Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Are Feelings Actions?

Hot on the heels of a terrible row with one of my close friends (and I'll tell you right now, it's all been fixed and tidied up and we're both fine), I've gone introspective again by questioning what truly constitutes 'action'.

To give you a little perspective of what I'm talking about, the fight was about him not wanting to have to censor his words, and me not wanting to have to censor my feelings. My stand, for sometime now, was very pragmatic about emotions, especially since I have a temper and calling me "emotional" would be an understatement. I basically adhere to "judge a person by his actions, and not his thoughts", with thoughts not being limited to the cerebral but to the emotional, and the actions coming to include hurtful words that are spoken out of spite.

It's because of this code that I've always felt guilty about losing my temper - I turn nasty and sarcastically succinct not caring about the other's feelings - and why, especially for my loved ones, I tend to shy away from confrontations (as opposed to with people I care less about where I'm slightly [okay, more than slightly] more aggressive). I need to time to calm down, to think about why I'm upset, to differentiate whether or not I'm overreacting, to arrange my thoughts and pinpoint what exactly bothered me and, if I'm still bothered, to find a way to say these things without being hurtful. Unfortunately, I'm also a terrible liar and I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. So when I'm bothered by something in public - bar me walking out - I tend to be obvious about it.

Which got me to my current introspective dilemma now. My close friends (and even to some extent my husband) have been subtly hinting that I should be more open about my feelings, to confront them and not to be afraid to them, to tell people outright when I feel like I'm being offended or hurt so as to prevent escalation. Some of them even had stated that they prefer the hurtful words over the awkward silences wherein I would ensconce myself in my own turbulent thoughts, letting them to be unwilling witnesses to my despair.

But how can I stop the way I feel? How do people learn not to get hurt? And yet, despite this, I do see their point. When you see someone you love feel bad, you want to do something about it. And the very inaction of the loved-one-who-feels-bad could cause you tremendous pain or, at the very least, incredible discomfort. Should I really subject my friends to that just because I need some time to calm down? Should I start thinking that my emotions, by virtue of being felt and because it is so obvious, is an action in itself?

And if it is, does that mean my obvious solution is to become a better actress, to learn to hide my discomfort and my distress behind a more comprehensive mask?

For my close friend and I, we've come to a compromise about what we should do when something similar happens without compromising who we intrinsically are (because it would be a tragedy if you're not yourself with your friends). Only time will tell if it will work - if I will remember the code words and be calm enough to say them, and if he will remember the code words and remain calm enough to give me space until I can state my reasons.

But for the rest of my friends and family - what do I do?

What do I do?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What's in a Name?

Apparently, a lot. Of hard work, that is.

Especially if you're female and you got married and you have a ton of licenses, bank documents and the like that are in your maiden name.

What's worse, is that no one actually tells you and prepares you for this stress. Either by conspiracy of revenge or simple forgetfulness, my mother, my husband's mother, everyone's mother or wife, while always ready to spout wedding and marriage advice in the early days of my wedding preparations, neglected to tell me how difficult it would be to change my maiden name to my married name. So now, two years and some odd months later, I'm still dealing with the stress of changing expired licences and insurance documents etc.

It has pushed me to even keep my maiden name with a dash to help avoid even more paper work. Its not that I'm trying to assert my feminist side, and sadly, its not even that I'm trying to sort of rebel against the age old (and admittedly chauvinistic) tradition of losing one's maiden name for a husband's last name. I'm a feminist, but I'm not that much of a feminist that I'd be willing to go through the inconvenience of always having to type (and more annoyingly, print) four more letters and a dash to my last name (as if doing so will change how people would treat you, gender wise, which, ya know, is what truly matters to me).

But still, the paperwork haunts me. Don't they understand I got married? Why can't they just accept my photocopy of a wedding certificate (authenticated by the NSO, no less)? Why do I have to file millions of paperwork? Why do I have to file the millions of paperwork in their hard to reach head quarters and not in their more convenient satellite offices? Why can't bank systems simply allow me to put a dash in my maiden name and my last name (I can't even begin to tell you how stupid some of their reasons for not allowing me to do so, beginning with their system doesn't accept dashes in the last name)? Do all recently married women go through this or did I miss some special seminar that tells you the most efficient way to survive the name changing process?

Ugh. Times like these, I wish I just didn't have to go through my birthday.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Turning 28 and Other Stories

Twenty Eight

One more day 'till my birthday.

Unlike previous years when I would look forward to my birthday with about the same excitement as a four year old, I feel decidedly more calm about the event this year. I think I'm getting old - I just can't get myself to even hope that the world will all stop to give me a day to remember. Or, it could be that I'm just pregnant, and every event until the big event in July pales in contrast.

If anything, I'd just be happy to get through tomorrow without any nasty complications from my pregnancy. I don't really expect anything to be significantly different tomorrow (I will have lunch with my parents and then litcrit and then dinner [hopefully] in dampa) and all I can hope for is that everything goes smoothly.

Other Stories

Two stories in the news troubled me. One was about the Jersey Children's Abuse Scandal (read here) and the other about the re-use of syringes in hospitals (read here).

The first, troubled me because it feels so much like the young adult horror stories I've read and watched, only this time, it's all too real. Unlike books and movies where I could comfort myself that its all exaggerated, this proves that such places does exist, and people do suffer in cellars and attics, perhaps even shackled and raped. And the fact that they're children, makes it worse.

As for the other one, it troubled me because I didn't even know that re-use of syringes still existed in modern times. Knowing that i would soon be confined for the delivery of my child (and knowing that I'm terribly frightened of needles and such, can't be trusted to actually look when the nurses supposedly open them up to be used) only magnifies my fears.

Oh well, just goes to show how pregnant women can get extremely morbid with the slightest provocation.