So I walk into the grocery store the other day, and this is what I see: ..
And I was like, “Whoa!!” I start laughing and whip out my camera. And people start staring. What’s so funny? they look at me.
What’s so funny? Can’t you see??!!
I spoke last year of my distaste for Valentine’s Day. “Roses are red, violets are blue. Sugar is sweet, and so are you . . . There. Are you happy now?” is what I said. I was single at the time, and some mistook this as a lament. “There, there,” they said. “Someday your prince will come!” But what they didn’t understand (what I didn’t make clear) is that I dislike Valentine’s Day PERIOD. Whether I’m single or in a relationship has nothing to do with it. Why?
Here are five reasons Valentine’s Day sucks:
It’s forced. Romance is supposed to be fun, carefree, and spontaneous. Nothing says “I love you” better than, “Oh sh_t! It’s Valentine’s Day!”
It’s too commercialized. Chocolate, teddy bears, roses, red and pink hearts, cheesy cards . . . Really? That shows love, people? No wonder more than 50 percent of marriages fail.
There’s too much pressure — on both couples and singles. When you’re single, Valentine’s Day serves only as a reminder that you’re single — that you’re (supposedly) missing out on that “other half” of life. (As if you can’t live a fulfilling life on your own . . .) When you’re in a relationship, it’s that, “Oh, sh_t! It’s Valentine’s Day!” again. “What can I do to make this year special?”
There’s too much pressure on guys. Roses, hearts, chocolate . . . Diamonds, necklaces, dinner . . . When was the last time you saw a Valentine’s Day ad featuring football and a movie (or whatever)? Don’t we girls owe it to our guys to show them how much we love them, too?
Roses die. And pink and red and candy hearts are gross. Enough said.
Still not convinced? Check out this hilarious clip from Saturday Night Live. I’m having a hard time embedding the video into this post, so please, click on the link. You won’t regret it!!
So there you have it: My thoughts on Valentine’s Day. Care to share yours?
.. Note: For those who may think my thoughts harsh, I will add that my birthday falls very closely to Valentine’s Day. Incidentally, so does my boyfriend’s. That’s one reason that, for us, Valentine’s Day is a lot of pressure all at once.
Last year, on December 31st, I wrote a post about growth. I talked about the good and the bad that make up the times of our lives. I talked about how we all have a choice: Will we grow and learn from these times, and be generous and grateful for will we have? Or will we . . . Most of you can guess what the opposite reactions to those listed might be.
When I wrote that post and said that I hoped we would choose growth, I was mostly referring to my own growth in Asia during the previous three years. I was remembering the culture shock and the cold showers and the day-to-day isolation and the discomfort and uncertainty that frequently accompanies living in a foreign country. I was remembering how I went from hating my surroundings — to loving them . . . From succumbing to my circumstances — to mastering them. I was talking about the life-altering change to my worldview that I owed entirely to a place I’d previously never ever thought I’d go . . .
Truth be told, I had absolutely no idea what growth would mean for me in the United States, in my home state of California, in the coming year. Continue reading →
For some, the path has always been clear . . . But not mine!
My parents had a plan. From the time he was a kid, my dad knew he wanted to be a doctor. My mom was fostered into a career as a physical therapist — in high school, she fell in love with gymnastics. She was naturally strong and interested in fitness. Becoming a PT just made sense.
I never knew what I wanted to do. While the rest of my friends fell into paths almost identical to their parents’, I was not a science person. I hated Chemistry and Biology. Give me a literature class any day! And besides, I’d seen how hard my parents worked and what working with people in pain could do. I knew I wanted to help people, just not with their physical health.
Fast forward several years. A college graduate with a B.A. in English, but now what? . . . I’ve held a handful of jobs since I graduated, ranging from being a copywriter, to an ophthalmology technician, to an ESL school teacher (in Taiwan and Hong Kong), and now, to a freelance writer. I’ve been trying to come up with my long-term plan: But what? I’ve wanted to return to Asia: I have this HUGE fear of getting tied down. The world is too big and too beautiful and too full of need to live in one tiny pocket my whole life . . . But. But.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is that makes writing powerful. What is it about a blog that would bring you back and leave you wanting more?
