When I started this blog, I wasn’t expecting anything. I only wanted to vent. What motivated me wasn’t that my relationship with Cindy fell apart for the final time back in 2006, March 15th. I’ve been through break ups before. What motivated me was an email I read by logging into Cindy’s email account. She was corresponding with her new fling. Indeed, I was pitiful. I admit, I was pathetic. However, it wasn’t her fling and what they said that infuriated me. What infuriated me by reading her correspondence, was that as they were whimsically fucking and having a great time, here I was, being accused of all sorts of things I didn’t do to deserve. At the end of it all, some of her friends thought of me as the bad guy.
After we broke up the first time back in 2005 April, I posted a single blog post on Friendster.com. In short, I said that Cindy wasn’t over PJ and she should work out her issues with him first, before she goes onto accepting another relationship. One of her friends, a school principle in North Vancouver read my blog post and since then, had a very bad impression of me. Though to this day, I still think she overreacted. Her bad impression of me was very clear after her wedding with Francois. I took time off to actually help Cindy’s friend and Francois put up decorations for their banquet. Some time after the wedding, as an appreciation for the people who helped put together their wedding, including the partners of her friends got a little gift, except for me. I guess in her eyes, I was such a bad person, that she deemed our relationship to fail in the near future. I sat there on the floor, while pretending to be totally fine and smiled as everyone opened their gifts. You know, Cindy said some shitty stuff about her friend, but I am the bad guy who treated Cindy badly? How about those times when Cindy flirted openly with another guy, while I was literally 3 feet away? Or when… Fuck it. I was a doormat and while I didn’t deserve the vitriol some of her friends had for me, I still deserved to be treated badly because I stayed around thinking things can be resolved. It couldn’t because only I wanted to fix things. Not only was it way too late, but I should have seen it when we broke up the first few times.
Note that I didn’t care about the gift. What I cared about was how her friend treated me and how I was the exception.
When I was a kid, my parents didn’t take the time to understand why I kept to myself, why I behaved “strangely” and played mainly by myself. They thought my odd personality was because of a personality trait I was born with. Actually, the reason I kept to myself and played by myself, was because people in my own family chose to give their attention to my brother, while condemning me as the odd one out, the one who couldn’t be reasoned with, had trust issues, had an explosive temper. I was all of those things because everyone misunderstood me. I blew up whenever they condemned me for behaving coldly or if I shut myself off. Everyone misunderstood why I kept to myself, why I was ‘weird’, why I was hard to get along with. They’re right. I had trust issues. However, I was never liked that prior to my brother being born. I remember a time when my mom was still pregnant with my brother, just as my dad pulled into the driveway, my mom and I hid behind a couch in the den. My dad pretended to look everywhere for us and finally found us hiding behind the long couch. My mom and I looked up. I giggled and my mom laughed with me. My dad had a huge smile on his face.
This was how I wanted to remember my childhood. This was what I expected my dad to be like for the rest of my life.
Don’t get me wrong. I never blamed my brother for simply existing. It wasn’t his fault. My family members and their friends thought I was jealous of my little brother. In their eyes, that’s why I was so cold and mistrusting. No. I was cold and mistrusting because they expect it was okay to make fun of a 3 year old kid. When my brother had his first birthday, he received a lot praise and a lot of gifts. I was okay with that. My brother received a set of plastic horse miniatures that had a carriage. The box was on top of one of the speakers in the den. I went to look at it. I touched it gently, moving it a little, just to get another view of the pictures. My dad’s friend came over, laughed and loudly joked that the gifts are my brothers. That I would have to wait until my birthday to get mine. I immediately retracted my hand and felt embarrassed. I still remember who said that too. He was the same guy who put up the AC pipes in my office in 1999.
What made all of that worst, amongst other things, was an uncle accused me of having a bad attitude and wanted to spank me. I didn’t call him ‘Uncle’ when I saw him, which is an honorific thing to do in Chinese culture. The reason I didn’t call him that, was because I wasn’t sure whether I had to or not. So to punish me, he invited my brother to fly the cool looking cobra kite with him out at James McKinney field. They came back about two hours later. I was standing in the guest dining room, half of my body on the hallway leading to the front door, the other half in the dining area. They came in and my uncle made a side remark that good boys get gifts and undisciplined kids get nothing. My brother was also invited to Disney Land – a place I dreamed of going since I was a kid. I used to hum the Disney song, because I thought it was magical.
