Well I’ve been rather caught up in personal business this week.

I’m trying to step back and see things with the right glasses. Thinking a lot about the episodes of Greys Anatomy and Private Practice (and, embarrassingly, even Desperate Housewives) that I watched today. They’re substituting for good quality girl talk these days.

It’s February now, but I don’t really feel like much has happened around here. Next week is Lunar New Year and Stephanie is coming down–so I am uber excited. I haven’t seen her in like a month! And we’re in the same country! That’s absolutely bogus.

I bought a new sketchbook yesterday, and I spent almost all day working on a new drawing. It’s not my favorite black-spiral bound 9×12 Canson, but… well I have to learn how to see past the little things to make the right big picture. I spent this weekend pretty low key. Friday I went out and had a good time, at–of course–Sponge. I like getting to know people, but I’m so depressed about not speaking Korean sometimes. I know there are some really interesting people at Sponge… and I’m also kind of fascinated with the bartenders. Funny story about that, actually, I totally made a Korean fail-speak, and got the awesome female bartender’s attention by calling her “nuna” which is the word for older sister–when a boy speaks it. Haha, I realized a few days later why she gave me a weird look. Epic fail. 

Anyway not being able to figure out these folks’ stories is making me sad.

For instance, this one girl–a friend of a friend–I think she has this epicly cool personality. She’s a lot of fun, has a lot of energy, and seems like a strong, independent woman. But she speaks almost no English, and so whenever I communicate with her, it’s through another friend. We had an epic dance party one Saturday, and that’s about the extent of our ability to communicate. I’d love to get to know her better, but it’s impossible. But cheers to her, for being cool.

Anyway, since I’ve been so wrapped up, another friend told me that I should really try to just see everybody as everybody and try to love them just for what they are. I’ve been having some troubles with my coworker, and I know that I *should* just look at it like he’s my dumb big brother with no sense–but sometimes I just can’t get past the douchebaggery. I don’t know what the more mature thing to do is. Should I walk away and simply be civil at work, or should I make an effort to ‘see the good’ and return to ‘dumb big brother’ status? Which is healthier in the long run?

I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries lately, and I’m realizing that I am often “all in” or “all out”–and often not in healthy ways. One thing can push me over the edge, and then I’m “all out”, because before I put forth an effort, and let people take pieces of me, so that I can be “all in.” This is certainly true about relationships, but when I’m abroad, or in a new place, this is true about almost all new friendships, too. How much do I let new friends “take from me”, so that I can be “all in”, when it comes to a certain place or a certain experience?

For example–when I first got here, I went out with Becca and her friends a lot on the weekend. Once I came over and they decided that my outfit wasn’t good enough, so they completely redressed me. And I looked hawt. Did they take a piece of me? Sort of–they conformed me to their fashion style. Did it hurt? No. Did I feel good about it? Yeah of course. I felt awesome and I really appreciated looking good and going to the bar. But the piece was there. Just like it’s there when people insist that I finish drinks at dinner. Or get another drink. Or when people at work pressure me into taking opinions that I don’t really want to take.

What I’m really thinking about are the pieces that I feel get taken when I’m in a “new” place. I meet new people and I find new ways to express myself, and I fit into a new social scene. And the pieces get taken, little pieces that I don’t notice. Like when I finish a drink that I know will make me drunk even though I don’t want to be drunk. Or when I put up with someone asking me personal questions that I find offensive, but I push away that feeling because I don’t want to be angry or cause trouble–and I just want to get along. I just want to be comfortable. I put up with it because in a foreign country you have less choices, and you just don’t want to be lonely.

So I put up with things that take pieces. I let people take pieces. That’s the most disturbing part of it. But I’m recognizing it now. I did this in Ghana too. I let people take parts of me that I didn’t want to give, but I didn’t feel like I had a choice, because… well when you’re in a foreign country, you need people around you who understand. You get the “I don’t want to give this” mixed up with the “I’m traveling and I have to be flexible”. The boundaries are so unclear between “healthy human” and “healthy traveler.” This time I understand what’s happening, though, and I’m debating: do I go “all out” and refuse to let any more pieces be taken (like cutting people off), or do I learn how to do certain things without loosing those pieces (like setting better boundaries, and speaking up for myself, and knowing more clearly what I think is appropriate and what isn’t)?

Obviously both are necessary, but how do you know when one is the more rational decision? How do you know when you’re doing one when you should be doing the other?

Anyway, just thinking. Now I’m going to go for a bike ride and turn in. Nice relaxing day. I finished my painting work and walked to the Noeun temple with Kristen and had a great talk. (Which prompted all this blahblahblah.)

2 thoughts on “Well I’ve been rather caught up in personal business this week.”

  1. Oh, my dear, my dear, I know so exactly what you mean. It is such a universal struggle. In many ways going to a foreign country allows you to see it clearer, but also makes you more vulnerable. An entire culture is so much more pressure than mere peer pressure at a college, for example. Plus there's compassion, and then there's idiot compassion. Letting a douchebag be a douchebag is really not compassion; however, doing what you can do to keep that db from pushing your buttons is compassionate toward yourself. I am going to send you a couple of guided meditations that might be of some use on yousendit.com.

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