“I wish everyone could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of so they would know that’s not the answer.” – Jim Carrey.
A single offer. A clap, an “mmm” with the lips. Letting the offer go. Seeing it be caught, or thrown (towards another), or dismissed as a whole. A lean. A slight look, a subtle touch on the elbow. Taking hints of what’s unsaid. Never knowing how to make the agreement unfold. Microcosmic gestures dancing infinitely. Flirting together for a single purpose. A group becomes a whole. An individual a piece of a running clock. Uniformity, diversity, humanity, and beautiful spontaneity. So much laughter grows from spirits at work. This is play without any reason but play. We are play. We become we from playing. How would I have predicted it could be like this. One method is never the end all be all. I have failed before but this has taught me I always win when I fail. Except for the time I gave two answers that definitely weren’t alligators and canoe. But hey, so far so good.
There is something almost devastating about being in an adequate stable mood for an adequate amount of time. There are no highs to look forward to, and no lows to overcome. Just surviving adequately and peacefully. Having just enough. Doing just so. As if life has stopped moving for you and yet goes on moving around you.
There is no past to think about because the present has lasted so long it pushes the past out. There is no future to think about, because the future stretches further and further away from you everyday. There is only adequacy. Nothing more / nothing less.
What will you make of this time of ease, solitude and stability? It is a paradox to think that having time, resource and emotional consistency will equal growth, discovery. The human is so strange. It needs struggle. Without struggle and resurgence, the sprite dies. Adequacy kills the human faster than peril, challenges, and unrestrained habits. Embrace a life of discomforts, disadvantages and casinos of misfortunes. Our failures are the world’s sweetest trophies if we conquer them in the end.
Embrace pain and loss as most would towards love. Muse at liver infections and lonely floor crying alike. Enjoy what you suffer, when you suffer and why you have been suffering. This will age you and your eyes like a warm burning fireplace. The best and also the worst people are those who have suffered the utmost. The people in between are just pleasantly annoying.
For a new beginning of a year, I leave this for those who have been trying to go after the intangibles.
“When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth.
So what the hell, leap.” – Cynthia Heimel.
And yes I read it in the Oprah Magazine because I’m 40. On the inside.
I grew up and learned that today I could no longer paint in broad strokes and messy outlines and still get away with it. The meticulousness needed for great art is suddenly outside of my parameters and I stood in averages and failures all around. She wouldn’t read me his notes. I played it off like I understood but I really didn’t. I wish she could have told me just how bad it was.
Where do I begin to find the details, when I’ve never bothered looking before? How do I expand when every step seems to be a faulty collapse? I’m lost in my own abyss, yet unaware what part of me is upholding it.
Act natural in an unnatural circumstance. Relax. Breathe. Don’t be afraid of the giant monsters. Walking over cliffs and waterfalls on tight ropes while I’m told I should be as at ease as a gliding swan. I’ve got cortisol practice.
I’m exhausted from wanting 50 different things in 50 seconds, learning 30 things in 30 minutes, and hearing my neighbor take every opportunity to preach on a soapbox about how things should be . He doesn’t understand that when the others joked they didn’t miss him during his vacation, they meant it.
This preparatory type of art requires clarity, peace and meticulous execution. Why can’t I stop trying to embody it.
90 percent of success is showing up but you have to show up for a very long time. Every week I get to sit in “art” class and hear about three hours worth of criticism. Mind you this is the positive kind of criticism. The kind you’d only hear in group therapy, and here. Our produced art works are not up for class discussion only cold mechanical review from ourselves. The teacher always yields a laundry list of mountains to over climb from each participant on their art. Inciting change is such an incrediblely laborious struggle but it always begun with awareness. Intense, disgusting awareness. Like reverting back to hideous screaming newborn, the class and I are forced to face our work with grotesque, up close dissection. This dissection of ourselves and our work is scary to confront. Each class everyone’s beautiful skin is stripped for three hours leaving only bloody organs and skeleton eyeballs. Leaving only the reality of our feelings, wants, desires, flaws, and gaping imperfections. We show up not to soar ambitioudly, but to fail and understand to exactly what decimal of failure we have fail at. And because we paid for it. The classes are suppose to create a defence mechanism against failures by indifference and intelligence. But no one is indifferent. I am always disappointed. With myself, my works, my progress. I care too much to let go and know too little to attempt being brave. And that is why I went there. To practice my assaults despite my ineffective means. To go against survival instinct. To know that I will be slaughtered but to stand and bare it anyway. I am not having any success except the success of showing up. I am just enduring.
You have to know it beyond knowing it.
I use to think that sharing an experience, or giving an experience worth remembering was one of the most important things I can do as a person. That life was wasted if I didn’t live in the moment and fuel the momentum. Recently I’ve began to feel that it more important for me to like the definition of who I defined myself as.
I’ve had the opportunity in the last few weeks to work at 4 jobs and take a class. It was incredibly rewarding because I was so busy I didn’t have space for the typical daily hardships that weighted me down. I was high off sleep deprecation and everything felt light and clear. I always knew what I had to do in every moment and what was coming up. I had 17 hour work days at my worst and 11 at my best. I felt unstoppable.
