Indisposable Disposition

I try to stay cheery as much as I can. I avoid being serious as much as I can, and even when presented with attacks on my character I often try to disregard them or make jokes. This often has the unintentional effect of making me seem weak, oblivious, or daft, but I allow it and move on with my day. It’s not that I fear confrontation, that I can’t stand up for myself, but because I’ve found that by making this change, I’ve created a very friendly environment, at least in my own headspace.

I like acting unaware sometimes because it detaches me from the monotony of everyday life. During finals, college applications, or other stressful moments in my life, I find that I myself am never as stressed as my peers, often they go on about how late they stayed up studying and how stressed they are, and I’ll chime in occasionally, but all-in-all I don’t contribute much because it isn’t the case for me. I feel as though my seemingly carefree attitude has translated into the parts of my academic life that don’t affect my performance, thankfully.

But I stray from the main idea of my post – I don’t like to take myself too seriously. I like being able to laugh at things that some friends would otherwise correct me for, trying to change me for whatever reason. Because of those little things, the incoherent gibber-jabber I have with myself walking down the stairs from lunch, the little dance I do on the curb by the hill of the English classroom, all these things keep me sane during the most stressful time I have ever been through in my life.

This method always works perfectly well until it doesn’t. It could be a few simple things throughout the day. I get blamed for the failure of something that I did for a group, I get called out for something I have to defend myself for, something that forces me to drop my jokes and get angry, that’s when it all comes flooding in, the test scores, the admissions calls, the loaded commitments. It’s moments like these I have to pull over on the side of the mountain road leaving school, I have to roll my window down and watch the sunset as the lights turn on over Ojai Ave. as the road clogs with headlights of every vehicle in town, and call my parents. My parents taught me to live my life embracing the positives, they reflected this idea in their own lives, making jokes and keeping me calm throughout all the hardships that they encountered when I was a child. After a few minutes of this, I hang up the phone, roll up my window, turn my music back on, and I’m ready to keep on chugging along.

Wandering

Let me be your beacon,

let me be your guiding light.

I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,

but I’m here to hold you tight.

I know you hide your fears from me,

you get ashamed when you let them show,

but babe,

I’ve cried in your arms many times,

so please just let me know

what’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours,

your wicked, twisted, brain

filled with lies and awful times,

but babe let me be your change.

I just want to love you,

you’ve been through so god damn much,

your beautiful soul deserves the world you know,

I wish you thought the same.

I’m sorry for everyone who hurt you,

you’re scared to let me in because you fear I’ll do the same.

Everyone you’ve loved has done you wrong,

but darling I’m not the same.

So let me be your beacon,

let me be your guiding light.

I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,

but I’m here to hold you tight.

Photo via: searchengineland.com

Noodles

Recently I had a dream no different from most, I was at a grocery store with an old friend of mine. It used lightbulbs that just made the store appear sickly (obviously not LED), the flickery hospital lighting that evokes the smell of latex gloves from nowhere. Anyways, apart from the lights that bothered me a lot, the shelves were only partially stocked, but they were all stocked wrong and without any tags. This made it especially difficult to find the ramen that my friend and I had gone in there looking for. After wandering through rows of of tall, black, and poorly built shelves with pretty much anything thrown on them, we finally came upon the milk section. Now this was a bit of a problem because we had gone in there looking for ramen, and I was now browsing cartons of milk that looked as though they smelled like goat urine. After my brain had somehow remembered that the dream had begun with the task of looking for ramen, we began to move away from the milk and towards the rest of the store.

Now, personally I do not know why I so vividly remember this dream. I can only attribute it to me having had a boring day, and the dream being the only interesting thing that had happened to me since the morning.

When we finally came across the ramen, it was behind some boxes of Chinese snacks that I can only describe as milky bread sticks. The ramen was also sub-par because it was the off-brand Korean kind that was made to burn your eyebrows off that once made me sneeze chili powder. I was upset but still willing to take it, because after an extended period of time in a poorly managed grocery store that I have dreamt about many times before, I was getting fairly irritable. However, this is when my hulking, pigmy of a friend decided to grab it and run off.

