The Aftermath Of Language

I always get a sense of aftershock from reading a book to its end. If comparable, it feels sort of like an internal shell shocked soldier returning from war. Is that what they mean when they say reading develops your empathy? Like taking your mind to a different dimension and living different lives.

It doesn’t matter any who, apart from the deft switch such a thought takes turns into darker corners of your mind. I’m not trying to be poetic. It’s just hard to describe sometimes.

I realized suddenly today while walking around the city that I do not want to be stared at. Now whether or not people are really staring is objective – they also say we all suffer a huge case of narcissism – so we’ll just let that be. But whenever I do happen to catch the odd glance from an old man, or the apparent perplexed stare of a non-descriptive guy, I feel the instinct to remain invisible.

Of course, my face remains eternally blank to this gesture. It’s all on the inside.

So maybe reading a book titled ” A boy who could see demons ” until 2am in the morning isn’t psychologically recommended. Most certainly if your imagination is going to go rampant like mine. But I still invariably catch myself hesitant in approaching the windowsill, even to turn on the bedside lamp. Maybe I’m still the little girl that’s afraid of the dark.

Another sad confession of sorts is that, earlier this evening, while I was so strolling about in the city, I had the greatest inspiration to write something great. Or so we would tell ourselves always. Us writers knows. But I tell you I did. And it was resemblance to the recent Wally Lamb book I picked out. The way the characters’ dialogue into their thoughts showed no noticeable care to whether their jagged pieces of language made sense to their audience. They were their own world. And it had been stunning in my mind – the running lyrics of a folk fantasy, the deterioration of intellectual psyche, the possible reflection of whether the things I have weathered beneath my benign facial features actual might still bother me.

Sometimes the odd thought flits across the mind, something remnant of bad self esteem, or an evil sense of self portrayal. Once again, however, these mortal English words seem not enough to enlighten the visceral state of these comments. Nonetheless, it is only within a few blocks that I am crossing another intersection and I wondered to myself, What was that thought again? I’m..bad? No..there’s no discernible argument. It isn’t a plausible statement. And I really did scold myself in my head of this while remaining intact the impenetrable fortress of a callous upfront.

I wonder if people can see these flitting thoughts come across my face. Maybe the slightest hardness in my jaw when I tilt my face upwards in defiance against the mystical powers in my mind. I had noticed a young man glance side ways while we passed. Had I appeared haughty in that moment that he so turned away?

And it is all these nonsense thoughts that I had groped towards even showering at 9 am this morning. I had thought, sometimes, perhaps we love to keep reading just to hear the sound of the voice in our heads. Is it narcissism then? Except now, it sounds like spiraling insanity. But the entirety of the conversation is taken out of context because I have already forgotten and I wonder again if that’s what it means to read a book. To surface from fiction and seemingly shed the dead weight of all its characters turmoils, left with only a sense of nausea and nostalgia at once. More accurately, the loss sense of missing the whole big idea – the shebob people always talked about while they asked us to write out our thoughts against the title page in grade school before we ever got to reading the book. Like who the fuck cares.

Sometimes I shock myself with these volatile tendencies. Was I always this violent? Is it a closet temperament I have gotten a good noose on my whole life? My heels are still clicking against the pavement when my muscles inherently tense to the imaginary scene of kick boxing. Smashing. Bam. No, something more defiant than that. It is the sound of my harsh breath, the release of sweet tension and supposed endorphin at the expression of anger. The alternative high from settling exhaustion and pumping adrenaline. I crave the imaginary carnage, the shock…Dirty, bad, inhumane, taboo. I always find myself collapsing into a sob afterwards. Like I had emptied myself. Or maybe it’s a purge. That’s only sometimes – other times, all at once, I am fighting these imaginary bad guys and I sometimes stab them, or I shoot em. Sometimes I get stabbed instead and it splits down inside my head the time when I withhold the sobs or whether I scream with the brutality of the world’s end.

I catch myself standing in the subway station, growing beads of sweat across my entire face. I feel it. I am thirsty. My foundation presses heavily and I can just feel it sliding off my face as if I had put on a gallon rather than a respectable amount. God, I just want a nice iced drink. Except my stomach feels bloated and hard when I press up against it and I imagine a story where a 12 year old suspects her pregnancy.