I became part of the group of people I never thought I would be apart of. The 6am commuter group. The ones who would walk in a tired manner, and wear long heavy clothing to protect their bodies from the early morning misery. I felt like a kid in the adult world.
Pushing, trying, saying yes to everything, taking in the work without limit. Flying.
But it doesn’t last, I can’t make it last forever. At some point a lull occurs and I got to see myself in an apartment that doesn’t quite look like anyone really lives there, or in a car ride off to the sun set and wondering if it ever gets any better than this? And feeling like the answer might be no.
I found myself talking about the future a lot. That someday, it was going to change. That someday I would find the right fit, the right circumstance but with a hesitation because I had been saying it for so long.
There will always be jobs, and sunsets, and discussions, and sleep deprivation. And they will be there long after I’m gone. If I let myself become defined by only those things. I will eventually discover those things don’t matter all that much and therefore I don’t matter all that much.
It was much important to define from the inside out than from the outside in. I am not my job(s), I am not the sun sets, and I am not my sleep deprivation.
I am a living, feeling entity. I am helplessly connected to the world at large and the universe whether I know it or not. It is in the best interest of the living world for me to develop my empathy, diligence and understanding. Along with that a liking of who I sense myself to be. Two ways to do that is to realize everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has felt incomplete at some point in their life whether it is evident to others or not. And if I make an unintentional error that everyone else makes, I need to forgive myself immediately.
It is more important to define yourself and actively choose to have the experiences you want, than to experience the fate of the world at large and base who you are off the occurrence of anything.
I have spent part of my early afternoon looking at the reaction of the online community towards what will probably be known as one of the racist songs / music videos made to date. The reactions are still coming out from social media platforms and it’s an intense and also very personal response. Since the release of the music video, the ‘like bar’ somewhere around 30% slid down to 10% after one day. Some say it is Alexandra Wallace all over again. Her youtube video about Asians at UCLA was a thoughtless rant at best. This was a full on production involving many people who worked on the song and music video. This passed through many eyes and many hands before it reached the public at large. And so there lies a lot of the disappointment and anger from the audience of this music video.
If you have not seen it, it can be easily summed up as a band of five guys, singing about Asian girls in the worst possible way anyone could do it. The pure laziness of the lyrics, which is just a mediocre list of mediocre Asian insults and perpetual stereotypes that are already familiar and well known. Except for this one line about stabbing ninja pussies, only because its strangely confusing.
The band is racist. The internet has pretty much agreed on that. Except for the band. This is what I call a prime example of what not to do on the internet with social media. The band is called Day Above Ground. They are using the same mentality they used to make their Asian Girlz music video as they are in dealing with the outcry of it’s aftermath. They are justifying it through naming their Indonesian bass player and using the “but I’m not racist!” line. I am positive that a lot of people would appreciate an apology from them. A sincere one, perhaps where they also promise to commit an act to earning social forgiveness. The Rolling Stone recently featured the face of the Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as their cover page photo. Jack Osbourne has petitioned that the editors at Rolling Stone donate the money from that issue to the families affected by the bombing. I love this idea and so I would suggest that if Day Above Ground could donate a portion of their revenue to fund an award scholarship for Asian women then they could perhaps begin to acknowledged the hurt they’ve spread. I do not want to force this band into acknowledging their mistake. I want them to want to change their own ignorance. To want to perform a behavior that shows their dedication to renewing the dignity and respect they’ve stolen from one group of women.
Let’s move on the tattooed vixen who appears in the music video. Her name is Levy Tran. Her facebook page was racked with hateful comments and she has since taken it down, 2 days after the video release. She has apologized three times on twitter, and admitted she made a mistake. Her participation in this video has caused an uproar, catapulting her into spotlight. It’s not the first time an Asian girl has angered the Asian community. In 2012 Pete Hoekstra created a racist Super Bowl Ad featuring an Asian girl on a bike with a straw hat and broken English. The background was even set in a rice paddy field. The point of the ad was to make fun of the opposing senator candidate Debbie Stabenow. The girl in the video is Lisa Chan. She is a UC Berkeley grad who started a non profit at age 17 to improve education gaps from kindergarten to grade 12. If it wasn’t them, some other Asian girl would have taken their place and so their participation was more unfortunate than hateful. I do not applaud their choice but it was one choice out of many and to judge them for this one choice without gathering a better understanding of them is an easy way to act as thoughtless as they did. The internet has already punished them severely. I do understand that it’s the responsibility of Asian women everywhere to tell their stories to reduce this type of ignorance. Asian women need to begin to portray themselves in their light instead of letting others do it for them.
