Sunday, July 21, 2013

Right Now #7

1) Every time I think things are going well, every time things feels bearable and pleasant, shit takes a sudden swerve for the worse, and I'm back to limboing between feeling miserable in her presence and feeling just as miserable from a distance. When I get home from escaping her, she gets bitchy. When I'm making efforts and spending time with her, she gets bitchy. Today alone, much less the rest of this week, was such a roller coaster. 
Cooking together in the morning was fine until she suddenly decided to go on a rant about all the "bad people" from Dorchester versus all the "good people" from Nobles. Such ignorant bullshit.
Dying her hair was fine except for the fact that she spent the first five minutes telling me I wasn't doing anything right. She bitches all she wants, but at the end of the day, she can't do it herself.
Dinner with her and the father would have been fine if she hadn't gotten pissed at me over college finances. I tried to involve her in the process by telling her all the steps I've been taking to lock down financial aid and loans, but she blew up when I told her the numbers and how NYU cut a few grand of my scholarship after reevaluating their tuition and receiving our tax forms. She said I wasn't financially responsible enough and that that was the reason why we had lost money, that had she known how much we were going to end up paying, she wouldn't have let me pick NYU over Northeastern. She was spewing awful words that stole my appetite, and we spent the rest of the meal in relative silence while she conversed with Ba on her other side. Then, halfway through dinner, she had the balls to say that because I'm working, I better save enough to help her send money back to Nha Trang in two months. Who the fuck first accuses me of being financially responsible and then turns around to ask for money? Of course I'm going to give to my own family, but she has no right to demand a certain amount of me if it's charity. What money would I have anyway if I'm apparently so irresponsible?
I'll never be her favorite daughter, but I sure as hell will not owe her a single dime for my education. 
It's tiring to remind myself that this woman is beautiful when there's so little peace with her these days.
I also fucking hate hot pot.

2) This NYU shit keeps me stressing day and night. As soon as I've finished one step, another gets added to the staircase, making it feel like I'm forever climbing for something unattainable. There is always this to register for, that to enroll in, this process to start, that loan to read up and apply for. I'm constantly bearing a crown of deadlines and worrying that at any given moment I'm forgetting something or late on something else. When asked about NYU, my answer is always that I'm amped to start soon, but to be honest, everything about NYU has been depressing because just as the case was when I was accepted and read my financial aid statement, all the joy that I should feel is overshadowed by the weight of forms, numbers, and imminent debt. No doubt this is what I want---that's been a sure thing since the day I first visited. But it's hard to keep my spirits up when what I feel doesn't agree with what I reason in my head. It's also pathetic that this is even a factor, but the negative shit the mother says about my choices really starts getting drilled into my head day by day.

3) I like that we can watch Wes Anderson films, share a blanket, be stupid. I like that I can just lay there and feel temporarily content under the weight of his head resting atop mine or on my shoulder. I like that he never runs out of food or Hi-Chew's.

4) Thank you Universe for my job, without which I would be institutionally insane by now. It's one of the few things in my life that's empowering me and reminding me that my challenges are my blessings. Not everybody gets these same opportunities for growth. 
I always leave so fucking exhausted from pouring every ounce of my energy towards radiating my most positive self, but it's the kind of tired that leaves me feeling high on happiness, which is hard to come by nowadays.

5) I'm still shocked that Gi Bon straight up ignored me the other night after visiting Dana and Darren. The way she looked at me before turning away quickly was strange, but the way she very deliberately ignored my hello was cold. I understand that she's resented the mother since last year, but I didn't realize those feelings had grown to encompass the whole family. Just utterly shocked by how immature a woman of her age could be. I guess I just assumed that she'd still love me because I was her niece, but obviously I gave her too much credit. When I was still over at hers everyday to tutor Dana and Darren junior year, we were definitely on good terms. I haven't seen her since then, but I never saw this change coming. I feel almost lied to wondering if this was how she had felt all along but was only faking in front of the kiddies. 
As pissed off as it made me, a part of me honestly is sad. Seeing all the cousins, Duong Bon, Gi Bon, Linda's grandma, the kiddies, all seated together like on every Saturday and Sunday, made me homesick for Hanoi and the warmth that I'd been welcomed into at the huge family dinners. They made me remember the weekly Sunday parties that I used to love as much as I dreaded, where Ba would always get drunk and puke, where the Vietnamese karaoke was always louder than any Spanish house party down the street. (#turntup!)

6) Dana and Darren leave next week, and I'm banging myself over the head now for not spending more time with them sooner. Now I'm scrambling to rearrange my schedule and cram more hours in with them. Anhthu was like, "You know, Dana told me that you inspire her." That definitely caught me off guard, so I laughed and asked, oh really? How? As she was answering, Dana cut her off and redirected us towards bracelet making. I guess she was embarassed that Anhthu had put her on the spot, but that moment really made my heart melt.
Later, the worst time came when I had to hug and kiss them all good bye, but when I got to Darren, he kissed my cheek before I got his. :')
I'm glad I was with them two days in a row, but leaving them always makes me ache. 