I wonder if any of this is real. Or how real it could be. When I returned home tonight, I remembered how frightened I had gotten myself over the insane possibility that while my shadow passed through underneath the street’s trees, it would melt its black conscience and leave the walking body behind. I’d keep walking, but the essence of self would be trapped within the dark.

Scary shit, I’d say. My last thought tonight while I tentatively stalked around the house to turn off the lights one by one, retreating closer and closer to my bedroom had been the beginning of story telling. Had writers in the past try to defy these maddening scenarios as well? Was that where the first story began? Were they indicative of certain mania? A manifestation of sorts. My own first story told by was while gripped tightly between my grandmother’s arms and sheets. It was always predictable each night, but she spoke of a humble figure named God, and there were always evil deeds being done by the likes of humans. Or were they demons?

I had fallen asleep to that.

No Soliciting Alcohol, Period.

Following up on my last post, for the rest of my life commencing from my very own mother and sister’s onslaught of offers last night, I will be battling (victoriously) the nay sayers to my no drinking rule. Since my most effective argument as of yet had been they were in fact soliciting illegally, I have since lost my edge as of 12am on May 14th.

Rather, I ended the evening just as I had wanted in my old grandmotherly ways – had myself a mean English Breakfast – paired with those pretentious brown sugar cubes that served just well as the puny metal teapot that screamed picturesuqe as I was putting down my white napkin beside it upon leaving. Ah, satisfaction.

That was only after the smart word battle with my sister’s boyfriend about how much a particular white wine of nonsense German name tasted like apple juice. Sour apple juice, I added. Just like you would get when you leave a carton of milk in the fridge for another month. But of course, it’s just like apple juice to the T I said, and of course there is no underlay coaxing for a lie, so therefore no need to try myself.

I smile sheepishly at this thought and think that I might just as well have been tipsy on the night. Or just that I had seen the flash of my future years with this scene as the opening credit, and only human stupidity would veil that ongoing life struggle with silly endorphin’s.

The rest of the evening was uneventful in comparison. Bland even. What else could come up to par with alcohol seducing of a no longer minor?

So as we toast to each other, my glass of half emptied water to their Old fashioned and that German wine starting with a G, continuing with a ‘euqch’ or something to that liking, prompting a pronunciation of someone right before they retch, we say happy birthday.

I did have a moment of indecision though. Right before they gave up – for the next 10 minutes in striking deals of my ‘first sip’ – whether I should just get rip roaring drunk and have actions speak for themselves. Now, having never been there, only my fondly inappropriate imagination could be my friend. It was comforting to run through movie ideals of the worse type. I could first start chattering uselessly and try to hit on guys like that main character did in “He’s just not that into you.” But hell, they were all ‘main characters’, beautiful ladies. All of ’em. So either I’m saying I’ll get cheated on, be the one cheating, or have cringing encounters with the opposite sex. I mean, I ought to know now. My roommate’s cat does prefer to sleep on her bed over mine. And only mine when she closes the bedroom door. And he is a male. A proper representation of the entire male world, I think. Point taken. I might just pout on the profoundness of this realization, enough to induce a slew of lonesome a-few-years-too-early spinster tears that would bring about the confession of the tattoo I had just gotten during the day. Oh…no, don’t you mind the gooped up blood drying on the folded and taped paper at the bottom of my thigh. It don’t hurt so bad. Naw. And somehow along these lines, I began to become old schooled Texas. Or Mexican. Huh. Probably something ridiculous American, I’ll give you that much.

Instead, I put up with the damn camera flash until my eyes blinded and watered into what probably reflected to be Elephant eyes behind my glasses. Except I don’t have old people glasses – what, bifocals? – so they were probably just sad drowning Asian eyes underneath normally reflected eye glasses.

And I still wouldn’t understand the concept. $9 for some petite tall glass drink that’s probably less than 3 ounces altogether if you would just take out those exasperating bubbles. Compared to my luxurious tea? $3? And I’m the one accused of rigidity.

