To know is to love. To love is to act.
To know is to love. To love is to act.
He leaves, I sit. I leave, they sit.
Such is life.
I turn on the bathroom light and lean against the counter, placing my self once again under scrutiny. And I crinkle my nose and purse my lips and form all manner of funny faces in the mirror.
I’ve always wanted to grow a mustache. Alas, the only thing I can grow is the reverse-hitler – two scratchy points on either side of my nose, with a bare gap in between. At best, it looks like a pitiful attempt at Fu Manchu, without the goatee. At worst, it looks dirty. I tried growing it out once.
Once. It was a disaster.
Oh great divide. I dub thee No Man’s Land, for thou are truly barren and devoid of life. All quiet on the middle front, captain.
I check up on it every so often. It’s a weird game of connect the dots I play, only instead of dots they’re hairs, and instead of a game, it is my life. It helps to pass the time. A while back, I thought it would be a great idea to expedite the growing process; I tried rubbing Rogaine on the bare gap once.
Once. It was a disaster.
Perhaps God, when he designed me, placed the hair follicles for the gap two millimeters too high, because it’s the nose hairs that grow in bunches. And like the bushes they are, they require trimming frequently. I dare not say how frequently. It’s quite bothersome, really.
Of course, I don’t think God gave me enough hair follicles anyway, for that matter.
It doesn’t help that I work alongside big, white men with bushy mustaches of their own. For reasons beyond my knowledge, it seems that great firefighters must have mustaches. So in effect, all aspiring firefighters, i.e. EMT’s and ambulance crews, grow their own. Big ones. Thick ones. Mustaches that look like caterpillars across the lip. And then there’s me. Asian me. Sometimes I wear a fake mustache to work. Walking down the hospital ward, gurney in tow, I pass puzzled looks, and while some people stare away, too polite to ask if it is real or not, there are those who laugh out loud, asking – with conviction – Why do I have that thing on my face? On occasion I reply that it’s a test of confidence. Oftentimes I say its for laughs, which it is, honestly, because I get the nurses to laugh, and the patients to laugh, and the doctors never laugh, because they never notice, because they’re too busy doing their doctor business and have no time for such nonsense. But in all honesty, I wear a mustache to work because sometimes I feel naked without it. So what can I do?
I’ve got to fake it till I make it.
I’ve attached too much masculinity to the mustache. Not just physical masculinity, but spiritual masculinity as well. I like to believe that all men of God had hairy faces. David, surely. Samson? Hell yes. Jacob as well. Esau’s a no-brainer. Jesus? Every western portrayal of Jesus Christ depicts a man with a sharp, long nose implanted above a perfectly trimmed beard. So this idea has been imprinted on me that spiritual men grow beards, which are mustaches with extra features. Spiritual growth will manifest itself on my face. Strange idea, but it’s stuck.
And so I stand in front of the mirror every so often, making weird faces, scrutinizing for any “new buds.” And I see a few, and get excited, because I’m that much closer to a mustache, and that much closer to spiritual closeness with God. Because aside from thinking manly thoughts, the only thing I can do is grow in all other aspects of my life, and wait quietly upon God to “fill in the gaps.” And I happily hum as I imagine what it will feel like when those two sides close and I am complete and I am Adolf reverse-Hitler no more.
And then I trim my nose hairs, because it’s been a day.
Because, i think, in the end of my life, trying to become batman seems like a great side project to have pursued.
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Her name was Stacy, but she went by Lucas. Her partner lay on the gurney, unmoved by their presence, mostly because of the dilaudid. Lucas broke the silence with a book recommendation, and although he was tired, he reciprocated. It was bumpy, but even without the potholes, he would have swayed in fatigue, his body lacking in presence and his eyes pulsing. Something stirred, and casual chat led to pleasant conversation as they drove back against the rising sun.
It was a summer day, and he was seated not five feet from me, nestled in one of those hard, knobbly chairs that simultaneously supports and confines. His back was straight, making contact with all points on the frame of his seat, giving him an air of dignified, postured presence. I was slouching.
He was reading a Wolverine comic book, and had a way of balancing the open book on his right palm while massaging his neck with his left, all the while turning his head as he scanned the page. I was reading Batman. The book was in my lap, but I was really just waiting for a text.
In a parallel place, we could have been friends.
He was wearing a maroon shirt with “HAHVAHD” boldly strewn across the chest. I thought about my grey/green Dartmouth t-shirt, sweaty and smelly and probably stuffed somewhere in my drawer. Or hamper.
In another world, we may have been rivals.
His dark hair matched mine, and his complexion made me think twice about both his ethnicity and mine. In another place, we could possibly have passed as brothers.
He looked up, our eyes met, then we fell back on our own devices; I got the text I was waiting for. Minutes later, I stood up, packed my things, returned the book to the shelf, and left, never to see him again.
I may not be able to change what happened to my ten year old self, but I can become the man that sure has hell would have saved him.
So it goes.
I am loath to write in my tumblr because I had long held the belief that every piece of written work is a performance. I couldn’t bear the idea of writing something that wasn’t at least half thought out or revised, so oftentimes I let ideas and thoughts wither away, under spell of the “all-or-none” mentality.
Now I realize how dumb that was. This is my own blog, I can do as I please. I could even finish a post mid-sentence, if I wanted. The choice is mi
The concept is simple. We have comfort zones wherever we go: those small, day-to-day moments where we hesitate and freeze up, and roll with what we feel is most comfortable.
We are programmed to accommodate the default setting of comfort.
Yet, it’s the little things we do that define our habits and lifestyles.
Step one: Identify your comfort zone.
Do you like to spend a lot of time on the internet, like I do? Put it down. Prefer not to talk to strangers? Write it down. Identifying your comfort zone is the first step.
Step two: Step out.
How do you get out of your comfort zone? One step at a time. A simple task, a simple measure, a simple reminder that you can actively try to step out. Write down a small action to accomplish. Afraid of talking to strangers? Maybe you can try and greet someone you don’t know. Write it down.
Step Three: Finish and sign.
Congrats! You did it! You’re one step closer to conquering your comfort zones! Hold onto the card, and watch as you accumulate more and more “mini achievements!”
Example: Andrew needs to get off the internet!
The more you step out, the more you get to pat yourself on the back and feel good about the small steps you are taking. Good for you. Store them, display them, put them in a bullet-proof case! They’re your cards, your signs of not-comfortness.
If you guys want to try it out, feel free to send me a message. Something along the lines of “Hey Andrew! That sounds really cool! Send me some cards so I can get started!” I’ll send you a bunch, for FREE, and get you started! Good luck! :]
"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." - Neale Donald Walsch