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.
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
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
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
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!
What you are about to read is private – from the inner folds of my mind to the desires of the flesh. I warn you to proceed with caution, but don’t think of me any different. From wishful thinking, they became reality. From reality, they become my carefully sculpted words that are able to connect a group to a singular idea and at the same time, contain me.
My stoic nature of my star sign speaks its truth as I walk down the streets with the lyrics you were the shadow to my light echo in my mind. I don’t give a fuck at all and no one can change it. If someone were to walk in my way, I wouldn’t shift my shoulders and adjust my feet. My body would barrel through yours and before you could shout “Hey bitch, watch where you’re going!” you would regret all good choices that you’ve chosen.
My title I earned when I was seven of being called the quiet girl rings true as I learn how to care for the first time. My hands shake from all the pushups I’ve done just to support the weight of your soul, quite possibly temporarily, most certainty for a specific amount of time. The countdown has begun from the beginning, but I continue to fill each divot with my whispers and kisses and hope that any word and each word has the ability to melt the ice.
My brows quiver as I watch the pair sing a duet, their voices melding together like a successful marriage. You approach with an open mind and slow gait, but I start to run as fast as I can and hold myself close whispering “This is what I can do and what I shall only cherish.” Yet at the moment you throw up your arms in exasperation, I fly to you only with wings I just learned how to use.
Your soft eyes and the dimly lit screen are alluring, so I lean forward but my knees begin to shake. Without warning, I’m collapsing and all of the sudden I find myself falling into the hole that I dug for myself. I see pointing arms and mocking familiar faces and when my breath leaves me, my value escapes from the cage like a trapped canary to rest in the palm of your hands.
What you have just read are a series of words and sentences that don’t appear to contain any meaning except to the creator. I dare you to inquire about each paragraph. I dare you to break the barriers and invade every aspect since I’ve already laid it down in front of you. I am contained with these truths that appear as a lie and hyperbole, but I assure you that I’ve made it evident in a dozen pieces that the words in the page are my honest voice with just enough space to delete what I deem wrong. Consider it a privilege to witness my life and witness the chaos slowly unfolding in front of you as I take that time to sort it out.
Started: 2/3/17 1:54pm
Finished: 2/5/17 1:40am
All around me, I see stories. In the crack of the sidewalk, I can see a dream that once was with suede shoes trotting on the worn gum paths. The owner of the shoes trying to find themselves through their fashion choices, but they find themselves somewhere they never wanted to. In the crack of a smile, I can peer through and sense that something is off and everything about them is a façade. Their brokenness shining through, but they choose to reach out and send love even though they’re an empty vessel. In the tremor of a hand, I brush my hands against the fragile cracks and veins and feel the wants and needs weaving in between each other. Lusts pushes you forward and you find yourself diving too fast and sinking becomes the end result. The strobing lights of the night linger on me, running its fingers down my shivering body and at the same time, I’m haunted by my past and future without ever feeling the rumble of the car. Down the hall, a vixen runs her fingernails along the walls, the traces of her sharp perfume wafts into my nose and her night life stuns and draws me in. What if I could have a double life, enabling my red lips and long legs to entrance men and at the same time, aim high at a prestigious university? The soft throbbing of dance music pulsing through the neighborhood and as I capture distinct beats, I wonder about the artist behind the piece and I wonder about the dancers and drinkers in the house, if they ever stop running. I know that I am. In the loud tones of my family, I can feel my hopes running dry, but even though this takes place right in front of me, I treat it as a façade.
The stories of the world whisper in my ears and I used to shiver from the mere contact of the words because they remained trapped in me. Things that could be, once were and will be haunt me and I stay put. In my left ear, it pulls me down saying that I could never be what I want to. In my right ear, it brushes its fingers against my cheek saying that I can do anything, I just have to leave and forget. The whispers and wishes of the world curse at me, spit at me and beat me to a pulp. They want it all, my life and my mind. Dare I be the lost hope? Dare I be the broken vessel? Dare I be full of lust and night lights? Dare I be the vixen? Endlessly, the whispering stories are like a curse to me – this was my call to claim the title of a writer.
Written: 1/16/17 2:11am