I was furious, I had just wasted so much time staring at milk, wandering through aisles of nothing, and putting up with stress-inducing incandescent lighting, all to have my crappy ramen stolen away from me. Normally, this is where I would wake up, barge downstairs, and make myself food, but my dream-self was feeling particularly determined tonight. I continued searching for ramen, I spent hours searching the shelves of the store, running into half-asleep janitors, and many soulless patrons, destined with the same fate as I was.

After my search of the store came up empty, I somehow stormed myself to the loading dock in the back of the store that for some reason was also the location of the dumpster. It was beside this dumpster that I had found almost exactly what I was looking for, garbage bags full of contaminated ramen noodles. I do not know why I thought to look in the trash bags, I do not know how I knew they were contaminated, and I also do not know why I eventually took two bags home, but I do know that the story did not end well for me.

I don’t remember exactly how the dream ended, I eventually woke up, and I remember being fairly put off by the end, but as is common with dreams, I quickly forgot it. I didn’t find much meaning behind this dream. This is by no means the first dream I have had about grocery shopping, those have always been quite common for me. I didn’t think about the dream again until I came home that day from school, and saw that among some of the things my mother had bought from the grocery store was a few packets of ramen. Needless to say, I did not eat the ramen. That was the night I discovered that perhaps store bought ramen wasn’t for me, that was also the night that I discovered I was clairvoyant. So if there’s anything you should take away from this experience, and I seriously doubt there is, I’d say it’s probably to use LED bulbs, because they won’t cause irrational and dangerous decision making like incandescent bulbs do.

Photo Credit: Imgur.com

Lost In Translation

Being someone who considers themselves a second language speaker, I have always found that my native-language of Mandarin (although no longer as good as my English), holds a few words or phrases that I realized couldn’t translate into English. I say this not because there weren’t words for them in the English dictionary, because there were plenty, but because of the meaning that is lost in translating them into another language.
Mandarin has roots that trace back 3,000 years to the origin of the Chinese language, more recently becoming the common language of China over 700 years ago. Because of this, over the centuries, Chinese characters have gone from simply representing ideas or objects, to imbedding themselves into the deeper meaning of these ideas, becoming symbolic of what they represented.
I really don’t know if that would make sense to anyone who doesn’t have a non-English language where they can find an example of this. But essentially, what I’m trying to say, is as time as progressed, these words have solidified themselves as the sole-identifier for these ideas, meaning that the word in itself evokes instant imagery and clarity on whatever is being conveyed, it is the ultimate adjective, noun, verb, it requires no follow up, the word is a definition in itself just from the emotions it lets off.
Below I have jotted down a few that I’ve heard over the past several weeks that I don’t believe could ever be translated into another language and hold the same significance that it does in Mandarin.
香- xiang, like very good taste, smell, just feels right on the palate
哎哟,你做的饭好香啊
aīyō,nǐzuò dèfànhǎoxiāng a!
Oh my, this food that you made is so savory!
(Personally when I use this word, it evokes an image of that scene from Ratatouille when Remi takes a bite of the cheese and strawberry together and colors begin to swirl together on screen as he’s just in ecstasy. Just to give an example of what I mean by evocative)
情 qing, like very caring of, adoring, affection, lovey-dovey
转盼多情
Zhuǎn pàn duōqíng
a loving (or soulful) glance
辛苦- xin ku, working very hard, deserving of praise, worked to exhaustion, withstanding bitter hardships
路上辛苦了。
Lùshang xīnkǔ le.
You must have had a tiring journey.
脑海- nao hai, mind, same symbolic connotation as a heart that just doesn’t exist in English
你存在我深深的脑海里。
nǐ cúnzaì wǒ shēnshēn dè nǎohǎi lí
You exist, deep in my mind
存- cun, to exist, to protect it, cherish, withstand the test of time
爱长存。
aì chángcún.
Love will last forever
轻- qing, weightless, gentle, worry-free, relaxing
她走路脚步轻。
Tā zǒulù jiǎobù qīng.
She walks with a light, carefree step.
Source: AsiaSociety.org

Can’t Forget About Jew

I have always considered myself a person of faith. I was lucky enough to be born a Sephardic Jew in one of the most welcoming periods in world history. Because of this, I never had to hide my beliefs, I had the opportunity to inform countless masses of friends what the laws of Kosher are, sharing stories about my main man Moses, and having a global network of strangers and friends alike that I could rely on, that I could confide in. But that’s not what I wanted to highlight today. Recently, I went to Yom Kippur services for the “Jewish New Year” where I fasted the whole day and prayed in repentance of the misdeeds committed by me and fellow Jews this last year. At the end of the second night, after nearly 30 hours without food, water, or bathing, as night falls, your fate for the next year is sealed, your past year is wiped clean and are given a chance to start anew. As I left services with my father, I felt invigorated, I felt fresh, I felt strong despite my thirst and hunger, and it was all due to this faith of mine. I realized I possessed a luxury that many of my friends grew up without and still live lacking. 
 
