actuality.log


Saturday, November the 6th, 2010

Long time readers of my journal are no strangers to the fact that my mood is extremely oscillatory. Much like the colour scheme of this site, my mind is either entirely black or entirely white. I can jump several times an hour or day or week or month from exceptional bliss to extreme depression and sorrow. Sure, this lets me feel alive, allowing me to experience life in an intense manner, but it is sometimes scary as these wild swings are not under my control.

The entries in my journal reflect this, albeit in a skewed fashion, because I’m personally more likely to write when I’m down.

The closer I get to Stacey, the more I’m beginning to understand why I might be this way. I seem to have an extremely black and white view of the world around me. People and experiences and surroundings are either “insanely great,” putting me in a state of intense bliss, or “horribly hurtful,” driving me down into the depths of depression. There seem to be no shades of grey in my perception of or response to the world.

The same is true of how I experience the women I am with, including Stacey. For the first months of our relationship, I was in a state of ecstasy. There was nothing she could say or do wrong, and whatever she was was perfect for me. But more recently, things started to change. The more she talked about her past, the more perturbed I got about her sexual history. I started to sink and see everything in a negative light, and there was little she could say or do that would help me.

The darkness had nearly descended completely, until she reminded me that we’re all just humans and have different aspects of our persona that could either please or perturb another. She pointed out that how I might not be a perfect man by any objective standards, yet all that she’s been longing for. Looking into her loving eyes and soft body as she told me all this reminded me of how happy she’s made me this past half year. And that her past is just that, her past. I don’t have to fully understand or accept it right away, just to recognise that through her imperfections, she’s someone who’s capable of making me immensely happy.

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  • 11.01.10: I am not sure which sucked more, G.I. Joe or Sex and the City 2. What a waste of a few hours. Comments Off on I am not sure which sucked mor…
Friday, October the 29th, 2010

There is one crucial aspect of yesterday’s story that demands a closer look. But that in turn requires some necessary back-story.

Even though I have all this turmoil going on in my head, I’m outwardly very calm and composed. I rarely lose my cool, and my tone and demeanour barely change, no matter how intense I find external stimuli. This is good because it gives me a feeling of great control; this is bad because it gives me a feeling of great control. Sometimes, I feel like I’m forcibly filtering all my “innate tendencies” just to behave and sound like a certain mellow chap I fantasise myself to be. Or, rather, that I imagine other people want me to be.

People have always been telling me how they lose some of their inhibitions and control when they start to drink, and how this loosens up their social behaviour. I don’t know this from personal experience, but I’ve always been curious to find out. Just how would an unfiltered me experience and react to the world?

The general practise here is that you carry your own alcohol to parties (since it is so damn expensive). I normally carry a lot, but don’t really drink since I just don’t. On the way to the party where I was to later meet Alicia, someone asked me why I was carrying so much if I wasn’t going to drink anything. I didn’t have a strong case, other than to point out that I thought contributing to the party was the polite thing to do.

And that’s when it dawned on me, why don’t I just bite the bullet and drink my stash at the party, and find out whether it changed anything? The idea simultaneously excited me and made me nervous, but I really wanted to perform this experiment. So I asked a friend of mine to keep an eye on me (which he utterly failed to do) while I hung out at the party and went through my drinks.

Several drinks in—but, as I saw it, none the woozier—I met Alicia. Interesting, open, opinionated… she seemed like everything that I claimed she was, but was she really? Why was I talking so long to a woman I wasn’t even attracted to? How did I find it so easy to talk to her? I left that evening with a few questions I couldn’t easily answer right then, because I wasn’t certain if my perception of the world was warped by the drinks. I had to meet her when sober to find out for sure.

And so I did. Multiple times. And she really is all those things, and extremely easy to open up to. It hasn’t in the least felt any different from our first evening. Perhaps my brain ever really relinquishes control.

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  • 10.29.10: I went to see Resident Evil 4 alone yesterday. Big-breasted women running around with big guns; that’s all the storyline a movie ever needs. Comments Off on I went to see Resident Evil 4 …
Thursday, October the 28th, 2010

As bleak as things seemed, I was determined to fix the situation. At least to try earnestly, anyway. If I wanted to make a friend outside my current friend set, I was going to go out and make it happen. Too many years of my life had already been lost reconciling to awful situations under the blanket excuse: “But I’m incapable of doing anything about it!”

I made it a point to put myself out there more. I’d done it once before, and that resulted in Stacey now sharing my bed. It couldn’t be that hard, could it? And so, repressing all social anxiety and other introverted tendencies, I started showing up at all parties I was invited to. I consciously attempted to talk to people I didn’t already know.

It’s on one such evening that I met Alicia. I noticed her early on, hanging out at the kitchen, effortlessly flitting in and out of conversations with different groups. She seemed interesting, and her eager smile made her approachable. I don’t recall how it happened, but soon enough I was talking to her friend beside her, and a short while later, I was talking to Alicia. Our conversation lasted well into the night, even as the party had long since thinned out. We talked about ourselves and travels and dreams, but more importantly, and for the longest time, feelings and relationships.

Alicia was gentle, open, opinionated, young (though mature beyond her years), and you know the strangest thing? I greatly enjoyed talking to her though I wasn’t attracted to her. She was perfect. I’d found the first of my friends outside my current circle, and I didn’t want to lose her. By the end of the evening, I did something I hadn’t ever done before: exchanging contact information with a perfect stranger.

(At this point, there are a few directions I could take this story. For now, I think I will jump over crucial details and just complete this primary tale, leaving the other threads for subsequent entries.)

