for life. But this evening, I figured that since I just needed an everyday pair that I could traipse around in regardless of what I was wearing, I would just pick it up at Vincci.

And as I scanned the rows of shoes, trying not to let people elbow me out of the way in an attempt to reach for a shoe they had taken a fancy to, It suddenly occurred to me, and I thought, Why not?

Everyone who knows me is well aware that I spend half the time in four-inch heels, and the thought of me in flats never crosses their minds because they’ve seen me in nothing else. But ever since I started working, I have tried to spend the weekends in flats, to give my shoes a break (apparently a sign of addiction), and admittedly also my feet. But as I’ve never liked how dumpy I look in flats — even though they worked well with skinny jeans back in the U.S. — and Vanity does not approve of me waddling in them, I decided that lower heels would work just as well.

So I bought low-heeled shoes. Yes’m I did. Even Becca couldn’t quite grasp the fact that I had exchanged money for a pair of shoes that is cumulatively four inches high. It’s been a good while since I was in two inches, and it feels like I’ve had to dumb myself down to them, but the effect is definitely better than flats.

The exit ramp

I know I don’t really want to do this. I know I only think of it when I’m at a low point in my life and I want to escape from it.

What dictates our decisions and makes us think they’re the right ones? Is it just that feeling that tells us we know it in our bones and it’s the right thing to do? Or is it spurred on by something else, good or bad, that eventually leads to this road we end up taking?

Lately I’ve been toying with the idea of grad school. It’s something that’s swooped in and out of my mind over the last couple of years, but I never did anything about it because I thought that when I knew I was absolutely ready to take that step and be serious about it, I would. Two years ago, I thought of doing criminal law, so I took the LSAT, but now I’m thinking of doing linguistics, so I would have to take the GRE. So maybe deciding what I want to do in grad school would also help.

When I was still in the U.S., I thought that since the LSAT score was valid for five years, I could always revisit the idea anytime within that time frame, and in the end I decided that I wasn’t ready to go back to school, because I’d already spent enough time in it. And now that I’m here, the idea of going has resurfaced, to the point where I’ve considered taking GRE classes and contacting my undergraduate professors for recommendation letters. That also means that only when I know why I think I’m ready to take that step and be serious about it, I’ll do it.

When I made the decision to take the American University Program at INTI College, I knew that I did it because I wanted to get out of this country, go somewhere far away by myself and live my own life. As the time drew nearer for me to leave, I also knew that I wanted to do it because it seemed to be the only way out of the miserable relationship I was in at the time. The driving forces behind my departure back then made my return, four and a half years later, all the more difficult because I saw it as being forced back into a life I had run away from in the first place.

And now here I am again, facing the same decision to pack up my life and leave, and wondering once again why I want to do it. It could be because no matter how comfortable I am here now, deep down I want to be with the people and in the places I loved and left behind. It could be because I feel as though my current station in life is not where I planned it to be, and I want to keep searching until I find something that I can settle down to. Or it could be because it sometimes feels as though I came back here for no reason at all, and there’s nothing left to keep me here anymore.

But then, for the first time in my life, not even when I was preparing to leave for undergraduate school, I have to wonder if I can bear to leave now. To move my entire life all over again, only to have to drag it back here after yet another four years. To struggle for the H1 and be disappointed over and over again.  To leave the job that, even though taken because I desperately needed a distraction at the time, has taught me what I needed to know to survive in this society. To leave behind the very few friends who have become my lifeline over the past few months. To leave him behind, when everything with him feels so unfinished, and yet so irreparably damaged that it feels finished all the same.

So maybe grad school can stay in the back burner for now. I’ve never been good at the whole head vs. heart thing anyway.

Still

My subconscious perseverance

I’ve thought and thought about it. I’ve questioned and second-guessed myself whenever I was asked that question. I’ve dredged up every single memory I have, both good and bad, and sifted through them over and over again until it hurts to think anymore. I’ve searched my memory and my soul, mentally relived every single day, and weighed out all the options and circumstances of it. And each time, the answer is the same: “Nothing has changed. Everything is still the same.”

But short of going to the extreme of telling you that my world still revolves around you, I don’t know how else to make you see it. Maybe you don’t need to see it…

Je suis comme dans l’amour avec toi maintenant comme j’étais tous ces mois avant.

Don’t Mistake Me

by Keisha White

We all have that one song we listen to when we’re trying to pull ourselves out of a slump. Whether or not it portrays exactly how we feel, listening to it just makes us feel better; it makes us think, I can do this.

Life can push you
It’s all about just choosing the way
Might sometimes rush you
Leaves you looking for yesterday
So many reasons for looking for freedom
By living life and learning each day
There’ll always be questions that stay left unanswered
But I’ll work it out all the way
There’s no time to grieve or feel sad about it
So left with only one thing to say

If you want to see a broken heart
Try looking in another place
If you think it could be torn apart
Try looking in another face
But don’t mistake me for somebody
Who’s hung up on you

Love can steal you
Can hide the key and lock you away
So many people don’t ask the right questions
There’s always someone else there to blame
There’s no time to grieve or feel sad about it
So left with only one thing to say

If you want to see a broken heart
Try looking in another place
If you think it could be torn apart
Try looking in another face
So don’t mistake me for somebody
Don’t you take me for anybody
Don’t confuse me with nobody
Who’s hung up on you

A delayed reaction

“You ready to rock and roll in sterile Singapore, baby?” – Eza

Here I am again, in a country I didn’t expect to come back to quite so soon — and I probably wouldn’t have had to either if I’d made sure I hadn’t left anything behind the last time. Walking around Orchard Road, and at one point being run to earth by a girl with bleached hair and glued-on eyelashes outside Paragon, I realized I didn’t quite like being here. Though some might say the hustle and bustle of the city is like that of New York, there was none of the hushed, controlled busyness, in spite of all the vehicular and human traffic that gives that feeling of life and activity to Manhattan. Instead, it was noisy, congested and downright irritating. And yet I was surprised to be feeling this only now, when I had been here three times over the past five months; it made me wonder why it had never bothered me before.

Maybe it was because you were here all those other times, and now you’re not anymore. Maybe the fact that you were here back then, right next to me, that made all the little things I couldn’t stand seem so insignificant. Maybe I had gotten used to you being here and today it seemed as though something was amiss, even though I’ll be gone by tomorrow and you’ll be there — theoretically.

And maybe that’s the whole problem: that I’ve gotten used to you.

Without a word

I wish I could make you see.

I wish I could make you listen.

I wish I could make you understand.

I wish I could make you accept.

I wish I could lose all control and put everything on the line just to tell you.

I wish I could afford to risk everything all over again just to tell you.

I wish I didn’t have to tell you.

I wish you just knew.