Illumina

I went outside after the rain the other day and looked up at the sky and it made me wonder: 

Some people search far and wide for beauty, travelling great distances and visiting exotic destinations. Perhaps, though, it’s not so much about finding as it is about recognising beauty when it crosses our path.

How do we get so caught up in grandeur that we disregard and dismiss simplicity?

Why are we obssessed with the novel, the new and exciting, that we take for granted the everyday?

When will we learn to stop, take a breath, look around and try to see that beauty isn’t just what’s there but what we choose to make of it.

Through the Eyes of You

I picked up my bag from the back of the car and walked away. I promised myself I wouldn’t look back, and I didn’t. Right then it was too much, it felt too soon. But we’ve always known that it couldn’t last. It was always going to be temporary. And by now it’s all just a memory.

“You know what I just realised?”

“What?”

Looking into your blue-grey eyes, I may not have found the answer, but I found an answer. “This is the longest non-relationship I’ve ever been in.”

We laughed about it and kissed. Seemed like we kissed a lot, and yet we didn’t kiss enough.

“You know?”

“What?”

“This helps if I ever end up with a crotchety old man.”

“I’m a crotchety old man?”

“No. Well, yes sometimes. But you’re my crotchety old man and I love you for it.” We laughed and kissed some more. Yet again, never quite enough.

I tiptoed back into the room, laid back down next to you. For a moment I wasn’t sure I could go back to sleep. Tentatively I put my hand against your back, needing to feel that you were there, touching your skin, breathing in your warmth as I drifted off.

“You are truly beautiful in many, many ways. You are indeed a unique, beautiful, and lovable person. How you can’t see that is beyond me. Whoever may get you as his partner will be a lucky man indeed.”

I never could see myself the way you see me. But maybe I don’t have to, because your blue-grey eyes see just what I can be.

Lifting the Veil

Thinking about religion reminds me of my ex-boyfriends and my past relationships. It’s always been a complicated affair; demanding commitment, taking loyalty, requiring devotion and at least one date per week. My relationship with religion, though, predated all my exes, which means that we’ve had a very long history together. Looking back on my life or reading my previous blog posts, I see a definite shift in my paradigm about religion and the place it has in my life as well as the hold it has over me.

I started off being a devout Christian. Born in a Christian Batak family, one that would ostracise family members for leaving the faith or converting to another, there wasn’t really a choice. Loving the words of the preachers and the church and the Bible, I remember being asked in junior high who my idol was, and without hesitation answering, “Jesus.” I adored Sunday school, was on the way to being a Sunday school teacher myself, attended church service several times a day and multiple times a week. As far as a relationship goes, it was pretty perfect. Like all my relationships, though, it ended.

The turning point was in high school when my sexual identity, one I’ve never had an issue with, one I’ve always accepted as simply and naturally as my being right-handed or brown-eyed, became a subject of contention and ridicule, all in a priest’s one sermon. In hindsight, at that point I was already changing, restless in my faith in the dogma of something unquestionable. It was the time when I would step back within myself during sermons and, instead of raptly listening to them and, in the words of the faithful, ‘let the words of the Good Lord and grace of the Holy Spirit wash over me and fill me to overflowing’, I started thinking instead. I’d look around at the congregation, wondering at the expressions on their faces, studying their body language, pondering their reasons for being there. And I remember thinking, So many people need something to believe in, to hold on to. Something they consider bigger than themselves; because in their minds, only something bigger can possibly be an answer to the unanswerable questions in life. 

So the process happened gradually. I began thinking, and started questioning, and on it went. I experimented with Wicca, delved into Buddhism and mysticism, tried spirituality apart from any particular religion and settling down with agnosticism for a while, ending up an atheist and right now considering myself an apatheist, which in essence is more of a state of mind than a belief. At this point, I don’t care whether or not god (or God) exists and care even less about debating or defending each perspective. It’s just irrelevant to my life.

It does help that my mother comes from a multi-religion family, with a whole lot of open-mindedness and without fanaticism excepting one or two extended family members. My maternal grandfather was Buddhist and my beloved grandmother still is. My uncles and aunts and nephews are either Moslem, Christian, Catholic, a combination of several, or anything they wish to categorise themselves. It is in this environment that I learn tolerance and acceptance of other faiths. That it is alright to differ and that the difference doesn’t matter.

The world outside, however, is a different thing entirely. With organised religion separating one group from another, used as political weapons and for financial gain, with each claiming not only Truth with a capital T, but Holy Truth. Sacred Truth. Unquestionable and God-given Truth. Where everything else that doesn’t agree and everyone else who doesn’t obey branded as heretics, sinners, and destined for the fire, brimstone, and eternal damnation of hell and fit to be oppressed, destroyed, killed.

