death

There is something so dauntingly beautiful about the word death. It is a term that means the end, but I do not think that is entirely true. I do not believe in god or heaven and hell, but I believe that the soul lives on. They protect and look over their loved ones. The souls of our lost ones can be seen in the cotton candy sunsets or in little insects that fly onto our shirts.

Death is sad, very sad, but it can also be something to appreciate. I can find peace that my grandfather’s body is laid to rest, no longer having to fight the arduous battle of poisonous cancer, but instead, his soul is with us whenever we gather as a family to eat. I can find peace that my Grandma Bobby is once again with her husband that passed many years before her. I know that my cousin is fishing with his dog and is enjoying a cold one. I know that my best friend, Little, is enjoying her cat naps in the sun rays that peak through the window panes.

Death still makes me weep and cry, but it also gives me a certain comfort. A comfort that when I or another loved one dies, I know that there will be peace. Whether it is surrounded by family enjoying delicious homecooked meals or by myself relaxing in a tube in Spring Creek, I know that death will be kind.

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pc: me

I finally understood.

A few weeks ago I wrote about what it was like to have a crush. It inspired me to write about my perception of a broken heart. I think that the feeling of a heart breaking is different for every single person, simply because we all have different hearts. They are filled with different people and different places, some half full and some to the brim. In my eyes, no heart is the same. A heart can be broken by a girl, a boy, a mother, or a father. Anyone can take it and squeeze it until it cracks. I can not learn a lesson, the same thing will happen to me over and over and each time I let myself think that this time will be different. It never is. The first time I think my heart broke was when I was in seventh grade. When I was young, I was very close with my dad, and I spent a lot of time with him. When I turned 13, I had already begun to struggle with depression. It ran in my family and my dad had it bad. When I was growing I would try to talk to him and sometimes it felt like I was talking to a body without a soul. I never understood why I wasn’t enough to keep him afloat, why I wasn’t enough to chain his soul to his body. My days started to slow and I began to feel the separation between my skin and my spark, and slowly, I felt it float away. I finally understood why it was so hard to laugh. Nothing was funny. And I understood why he couldn’t say I love you, Because he couldn’t even love himself. I stopped trying and he started to get better. He would ask me how my day was and I couldn’t remember. So I said nothing. I watched as my dad formed that same hopeless look in his eye, as he watched my soul melt out of the bottoms of my feet. My dad sometimes says things he doesn’t mean but that doesn’t make them sound any less real. A few weeks ago he explained to me that it was tiring watching me get like this. “I don’t want to be your dad anymore.” He took it back. But I would have rather been slapped in the face. That’s okay. I know he tried for a long time and for a lot of that time, I wasn’t there. My mind was always elsewhere, drifting through the sharpness of the sea that he used to throw me into. I like to take myself to those places. Where I remember sitting on my dad’s shoulders or holding his hand while I got off the ski lift. I get sad because I don’t want there to be a brick wall between my mind and his the last year and a half that I live in this house. I don’t know how to try to fix what we broke. Sometimes we sit in a room with a stranger as she tells us what we do wrong and how we can “communicate” in a healthier way. I watch him look out the window and think about a million other things. I won’t play the victim, even if I sometimes catch myself wondering what 10-year-old me could have done better. It’s not his fault and I know that. But it broke my heart to watch as the conversations grew shorter and his door opened less. It broke my heart to start hearing my name instead of honey. It broke my heart to not see him on the field at my soccer games. It broke my heart to watch him cry about his dad and the lack of love he received. I love you, dad. But after all, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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carolina

I’m choosing to write about my best friend this week. Most of my friends know who she is because she’s a pretty common topic of conversation for me. Carol is 17, she was born on May 31st, 2005. She is 5’5 and has long dark hair. Her eyes are the color of molasses and her cheeks are always pink. I’ve never loved someone outside of my mom, dad, or brother as much as I love Carol. Vaughn and Carol are good friends, she’s always nice to him even though he’s younger. She helped me see him as more of a friend than a sibling and I will always be grateful for that. My mom and dad love her, they always say that she’s the best friend I’ve ever had and if she ever needs somewhere to stay they will have her with open arms. Carol sleeps at my house every Friday after school and we haven’t missed more than two weekends for an entire year. We like to eat with my family and watch movies and play with my kitten. She never brings clothes and keeps a toothbrush in the cabinet. She smells like peaches. She makes me laugh harder than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. It often hurts because of how hard she makes me laugh. Her smile makes me want to cry because I know that she doesn’t always see how beautiful she is. I tell her, I just hope she listens. She makes me feel better about myself and showed me self-respect. She will always be honest even if she knows it will hurt your feelings and I wouldn’t trade that about her for anything. I can always count on her to defend me in the case that I need defending. We share a closet and go to Starbucks almost every Saturday. Carol will give you her whole heart, and it takes a lot for her to take it back. She always gives me second chances even when I feel like I don’t deserve them. She is amazing at volleyball and going to her games every Tuesday makes me so so proud. She is passionate and smart and kind-hearted. Carol is the strongest person I know and I often stay up at night wondering how she does it. I love her and I would give my life so that she could live hers. Nobody makes me feel as loved as Carolina.

