Friday, November 07, 2014

Thinking about where I am now...

Funny how sometimes you read something, and it just sticks with you.

In a few weeks, I'll be leaving my current job and starting my second job as a pharmacist, and as things are starting to wind down for me, I'm forcing myself to take a breather and think about what's happened these past few years.

I remember that point nearly 10 years ago, when I was at a crossroads in my life, and thinking about where my life was headed. At the time, I remember thinking, "Okay, nothing else has worked. Let's see what happens with this."

Now, I see what was really happening. I had run out of options. All my idealism in my 20s, the thoughts that I would change the world, change society, run and win a revolution suddenly smacked me as I was thrown into my 30s. The revolution wasn't going to happen. I wasn't going to be the scholar combining the activism of Asian American studies and the pragmatism of American sociology and become the new sexy scholar touting intersectionality. I wasn't going to be the nonprofit star who stared down a failing agency in the face and brought it out of its ashes. I wasn't going to be the big queer Asian activist that brought respect to all my communities. Being thrown into the limelight was not my cup of tea. I had failed in all these attempts, miserably. I had lost that desire to do any of these things. The life that I had known, the identities that I had claimed so fervently, none of that made sense to me anymore.

I really had nowhere else to go.

All of my failed dreams, my attempts to make something of myself, were staring at me. The only path that laid open was the one that I didn't want to go through, to become a pharmacist--because it would prove I was wrong, and my family was right. Looking back, that was an incredibly stupid reason to have such a fear. But all I had at that point was pride, and pride wasn't enough to keep me where I was. I had to take a step. I knew damned well I didn't want to be stuck at that confusion, and that's what scared me the most.

Little did I know that as I trudged down that road with that first awkward step back into my postbac in August 2005 I had to let go of everything that I had held onto in order to chase that dream.

When my mom passed in 2003, a slow but definite purge of friends I had met when I was first came out in the mid-1990s had become a hemorrhage once I dove headlong into postbac for prepharm and pharmacy school. People who saw me as merely the life of the party, the clown, suddenly stayed away and stopped talking to me because I had serious concerns about where my life was headed. And I was okay with that. I suddenly had nothing in common with these friends. I was better able to identify and cut off toxic friendships. I maintained minimal contact with most of my family, partly because of the still-ongoing weird estrangement of my sister from the rest of my family. I realized that if I were to really go for this crazy bizarre dream, I had to cut off all the bullshit that was surrounding me so I could better focus my energy on achieving that dream.

At the same time that happened, a whisper that I had tried to ignore for years suddenly became a statement and a scream too loud to ignore. I had to end my relationship with my now-ex. It wasn't that he himself was necessarily holding me back; for me, the current relationship represented a security blanket of emotions that held me back. The security blanket was now working against me, and I had to break free from it. While the breakup was completely fine with him, the emotions attached to it were another story.

Pharmacy school itself ended up being a finishing fire for me. I had to gain confidence in myself, to defend my choices, to be able to compromise, admit defeat if I was wrong. I became thick skinned; but sometimes to the point where I had to hide my emotions. Towards the last few weeks of school, I would find myself crying, partly because of the stress and figuring out what I was going to do next. But it was extremely cathartic. It was the last bits of my old self being washed away in tears of frustration. I had become tantalizingly close to finally achieving that dream, and also naively thinking that it was an end of a journey. Perhaps it was also because I was dealing with men that I shouldn't have been involved with, and that was the last part that I needed to grow up from.

My first job, the one that's ending soon, was good; is good. But it's left me exhausted sometimes, unable to have a social life; unable to look for good guys to date. This new job that starts soon, more than anything, it represents a chance to have my life back--and just as that happens, I meet somebody who wants to take things slow, to get to know me and not jump into a relationship. That when I wasn't looking, he happened to show up out of nowhere--even though he had actually been waiting for me for months. And I was finally able to meet him halfway.

So maybe this is a sign that there is never an end to this journey until there really is the end. Pharmacy school was the last big life goal I wanted to finish, but it feels like that I now am discovering and looking for all the little and medium life goals that I have yet to discover and complete.

Friday, October 31, 2014

One post in 2014?

So someone has asked me why I haven't written in this blog for a long time.

It gave me pause. That's a very good question, and one I couldn't figure out the answer to for the longest time.

Then it hit me suddenly the past few days while on a trip to NYC. During the time that I was writing a lot for the blog, a lot of things were happening, a lot of it I had posted here.