Despite, or maybe because of, knowing how this place is, now that I’ve made my choice, I can honestly say that I’m happier. The world feels like it makes more sense. Life feels easier to understand when the veils that have been clouding my vision have been lifted or brushed aside. And isn’t that all we ever want? To be happy?

I don’t wish to ‘convert’ anyone. The journey I decided to take has led me here and if there’s anything I know about life, it’s that we all take our own, make our choices and decisions, answer our own questions. And that’s alright. What I wish, though, is for people to just leave well enough alone. The beliefs of others – or lack thereof, how they live their lives, so long as it doesn’t harm you and yours, why be bothered?

Whether or not I’ll believe in religion again, whether I’ll believe in a god or God, remains to be seen. I’m not so arrogant as to be absolutely certain of the future. I do hope that whichever I decide, I won’t ever choose ignorance, no matter how much bliss it may offer, over seeing things clearly.

Invertia – Fin

We sat by the lake, staring into the inky darkness of the water under the light of the half-hidden moon. Your hand grazed mine and I started. You looked at me, a wry smile on your face before you stood up and walked to the edge. The crickets stopped chirping, the frogs paused their croaking, the wind ceased blowing as the water lapped at your feet, tasting and testing your resolve.

“Do it,” I whispered into the night air, staring at your naked silhouette.

I know you heard me but you didn’t turn around. “Don’t you love me enough to make me stay?”

“Not enough.” I breathed.

“Am I not enough?” You asked again.

And for a moment I thought back to all the memories, felt back to all the kisses, heard back to all the laughters. I shut my eyes tight. “You’ll never be.”

You turned around then, though I still couldn’t see your face. I didn’t need to. I never did. “I thought we were happy.”

I wanted to come to you, to comfort you, to ease the pain in your voice. I didn’t. Instead I opened my eyes and smiled the wan smile we once shared, “How can we? We don’t know what it is.”

The crickets chirped again, the frogs croaked, the water shied away from your feet. I closed in on myself, feeling the cold wind returning. You walked back and sat down next to me, purposefully grazing my hand as you did. I didn’t start. It was just the end.

Invertia – Part II

“So are you happy?”

You fell silent, looking away from me and heaved a sigh.

I laughed a little. “Well, that was a pretty dramatic response.”

You looked back at me, really looked at me, and my smile slowly faded. “I don’t know,” you said. “I’m not sure what happiness is anymore.”

Then we just looked at each other for a while, smiled our own wan smiles, and sighed together.

Invertia

“Will you still love me in the morning?” Your broken voice pierced the silence and with that sentence charged the air, question heavy as gravity. I tried to not move in the dampness, our mingled sweat refusing to dry in the humidity, seeping through the sheets into the mattress. I heard you inhaling the oxygen and exhaling your frustration, gusting to blanket the battlefield with disappointment. And I willed my eyes to not blink, tried to not breathe, tried to not make my heartbeat betray the knowledge that even as we lay there side by side, I was starting to forget your name.

Crash and Burn: A Reconnaissance

“So will I ever be on your blog?” You asked jokingly.

I took a moment and thought about it. “Maybe. If we don’t end well.” I shot back with a grin.

And now here we are. I don’t know whether it ended badly or not; but for all intents and purposes, we had to end. That was years ago. And this is yet another blog entry which I typed, pondered on, and promptly forgot about.

***

It all began innocently enough. Well, as innocent as an invitation of a three-way with a (male/male) married couple can be: a clean-fun, uncomplicated, no-muss no-fuss wham-bam-this-pierced-and-tattooed-man/boy-is-sweet-as-strawberry-jam, easy peasy KY jelly arrangement. And it was supposed to stay that way. However, we all know that ‘supposed to’ don’t ever really mean much, does it? We like to think that all – or at least most – of the time we have a handle on situations, that things are under our control.

But they’re not.

So it got complicated, as it always does when feelings come into the equation, when attraction grows into infatuation then identified as love, while undercurrents pushing and pulling underneath the surface rise and create waves and things that went unsaid bubble up and what at first seemed to be a calm and idyllic scenery becomes a malevolent storm.

“I love you.” You said.

“I love you, too.” I said. Then I thought about it. “I don’t want you to leave him.”

“I don’t want to leave him. I can’t. I love him, too.” You said.

And that was that. We couldn’t, or wouldn’t, lie about it and we told him and for a while it was the three of us, an incomplete triangle

“I just want you.” You said.

“But…” I said, hesitant.

I didn’t mean for it to happen, or at least for things to go the way they did, but in the end what does that matter anyway? The result always trumps the intent.

