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balance (2): BFF

Sunday, January 31, 2010


i read something recently that said (paraphrasing) a friend is someone who feels comfortable going on about themself to you. people are inherently selfish, and the more you appeal to their egos the more you own them, and vice versa.

'x' and i definitely use each other as sounding boards. but we have a rare friendship that transcends our respective egos, at long last. i love 'x' (more effusively than i can reveal to his stern and prohibitive demeanor), ever since the day i first ran into him in the hallway of our workplace as youngsters, where we had a strange moment of fatalistic recognition that i can replay with startling clarity to this day in my head. i love him because we have had a tumultuous 14 years or so of trying on personalities with each other, auditioning various relationships as if we were robot scientists experimenting impartially with human traits. at times we mesh and it is smooth going. at other times it seems our entire acquaintance is based on sadistically reducing each other to snivelling heaps of doubt, insecurity, and despair, and we purposely lose touch for months at a's been an invaluable education though overall, and i think that finally we are growing up, graduating. we have both passed each others' rigorous tests and shown that despite our defenses (and persistent mental illnesses), we have each others' backs for life. i admit i find it hard to like an integral part of him, which is his lifestyle as a crass "sexpat" in asia. however his being the one person who has endlessly inspired me and cared for me in his sometimes disguised and passive-aggressive way so unwaveringly throughout my life, when everyone else ended up revealing monsters and ineffectual losers behind intricate masks, means i will accept anything he is in the end, however repulsive it can be at times. and he is really complex enough that his abundant generosity and kindness to those who finally get through his obstacle course, balances things out. i worship him unconditionally. i feel so lucky to have someone in my life who is ultimately genuine, and even imagine that he might be acceptable compensation for the fact that my family was mostly a bunch of dim-witted, misdirected narcissists who treated me like an unwanted pet my whole life, until i sprouted wings, dismissed them from my regard, and flew away.

'x' who never lets me sneak pictures

i am happy that i managed to squeeze two trips to see 'x' into the past year (first in scotland/amsterdam and now in asia). this trip to his art compound in the philippines was relaxing, and enlightening in a lot of ways i didn't expect. first of all, i didn't realize the extent to which he had succeeded in his work, and in such an accelerated fashion(!). for years we were on the same level with our similar careers, but somehow he skipped way ahead of me when i wasn't looking (jealous!). he has built an amazing house in his little brothel town- complete with a gorgeous pool, a hot tub, a perfect gym room which i took full advantage of, a fully stocked bar with companion pool table, and 4 bedrooms equipped with elaborate entertainment systems to accommodate his visiting friends. there was really no reason to leave his paradise abode at all! i took a jeepney through the decrepit streets of AC, from my turbulent plane to his barricaded warehouse. he welcomed me from the depths with a bottle of rare wine bought at auction, which we twirled sophisticatedly in stemware (giggling at our pretension) next to his lush garden, with his awkward maid-slave and pet finches eyeing us curiously from the peripheral. aside from the initial catch up, we spent the days idly doing our own thing, existing in friendly silence, until the evenings when we would meet up and ride his motorbike through the drab streets, to a strange korean massage place where tiny women in robes poked at us clumsily while fellow massage recipients moaned in sleepy pleasure from adjacent recliners. to a gun range where i shot a handgun for the 3rd time in my life, but was shocked neverless by it's terrifying force and volume. and to decadent dinners of ostrich steaks and champagne, followed by the requisite touring of the dens of sin which pervade the small steamy town populated mostly by the male gender and those who serve them. i am not ashamed to admit i feel entirely comfortable in whorehouses. the girls who work there have a background i can relate to, a hardness i can empathize with, and they recognize that in me and open up in a way they can't do with their customers. they are definitely more interesting than the average person i meet, and i can chat all night about life with these girls. the filipino ones are so disarmingly sweet compared to their thai counterparts that i leave them intoxicated, in their little bikinis, to their aging patrons in their dim bars blaring cheese pop quite reluctantly, with affectionate embraces, feeling like sisters. 'x' and i also managed a couple trips to the (male) 'hosto' bars, for old times' sake, to watch the 'exotic boys' dance innocently in tighty whiteys with muscles rippling, shooting fetching glances towards wrinkled ladies in sparse wigs who tip glasses in the audience. the transexual counterparts lisp horrid renditions of 70s ballads from underneath garish costumes, and the spurious waiters hustle you constantly for overpriced drinks. ah- asia is home, even these skeletons which should be relegated to deep dark closets of eastern history ironically make me feel safe and accepted and unrestrained and alive.

i left 'x' with a formal pat on the back, gulping down a lump in my throat, as always (we are now grown up enough not to sob openly as we did as kids). him being able to see right through me, he left me with plenty of advice on how to get on track with work so i can one day enjoy the freedom he does. he also suggested professional counseling for the fact that in reaction to trauma in my teens, my development has been stunted and i am frozen in the guise of a puerile, rebellious, antisocial and diffident girl, whose progression is impeded and who is pathetically bottlenecked and repressed. i trust his blunt assessment, because i wouldn't be where i am today (which is on the right path overall) without having taken his advice every time before. and so i left the philippines for thailand with a feeling that i do have some "family" after all whom i can depend on and trust, and to whom i will be thus be thankfully devoted until i die. and that was that.

back in thailand feeling so glad i made this trip.



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