I walked in the evening with my hood on

August 21st, 2014

I wear the hood sometimes.

When I was in the East Coast, I learned that wearing a beanie with a hood offered the best cold protection. There, I discovered that I loved just being surrounded by soft cloth as I moved. It’s comfortable as if it was a barrier between me and the world. I see nothing except what’s in front of me.

But sometimes I wonder if I am seen differently because I am wearing a hood. The hood is from my REI-branded sweatshirt or light athletic jacket. With only a peek of my hair blowing out in the hood, I wonder if I am seen as female as I stroll (or saunter) down the street? Do they expect someone with dark skin to appear?

This evening, I decided to take 23rd up rather than the bright lit 24th from my friend’s place. I was tired of dodging around the hipsters, but I hesitated as I saw dark lone figures in the distance. Yet with my pace and my strange walking gait, I wondered if I looked as menacing as them. Did their hearts cower in fear as a figure approached them? Did their breath stop as they assessed the face for trouble or calm?

A police car approached me as I crossed the street. I reacted with surprise and stepped to the right as my face turned to study the driver. The police car made a swift U-turn. At the time, I thought that they were just circling the neighborhood, but did they notice me? Did they notice a figure in a hood walking fast in a gentrified neighborhood once known for high crime and gang activity? Did they notice that my profile was so low-risk and they turned away searching for the more dangerous figure?

She turned and spoke Spanish

August 20th, 2014

I was giddy from the spicy ice cream I just consumed. The spice tickling the back of my throat and the sudden sugar in the morning is beckoning drowsiness. I overheard the girl next to me try to ask a man about the time in Spanish. He responded in English. My breath caught in my throat as I heard the communication channels gasp and sigh.

She spoke as if he would understand Spanish and he spoke as if she would understand English.

A moment passed until she said something to me. My trained Spanish tongue spurted out a few words: cuando, boleto, avion, porque.

“This is my first time on a plane.” Then she said, “I haven’t seen my mother for 16 years.”

My heart was caught in my throat. “Your mother?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said and smiled. She put her wrists together and continued, “I got asylum.”

My favorite role is to be the safekeeper or the healer

August 14th, 2014

“It’s always a female role,” Chris said when I described my favorite role in a game.

I can’t help it. I want to be the person who heals. The one who makes other players feel better, feel good about themselves, and give them the energy to succeed. I am less interested in being the one who “succeeds”, the one who gets the gold, the one who gets the gold. I want to be the cranks behind the scene that everyone must rely on in order to get to the end.

Several months ago in a creative writing class, a prompt asked, “What would be your ideal writing environment? What would be your worst?”

For the latter, I wrote about feeling uncomfortable—a place where my allergies were acting up, where my writing utensils were unreliable…and most importantly a distracting feeling where my anxieties, stress about the past, present, future were overwhelming the present. Usually about myself and others.

But the former, it was in a dreamlike moment of the day, usually in the early morning. Where I could hear the soft snore or breathing of a loved one knowing that they’re safe. A clear signal that they’re resting and that they’re alive. Where I can see the world waking. That feeling of control.

I want to be the healer. I know this. I played Fat Princess and I wanted to be the priest. To grant wishes, to grant positivity. To be whole once again.

The seat was up!

August 13th, 2014

So I hesitated. I was repulsed at first, because I didn’t expect it to be like that, but it is San Francisco.

I am talking about a public restroom here.

Now, I am all in support of gender neutral bathrooms to get rid of people’s expectations of gender and what not. After all, at home, all the bathrooms are gender-neutral, right? Why isn’t it the same in public?

But what surprised me wasn’t the fact that there were gender neutral restrooms at a restaurant I visited recently. Rather that the seat was up and that was almost enough for me to back up and hesitate. I noticed the lack of genders for the bathrooms and spent a few seconds looking for the gender. Realizing that in this high-end restaurant that it was all the same with eight stalls, I went in…and was shocked to find that the seat was up.

The most important thing about gender neutral bathrooms if they are established is not whether the genders treat each equally or whether there will be presence of perversion…but the most important thing to decide is what is accepted for the seat’s position?

I certainly approve that the seat is always down.

Poop as f(art)

August 6th, 2014

Is this art? Yeah why not. As long as it has the intention and beauty in simplicity.

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Some days I feel awesome, some days I don’t

July 31st, 2014

This morning, I studied the notes that my colleague and I had put together. She requested, as a non-native speaker of English, that she do the more logistical tasks while I took over the description of the document. I had looked at her work earlier and besides small edits, I thought it was completely fine.

So in a few hours, I put together the descriptions, combing the notes, for keywords. Words flowed out my fingertips. Discover. Leverage. Allow. Build. Then at some point, the steam ran out and I got lunch.

After I returned and started working on another part of the document, my colleague returned and thanks me for writing so flawlessly. “What? Your writing was totally fine!” I exclaimed.

“No, but you told a story in the worlds. With simple words. Really, thanks for that. I am very impressed.”