Anyway…

It devolved and dissolved into tears, into screams, tension, pain, and mind games and heart games followed by more tears and more screams. Was it all worth it? Yes. At least for me. Despite the cost, I learned about myself in those few yet interminably long weeks. I know more about my boundaries, about relationships, about the weakness of others and my own damn vulnerability. I learned about the lies we’re all capable of telling ourselves simply to just keep going another day because otherwise we’d close our eyes at night and wish that we’d never wake. I learned that dreams, no matter how beautiful they may be, end eventually in the light of day. I learned that I can love, unconditionally if need be, but I also know when and how to stop, turn around, and walk away.

***

Last I heard, they were still together and doing fine. Last I checked, I’m still single and, though I do have my moments, very happy about it.

Scenting Blue

There it is again, that scent of you. The one that makes me lift my head and sniff around like a hound, like a fool that somehow thought you’d be there when I turn around. You’ll always smell like my first kiss, like my first puppy love, like surrendered virginity, and the sweat and tears of running across an old quiet town.

I miss you, you know, or maybe I just think that I do. Maybe by missing you, I’m really missing the me that I was. The me that’s gone and the me I’ve lost. And when I cry for you, it’s really me that I’m crying for, fragments of me that I’m remembering, too.

They say we’d always have memories but they often lie. Because even those will be swept away one day, burned in fire and scattered by wind, drowning in the river and swallowed by the din. Gone forever, replaced by others. Not a mark, not a trace. Yet somehow in this moment I’m still haunted by that smile on your face. And recall that moment in time when we kissed and said goodbye.

Nail prints on my palms, scissor marks on your wrists. Public fights and private tears. Betrayals and forgiveness. Moving on, breaking free, you have your life now, and what I’m left with is this:

Whenever I’m smelling blue, I’m really scenting you. The white and blue-grey of years gone by when love, and I, though maybe not fully true, were at least innocent and new.

In the Dark

“Why do I have to love you?” he whispered.

I blinked and tried to make out the outline of his features, failed and traced it with my fingers instead. “I don’t know,” I whispered back. “Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re just lonely and tired of being alone and I come along and…”

“Don’t say that.” He grabbed my wrist and nipped it.

I shifted, laced our fingers together. “What do you want me to say then?”

He was silent. The room was silent. For a moment I thought I could hear his heart beat but then realised that it was my own, thumping in the anxiety of hearing what I didn’t want to.

“Just stay,” he said softly. “With me. Here. Just don’t go away.”

And there it is. The request that I knew I couldn’t fulfil. The promise, once made, I knew I’d break. So I did what I had to, what I could.

“I love you.” I said, with surprisingly sincere certainty and finality. “I’d never leave. I’d hold you forever and be here for always.”

He laughed then pouted, “Why are you lying?”

“Because that’s what you want to hear.” I whispered as I kissed his lips.

He’d slept in my arms as I stayed awake, staring out into the darkness. Praying for it to hide my lies and hoping, as I do sometimes, that I can somehow delay the coming of dawn.

Because maybe if I believe it hard enough and stay long enough in the safety of the dark, I might remember how to love again.

K Thx Bai

“You know, it would be so much easier if I could hate you,” he remarks casually over a plastic cup of Grande Green Tea Frappucino. “At the very least it would be much less complicated.”

“But you don’t.” I reply.

He takes his time taking a sip of his drink, toying with the straw with his lips and tongue as I sit there watching. Deliberately? I don’t know. Could be. Every other word that comes out of his mouth sound scripted anyway, it’s only natural if his moves are choreographed.

“Got somewhere to be tonight?” he asks.

I play with the piercings on my tongue, clicking the titanium studs over my teeth, stalling for time, making sure he’s watching me as he made me watch him. Two can play at that game.

And it is a game, inasmuch we’re both keeping score.

“Depends.”

“On?”

I laugh in lieu of answering. It’s tempting to keep on playing, to stretch out the drama until it snaps on its own accord.

But perhaps for once, it would be wiser to quit while I’m ahead.

Tingle

Alex stepped off the train and onto the platform of the station. As he walked briskly among the crowd towards the exit, he hummed a tune to himself, feeling a little giddy. He probably shouldn’t be cutting work like this. Yet when he got up this morning and looked out at the brightening sky outside his window, he felt an odd tingle and the idea of having to go to the office and sit in his cubicle and stare at endless pages of files suddenly seemed unbearable. So he showered, pulled on a light t-shirt and jeans and put on a pair of sneakers. No starched shirt and stuffy tie and pressed pants and shiny oxfords today. The tingle in his chest promised him that something was going to happen today and he meant to find out what it was. After a quick breakfast, he went straight to the train station on a whim, bought a ticket for the first train leaving and several hours later, here he was.

