Oh, baby!

My ex-boyfriend is going to have a baby.  I didn’t know that he was going to have a baby until my fiancé asked after he saw a picture of his (my ex-boyfriend’s) girlfriend, in which she appeared to be holding a baby bump.  I’ve turned post notifications on for my ex on Instagram but somewhere between school, eating, sleeping, gyming, and now, anime-ing, I missed three photos of his girlfriend getting slightly bigger.  I saw one but thought she was just picking up weight (not in a mean way!  She’s really cute!  I just wouldn’t expect her to be pregnant).

I congratulated him and he said he wanted to talk to me about it when I got home.  For a split second, I thought “that could have been me.”  I don’t know why I even thought that.  I don’t want children soon and in fact, that would be one of the worst things that could happen to me right now.  But in all of his photos, his girlfriend looks so happy holding her stomach and she really has that pregnant glow (she’s six months pregnant).  I’m genuinely happy for them and I can’t wait to see their baby.

I guess I’m just realizing that we’re really going our separate ways now.  And he’s solidifying it way more than I am with this baby (versus an engagement ring).

His girlfriend likes to do similar things.  One of our favorite things to do was drive around the island.  We used to do that a lot.  One morning, he picked me up at 6:00am and we drove around the island.  We used to drive around the island at night singing our favorite songs.  He posts videos and photos of them driving around the island, passing and stopping at some of my favorite spots on the island.

I’m genuinely happy for him, I really am.  I’m not saying it over and over to try to convince myself, but because I know it doesn’t seem like I am.  I’m sad that I’m losing my confidant and that we’re really, completely leaving each other behind now.  I never once thought I’d leave my fiancé for him, but when I say “leave behind,” what I mean is that we can no longer have the same relationship, I guess.  We can’t randomly meet up and go to a place we used to frequent while we were dating, I can’t call him crying or message him at 1:00am because I’m sad, we can’t tell each other how special we’ll always be to one another even though we’re in serious relationships with people we truly love.  It’s a weird feeling.  This is someone I’ve dealt with since I was 15 years old.  I’m 23 now.  We dated, then didn’t talk for three years (on my part because I was mad) and after we finally started talking again, it was like nothing had changed.  And I’m sad that I’m losing that.  I almost feel like I’m losing part of myself.

But enough of being selfish.  I always tell him I want him to be happy, and I really do.  And I really mean it when I say that I am happy for him.  They’re both good looking people so their baby will be cute.  Japanese-Korean kids are always really cute anyway (but if I remember correctly he’s also Hawaiian, Spanish, and Chinese).

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Vegan Superpowers

About a month ago (a few days over a month, to be more precise) I went to Old Delhi with friends for a day out.  We went to Jama Masjid and had lunch at Al Jawahar.  For lunch we ordered naan, chicken saag, and mutton curry.  My friend’s friend’s girlfriend is a vegetarian and didn’t eat anything.  I thought it was a bit rude that her boyfriend didn’t concede and order a vegetarian dish!  I said to take what I wanted off the order (saag) and order a vegetarian dish but they didn’t want to.  So we had the saag, curry, and naan.  Shortly after lunch, we walked around looking for dessert (shahi tukda – so delicious) and had to walk through all of the small, meandering walkways.  This was around Eid so there were a lot of goats around.  As we walked back to the metro, the girl with us was beginning to feel more and more disgusted with all of the goats, all of the meat being handled out in the open.  Right after she made a comment about the smell of meat, we walked past a small store front that had two freshly decapitated goats heads on the table.  Mouths open, eyes open, still bleeding.  We had just eaten mutton about fifteen minutes ago (my host family and friends were telling me that while mutton is sheep, a lot of restaurants use goat; the point is that I possibly ate a goat then saw a dead goat head less than an hour later) and this, of course, made my insides feel all thrown out of whack.

I’m not sure why this bothered me so much.  On New Year’s at my dad’s family’s lunch, we always have a full roast pig (with the head still on) and my uncle will carve it and give me the roasted skin as he cuts away.  I love it and it’s my favorite dish on New Year’s.  I see this every year and never cringe.  At one of my favorite restaurants back home I frequently eat fried baby shrimp and fried baby octopus — bodies still completely in tact — and have no problem seeing the shrimps’ fried eyes as I put it in my mouth.  One of my favorite dishes from an omakase (course picked by the chef) my fiancé and I had back home was “live” lobster sashimi, in which the lobster tail is torn off and the meat taken out and diced up, then put back into the shell to be served.  The lobster isn’t actually still alive at the time of serving, but its nerves are still active so the lobster is still moving as you eat the meat (after the sashimi is eaten, the rest of the lobster is made into a miso soup that’s served at the end of the meal).  But seeing the head, perhaps still bleeding and covered in fur, bothered me most?  It’s also unsettling to see chickens being shoved into cages, wings and necks contorted, trying to make themselves comfortable in a cage they will never find comfort in.

