After 5 years, it was time for a change. My hair came out to 20 or so inches, and will be going to the benefit of cancer patients. Change is good :) I like it personally, and it feels much more comfortable.
If there’s a silver lining to my woeful inability to retain a relationship, it’s that it further hardens my heart so I give less a damn that I’m alone. I’ve always been a bit of a loner anyway (which may’ve been a problem in many of my relationships), so maybe it’s a sign.
Ah well, I’m lucky to have had at least some experiences with women. And in fairness to myself, I have had two long-term relationships (one 2 years, the other 3). So as awful as a boyfriend as I seem to be — and forgive my cynicism, but after being broken up with 5 times, I’m convinced I’m the problem — at least I’ve got something going for me.
Life goes on. You live, you learn.
I know some people want to move past the Boston bombings that occurred yesterday, but I have some reflections and initial reactions I’d like to share:
- I wonder how many people reflexively assumed or imagined it to be the work of a Muslim.
- I saw some people on either the Right and Left blame one another’s political persuasion as being responsible.
- It is interesting, even a bit disturbing, to see the news spread live and organically across social media.
- What are the implications of such instantaneous and socialized news, especially on our sense of community (e.g. we feel for people thousands of miles away from us, whereas in most of human history, our sense of connectedness was limited to our small tribe or town).
- For all the horror of the event, the amount of compassion I saw in both the online commentary and on the scene is encouraging — as is the attention to said compassion.
- Indeed, it seems that many people made a point of trying to point out this silver lining, even in the media (although I noticed a good amount of pushback against the “overload” of news).
- There seems to be conspiracy theories about every one of these acts of violence, and they seem to emerge far quicker than they used to.
- It’s disturbing to remember that events like this – which continue to grip the nation long after – are very common in many countries in the world, often to the point of being weekly affairs. This isn’t to make light of this event, but to consider just how much more horrifying it’d be if this sort of thing happened frequently in this country.
These are just my two cents. Feel free to share your own.
When scoundrels, scumbags, and even flagrant sexists are deemed more attractive and desirable than me, I can conclude one of two things: either I really am just that unappealing by comparison, or the dating scene — and by extension society — is truly backwards.
Granted, I’m no cynic, and I generally think well of human nature, but that doesn’t mean I can’t entertain either (or both) theories. I’m tempted to say it’s evolutionary: the stronger, aggressive, and better-looking of our species are the most sought after. But I doubt such an explanation is scientific.
Besides, I mustn’t rule out my own failings either. Who am I to question the standards of so many women, many of whom dared to give me the chance?
Regardless, whether it’s me, society, or both, I’m ultimately disinterested in being with anyone. I would much rather live in solitude than conform to a system that is clearly unfavorable to me. There is something liberating about that.
I resent how many men seem to regard having a partner as a status symbol, one that is worthy of smugness and egotism. I’ve known some men to look down on their single peers, or worse still, make fun of those who are paired with a woman they deem unattractive — even if that man is more than happy with his girlfriend.
This mentality is not only adolescent, but it denigrates women as mere trophies, and makes the attainment of companionship seem like nothing more than a crude contest, rather than something that should be cherished with gratitude. Then again, some could argue that this behavior is an extension of evolutionary imperative; in the animal world, finding a mate is indeed a competition, one in which the partnered male is deemed successful and in some sense superior.
Another component of this mentality is the assumption that anyone who is single is involuntarily so. It appears hard to conceive of someone choosing to remain alone and, heaven forbid, being happy to do so. Of course, I’ll admit to falling into this assumption as well. I suppose that, too, is part of centuries of social conditioning and/or evolutionary influence.
Of course, these are just my own thoughts and observations (from a male heterosexual perspective).
A gift courtesy of the Iranian Pavilion of my local Asian Culture Festival.
I have often been accused of self-indulgence, namely of acting like a know-it-all and being arrogant about my intelligence. And in many cases, those criticisms are valid. I try to be modest and reserved for the most part, but I know I can try too hard to be the smart one in any given clique (not to mention online, especially Facebook).
What most people don’t know is that I only act that way to shore up my self-esteem. My mind is all I have. I’m not good looking, fit, or particularly talented. Indeed, at best, I’d be lucky to be baseline competent at even the most basic tasks. And when you wrap mediocre package up with anxiety, OCD, and depression, you can see I don’t have much going for me.
And honestly, that’s okay, because I’ve come to terms with these things for the most part. But that’s why I try to harness my intelligence. Reading, retaining information, and writing are all I’m good at, and even then, I frankly don’t think I’m exceptionally intelligent (and no, I’m not saying that to fish for compliments to the contrary).
In a weird way, I wish some people knew my true motives and realized I’m not trying to act better than them. Indeed, it’s because I think I’m not better than most people that I act this way. But it’s best I keep such realities a secret. People seem to prefer an arrogant smart alec to a depressed person.
For the record, I’m not really sad or anything right now. I’m just reflecting.
Got to make the most of a bad thing.