He kept on humming as he strolled down the pavement with no specific destination in mind, just enjoying the fresh air and warm morning sun. But as he walked and started to sweat, he felt his steps beginning to falter and his humming stopped. What exactly am I doing here, he wondered. He eyed other people on their way to work in their suits and with their briefcases and all of a sudden his casual outfit didn’t feel so light anymore. His mind flashed to the pile of documents waiting to be read and inspected and his mood slipped even further. What the hell am I doing, acting like some hormonal teenager following a goddamn tingle? He felt ridiculous and his springy steps became slow and pensive.

Reaching the end of the street, the flapping wings of a pair of birds distracted his darkening thoughts. They flew overhead and perched on the branch of a nearby tree. He stopped and watched them for a while, listening to them cooing to each other. He thought they were turtle doves but he wasn’t sure. Turtle doves mate for life, his memory supplied, unrelated though it was to the proper identification of the species. Huh, he mused, wonder where that bit of information came from. He absently shook his head and continued walking, seriously contemplating catching a train back and going to the office to salvage the rest of his day. As he turned the corner, he took a glance back at the birds and crashed right into someone.

“Oh shit.” He blurted. “I mean, sorry.” Then he looked at the guy and just stared, feeling a second tingle in his chest that morning. Huh, his mind said, cute.

“Um… Are you okay?” the guy asked.

Alex blinked at that. “Huh? Oh, yeah I’m okay.”

The guy crouched down and started collecting the books that fell and scattered on the pavement. “Oh hey, let me help you with that.” Alex followed suit and started picking up books as well, handing them to the guy when they stood back up.

“Thanks.” He said, throwing Alex a grin. Again, Alex just stared at him, feeling foolish but couldn’t help himself.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” the guy queried. “I didn’t hit you that hard, no?” he laughed.

Alex gave himself a mental whop upside the head. Speak, stupid. “I am. Really.” He managed to stammer.

“Well alright, then. Thanks.” The guy said as he walked away, giving Alex another toothy grin. Before he turned the corner, he glanced back and said, “Oh by the way, happy Valentine’s day.”

Alex stood there, processing what just happened. Getting tongue tied and flustered didn’t happen to him. Well, aside from the times he got called in to see his boss but that’s for a totally different reason. This was new. It was weird, but a good kind of weird, if that makes any sense. He contemplated the feeling. Might as well, he decided. Maybe he can invite the guy for coffee or something. He took a breath and jogged around the corner, determined to catch up to him. As it turned out he didn’t have far to go.

The guy was standing pretty much where Alex had stood before, looking up at the birds still cooing to each other in the tree. As Alex slowed his steps and approached, the guy looked his way. “Hey.” The guy hesitated before smiling. “You’re not here because you changed your mind and decided to sue for damages, no?”

“Uh… No.” Alex stuttered. For some reason he found that lilting ‘no’ at the end of the guy’s sentences cute, and that thought didn’t help calm his nerves down any. “Um… I didn’t reply when you said happy Valentine’s day, so… um…” The guy cocked his head and stared at him like he was trying not to laugh. He supposed he looked pretty silly spluttering about like an idiot. “Um… Happy Valentine’s day. And again, sorry.” Alex turned away and was about to go, cringing inside at the impression he was making.

“Do you know that turtle doves mate for life?” the guy suddenly uttered.

Tingle, Alex’s chest went again. “Uh what?” Alex managed to get out.

“Those birds. Turtle doves.” The guy pointed at the pair. “I think I read somewhere that they stay together until one of them dies.” Then he looked at Alex expectantly, like he was waiting for a response.

“You want to get coffee?” Alex blurted out. Fully aware that it wasn’t the appropriate response or one the guy was expecting, judging from the way he was silently raising his eyebrows.

“Uh…” He took a long breath to compose himself. “Look, I swear I’m not some psycho or anything. Please let me start over. My name’s Alex. I’m guessing I probably should’ve started with that.”

The guy shifted his books and grasped his extended hand. “Gabriel.” He had a warm hand, Alex noted. “And that’s okay.” He shot Alex an amused look. “You have an interesting approach.”

“So, now that we’ve been properly introduced, how about that coffee?” Alex continued with a smile, finally feeling more comfortable and confident. At least the guy’s not running away screaming.

Gabriel guffawed. “You’re not only interesting but persistent.” At the sound, the doves flapped away and they both looked up to follow the progress of their flight. “Sure. That sounds great.” Gabriel said, drawing Alex’s attention back to him. “I should probably get a cup of tea instead, though. Been feeling this odd tingle in my chest all morning.”

