seeing stars and fighting back tears
some mood music while you read; bring snacks, a loved one, and maybe a sleeping bag, cause this post is a long one.
I try to keep from losin' the rest of me
I worry that I wasted the best of me on you, baby
You don't care
Said, not tryna be a nuisance, it's just urgent
Tryna make sense of loose change
Got me a war in my mind
Gotta let go of weight, can't keep what's holding me
Choose to watch
While the world break up and fall on me
All the while, I'll await my armored fate with a smile
Still wanna try, still believe in (good days)
Good days, always (good days)
Always inside (always in my mind, always in my mind, mind)
Good day living in my mind
After yesterday's fainting fiasco and a long night full of tears, this morning I went to Chinatown all puffy-eyed to get a haircut and to eat some nasi lemak with a friend who came out to the city to console me.
On the street we ran into one of my best friends from middle school, who I hadn't properly seen in person in more than ten years. When my friend stopped her to say hi and ask if she recognized me, it took a long five seconds for recognition to flash across her face, since I (mercifully) look very different than I did in 2010. I, for one, could hardly believe my eyes. She was probably my first real friend, someone who cared for me when not many people did, and one of the most influential people on me in those impressionable years. We lost touch after she went to a different high school, and it feels surreal to see someone that used to mean so much to me again as almost a stranger, and it makes me wonder—how does she remember me? I can only hope she thinks of me even half as fondly as I do her.
Do you ever wonder about how you appear in other people's memories? Are you the hero? The villain? The one that got away?
After the usual "what do we do now? i don't know, what do you want to do?" dance with my friend, we decided to head uptown to explore the Upper East Side. I was extra cautious after randomly fainting yesterday, chugging Gatorade and staying in the shade, but after walking a few blocks I no longer could ignore the nausea creeping up on me. I felt bad; my friend had come all the way to Manhattan and uptown just for me to cancel everything and go home, but I also didn't want to collapse in public again. I was seeing stars and fighting nausea on the train ride home, so I think I made the right choice. I did some research and it seems like the effects of heat exhaustion can linger for up to a few weeks, so for now I've made that my top suspect. I've been in bed all afternoon trying to not pass out or cry, hence this meatier than usual blog post.
It's come to my attention that some other bearbloggers, like Lili, Mei, and Kayla, have cited me as an inspiration for their blogs. I'm always incredibly flattered to see myself being written in this light, even more so because these are all fantastically talented writers and multifaceted people in their own right. Thank you to all of you who have written about or to me—it means more to me than you know.
Hearing that I've inspired others to do good things and express the innerworkings of their minds gives me a little ammunition with which to combat my crushing despair that my whole life has turned out to be an abject failure. It's a concern I've had for a long time, and one that only grows more convincing as I get older. I don't remember the last time I did something I was particularly proud of or made the world a better place. In contrast, by age 30, my parents had already gotten three Masters degrees between them, gotten married, birthed me, worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, and immigrated to the United States. I know I still have a few years before the big three-zero, but my chances of even getting close to a résumé like that look pretty grim. I'm barely holding onto a job (or consciousness), struggling with my mental health, and have no goals or dreams to speak of. Right now a list of my proudest accomplishments would look something like this:
- has a small personal blog that some people read occasionally
- is an acceptably good friend to a few people
I often worry that I'm not worthy of the resources I consume or the immense privilege bestowed upon me. This fear is partly why I try to go out of my way to do nice things for my friends and strangers, like treat them to dinner or send them silly little mailthings. I'm not curing cancer, doing volunteer work, making my parents proud, or even dignifying their sacrifice by chasing my own (nonexistent) dreams, but the least I can do is try to use my time to make other people smile, right?
One of my favorite SZA songs is 20 Something, which gets at this very universal despair:
How you ain't say you was movin' forward?
Honesty hurts when you're gettin' older
I gotta say I'll miss the way you need me, yeah
Why you ain't say you was gettin' bored?
Why you ain't say I was fallin' short?
How you lead me out so far away?
How could it be?
20 something, all alone still
Not a thing in my name
Ain't got nothin', runnin' from love
Only know fear
That's me, Ms. 20 Something
Ain't got nothin', runnin' from love
Wish you were here, oh
Stuck in them 20 somethings, stuck in them 20 somethings
Good luck on them 20 somethings, good luck on them 20 somethings
But God bless these 20 somethings
(God bless, oh God bless, oh God bless, oh God bless, oh)
Hopin' my 20 somethings won't end
Hopin' to keep the rest of my friends
Prayin' the 20 somethings don't kill me, don't kill me
Weird, took us so long to separate
I feel, it's permanent like a riptide, this time
Waves crashing fast, I try
Think of the past, please stay
How could it be?
I met someone recently who confided in me that she was really glad I never asked what her job was. It's a question I don't like to ask, and hearing her tell me about why she appreciated it further confirmed my stance. She's kind of lost in life (like me!), dogsitting and working odd jobs to make ends meet, and told me that she often avoids meeting new people so to not answer the dreaded "so what do you do?". I'm glad I could help her avoid that for even one conversation, and besides, I almost always learn more about people when I find out what they do in their free time than what they do from 9 to 5 for a paycheck. I recommend everyone do the same! It's more fun to identify people (a necessary evil, unfortunately) by hobby than by profession.
I met a liquor store dog on Friday night, my first in a long time; I see store cats every once in a while, but dogs far less frequently. When I saw him I squatted down and he sidled over, nestling himself between my legs and licking my fingers as I showered him in pats and scritches and scratches. A friend of mine saw how happy I was, and as so many before her, asked me why I didn't have my own dog. I told her I loved them, but didn't want one for my own—I don't know if I'm ready for (or even want) that kind of commitment, to which she replied that I didn't love dogs enough then. This conclusion irked me—do we have to possess something to truly love it? Isn't owning a pet largely a selfish endeavor, anyway? What about that old saying about letting go of things if you truly love them? Does me letting go of my lover as gracefully as I can mean I love her any less? (If it's not clear, I would argue fiercely against that claim.)
- Yin Ji Chang Fen (91 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013)
- I have lots of good memories here. I was really impressed at the waitress seamlessly switching between Mandarin and Cantonese as she addressed me and my friends.
- Of course their rice noodles are great, and their congee is deliciously rich as well.
- Kopitiam (151 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002)
- Yummy nasi lemak and other Malaysian classics like kaya butter toast and Malaysian-style half boiled eggs
- Lots of firsts for me: along with the aforementioned items, iced bek-kopi (white coffee with condensed milk) was like a less sweet Vietnamese coffee
thank you for reading; write to me at
yourstiramisu 🐌 proton dot me