But anyway, since then I’ve eaten meat twice, but because I had no other option for dinner.  It was in Meghalaya – A and his friend made dinner but made chicken, though A knew I was already on this pseudo-vegetarian kick (he was with me in Old Delhi that day).  But other than that, I haven’t eaten meat.  I barely even ate the chicken then, but A kept telling me to eat more which irritated me since he had already fudged our trip and was then making me eat something he knew I was trying to avoid.  I’d say no and he’d put more on my plate anyway.  I’m still upset with him, haha.  Anyway…later throughout our trip any time A would eat meat – even fish – I would just internally cringe.  I don’t know why the flip in my head was so drastic after the goat heads but it was and even watching people eat meat now makes me feel weird.  I was a vegetarian in high school but that was for other reasons, namely to lose weight and because it was trendy and uncommon among students in my high school…it lasted about two years.

I’ve also inevitably considered going vegan when I go home and will have full control over my diet.  Here in India, I take my meals at home with my host family most of the time unless I’m in school (lunch), and though they have chicken maybe once every five or six weeks, they consume a lot of animal products and I don’t want to seem rude and reject food that is freshly prepared every evening.  When I go home, I’ll have the power to choose fully with what I stock my fridge and pantries, so I plan to attempt veganism when I go home.  I love eggs, milk, and yogurt, but consuming the milk of a cow is basically the same as consuming its flesh, considering how cows for meat and dairy are both treated.  I relentlessly make fun of vegans so my fiancé and friends had jokes for me when I said I was considering it, but I make fun of vegans that don’t shut up about being vegans, the ones who talk about vegan pastries, vegan makeup, vegan shampoo, vegan air, vegan water, etc.  You get my point.  The vegans I personally know and am friends with are not like this, and I am thankful for that.

So, does anyone have any tips, I guess, about starting a vegan diet?  I don’t eat a lot of meat to begin with so I know adopting a vegetarian diet won’t be difficult for me; the only real challenge will be sushi and sashimi.  I do, however, consume a lot of eggs, yogurt, and milk, and know that that change will be far more difficult.  I also foresee running out of energy and/or patience checking ingredients to make sure I’m not consuming some animal byproduct…but I’d still like to attempt it.  So please, do give me any tips you have!  Thank you!

Jamie All Over

When I was in high school, I dated a guy, “M.”  I was fifteen and he was nineteen (the age of consent in my state made this okay, okay!)  Being fifteen and in high school (and a naughty, slacker high school student, at that) my parents would not approve of me dating, and never of someone so much older than me (this is funny now because my fiancé is 11 years my senior and my mom loves him probably more than she loves me).  Anyway, we dated “officially” for one month, between January and February of 2009.  We had, however, had feelings for each other since the October prior, the month I turned fifteen.  On my birthday he and his friend took me to Tantalus, a popular late-night spot in town (it’s a neighborhood/area going up a mountain; young people go there to race, drift, etc.).  and sang me happy birthday.  I remember this clearly.  That was my first time there, and it’s somewhere I frequent with my fiancé (because he’s into drifting), friends, and my dogs.

At the time that we met, he had a girlfriend, “L.”  They dated until January.  I’m sure you can piece together what happens.  After he finally broke up with her, her friends would constantly call him and ask, “What does she have that —- doesn’t?” and he would make a face, give some sarcastic remark, and hang up.  She constantly badgered him – and rightfully so, having had her boyfriend stolen by a fifteen-year-old – and this, of course, made me paranoid.  This is where I think my “crazy” girlfriend streak comes from.  I always had it in the back of my mind that he didn’t fully choose me over her, so I would read his private comments on MySpace (you know, URL tricks) and I had found that they were talking when he said they weren’t.  They weren’t speaking romantically, but just simply catching up.  Still, at fifteen, this was terrible to me and I shut him out completely.

Our song was “Jamie All Over” by Mayday Parade.  If you were to ask me how this became our song, I don’t completely remember, but anytime I hear it, I think of him.  I couldn’t listen to Mayday Parade for about two years because it just made me feel off.  I carried this anger around with me for years, having felt betrayed by someone I felt loved me.  We would lie in bed and he would say such sweet things to me, the sweetest being, “You’ve been to a place in my heart that no one else has.”  I remember this very clearly, too.  I remember our first real kiss in the rain under a street lamp, and my fiancé and I run past this street lamp whenever we go running in our neighborhood.

