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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biracial

Until this past summer, I have always self-identified as fully white. If someone asked me what my ethnicity was, I would automatically say white. Sometimes, when people would try to pry, further questioning my response, I would almost yell,”I’M WHITE. I’M JUST TAN.”

This past summer I have come to terms with myself in a lot of more ways than one. A huge step for me was that, I have begun self-identifying as half-black and half-white.

I think there were two main reasons I did not associate myself with being African-American.

No, it is not because I’m embarrassed or ANYTHING along those lines.

The first being: the classic dead-beat dad story.  Up until very recently, I have given myself the power to not have to identify as the daughter of a black man who does not identify as a father.

The second reason being, well, racism, discrimination, and oppression, are all still alive and well.

On Father’s Day of last year, I posted something similar to this on a small instagram account I have only for close friends. Someone told me that “no one really cares” and “I don’t see why that’s a big deal.”

It’s a huge deal. Once you’re fifteen years into your life and you finally feel comfortable enough to accept and express the half of your identity that’s made you feel empty for years, it’s a huge deal.

Yes, I am half-black; yes, I am identify with the 17.9 other African-Americans in the U.S; yes, my dad is black; yes, that’s my real mom; and, yes, I’m proud.

 

Photo credit: Theodysseyonline.com

 

Dear Dad,

It’s been seven years since you’ve passed and it still doesn’t feel real.

Photo Credit: Camp Geneva

This past year has been one of the hardest years without you.  I had my first love and first heartbreak.

The only person I wanted after that heartbreak was you, but you weren’t here.  I needed you to be here, I needed your advice, I had no clue what to do.

I have no father figure to lead me and I am just starting to become a woman, I need your advice.

In just under two months, I am going to be 18 and you won’t be there.

You won’t be there for anything. We won’t have a father-daughter dance, you won’t walk me down the aisle, you won’t watch me graduate, and you won’t watch me grow up.  I will never know if you are proud of who I am becoming.

I know I shouldn’t be mad at you, but it gets hard sometimes.

I know it wasn’t your fault.

It was fated.

I need to let fate take over now.  You must have left me for a reason.

I am stronger than I could have ever imagined me to be by this age. I know how to fend for myself.  I know I can make it through anything now. I know you would be proud of who I am becoming and that is all that matters.

I miss you, but I know I can make it through.

What House Arrest does to you

So my dad is basically on house arrest because of his recent heart attack. Because of this house arrest that he has been sentenced to by his doctors and my mother, he has decided to take up and master the art of cooking.

His goal: to cook a new dish, EVERY SINGLE day.

Now this is coming from a man who usually NEVER cooks and when he does, we usually end up calling for a pizza late at night.

My dad has many great talents, unfortunately cooking is not one of them.

So far he has made the following dishes:

  • Cauliflower soup with WAY too much pepper, ( I think he missed the “taste as you go” memo).
  • Spaghetti squash pasta with a spinach sauce; lets just say he loves his food processor and we ended up having spaghetti squash with baby formula.
  • Fisherman’s Pie; coincidentally while he was cooking the power in our house went out and it was only half cooked, he still decided to serve it.

On top of all his glorious attempts of these new recipes, he’s sent my mom to the store every single day to get ingredients, not quite realizing that the ingredients we already have at the house could be used for cooking as well.

While throwing in his own changes to the recipes, he also likes to add some humor. He makes constant reference to the cooking TV show  Chopped. Every time one of his new “creations” doesn’t go as planned he says, ” Well I think the judges would have chopped me for that one!” or if it is a success( I’ve yet to taste one) he says, ” That one would have gotten me to the next round!”

While he is still going strong on his cooking binge, and I applaud his efforts, I wouldn’t mind having a pizza for dinner anytime soon.

 

Making Amends

Photo Credit to: https://www.colourbox.com

Is it too late to make amends?

Is it too late to go back on something that has been 18 years in the making?

This past weekend I was given a painful reminder that things can change in an instant.

My dad had a heart-attack.

He had been on a two-week ski trip in British Columbia and it happened on the last day of his trip.  My mom told me Friday evening when I got home that he’d had a heart-attack and was being flown to Spokane, Washington for surgery the next morning.

That Saturday morning I woke up at 3am to drive my mom to the airport so she could be there waiting for him when he got out of surgery. After dropping my mom of at the airport I turned around and drove home, went back to sleep and woke up a few hours later to play in my soccer game.

Those 24 hours that followed my mom telling me that he’d had a heart-attack were a whirlwind. I don’t remember what followed after she said the words no one wants to hear, ” Dad had a heart-attack”. Everything blurred together. I remember thinking, don’t cry, because if you cry that means something is wrong and I wanted so badly to believe that nothing was wrong.

My dad came out of his surgery doing well, the doctors said that his good physical conditioning saved his life, that he was lucky it hadn’t been worse.

Despite the terrible circumstances, I felt lucky. Lucky to be reminded that things can change in and instant, lucky to be reminded that I shouldn’t take so much for granted and lucky to be reminded how much family means.

My dad and I have always had a rough relationship. My mom says it is because our personalities are so similar that’s why we butt heads. We disagree on almost everything and always find some way to annoy each other.

For so long we’ve been content with living like this. It broke my heart knowing that within the next 10 years any type of relationship with my dad would either be non-existent or intolerable. However, after this past weekend, I’ve decided to make amends. I’ve decided, even though I know it won’t be easy, to work towards the relationship I want with my dad.

 

 

 

Yes, I’m Gullible

This past weekend I couldn’t get a hold of my dad. I called him a ton, trying to find him so he could ship me a tent for our class camping trip this weekend. He finally called me back on Sunday, but couldn’t talk for long, as he was hiking up a mountain.

