Unconfined Thoughts 28 – Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

My hair is thinning and it coats my bedroom floor. Every time I get up from my bed or from my chair, the hair drifts around my feet and I’m reminded of my stress. Like a considerate person, you ask, “What are you stressed about?” I pull a face, shrug and I’m already dissociating when I say, “I don’t know!”

Every morning, I pull back the curtains and a stream of light streams in. I expect to be knocked off my feet as a realization that things aren’t as bad as I make them to be. Half-way through the day, I open the window to air out the stale air and hope that the cool breeze can help me stop losing hair.

On an odd Tuesday morning, I pick up the broom and sweep away all the stray hairs. Enough has cumulated that it’s enough if you gathered it into your hands, it would look like a hamster from the distance when in reality, it’s all the hair that’s taken the jump. I sigh loudly so that it echoes my mind, but not loud enough so that I can do anything about it. It lingers before it drifts away just like each day as the sun comes and goes, allowing time for night to fall.

Unconfined Thoughts 27 – Public Service Announcement

When I was in middle school, I read about ridiculously good looking spies, aiding in the cause of protecting art. In high school, I found myself drifting towards books with a little less adventure, but I read about people who were the adventure, how they grazed the literal fabric of time in the between their fingers or battled against the injustices of the controlling. As time grew by and as I found less time to dream and expand my muscle of imagination, the stories that I created were painted with the base of my sorrows and joys. I cried about how I felt so lonely in my own mind and with other people. I furiously compiled words together to display my anguish with my failures, leaving space for the last sentence where I spelled out that I will try again. I happily wrote about my first love and filled with sorrow as I wrote about my heartbreak that was filled with naivety. And with shaking hands, I wrote about loss, grief and panic. The words know and hold me, cradling me into the comfort of the freedom of expression.

Now that I’m in college, I browse through the books and look upon them as study guides, a path of inspiration that I could gather. What could those who made it past the publishing press be writing about today? Books lining the shelves with instances of divorce, the chance and suspicion of an affair, and teenagers with too much unreasonable angst that their parents who might as well give up. Where has the hope gone, the spark of beauty in the world? Where has the simplicity of enjoying the beauty in the common gone? Who is the beholder of the words, even though it’s still free when it feels like it goes with the ebbs and flows of the damned society?

I apologize if any of you have had to deal with the misfortunes of life, but as your mother or someone of wisdom may have told you, we always learn from mistakes. Stand back up and try again. If we consistently preach about the comfort of home, with matching cushions for each season, then wouldn’t our backbone get weak?

You’re at a dinner party with a mix between your dear friends, co-workers and their friends whom you just met 45 minutes ago. To your left, someone whispers about a boring life despite recently married. To your right, someone gloats about their new promotion while three other people jealously congratulate them, turn to their spouses and tell them that they definitely don’t deserve it. And you? You smile and keep drinking, hoping that the hour would pass and everyone would pat their bellies and file out of the door where you’ll follow in suit — the proper etiquette.

Stupidity may be bliss, but as our mothers lovingly told us, we’re unique with a beautiful story behind us. The world has enough shit happening. Why don’t we help it out by adding some more colors?

 

Written: 7/7/17 3:00pm

Unconfined Thoughts 26 – Aglaonema

I’m sorry that you’ve been reduced to a common office plant. With your colorful leaves and short stature, yet you’re low maintenance, you’ve graced the desks of office secretaries instead of where you belong. You wish you were like that oak tree outside, swaying gently to the breeze while you have to entertain yourself to the air conditioning that’s always on because the boss has a chronic sweat problem and everyone else is wearing down jackets. You wish you were like that orchid, constantly a showcase on everyone’s Instagram feed and carefully watered and maintained because “it would be such a shame if it wilted”. You wish you were like the pointy succulent squad in the front corner of the desk, next to the zen garden and faux waterfall. A little jungle over there. A little sense of peace, instead of the office vibe that the pencil skirts, striped ties and stale coffee give off. You inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, straighten up a little and try to live it up a little while swaying to the imaginary breeze, facing the window where dreams once were.

Written: 6/16/17 1:06am

Unconfined Thoughts 25 – Language Barrier

I think in French, my mind rolling around repeating Je ne sais pas. Je ne sais rein. And I painfully reel back, hold myself back and go back to writing dreams in English. I head down the street for a coffee, but I don’t drink coffee, so I stop inside and inhale all the scents and memories. Memories of you and a sly and satisfied smile behind the recyclable coffee cup, your tongue stained and your breath smelling of a routine morning strike me and I pause to avoid an onslaught of tears. I order a cookie even though I already have a bunch of cookies and my mind reverberates Je t’aime. Je t’aime beaucoup. Back to work. Back home again.

I yell in Cantonese, the pitched notes, the sharp tongue and suddenly I’m reminded when I sprinted down the halls, barely missing the corners to avoid facing my punishments. Screaming and yelling, hearing only my voice in my head and feeling powerless with Stop it! I didn’t mean it! I’m sorry! And the Cantonese got closer until I grew up, but I guess I could order a heaping bowl of noodles instead of hearing how worthless I can be.

I insult myself in Mandarin, a classic, yet difficult language and demonstration of your truest skill and culture as I struggle to pronounce who I am, maintaining my goofiness without fail only to appear rude and of a child. With a singular glance and formal smile, I’m deemed as unworthy as the silence fills the spaces between us until I’m no longer close enough to understand. What a pity.

