In 2 Weeks’ Time

One thing we can all agree on: 2020 is a year we will all remember. This year has brought so much chaos, pain, confusion, and a lot of change. From the COVID-19 pandemic, to Sheltering in Place, to police brutality, to protests, to wearing masks on a daily, to shutting down (again), to California fires, to COVID-19’s 2nd wave, to highly favored celebrities passing away, and all the above. Whatever plans we had for 2020 clearly changed when all this went down. I had to learn to be adaptable, to pivot, to not cling to any specific plan because I knew with the pandemic’s end nowhere in sight, everything is unpredictable. Sheltering in place from mid-March until the end of May really had me living day by day, having no idea what would happen in the next month, or even the next day.

Sheltering in place and 2020 in general has also brought a lot of change for my best friend group and I. I feel like in one way or another, everyone is walking out of 2020 a completely different person. There is so much change that has happened / will happen in the next couple of months. But let me rewind it back, before decisions were made and tears were shed. In blog post #32: “Time,” I ended the post by saying I could feel change coming soon. That was towards the end of February. I felt change coming just over the horizon. Something in my gut was telling me things were about to shift, and I couldn’t have been more right.

Sheltering in Place was something so new to all of us. Do we have enough food? How long are we supposed to do this for? What’s the plan after? Should we stock up on everything? Is everything shutting down? So we can’t hangout with other people? When can I leave the house? Here we are about 6 months later, and the policies and regulations are not going anywhere. Nobody thought it would last this long. The first 3 weeks of official shutdown was the hardest for me. It’s like I was relieved I got to chill and relax, but I was concerned about the state of the world. I had no idea how long this would last or when the next time I could see my friends. After all, what’s 3 weeks off when you can’t go anywhere or see / hangout with people you want to? It’s one thing to be a homebody and be antisocial from time to time, maybe even all the time, but it’s another thing when you are being told you can’t leave.

My friends and I tried to cope by downloading apps like Houseparty and Zoom. We really tried our best to set up meetings so we could catch up and check up on each other. We wanted to make sure that we were all there for each other – whether that be to talk about personal issues, anxieties, or just to keep each other company during these confusing and lonely times. At first, it was all about Houseparty and playing games. It gave us something to do and something to look forward to. Especially since with time, sheltering in place made every day look exactly the same. We would set up little game nights or Zoom calls.

In the beginning, it was literally all fun and games. Until, Cam and I had suddenly had decisions to make. And when I mean “suddenly” I mean for real suddenly, all this shit came out of nowhere. For me, an opportunity came up where I could move out of my family home without worrying about any added responsibilities but still gaining some independence. It would also be an opportunity for me and Christian to take the next step in our relationship. For Cam, she had just taken a pregnancy test, and it was positive. We have joked for years that Cam would be the first in the group to have a baby, and finally, our predictions were true. Cam and I were both at a crossroad.

For most people, my predicament wouldn’t even be a tough decision. But for me, I was scared. For one, in the Filipino culture, it is frowned upon to live with your significant other before marriage. But I have always told myself I would never marry someone without living with them first. This decision really brought to my attention how scared I am of change and how I fear commitment. Which is ironic, because I have always been very traditional, in the sense that I wanted to graduate college, get a job in my field, get married, and have a family. But here I was, in the middle of a pandemic, not where I want to be in my writing career, not even knowing when I would have the opportunity to even get a job in the journalism field.

On top of that, I had a time limit to make up my mind whether I would take the once in a lifetime housing opportunity or not. The feelings of being overwhelmed took over me. This would be a great little baby step in figuring out if marriage was in our cards, especially since we have been together for over 5 years. Not to mention a great opportunity for our future together. But I was scared. I would be the first in my family to move out and change the status quo. I wasn’t feeling confident in my choices – if I said no, I’d regret it for the rest of my life, but if I said yes, what if it doesn’t work out the way I planned? I was also scared shitless to bring it up to my parents. How would they react? I desperately wanted their support, but couldn’t get the right words out of my mouth to sell it to them.

Meanwhile, Cam and Mark were having similar issues. Were they ready for this responsibility? Cam had just graduated from SFSU, earning her degree, so technically she was at an okay stage in her life. But was she ready for this? Mark is in the thick of starting his business and working on getting known and having connections. Would a baby put those dreams on hold? Everything was up in the air. And Cam and Mark really had to weigh out their pros and cons, for this was a big decision – bringing another life into the world. Having a baby meant that their days of focusing on just themselves and their relationship would be a thing of the past. Were they ready to take the next step in their relationship?

