As a date that I’d planned for tomorrow night falls through for a reason I’m not sure whether or not to believe…I’m still not feeling well. This guy and I had been chatting for about a week, had planned to meet this Friday… and suddenly he texts me at 2.30 AM today (Thursday) to tell me he can’t meet. When I ask why, he says he lost his wallet, so we’d have to meet next time (later).
I try to believe him. But I ask my friend what she thinks and she confirms my fears: it sounds like an excuse. He could have borrowed money from someone. He’s probably just not interested anymore.
Before recent events in my life I wouldn’t have been able to believe that someone who was talking to me yesterday and confirming plans to meet two days later would suddenly, without warning, and without good reason cancel a date, but based on how guys have been treating me lately, it doesn’t seem all too impossible now. He wanted to meet me as of yesterday morning when we spoke and yet suddenly at 2.30 AM the next morning he can’t meet me anymore. He says that he’d meet me later, and he hasn’t unmatched me on the site we met on, but I guess it’s only a matter of time until that happens.
When I told this same friend about what happened with J last weekend and I wondered to her why guys were treating me so meanly, she asked me if it was really only the guys who were doing something wrong? I asked her if she thought I’d done something wrong, then, and she said that there is a reason guys like J know I will go to him in this situation… even though it was him who did the wrong thing, and who always did the wrong thing, I still continue to go to him; I tell him sure, contact me whenever when really, I’m hurting; I let the guy who cancelled on me get away with his excuse by giving him the benefit of the doubt; I was willing to be friends with H again even though he lied to me and disappeared on me; all of that, and other things, I make those choices…
At first I admit I was annoyed when she said that men weren’t the only ones doing something wrong. Though I haven’t always, as I’ve grown up more and experienced more I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to treat others well, to respect them, to give them all the information and support I can; I try to be good to people. I make an effort to do the right thing for other people.
While we were in the middle of our conversation, I had to go to teach a class, but when I came back to my desk I saw the message waiting for me:
언니가 좀더 자기자신 아끼면 좋겠어, 남들을 도와주고 싶은 만큼, 언니 자기자신을
I can’t translate this perfectly, but it’s something like this:
I wish you’d treasure your own self a bit more; to the same extent that you want to help others, you’d think of yourself
Although I’d just come back from teaching a moment earlier, I burst into tears as soon as I saw the message and knew she was right, even though I’d been slightly peeved at her earlier words.
I’ve always known that J is a selfish person. Even when we were dating, I knew what he was like. I also know that he has never encouraged me in my pursuits, he’s never been sincerely interested in my hopes or dreams… but when he was facing a breakup with his girlfriend with whom he was still in love, he could still find it within himself to tell me that if he couldn’t manage to get into a community college in the States that I’d have to marry him; he could still find it in himself to pepper me with questions about my lovelife (which I avoided by shrugging them off or answering vaguely); he could still find it in him to sing songs about lost love in Norebang in front of me; he could still ask me to meet him at all.
I know he’s selfish and he doesn’t care whether or not my feelings are hurt; whether the wounds he’s given me have healed yet or not; what I’m thinking now as he continues with his girlfriend after asking me to meet him sometimes when I had free time.
Misung said something else; that living abroad is so lonely, and it’s so hard to meet people, and it’s especially so hard to meet someone who likes you sincerely that you start thinking it’s a good idea just to meet with any guy… her friends who lived abroad told her the same thing. And she told me that even if I had met casually with the guy who cancelled on me, I’m so lonely now that I’d still probably end up giving him my heart…
I’ve thought a lot about whether or not I’m lonely, whether lonely is the right word. Part of me rebels against it as a name for what I feel because I don’t feel the feverish, unbearable suffering I used to feel when I was in college when I identified that feeling with loneliness; but there’s simply a lack of friends here and that combined with the desire to have a relationship with someone, I guess that creates what can be called loneliness. When I told my co-teacher Carrie what happened with H (disappearer) and J (ex-bf) she told me that she wanted to find a nice guy for me; I appreciated her sincerity, but I also realized I don’t have any real hope anymore of meeting someone while I’m here.
Korean culture isn’t set up with any kind of social mechanism that can hold people accountable for their actions towards the foreigners they meet online; I can’t go tell all H’s friends what he did to me, so they’ll never know, and he gets to just continue to live his life happily while I sit over here and seethe about it, and get sad about it, and want to throw things at the wall and sleep for a hundred days because of it… I wish that I could just brush it off, I wish that I could just say you know what, goodbye, J, and goodbye, H. And goodbye date-cancelling boy. (Although in the latter-most’s case he did let me know and he did apologize, even if when I asked him why he gave a lame excuse.) You guys weren’t kind to me. So I do not need to care anymore about you.
The thing is, I know I don’t deserve to be treated like that. Everyone says that to me. Oh, you don’t deserve to be treated like that. I always want to say–do you think I don’t know that? Do you think I think I deserve to be treated like a disposable? But then I get to thinking, what difference does it make if I think I deserve to be treated poorly or not if I still let people treat me poorly…?