Naturally, I assumed he was hiking up a mountain at home in Aspen.

On Sunday night, I got a text from him telling me not to eat dinner, because his girlfriend’s daughter might swing by at school to visit me on her way to Santa Barbara. I love Sarah, so I was really excited. He texted me again letting me know that they were in Calabasas, and then Sarah sent a friend of mine to tell me when she was in the girls’ dorm lounge.

Only when I walked into the lounge, it was my dad and his girlfriend waiting for me, not Sarah and her boyfriend.

I was so surprised. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even know he had been in Santa Monica visiting his girlfriend.

A couple of the teachers had been in on his surprise, so he was able to take me off campus for dinner. We went to this really nice restaurant called Suzanne’s, which was absolutely delicious.

It was so nice to see him. I’ve been at school for about a month, and it’s about this time that everyone realizes how long the stretch before the first break is. It was perfect timing, the food was delicious, and it was so nice to see my dad.

And yes, I am very gullible, as my friends pointed out afterwards.

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Nine One One

It was just a regular sunday night until it wasn’t.

I was sitting at home with a friend enjoying some pizza after playing Madden 13 when all of a sudden my sister bursts in the door yelling.

I was sitting at the table and she rushed in telling me that there is a huge fire right behind a property that we rent out.

She said that she drove by and called 9-1-1 and told them that there was a very large fire and told them the location.

After finishing dinner my Dad and I decided we should probably make sure our property was not on fire and that our storage was ok.

After we had determined our stuff was in no imminent danger and had a talk with our renters we wanted to check it out.

We walked down a long stretch of driveway to see a house engulfed in flames, making loud popping noises like something was exploding, and a firetruck parked right in the middle of two trees.

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Papa Adventures

Let me start off by saying that I love my dad. He and I have always been very close, but especially so after the divorce of my parents four years ago. He is there for me to talk to whenever, and about whatever.

I can tell him about my friends, school, boyfriends. And no matter what he will listen and help me work through my problems.

As a kid we would go on “Papa Adventures”. In fact, we still do. During a Papa adventure, my two little brothers and I are rounded up and told to get into my dad’s dark blue Toyota Tacoma stick shift (the car I would very much like to inherit someday), and buckle our seat belts.

We never have any idea where we or going or what we are doing. But believe me, we sure do try to get it out of him.

Sometimes we drive for ten minutes, other times for four hours. But somehow we’d always find a way to play our song, “Live Like You were Dying“, by Tim Mcgraw. Sometimes, if we were lucky, we would be able to take turns sitting on his lap and steering while on an empty dirt road.

We used to roll around in the backseat laughing our heads off as one of us sat on my dad’s lap and purposely steer the truck off the road, causing my dad to freak out, and then laugh along with us once we were back on track.

My favorite Papa adventure was a long drive up a very rocky road, which we all of course found very fun, especially while unbuckled and playing jello. After hours of driving, and about a mile of hiking, we would end up at this beautiful lake nestled in the middle of a crater.

Petroleum Lake, Aspen CO

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To The Best Man I Know.

This picture says it all.

I love my dad.
I don’t know any other immense, bottomless love.
During times of difficulty, he has been my rock and laid out the foundations for a secure home.

The only thing that scares me is how old my father is.
I mean, I am in no form ashamed of his age. My dad is 80 and he hasn’t failed to love me for a single day.

However, I do get worried.
Sometimes, when he does certain things, I feel a little tug on my heart.

For example, his once steady and strong hands tremble. His fingers move very slow and systematically.
He cannot stand for over 20 minutes at a time.
His sight is slowly slipping away; He can’t drive after the sun begins to set.
He gets sick more often. My father, man who hadn’t caught a cold in so many years, finally caught one this year and he is still trying to recover.

I know these are all natural, especially for someone so elderly. However, he is my father, and I can’t help but get a little sad to see him slowing down.

However, none of these symptoms of old age make me love him any less. Although I have been attending a boarding school 2 hours away from home for the past 5 years of my life and I don’t talk to him nearly as much as I should, he still remains number 1 in my heart, my blessing from God.

I hope that everybody gets to experience such a love. It is overwhelming and wonderful. It motivates you and places you on the right path. It lifts you up and betters you. It moves you without words. It is so powerful and definitely one of the greatest emotions God has given to his people.

My father allowed me to be the person I want to be. When I am older, I want to be able to give the same selfless, unconditional love to my children.

I love you dad, always. I will continue to try to be the best me I can. Hope your cold goes away soon!

Strange family

So during this winter break, I went home back in Japan. It was so great to see my family and friends and I enjoyed hanging around with them.

Some of the days, I chilled at home getting yelled by my mom for sleeping in. My mom would come into my room and wake me up at 8 in the morning, and I yelled, “Mom, it’s only 8. Let me sleep.” And she would always say, “Everyone is up and done eating breakfast and I don’t want to wait for you to do your dishes. You know what? If you don’t get up now, then you’re going to clean your dishes, wipe the table and do garbage disposal.”

Gosh, chill out. It’s only 8.

Well, my dad wakes up at 3:30 AM and gets ready to golf every single morning. My mom wakes up at 5AM to cook breakfast and get ready for the day. So basically we’re all morning people.

More surprisingly, my dad goes to bed at 7PM so the curfew he sets is 6PM for me. I want to say, Dad I’m 17. Are you kidding me? But I would never say that because he is so strict and frightening when he gets angry. I could never disobey him. Yes, a typical Asian dad.

My mom and my little brother Hosei (it is a Spanish name but we pronounce it “Housei”, which is also a Japanese name) go to bed at 8:30.

At 9PM, my house is dark except for my room. And I get so scared by myself going downstairs because we all sleep upstairs.

Well, this is my family and I know they are little strange.