As we all know, the world can be a cruel, cynical, and frightening place. Thus, I am all the more fortunate to have a wide and diverse circle of companions - both on and offline - to shield me from the difficult vagaries of life, to give me hope, inspire me, teach me, and to simply be there for me in the simplest but most invaluable of ways.
You’ve each enriched my life in more ways than you can ever know, and it would take more than a single post - or indeed more than a single lifetime - to express my gratitude for having met you. Whether you’re a close confidant or an acquaintance, you’ve each impacted me in your own unique and wonderful way, and for that I am very, very grateful. I wish you all the best.
Though it’s been said many times, it bears repeating: cherish every second with your loved ones, be they familial, platonic, or romantic. It is an unfortunate tendency of human nature to take what we have for granted. Let’s make a conscious effort to appreciate the people in our lives as much as possible. Love and gratitude must be made into habits rather than special observances - though the latter is plenty of fun too.
While I always envisioned myself working politics, civil service, or academia, I’m really starting to enjoy the idea of working in the mental health field. I’ve been told several times by random people that I’d make a good therapist, and I’m starting to take that as a sign.
I like helping people, talking to them, understanding their problems and feelings, seeing them grow and improve. It helps me a lot too. I think I would be good at it. It’s one of the few things that I feel naturally good at too.
One minute I’m posting about politics, philosophy, science, and social justice, then all of a sudden I share an existential or personal crisis. I have a rant about loneliness in-between a post about Wikipedia and military suicides.
Though being single no doubt has its perks, there are many things I miss from being in a relationship - things I took for granted until I lost them.
I miss having someone to hold. I’m big on human touch. I love affection. I love the warmth, the smoothness of someone’s skin, the sense of being welcomed so closely into someone’s personal space, and the privilege and trust that such intimacy entails.
For much the same reason, I also miss kissing. There’s something so electrifying about it. I mean, I know it literally releases hormones that calm and soothe you. But the deeper meaning of it is just as alluring. The fact that a girl would trust and love me enough to allow me to interact with her in such an intimate way means a lot.
These are probably not things I should reminiscence about before bed…
Whenever I’ve gone to an interview, I’ve often been asked how my undergraduate major – International Relations and Political Science, with a minor in Economics – has anything to do with the position I’m applying for. This implies that my education is only relevant, if not purposeful, insofar as it has economic value. This is all the more true considering that most of the course I took included such “soft” sciences as history, philosophy, anthropology, art, and law.
I didn’t take these subjects with the intention of making a lot of money. I had no such delusions about the economic potency of a piece of paper – which isn’t to degrade degree-seeking students or the non-monetary value of their plan of study, since having any sort of post-GED degree is still better than not. It’s just that getting a degree in itself is no guarantee of financial success. An education in and of itself is not going to make you money, contrary to what was (once) conventional wisdom.
And that’s okay. Indeed, I didn’t take these courses with money in mind at all. I didn’t pursue an education strictly for monetary enrichment. I studied because these subjects interested me, because learning is important for personal and societal well-being, and because I simply enjoyed them and felt enriched through the acquiring of knowledge.
Yes, making money is important. And yes, I had the luxury of learning for learning’s sake thanks to my scholarship, which makes my perspective somewhat biased. But my point is that my education is is my education. Learning about the world is a fun, fulfilling, and beautiful thing independent of its financial rewards.
Just because my current job has little to do with my major doesn’t mean my education was a waste of time, as some have said or implied. This once again presumes that my learning only matters if it makes me money and gets me a relevant career (and it also assumes that one’s career path is linear, as if everyone should jump straight into their job of choice rather than adapt to changing circumstances or desires).
It’s unfortunate that many in our society see an education as only a means rather than an end in itself. The value of an education shouldn’t determined solely by how much money it can make for you. While being financially successful is important, being educated and well-informed about the world should be valuable, period.
By all means, learn practical things and work to find a meaningful career. I’m not opposed to that. But learning about the world along the way – whether through a formal education, informal learning, or autodidacticism - should not be denigrated just because it doesn’t fit the commercialized paradigm of our consumerist, money-obsessed society. It’s just another way that our culture commoditizes and monetizes something that should have innate value.
But that’s a different discussion for a different day. Thoughts?
I’m considering taking up photography as a hobby. I’m particularly interested in using an old-fashioned analog camera that shoots in the lomographic style, which produces an effect similar to hipstamatic and the filters in Instagram. I used such a camera when I had a photography class back in high school, and it was a lot of fun. I figure it’ll go well with my desire to explore my surroundings more.
Here’s one that I’m looking into. If anyone has any suggestions, please share.
A client at work just gave me a $20 tip for being a “sweetheart.” While I genuinely feel that kindness is its own best reward, I’ll happily accept any other perks it brings (especially in these trying times). The funny thing is, I didn’t even think I did anything remotely deserving of that much money. It was very shocking. It’s remarkable how much impact an act of kindness could have on a purpose. I suppose with the way customer service is getting, people really enjoy the human touch.