Huh.

So happy 19th to myself.

download_20150511_124249This was Mother’s Day. Don’t mistake it. But if you were to be caught thinking my mother there in the middle was me, then at least you made someone deliriously happy. I won’t sing praises on how she undulated stretching out her hand to the gentlemanly main waiter that night, nor how she danced down the street to our car. I think my birthday dinner speaks enough for no alcohol.

The Smell of Spirits

So the bill is settled – drunk people scare the shit out of me.

I don’t know if its my supposed anxiety or that it just plain smells bad. Please, someone, do tell – what’s that they call – the burn in your throat that supposedly sweetens into mortal elixir? Tell me again, like they do in the books. I haven’t been convinced.

So when my roommate came back home (ever so briefly) tonight with her two slightly drunken friends, the inner alarms went off. What’s wrong with me? Maybe I just have trust issues. What else is new, Duck. Or suppose the fact that I could not help recalling the most recent memory (which would be now 2 years ago) when I was last surrounded by any sort of semi or entirely retarded inebriated adults, I was surrounded by the feeling of sex.

Maybe I’m just afraid of sex. But that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.

Well, so the story goes: they caught me. Ever so glamorously pulverized by my many excessive and pretentious pillows, struggling to operate a new scanner. With just the regular visit of a crime investigation down your pants and shower hair. Every woman knows how beautiful you feel then.

It wasn’t so bad. There were no come ons. The perfectly nicely smelly drunk French boy/man came to sit beside me to at first aid with the scanner, while my roommate and her other half chatted playfully in the bedroom in French. I struggled a little bit with the perverse thought of them just going down at it right then and there. I think I read too much. We all do, hoping for the most ridiculous situation. Thankfully, my roommate is a 5 foot 2′ inches awesome drunkard that handles it like a 6 foot 2 man. But dear lord, I can hear him pee for the next 3 minutes and thought to myself when was the last time I had two practically complete strangers stand in my home at 1am in the morning? To which might I add, would be kindly discovered was not flushed properly. Although in this case I suppose one ought to focus on the positive – at least he tried.

Meanwhile back at the couch, the nicely smelly drunk French boy/man, whose name I have already forgotten struggled with his English and all I can think about is that, damn, now my pillows are going to smell. But how do you wash those that come with the cover as its first skin? Struggles.

I’m just ready to throw my glass of milk at him if he happens to throws a drunken kung fu punch my way. I don’t know, drunk people are weird. That’s right – my glass of righteously half drank milk that has been advised to be finished two days ago and is being drunk unhabitually and unsocialably by an almost 19 year old. God, I just love my life.

As it appears, after some more Frenchness, they decided to leave for the night. Who knows. Maybe anxiety is contagious.

Off they went – but not before the more drunk French man/boy with my roommate decided to slip his sweater back on in the living room and walk towards me to give me a European goodbye. Two awkward close encounters on both sides of my cheeks and we have survived the evening.

I hear my roommate brusquely tell him to be quiet and leave – all in French of course – I’m just supposing.

So first of all, why do I have a roommate – well the Duck just moved, again. But she’ll brag shamelessly about how much she adores herself and the new place next time. Not like you asked or anything. And second, why is she scanning stuff – for another opportunity to brag show love on Mother’s Day by personally selecting and scanning roughly 800 photos to put on the digital picture frame purchased.

I’ve got 768 more photos to go, and I’m just staring at the ones that my parents took of Asian transvestites putting on a theatrical show. Damn, I feel ashamed to be a woman.

Older.

There’s something about sitting at a cafe after hours. It may be brightly lit or dimly luminescent, you can make it your own. I could imagine a crowded city coffee shop or just between you and I, a bluntly sparse residential space that might crave in its empty seats the warmth and bustle of human murmurs, but the chairs and tables seem to speak on their own all the same.

