I feel like I should blog about what’s going on with me because the personal changes are a dramatic shift away from my norm. And yet this shift almost necessitates silence.
I’m battling it out within the paradox, trying to find a comfortable place because I know I could very well just stop writing, stop blogging, stop telling you and the world about the little treasures of each day, but that’s not something I’m ready to do. The way I feel about writing is the same way I feel about my pre-baby wardrobe: Even though I may never use most of those clothes, I just can’t bare to banish them from my life. They are just too precious to me, too much a part of the person I want to be (if not the person that I am).
My life has become perfect. Okay, not perfect because perfect doesn’t exist, but it’s as close to it as humanly possible. Rob’s the most attentive/communicative/respectful/romantic/[insert other awesome qualities that a significant other “should” have] that he’s ever been, and though I can’t help but wonder at that fact – Did I simply stop noticing the bad parts? Has it always been this way, but I was too stubborn and bitchy to notice? Is this temporary? Et al. – those musings are rendered irrelevant by the awesomeness of each day. He has become the partner I’ve always wanted, and I realize that doubting the good doesn’t make me smarter or more realistic. It just makes me intensely negative. So I ask questions, but only while keeping in mind that the answers to all of the important questions only ever unfold in time, and none of us can ever really know them until that happens.
Is this balance? Ignorance? Bliss? I’m not quite sure. There are names for it; friends have told me that I’ve reached zen, and inner peace, and my optimum level of self actualization, but I prefer not to define it or try to fit it within any specific context. It is what it is. And whatever it is is not truly known to me until it’s disproved, and even then I wouldn’t know it, but the opposite of it.
We never know if something truly is; we only know if it’s not.
Lessons from philosophy classes find their way into my everyday thinking, and it’s hard not to couch my thoughts in the hard black and white of academia and bold-faced names, but neither are things I want to do.
Truth: My experiences are far more valuable than polysyllabic words written by people with lots of letters after their last names.
Also: I wish to communicate my thoughts via my voice, and that’s what being a writer’s all about in the first place, right?
One more thing: Only pretentious jerks think more highly of an idea if it’s attached to diplomas.
Recently, the subject of Riley’s future has come up and what I say, I realize, cements me as a certain kind of person, a certain kind of mom. This is what I say: I don’t care what he does with himself after high school, just as long as he’s happy, healthy, and becoming the person he wants to be.
Who am I to say who Riley should be? Whether he should aspire to open up a surf shop in Maui and smoke hash all day while contemplating the universe and sometimes chewing on some peyote, or if he should earn a zillion degrees, know more studies and facts than anyone ever thought possible, and cure some as-of-yet incurable disease? The fact is, my dreams for him involve more of what I should do than what he should do.
I should save money for him, so that when he’s ready, he can decide what he wants to do for himself. I should make sure he has the experiences necessary to know himself and his passions, so that when the time comes, he’ll know which direction to take with his life. I should be open and honest and communicative with him at all times. I should prepare him for the real world, and yet teach him to be the change he wants to see in the real world.
He just needs to be his beautiful, amazing, compassionate, curious, determined and generous self.
(And, yes, I truly believe these things of my 9-month old son.)
For the first time, I feel like everything is as it should be, and this is an awesome feeling. At the same time, though, I am completely aware of what I’m missing out on by experiencing this wonderfulness. I am aware of the high-drama that no longer fuels my art. I am profoundly aware of the fact that writing has been, up until now, not an end in and of itself. It has been a way to find catharsis, resolution, relaxation, calm, confidence, etc. It has been a way to voice my fears, concerns, issues, victories, opinions, etc. It has not been a way to write just for the sake of writing, to see what I come up with, to give voice to the little things, to make something beautiful. The beauty has always been wrapped up in the brutal honesty of emotion that flows through my words, and the provocative nature of those thoughts. Now that I’ve reached this new plateau, I’m forced to wonder if there’s any point in still writing. I’m forced to ask myself if I still find my writing self beautiful.
If my words are no longer driven by a fierce need to spew out my insides; if I no longer feel the ardent push and pull or life or death at every corner; if my goals are being met with relative ease and my problems are seemingly trivial; if my perspective is skewed by unprecedented happiness, then what do I offer as a writer? Are my words therefore empty? Or are the sheer rhyme and rhythm, syncopation of inspiration with ability, life blood via letters, etc. enough to grant me approval into highly-esteemed literary company?
I don’t know, but I’m willing to try my damnedest at my craft and see what happens.
It’s unnerving, this latest change. Not just about writing, but about possession. Nothing stirs my spirit more than what’s mine, and I’m claiming less and less as my own.
I know that there are certain labels that are inherently mine by no choice of my own, and that these labels carry with them certain baggage of ascribed identity: I am most definitely Asian, and a New Yorker, and Filipina-American, and a woman. But while I can get pretty damn riled up about my personal identity and how it relates to these labels and the many misconceptions of these labels, I don’t really feel attached to any of them. Call it being “post”: post-racism, post-feminist, post-labels, etc. (That seems to be the popular term.) I just know that I most identify with the labels that I’ve achieved, the roles that I’ve taken on by choice and not by birth: as mom, and writer, and student, and traveler. These are the roles that really interest me, the ones that really drive me to do well in life, the ones that speak to me. And while I love that fact, I must also concede that it means (for the most part) shying away from the front lines of controversy.
I no longer feel the need to take up arms, or to shout my criticisms of the world from rooftops, or to personify the big statement (aka the easy target). I simply no longer gravitate towards all of the drama of impersonal debate. Only the truly personal stuff is up for study, and only then by people I deem worthy.
So where does this all lead me? My blog? My writing?
For now, I think I’m going to keep on churning out my words, my perspective, my opinions, and my experiences, regardless of their decidedly more lame and static texture. I’m attempting to finish novels that I started a decade or so ago – if only because I see in them seeds of truth and creativity that I believe deserve to be read.
And the other projects – the ones that started to bud only recently – well, I’m giving them the attention they deserve and I have faith that they’ll take me where I ought to go.
That’s the trend these days. The shift. The unmistakable difference in my personality and my life: not just a faith in my self, but also an unflinching faith in the world. It is this alteration in my perspective that puts me so dangerously close to a conservative way of thinking (i.e., “Everything is as it should be, and therefore change is unnecessary.”) But that’s a subject for another post.