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Sunday, December 30, 2012

4-5 AM on a Sunday Morning

We were speeding underground, the tunnel lights flooding everything in warm hues, his profile like a portrait in sepia. I wanted to photograph the shape of his cheekbones and the curve of his jawline as he stared straight at the road, remembering that every moment was fleeting and that physical documents sometimes outlived memories. 
As far back as then, I had wanted to be in Manhattan and told him so. He said he once wished for the same, once wanted to study engineering at some school with a name I can't remember and don't care enough to. But what I can't forget is what he said next...I had asked him why he didn't go, and he'd told me that his family needed him more than he needed his education. That his parents could have never paid all the bills had he picked up and left.
It was at that point that I felt selfish and small and awestruck and young and silly and full of shitty, upside-down priorities, with still so much growth ahead of me.
He was so handsome when we left the tunnel, the sunlight entering our eyes.

Every time I visit the ICA, I end up sitting in this one spot, one of my favorite places in the city, for at least 20 minutes, and I sit and remember everything that ever happened there, everything that creates the energy and magic I feel at that single spot.

The crumbs. The dark black cookie crumbs, Oreos I think, that coated his lips the way bits of asphalt spread across pale cement. The knees. The way the contour of his meat-less bony knees jutted through his dark jeans. How much I wanted to reach out and trace them. How much I wanted to trace all of him--his knees, his palms, the hollow spaces in his frame, the depth of his cheekbones, the bridge of his nose. I wanted his wide eyes to never leave mine, unless they were occupied with dreams.
Our arms were brushing, and I wish I could've felt his warmth more.
He told me about New York, about his court date, about sitting in a 24/7 McDonalds until the morning waned. It was the cheapest hotel they could find.

We talked about suicide, suicidal ideation. She bared to me the skeletons of her family, of her father, of all the devils that gnawed at her, at her arms. She told me that the shallow scars on her wrists had long since faded, that she had made the cuts deliberately shallow when she was insane but just sane enough. Her friend once grabbed her arm which made her squirm in pain, but even the closest never caught on. She buried the secrets deeper than the blade and, somehow, that made all the difference. It's been months since we've talked, but I rest easy knowing she saved herself.
One day, I'll bring a lover here, and I will know that my love is reciprocated and that what I'll have found is true and fair. I will know so long before I even dream of taking them into this space.

On nights like these, when I'm still awake at 4 am, I wonder about why I'm here.


My greatest joys have been the love I've given and the love I've received.


I once gave a Georgetown cupcake to a homeless man with a beat-up bicycle, who then told me, God bless you, dear. I wished then that I hadn't eaten the first one so that he could've taken two, while my friend sat devouring his second. 

We watched 21 Jump Street on the grassy banks of the pond while passersby passed us by with goofy stares. We were cute--we weren't together, but we were cute. I took note of that day and will most definitely recycle the plans when the time is right. That night, he told me about his first time and was surprised when I admitted I'd never fucked. 

Never have I found a reason to be wholeheartedly content with myself, and that is fine. It's probably why I dislike my own birthday celebrations so much. They're overindulgence to me. I just don't see sense in celebrating myself when everyday is already full of celebrations of life. Every breath, twiddle, ache, step, tingle, touch--they are all wonderful celebrations of the spirit, energy, life I've been granted. Why spend my time celebrating what I've been given when I can take that time to utilize my blessings and fulfill my commitment to others, serve my purpose?

Ma lived the first 20 years of her life never knowing the exact date of her birth, only believing that each year that passed had added to her age. If Momma didn't need birthdays, then why should I?

Mo Ba shared in hushed tones during breakfast that Trung was depressed about his girlfriend leaving, but that he had told her he would be fine if he just hung out and talked to me for the next week. She asked me in whispers to make sure I spend as much of my time with him as possible. I felt warm and fuzzy, remembering that Trung was my first best friend in this life. I miss him now and hope he's well and kind to his parents. All I really want right now is to fly back to be with family, to be Trung watching 30 Rock till we pass out, to wake up and make a boba run first thing in the a.m., to laugh at Trung's gibberish and "awww" whenever he talks about Jenny bittersweetly.

I feel like I'm always doing this...leaving when I'm still needed or when I'm happy. I don't mind letting go of happiness, but I feel guilt for unfulfilled responsibilities.
It was strange, funny, and comforting to talk to him about college and what I should look out for. He showed me some pretty kickass party mixes, told me to get some mace asap, and admitted he hates New York. He took the keepsake picture of Puppy I left him and beelined to his room to tack it onto his dry erase board above his desk, where only the special-est pictures go.

I wonder if I have, or ever will have, enough badass mental toughness to work at a psychiatric hospital.


I die a little inside every time someone jokes about rape. 


She's changing and I don't like who she's becoming, but I won't love her any less.


I'm really fucking proud of him, of his artwork, of his sense of self, of his honesty with flaws. 


I really fucking hope my crew comes up with me.