Even though Alicia has been remarkably busy finishing her M.A. and holding onto a couple of jobs at the university, I’ve got to spend a lot of time with her since we first met at this party. We’ve gotten closer over long evenings of good food and deep conversation. I enjoy her company and her view of the world. And each additional perspective helps me make a bit more sense out of life.

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  • 10.25.10: Typing this message from my new and cool iPhone. There is so much I need to learn about it. (4)
  • 10.25.10: I greatly enjoyed a showing of “The Social Network” last evening. But that doesn’t make me any more likely to join Facebook! (4)
Friday, October the 22nd, 2010

Stacey’s life path has been remarkably different from mine. For instance, she’s lived with another boy before. I am not always OK with bits of information like this, and my lack of real acceptance manifests in sinister ways, especially when she’s away. Like what happened last evening at an Opera performance (in a shady bar themed to match a submarine!).

Pleasant conversation and fun people, the evening was going remarkably well until the negative stresses popped up. The cuteish mid-twenty year old cuddling up to an older guy. She was enjoying the show, and he was enjoying her touch.

I couldn’t help but imagine you with someone else. I looked around and I started to see your face everywhere. A younger you. A naïve you with an innocent face, clearly in love. The happiness in your face as you looked at him; it haunted me.

The music changed. The once cheerful lyrics now dark and ominous.

And I needed to leave.

Thursday, October the 21st, 2010

Well, my great plan to write an entry per day for a whole year lasted about a day. But who wasn’t expecting that?

My social life has improved tremendously since I left the States. For one, I have a loving girlfriend with whom I’m physically and emotionally intimate. I don’t live alone anymore. I have a few close friends to talk to, more to meet up with for activities almost every evening, as well as get to travel with on occasion. Life is good. In fact compared to my earlier situation—being completely isolated and having suicidal tendencies—my current state could be deemed life in Utopia. But even so, there’s been one thing that’s been constantly nagging me:

Everybody I know knows everybody else I know.

Let me try to explain this. Everyone I get to interact with from day to day: my partner, friends, flatmates, landlords, activity partners, … is either someone I work with or someone they knew and introduced me to. Every single person. This isn’t inherently bad, but I don’t think it’s normal. I feel like I can’t ever say or do or feel anything toward any of these people without everybody else somehow knowing. And that bothers me quite a bit.

This thought has been gnawing at me for a while, but only recently did it crystallise in my head. With which came the obvious solution to my predicament: I needed to bond with other people removed from this bunch. But along with the obvious solution came the obvious problem: I believe I’m borderline autistic, and that my current social circle materialised through pure luck. How could I possibly recreate that environment?

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Sunday, October the 17th, 2010

It’s taken me a long hiatus to realise this, but I need to write. I think putting my thoughts and feelings down in words plays an integral role in how I go about processing them. And so, starting today, I plan on rekindling my writing habit by jotting down at least one entry here each day. I’ve resolved to keep it up for a year, but we all know how well such proclamations usually pan out. However long this lasts, I expect that the writing style will be unfocused, raw and in the moment. Though today, you get a little back-story for the tales that are to follow.

  • After a month-long holiday in India with Stacey, followed by a couple months alone there doing very little, I returned to Oslo. I’ve been here for just under a month now, and live in a new home with a couple of housemates who are also my friends and colleagues. This leads to some interesting situations which we’ll definitely be getting into. Either way, this is a temporary situation as Stacey and I will be moving into an apartment together before the end of the year.
  • Things with Stacey have been almost perfect, and she makes me very happy, despite the fact that she’s needed to go to the States for a few months to study. She’s managed to take breaks and visit me in the interim, which has made it a lot easier on us. I’m much happier in Oslo than I was in India, and my feelings toward Stacey gives me a surety about my decisions that I lacked before she came along. Even so, I have some misgivings about her past, which is a topic of some consternation when I feel low. (Which tends to happen when I feel separated form her. Which tends to happen when I am separated from her.) I hope this changes as we spend more and more time together.
  • I am trying to make all sorts of positive changes in my life. I have started to work out and I dress better. I am motivated to work hard (to ensure my stay in Oslo). I am trying to form and maintain additional friendships beyond my current set. These changes help me feel better about getting older.
  • I work in a new scientific group, and not knowing many details makes me feel like an idiot. You’ll hear about this more and more if my reading doesn’t improve the situation.

I am sure a lot more back-story is required to orient you to subsequent stories, but I will stop for now. Instead, I’ll try to insert relevant bits as necessary, and now go to sleep.

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  • 10.12.10: Today is the day I turn thirty. Perhaps now is the perfect time to let all my unfulfilled dreams die. (4)
  • 09.16.10: My mom took me to a temple that supposedly blesses its patrons with a speedy, fulfilling marriage. Think she’s trying to tell me something? (3)
  • 09.09.10: If there’s one tenet I’ve picked up from my father it’s this: “Why know when you can assume?” Comments Off on If there’s one tenet I’ve pick…
Sunday, August the 8th, 2010

I took one of my regular trips to the local SOS Children’s Village a couple of days ago. When I first started receiving my student stipend years ago, I began supporting two children there: a 9-month old baby girl, Maria Merlin and a few year old boy called Venugopal. Today, six years later, they’re both growing up to be cute, playful children.

Merlin and her mom

While sitting at the SOS offices to pay my yearly donation, it occurred to me that I really should be doing more, since I have come a long way (financially) since those early student days. So that’s exactly what I did! Starting from this year, I am proud to announce that I support two more children. Introducing Nagarajan (foreground) and Veeravimin:

Nagarajan and Veeravimin

Now, doesn’t this bit of news make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside too?

  • 08.06.10: Spent nearly the whole day helping one of my mom’s (blind) students with his Ph.D. thesis. Feel cheerful and drained at the same time. Comments Off on Spent nearly the whole day hel…

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