TBT: A Marriage in Heaven

Lately I’ve been using Thursdays as a way to remember special moments with my fiance in our journey together toward marriage and the relationship we’ll be able to build on the other side of our immigration journey.

But tonight there’s another couple I want to remember.

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A Return to Happiness

Polarity is an interesting animal. We think we know opposites–day and night, sun and moon, light and shadow–but then we’re faced with nuanced categories that defy perfect dualism–male and female, black and white, good and bad. Here there isn’t so much a binary system as much as a continuum, and it’s easy to get lost in the grey matter.

So lately I’ve been longing, lingering, languishing…and I’ve been fighting against it, feeling frothy and shameful, and it hasn’t gotten me anywhere. So I’ve been perusing TED Talks, because they’re awesome, and sometimes a little awesome makes you awesome, too.

And in a way, somewhere in this mess of chaos, a new story began.

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8 Things You Need to Know About Chanukah

In my last post, I spoke about the uncomfortable reality of being a non-Christian in a country that mistakenly believes its religious identity (which doesn’t exist) is synonymous with its civic identity. I also alluded to a conversation with a friend who assumed Chanukah is a much bigger deal than it is–but instead of making my misconception corrections then, I decided to make them their own post.

So before the candles burn low, here I go.

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O Chanukah

Some may say I’m blowing this out of proportion, but probably I’m not: I feel like the material world has stolen Chanukah. Picked it up in a big red bag, slung it over its shoulder, and made off on a sleigh drawn by a dog with one antler. It makes me lax to light candles, eat latkes, even spin the dreidle.

Yet here I am, and here’s Chanukah. What to do?

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Happy

Today I’m happy. And for as much as it fills me up and pours in puddles upon the ground wherever I step, I’m somewhat surprised by how unbridled and brimming I am. It’s like the sun rose inside me and now shines its brilliant rays through my pores–endless light everywhere I look.

Yesterday was a long day. I slept late, missed my tutoring session (even after running across campus in the April heat to try to make up for it), and when I got home, my bedroom light had died. Thankfully I’ve got a bedside lamp I was able to use, but it wasn’t nearly bright enough to keep me conscious and focused.

So when I went to bed, I didn’t have much happiness to hold onto.

Then: this morning, my alarm set for 10:30, I woke up at 7:30. I expected to feel terrible if I got out of bed, and knowing I had time, I rolled over and tried to sleep some more. It worked only partially, and within an hour or two I was out of bed–but despite fewer than six hour of sleep, I felt vibrantly awake–vivaciously alive.

I spent some time doing a few yoga asanas (since I exercised last night with a run and some push-ups every so often down the line) and then I did some graphic design stuff for the mere fun of it and organized a list of things I’ve got to get done today. I’m right where I need to stand to finish up the semester, except I’m a fair bit behind on my research paper–which is on a topic I love, so why I’m procrastinating, I just can’t say.

But when I left my room this morning, I just felt overflowing. I played some music and sang my way to lunch, then sang my way to class. I haven’t stopped smiling. Not one moment. Well, I might have frowned a bit when I saw the 75 I got on my last math test, but with my professor’s adjusted grading scale, it’s still a B, so I’ve still got something to smile about, don’t I? I just need to study more and do better on the final, that’s all.

Back to my room, I studied another Duolingo lesson–I’m about two behind where I’d like to be before I leave, but I can catch up in the airport if I have to–and then I got to other work: I even took a five minute break to call on Representative Ellmers to sign on as a cosponsor for ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that will grant federal workplace protection to the LGBT community, and trust me, it felt great.

The smallest things, you know?

Only a few days ago I was writhing in stress–piles of homework, unmanageable amounts of reading and research, the terrifying excitement of meeting my boyfriend–but today, all that anxiety is gone. I got to speak with a trusted counselor on Thursday, I got to visit with friends yesterday, and all the while I’ve got to talk with him–the love just bubbling up between the syllables of every word we share. I’ve given up counting the days until I see him–now I’m counting the hours, the hours so slowly yet swiftly disappearing into minutes.

Today I’m happy. I’m overflowing with joy and jubilation. And I’m thankful–because I’m not the only one responsible: all the people who teach me, who guide me, who love me and care for me–they’re why I’m happy.

And it’s an amazing feeling.

Eleven Days and Counting

There are still 111 days until the semester ends and already I feel defeated.

I’m scouring my mind for words to elaborate, but that line seems to say everything I can muster at the moment. I came in anxious, and the first week assuaged some of my stress; then things picked up a little in the second week, and though I can honestly say I’ve had a few great accomplishments and some greater experiences since the semester began only eleven days ago, I sit here with the sad realization I already feel defeated.

Where did I go wrong? When did my plans fall apart?

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The Obvious and the Unseen

This morning I spent two hours proving (-1)a = -a. I tell my friends I finally figured it out and they stare at me a moment, narrow their eyes a bit, and say, “But isn’t it obvious?”

That’s the problem. It is obvious. We’ve been raised in a culture wherein elementary math education is spewed to the masses–but it’s all given in bits and bytes of data, none of which is strewn together with any understanding of the processes at work beneath them.

That’s why it took me so long to solve the problem–I kept getting stuck on claims of “This is obvious” and had to turn back to step one–to the rules that govern real numbers, the foundation upon which the world was built.

But figuring it out wasn’t the most amazing thing to happen today.

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Expressions of Freedom

I like to think all things begin with chaos. It is order of the most profound nature. Order so precise, the slightest variation at the start can lead to endings worlds apart. I like to think, the further from this primordial chaos we become, the more distilled is the order around us. We begin to detect patterns. We begin to feel the rhythms of the world, the rise and fall of our breathing, the beating of our hearts. We gain the order upon which we can build our lives, upon which we can foster freedom for ourselves, moving forward toward the future.

Other times we get lost in that chaos. We lose ourselves.

This is not a story about that. Instead it’s a story about much more.

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The Downside of Duality

I was talking with a friend the other night and lately she’s been going through some hard times. I often find I’m not much help at giving practical help, so I offer only that which I’m able to offer (an obvious tautology that’s somehow necessary to include): So I do what sometimes I do best–I listen and console and support.

As I typed out my last text, taking special care to ensure every letter appeared in the proper place and only once (I’ve dropped my phone a few times; the keyboard’s become a bit fickle), it occurred to me when I typed “See, you’re looking on the bright side already!” that simply saying there is a bright side acknowledges and presupposes the existence of a side in shadow–and when I realized that, let’s just say the world split in two.

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Photons Magnificent

This time nine years ago, the world was a different place. I was a different man. I was hardly a man at all; I was still a boy, draped in juvenile dreams, believed of a world that didn’t exist, or instead existed beneath the tide of the world we lived in. Mythologies were ripening inside me, thousands of stories stirring, yearning to get out.

It was somehow pristine, yet thoroughly in the dark.

I remember it clearly. Oh so very clearly.

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