The girls and I had our Zoom call. Up until this point, conversations about both of these topics were either through group chat or on the phone. It felt good to see each others’ faces and hear advice and feedback. On my end, there was a lot of venting, going back and forth on why I was conflicted on making a decision. I did a lot of ugly crying, snot dripping, and heart pouring that night. By the end of my rant, I was leaning towards no. I wasn’t ready to leave my family home, this isn’t how I pictured moving out to be. I felt under pressure. This time frame wasn’t enough time to decide a life changing event. So, my answer would be no. And whatever happens from my decision being no is just how it was meant to be. I was exhausted. My friends supported whatever decision I chose, but they did give their 2 cents on why it’s a great opportunity. I heard what they had to say, but dismissed it. I was too scared. I’d never grow the courage in time to do it and follow through. I knew it would put a huge strain on my relationship, but at this point, I didn’t care and if things were to fall apart, “it just wasn’t meant to be.”

I calmed down, wiped those tears away, and after about 45 minutes of my friends just watching and hearing me cry and vent, we moved on to Cam’s situation. Cam was the opposite of me. She was level-headed, calm, and didn’t seem too conflicted. Which was so surprising to me, because my situation was nothing compared to hers. She caught us up on her and Mark’s train of thought. They weren’t ready. They still wanted to do things like travel, get the business on its feet, get a better job in her field, etc. Now would not be the best time to have a baby. Cam said they were leaning towards no. There was a silence in the chat. We supported our best friend in whatever she wanted to choose. It’s her body and her life. But I will say it was so obvious that all of us hoped she would keep the baby. We would always talk about how we wish someone in our group would have a baby so we all can spoil it. We were happy and shocked when she told us her test was positive.

We hoped she would keep it, but we knew that we wouldn’t be living the reality of caring for a child. It would be her reality. It would be Mark’s reality. Only they knew if they were ready or not. And we fully supported our friends in whatever decision they chose. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it looked like she made up her mind. She explained that she planned to make an appointment to terminate the pregnancy. We gave our words of support. It just wasn’t in the cards for them right now. The “MotherFlickers” would have to wait a little while longer for a baby to enter into our friend group.

After a couple of hours on Zoom, we finally called it a night and hung up. Damn. Here I was, feeling like my world has been turned upside down not knowing how it could effect my relationship and my family relationship. I was stressed out. I would wake up everyday, and it would be the first thing I think about. It was all too much. I didn’t want to overthink anymore. But I had to make a decision. This wasn’t in my plan. My plan for 2020 was to find a journalism job, and now, with the pandemic and this new offer on the table, I didn’t know what my plan was anymore. It also made me reflect on why I was so afraid.

I was scared to fail. I was scared of wasting time. I was scared of what extended family would say. I was scared to make a move. And by being so scared, I was making no moves. And that probably is what scared me the most. I desperately tried to cling onto how things have been. But nothing lasts forever. I had planned to maybe move out at 26 and get a place with Christian. But this offer that was right infront of me was once in a lifetime, and put us both in a position where we could save up for our future, live in the most expensive city in the country and still be a 20 minute drive from my family, and not to mention test out the waters in our relationship. What was I waiting for?

I began to realize my fear of commitment. The girl who has talked about marriage since forever, now found herself scared to even take the first step. It’s one thing to talk about the future when you know it’s a few years away. But it’s another thing when you realize, holy shit, the time is now. Suddenly, I didn’t know what to do. Moving in meant that people would expect us to get married ASAP. Was I ready for that? I had to talk myself out of that mindset. I had to remind myself that I was 25, the time is now. Living together will reveal if marriage is the next move. But I’ll never know until I try. I was also worried because if I took the offer, I would be commiting to atleast 2 years in the living situation. What would that mean for journalism? Does that mean that I put my writing dreams on hold for another 2 years? No. It means I should pivote. And I thought up a whole other plan that I can stick to while working as a teacher, but still feel fulfilled as a writer.

