Thursday, January 2, 2014

This Time Next Year

Ugh, it's almost time to fly home again and I still don't feel my absolute best.

Ever since I arrived back home, my strange and possibly heart-related condition only worsened. I can't tell if it got pretty bad due to the fact that I got a cold here (no wonder, it's like -17 outside every day) or that I am allergic to my parents' very lovable cat and need to use my inhaler frequently, hence the added palpable pressure in my chest area. But I just don't know any more.

The main thing that I thought would cure my condition is that I decided to stop drinking, like, almost completely... and here's the full story of why.

About two months ago, before any of my issues had started, I had one pretty big weekend partying. And when I say big, I mean epic.

It started with that Friday night, when my boyfriend and I attended a wine tasting at a very fancy members-only restaurant (I won a contest of some sort). The wine was fantastic and each bottle's retail price was over $1,000. And let me tell you, I took full advantage of the fact that the wine was free flow and kept motioning to the waiter to refill my wine glass the entire night until it was time to leave.

Later on, the boyfriend and I came back to my house, ready to call it a night (and we should have had), but when we walked into the house, we encountered my housemates about ready to go out to a club for a night of dancing. Being in the already tipsy state that I was in, I just couldn't refuse and decided to join them. Needless to say, a lot more drinking and mixing of different types of alcohol ensued.

Okay, fine, one big night could do no damage, right? But that was my night out numero uno.

The next day, feeling like absolute crap, I knew I had to do it once again that night as my very good friend was in town for the weekend and I had already promised to go out with him and his group of friends.

They were celebrating someone's birthday and they kept the champagne flowing non-stop. Working in oil and gas, I am postulating, basically gives you unlimited amount of money to spend on alcohol, so the guys must have bought at least 8 bottles of champagne at various clubs and lounges we went to. That on top of the already free flowing shots of jager, beer buckets and other random alcoholic drinks. Of course, that meant that I could drink for free all night and you don't want to know me when I drink for free, cause I just don't stop.

I, somehow, got a cab and got myself home that night. Woke up the next day feeling like shit again and, as the day went by, I began to realize that that was no ordinary hangover. I had never felt that particular way before and, eventually, towards about 7 o'clock that night I was curled up in a pain-induced ball in a bathtub, which is precisely where my boyfriend and my housemates found me and called an ambulance.

Well, you'd think everything would go back to normal after that, right? No such luck.

Two weeks later, I was feeling pretty proud of myself for taking it easy on the alcohol and not drinking for 14 days, so I had allowed myself to have about 5 beers at my housemate's going away party.

And guess what? The next day I woke up feeling like shit, hands shaking, head spinning. I had some Diazepam (Valium) left from the hospital visit two weeks prior, so I took that. Worked like magic.

I had began to realize that alcohol, even though maybe not the main cause of my condition, definitely exacerbated my painful hangovers. Just picture you normal hangover... no, picture one of those dreaded two-day, I-feel-like-absolute-shit hangovers and multiply that by 10. That is how I felt and it really felt like death was breathing in my ear.

So there was really no choice for me any more. I had to cut out my good ol' buddy Alcohol out of my life completely. I am not going to lie and tell you that I felt amazing once I did that. I almost instantly missed the silly nights, and the exhilarating highs and the rash decisions and hijinks that led to some epic stories of ending up at someone's pool party at 3 AM or partying with some randoms at a club that I didn't even remember the name of. I mean, when I drank, it was fun. It was never dramatic and I never made terrible decisions. I just liked being silly and carefree and young.

But I also realized that cutting out alcohol from my life was not the end of the world. Going out and remaining sober may not be a recipe for a crazy, random night out, but you know what, it's okay. I'd realized that I can still have fun and alcohol is not really that much of a social lubricant, when you are determined to have fun anyway.

The problem is that the health issues have not subsided. Almost every day I feel some sort of tightness in my chest and sometimes I need to sit down or retreat to my room to take a deep breath because I feel like I am going to pass out from the extreme light headedness.

Even though I had quit drinking, the consequences seem to have already had taken a toll on my body.

I felt better this week and decided to have three glasses of champagne for NYE. Next day, I felt death breathing in my ear the moment I woke up. I took Diazepam again and it helped for about 8 hours before I started feeling crappy again. I am down to one Diazepam now and need to go back for a refill when I return to Singapore. I have also set up an appointment with a cardiologist to get to the underlying issues that I will have to battle in this brand new year.

I feel better today but for how long? I don't know. I am scared that the condition will become an every day occurrence for me and that I will no longer be able to do things that I love doing, like socializing, going to the gym and being active. And who wants a bed-ridden friend/employee/girlfriend?

But I am not giving up on me yet. This means that I can't have any more alcohol, like ever (?!) and, as sad as this makes me feel, I know that I can't be stupid about this any more and see how many drinks I can have before my body screams at me, "No more, damn it!!"

I am not giving up. I need to get back to where I was just over two months ago. I need to be my happy and healthy self again and I need to learn my lesson. I have to make it my biggest goal and resolution in 2014. To be kind to myself and to treat my body with utmost care.

