When I think back to 2014, what do I remember?
I remember the New England air blowing past me, over every single bike ride I took on the Farmington Canal trail this March and April, ten miles up each way, whether it was the mid-afternoon or just past 4am when the streets of New Haven still had that deathly quiet feel and the sun was not yet up. I remember biking past the construction on Prospect Street; I remember tumbling right into a snowbank exactly 8.7 miles away from my apartment.
When I think back to 2014, I remember other things: I remember sitting in the back corner of a wine bar in Brooklyn as my iPhone charged two tables down. I remember ice-skating in Bryant Park at exactly 5:54pm on January 25th as snow began falling around us and we were shooed off the rink so the Zambonis could sweep it. I remember 1am Beignets at Cafe du Monde, cans of Clamato in hand. I remember watching the Snowflake-shaped lights on Nanjing West Road turn from a magenta to a deep violet in October. I remember drunkenly setting off fireworks from our rooftop every Tuesday in June. None of these are things I’ve written down on this blog, but they still remain my strongest impressions of the past year.
And then there are the days I don’t remember at all. I spent a lot of the earlier half of the year still in a state of petrified shock about what happened in Boston, but the truth, I barely remember anything that happened that night. In fact, aside from a few (very, very hurtful) things that were said, I can’t remember our conversation at all. In some ways, that’s terrifying, and I think I can chalk it up to one of my insomnia-induced blackouts (which are thankfully rare). The only things that stick out are, me frantically trying to get away to catch my 7am train back to New Haven and running away (quite literally) like I had so from so many other people this year.
What is the most vivid day of 2014? The only day that I can account for, hour by hour, is the one right before I moved to China. And the weirdest thing about that is, that out of all the days I could have picked, I tried to make that one of the most normal routine day I could have had in New Haven.
I’ve been feeling a little self-reflective lately. Now, I don’t know whether it’s just the end of the year jitters (it probably is), the fact that I’m still mulling over some test results from Russia (that I have been avoiding getting confirmed here in China, largely out of trepidation), or the fact that my insomnia has returned (largely out of said trepidation and and uncertainty over the next year), but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways time passes and the how we account for it.
Why? Last Sunday, as I trudged to work, sipping on Hong Kong-style milk tea mixed with coffee (much less disgusting than it sounds, I swear!) I started listening to Sarah Koenig’s Serial podcast, which first made me start writing this entry. Really, it began as me analyzing Serial and an in-depth write-up on whether we can accurately account for our time. And then I realized, no one wants to read that crap. Or rather, it doesn’t matter what people want to read, because I’m writing this blog for myself, and frankly, I didn’t really want to write about it.
Blogging, at its core, is self-reflective. I’m not a very self-reflective person, but blogging has been helping me ‘get my thoughts out’ again, whatever that means. Finding random observations and writing them down is how my entries usually come together. Aside from the diaries I kept in middle school, this past year has been the only time I’ve really ‘journaled’. Before this blog, I used to keep journals for almost four years (throughout middle school and a part of high school) writing a page a day in that typical “Dear Diary” format that most middle-school aged girls use. And yet, at the end of the day, I never ‘accounted’ for time to any degree of accuracy. I would usually talk about my day-to-day life, but it was just things like middle school crushes, what I ate that day (mostly Pop-tarts), and rarely anything that could pinpoint a date to a specific time.
Which, in a way, brings me to my next point. I was re-reading through a few entries last week and found some indications of the diagnosis that I would get in Russia in my earler posts. I didn’t know this at the time, but the warning signs were already there.
I’ve known something was off for months, but I didn’t really realize how bad things were until I got to Shanghai. Now, trying to pinpoint when it all started is useless, because when I look back at 2014, one thing that I can’t remember, no matter how hard I try, are those warning signs.
That’s just a little over a month to try to figure out what to do. I know exactly the tests that need to be run. In fact, I’m pretty sure I may have ran them last Spring back at Yale-New Haven and a phone call could confirm if things were mostly okay. But I’m scared. I’m scared to place that call. I keep looking at the test results from Moscow, trying to read them, to distinguish the Russian medical acronyms, but none of it is making any sense. I don’t like admitting weakness, much less here, but I’m terrified. And maybe that’s why I’ve felt the need to write all of this out.
Honestly, I don’t know what the full implications are. I won’t for a while, but I also dread finding them out. I keep wrestling between telling people, because frankly, this is a large part of my life, but also not telling anyone, since it’s none of their business. I’ve already dodged a few less than pleasant questions and I don’t want to keep dodging.
So where does this entry end? I’ve been mulling over that all week, trying to come up with a pithy conclusion. But honestly, I’m not good at pithy conclusions and I don’t know if this is the kind of entry that even warrants one. If anything, putting all of this into words has been liberating.
Does this post mean I’m dying? No. Not at all. But it re-colors some life goals, some priorities, and some ways I need to look at the people around me, and most importantly, at myself.
See you in 2015, WordPress. Here’s to another year of living fearlessly.
Frivolous Monsters says
I don’t know what all that means, obviously, but you have to do what you have to do. You know that and holding off isn’t going to make any problem go away, or reduce the anxiety of worrying about a problem that may or may not be there.
I know I’ve asked questions of you on this blog, because I enjoy your blog and I’m nothing if not nosey, and if any of them were your “less than pleasant questions” then I apologise as they weren’t meant to be.
Hoping you get yourself sorted soon. And as for weaknesses you don’t like admitting all that comes across from your blog is the amazing strengths you must have to do what you’ve done. Keep strong.
Sometimes I wonder how I come off in my writing, and whether it’s different than I am in real life. I think I’m definitely a little more contemplative and a little more dreary here, since it’s the only forum to let those ideas out. All I know is that writing things out helps to sort them in my head.
I think the only questions that have been uncomfortable so far is being asked when I’m going to the hospital. I have about a 40-day supply of medicine I got while I was in Russia left, so I think that’s part of the reason I am putting it off, but I’m definitely getting things sorted by then.
Hope you had a happy new year!
Frivolous Monsters says
I’m sure we all come across differently in our writing. As with most of my stuff the butt of the joke is me, even though it’s painstakingly written and polished (on good days) to present it as humorous, it doesn’t mean the same things don’t get me down at different times. But I don’t present that face, obviously. Whilst you do come across as quiet and considered (not dreary) this is always overpowered by your actions and what you’ve done. Never forget your achievements.
I’m glad my questions weren’t the problem. After you said that I looked up the last thing I asked you and ‘it’ really wasn’t what I was expecting, doubly so that it seems to be American and not Chinese, but we don’t have that here.
New Year quiet here, but then we see that in Shanghai you had 36 people crushed to death, more injured, in your celebrations. Sounds awful. All my best for the new year.