If you’re wondering how conflicted and stressed I was, please refer back to Blog Post #41 : “I Saw The Sign.” I wrote that blog post while I was in the thick of my confusion. Knowing the back story now, I’m sure that post will make a lot more sense to my readers. But suddenly, I felt my perspective changing. Who cares if it’s not exactly what I planned? This living situation is even better than my original plan to move out by 26 and get an apartment. I had to force myself to come to terms with the fact that not everything is going to be how I exactly envisioned it. It’s okay to change the plan. It’s okay to switch up the status quo. It’s okay to take a risk. It’s okay if there is no sign, because not everything will.

Meanwhile, Cam called the hospital line to schedule her “appointment.” She talked with an advice nurse who was being very supportive. The nurse asked some questions about if this was a decision Cam was making for herself. She was right about to finalize making the appointment and getting the date and time, but then… she hung up. Suddenly she had a change of heart, and she didn’t want to make any sudden decisions without thoroughly thinking it through.

Was she ready to be a mother and take on that responsibility? On the Zoom call, she told us that her decision was 60 / 40, in favor of terminating the pregnancy. But then she thought of what were the real reasons why she didn’t believe she was ready. She weighed out her pros and cons. Cam knew she was in a position where she could care for a child. She just graduated, she had a stable job, she knew her family is the type to be supportive. But she didn’t know if her and Mark were ready to be parents. Sometimes you don’t know you’re ready until you put yourself in that position.

We scheduled another Zoom meeting – two weeks after our last one. Everyone entered the room and we greeted each other. I broke the news to my girls that I have decided to accept the housing offer. They were shocked but supportive. I honestly shocked myself, because I didn’t think I had the guts to make a decision like that. My friends told me how excited they were for me, but they could see it in my face that I was still a little iffy about my decision. They reassured me that they would always be there, and if things don’t turn out the way I had hoped, it’s okay and it’s just something I had to experience so I wouldn’t regret not taking the offer. I knew they were right. They started to get excited about my place being the new hangout spot, and it made me excited as well. This was going to be a new chapter in my life.

Then it went quiet. “What about you, Cam? How are you?” Suddenly it got serious. Since our last Zoom call, we knew that Cam was scheduling an appointment to terminate the pregnancy. We didn’t know if she had already went through or if it was scheduled. She was very adamant in the last call that it was something she knew she had to do. We asked and tried not to sound sad. Then she broke the news to us.

“So…… we actually decided that we’re going to keep it.”

Everyone’s jaws hit the floor. Everyone covered their mouths in pure shock. Silence. We internalized what was just said, and the silence turned to screaming. NO. WAY. We couldn’t believe it. We all screamed and rejoiced, we were so excited that we were going to have a little one in our group!!!! This was the best news. Of course we would’ve supported our girl either way, but especially the last 2 years, Justine and I in particular, have been itching for one of the MotherFlickers to have a baby that we can spoil. The cover photo is a screenshot I took of our reaction to Cam’s news.

It’s crazy to me that in just 2 weeks’ time, Cam and I made such life changing decisions. It’s even crazier because we had originally said we weren’t going to go through with it at all. And in just 2 weeks, we decided to do something completely different. We were both scared, unsure, and doubting ourselves. We were scared of change and the unknown. But sometimes you don’t know if you’re “ready” for that change, until you actually put yourself in that situation.

2020 brought a lot of change. And things are going to continue to change a lot in our friend group in the next couple of months. I’m so happy that I have the support of my girls to vent to, to share my worries to, to go through life with. The day we have all been talking about is finally upon us. For years we have talked about how we’re going to start adulting and before we know it, we’re gonna have whole ass families and completely different lives. That time is now. And I’m so incredibly excited and giddy for what’s to come. I feel like we all evolved, and broke out of our shells. Change makes you mad uncomfortable, but that’s how you know it’s time. When you realize you’re scared to take the chance, but at the same time you’re also scared to stay in the same position, that’s how you’ll know.

The girl that has feared and avoided change for so long has finally embraced it. And by January 2021, she will have a Godson to share new memories with. In 2 weeks’ time, Cam and I shifted the direction of our lives. And I can’t wait for what life has in store for me and my girls.

Old Kanye

Kanye West during Outsidelands festival in San Francisco in 2014.

