So...Valentine's Day?

I know I didn't get the chance to say this before, in the midst of all the craziness that was January, but Happy February beautiful! I can't believe that the first month of 2015 is officially over and I can't begin to tell you how bitter-sweet of a month February is for me. Bitter because the month is so short. Sweet because one of my favorite holidays is coming up ;) You can probably guess which one. Yes, you're right. It's Valentine's Day. V-day has always been exciting for me. I remembered my Sophomore year in high school, I asked one of my close friends to be my Valentine for a day. I didn't have a crush on him or anything, but I thought it would be nice to just call him mine since we were both in Pre Calculus together.  It's funny because he just texted me earlier today asking if I had any plans for the the fourteenth coming up. Junior year, I stuffed my best friend Steven's lockers with a bunch of cutout hearts and confetti during lunch time. He said yes. (Not that I gave him much of a choice, heh) Senior year, my parents and I drove up to Norcal for a short family reunion trip. That weekend, my friend drove from Sacramento to take me out on my very first date ever. We had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, watched Dear John, and later evening, he asked me to his senior prom. Couple of weeks later, we made if official and our anniversary actually landed on the day following Valentine's Day. You know, one of the pros of having a significant other in your life is that you never really have to worry about being alone on these kind of special holidays. But despite having plenty of fun-filled celebrations, one February 14th stood out to me in particular and it just so happens to take place in the year 2012.

It was a weekday and I was in my office at the startup tech company I was working at. Bored during lunch time, I began to scroll through my Facebook feed only to see a bunch of posts from my girl friends consisting of flowers and all the cute, cheesy surprises their respective boyfriends have given to them. But there I was, in my own little space, flowerless and boyfriend-less. Couple hours before, my BF and I somehow managed to get into a heated argument when we decided that perhaps we should call it quits...a day shy before our two year anniversary.

Out of all the Valentine's I've ever had, I remember that one being the life seriously felt like it was straight out of a bad Hallmark movie. I spent half of my break crying outside in a little corner so that I could maintain my professionalism. I even almost called my best friends David or Brian, but I knew that both of them were probably spending time with their girlfriends. It was tough. I couldn't imagine being alone, going through the day alone, and perhaps, losing my first love.

Turns out, I ended up undergoing everything I've just listed.

A year ago, I decided to do something different. I went out the night before to purchase 5 fake roses, bunch of arts and craft supplies then drove back to the apartment to make 5 homemade cards. I wrote a personal message to each of them that went something along the lines of, "I wanted to give you something that can never die. Like this rose, I hope our friendship lasts forever." Later that afternoon, I picked up a bouquet of assorted flowers and surprised my best friend with it when she visited that same day. It's hysterical that almost twenty something years later, I've learned that this holiday was not simply about the romantic love that I can provide for someone. In fact, it's really about celebrating all the love that is already present in my life. And trust me, I have so much to be grateful for.

So once again, Valentine's Day is creeping around the corner. I get a little bit giddy when I think about it because I want to see how the tables will turn out. I've had a couple of people here and there hinting about possibly spending that holiday with me, but I'll just have to wait and see. My close friend and I did in fact negotiated the deal that if we happen to be alone by 11:59 PM on the 13th, we'll just have a pal-entine together---ya know, where we're both going to dress up in something nice (me in my red dress/ him in his swagged out suit), reserve dinner at some fancy restaurant, and check out the hot waiter while we're there. Even if no one asks me to be their Valentine, I honestly wouldn't mind taking out a friend. Someone I know who will never take what we have for granted and it will be my formal way of reciprocating their unquestionable loyalty and friendship.

All of my friends laughed obnoxiously when I joke with them about my #foreveralone status (every so often) since they are all confident that I, of all people, always manage to have something up my sleeve. However, I'm so blinded when it comes to figuring out if someone has a crush on me or not. Maybe this will be a good holiday to solidify some of those theories. If not, better luck next time.

You know, it's always great to look back and see how far you've come. Just three years ago, I was crying over something I had no control over, something that no longer felt right to me. I feared the thought of being by myself and possibly, losing a best friend. However, those days are far behind me and I am more happy and confident now than I've ever been in my entire life. Being in love and losing it taught me so much about my self-worth and that I'm more than what the stigma that comes with being single upholds.

Here's to a fabulous February.


Date a Bad Egg; You'll Learn Something New

There's this familiar saying that goes, "If a writer falls in love with you, you'll never die." It's true, especially for me. Date me and you'll never die. I'll think about you, reflect upon our interaction (whether it's significant or not), and you'll somehow wound up in my writing. And years from now, a random stranger will stumble upon my blog and he or she will also read about you and with that, you'll able to live on far beyond the expected years. Today, I will immortalize a man through my writing not because he deserves it, but because he has taught me a very big lesson in which I'm about to share with you. So let's begin.