They tell you stories of people that have been there before. Ghosts of your own imagination that appear to be just one proper touch away to bring it about into sharpness when you look across the room to a certain couch. And when its dark outside on a windy evening, the apparently singular street lamp appear to illuminate the thin showers only for your sake to tell you that time is indeed passing by. With your hands cupped around your cooling tea, your eye sight dims and presses dryly against your pupil. It’s a sleepy, nonchalant thing. Against your companion you don’t really know anymore what you’re saying, so you pull words out of the window pane from what you can catch of its history and create your own. Just like that an hour and a half has gone by and the dinner in your stomach has settled. The crinkles of your clothes are no doubt pressed neatly against yourself to impress on your skin, just atop the thin layer of a day’s worth of the same count of time passing by in a different manner. A different matter altogether.

Coffee shops and lethargy does that. Sipping milk and tea with the scarcity of a cat lapping water out of its dish in the summer. Sweet, sweet laughter that hides the discontentment for the night has come to an end. So the parade packed up its bags and headed home, out the door where the European coffee shop owner carrying scars of crinkles in the canvas of his face like an old retro Mexican movie bowed slightly to bid you good night. Adieu. Thank you. You almost hear senorita, but I think that was just the coffee shop speaking again.

An Affinity for the Impossible

Yesterday I got my review from my manager and was told that I’m more of less failing their expectations and in – perhaps only my pessimistic (though I may add negatively inspired responsible) sense I heard, “You’re going to get fired.”

Which, I’m sure those two are just two different ways of going about it.

You know how managers get. You know. Especially in hospitality.

Anyway, don’t shock yourself too much. I bawled. I hadn’t really meant to, and that sounds like I’m speaking about how horses will become flying unicorns and that the sewed on butterflies on the Cinderella dress in the new movie does not bother me at all. It really did. But I signed the damn thing anyway with my nostrils flooded and a mixture of tears and snot drooling down my chin onto his desk. Jeez. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Except that the biggest disappointment wasn’t the fact that I wasn’t meeting their expectations. Nor that he was reprimanding me on several different instances. I won’t even bother to add in a self defensive argument. I acknowledge I’m not perfect – but I’m pretty sure as hell I’m not that terrible. But you know how people tend to remember all the terrible terribles. My daddy told me so. And he was right.

The biggest hurdle that struck me was that I was again disappointing my family. The people that think I have my shit put together. Sure, it’s pretty materialistic for my mom and sister to love my job because I can get them half off their meals at our 5 star restaurant in the lobby and that I get to look pretty and be courteous, but who cares, right? So long as that makes them happy. And I hope that does not come off ingenuine or bitter. Because really, who cares.

But when I start to imagine what it would feel like for my mom to hear that I was not doing so put-together as she thought I had been. Or that I was not so put-together as my manager may appear to see me as. That, and how she will have to fend off in good will the damage in the maternal pride one has of their own children against other same-breed parents that are only pushing on you to strengthen their own adopted prides. God it feels pretty damn bad. And you parents out there are welcome to rebuttal me – but don’t tell me you don’t inwardly coward and feel the cavity of your chest concave and shrivel up the big pumping muscle because it squeezes out the expectations filled with love and the high hopes that were there only with good intentions, to be sure – and you pretend that it doesn’t hurt so bad and may just say, “Everything happens for a reason.” Or if you’re like me, find that you’re the one saying it over and over again though no one denied it, because who really knows why things happen the way they do.

Instead, I suck it all back up and wonder a presumptuous few dozens of moments later how the tears could roll out so easily down the side of my cheeks and how flushed and hot and angry I felt when I’m standing at the front being the oh-so-put-together person I (or did I?) set myself up to be. My manager even comes up to ask whether or not I’m alright and I say, “Of course, I’m fine.”

He looked like a mixture of relief and confusion.

I guess life’s all about that.

So I obsessively go and apply like I’m a spam lord and focus not too sharply on the future and just think that I can still deal with my savings if I have to and how I’ll just revise plans as I go.

Or like, my birthday. I had always had the intuitive sense that I was, if nothing else, mentally ahead of my peers, and now I’m too sure. Woohoo. 19.

I find I worked even harder today – be it bland enthusiasm or naivety that lifted the mental weight to think I won’t be there for the next few years so my not yet developed sense of adulthood is telling me that new places are more exciting than this. But I don’t hate this job. In fact I love the service. I love making people feel special and being in a place where the standards are high and getting the huge rush when things are chaotic and you’re always one step from a landmine of security and more hospitality bullshit – I love it. I love feeling accomplished and learning as I go.

