Riddles and Secrets

Suddenly realize whether many things the real answer is what Wang Anyi has said, or what she hasn’t said: the real answer lies between the yes, and the no.

It is not exactly a yes, nor an exactly a no. It is between yes and no.

This returns me to the dilemma someone has been placing me all the time: between social fulfillment and personal fulfillment, which is more important?

The impression others have of me might be I value the former more than I do the latter.

However, I have refused to be fixed between these two immobile points. They are equally important to me, I should think.

The best situation is one always contains the other at the same time.

But I have always been asked to sacrifice. Many have even secretly laughed their heads off because they think they have taken all the advantages they could of me, getting everything they have wanted. They did that because they think well I love them, so as long as I am denied it, I would forever be at their beck and call, and serve them as most faithfully as a slave to a master. Even without this layer, they still think they should have that vanity of demanding me to forever work for them.

It so happens that I do not play cards like the majority of the players.

Basically I do not want to be known.

A little harmless mystery goes a long way to keep people forever interested.

It is in life when some people would insist they should absolutely share everything with each other, like between couples, duties, bank accounts, even romantic history. I do not believe in that. When you know too much about each other, there is the danger that party would lose his or her attractiveness.

I guess that is the reason why I insist privacy is extremely important, and why I have put up such a fight against another’s insidious (“the insidious intent,” maybe ?) invasion of my privacy, or why one writer insists she must have a space of her own, no matter how small it is. Even it is a pigeonhole, it is “her own.” In most cases, it carries meaning on both literal and metaphorical levels.

For instance, currently I rent a place. I do not “own” that property. Very often I find traces of someone entering into my place while I am not there. One small item missing, three books stolen, some tops worn dirty, one sock missing, a downy dispenser missing, an air fresher missing, a light bob going dead, one bottle of wine drank to the bottom, a computer component disabled 80% of its function, one coat destroyed, etc, etc. These are not huge thefts you see on TV where even someone’s brand new TV would be lifted onto a truck and driven away. But their accumulated value can still be considerable because each time it adds up to your loss. And the most annoying thing is the police would not take such cases seriously. They most often regard it as a headache. Consequently you will have to regard it as a headache and basically are told to suck it up.

Sometimes I wonder whether this is one form of vandalism. The offender’s thinking is since I do not have what you have, you’d better not have it either. Even though such acts of destruction do not necessarily benefit the offender, you know once he or she sprayed chemicals onto my coat, the coat is destroyed and cannot be worn. It is not like he or she stole the coat and was at least wearing it. The coat was destroyed, but no one is benefiting from his or her act of destruction.

It reminds me of the famous case of Solomon. He has many wives and concubines. One  day two women were fighting over a baby. Maybe the culture values male babies tremendously. To the Hebrew culture of Solomon’s times a male heir is the most important value a woman can ever produce, very much like ancient Chinese culture.

So the two women were fighting, each claiming to be his mother.

Solomon says: Fine, let’s cut the baby into halves so that each woman can have a half. At that point, the baby’s real mother gives in and cries, “Oh, do not cut the baby. Let her have him. I’d rather she has him than having him cut up.” By t hat Solomon got to know whom the real mother is and sent the fake one to some form of punishment and settled the dispute.

There are many, many directions the story can lead you to contemplation, such as the cruelty of the King; valuing a male heir above his mother; pathetic state of women’s existence; indiction against polygamy, etc, etc. It is not my purpose to get lost in those directions.

Funny Mark Twain also uses the story once. But his point is widely different. His point is when the king has so many children, he does not care about them at all. So he could think of that insidious strategy to cut off the baby into halves, even though he did not really mean so, that he was merely using it as a strategy to test out or find out whom the real mother is. Still it is a vicious strategy. Conversely, when you do not have hundreds of children by 3,000 women, a man values his children, one or two of them, much more than a man who has hundreds of them.

Well, that is Twain’s argument. I find it very convincing.

When a king has hundreds of children and thousands of women, he does not care about any one of them.

It is in a sense, like the dissertation I just finished, to be honest it is beyond my abilities, or the quality demanded is a little, or quite beyond my abilities. No matter how I wrote it, someone is never satisfied with it. They wanted me to finish doing two things in seven years which usually take others ten years, or may be even longer than that. As a result, I almost died because of the project. No matter how I pleaded, it was always No, no, no, you could not stop. No, no, no, you had to keep on writing. My love for it turned into hate.

Still, if someone comes in and claim to be the author, I would still be fiercely protective of it, like protecting a child.

A dissertation is still a dissertation. A baby, however, cannot be left alone once he or she was born.

You have to care for him or her, for at least 18 years, or if you have a hard time letting go, perhaps till the day you die. The situation is even worse if the baby is a girl. Everybody knows how treacherous life can be for a girl.

Sometimes I wonder whether it is the fear of the responsibilities have, unconsciously, prevented me from rushing into the business of having a child. It is not, as many might have accused, that “I am selfish; that I do not want the responsibilities; that it is this, or that, blah, blah, blah…”

Life for a girl and a woman, as I have known it, both in China and in America, is tremendously difficult. If I bring a girl into this world, I wonder whether that could be viewed as a selfish act or not in itself.

No one will ever be able to know.

Before the age of 30, I never wanted a child. Maybe because I think the conditions were not right. I have to give all the love and protection to the child if I decide to have one. If I could not give the best conditions possible, perhaps it is not the right time.

Maybe there is never a right time. Thirty four came and went. The time was not right. It was complicated. Thirty five. Thirty six.

Time flew. Time stood still.

Do you want to raise a child all by yourself? Do you want to share the responsibility? You are willing, others are not. Others are willing, you are not. Conditions come and go.

After a while, I have stopped worrying about all kinds of things.

I have always wanted to have a twin. It does not mean I will. I do not even know I will have a child or not. Who knows? It is not one of those things one can control or influence. It is like when you like somebody, you may be hot as iron, but you find the other is cold as stone. Or you may find you have finally worked somebody up, but you yourself have cooled down. In a way, time is askew.

Anyway my passion has died down. What is left is simmering. Sometimes I do not even feel like simmering.

Now I do not want the blind passion anymore. It is like a disease. Once you have had it, you develop immunity. Most probably you will not fall victim to it anymore. Whatever comes later, it differs in nature.

Now I want something that is long-lasting.

Originally, I did not want anybody, except one, to know what was exactly that I wanted so that they would not come to fight with me over ownership, it turns out that strategy is not working as desired. Most people think I want inanimate objects, whatever that might be.

That is not exactly what I wanted.

Somebody did not even want me to write it out that I loved them. It was preferred to be treated like a command, or some other choices.

What is there to be ashamed of? I have refused to be ashamed of the fact that I loved them. It was once treated only as a transaction, worse as a seduction in many others’ minds. I refuse to be treated so low and so basely.

I insist what I have is priceless, even though everybody else treats it differently.

But I am tired of asking and waiting. Life is what you make of it. And it does not wait. Why should I wait and waste so much of my precious time?

The best way maybe to sell myself to a very good employer-buyer or husband-buyer. That maybe the only way to convince somebody.

I should go dancing when I feel like it, go traveling when I feel like it, and do not have to do things I have been forced to do.

I have always wasted my passions here. When I started a project or something else, I was full of it. But then a deadpan response is the best killer of passions. One has to find someone one can be passionate about, or some career one can be passionate about.

Otherwise, what is the point of living?


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