Alex’s smile brightened. Well, he conceded privately, maybe following tingles is not such a bad idea after all.

Coffee, Tea, and Empathy

“I’ve thought about it,” she said. “And from all the relationships I’ve had since RP, I never felt the way it was with him.” She stopped for a bit, contemplating. “You know, the earlier stuff. How easy it was.”

And at that moment a slow realisation hit me: Is that how people feel? No wonder they sometimes can’t let go of a person they loved in the past. And no wonder I couldn’t really understand it.

“Well,” I started haltingly, trying to formulate my thoughts into words. “For me, every time I meet someone new, it’s a different feeling.”

I lit another cigarette, took another sip of my drink, and realised that it was true.

“So I can never compare whether I love this guy or that guy more. In my memory, and when I’m experiencing it, it’s just different. I suppose there were different levels of ease and comfort but the ‘feelings of love’ were unique for each one.”

I felt as if I understood something then. Something fundamental about love, and something personal about how I love. And as soon as I tried to grasp it, it slipped through my fingers.

Another night, another lost epiphany over coffee, tea, and empathy.

Teeter

He blinked once.

His breath hitched and panic seductively lapped at the edge of his consciousness like gentle waves on a sandy beach, inviting him in. He blinked and drew another deep breath though it couldn’t quite fill his lungs, scrambling for a grip of time and space, desperately pulling away from the grey, seemingly endless expanse between sleep and waking.

Blink again. Breathe again. Focus. Why was he trembling? He gingerly tried moving his fingers, failed, breathed, tried again. When they finally decided to obey, he lifted his hand to his face, pressing the palm to his eyes, rubbing the sleep away and willing himself to inhale and exhale more steadily.

Then he remembered.

It was a dream, wasn’t it? Yes, that’s what it was. He was standing on the broad, crowded sidewalk with motorcycles and cars and people passing by. In the midst of all the traffic and the sounds and the smells he was talking to a faceless, nameless somebody, telling a story when a conscious thought intruded; a voice of reason slipping in where it didn’t belong. He was telling the story, elaborating details when…

“But that’s another dream. It isn’t real. What you’re saying isn’t real.”

And that voice jarred him awake, staring at the grey wall as his breath caught in his chest. And for a heartbeat he was stuck in the dream and back in his room and reliving the dream-story all at the same time.

“Can’t you tell which is real and which is not anymore?”

And then the trembling had started.

He tried sitting up, failed, breathed, tried again, couldn’t and settled with turning slightly and lying on his back instead, furrowing his brows and squinting at the ceiling, torn between wanting to dwell on his thoughts and pushing them out of his mind. It felt like he was breaking out of his skin, tearing apart at the seams. The threads holding his existence together worn thin and frayed, barely containing the psychosis within.

Lips quirking at his dramatic thoughts, he contemplated the approach of early morning hysteria. How bad is it, insanity? How much of you is left after you step over that boundary and let yourself fall over the edge?

“Someday I’m not going to be here anymore, and you might not be able to turn back or you might not want to. Someday you might just find out.”

Glancing at the window, he tried figuring out what time it was from how the light made the yellow curtain glow and sighed. The blue-grey tinge told him it was early, and yet he couldn’t shake the feeling he’d woken up too late though he hadn’t the faintest idea for what exactly.

Another morning, another shot at sanity.

“My life is like, so mundane. The days come, the days go. I keep waiting, waiting, waiting, but for what? I go to work, I eat, I work out, I watch television. I’m not really depressed. Well, yes I guess I am depressed. I’m lonely. I’m easily irritated. But it’s not the kind of overwhelming depression that feels like it’s ripping me apart. It’s more of a blandness, an overall numbness, like every fiber of my being is sucked dry of any coherent reason to exist.”

Your Mother’s Butt – a one act play by Alan Ball

Next!

Get up, shake it off, and move on. Easier said than done, yes, but since it must be done, it is what I will do anyway.

Let’s go back in time to approximately three weeks ago, when I met someone online whom I proceeded to meet in person. We shall refer to him as Unibrow. As is usual with me, everything went in fast-forward: from the first handshake to the first kiss to first sex to first fight to first break-up to first get-back-together. It wasn’t love on his side, although he was absolutely convinced otherwise. The best I’d put it, what he felt was infatuation, that overwhelming -albeit temporary- emotion that disguises itself as love extremely well. And as is also usual with me, it ended.

