10 May 2017: It is 12:05 AM…

It’s 12:05 AM on an early Wednesday morning and I’m lying down on the living room sofa with Seinfeld playing on the 60″ television in front of me. Moments before, I witnessed Manu Ginobili and the Spurs beat James Harden and the Rockets in OT in what was an exciting game to get a 3-2 series lead in the second round. My girlfriend is asleep on an adjacent sofa which could’ve held my entire body comfortably. Damn her! My feet rest over the soft armchair as the whole length of my body is too long for this piece of furniture. I’m not going to have a good night sleep perhaps as I’m unable to straighten out my legs, but it’s temporary as I continue to renovate my living space which is turning out to be… nice. Better than before. Because before, the walls were covered in this hideous popcorn paint that made the room appear smaller, and the laminate flooring had gaps in between as the previous installer (my father who doesn’t have attention to detail) failed to properly install them. And under the laminate floor was an entire sheet of this dirty and dusty foam that was rough and multi-colored, as if it were originally part of some cheap piece of furniture that was just thrown in under in a poor attempt to level out an extremely uneven concrete subfloor. And the mold! For nearly six months, I had been living on top of mold! Am I going to die?

It’s almost over, but man, all the physical work I’ve been doing in the past two and a half months has been too much. I learned a lot, mostly about fixing an uneven concrete subfloor. I learned the hard way though. The people in Home Depot led us to waste hundreds of dollars and days of work when I could’ve used a self-leveling compound! A self-leveling compound!

“Trust the professionals at the Home Depot!” My fat rear.

Instead, we were directed to use at least half a dozen bags of Portland cement, each weighing nearly 100 lbs, and bags of sand and gravel. My buddy and I then spent a week applying it all over a 20′ by 12′ concrete subfloor. Then, I had to borrow a tiny angle grinder from a neighbor to level it all out. What a waste of time and energy! And I was intensely sick with a fever doing all this hard work! Was it the mold?!

If there is going to be a next time, I will know about self-leveling compound. I’ll have the money to afford renting a 150 lb floor grinder if I need it. Or I could just hire a real contractor because my buddy isn’t a real one. And, like my father but not as much, he lacks meticulousness! The help he has provided, however, has been invaluable and much appreciated.

I did this all for my girlfriend, by the way. You’re welcome.

23 February 2017: “I Have an Anal Fissure!”

raw

“I have hemorrhoids!”

Thank you to the hilarious Michael Scott of The Office, played by Steve Carell, for speaking out about his rather embarrassing affliction. (Although, he yelled it out in the middle of the woods where nobody can hear him.)

Upon further research, I’ve concluded that I’ve been experiencing an anal fissure. What am I? A doctor? No. How do I know this? During defecation, there’s sharp pain, and stinging afterwards, sometimes for the rest of the day. And there’s fresh blood in my stool, something that has been a childhood fear of mine, but something I’ve gotten used to with exposure.

This is a little embarrassing to talk about, but I’ve realized, after talking with colleagues and family, that it’s common. “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who need it.” So I hope this will help others out there because I honestly thought I was going to die. There was so much malaise. A colleague said to be careful because it could become something else, like cancer. It’s a pessimistic outlook, but she’s a cancer survivor.

Pain from my anal fissure had been occurring since January 9th, the day I left for the Philippines. It occurred before that day even, but since that particular day, it hadn’t really stopped. It subsided overseas for a little while, when I had traveler’s diarrhea, but it recurred when my stool returned to normal. Even when the stool was soft, there was pain and bleeding. The last few days in the Philippines were torture and I was frightened to go to the toilet in the airport at Taipei during a 13-hour stopover because there was still stinging from the last defecation.

I kept holding off defecation because I wanted time to heal, but this was the wrong idea. When you have to go, you have to do so right away because the stool will harden when it stays too long in the rectum.

After talking with others and doing my own research online, I’ve discovered other remedies that helped. They are no-brainers.

I used to watch constipation commercials on television and snide about how people need to take pills for constipation, when, in my mind, all you have to do is drink water. (My view has since changed after my father went on dialysis and now sometimes requires pills to pass stool.) But water has been a key to (hopefully) curing my anal fissure. I don’t just drink the recommended eight glasses a day. I drink ten just to be sure. But what goes hand in hand, the most important key to my improvement, has been fiber. It has helped things move along smoothly. I bought Benefiber and drink 10 grams of fiber in the evening because my usual time to go to the toilet is in the morning. You get fiber from fruits and vegetables as well.