7) I hate when I fall into these depressing moods, but they're only temporary. I swear I'm content, for the most part.

8) Ba said something really kind tonight.
Ba told me that Ba doesn't mind helping me pay for my education (no matter how much it is) because money comes and goes, but what we learn can stay with us forever. 
Ba said that Ba's seen how hard I worked throughout my years at Nobles and trusts that I'll do even better at NYU.
I think that's the closest Ba's ever gotten to conveying that he's proud of me.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Mother

1) Today, she sat me down and reprimanded me for giving attitude to her the other day, which is dumb as hell considering she started yelling at me for asking a question, which then in turn got me heated and prompted me to defend myself. I had absolutely forgotten about the mini episode until she unnecessarily brought it up and twisted the story. She told me that I in fact was the one who started yelling because she was only "speaking loudly." I very much had the capacity to spit back and call her on her bullshit, but as my blood rose, I chose to nod and feign agreement, excuse myself to shower and cool down, and just play the submissive daughter to let all the shit slide and keep the peace.

2) I hate her racist and fucked up tendencies. The way she is so unabashedly disgusted by (specifically but not exclusively) blacks, Latinos, and the adults I work with in Medford make me want to hate her. I'd like to say this to her one day, but we'd probably never have peace at home again...  Some days I see her as more mentally crippled by her small mind and discrimination than my clients are by mental retardation. She hasn't supported my involvement in AFH or RHD since I was 14, even though they are two of the few things in this life that have kept me sane.

3) My patience is wearing thin these days. I'm doing my part at home in terms of cleaning, cooking, domesticated woman type shit, and I'm at the shop and working for her at her every beck and call. Still, I'm getting verbally pounded regularly. She can only use her illnesses as excuses for so much longer.

4) I look at myself in the mirror every morning, so it is therefore fucking unnecessary for her to comment on my skin daily. I dislike my face enough as it is, and as much as I want to rebel against her by loving myself and my every flaw, it's so damn hard to. I'm slowly trying to just say fuck it and take baby steps like ditching foundation, but then I go through my day hearing in the back of my mind her constant nagging over how shitty my skin is. What she says about the rest of my body is a whole 'nuther issue. 

5) As sick as she makes me feel some days, a part of me can't ever stop loving her. Days where I work at the shop are so painfully tedious and unfulfilling that I start feeling unstable when I imagine working there up to six days a week for nearly twenty years. And yet, that's exactly what she's done. It's a sacrifice I'll never permanently lose gratitude and respect for.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Boys, Boys, Boys

1) No matter where I am or what I'm doing, be it driving or strolling, in Boston or in NYC, every fleeting biker who passes through my peripheral automatically draws my full attention. Even though it's been over a year since we last were together, my eyes never stopped searching for him.

2) UO the other day and recognizing Isaac was pleasantly strange. Since graduating, my days have been accented with washes of nostalgia--not so much over Nobles ironically, but over all the people and experiences who so powerfully informed the young person that I was and the adult that I now am. Those phase-like friendships, as brief as some were, as dangerous as others were, all were drops in my well and memories that I haven't forgotten. They always nourished me in one way or another, but stayed nestled somewhere deep in the back of my mind. 
When I finally recognized him, it was like tapping back into that well and bringing to surface all the 16-year-old feelings I carried for him and memories that I once so cherished. I remember laying in bed at 3 or 4 am on more than one occasion, waiting on his texts and abandoning much needed sleep. We would text day and night, and I loved the thought of being on his mind even if I wasn't his love interest.  
The night he first smoked weed, he was nervous and confused. He talked to me throughout the night because it comforted him, and that's how I became the first person in his life he told. He was the first boy who turned to me and confided that experience, but he wasn't the last. Ha, I don't know how I ended up in this role, but I find it so deeply endearing to be this type of confidante to these dudes
He was adopted, which I for some reason at the time found so wonderful and unique.
I fucking loved the way he wore his black leather jacket, white beater, and hypebeast kicks.
Lastly, I felt safe when we hugged, and disappointed whenever he'd spend time with the other Kim in the studio. I'd get all dolled up on the days he told me he'd visit, sweating in that damn studio but praying that I still looked cute, only to either get a no-show or share him with her.  And the day I swear we almost kissed absolutely rattled me.
It was all so pathetic on my part, but it's scary to admit that in some ways I haven't changed. 
I still long for boys I have no business waiting for.

