It is the end of 2010 and also the remaining few weeks of my 20′s. So, here are a few things I’ve learned.
1) to be in love is to be caught off-guard by your own emotions. we may believe we do not care about someone, and then, suddenly, we are changing our plans to be around them, and their image drifts into our thoughts, even as we try to defend ourselves against this intrusion. love does not resemble a lightening bolt or earthquake, but is more like a slow gathering of moss around the edges of the heart.
2) I am too old to feel guilty about my desires. when others demand that expressions of desire conform to their expectations of normalcy, it is because they are uneasy about the fragility of their own beliefs and need them to be re-confirmed by the performances of others. we are so easily pulled, and snared, by the deep human need for recognition and tenderness, that we can often do ridiculous things, like pretending we are somebody we are not, or manipulating our words in expectation of what the other wants to hear, in order to be loved. we should not shape the plasticity of desire on the mould of other people’s insecurities.
3) learning how to listen is crucial to knowing how to speak well.
4) since i have been living in Taiwan, i have been frustrated with the glacial slowness with which my ability to speak chinese is progressing. there are moments when my words simply fall apart in my mouth, and i am left feeling desperate, and self-conscious, imposing a masochistic demand that i should be able to express the same complex thoughts in chinese that i do in english.
i need to let go of this ridiculous delusion of immediate mastery and comprehension. and just step into the flow of conversation…..
(on a side note, i appreciate more deeply Derrida’s point that language provides the most intimate sense of identity, at the same time, as it disrupts identity from within by its radical exteriority).
5) i have a great respect for the fragility of drag queens. living in the margins of the recognizable appears to me so tender, and so, absolute. it is as if, all of the sad stupidity of macho bullshit could crumble in the glow of a dress, and a maternal touch, that is as out of place as it is natural.
6) i keep wishing i had a brother or a sister.
7) it is important to cultivate a sense of gratitude. my father, who is a devout christian, gave me wonderful advice. he told me ‘i don’t care that you are not a christian, as long as you have a sense of something greater than yourself.’ for me, this sense lies in the fact that when i think about “who I am” it includes the world – the boundaries are so porous and blurred between myself and what is referred to as outside of it, that i recognize my fundamental dependence on that which precedes me, transcends me, forms and trans-forms me, disrupts me, and will continue to compose different landscapes after I die. my words, memories, nourishment, everything that is me, is also a part of the world that is not me.
gratitude is the sense accompanying the recognition that we would be nothing without the world which supports us.
8- I need at least 8 hours of sleep, otherwise i become severely cranky, and the dark circles under my eyes grow more pronounced. naps during daylight provide only a temporary solution.
9) it is important to let the people you love know that you care through small, nearly illegible signs.
10) do not let the past strangle the future through indecision, regret, and repetition.