I am home now, visiting my family in this market/people saturated yet politically soul-less and vacant country. There is the unavoidable sticky tropical heat, as if trying to make up for this metallic realism, as if trying to bring us closer to one another against our will, a pore-oozing humidity that over compensates for icy divisions cultivated by this southeast asian brand of free market ideology.

I grew up here. These broad streets lined by these lofty raintrees and angsana trees, these accents where we sing our melody of lahs and lohs and ahs in ways comprehensible only to trained local ears, so detecting and judging of foreign imitations, except sometimes when they are white and then it’s flattering. These are backdrops, against which my memories exist. Wearing the belt of my school uniform too low on the hip, carrying my school bag with straps too long so they trail near my knee and hurt my back, so in spite of the fact we couldn’t dye our hair, or wear our own clothes to school, or wear colorful sneakers, I would still have “my look.” The unmistakable cool look. Belts on waists are only for the prim and proper, not for the rule breakers. In a country where being proper and obedient is so severely rewarded and excessively elevated, breaking rules, however small they are, is a congratulating affirmation of individuality. ¬†And it is in these ridiculous outfits that I too, would remember witnessing the yelling matches between my parents, and between myself and them. I have only recently begun to release these scenes from the strangehold of memory, so that new connections with my parents can take form, with new roles to play, new shoes to fill.

Memory is a mysterious thing. Our emotions seize certain moments relentlessly, replaying them over and over, so they, like stalagmites, crystallize along the corners of our minds and serve as benchmarks around which we navigate our relationships, our new memories, our experiences, our lives. Until sometime, we shift our attention away from the scenes themselves, onto the backdrops upon which they unfold, and it becomes clear that a long time has passed and hairs have greyed and fashions have become outdated. And we are, or I am, challenged, to release this memory, to melt these stalagmites, and let the new emerging landmarks reveal themselves, so new maps are formed and my starting point, is a different place.

Some memories are ready for melting, others are not. The paths around some benchmarks are not as well trodden yet. They need time to wear down.

This time though, I am finding some new routes among these memories and rediscovering a place to journal about them.

An old blog, renewed for another time. Writing is like coming home to myself.

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