birds in the sycamore tree

“It started a year ago. I lost all awareness of time and the space around me. All I could see was his trembling body aching for help. It was my brother’s fifth seizure, a battle that he was in the midst of conquering for years. The control I took at that moment was beyond my personal relationship with him and the pain coursing through my heart, the control was my ache to heal. Since that day, I have had the ambition to heal, heal the broken, and heal people in dire need. ”

I wrote this a month ago for a scholarship essay. Even though it has become “normal” for my family, it’s not easy for me to talk about.

Three days ago was mothers day. Three days ago was also an anniversary.

May 10th was easily one of the harder days that I faced in my short lifetime despite the loss that I have experienced.

Death was introduced to me at a young age and has been one of the more consistent concepts in my life: my grandmothers, my grandfather, my aunt, a friend.

But this was worse. Grieving loss is one thing but the anxiety that is paired with the potential and fear of death is a much larger burden to bear.

Over the past 6 years, I have internalized many emotions and fears that I have for his life: Once I speak of my fears do they come true? Is his safety my responsibility? When does care cross into obsessive anxiety?

Eventually, I found acceptance. But it wasn’t easy.

Three days ago, we celebrated mother’s day with … peace and gratitude. I held my tongue as we sat under the sycamore trees while the birds sang above us and simply enjoyed what God had given us.

photo credit:

Dear College Reader…

On the paper/computer application in front of you is me, or at least all you get to see of me before you deem me good enough or not.

It takes you 650-1000+ words for you to supposedly understand who I am, who I know myself to be and who I want to be. Yes, I wrote the words, I told you the stories, I’ve built from what I have in me, who I think I’m supposed to be. I’ve compressed seventeen years of life into eight or nine paragraphs expressly for your viewing pleasure.

But, reader, this one is different, this one will tell a different story because what you don’t see in the typical “What have you done to better your community” and “What is your passion” supplements (which have a strong undercurrent of “be impressive, we’re watching you”),  are the long nights, the tears and disgusting tissues, the pacing, the self-judgment, the pain of feeling so insanely inadequate that every achievement feels like a trivial pursuit or worse- a lie.

Painting Credit: Antoine Stevens

I’m here to tell you that I am more than just 1000 words. I am an incomplete but also fully whole person, and that I have not a f*$%^&g clue who I am, who I’m going to be.

I feel as if for the past six months I have been folding, bending, and working against every instinct I have to somehow force myself into a two dimensional version of myself.

I don’t blame you reader because you will remember that I am a person — a breathing person who worries and is bad at things, who is vain, loves shopping and small trivial things, is selfish and is trying all the time to be good enough for my friends, family, and the opportunities I’ve been granted — behind that application. I hope.

I have hidden behind pseudo-confidence and humor the fact that I am terrified of not being as good as I think I am, that my secret fear, that everyone lies to me when they say I’m good at something to spare my feelings, will be true.

I am terrified to have my future rest in the hands of someone else, because it rests in your hands. I’m scared that what you see on those applications is not the best me because I couldn’t get the right words out.

If I’m completely honest with you, reader, applying to college has made me feel like crap. Everyone else seems to have things figured out, they’re writing easy but I can’t remember how it was to breath without feeling like an anvil is sitting on my chest, without typing triple letters because my hands are shaking so badly.

I don’t know what I want and I don’t know what you and the college you represent want, but I just pray that I am what you want.

I hope that my sleepless nights, my years of homework, my work, my words, my bending and near breaking, my near misses, my wins, my losses, all my books, my stories, my short mostly un-lived life is enough for you, even if you don’t get to see all that in my edited, word pinched application.

Please let me be enough.

The Summertime Blues

The summertime blues whisper to me,

they caress and seduce,

they ask

Am I going to regret that?

Photo Credit: Chicago Blues Bar


Not taking them up on that offer.

Am I going to regret what I’m doing to myself?

Am I doing it to myself?

Is there something wrong with me?

Why am I no good at conversation?

why are you boring?

Why do I feel that when I open my mouth everyone is just waiting for me to shut it?

Why do I think a helping hand is offered in pity, forced on by “good will”?

because it is.

I tag along on other people’s words.

Photo Credit: Forensic Medicine for Medical Students

how annoying can she get?

I can’t meet people’s eyes.

what if they actually see me.

no, I want them too see me.

do I?

so, eyes flit away.

Do my hands shake or do I imagine that?

Why does it seem easier to go it alone than to give people the chance to push me out?

Why does it feel like everybody stares?

Photo Credit: Harvard Business Review

All eyes on me.

no eyes on me.

no eyes on me.

delusion to assume you took center stage, the spotlight’s not on you it’s on the person next to you, Narcissus. 

No words left.

Their eyes and hearts and minds wait, full of pity.

But what if I didn’t give them the chance?

But what if I didn’t give them the chance?


The feeling hits you like a bus.

The feeling is like an elephant on your chest.

The feeling inside of your stomach.

The feeling is like the shivers.

The feeling is a civil war.

The feeling is like a virus creeping around your body.

The feeling leaves your brain like mush.

The feeling is like a constant struggle for the upper hand.

The feeling isn’t normal.

The feeling is like a tornado, bringing havoc to your body.

The feeling, for me, never goes away.

The feeling of anxiety, of constant nervousness.

The extra fear is a constant.

Every day is a perilous journey.

From sunrise to sunset.

Constant worrying.

Worrying about school, grades, boyfriends, friends, family, everything.

There is no escape of this feeling.

Constant fear of the future and present and past.

