What’s Next?

Maybe I shouldn’t be writing as I’m currently hopped up on caffeine at… 12am in the morning. Maybe I don’t even know what I’m writing. I’ve been on a Grey’s Anatomy marathon, just wanting to watch from the beginning, mostly because it’s on Netflix and mostly because the holiday season is coming around and TV is getting boring and lame as they go on break.

Anyway, the beginning of series has the original cast, some of which don’t make it, some who leave. There’s only a handful of people who’ve lasted all ten seasons of the show and it’s surprising to see how people have started and where they started. The most interesting of all is the epic love story that happens during the series. To see all of their complications, fights, etc. It makes me wonder if love should be that difficult or is it just drama? How much of our ideas of love are shaped by the media? Or is it on what we see in life? If I had to base my ideas of love in life, I don’t have much to go on.

One relationship was marred by a partner who was not very inconsiderate and not very willing to change her behavior and for whatever reason, ended. One relationship survived the tests of time and distance, proving that no matter when your “celebration of love” happens, it doesn’t mean that your relationship needs to have a time limit of when it moves to the next level. Many people have been on my case about that next level. When will it move? How long will I wait? And I wonder, what is the rush? What is a few years in comparison to the rest of my life? And to be honest, I don’t even feel ready for this next level to begin with. I have my own reservations and hesitations about what my life will look like after May. There are doubts about if I’ll make it to May, if my own anxieties will get in the way of my success in May.

I will make it. I have to make it. There is no option to do otherwise.

After that, we’ll see how I feel about this “next level” stuff. But for now, I Just want the questions to stop. But you try telling all your family that. -_-

Support

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn in the past few years is how to be of support to someone I love, to someone I care about. We have automatic tendencies to give advice, to say something of use to another person, but sometimes, that’s just not what the person wants or needs to hear.

I remember hearing of a poem and since then, I have kept it in my mind ever since. It is hard for me, for us, to just listen. To be able to sit in the other person’s pain and not want to remedy or alleviate. But it’s important to sit, to share in, to feel what that person is going through.

This was evident during the summer and following up to last night. Partner was struggling, consumed with anxiety and fear and it was so hard for me to resist comfort. While I failed here and there, I had to learn how to say different things. Instead of trying to reassure and tell him that he would do fine, I had to say that I would be there for him despite whatever outcomes may have arisen. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything at all, maybe I should have.

A few weeks ago, a friend shared difficulties with her partner, about what he was going through and how difficult it was for her to be witness to that. I remember suggesting to her that she check in with the therapist he was going to see, to ask the therapist how she could be of support to him. I have remembered that since because it reminded me of how I should react and also what I need to suggest to my clients. Granted, in that latter position, I actually get to provide the suggestions, but it’s a reminder to the kids and the families I work with that yes, while the kid is the one coming to therapy, in reality, it’s all of them. All key players are a part of that child’s life and how can we all be a team and learn to support what that kid’s needs are?

It’s hard. It’s hard to just listen, to do nothing more than listen. I am still struggling with it. It’s a fine line to cross – at which point is someone asking for advice and at which point is someone not? Is the question implied? Or is a disclaimer needed? What I do know is that I need to be more mindful of when that occurs and truly strive to be as supportive as I can.

Partners

Lately I’ve been thinking about what makes people last, what makes people compatible with one another. What is the secret ingredient to long-lasting love and a half-century of happiness together?

My parents split up a few years ago, yet they carry on as if nothing really changed. Daddy comes home for dinner and they both sit on the couch to watch Vietnamese dramas. Next week, they’re going on a cruise together. While I have gotten over the shock of their split, I wonder why they did it in the first place if they are still doing things together, still seeing each other, still acting like companions with one another. Their relationship confuses me; divorce should mean that while they can still be friendly and civil with one another, in a sense, they should be apart. They should spend less time with each other and considering I’m the only child left in the house and I already know about the split, it’s not as if they need to keep up the pretense.

I was trying to think about the type of relationship that you need to have with your partner in order to make it work. How vulnerable can you be? Should this other person be someone with whom you can be your most vulnerable and still feel supported? Can there really be a “no secrets” relationship? Can this person still love me despite the darkest moments of my life? Is this person willing to do the same? To share their inner darknesses with me, to be vulnerable with me, to allow me to nurture their pain?

Is it bigger than vulnerability? Is it trust? Love? Compatibility? Companionship? All of the above and more? Does the relationship work because you make each other happy? Or because you are two individuals who have found another outlet of support and really enjoy each other’s support? Is it a “needs” relationship – I need you; you need me? Or is it – I don’t need you to function and survive in life, but I really, really, really, really like that you are in my life?

What do I want? What am I looking for? What are the qualities of a relationship that I am willing and not willing to negotiate? What is important to me? And are my needs compatible with his?

Colors

I recently watched some Upworthy video of a diversity class in which the facilitator (not teacher, facilitator) reprimanded a presumably White girl for being racist, for not understanding that people of color don’t get to “leave the room” when they are tired of being prejudiced against. While I could easily rally with the facilitator and do my own snaps, at the same time, I wonder if I could be doing the same, especially when I am in my own comfort zone.

A few weeks ago, I called someone out for being White (presumably). I was trying to make a remark and I said, “No offense,” to the only other White person at the table and said my piece. As soon as it came out of my mouth, I knew it was wrong. I knew that I had done what I wouldn’t have wanted someone else to do to me and I later apologized to her for my stupid comments.

A few days ago, I attended a wedding of a friend/acquaintance. I was more of a +1 (for once!), but that’s beside the point. At almost every instance in my own recollection of the very beautiful, very loving and also very amazing wedding, I wouldn’t hesitate to point out the fact that my partner and I were “ethnic outsiders,” that the wedding was not my own style and how it was a reflection of the couple’s (ethnic) culture. While these misguided comments took me longer to realize, I have now come to understand that my thoughts were no worse than the ones I call perpetrators. If I were to host my own celebration of love someday (FAR FAR AWAY), I wouldn’t want someone to make comments about how “Vietnamese” it is, or to show that they felt out of place, because at the end of the day, it is a celebration, no matter the custom, no matter the traditions, no matter the “style” in which the couple whose families are joining decide to do it in.

I realize now it was wrong of me. It’s not okay for me to make my own prejudices, my own judgments on things unlike that of my own. It’s so interesting – here I am trying to fight the fight, but I forget to realize there’s still a fight in me I must battle. I am not immune to being racist. I am not immune to having prejudiced thoughts. I am not immune to behaviors that indicate that I am both. But I can change the way I respond to others outside of my own comfort zone.