Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hello, old friend.



It's been a while. From blogging almost every other day a few years ago to once every 4 or 5 months to radio silence. Work has taken over. I never ever thought I would write that, but my life now is all about work.

I guess it was about time I found something to pour all my surplus passion and energy into. Traveling and "modeling" and reading and living the 'gypsy life' did not really fit with the life I set to surround myself in. (If I could find the courage to move to an island faraway, I would. But here I am in San Francisco. Ambitious and amorous. Full of life but full of pedigree that dictates social caste.) Wherever I am, I have this incredible desire to succeed of my own merit. So I got a job in July, a real one with a 401K and everything. It's been about four years since I've had one of these. They are a world of their own, with their own language, etiquette and power dynamics. Two months later I got a promotion. Now there is rumblings in the office of a bump to being Director.

There is also this fear that I must acknowledge...

Of being in the working world I find that there is this fire inside of me that wants to succeed at all cost. There is also this fear that I must acknowledge, that I try to outrun every single day by overworking myself. The fear of failure, that all this could be lost in a split second and I need to build my ship so I can float when the deluge does occur.

Anyways, old friend, I truly have not had time for anything else outside of delving into my exhaustion as soon as I come home. I collapse into a heap of tiredness and just want to nap. After napping, my brain is empty. Too empty to write. What happens when a writer does not write for a long time?

She loses herself and cannot distinguish her voice from the other voices inside her head. When a writer fails to articulate all her dizzying thoughts, they turn into screams. She becomes neurotic. A ball of nerves and insecurity. She's lost herself because she's lost use of her words. I am my truest self when I write. And I forget this sometimes all the time.

Someone showed me kindness the other day, and said,
"You are unkind to yourself. You are beating yourself up when you are at your best."

You know that Facebook memories feature? I hate it. Four years ago I used to post all these quotes, I would post inspirational thoughts next to spectacular landscape photos from my travels. I would post candid, but flattering, images of myself (enough to convey a sense of free-spiritness but not without a slight sense of premeditation) with quotes from Rumi or Pablo Neruda or Anais Nin to distract viewers from the fact that it was gratuitous self-promotion. I look at them now and I cringe.

They were absolutely pretentious and narcissistic. Nowadays I just admit that I am. But back then, to veil self promotion behind the illusion of depth...oh it was so cheap. And it reeked of desperation for attention. We are all going through our own journey of pain, loss, self-discovery. But does your self discovery need to be broadcast on social media with a Valencia filter and a Gandhi quote? It makes the whole thing disingenuous, premeditated.

My heart breaks for Paris, but it is constantly breaking every day for those dying around the world. This is not to trivialize what happened in Paris because it took a tragedy like this (this = a tragedy in a developed city) to bring so many people around the world together. Perhaps it will make others aware of that human right travesties that occurs every day in less developed nation or the ones in our own backyard. These things shouldn't have to happen to open our eyes, but now that our eyes are wide open, how will we let this affect our outlook of the world?


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

traveling to ourselves

Funny how we forget other worldly pleasures when our life is taken over by chaos. In my case, the chaos of moving. We forget about books and movies and simple pleasures (a cup of tea) and stillness. When surrounded by boxes and living out of suitcases are your daily life, it's hard to create a quiet moment to read a bit of Rumi.

Moving has always been a heavy word for me. My first major move was at age seven when my family packed our entire lives to leave Vietnam. We left the spices, the open markets, the silk dresses and my grandfather for hamburgers and soda and Disney World. I slept the whole way across the Atlantic Ocean and missed all my in-flight meals. I wore my favorite white dress. I remember my grandfather holding on to me until the last second. I remember him holding my hand and walking me into the airport at dawn. When moving equates to your whole world changing and to always yearn for the ones you love, you know to brace for it.

The second time I moved, I left my family for New York. It was very matter of fact the way it all played out. We sat down for dinner and I mentioned casually that in two days I will be moving up to New York. That was how we did it at home; independently and on our own will. My parents inquired where I would be living and how I would feed myself. Beyond that they were completely fine with letting me into the world on my own. My brother and I operate on this strategy: we just go.

My third move was to Shanghai, a whole other world for a whole other entry.

Then there was Nicaragua. Heat. Dust. Smiles. Sweat.

Now there is San Francisco. The lover and I have moved into our own one bedroom, sans room mates. For the last two weeks we have thoughtfully been furnishing. Every weekend we would pack ourselves into a rental and drive to furniture and rug stores. We picked out dining sets, a couch, bedsheets, desks, and shelves for the bathroom. We painted. For the last two weeks, I have found it hard to feel settled. The roots that I have carefully laid down for the past two summers are becoming unfurled. Today is the first day that I remembered I had a blog. Two nights ago I remembered I had a Kindle. Sleep has been elusive for the past couple of weeks until two days ago, when the bedroom, the curtains, and dressers have finally found a place to go in our new home, then sleep came.

There is this nagging voice inside that tells me I need to find a job soon. Like two summers ago when I had four interviews lined up, it tells me I need to find that fire again. Then there is the guilt that knows that I have not conjured up the energy.  Displacement engulfs every space in your mind. It forces you to address it until there is no more noise inside your head, inside your living space.

Picking up on this journal today was like finding fresh air again. I know I had it in me, but I totally forgot what it felt like to write. It wasn't lost entirely, just put aside for more important needs. But what could be more important than writing? I'm glad I haven't forgotten entirely. I'm glad I still have my writing to keep me sane.


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