“I can’t be who you want me to be,” came the statement one time during dinner.
I looked at him across the formica table of the restaurant and asked, “And who is that?”
He took a moment, seemingly to collect his thoughts before answering, “I can’t prioritise you. I can’t promise absolute loyalty. I’m not yet ready to commit.”
“When exactly have I asked for those things?” I fired back.
“Well, never,” he hesitated. “But those are the things that you give and I can’t give the same things in return.”
I inhaled deeply and exhaled, taking my time; lowering my gaze to the tabletop to resist the temptation of throwing my glass of water in his face. Or the ashtray. Both satisfying options but definitely too dramatic.
“You were the one who wanted this.” I said. “When I asked, you said that you don’t want me to see other men and you want this to be exclusive. But you know what? It’s fine.” I smiled, picked up my cigarette, lighter, and mobile phone from the table and got up from my seat.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
I shot him a look, “Oh sorry, didn’t you just give me a clear dismissal? I just need to be somewhere that isn’t here.”
He looked down and pulled one of his heavily practised miserable looks. “I still want you, though.”
“Oh we can still be friends.” I told him.
He tried throwing the look in my direction, “But I don’t want you just as a friend.”

Oh bother.

During the course of my life I’ve been -rightfully- accused of loving too fast, too hard, and too deep as well as warned that too much is never advisable and comes at a hefty price. I know that. I know that betting it all comes with the risk of losing it all. Therefore, when it happens and the pain inevitably comes I can’t really complain about it, can I? Can’t say I want something then bitch and moan and balk when paying time’s due because that would mean that I don’t really want it. Yet some people don’t seem to have a problem doing that. “I want it! I want it!” they’d say loudly and incessantly. That’s fine, no problem with wanting something; but can you pay the price tag attached? Don’t buy a diamond if what you can afford is cubic zirconia because that’s dumb. And you’re not dumb, are you? Emotionally retarded, perhaps, but surely not dumb? Knowing that you aren’t only unwilling but incapable of doing the necessary things to obtain and maintain me, why want me then?

I didn’t leave that night. Instead we went back to his place and he cried and I held him while he slept and we spent several days in blissful oblivion that can only come from ignorance as I worked overtime to silence or at least mute the voices in my head telling me to quickly jump this sinking ship and swim as hard as I could towards the safety and sanity of shore.

You see, for me it was love. Foolish, stupid love, perhaps, but love nevertheless. The kind of love that hopes for the best and holds the faith that everything may just work out. Though this time, it certainly didn’t.

Another night, in his room. We were sitting on opposite sides of the bed, both silent. He was looking at me, I was looking whichever way as long as it wasn’t his. The only sounds in the room provided by the TV that he, for no reason I could comprehend, insisted on keeping on most of the time.
“You’re really special,” he’d finally said. “You deserve someone better, someone who can give you everything you want, who can make you happy.”
As I drew a long breath in, lowering my eyes and looking sideways, sighing while my head shuffled my thoughts around like a deck of cards, as emotions bang against each other and knocking one another over, I thought, “So what else is new?”

That was a week ago. Every night since then I’ve received texts and calls along the lines of, “We can’t be together but I love you and miss you but I know we can’t be together but…”

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I’d done
But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know

Somebody that I Used to Know – Gotye ft. Kimbra

I’ve gotten up and shaken it off; now I’m moving on. Bring on the next heartbreak.

End to a Non-Beginning

“I can never be in a relationship with you,” he said. “I’ve never been in a relationship with another guy before and I don’t know what it’s like.”

I lit a cigarette and looked at him, slightly incredulous, slightly confused. “But you’ve been in a relationship before, yes?”

“Well, yes. But that’s different.”

“Different how, exactly?”

He was silent for a while, returned my stare for a millisecond before looking away, “Well because there’s no point, is there? Gay relationships don’t go anywhere.”

I looked away as well then; looked away yet kept him in my peripheral vision, his sitting form slightly blurred. And now, looking back, that’s how he always was: there but not quite; an unclear, uncertain, sometimes unnerving presence somewhere around the periphery.

“I love you, you know.” He’d finally said.

And I just sat there, silently blowing cigarette smoke, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Class is in Session

Welcome to Impossible Relationships 101. A class where I keep failing to learn anything from and am therefore doomed to repeat ad nauseam.

***

Lesson One: “You’re bi? Oh. Bye”

The Universe’s sense of humour has apparently deemed it amusing that I, an out-and-out gay guy who finds the idea of hiding my orientation and sexuality other than the sole reason of one day cashing in on my inheritance (if any) exhausting and ridiculous, am not only bound but destined to keep on attracting bisexual men with sexual identity issues. Yay! Not.

