Last Wednesday, I saw it. It was in my email inbox finally. I had been waiting for it…searching for it…for awhile.
And it was there.
But what do I do? Etiquette? Do I schedule a meeting? Do I say something?
I simmered for awhile with a friend…and eventually I got up. Some people would say that those things come with the longest walk that never ended. But to me, the walk was too short. I found myself in the office sooner than I thought. I was already saying words before I was ready. And then suddenly it was over.
Wait, what just happened?
It’s a very rare thing to find me at the movie theater watching a chick flick—or better known as a rom-com. It’s always someone’s else decision—a girly friend, perhaps one of my few female friends. She says, Hey let’s hang out…let’s catch a movie.
And suddenly I find myself surrounded by not one, not two…but many many girls in a theater hoping that the two will finally get together. Meet cute! Just kiss her already! Make up and forgive!
There was a movie that I went to see in Pittsburgh—I don’t even remember the name, but I remember trying not to say anything afterwards, because I knew that she really really enjoyed it…and she wanted to have a girls’ night. And the other time which was all fine and dandy where I went to see Sex and the City (THE MOVIE) with my book club and fortunately we were civil enough to not discuss a single word afterwards.
And tonight, it was No Strings Attached. Looking back, I realized that the trailer really gave all the good parts away. It wasn’t the Meet Cute stuff that I was interested in any more. It was the moment after the “YES I WILL BE WITH YOU”. It’s the discovery of each other, the resolution of conflicts, the personal growth, change…that’s what I am interested in. Can that fit in a 2 hour movie and…is that a movie worth seeing?
In some way, now that I know how “meet cute” usually works…it’s repetitive. I want to know how other people work things out. How do they work out the moments where they disagree at the core? That’s what I am going to figure out.
December 31 – Core Story What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world?
There’s this story.
People are always surprised to find that I had nearly no friends growing up—I express my extroversion easily…the need to socialize…although underneath it all, I am always seeking to be accepted. And that’s the greatest weakness of mine.
Friend is a strange word to me. Nowadays, it has morphed. A Facebook friend. A friend on Foursquare, Yelp. Sure there are the followers on Quora and Twitter, but the word has been so diluted.
Who do I trust? Who do I trust to understand me? And what’s more, who is the person that I will always so willingly go as far as I will go for that person? And who will tell me…in the right way…that I am wrong? And when I am battling my own mental enemies, they are not there to shoot them down, but to conquer them with me? Here lies the meaning of a friend.
December 30 – Gift
Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?
To know when to move on. I can be stuck on the past, not looking forward. But in the past year, I have found silver linings in what many people may think is negative. My loss of my digital camera. etc. It has allowed me to always move on.
December 29 – Defining Moment
Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.
It was the moment that I realized that I had reached it. Where the career and other things were right there.
One memorable example was when I visited my aunt’s family (not my blood-related side) for the first time since I was 13.
Maybe it was politeness, but it felt…odd to be…so admired. They oohed and ahhed over my fierce independence in travel…and decisionmaking. My choice to live in the city of San Francisco, even though it’s barely half an hour (without traffic) from my parents’ home. And a career…about making things.
They say Asian families are incredibly competitive, comparing their children constantly with other families’ children. I never felt that way with my parents, because they didn’t find it necessary. Although not truly a defining moment…I felt bad as my cousin was compared to me.
December 28 – Achieve
What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.
I want to not live in purgatory.
Career, people that I can trust, activities that I can rely on, a single place of living, sleep more, organize better, check up on health, invest for the future and near-term, and realize what doesn’t work for me.
December 27 – Ordinary Joy
Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?
Every single time when I open my arms and there is no need for a vocal request. A hug beyond the simple obligatory ones. It’s a hello, goodbye, I’m sorry, I missed you, you cooked well, you are funny, you smell funny, you smell good…or just because.
December 26 – Soul Food
What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?
This one is easy.
Food at Michael Mina for exactly $100 during my crazy food adventure in March.
Perfect portions. Incredible service. And my favorite company.
December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself
Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.
This is who I strive to be.
It was from the street food scavenger hunt, held in August. The resulting image was this.
Due to the nature of who was available, the camera was mounted to my car’s driver’s side window with tape and my mini tripod. It was set to take multiple photos at a time after a delay. It was taken in front of my garage with Chris and Toad as the hapless victims.
My intent was to create a short story of how a superhero heard a cry for help, took a bite of the tamale pie and ran to save the day. Of course, not before showing off a little bit.
I remember feeling hesitant coming out to the busy Valencia street in my getup, but the moment that I stepped out, I suddenly felt powerful. Most importantly, I knew that people could not recognize me. Although they sort of knew where I lived.
I was wearing my old swimsuit (all the way from high school), a cape for the Phantom of Opera costume, and my very expensive Italian handcrafted mask that I purchased impulsively.
It’s confidence that I seek to have. I just wish that I didn’t have to put on a mask to have it. Because the mask shouldn’t have to exist.
December 24 – Everything’s OK
What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?
There was a moment for my professional life, but I won’t get into that.
Rather there was this moment:
We were on different planes that night, attending a birthday party at a huge lounge with a DJ. I really wanted to get to know a new friend and meet new people, extent my professional career. He didn’t want to be there, not with the loud music, drunken people, and lack of any light. But it was expressed in the worst way possible by the both of us.
And so we had a discussion, not a productive one. I considered the reasons why…and the deeper ones. I was dropped off at my place as he went to find parking. And the whole time—I was plotting my next steps—the demise—perhaps it wasn’t meant to be, leaping to conclusions. Because I had my goals and he had his in social situations. They didn’t match.
But the moment? It wasn’t any of those moments. It was the moment he returned. Just like all the other moments that it was going to be ok. It was a silent, unrelenting hug while I spouted my frustrations and challenges. He wouldn’t let go.
And he wouldn’t cry. Or at least not in front of me. What I didn’t know was that night after he dropped me off, he started tearing up silently as he drove trying to find a space in the hard-to-park Mission. His eyes were red when the cops pulled him over at a DUI check. Rattled by our discussion, he couldn’t think clearly, but they eventually let him go.
And he returned. We haven’t had a discussion like that since.