You know, I used to write letters to Santa when I still lived at Hollycroft Drive. I stopped after 1985.
So it was early on in my life, as a child that I knew that no one was trustworthy and the only person I can only truly rely on was myself. Mind you, in a conversation with my mom some five years ago, my mom teared up and told me she wished she had known how to be a better mother and protected my brother and I better. Yeah, I told her the things I said here. She didn’t apologize. She didn’t need to. Her actions as a mother over the decades have proven that she has tried her best.
I apologized to my mom once, while she cried in bed. I kissed her forehead. I have never done that before, ever. My dad has never ever apologized to his family members. So that rubbed off on me. However, I did it for my mom, that one time. I am not going to say here, what that was about exactly, but certainly, it was about my dad’s aggressive views about me.
So as my brother blossomed into a flamboyant dandelion with major identity issues as he got older, I closed my petals, kept the leaves tight and made sure what little I had was kept away from everyone. Over time, that evolved into a foggy island, out on some foggy lake, passed a massive forest of vines, thorns and other supernatural obstacles. I used to write about it in my private diaries, prior to having Leemanism.
Going back to my motivation to start this blog, after I read an email correspondence between Cindy and her new fling, many of those feelings of being segregated, being the exception, being swept apart flooded back in. I felt like there was major injustice. All of the shady things Cindy told me about her friends, made me infuriated because her friends thought I was the bad guy. I made a blog entry on Friendster.com as a result of me being hurt. Whatever the reason for our break ups were, was obviously not because of PJ or any lingering feelings she had for him. It was simply because we were incompatible and I made stupid mistakes early on in our relationship, like not seeing her mom when she was hospitalized, making shit up to justify why I didn’t go and overall, behaved immaturely for the most part, but that doesn’t excuse any of the shitty things Cindy did either. Cindy did no wrong in the beginning of our relationship. All of it was my fault. It was what happened and what was said afterward that made me feel like major injustice was done towards me. The only positive thing that came out of all of that, was I found out about the existence of WordPress, because her new fling was using WordPress.
Since then, since April 1st, 2006, I’ve been using WordPress for the majority of my web projects whether that be personal projects or for my clients. I find WordPress very usable. As the years came and went, I find that WordPress is simply the best self-hosted blog on the planet. It’s not perfect, but it’s easy to get into and blah blah blah.
Basically, that’s how Leemanism started.
In the months and years that followed, many people have visited this blog. At one point, for awhile, I had about 12,000 unique visitors per month, half of which were not robots. Most of the time, my friends were the ones that came back every day to read and comment. Occasionally, I get the few stragglers commenting on my blog. All in all, I did it for myself. The visitors and the commentators certainly helped with the motivation.
However, my blog was just that, a personal blog. It had no particular goal. So by the time 2011 rolled around, I started losing interest and worst yet, my friends who used to come by, stopped gradually. Laura (Spongey) got married in 2009, Jon (Fongpey) got married in 2010, Albert and Jenny fell out of friendship with me in 2009. My depression got a total hold of me around 2011 and that forked off into explosively bad tempers that lasted for awhile. Other people who used to visit no longer did. They either just simply vanished or they outgrew the friendship. I bumped into Jon in 2016, in front of his mom’s place where we used to live. He was super awkward and distant with me. It was sad and upsetting.
It wasn’t that long ago I was his best man.
That’s the thing. I find that what I used to think of my friends, as demigods who didn’t let the nuisances of time dilute their existing relationships with those close to them, were actually all just a misguided perception that I had. For example, I thought of Jon as my brother. In 2013, he even called me his brother from another mother. So how did it all change just three years later?
I am this sort of friend: if we don’t see each other or speak with each for decades, then you show up at my door one day, I will have a huge smile on my face and invite you in wholeheartedly. I would treat you as if we just said our good byes last year.
