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Istanbul Nights: A Memoir of a Fling

July 25, 2013

Istanbul by night. This city. This city.

I have no excuse or explanation for the fling. I have half a mind not to tell you even – do I return to this blog after two years only to brag/complain about my love life? – but I will do so, despite myself. Bear with me, forgiving readers.

Shortly after Memorial Day, I broke up with my boyfriend of over one year, a man whose love, like a warm lamp, had remained with me from the beginning. I broke up with him not because of a lack of love but because of a lack of compatibility – lifestyle, family, and religion all competed. The last few months of the relationship, I cautiously deliberated, and finally met him in a park for a short, mournful talk. I went on with life – teaching, writing my dissertation, and spending time with Mom – in an effort to heal naturally; I had no interest to date again for a few months.

Then, a few weeks later, I took a trip to Turkey and developed an impossible crush on Mikio. It was impossible because Mikio is much younger than me, and has a girlfriend. I find I cannot wrestle with the lightning bolt he has struck through me; but I don’t understand it either.

Read more…

Hello again, it’s me.

July 15, 2013

Hello again, it's me.

Flickr.com (i-am-rebecca)

I’m back, over a year later. If there’s anything you remember about me and my previous returns to blogging, it’s that a) I’m probably single, and b) I’m probably going to start dating again. The answer to both assumptions is “yes.”

At this point – maybe later, but not now – I’m not going to talk about the last long-term relationship I was in. Not only did he not want to be blogged about, but I also lost the desire to blog during that year and a half. It was a healthy, (generally) happy relationship, and I am missing him these days. I am missing the love that filled the edges of my life with its warm consistency, late night cups of tea and conversations, and its endless supply of affection. To be simple about it, I loved loving him, I loved being loved, but I am ready now for something else, something more compatible, something lifelong. I wish this happiness not only for me, but also for you.

I’m back, though – for the same reason that I’m unsure I’ll be able to date much this summer – I can’t guarantee consistent posts or comments; I’m writing my dissertation and will need time to focus on that. This blog will serve as light relief for me, something to write in between thicker, mind-numbing, data-filled drafts. I’m not planning on doing much promoting either; just a bit of on-and-off writing when the thoughts appear to me.

Finally, this one’s for you, J, and for A, and for R, and for S, and for Z (my once-muse), and for the group of girls who began reading my blog this weekend: I’m writing for you, because you kept asking where my blog went. Well, it’s here, and it’s back.

Of meat and men

January 20, 2012

My kind of man.

I’ll refrain from making the obvious meat/sausage-fest jokes in this post. After all, I’m 32, not 23 (most of the time).

There are few weeks in which I don’t have to explain, at least once, what my eating preferences are. I grew up on a vegetarian diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes and a plethora of grains. Since those years, I have more or less maintained my vegetarianism, though I am more likely to call myself a “pescetarian” or (jokingly) a “flexi-tarian” (as my mostly-vegetarian-with-occasional-fish diet is supplemented by an bi-annual burger).

The bottom line: moderation is the name of my game. I rarely get drunk, and even more rarely enjoy it when I do. I play this odd game with myself, called “What would it be like if I moved to _____?” (name of random country) And I know that if I had to relocate, tomorrow, to a Muslim country where alcohol was prohibited, I wouldn’t be concerned. I don’t smoke, though I did in my college years, and infrequently experience the so-called benefits of getting high. Given an open schedule, I enjoy exactly 9 hours of sleep, so all-nighters and 4-hour nights are merely tolerated while I survive graduate school. In fact, the only thing extreme about my life is my addiction to Facebook.

I know that it’s unlikely that I’ll end up in a relationship with a vegetarian, unless I become a lesbian (seriously; in a large-scale study of vegetarians, only 32% were men while 68% were women). I have dated vegetarians: a Canadian Seventh-day Adventist; a Taiwanese atheist (Paul) who became vegetarian for animal rights; an African-American Seventh-day Adventist athlete; an Indian man who grew up Hindu. An atheist guy friend of mine is vegan. I have also dated wannabe vegetarians, like Edgar, whose travels and tendency for empathy nearly led him to vegetarianism if it weren’t for his love of all things beef. Or Bob, a Taiwanese-American man who took on vegetarianism after he became interested in me, then dropped it after I broke up with him.

Then there was this one guy I dated last summer. Or rather, went on two dates with. He was considerate, creative, and photographed for and wrote a blog about STEAK. Not just steak, but also burgers, barbecuing, bacon, and anything that involved buckets of butter (brioche, anyone?)… Read more…

For N.

January 17, 2012

Sometimes I let things go too long without blogging about it, and then, before you know it, it’s the end.

Flickr.com (CRASH:candy)

I had to say goodbye before I even said hello, to a man I consider a superlative human being, so full of light and goodness that everyone around him sees it. His empathy runs so deep and so quick that simply telling him how bad a day I’d had prompts a genuine response. His was the kind of friendship that never asks and only gives.

There was the time he read my tarot and served me his finest whisky, then said he’d like to see more of me. There were the weeks of pages-long emails, the shared experiences and shared vocabulary transmitting themselves across thousands of miles. There was the bouquet of flowers, thoughtfully selected by him, that arrived on my doorstep, a surprise. And there were the times I fell on the rope that held my life, balanced, against the synthetic rock wall, while his voice, below, calmly announced, “I’ve got you.”

He is a revolutionary, an artist, and a hearthstone fireplace to which I decided (perhaps belatedly, perhaps tragically) not to turn to. No matter how I wanted to convince myself otherwise.