One of my favorite bloggers is one of most irreverent, vulgar, say-it-like-it-is bloggers on the Internet. His writing is awesome, but what makes him powerful is that he is REAL. He doesn’t hide behind a curtain of pretense. Oh, no — he owns his shit. (Pardon my french for those of you who aren’t used to cursing on my site.) He talks about everything from alcoholism to fighting for custody of his child to his religion (or lack thereof) to parenting to . . . And, what’s more, he doesn’t give a damn what others think. He would never apologize for cussing like I just did. Continue reading →
I’m sitting in one of my favorite classes in college, Ancient Classics. We’re studying Beowulf — the oldest surviving epic poem in the English language — and it’s the part where Grendel, the bone-crunching, blood-sucking demon who’s been terrorizing King Hrothgar’s halls for years, meets for the first (and only) time his match. Beowulf the Magnificent has come from afar to rescue the Danes, only Grendel doesn’t know it. He storms into the hall in the middle of the night, gobbling men whole and drinking their blood as usual, when suddenly he comes upon Beowulf and is shocked to find someone who resists him. The man and monster grapple hand to hand, claw to claw (Beowulf refuses to use any weapons since Grendel uses none), and, with superhuman strength, Beowulf manages to rip off one of the monster’s arms at the socket. The wound is mortal, and Grendel flees to the moors while the Danes rejoice and Beowulf becomes hero of the land — and of all of history.
Sounds like a pretty cool story, right? Good guy wins, bad guy dies. It’s the perfect plot . . . Right? Or . . . Are we missing something? Continue reading →
So, I’m in line at Costco the other day, and I’m watching people, like I always do. I’m seeing them come and go, and talk and laugh, and argue, and yell at their kids, and hit their brother or sister, and talk on their cell phone, and stand quietly, and I’m wondering, Do I really love these people?
And I’m realizing: Yes, I do.
And then I’m wondering, But, if I love them, why is it so hard . . . ?
I have never been the “cool kid.” In grade school, I wore thick glasses that made my eyes appear twice their normal size. (I am extremely far-sighted.) I wore pink and purple matching outfits covered in kittens. I put bows in my hair and was incredulous when, at 11 or 12, my friends started wearing training bras and shaving their legs. Aren’t we too young for that? I hissed. Continue reading →
There’re demons inside me,
I tell you, it’s true.
They come out and taunt me,
remind me of you.
And though I would shush them,
the damage’s been done.
For deep down inside you,
you’re shushing them, too. Continue reading →
My Nana died tonight. I didn’t cry. I have, and I will. But I didn’t when I heard the news. Some things take a while to settle in.
Grandparents are the best!
It occurred to me recently that, in the span of six months, I have gone from having three living grandparents to, now, only one. It is something that was never supposed to happen, really. Grandparents aren’t supposed to die. They’re the ones who tickle you and tell you stories and sneak you treats when Mom and Dad aren’t looking. They’re the ones with gray hair and wrinkles and sparkly eyes and easy smiles. They’re the ones who age but don’t get old, who tire but are never too tired for you.
Alone I sit and contemplate
this thing that we call life:
Desires we cannot satiate,
the struggles and the strife.
I wonder why we do it now,
I wonder why we try.
I wonder why we carry on,
why not lay down and die?
I guess there’s hope—
the future, see?
Our dreams, they are
a mystery . . .
It’s been all these years:
He’ll not return to me.
(He’s God’s, can’t you see?)
I wonder why I do it now,
I wonder why I cry.
I wonder why I can’t let go,
for him, alone, I’ll die.
Unworthy . . .
(God judge me.)
He doesn’t mourn for me.
Note: I feel badly. This poem is not about death (at least not in the traditional sense), though it could easily be read that way. Please, dear readers, do not mourn for me. I did not mean to mislead you or look for sympathy.
I am a U.S. citizen. I was born to two loving parents who worked hard to provide for their children. I have never had to worry about food or shelter. I have never been abused, raped, or neglected. I have a college education and have been privileged to travel to many different parts of the world.
I fell in love for the first time in the sixth grade. He was an “older man.” A whopping fourteen. Two years later, he noticed me. The awkward middle schooler was growing up. We wrote letters over a summer while he was in Arkansas—real, hand-written letters. We didn’t have facebook. We didn’t talk on the phone.
I used to go on walks. I’d put my cocker spaniel on a leash, and we’d go. And I’d think. I’d think about him. I was scared. No boy had ever noticed me before.
I also thought about emotions. Why did we have to have them? I had air to breathe and food to eat. Why, then, did I have to feel this way?