But there were other things that I didn't want to talk about on the blog; or on other social media for that matter. My now-ex and I were going through a long and involved (but friendly) breakup that consumed a lot of my time. I was obviously trying to apply, got accepted to, and was trying to finish pharmacy school. The more that I tried to think about it, the more that writing a blog didn't make sense to me. There's an obviously exhibitionist streak in people who write about their personal lives on blogs, and it felt like more often than not, I didn't want to remember the minutiae of the day, or the seemingly constant failures and struggles that were happening in my life. Other social media didn't seem to fit either; Twitter and Facebook, while fun, are a little too out there for me. Tumblr, well, it's tumblr.

Looking back at my very long hiatus, I had to withdraw so to speak in order to face what was happening in all these crazy sudden changes that were happening; but there's a problem with that. Withdrawing can become very lonely.

That's what hit me why I couldn't write regularly here for those 4-5 years. I had to withdraw and focus on myself, and when I wanted to write in my blog, I kept on wanting to write about my failures; these self-pitying posts that have never been published that would've annoyed me and anyone else who wrote in the blog. When I stopped writing, I felt like a failure because I had broken up with my ex; that my consolations were caught up in chemical formulas, mathematical equations and treatment algorithms. And I didn't want to be reminded of that anymore.

Obviously, that's the right-brained, logical explanation. When the answer to that question hit me, the question was asked very simply by someone who started reading and following my blog recently. And he said a sentence that caused my walls to break down.

"I wish I would've been there for you at that time. You sounded like you needed a friend."

It hit me like a ton of bricks, a blubbering crazy ton of bricks. The tears came, and they didn't stop. And this guy--this guy who wanted to know me at that time--but couldn't and didn't, just wrapped his arms around me and held me.

And that's why I couldn't write. And that's why I finally feel like I can now.

Friday, March 08, 2013

The breakup post with Mr. 38

And so continues my tradition about my breakup posts as I move from one year to another...

Dear Mr. 38:
I have spent 45 of the last 52 weeks with you stressed out, questioning my beliefs, figuring out if I'm worthy to be a pharmacist, and otherwise trying to maintain my sanity as I went through one of the toughest years of my life.

I knew that you were going to be difficult. I knew that you were going to test me, push me, make me come face-to-face to things that I've been ignoring for years. At times, I hated you. I wondered what the hell I was doing, where my life was headed, and how I was going to survive at some points. I flirted with things that I probably shouldn't have, done things that I did for the experience, and now I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But at the same time, I am starting to appreciate what you put me through.

You see, Mr. 38, you forced me to grow up. I have had to come face to face to things that I didn't want to see; the ugliness of the mistakes that I did years ago has suddenly become exposed, and I couldn't turn away. You forced me to make decisions that I didn't want to do. I begged. I pleaded. I cried. And yet, I knew you were right.

You started the process of letting go of an identity that I've held for so long: a student. That part of me is melting away as I come face to face with the reality that in 3 short weeks, I will become what I've been wanting to be for so long: finishing pharmacy school, being able to put "Dr." in front of my name, crossing off the #1 thing on the goddamn bucket list that I've had for so long.

And now--I'm faced with a terrifying dilemma: Now what?

And this is where the growing begins. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, of where I want to be. I know that I'll have to deal with more crazy crap this year as I start this new career path, down a road that I have no idea where it'll lead.

And as much as I hate to admit it, Mr. 38, you were the kick in the pants that I needed. I am ready to embrace the uncertainty, to be appreciative that this part of my life is coming to an end--that I am finally able to move on.

You've taught me to never give up. You've taught me that I have what it takes to survive. You've taught me to set boundaries, to express myself, to be the truest person that I can be. Honestly, the rotations haven't been as bad as all the personal growing that I've done this year.

But really, I'm glad that you're gone. I know that I have more shit to work on wherever I end up. But I know that I am ready to deal with it head on.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

A request...

So it's been a very long time since I wrote in this blog, and in about 4 weeks I'll be done with pharmacy school. One of the biggest things I wanted to do in my life, almost done.

And yet, I'm petrified.

I've never been so scared in my life. I have options right now after school, and I'm trying to listen to the calm within my heart to make a decision. I don't know why I'm afraid that I'll make a wrong decision. There is no such thing as a wrong decision.

