It’s hard to believe that it’s been exactly one year since the launch of this blog. I didn’t really think about it then, but the launch happened to coincide with my move to New York, so I guess you can say that it’s a bit of an anniversary on both fronts.
I joke from time to time that I have a loyal readership of about 6 people, but I know that’s not true. I know this because a number of people have given me great feedback throughout this year and I’m always surprised when random people comment on my page, or on Facebook, or bring up the fact that they enjoyed reading a post when they see me. I’m usually very self-deprecating in these encounters, but let me just say that I always appreciate the encouragement and I don’t think I could have made it to one year without it. (So keep it coming, haha).
Truthfully, I’m really proud of myself. I feel like I’ve accomplished something by having consistently posted throughout the year. I can’t tell you how many little “book ideas” or pet projects fell by the wayside after just a few weeks of concentrated/inspired effort. It was almost the same story with this blog. There were times (especially in the winter months) when I wanted to fold it up. I struggled through bouts of dry inspiration, I wrote some clunkers, and my spirit to move on was seriously challenged.
When I look back on this year, I’d rank my two big accomplishments as such: 1) Posting consistently on the blog and 2) Getting a Master’s degree (In that order).
When I go back to my earlier posts, I wince at some and chuckle about others. I’m disappointed that I’ve written far more fodder than fig. But I’m also surprised to find that my writing hasn’t changed much. It’s surprising because I’ve undergone more personal change in this past year than any other single year of my life.
How have I changed?
Well, for one, I’ve become a much more honest person, and I can credit that to this blog. Before coming to New York, I lived a sort of alter-ego my entire life (the super energetic/optimistic Southern Californian Asian Christian) until that alter-ego became me. In some part of my conscious sub-conscience I knew that only a dramatic upheaval could bring me out of it (This is sounding a lot like the plot for Inception).
Anyone who’s lived in New York will tell you that upheaval is what New York does best. I began writing on this blog freely and honestly, which, at the time, was very hard for me. Slowly, the artificial walls and facades I’d created for myself came down brick by brick, and now I stand just half-covered in the rubble. With every post, with every embarrassing disclosure, I chipped away.
It came at a cost, I think. I note that earlier on in the year, I wrote more (not a lot) about my faith. Lately not so much, and again, I think this is reflective of my current reality. It’s not that I’ve forgotten my faith (that would be like forgetting my Korean-ness), it’s that I shelved it a bit to explore some other sides of me. This, of course, is anathema to the true brand of Christianity, which calls us to draw closer to faith in times of turbulence. I find myself now in that dreaded state of lukewarmness, and that doesn’t settle well with me at all.
It’s not like I strayed far off the road, but I did put the Cross in my back pocket, brought it out like a fashion statement when I had to (like those ridiculous rappers and porn stars who sport rosaries), and generally told it to wait a year. I feel like those days are done now, and I feel more prepared to pursue God in a much more tangible way.
That will go a long way, I think, into helping me in another frustrating area of my life. I continue to be plagued by the Jennifer Aniston syndrome. What’s the Jennifer Aniston syndrome? The Jennifer Aniston syndrome is…how is that girl still single?
If you read my blog, you know that I write extensively about relationships. Loneliness and failure are common refrains, as are rejection, self-loathing and longing. I tend to fictionalize many of these themes so naturally, I dramatize. So please don’t think I spend my nights staring at the moon with tears in my eyes, wondering, where OH where my true love is.
The truth is, I think there’s a part of Jennifer Aniston that stays single because it’s been dynamite for her career. It makes people talk about her and want something good for her.
In the same way, I think I have a tendency to over-dramatize my lingering singleness because it’s so much of what I know. The tragic romantic who comes, OH SO CLOSE, only to see his girl whisked away on a plane, or by an ex-boyfriend, or whatever. And this feeling of loneliness is such a nice break from being so damn happy all the time. And let me tell you, happiness never wins an Oscar. Loneliness is where the hardware is and Loneliness can become an addiction.
It’s nauseating I know, but I’m only now waking up from this self-imposed embargo on relational satisfaction. It makes me anxious and that anxiety has a tendency to ferment into bouts of self-confidence issues, self-doubt, deprecation…all the pernicious hurdles that’s deadly to a 26-year old bachelor who should be at the peak of his vitality.
But when I think about my faith in this context…when I set my eyes on a higher prize, these minor travails have a tendency of taking care of themselves. So I’ve decided not to sweat it anymore. (We’ll see how long this lasts).
I remember writing my first post in the Teachers College dorm room having just polished off a bottle of Chianti. There’s something woefully adolescent about that picture.
One year later, it’s a bottle of Corona, which I’ll freely admit today, tastes better to me. Is that progress? Growth? Maturity?
How about honesty?
I know some of you will say it’s corny to wish myself a Happy Anniversary for something as dumb as blogging.
To which I say, Shut up, this is my blog and I do what I want.
PS: Thanks for reading. It really means a lot.
PPS: Thanks Jess, you’re still way better than me.