We texted till past 4 am about plans for when he's back--and just that, the act of making plans, got me excited for the adventures we'll soon have in the city.



I found the very first texts between AE! Andrew and I from back when I was 15. How young and innocent we both sounded, believing in infinity when forever is too often stamped with an expiration date. We kept repeating, One day...one day... I do miss him, miss him the way I miss happier times and Cali sunshine and having him feel so close even though he was so far. He came at the right time, with the right moves, with the right lessons for me. He empowered me in so many ways like I had never been before at that age, and for that I owe him big time. He was older but thought no less of me, felt enough like safety to make me enjoy being vulnerable. I thought he was my first taste of love. It's sad that we drifted and ended...I'm left with a number that I don't think is his anymore and a first and last name that gets me nowhere. I don't think I'll ever see or speak to him again, but that shit happens, I'm fine. I still have that tank top somewhere in my drawers.


It's 5 am and my reminiscing's going way back. My mind's restless even if my eyelids droop.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Houston 2012

These have been wonderfully strange and strangely wonderful days.

Most moments...they don't even feel real. Just floaty.

We are all* in transitions, so it's thrilling to wonder about how all these paths will simultaneously unravel. 

(*almost all!)

Awesome is unreal. She puts every dog I've ever known, and probably will ever know, to shame. ♥ The girl jumps through hoops...literally. Like goddamn.

I'm feeling so much, and yet I can't seem to express these sentiments. I fumble with my phrases in conversation, tongue-tied, depend on backspaces and ink messes while waiting for my truths in words to finally arrive. There are ways to convey all the restless things inside me...I just haven't come across the lines that do these feelings justice, that make me re-feel this fuzziness when I read them to myself. 

Momma is not doing well. Momma is sad and still feeling ill. 

(I'm responsible.)

Momma also hates Awesome...

Awesome is an epic name.

Houston is kindness,
Her people warmer than suns.
Why am I so mean?

Eyes that see my soul
Her loyalty amazes
Slobbery type love

Loose Vietnamese men
Blame it on the alcohol
Karaoke night

These haikus are great
This shit goes straight to the heart
(Truth: these are poopy.)

I wrote on Wednesday (12/19/12) at 5:09 am,

"Not even 10 hours ago, I received the first college admission that elicited an emotional response beyond lightly disturbed numbness. Today, I felt for the first time as if my future had been revealed and/or determined (I'm not sure which...it could've been either). I felt for the first time that I had received an affirmation from the Universe. I felt for the first time the promise of exponential growth. Every ounce of myself that I had poured into this process at once ceased to feel as if it were all for naught--I finally could know something, hold something, show something for all these months and years of personal toil. Acceptance into NYU may not have solved my every problem in this world, may not have lifted every ounce of sadness I carry, but it has given me some lightness--lightness in anchorage. Now with a sense of stability and certainty in my future, an anchor, I feel as if I can float a little farther, float a little longer, float a little more worry-free. There's now one less trouble to deal with, and yet there are now so many more.
 


This is such a distinct sense of achievement that I'm really struggling to put into words. I feel Ba's warmth, but Ma's been asleep pretty much the whole night. I won't forget the electricity I felt at BonChon and Grant, Andrew, Bryan, and Y-Binh's excitement for me when I read the email on Y-binh's iphone...nor will I forget Ma's outward apathy and suppressed disappointment. Nor the feeling of content so quickly killed by nausea after seeing the financial aid statement. But Ba told me, Con will make it worth it, and dismissed the numbers as completely reasonable, telling me the opportunity was too good to pass up. To be honest, I don't know if I'm under-appreciating and over-stressing the financial deal I have by making comparisons, but I just know where I will be 9 months from now (not with a baby, I would hope...). And I do know for damn sure that I will pay my entire way through college, giving back every dollar Ma, Ba will initially help me with as soon as I graduate and make bank. I have 5 months left in high school, and I will bust my ass on shittons of scholarship apps, grinding just as hard if not harder than I have been. Senioritis is dead to me. One day of it was enough of a taste. I've the faintest belief in the future now, and just that faint belief is enough to push me to grind grind grind in preparation for my coming chapter.
 

I think this is 'happy', but there is still so much guilty and sad and heavy.

All this is so strange and humbling and warm and worrisome and liberating and stabilizing and...wonderful. I'm simply so blessed to have all the chances that I have, all the resources that I can use, all the people that I know, all the family that I love. Life is kind, and yet so very sick and dark."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mushy

Some of the warmest words any boy has ever messaged me...I'm beyond humbled by the love I've seen lately...

After a damn long time, I finally feel like I'm fully recognizing and appreciating the miracle of each moment again...Finally, I'm beginning to feel balanced, optimally gracious and grateful, and filled with a healthy melancholy calm. The hells haven't left me, but this piece of the battle is finished.

I believed, and I received...What greater affirmation is there of the Universe's path for me?