I think my biggest unfounded fear is if I leave SF, I won't come back. I know that's not true in my head. At the same time, I don't have strong reasons for staying, except for being comfortable with my strong support network of friends. I'd have to start over in a new place, and I'm not sure why it's so terrifying for me to do so. People do it all the time. I do want to come back if I leave.

If there are people that still read this blog, please think calming, good thoughts for me. I know that the universe/God/whatever celestial beings are out there will provide and I am taking comfort in that. I just wish I could calm my mind down and stop worrying. It helps that I'm doing other things to take my mind off of it, but I am still scared and worried and petrified about everything.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

This is a rant.

To the idiot who was supposedly trying to be my friend but proved otherwise:

I'm shocked, but not surprised, about your behavior towards me, especially since tonight you showed that you clearly had issues about sex and intimacy that certainly explained why you are terminally unable to meet any men for relationships.

But let's make some things clear.

You started talking to me on a hook-up app. My ad on the app specifically says I'm looking for friends and hook-ups, so unless you clearly state otherwise from the beginning, I'm going to assume you wanna fuck.

When you said you weren't interested in hooking up (and when you said you were 2000 miles away), I immediately thought: ok, you're strange. But I still kept talking to you because it sounded like you really need friends. And I immediately turned off that hook-up vibe from you.

But when you send me half-naked pics of yourself to my phone, I'm going to wonder why the fuck you're sending this to me when you've already said you don't wanna fuck.

When you say you're conservative and yet send these half-naked pics of yourself to me, I'm going to assume you're a hypocrite.

When you say you're unable to make friends or meet guys close by you because of your high standards; when you say you can only start relationships with people who are completely inaccessible because they're over 2000-3000 miles away in addition to what you've told me, I'm going to think you're fucked up in the head.

When you start attacking me because I'm completely honest with myself and know what I want and you have the inability to be upfront with yourself about what you want, I'm perfectly in my rights to say, "Fuck you, I'm not talking to you anymore."

When you have to resort to attacking some guy that you barely know in order to make yourself feel better about your completely pathetic gay life, then honestly, I just feel sorry for you.

When you say you're going to be a role model for other gay men who want to be more conservative, believe me when I say that I've heard it all before, and all these men who've said this before end up being miserable, lonely and bitter because they can't find any man who can fit their impossible standards for a partner.

I can clearly tell you're hating on me just because I'm perfectly okay with finding booty, have plenty of friends who I can be myself with, while you have to constrain yourself because you're more concerned about saving face than being true to yourself. Honestly, living your life because you feel you have to conform to standards that no one places on you except yourself is frankly no way to live.

When you say that you're unable to make any true friendships with any gay men, it's probably because the stick up your ass is so far up inside that they find you insufferable because you're constantly afraid that they're going to hit on you instead of them actually wanting to be your friend because they actually respect your boundaries.

Finally, let me just say you have just been read. Hard. You can go back to living your lonely, sad, wanna-be gay life. And let me know when you fall in love with that guy who's 3000 miles away, and yet can't stand you when you actually meet him in real life for the first time and doesn't speak to you after a few days. I've seen it before from my friends who had the same issues you did. Thankfully they've all loosened up and I can actually hang out with them now.

I can understand that you might be different because gay life is different than it was 20 years ago and you're in your 20s now. But I had those same thoughts when I was in my 20s nearly 10-15 years ago myself. "The more things change..."

So, let me just say this again: fuck you. It's just really sad that you had to resort to this just to make yourself feel better about your loneliness, but honestly you weren't the first person to do this, and now that I've let this off my chest, I'm done.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Has it really been that long?

So while I've pretty much abandoned this blog for a very long time, and contemplating starting a totally new blog, I kinda feel like I need to just write (at least for myself) what's happened since my last post from over a year ago.

o I'm already halfway through my final year in pharmacy school, and will be graduating in March 2013 (7 months or so from now).

o Survived all the coursework, the terror of the comp exam, and countless attempts on losing whatever fingerholds I have on my sanity as I shoulder through rotations not to mention crying spells, WTF moments, and numerous inebriated moments.

o Tentatively have a job as a drug information pharmacist for a startup (and for which I'm a consultant) when I graduate which I found through serendipity, and for which I'm totally grateful for since I already love the job.

o Have lost, gained, and currently losing all the weight that I've gained in pharmacy school.

o Ironically enough as I've lost this weight, I finally feel that I'm accepting my body for what it is.

o Dated one guy for a couple months who ended up being a total asshole.