3) This dude's mad sweet and adorable--and I'm a sucker for tight squeezes, skateboards, and kisses on the cheek--but I just can't... I ain't about that long distance Boston x Lawrence type loves (unless it's Y-B!), and even more importantly, there just isn't any chemistry or any energy that gets me chasing. He just doesn't carry the confidence, ambition, creativity, or old-soul-wrestling-in-young-bones vibe that I've fallen for in the past. I also don't laugh enough in his presence... I can't love a guy who's less funny than me because that's a huge issue in and of itself! I hate being in this bitchy position, but it's mos def a case of nice guys finishing last... I just hope it's my loss and not his, and that he realizes how very shallow his perceptions and interest in me are. 
It's been five days since we met. This is silliness.

4) He needs to chill his tits. I respect his game and his perseverance, and it was a little entertaining, but the novelty of it all is wearing off. I am not good at holding conversations that aren't in person, slash I hate that time-consuming phase where you're getting to know someone through non-face-to-face means. I don't enjoy FB chat, I gave up iChat and AIM a damn long time ago, and I would rather not continue the senseless chitchats about meeting up or what you ate for lunch today (note: MacDonald's doesn't even qualify as food). I also am turned off as soon as I hear about their having an Asian fetish. Nasty.

5) Sebas makes me feel old... I've also come to realize that as shallow as I feel this is, I'm not attracted to guys who I have to always drive around slash take care of constantly (picking up his friends, help running errands, diarrhea). He was right in a way when he talked about the confidence that comes with being the driver--metaphorically and literally. He's one of the people I've been spending a shitton of my summer with, which I love, but lately the more I think about it, the more sure I am of my negative interest in being anything more than homies with Sebas. We keep hearing that we act like a cute little old married couple, which I think is fucking awesome, and I just want to keep that chemistry exactly as it is forever. I also love that he includes me in all his plans as if I were one of the bros--it's nice being the only girl sometimes. But he never stops embracing that I am still a lady, which I appreciate. (As a bad example, he got a hell lot of satisfaction out of tapping my ass in front of his friends without getting slapped hahahah. We're so rough around the edges and ridiculous.)
But... finding his dirty socks in my car was repulsive.  
And him peeing in Cristian's bushes while I was there was another con. 
And him asking me for $2 worth of gas money the night we went to Maya's was a little turnoff-ish to me because I never ever ask any of him.
And the way he's scared of the dark can be funny and adorable in one context but so unattractive in another.

6) I love Rah, I really do, and I can't wait to play in the streets of NYC doing hoodrat shit together. Of all the guys I know, I confided in him most about my XSM days, and he is the only human who makes me breathless from laughing in tactful ways. Tonight, he sent me atrocious FB screenshots of XSM, and I swear I could've died happy. At one point, he said, "He looks like Michael Jackson circa the day of his death," and it hurt how fucking accurate it was.

This is only a tidbit of the shenanigans that have been filling my summery days and keeping me content. I've less than a week before RHD starts up, and my summer can only get better from there (even though I don't like having expectations!). I'm just soaking up all these positive vibes to feel ready for the months to come. Feelin' blessed.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Tidbits of things that have been on my mind lately...

The other day, as I was offering Andrew and him lots of snackies from the car before we drove down to the MAC, Grant laughed and asked me, "Why are you so pleasant, Kimmie?" which in turn made me laugh right back. "I'm not, Grant," was all I answered, but he asked the same thing later on after I'd offered him other things to eat. 

Moments where others' perceptions of me contrast with my own self-image always stick with me simply because of just that: the contrast. I don't typically consider myself a pleasant person. In fact, I see myself as difficult, cranky, judgmental, borderline pessimistic... a lot of people just don't catch or grasp these darkly human sides of me when my composure slips. They know me only for the moments in which I'm attempting to make those around me happy because 1) I enjoy good vibes, but 2) I'm atoning for all the faults that have never left my conscience. They haven't yet seen how shitty and crushingly disappointing I can be, but I guess it's only natural for us to all at some point be these things. At the end of the day, I'm thankful that anyone even dares to care about me. They're risking a lot in inching so close.

