Second Sis took a really nice photo of me today, glowing and happy. I like to think that represents who I am and where I am in life right now. I also wish I can share it here because for once, I think it’s a lovely photo – but alas, privacy matters. But I thought I’d let it be known that despite these extremely private thoughts – I’m doing well; happy and grateful.
My heart of life is beyond good.
My best moment in Miri thus far was last Thursday night.
“I think I have friends now,” was how I hilariously, sincerely captioned the photos from that dinner hangout session with new friends, five of seven that reported to work two weeks after I did. We’re all newbies.
It was a lovely night.
“Belonging,” my buddy said when I relived the night to her. I smiled, hearing that word. I’d forgotten. “Yeah, I guess you can call it that. Sounds about right.” I don’t know how long we’ll all be in Miri and whether we’ll be closer than we are now – maybe that night was just one February night, soon forgotten? – because adulthood has so little permanence when it comes to the things we take for granted in youth. Which is why I’m thankful, sincerely, for that night. They seem like genuinely wonderful people and after Thursday night, I finally felt it – I was able to relax, let down my guard, and be myself.
It was a lovely, lovely night.
On the way back, driving alone as usual, a thought suddenly occurred to me – is this enough? Would this be enough? Shouldn’t this be enough? Why isn’t it enough?
The central question: can’t I just settle for friendships, aren’t they sufficient?
There is an internal hunger that gnaws and grows; a hollowness. Sometimes, late at night, I trace its outline and shiver at the tingling effects of this action. The aching is palpable because my loneliness is deeply felt.
I would like to be with someone. But I also don’t know how.
Can’t I, why can’t I, settle for friendships – aren’t they sufficient?
I wish I know how to convince my heart that alone need not at all mean loneliness.
Funnily, were a relationship to really happen – I don’t know if I would know what to do either. Younger Cousin from a year ago – remember her? She studied (now transferred) in Austin, Texas where I’d dropped by for a visit after she came over to visit San Francisco -texted me on Friday afternoon, trying to downplay her excitement (but obviously excited) about (finally) now being in a relationship with a friend of hers, he whom I’ve long known she has feelings for. She was scared though, of this change. In this sense we’re similar. “I’m so used to doing things alone, I’ve always liked best it that way,” she wrote. “Suddenly here’s someone who wants me to do things with him, to lean on him. It feels strange.”
To be honest, I wanted to laugh. One, because I feel this generational gap between us every time we chat and right that moment when she texted this news, I felt suddenly old and belated. Two, because she’s asking me – who, despite what I know, knows nothing about romantic relationships. I know I’m older, but ah, age is but a number.
Of course I didn’t laugh.
“Just be you,” I finally wrote back. “You guys were friends first – just act like how you’ve always acted around him. Let him do all the moves, whatever he wants, since it sounds like he’s already adapted to the change. Whenever you feel like you’re better adapted to the idea of being in a relationship – you can reciprocate the affection. Just be you and enjoy his company, okay?”
I’ve no idea if she could see through my bullshitting. I know nothing.
On that drive back, grinning like a fool, I thought to myself – isn’t friendship a lovely thing? Am I not absurdly, ridiculously happy right now, to finally attain belonging? For new – faces, setting, version of myself – to finally feel old-familiar?
Because I love this new bunch. They seem like genuinely kind souls.
Why isn’t friendship enough?
I have enough, I think, of those who love me for who I am. They accept me for my strange idiosyncrasies and emotional mood swings and long laments and random off-tangent moments and constant embarrassment show and-
Why isn’t this enough? Why, instead, that my heart contemplates then mulls over then desires for a love that is foreign, nerve-wracking, near-impossible, and soul-risking?
I would love for someone else to see in me the things I see in myself. I would love for someone to be starstruck, stupefied, by the glow of my light – the same one that has kept me shielding my eyes all this while. Similarly, I would love for someone to trace the outline of my internal hollowness in the same way I have done, still do, to myself – then fill it.
I know, I know; maybe it’s the wrong concept, I’m thinking it all wrong. I’m supposed to be whole by myself, and someone simply complements that wholeness …but what if this premise is not absolute? What if this premise needs correction? What if I’ve simply, for all these years, psyched myself about living life alone because I’m too afraid to come-to-terms with the reality that I am, in others’ eyes, undesirable? What if this is how I see myself now? That for twenty-five years, I’ve worked fucking hard to fill the gaps and holes within me to the best of my capabilities and self-awareness …save for one.
I don’t want to – am consciously choosing not to – do life alone (anymore).
Because I love myself for who I am, what I am – and I’d like someone else to, too.