1. Why are my father and my brother so fucking moody? Now here’s the thing. They’re probably not the only ones who are fucking moody. My mother and I are probably guilty of throwing our own tantrums now and again. I’m not denying that. But dammit, aren’t women expected to be moody?
I know, I know. *slaps wrist* Bad feminist.
Here’s the thing: I understand why my mom’s moody. We talk and I get to the heart of the matter, and I get it. She’s frustrated, or she’s angry at herself, or she’s sad at the state of the world. When I talk to my father and my brother, all I get are flippant remarks and more emotion. No explanation, no cathartic shoulder leaning, no kumbaya. All I get is attitude. And that makes me feel like there isn’t any real basis for their moodiness.
2. I don’t think I’m a real smoker. I say this as I puff away at my cigarette. I’m not gonna deny it. I’m a smoker. I’ve been a smoker on and off for so long, I don’t even remember when or how it started. All I know is that there have been long stretches – a year or two – when I haven’t taken a single puff. Then, out of nowhere, I’m back again at half a pack a day. In really frustrating times, it’ll be more than that, but those are very few and far in between, so those hardly count. Right? Right.
Anyway, the reason I question the legitimacy of my smoking is this: I can’t smoke anything but my brand. If I take a puff of any other brand, my throat gets all kinds of fucked up and I get sick. Okay, no, that’s not quite right. I can smoke these and these and I’m okay. But still. They’re relatively light. And it’s not like I smoke really often anyway.
Wait. This past week, I’ve been smoking one cigarette a day, sometimes only half a cigarette per day. I feel the old urges coming back. I think it’s partially because I’m stressed, partially because I want to feel like “my old self”, and partially because I need an excuse to step away from real life. Here in the Philippines, kids start college at like 14 years old. The result: I’m feeling veerrryyy old when I’m in school, and hardly any of my classmates smoke. So the cigarette? It’s an excuse to walk away, think about grown-up problems, and be left alone.
I’m wondering if I want justification for my smoking. If I want someone to read this and go, “You’re an adult. Why are you making such a big deal about this?” If I want to be acknowledged in some way that’s beyond my comprehension at the moment… But that’s another thing:
3. My thoughts are all a jumble. I’ve been known to carry on some pretty out-there, ADD-type conversations, but not like this. I have so much on my plate, and everything there is an entree. There’s no room for silly, little, trifling, inconsequential fare. Only the hearty, do-or-die, important stuff. And honestly, I’m not used to this.
I feel kind of guilty admitting it, but the things that used to be top priority are seemingly worthless now. All those hours spent marching for a cause, all those times I fretted about my appearance or my lack of funds or the state of my love life. They were all important at the moment, sure, but none of them seem to figure in to the here-and-now. Spare me the “those things led to this moment” talk. I get it. But the stuff I’m dealing with now: all the planning for Rob to get here; managing my time between work, school, and family; preparing for the rest of my life – they all seem like a completely different animal. Maybe it evolved from that previous animal, but there have been so many species between them that they hardly seem linked at all.
And it doesn’t help that…
4. I’m a former English major and wanna-be writer who’s taking remedial English in a country where English isn’t the primary language. Because ya know what happens when a native English-speaker is taught English in a country where English isn’t the primary language? The native English speaker doesn’t sentence make right.
Yeah, you got it.
I’ve been a creative writer for as long as I’ve been able to hold a pen, and yet now, I can’t help but worry about form. This is fucking with me, big time. I only ever used to worry about feeling: how to hold on to it, how to translate it, how to communicate it to other people. But now, I can’t help but heed a desire to prove that I can speak and write in grammatically correct English. I get all flustered at the idea that something I wrote may not be grammatically correct. I think about structure and meaning, and want to tie the two. I don’t know how to hold on to my emotions long enough to emote. I’m just so wrapped up with job-hunting and academics and mommying that I can’t concentrate on any situation that causes me to feel strongly.
