• Ana Break

Time Was Not Passing

Updated: Apr 18, 2019

Last December, I got a tattoo on my back that says:

Time was not passing

it was turning in a circle

The slightly paraphrased quote is from "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have quite a long history with this book. Here's the short version:

When I first began college, I was dead set on becoming a scientist. My friends and I took every science class in high school and I had all my AP credits ready to go. Then I randomly signed up for a folklore class about African folk tales and immediately switched my entire life plan to study folklore and literature. OK, it wasn't actually that simple. There was a whole existential crisis that went along with that process, but you know. The Professor in that class mentioned near the end of the semester that his favorite book in the whole world, the one which he thought was the end-all-be-all of literature, was One Hundred Years of Solitude, so I decided to pick up a copy and read it. He did, after all, have a pretty major impact on the trajectory of my life.

I tried several times to read it, but I was never able to get through it. It was just too dense, too complex. Most of it went right over my head. In my fourth attempt, I finally made it through and, unsurprisingly, was struck by the genius of it, the circularity of it. It made sense to me, I too feel like I'm in a constant spiral of patterns, both my own and my family's.


Two of my three largest heartbreaks to date:

The Nomad: When I was in my early 20's, I got my heart broken in a real way for the first time. I was the dump-ee, obviously. We had been fighting A LOT and it got quite toxic. He was the one who decided we couldn't talk anymore and I didn't know how to handle it. It took a long time to be OK again, 6 months to be exact. Then, after 6 months, I remember very distinctly having a day where I woke up and went about my business and realized "oh wow, I haven't thought about him a single time this morning." That evening, he texted me. He wanted to know how I was, he wanted to be friends. I, like an idiot, thought I could do that. I couldn't. At least not then.

The Mutineer: Years later, I spent about 3 1/2 years "not dating" this other guy. Basically, we spent nights together regularly, but didn't do things together in each others' lives. We weren't together, but we had decided not to see other people. He was an alcoholic. He had problems. This means I probably had problems, too. Anyway, after 3 years, he "accidentally" sent me a video (of the naughty variety) of himself, but I could hear that in the background, he was moaning "I love you" to another woman. So we stopped seeing each other. A couple of months later, I happened to run into him on the street near my best friend's house. I pulled over, we talked, and eventually started seeing each other again. It was not good. It ended for real not long after. He said he had too much shame and guilt and regret and that I deserved better.

So now let me tell you what happened this weekend:

I was driving along that same little stretch of road when I saw someone walking. No, it wasn't him. It WAS, however, The Walker, someone else that I had spent a couple months "talking to" near the end of last year. He was the last person I was interested in before taking this Break. Obviously it didn't work out. Anyway, he was walking in that same spot and I thought, for a moment, about how much he had in common with The Nomad. They were both addicts. They both couldn't commit their time, but kept talking about how much they wanted to. They both showed up right in this spot.

I didn't pull over. Instead, I saw him, thought about pulling over for half a second, and then didn't. I didn't feel bad about it either, I actually smiled. There was something cosmic and funny and pleasant about it all, which is nice. I wasn't upset. That was also nice. It was the first time I actually felt good in a long time.

When I got to my friends house, I told her about it. I actually said "I feel good for the first time in a long time. I don't feel like I'm pining for some guy or anything, I actually feel happy for the first time since ______broke up with me." (see my other posts.)

And then, right on cue, right when I felt good, _______ texted me. He wanted to know how I was, if I wanted to talk, if I wanted this necklace back, and to tell me that he's sorry, that I'm a good person, that I deserve better, and that he had a lot of guilt and shame and regret.

I got really fucking pissed off about the whole thing. I told him it was like he was dishing out platitudes to me and wanted me to feel better so that he could sleep at night. I told him to throw the necklace away and get back to whatever the hell life he was living now. I told him to fuck off with his platitudes and that I didn't ever want to know how he was doing. In short, I sent him a series of nasty text messages that I regret. I sat on my bed that night crying and feeling very overwhelmed, like the swirling arms of my own ego's galaxy were closing in on me, wrapping me tightly. I wasn't sure how to feel about all of it. Why would both of these old experiences come back to me at the same time on the same day. It again felt rather cosmic, universal, magical, spiritual? I'm not sure. But it felt out of my control and it felt like it had meaning and it felt like a message of some kind.

I just felt/feel like I’m living the same things over and over again. The same men, in the same spots, at the same times, in the same situations. Yet again. Time isn’t passing. It’s turning in a circle.

Anyway, I was sitting there crying when all of a sudden a shelf in my bathroom fell off the wall. All of my bottles of lotion and shampoo and other beauty goops spilled all over the floor. I'm not gonna lie, that got me shook.

One thing to know: I'm Filipino and Filipino's DON'T DO GHOSTS. NO. WE DO NOT DO GHOSTS. HELL NO.

So at this point, my brain split into two parts. On one hand, I was suddenly excited and convinced that I was now living in a Colombian magical realism novel and that I now had magic powers and that my Hogwarts letter was about to arrive any second (something I've been essentially convinced of for longer than I care to admit). It was finally happening. I was becoming a witch. On the other hand, though, I got really scared and totally shut down and got really freaked out that there was a ghost in my apartment and there was nobody there to help me.

I then did what any sane agnostic person would do: I smudged my apartment, lit a novena candle of Maria Milagrosa, and I pulled my deck of Tarot cards.

As soon as I started shuffling, three cards flew out of the deck. They were:

1. The Empress (the archetypal mother, body focused, unconditional love, mother earth, creativity, baby making)

2. The Emperor (the archetypal father, stern, mind focused, unemotional, logical, decisiveness, integrity)

3. Justice (balance between the male and female aspects, karma, what you experience now is for a reason, how you react now will come back to you later)

Here's how I read that: everything that's happening to you right now is correct, and don't fly off the handle because you'll regret it later.

So OK. Maybe there was a ghost. Maybe it was my guardian angel trying to tell me not to be a bitch. That even when other people are shitheads to you, you can still react with kindness, even if you are feeling righteous indignation. For me, that's not letting the other person off the hook, that's giving yourself peace.

So I sent ______ another text apologizing for my anger. I said we couldn't talk, but that I'd be OK and that if he ever truly needed me, I'd be there.

I don't know if I did the right thing. I don't know if this makes me a doormat. I don't know what this will lead to, but it's different than how I reacted before and maybe that will help break the pattern.



Just now as I was sitting here writing this post, two things happened.

1. Someone I slept with one time (The Comedian), had a nice time with, don't have feelings for, but remained friendly with on Facebook (he doesn't live here) texted me. (why do people from my past keep coming back to me right now). And if that’s not weird enough, it is EXACTLY two years to the day since we first hung out. To. The. Day. AND the first rainstorm of the season on both occasions. WTF IS HAPPENING.

2. _______ texted me to say he'd always be there for me, too.



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