In high school for our “final project”, I made a video.
I don’t remember what everyone else did. I only remember what I did. I had a voice and it was so silent. So without really thinking about the consequences and how I would feel, I decided to make a video that showed everything that I was. A voice that often was covered by social anxiety. A voice that was squashed by all the middle school bullying. A voice of an outsider in high school.
It started with me moving from Hercules to Lafayette—perhaps a symbolism of how it was easy…then suddenly hard. The video showed all the accolades that I had received over the year. That confirmed my intelligence and academic aptitude. And then it showed me going to prom. Senior prom where I was set up. To me, it was an embarrassing moment. But I wanted to show how I desperately wanted to fit in and how I pretended to be like everyone else, but I couldn’t be. And an empty bag floating in the air a la American Beauty.
I remember mumbling some words as a I presented my final project and finally just started the video. When it started playing, I realized that my work was on screen and everyone was watching. The feeling of being in the spotlight overwhelmed me and I wanted to hide although I really wanted to watch everyone. I felt so…vulnerable, scared. That I stood at the podium and put my head in my arms, trying to duck and shrink into a small person.
My teacher Mr. McAllister came out to give me a hug. I remember him trying to assure me from behind, but I don’t remember how I reacted. I was proud of my work. It meant a lot to me, even though nobody else probably understood the inherent meaning.
Likewise, for my Kickstarter video, I wanted to hide. During my launch event, I wanted to hide behind a door, but I forced myself to smile as I spoke on screen. The words that I had said…10…20 times while Shaun listened and asked me to do it this way or that way. I was impressed with his direction. Fortunately I had seen it so many times that my embarrassment threshold got already so low. Most people were watching the video for the first time and had never seen me so poised, so well-spoken. But well, there it is.
I hope that I get there. But who knows. I am excited to see what happens.
After a bike ride up to Cole Valley (ice cream bar) and Union Square (writing workshop), I was tired…and most importantly hungry on my way back. Fortunately my ride to and from were uneventful. Just one small minor incident realizing that my back brakes somehow became loose (somewhat scary while riding down the hill on Market Street).
But all was well.
So I called my usual compadre. TACOS TACOS TACOS, I yelled into the voicemail. Silence.
Ever since taking upon the rule of never eating alone, I just never eat alone except in my kitchen. So I returned to my place where my roommate and friend were sitting in the living room couch. I ate the remaining bread from Brick Maiden Breads (Pointe Reyes!) with a bit of cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and the two kiwis that I bought on sale.
But as I went back to my room, hunger dug at me. Again.
Then I checked foursquare. Omg, hey my good friend Jenn is at The Jelly Donut. So why not. I put on my winter jacket and walk stupidly alone down 23rd street (realizing that I was not supposed to walk alone due to a recent assault). Halfway through my walk, I realized my error and am thinking about walking in the middle of the street, admist the street lights. Of course, that way EVERYONE will see me. Especially if they’re dodging me in traffic.
Fortunately, I made it to Jelly Donut and talked to Jenn (and Ian!) for awhile. And the evening ended uneventfully with them walking me back in their cleats and road bikes in hand.
The weight is finally gone. So you can walk, run, move freely. Your shoulders and back don’t ache with the soreness. You have this wonderful skip in your step—that used to be present a year ago. A year ago right before the weight arrived.
Your eyes are not so…focused in a tunnel. You can see on both sides. You see straight ahead and to the side—both left and right. It’s so open from here. You spot goals in the horizon. The destinations. Excitement is so thrilling. You can’t wait until you get there, because you never noticed it before.
The smells. Well, you smelled the same thing over and over again previously. You didn’t know that it was possible for other things. You smell flowers, you smell the disgusting smell from the benches, you smell the wet streets, you smell the burning of pine cones. It’s all so wonderful and so overwhelming, but now you have the freedom to be…overcome with all the sensations.
So on Girls (my latest TV show favorite), Hannah doesn’t drink. Because “bad things happen when I do”.
To say the least, I was floored. In her 20s? Really?
