Return from the Abyss

I haven’t posted in so long (because of no good reason) but I’m going to take a break from the kind of writing I usually post and just kind of talk because that’s what I originally meant for this blog to be for but somehow forgot along the way.

I’ve been going through these phases of self-doubt and stress for a while (and a whole lot of unhappiness – crying in the shower, anyone?) so I always get these times when focusing is just really hard and school/extracurriculars get really difficult. For some particular reason, though, this past school year has been tougher than normal for me, especially in math and science. To be honest, the peak of my math career was probably in the fifth grade, but I expected to do well last year because the class was supposed to be a similar level to one I had taken before and I had done well in. You can probably guess how that turned out.

Not to play the blame game, but my teacher hadn’t exactly been the best, and I tend to struggle in classes where the teachers aren’t always attentive. So I struggled the entire year, and I got the feeling my teacher thought I was just a slacker by the way he talked to me about my performance in the class, but I was honestly trying my best and his attitude towards me just made me want to avoid him and his help. I truly dislike when I make a huge effort in something I’m not good at and someone else just brushes it off as a pathetic attempt. A lot of my anxiety during the school year comes from lack of sleep, trying to figure out lessons on my own, and keeping up with the amount of work I’m assigned every night, so the idea that I could “probably be trying harder because I seem like a smart girl” just drives my self-esteem down into the ground.

In an effort to do better in school, I did start a Studygram/Bujo account on Instagram (@tchaicoffee.studies if anyone wants to take a look). Maybe the long term effects will be different, but right now it makes me more determined to take better notes and be more efficient, so that’s good!

On a more positive note, I’ve been in Hong Kong for the past two months (!!) and I love it so much!! It’s so beautiful and (best of all) cheap! Everything is so much cheaper than in the US and the way people do things are really different too. I’m staying with my aunt’s family right now and she has two sons. One’s out of college but the other’s about my age, and they both stay out all day with their friends and their mom’s totally fine with it. I’ve always wanted that kind of independence but I guess it was not meant to be 😂. I went to meet a friend for lunch and we spent about four hours together and when I came home, my aunt said, “Back so soon?” My mom would have probably killed me for being out for so long. Anyway, the point is that I thoroughly enjoy this lovely place.


(Isn’t Hong Kong stunning??)

I started an job this summer and it’s been so amazing so far. The company is kind of small but the people there have such good work ethics and really welcomed me, which I was definitely happy for. I’m not great at making friends – I was at a music camp earlier in the summer and it took me a while to get friends because I don’t speak Cantonese very well and a lot of people didn’t speak a lot English (although their English was much better than my Cantonese) – so I usually rely on other people to approach me. It’s a sucky thing to do, I know, but I have such crippling anxiety, it takes me fifteen minutes to work up the courage walk out of the apartment if my cousins are sitting on the couch.

One of the guys I work with told me today that a lot of people in HK usually go out to eat because it’s usually cheaper or the same as buying groceries to cook at home. Given the prices that I’ve had meals for (~ USD 3 for a full breakfast, ~ USD 10 for lunch being “still pretty expensive” according to my aunt) I understand that perfectly fine, but he was so genuinely shocked when I told him the lunch we had just had for ~ USD 9 would have probably been ~ USD 24 in the states.

(I’m just happy food is so cheap yet delicious because I eat my feelings)

So that’s it, guys! Hope you enjoyed this roller coaster of a post & I’ll be back soon!

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untitled [poem 1938]

It feels like fear- heart pumping fast,
Like a lion in a cage-
Riding up to the throat, beating, beating.
No sweat but the pounding has reached
The ears. The impossible
Becomes the inevitable. Hearing is
Perfect but there’s no sound,
Just beating, beating.
The ground scratching at skin
(Remember when all scrapes needed were a
Superhero band-aid and a kiss?)
It’s too late:that’s the fear talking:it’s too late
Can’t think of anything else it’s too late
Nothing, it’s too late except for the heart, it feels like
It’s going to explode it’s too late and it’s
Beating, beating.

Fear

My stomach is jumping through my throat, my heart pumping harder than its ever done before, as if each beat brings it a mile away from wherever we are right now. If this is fear, then I don’t know if I’ve ever been truly scared before in my life. I wish I had someone here with me now, someone to hold my hand and tell me it’s alright.

Fear isn’t even a word right now. It’s my state of mind.

I’m afraid that if I close my eyes, I’ll open them to find a monster on the other side.

Happy Father’s Day

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Today, I would like to take a moment to thank my father, who, although we  have our differences, is among the smartest and best people I know. He always supports me and is proud of what I do, no matter what. Sometimes, I can’t believe how much knowledge of history and math he has, but I’m happy that he’s there for me and amazed that a man who didn’t know the square root of 144 at the age of 13 now holds a PhD in physics from Cornell University. We share an unfathomable fondness for sweet food and music ranging from classical to movie music to Two Steps From Hell. I love receiving his almost daily emails about college admissions tips and random facts and the occasional cute picture of an orangutan and I would just like to wish him a Happy Father’s Day.

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Nothing like a fresh mini croque monsieur after a long day of watching three Star Wars episodes. 

IMG_5285

A Thousand Paper Hearts

They came like
Angels in the night
And they never meant
To stay.

A single candy wrapper blows
Across the vacant parking lot,
Its wrinkled plastic
Flapping helplessly in the air.

It’s only there for a second
And then- gone with the wind.
I think that it’s like me
Lost and alone.