I met Jason* towards the end of July, right before I was about to fly off to Asia for an entire month with my mother and brother. What started out as a no-strings-attached romance quickly escalated to something more. During my stay in Vietnam, we would exchange casual text messages here and there; however, the conversation would always start and end with something along the lines of "I miss you. Can't wait to see you soon." Although I was never the first person to initiate any sweet words (I tried to keep my emotions intact as much as possible), I still replied to every message in a timely and fashionable manner. Etiquette is important to me and it's important for me to display it to any person whose paths have inevitably crossed with mine.

Moving on, I didn't think too much about our 'relationship' since I was pretty well occupied in Saigon. In fact, I had the most incredible time while I was there, but immediately dismiss the idea of any romance whenever the opportunity arise. I was at the point in my life where it really just wasn't a priority for me. It still isn't. Anyway, once I got back to California, I received a text from Jason a day later. "Are you back, babe? I want to see you." You can say I was surprised. Why wouldn't I be? I thought we ended things right before I left, but I guess my prompt responses has led him to believe that perhaps there was a possibility for more. I hesitated for awhile before agreeing to see him. Flash forward a couple of weeks later, I looked back to realize that four out of the seven days were actually spent with him. Normally, I would say something along the lines of "Time flies when you're having fun." In this particular case, however, time flew by because I had nothing better to do.

The realm between actually dating versus casual dating began to merge and evidently, the lines were blurred. We didn't share the need for exclusivity or intimacy like I did with my previous relationship (my one and only) but everything we did was pretty much along the lines of two people who were actually dating each other. Taking measure of my emotions was one of the more paramount things that crossed my mind because at the end of the day, I knew better. I knew that we had was only temporary and I wasn't about to invest my whole being for someone I saw no future with. Even then, despite of my friends' encouragements and advice, I continued to see him.

On a good day, we would watch episodes of How I Met Your Mother, go to the bars with his guy friends, make random trips to the liquor store, and he'd also cook dinner for me. The lobster melt sandwich was always and forever will be my favorite. Our conversations were always shallow unless we somehow managed to talk about gun control and war violence then he would go on for hours in which a simple talk turns into a rather relatively engaging debate.  It didn't take me very long to learn that I had nothing in common with this person. We do not share similar financial backgrounds, educational pursuits, ethical codes, nor communication styles. We're as far as part as any two person could be. However, that didn't necessarily drove me away because again, I knew where we stood and at the point, I was content with not asking for more.

So for the longest time, I looked at him the way any tourist person would look at the Mona Lisa. Always from a slight distance. Enough to admire the intricacies of the brushstrokes but still far enough to unable to look at the renowned classic and understand what the fuss was all about. This is my fancy way of saying he was beautiful. 6"1, broad shoulders, strong bone structure. It didn't help that he was also justifiably modest and attentive to smaller details. However, he was also one dimensional, at times even passive aggressive, and probably one of the best liars I have ever met in my entire life.

It was always easy to say that intuitive answer would have been to let him go. To simply walk away from someone who was inwardly manipulative; however, it would be unproductive if I told you that I wasn't fond of him because in a strange way, I was. I was very much attracted to this person. I like to explain this unusual attraction through the works of Cutting, a professor at Cornell University. He discusses the psychological mechanism behind this logic as simply the "mere-exposure effect"--> unconscious familiarity bred affection. The more you see something, the higher the chance you'll end up liking what you see, even if it wasn't desirable to begin with. Similar to the Mona Lisa, I was drawn to his relative obscurity and how he fit so well in my desire to stray away from something unconventional; however, Jason is no renaissance art and certainly not worthy of being remembered for anything grand. What propelled my re-evaluation of him was not my friends' inherited opinions but through my very own reflection at all of the men who are already present in my life.

It's safe to say that I am an extremely spoiled by them. It's not that I'm continuously wined and dined (although that does happen here and there) but because these men have all blessed me with things money can never buy. Love, time, respect, and quality friendship. So after six months of on and off interactions, I decided to call it quits. This was the first time I have ever walked away with someone with no remorse. Since then, the thought of him rarely ever crosses my mind...except for now, but that's only because I' m writing about him. It'll be the first and most definitely the last.

Lesson of the day: sometimes great art and mediocrity are confused with one another, even by experts. This is why it's extremely crucial of us to see as much as possible, read as much as possible, and of course, experience as much as we can. After all, 'the more we're exposed to the good and the bad, the better we are at telling the difference. The eclecticists have it.'