*

"This is about to be a little mushy, but idc, you know me....I'm really freaking proud of you. You deserve this and more (and believe me, there is so much more waiting for you). Over the last 4 years, you have simply amazed me.You're capacity to give is remarkable. You do so much for everyone you care about, yet you never ask for anything in return. Nor do you even expect it. But what astonishes me even more so about you is the way you demand respect. You carry yourself better than any girl I know...and it's not that nobody ever sees you sweat, it's that you don't try to hide the sweat. Your originality adds to that, nobody does anything like you...you are a very special person, not just to me, but in this world. You are extraordinarily extraordinary, and you have a lot of knowledge to share to the world. NYU is just the beginning."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Restlessness

My thoughts keep racing, as they have been for a while now. They keep me up at night, keep me aching.

I have shit to be doing, but I'm not doing a good job of doing it...

I just wanna read poetry and Elie Weisel for dayssss...

I wish we'd had that flan party. I don't know why I wasn't more into him coming over at the time.

I have this weird potential plan to familiarize my parents with any of the guys I hang out with. That way, if they grow to trust them, having them over, going over to their places, and going out together wouldn't be such issues. It shocked me how chill they were when DeReK and Moh just chilled at home for hours. I'm hoping I can get that same response going, like with Sebas and his Rozzie neighbors.

We talked about how dope lust is, and then mermaids, and then animals, and then poop. He told me I have zero humor but that I'm ten unspecified units deep. He told me that he'd been feeling especially lustful the other day, and that if he had invited me over, he might've ended up doing something he'd regret...that came out of the blue and both surprised and confused me. What exactly would he have done??? It was an unexpected thing to hear, but it didn't matter much at the time. Now that I'm thinking back to it and our conversation, it's kind of weird/creepy as fuck, right?

I really don't mean to be a stalker, I swearrrrr, but...a photo he was tagged in came up on my newsfeed because some of our mutuals liked it, and I got kind of jealous at the fact that some Viet girl was all over him. She even profile pictured it, and it's no shot in the dark to say she's mad into him. But whatever, I'm being really dumb. Hahah, I don't even know the dude.

Friday night = nighttime holiday pics and dinner. I have mixed feelings about the plans. On the one hand, I miss them like cray and wanna spend time together, but on the other hand, I'm not looking forward to his presence. It already bothers me enough that he answers my texts for her without clarifying that it's him. She told him that if I don't like him, there is no she and him. It's endearing, but I know it can't be true at this point...and truth be told, my opinion of him is less than positive...

Actually, it's bordering on straight up shit.

Ugh, thinking about him forreal makes me consider coming up with other plans for my night...

It's strange to me how I can feel both unrelentingly hateful and unsuspectingly tender. In either case, I don't think I come across as extreme as I do in voiceless words.

Now, I'm gonna look at some more colleges to apply to because I'm silly as fuck and find some enjoyment in that.

Family

She cried and left the camera window. It was the first time she'd heard any of our voices since June.

"Mommy, why are you crying? Because the make-up hurts? Beauty is pain!" (She's a smart girl.)

They'll be visiting in the summer. Two more reasons why I cannot fucking wait for time to pass and bring me to them.

Poor babies. She can't stop wearing the shirts we gave her.

Babies on the brain. My God.

Damn

Is it wrong that I think she's being incredibly stupid? Is it judgmental of me to think the way she's handling herself is pathetic?

Maybe. And yes. But fuck...

I can't imagine how much emotional turmoil and vulnerability she must be going through, but I'm even farther from understanding how she can deliberately make the decisions that set her so fucking far back.

Finally saying enough was enough, having the courage to leave security for uncertainty, and reconnecting with her family were fucking huge steps--I was seriously so proud and happy for her. But now I just feel sick with pity. Somebody just please justify to me how fucking around and getting pregnant at this time can be a good thing.

I have nothing against her going after what or who makes her happy, but being worried as fuck, scared, unprepared, and refusing to take a morning after pill is just fucking dumb to me. And I'm disgusted that he's happy about all this. Just fucking sick to my stomach thinking about all these layers. It's not even my body, but I'm panicking for her.

Everything she's telling me is just so irrational. How she's scared of the test coming out positive, that abortion's not an option, and that she's not ready but will be if she has to be. The fact that he's happy makes her worry less about the future. Like, what the fuck, woman? She openly acknowledged that she'll only ever truly love him, but here she is fucking with another dude and potentially carrying his child. Five years with one did not result in a potential pregnancy, but a few weeks with another did. I'm just fucking pissed at the way this shit is going down. 

She already refers to it as "the baby."

It's dizzying.

I'm seriously losing all empathy. I'm not even trying to understand what she's going through anymore. I feel like she's not thinking clearly, but I'm also not in the position to make her decisions for her body or her life. Her blood family is, not that they're against a child coming.

She's scared of me hating her, and making this more difficult for her is the last thing I want. But I've spoken my mind, so there's not much left for me to say to her on the subject. I'm being judgmental and projecting her situation upon myself, then reacting to her how I would if it were me. But I'm still just so sick from this.

