Focus On You

April 29/30, 2018

I know I’m going to go to sleep and everything that happened will feel like nothing but a fond memory and faint, tingly happiness beneath my skin, but that’s okay with me.

There was so much love in the air, I almost suffocated on it. In such good company, I had one of the best nights of my life and it didn’t involve bad decisions, illicit substances, or risqué business, but my heart did race a couple times. In reality though, that could’ve been anything from my serious overdose of caffeine or from my cute almost-co-worker/mentor (long story).

I had much-needed girl talk time with someone whom I consider an older sister I never had, lifting a huge weight off my chest about some of the most personal and painful memories that catalyzed my inner emotional warfare for years, a weight that dissipated simply because she understood the depths of my soul where my story originated without dismissing it as insensitively as others have. My heart lightened knowing I could finally entrust in someone my greatest truth and believe it will be handled delicately.

And I loved that feeling from today. The one with longing but embarrassed, quick glances over the shoulder as he and I headed in opposite directions. The one where my solitude was never cold, filled with jokes among other genuine smiles and words I can’t remember. The mahmilapinatapei…

I feel good about where I am. I feel really good about it. It’s rocky, it’s rough, it takes time, but that’s fine by me because even now, I’m seeing the great rewards that result from it. I’ve gained amazing friends, experiences that will forever warm my heart, and intimate time to discover myself through my work, my superiors, and my family. I feel at home with myself for once.


Perfect Instance

February 22, 2018

When you’re lost among the sweet echoes of guitar strums or slow, ethereal drum beats, sometimes you lose sight of everything else. It’s like a combination of good and bad, everything you should and shouldn’t hope to possess. The feeling of bliss that makes you forget everything else, it makes you naïve again, it makes you ignorant, vulnerable.

Do you want that?

It’s the blessing and curse of falling for someone that makes your knees buckle and creates flutters within your chest, out of your voluntary control and opposite your desire, deeming you almost completely and utterly helpless to the siren song. You wish to be grounded and logical and cold and calculating, but some unblossomed fragment of your heart now has the power to overcome and thwart your defenses, all that you spent your life fortifying and arming with the weapons you gained through time and trial and tribulation. Your conscience struggles to stay afloat, to not be dragged down into the depths of ignorant bliss.

The taste is bittersweet upon your tongue, a confusing pang resonating within your chest as you wonder whether or not this defines happiness or appeasement and as time then had slowed but never really stopped.

And even though you managed to slither your way out of its monstrous grasp, it was perfect…

In that instance.

Bananas for Christmas

Christmas Day 2017

To me, Christmas used to mean hoping I’d be gifted something I couldn’t afford with what little money I had at any given age. Over the years, it lost meaning and became a superficial expression of long-standing friendships with people I’ve known forever but hardly know. It nearly lost all meaning when Christmas at home stayed the same 80 or 90 something degrees it is during the other 11 months of the year and the gifts I received were gift cards for which I had next to no use, further diminishing the faith I had in restoring the happiness and unconditional joy of Christmas.

But in a little over a week, with people I hardly know but feel like I’ve known forever and whose names I can’t remember with confidence, I felt communion for once, I felt like the company wasn’t there out of routine or obligation, I felt like everyone wanted to be there. I loved it.

A wise woman I met that week told me a story of how her life was much simpler in her single digits and the one gift she remembered that filled her with the most joy as a child was a box with two bananas, an orange, and a pack of peanuts from America. Bananas and oranges and American peanuts were not local to her hometown, making them more valuable than they would be today to most average 6-year-olds. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sentiment, making me wish gifts that simple had such profound meaning for all giftees nowadays.

What a wonderful world that would be.

I spent that entire Christmas day in one of the most beautiful and historical cities I’d ever visited, had some of the best cultural food I’d ever tasted, and met some of the most beautiful people I’d ever lay eyes upon.

But just for the record, on Christmas day, I danced with a Hungarian man in the middle of the woods while a hammered dulcimer filled the surrounding air with coppery tunes and upbeat music that my two feet could never seem to keep time with for more than four steps.

Keep In Touch

November 30, 2017

I wonder if you meant that.