The other day, Shanti and I talked about how we'll feel come the big day, which then led into the reasons behind why we think we'll feel the way we will. She said something along the lines of Nobles having been her home for the past six years because her parents' house really wasn't a home she identified with, and how that's different from my situation because I had always been close with my family and therefore never saw Nobles in the same homey sense. I didn't bring this up at the time because it would've broken the flow of our convo, but my family didn't always mean home to me. Even though they were often there to take me out and make me laugh, I didn't always feel so close to Chi Hien and Chi Trang. I associated them with Ma, Ba, the authority figures who I felt never supported my real desires, because they were the driving forces behind the decision to place me in a school that gave me hell for many years. Ma, Ba would have never known how to get me into Nobles if it hadn't been for may Chi filling out the paperwork, editing my application, contacting admissions, etc. I resented them for a while, as I did Ma, Ba. Years before coming to Nobles, the home had already started to disintegrate into a place of distrust and secrecy; as Ma, Ba were falling out of love, I distinctly remember feeling displaced as walls that once made me feel secure began to smother us all. What was a home when not one of its inhabitants still wished to stay? Hyde Park made me unhappy, Nobles made me unhappy, but my ties to St. Mary's and AFH sustained me. But I digress... what my family is today and my place in it was not a birthright. We all had to commit, collaborate, evolve ourselves, and pick the family/prioritize each other to make our house our home again, and it took years but we made it to where we are now. I'm damn proud of the control I took in my parents' relationship as a mediator when shit started hitting the fan. I sucked up my pride, put in the time and energy, sacrificed my own happiness some days, played up my innocence, forced the parents and I to spend time together, forced them to remember they still had a child in their hands, forced them to remember the reasons for why they once loved and why they needed to stay. I was going through an age full of sadness, but I knew that they were suffering far more, which was enough context for me to feel obligated to change for them. My family and I are the unit we are today because we all eventually came to understand that to love is active. When you perceive less value in love, become passive, become apathetic, and stop contributing to it, you leave that love to wither. The moment you internalize a love as a lost cause, as something beyond your control, you relinquish the power to repair it before ever beginning the process of regrowth. At some point, I stopped holding so much contempt in my chest from every wrong I'd ever felt they'd made against me, and allowed my debts to them to seep in and reopen my gratitude. It may have taken me almost six years to do so, and I may not have always felt hopeful that this calm after the storm would come, but I sure as hell finally made it.

During his impassioned speech to us, Mr. M., at his breaking point with kids' disrespect, told our class that a young student's reluctance to new ideas caused by the oversaturation of information in schools is just about the saddest thing a generation can experience. To a certain extent, I agree (but I do think there are sadder scenarios out there). The two dickheads even at that point were still passing around their football and blatantly ignoring him as he spoke. They piss me off on a daily basis, and yet, everyday I'm afraid to snap on them because I always remember those rumors about what he did to A. Allen... They're ignorant, bitchass monsters. It's sick, it's frustrating, and it's frightening.

Mr. Baker had a different take on the saddest affliction to our generation, specifically to the students of Nobles. It came up at one point during our indie lunch, and he said that so many students here, who are so gifted in so many areas, ironically see themselves as not good at anything at all. "And that's just about the saddest thing, don't you think?" he asked. His wrinkly brow was further strained and wrinklier than ever, his big eyes full of concern. I wonder if he knew, if his eyes could just see, that I some days am one of those sad kids.  

Dana and Darren come home in about two weeks. The way just the mention of their father's name triggers me to feel sickly merciless hasn't changed, but I'll speak to his bastardly face as often as I need to to see my own cousins. I miss those babies, and my arms long for their warmth.

Although it doesn't feel like it, Graduation is awfully damn soon... Still, I've never felt more anxious yet ready to close a book and begin a fresh title. Even though these coming years (inevitably) will bring heartaches, sleepless nights, traumas, and scars, my open ribcage welcomes every new suffering that the universe has in store for me. Maybe I sound delusional, but I'm tired of feeling the same wounds, tired of growing insensitive to pain. I'm ready now to be knocked down in fresh ways, forced to reconfigure and face myself in new lights.

I'm ready to rise from the bottom. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

On the bright side...

...this week's been full of ridiculously fun times since Chi Hien came home. I haven't been doing my work as efficiently or as thoroughly as I usually do, but fuck it 'cause ohana comes first! Plus, it's senior year, and I'm ready now to try more than ever to truly live to the fullest each and every day. 
Only six more weeks...


People like him are the epitome of pathetic, the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth, the shit at the very bottom of all piles of shit, and absolutely need to have their asses handed to them. 
It was dumbfounding and downright shocking how racist he was. He kept asking for more pinto beans or some shit, but the server (who happened to be Latino and spoke English just fine) hesitated to keep adding more when they can only give so much per order without the price changing. Then, the man got irrationally impatient and started yelling at the guy, yelling for more of this and more of that, yelling that he'd pay for whatever price he needed to pay for the extras, eventually shouting out, "Can I get someone who speaks English here?!" 
Hoooooold the fuck up. What the fuck?
I was so taken aback by his blatant lack of respect and abounding ignorance. Everyone was watching and listening in complete shock.
What's worse is that I stood there with Chi Hien in line and said nothing
There was one woman in front of us, a few people sitting down at tables listening, and half of the Anna Taqueria's staff behind the counter trying to pacify the asshole. I shouldn't have held my tongue. I shouldn't have been scared...
He was a BIG, middle-aged white male, and because of physical traits alone, I was scared to speak out, scared of the fact that he could've physically hurt me or Chi Hien if aggravated. He kept banging on the glass between himself and the server, and it made me even more fucking pissed but also really nervous for everyone's well-being.
In the end, he got his burrito and x amount of beans and left about 5 minutes later. No one called him on his fuckery. All customers, Chi Hien and myself included, were passive bystanders who said nothing and avoided involvement, just waiting for it to be over. The Anna's staff simply did all that they could as fast as they could to get the man his shit and get him out. The poor server on the receiving end of the bullshit was submissive but clearly upset, and ended up switching with a coworker and serving us instead on the other side. The poor guy... I did nothing other than order sweetly and thank him profusely, despite having witnessed what happened between him and the motherfucker.
Makes me sick... I have no tolerance for shit like that, and I'm typically not one to ever back down from a confrontation... But today, I disappointed myself by proving to that man, to Chi Hien, and to everyone in that restaurant, that I wasn't brave enough to speak out against discrimination.
None of us were. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Everything since coming home has been so up and down. I thought my sensitivity and emotional state were back at equilibrium, but I'm just as volatile as I was in my first days home.

