Remember

By no standards are my Chinese skills any more than proficient. After moving away at the age of 12, things started to fade for me very quickly. After six months I forgot how to write; after a year, my reading; then finally, my identity.

By the time I entered the eighth grade, I had been thoroughly white-washed. Granted, I am only half Chinese, but I was raised to embrace my Chinese background, to be proud of my heritage. But it was slipping away.

I went back to China the summer before I entered my Freshman year of High School. I wasn’t able to handle the street-food, my 8-year-old cousin was speaking better than I was, and I had lost a connection with the country that raised me.

Before I left my Grandmother repeated something to me that she had told me before I moved away. “Remember,” she said simply, “Remember where you come from.” When she said this, I realized it was a plea for me to clasp onto my cultural identity that was on the cusp of being extinguished. I had a life in China, friends, family, and a part of myself that never seems to board the flight to LAX when my visits end.

So I listened to her, I pushed myself to retain the identity I found in being Chinese, I acknowledged the comments of being only half, being unable to communicate, but they don’t bother me. When I listen to songs from my childhood, when I go back to visit, when I speak my native tongue, no matter how poor it is, I feel like myself again.

There are certain things in everyone’s life that hold invaluable, unspeakable significance to their sense of self, to their state of being, that without it, they feel like a bulb without its filament. To me that is the ability to speak in Chinese. As soon as the words escape me, I feel that connection again, I remember the people, taste the food, experience the culture. I am eternally grateful to my Grandmother for what she instilled in me because I know that at my lowest moments I always have something to lean on.

Happy Birthday Derek

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Technology

To some degree, everyone 25 and younger is an IT expert. When the WiFi stops working, it is usually the duty of the youngest member available to fix it. You just switch the button on and off and Lo! you are beheld as a technological deity, as the internet now works perfectly. Your family praises you, and you become the go to person every time something technology related goes wrong. But we know the truth. Those of us who have experienced this phenomenon know, buried deep inside of our consciences, that we in fact know very little about technology. I have fallen victim many a time to this, especially when I slightly adjust the HDMI cable for Ms. Wilson. But my technological skills (or lack thereof) finally met their match. The portal into the WordPress site was a treacherous one. A cyclical loop of “Error 404” and “Please have the moderator re-invite you.” But then it appeared. Suddenly and out of nowhere. A big button that said “Start writing.” This, this was my salvation. And so yeah basically here I am. I figured it out. Easy peasy. Yep.

 

Credit: The Onion

The Month of May

I used to think it was all behind me. I truly thought that, but something recently has been telling me that maybe it’s not.

I’m no longer skinny. I’m no longer underweight. I don’t weigh eighty-something pounds anymore. My heart isn’t in critical condition like it was. I no longer refuse to eat. I no longer have an eating disorder. The physical parts are gone, but some of the mental parts have stayed. No, I no longer cry before every meal,  have multiple panic attacks daily, or slit my wrists. I no longer do any of those things, but sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in the days that I did.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so much better than I was. So, so, so much better than I was. I guess what I’m trying to say is: yes I’m better, but no, I’m not perfect.

I’ve been stressed studying for finals lately, so I decided that skipping lunch would give me more time to study. There’s nothing wrong with this; its normal to skip meals time to time. What made me know something was up came later. I wasn’t skipping meals to lose weight or get skinner, it was for another reason. When I would skip lunch, my stomach would begin to gnaw and churn after a while. I like the feeling because it tells me that nothing is in my stomach, that my stomach is empty… I like it because the feeling of hunger distracts me from the emptiness I feel almost every single day.

Certain things give me flashbacks of what I went through, almost like PTSD in a way. For example, when my father buys a certain brand of sliced turkey. One day, my father had gone to the store. I asked him to buy a specific type of turkey, the turkey with 50 calories per two ounces. When he came back, he had bought a type which had 52 calories. I began to cry, my frail and bony body collapsed and my mother lunged to the floor where I lay, just as scared as I was, and tried to get me up. I wouldn’t move. I just stayed there. I just stayed on the floor sobbing and mumbling the words “I don’t want to live anymore” over and over again. My mom held her thirteen-year-old and dying daughter in her hands. She picked me up carefully and carried me to my bed, where she laid with me and we cried in unison… all of this over turkey. Now, whenever I see this brand of turkey in the fridge, its like that day fills my mind, takes over me, and haunts me. It’s different though, I’m not the girl on the floor anymore. I am a ghost watching in the corner, unable to do anything as I watch my mom and I suffer. As much as I try to reach out to myself and say “i’s okay, it’s going to be okay,” I can’t. As much as I try to get the memory to stop looping in my mind, it continues to replay and replay with more and more detail every loop.  Just like the turkey, there are many more symbols equated with awful memories from my eating disorder. Natural Cafe,the white tank top on the bottom of my dresser,Pressed Juicery, my birthday, King’s Hawaiian Rolls, string cheese, buzz-cuts, and safety pins are just some of the items tied with memories even worse than the one above. Memories that I try to keep locked away for a reason.

I like to pretend like it’s behind me, but deep down I know it’s not. I honestly don’t think it will ever be. I’m not saying that I am in danger in any way shape or form if going back to how I used to be. All I am saying is (in honor of mental health awareness month) it’s okay to not be 100% okay.

Photo Credit: RSS-insurance.com

 

A While

It’s been a while since we’ve all been birds,

since we’ve embraced our cold grey skies,

photo credit: ak9.picdn.net

flapped our wings,

chirped a song,

scattered across the horizon,

with no care but its infinite existence.

It’s been a while since we’ve been wildflowers,

since we’ve sprouted with the spring,

mismatched our colors,

photo credit: cdn.pixabay.com

and lived within that beauty of simply living.