What I was really looking for while spending time searching the internet is something I often do when I see things like this. I feel like I am not getting the whole story. The stupidity and ignorance of the song is truly astounding but why did they make something so stupid? And how did they rationalize this to themselves while making it? It almost feels like a whole other topic is hidden just out of sight. I would be really curious to know if any of the band members have had Asian girlfriends. Or an Asian female teacher. It almost feels like they have not had a significant person in their life who was a female Asian girl. Why is this important? Because if they didn’t, the members of the band would have only had a perception of an Asian Woman through one bias and inconclusive medium called the media. And if this was their only source of bases, which it feels like it was, then making this horrible god awful song with absolutely nothing likable about it makes perfect sense. They have no idea what an Asian girl really is, the subject of their song.
And they won’t know until they do met an Asian girl and really get to know her. To see her in everyday life doing everyday things, crying, cleaning, scooping her dog’s poo, drawing Powerpuff girls, studying for a college exam. They won’t understand her because they’ve never seen her wear her work uniform to her minimum wage job, hear her yell in a fight with her parents, feel her joy after winning her first design competition. No band writes a song like ‘Asian Girlz’ about somebody they deeply know and love. These songs are born out of ignorance. I hope this band will get to know an Asian girl and perhaps write a different song. One that can accurately describe their unique spirit born from their unique hardships. To find out who they are through hearing them speak about their bitter sweet journeys.
1st Grade (China) – You had to be age six to attend grade one. Due to my birthday, my parents had to lie and say that I was six. All the other kids were older, bigger, more developed. A boy in my class started picking on me. I didn’t know what to do. I talked to my mom about it. She came to school the next day and went to my class. She yelled at every child in the room asking who had been bullying me. No one answered. Then she looked at me. I pointed to the boy. She ran up to him and grabbed his shirt. She screamed at him. Shaking and excuses started to erupt from his body. She gave him one clear threat to never touch me again. That was the end of that.
2nd Grade – I was still trying to get English down. A bunch of kids came over and asked me to play. I had a green buttoned up sweater with a sleek bob hair cut. They put sand in my hand and told me to eat it. Telling me it was instant noodle mix. When I refused, they dumped sand in my hair, rubbed it in. And then smeared sand all over my sweater. The sweater itched, my hair itched. I couldn’t say anything. I just sat in class and waited until home time.
3rd Grade – The black kids started giving a few punches here and there. One time I was playing in the sand, just squatting and drawing like kids do. When one of them kicked me on the butt. I tipped over. I stood up and patted myself down to rid of excess sand. I went to a different area and played. My back towards the field and my eyes on the jungle playground watching them.
4th Grade – I made a best friend, Scarlette. It was amazing. She came up with the most amazing imaginary games. She was batman and I was robin. She tried to scare me by dripping a few drops of fake blood down the wall trim once. I told my mom, who told Scarlette’s mom. The day next Scarlette was covered in bruises and limping. We were 10. Her mom had beaten her up over the streak of fake blood in our house. It was all fun and games until the adults got involved. Scarlette moved away soon after. I gave her my tennis ball, then I cried.
5th grade – A weird skinny Chinese boy joins my class. He, like all the other Fresh off the boaters, was entrusted into my hands as a the only bilingual class member. The boys in the class tried to corrupt him. They taught him to swear. He changed. We became enemies. He wrote FU’s all over my notebook. He threw spitballs at me. I didn’t even understand what spitballs were. Someone in the cafe put yogurt in my hair.
6th grade - I had been eating a steady diet of instant noodles with a dose of MSG every single morning before school. I was insanely hyperactive. The kids around my desk had to put up with that. After getting them all mad at me for whatever reason I slammed the drawer on the hand of the kid beside me. He had dyed his hair buttercup brown. He face went full red. There was a lot of sobbing. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I didn’t regret it either. Making a tough guy cry didn’t feel so bad.
7th grade – First day of school. I was wearing black capris, with red stitching on one side in a design and a lavender t-shirt. A group of pretty girls were staring me down. One of them called me over in this friendly, and sweetly inviting voice. I didn’t understand. I came to them. We have something to tell you, the pretty Asian one of the clique said. Then in unison, their voices chanted, “You’re wearing the same thing.” I was wearing the same outfit as the first day of school in grade six. To me that was the point. If you like something don’t you want to wear it a lot? All the time even? Apparently this was a problem. So? I said. They giggled to each other. At me. That was fine. Even at that age I thought it was a pretty pointless thing to care about. Good for them and their nice, variable clothes. I went to go talk to some other people with less vapid concerns.
8th grade – I was in the washroom. My friend was crying. The teacher, in his heavy Jamaican accent, had just called her stupid, and swore at her in front of the class. I had also been in trouble with him previously. This particular teacher was racist and insecure and a retard. She was sobbing and I wanted to just change places with her so she could feel as indifferent as I felt and not take any of what he had said personally. I kept waving my arms futility and yelling “No! He’s the stupid one!” while she sobbed. Still tearing and huffing she confessed to me, “You know, everyone thinks I’m really tough but I’m not. I just pretend I’m tough. I’m really sensitive and stuff like this hurts.” I wanted to tell her nobody on earth thinks your tough. You’re 13. But I didn’t. I told her the understatement of the year. “Everybody gets hurt sometimes.”