I miss my Hanoi fam terribly, and everyday since leaving them I've longed to go straight back to explore the night on motorbikes, sit down for huge family dinners, go out with my cousins for late night snacks and long laughs and chats, run around the streets with the little cousins while dodging cars, climb creepy buildings to peep graffiti and skylines, hold every last item that belonged to ong noi and ba noi, visit their graves and light incense for them, fall asleep to the lull of an urban concerto, and wake up the next morning feeling alive. 

I love Ma, Ba, Chi Hien, and Chi Trang, but the love we're living with here doesn't compare to the love in Hanoi. We don't sit down for dinner every Sunday with every aunt, uncle, and cousin present. Each day, we're moving at a rate of a thousand miles per hour, passing each other by, exchanging maybe an hour's worth of words if we're lucky. All my cousins over there are so close, they're more like siblings, whereas here I don't see any of my relatives that way. 

The mefloquine's still causing these creepy, trippy dreams every now and then. Last night, I think I dreamed specifically about the marathon because I woke up with a tight feeling of fear in my chest. It was so vivid, so sick. I just kept seeing bloody body parts and heads in every direction, some landing in random vats of oil and literally sizzling into fried bits. It was just as vivid and horrific as the first night of taking meflo, when I woke up screaming and covered in cold sweat. 

I see those little faces of Kampot in my daydreams. The laughter of small children is still my favorite sound in the universe, the smell of the white flowers they tucked into my hair is still fresh in my memory, and Vuthin's reading of The Giving Tree is still one of the most poignant scenes of my life. I tear up when I think too long and too deeply about them.

I can't count the number of times my heart broke in those three weeks. In Cambodia, it was close to almost everyday. In Vietnam, it wasn't until the very last moment that I broke down. Chu Phuc, Chi Ly, Trang, Hoang, Bou Ngan, Trung, and I were standing right outside Immigration, and it was then that I knew my goodbye's would be final, that I wouldn't be staying another night in their home, that I would fly halfway across the world not knowing when we'd be reunited. I tried to utter a thank you speech that I'd been preparing and dreading to give all week long, but I choked on the first sentence. I told them that even though I'd been gone for over ten years, they loved and cared for me as if I'd been with them all this time, and for that I could never thank them enough. They shushed me, asked me to not be sad, and told me this was only a see-you-later as they all engulfed me in an embrace. I cried the whole way through Customs, Immigration, and security, not giving a single fuck about who saw me because my family at that point were far out of sight and irrevocably beyond my reach. It'd been so long since I felt that lonely, broken, hysterical. The last time I can think of is the night of the car accident and those sleepless hours in bed that followed, relentlessly crying in pitch-black darkness and silence. I remember pulling myself together before I got to the Immigration window, sliding the officer my visa under the glass. He looked at the paper, looked back at me, and said in Viet with a smile, "Your visa hasn't expired yet, em. Why not stay and play longer?" I laughed but the sound was hollow, and replied, "I want to, but I can't," before bursting into fresh tears.

At Cheoung Ek, the utter despair and tragedy, the bodies buried that were slowly resurfacing, the smell of the stupa filled with excavated bones and skulls... the very atmosphere chilled my soul and made my blood curdle. I felt so permeated by it and sick in every layer of my being--physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. A priori in every sense of the phrase. I absolutely lost it when I encountered that little girl and her mother along the path. Inside the complex and beside the mass graves was one large pond, encircled by a dirt path and an enclosing wire fence. A mother and her daughter had built their shanty against the outer side of that fence and found a gap in it large enough for them to squeeze through. I watched them as they went through it with large plastic jugs in hand, and crossed the path in front of me, staring back at me as they passed. I smiled, greeted them, and they did the same. Then, they descended the pond's banks and began filling their jugs with that water, that water from the pond beside the mass graves, to carry back to their shanty. It just killed me, watching this small girl who could've been the same age as Dana, live in such utter poverty, using and drinking such sickening water. Imagine living within meters of 8,000 bodies dismantled and scarcely buried. Just horrific.

