Task List

This weekend will be busy.
List of Tasks:
– Discussion Paper #7 for COMM 407 (Deadline: 04/10)
– Abstract Paper #4 for COMM 407 (Deadline: 04/10)
– Assessment Paper for COMM 490 (Deadline: ASAP)
– Research for NABI Biopharmaceuticals (Deadline: 04/12)
– Study for Investment exam, Chapters 9 – 16 (Deadline: 04/11)
– Discussion Paper #4 & 5 for COMM 407 (Deadline: ASAP)
– Abstract Papers #2 & 3 for COMM 407 (Deadline: ASAP)

As much as I would like to have fun with friends, these next few weekends will be extremely busy.

Girls of the Past

So, what have I learned from those different styles of love? I realized that I truly loved the girls of my past. They were not infatuations. The relationships should not be valued less simply because they took place in my early college years or in high school. Each relationship demonstrated growth or change in the way I love women.

I experienced ludic love from Julie Tran while I was a storgic lover. I viewed my relationship with her as stable growth. She was pretty and smart. I enjoyed her company and looked forward to a growing relationship. Julie, on the other hand, was constantly unsure about my feelings for her (and, perhaps, her feelings for me). So, she devised odd tests for me. For example, she wore thick make-up one day to see how I’d react. She would flirt with other boys in front of me to get me jealous. The whole experience was so surreal and silly that I was glad she broke up with me after two weeks. Admittedly, I was still heartbroken since she was my first girlfriend in high school. Yet, ad hoc, I’m glad I did not experience one week more of her “tests.” I would surely have hated women and preferred men as lovers afterwards as a result.

The relationship with Lina Chai was my first attempt at ludic love. Her love for me was the combination of eros and ludus (mania). My style was ludic because I wasn’t interested in a commitment with Lina. I enjoyed the time spent with her. I felt empowered when I helped improve her relationship with her grandmother. I was proud to have such an artistic and creative girlfriend. But, there was no long-term vision. Lina’s style was manic because she loved me with a passion, but with a doubt of return. More than once, she commented on her surprise that I would even be interested in a girl like her. (Does a manic love style result from feeling undeserving of love?) In the end, my ludic style proved incompatible with her manic one. I broke her heart and I have hated myself for that since then. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll ever get a chance to say sorry.

One would think I’d learn from my relationship with Lina and not keep the ludus style of love. Rebecca Lui was the next victim of my stupidity. She was a very good girl who loved me with the full honor of agape. She disagreed with my playfulness (i.e., tickling or slapping her butt). My occasional curtness with her and wavering attractions did not shake her loyalty. She even suggested to me to spend more time with other girls who shared my interests! Looking back now, I was undeserving of her love. I was reckless and I hurt her feelings deeply. Rebecca deserves another agapic lover, or at least a storge/pragma lover. God! How guilty I feel now. I admire her greatly for her courage, for taking the initiative to break up with me must have been very difficult, considering her agapic love. Of all the girls in my past, I regret the most hurting Rebecca. She deserved much better.

Johana Hernandez was a great girl. My relationship with her was my first attempt at pragma love. This was a sudden change in style, since my past two relationships were ludic. Yet, the situation demanded it. We only had a few months before I left for college. A long-distance relationship required a commitment — the very thing that ludic lovers curse. So, I had to evaluate the pros and cons. I wanted good communication. Johana and I communicated well. At the time, we had average goals. She wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be a secondary school teacher. Both our families were poor, and the two of us could be translators between them (Spanish to English to Cantonese, and vice versa). We both planned to go to Humboldt State. The practical considerations were satisfied and I was ready to work out any differences ahead. Unfortunately, we were not both pragma lovers. I am not sure what Johana’s love style was in our relationship, but I am sure it was neither pragma nor storge. After I left for Humboldt, she felt not only a physical distance, but an intellectual one, as well. She believed that my growth during my first year in college was beyond her ability to keep up and that she was holding me back, (similar to how her ex-boyfriend held back her growth). She felt I deserved better. I was growing too fast, and the direction in which I was growing, she realized, was not hers. So — once again admiring a woman’s courage — she broke up with me.

When we parted ways, I was not aware of my love style in our relationship. Only in hindsight am I aware of my pragmatic love style. As a result, I placed full blame of the lost relationship on myself. For the longest time, I thought the relationship ended because of my ludic love style.

