Self-Medicating

As I walk the busy streets of Shanghai, I often see a father walking alongside his young son, holding his hand, and I miss my son. I have to look away or risk tearing up. But then I think about the person who caused my isolation, my exile from Changsha, and I feel a deep anger well up inside me. The wetness in my eyes transforms into a bitter hatred and resentment toward the person I’ve come to despise with all my being. Once focused on my anger and regret in having wasted so much on a person so undeserving, it’s very difficult to push it out of my mind.

To this end, I’ve been listening to some “new” music because it doesn’t remind me of anything. I highly recommend Depeche Mode’s Spirit , Queens of the Stone Age’s Villains, and K. Flay’s Everywhere Is Somewhere. This is how I temporarily self-medicate and set my mind free.

Super Hero

I’ve been doing some very deep thinking about super heroes lately. Perhaps it has something to do with my falling in love with Wonder Woman, or it could be related to the fact that I watch all the super hero TV shows (except Agent Carter, Super Girl, and Arrow).

Most of the best super heroes weren’t born that way. Instead, they started out as normal human beings, with strengths and weaknesses, flaws, and talents. But something transformative molds them into something special; still flawed, but better and more powerful than they were before.

Peter Parker was a puny high school runt who was bitten by a radioactive spider and became Spider-Man.  Steve Rogers survived Polio and became Captain America thanks to Project:Rebirth. Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered right in front of him, leaving him orphaned with only billions of dollars and a massively successful company to sustain him through childhood before becoming the Batman. Kal-El (Clark Kent) had to put up with his folksy human, Smallville adoptive parents and pretended to be human, all the while hiding his super powers. Princess Diana (Prince) left an island paradise full of beautiful Amazon warriors to fight evil, all the while resisting what must be an overwhelming urge to wrap the Lasso of Hestia (Lasso of Truth) around the neck of every politician on Earth.

Suffering through adversity might be the one thing I have in common with the aforementioned super heroes, though my misfortunes have largely been of my own creation. Obviously I’m not clairvoyant. In fact, even my faculty of hindsight doesn’t rise to the level of a competency. I repeat patters and mistakes, thereby hatching new regrets and  nemeses (nemesi?). Although I definitely have a  a back-story to rival those of my favorite heroes, and despite the wearing of super hero T-shirts and Batman earring, it hasn’t been enough to propel my superpowers of punctuality and sarcasm into the realm of crime-prevention or world-saving.

Spilled Milk

For the most part, my jet lag has improved a lot. On average, I’ve been sleeping more than 6 hours per night, so it came as a big nasty surprise when I managed to spill milk in the community refrigerator a couple of days ago.

Because I’m living in the students’ dorm while the teachers’ dorm is being remodeled, if I want my milk to be cold, I have to keep my milk in the community fridge. Perhaps I wasn’t fully awake at 5:30 AM when I carried my bowl of corn flakes down the 2nd-floor hallway and set it inside the fridge. With the door still open, I unscrewed the cap and then pulled off the tab on the new box of milk. Then I poured milk onto the cereal. Somehow, between the act of capping the milk and setting the box back into the refrigerator door, I  somehow forgot the location of my cereal bowl. I instinctively closed the door, only it didn’t quite close all the way because my bowl was blocking it.

That momentary loss of concentration, that split-second gap in my awareness of what I was doing, caused the milk to slosh out of the bowl onto the shelf of the fridge for me to clean up. Yay.

 

Sympathy for Mr. Voldemort

When you zoom in too far on any digital image, you invariably encounter the jaggies, those ugly little squared-off corners and edges that no longer appear clear when viewed up close. The same phenomenon happens when you look closely at a person’s life.

I like to open the messier parts of my life in Photoshop and begin lopping off all the ugly corners I see until I begin to feel like Voldemort must have felt as he carved off chunk after chunk of his miserable soul to make his horcruxes. That’s what I’m doing too. I’m sweeping together and collecting all the dusty excised shards of my life that caused me pain, all the barbed memories of people, razor-wire moments, and experiences that hurt me, compacting and compartmentalizing, rounding off the biting sharpness, the poky, angular, jabby bits which would otherwise open old wounds. And I’m stashing my little horcruxes away where no one will ever find them.

Some day, for all of my polishing and re-shaping, I might find happiness again.