My mind's a vast collection of still frames and corresponding stories. Since coming home, I have not once talked about my experiences with anyone for more than 15 minutes at any one given time. No one really has much of an idea of what I experienced, and in a way it's isolating, difficult. Maybe I'm not giving people enough credit, but I honestly don't see myself feeling comfortable enough with anyone to completely unload and share all this heaviness. I wouldn't feel good about that because no one needs more sadness than they're already carrying. All of the moments I have shared aloud have been for the most part only the more positive, inspiring stories. I just need time to articulate and empty out from pen to paper these memories waiting to be written.

I'm dying bit by bit each day, but I'm not scared. I'm just living from moment to moment.

After biking on Monday, I felt content and alive once again. When I got her call, I thought she had called to ask about the marathon and maybe even congratulate me. Instead, she broke me the news, that it was for sure this time, and that she was scared and didn't want this. My mind went back to April Fool's Day a year or two ago, when she texted me that news as a joke but I took it seriously and called, my hands shaking in complete shock. I was pissed when she finally told me it was only a joke because shit like that was nothing to joke about. This time, I didn't shake. I wasn't shocked or even surprised. I was just tired. I didn't really want to talk to her, and to be honest I was unhappy that she'd killed my mood with this bit of information, regardless of the gravity. She's been really sad that his sister doesn't support them, but the sad truth that she doesn't know is that I completely side with that sister. Did she learn nothing the first time? For a cheap thrill with a dude she does not love, she's thrown away the key to innumerable opportunities (I hesitate to say future). Later that afternoon, the attacks happened, and she still had the audacity to text me and complain about herself. I stopped using my phone after that. 

Since then, she brings it up nonstop, and it's just annoying. It used to be nauseating, but this time it just gets on my nerves. I don't even know how to talk to her anymore... but this is what she wants. I hope for her sake she doesn't regret it.

Everything felt/feels so outlandish and surreal.

Thank the Universe Ba made it home safely and that no one I knew was physically hurt in the attacks. My blood is blessed.

Today was going really well until she fucking pissed me off. I tried to include her in the process because she's always bitching about her opinions and ideas not being taken into account and about the teachers always running shit, but then when I ask for her input she gets fucking huffy as shit. I presented my ideas and a rundown of the meeting we had, which she then shitted on. So I asked how she would do it instead. After she thought about it and told me her ideas, I critiqued them with more reasoning than the way in which she "critiqued" mine, but it pissed her off. She was getting unresponsive and shutting down in communication. Eventually she got defensive and said something like, "You're asking for my ideas but you don't like any of them." I'm asking her for the ideas because we're a fucking leadership core, and I never said I didn't like them, only that I had feedback on them that happened to not be what she wanted to hear. Andrew called her out on her behavior, basically telling her that she didn't need to be angry all the time to get her point across, that her anger was just ineffective in making change. Then that pissed her off some more and she fought back some. It ended when I asked her a question, and she refused to answer, so I walked away. After, I saw her she storm off from Andrew. Childish as fuck. Within the first days of coming home, I laid my fucking pride down to reset our friendship even though we'd both been at fault. But this time, I don't feel any need to apologize or initiate reconciliation. Because I've seen so much familial love, the way I see my friends has definitely taken a hugeass shift (for better or for worse, only time will tell). I'm not willing to put as much effort into these relationships as I did before. I'm not willing to meet anyone further than halfway anymore. I'm so burnt out of loving so unconditionally, of always making excuses for everyone, that I can't help but begin to see some friendships as disposable, this now being one of them. If she makes zero effort to fix us, then that'll be the end of it. She's been starting to look like Jenni, so I guess it's inevitable. 

He told me that despite how often she irrationally lashes out at him, he won't just drop her because he knows how much of the ground she stands on is made up of his presence and mine. Purely because of that fact, he just can't leave her and feel morally sound. He's a really good guy, and she's damn lucky she found him. Unfortunately, I don't share his moral bearing. 

And I was also sad today because I found out I wouldn't be able to donate blood for another 12 months. Fucking malaria rule. Thursday would have marked the beginning of my lifelong commitment to blood donations every 2-3 months. The attacks on Monday really hit home for me and manifested into this urgency to begin my commitment to donating now rather than later. But looks like I don't have any option but to wait now. I guess now would be the best time to get a tattoo since that'll also mark the beginning of no blood donations for 12 months.

Everything makes me melancholy, stressed, hopeless, or fleetingly happy. Today, Az's surprise email definitely made me happy, but later I remembered my scholarship apps and how I don't know how I'm gonna pay for school these next four years. It's sad to admit this but my dream school honestly has become my nightmare. The debt terrifies me, but I'm trying desperately hard to just trust that I will find a way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Oh my fucking goodness...she's been in this house for 60 minutes, and sadly, all I want right now is that she get the fuck out. How the hell am I supposed to get my shit done with her fucking lecturing me on how to feel about and act in my relationship with my mother?