This time next year, I want to look back at this post and be proud that I was able to overcome everything that I am battling right now. I want to be able to tell my success story, even if to no one else but myself.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

...If Only in My Dreams

Merry Christmas.

It's been a year of ups and downs, a year of changes and a year filled with risk taking, ambitious opportunities. It is rare for me to find time to write, except for this isolated occasion where I am sitting and waiting for my delayed flight from Singapore to Philadelphia by way of San Francisco.

Sometime closer to the end of this year, mostly due to my constant overtime at work and a new after-work-hours venture in a start-up, my health took a serious tumble. Exhaustion and hyperventilation, they said, even though it felt so much more like a heart attack.

The boyfriend came to my rescue as I laid half-naked and helpless in my bathroom's bathtub, filled with cold water (it was the only thing I could do to distract myself from the intense pain I was feeling in my chest and all along the left side of my body). He called the ambulance that took me away to a nearby hospital. They gave me pills and eventually I came down. The uncontrollable shaking subsided and my heart beat returned to normal.

Surely, I thought, I had just experienced a heart attack. But they diagnosed me with hyperventilation and exhaustion instead. They said that I must have been under a lot of stress lately and that I needed to take it easy. Need to learn how to cope with sudden panic attacks. Easier said than done.

I am feeling better now, embarking on a much needed 2-week vacation to see my family and friends. A lot of emotions are stirring up as I am sitting here in San Francisco. A lot of things that I forgot that I loved so much about being in the US.

Will I ever return home? The question is more complicated and the answer is less certain. I have many homes now, and whichever place it is that I choose to leave, a part of me will be left there too.

I don't know what my future holds for me and I don't think I can plan for anything beyond the scope of 365 days. All I know for certain, for now, is that I am coming home to my family. A day late for Christmas, but to a Christmas at home nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Make Me Feel LIke..

As I am typing my rare blog entry, he enters the room and distracts me with some cute non-sense. I forget all about typing and get wrapped up in the more important things... the last few hours before he goes off on a 7-week trip with the Singapore Navy.

I fucking can't believe it, to be honest, that I am dating an army guy. There is no glamour or glitz, as it was with the Banker. There is no drama, as it was with Mr J. But somehow it works, despite the age difference and cultural difference and despite that he's frequently broke (to be fair, as frequently as I am and not that I ever cared about money when it came to relationships anyway). It still works.

It is the distance that I am not good with. And the lack of communication that goes with it.

Sure, I go about my day as per usual. Maybe I am even more productive as a result that I can stay focused on my work more. But, as a true Gemini, when I get bored (on weekends mainly), I have a tendency to do bad things. Things that are not really great for a relationship.

I've always enjoyed clubbing and partying and, having lived in Singapore for a substantial amount of time, I have a privilege of getting invited to some exclusive openings and events. (hey, it's a small city/country. Sooner or later, you pretty much get to know everyone, whether you want to or not.)

But people tend to assume you are single, when you attends these happenings. And sure, you know? Go ahead and assume away: if there is no ring on my finger and if I am wearing a short, hip-hugging dress, why not think that I might be unattached?

The part of telling someone that you are NOT single though... that's the tricky part. And though I always do it, there is always a moment of awkwardness afterwards and one of two things happen immediately:

1) We continue a polite conversation for a while. The guy pretends that it's all good, but I can see that he is having a difficult time in reconciling with a fact that he can no longer hit on me; or

2) There is an instant disinterest that glazes over a guy's eyes, as soon as I say, "But by the way, I have a boyfriend..." There is not even an attempt to carry on the conversation and the guy pretty much just walks away.

Both of the scenarios are kind of weird and uncomfortable. I suppose if I was really not cool with it. I'd stop going out all together. The thing is... giving up going out and doing some occasional partying is not in my cards just yet. Maybe I should give it up already but I keep thinking... just one or two more years and I'll be good. And the next thing I know, I'll probably be fourty.

Yeah... Just one or two more years and I'll be good. I promise.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Post-Hangover Musings on Life and Love

As the heat rises from the copper roofs of the shophouses around my balcony where I am sitting, nestled in an Ikea chair with my laptop on my knees, I sit and wonder about what happened to my motivation to blog. It's sort of non-existent at this moment, trumped by the demands and expectations of the real world, by the more pressing urgency to do anything else but update my blog.

A rare glimpse of motivation has caught me at just the right time today. A glimmering nostalgia for the times when I used to entertain myself by recounting stories from the night before, amusing myself with the comical or revelatory statements from myself or the people with whom I had interacted.

My life has been the most hectic it has ever been. In a good way, of course, professionally, personally and socially. In many ways, really, I don't feel 28. Is that bad or good? Maybe both.

I feel like I'm bursting with energy of a 21 year old on most of the days that I am not hungover, which is quite frequently actually. I feel like I'm hungry and ready to take over the world, I feel like things are going to only get better if I keep keeping on.

I've realized recently (maybe not so recently) that I've been quite a selfish person. I've realized that because I needed to deal with compromises in my relationship and those compromises have frequently bruised my ego. But selfish does what selfish wants and, on some level, it's dealing with this vice of mine and seeing how it works out with my dude.

