Sunday, September 30, 2012

Independence & vulnerability

Whenever I have trouble opening bottles or jars I always wish I had a male around.

It is the most sexist thing, yet I like to think of it as being realistic also. Mr TDH says I need to work on my damsel in distress act--I don't have much of one. The fierce independence comes from my dad; Blink has it too. It was embedded into us, both by example and by circumstance. I'd have said nurture, but I think for me independence is more of a defence mechanism and such things don't generally come about as a response to nuture.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be in partnership with someone. To have someone say, "Hey, you washed the dishes, I'll take out the garbage." It's something so simple, isn't it? In my family the division of labour was traditional: mom cooked, cleaned, ironed, made sure the children got to school on time & did homework; dad went to work, brought home the bacon, mowed the lawn, fixed anything broken in the house and ensured the car was in tip-top condition. We were, in this respect, an utterly traditional family.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a housewife, like my mother. Not because I wanted to be like her, but because I agreed with the values espoused in the concept: children are important, they are only young once, it's vital to value the time you have with them, to be around to inculcate values and build bonds with them and nurture them. As I grew older, however, I came to almost despise my mother as someone who is weak, powerless. Her world is narrow, confined to the home and family and to her religious faith. She knows nothing of making it "out there"; instead, she seems almost bewildered by the complexities of modern urban life and can barely comprehend the reality of the daily challenges faced by those of us who are, by necessity, part of the rat race.

Still, in wrestling with a bottle and wishing there were a male around to help open it for me, I experience the seductive lure of longing for someone to lean on. I've always thought mom has been exceedingly lucky to meet dad, the quintessential responsible and reliable Man with a capital M. So in a way I don't blame her for leaning on him, because it is just so freeing not to have to think or worry about many of the day-to-day gritty realities of life. Sometimes I wish I could do that, too. I wish there were someone who could send my car for servicing on my behalf, help me file paperwork for taxes, ensure the garbage was taken out. Maybe what I need is a butler... or a PA.

On the other hand, when you choose to lean on someone, you surrender your independence, even if only temporarily. It requires trust and vulnerability, both very scary propositions. I am caught in this tug-of-war between wishing I had someone to depend on and fearing that whoever it is might not be the pillar of strength of my fantasies. Once you allow yourself to be vulnerable, there's no going back. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever meet someone who will inspire me enough to make me want to attempt that leap of faith.

As for that bottle I was wrestling with? I grabbed a pen-knife and lopped the top off. Fortunately it was made of plastic... that wouldn't have gone over nearly so well with glass.

Friday, September 21, 2012


I hate it when a favourite pair of shoes falls apart. Everything else is replaceable, but shoes... it's so difficult to find a pair of shoes that are the complete package -- a delight to look at and heaven to wear. Blast.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's all in the mind

Sometimes I wonder if those mosquito mat thingies really work or if the effect if just psychological. Like, you know you've put something out to repel ze mozzies, so your brain relaxes and you're able to go to sleep. After all, the brain is a very powerful organ.

I wonder the same about many other things. Like, are those medicines really efficacious or did I just trick my brain into thinking they are, which is why I feel better? How much of what we perceive and experience is real, and how much just imagined?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Godliness with contentment is great gain

The problem with the good ol' days is that they have this seductive, nostalgic allure. But you can't go back, and even if you could, it wouldn't be the same, coz you're not the same person you were then. Neither is anyone else. It was a moment in time that has passed, never to be repeated.

But their sheer elusiveness wraps those days in even greater temptation. We always want what we can't have, hence the 10th commandment intoning, "Do not covet." And we are also always in a seeming state of chronic discontent, incessantly evaluating, weighing, comparing, so that memories of those good ol' days begin to build up in our mind to a state of near-perfection.

Living in the moment is a challenge. Most urban professionals, I suspect, live in the future, gunning for the next promotion, electronic gadget, exotic vacation. Others secretly live in the past, one filled with bitter regrets and impotent "what-ifs". To be fully present in the now is to be aware of it: "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it," the psalmist wrote. Rejoicing -- giving thanks -- breeds contentment. Contentment allows us to sink into the present without constantly looking over our shoulder or straining our necks to peer around the next bend in the road.

It's difficult to be content when the lure of the good ol' days beckons. Sometimes I wonder if I was truly happier then, or if it is merely an illusion, encouraged by the passage of time. It's easy to create a fantasy in the mind that can never be challenged by reality, since you can never go back or recreate those events. But fantasy or not, I'm convinced that if I keep looking back, I'll end up missing the wonder of that which is right under my nose. So I fight to stay in the present, to cultivate contentment, to be thankful. I can't deny that there's much to be thankful for, even if life has not turned out exactly the way I wished it had.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Hmm. Kindle Paperwhite. SO TEMPTING. (Also a lot more cheaper than an iPad... but a lot harder to get hold of. Dammit.)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Boys vs men

Seen on Facebook:

    A boy will ask for a naked picture. A man will ask for a picture without makeup.