Not just big things, but every, minute spec of life like a challenge to the brain.

It’s not temporary.

It’s not an emotion.

It’s not “just anxiety.”

It’s not okay.

It’s not fine.

It’s there.

It’s my constant state of being.

It’s how I live.

It’s how I was born.

It’s my mental illness.

It’s my little pain in my head, chest, or stomach.

It’s my forever.

It’s not part of me, it is me.


Lack of control, lack of consciousness. From a passing feeling of anxiety grows a larger, stronger sensation.

A pit embedded so deep in my stomach, sprouting vines that spread to the very tips of my fingers. The pit grows larger and larger, heavy as rock, hard as steel.

I pass it off as nothing. All in my head, nothing of significance. But this rock, this sensation, leaves me hyper aware.

Each movement shoots throughout my body, ricocheting off of every surface. Any tingle, shiver or prickle is felt in every nerve, magnified by my growing alertness.

And this greater attention leads to a realization, an understanding of this feeling. My depths are screaming to be let out, stopping at nothing to be heard.

I fall, deeper and deeper into my head; I am below the surface, unaware of the world around me. This pit, this feeling, is overtaking me.

The vines wrap around my brain, my eyes, anything they can grasp, bringing darkness to my world and shutting out any understanding.

My hands are immobile, unresponsive to my commands. These vines suffocate me, wrapping around my neck and my brain, squeezing tighter and tighter.

I have lost all ability to speak – to guide and to oversee. Dark clouds loom over my last drop of consciousness, obscuring my last speck of assurance.

I have lost control.

Photo Credit:


Photo Credit:

After years of mentally preparing myself to endure the most mentally draining four-hours of my high school career, I have just completed taking a second SAT test.

I have so many thoughts about this tedious task that every high school student in the United States is required to do.

I think it is ridiculous that a standardized test score can determine a student’s future. A good student with a high GPA and a lot of extra curricular activities can get an average score solely because they might not be the best test taker, but that one test score has a large weight on which colleges accept them.

I do not fully understand why standardized tests have become a way of determining students academic careers for such a long time, or why they have become of such a high priority. Although most colleges look at students holistically, California State schools consider students purely on GPA and standardized test scores.

However, I understand the reasoning behind standardized testing; giving students a chance to show the general academic knowledge they have accumulated in high school.

But why does a test have to be the only thing that proves a student has gained knowledge? Why is it that the pressure to get a high-test score can consume a student’s conscience for months so that they focus all of their time studying for one generalized, tricky test?

I know, because it consumed me.

A Big, Calming Hug

It happens in an instant,

the moment they become distant.

Each memory merely a snapshot,

frozen in your mind.

Smile for the picture,

a big, calming hug goodbye,

no more little tears left to cry.

Now there are only real tears,

the ones that come from your biggest fears,

the ones that leave you empty,

a body heaving for air,

for love,

for a nice, calming hug.


There are no more reassuring words,

from the one that makes your whole world.

No more smiles as you bite into your freshly baked cookie,

no more cheers on the soccer field,

no more hugs when you’re sad,

no more hugs when you’re glad,

no more,

no more.

Is it nice to miss class when you want?

Is it nice to get “mental health days?”


It is NOT nice to have to miss class to see a therapist,

to talk about “feelings” and ways to help your crippling anxiety,

when missing class causes even more stress,

then being there.

It is NOT nice to stay in bed gasping for air,

tears everywhere,

in your hair,




It is NOT nice to lose a parent to cancer.

It is NOT nice to hear your condolences.

Don’t think of yourself as a hero for saying “sorry.”

Don’t fling around a word you don’t mean.

Don’t tell me you know how I’m feeling.


I don’t want a hug,

not from you.

I only want a big, calming hug.

If only I had the person here to give it to me.null

What Holds Me Together

High above, amongst the stars,

God checked his watch,

and realized it was time.

Time to make a story,

my story,


He wove together a string of trinkets,

some rusty,

some silver,

some gold,

and some of precious stones.

Of those trinkets,

there were many places.

Houses and apartments,


and condominiums.

Restaurants, schools, corners and alleys.

There was a bit of Mexico.

Koreatown, too.

Some wormy grass,

and golf courses where the deer roamed at night.

And of course,

tied closely to these homes,

was my mother’s cooking,

my father’s laughter,

my sister’s pranks.

And there were my fears.

My anxieties,

all intertwined with my passions,

my soul,

and whatever else that stirs me and moves me and lifts me..

My friends and enemies,

my lovers and ex-boyfriends.

Teachers, mentors, coaches, neighbors.

Mailmen, taxi drivers, pilots, a Marine.

There was much joy.


there were also tears and hardship,

loneliness and strife.

Yelling and screaming,

punching and throwing.

The threads mangled and fried.

But soon enough,

God, with his knowing hands,

his fingers so gentle,

created a piece.

And those loose threads,

they all straighten out to create

one magnificent picture.

One that is unique.

One that is me.


Nasty Habit!

Old habits are hard to break-even the nasty ones.

I bite my nails. I have periods when I break the habit, but during times of anxiety and pressure, I assuage my nerves with a dose of nail biting.

It’s gross, I know, but strangely stress relieving. Weird. Funny thing is, I hate looking at other people biting their own nails!

I had stopped the habit sometime last week but with the SAT just yesterday, I began to bite. I’m still biting because it’s very hard to stop once I’ve begun but I will try in order to let them grow and look prim for prom!

I don’t suppose I will be able to completely put an end to the habit until I get into colleges next year. Until then, I will battle the habit, temporarily stopping just to go back to biting again.