You have no idea how much I want to take her home with me, or how much it hurts to know that I can’t.
Valentine’s Day. For what it’s worth, I’ve never been a fan. As I’ve described in previous posts, it’s an over-commercialized holiday that demeans romance, not exalts it. There’s nothing more romantic than a grocery store teddy bear and a dozen roses with baby’s breath, right? No? How about eating in a crowded over-priced restaurant alongside everyone else in town?
It’s even better when you’re single, of course. Happy Single’s Awareness Day, anyone? Gahhh.
For those who have kids, Valentine’s Day takes on a different meaning. Suddenly Valentine’s Day cards are being made and bought and glitter and glue are everywhere. Valentine’s candy is being passed out. Pictures are being taken. Nothing wrong with that, but . . . Continue reading
“Are you a goodie-goodie?”
My heart leapt in my chest. He was talking to me. Was he talking to me? Yes! He was talking to me!
“I, uh . . .” Wait a . . . Was I a what? A goodie-goodie? What was a goodie-goodie?
“Uh . . .” I thought I knew what it meant. I had a pretty good idea, but . . .
I was stuttering. He was staring at me. My cheeks were burning. The cement sidewalk where we stood was crashing into the school parking lot — six inches below. Continue reading
“What is your biggest regret?”
It’s a question often heard but rarely analyzed. Regret. What is it, really? And how does it affect me? Should it affect me?
I don’t have any regrets. I’m not kidding. As I look back on my life, I see a path of overturned obstacles and a little girl and a young woman. My childhood is over, and my course thus far has brought me to where I am — 30 years old with a love for life that years of heartache have only helped ignite: My passion is stronger because I have seen the “other side.”
I have seen the pain of loneliness and of trying and failing and trying and failing and trying and . . . I’ve seen love come and go, families fall apart, children in streets, cultural seats . . . I’ve seen faraway shores and looked through others’ eyes . . .
(That’s all this world needs, is to look through others’ eyes.)
And the times I’ve misstepped have been the times I’ve learned the most. The year I gave up going to Austria for a boy (we didn’t work out) was the year I met one of my very best friends. (Love you, Gwyn!) I learned a lot from that relationship and am a better person because of it:
My heart smiles when I think of him — and of you.
Because deep down I believe we all have a heart, and that our hearts are good. We may be selfish by nature but can choose how we cultivate our natures. The wise person sees: Selfishness gains nothing; selflessness, everything.
And so what is there to regret if, seeking good, we misjudge and stumble and fall?
The only regrettable thing is when our hearts cry, “Go!” and, silently, we watch, wait, think, wish, say, “No.”
For a dear hatted boy.
I love this. It reminds me of my post, “I love you.” If you haven’t read it, check it out. Because it’s true. I do love you. Why wouldn’t I love you? I’m just like you.
So then the “Golden Rule” must really be true.
You’re the one did not exist,
the one I’d never known.
The one of whom the stories list,
but life had never shown.
You came to me, I didn’t see
you ‘pproach or standing there.
I was turned toward history —
destruction and despair.
You didn’t wait for me to turn
around to say “Hello.”
Instead you swept me off my feet
and laughed, “Where shall we go?”
But still I thought of history —
was scared deep down inside.
I saw the way you looked at me,
but eyes before have lied.
But you were patient, soft, and kind;
assured me, “This is real.”
With gentle touch you did unwind
a heart I thought was steel.
And now we’re walking hand in hand
and love is sweeter still,
than storybooks, which do not stand
a chance ‘gainst what is real —
For storybooks, they have an end,
but we’ll go on and on.
There are things you cannot rend,
not even when they’re gone.
For an audio recording of this poem, click here:
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.
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: Continue reading
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
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.
Do I always want to be alone? Continue reading
We all of us have demons,
dark things we’d rather hide.
Though, honest, we’re not heathens,
still it can’t be denied . . .
That none of us is perfect,
no beauty is unflawed.
And what appears a defect
should sometimes be hurrahed.
But maybe that’s my downfall —
it’s too late, I’ve bought in.
Won’t listen to your windfall,
perfection is my sin.
You say you want the real me,
I say I want it, too.
But how can I destroy me,
when I am my own glue?
Click below for an audio recording of this poem.
“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” – Robert Frost
In darkness deep,
where creepers creep,
I dream of days, depart —
To summer sun
where rivers run,
and all the world’s an art —
And all of love,
a perfect glove,
and you, the perfect part.
The wild wind blows,
a blanket, snows,
alone, I’m miles apart —
There’s a love, it is an ache —
it’s all she’s ever known.
While her love the world did take,
to her, it’s never shown.
Not to say the world’s a rake,
or one she would disown.
But the moonlight makes her quake —
it’s here her heart is flown. Continue reading
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
I think of you,
and you and you,
and, oh, the anguish stinging.
For every time
you seem sublime
I only end up wringing.
And so it is,
I’m only his,
the one who me is flinging.
And so I’ll go
where no one knows
and meet you there in clinging.
“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” ― Rumi
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
For all that you are,
and ever will be,
I’ll love you forever,
Happy Birthday, Mommy.
We start out mere mortals,
’til “Father” turns son.
It’s then our potential
“forever” is won.
We live through our children,
and they on through theirs.
So what will we show them?
How say, “Daddy cares”?
Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Two kids in a tub.
It’s here I’m no expert,
but look to the best.
And he to his own dad—
they both passed the test!
With love and compassion,
through fire and through ice,
they gave with devotion,
and never thought twice: 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
He’s raised and he’s loved,
a gift from above.
But something is missing—
who’s that Mommy’s kissing?! 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.
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.
They are, and always have been, for eternity.
Until tonight. Continue reading
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.
used to feel guilty for being who I am.
I am a . 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.
Why me? Why did I laugh as a child while other children cried? Continue reading
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?
It’s a question I still haven’t answered.