Thursday, August 10, 2017


For years, RJ and I never fought. Literally. If we disagreed, we talked about it. And that was that.

I often dared not share this bliss with peers, especially when it was apparent others did not enjoy peaceful coexistence with their spouses or long-term SO's. They played mind games. They stopped speaking with each other for days. Not RJ and I.

Early into our marriage, I shared this with my mother. Essentially she responded, "You just haven't had something to fight about yet." which sent chills down my spine.

I credit my time spent in therapy. When something upsets me, I step back, cool off, and analyze why I react to such an extent. As Buddha may have said, and I paraphrase, expectations and desire lead to disappointment. Recognize when your expectations are not realistic (or, worse, not important in the scheme of things). I know not to enter a relationship expecting the other person to change. It never works.

If I got upset, I'd be mindful and not make my issues about RJ. He was still the same person.

When things are not easy, I remember what I love about RJ, what makes him him. Hopefully the person you're with — you truly love his core. I love RJ in dimensions: as a boy, as an adult, as a person. So many things, simple things, he does, I adore. You have to relate to someone on that level, on all levels, I think. Or the bond is not complete.

That acceptance and multifaceted love grounds the relationship. I have joked that we are fine until dementia changes one of us.

Since RJ and I started working together this year, the dynamics of our relationship inevitably has changed. I was apprehensive, but we stumbled upon the arrangement without a choice.

I have never wanted to be in a managerial position. I know myself. I have traits that do not make an ideal supervisor. After all, I am my mother's daughter. Given specific circumstances, I can be overbearing, micromanaging and all-around shrew-like.

Well at least I realize that, right? It is remarkably a far cry from when we met, when the one adjective that RJ used the most to describe me was "sweet".

Personalities are not a duality, but a spectrum.

RJ, on the other hand, is soft-spoken, mellow, and patient. He also is intelligent and tireless in his problem-solving ways. Our working styles may be "slightly" different...

And thus I find myself picking on things that in hindsight are often trivial. Mind you, this is the opposite of what I do in our personal lives. In the professional realm, I am much more a perfectionist. I am impossible to please. Again, like my mother.

Coming to terms with that will help me ease up. Still, I find myself apologizing at night for having been harsh during the day. Talk about a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde!

I'd say to RJ, "Was boss lady mean to you again today?" We'd laugh. You gotta stick with humor (and be sincere about it).

It is a learning process. I do feel that I exceedingly exasperate RJ more and more frequently on both the home and the work front, which leaves me ruminative.

I neglect to mention the bright side is we get to carpool most days.

This evening, as we were coming home, RJ was behind the wheels. We tend to show off our skills parking as far away from our neighbor's spot as possible, which means that we slide very close to this column in the corner of ours. (Because a concrete column poses less threat than a human being.)

I watch intently until he was done backing into the space, almost holding my breath. (I have trust issues. Our car is only several months old.) The side mirror of the car was literally only half an inch from the concrete column. Then, with a straight face, I said, without giving away any sarcasm, "You should have gotten closer to the column."

RJ looked at me like... there's no word for it. You should have been there. As he opened his mouth to (I imagine) defend himself, I could hold it no longer and burst into laughter.

"I was being facetious!" I said, now laughing in spasms. There was no cruelty in that, I swear. Just that he was so cute.

As we walked to the elevator and then in it I still was laughing hard, almost snorting. I kissed him repeatedly on the cheeks to make up for my mischief. RJ, being his zen self, just gave me this "Oh,  you..." smile.

But then I got to thinking: have I become such an irrational partner that he actually believed my ridiculous complaint?!?!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

The Most Beautiful Creole Man

Today I saw the most beautiful Creole man I’d ever met. I was at a Pacific Islanders event, my first. He was working at a Filipino stall.

He had the most astounding bone structure. The jawline, the cheekbones. And OMG the most beautiful, mesmerizing eyes, pale blue and awe-inspiring, juxtaposed against his warm skin tone — there were no words.

Yet he was devoid of joy. The way he uttered “Aloha” and “Mahalo”, it was as if his soul was emptied out. He wasn’t there. He wasn’t connecting.

When I encounter someone like that I always wonder, Who has hurt you? And my old self would try to fix it.

I wanted to slip him a note which would read:

I am not coming on to you. But you’ve got the most beautiful eyes.

Really they were like the entire universe. And then some.

Later I noticed that he was sporting a Space Jam t-shirt, in baby blue, much like his eyes, but paling in comparison and that is an understatement. The former profound and dumbfounding, the latter, a commercial piece of…

Why had he chosen this article of clothing on this day? Did it mean something? Did it not, and perhaps that was the point?