For three years I did not talk to M.  A year after we broke up, I went to Paris on a class trip with my French class.  He didn’t know the exact date of my departure, but he left roses and a letter on my doorstep.  He knew this information because he kept in touch with my aunt (this is how we met, through her).  My mother found these and surprisingly informed me and did not throw them away (she found him in my bedroom once, hidden in my closet; this prompted a huge fight between us and resulted in her kicking me out for two months and making me live with my dad).  I told her I did not care and that she should just toss them.  Even his best friend, who had sung happy birthday to me at Tantalus, would ask why I refused to talk to him.  I ignored these inquiries.  Eventually even my mother would ask why I was being so cold.  She knew that he was my…uh…”first,” so she would always tell me to be a little more forgiving, at least hear what he has to say.  I was always surprised that she was suddenly so understanding, but I would ignore her advice.  After three years, on my eighteenth birthday, I finally thanked him for wishing me a happy birthday.  He continued to wish me a happy birthday every year despite my coldness.

By my eighteenth birthday, I had already been dating my now-fiancé.  At eighteen, I finally found it in my heart to forgive him.  We reconnected and have been in touch regularly since my eighteenth birthday.  Shortly before my birthday, he had begun dating someone with whom I was acquainted.  I did not particularly care for her (though I did not dislike her) and I didn’t know how she would influence or affect M.  M’s father was an alcoholic and occasional drug user, and after witnessing his father’s behavior as a child, he swore he would never touch drugs or alcohol.  I treasured that about M.  Shortly after we began talking again, I found out that he not only drank and did drugs (ecstasy, weed, small stuff), but he also began selling ecstasy.  I was upset and asked him why he had done a complete 180.  He didn’t have an answer for me, but I knew it was because his girlfriend was into raves and did drugs and drank a lot.  I’ve always resented her a bit for this, though we are on friendly terms.

There were very low points in both of our relationships.  We used each other in bad ways.  When I was upset with my boyfriend, I would find solace in M, and him in me when he and his girlfriend would hit very rough patches.  We never cheated on our significant others with each other, but our exchanges would have stung them.  M and his girlfriend both confided in me; I’m not sure why she confided in me to begin with, knowing well that we had dated before.  She always made him out to be the villain, but I knew he never was.  When they would fight, he would pour his heart out to me about how different she and I were and how he loved her but something just wasn’t the same.  I never really had anything constructive to say – I was just there to listen.  Once when I had probably the biggest fight with my boyfriend over his behavior with another woman, I called M sobbing from work, hiding in a stairwell, asking him if I was ugly, if I was stupid, if I was crazy.  He was on his way to pick his girlfriend up but stopped what he was doing to talk to me and said she could wait, that I was important.  Later that week he took me to another one of my favorite spots on the island and later to Bubbies for dessert.  A few weeks later, I called him for cocaine because that’s just how absolutely shitty I was feeling.  At first he was adamant about not selling me any because he didn’t want me to get caught up in it and be responsible for ruining my life.  I assured him I’d be fine, and it took a lot of convincing.  I did it that once and never again, as it wasn’t as amazing as everyone had made it out to be.  The way that I had resented his girlfriend for getting him involved with drugs, he resented my boyfriend for making me feel so low that I felt I needed drugs.  M always had a job on top of selling drugs, but did it just to earn extra money.  Shortly after this episode he stopped selling altogether, which made me extremely happy.

There were times M would apologize profusely for what he did to me, but over the years I had obviously grown and began to realize that I had overreacted and hurt him with my silence.  We talked about this many times and have never been able to agree upon whose fault it was.  Once at a rave, my boyfriend and I bumped into M and his girlfriend, and my boyfriend’s best friend greeted M warmly, and we both looked at the both of them asking how they knew each other.  They had known each other since high school, through video games.  M and my fiancé get along well to this day.

There were times that we admitted to each other that we would always deeply care for one another.  Once, one of my professors said that when you truly love someone, you never stop loving them.  You may not love them romantically, but there is a love that you harbor even after the relationship is completely dead.  I understood exactly what she meant because that’s how I felt about M then, and that’s how I feel now.  Even my fiancé has said the same thing.  Prior to me, he had two other long-term girlfriends, one for about six years and the other for almost five.  He said that although he no longer romantically loves them and although he cannot stand his most recent ex-girlfriend, there is still a part of him that cares about them.  That has never upset me, because I still hold that type of love for M in my heart.  At fifteen I never said I loved him because I didn’t know what love was.  The older I got, however, and the more I realized that my feelings for M resembled the feelings I cultivated for my fiancé, the more I accepted that he was my first love at the tender age of fifteen, though I did not realize it then.

