actuality.log


All entries tagged 'optimism'

Saturday, August the 20th, 2011

A lot has been going on in my life but I’m finding it difficult getting motivated enough to write about things. After mulling over this for some time, I’ve now decided try my hand at publishing over at Google+ for a while. I’m hoping that the change of scenery will give me the motivation I need to write. I am not sure if it’s worth giving up the anonymity of this journal, but I plan on experimenting anyway.

If you’re interested in following further happenings in my life, add me to your circles on Google+. If you aren’t on the network and would like to get in, here’s an invitation.

Happy stalking!

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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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Tuesday, April the 27th, 2010

“Do you like me as a girl?”

“What?” I muttered back in surprise to meet her tired, green eyes staring softly at me. As I continued to gawk mutely, she gracefully knelt beside me on the couch to elaborate on her question. “Well, it’s clear you really like me as a friend. Do you like me as a girl?”

Of course I did! Did she think I’d have invited her home so quickly after getting introduced, and stayed up all night talking about anything and everything if I didn’t?

I am not entirely sure how it all began.

A close friend of a close friend, it was inevitable that I’d stumble upon her at one gathering or another and we’d get to talking. I think it was the evening we’d all been out to the neighbouring comedy club. The comedienne was mediocre, and my mind had begun to wander. I was drawn to the softness of her eyes and the genuineness of her smile from the instant I noticed her. Her dirty blonde hair, parted and held in place with a cute, purple clip—much like a young girl would have worn it—was framing her face and exposing her expressive eyes behind her chic glasses. The way her nose crinkled every time she tried to adjust them without touching them was adorable!

Everything about her screamed a serenity and a positivity that fascinated me, and I soon braved myself to approach her. Before long, we’d retreated from the group to walk along the pier close by, so that we could focus just on each other.

I remember the smell of the cold ocean breeze hitting my face. I don’t recall anything I said, but I can’t forget how easy it was saying it. That’s been one of the most wonderful things about being with her. Her ability to let you know she genuinely cares about what you have to say: listening, empathising, sharing; without judging. The words escaping her moist, pink lips are ever cheerful, soothing and supportive. You know those people who’re born with innate abilities that make their career choices almost beyond question? I don’t think it will surprise anyone who talks to her for a few minutes to hear that she’s a psychologist.

Parting that evening felt incomplete, but I didn’t think she felt the same way. I was wrong. The next morning, I woke to an e-mail fondly reminiscing the things we’d shared, and sharing some more. How she’d felt challenged by me, and how that was a very good thing. It was clear we had so much more to say to each other, and we decided to meet again as soon as we could. After a few days apart, where annoying life responsibilities—like that lecture I needed to prepare for—got in the way, we found ourselves together at a park. No other friends this time to overwhelm me, just us.

What began at that park in the late afternoon transitioned to my humble abode around midnight. It was early in the morning when she asked me the question; her tired eyes beckoning me for a response.

I wanted to scream out the obvious answer: “Of course! Of course I really, really like you.” But I didn’t. My mind wasn’t prepared for the candidness of her question and it stalled, suddenly nervous, needing to think it through. After a brief, awkward pause, I composed myself and answered it in a strange manner. An honest answer, but still very strange. I don’t know where it all came from—all those probabilities and percentages and all that talk about not being able to open up so much to her if she were a boy instead. I went on an on, talking in circles for what seemed like an eternity until I finally felt I’d blown it and asked, “That wasn’t the right answer, was it?”

“There isn’t a right answer or a wrong one,” she tried to reassure me. “I wanted to know what was going through your mind, and I felt comfortable enough to just come out and ask you. I knew you’d be brave enough to give me a thoughtful answer.”

I’d told her earlier my pantry was bare, and she now suggested we leave to go find breakfast. Quite certain now that I’d blown it, I started to tremble; I spent minutes tying my laces which normally take me seconds. As I was kneeling on the floor fumbling with my shoes, I remarked, “I am not going to turn the question around on you. But I am going to ask you why you asked me.”

“Because I didn’t want to do something indecent,” she sighed softly as she stepped closer beside me. “Indecent? Whatever do you mean?” I egged her on, half-smiling now as I slowly rose. She met my smile with her own. “Like this,” she cooed as she raised herself on her tippy toes and kissed me.

Saturday, March the 22nd, 2008

It seems that these past few months have satiated my yearning for wallowing in my own misery and indulging in my self-defeat, and I am now finally ready to move on with my life.

As I sit here writing this, I’m awaiting a contract from a European research laboratory; one which I’m supposed to peruse and, if I approve, sign. After going back and forth on this for weeks, I’ve finally decided to revert to my original decision of exploring opportunities in Europe. The resolution of this matter fills me with an immediate calm, replacing much of the angst that arrested me before.

Let me outline the plan for you since you must be curious. (You’re here, aren’t you?)

I’m going to be employed by a Norwegian research group situated in Oslo. I’m also going to be working with a professor in Cambridge. This will involve some shuttling between Norway and England, and I’m now working on some paperwork (for the necessary work permits and visas and such) to get the ball rolling. Independent of this, I’ve got a conference to attend in Venice in June–July, so at the very least, I ought to have lived in/visited three European countries between now and early next year!

Have I made the “right decision?” I sure as hell don’t know. But I do know that the big breakthrough in my turbulent decision-making process came with the following simple realisation: This is just a job. It pays very well and if I enjoy myself, great! If things don’t work out the way I would like them to, I can surely move onto other things later.

Nothing is set in stone.


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