‘Day of rest’ my shiny keister.
I don’t know what it was, but this morning the sun was shining, it was a crisp and clear and beautiful day, and I wanted to bury myself in dust and dirt and undo a full year’s worth of damage to my bedroom. Now I’m not actually a ‘messy’ person, per se. Like, I have very strict bedroom rules. Absolutely no food or drink. No one is allowed on or in my bed unless they change into ‘bed clothes’, which as the name would imply, should only ever be worn in bed. We’re your typical Asian family so we already do the whole ‘no shoes indoors’ thing and that extends to no socks and slippers everywhere. Slippers are worn all around the house but are left at the bedroom door and I’m only ever actually barefoot in my room. I put dirty clothes in the laundry, worn but clean clothes on hooks, and all clean clothes are folded or hung. Like I said, I’m not a savage. Hahah.
But I am a bit of a hoarder. And that’s the big problem. My rooms never gets dirty, it just gets crowded. And every now and then I need to just arm myself with five extra large garbage bags and three empty boxes and remind throw out everything I once thought I might need and probably haven’t touched since 2014. That’s not an exaggeration, by the way. I did actually find and throw out things I’ve held onto since then for no real rhyme or reason. So I’m currently enjoying the incredible ease and peace of mind that comes from a near empty room filled with only purposeful and meaningful things. I can’t believe how much I had that just had to go, and for good benefit. I even managed to clear enough to redecorate and reorganize some parts of my room. Plus, I think I unlocked like a good ten extra square feet of space.
The timing of my clean room purge isn’t lost on me, by the way. I know what today is, and I certainly think that at least some of my desire for this cleaning was definitely in part due to the last day of my year. You know how some people get around New Year’s. They clean up, they get hopelessly and foolishly optimistic, some even run or exercise, or get foolishly optimistic about running and exercising. And in many ways, to me this is more about the start of a new year than the end of the last. Nothing ends after this. The blog continues, Man continues, and Me continues. In fact, all there is to look forward to is more new, more change, more ‘more’ of everything. And the fact that I am cleaning and listening to more 70s and 80s and 90s pop and dance and rock and I am dancing and singing my way to the end of this day, the end of this year, does make me feel foolishly optimistic that everything is gonna be alright, everything is gonna be good.
That I could sing and dance and be hopeful at all is in and of itself a major accomplishment, and a testament to the strength I’ve found this past year. I look at the final count and think to myself, 33 days, a little more than a month, really isn’t all that bad. And I think it would have been a lot longer, and would have been a year with much more negative experiences to have to answer for. When I first started this blog, and when I did some research for my NaNoWriMo project, I remember reading articles about how men and women get over relationships differently.
See emotionally and mentally, women are hit more notably and visibly. You know the deal. Sappy romances, chocolate, ice cream, and flannel pajamas for days. Women will shut themselves in and shut the world out. On a very superficial level, compared to men, it seems like women take longer to get over breakups and feel the effects of them much more deeply. And there are very clear and logical evolutionary reasons for this. Biologically speaking, women have more to lose when a relationship fails. Women naturally have much more to invest in relationships and therefore have to consider them on deeper levels faster than men. What one man sees as a brief night of passion a woman might have to see as nine months of pregnancy and years of lactation and care. With much more to gain and to lose, a failed relationship could bear great weight on a woman. But inevitably, give it a couple weeks, a couple months, maybe a year or two, a few pep talks, some honest late night conversation, and she always, always, recover.
You’re gonna think guys get over relationships faster. You’re going to think back and remember men who’ve broken hearts or whose hearts have been broken, and remember how seemingly easy it was and how quick it was for them to get ‘back in the game’ so to speak. And I’m not denying the signs. Relationships being formed seemingly right away. Clubs and bars and nights out with friends. Sometimes it seems like their feet hit the bar before your tears hit the floor. And certainly in terms of ‘moving on’, men do move on faster. But a lot of times, unlike most women, while men do ‘move on’, most never ‘heal’. A lot of men, even those who seemingly move on quickly, end up burying and bearing the feeling of that loss for much much longer periods of time than women, feeling either the pain of having to try and find what they lost or fearing that what they lost is irreplaceable. You see this in disastrous cycles of identical failed relationships, or men who end up becoming self-saboteurs.
So we’ve got deep and searing pain for a couple months with the eventual promise of recovery, or a speedy bounce back with years of lingering effects. Huh. And to be fair, I think normally I would have followed my natural path and probably within a month or two, try to date, get some online profiles up on a couple different sites, maybe dig up old acquaintances on Facebook to promisingly disastrous results. From personal experience, I know how these breakups usually go, and often times the harder and harsher the fall, the quicker I resort to same old tricks. So what broke the cycle? Why didn’t I go down the most familiar and comfortable path I had? What’s so different about men and women when they go through heartbreak?
This is just conjecture, just one man thinking and speaking out loud, throwing it to the void and seeing what sticks, but I think it comes down to just that. Thinking and speaking out loud. Communicating. Women are natural communicators. They share. When they’re done and hurting, they tell, or they have good friends who come and listen. The point is, there’s no shortage of willing ears, or a willing spirit to share. So everything comes out. In large painful bursts but, eventually, it all gets out there. And they’re afforded that opportunity to heal, to recover, to grow, develop, and maybe just maybe avoid the same mistakes, same hurt. Guys, we don’t usually do that. We like to think we’re just so in tune with each other that we don’t need to say anything. It’s almost like, the closer and the manlier your bond, the less you speak. We’ll drink, we’ll spit out enough cliches to get a guy ‘back on the horse’ ‘back in the game’ ‘back in the hunt’ and maybe we’ll just need to keep the cycle going more often that we’d like or imagined. But it’s gotta work, right?
This time, I had this blog. And for 33 days I shared 33 reflections on 33 things that hurt me, kept me up late at night, made me afraid of the coming day. And that number could have been anything. The point was, I always had this outlet. No thought unsaid, no feeling unexplored. And while in the beginning it was to the void, even just the act of verbalizing, forming, seeing the thoughts on screen, had effects. But eventually I had conversations, and interactions, and extra voices, to build up or tear down, depending on what my train of thought might be and where it was headed. Ultimately, I don’t even think it was about the no dating for a year. Or the particular count and wanting to ‘win’ the year. I think it was about finding a voice. Saying something, anything, was better than keeping it in and doing just whatever it was I wanted to do. There’s value in communication. There’s value in the people you communicate with. When I started this blog, one of my goals was not just to be a place for me, but a place for anyone who needed to talk, or needed a second reassuring voice, to find comfort and solace, and maybe some wisdom through similar experiences. I’ve seen and felt firsthand the power of communication. I’ve learned so much, but not nearly enough. And I’ll keep learning and going. But for anyone who ever needs to talk, or listen, I’ll want to be there for them. Unless I’m cleaning. Because I won’t be able to hear you over the Vengaboys.
Hey, that’s just for cleaning music. Don’t judge.
Day 365 FINAL
Man: 332 (WINNER) Loneliness: 33