I needed this, I hope you know that. I needed something like this for a very, very long time after sinking helplessly farther into the nadir. I once felt like escape was not a realistic possibility, only a tantalizing glimmer of light in the distance. But now, I no longer feel so unconsolably trapped. I have you to thank for that. I’ll be forever grateful.

For once, my inhibitions didn’t prevent me from moving where my eyes led me, doing what my whimsical heart wished—and it was lovely. I didn’t have qualms over menial concerns or even the paralyzing fear instilled in my soul.

I felt calm.

Calm shouting over intermittent train horns. Calm from chasing shadows and catching sun flares. Calm when discovering all what I didn’t know about myself, and more so what I didn’t know about you.

I appreciate that.

If you’re wondering if this is about you, well… your guess is right.

I hope that on your journey showcasing the beauty of others, you realize the beauty within your entire being, your whole existence. Whether others, or even you, yourself, bear witness to your gift, know that it is there, intangibly but undoubtedly there.

All in summary, my heart is filled with an incomparably profound gratitude, misunderstood gratitude.

Or rather, not misunderstood, but simply unspoken.

Sunny Day

November 15, 2017

The one time I ever visited southern California, I remember feeling inexplicably happy and being okay with not knowing quite why that was so.

My grandma sat in the passenger seat with me in the back and a song came on the radio that I remember being too emotional to listen to before it became popular because it reminded me of painful times and nonexistent realities.

I quietly sang along in the back, gazing absently out the window, never missing a word, bobbing my head to the simple, clean beat. It painted the picture in my mind of a bare apartment in a big city, where I lay on a stiff, leather couch, hearing icy winter breezes tap the window screen, feeling my heart liquefy in my chest because I was wrapped in the arms of my partner who still slept peacefully.

After blinking back into reality, my gaze averted to the ships at the bay, the ferries pulling in to transport people to the island. Still singing along, I heard my grandma turn to the driver and ask what song it was, probably because I was singing it and I obviously liked it.

He confessed to not knowing because he didn’t listen to the radio often. I wanted to intervene but instead decided to just enjoy the quiet moment.

To this day, I still get emotional, unable to listen to the entire song, just this time… for different reasons.

iPod Touch

November 13, 2017

I remember in junior high school, my best friend was my sister according to everyone. Apparently we looked alike which I couldn’t deny due to our semblant ethnic backgrounds.

The first thing I noticed about her when we met was her earrings. They were purple coiled wire with pink spike balls on the ends of the short coil.

Eventually, I grew closer to her than the girl leading my section in band. She and I collectively wrote stories and created characters, handsome, fearless, dragon-riding, sword-wielding, prince-warriors. We fabricated worlds where we were actually sisters and we grew up together, learning magic and discovering fantastical kingdoms.

When I was fifteen or sixteen years old, I had one of the few sleepovers I’ve ever been to in my life at her house. She and I were crowded onto the guest room couch with the window open, allowing cool September breezes filter through the first-story room.

The power was out at her house because her mom forgot to pay the electric bill, but since I was out all day with her family, they didn’t realize it was out til nighttime came. The electric company wouldn’t open til 8 am the next morning, so we lived by moonlight until then. That meant a night of no air conditioning, no phone chargers, and no light. With her bedroom on the second floor, she and I would bake throughout the night if we stayed up there.

But what resonated with me that night was when she confessed that I actually made her feel better as opposed to her parents or her long-time friends in her grade. Crying in frustration and fury at her mother’s forgetfulness, all I could remember was holding her in my arms and knowing she wept without seeing because I felt warm tears occasionally trickle onto my arm while she mumbled almost incoherently.

I recall venting to her about my parents and she would always take care of me and make me feel protected in the big sister role she naturally assumed, the big sister I’d never had.

I suppose it was the least I could do for her.

By the end of the night she had recollected herself and around one in the morning, I began falling asleep while we played hangman on her iPod touch and it was then I finally confessed to her who my crush was, much to her surprise (which is a whole other story in itself; that guy was and still is a total waste of time, a real doozie).

I often wonder if I’m the only one who reminisces on such memories.

Being in love at 20-something

November 5, 2017

See, the thing about being a 20-something-year old, at least for me, is that you become a cranky, old lady who gets annoyed of adolescents in a heartbeat and you get back pain from sitting for too long or from working too hard—either or.