I’m alright though, so long as I look at it like you might look at something on the surface of a pond. It’s not too clear and you know it’s not opaque in the sense that the face on the water will ripple and die away but if you will it to. Maybe I’m living with my head in the clouds.

But all I can think about is how every day I wake up listening to the same song over and over again and never feel bored, and how I feel remotely disturbed when I remember I have been wishing time to go back, to keep going back…and that if time were a sliced bread, then if one was to ride a bicycle straight across and move one millimeter off track you will eventually dip into either the far past or far future. You just don’t know it with the one millimeter.

That and to the poor fellow who confessed so straight forwardly with a heart of gold, and I fight back the sense of anxiety to panic and back away. No! Don’t push me. Push me enough to walk away. Don’t like me. And all I suddenly recall are the older fellows that had once made me swell like a balloon and then depleted me to the size of a pea. I deserve it. Is that why? But I can’t help myself to think that I still haven’t ‘arrived’ at the sense of completion I (or did I, again?) set for myself. Such silly, foolish encounters with improbable and most likely impossible things. When do we ever stop?

Lurid Questions

IMG_20150418_184413~2Sometimes I would like to know just what am I feeling so anxious for; like you are waiting for something, like you are missing out on so much. It’s terrifying really, because it happens to you during those slow lethargic hours when your limbs are phantom and your mind is lulled. You eyes might be quick enough to catch the brief glimpse of a life time, but you find your brain has been too fried to carry out the thought process.

And in this moment you might feel slightly disconnected from the world, where each velvet stroke of sunlight becomes a form of cosmic star burst and you know it no longer ties to this certain plain of reality you stand on. It must be the early spring dusk, it must be the fairy dust in the air that causes this cathartic effect upon your eyes. The intensity in which you recognize the world we live in, it is a lonely beautiful trait you wish to share with someone who hasn’t quite come along yet, and you begin to doubt if they ever will. And with each step you take it’s only that you have been stepping backwards into the tepee of our universe’s loophole, and each seared vision is the way the world leaks into our living room door with an open mat policy.

I am humbled, beckoned by this call for duty, catapulted only in stark realization several hours later when the lights have gone out and the night soothes your senses in maternal fatigue. I cannot even describe for you the chronicles of this event. It’s as if one has died to see the tunnel of light and came back to life. You are stunned and oddly mistaken to think to speak of this tongue where one might reckon it to be a siren’s call. It will tell you if you listen that you should known we have been here many times before. The dissonance in your mind will surely be telling. Best to perceive it with blurred vision and try not so hard to discover the many secrets of this world. The lucidity would be offensive otherwise.

IMG_20150418_184320~2~2

IMG_20150418_183225~2IMG_20150418_191221~2IMG_20150418_192013~2IMG_20150418_183901~2IMG_20150418_184958~2~2

Picture : Words

I often wonder whether a single picture may triumph words in the long run of things. Like if I were to see a photo of your grandfather rather than read some form of text document he may have written, would I have gotten a better sense of his time?

If pictures were to transcribe a thousand words, then I suppose the fact that our memory ever so subtly reconstructs each time we relive an instant can compose of several million in a life time. That’s certainly a lot more environmentally friendly than text. But then what about the validity of the memory? That we so subconsciously and involuntarily change the way we perceive, like one would of an old font; suddenly find this sun bleached photo a quaint charm, though your mother at the time may have told you they had lived rather poorly. Could we be excused of that, or would it be that the subjects in the pictures would not mind if we were to square on a piece of rose colored glasses. So much so that they might come to believe it the same as well.

“Oh, it wasn’t so bad.”

This romantic fondness, we, or at least I come to find of bygone times makes me wonder if photos were taken at first to not only capture the first light, but to ultimately expose an unfathomable secret. That in a time of confusion we may call out to our cherished loved ones in these old photographs and ask them to guide us. Whereas while choked in anger, we might thin our lips and clamp back the wave of nausea instead. The precedent clarity vanished in the same sense as our present humanity. It only but takes a moment. A single photograph taken the same way 20 something years ago can evoke so much.

