Cleaning out my life

Some things (and people) just need taking down a peg or four

Two weeks ago, I officially moved back into my own house. By ‘officially’ I mean I went back to living in my house full-time, as opposed to living in Dani’s apartment while still maintaining my own residence. And after three and a half years of shuttling back and forth between two houses, it was quite the task consolidating my entire life back under just one roof.

One problem was the matter of stuff. I hadn’t realized just how many things, especially clothes, I had acquired in three and a half years, and just kept in my closet in Dani’s apartment because that was where I was most of the time. So when it came time to move all of it back to my own house, I realized I was going to have to do some serious spring-cleaning in order to fit all of it in.

So in my first week of living in my house again, I finally found it in myself to get rid of the clothes I wore when I held a corporate job, clothes I’ve had since I was 18, clothes that I had been holding onto for no other reason I can think of than that I was thinking I might one day have to wear them again. Everything went into the big blue Ikea bags, to be given away to my maid and to my mother’s nurses, and the more I cleared out, the more I wanted to get rid of.

One week later, I had given away everything I knew I would never wear again. I then moved on to putting in storage the clothes I knew I wouldn’t need anytime soon: all my evening gowns and heavy winter coats went into vacuum-seal bags. And by the end of it, I had my whole life back in one place.

Today, I put all my handbags back into their respective dustbags, set aside the ones I would give away, as well as the ‘serious adult’ bags that will go to my mother because I will probably not need them in the near future. When I was finished, the feeling of seeing my closet emptier and more organized now was one of liberation. I had literally removed my baggage.

It’s something I’ve been struggling with ever since the year began. In the last quarter of 2016, I had come to terms with the drastic, but inevitable, shift in my life that would lead to my isolation. I knew, perhaps all along, that there would always be one part of my life that was not meant to last, mainly because I had entered it much too late in life, and it was not something that I had ever really gotten used to. I had spent the formative years of my adolescence moving from one country to another, staying in each one long enough to make friends, but not long enough to learn how to keep them. So it was that I entered adulthood never having learnt to form any kind of emotional attachment to people, hence the one hand-full of people whom I can still call my friends today.

This change has become easier to deal with over the past three or four months, especially with the impending prospect of finally leaving this country. It may have something to do with my growing intolerance for so many things that are wrong with this country and its society, or it may just be that I realized that life — the life filled with events and parties and fashion shows and group photos taken for the sake of showing off on Instagram — may not really be for me. Whatever the reason, I’ve retreated back into my shell ever since Dani left to begin building our new life, and I’ve never been more content to sit in my own bubble until it comes time for me to join him.

Tomorrow I will start on the shoes. For someone who’s always loved her shoes, that’s just one more step towards my freedom.

Days in the sun

Beauty and the Beast

I could sing of the pain these dark days bring
The spell we’re under
Still it’s the wonder of us I sing of tonight

Days in the sun will return
We must believe, as lovers do
That days in the sun will come shining through

Like most people my age, I watched the live-action Beauty and the Beast during its opening weekend in my country. Even though it premiered here a good two weeks after the worldwide release, for reasons so insignificant you wouldn’t know it until they had passed, Eza and I caught it on the second day of screenings (mainly because I couldn’t make it on the first day).

Going by the assumption that most of my readers would either have seen it or not be interested in seeing it, I won’t attempt to review the film here (not that it needs it). Suffice to say, I’ve watched it twice in the theaters, many times online — because I’m Asian and I know that there is nothing that can’t be bootlegged these days — and listened to the (legally downloaded) soundtrack every single moment that I’ve been alone, and all in just the last 10 days.

Also like most people my age, I’ve watched the animated Beauty and the Beast more times than I can remember since its release back in 1991, and as recently as this February, after learning of the live-action remake’s release date. The animated film has always stuck with me because it came out when I was old enough to have read the original Villeneuve fairy tale, understand the story and appreciate the music. But watching the live-action film has struck a new chord in my being, and almost obliterated every feeling I’ve ever had for the 1991 cartoon.

I think what made this new version resonate in me is one of the new songs written for the film, Days In The Sun. Its lyrics on keeping the faith and staying hopeful amidst all the sadness and despair have stayed with me ever since I heard it the first time, and it is this song alone that epitomizes the spirit of the entire film. It also makes me think of the times we live in now, and how important, no matter how difficult, it is to remain hopeful that one day, we will find our way out of these dark times, and stand in the sun again.

Nine years later: Home stretch

Larnaca, Cyprus

Firstly, I would like to apologize for my absence on this website. To those of you who sent me messages, emails and even Tweets asking if something had happened to me, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your concern, especially since some of you told me you’ve been a reader for more than a decade. I’m aware that my responses were somewhat vague and perhaps a little generic, but I do assure you that I’m fine, health-wise.

What I did not mention in my responses is that for the last three months, I have been in a transient phase of sorts. Dani and I have been trying to figure out our next step in life, exploring any avenues we can that will allow us to tie up our existence in this country as neatly as possible, set it on fire, and rebuild our life in a different part of the world. To that end, my mind has been on anything but writing, and I probably would not be writing this today were it not a very important milestone.

For today marks the end of my ninth — NINTH — year back in this country, and the beginning of the end of my life here. When I left my lonely but independent life behind in New York, nine years ago, and came back to an even lonelier subsistence here, it was with a vow to myself that, within a decade, I would find my way out again. Not to New York, if I couldn’t make it that far, but to anywhere else where I could start a new life on my own, away from all the reasons that I left here in the first place.

This date still holds its importance for me, because it is a constant reminder to myself to never get too comfortable here, and to never back down from my goal to be out of here before my 10 years are up. And if the last three months are of any indication, it’s that I have definitely overstayed my welcome in this country, and the time has come for me to let go of all the things I once thought I needed to live a life that meant something, but now seem so insignificant.

So here we are in the home stretch of our tenure in this country. We came, we saw, and we did conquer it for a little while, but we’re ready to go back under our rock now.