January 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
there’s a reason why i’m starting on this side of the page on my journal. this may or may not turn into a letter
sometimes i sit at a cafe and watch people watch me. they don’t always actually watch, and if they do, never for more than a new york minute, mostly because in so cal people don’t walk. they sit in a car, and as they drive by i catch their eyes in the reflection of cafe windows. strange, their eyes say. because many a time i’m way too dressed up for just coffee and many a time an asian girl don’t sit by herself at cafes in areas like this. right now that’ll be coffee beans and teas on the corner of 9th and grand, part of the “revitalized,” gentrifying downtown los angeles. i always seek out places that make me feel less homesick, less out of place, but i realize i’ve always felt homesick and out of place, no matter where i go
maybe it’s the travel talk i read in your letter (hah! now im addressing this writing to someone. presumably the writer of the letter mentioned just now, which could only be you, reese). maybe it’s the journal entry from two days ago, full of some complaint or another to God. i’ve been writing about how tired i am trying to keep up with everything, excel at everything, let nothing drop on my watch but obviously failing (but by whose standards?) miserably
i just saw a girl driving away by herself, eyes red and wiping her face. must have been crying about/for something. i know what it’s like to cry in transit. mostly in the public eye but in the comfort of one’s car too. you sometimes wonder if anybody, even if a stranger, cares that you’re crying. but to this day i haven’t come across any prince charming offing me kleenex on bart asking if everything is ok. the last time i cried on bart was on christmas day. it sounds #kdrama (but who doesn’t think her life is a korean drama?!)–i was coming back early from the city after a movie with some friends. actually, one friend and a bunch of his friends. normally i would’ve loitered with the rest of the group and either suggested it myself or accepted their offer of dinner. i like to think i’m a sociable person. but something about the movie (we watched american hustle. superb acting. though i never like amy adams. i don’t know why), actually something about the fact that i was watching this movie with my friend and his friends, none of them particularly the people i wanted to spend christmas day with, it just made me sad and told me to retreat. against my better judgment i pulled the party popper grandma card and left before anybody could ask me to chinese food. but it wasn’t until i got on bart and saw that my friend texted me that i started crying–“thanks for coming out. hope you don’t feel horribly sad on christmas day cuz of a flick.”
sweet of him, but he doesn’t know it’s not necessarily the movie. i don’t know quite well either. the closest thing to a realization is that i’m seeing these little ways that i seek out comfort for myself, and they never satisfy. they aren’t meant for my comfort anyway. if what i want really is intimacy and being fulling known, these hangouts won’t do. “going home” won’t do. catching up with old friends, reading good books, consuming any kind of media or food or culture, even spending time with family just won’t do. i must have what my heart was truly meant to have. and the scary thing is that it’s not up to me. the satisfaction of my soul i cannot provide for. i’m actually incapable of truly satisfying my own desires. and not being in control of that which matters the most and is dearest to your heart is not a matter of little consequence. i think i just hit something
all those times i thought i was only stirring up the water, otherwise clear but for the fact that im mucking it up; things that should’ve stayed buried; disappointments big and small that have been forgotten; wishes unfulfilled (whether because they didn’t happen the way i wanted/thought them to or because i simply didn’t recognize they were granted). they had to rise to the surface. not for the sake of psychotherapy or my own neurotic analysis. but because the more i realize how and why i am dissatisfied (or unsatisfied? which is correct?) the more i have to decide and seek what does satisfy. higher passion, deeper root and what lasts. it’s a lesson i learn over and over again
i don’t quite remember last year’s new year resolution type of conversation with the Lord. but the year before that (must have been 2012) i remember very clearly: i was yet at another cafe–God my yelping and getting lost while driving skills that lead to discoveries of great coffee shops in the most random neighborhoods/cities should win an award!–in silverlake. this was right after i had crashed linds car. i hope i told you the story. all kinds of money and paperwork issues to deal with once i head back to the bay area, i was dreading it. and i made a promise with God that i shall become an adult now. a real legit grown up. no more whining, no more shifting the blame. no more victim/orphan mentality. no more confusing spontaneity with irresponsibility at the expense of others safety and concerns. He said alright let’s do it. i think that panned out pretty well. i feel pretty grown up now (though i did manage to get my car towed last night. will explain alter… #storyofmylife)
maybe this is my 2014 new year resolution moment. i want to be uber serious about pursuing the higher passion. no more little distractions and games that don’t cut it. and no more passivity and staying resigned with unfulfilled promises
ah! sorry that sounds super cheesy. i don’t meant to sound like all is neatly wrapped up now with a bow on top because it’s not that simple. i know. i feel it
maybe you’ll help me figure out what it is that i’m actually trying to say. how do you purse something you can’t control? or ever have any hope of controlling?
time for me to go now i think. tea is drunk. gotta use the toilet. will have to find a lunch spot and a pedicure place for my cousin. people watching is great though. i’m totally judging everyone walking by with the grossest stereotypes: white hipsters, chola girls and skater boys. nine to five types getting caffeinated, soccer moms, black security dudes. hah. and i just realized i’d been actually on the corner of 9th and hope. wish i had a polaroid to go with this letter. you’ll just have to imagine it
January 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
I was awakened from a dream,
a dream entwined with cats,
by a cat’s close presence.
In the darkness by my bedside there
had loomed a form with shining hair—
squarish, immense-eyed, still.
Its whiskers pricked my lips:
My daughter cried,
in just proportion terrified.
I realized that,
though only four, all skin and smiles,
my daughter is a lioness, taken as a cat.
daughter by john updike
from the writers almanac on http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2013/12/17