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When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

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Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On accumulation

We went skiing this weekend.

It was a much-needed getaway for me. We decided sort of at the last minute to meet up with two of D's friends from his office when we found out they had a trip planned -- they have similar slope preferences (intermediate level runs, groomed, with the occasional trail through the trees and powder). A quick stop at Hotwire revealed a place to stay the night at a very affordable price, so we made our reservations, attached the ski rack to the car, and took off at the crack of dawn Saturday.

Wearing my body out felt good for once. It's funny how exhaustion feels different when you're in control of its degree. I did wish I could take something for the muscle soreness (no anti-inflammatories allowed until after my next blood draw) but I knew what I was in for when I agreed to go. Overall, we had a really terrific time -- time to cut loose and feel light-hearted, even if our limbs felt impossibly heavy at the end of each day.

We didn't have a chance to take many pictures, but take a look at the ones we did get:


It was misting at the top of the mountain because of a heavy cloud sitting over the peak. Water droplets condensed out of the fog and froze to everything, including my hair, which I'd put in two braids to keep it out of the way. The shot above is from just before lunch on Saturday. An interesting effect, no?

And here's a shot at the end of the day.


Still interesting! But also a bit shocking. I had no idea all of that was there.

I think that's how these last few months felt to me yesterday -- small things building up and building up without my realizing they were doing so until I got a picture of it all. A picture of where D and I are. I try to deal with little issues between us as they come so they don't grow into bigger ones, but what about those that continue to haunt us, sticking to us? It seems many things have, and when that realization hit us yesterday, we didn't know how to handle it. We've fought because we've had to readjust to each other and, now we're fighting because that process is revealing those icy ghosts on our shoulders. But we're trying to crack them off.

We had an explosive Monday. I'm glad we had Saturday and Sunday before that to remind us it's not always like Monday was.

6 comments:

TKW said...

Your words could not have come at a better time for me. My life has completely exploded. All the little details...the weight of them has been unbearable.

And I looked at those pictures and smiled. It's so nice to know that somewhere out there, somebody understands.

French Fancy said...

Isn't it hard readjusting to each other after an absence. When we first moved here Mr FF was away a lot in London and maneuvering around each other upon his return was not easy. You two have been apart for longer than we were so I can imagine the escalation of the problem, compared to ours.

Plus you are in a new house with all the problems that that has. But you love each other and you both know deep down that you want to be with each other. It is just a question of biting one's tongue I guess - easy for me to type, not so easy when it is me with the barbed comment ready to be spouted.

I love the photo of you - you are very pretty; even though not much of your face is visible I can see how pretty you are.

Be strong
x

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, I love that photo of your braids. The frozen droplets look so cool and beautiful. And your metaphor is so apt. Now, when little things build up, I'm going to be picturing your braids.

I'm sorry you had an explosive Monday. My dear hubby and I have also hit some rocky places, and recently some good friends (who have kids) separated. We hope it will just be temporary, but it kind of freaked us out. Perhaps in a good way. I think it made us realize how scary that would be. Helped us put our own conflict into perspective.

Very glad that you had a good ski trip. I'm impressed by your spontanaeity!

Hugs to you, and hugs to Kitch.

(my verfication word is "rearedge.")

Contemporary Troubadour said...

TKW -- hugs. Those details are the worst sometimes, no? I wasn't sure how to write about Monday, if I should write about Monday at all. But your own candor in your writing has made me braver. Thank you for that.

Glad the pictures made you smile. Hoping the weight on your shoulders will lighten soon. Thinking of you.

FF -- I'm so bad at biting my tongue. I think it's more a matter of learning how to use it in ways that don't harm (at least not so much -- baby steps here) and learning to separate that act from the act of suppressing my real feelings. In the culture I grew up in, I was never taught how to separate suppressing speech from suppressing emotion -- I was made to believe the emotions were as unacceptable as the words. So in learning to bite my tongue, I learned self-betrayal. I'm trying to find a way to disentangle the two, to make the act of feeling less inherently dependent upon speaking. Maybe this is why I write :)

As for your comment on the photo, thanks, friend.

GEW -- it's so frightening when other people separate; it does provide perspective. So does just hearing the word in the mouth of the person you love. It's not one to be uttered lightly, not a suggestion that can be tossed out without long-reverberating echoes that come back and continue to come back, reminding you of that first slippery step toward the possibility. We're listening to the echoes, hoping they remain just that -- distant reminders of what was once said, not what will be.

medieval woman said...

I, of course, hear you on this - and thank you for your lovely email (which I will respond to soon - promise!) - but I'm glad that the weekend helped put Monday in perspective! And I love the snowy braids pic!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

No worries, MW! Thinking of you :)

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On accumulation

We went skiing this weekend.