I think it will. It's been good, really good so far. And just between you and me... I'm talking marriage material here. Maybe. Just maybe.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Pleasures of Not Being Single...

It feels long overdue, and it definitely is... but sometimes words can't come out right, or come out at all. And instead of forcing myself to write, I chose to not write at all for a while. Perhaps it's time to come back for a bit.

By this point, I must have said "I love you" to the 21 Year Old about a few hundreds of thousands times. With him being in the navy, it's been hard having a very limited amount of time together each weekend. He only comes out on Saturdays and goes back in again on Sundays. This means we only have about twenty-four hours to spend with each other each week, and most of the times he is too exhausted to do anything active, liking riding bikes, or zip lining, or clubbing.

The thing is.. I am perfectly fine just napping the day away with him, or having a quiet dinner, or just talking. Or not talking at all.

It's the level of comfort that I've become familiar with but that has also calmed me down a bit. Normally, I'd be out and about, wining and dining, gossiping and socializing. And it's all fine and well, but it does burn me out quite a bit.

With him, I find peace, love and happiness. And that's exactly what I've been searching for for so long.

Besides... clubbing is for Friday nights, anyway ;)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Straying Away

It was an honest mistake and, even though, I did not mean any harm by it, I can't honestly say that there was nothing remotely sinister behind my decision to talk to my friend's handsome Aussie friend that night at a club.

I suppose I was feeling a bit lonely and I was feeling particularly friendly because the Aussie bought us girls a bottle of Belvedere to share. And then there were several rounds of shots that I simply could not refuse.

The Aussie and I talked extensively that night, but I was fluttering around from person to person being overly social and not paying any attention to anyone in particular. But perhaps... No, not perhaps... With all certainty, he felt like there was a bit of a connection. And I guess that can happen...  that fabricated type of a connection that can only happen in a nightclub. After a few rounds of drinks and a few accidental looks at each other, he felt persuaded to ask for my number.

He knew I had a boyfriend from the very moment we met and though I felt compelled to insist that he did not need my number, he somehow obtained it anyway. (To be fair, I was probably the one giving it to him, though I must have been pretty drunk, as I do not recall any such interaction.)

I should not have been surprised when he texted me the next day. What should have surprised me was that I texted him back and we carried on an on-and-off conversation for the next two weeks... Chatting about this and that, and me allowing him to simply say "hey" to me in a seemingly-innocent manner all up until the point when my boyfriend came back from the army and just happened to glance at my phone and see the Aussie's name light up on my iPhone screen.

I knew that the Aussie knew that I had a boyfriend. Yet, somehow, even though I could never admit it to my boyfriend ("We're just friends!" I insisted to him over and over again), I felt that I was enjoying the attention of a guy who was clearly trying to forge a connection with me, regardless of the fact that I was attached.

I refused to understand my boyfriend's concerns. I refused to see why he thought that my daily long-distance conversations with a 2-week friend could be misconstrued as inappropriate. I had to sleep on it and wake up with a clear head the next day in order to understand exactly what was going on.

The truth is... it's hard to let go of old habits. Like a dedicated bachelor, I refused to let go of the right to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I refused to account for someone else's feelings. I refused to be unselfish.

The thing is.... ultimately, it is MY problem that I was enjoying prolonged attention from a clearly-interesed guy. It is MY problem that I still party way harder than my 21-year old boyfriend. It is MY problem that I can't see why he is feeling insecure when I come home at 5am when he is training to serve and protect his country and doesn't even get to get a glimpse at an occasional pretty girl when he wants to.

It is, therefore, my duty to change my ways a bit before it's too late and he loses his trust in me. Perhaps, it is time to grow up a bit and whole-heartedly commit to one man and one man only.

After all, why not make a sacrifice for the guy who I feel I can spend the rest of my life with?

I suppose, at the very least, I should give it a try.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Met the Parents

It's never as bad as you imagine it to be.

Sure, I drank about three glasses of wine prior to the meet-and-greet but, in all fairness, this helped me calm my nerves down and somehow helped me not make a fool out of myself.

After the dinner, we walked back to my house (only a short distance away from the restaurant). His eyes shined with happiness as he held my hand and I didn't have to ask whether or not his parents took a liking to me. I knew that regardless of how they felt about our age difference, I succeeded in impressing them.

I could tell by his face that I'd received a stamp of approval from his mom and his step-father and that's all I needed to know. He stopped me on a crossover bridge on the way to my house, and kissed me just the way I wanted to be kissed. I felt like this was one of those life-imitates-movie kind of moments that would take the onlooking audience's breath away, because they'd know that they were witnessing two people in love.

Only a couple of days later, he had to pack up and leave for the army but, luckily, going to the army here is not like going to the army in many other countries. I will see him again in three short weeks (though right now, it feels like an eternity), and then again, every weekend thereafter.

I can't say whether or not our differences in our backgrounds, age, upbringing will ever tear us apart. And I can't tell how serious it is going to get in the long term, though he tells me he wants this to last forever.

All I know is that I am happy. In this foreign country, thousands of miles away from my parents and my childhood friends, I feel like I found my other home.

Since home is where the heart is.