He congratulated me on my engagement even though he doesn’t think my fiancé “deserves” me after all of the things my fiancé and I have had to endure.  He has a new girlfriend now, and today, I finally remembered to ask one of my best friends about his new girlfriend since they had worked together.  I asked her if she’s nice, and I mean, genuinely good-hearted and nice.  She said that she is, and that she’s very hard-working and will not take advantage of M the way I always fear women will because he’s kind and quite the hopeless romantic.  I don’t think he’d imagine that I’d prod a friend about his new girlfriend, but there is a part of me that feels very protective of him even though he is in no way mine anymore.  Even if my friend had come back with a negative answer about his new girlfriend, what would I have done with that information anyway?  I just wanted to know that she was as nice as she seems.

I do think that my fiancé and professor are correct.  If you truly love someone, I do not think the love fades.  The romantic, passionate love may fade, but there will always be a remnant of warmth and kindness left behind if the love was real.  I no longer hear “Jamie All Over” and get butterflies in my stomach, but I am reminded of the times M sang it for me, the time we spent together in my bed talking about nothing, the time he picked me up and spun me under the bright Mokuleia stars, and that he loved me when I was fifteen, exceedingly “emo,” chubby, and had braces.  There were times I had sent him provocative photos of myself recently (maybe about two years ago or so), twenty pounds lighter, better hair, no braces, bigger hipster glasses.  I did it just to tease him (and because this was a time I was extremely upset with my boyfriend over his behavior with another woman), but in the back of my head I still remembered that he loved me when I was awkward and fifteen and that the new and improved me didn’t mean much to him – he always saw me as sarcastic and funny with  biting wit, kind when I wanted to be.

I saw Mayday Parade in concert once in 2013, with my fiancé.  M wasn’t able to attend because he was working, but he made one request: “When they play our song, record it for me.”  I did that, and he thanked me for the video.  We no longer have those uncomfortably deep conversations because we are happy where we are.  He’s actually engaged to his new girlfriend – well, fiancée – and they live together and have a cat, just as my fiancé and I live together with our cat and two dogs.

Why am I thinking about this?  Earlier today he sent me a Snapchat in which “Jamie All Over” was blaring in the background.  In my usual Internet speak, I simply replied “All the feels.  Doushite?”  “Doushite” means “why” in Japanese.  He said it came up when he put his phone on shuffle, and that it’s still our “anthem.”  I’m an emotional bulldozer and I’m reckless, and I like to prod at deep memories and feelings that people keep tucked away.  I did this with him on and off for years while we were both in serious relationships, well knowing that had his girlfriend looked through his phone, it would have erupted and been very bad for all of us.  A part of me, the rotten part, kind of hoped she would find them and see how unhappy she had been making him.  To me knowledge, that never happened.  When he mentioned “Jamie All Over” still being our “anthem” after over seven years, the jolt in the wicked part of my brain wanted to keep prodding, knowing that he still cares about me and would talk if I asked or said the right things.  But as I had asked about his girlfriend earlier in the day, feeling that I needed to protect him, I also need to protect him from the person I know I can be when I want to be.  I’m sure she doesn’t know I exist, but I don’t want her to know I exist.  I think that’s what also made our relationship so odd the last time — his girlfriend then knew me, we had many mutual friends, and we saw each other regularly.  I was “the other woman” sometimes during his relationship, if you want to put it in the most vile terms, and I don’t want to be like that at all this time.  I am happy, and I want everything to work for him because he deserves it.  I suppose it’s just nice to know he still keeps some of us tucked away in the back of his head, too.

Dussehra Travels

My whirlwind tour of the Northeast has come to an end and I am back in Delhi.

How was the trip?  Overall, I would not relive the experience, but I would gladly go back to Meghalaya and Sikkim (definitely Sikkim).  Assam produced two bad experiences so I have no desire to go back there.  I will explain.

Initially I was fine going to just Sikkim because that is where I wanted to go because 1) It is really cold there; and 2) I wanted to look for specific bangles there for my mom (which I found).  A — my friend that took me to the Valley of Flowers — threw Meghalaya and Assam into the mix.  When I asked him about the plans, he sent me a cheeky photo that said “the best travels are not planned” or something to that effect.  I thought that’s what it was — that he was being cheeky.  He wasn’t.  Aside from Kaziranga on the first day, we had no plans.  And even that didn’t go through — as soon as we arrived in Guwahati, his friend in Shillong called and said to do Shillong and Cherapunji first because of one reason or another, so we headed for Shillong as soon as we landed.  Did we have plans there?  No.  A kept asking me, “So what do you want to do?” and I kept saying “I don’t know, I’m not the one who planned this part of the trip.”  I just wanted to see the root bridges.  The first day, we took his friend’s motorcycle and went out to Cherapunji with no plans.  We passed Elephant Falls which I wanted to go to, but he said his friend said we could do that on the way back.  “Okay,” I said. We didn’t make it to Elephant Falls because we didn’t head back to Shillong until about 5:00pm after aimlessly driving around trying to find things to do.  We eventually saw Arwah caves (which was a 4/10 at best) and Nohkalikai Falls (which was probably a 3/10).  Needless to say, I was already in a sour mood.  On the second day, we got a cab and did the root bridge (though not the one in Cherapunji), a village, and Dawki Lake.  Dawki was nice but since it had rained, the water wasn’t translucent which is why A picked the lake to begin with.  Later that night upon returning to Shillong, his friend took us to his friend’s house where we danced and sang — that was probably the best part.  But A was the only one who sat out.