My plans would not have become so fucking complicated and risky if she hadn't come home on a fucking Wednesday.

This house is volatile tonight. This stress is getting close to unbearable. 


I'm gonna take a step back from my work and just vent like a little brat because I'm entitled to that much right now.

But I guess my personal disclaimer would be that I'm not unhappy...I'm actually pretty content. I'm just mad overwhelmed and running on toasted nerves.

Spent three days almost-comatose. Could barely sleep with all the pain. I don't like drugs because drugs failed me this weekend.

Dana texted me on Valentine's Day that she would call me over the weekend, but her call never came.

Lots of very bad news Tuesday morning which still bums me out, but I'm trying very hard to remember all the positive aspects of this experience, like the fact that I will feel better soon. My mouth doesn't feel like my own. I miss running my tongue over smooth backs of teeth and not feeling my gums rupture every time I smile too hard or speak too fast. I can't even talk quite normally because slurring and mushing my words together just feels softer on my mouth, but not so soft to my ego and my ears. I sound gross and silly.

I don't like taking my antibiotics. I've been to the pharmacy three days in a row, and four times in the past week. The Viet pharmacist is always helping me at pick-up, and I want him to be my friend because when I swiped my card to pay, he said, "Naaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiice," and it was a silly sound and made me happy. I have to go back again on Friday for more my mefloquine. And cancel my cipro. And get more amoxicillin maybs.

The hit and run. The man I watched run. And Co Thuy's father dying of cancer. 

All scholarships with deadlines between March 9 and April 1, I fucking have to bang out before I leave for Kampuchea and Vietnam. Dear Universe, I think I understand the word "shafted" now. Or maybe I don't. But maybe I'm close.

I'm just beginning to email and plan with Trang my Hanoi plans, but I'm already overwhelmed. She wrote back about two screens worth of gmail with suggestions and whatnot, which is fucking awesome and I'm so thankful but this shit craaaay. 17 days until Kampuchea, and 30 until I see Nguyen fam. So much to do in so little time. But thank goodness I have lovely cousins like Trang to help me plan and keep me grounded, reminding me of all the loved ones I have to look forward to seeing.

Khmer gives my ears the strangest sensation. I talked with Ba about this too, and Ba agreed. When I listen to it, I swear I'm listening to Vietnamese but can't understand any of it. It's so frigginnnn disorienting! The sounds are literally the same but in all different places. Vietnamese is probably what Khmer gibberish sounds like, and vice versa. I'm trying to learn as much as I can but it's trickaaaay and there's just so little time.

There are so many books and documentaries I'm tryna read and watch before I go but NO TIME. When I was in bed all weekend waiting out the pains, I watched S21 and grew solemn and heavy. Then I did lots of research. Then I read. Then I craved more. But I got root canal and had homework and shit to do :(

My birthday weekend feels mildly ruined before it's even begun...
- Chi Trang's coming home tonight, which I didn't expect. I worry that she'll want to take her car back and leave me unable to get my visa in Dorchie on Friday. I don't want Ba, Ma knowing that I'm going, so if she tries to drop me off at school and take the car that day, I am fuckeddd.
- Friday, Shanti's taking me out for a bit to start my 18th year on a chill note :)
- Friday night, I'ma force the family to look good for me and go out on the town.
- ^I need to plan aforementioned forced dinner party.
- Saturday at 8am I have The Root Canal Pt. 2
- Saturday morning, Jonathan's trying to have me still come in for layout when and just leave whenever I finish my pages. Sorry but fuck that, I already have enough articles and graphix to make and I don't think I'm gonna be in the best of shape after my appointment to sit around and layout pages.
- Saturday, both sisters plus possibly Drew and Truc will be home, so we'll most definitely try to spend the day going out, but layout will fuck with those plans which is why I cannot go to layout. They're coming home for me, so I'm not gonna waste their time.
- Saturday, we'll be out, and I'll still have mad errands to run to prep for my trip. I've barely gotten any necessary shopping done ggaaahhh fack fack fack
- Saturday, I wanna go to chua as a whole family and talk to an ong tai, cuong, and possibly ask for a blessing. This year is not supposed to be too lucky for me, given that snakes bite pigs.
- Sunday morning, I wanna make brunch for the fam.
- Sunday, I have at least 5 hours worth of Cambodia time that includes spinning, speaking with a genocide survivor, and going over extremely important trip details at the Snyders' house. The end of those plans also happens to overlap with the St. Mark's "mandatory" concert....fackfackfack Kate gon' keel me but I really don't want to be in, nor do I feel like I'll have the time to be if I prioritize Cambo and show up late to the rehearsal. SHIET.
- Sunday, I'll have lost time with family to all these mandatory things, unless I skip spinning and just meet up later at the Snyder's.
- I wanted to do something cute with my homies but there's just no time to plan or do anything. I think I'll just postpone it for after I get back right before April.
- Chi Hien emailed me today asking if I had any plans for the weekend, and then I imploded onto this blog.