But for all that,
5. I’m doing really well in school. I’m talking about winning medals, scoring higher than anyone in the school on exams, wowing even myself. And that’s coming from someone who’s spent the greater part of her academic career being an overachiever. I push myself hard. Really, really hard. I figure, if school takes me away from my son and has taken me away from my friends and family in New York, then I have to make it count. Not only am I away from them for this reason, but I’m beyond broke and it would be nice to earn a scholarship, especially since…
6. Rob and I are I’m already planning on the next baby. I know, I know. I’m jumping the gun. Riley turns 4 months on December 5th, neither Rob nor myself have big paychecks, and even if we plan on having a baby, it’s not a guarantee that I’d get pregnant at the time I’d want to get pregnant.
Rob and I have been in talks about having another baby, mostly because of #10, and because we can afford to provide for a baby if we’re here in the Philippines. It doesn’t hurt, either, that we have an amazing live-in nanny and our own house and a whole lot of family support here in the Philippines. Besides, we’re planning on having at least three kids, and we’d like for them to be close in age.
Rob has a cest la vie kind of attitude when it comes to having kids: plan, but if it happens, it happens. Deal with it when it comes.
I have a very proactive attitude: Kids? AWESOME! Let’s adopt! And foster! And have more kids biologically! Because, ya know, I’m delusional and I think money grows on coconut trees (of which there is an abundance on our property).
I’m not saying that I’m definitely gonna get pregnant while I’m living overseas, but the idea has been floating in my mind for a while… That’s usually all it takes.
7. “Children would rather be from a broken home than in one.” Or something like that. I read that while floating around in the blogosphere, and it really struck me. Right before I left New York, I had dinner with a few of my besties, and one of them said something like, “I had a really fucked up childhood, and my parents were all sorts of fucked up, but I would’ve turned out even worse if they’d divorced.” I’ve been turning those words over in my head for a long time.
This quote though – the one about coming from a broken home – it’s exactly what I’ve always felt on the subject. The important thing isn’t that Mom and Dad are together; it’s that Mom and Dad are emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy, and that they still have some form of love and respect for one another. Maybe it’s not the romantic kind of love that you want your parents to have. Maybe it’s not even the civil, platonic love of friends. Maybe it’s something altogether different. But it’s genuine and it’s authenticity can’t be denied – and that, I believe, is what makes kids well-adjusted and emotionally sound. It’s not that they want their parents to live together forever, it’s that they want their parents to end up happily ever after – whether together or not.
At least, that’s my take on it.
8. God, I miss therapy. A lot. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a week-end review on here, just because I have so many thoughts to spew out. There’s so much ground to cover: my job hunt, my experiences as an American living in the Philippines, my time with my extended family, the problems I’m having becoming a legitimate traveler and student in this country, etc.
Not to mention, there’s a lot I want to catch you up on, stuff that happened before I made the move. The two days leading up to Riley’s birth, the amazing way he’s growing, the many pictures of him that I’ve taken. I really should get a Flickr account.
But yeah: Therapy. I miss it. I miss my therapist. I miss the bond that we had, the feeling of trust and professionalism that she emanated, the fact that it was free. I miss all of it. And maybe that’s why I looked for her on Facebook…
9. I’m addicted to making new friends on Facebook. Relax. I didn’t find my therapist on Facebook. I know how strange and awkward that must sound, that I tried to stalk find her. Really though, I’m on this whole “let’s see how many people I really know” kick. And by “really know” I mean “have had some strange/wonderful/life-altering experiences with”. Or with whom I think these kinds of experiences will happen.
So all 5,038 of Rob’s family members are my friends on Facebook. I’ve tried hunting down my 7th grade social studies teacher, the first girl I ever made out with, and a guy I dated in between my break-ups and make-ups with Rob. (I hear the last one is now married to a porn star out in Nevada.)
There are so many other things on my mind, so many paths I’d like to wind down with you, so many obscure little tidbits I want out of my memory so I can make room for more anatomy and physiology. But here’s the one development that’s burning in me:
10. I found work. *doing the YAY I FOUND A JOB dance* Yes, ladies and gents, I’ve secured a couple regularly-paying writing jobs. They don’t pay anything fancy, but it’s more than enough to fund my “being an adult” operation. The ironic part? I went to the Philippines because I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to make it as a writer, and thus had to earn my nursing degree for cheap so that I can eventually be able to support my family. Now I’ll be paying for my tuition and my supporting my family through my writing.
Gotta love it.