It’s been a while since

we’ve shot our birds

and mowed down our flowers.

It’s been a while since we’ve figured that

there’s a different way to live,

with scary grey skies and plain flowers.

It’s been a while since we’ve forgotten our ways,

our happy freedom and

our beautiful purposelessness.

It’s only now that we realize that

there’s no going back.

A Place Behind the Hills

There is a place behind the hills,

behind the deep-dark forests and rocky roads,

Photo Credit: maureenness.com

where the trees are bright and the flowers purple.

There, storms are a pleasant breeze,

and the lakes are so clear you can see all the happy fish.

There, the sun rises at 5:30 every morning

and goes to set when you’re ready.

There, there are no downsides,

except for the cows’ bellies that swing as they walk.

But, to get there, you’ll need to run.

You’ll need to hike and climb and swim,

Photo Credit: jeremybatesbooks.com

but most importantly, you’ll need to run.

There are tall monsters and mean witches

waiting for you to stop and catch your breath,

waiting to hold you by your legs and arms

and never let you go.

So don’t catch your breath, not now.

Now is not the time, but the time will come.

Now, you must run past the monsters and witches,

Photo Credit: 4.bp.blogspot.com

through the forests and along the rocky roads,

past the dark shadows that are hunting beside you.

But then, believe me,

there is a place behind the hills,

where the trees are bright and the flowers purple.

Where the only shadows will be of the lazy cows in the sunset.

The f-word

This one word scares me more than any other word in the English language, but also makes me more excited than any other word.  It makes me excited about what can happen, but also leaves me scared and like I am in a dark abyss.

The future is such a simple word, but it means so much more than anyone could ever explain.

Everything in my life right now is setting up my future.  I have applied to college and committed to the best school for me, yet I still feel like I have no clue what my future actually holds.  I know where I am going to be living and what I am going to be studying, but that’s all.

I do not know what friends I am going to have out there, where I am going to work, and the hardest one for me is that I do not know what I am going to do with my boyfriend.  I don’t want to hold him back,  but I also don’t want to let him go.  We both want to live in the same state once we graduate college so I don’t know if I say bye if it will actually be bye and not see you later.

I am so excited to meet everyone and make new friends.  I can’t wait to see how everyone will help me grow into the woman I am going to become.  I can’t wait to find myself and learn how to be an adult.  I am so excited to settle down, have my own family, live in my own house, and be in the only one in charge of my family.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

I have the big things planned for my future, but the little things are still unknown and those are the things I really want to know.  My future is such a blur and I am so scared to see what happens, but I am also so excited to watch it all unfold in front of my eyes.

A Story of Life, Death, Chickens, and Growing Up.

When I was around six years old, I remember my parents slowly walking up to me in the morning and giving me a hug. They kneeled down beside me and said in a soft, slow, sad, and apologetic voice: “I’m sorry, honey. The raccoons got Mrs. Frizzel last night.”

I sobbed for hours. I was sad for days. I made my parents have a funeral. My tears fell to the ground as we buried my dead chicken. My parents bought a chick that I raised and loved, but I still missed Mrs. Frizzel.

When I was eight, Fluffy and Ginger passed away. My parents broke the news to me in the same way. I cried the same way as I had before. I got two more chicks.

When I was twelve, my parents again approached me with the same sad tone and told me that that a couple of our chickens died in their sleep. I didn’t cry as much when they died, partially because I was old enough to understand that everything dies of old age at some point. It was much more bearable. I would be sad, but not sobbing like I had done in the past.

Today, I came home and asked if he bought food at the store. He said no. Something happened, so he had to come home. “What I happened?” I asked.

“The neighbors dog got into our yard and into the chicken coop,” he said with a flat tone.

“You stopped right, the chickens are okay?”

Photo Credit: Pinterest

“No,” he said. “They are dead, all but three are dead.” He said it with the same flat tone.

He just told me straight up, assuming I wouldn’t be sad. No soft, slow, sad, or apologetic voice. He patted my back and walked away.

I went outside. The corpses were gone. All that remained was feathers.

Eight year old me popped in to my mind. The funeral for Mrs. Frizzel. My parents stroking my back and telling me everything was going to be okay.

There would be no funeral, my dad had put their limp bodies in the trash before I came home. There would be no comfort from my parents. Fifteen year olds don’t cry when their chickens die.

I’m shouldn’t be sad. I’m too old to be sad. But, I’m sad.

I remembered holding the chickens when they were less than a week old. Moving them to the big coop when they were old enough. Hand-feeding them mealworms and celebrating the day that they laid their first egg.

I raised them. They are dead now.

If I was a child I would be sobbing in my parents arms. Now, I’m sobbing alone.

I know if I went to them they would comfort me, but there’s an age where you need to accept reality on your own.

Being treated like a child is now nonexistent. Just like my chickens.

When I was little, if I had a lot of homework, my parents would tell me I could do it and tell me I could have a cookie when I finished. Now, when I complain about my homework, they say lots of homework is part of growing up.

When I was little, my parents were by me at every moment to guide me through life. Now, I am old enough where I need to handle  things on my own.

When I was younger, my parents could fix everything. They could make everything feel better. In their arms, I was safe.

Yes, the death of my chickens is part of the reason I’m crying. But, there’s more to the tears running down my cheek.

No matter how much I want to believe it, my parents can’t fix everything. As much as I want it to, they can’t hug me and make me not be sad. As desperately as I want to deny it, my parents can’t protect me anymore.

I don’t know why all of this came from a dog breaking into my chicken coop, but it did…

Rest in peace Lucky, Trouble, Darwin, Lemon, Pepper, Oreo, and Henry.  I may not be a child anymore, but I still love you and miss you.