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School Bus Blues

I’ve always hated the school bus, my lack of power and choice of where it goes and when it arrives, it’s never the right temperature in a school bus. You sit there with a sweaty back sticking to the faux leather seats (why do they try so poorly to imitate leather, nobody expects a bus to be a Chariot of luxury) which somehow are always a little too upright. The smell of a bus can never be replicated, like a quiet locker room with some freeway pollution. Your knees press against the seat in front of you desperately trying to get comfortable, that’s an uphill battle— nobody has ever left the school bus feeling refreshed and ready to go. The moment I could finally get my license arrived after freshman year, never again would I be tainted by the horrendous thing they called a vehicle. Never again would I wait hours for it to arrive at the upper campus, and never again would I be forced into that place that’s never big enough, warm enough, or cold enough. Or so I thought since I’m writing this as I make the arduous journey to LA in such a school bus, it’s one of the last times I’ll ride one and there is something so reminiscent of a time I’d long forgotten. This is the new bus though, I never rode it freshman year, still, I’m sitting in the very back and every bump seems to fly us into the air. Still, I’m sweating more than I will in the cross-country race I’m about to run. And still, I think we likely will be late as we travel a whopping fifty-five miles per hour through Woodland Hills. There is something beautiful about a school bus though. The way it groans and struggles to move. Each mile, each foot it travels another desperate journey that it somehow completes without complaint. I like the sounds the bus makes. Every jolt leads to a new one, a hiss of air releasing from the suspension, the squeak of the seats jumping up and down, the sounds of students talking, and the ambiguous notes of music from someone’s AirPods turned up too loud. I like that I have no control over where I’m going or when I’ll be there, perhaps the most relaxing thing I’ll ever do is ride a school bus. The school bus doesn’t care about who you are or what you want, it doesn’t care if you’re working hard enough or if you need to take some time for yourself, it just keeps on struggling one more foot, one more mile, one more groan, hiss, and squeak. 

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pc: Me

obsolete tv shows

Besides Spongebob, I grew up on practically extinct shows my fossil of a Dad made me watch instead of like Disney Channel or something.

My favorite one was MacGyver, (NOT the new one with Lucas Till) which is an action series about a guy who can ‘improvise’ his way out of any situation. Instead of combating danger with weapons like you’d expect, he uses his ability to make gadgets to save himself. To this day I still think the premise is really unique and overall it’s a creative show.

Another much more popular show I watched was the A-team. Again, not the newer movies but the 80’s tv series. It’s also an action about a group of ex-military guys who help people in need and try to clear their name from a crime they didn’t even commit. I remember loving one of the members of the group, Murdoc, who was just this really crazy, goofy guy.

Then there are all the detective shows: Columbo, Magnum PI, Monk, Psych -even Perry Mason- you name it, I’ve seen it. My Dad and I are detective show connoisseurs. He tried to get me to watch cop shows, but they were never my thing (Adam-12, CHiPS).

There was a lot of Sci-fi too, I think Star Trek was my first of these old shows (or Rocky and Bullwinkle). I’ve seen both the Kirk and Picard series, but the former is more memorable/nostalgic for me. There was also Time Tunnel, Twilight Zone, My Favorite Martian, The Munsters, etc.

There is more, this is just the tip of my ancient-shows iceberg. There are some really obscure shows I’ve seen. I bet I’m the only person under 50 who knows what the Petticoat Junction even is. Or the Beverly Hillbillies.

Anyway, I’m actually happy my Dad introduced me to these shows from a young age. They really were charming and shaped much of my early childhood.

pc: https://decider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/macgyver.png?w=646&h=431&crop=1

24/7 Anxiety (Yay)

Trigger warning for anxiety, OCD, and violent intrusive thoughts

I have been so anxious lately and nothing has been helping. Everything makes me anxious. Talking to people makes me anxious, being near people makes me anxious, people’s expectations make me anxious, and even thinking about those things makes me anxious. Knowing how behind I am in school makes me anxious, and thinking about how I’m disappointing people by not being my normal self is making me anxious, and feeling like I have no one who really likes me at school is making me anxious. It’s making me anxious that my birthday is coming up, and I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when I become an adult next year. Even being alone in my room makes me anxious because I’m just avoiding my anxious thoughts and the thought of having anxiety makes me anxious.

So yeah, literally everything is making me anxious.

My obsessive thoughts are not helping. Most of it is stuff like people are going to die because of the socks I picked out, my family will get into a car crash because I used the wrong color pen, or that I didn’t step on an equal amount of cracks with both feet and so now my leg is going to get amputated. I get super anxious about everyday actions causing harm to people I love or to myself. I can’t avoid the anxiety even if I’m not thinking about other people and their thoughts of me, because even my brain has turned against me. It’s really hard to keep the obsessive thoughts away, and not doing the compulsions that come with them gives me so much anxiety that it’s overwhelming.

