Regret|Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone!
Happy Spring and I know it’s spring because it already rained for two days here. Then, it would get chilly and windy. The onset of spring always seems to be pretty unstable, but sooner than later, there will be more warm days than cold days.

This poem is called, “Regret”.
I have become empty with fear
for I have never attempted to live.
I regret never sipping on a cold lemonade
while watching the red summer sunset slip
behind the rolling green hills.
I regret never feeling the first snow brush
against my rough skin and feeling my breath catch.
I regret never spending my paycheck
on snacks and things I absolutely need.
I regret never spending an entire rainy day
watching movies off Netflix only to
finish it off with videos on YouTube.
I regret never falling heavily in love with
that stranger across the street or with
my long time childhood friend only to have
it pain me both ways.
I regret never standing up and shouting so that
my voice echoed and silence followed because
everyone was so shaken and surprised.
I regret staying sitting down and letting time
become a blur around me until
I become numb with feeling.

According to the dictionary, regret means “to feel sad or sorry about (something that you did or did not do) : to have regrets about (something)” Maybe you have something that you really regret and in moments like that, you wished you had a time machine to fix things up. When I was younger, I would do embarrassing things mainly because I was awkward. Most of my embarrassing moments would consist of me saying something completely random because I couldn’t formulate something better to say.

In this poem, I’m cautioning readers to take risks and do things instead of wasting time because not doing something also seems to be one of the bigger regrets. For instance, the moments I stumbled over my words and in those moments, I regret not saying anything when later, I was glad that I was able to actually say something. Everyone’s “regret story” may be different, but the main idea is to just to not be so caught up in not living a life full of regrets so that you forget to live at all.

J.K Rowling said a similar quote, but she talked about failure. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” At the end of the day, you can look back and laugh about the embarrassing or regretful moments because it had already been past instead of not being done at all. It’s true that with every thing you do comes a consequence, but there is also the consequence of not even living at all.

So, enjoy your life and live it!

I hope you all have a great week!

 

Alice

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To Live|Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone!

This week, Poetry Breakdown is back to 2:30pm GMT on Thursdays! Last week was my spring break and as you may have read from my previous post, I spent the weekend at a kendo tournament. Afterwards, I went home and it was nice being able to fully relax and see my family again. I stopped by my high school and hung around and it was nice seeing my friends again. I felt rather different, more confident, when I was seeing my friends and that’s a rare feeling for me.

This poem is titled, To Live.

To inhale and then to exhale.
To have oxygen rush through you like the speed
of sound and your thoughts
go even faster.
Colors are abundant
and smells are invigorating
and touch is everything.
To see and to know
anger,
sadness,
happiness,
joyfulness,
gentleness,
patience.
To understand the origin and to be confused.
To pound the ground with your bare fists
and to have protection leak out from the pipes.
To love and to have it be great and painful.
To loose and to gain
everything life has to offer
is Life.

There are days when everything gets you down and you begin to question everything around you. Why am I living if this is so hard? What am I doing with my life? Where am I going with this? What is happening? What’s the point? It gets difficult when we’re stressed about this paper and we also have a test to study for next week. And we also have to meet up with someone and an hour later, we have some classes to go to. In times like that, let’s take a step back and go back to the basics to understand just how valuable our life is.

In my poem, I tried to capture how valuable life can be from how we breathe to our complex emotions and to the loses and gains of life. With every breath, we power our body. Without oxygen, we would die. Our emotions are what make us so human. We can thoroughly express ourselves through our face even if we don’t say a word. A wrinkled brow would signify discontent. Glowing cheeks and radiant eyes signify happiness. Exaggerated gestures wold signify anger. A rolling tear would usually signify sadness. Deep gazing would usually signify love. When our voices are added in, we can express ourselves even more. When we’re angry, we can shout so loud and so sharp that it can physically hurt.  When we’re happy, a burst of laughter would come out and our eyes may also crinkle. When we’re frustrated, we stomp around like something is holding onto us too tightly.  I always enjoy watching people’s emotions as weird as that sounds. It helps me write out my characters and make them seem more dynamic and alive. I also know how I want to be understood by being aware of my own body language and how my own emotions play out.

The other painful truth that life brings is how things can be taken away from us whether a friend moves away due to a job or someone passes away or someone may just leave just because they can. Everything isn’t permanent, but we should appreciate and enjoy things with moments we are given with them.

Everyone’s meaning of life or reason for living may be different, but we have reason. It’s okay if it takes you a long time to find it, but in the time being, let’s be grateful for our life.

 

I hope you have a great week!

Alice

 

Armor | March 10, 2015

Instead of the regularly scheduled, Poetry Breakdowns this week, here’s an update on how I am with kendo. Poetry Breakdown will be back to its regularly scheduled time next week.

As of today, it has been officially 7 months since I’ve first started kendo and I’ve improved so much. I feel so much more comfortable with this sport. I can kiai rather loudly and I can sort of do small strikes. I also know how to tie my uniform neatly and correctly so that it doesn’t become undone when I’m in the middle of practice. But the most exciting thing that has happened in the last two months is being able to put on the full armor. Even though the armor isn’t fitted to me and even though it took a while to adjust to the weight, it was worth it. When my team members first struck me, I finally felt like I was one of them. I was glad that they hit me without holding back and I actually got bruises. I can finally line up with everyone else and put on my men and kote.