I researched posture while sitting on the toilet and found a Youtube video that helped. I used to perform the squat position, but squatting on the toilet made it hard to relax since it’s physically demanding. The first time I sat on the toilet with legs spread wide, torso hunched forward, and myself humming deeply, the first time I defecated pain-free for the first time in a month. Thank God. No more planning to go see a doctor.

My manager gave me additional advice so it’s best to open up because there might be some good advice to be heard. She drinks warm water (not hot, not cold) in the morning with her coffee. From my understanding, the warm water in the morning provides a boost for the digestive system and the coffee serves as a laxative. She also convinced me to change. You have to make changes in your life to get better.

What else? I said you have to go right away when you feel like it to prevent stool from hardening in the rectum, to drink water, to get enough fiber, and to find a posture on the toilet to help things open up and pass smoothly. So what else?

Consistency. If I miss one day without enough water, the pain and blood returns. No fiber leads to constipation. The pain and blood returns. Not relaxing while defecation? Pain. Blood. Returns. Ouch.

What else? I was just talking about what has worked for me, but I read exercise helps. There’s also going to a doctor. But I’m 26. I hope I don’t have to go to a doctor for this. At least not for a while. Not until I’m 50, which is the age recommended to have regular colonoscopies. I’m too young for this!

Do I have to go to the toilet now? Oh, c’mon! I’m on campus! I hate doing it in public! I think I’ll let it wait until I get home. It’s that damn fiber I chugged down last night. It wants out. Am I being disgusting? Was reading this disgusting? I’m really sorry. But this is reality. And I’m trying to help and offer advice to the world. Has it been helpful? I don’t know. It has for me! Sometimes… when I’m consistent. I’m not a spokesman for Benefiber who’s trying to sell! Well, I’m a man speaking out about how it has helped me! What am I talking about? Should I end this post now? I think I want to write more! This is my way of showing that I want to write more: when I just type away what’s at the top of my head. Okay! Enough!

Cheers.

A Quote about a Young Mind

“A young mind is out of control.”

Today, I had an engaging conversation with my manager who’s been someone like a mother to me. Despite our rough beginnings and her volatile personality, I’m happy to have her in my life and I enjoy her presence, most especially (don’t say anything), when she’s in a pleasant mood.

We were talking about people who could be mentally unstable. I’m not saying names. People who get angry easily, who have no control of their emotions, who gossip, who listen to stories and peoples’ problems and spew what was heard back around with their own spin. She’s been victimized in the past so I understand her.

She’s sometimes crazy herself.

Maybe not so much.

A few minutes earlier, a customer threw a tantrum and threatened to “knock [my] head off [my] shoulders” (which is impossible because I have a big head). The anger! The sheer rage he expressed! (I can’t go into details right now about what I do for a living, but I don’t sell crystal meth to children.)

I think I had control in a potentially dangerous situation. In the past, I’d experienced this thing where things would go blurry while in the moment. I’d be overwhelmed with emotions – fear, anger, confusion, fight, flight – and then, I wouldn’t be in the situation. Like brain fog. Like being in the fog of war. Then, my body would tense up, I’d grind my teeth and get so angry inside, and my day would be ruined after much rumination.

But this customer – not even a customer! –  tantrumed as if he were a child. A grown man. My manager interceded. “Okay, enough,” she repeated about half a dozen times.

“Don’t talk to me like you’re my mother!” The angry man yelled. Maybe he has mommy issues.

“Enough!” My manager yelled with sheer authority and a sense of finality that silenced the angry man with mommy issues. Hey! She’s my mommy! Get your own!

But I remembered being in the moment. There was no fog of war. My breathing was calm. So this is how clutch people… well… deliver in the clutch! The moment doesn’t get to them. And his scowling face, my customer’s indisposed and not-in-the-mood (what’s the word for it?) face, the entire moment… was crystal clear. No fear. No anger. I was in control.

He obviously wasn’t.

Since it’s unrelated to the incident, I forgot the context of the quote, but I said it to a co-worker who I’m training an hour afterwards and, for some reason, it sounded cool at the time. “That’s going on my blog!” I told her. She’s eight years younger than I am and ever since naming her my “protege”, her job performance has improved. Because you have to pass down wisdom to those younger like what my “mother” does with me. My trainee’s response?

“Tumblr.”

“Nope! WordPress!”

