the backstage epiphany

where reality is so subjective it's entirely optional

Monthly Archives: May 2009

A current of wings


Karin: You know that feeling — that feeling that tells you you have the connection with this person. And when you hold each other’s hand, you can feel the electricity between you.
Me: I suppose… although I’m not sure if I’ve felt that. Or maybe I have.
Karin: No? Really?
Me: (pause) Well… maybe twice. And both were very very recent.
Karin: I’ve only felt it twice too, but when I was fifteen and seventeen. Like you can really feel that current, and the guy can feel it too!
Me: Oh… well, if you mean a literal current of electricity, then no, I don’t think I’ve ever felt that.
Karin: Really? Never? Not even the butterflies, or that really really happy feeling?
Me: (beginning to feel as though were harboring some abnormality) Well, like I said, I’ve come as close to feeling something like that as I can twice, and both very recently. And yeah, there were butterflies, definitely, and the giddy feeling, with both of them — but no, I don’t think there were electrocutions of any kind.
Karin: Oh… well, maybe you just haven’t found that person yet. Or maybe you have, but you didn’t know that you were feeling it.

This reminded me of a conversation I had with Maddi about two and a half years ago. She had just begun dating someone — whom, bless her, she is still with — but did not know at the time if it was something she wanted in the long term. Back then it was a question between settling for what she had or moving along in her search for what could be the perfect person (or as close to it as possible, at any rate).

As we grow older, our perception of things take a different turn. In college, we slaved for hours over term papers and assignments, knowing that they all contributed to our final grades and bemoaning the hardship of life that they were. After graduation, we entered the real world and our first jobs, and then the grumbling turned from term papers and tests to deadlines and red tape.

So if, say, two and a half years ago, we felt what we thought was the soft fluttering of wings in our stomachs that signified the coming of the butterflies, which told us that there was someone we liked and could see ourselves with, would feeling that same fluttering now mean that we had met someone we wanted to date, or something much deeper? If we go so far as to say we actually feel that ‘current’ of electricity, does that mean we’ve found someone who could be more than someone we just ‘like’ or ‘want to be with’? And if so, then of what significance would the butterflies be?

Upon retrospection, I’ve found that I never really had the butterflies up until  about a year ago, which may have been why all my previous relationships were spectacular disasters, aside from the philandering and manipulative traits they all appeared to have in common. But if it’s true that the older we get, the more cynical we become, then how do we know that the butterflies are what we think they are? And with this cynicism in tow, when the electricity finally does come on, is it really what we feel, or is it all just a state of mind, caused by the hormones and pheromones people have come to call the ‘giddy, happy feeling’?

Apparently, my inability to identify this feeling may mean that I am missing that particular gene that other women seem to possess. I don’t call it the butterflies or the electricity; I just call it a feeling.


Service overkill

Carrie: I got mugged! She took everything I got!
Samantha: She must have left something. A triangle, a little landing strip?
Carrie: No, I am completely bald! And might I add, freezing.

– Sex & the City –

Last Saturday I was browsing in MPH Subang Parade when I realized I had left my cell phone in the bathroom at the gym. In a panic, I sped back to the gym, where the Customer Service Counter confirmed that I had, indeed, left my phone there and someone had been scrupulous enough to leave it in their custody.

Ten minutes later, I was entering Parkson to see if there were an Yves Saint Laurent cosmetic counter when I received a call from the gym. It appeared that upon retrieving my phone, I had promptly left my car and house keys behind on the counter. I did another sprint back to the gym, looking and feeling rather frazzled from all the self-inflicted clattering back and forth, but pleasantly surprised that civilized service like this existed in this country.

Yesterday, I received a call from the gym again, and for a moment I wondered wildly if I had left yet more of myself behind that they had just discovered.

Caller: Hi, is this *** ***?
Me: (taken aback at being addressed by the Chinese name, which is a very rare occurrence, and almost instinctively asking, “Who?”) Yes…
Caller: Oh, hi, this is (name I can’t remember) from Celebrity Fitness. I’m an instructor here. I understand you just joined the gym?
Me: Well… I joined in January, if you count that as ‘just’.
Instructor: Oh… OK… So I will make an appointment for you then?
Me: (thinking it was one of the two complimentary personal trainer sessions yet to be taken) Um… why?
Instructor: To show you around, and show you how the machines work.
Me: (completely incredulous now) Are you calling the right person? I joined in January and I’ve been going about four times a week.
Instructor: Oh… OK then. Goodbye.

Civilized service aside, this was a bit much, even for this country.

Jump, but no fall

I never thought I would hear it again. Over the past year I would have given my soul to hear it. And surprisingly, now that I have heard it — and under the most unexpected circumstances at that — that feeling of fear, uncertainty and trepidation is nowhere in sight. I feel as though I’ve been given another chance, although where this chance could take me is something I don’t ever want to think about.

