Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 28

Almost a full month!

Although, strictly speaking I’ve been very definitely “single” in relationship terms since I moved from the US to Taiwan in June of 2015.

It still feels like an almost-milestone though, since it’s only been 28 days since I’ve really been truly thinking about what it all means, how things are affecting me, and why I want what I think I want. Or is that the reverse? Why I think I want what I want?

I was talking with Thene about things, and recurring themes seem to be: what is romance, exactly; is it true that what doesn’t break you makes you stronger; and why you hold on to things the way you do.

I mentioned before that I have to think really hard about the guy who my cousins are throwing at me. He’s nice, cute, smart, and apparently has a sense of humor. But is he extra attractive as a potential fantasy object because of how much more awesome he seems each time I see him, or because he’s probably the only other person who is close to my age in my class of seven people and┬ábecause my cousins keep trotting him out as potential-husband fodder or because I’m “desperate”?

I put “desperate” in irony quotes because that’s another thing to think about. Am I truly desperate? If so, why exactly am I desperate?

If Mercury retrograde hadn’t hit me with everything in Hermes’ arsenal.

If I were in a city I knew well, was comfortable in, and could navigate around without issue.

If I got my priority list under control and was feeling like I was on top of things.

If I already had an adequate support network.

Would I still be as devastated as I was the other day when people paired off after class and left me looking forlornly after them?

The answer is an unequivocal no.

Again, I mention that oh-so-popular idea that once you have a significant other, you have a wildcard up your sleeve that can be used for any hand you might want to play.

It seems a bit like cheating to me, honestly, in a way. Unless there’s that spark, that undeniable draw, is reeling someone in just so I can huddle by their warmth an okay thing to do? It almost feels like setting a honey trap, just so I don’t have to be alone, trading emotions or the promise of emotion or maybe even more for security.

Thene pointed out that people huddle together all the time, that no one stays unless they’re getting something out of it.

Sure, but when we were talking coping mechanisms today and how the things that kept us alive when we were younger might now be the very things holding us captive from true joy — I said that I don’t know what I have, what I do, how I cope (if at all), and the only things that I’m certain of at this point are my morals and principles.

Sounds high-minded, yeah?

It’s not, really. Not as pretentious as it sounds, certainly.

There are things that I have lost, things that I thought were for me that weren’t, people who thought they loved me, people who I dreamt loved me, and things that I thought I wanted that now seem of dubious provenance. All of that has washed away with the tide or sank into quicksand.

There are days when I have to laugh at the idea of having survived anything. Or, if I have survived, does it matter when I do not feel like I thrive? Am I truly a stronger person after what I’ve been through, or am I a zombie limping through life with bits falling off, mindlessly looking for flesh to consume to further drag out the agony?

How does one even tell?

My only saving grace is that I don’t feel the need to repent anything. I don’t regret having loved the way I did. I don’t regret having done the things I did. I don’t regret giving what I did. I don’t consider myself to have knowingly sinned against myself or others.

Perhaps I wasn’t perfect, but then nothing is. Maybe the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but at least I will have good company.

Someone once told me that principles are a cold thing to take to bed.

That may very well be, but I’d rather be cold than have insomnia from a pricked conscience. I will keep my principles and my morals and my cold bed, if that is what it means.

I’d rather burn myself out at one go rather than sputter to a bedraggled end, leaving behind a sooty, smelly mess.

All things considered, I feel like the largest disservice people ever did to me was lying to me about how indispensable I was to their life. In the end, I was just another candle, maybe a torch they carried, not the sun they claimed me to be.

Well, this time around, I say burn bright or leave the matches alone. I refuse to be just another taper, just another pocket warmer in someone’s life. I refuse to use another person the way other people have used me in the past. I will either burn with you, or I will leave the fuse alone.

Now that I know better, now that I am trying to see more clearly, I am trying oh-so-hard not to fall into temptation. Even when temptation comes in a cute package.

Day 28.

I will sleep tonight, alone, in a pleasantly chilled room, and dream of phoenixes.

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