So I can forget about H. I still get sad; I think about it and hate that it happened and feel sick about it for a moment, but the moment passes. I know that in time, as long as he doesn’t drop back unexpectedly into my life… I’ll be able to get over this one without a lot more difficulty.
But with J… I think it means I have to tell him it’s too difficult for me to contact him again. I have to ask him to wait a long time, to give me time. I don’t want to cut ties with him completely, and I’m not sure why. But I guess that to be fair to myself I have to be honest with him about what I’m really feeling right now.
Last week I bribed one of my lower-level third-year classes into participating in a game with the lure of bringing snacks for them to eat in their next class, which was today. Students had to participate in pictionary to receive their snacks. This class is usually dead quiet save four or five regular participants, and it’s kind of a painful period for everyone, including me, because I know they don’t like studying and I know the book’s level is too hard for them and they might even be interested in me or what I have to say but they can’t understand me so the feeling in there is always just kind of depressing. I do my best with the materials and bring in supplements when I can, but because I don’t create the tests, I don’t always have a say in what material I need to cover. Anyway, because this class time is so miserable and students seem so helpless in it–I can tell they want to speak English well and they want to understand me but the lesson material is just too high-level–I kind of just assumed those students don’t like me.
Not that they hate me or have anything against me personally. I would just kind of think they think of me and their stress is triggered or something. Of course, today when I lugged in my bag full of snacks and put it down on the podium in front of them, they were all smiling and burst into applause. Not for me but because they knew they were going to get to eat soon. And they participated quite well in the pictionary game; I guess the lure of choosing snacks before other classmates is effective.
Anyway, a student who isn’t there half the time because I think she’s usually in the “discipline area” (I’ve never asked for more specifics on what that means…) during class time, and who hardly ever participates and who generally looks like she’s having a miserable time… today after receiving her snack called out to me– “Lily”–I was standing near her desk to watch the drawing activity students were creating on the board–and gave me a cookie from the packet that she’d earned, with a little smile.
I’m not sure why–but I was moved.
The English Speaking Class for teachers have made plans to go out to a nearby pub and hold class today. While usually while drinking with someone for the first time I limit myself to a beer or a half a beer, I think today I might get a couple and just try to enjoy their company. We always have a fun time in class together no matter the subject and we’ve discussed enough of our ideas about sensitive topics (though I plan to move us on into the political ideology topics next week…which will be the true test) that we know each other quite well. There’s a mix of personalities and ages in the class, but because the topics I usually choose for discussion are so general, we usually find some common points that we didn’t know we shared before. I’m hoping that today goes well and we can take some photos and that I can get their permission to post their photos here in a separate blog post later.
I also have plans to meet Misung tomorrow night for dinner (since the date fell through, at least one good thing is happening) and another female friend I met through a language exchange app on Sunday for lunch. I will also have to enact the long-avoided and well-overdue deep cleaning of my apartment that I’ve been so good at not doing on Saturday, so I have enough to keep me distracted for now.
Without my laptop, it’s been a little difficult because with all of this emotion lately I’ve been feeling like writing more. I was writing a lot of poetry during the month of May, and reading a lot of it too; but with everything that happened I suddenly stopped writing. There’s a stationery store across the street from my apartment that I usually try to avoid out of pity for the super-skinny my-age guy who works there who always looks like he’s about to pass out when he sees me enter the front door despite my never having forced him to speak a single word of English to me… but I guess I’ll have to go there and get a proper diary, seeing as I destroyed my other one.
Speaking of the laptop, my dad helped me figure out a way to get it home via a Seoul-based office of his company, so on Monday evening I have plans to take it there, drop it off, and pray that I can trust that it finds its way to Irvine, California intact enough to get the SSD extracted and data secured.
I can see that a few people regularly check the blog page but I’m not sure who you are. If you’re reading this, and you know me or you don’t, I’d just like to say that I’m okay. I’m fine. I’ve just got a lot to deal with and writing is the only way I know how. Other people might play violent games on their phones all day and then when you talk to them, you’d never know they were hurting. But I deal in words, so I always say it when I’m hurting. So it’s very clear to other people. And that might skew the proportion, because I don’t write about really happy things as much.
I think there are two reasons for this: firstly, my natural scale of possible emotion is naturally tilted away from the happy and bright; and two, lately, a very very strange set of circumstances have all piled up on me at once, and I have no other way to deal with the emotion that brings on but writing. Right now because I don’t have my computer, some things I would usually just journal about in my never-ending Scrivener document, I’m posting on this blog although they normally might not make it past my journal.
A lot of these experiences have been new for me and have been unpalatable learning experiences. I’m naturally trusting and naturally honest in relationships, so when I encounter dishonesty and people who prove to be untrustworthy, it’s not possible for me to understand and it kind of triggers a series of short circuits in my processor, whatever strange conglomeration of my brain and heart that may be. So this blog has recently become a place where I kind of try to repair those circuits but in doing so I expose the damage.
So I’m just saying… There are a lot of other non-shorted circuits that just don’t make it into view.