I came across some old photographs my mother took of the apartment building we used to IMAG0043live in in Hong Kong. It was a number of complex buildings built on top of a mall, and we carried our lives in a sort of maze open hallway, representing only another pinnacle in the sky defying gravity. Everyday we descended the elevators, and then the escalators into the mall and I remember the bright orange lights. The sales woman standing in front of McDonald’s with very long slender nails that I had wanted, but instead I took a pack of ketchup everyday.

When I was 14, I had my all girls sexual education and self defense class. Among other mental exercises, we were asked to think of a certain place in our mind. The instructor probably hadn’t meant it so, but I told my best friend that afternoon that I thought of the metal bars across my apartment door – very frequent there – and how it would slam shut in that blue lit hall way. At that moment, I cried because I feared abandonment, but I never recalled that while I grew up there. But funny I recall now again when I see a photograph I never really remembered seeing. I recall instead truthfully, and my sister and mother still recounts today, how much I loved to stay at home and play with my Barbies. But how would you have known with just a photograph?

IMAG0030

Like this one.

So deceivingly ominous, even to me now, but behind that door were my childhood memories. It was where you would have found a 5 year old self of me placing plastic barn yard animals on the living room floor while she waited impatiently for her Cinderella tape to rewind over and over again on the TV.

Which is why when I came across my father’s parents’ photo on my sister’s cabinet I was quite taken.

In fact, my grandmother was stunning in a refined, mature way. I admired the photographer for having blurred out the surroundings so that they stood emphasized. She sat in a cafe of sorts with her husband behind her. But the more I stared, the more I had wished the photograph were more clear in their environment. I had wished I would be able to take a peek into the time period they lived in. Like what were their glassware like?

I could already feel the imaginations begin of their life. How they had existed, from this one single photograph that is so orchestrated. I almost forget the real facts that my mother had told me. How much livelier and strict she was with her two sons. My father. How they mixed the fats of pork and chicken in their rice because they had no money to afford meat. How much of a meal that was to them. I almost forget all of that because without thinking, these thousands undeliverable words appear to renew themselves with the image of the photograph. And with each time these photos are reflected in my eyes, reversed upside down into my brain, it will trigger the composition of all the stories and words I have seen in my time and tell me a brand new one.

So would it have been better instead if my grandparents had written more letters. Not that I would truthfully be able to dissect any of it to this degree with my lacking Chinese, but would it have been better still? For the current me to use my type writer as a source of comfort in typing out pieces I believe carry a strange piece of me. Who knows if anyone will ever come across them again. But would those few thousands words suffice for them to surface a picture in their memories, the same way a photograph lures a story?

I find in the moment I configured to write this sort of redundant argument, I thought it funny to juxtapose the contradictory ideas. Well, I’ll just simply take a photograph of my words, I said. Would the black and white clarity of the crisp new photo fade and become grainy one day and take effect onto those old words further, to a point where my physical self can no longer manipulate my words to mean what I had meant. Is that better than than the delicate crinkle of yellowed pages? – Well, the writer in me digresses. But could you in fact, imagine the silly typist that decided against better judgement to play a fool’s game with a future generation like that?

How would you have known though, in those thousand words that comes across your mind, that her first nickname at a job was by a 45 year old gay man who called her ‘Charlie Brown’. That my sister and I had crashed a mini remote controlled helicopter our father bought in the apartment lobby at night. I suppose he might have wished he had boys in that moment, and it makes me smile.

IMAG0086So many things I want to ask that girl because I don’t even know. And I might venture to say many people might not know themselves either. It’s like all these words and pictures were to only hold the promise to deliver but answers nothing.

Gosh, was I happy here? Arrogant? Being a smart turtle necked fool so that my current future self who holds these warm butterflies may hopes that I was indeed, because it just simply makes everything so much better that way. To just let yourself be charmed by another thousand words, when you have no more words to say. Perhaps, that is why we take photos. And we will write, when we can.