I dream in Korean, a light weighted and song-like whisper. Even the most vulgar and harshest phrases, come out as balls of marshmallow, melting your mouth and coating it with a light kiss. Yet, I’m lost and I wonder how do I find the correct recipe to success to treat your heart to newfound memories of joy.

Written: 6/16/17 12:16am

Unconfined Thoughts 24 — An Evening Stroll

When I was walking home from meeting up with my friend yesterday, I passed this man. Even though our total interaction on the world was less than 1 second, something about him intrigued me. There was something about his gait and how his leather boots clopped into the cobblestone streets — a perfect match. Or maybe it was how he smelled and how it lingered around me, enticing me, but he was already down the street. Based on how he smelled and how he dressed, I think he was on a date. What if it was a foreign exchange of secrecy? I could picture him meeting up with a vixen with a tight black dress and bright red lipstick. She would lean in and try to entice him, but he stays still and asks for the secrets. Or maybe he was the type of guy who may appear sophisticated on the outside with tailored suits and designer shoes, but he would be that guy who leaves enthusiastic comments in random YouTube videos. He doesn’t really seem like the type to spend hours watching cat videos, then again, no one ever looks like it. I turned back after our brief exchange and witnessed him pulling out his phone, check his messages before slipping it back into his pockets.

I was on my way to meet this girl I matched with on Tinder, but I passed this girl on the way there. The gleam in her eye indicated that a lot more shit went down in her life than she would’ve liked, but based on how she dressed, smelled and looked, she handled it like a boss. I smiled to myself as we passed each other before a crazy idea popped into my head. I pulled out my phone and quickly messaged the girl from Tinder saying that I suddenly fell ill, turned around and said, “Hey, you! This is probably going to sound weird, but I think you’re beautiful and do you want to grab a drink or something?”

Written: 5/27/17 8:03pm

Note: I couldn’t decide whether or not I should schedule this for a Quick Piece or post it as an Unconfined Thoughts because this had never happened to me. I was just really excited to share this piece with you all. I would definitely consider this piece as flash fiction though. I’ll give you a couple words as analysis to compromise: spontaneous and impulsive, but potentially life changing decision of open minded individuals. Inspired by: my long marathons of watching YouTube videos and wondering what kind of person would write each comment. Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

Unconfined Thoughts 23 – Life’s Gift

All around us, there is life, but you only realize how precious it is when it ceases to exist. Each day is a birthday and every other day, someone departs the world. Tears flow to rejoice the newest addition to the family intermingled with the stress that’s to come in preparing the child for the new world. Tears flow in sorrow as someone whose life has been condensed to numbers has taken their final breath, a whisper to the present that things shouldn’t be taken for granted.

What motivates you to get out of bed each morning? Is it because your school requires your constant attendance or maybe you have a meeting? Is it because every hour counts when you work or because you have a couple errands to run? Maybe it’s a holiday and something will be different. Maybe a new episode for your favorite show comes out and you’re excited to finally watch it. Or maybe, you look forward to seeing the familiar faces the shape how your life flows.

There may be days when you don’t find much worth in one day compared with the others. Brushing your teeth and walking seem monotonous and you wished that something would suddenly appear and give back the spark you had in your life. Your favorite dishes don’t taste good anymore and you beg people you love to help you live again. It’s only until the cloud parts and you’re able to see once again that life is a fragile gift.

Here is my charge for you: Don’t take life for granted. Don’t allow it to become monotonous, yet I understand if it is unavoidable or you find yourself caught in those notions. Walk a different route. Try out that new café. Talk to that someone you’ve been meaning to. Life has its ebbs and flows; it’s best if you just ride it and see where it takes you. Don’t be afraid. Life is an adventure after all. Cherish and treasure every moment you have with them whether it’s big or small. And as always, don’t forget to tell those you cherish that you love them because if they’ve landed a spot in your heart, then you should let them know.

This is my charge for you, simply put: cherish life.

Written: 4/2/17 9:08pm

Unconfined Thoughts 22 – Haunted Notions

Your fingers trace my face’s features from the stray strands of hair to my chin, sending chills racing up and down my body. I gaze into your eyes, a warm brown color and I find my heartbeat racing to meet yours, so I take a deep breath and my heart skips a beat. You whisper something mundane to relieve my butterflies, something irrelevant before my lips meet yours in an inaudible vow. We dance around making promises that are true for the moment, no matter how long they last. We pull each other closer, no pushing because that’s rude. Without warning, my heart aligns with yours but I allow it. It’s okay. It’s necessary. And when we’re forced to separate from bliss (oftentimes I worry about plunging too deep into the sea of bliss because we aren’t trained to swim in this mess), we illuminate like lighthouses, proclaimers of a saving point. An overwhelming feeling of sadness floods my body, replacing the hormones that were supposed to help me stay afloat and you whisper, “how was it?” and all I could manage was to direct my gaze to the only light source in the room, a dim glow. I finally respond with a smile, sigh and seek the warmth that I desperately lacked again. He draws close to me and I anticipate it, hoping that this will cure my sudden sadness, the explosion of future worry threatening to drown me. Our promises never collide, but they compliment each other. Our grip tightens on each other like a curse to the looming future and we can soon claim to love and move on from the phase, like. It’s okay. It’s necessary. In this short period of time, there are no glimpses of the future even if it frantically tries to signal us. Instead, we hold each other’s hands tightly and avoid the haunted notions.

Written: 2/28/17 1:40pm

PS. I submitted this piece to a literary magazine – wish me luck!