I must not stray so far from God that I might believe that I must find hobbies and interests to live a worthy life. Or that I must not ever get a grade below a B because that says something significant about my intelligence. I don’t live for a list of accomplishments or see my sole purpose of existence in finding one true passion. I don’t live for the approval of people, for boys and a skinny frame. And I will not live from the belief that I am undeserving of love, wallowing in self-loathing for my failures and inability to do the things I wish I could. I will not make such a grave mistake, for I am so dearly loved. This is my identity, this is what defines me. Even though I will never be perfect, His love is a net that I am enmeshed in. And what more, there are not enough languages to learn, books to read, not enough charity to give, children to feed, money to make, wars to stop, to earn me His grace. There is no way to redeem myself; the Lord is my redeemer! I am inherently invaluable to Him and He has already done the work for me. If God were simply just, surely I would be unlovable! But how thankful I am to live in a universe where God is both entirely just and completely loving! I do not strive to be the best but to do my best with all that He has given me. And from this place of love, I can have full confidence that I will be okay, no matter where I end up. What I gain from learning and achieving is not self-worth and value but joy in glorifying God for what He can achieve through me. And in the process of reaching my goals I am building my character, developing fruits of the spirit: self-control, patience, and perseverance. How can I ever despair when I can never truly fail because He loves me so.
That amazing feeling of turning a corner and feeling the cool of the shade, pine tree shadows skimming over my skin. They don’t look real either: they’re running in front of me, in sync. Moving figures, two dimensional. Watch as they faint away into the set.
These days I’m a fan of brevity. Cut to the chase before I throw my heart where it’s not enough.
I see myself stepping off the ledge, aiming for the spot between the two buildings. I imagine the drop, the windows flying above my head and then disappearing. I wouldn’t do it out of despair, no. I’m just no longer afraid.
I put my feet up on the chairs, not out of blatant disrespect.
If I were an infant, would you be more forgiving?
I retreat into my sheets, just thinking about the marathon of a day.
The list of things I’ve failed to do grows like my laundry pile.
Maybe I just won’t do anything; I’ll never leave this bed.
I shrug off ugly feelings when boys don’t approach me.
I can’t seem to focus today; my thoughts are vortexes.
I must propel myself above the storm-
like rising from a pool using just my arms.
If I were depressed, would you expect me to?
Met a boy and got kissed by the sun instead. Lived at my best friends’ houses, lazed about with dogs and glasses of Pinot Noir. Noticed that mum always brings home those satay skewers I like and that dad takes notes during my dentist appointments. I told my sister secrets and hugged her before bed. Read on the couch and watched people on the train, with the patience of a grandmother peering out the window for signs that her grandchildren have come home. Home is where loving comes easy.
Never would I have expected such acute disappointment from being left without a kiss goodbye.
I walk slightly ahead of you, not quite knowing how we’d end things. What did I have to say? How much would be enough? What would it look like, the perfect sendoff? You must be anticipating it. It’s like that feeling when you play pass the parcel. What do you do with that thing in your hands? Hold it for a second longer or toss it away? What’s it going to be?
I’m nervous, can you tell? You must do. I don’t know what to do with myself. We’re trying not to be obvious and I think that much is obvious to the both of us. I miss the bus because its arrival rudely interrupted our conversation. “I feel like I have more to say”. I tell you in the most serious voice appropriate for the streets that I’m around if you ever need anything. And then we’re back to joking again. We’re laughing, and look at us, we’re so brave; we don’t look away.
It’s quiet again and we’re brought to the precipice. At any moment we might have to jump. When can we move and how can we do it well? I catch you glance swiftly at my lips and I can’t bring myself to reciprocate. But I recall that your lips seemed bruised earlier today and curiously how I had, for the second time, entertained the thought of kissing you.
There’s a kind of excitement that lust makes a mockery of. It’s in the exchange, an undercurrent that is simultaneously understated and intense in its purity. It’s in the way legs are crossed. When thighs fall together like balancing cards and when a smile is shared at the right moment. It’s our secret, because we know that every touch is significant. And when you’re reluctant to move, you’re screaming: I want to be close to you.