After Meghalaya, we passed through Assam again and wasted a day trying to find things to do around Guwahati.  The taxi driver said he would take us to a waterfall and ended up taking us to a waterpark.  Did we have swimming attire?  No.  So we had him take us out of the parking lot.  We went to a Balaji Temple, then stopped by a small dock to take a boat out to a small island to see another temple.  I think that afternoon we took an overnight bus to Darjeeling.

We arrived in Darjeeling at about 6am — after a three-hour ride from Siliguri — and wandered around looking for a hotel.  Another thing I love, just love about A (can you hear the sarcasm?) is that he doesn’t book hotels ahead of time — he’ll wait until we’re there and then look for one.  Not smart.  We finally found one, and it was a crappy room for 1,700.  It smelled like wet cloth and mold.  The only plus was that I was able to get hot water for my shower.  A doesn’t get why I need to take a shower every day “even in the mountains” because it’s “so cold” up there.  I’ll complain more about this thought process later.  After a short nap, we woke up at 12:00pm and again, A said “What do you want to do?” and I said, “I don’t know, because you picked Darjeeling too.  I said we could have bypassed it but you wanted to come here.”  He was a bit taken aback by this statement since I was so soft-spoken the two other times we had spent time together (each about four days in length) but this is what happens when someone irritates me.  Anyway, we wandered around outside and first ate.  After, he asked again: “What do you want to do?” to which I said, “I already said I don’t know.  You choose since you picked Darjeeling.”  We eventually got a taxi and went to the zoo.  After the zoo, we went to a tea estate where I bought eight bags of green tea for people back home.  After that, since he had seen a rock climbing set up on the way to the tea estate, and since he is into mountaineering and such, A wanted to stop there.  He paid Rs. 100 (I think) to scale a rock in about thirty seconds, take photos of the view, and come back down.  When he arrived at the bottom, he said “I thought it would have been more fun” and I said, “It’s a tourist set up, of course it won’t be intense.”  We left Darjeeling for Sikkim that evening.

By some miracle, A had a friend book a hotel in Gangtok so we were set up that evening.  The next day we had planned Tsomgo and another lake but right as we were leaving, we were informed that in order for a foreigner to go to Tsomgo, they needed to be with at least another foreigner.  That didn’t (and doesn’t) make sense to me because I’m not sure why you would want more foreigners in a border area.  Since that plan was shot, the taxi driver that brought us to Sikkim ended up taking us to small waterfall (Lhasa) and Rumtek monastery.  The second day in Sikkim, we again had no plans.  A kept dogging me about it, asking “What do you want to do?” and I said, “You know, I told you to plan and you didn’t.  And now we have no plans.  I’m honestly fine staying in the hotel and reading my book and relaxing.  I wanted to come to Sikkim for the bangles and to relax, and I’m fine doing that.”  And he retorted, in some astonishment, “All day?” and I said, “Yes.  All day.  I’m fine doing that all day.  Sikkim is the place I actually wanted to go to.  I wanted to come here — Sikkim was my main destination.  You picked Darjeeling, Meghalaya, and Assam without plans, not me.  I’m in Sikkim to relax.”  After walking around Gangtok a bit more and finally finding the bangle for my mom (a bangle of various metals roped together, with silver dragon heads at the end – my host mom told me it’s a Sikkim speciality) he asked me again, “What do you want to do now that you have the bangle?” and I said “I’m fine relaxing, I said that already” and I just stood there staring off.  He went off to a tourist office to find things to do, and just then a man crept around my shoulder (not creepy like I’m making it sound) and said, “Kahan ja rahi hai?” and I said, “Uh…” and right then, A came back and decided we’d go to South Sikkim.  They (the man who approached me, and his two companions – a man and woman) were going to West Sikkim and offered to take us for only Rs. 500.  We ended up going all the way to West Sikkim with them, and on the way stopped at another tea estate.  They were all Nepali and ended up being my favorite people we had encountered.  The woman was particularly sweet and we ended up exchanging numbers and taking countless selfies (I’m surprised that the selfie culture is bigger here than in the US!).  We made one stop in South Sikkim and it happened to be the place I wanted to visit: Tathagata Tsal.  We reached Pelling at about 7:30pm or so and had dinner near the hotel.  A drinks regularly and had a bottle of whisky in his jacket which he needed to drink outside of the main restaurant and at the bar on the deck; to this, the woman (N), said “Do you drink?” and I said “Very rarely, usually only on special occasions” and she said, “Drinking is very bad!  No?  I think A is drinking outside” and I found that very cute and endearing for some reason.