It was a much-needed getaway for me. We decided sort of at the last minute to meet up with two of D's friends from his office when we found out they had a trip planned -- they have similar slope preferences (intermediate level runs, groomed, with the occasional trail through the trees and powder). A quick stop at Hotwire revealed a place to stay the night at a very affordable price, so we made our reservations, attached the ski rack to the car, and took off at the crack of dawn Saturday.

Wearing my body out felt good for once. It's funny how exhaustion feels different when you're in control of its degree. I did wish I could take something for the muscle soreness (no anti-inflammatories allowed until after my next blood draw) but I knew what I was in for when I agreed to go. Overall, we had a really terrific time -- time to cut loose and feel light-hearted, even if our limbs felt impossibly heavy at the end of each day.

We didn't have a chance to take many pictures, but take a look at the ones we did get:


It was misting at the top of the mountain because of a heavy cloud sitting over the peak. Water droplets condensed out of the fog and froze to everything, including my hair, which I'd put in two braids to keep it out of the way. The shot above is from just before lunch on Saturday. An interesting effect, no?

And here's a shot at the end of the day.


Still interesting! But also a bit shocking. I had no idea all of that was there.

I think that's how these last few months felt to me yesterday -- small things building up and building up without my realizing they were doing so until I got a picture of it all. A picture of where D and I are. I try to deal with little issues between us as they come so they don't grow into bigger ones, but what about those that continue to haunt us, sticking to us? It seems many things have, and when that realization hit us yesterday, we didn't know how to handle it. We've fought because we've had to readjust to each other and, now we're fighting because that process is revealing those icy ghosts on our shoulders. But we're trying to crack them off.

We had an explosive Monday. I'm glad we had Saturday and Sunday before that to remind us it's not always like Monday was.

6 comments:

TKW said...

Your words could not have come at a better time for me. My life has completely exploded. All the little details...the weight of them has been unbearable.

And I looked at those pictures and smiled. It's so nice to know that somewhere out there, somebody understands.

French Fancy said...

Isn't it hard readjusting to each other after an absence. When we first moved here Mr FF was away a lot in London and maneuvering around each other upon his return was not easy. You two have been apart for longer than we were so I can imagine the escalation of the problem, compared to ours.

Plus you are in a new house with all the problems that that has. But you love each other and you both know deep down that you want to be with each other. It is just a question of biting one's tongue I guess - easy for me to type, not so easy when it is me with the barbed comment ready to be spouted.

I love the photo of you - you are very pretty; even though not much of your face is visible I can see how pretty you are.

Be strong
x

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, I love that photo of your braids. The frozen droplets look so cool and beautiful. And your metaphor is so apt. Now, when little things build up, I'm going to be picturing your braids.

I'm sorry you had an explosive Monday. My dear hubby and I have also hit some rocky places, and recently some good friends (who have kids) separated. We hope it will just be temporary, but it kind of freaked us out. Perhaps in a good way. I think it made us realize how scary that would be. Helped us put our own conflict into perspective.

Very glad that you had a good ski trip. I'm impressed by your spontanaeity!

Hugs to you, and hugs to Kitch.

(my verfication word is "rearedge.")

Contemporary Troubadour said...

TKW -- hugs. Those details are the worst sometimes, no? I wasn't sure how to write about Monday, if I should write about Monday at all. But your own candor in your writing has made me braver. Thank you for that.

Glad the pictures made you smile. Hoping the weight on your shoulders will lighten soon. Thinking of you.

FF -- I'm so bad at biting my tongue. I think it's more a matter of learning how to use it in ways that don't harm (at least not so much -- baby steps here) and learning to separate that act from the act of suppressing my real feelings. In the culture I grew up in, I was never taught how to separate suppressing speech from suppressing emotion -- I was made to believe the emotions were as unacceptable as the words. So in learning to bite my tongue, I learned self-betrayal. I'm trying to find a way to disentangle the two, to make the act of feeling less inherently dependent upon speaking. Maybe this is why I write :)

As for your comment on the photo, thanks, friend.

GEW -- it's so frightening when other people separate; it does provide perspective. So does just hearing the word in the mouth of the person you love. It's not one to be uttered lightly, not a suggestion that can be tossed out without long-reverberating echoes that come back and continue to come back, reminding you of that first slippery step toward the possibility. We're listening to the echoes, hoping they remain just that -- distant reminders of what was once said, not what will be.

medieval woman said...

I, of course, hear you on this - and thank you for your lovely email (which I will respond to soon - promise!) - but I'm glad that the weekend helped put Monday in perspective! And I love the snowy braids pic!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

No worries, MW! Thinking of you :)