Now, that moment is gone and its true meaning is forgotten. Such a quote could mean anything in different situations.

What does it mean right now in time?

Maturity.

3 February 2017: Meditation Session

Clear the mind.

Breathe in and out.

Focus.

…Without being bothered by Haley’s piercing meows to leave the room. To head to the litter perhaps?

…Without thinking about how loud my mother’s voice is while she speaks to another cat like a baby. Her voice really is loud. A consequence of getting old and deaf?

…Without being seduced by the aroma of cooking. Longaniza. Hopefully garlic rice. I haven’t had a proper breakfast today. Popcorn and coffee with whey isn’t enough.

…Without feeling impatient to immerse myself back in Skyrim. I have a lot to do, such as securing the road between Helgen and Falkreath and clearing out some caves along the way.

…Without feeling anxious to call work back. They have the nerve to call me now that they need me. It’s not the fault of the person who’s calling. It’s the nature of the business.

…Without feeling anxious about an oddity in my Degree Works that states I have 43 credits, when I actually have 46. 45 credits is needed to graduate. And I will graduate.

…Without remembering that reading has to be done for Professor Weir’s class.

…Without discomfort building in my neck. Moving it up gives relief.

…Without losing patience that I might be wasting my time. I’m not. This is for anxiety. Hopefully, for my IQ as well.

Eyes open.

It’s been under two minutes. This session is over.

There’s a need for improvement.

1 February 2017: Back to School

It’s 10:52 AM and I’m on the fifth floor of the Queens College Library, sitting at a desk that’s beside a floor-to-ceiling window looking down into the second floor sitting area. I can see four people from up here and they’re busy: lying on a couch, sitting at a desk, reading, sleeping. It’s the first week of classes so the library is quiet; loads of empty seats to make an introvert like me quite happy. I realize my opening sentence was a bit long, and I’m trying to write long, purposeful sentences. That and descriptive writing.

The hole into the second floor isn’t as interesting as the view outside. It’s a beautiful day back in New York City after a three-week vacation in the Philippines. Not too chilly here. Not bad a transition back home, except for the jet lag that kept me from attending the first day of class. The professor knows me from last semester and (I don’t know if he realizes) I missed about half his classes because of… anxiety. People like me shy away from people like him (talkative), but whenever I go to his class, and be social, it’s a huge success to me, and I reward myself by skipping the next class. It’s stupid and self-defeating, and I intend on changing this flaw about myself. I’m going to have to.

Gray smoke rises out from a chimney on the roof of the building next door. It disappears into the air, looking as if it’s being drawn out by the wind. I think that building is the dorm. From this spot, I can’t judge which building it is. Definitely a campus building though. My sense of direction is horrible.

This morning was the first time in three weeks I drove a car. Manila is known for having the worst traffic in the world, and I witnessed it first hand. First thing is there’s too many cars. Too much congestion. Cars don’t signal. I’d be angry all the time if I drove there because I believe that signaling is important. In fact, I believe that if people don’t know how to signal in this country, they should be fined. I think we should also do away with tinted windows so that drivers can better communicate with each other. How does a tinted car communicate with pedestrians? My point is communication.

If you’re looking for parking, don’t stop all of a sudden. Signal. If you’re going to make a left turn, don’t trap me behind you as the right lane continues moving. Signal. And if you have tinted windows, and I’m a police officer approaching your window, I think I’d proceed with more caution than with a car without tints.

Also, do away with the high beam since it’s being overused and disorientates drivers like myself. I can’t count how many times I’ve been blinded by a car with its high beam activated. It hurts my eyes.

I could write a book about the stupidity of New York City drivers. When I drove outside of New York City, to Portland or Philadelphia, I’m a calmer person. New York City drivers make me so angry. It’s a hostile environment. Maybe I’ll write a journal about it. It’s every minute I see someone with a low driving IQ.

I was talking about traffic in the Philippines. Too much traffic, too much pedestrians, but it feels like people are more considerate. And there’s less anger on the road. Here, I could be driving on an empty highway and some prick comes up from behind, tailgates me, cuts me off, and angers me. Bakit?! (“Why?!” in Tagalog)

It feels good to be back home. Or not. I think I just missed my cat, Haley, who’s the most loving cat I’ve ever owned. And my mudder, and my fadder, and maybe my brudder who annoys me sometimes. I regret not bringing my mudder a proper souvenir, something she could cherish for a long time. All I got her was food. But she did ask for fertilizer – well – stuff related to plants. I’ll take them all away someday, away from the stupid drivers of New York City. The Philippines? No.

