Obscure Analogies: Ambiguous letters written to people in my life.

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I couldn’t decide whether or not to use my creative/emotional energy towards writing new poems or working on a new post, so I decided to do both (kind of).

To A Friend

Our relationship has become like a slowly seeping smog, and we don’t have enough oxygen to continue resuscitating empty conversations. I’ve seen the gaping holes in our ozone generated from that old, gray smoke factory you refuse to shut down. All it does is pollute our atmosphere with rough times and bad vibes, and you– the “global warming is a Chinese myth” theorist– refuse to consider the idea that there is clearer air elsewhere; that the strange mutations in our voices, the contortion in our faces, and the hazard signs hung over every conversational cue card are due to the poison swirling around the air that you’ve become far too accustomed to. I don’t even know if you’ve seen the changes in the weather or the melting ice caps. Or perhaps you’ve adapted to the warmer climates and can’t see that, across the mountains of our bullshit, I’m sinking. Luckily, I’ve been through these waters before, and I’m still ready to make a change. I’m just waiting for you to notice our lungs turning blue, made worn from the months of arguing, desperate for an O2 tank.

To A Family Member

When trying to describe my thoughts on our relationship, I think of a novice comedian walking out on stage, and with a confident swagger she swipes the microphone off her stand, takes a deep breath, and then ppllbbbbt! She blows out a raspberry. There’s a long pause. Only 1 person laughs– his chuckle echoes through this crowd of still faces. They point finger-guns at each other from across the room, and suddenly the rest of the audience gets up and shuffles out. In that moment, that one guy left in the crowd is the only guy who gets her– who understands her humor and sticks around long enough for the punchline. I’m sure they didn’t expect to meet under those circumstances, but there was a reason they were able to click so well. Whether or not he thinks it’s all a joke, he’s the only one she’s willing to openly share her anecdotes within this big and empty space, and he’s the only one with the tolerance to sit through the entire set.

If you ever read this, I’m sure you have already easily guessed that this letter is addressed to you, which, of course, means you still– up to this very day– get me.

To Someone I Hardly Know

You know when you discover a TV show from way-back-when, and you’re like, “Holy crap, where has this been all my life,” and then try to find episodes online so you can binge watch it for days? That’s kind of how I feel about you, minus the “all my life,” and “binge-watch it for days.” Don’t get me wrong, I still want to see you, but I know the limits too. Netflix’s constant “are you still watching?” never lets me forget. I’ve seen shows like you before, and I think you’re just within my genre.  I still want to get to know the main cast, meet the backstage crew, know the ins-and-outs of the genius writers of the show. I’m so drawn to the story you tell, but a little let down that there was a sudden cancellation after the 1st season. And what’s up with your cliff-hangers? I know I’m probably not your only viewer, but you should know that discontinuing the plot is not the best move to obtain solid ratings. And don’t get me wrong, I’m totally okay with how things are now, but I also wouldn’t mind an abridge series or movie adaptation.

To Someone I Hate

You know, I don’t really hate a lot of people. Like, I can count the number of people I strongly dislike on one hand, and yet I’ve only found the word hate fitting when it comes to you. It’s honestly appalling that we were ever friends. Knowing you was like seeing a plate of double chocolate chocolate-chip cookies in the distance, running towards it, and then getting close enough to see that it was actually just a plate of squished dog shit. And I was a little disappointed about the whole thing at first. Ya know, I was making amends with the fact that you chose to serve your doggy chocolates instead of cookies, and I politely declined them. It wasn’t until you decided your stinking poops were “too good for me” and started to fling them everywhere that everything took a sharp turn for the worst. You stomped them into my carpet, you smeared them on the walls, you fingerpainted with them onto every clean surface. You know how they say “the shit hit the fan?” You propelled them at the fan, switched it on high, and then watched it spray onto every corner of the room. And, through all of that, I somehow managed to put on a good face about the whole thing. I tried to let it go and decided I didn’t have the time or energy for your primitive overreaction. It wasn’t until you tried to shove a hot one in my face that I retaliated. I wasn’t going to stand for that, and you knew I wouldn’t. And once I stood up for myself, you somehow managed to turn the tables and said that I wanted my life showered in poo, and that it was my fault for thinking you had cookies in the first place. In fact, you announced this to everyone I knew, as if that was going to make your shit-slinging actions anymore justified. Thanks for wasting too much of my time. I’ve learned a lot since then about what a real friendship should be, and thank God there’s a helluva lack of whatever-the-heck-that-analogy-was in my life now.