Now, I don’t have a problem with bisexuality in general; sexual freedom and all that. I just don’t fancy the idea of having to be jealous of both genders. One is tough competition in itself, thank you very much. Who needs the extra work? And plus, it’s not like I can compete with females anyway. Hello? Differences in hardware is number one. Followed by what these differences entail: Women offer the possibility of marriage and children and what society and religion and Indonesian law deem a ‘normal, healthy, and stable future’. Three adjectives that don’t exactly come to mind when I am the subject at hand (those would be ‘tattooed, pierced, and apeshit crazy’).

Yet in my infinite hopefulness (read: innate stupidity), I keep plowing on, always with the thoughts of ‘it may just work out this time’ and over-romanticised ideas of ‘love will conquer all and last forever’. Riiight. Here is the deal: in the course of my life, I’ve lost track of how many bi and gay Indonesian men I’ve met whose sense of religious guilt as well as social and familial responsibilities clash so badly with their sexual orientation and inclination. One example was at a dinner several days ago with the Hobbit (more on him later) and his friend where a discussion of my ‘lifestyle’, as they called it, culminated with the remark, “Well, the difference between you and us is that you actually have a choice.” Such hopelessness took the wind out of my sails so much that I didn’t even voice the response that in almost every case there is always a choice, and that they just don’t want to face the consequences of making a different one.

***

Lesson Two: “If you’re taken, don’t come knockin'”

Ah, yes. Another of the Universe’s potty little pranks. As often stated in my posts, I am as obsessed with fidelity and faithfulness -whether sexual or emotional – as any avid romance-reading, love-song-listening, and rom-com-watching person is. I am also of the firm belief that if you’re capable of cheating on and leaving your current partner whom you’ve vowed to love and treasure for as long as you both shall live, whether the aforementioned vow was said in a wedding or commitment ceremony, whispered on a bed as you’re laying together staring into each other’s eyes, or screamed during the throes of an orgasm, what’s exactly stopping you from doing it to me if I ever agree to take his or her place? And no, I’m not a fan of being on ‘the down low’ or ‘kept on the side’. I prefer uppers to downers and am not an order of french fries.

Yet they do come. Yet why? Is it simply basic human nature to never be satisfied with what you have? Is the grass always greener on the other side? Are we cursed with the affliction of wanting to have it all? Have fidelity and faithfulness become obsolete in modern society? Is monogamy, in fact, dying if not dead and rotting in a forgotten, unmarked grave somewhere? An example of this would be someone I like to call the Hitter; a widower in his mid-30’s who’s been in a relationship with a guy for several years up to now, and who despite his confessions of having sexual liaisons with multiple other guys has professed a supposedly heartfelt, genuine, and sincere intention of, and I quote, “settling down and being in a serious relationship” with me.

Great. Now I’m depressed. As flattering as the attention of others is, the attention of partnered others most often leave me disheartened and pessimistic of ever finding my pot of happily ever after at the end of that rainbow flag.

***

Oh God. Give me break time already.

Heaven – Revisited

Strobe lights. Laser shows. Breakbeats. Facing the bar, dancing with my back to everyone because I didn’t want eye-contact, didn’t need the appraising looks and come-hither glances. In my own time and space, as separate from reality as I’ve always been known to be.

And then there was you.

“Alone?”

“With friends. They tend to scatter.”

“Name?”

“Micha. Name?”

“Hobbit.”

You slid your arm around my waist. I started and pulled away.

“No?”

“No.”

Or at least, not yet. Even at my most trashy I’m never quite so easy.

“I’m going home with you.” you claimed suddenly, with more certainty than most dare say to my face. And I admired that. So much, in fact, that I just stared and then nodded before realising I did so.

Which was the exact moment one of my friends chose to drunkenly teeter over and declare, “I’m taking someone home. Me, T, and him are having a threesome.”

I tore my eyes away from yours and directed them at him instead. “Um. Okay. Have fun. And you’re telling me this why?”

“We’re having it in your room.”

Laughing, I closed my eyes and let my body move free and my mind soar as the beat took me on a wild ride.

Welcome to my life.

On the Transience of Experience

You promised. You made the choice. You knew the consequences, you knew there’s always a price to pay. And as tempting as it is to succumb and surrender, you promised. Can’t preach what you don’t practice, yes? You made the choice. Face the consequences, pay the price.

When you said you don’t want to harden to the world, as much as the world would like you to, you understood that committing to leaving yourself open is to risk vulnerability. Of course some words and some actions from some people will hurt. Let them. The point is not to keep yourself from pain, it’s to live through it and remain true to who and what you choose to be. Don’t hide your reactions, bury your thoughts, or deny your feelings; let them wash over you then simply take a step back and examine their validity and observe yourself. Why build walls and raise shields and put on armour and fight back? You’ve done all that. You decided to stop. You made the promise and the choice. This is the consequence and the price. Face it and pay up. Live it and let go.