I also had my first fights. My first fight was with someone who had actually done kendo before, so naturally, I lost within seconds. I didn’t even initiate at all or kiai much. I stood there and tried my best to defend myself and watched, terrified as he struck me countless times. It was only then, that I realized that I didn’t know how to fight. I did my strikes well, but when it came to putting it all together, I froze. My instinct was the flight half instead of the fight. Even if I fought against beginners, I still held back a little part of myself partially because I wasn’t sure what to do, but I also didn’t want to hurt my teammates even though they were also suited in armor. It was only when I fought my senpai did I show a little more aggressiveness just because I was a tad more comfortable.

Fast forward to two weeks later and we were in a car with the team on our way to a university to test for ranks and for a tournament the next day. I was extremely nervous for the testing since it had only been not too long since I  first started kendo and I knew that there were many people who were better than me. I was also aware that when I get nervous, I forget everything and I also get nauseous so that kiai-ing would prove to be difficult. On Saturday was a seminar where sensei’s basically gave you hints and tips in doing better at kendo. There was also an hour where we could spar with a sensei and the sensei I trained with basically told me to extend more and that helped with my form a lot. Afterwards was the testing. The room was reset and a panel of judges were sat in front of where you and your partner would follow commands and demonstrate the best kendo. I managed to kiai through my nauseousness and I did my very best. I had befriended my partner, so we helped each other out. In the end, I ended up getting 4 kyu which isn’t bad at all. The way the ranking works is kind of to think of the kyu rankings as negative numbers and the dan rankings as positive numbers. For example, 9 kyu is lower than 2 kyu, but 1 dan is higher than 2 kyu. The highest ever is 8 dan which takes years to achieve and there aren’t that many kendoka with that ranking.
The very next day was the tournament in a gym that was big enough to have four matches go on at once. I was scheduled for three matches- individual (above 19), women’s division and team matches. After a greeting from the judges, we headed off to our designated courts and waited until it was our division and match to compete. I was very nervous as usual, but pep talks from my teammates helped me out. I was also reassured with my ranking and the fact that I had stuck with the training. My first match in the women’s division was against  a girl from Cornell and she defeated me with two strikes to my kote within a minute. I wasn’t even out of breath, but I was amazed at how quick she was. My kote was completely open because I wasn’t standing square enough. My second match came quickly and I lasted much longer-about three minutes. I initiated more and my opponent won because she had a point on me and we ran out of time. Plus, I was knackered when we finished. We broke for lunch and we watched two of our higher ranked members fight. They did great and one day, I would like to fight as well and maybe better than them. I know it’s going to take lots of practice and determination. The team matches came along and before, we were a two person team, but we recruited one more person in the last minute. I was even more nervous because I was going first followed by the person we recruited and someone from my team. Even though we lost our team match, it was a good fight since we tried our best. Plus, the person we recruited won his match.
This new year was full of new kendo adventures including getting to know the members even more especially during the span of this weekend. We were constantly with each other, talking, joking and sharing with each other. We would encourage each other and relieve each other’s stress. We would remind each other of what was really important- trying our best. I’m proud to be part of the team even though in the beginning of the school year, I had no friends and I also had no idea what kendo was. Now, I’m happy to call them my friends and I really do enjoy kendo.
Thank you for following me on my journey to kendo and there’s so much more to explore!
Alice

Poke|Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re doing well! This coming Friday, I’ll be leaving for my first kendo tournament and I’ll also be testing to get a ranking. I’m pretty nervous and that’s okay because with all the built up energy, I’ll be sure to do my best. After the tournament, I’ll be going home for spring break! I’m surprised that I went through one and a half month without needing to go home. I did feel homesick, but I knew that I would be seeing my family and friends soon. Right now, the weather here isn’t like ideal spring, but it will gradually get warmer.

“Poke”

In a world full of punches,
there are the pokes,
jabs and nudges.
A nudge towards the right path
A poke to wake up
A jab to turn back
One may glare back
One may rebuke you
One may fall over
There may not be times
where you would always fall safely
into a cushioned mat or into the arms
of protectors.
There may not be times
when no one would say that the path with thorns
is the unwise one to take.
There will be a moment
when all you could wish for
is a simple poke after
all the punches you’ve received
from not turning back.

My friend and I have an on going poke war on Facebook since November and it has come to 2,000 pokes, which I think is  pretty insane. If there is a record for the longest poke war on Facebook, I think we wouldn’t be too far off. This poem has nothing to do with the little interaction on social media. In the process of writing this poem, there had been many drafts when I usually dump my ideas out with minimal proofreading. This poem was pretty difficult for me to write about because I was having trouble finding a resolution to the ongoing parallelism. There had to be a moral to the story and it came out a little complicated.

Throughout life, we encounter critique about ourselves. They aren’t the snarky and rude comments, but they are usually the painful words from the people we love. We often brush them off until we realize that the change is needed and then we wished we had turned around sooner. Although sometimes someone may tell you that you are doing something wrong before further damage is done, but there may not always be critique. When that happens, you would only realize your faults when you make a big mistake and then you would regret not turning yourself around hence the analogy with punches, pokes and jabs. I’ve taken a literal approach to the phrase, “nudge in the right direction.”

Take the chances while you can and it’s never too late to turn back. After all, we learn from our mistakes.

I hope you enjoyed this week of Poetry Breakdown and maybe they’ll be another post about my journey to kendo some time soon!

Alice