I am drawn to beauty and sadness. Not knowing your own beauty. That is the saddest of all.

Quote 264

You must always be drunk.
... But on what?
Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish.
But be drunk.

- Charles Pierre Baudelaire

Quote 263

You're so quiet you're almost tomorrow.

- Ocean Vuong

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bane Ban

This morning, on my walk back from retrieving RJ's Sunday NYTimes (we live in a top floor condo so getting the paper is a bit more involved than stepping out the front door on to the driveway), I had  a tinge of my usual weekly uneasiness: a part of me craving to be out and about (oooh! Sun on my skin!), and a part of me looking forward to the "nothingless" of staying in (it is not exactly nothingless — deeply soulfully satisfactory activities await the introvert).

Just then, the light breeze carried upon me the aroma of some neighbor's cooking, a delightful blend of spices, not acrid but remarkably sweet, fragrant and inviting. I envisioned a happy family sitting down at breakfast. I felt the happiness, and took it in. I thought, how lucky it is, to be alive and to have the olfactory sense fully functioning. How lucky it is, to be living in a community where one is often greeted with such warm, delectable scents. I felt utterly content. I felt happy.

And it dawned on me that I hadn't had one of these moments in a while. Not since I took on this job where responsibilities have grown alongside the number on my paycheck. It is a good thing, growing up for the first time, in my 40's, as I coin it. For the first time, I have money to put away toward retirement (better late than never!) But, as I'd always known, the very reason I had refused to grow up for as long as I could put it off in the first place, growing up has a price. As far as I could tell, grown-ups are seldom happy. With responsibilities come pressure, angst and worries. Those can wear you out and bring you down.

Not today. Even the thought of Monday being right around the corner did not dampen my spirit. I don't completely understand how my mind works. It was so much easier when I could chalk it up to being bipolar. Now it's become this "the more I know, the more I don't know" phenomenon. I've given up on labeling things and people, including myself. That just gets nowhere and is exhausting.

Now I just am. And see where life takes us. Maybe being grown-up is not so bad after all. But then again, it could be the distillery trip of gin-agave-whiskey tasting yesterday that is still spinning me giddy. Who knows. Having money left over for fun takes the bitterness out of work. Can't dispute that. Having had a taste of financial independence doesn't hurt, either. Don't burst my bubble.

Monday, March 13, 2017


Sutra* broke up with me today.

I had been wanting to rid of her. I have never been good at breaking up. So I let it drag on until I just couldn't. Then I ghosted, and got what I wanted.

Still a firm believer in the Law of Attraction, I have to wonder why, when it comes to gf's, I always wind up with losers *cough* I mean people with issues. Have I been willing myself subconsciously?

On the surface, Sutra and I got along great. But I didn't want someone just to get along with. I want more. Ultimately, why do people break up? You seek something the other is not delivering.

As in all other breakups, once I had my mind made up, there was nothing left to say. Too exhausting to even explain.

Online, when I am inclined to comment "No words", sometimes I find it absurd. To express this thought, simply do not leave a comment.

Sutra, true to herself, wrote me an 18-paragraph letter to list her grievances. Which I haven't read because, you know, life is short. I am not surprised. This is her pattern. She's done this with plenty of friends and employers. It is always the other party's fault. She reminds me of my ex Hulmes. This is a chilling and jarring revelation.

If people keep leaving you, stop and wonder. Perhaps you are the problem.

I am upset. I am usually the explainer. It hurts that she thinks I have wronged her. I can't even.

When I was dating, I used to say that hopefully every new person is an upgrade. In hindsight, that certainly wasn't always the case. I am just so grateful that I am with RJ, someone who just lets me be me. EVERY relationship should be this easy. Sadly most are the opposite.

If being in the presence of someone brings negativity, why put yourself through it over and over? Living in the past is not my thing, either. Sutra's golden years were her 20's and it is like she has had nothing to talk about since. We are talkin' 20 years since her heyday. That is sad if one does not examine one's life and raise questions. And she is entitled, not in touch with reality, and just not very interesting. There's gotta be more to life than makeup and food and reminiscing? She drains me.

Surely it is not unrealistic to need a friend to be my intellectual equal, has mentally grown since the 9th grade, and remembers at least some of the things we have discussed in the past? I simply cannot be with someone I do not respect/relate to/have zero symbiosis with.

When I was getting closer to Sherry back in the day, my best male friend then, Derek II, flat out said, "V, you deserve cooler gf's." Remarkably incidentally both Derek and Riley who I thought were my real friends turned out to be not.