Why am I like that? Because I am a hermit that treasures the little I have. Every now and then, I load up old photos and look through them. Sometimes, I go through old writings, old textbooks, artwork from years ago and think back on those days. I treasure all of those moments. So if my friends still care, there is only really one thing I need from you. That you reconsider the dynamics of our friendship since the old days. Just because I don’t reach out to you, it doesn’t mean I don’t honour you. It means I am a hermit. I have always been like this. The only major difference between then and now, is that I have become more and more attuned with my mental dependency alone, where as in the past, I was more attuned with the adventure of being with people I like. In other words, I used to be able to drive to your houses when you all didn’t have cars, take you places, spot for you, be there when you wanted someone to be there, etc, etc, etc. Nowadays, I am no longer as available in an outgoing sense, but does that mean I should simply be discarded, because I can’t do the same things I used to do for you? Am I that much of a burden? I only need you to reach out to me, because while I am not available to go out, I am almost always available while staying in. I just need to be in my own space. That’s all really.
Now of course, objectively, the problem I surmise is that most people allow the nuisances of time to dilute their friendships. Perhaps more than that, I am a liability, someone that isn’t worth a hair’s worth of their energy, because from their point of view, I am not putting my side of the effort into the friendship. However, what disappoints me the most here, is that I thought my friends whom have known me for many years, some of which have known me for over fifteen years, should know by now that effort is seamless and should not be defined by what we do for others through an unsaid bargaining contract, but rather, how we connect dynamically. There is no equality in relationships. There should only be equity. We shouldn’t have to bargain A + B = C + D. We should simply have an understanding and through our historical connections understand that we are multi variable beings that constantly do things big and small coinciding our own capabilities.
As I age, I am less capable. I have too many monsters on my heels daily. So perhaps as Thomas mentioned, I am too much of a liability, too much of an effort crunch to invest anymore time into. If Jon has to focus his time and energy on what is important, then it would be his family and the bestest of his new friendships in Ottawa. So by default, I should accept that because I understand, but it’s still upsetting because I always saw him as someone more than the run-of-the-mill nine-to-fiver. I saw him as someone I could swing at the swings at 3am with, while talking and laughing about various things, like we used to do for many countless nights.
Now at nearly 41, I have gradually realized that while friendship isn’t a whimsical thing, it however, can be executed very badly. Unless your initial connection with that person had very little foundation, friendship is often created under extraordinary circumstances, at least for me. Alas, friendship even if the circumstances yield a strong foundation, the execution could be very bad, at least over time due to the expectations people have for each other based on their usually, very unyielding methods of living their own lives.
For example, Albert expects the highest out of his friendships, because he feels if he will do it, then everyone else he entrusts will also do it. What he failed in that expectation, is that not everyone shares his character traits and personality dynamics. He and I connected very well in the first half of our friendship, because we were two different people doing two different things and respected each other as two different individuals with a common understanding of the world. In the last half of our friendship, he enforced his own ideals and principles onto his bestest of friends, because he believes if he will do it for them, then they should be able to do it for him as well. In short, while he may not have figured it out at the time, he accidentally behaved as if we’re all the same person, the same as him, who shared his principles, who respected him because we’re the same as him. He can only truly respect the other person, if that other person was Albert #2. If what we did or what we said, didn’t go his way, then he will do his best to corner us until we can’t escape his own ideas of morality, ethics and the most efficient way to do X Y and Z. This was always an issue, but this became a real problem in the last two years of our friendship.
We had a falling out in 2009 because we were no longer respecting each other as two different individuals. He only needed to respect me because he needed me to be a reflection of what he was. When I continued to be me, he accused me of changing for the worst. Alas, I didn’t change all that much. The only thing I changed, was that I finally started verbally slapping his antics towards me.
Albert was a very sentimental person with a very loyal heart, but more often than not, his sentiment was used as a bargaining chip and his loyalty meant complete obedience to his own principles of what a friendship should be like. He no longer respected me as Leeman from October 2000 to 2007. He demanded that Leeman become Albert #2.
