Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Will Live with Empty Pockets

I've probably mentioned before that I own a bowl and a plate. One of each. No more, no less. I am only one person and I rarely have visitors. When I do, I offer them their preferred dish and take the remaining one. I try to live off of as little as I can. I may be truly settled here, nearing the end of my first year, but I like to feel like should I need to, I could pack my life into two suitcases again and leave behind whatever doesn't fit. I like to think that nothing in my world is irreplaceable. But when it comes to clothes, I'm rather picky. I don't shop a lot; I don't own a lot. I don't feel the need to get new things all the time. I've been sleeping in the same shirts since first year of college. When my old Saucony's were finally put out to pasture this spring, after six years of love, I wanted the same ones to replace them. For the things that wear out, I try to stick with classics in hopes that the company will just continue to make the same. This generally works with tank tops and shoes, but for other things, it's harder. Short of buying all of my clothes from Lands End or L. L. Bean, shops where time seems to stand still, I would have a problem if I replaced my worn-out clothing with identical pieces seven years later.
A few weeks ago, I came home on a Saturday morning to realize that I had lost my jacket sometime on Friday night. This jacket was not classic. It was from Target a few years ago and certainly would not be something I could find again. I was devastated. So much for my simple living, not forming attachments with objects. I really freakin' liked that jacket. Luckily, my jacket was found unharmed at a friend's flat. But I was really careful when I got dressed the next Friday. Nothing irreplaceable, nothing irreplaceable! repeated in my head. I put on a tank top which I felt fairly certain I wouldn't lose as I had no intention of taking it off. Next came a waffle shirt. This particular waffle shirt has a paint stain from when I was painting a pair of shoes when I was fourteen. That makes it about ten years old. Oh wait, it was actually a hand-me-down from my older sister. I have no strong feelings for this shirt, it just seems to stick around because of its practical nature. Waffles are replaceable. I then went to choose a scarf. At first, I assumed that the scarf I just spent a week knitting was a bad idea. But then it came to me: If I make it, it is incredibly replaceable. While the yarn might not always be the same, if I found the pattern once, I can probably find it again. If I make everything, I can always replace anything that is lost or worn out. So, for everything for which this is practical, this is the plan. Make everything myself. If it doesn't fit in a suitcase at some point, the pattern will always be out there somewhere. Nothing irreplaceable, nothing irreplaceable!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

10th Anniversary

When I hang out with any queer friends, we always end up comparing Coming Out Stories. It's so cliché and you know that it's too cliché to talk about, but it's also impossible to resist. Trading our stories becomes more interesting when we are from such vastly different backgrounds. We were talking at a barbecue last week about coming out, trying to describe how our different (Czech/Vietnamese/American) communities handled it. I asked a friend what is the typical Czech response and it seemed to be fairly similar to the American response. Most parents want to say, "As long as you are happy, I am happy" and usually do, but how much they truly believe that is up for debate.

I feel like I've become really wrapped up in telling and learning coming out stories lately because this month is the 10th anniversary of my coming out. They story isn't big. Coming to terms with being a big homo wasn't something that distressed me in adolescence. It was more like, "Well, I guess I like girls." I told my friends and one friend told her boyfriend who worked with my mom. He told her and she confronted me about it. I told her I was bisexual and left it at that. While she didn't immediately form a chapter of PFLAG in my hometown, she didn't seem to mind. It took another year and a half for the final clarification of my homosexuality and her total acceptance. But since then, she's certainly been the ideal mom of a homo. She's never trivialized my relationships and holds my girlfriends to the same standards that she holds my sisters' boyfriends. She never lets a homophobic remark slide and takes every opportunity to tell me how proud she is of me. So, on this big anniversary, I am celebrating love and acceptance. I am remembering to always be thankful for the wonderful lady who birthed me and has supported me ever since. Thanks, Mom!