Here’s to a new beginning. I’m free.

Getting my groove back

I was afraid of this happening. I had expected it to happen, given the five-day break I took, but I had hoped it would get better after a few days.

I’m beginning to slip.

I always try never to have more than a day’s break in between gym days, a decision I made after being away from the gym for two days  in March made it seem as though I’d never been at all. So it was with a little apprehension that I departed for Tioman, knowing that I would have trouble getting back into my gym groove once I was back in the city. And even though most would consider diving a form of exercise, the lack of intensity could not sustain the usual adrenaline rush and drive I get from spending one hour on the machines in the gym.

Now, two weeks after coming back from Tioman, I’ve returned to my usual gym routine of four days a week, comprising cardio on the machines, RPM and Bodypump classes. But I can hardly fail to notice that I now tire much more easily in the gym, and it takes a lot more to make myself finish my workout. Yesterday, for the first time ever, I was terrified I would black out during my RPM class.

Admittedly it could be my late-night activities that are affecting my workouts, as my sleeping hours have been somewhat diminished, adding to the fatigue that I already feel on a normal basis. I should probably adjust my current lifestyle, which might be a little difficult given the circumstances of it.

But come hell or high water, I will get my gym groove back.

The L-word


It’s been barely three weeks since my life took a turn. To the sounds of old-school R&B such as the likes of Hi-Five’s The Kissing Game, I suddenly found myself embarking on a whole new phase of my life, and yet it was one that I had been on before, albeit a very long time ago.

The transition occurred so suddenly, but seemed so easy, so seamless, that it feels as though I’ve been in it for the longest time now.  The old anger seems to have dissipated; I don’t remember the last time I felt that monstrous, consuming wave of rage and frustration — both at you and myself — everytime I thought or talked about it.

Now the desert winds have stopped blowing, the waves have ceased to rock this emotional boat I’ve been stranded in for the past year and more, and everything seems to have reached a calmer state. And even though my professional life has just about hit rock bottom, and I come to work waiting for the day to end, I take comfort in the fact that there is an end to the day, and there is something to ease the pain of it all.

Best of all, I’m learning again that I haven’t been damaged beyond repair after all. That given enough time, patience and acceptance, I am able to find a way to bring all the old feelings back, a way to start doing this all over again. That it really can be as easy as it seems, and that somehow the jaded bitterness and cynicism I’ve lived with for so long just might be able to fade, if not disappear entirely altogether.

Amidst all this, my life has fallen into a routine. But it’s a routine I wouldn’t give up for the world right now.

Caged heart

How did you get here?
Nobody’s supposed to be here

Deborah Cox, Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here –

From as early as we can remember, we are taught — whether directly by someone or indirectly by our own subconscious — to build a wall, around ourselves, to protect ourselves from getting our hearts and spirits broken. But every now and then, something — or more precisely, someone — comes along and starts nicking at it — whether with a careful fingernail or a pickaxe — and before we know it, we ourselves are helping them along by taking down the wall we so carefully constructed. And of course, once we’ve taken down that wall and let our guard down, it doesn’t take much to make us wish we’d kept the wall right where it had been. And so the mending and rebuilding starts all over again, in one vicious cycle.

In a world where so many things are uncertain, is it any surprise that some people start to think of everything as touch-and-go? When that certain person waltzes in and out of our lives as they please, we start to fear that each time we see them could be the last. When one relationship ends badly, we start to think that maybe we just don’t do well in them and that every subsequent relationship is therefore similarly doomed. Sometimes it’s almost as if we’re afraid to be happy or hope that things will turn out right this time around, because that just makes the fall higher and much harder. Some call it being real. Others call it being paranoid. But maybe it’s just being cautious: that subconscious rebuilding phase so that nothing or no one can ever touch us again.

But the one thing we never learn, the one thing — besides caution — that we choose to throw to the wind, is that no matter how well we build that wall, no matter how securely we keep our hearts caged in under lock and key, someone will always get in, and they’re there before we even realize it. It’s whether or not we choose to leave them there or lock them out that makes all the difference, and it’s not always as clear-cut as it seems.

Starting over, yet again

daffodil bud

After what seems like an eternity of wallowing in the darkness, wondering how I would ever pull myself out of this slump — this hell of my own making — and trying to let go of the past, I think I may finally have found a way. And now, knowing that I can finally bring myself to stand on the other side of this door, I’m feeling a kind of liberation that I haven’t felt in a very, very long time.

I don’t know what it is. But I know that I like it.


Contrary to what some might think, it really isn’t that difficult to do. And now that I think back on it, doing it is what made me the way I am today: stupid, stubborn and self-destructive.