Pelling was my favorite part of the trip.  It wasn’t A’s cup of tea since it was mine — relaxing.  The night we arrived, I asked a hotel employee, “Garami pani hai?  Shower ke liye?”  He smiled a lot and said yes, and I thought it was because he and N were talking about how surprising it was that I knew Hindi, considering I was from America and not Nagaland as they had both thought upon meeting me.  Later that night, I had issues with my tv so the same guy came up (“B,” from now on).  As he fixed my tv,  he asked how I was liking Sikkim and I said I absolutely loved it (I did and do).  He eventually said, “You should stay.  You should marry someone in Sikkim in stay!” and I was like “I wish I could!”  The next morning, I went looking for breakfast and B walked me to a restaurant where I gorged on four slices of toast, a masala omelette, and chai.  After that, A asked if I wanted to eat and I spitefully said I had already eaten.  He wanted to see the monastery and Rabdanste nearby, so we did that.  He went to have lunch and I went off on my own to explore Pelling.  When I returned later in the day, I went straight into my room and watched tv, doodled in my notebook, and just lied in bed eating apples I had purchased earlier in the day.  It was amazing.  To be polite, I asked A if he wanted to grab dinner with me and I eventually knocked on his door when he didn’t answer my message.  He was sleeping.  I had thentuk (delicious) and Tibetan bread.  The bread was a breakfast item but since I had asked about it anyway, the server said “We aren’t serving it anymore, but I’ll have them make it for you.”  I apologetically (truly, and multiple times) kept saying no and that it was okay, and that I could do without the bread but in the end, I had a feast of egg thenthuk, Tibetan bread, and ginger honey lemon tea on a cold, rainy Sikkim evening.  Of course A got back to me midway through my meal.  I walked back to the hotel in the rain, bought more apples, and spent my night eating apples, watching more tv, and doodling.  Lovely!  Absolutely lovely.  Pelling was my favorite.

The next day I went looking for breakfast again and B was smiling at me from the counter.  I didn’t think anything of him until he asked me about Facebook and then for my phone number.  That’s why he was all smiles!  But I’m a foreigner, so I’m not sure why he asked anyway.  Since I’m a foreigner and will never see him again, I did give him my Facebook information (showing I’m engaged, vomiting photos of me and my fiancé and our small family of two dogs and a kitten) and number (Delhi number).  A and I barely talked all morning and we sat across each other, me eating my aloo parathas and him drinking his chai, not saying anything.  He knew I was and had been upset, and I did not care.  To this, my fiancé said I should have been more forgiving, but I’m convinced he only said this because as my fiancé, he knows how b*tchy I can be when I get into my moods, but I’m not sure why A wouldn’t think I was serious when I said I wanted plans.  He runs a company that’s basically that — he takes people (locals and foreigners) on day- or week-long treks that include extensive planning, sometimes going on planes, etc., and so I expected him to be good about this.  He was not, and I did not and do not feel bad about my cold demeanor, especially since this mess of a trip ended up costing me about Rs. 20,000.  Anyway, then we left for Siliguri — or so we thought.  It was impossible to get a taxi from Jorenthang to Siliguri so we ended up taking a private cab.  We were supposed to have arrived in Guwahati at about 6:00pm.  Due to multiple jams, we only arrived in Siliguri at 8:30pm and needed to pay (well me, since A ran out of money) Rs. 14,500 for a private cab to Guwahati since our flight was the next day (today).  We reached Guwahati at 6:00am and that was that, and now I’m finally back in Delhi.

When we got the hotel in Guwahati this morning, I asked if we were getting separate rooms.  In an irritated manner, A said “Why?  Why do you insist on two rooms only for a few hours?” and I sighed and said “Whatever just one then.”  Why did I insist on two different rooms the entire trip?  Let my ranting begin:

A is a pig.  When he hung out in my rooms the time we were together for VoF, he basically trashed my rooms.  He would smoke and get his ashes everywhere and not clean them up, and then he would leave the butts everywhere.  The time I went down to his room to use the washroom right before we left Ghangaria, there were cigarette butts and ashes all over his room and cigarette butts floating in his toilet.  And this is at the hotel of someone he knows.  He knew the owners of all the hotels we stayed at and still disrespected their rooms.  I also don’t smoke, so his smoking in general was irritating to me.  Secondly, he likes to talk a lot.  I don’t.  I like to relax by myself, especially at night.  So obviously, the separate room was good for this.  Lastly, as I had mentioned before, he doesn’t see the need to take a shower in the mountains since it’s cold.  I do not think he took a shower at all since we left Shillong — that’s about six days of no showers.  By the time we reached Pelling he had a smell resembling wet clothes and sweat (plus his cigarette smoke).  I do not want to share an enclosed space with someone who smells.  Today, the smell was even stronger and even as we sat on opposite ends of the room, I could smell him in our Guwahati hotel room.  I am not even joking.  I am a very clean person and I need to shower every day, no matter what.  If I go to the gym in the morning, I’ll take a full shower then — soap, shampoo, conditioner — and I’ll take another full shower in the evening before bed.  I don’t care if it’s cold — a daily shower is a minimum for me.  Any time he walked by, I would hold my breath because I could not handle the smell.  Needless to say, sitting together on the plane ride back was near torturous and anytime he made any slight movement, the smell grew stronger.  Again my fiancé said I needed to be more forgiving, but again I said, “No, you do not understand.  It’s been nine days of this.”  A is also a bad listener.  In Gangtok, our cab driver dropped us off at Lal Market and said that for us to get back to our hotel, we needed to walk “upar aur uske baad, right” meaning, on to MG Marg and right.  When we went up, A kept asking me where to go.  I said, “He said up and right.  We went up, so now we need to go right.”  He kept asking, “Are you sure?  Do you know where we’re going?” and again I said, “He said ‘up and after that, go right’ and that’s what I’m doing.”  Again he asked, and I finally said “Were you listening to him as he spoke or not?  What did he say?  He said ‘up and right,’ didn’t he?” and he said “Oh yes, yes, I guess, yes…” and even after that, he called the hotel and asked for directions and said “Yes, we are going the right way” and I rolled my eyes so hard I thought they were going to fall out of my head.  A bunch of things like this just boiled over nine days and I don’t think I’ll be seeing A again before I leave.

Anyway…I’m glad to be back in Delhi (e.g., familiarity).  I really, truly loved Sikkim, though.  When I come back to India, I’m definitely spending a fair amount of time there.

Progress…

Initially I started this Word Press as a way to talk about very personal things, like the anxiety, depression, and eating disorder I had been dealing with.  I tried to avoid using names of places or people, or showing my face, in order to avoid being identified should any of my friends – by some miracle – stumble upon this.

For the most part, I am doing a lot better.  My anxiety and depression are minimal now because: 1) my stressor is gone and 2) two and a half years of psychotherapy has really helped me.  I was taking Lexapro for about a year and a half (off and on, mostly because I’d forget).  There were times I did the bad thing that patients shouldn’t do and I’d take myself off because I thought I was doing better.  I’ve started taking it again just as a precaution by my therapist because I was really struggling here in India. A major stressor for me is lack of control, which, obviously, was something I needed to deal with here upon my arrival.  He and my fiance coordinated with each other to send my Lexapro and Xanax here.

I used to shut off completely sometimes because I couldn’t stop thinking.  It’s so tiring.  It nearly ruined my relationship on countless occasions.  I thought I was crazy and a terrible significant other but my therapist would tell me that because I recognized that what I was doing was wrong and felt remorse and shame (dumb things like going through my SO’s phone and computer, though for good reason, which I will not discuss here…), I wasn’t a bad person.  I was just trapped.  There were times I would need to bring myself back from the brink of crying at my desk at work.  At the time I was a receptionist at my work place so if I cried, someone would notice.  The worst time was probably 2014 – 2015 when I went through a really bad cutting phase.  Not all of them scarred, but there are 17 on my legs alone and three more on my arm.  One of the cuts on my arm, near my shoulder, badly keloided and I’ve just people that I cut my arm on a fence (somewhat believable since Hawaii has a lot of chainlink fences).  One episode was particularly bad that I called my therapist on the phone crying.  He said to come in and I said, “No I can’t today – I have to go to work in an hour.  I can’t call in now” and I went the next day.  My anxiety and depression kept me from going to India when I first decided I wanted to – and look, now I’m here, near thriving.

My fiance deserves a lot of praise for sticking with me.  I was very difficult to be with.  I was either really sweet or really terrible.  I accused him left and right of things and whenever I did propose that we end our relationship (whether I was sad, upset, or just apathetic) he would say, “Why?  Because you think you’re crazy?  Because you go through my things?  I don’t care.  I know how much you love me, I just know you get scared.  I don’t know how to fix it and I don’t know how to make you happy, but I’ll keep trying until you’re happy.”  On some occasions he’d sprinkle in, “I don’t understand your anxiety or depression and I don’t know how to make it better, but I’ll keep trying.  I know you think you’re making life harder for me but you aren’t, and I don’t want you to be alone during this.”  Every time we fought, even if it was my fault and even if he would muster up some sharp retorts for me, in the end, he would always motion for me to snuggle into his chest and he would say those kinds of things to me.  He’s the crazy one for wanting to marry me after all of that.