Basically, it feels like I’m in a sinking ship and nothing is working to help me learn to swim and nobody is hearing me when I ask or scream for help and everybody hates me. Anyways.

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Living away from home

When I was 4 years old, I lived away from my parents for the first time as I went to a boarding school for kindergarten. At the age of 11, I moved even further away, to a foreign country on the other side of the earth. Through living independently (not completely independent, I had to live with a host family or in a boarding school) at a relatively young age, I’ve experienced both positive and negative sides to it. 

I can have a lot more freedom since my parents are far away, and I can do whatever I want in my free time. But this also brings the major downside— the loss of self-control. I always had a hard time with time management, and after I started to study abroad, the situation became worse. I didn’t know a lot of English, so I didn’t understand anything in class, I tried to take notes without knowing even what they meant, but it didn’t work, and I still can’t keep up with my class.  Being the only Chinese student, the overwhelming foreign language and environment smacked me. I gave up doing any school work, resulting in a row of Fs on my transcript.

Although I don’t regret anything about my experience, my suggestion to parents who are considering sending their kids to another country is: to make sure their child knows what they are doing before sending them off to a place full of strangers. 

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House Plants That I’ve Accidentally Killed

So I’m bad with plants. I feel like it’s not that surprising of detail to know once you know me since I’m not exactly good with responsibility, but I’m impressively bad with plants. Here are some house plant species that I’ve tried to keep and ended up killing somehow.

https://www.almanac.com/plant/aloe-vera

Aloe Vera

Starting off strong with the plant that house plant connoisseurs like to claim as the “unkillable plant.” I managed to kill two of these guys somehow. I’m really not sure what happened. I think they just wanted more sun or more affection or something. I felt really bad when they died since I was trying to rescue them because one of them was browning. Instead, I murdered them.

https://www.sfgate.com/shopping/article/best-air-purifying-plants-16288121.php

Ivy

I really thought I’d be able to take care of this guy. They’re supposed to have indirect light, which is exactly how my room is set up, but my plant ended up in the kitchen somehow. I did my best to keep it nicely watered, and I really don’t know what happened. Probably that’s why I keep killing plants– I have no idea what to do with them. Anyways, flies started to hang out around it, and a week or two later it was fully brown. I was really sad.

https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/g29132632/indoor-blooming-plants/

Kalanchoe

This guy was almost a lost cause from the start. It came home with me from Lowe’s in perfect condition and decided it hated me and my family and died like a week later. I really have no idea what happened.

http://www.home-designing.com/best-low-light-indoor-house-plants-for-sale

Lemon Button Fern

I gotta be honest, I killed this plant so long ago that I don’t even know if it was this species. It kinda looked like this one, though, so let’s pretend it was this one. I rescued it from my aunt throwing it away while cleaning out her room, and it actually lived for pretty long before deciding that it didn’t like my house anymore. My aunt got her to wish of throwing it away eventually.

And now, to change things up, a plant I have so far kept living

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracaena_sanderiana

Bamboo

I have a little bamboo plant that’s been living with me for a few months now. It stays in my room, and it lives in a little dinosaur pot. It’s very cute. I’m hoping this guy will stay with me until at least college.

So, I’m not good with plants. But there might be a bright future for my little bamboo plant and me. We’re just gonna have to see what happens.

I Saw An Opossum The Other Day

There I was, a passenger in my mom’s car at night, on my way to my grandparents’ house, when I saw him.

I noticed a shape out of the corner of my eye, but I hardly thought anything of it. I’m a naturally curious person, though, so I turned my head to look at it from a better angle after a moment.

At first I thought it was a cat. However, if it were a cat, it’d be a very short one, and it had toes that were unlike any cat I’d ever seen. My next thought was that it might be a huge rat.

And then it hit me.

I quickly exclaimed to my mom, “We have to turn around! I think I just saw a possum!”

My mom whipped a three-point-turn in the middle of the road and stopped just in front of the driveway of the stranger’s house. In the illumination of the KIA’s headlights, I saw him.

It was an opossum.

Over my mom’s warnings of, “Don’t you dare get out of the car and chase him!” I whipped out my phone and started taking pictures of the beautiful little guy. A second later, he heard our engine (for opossums have bad eyesight and the lights didn’t bother him) and scurried away. And he was fast!

See, most opossums are pretty slow. They meander at their own pace through yards and forests, and when confronted, they aren’t fast enough to run away from predators like mountain lions or bears, so they have a freeze reaction and play dead.

But this little guy went running like he had been training for this moment his whole life. In the blink of an eye, his short little legs went flying and he sprinted up the driveway at the fastest trot I’ve ever seen and proceeded to climb the outdoor stairs into the person’s yard.

He was out of sight – but certainly not out of mind – in just seconds. And then my mom, my grandparents, and later my aunt had to listen to my happy cries of, “A possum!! Oh, a possum!!” for the rest of the night.

I named him Bruce Banner.

Photo Credit: me (treefroggy)

Sorry for the wonky quality– the best quality picture I got showed too much of the street around the house for me to comfortably post it. Privacy, and all that. You can still see Bruce’s beauty and his speedy legs.