Life or something like it.

It’s been a good day and a half. Aunt Flo’s come to visit, I’m working my way back to my usual exercise routine, I took Riley for his first swim, and I feel the tension in me melting away. I don’t know if the events are directly related, and that makes me think of Leibniz and billiard balls: one hits the other, and the latter moves in a certain direction, in a certain way, so we assume that there is a cause and effect relationship – but what if there isn’t? What if life is just a string of seemingly connected events that really have nothing to do with each other, and we as humans simply find it impossible not to find patterns?

It’s summer here in the Philippines, and in the middle of the afternoon, as Riley gently snoozed, I snuck away to the bedroom to read. The pile of books beckoned to me, all of them artifacts from my pre-Philippines life, and when I picked one up and found it difficult to analyze, I realized just how much my mode of thinking has changed.

I decided fiction was a better bet, and I love Miranda July, but I knew what I’d end up doing if I picked up No one belongs here more than you. I love that short story collection like nobody’s business, but I’m also trying to break free from my masochistic ways, and the lure of reading Mon Plaisir would be too strong for me to resist. It’s just too good, and too true. It hits me right in the gut and makes me want to cry. I can’t read it and not think of me and Rob and whether we are at the end of our relationship. And I’ve spent too much time thinking, worrying, and wondering about that incredibly depressing subject, plus I’ve decided that it’s impossible to come to any sound decisions without him here. So I’ll just think of other things, lighter things, better things, that illuminate my life. And I’ll stay far away from that bright yellow book. For now.

*****

There are a bunch of outfits in New York that are sitting in my design closet, waiting for finishing touches. Most of them are a jumble of cloths and old clothes that I’ve recycled into something new: a patchwork denim dress (its design was taken straight from a Ralph Lauren collection); a bohemian mini dress (channeling Betsey Johnson); a chic black pantsuit (a la Lanvin); a fantastic red and fuchsia gown with an amazing train (my “Alexander McQueen-rip off ” stage). They’re all amongst my creations, and right now, I’m wishing that I was in my old “office” in my parents’ house, and I could open the closet, search through my scrap book of clothing design ideas, and start another project. I crave the zip and pull of my mom’s old Singer sewing machine, and its steady grate of gears. I miss the feel of needles and thread, and the silly look on my face when my focus is completely set on a piece of fabric. That zone of texture, color, shape, size, and dimension is a panacea-like balm of activity. The clean lines, the obvious nature of cuts and darts – it was mathematical and artistic, logical and functional. It was the marriage of all the best parts of me.

I take great pride in the fact that I’m able to sew, and I’ve been thinking about taking an “apprenticeship” with my favorite local seamstress in order to improve my craftsmanship. I’m good at designing and creating, but the details – the stitch-work, the creases, the pleats – all fall short of my standards. They’re not crisp or professional-looking. Not that that’s been a problem, since my style has been either comfortable-looking or wild, and thus very forgiving of details, and it’s not like I’m trying to get on Project Runway or anything, but I’d like to be able to maybe one day make Riley a little suit. Or, at least, a nice pair of pants.  There’s just something about knowing that your kid’s wearing/eating/loving something that you’ve made with your own two hands… I can’t get enough of that particular feeling of accomplishment.

It’s funny to me how much of a Betty Homemaker I really am. I love cooking, cleaning, organizing, decorating – all of those things that women are expected to like. But I’ve also railed against fitting into any stereotype because I don’t fit neatly into any of them and I can’t wrap my brain around the possibility of being pigeon-holed. It’s at that intersection of my personality, where academics, life experience, and logic cross paths, that I am right now. Both hemispheres of my brain are working double overtime. I’m reading up on more anatomy and physiology for fun, and revising a 2000+ page manuscript that I finished writing five years ago.I’m getting back to art, music (hello, guitar lessons and vocal training!), and writing. I’m dancing again, and strength training again, and getting back my physical stamina (are there any half-marathons in the Philippines?). I’m spending so much time with Riley, and watching him grow, and teaching him things, and playing with him.

Sure, it’s not easy. There are some parts – ahem, Rob – that are downright headache- and heartache-inducing. It’s sleep-depriving and messy and confusing and silly and important and mundane and amazing. And I may not be 100% happy 100% of the time, but that’s a good thing.

It means I’m being real.

It means I’m being human.

It means I’m alive.

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2 responses to “Life or something like it.

  1. i remember the early days of my breakup. i spent a good total of 3 months just straight crying and not holding it in. i let it rip me into pieces because i knew that if i didn’t let it break me as low as i can go then, i would be paying for it later.

    i had good moments, moments of clarity and vitality that hit me and they were wonderful. and then i would crash. and then i would cry again. it was a constant swing between, omg i’m so fine! and please kill me kill me now before i kill him.

    but i also see, from your post, that part in me that was (is) so determined to move on and make my life better because now it’s all under my power. it’s about what i want, what projects i want to undertake and where I want to take this path. I love hearing you talk about it. Your spirit is awesome. Riley will be blessed to grow having your strength in life.

  2. Thanks, mama! Rob and I haven’t quite decided what’s in store for us, but either way I’m getting done what I need to get done.

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