This inaccurate conclusion of my love style had a strong impact on my growth. After my relationship with Johana, I questioned my ability to love. It was after that relationship that I became more critical of myself and, for the first time, realized the terrible treatment of Lina and Rebecca by my reckless hands. Thus, I have Johana to thank for giving me the impetus to be a better man.

Yet, this path towards not being reckless with a woman’s heart was marked with doomed attractions: Amee Foss, Elena Leonard, Celia Tran, and a handful of other women during my second & third years at Humboldt. The short-lived attractions for these women were not simply eros-based. Any relationship was doomed to fail. I knew nothing would come from my pursuits — and from my own armchair-psychology analysis, I believe that I subconsciously subjected myself to these doomed pursuits so that I may suffer for my past transgressions. Whether or not this diagnosis has any merit doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that I did suffer. I constantly felt the need to prove that I deserved the love of these women.

Ah… then, there was Amanda. I experienced eros/agapic/manic love in my relationship with Amanda Allen. Our initial attractions were intense. The sense of bond and connectedness was quick. We told each other about our life stories with similar speed. When she decided that a relationship with me would not work out, what was eros love evolved to an agapic style. I did not care if she did not love me back the way I loved her; I continued to care for her and help her in any way I can. I actually loved someone beyond myself! It was redemption — absolution from the harms of my ludic past. No longer did I have to prove my worth. If I did not deserve another woman’s love because of my past, at least I can love a woman who deserved the best kind of love: agape.

Unfortunately, I failed at agapic love. Though I did not desire a reciprocation of love, I expected, in the least, her appreciation. I felt unappreciated. Tension resulted. Conflict ensued, and I nearly lost a great friendship.

From another perspective, I simply made all the wrong choices. I should not have told Amanda how attracted I was to her. I should have kept my distance and not done anything that would make her suspect the intense feelings that I have for her. The decision to live together as suitemates over the summer was ill-conceived. Her proximity had a catalystic effect: my agapic love mutated into complete mania. I wanted her to prove to me that she appreciated my love, not with love in return, but with “thank you’s” and smiles and platonic affection. She could not do this. She feared any kindness in my direction would only fan my intense passion for her. In short, I freaked her out and I nearly lost all hope of her association. Once again, women prove courage and intuitive wisdom: she kept her distance from me as far as possible. The distance and time apart allowed for the passion to die out and for me to wise up.

Wow… so these are the girls of my past. I have been so reckless in my relationships, I’m lucky to still have Amanda as a friend.

Styles of Love

I hope to finish my Assessment Paper for my Capstone class. Moreover, I have to apply for Lambda Pi Eta. Today was the deadline, but I think the Dept. Chair will accept it tomorrow if I give it to him in the morning.

Several days ago, I found the textbook that I bought for my first Interpersonal Communication class. One of the most interesting concepts I learned was the different styles of love. From this perspective, I realized that I truly loved the girls I’ve been in relationships with in the past. I just loved each differently.

There are three primary and three secondary styles of love. Like the color spectrum, the three primary styles of love blend and form secondary styles. Most of us have a combination of styles. Our styles change through time and are influenced by our lover’s preferences, as well.

Primary
Eros – this style is characterized as powerful, intense and passionate attractions. The love blazes into life suddenly and dramatically. The intensity may include sexual, spiritual, intellectual, or emotional attraction. It is spontaneous and fast-moving. Lovers self-disclose early, can be very sentimental, and fall in love hard and fast.
Storge (store-gay) – this style is characterized as comfortable, steady, and friendship-based. This style of love tends to grow gradually. It is peaceful and stable. Lovers of this style fall in love through common interests, values, and life goals. Storgic lovers don’t get the highs of erotic love, but they don’t have the fiery anger and intense conflicts either.
Ludus – this style is characterized as playful. Ludic lovers see love as a game, full of adventure, challenges, puzzles and fun. They consciously operate on the relationship, (i.e., testing the person’s affection or for certain qualities, playing with the person’s mind, etc.) But, love is not to be taken seriously. Commitment is a no-no. Rather, ludic lovers prefer to play the field and simply enjoy falling in love.

