As somewhat of a follow-up to the previous post, I didn’t exactly mention all the lies that I have thrown around during my life (so far). Now, confessing my lies wasn’t exactly the intent of my previous post (and if you didn’t get that, maybe you should give it another read. Oh, and if you need a explanation, what can I say other than “I’m a sinner”?). However, thinking about this aspect of my life and my struggles with it did make me think about another lie that I’m guilty of telling. If I were to rate my lies, I’d say there’s one lie in particular which stands far above all the others. Probably the biggest lie I have ever told anyone… or maybe everyone. This is probably the most frequently told lie as well. As for what draws this one out, you could blame it on this question:
My sister discovered this little item inside Daiso Japan, a dollar-store type franchise located in San Francisco’s Japantown. Yes, that is “Arcilla” on the box. “Arcilla suave” is Spanish and essentially translates to soft clay, as noted on the package. I had absolutely no idea that arcilla translated to that until I saw the image. I guess arcilla was never on our list of vocabulary words during my 4 years of Spanish in high school. Now that I know the definition, I find the meaning of my surname strangely fitting… for myself in particular, anyway. As moldable and shapable as clay is, I believe the same applies to me.
Long ago, when the Internet was relatively young and social media was still in its infancy, I used to frequent this website called Asian Avenue. It was essentially a community where you could create a profile page for yourself, upload pictures, and chat with other users. I suppose it was kind of like how dating sites are today, though I didn’t really use it for that purpose. (Okay, maybe I did sorta kinda meet my ex there, but that’s not important…) Webcams and digital cameras weren’t common electronic devices back then, so getting pictures of yourself uploaded onto the web was somewhat of a task. You either had to have a webcam or a scanner. I didn’t have a webcam at the time, but I did have a scanner. Unfortunately, I had a very limited selection of pictures of myself to scan and the ones I did have were quite dated at the time. Obtaining pictures of myself was mostly limited to those taken during special events like weddings or school portraits. Instead of waiting for the next of those to occur, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I turned off the lights in my room, placed a towel behind me to block out external light sources, and opened up the lid on the scanner. I pressed the scan button and tried to remain as still as I could while the light of the scanner slowly worked its way across the surface. I probably pulled 2 decent images of myself with that little endeavor. I remember also having a lot of fun manipulating the images by moving with or against the image sensor. As embarrassed as I am to admit to doing this back then, I suppose you could call that my first selfie.
(Okay, maybe not exactly the “naked” as in this old SNL skit, but I suppose it’s revealing in a different sense.)
I would like to think that I’m fortunate to be a product of the 80’s and 90’s. As a child, I would sit my parents’ car during our various outings as they listened to all the sappy love songs that would play on our local adult contemporary station, KOIT. I grew fond of a few artists back then such as Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Peabo Bryson, Luther Vandross, and Michael Jackson just to name a few. Later, I got hooked on R&B and listened to artists like Boyz II Men, Blackstreet, Shai, Silk, Brian McKnight, and several others.
There are things in my life that I admit are pretty easy to take for granted. I often overlook the simple things, such as waking up in a bed, having clothes to wear, food to eat, and a job that provides for my needs as well as some of my wants. The Lord certainly has provided and continues to provide for me despite my many failures as a man. Another thing I’ve found that I overlook is my family. My immediate family is in good health and relatively tight-knit. Until recent, we’ve pretty much all lived within the same area, with no one living further than a 15-20 minute drive away. I’ve had one of my brothers and his family living maybe 3-4 hours away at one time, but they’re back in the area now. As a relatively recent development, my oldest brother currently lives all the way in Ohio. However, even with these distances, we’ve mostly kept in touch and all continue to make it out for your usual holiday family gatherings.
I suppose having a close family is somewhat of a cultural thing, although I’ve felt that our family makes the extra effort to remain this way. Of course we’re not devoid of the occasional internal drama, but I think the fact that most of my family is saved plays a major part in holding it together. Even though I myself am divorced, I think I actually still have a decent relationship with my in-laws (former/ex-in-laws? Still in-laws? Not too sure what to call that now…) as I still visit now and then with the kids and help them out with various matters when I can. I would even say that my relationship with my ex-wife isn’t really one of bitterness.
It’s been a little over two years since I’ve had someone to call my own. Time has slowly been able to mend the wounds for the most part. The pain is gone, but the scars still remain.
A lot has happened during the transition. I’m temporarily back home while I clear my debts, but thankfully have a stable job in this economy. More importantly, I’ve come back to my Lord and Savior and have given up on several of the chains that were enslaving me. The repairs upon the damage received from my recent struggles are nearly complete, aside from a few areas which will be long term investments. As I sit waiting on these finishing touches, I can’t help but look upon the conveyor belt that lay ahead of me. A factory refurbished product, soon to be shrink-wrapped and packaged for potential resale.