I look at old pictures of us sometimes (we’ve been together for 5+ years) and the photos that I like the most of myself are from the times I was the sickest, roughly 2012 – 2014.  During that time I was probably purging about 3 – 5 times a day no matter what I had eaten.  Pizza, doughnuts, chips, etc are the obvious ones.  But then I’d even purge salad, cereal, and yogurt.  But I was so thin and even now, it makes me sad that I don’t look like that anymore.  I’m not much heavier, but I just looked very different.  But I constantly remind myself that I wasn’t happy during that time and I could barely eat without feeling the need to throw up shortly after, and that is no way to live.  My mother had asked me about it once and I lied profusely.  She said I was too skinny and that my arms and shoulders looked like bones; I had dark circles under my eyes.  My biggest slip up was that I wouldn’t wait long enough before running to the restroom after eating.  She doesn’t think that I’d be weak enough for an eating disorder so she took my word.  My mom is a strong person, as are her sisters and my cousins, so she even had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that I am seeing a shrink.  But to be fair, I hid it from her for almost a year and a half and she only found out because she was nice and paid one of my bills, but under treatment was listed “psychotherapy.”  Of course she had questions.  My mother does not know I had an eating disorder for 5+ years.  My boyfriend knows, but I told him I was better in 2012 (only a year after it started).  The only other people who know are my therapist and best friend.

Before coming to India, I of course needed to submit paperwork for my health.  My records indicated that I had been seeing a psychiatrist, and I was a bit unnerved about that because my advisor would see those records and I hadn’t divulged to him that I had any mental health issues, despite how close we were.  One question asked, “Has the patient ever suffered from an eating disorder?”  The thing is, my general practitioner filled out these forms because he was the one who had to conduct the physical.  He didn’t know I had been seeking treatment for an eating disorder in addition to the anxiety and depression, so he just quickly checked “No.”  Up until the day of my physical, I had been thinking really hard about what I would do with that box.  I knew the eating disorder would challenge me here.  I don’t run to the bathroom to purge after every meal anymore and I haven’t since about May or June, but it’s so difficult.  I’m terrified of gaining weight.  I joined a gym near my home but this isn’t helping much either because although it is off-setting the desire to purge, I work out a lot more than I used to.  I go at least four times a week and stay for at least two hours each time, and for the rest of the day try to eat very little.  This obviously has repercussions the next day because I am tired during my workout and need to work harder.  I tell myself, “if you work out now you can eat whatever you want” but once I’m done, I don’t want to un-do the work I did so I try to stick only to eggs, fruits, and vegetables.  At dinner I always only allot myself one roti, maybe a tablespoon of rice, and the rest, I fill up on some dal but mostly veggies.  I recognize what is happening, because it happened before.  When I was my thinnest, between 2013 – 2014, it was because I was exercising a lot (I’d be on the verge of tears if I missed a run or work out) and on a very strict diet (i.e., barely eating and still purging).  But I miss that body so much, and I have to constantly remind myself that I was not happy.  I was thinner, but I was not happy.

I feel my body getting stronger, though.  Like I said, I’m barely heavier than I was at my thinnest, but it’s showing in different ways.  My arms aren’t as skinny, but they’re more toned.  The same goes for my legs.  Before, I just used to run and do some strength training.  Now I mostly do strength training with anywhere from 20 – 40 minutes of running.

My point is, despite all the trials I needed to go through to get here, I am happy where I am.  I try to avoid looking at old pictures of myself.  I’m usually able to make jokes about myself gaining weight.  I gained a lot of weight last semester — 10lbs! — because it was my last semester of undergraduate study and I was writing my senior thesis (27 pages on wartime Japan, “ultra-nationalism,” censorship, and oral histories from World War II) and applying for scholarships for India.  It was a fair trade though – I traded a lot of my workout time for my first ever 4.0 (it had always eluded me, and I usually ended semesters with a 3.7 or 3.8 or so).

Anyway…I doubt anyone reading this is also dealing with similar issues but if you are, don’t be afraid to seek help.  I put it off for five years.  And even a year into therapy, I would often lie to my therapist or stop talking just because I no longer felt like talking.  That’s obviously quite detrimental to psychotherapy.  It’s nothing to be embarrassed about and if people around you make you feel bad about it, those aren’t people you should be around.