I’m looking forward to “touring” Virginia this summer. New Hampshire was nice last year, but the Philippines taught me that I want some place warm.

30 January 2017: Stopover in Taipei

It’s 2:18 PM in an airport in Taipei (1:18 AM back in New York City) and I’m sitting on air conditioning vents by glass windows looking out at planes and runways. My ass is cold. Compared to Manila, Taipei is chilly. It’s around the 8th hour of a 13-hour stopover gracias to a cancellation. Son of a bitch! Then comes the 16-hour flight back to New York City. Mother…!

There’s an increasing urgency to defecate right now, but I dislike using public bathrooms. I’m not the typical American who wipes and be done with it. I like to wash. It’s a shame I don’t know how to use tabo. (Has any Filipino family accidentally used tabo to pour gravy at the dinner table? I think of stuff like this.) I have OCD-ish behavior – “obsessions” (how do I do cross-outs on WordPress?) – that compels me to shower after every time I shit because I’m paranoid of the stench following me. Or I might have made a spread to my lower back. (If I have traveler’s diarrhea five times a day, I shower five times a day, which can be exhausting.) I’m going to the toilet maybe two hours before the flight.

A voice speaks overhead in a foreign voice. Taiwanese? Chinese? They mentioned “Tokyo”. Japanese for Japanese passengers? English now. Back to Japanese. Or is it Chinese? It’s repetitive and has been distracting me from my reading. I finally finished Oscar Wao by the way. It took me about four months. The book was originally assigned in class to be read in the span of… four weeks. It’s not easy being an English major especially when you don’t know how to manage time like myself. I don’t like the book by the way. I can’t relate to Dominicans.

So my girlfriend and I left Manila at 3 AM this morning. I’ve had little sleep and am overdosing on caffeine. My three-week vacation was good. “Good? That’s it?” 3.5 stars out of 5 stars if I can put it that way. Every vacation has its ups and downs, and the downs were enough to ruin some days.

Traveler’s diarrhea.

Getting teased for not being able to speak Tagalog.

Not being able to escape to the beach everyday.

But I felt like I learned a lot from this trip. Before getting a Filipina girlfriend, I used to believe that the Philippines was nothing special.

“They copy Americans.”

“Filipino movies have too much drama and crying.”

“My Filipino family is the most annoying family on Earth.”

But now, I could say something else. It’s always nice to be enlightened. I can say now that Filipino people are intelligent people (except for my family). They speak multiple languages. Their history is interesting and full of heroes and betrayal. The people are cool and all the things I wish to be, like social and collectivistic. And they don’t take things for granted.

So I feel a little changed returning to the United States. I just hope the U.S. is still there now that Trump is President.

What’s with the travel ban on Muslims?

21 January 2017 Entry: Quiet

Introverted. Asocial. Shy. Socially Anxious. Avoidant personality.

These are terms populating my mind after nearly two weeks of forced interactions with an array of my girlfriend’s friends in the Philippines. She told me in the United States that she’s “introverted” but, after seeing where she came from and the people she knows, I don’t believe that anymore.

For someone who calls herself “introverted”, she has plenty of social stamina. Me after the first few minutes meeting someone, I’m exhausted. That’s all for the day! For the week even! That’s how I feel.

If I wasn’t sure before, this trip has showed me the kind of person I really am. Or not. Remember those five terms I started off with? I think I’m all of them at once. Is that possible? That means I’m one complicated motherf*cker with multiple issues. I should probably see a psychiatrist or be on medication. I’ve gone 26 years hiding something I’ve always been afraid would make me look weak.

The more I spend time with these extroverts, the more I realize how much of an introvert I really am. Or how boring or irrelevant I am. I can’t fathom how people can always have something to talk about during a two-hour car ride. Oh wait, they’re good friends. And I’m not a part of it.

Am I the problem?

How can I change? I’d like to be liked by people (an aspect of APD), but being social is exhausting, and I’m not good at faking, in this case, being extroverted or social. How can I change a fixture of my personality? After reading opinions, there’s nothing wrong with being introverted however. Most of the time, I enjoy being alone. Being extroverted is what’s hot, but guess what? Not everyone is built like that. I’m not.

But if I do have social anxiety or a personality disorder, then I need to see a shrink.