Having been best friends with Sherry makes me realize that I have been searching for broken souls still ever since. I can't do that anymore.

My coworker friend, Joya**, has advised in the beginning of my friendship with Sutra that perhaps I was expecting too much in a friendship. "Not everyone is going to be your soul mate, or should be," Joya said.

Months later, today Joya concedes, "You're better off. Glad this happened. Should have happened sooner!" I laughed hard. Out of relief, perhaps.

See, I don't need any Joe Blow (or Jane Mundane) to dine out with or kill time any other way with. I am perfectly happy with my own company and that of a select few. I choose quality over quantity.

For years since my divorce I thought I needed more friends (or, some would be nice). Says who? Maybe I had just been conditioned by society to believe so. Often in a group is when I feel the most lonely and misunderstood.

When I was little, my mother noticed my loner ways and would reprimand my nature. "People are supposed to be gregarious," she'd say. I didn't have the vocabulary then to rebut.

I am an INFJ. Perhaps this lifestyle (or lack thereof) is what I am destined to have, and it is exactly what I need. There is peace and liberation in that.

*Not her real name.
**Not her real name.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

La La Land

Because everybody is a film critic (and a food critic) these days.

(Spoiler alert: don't read on if you haven't seen La La Land and intend to.)

I've heard that there is speculation that La La Land may win Best Picture.


It is a pretty film. It is a cute film. It is unique. And refreshing. I applaud the courage of the producers and writers and cast and crew for creating something that could have been easily dismissed as unpopular.

Did I like the film? Yes. I even teared up at times. That's what it caters to do. It is a chick flick. I'm a chick. (I categorically detest rom-com, though.) Actually, it's a chick and gay dick flick. My apologies for the stereotype. Heard it on the radio. Not in so many words. I'm sure there are those who fit the demographics but don't love musicals. I'm sure you exist.

But Best Picture? No. (I am not saying it won't win. Because it's a white industry. I am saying it doesn't deserve to win.)

I can see that Ryan Gosling is charming. I can understand why women swoon over him. Props to him for learning the piano in merely three months. He pulled it off impressively. And the recent speech at the Golden Globes thanking his wife Eva Mendes? Genuine and sweet as heck. But I have not been attracted to Ryan Gosling. Not even in The Notebook. There. I've said it. Blasphemy, I'm sure.

But the sadness of Ryan Gosling's character at the end of La La Land got me. That's right. I'm attracted to sadness. Always have been. Of course it had to be a sad ending. Sad endings make for the best love stories. If Gosling's Seb would've married Emma Stone's Mia, that would have been boring. The parallel universe of what could've been (or should've been, if you're that kind of a romantic) was perfect because it was bittersweet. And that knowing nod and smile - that IS the perfect ending. Thanks for comin'. It doesn't matter what happens for the rest of their respective lives.

You can tell that the actors literally just took dance lessons. Great effort and heartfelt performance, but there is better on Dancing with the Stars (and I don't even watch that show). The rise and fall as they waltz is totally lacking. (There is some grace.) The tapping is barely adequate. Mad skills they are not. If you've seen Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers... I am sorry but their contemporary counterparts don't even come close. But they are pretty and young and easy on the eyes. And they are trying. And I do find the acting to be quite good, especially Stone's.

Then there is the scene of the lovers' first fight. The way the dialog escalates is unbelievable to me, it feels so staged. Also the fact that the argument takes less than five minutes, and all of a sudden the bird in the oven is burnt beyond recognition, triggering the smoke alarm? They literally just sat down at the table! So the bird would've burnt anyway. Seb took all his time planning this surprise dinner, and the bird would've overcooked within minutes of Mia walking in? Nah. Don't buy. That is poor writing.

The cinematography is... nice. You get to see L.A., and L.A. is always nice to look at. Big blue sky, palm trees, landmarks... they all stir nostalgia and sentiments of adventure. Shots at the Griffith Observatory are visually pleasing. But no one scene is particularly breathtaking or groundbreaking.

When I think Best Picture, I think life-changing, a film that compels you to reevaluate your perspectives of the world, challenges your values, makes you a better person even. Is that too much to ask? La La Land, while highly enjoyable, is not even a believable love story. We see a white guy hook up with a white girl, we don't question. What do they have in common? Examine the broken pieces, and you will conclude: no wonder they didn't work out.

All this said, boy, Ryan Gosling really rocks a dark suit with a skinny tie. And I still have no desire to fuck him.