To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

“Well, what do you put into a contract for a real relationship?”–Lara Jean
“Nothing. You gotta trust. You gonna break my heart Covey?”–Peter


Lately, I’ve been really self-absorbed. I bought two books, Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney and Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford a few days ago because the plots and characters seemed very similar to me and my life. I watched To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before because the plot, especially the main character, reminded me so much of me. This Asian-American girl with a white father and an older sister who goes to university in Scotland? Who writes love letters and never sends them because she’s too scared of real life? Homie I’ve been writing people letters I never intend to send for years. I’ve also written some letters I probably shouldn’t have sent. And even though I haven’t had the guts to write a proper love letter, not even privately, I’ve definitely written poems about people. Most of those you can find scattered throughout these archives, but not all of them. I digress.

Why have I been needing to feel consoled that there are plenty of other people in similar situations as me, or behave similarly? Am I secretly feeling lonely?

I’ve been thinking about it, and I don’t think I’m lonely. I think I’m just a little insecure. I know who I am, but that certainty is being tested and questioned, because of the situation that I’m in. Think about it.

I have yet again decided to uproot myself, and start all over. From the bottom up, new ways of thinking, new ways of dealing with people, it’s all the microscopic differences that really wear on me. I know, because I’ve been there before three years ago.

The first time I went home to California for Christmas in 2015, I was reminded how much I loved the wide streets, how much I loved to hate the ugly stucco box houses that have no design or uniqueness to them, how much I missed chatting with people without having to test the waters and figure them out. It’s so nice to just talk to someone and trust them and be amused with the fact that you know when they’ll laugh at your jokes or when they’ll actually be interested in one of your stories. You know what things you can ask without feeling nosy or intrusive, and you know when you’re not bothering someone with your life problems. Life is warm vanilla and sweet cinnamon when everything is predictable and familiar.

But now things are yet again highly unpredictable, and very unfamiliar. People speak the same language as me, but sometimes I can’t tell if they’re asking for butter or water. They have totally different slang, and I’m starting to get tired of always having to ask what people mean…I feel like it kills the vibes of the conversation. Everything from lifestyle, to physical surroundings has yet again changed. And it’s difficult to go through this without feeling a little insecure about myself.

Have I changed? Do I also need to reacquaint myself with myself? Am I just as unpredictable and unfamiliar as my surroundings?

The juxtaposition of believing that you know who you are very clearly, with believing that you don’t know much about your surroundings or how to move through them, is slightly jarring. Am I a new person in this new environment? Or am I still predictable me in an unpredictable world? It’ll become predictable as I spend more time here and get to know the city’s habits, and the residents of this city’s habits. But for now, everything is still in constant unpredictability. I have another job that I’ll be starting soon, and that comes with a whole new not-instruction manual to yet again get accustomed to. Am I unnecessarily making life difficult for myself?

So to have these books, these movies, conversations with my friends in the Netherlands, conversations with Sem and Mars, is really helpful in reminding me that even if I start to question myself, there’s other people that know me just as well, or maybe even better. In case I forget, at least somebody else won’t.

But we are always changing, and changing can be a good thing, or it can just be a thing. I guess I’m just a control freak in that I want to change how I want to change, rather than just allow myself to change and see where that leads…if that even makes any sense. I always want to be the best me that I can be. I don’t want to change and lose all of my ambitions and hobbies to partying all the time and chasing empty kisses and meaningless sex. But maybe I should allow myself the grace that if that were to happen, it’s still okay, and I’d find my way back eventually. I don’t always have to make the “right” decision.

But I’m confident that I know myself. I know that I’m not a party person, and that even though I’ve gotten better at dating, boys still confuse me, and I’m not interested to get tangled in emotions “for fun”. Getting tangled in emotions is exhausting.

I know that I love Disney movies, I always talk too much, and that I care too much about how people get information about me. Working at the cafe is great, but it’s a little weird when strangers come up to me asking about California, and we’ve never spoken before.

“Oh I already know. I saw you on their social media”.

*followed by my awkward “I don’t know how to respond” face

I guess this is just a matter of getting used to it. It took me about three months to get over my first wave of “getting used to” in Middelburg. It’ll probably take me three or more for Dublin as well.

Gotta get used to it.

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