My mind's just been fucking blown too many times lately.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Pt. 2

I am so fucking blessed.

These have been some of the best days I've had in a long while, and not the kind of best where there's one or two moments that make the day stick out in my mind, but the kind that are memorable because of how much consistent positive energy and good vibes there are. They've been a stark contrast to the gloom I've grown comfortable with.

Thanksgiving One + Thanksgiving Two/Jenga Night + Movie Slumber Party = Nirvana

Thanksgiving for Breakfast + ICA/Os Gemeos + The Creperie + A Stroll on Newbury + Home-cooked Dinner + Sistah = Nguyening*

(*This whole week's been the definition of "nguyening," regardless of yo last name, nawmean?)

Jenga night was intensely epic. I've never felt so much raw emotion come out during a family game night, and I feel lucky to have been there. Shit, everyone was on the verge of tears the whole night. Just full of sweet potatoes and the even sweeter answers to life and love. Nancy needs to either write a philosophical book or get herself a talk show and be the asian Oprah fused with the asian Dr. Phil.

"I want to be someone I'm proud of, without compromising who my family would be proud of."

"This sounds so cheesy, but I literally wake up every morning and remember that my parents came from nothing."

"I never told anyone this, but I was really depressed with where I was professionally. I'm finally happy now that I'm serving the under-served."

"One of my biggest regrets is not committing to a relationship."

"Even though she's the one you love, the family will be torn apart if not everyone accepts her. Family is love, too."

"I can just see how much you love and appreciate being here with all of us, in our family...I could just cry talking about how much you love this, love us."

"I'm thankful for the power to shape my destiny." (I don't know if I agree.)

"Love is unexplainable, it's feeling comfortable, and it's complicated...I suck at explaining things."

"Are you attracted to Kimmie? I know you have a girlfriend and that you two grew up together, but Kimmie's such a strong woman. I just feel so much sexual tension..." (LOL DAFUQ...Nancy was damn drizzy off of wine. We cringed before setting her straight.)

"What wakes me up in the morning? Bacon--and Jenn making that bacon."

"This makes me want to be a better person!!!! Oh merr gawd, I think I've reached nirvana!!!"

"Don't hold the beer bottle, it's incriminating! Here, take this red cup instead."

"Woah woah woah...he said what? Beer pong? Aren't you 14?"

"Yes, dude, she's a MILF!"

"Ok, we'll keep the questions PG...so, are you a pisces???? OMG, no waaaay, what a shocker!"

"I would be a bear with claws, eagle wings, and kangaroo legs, with the pouch too. That way, I can steal honey from tall trees." (Drunken logic)

The whole night, we were either doubled over laughing or listening and empowering. It was wonderful--the feel-good stomach cramps, the goosebumps, and the way my heart trembled affirmed that it was.

Largo's a bamf, and it felt nice to just kick back to a movie with Drew while all the beauties slumbered. It's been a few years now, but we're not as close as I know we can be.

Dana I'm a terrible auntie but so thankful that she still loves me. Facetiming soon

I fucking love the ICA, not only for the love of art but specifically for its waterfront views from both inside and out. While the sisters and Drew explored the rest of the level, I slipped away and sat alone amidst strangers, staring out at the harbor and taking the time to journal on my itouch. My romanticized memories of the past always rush to me the hardest when I'm there...The longing isn't bitter; for me, it's part of what makes the museum's atmosphere all the more lovely.

Today, I thought about what I want to mean to my loved ones:

Home.

To everyone who loves me enough to welcome me into their world, I want to feel like home away from home, where my arms are shelter and my compassion is sustenance. I want to be a reason for them to feel safe. And, when it comes to significant other type ish, it would definitely be one of the most romantic, affirming things to hear.

While we took levitation photos of us hand in hand, it hit me that I couldn't remember the last time we'd done this, held hands.

Ain't nobody fresher than my motherfucking clique! We rolled up to Itadaki to get my last check, but I ended up not even needing yakuza-style reinforcement. It was just Hieng out front, and he was super nice and ran in for my check for me. I almost wish I had gone in to be openly smug towards the owners, but spite is pointless and regressive. I do wish I'd been in less of a hurry and talked to Hieng more--I miss him! He told me work's been shitty, lol. He's been cutting shifts shorter and shorter, more and more. I'm happy for him, happy that he's moving on to something actually worth his worth.

I got nervous at dinner, scared that momma was upset. We cleared the table lightening quick.


Anh Tri is a piece of shit. Every new thing I hear about him makes me absolutely sick and beside myself with hate. Cleaver said, "The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less," and he spoke the truth. I hate that he is blood, my family's blood; it's just sickening that we share lineage. In a way, what I feel towards him is, to a degree, self-hate. But I'm more ready to be this bitter than to ever allow myself to forgive his fuckery as a father, son, cousin. Fuck him. Sad to admit, but I honestly do wish him hell.