Our friendship fell apart in June 2009 after I posted up a blog entry here titled “The Uptight Duo Versus The Laid Back Crew”. My words basically hurt his pride and broke whatever was left with my connection with him. I posted that blog entry when I was pissed drunk, after going home from Cosmic Bowling. Of course, the months of turmoil prior to that didn’t help either. He expected us to remember his girlfriend, Jenny’s birthday and to make it special by celebrating it with her. In hindsight, I handled it all wrong. However, as much as I adored Jenny, she was secondary. For me always, Albert was first. He was my brother. In my mind, as much as I considered her my sister, Albert should understand that foremost, she is still Albert’s girlfriend. We’re friends with her because she is Albert’s girlfriend. We were not friends with her because she was Jenny. So ultimately, while we were all really close, my loyalty should be with Albert foremost. However, all of that got fucked up. When Albert cheated on Jenny with Michelle, I took Jenny’s side because I was all about destroying injustice. However, what I should have done was not take any sides. Instead, comfort Jenny, while giving advice to Albert, instead of condemning him.
Alas, you know how our falling out happened in the first place? Prior to Cosmic Bowling that evening, Albert, Jenny, Patrick and I went for a nice long bike ride from Patrick’s home to Point Roberts and back. Along the way there, I noticed Jenny was acting strangely. I asked what was up and Albert said she had some issues, but didn’t say what exactly. At Point Roberts, we were all having a good time while we ate lunch together. On the way back, again, I noticed Jenny being off. While we waited at the gas station to be picked up by the trailer to courier our bikes back through the George Massey Tunnel, Jenny was sitting by herself some ways away. Albert would walk back between us. He would come over, chat with us, then walk over to her and spoke in hushed tones.
On the way back to Patrick’s apartment, we noticed Albert and Jenny wasn’t behind us. Patrick remarked that they must have took off and is racing us back to the apartment. I grinned and said, let’s see if we can beat them there! So we rode as quickly as we could back. Disappointingly, when we got there, they weren’t anywhere to be seen.
We waited for awhile and I was worried that something happened. Then shortly after that, Albert and Jenny rode in. Except instead of being in a good mood, Albert started yelling at us. Basically, he asked why we took off, why we didn’t wait up, why we had to ride so fast. Basically, he told us that Jenny got upset with us. Why we had to ride so fast there and back. I got pretty angry too. I thought this whole time, they were fine, because that was how Patrick and I rode our bikes. We enjoyed riding fast, because we were fit. They wanted to see the scenery, which made me choke up in laughter, which was later reflected in my blog post about them as well. Do we need to slow down to 10km/hr to look at the endless kilometres of scenery? We couldn’t do it while riding 25km/hr to 30km/hr on a straight road?
So that yelling and arguing devolved into other things. Albert accused me of having changed for the worst. Like seriously? After he hooked up with Jenny, his mood and his connection with me slowly dwindled. I admit I was at fault for handling Jenny’s birthday poorly, and that I should have been by Albert’s side when he was hospitalized for his swollen appendix, but I didn’t change for the worst. In fact, like I said, I refused to change for the worst. He didn’t realize this, but he expected me and everyone around him to be Albert #2. I am Leeman. I am not Albert #2.
That night his girlfriend called me when he was at the hospital, I was standing in front of the Japanese sushi restaurant at the parking lot with Patrick, Jason, Ryan and some girl. I knew I should have gone and I wanted to go, but here’s a confession I never told anyone about. I was scared. I was scared of driving alone to Surrey Memorial. Unlike Albert, I wasn’t going to ask Patrick or any of my other friends to come with me. So I made a bad choice. I unsuccessfully convinced Jenny and Albert that it’s a small surgery and that I will see them tomorrow at their home or over the weekend. Jenny was upset with me. Albert was too, but he tried to be reasonable, even though he didn’t need to.
I fucked up. However, Albert also should have known. In 2001, we rescued Lisa from her abusive boyfriend in Surrey. I asked Albert to help me. I relied on Albert’s good grace to help me and he did. I couldn’t rely on anyone that night except myself. Yet, I couldn’t do it. I was afraid of driving into an unknown place and getting lost. That was in 2008 I believe.