My faith has always been something I could rely on. From a young age, when I questioned something, I found my faith would always give me a confident answer, giving me a sense of closure, a peace-of-mind not afforded to my peers. When my friends grew to understand the finality of their mortality, when they struggled to find meaning in their lives, when they tossed and turned trying to comprehend our loneliness in our vast expanse of the universe, I had Judaism to fill the gaps in my young mind, sheltering me from the despair. Now I’m not saying it by any means encourages ignorance, some of the best Jewish scholars throughout history have integrated the scientific understand of our universe and Judaism because “[Both] were understood to be two different manifestations of the same divine truth.” (MJL, 2007) I was always encouraged by numerous Rabbi and teachers from my Jewish primary school to find my own truths, but if I couldn’t find a why for any of these, an explanation for my truths, Judaism would always be there to support my conclusions, to give me confidence about my role in our universe, no matter how small. I can go to sleep every night knowing if I were to not wake up in the morning, it would be because I have served my purpose and my job is completed, for this I am incredibly grateful.  
Photo Credit: Kenzie Bruce, The Denver Post
Mjl. “Judaism & Science in History.” My Jewish Learning, My Jewish Learning, 4 Feb. 2007, www.myjewishlearning.com/article/judaism-science-in-history/.

Canvas Man

I once saw myself to be a bystander in no one else’s story. I was there, obsolete, silent, watching the world unfold around me, witnessing what my peers were experiencing, but not having any of that for myself. I was tired of being a supporting role in my own life, adding to other people’s conversations, assisting people when they might need it, but never bringing anything to the table myself.

I didn’t feel like I had any identity as an individual, I relied on the people around me to define who I was and I hated it, I couldn’t stand the fact that when I was alone, I knew nothing about myself that was uniquely mine, that I had created a version of my self that was only a convoluted mosaic of the people I associated myself with.

It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t entirely a unique individual. That although I had a mixture of physical traits that made me intriguing, I didn’t have the personality that supported that. I realized it was fine to inherit these traits from those around you but to keep an eye on what those are.

I found myself adopting unhealthy mentalities that I drew from those I looked up to, these forced me to reflect heavily upon what I had become, I was no longer true to myself, I became a canvas upon which my peers could splash their negativity, and I would mindlessly carry it around, displaying it for everyone to see.

It took me a long time to rid myself of the bad habits I had accumulated. I was alright with adopting traits from other people that I respected, I realized that that process is fundamental to our growth as individuals and not detrimental to it as I had originally thought. I realized instead that the issue I had was that I was adopting traits that I didn’t like in an attempt to somehow further my personal development without considering the fallout of these actions.

Credit: woodshedartauctions.com

i solemnly swear…

a commitment, a promise to uphold: 

I swear to keep my head held high even when I am

against the current.

I promise to love my mother, my father, my sister, my brother 

for eternity. 

I promise I will represent my filipino nonnie and my black grandfather 

as I walk down the street with my hair as

big and curly as ever. 

I swear to be as spiritual as my grandmother, 

And to not let the stress overcome me.

I vow to teach my sister everything I had to learn alone.

I promise to heal those around me with love and joy.

I pledge to never bleach my hair. 

I  vow to not express through harshness but through 

my passion. 

And,

I will never forget my heritage 

I will remember where I came from and be 

humble 

I will come home, 

wherever home may be 

I will always listen to soul and jazz music that comes from 

the heart of New York,

or the deep south. 

This is set of rules, guidelines, and obligations that will set a path for me in my near and far future. I may break or might not keep these promises but I will try. These promises and statements will shape me and prepare me for the unknown. 

Photo Credit: pintrest.com