For the first time since summer, I saw Nhi, and we bawled for a minute. It was like hugging a woman who'd been to hell and back. I realized how stupidly I had let work get in the way of life. Love is everything, and I'd forgotten that.

Meeting Luciano was...I don't know. Nice? Weird? Unnerving?

And shit, the sketchyass man who came up to us asking for weed...why I don't go for walks after the sun goes down...God help him.

Sleep. I need sleep for tomorrow's continuation of nguyening.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Bestie asked me about my tumblr name. She told me my explanation made her heart hurt. 

I feel for her and all the turmoil she's experiencing because of him, the dynamic, the questions. 

I told them about my early early acceptance, unsure of what I was feeling. Momma was silent, and all father said was, "Nice, con." It was good enough to apply to early, but not good enough to be more than a safety school.

Momma laughed at me because I weigh one pound more than her.

As we had our coffees, strolling through JP, she congratulated me, told me how affirming it should be and how proud I should feel. But I told her the affirmation was only relative, that there was no pride in me, and that other than some temporary shock, I felt nothing but empty ambiguity. Then, I called her out on sharing my personal news on Facebook, replicating the moment between myself and her in an impersonal forum where my news wasn't mine to share anymore. I told her how I was overwhelmed--one friend called me at 4 a.m. to confirm her status, and people approached me in the hall to ask about it. We talked tensely about it and then fell quiet.

I wish I was more than just useless when it comes to the shit she's been navigating. How heavy is the heartbreak of losing what you saw as your future? And yet, she's onto a new guy now, which in my mind is much too fast and much too soon. But who am I to form opinions of someone else's life when I'm not the one living it? I just worry that she's falling into the same traps and burying herself--I've told her so, and she didn't deny it. Of course, I won't stop her if she feels it's right.

She didn't want me to think of her as a whore, but the ideas of "whore" and "slut," within the context of a girl who has many relationships, don't exist in my head. I see nothing wrong in someone chasing after what they want, so long as they do so without shit like homewrecking and other messed up interferences with others.

She's in love. I'm so happy for her and can't help hoping I find someone who loves me as much as he loves her. Sometimes, I wonder if I had but lost them.

Photo shoot failed brutally. We legitimately looked like demon children.

Why did he message me? It was a weird conversation, and I liked him less and less the longer it went on. All he did was victimize himself in every situation and whine like the world was ending. He went into how T ended their friendship "out of nowhere" and asked him to move out of his house, saying he didn't know what he'd done wrong. You fucking kidding me? Even I knew. Ha, it was legit funny at that point. You can't honestly have them clean up yo drunk as fuck, puking all over shit, belligerent, nasty ass; make J bawl out of fear; repeat that on a family vacation you were their guest to; complain nonstop about how everybody isn't good enough for you; and expect them to keep you around. I pity his small mind...

She told me something in the way I talked about T made her think he was some hoodass gangster. I diedddddd. I guess in some ways he was. He drove a pretty gangster whip, and every time I got in the car, he changed his music to a playlist he'd made for me...it was all hardcore rap and really shitty club-esque hip hop!

The award they gave us for seven years of service was engraved with "Greenough Noble School."

So hungry right now.

Procrastinating sooooo much. Fucking articles.

Haven't been writing enough to feel balalalalalanced.

Everyone around me is experiencing game-changers and making grand decisions to shape their future. And then there's me, waiting and working and waiting and working for this year to just end already.

He hit me up about hanging out this break since he's home, but I don't think either of us will have time to. Sad face.

He asked me when I was visiting Tufts. Daw.

I want a banh mi. And lots of desserts. Holy fuck...crave so hard, muthafuckas wanna fine me...

She told me of all her big sis' friends, I and one other girl were her favorites!

While we were eating pie, he told me out of nowhere that C had really wanted me to come with them to see 007, that C really likes me because I'm silly. A few seconds after, he added "But likes you as a person." Hahahah goddamn, what a bummer!

Later, while we were chilling, he suddenly grabbed me by the shoulders and led me to the window. I had no idea what I was looking at or for, but lo and behold, there was C. Fuck, I went out and said hi while I looked like shit, and I barely got much of a convo in before S came and booted me out the car! But damn, why is he so fine? I'd quite appreciate if we could just be in love already. I'm not down to be that active about boys and shiet right now, but it's cool because S is always making chill seshes happen. Like in a few weeks, we're all going to some deserted paranormal site. Hopefully I don't die in the process of macking on him (HAHA).

I love America's Food Basket and the looks I get for not being Latina. 

A really nice man on the train helped me get all my bags together. Later, I overheard him saying, "Happy Thanksgiving!" left and right!

It's going to be such a cozy Thanksgiving this year! There will be mad family, mad food, and mad love to remember this holiday by. I'm damn thankful for my circumstances, even if my mood tends to fall on the blue side. 

"The truth will set you free."