I'm panicking a hell lot right now while I still have an art history paper and homework to finish goddamnnnn.

I just feel mad smothered.

I'm a frail twig with the nickname "rooty" (self-proclaimed), and I feel like I'm falling apart these days--physically and mentally a bit. I just have a hell lot to do, and no room to fuck up. With the rewards I have coming my way, I need to fucking fight for them and prove that I rightfully earned them.

I had a lot of really nice conversations with Ba, Ma this weekend. We talked about ong noi, ba noi, which always makes me happy because they were the parts of me that I never knew the way I wish I could've. I never had the chance to.

The sweetest conversation with him last night until 1:30ish am. It made me happy. Poor kid won't just embrace how soft he is.

These days have been very, very strange, very unexpected, and very cray. More are coming soon. But I'm loving everything that comes my way, loving everything as best as I can.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Travel Clinics

This morning was absolute bullshit.

It started with the fence taking out the right side-view mirror in the middle of the night, which led to the mother becoming my ride to BMC and school.

Trees and streets were shit.

Traffic was shit.

Understaffed service at the travel clinic was shit.

Two and a half hours long appointment was shit.

Insurance not covering my visit was shit.

Paying out of pocket was shit.

And then came the car ride where I sat and got bitched for spending the way I fucking wish to. Yes, it was a fucking ridiculously expensive appointment, and yes, I am steadily emptying my bank account, but what other options do I have? In her eyes, maybe, just maybe, the risk of catching crippling Japanese Encephalitis along with a list of other rural diseases was a risk worth taking to save a few hundred dollars.

I told her I gladly paid for it with my own money because this was an investment worth making (it's my fucking health, and I'm not trying to die in Cambodia). Then she responded threateningly with, don't ever say that to me again, and said that there was no difference between my money and hers, that my money is her money. Fucking bullshit...I worked like hellllllll this past summer and fall, holding down my positions at OTL and Itadaki, on top of running the shop when she couldn't. I made excuses and dropped all shifts and commitments every time she told me she felt weak and needed me to watch the shop. I worked for the mother voluntarily without ever once thinking of the pay that I could've instead been making. (When he realized I was working three jobs, he said, "Damn, Kim. Three jobs for parents is struggling.") 

I've worked and saved in the summers to pay my own way through the months that I'm not working. I don't ask for money to go out, to buy gifts, to pay for college apps, to pay for gas, to get school shit, to go on school trips, to pick up groceries, to make donations. When was that money ever hers in any sense other than legal?

Out of my own determination and love, I saved up to give $300--100 for Chi Trang to take care of herself on her Asia trip, and 200 for Cau to put towards supporting his temple and orphanage. She was proud of me then and didn't at all object, but when I try to worry about my own health for a change, I'm suddenly the fuck-up who's wasting "her" money.

It's damn similar to how she treats Chi fucked up. She gives her little respect and never the benefit of the doubt even after Chi Trang loaned Ma, Ba $xx,xxx. She still sees her as a child lacking all sense of responsibility despite the shittons she has saved up after years of precise planning. But the mother never ever goes off on Chi Hien for having close to nothing in her bank account. Such a double standard. Even more amazing is the fact that Chi Trang, no matter how pissed she gets under attack, never brings up that unpaid loan to humiliate the mother.

She told me that this is the last time I travel to Southeast Asia, which is fucking hilarious to me. There's less than a month before I'll never again need parental consent on life decisions. Does she not realize that she has absolutely no power over where I choose to go in the future? This legal hold on me of hers is pretty fucking finite because one day, I might join the Peace Corps, or return to India's Himalayas, or spend the entirety of my adult life in a developing country, serving a purpose greater than myself. And she'll have little to no say in whether I stay or go. And I will fucking pay for my damn vaccinations before I do go.

This morning and its fuckery reminded me 
of feeling 13 and the days I would leave without notice,
of years of feeling unsafe at home, 
of skateboarding till it was too dark to see, 
of why I love watching smoke swirl and sunrises,
of getting pierced, 
of getting tatted, 
of donating pieces of myself to feel whole, 
of lying. 

It's hard to feel this anger but remember that only weeks ago, I held her hands and pleaded for her blessings, to forgive me for leaving her and Ba for NYU. For months, I have felt only guilt and fear and gratitude, but for now I've misplaced those feelings.

I know it takes time for this hateful heaviness to subside, but it's disgusting that I'm even capable of this sinfulness.

Maybe more than anything, I'm mad at the fact that she could be right, that all my money really is hers because if I were to repay every dollar she's given to my name, I'd spend most of my life in literal debt to her, and figurative debt to her forever for creating my existence.

And I fucking hate that she still gambles with him. But that's a whole different issue...