A friend of mine recently decided to be sober as a new year’s resolution (after drinking too much and sleeping through new year’s eve internationally). When he told me about his resolution (despite the fact that I should fully support him), I had my doubts that he would do it. It has been slightly more than 2 weeks and he is still completely dry.
Honestly, I am not quite sure why I have such issues with the whole concept of alcohol. Every so often, I convince myself that it’s because I see it as a poison and a ridiculous “handicap” that people use for things they wanted to do (without it). But I become so…so…fearful when thrusted in a situation of alcohol. Networking events, especially, where there is an expectation to fit in. I look ridiculous as I sputter (or try to whisper) to the server…umm…anything without alcohol? It’s almost easier to order water. Especially when it’s at a place with one drink minimum.
Everyone eats, but not everyone drinks.
So I was shocked that it came up as an everyday issue in Girls. Because I have always seen that chugging a beer or wine was a very twenty-something thing to do especially as a hipster in NYC. It’s the thing that got people in bad relationships and ruined jobs, the kind of thing that happens frequently in the twenties. But this wasn’t the case. For anything bad that happened, it was just purely insecurity, fear and immaturity. Not even alcohol to blame. I admire that.
Is it purely possible that because I am so open about what I am feeling—my emotions and thoughts…that this draws certain people to open to me? Is it a power struggle? That I appear to be trustworthy? A good listener?
A few months ago, I lamented about my moments in Germany. I could not describe it, but I felt uncomfortable there. I felt almost like less of a person, walking the streets. I wasn’t sure how to explain it, but I described a moment at the Baohaus museum where as I walked in, I was given a headset with Chinese.
“No,” I said in perfect American English. “English, please.”
It was a discomfort perhaps knowing that I will always be considered Asian. I will never be consider “White” in the sense that I speak English natively. As an Asian American, I can tell differences between Asians born in Asia and Asians born in the states. And so I take the for granted, assuming that others can tell the difference. In Germany, I was just like everyone else. I was just an Asian, no matter my nationality.
And to see that the only Asians were behind the counter in convenience stores, that made me uncomfortable. As if I was a lesser race.
So I lamented to some friends. One friend said, “You shouldn’t feel that way. They’re just curious.”
I immediately responded, “You are minimizing it. You aren’t listening to me.”
I love this scene from HBO’s Girls. Because it’s so real. It’s do I really feel this way and what does the world really want to know and does this horrible emotional dilemma really matter anyway?
Almost a decade ago, I sat like that at my desk in my college apartment. Upset, tearful, plugging text into a wordpress entry. Angry at a boy for treating me the way he treated me. When I already dumped him. But then…and it would take days, months, years, before I could think do I feel this way because I choose to feel this way? It took days, months, years before I can say now, that’s really funny even as I tell the world, constantly the world about what I was thinking.
Congratulations, Lena Dunham, for winning the Golden Globe!
Suddenly, I realized what an unusual party that I was attending. Maybe not truly unusual, but how I suddenly felt out of place.
“So my balcony looks over the Bay Bridge,” she continued. “Sometimes I bring out this cheese plate…”
I think: classy, Caucasian, almost indulgent, upper class, money, fancy…
At most parties that I attend (not to be so aware of my identity), it’s full of random assortments of food. Usually some cooked items, some cheese maybe…but always something like sparkling water or soda. There is usually something that someone cooked or something from a fancy bakery or restaurant. We usually sit around with plastic cups of soda or tea.
Intrigued by new lifestyle services, I discovered Postmates. I love the fact that it utilized everyday community—that it made the everyperson a superman. Everyone has a skill to give to the world, but a service doesn’t exist for all those skills. Let’s crowdsource them.
The first thing that came to mind was the Transporter. Because after all, transportation is a precise. A precise occupation.
I immediately referred the service to the one person that I know who understands the concept of precise. Perfection. Optimization. Reliability.
Yet what does it mean to be precise? I say deliver [insertobject] from point A to point B. Is it the time that it takes? The care that is given to the object? The confirmation that the [insertobject] is received?
I am just curious if they’ll accept him as a transporter.