I miss the old Kanye, straight from the go Kanye / Chop up the soul Kanye, set on his goals Kanye / I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye / The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye / I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye / I gotta to say at that time I’d like to meet Kanye…” –“I love Kanye” by Kanye West

To be honest, that’s ^^^ how I really feel about Kanye West. I used to be the biggest Kanye fan. When I tell you I was obsessed, it is not an understatement. To put it into perspective for you, before J.Cole, Kanye West was hands down my favorite living rapper. In 6th or 7th grade I got my first iPod, the iPod nano 3rd generation in black. Oh that little chubby square device, how I loved you. For once, I didn’t have to sit infront of the computer for hours on YouTube to listen to music. I quickly downloaded every single Kanye West song that I could. Some of these songs still had Kanye down as “Kayne West.” I had every single song he ever made on that iPod, I knew every song’s lyrics by heart, and “Bittersweet” was my MySpace song for the longest.

I admired Kanye because he was obnoxious and talked about issues that some people wouldn’t dare to. He jeopardized his reputation and name for the sake of saying what’s on his mind. He didn’t care that some of the topics were taboo for famous people to bring up. And I liked that. Kanye had the fame and the money, but still knew where he came from. However, he went from “George Bush does not care about black people,” to suggesting that slavery was a “choice,” saying Harriet Tubman didn’t actually free any slaves, and publically supporting Trump… Oh, Kanye, how did you get to this point?

Many believe that the death of his mother, Donda West, in 2007 is what caused Kanye to snap. I agree. In many of his songs, Kanye talks about how he was raised by his single mother. He was a total mama’s boy in its whole definition. Kanye understood all the sacrifices that his mother endured for him, and he appreciated that she always had his back through whatever stage, even if that meant dropping out of college to pursue music. He wanted to pay her all back for it – all the sacrifices, jobs, pain. When Kanye finally started to make a name for himself and make money, his mom benefited as well. The song “Hey Mama” released in Kanye’s 2005 album Late Registration, gave his fans a taste of how much his mother meant to him.

Under the circumstances of how Donda West died, I know Kanye must feel a lot of guilt and anger. Donda West underwent cosmetic surgery, and had complications which resulted in her death. She got liposuction, a tummy tuck, and a breast reduction, and returned home the same day of surgery, even though she was advised to recover in the hospital. Because of these surgeries, Donda West had complications the following day, she ended up collapsing and was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. In the article I linked above, they claim that Kanye blames himself for his mother’s death saying in a Q Magazine interview, “If I had never moved to L.A. she’d be alive.” Meaning, if he never made it big, his mom would still be living.

Before his mother’s death, Kanye was a man who wanted the fame, money, and respect. And Kanye West wasn’t ashamed to admit it. The irony is that when he finally “made it” and had all those things, he was trying to extend the high life to his mother, only to have it backfire in his face. His mother’s death was a result of his fame and wealth. At the time – and still to this day, regardless of everything that Kanye has said and done – my heart ached for him. What a tragedy. Imagine, finally being successful and wanting to share your success with the person who raised you and stuck by you, only to have that feeling of pride and accomplishment replaced with shame and guilt in a matter of 24 hours.

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to feel responsible for your mother’s death. The fame, wealth, respect, the name he made for himself, doesn’t even matter anymore. Kanye worked so hard to make it in the industry, but the fame and recognition only brought him pain. The thought of being famous probably fills him with loathing feelings. The one thing he wanted the most in life is what caused him his greatest loss. Especially under what circumstances his mother passed – this wasn’t life saving surgery that was needed. That’s what probably adds salt to the wound, the fact that these surgeries were by choice to alter appearance and make his mother feel more confident and healthy.

After his mother’s passing, it’s as if Kanye went down a steady downward spiral. He became more obnoxious, but not in the way that I applauded before. I found myself defending him to everyone that had something negative to say. This was a man who was acting out and asking for attention, maybe even help. This “I’m a genius and I’m the shit” attitude seemed like a cover up for the tremendous amount of grief he carried on his back. That attitude and way of thinking is what made past fans change up on him. But not me, I was loyal. I still defended him and listened to his music – old and new.

Then he got married to Kim Kardashian in 2014. It seemed like he was happy to be settling down and starting a family. The running joke is whoever gets with a Kardashian gets destroyed. But to me it seemed like they were a good match. It seemed like there was a period of time where Kanye wasn’t making the news for saying or doing something out of pocket or controversial. I used to be an avid watcher of Keeping Up With the Kardashians in high school and early college. When I went through my social media / media cleanse, the Kardashians were the first ones I unfollowed because their content made me compare myself and generally just made me feel shitty about myself. But I’ve gotten to a place over the years where I can watch the show every so often, I don’t really keep up with them anymore in terms of watching every episode. However, I feel like there’s no escaping their updates through social media.