I've been thinking about OTL a lot, remembering all my clients' stories. A memory that really struck me was asking Susie about her dreams, about what she wanted most, and so she told me about how much she wanted to be married and raising a family. That cigarette break, when her ashes flew down wind into my eyes, when I silently blinked away tears, the cause of which I honestly wasn't sure, I felt my heart struggle to accommodate her sadness and reality. She had an idea of the unlikelihood to her dreams, and that pained me.
 

I thought about her the night I talked to some friends about desirability, how grateful we should be to have the loves we have and have had the ones we lost. Heartbreaks caused by vulnerability, expectations, or a lover, are an education not everyone gets the privilege to.

I hope that everyone one day has as much to be thankful for as I have been lucky to have. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Like Father, Like Daughter?

I am uncontrollably contemptuous at times, and it's terrifying and upsetting.

The negativity just seizes me when my I'm most vulnerable and least grounded, and for a long time, I could never understand where this hate originated. Did I learn it from someone? Did my culture indoctrinate me? Is it as natural to me as my instincts are?

There may or may not be any correlation between us, but I never forget the separate occasions, like flashbacks, when he was so incredibly, unjustifiably awful to strangers and family alike. It's sad how much those moments ruin for me the kindness that I know he's capable of. How is it that he's the kindest man I know with the most hateful temper I've ever witnessed? He's human, damnnnn right, and a breathing example of Manichaeism, I guess. As good as he is, he is equally unpleasant.

He always said, "War? What was growing up during the war like? War-time was the only period I grew up in, so it was the only life I knew. There was no war and life. There was only life."
Some days, the father is the worst bully I know. 
 
Poor, Momma.

It was just uncalled for, but he'll never admit that.

He better feel fucking terrible now after she spent her whole day in bed with pains because of him.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Right Now #6

Every day of this week has been worse than the one before, and I just feel so ungrateful when I'm this unhappy.

Lately, every other conversation with Chi Hien leaves me feeling sick. I physically feel the burden in the pit of my stomach. I don't fucking know what I want right now, and it's pathetic how apathetic I get when I'm not grounded and anchor-less. I was committed to my decision--momentarily, I was even content with myself. Then, she feels the need to assert her opinions with her evidently condescending tonal inflections, and literally each syllable from her lips becomes a headache of its own, to the point where I don't care what about what we're talking about anymore--I just need the criticizing to stop. It's just so unpleasant to listen to her attempts to persuade me to go her way because she completely demeans the decisions I make. She may have 11 years on me, she may be my sister, and she may have a perspective that's from the outside, but she does not fucking know neither who I am nor every detail of my circumstance. But I guess, it's fine. I've gotten used to her making me feel incompetent, and I've gotten used to crying. She has no idea the stress she puts on me.

I've lost count of the times I've silently sat before the shrine.

It didn't take long for me to change my mind. I was too tired to put up a fight. It felt like cheating myself of a good thing and like she had "won," but there are no fucking prizes and cheating in this case is only relative. Something so good shouldn't have felt so difficult, and even if the way she made her case was fucking rude, her words had some legitimacy.

I texted J to let her know I wouldn't be coming: "I feel like shit...my sister's trying to convince me not to go, and she's doing a good job of it."

All I wanted in the moment was support, but what I got was, "No offense but you're screwing me over right now." 

I fucking apologize (even if I didn't actually care or agree with her), but she keeps going off on me.


Like bitch, I never asked you to plan your weekend around me. I told you to fucking go with your own plans and go home. You have no idea what's happening in my life, and here you are only worrying about yourself. It kills a little when I realize I got involved with shit-friends like her. I'm not into holding grudges, but I don't forget the apologies I feel I deserved and never received.

Right after the test this morning, he pulled me aside to talk about the program and my decision to not go (I had emailed my counselor as soon as I'd made up my mind, who then forwarded my message to him). He tells me, "I'm not you. I'm not in your head, and I don't know what's happening in your life. But not going to me and to Ms. H looks like a forgone opportunity. We really care about you, we know how much financial aid is an issue. Maybe you don't feel like it's the right school for you, and maybe we don't know you the way you know yourself, but we know a thing or two about this process. We know how this might hurt your chances later on."

I tried to explain, I really did. But I choked. Everything was pent up and my levees were breaking but I wasn't ready for them to. All I could tell him was that the time away didn't feel worth the cost, and that things at home right now make it hard for me to leave. He was so understanding, saying that that was why he started the conversation the way he did. He knew that he couldn't understand everything, but he told me that if I was willing to share with either him or Ms. H, they would speak to admissions for me. He wanted so badly for me to change my mind, and even wanted to speak to Ma, Ba about it (which is the last thing they need).

I was a fucking mess. He wanted me to stay inside the classroom and just calm down before leaving, but I just needed to get out and told him I couldn't be late. His last words in the conversation were, "Kim, don't go to New York this weekend to please me or Ms. H. We care a whole lot, but the decision you ultimately make is not for our benefit."