And because we’ve already said our words off-blog, I’ll only state this: When time has done its rightful thing, and if it is possible (or plausible), I look forward to a different graft. A strengthened friendship with you.

2011: Heartbreak. 2012: ?

January 4, 2012

Suck it, 2011.

Last year was full of natural disasters in the World of Zoë Blue. I started January 1, 2011 with a broken heart, thanks to Luka. Then I met Rafael (heartbreak), and Anand (more heartbreak). It’s now 2012, and my heart is still feeling the effects of the marathon of happiness and devastation. The emotional stakes were higher and the falls harder in 2011 than in 2010. And now, even as I see a thoughtful hand extended my direction, I am evermore cautious. Will this man hurt me? And, perhaps more poignantly now, will I hurt him?

Despite what an entire industry based on dating will tell you, seduction is easy if you flash a smile and try a little. In my opinion, it’s not the getting that’s the difficult part, but the keeping. In part, men are reticent and fearful in the path of my direct, unflinching attention. On the other hand (and here I admit fully to my flaws) I decide quickly, leaving just as soon as I enter, my actions just as cold as they were hot.

Read more…

2012: Of resolutions, the apocalypse, and audiences in their underwear.

December 31, 2011

Yesterday morning felt like New Year’s Day. Six a.m. sunshine was streaming in, brushing across my walls and over my bed. Inexplicably, I became euphoric, and after my first cup of coffee, I decided to take a walk with my second cup.

So I put on a sweater and began to wander through my leafy, sun-filled neighborhood, cup in hand, stopping to knock on friends’ doors (no one was awake), take photos, pick flowers, and touch the silky bark of eucalyptus trees looming above. The euphoria permeated me entirely, culminating in unabashed blissfulness as I had lunch with my roommate, then spent the afternoon with Serena, ending my day in a long walk with another friend through a fog-filled field of trees. No matter what anyone tells me, my calendar knows: December 30, 2011 was actually January 1, 2012. And considering that 2012 may mark the end of the world, I couldn’t have asked for a better first day.

But, ok, your calendars indicate that are still a few more hours left of this year. And by Mayan estimations, this year will be the last year of our lives before an apocalyptic erasure of life. But look on the bright side! There are still 366 days left to live (a leap year!), so it’s still prudent to have a plan. A “resolution,” if you will.

While I was cooking up my own resolutions, I asked a few blogger friends to co-write this post, sharing theirs. Two friends – LA-based Rahul, of Your Beard is Good, and son-of-a-preacher-man TurnJacson, of The Fantastical Ramblings of a Chronic Over-Thinker - contributed (I really ought to mail them homemade cookies – unless, of course, they go on a diet in 2012, in which case, sugar-free cookies?). Read more…

2011: A year in posts

December 23, 2011

Cut the hair short and update that Mac by a few years, and this could nearly look like me.

2011 marked my second year as a blogger, but it was also one of my least active and most conflicted. I was not nearly as prolific as I had been in 2010. I would blog in bursts, between breakups and grad school deadlines. While I accomplished more this year in grad school (a landmark paper for my Ph.D., for instance), I lagged in blogging. When I did blog, though, it was often heavy and rarely light.

The breakups:

OUCHOuch (again?). ARGGGH! *sigh*

The year of the Indian man:

Count them: three. Vikram. Madhav. Anand. That’s a lot of garam masala.

The getting over the breakup:

Where I praised the get-over-him kiss. A few weeks after breaking up with Rafael, easily the biggest heartbreak of the year, I wrote about hope, then took a solo road trip. To Yellowstone, via Utah, Wyoming and Nevada. This was so immensely cleansing, it took me months to finally understand what happened on that road trip.

Meta-posts (blogging about blogging):

This year’s Valentine’s Day was an active one that involved a friendly love triangle. But when one of the men found my blog and confronted me, I had a choice: to move forward with the blog or to halt. I knew this wouldn’t be the first time I would discuss my blog with a boyfriend, so I made a pivotal decision to continue blogging:

I let go. I am proud of this blog. I am proud of who I’ve become through a year of writing this blog. I will not retreat. This is my mouthpiece, my foghorn, my “beating heart on my ever-present sleeve.” I will proceed to write, and as I do, I will protect – sometimes successfully, sometimes not – those whose hearts are also divulged in the lines of this binary code.

In August, September and November, while going through a new and healthy relationship with an Indian architect in Los Angeles, I didn’t blog once. I also dropped off of Twitter. After those two months had passed, I wrote again, only to say that I was:

no longer interested in the page hits, or number of comments I receive on blog posts, or number of friends I meet on Twitter, or even which of my exes are still reading. Because I’ll write this blog the way I wrote it in the beginning: for me, a couple of my friends, and whoever else stumbles over and decides to read. No advertisements, no Tweets announcing its arrival several times a day, and no guarantee I’ll even blog that frequently as graduate school demands more of me.

The post I can’t neatly categorize:

The time I dated and fell in love with a paraplegic. I still can’t see stairwells or handicapped parking spots the same way

Finally … the funnies:

A blog post on kissing that I still re-read with great mirth. The winner of worst kisses, if we can call it a “winner,” was the “Face Bath” kiss.

That time I went to a nude beach with a blogger who, after applying spray sunscreen to me, complimented me on my “nice ass.”

This sacrilegious photo always makes me laugh out loud. And this one makes me feel patriotic (though I can’t imagine why).

Another blogger’s (friend’s) recap of 2011:

TurnJacon: “Reflecting on 2011

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