o Seeing a guy for a few months now who is absolutely wonderful, but I'm realizing that I don't want anything more than this awesome friendship-plus that I have with him. Said guy also doesn't want me to lose that much weight--so he's definitely inching towards keeper status. I'd share more but that's venturing towards NSFW status, but let's just say I'm happy being with him.

o I'm also realizing that as I'm finishing up this goal of finishing pharmacy school, as something that I've worked so hard to achieve for nearly 20 years, I'm now having this mini-existential crisis: NOW what do I do with my life? Good thing there's plenty still unfulfilled: traveling; re-establishing old friendships and creating new ones; working as a pharmacist; getting one more tattoo to celebrate this passage in my life; seeing where hanging out with this new guy leads...

So it has been a ridiculously crazy past 15+ months since I've last posted. And like I said, I'll most likely retire this blog (but keep it up for my own sake) when I graduate in a few months, but I want it to serve as a reminder of how far I've gone in the past few years as my life evolved from my mom's death to 2012-2013.

It has been one hell of a ride so far. And I'm still in the middle of it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The (Almost) Breakup Post with P2 Year...

(Damn, this is the first post I've written here in over a year--shows you how much more I'm into my twitter than anything else. I didn't even write a breakup post with Mr. 36 like I did with Mr. 35! Anyways, it seems like my life is more focused on pharmacy school than the incessant plodding of my own age getting bigger and bigger, but not too focused enough that I forget that I do have a life outside of it. Read below. )

Dear Mr. P2:

Re: Our impending breakup

Goddamn, what the hell were you thinking? I knew when I first met you close to 7-8 months ago that you would be difficult to deal with. My friends warned me about you, that I'd be wishing Mr. P1 was still with me.

This is true, partly, but not for the reasons I expected.

I knew the courses would be hard. I knew my responsibilities would be amped up. Hell, I even tried to work and balance our relationship during the first quarter when we were still trying to get to know each other. Thank God THAT ended quickly.

And then, real life hit. In the midst of trying to keep my head above water as all the schoolwork piled up, a close friend of mine died from lung cancer right before starting winter quarter with you. We were pillars for each other as our own turbulent lives led us down crazy, uncertain paths; she moving in with the love of her life; me trying to figure out how I was going to survive pharmacy school post-ex and where my life would be post-May 2013. But up until I started going out with you in September, Mr. P2, and her body started to deteriorate, and we both begged, cried, and wished to spend more time with each other. When she did pass away, two days before New Year's 2011, I almost expected myself to say, "Fuck it. She was my last pillar of strength for me, and you had to take her away from me too?"

But I didn't. It made me remember why I wanted to go to pharmacy school in the first place--to help people and provide comfort to the sick and dying, along with the well. In our last real conversation we had together, it was just me and her, gabbing over lunch, bitching about family, but it was also interspersed with the melancholy; us breaking down every so often and wishing that she didn't have to go so soon, but knowing that each time I saw her could be the last I would see her alive. Pharmacy school, in its own weird, random way, taught me to really look at patients as human beings, and even though I couldn't provide any comfort for her pharmacologically, she was able to tell me things that she couldn't tell anyone else, and in that way, I did provide comfort. Her last text to me was "Thanks. I really needed that."

As much as I wish real life would just be put on pause for 4 years as I go through this, it doesn't, and it won't. In only the past two years, I've seen countless friends and relatives fall in love, break up, have kids, lose family members. Losing my friend wasn't part of the original plan, but I shouldered on. It was rough that quarter, especially when I realized how much I relied on my friend to talk about anything and everything about school and about my life. I survived that quarter, only because I realized that I could no longer put my life on hold anymore. I had to do things for myself.

As I'm racing down the last 2-odd quarters of coursework into rotations and into running into Mr. P3 AND Mr. P4's arms over the next 9 months, I'm beginning to realize what weird gifts you've given me, Mr. P2. I'm no longer just only a pharmacy student. I'm out dancing. I'm hanging out with friends, bitching about my problems. I have an amazing internship that I absolutely love. I'm even going out on frickin' dates! In the midst of this craziness, I had to take my life back, and my grades have also magically improved. Who knew?

So, Mr. P2, as we start our last month together, I am grateful for what you've given me, but honestly, you are WAY too intense for me to be with for longer than a year. I pray that I won't have to see you again next year. I hope that after next month, all I'll have to remember you by is a bunch of gray hairs, more grades on my transcripts and some random returned exams that I will never look at again.