This all shall pass. And if you’re as lucky as you claim to be, not that much longer to go.

On the Existential Duality of Being

“My challenge is not to be wholly good or wholly bad but to traverse the entire length between the opposite points of extreme and find a balance that I call perfection.”

Life is a rollercoaster ride. And since I’m not one of those endowed with knowledge of previous lives, every sharp turn or sudden rise and fall, as well anticipated as they sometimes are, still comes with a jolt of surprise. From those I learn, not just the occurrence but also my reactions to each one. With it comes either conflict, which leads to change and resolution, or acceptance, which resembles ignorance but is essentially and significantly different. Ignorance is bliss, yes, but only for the blessedly ignorant. For those born with the capacity to comprehend, ignorance is denial; it’s embracing lies and setting truths aside and would only create the illusion of happiness while taking us further from the real thing, blocking our inner developments and resulting in stagnation often mistaken as inner peace, burying our demons when we need to either struggle with or embrace them in order to know ourselves better and ultimately be the version of us that we strive to be.

If it sounds like I’m preaching, I both am and am not. This is simply a perspective, born from inspiration, contemplation, and experience. It’s not Truth, never with a capital t. I broke away from the dogmatic, rebelled against teachings that labelled the thirst and quest for knowledge as the original sin. It would be ironic to then claim Truth while at the same time promote the necessity and importance of journeys initiated by questioning and a healthy dose of scepticism. If anything, this is simply an indulgence of an aspect of myself. I’m not only of the body and spirituality is a part of me. And as both a physical and spiritual being, reaching for the lofty abstracts of spiritual understanding while remaining anchored and functional in the material world, it is the point of my personal journey to find that middle ground between spirituality and materialism, to resist the gravitational pull of each and let both be equal parts of my existence. I’ve given opportunities for my body, mind, and heart. This is my soul speaking out.

And though my soul is content enough within itself, witnessing the irresponsible words and actions of people claiming their interpretation of ‘God’s words’ as the one and only irrevocable and unquestionable Truth and the blind faith with which people swallow and follow makes it writhe and squirm in discomfort. Neither religion nor religious leaders is God. Unfortunately most seem to be unable to make the distinction or even unaware of it altogether. And the way people twist and manipulate these facts as means for attaining powers and benefits as well as financial and political gain is disheartening to say the least. And that people let it happen and continue is disappointing and just plain sad.

Blind faith, which is the death of the inquisitive mind, leads to dismissive narrow-mindedness, self-righteous and subjective prejudices, rigid preconceptions and inflexible values which bring about divisiveness and separation and, more often than not, animosity as a result of deliberate misunderstanding. The way I see it, there are two ways to understand something: to make it fit into your standards and expectations and general idea of how the thing ‘should’ be or to expand the extent of your comprehension in order to encompass what the thing is. Sure, it’s necessary to have a stance and take a stand for what you believe in; but to force that belief on others, especially regarding matters of faith where right or wrong is always an open subject for debate and supporting evidences are questionable and inconclusive, is a different matter entirely. It’s mental bullying, in most cases. A practice in argumentative skills and verbal combat, ending only when one party is subdued by and surrenders to the intellectual and mental prowess of the other. A very rarely constructive process, this, because it takes away the focus from the subject at hand and shifts it to the abilities of the sparring individuals.

So what if perspectives don’t agree? Diversity is a wonderful thing, in my opinion. It splashes life in various shades of colour instead of one bland hue. And it’s not the enemy of unity – or more exactly, it doesn’t need to be. We don’t all have to be the same to get along. That’s what tolerance and acceptance are for. Absolute uniformity in absolutely everything is boring and destroys any sense of personal identity. According to my beliefs of unity and oneness, we are all one and the same because we all came from and will return to the same source but that is in essence. We, as everything else in existence, whether material or ethereal, are simply energy taking form. And as conscious and animate forms of energy, I acknowledge the need for identifying individual expressions and characteristics. We are all both physical and spiritual beings. And no matter how different we may be in the physical world, it doesn’t matter because we’re spiritually the same. So what do the differences matter since they’re superficial anyway? Or is the superficial more important than the essential? Live and let live, it’s said. Be and let be, I say. A certain Wiccan creed comes to mind: “If it harm none, do what ye will.” And isn’t that enough?

I suppose what I wish for is the collective awakening of the cosmic consciousness. For us not to assimilate but to peacefully coexist in a society which strives for the good and development of all while maintaining unique personal values and characteristics, where individual rights are upheld and obligations fulfilled, where compromise isn’t compromising and acceptance is sincere. If it sounds Utopian, I suppose it is. But hey, what’s wrong with dreaming a little dream?