Jokes aside, it might just be me and the cohort I’m in and the mentality I have. It’s more difficult for me to be easygoing when hanging out with friends, even if we’re not close, because now I feel like I’m wasting time. I’m always complaining about not having a clean bathroom and a clean kitchen and I get irritated when the high schoolers stand on my lawn. I sleep relatively early for my age and wake up early to be productive in the morning.

But what really made me notice my crippling mental age difference was how difficult it is for me to fall in love again.

Wow, that sounds even lamer than when I thought it.

I just have trusts issues, okay? And commitment issues. I’ve dealt with some stupid people. I’ve been hurt so often that I have become a cynic to the idea of youthful relationships and fresh love. And it’s a task for someone to convince me otherwise, to have me fall for them. I haven’t put anyone else before myself in a very long time, and despite it’s effectiveness in progressing my higher education, I get lonely on rare occasions. Even still, I seem to lack the emotional capability of falling head over heels for someone (unless he’s Alex Bregman, of course).

But when I think of how lovely it would be to hold someone, I quickly remember what it took to be able to hold them, the effort, the time, the commitment, the energy, then I feel remotely grateful that I don’t have that sort of thing to worry about because, heaven knows, I’m awful with punctuality and prioritizing for other people’s time.

I suppose when I meet someone who genuinely wants to convince me and eventually does, should that idea even see the light of day from me, then maybe my grumpy, old self will learn to enjoy something so lovely.

Little Talk

November 2, 2017

There are only three things in this world that I “hate” and one of them is small talk.

I don’t enjoy small talk by any stretch of the imagination. It’s exhausting. The people who do it as part of their daily lives amaze me, really.

How is it so easy for people to talk about the change of season making their allergies flare up, or how well their mutually favorite sports team performed, or what the other person had for dinner last night?

You get nowhere talking small. You get nowhere in the depth of relationships. You get nothing out of it, no existential realization, no paradigm shift, no new knowledge, no inspiration.

I can make small talk but at the end of the day, I feel physically and mentally fatigued. I feel like I have to isolate myself from all outside contact to replenish my energy.

Meaningful conversations, to me, are highly stimulating, not to mention very productive. You learn about others and, more importantly, you learn about yourself. You realize what biases you hold to, what your deepest opinions are, what secrets of your personality you subconsciously held in the dark. They give me the energy to keep going, to dream and create, despite that many may find it exhausting. And gaining new perspectives from others and learning logical or abstract concepts from deep conversations provides a refreshing boost in cognitive development for all parties.

And they’re just nice to have sometimes.

I know not every conversation has to be about politics or innovation, but really, when will the depth of those conversations, furthermore those relationships, truly speak to you if each one is the same with every person you meet?

3 Bars of Chocolate and I found myself falling for you

October 31, 2017

If I’m going to be honest, I was getting weak-kneed at the thought of kissing you.

It was a stretch hoping it’d happen, but I was aware of that long ago.

I never expected everything I discovered about you. It all came as a pleasant, refreshing surprise.

I found myself thinking about how much I trusted you yet I knew so little about you. Every guy I talked to after you just didn’t have that kick, that… Thing. I knew I couldn’t trust anyone else because their intentions were riddled with malicious intent. And I knew I could trust you, without a doubt.

You are honest, brutally so. You are a cynic but you never lie. You aren’t a stranger to weakness but you play it into your strengths. You never have anything to hide. You aren’t ashamed of who you are, what you do.

You are just you.

And I love that.

Red Plaid

October 26, 2017

His button down—it was red plaid. I swear I could never forget it. When I thought I’d never see him again, after I thought I’d lost him to the tangles of fate and time.

What bittersweet and vicarious relief floods my heavy heart.

Just another day, right?

Just another day in the life.

But days like these are meant to give you a chance to breathe, a chance to step back and not worry, even if just for a second. They’re meant to put a smile on your face if you hadn’t worn one for a long time, caught up in the hustle and bustle, the stresses of mundane cycles and repetitive and useless conversations.

I love that feeling I get sometimes, that feeling of what the future might hold, that skippy, heart-racing feeling I get when I think of what happiness lay on the path ahead, what company I’ll be graced with.

It puts a smile on my face after having not worn one for a long time.