To Someone Whose Name I Constantly Forget

I know we’ve only had a handful of conversations, but I always feel so guilty about forgetting your name. And you’re super nice whenever we run into each other, so it’s not like I am consciously shunning your existence from my mind. I just can’t ever remember your name, even though I do actually know your name and I just always forget it in the moment whenever I see you. Every encounter with you is like the sneeze that doesn’t happen. I had my tissue ready and felt my head start to tilt back, ready for the most epic sneeze of all time. And then there’s that really long and awkward pause where nothing happens and congestion floods back, and I’m like, “Damn, I thought I really had it that time.” Then, after we’re done talking, that sneezy feeling comes back 5 minutes later and I’m like, “OH YEAH, THAT’S WHAT IT WAS.” So yeah… sorry.

 

Define: Happy

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It’s time to address the choices I’ve made in this blog. Lately, I haven’t been posting the “happiest” of content despite happiness being the forefront of this platform with all of the cute Disney and Peanuts gang inserts I have oh-so cleverly chosen (if I do say so myself). After reviewing my content, I’ve noticed how my blog has taken a sharp turn from casual, goofy commentary to a more emotional, analytical perspective. I hope it means that I’ve been growing as a writer, but more importantly, I think it also reflects how my perspective of “Happiness Keeps Running” has changed.

I was a freshman in college when I first started this blog. Doe-eyed, nervous about making new friends, ready to take my first steps into adulthood. Happiness, to me, was everlasting. It was the energy that underlined my motivations, my connections with others, and was the means to persevere through all obstacles. I imagined that happiness would always be coursing through my veins and that I wouldn’t need much else as long as I was happy. At the time, optimism was the way to continuously trigger states of happiness, and feeding off that energy from those around me who made it easy to feel optimistic. I thought that conquering disdain and retribution with a positive attitude was the key to tackling life overall.

Now, as I write this as a senior in college, I see that happiness enters seasons of drought. Naivety is Hope’s secret lover. I’ve found myself unhappy with my choices and path of life far more times that I’d care to share. I’ve found myself feeling lonely and trudging through feelings that I can only describe as “gray.” I’m usually very good about putting up a front when these things happen, but it gets tiring after a while. Whoever said your 20s would be the greatest period of your life was full of crap. I have no idea what I’m doing, no idea what I will be doing, and no idea of what I should be doing. On the brighter side of things, I got into grad school and will be taking one step closer to my dream of becoming a speech-language pathologist. However, I don’t feel fulfilled. I’ve reached a conflict in which I want to be happy and have equated that to feeling full; full of drive, full of passion, full of wonder, full of curiosity. I feel like this is something I’ve been missing on a emotional and spiritual level.  It makes me wonder what fulfillment means to an Asian-American, heterosexual, Christian millennial like me. What do I have to do to feel complete? And all of this questioning makes me feel as if I have betrayed the motivational undertones of my writing in this blog, and as if I am allowing this facade to permeate in my posts.

I think having questions like these have slowly seeped into my understanding of what happiness is, and how to achieve a state of content. As I approach the end of my undergraduate college career, I see now that I used to have such one-dimensional thoughts in assuming that I would always find ways to feel happy. It appears that happiness was easily achieved when going about life with minimal exposure to hardship and conflicts in the process of maturity. I was sheltered, and I’ll admit that. I allowed myself to be so easily swayed into modes of arbitrary bliss without questioning what or why I felt that way, as well as why I needed to present myself as perpetually happy. I used to feel compelled to make every person I remotely knew as close of a friend as they would allow me to be. I believed that everyone had the potential to do anything, and that having that potential alone made the pursuit of goals and dreams worthwhile and plausible.  I essentially classically conditioned myself to portray the whimsicality and enthusiasm of youth, following the rulebook of “fake it til you make it” and forcibly pushing aside my deeply embedded teenage angst with the assumption that it would help me find happiness. I’ve now had enough existential crises and hair-tearing episodes to compensate for the lack thereof in high school, ripping apart the blanket of false positivity and unfounded hope that I once clung so dearly to. And looking back, I can’t help but cringe at this “act” I carried around just to trick and satisfy myself. It really makes me wonder if this attitude was strangely endearing or just straight-up annoying to my peers who had to see me every single day and put up with this distasteful charade. Not to mention that I also used to be an overly energetic morning person with the compulsion to say hi to every living being in the hallways. By the way, sorry to everyone who had to put up with that.

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As I said before, I’m not sure where to go from here. I’m sure this is part of some cliche, sadistic scheme of life, and I’ve been unwillingly designated a cartographer of sorts. I’m also quite sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, and that this is going to take a very long time to navigate. To those of you who resonate with this “lost in the fog” feeling, I’m going to go ahead and be a cheese and say that we’re not alone in this. Let us take our dystopian strides in hand-holding camaraderie. Although happiness has changed its definition and methodology over time, we can still continue searching with the help of one another. By sharing experiences, creating conversational platforms, and striving to be more than just content, we can discover the things that help us experience fulfillment.

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