Secondary
Pragma – this style is characterized as practical. It blends the stable, secure love of storge with the conscious strategies of ludus. Pragmatic lovers have clear criteria for partners, such as career, family background, educational level, or religious affiliation. This may seem cold and lacking in passion, but something is overlooked. Practical considerations are the foundation of enduring commitments. These considerations must be satisfied before they let themselves fall in love.
Mania – this style is characterized by madness, uncertainty, and emotional extremes. It combines the passion of eros with ludic rules. Ricky Martin’s song “Living La Vida Loca,” is essentially about the consequences of manic love. Manic lovers are usually not sure that others really love them, so they devise tests and games to evaluate the partner’s commitment. They are obsessive about the relationship and are unable to think about anyone or anything else. Emotional extremes range from euphoric ecstasy to bottomless despair.
Agape – this style is characterized by passion without any expectation of personal gain or return. Agapic lovers feel the intensity of eros and the constancy of storge. They are generous, selfless, and will put a loved one’s happiness ahead of their own. Giving to and loving another is its own reward to an agapic lover.

Productivity

I am using a new client to update my new entries. I like the control and window features that are lacking in the official version.

After my Investment Management class today at noon, I feel really productive. In a few minutes, I’ll be going to the gym. I’ll come back for dinner and finish the second section in this week’s assignment for Relational Comm. I have to answer the question, “What do you see as the most important communication skills stepfamily members should develop and use?” This is a good question to ask. According to sociologists & demographers, over 50% of America’s children will be from stepfamilies by 2015. The relational dynamics are much more complex than the traditional non-divorced families. Perhaps I might marry a woman who was once married? Then, the answer to that question would be of personal value as well.

Anyway, off to the gym.

To Be or Not to Be Our Parents

A young Ned seen with his beatnik parents
A young Ned seen with his beatnik parents (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We grow up to be like our parents. Is that true? Could be. The better question is, “Do I want to grow up to be like my parents?” I am as unsure of my answer for that question as I was for the first one.

I have always maintained that the whole of myself is the best of both worlds that my parents each represent. My father, for instance, is forward thinking and very intelligent. When he sits quietly looking out at the lawn or at the fish tank, I know he’s thinking about the future. I know because once I asked.

“Nothing is wrong, Dad?” I asked in Cantonese. He was staring at the fish tank for such a long time, not reading his newspaper as usual.
“No. I am just thinking about the family’s house.” He was always worried about how the mortgage was to be paid. The family depended so much on him, the money that he worked so hard to bring home.

Being a child, when he told me of his troubles, I knew not what to do. There was not much I could do but be a good boy — and I don’t think I succeeded at that very well, either. Well, I am more eager to be a good son now if I was not much of one back then. More importantly, the point I was trying to make is that I am also very forward-thinking. And, being a good son is a goal in which its value would not have been realized if I did not have my dad’s critical self-reflection.

My dad has a coherent code of ethics because of that self-reflection. He doesn’t adhere to the rituals of the family’s religion, Mahayana Buddhism. No words actually declare this, but his behavior and facial expressions clearly say it’s a “crock of shit.” About the rituals of any religion, I have also come to the same conclusion: they are perfunctory. I think I inherited the same cynicism towards religion that my father has. Yet, even without the fallible guidance of a priest, monk or rabbi, I have developed a code of ethics of my own that I live by.

My mother has a high interpersonal intelligence. She is honest and does not put on any air of superiority (probably because she hasn’t the riches to justify it, hehe…). She is sincere. That sincerity in her actions with other people make trusting her a very comfortable thing to do. This sincerity, I think, I inherited from her.

My mom is also empathetic. She is no Gandhi or Mother Theresa, but she feels for other people’s suffering as (what I have come to learn) good people should. Without this influence from my mother, I don’t think I can cry at sad movies or care about the many disenfranchised people in this world.

Mother-Teresa-collage

So, there are many good characteristics of my parents that I like in me. Yet, I fear I might have inherited some bad traits, too. Don’t we all?

My anger, for instance, is very explosive. My dad’s anger, likewise, is very explosive. Neither one of us is physically violent. My father has never hit my mom, and I am vehemently against domestic violence. Yet, our loud, deep voices become very threatening when we shout. The tension in and the extreme contrast from our general jovial faces both have a very imposing effect to the receiver in a conflict. I never liked my dad when he was mad. He was scary. Similarly, the few people who have seen me angry have commented on its intensity.

My mom is very emotional. When she gets stressed out, she cries. When I get stressed out, I cry. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but crying isn’t very manly, either.

There is a point that I am trying to make, but the night is getting late and I want to go to bed. I suppose I conclude that I like how both my parents are, but I am concerned about certain traits such as my dad’s anger and his stonewalling when he argues with my mom. I want neither to be unconstructive with my anger nor stonewall my significant other when in conflict. Is recognizing the tendency enough to keep it in check? Perhaps. Wanting to be a good husband, I certainly hope so. Divorces will get pretty expensive in the years to come.

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