A cigarette appears
Like magic that I don’t believe in anymore
And I watch the fiery embers
Burn into the night.

It wasn’t so long ago, was it?
That I lay on my own bed
Staring at the floral curtains
My mother picked out.

I wonder if she will take them for her own
When I go to college
Or let’s be real,
A homeless shelter for ex-convicts and drug addicts.

As the night falls
And white stars dot the sky
I state into the darkness
Around me, waiting

It takes a second, but it hits me.
I’ll never have what I want
(What I need) again.
I see them then.

They come from the sky
In dozens and wrap me in
Their crinkled skin
Carrying me away.

I wake up
Myself, a long time ago
The first time I saw myself
And hated my mirror.

My father, dressed
For success, greets me
With a bowl of gruel oatmeal
And a single raisin on top.

I’m like a ghost, retracing my steps
Into chemistry, where the teacher
Whose name I never learned
Drones on.

I follow the invisible
Thread into the gray courtyard
Lit up with the glow
Of her hair.

Whispers crawl up my skin like bugs in June
Saying hissing that I do care and it hurts
On the inside
And out.

She burns like a million
Volts of electricity
Golden and radiant
While we all bow before her.

She smirks as if
She can see my
Soul, and my protruding
Heart and mind.

A thousand- I like that number-
Days later, it seems
She dances her fingers through
My hair.

Her voice sings out
Like a nightingale
With her dreams
And hopes and wishes.

I would listen to anything
She had to say
Everything
At any time of day.

High above, fireworks
Light the midnight sky
And dance with brilliance,
Birds of passion that steal my breath.

The paper hearts unfurl
Themselves, and they clamor
For a spark, a flame
Of color.

It’s magic, like rainbow banners;
Tiny, colored shooting stars
Dashing across the dark
Blue curtain.

This is the moment
When I fall asleep,
Her head on my chest,
Matching my even breaths.

Maybe the paper is gone
By now. I don’t know,
But under my eyelids
There’s a faint outline of red.

This time, when
I wake, I’m back (was it a dream?)
Lying face down
In the dirt of a convenience store parking lot.

My mother used to say,
I can drink a hundred shots. But
A hundred and one makes me an
Alcoholic.

I’m an addict
To life?
To trouble?
To love?

Or maybe it’s true
And I’m a sinner but
I can’t tell truth from lies
And nothing makes sense anymore.

The cigarette burned out a long
Time ago, but in the ashes
I can see the faint glistening
Of an exploding firework.

The brilliant colors
Are gone, but I
Don’t long for them
Like I used to.

Who would?
My mouth says.
Who could?
This one’s my heart.

Her eyes were blank
As pale sheets of ice
And her mouth shaped words
She couldn’t say.

I used to love her
But that love had died
And a thousand paper hearts
Fluttered to the ground.

The Riverside

In the thick, dark woods where the trees stretch out to touch the powder-dusted clouds
Cold, cerulean water comes rushing by
The comforting, rhythmic gurgling
Filling my ears
With warm promises of love and happiness
And hope to come.

Everything begins with a river
And that’s how everything ends.
Toiling labor swept away in the calm depths
And a baby swaddled in soft blankets.
A river gives life and a river gives death,
The natural course of change.

The brook burbles with a full stomach
Running on fast feet over smooth, round pebbles.
The water rushing by goes on with no end in sight
Slowly turning from the beautiful blue to a dusky, darkened gray.
There is no time to look pretty
When there are other things to do, other things to say.
No need to stop
No time to stop.
Why be late
When you can be early?

The faraway sun lights up
The transparent waters, like a lamp shining behind a sheet of paper.
The river illuminates
The golden light showering down
Upon the glimmering blue;
The light side of the dark river.

A clear path, marked by jagged rocks and sifted sand
Swaying grass and tiny tadpoles
Dancing to the music.
The river never stops to listen
Never stops to meet or greet a friend.

No, I’m much too busy with things to do
I’ve got to go.
I’m running, running, running
To find a road home.

Paved by the ones who run all day
Carved from the feet of rushing waves
Never stopping, always going
Looking for a road home.

untitled [poem 1937]

there were the boys who talked
to me and really, i preferred their
conversation above all else because
i didn’t have to worry
about what i was going to say
but there were the girls who primped and
preened with(out) meaning to and i
was supposed to talk to them so i did
and i said all the wrong things at all the
wrong times and they looked at me funny
while i buried myself into the ground and wished- not
for the first time- that i was invisible.

those were the girls
who curled up next to everyone
and said they were friends and
they were so fake i could see
plastic and dye in their hair
but i pretended i couldn’t and
went off with them to fairyland and i
was sucked way way below
and the elves with tiny fingers and big eyes
held me down so
i couldn’t escape.

there were a hundred queens
and i knew all of them by name but one by one
they all began to drift away except
one girl who said we were best friends and even when i knew
the truth i said yeah ok and
we walked arm in arm to the bookstore
because even though
i had a thousand books, they
were just pieces of paper that pretended
to be binded together and
fell apart at the first chance they got.

i think we all floated away with the storm
that came blowing wind and a torrent of rain
and maybe we drifted back to our homes or maybe
we met some people we
never meant to and they told us to stay
so we did, but all i really know is that
the rain
kept coming down and there was nobody beside me
and i drowned in the sadness
and anger that poured out with each drop of water
and the shadows asked why i was crying
and the only reason i knew was because i knew how to be lonely
but not alone.