Sorry, I’ve been away for a few months. Not because I wanted to be away, but because I’ve been cursed by a blend of malaise, writer’s block, and general ennui that’s wrapped up with a 9-5 job. If you’re wondering how I’ve been, well, not great. I sincerely hope that y’all have been doing better than I have, and if not, well, I’m there with you.
I’ve been low before, but it seems like these past few weeks have been an exercise in seeing how far down I can dig in the pit of eternal despair. I’ve always prided myself in trying to fix something instead of just throwing something away and grabbing something new. I don’t believe in disposability especially in people, but I guess everything changes right. At some point last week, I just wanted to change everything, wipe the slate clean. I felt like I was a petulant child that wanted to flip the board over because he wasn’t winning at chess. There was a sort of primal need to just upend everything and start fresh. I wasn’t necessary losing the game persay, but my pieces were in a place that I didn’t want them to be, and the strategy to win would have been inelegant and crude.
Growth is one of those things that everyone prides themselves on, and that is just one of those buzzwords that people like to use that in order to make themselves feel good. It’s funny, Facebook always puts up those “memories” and seeing myself in my 20’s, I’m always reminded at how different I am now. The past decade has been about making me into someone who I want to be, someone who is comfortable in their own skin, and looking back, I know that I succeeded. It’s not that I’m done, but I think I’m in a place where I can cast the daily self-doubts behind. Now my self-doubt is more deeply rooted and fundamentally troubling. Yay for progress!
I look at the person I could have been had I listened to my parents. I think that guy would have been much more content, probably married and in all definitions, settling down. I’m probably going to rue writing this someday, as my own children will hold this up as a testament to their own rebellion and disdain for following my instructions, but I’m glad that I didn’t in a lot of ways. There’s something about an Asian upbringing that makes the ones that speak up and don’t conform a sort of pariah. I don’t think that I’m a rebel by any means, but I was rebellious enough to give my parents headaches and to be the one that’s talked about at family gatherings in semi-hushed whispers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just always thought it was funny.
When most people first meet you, they try to put you in a box so it’s easier for them to know how to approach you and how to talk to you. There is a bit of inherent prejudice and that’s to be expected. You don’t talk to a colleague the same way that you talk to someone you meet at a bar. I always hated that little convention of conversation, so I try to subvert that as much as possible.
I don’t care about the money. That’s something that people say only when they’ve never had to wonder about where they’re getting their next meal. I will wholly admit that I am one of those people. But isn’t that the point? To give the next generation something better, to provide them with an opportunity to do something more? I’m not opposed to making a lot of money, but given the opportunity to ONLY make money and nothing more? That’s something that I’m realizing that I don’t think I can stomach. I’ve always been a sucker for causes and principles, the more hopeless they are, the more attracted I am to them. Maybe it’s a bit too late to start looking, but I’m looking for purpose. It’s probably a delusion of youth that given the choice between between purpose and comfort, I would choose purpose.
Last week I took a look at my life and I just realized that the things that I had in front of me, I had no real investment for any of them, and the things I did have passion for had been taken away from me. When you’re there, what’s the fucking point?
“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles…”
I laid in bed, wondering this same thing, Shakespearean melodrama and all. At the end of the day, that whole soliloquy boils down to one thing. Fight or die. That’s the only question. I don’t want to concern you, but it scared me how much of me was willing to choose the latter option. Maybe not in the literal sense, but the figurative, to just exist, survive to get to tomorrow, and just drift along the current. There is a sort of comfort in that, in the quiet knowledge that while you may never really live, you will never fail, and you will never be at risk. May there’s something wrong in my head that I think that path is not for me. There is nobility in a hard-worked life, an unheralded life, a common life. A quiet dignity exists for those who choose to embrace that existence, but there’s an unrest in me that still needs to be assuaged. That’s part of it though, the other path, you will suffer more, endure more, but that’s the price you pay. But, at the end, I made my choice.
Flip the table.
Clear the slate.