For four minutes in the upstairs bathroom, no one could see or hear me.

I ignored her calls, but she called Ma during dinner to get to me. I didn't want my food anymore. I told Chi Hien I wasn't going and that I was not going to explain right then and there why. She was clearly happy with the news, saying that she definitely thought this was the best for me. But why did it feel more like a defeat than an affirmation?

We chatted for half an hour...Or, more like I listened to her updates, laughed when appropriate, and pretended to not taste the bitterness on my tongue.

My friend texted me a pic of a cross made from two blunts. He goes to a Jesuit school, ha.

N told Q how I was fired, and apparently he said, "Their loss. She's a smart girl, and she's gonna be fine. Any job she applies to will take her." 

I miss them.

E asked me if I was still working out, and I told her not until next week. Why? "Oh, you just look really good, that's all."

Completely unintended: I dropped 4 pounds in the last 4 days.

When "Dr. Brain" told the story of her nephew finally getting the selectively mute little boy to talk, I fucking cried fat tears right in my seat (but no one noticed). It took me back to days in the studio with Nick, reminding me of the complete shock and joy every staffer experienced whenever he whispered. 

I miss feeling sure of a purpose. Right now, I am too tired to even be myself and don't have  energy left to care about what happens next, not that the future really exists anyway. I'm just here, crumbling.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2 A.M. Freewrite


i.

the night 
you could give me nothing more
than a two-word cutoff to my honest outpour,
i laid for an hour
on my girlfriend's floor,
knees bound tight to my chest in fetal
just hoping i could forcibly  
remove from my body
the heaviness you left.


ii.

your message 
vague, open-ended,
with too much room for interpretation,
i'm sure was originated
in your gift of closure to me.
but shit gets lost in translation.

as i read slowly
once, twice, again, and again,
my mind started wandering
in your words,
caught between 
your lingering emotions
that slipped in 
and the lingering emotions
that i slipped in.

perhaps i spun the meanings
that i most wanted to believe.
perhaps i spun the meanings
that i most needed to cling.
my hope falls fragile against reality's blows,
so it's easier to hold on when
contradictory moments, events,
details i know better than to judge as significant,
morph into my justification.
even though those encrypted sentences 
never change,
it is me seeking factual validation*
for the wasting of my emotions
on dead potential.

even in my own head
i grapple for sound acceptance
of these feelings i bear.
i simply can't keep hoping for lost causes.
to do so reduces me every time 
to feelings of little self-worth.
always, i begin the blame game
of why these causes failed,
and always
i am my greatest suspect.

despite every good intention,
what you wrote to me
fucked with my heart and mind.

*validation granted by the details of my circumstance
i.e. he holds me in ways 
he should only with his girlfriend.
therefore he must still feel 
something for me. 
thus i must still hope.


iii.

the fatigue even after sleep,
the hunger that never called,
the insomnia,
the heaviness
wouldn't leave me

my own temple,
the physical location of my conscience,
crumbled.

i starved.

i wanted to feel light and whole again,

to cleanse myself.

i starved.

food had no purpose if i felt no hunger.

i went numb to everything 

except the aches in the spaces without names.

at night, 

i slept little,

shifted plenty.

restlessness took residence in my bones.

i starved,

and the mother noticed

and told me to lose more weight.


iv.

little time was spent alone and silent.
when in the presence of good company,
under the sultry blanket of summer,
i embraced a warmth, 
remembered that all this love was still mine,
and gave thanks.

but sincere laughs
and daytime joys
can only repair so much of the unseen,
can only outweigh so many of the uneasy hours.

and no one was to blame. 
not my loved ones, 
not me,
not you.

i simply needed more nights on my own.


v.

the other day at the beach
she told me this conversation took place:


10 year old nephew: uncle tam, where's your girlfriend kim? i miss her. oh, no, mai is your girlfriend.
tam (laughing): no jayden, that's uncle's other girlfriend.


my first reaction was to exclaim, "that fucker,"
loud enough for all the children in the sand to hear me,
loud enough for all those children to taste early 
how imperfect their world is,
how human people are,
how unpleasant language may be.

i may not have meant to,
but i regret nothing.
we benefit no one when we filter.
my blood was heating fast,
and it wasn't the effect of sunshine.

she hushed me,
then asked if i missed him.
so i asked her what was there to miss.

i told her nothing mattered anymore,
so what i felt did not matter either.
feelings had become irrelevant.

i wanted to see him,
(i'm not sure why)
but i pushed away the invitation for dinner with his family.


vi.

almost 3 weeks had passed
when i saw you yesterday. 
while we planned to meet up, 
something inside my ribcage
leapt a little at the initial sound of your voice on the other line.
it felt silly
but was thankfully short-lived.

there were five of us, 
crammed into davis' car.
jayden's head was snug in the space
between my jaw and collarbone
and his quiet presence felt more like comfort to me
than any conversation could provide.