Everytime I saw Kanye West trending on social media, I cringed a little. Oh God what did he do now? I supported him knowing that he’s grieving publically and maybe is suffering from mental health. I felt like I was defending a friend from all his critics that I knew in real life. But what drew the line for me is when he started to publically support Trump. Even then, I thought it was a publicity stunt and still tried to look past his political views. I thought, There’s Kanye, just saying whatever for attention. But the cherry on top was when Kanye West said slavery was a “choice.”

I was astonished. What. The. Fuck. How did he stray so far from his original views? It seemed like he turned his back on the Black community. This wasn’t the same Kanye from The College Dropout. No way. It was then, in 2018, seeing Kanye in the MAGA hat, supporting Trump, and speaking this hurtful nonsense that I threw in the towel. I could no longer defend him. That’s not the Kanye I grew to love.

Whenever he would make headlines, it felt like that feeling after a bitter break up to be honest. I would see his name in the news or hear about whatever else he said, and I would feel some type of way. I used to look up to you… now look at you… what a shame. I didn’t listen to his new music, but still listened to his old albums – the Kanye I was a fan of. I didn’t want his current choices to over shadow the fact that he was once a great artist. I fell off his fan wagon in 2018.

Everything Kanye related from 2018 to now I didn’t really keep up with. All his Trump supporting content or obnoxious outbursts, I would just take with a grain of salt. Up until now. His recent outbursts on Twitter is making the public go crazy. He’s serving all the hot tea on the Kardashian family, and he’s not holding back. Not to mention that he was running for president, or still is? I’m not sure. All I know is, it was all too much for the internet to handle. The video of Kanye West saying Harriet Tubman never actually freed slaves, then having a meltdown about saving North’s life, then taking it to Twitter, it was like following a movie. What the hell is going on? Yet, my eyes were still glued to Twitter, knowing that @theshaderoom would have screenshots for me if I missed anything.

People were outraged with his comments. I was outraged. The same feelings of what happened to you, Ye?! crept up on me. Reading the comments made me realize that some people agree with Kanye, some don’t, and some think that he is trying to drop hints or clues to whatever deeper meaning he is trying to get to. The “read between his tweets” kind of people. I don’t know where I fall under. In the past, I was so over him and his commentary outraged me. But now I read the tweets of this man who has been under the public eye for almost 2 decades, and I truly pity him.

He’s exposing his wife and her family on Twitter, all their personal secrets, everything they’ve gone through in private – it’s a true shit show. Some people are blaming the Kardashian family for Kanye’s instability, some are egging him on, some blame him. Kim Kardashian posted an update to her followers stating that Kanye has been battling bipolar disorder for years, and she’s trying to help him get the help he needs. However, she makes a point to add that, legally, she can’t force an adult to seek help for themselves. I know the Kardashians get a lot of hate for how they rose to fame, their family and who they date, etc. But these are still real people dealing with real issues broadcasted for the world to see.

When I was reading Kanye’s tweets, I imagined what Kim must be feeling like. To have your husband air out your dirty laundry like that, having this be on the internet forever, and having your daughter possibly find out in the future that you wanted to abort her, all the while dealing with your husband who is having a mental health crisis. We often hear stories about people explaining what it’s like to live with mental health issues, but we rarely hear the stories of the people in their lives that have to deal with the second hand outburts and moodswings. Just because Kim doesn’t have bipolar disorder herself, doesn’t mean she doesn’t carry a lot of shit from the result of being with someone who is bipolar. It’s a rollercoaster for the person with the mental health diagnosis and their loved ones.

Instead of bashing this family and egging Kanye on, I wish people would just let them be. Don’t give him the attention that he so desperately craves (even though it’s so hard to look away sometimes). We know that Kanye says out of pocket shit, but the more we feed the obnoxious behavior, he’ll just try to one up himself. Not everything he says deserves headline attention. We have given Kanye the power to enrage us when we really don’t have to be. Whether he is just making a scene to promote his new album or if he’s really reaching out for help – this is a person who has gone through a tremendous amount of grief and guilt. I hope he gets the help that he needs and finds peace within himself. Fan or not – it’s unfortunate to see someone who was once so great go downhill over a span of years. I feel like this is his rock bottom, and I hope he decides to get help for the sake of his children.