Mind you, in a conversation with Amber a few days ago, I told her that if that incident happened today, I would have definitely driven to Surrey Memorial to see Albert. I would have stayed by his side the entire night through to the morning if he wanted me to. As I often say, if I had today’s wisdom, along with my mostly-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, and of course GPS Google Maps, I would do so many things differently back then. However, the question is, “Should I?”
If I hadn’t done any of those things, perhaps I would have been at Albert and Jenny’s wedding, but perhaps, I would never have met Amber at the same time. I wouldn’t have learned the hard way, how to treasure my friendships, what type of friendships I rather have, and more importantly, evolving my state of being.
Which comes to Patrick. Simply put, he is an amazing friend. It made me feel terrible that I did not support his early endeavors in his journey to become a lifestyle photographer. I thought back then, that it was our duty as children to provide a segment of our livelihoods to the welfare of our parents, especially if they have done their utmost for our welfare. There were two problems with that train of thought.
First, it is his right to be selfish. As an individual, he will live this life on his own. He didn’t ask his parents to bring him into this world. While he can appreciate them on his own time, through his own means, at the end of the day, that is a personal endeavor with his own parents. I have no right to question that, even if ultimately, their strife continued.
Second, like my friendship with Albert, I had a poor understanding of what friendship should be about. Indeed, we shouldn’t define our friendships based on how others define theirs, but perhaps on some level, we should. Otherwise, would we call ‘this’ a friendship? Should we? Yes, of course, we should, but is it?
Everyone dies, but each of us lives on in others in small and big ways. More often than not, we will be forgotten, but our deeds will be passed onto others and through their own actions, a convoluted, but graceful pardon of what we had done, would be done through them.
When Patrick was here during the summer, I told him I regretted not being supportive of his early endeavors. I placed my hand on his shoulder, while we ate our frozen yogurt and I apologized to him. When I apologized, my voice actually broke. He told me it was okay and that he understood why I did that. I told him it wasn’t okay and that the years of seclusion have taught me many things.
In short, Patrick has always been there for me when I needed him the most. He would miraculously show up when I needed him. In the times I felt I needed someone, but he wasn’t around, I felt like that was a lesson. As if, my need wasn’t that great actually. So I found other venues into fulfilling what I previously felt I needed, just to realize I didn’t need it in the first place.
I am greatly proud of how Patrick have turned out and what his persistence have done for him, but more than that, he has really matured. He has a shaved head, he’s lean, has stubble and is dark skinned. He also talks smack sometimes and occasionally cross his previous boundaries of gentle words. Now if only I can get him to say “mother fucker” followed by, “go fuck yourself” in general conversation about someone he abhors. ^_^
I like how this blog post came around. You know, I will always remember Patrick as the little kid I became friends with in 1986. While he certainly smiles a lot more these days and laughs more heartedly, I feel sometimes, that in some ways, he has reached back into time and took a little of that childhood forward into the present. For such a long time, he buried all of that and it was sad. I don’t know if he remembers any of it, like the time we flicked hundreds of hockey cards in his grandfather’s room back at Hollymount, or that time he scraped his knee when we rode our bikes at the gravel trails near Knightsbridge, or that time we tried to build a wooden raft to sail on the ditches, or that time we sat on his bunk bed talking about silly things, or that time we were on the phone reading jokes to each other…
I have an amazing long term memory and terrible short term memory. If I ever ‘lose it’ in my elder years, I might just amaze you and tear you up with my stories of the olden days. Like that time I found love, yet, sacrificed my love to her to keep her immortal, or that time I almost took my own life with a katana Jon gifted me on my birthday previously, or that other time when I ended up with just a bit over $400 after failing my company…
Without further ado, I dedicate this first blog post for Leemanism v14 to those that have been lost to me. For whatever wrongs I have done, I am sorry.
I am about to be 41. I have learned a lot over the decades. I will continue to learn. Perhaps one day, someone from my past will reach out to me. We can talk. We will have tea. Perhaps not. Life isn’t so easy for me. Though I do have to thank Goddess Luna for giving me those opportunities and the lessons thereafter. ♥