underwhelmed,
unfazed.
my own calm shocked me.
you were friendly as always,
you made me laugh.
but none of it stirred a thing inside.
i was there, but no one was home.
the familiarity that once pulled me in
time after time--
you had lost it.
i found no refuge in being with you.

you'd been evicted from my longings.
but frequently, my mind still visits you.
when thoughts of you return,
i wallow in the aching
until the numbness resettles. 

your texts and emails here and there don't help much.
but i already knew letting go was not easy.
perhaps you still struggle as well.


vii.

davis kept going on about far my house was,
how expensive gas is,
how full his tank was before.
i felt like shit.
burdening anyone, 
no matter how little i care for them,
breaks me every time.
tam kept yelling, "this is why you don't have a girlfriend!
all you do is complain."
so when i got out the car,
said my thank you's and bye's,
i showered them in ones through the sunroof.
that's for your gas, asshole.


viii.

today 
i start to feel
whole again,


and this
is my process.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year, Old Habits! Pt. 1

Happy 2k12, loves! 


Aaahh, 2011 was just sucha trip... It's weird as fuck to me how so much time, so many events, flew by. I know I say that every year, but everything does forreal hit me at the end and beginning of measured cycles. Been working at a handwritten letter that basically wraps up 2011, but I'm 3 days into the year with so many thoughts to goooo


So far, this year, emotionally, is a hell lot like last, despite some significant progress slash happenings. I also just sound stupid cos last year refers to my past self from only four days ago! And I haven't even written out resolutions yet, but somehow I already feel like I'm breaking em... I'm not making sense and not going in order


2011


It was damn lovely to grab korean chicken, froyo, boba, slash fatass around till the sun went downnnn with P_____, S____, n D____! It was a sweet reunion, n seriously ended my year on a high note :) we had maaad good conversation n moments, from chick talk plus D_ n his only semi-manly perspective, relationshit biz, gossip across schools (trippy as shiettt!), getting old n reminiscing, me n P_ tryna break up S_ n D_'s heated fights, free food n wondering if the old ice cream dude was tryna hollaaaaa, me being the last one eating n the only one not full n in pain, tumblr debating/explanations, to eyeing cuties n tryna work out hookups through each other hahahah! It's mad hard to introduce n share friends sometimes though!


S_ - can't even say how much she has or hasn't changed... I like her, she's nice, but I don't know if we were really vibing. It was just one of those things where it's hard to connect after so long when you don't have much commonality. She's super awks too, which makes things harder. We were cool, just not close. She'd say/do some odd ish though. And Ducky told me later how pissed he was at her.


P_'s just maaaaad dope! One of the chillest girls I know with a clear perspective on people n social ishhh. I know that we could talk for hours with substance yenno? Especially after she called me a few weekends ago while I was at N__'s! Hadn't talked in a minuteeee so I was on the phone for a bit, to the point that T__ stuck his head in, looked at me, then left all in one second...(the fuck?!) But yeahhh I'm lucky to have known her since foreverrrr, but I just wish we had more chances to kick it! Wish we were closer too, so I'm gonna def make more of a conscious effort this year


 D_ - I love him n Anh C____ n their ong noi n ba noi!! They're all too funny n cute! And me n D_'s train ride home was straight preshhhh. He told me about how S_ basically ruined his relationship with this girl who's S_'s bestie. It's pretty fucked up n sad. Ducky still carries the love letter she wrote him for Valentine's Day, n it's just so ridickkkkuously sweet n gushy... n the fact that he's been carrying it in his wallet since their breakup... the loose leaf sheet is fuzzy n so worn... then he showed me the breakup message she wrote him, through facebook. Yahh, she broke up with him through facebook. It's just all so ridick, how he's liked her for almost 2 years now, n how he so strongly believes that the feelings in her letter still stand true but that circumstances fucked their chances up... It made me think of him, even if we were never together, even if he never wrote me any letter. Goodnizzz, all I've got is love for D_, poor buddy. I was so touched that he was sharing that all with me. We go waaaay back, n no length of time of no chats n no visits changes that. I forreal love that we're the childhood, bro-sis friends who can chill after a forever apart, n have nothin but trust n honesty. I wish him only the best cos I feel where he's coming from.


And in those moments, where everything slowed down inside a bullet speeding through the underground, it hit me how very old our feelings seemed to be, despite our lack of years. But we are growing up, and these suddenly aren't the days of being content together with so little anymore. We crave more, we crave people, we crave love. Or at least our ideas of it. And all this age n emotions ish reminded me of Chi T____ once saying, Love is too intense a feeling for teenagers. It fuels long-term decisions on temporary emotions. But who's to ever say how long you'll stay feeling


Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I haven't been crushed n smothered enough times. Maybe I've watched too many happy endings. Maybe I'm too stubborn to stop hoping. Maybe I'm too stupid n insecure to let go.


(Universe willing, I've shitloads of time ahead for breakdowns, rebuilding, n growth.)


Whatever the case, I'll shamelessly, unapologetically, do me.