snapshot

Liability. Late night walks in the city lights. Late night cruising in humid air. Catcalls and cross arms and closed faces. Tortillas with peas and eggs and cheddar, stacks and stacks of Ritz. Banana pancake things in soft grey mornings. Jiggling jammed bike locks. Perfect, glowy skin save for a large and gently swelling pimple under the left nostril. Two hour conversations with HJ on a thin blanket, looking at the sky: “I like when you describe to me your people watching.” Slightly sore thighs. Daily morning crochet patterns pressed into the skin. Books in the grass and a breeze. “BUY ZHONGZI,” in a monotone whine on the corner of Christie and Hester. Soft wet hair and white eyes in a steamy mirror at 1am.

being alone in ny

I almost started this journal off with the phrase, “for the first time in a long time…” — but I realize that’s not quite right. This has been a somewhat gradual process, an accumulation of being with HJ and living in China with not much to do and now being in New York, the city of my dreams since forever, and now being in it in a unique semi-optional but not permanent aloneness way.

Semi-gradually, I’m beginning to truly realize that life is more the day-to-day happy than the long-term happy, and perhaps that the long-term happy doesn’t exist at all; perhaps the long-term happy has always been nothing but something waved in front of me like a goading flag, always whipped away and out of reach as I think I’m charging towards it. And from there, I’m beginning to learn what makes me this kind of day-to-day happy, and furthermore to learn to actively search for what makes me this kind of happy.

I can bike for hours and be truly content. Rivers, the city, the late afternoon light is all somehow more beautiful on a bike. The wind is fresher. The rushing view is exhilarating. And I get the feeling — no, I’m not even aware of the feeling — that there’s nothing more in the world I could desire other than this: not people, not success, not friends, not family. I know this is fleeting, this encompassingly content state, born from a decent enough day of interactions and the security of the temporary solitude and HJ’s worldview, but the ephemeral nature of it doesn’t make it any less real, or any less sublime.

05/29/17 3:32pm, sitting at the supper table with LaoLao reading Einstein’s Dreams

Reading novels like Einstein’s Dreams, texts that survey human life and distill it to simple actions of arbitrary and interchangable men and women — always put me in an odd state of mind. The Bible. One Hundred Years of Solitude. I can’t quite describe it. It takes me out of the present, takes me out of engaging truly in interactions: persons are people, and everything is somehow mechanical, a board game.

05/21/17 8:51am, on the plane from DC to Beijing

It’s the end of a semester and I’m sitting on a thirteen hour flight listening to nostalgia-inducing but not necessarily inherent nostalgic music; rather, it’s music that I listened to while high just about a year ago from now — the end of freshman year, last year — and listening to it now makes me think of all the very many things that are different in my life. it’s quite appalling to think about: how very many things change over a year and how although I now know that, did know that a year ago, how I can still think through my year and how I got to the state of being in which I am right now and still somehow be appalled at everything that has changed in all the ways I could never have predicted: people in my life that I had never even imagined I would even meet, people who were so very different in a good way that they had effects on me that I could not have predicted, such that I am now not only a person that I did not think I would be a year ago, but I am also a person that I did not even fathom could exist a year ago, let alone in myself, with life philosophies and paths and hopes and dreams and pride and humility and interests and sadnesses and reasons to live that I wouldn’t have even started to understand a year ago.

I guess I should get used to this, but of course, I am sure, I will again be appalled come this time next year.

05/26/17 6:35pm, on my bed in Beijing, China

I feel unable to express to HJ any sort of ill-being because he does not express those things to me, and it is doubly preventative because I don’t think he doesn’t tell me problems because he’s hiding them, but rather because he’s such an emotionally healthy and stable person that the problems he does have he handles perfectly on his own and furthermore, he doesn’t see many things as problems in the first place. And it’s not that he wouldn’t want to hear my problems, but I just feel as if it would be so unequal if I did (because I have, and he’s been great, but he really does not know the extent to which I can rant). And so even if I somehow was able to build up the comfort level of spontaneous free rants, they would never be reciprocated. And so I’m stuck in this bind of feeling slightly repressed and unable to tell him things because, in a nutshell, he is TOO POSITIVE.

WHAT in the world am I supposed to do about that.