I thanked her for the compliment and felt better about my work.

A few hours later, I received a rejection letter for program application. The disappointment filled my body. But when I was back on my bike heading to my 6 pm, the pain of the rejection faded away and I started dreaming about my writing. That perhaps, for once, my writing can be impactful. And that there’s still hope for publishing.

I have always wanted to tell my story

July 30th, 2014

There’s nothing motivating to me when I imagine someone hearing my story and they do that slight twist of the head. Their eyes widen for a moment and their mouth parts slightly in surprise. The words that come out of their mouth are “You know, I never thought about it that way.”

Sometimes yes I do want to live in the past forever

July 29th, 2014

During some moments in life when you want to live it over and over again. Maybe it’s elation or pride. Or the happiness that spills out through tears and smiles that hurt the muscles. It’s those moments when you feel that you belong, you’re important, you’re valued. Or that you feel the love that you’re spreading. The love that you feel radiated from others to you. So you want to live stay with that happiness. You want to be with that precious moment of completion.

I have those moments too. Whether it sitting with my graduate school classmates during our final project. Or my first college football game I attended with friends while a relationship blossomed via text. And the moment that I had with Chris at the foot at my bed where the world didn’t matter, but only the space between us mattered.

But I realize that moments are not meant to last forever. The friends that accompanied them have moved on. The graduate school classmates have filtered into the close friends. Chris and I grew and we hold strength in that we understand each other better, declared our boundaries and where it can be flexible. It won’t be the same.

I don’t really want to relive those moments over and over again if the future is not possible.

So today, I came across a friend’s post to a clickbait Buzzfeed video. Just like any female, I gravitate toward watching babies (and kids!) The 5-year old girl was upset that her sibling was not going to stay a baby anymore. She wanted him to stay like that, stay cute forever, smile innocent grins as she cried. I had a reaction to that. Yes, we love the baby as a baby. The precious moments and we will miss it.

But isn’t the great part of these moments is that the future contains possibility? That everyone deserves a chance to change?

In the world of Postmortal, everyone can take a pill to stop aging. So to survive in this world, everyone does. Nobody dies (unless of bodily damage of course). Diseases and cancer are eradicated by an additional drug. The pill is only allowed to be given after the age of 18. And yet some people take it illegally as a teenager—trapping their mind in a horrible state. And even worse, a mother decides her infant should take it so that he will stay young…forever. Isn’t that cruel to trap a soul that is old in an small body with an infantile mind. To be so helpless (and thus cute). To be trapped in a place where nothing ever makes sense.

I love progress. That’s why the world turns. So let’s keep moving.

The words hung in the air

July 28th, 2014

For a brief second, it was silent. Our words hung in the air. Swollen. Bulging with all the swords and thorns we packed into them. It thundered and struck with bold waves. Then they fell, breaking into million of pieces.

She said, “Okay.”

And she turned and ran down the stairs.

Or was it me that said “Okay” nodding at her as she ran down the stairs?

I shouted as her body rushed down, fleeing from an unwanted scene in my home. “Let’s talk about this again. In person. I’ll make the schedule work for you. I’ll be near Union Square.”

Did I really say it that eloquently? I remember thinking of my calendar and wondering if I could make it work. Afterwards, I was surprised that I didn’t feel any pain. No stabs to the chest. No tenseness near my ears. No knot in the throat. In fact, I felt fine. A light dash of adrenaline in my system from the shoulder tense when I wanted to shake her up and down, “Aren’t you understanding me?” and then I decided that words are so much stronger.

I was unaffected. My body told me to be sympathetic for the disagreement that we had. The fury that flew through our echoing voices in my living room. A sacred space in my home where I generously offered homemade snacks.

I wanted to yell, “I am done with this. Done!”

Everyone eats

July 21st, 2014

After air and shelter, food is the next step in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

There’s nothing that I love more than traveling for food, where ice cream quite naturally fits. The local culture shapes the food. The frequency of meals. The type of food. The portions. The pairings. The content. Their taste preferences in bitterness, sweetness, spiciness.

It represents so much of the world. Everyone eats.

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Yet what happens when different locations influence other locations. What happens when the French influences the Japanese, which in turn influences that one chef in Texas?

I loved the ice cream we had today in downtown Austin. A popcorn ice cream paired with root beer gel, housemade candy bars, and caramel popcorn. And yet, did it reflect anything about the region?

There’s a small restaurant that I used to habitually visit near my landlord’s house (where I would actually drive to drop off my monthly check). There, the Japanese owners made a diverse set of dishes. Spaghetti. Sandwiches. Bacon fried rice. Noodle soup. She paired each lunch meal with a small scoop of macaroni salad and a fruit cup with the smallest cut up fruit. Was it gourmet? No. Was it fantastic? Yes, every single time. It was as if she used to dishes she liked for many people and someone said, “Hey you should open a restaurant!” But wasn’t it ok that her dishes weren’t fully Japanese? Or even American? Or what people would fusion?

Whatever I called it was comfort food that I loved.