“I won’t keep you any longer”, I say. Another pregnant pause. Hug? “Another hug”, you say in an oh-okay-haha sort of way. We smile briefly, then you turn and walk away, whilst a million crazy thoughts flood my mind. Imagine if I were to be that girl who runs after the guy- wait! The grab and the kiss and the slow fade to black.
Maybe I should’ve said “come here”. Maybe you’d have cocked a brow and moved a little closer. And maybe I’d have to prompt you again, to tell you it was okay. “Closer”. Then maybe you’d finally get it. It’s okay. Just kiss me already.
After a year in university, I’m a changed woman. I now box/ kickbox regularly. And I actually enjoy reading the bible. That is all.
Sometimes I dream of people with faces that don’t belong to them. On the surface, I don’t get it right, but I feel the centers of everything, the souls of objects… Your voice, though. I know that voice. I hear it through different mouths, different lips, and I’m searching for your pair. I think I fancy people who look like traces of you– like you’re the first draft, the outline an artist makes before they begin.
I hold onto the voice, thin and wispy through the phone. I think I must have been the one to call you, because it’s the one thing I try not to do when I’m awake. I ask how you’ve been and I don’t ask because it’s the polite thing to do. I want to know. I want to imagine the new place, your home. This other world. Do the pillows match the curtains? Are you happy? Are you in love? Tell me how you feel, so I can recover who I’ve missed. Will you tell me how you are? I grip the phone, press it against my ear, and quiet myself. I want more before –
I lose you. The empty buzz over the phone, the connection gone. I hesitate to dial again. Will you call me back? And it wrenches my insides, realizing that I’m always calling first. Will you not surrender? Because here I am, waving white flags and poppies.
I don’t want this, I know that now.
When I find a good blog, I go on a rampage. I’m voracious, like I’ve been starved of words. I get through a year’s worth in no time, familiarising myself with a voice I’ll probably never hear. I’m that person who gives you 100 views on a day. Sorry not sorry.
I love it when people stop on the street to stare at dogs or babies. At first, I’m taken with the dog/baby. Then I’m taken with the person. It’s a soppy fest. Stop being so cute, all of you.
I might be a creep but I really like it when people are into their food. When they’re not doing anything but taking the time out to enjoy something as simple as a Subway sandwich. He was sitting there, no distractions, no headphones, no phone. Staring at his sandwich, biting into it. No laboured bites, no unnecessary mouth stretching. Not trying to get everything in now, at once. But slowly. Enjoying life.
Strangers who smile at me make me so happy. I mouth a thank you to the driver who lets me pass and I get a smile in return. I am waiting for the light to change and the construction worker smiles at me deliberately. Someone in a Ralph’s uniform shoots me a smile as I’m dazed by the pastry section. It’s a shot of happiness.
I was reading up on synesthetes on acid and a redditor describes in detail what it’s like to drive to music. I’m not going to share that though, because this is the best part:
‘But OH MY GOD WHEN PEOPLE SMILE. Sorry to shout, but it’s the most amazing thing. I make an effort to smile at random people all the time, because I love the feeling I get when someone gives me a genuine smile. It’s almost like an orgasm. I can see and hear and feel the happiness and friendliness. Almost any emotion, I think, is made more extreme by my synesthesia’.
Yesssssss! Mirror neurons at play? When you smile, I smile. My brain is literally firing smiling neurons before my lips get tURNT. And when you smile, I am reminded of the best feelings. Humans are so cute sometimes. We feed off each other’s joy. There’s a word for it– Mudita: pure joy unadulterated by self interest. When we can be happy of the joys other beings feel, it is called mudita; the opposite word is envy or schadenfreude. Unselfish joy inadvertently benefits the self, because nothing feels better than love. How selfish is love when you have obtained the most incredible gift ever? I see these paradoxes in the gospel. Lose your life to gain it. Jesus speaks the truth!
If you happen to lock eyes with someone, go an extra step: smile. I dare you. But not in a scary way. Practice in the mirror first.
I now know what I miss most about Hong Kong: bathroom doors that cover most of my legs. Why is it that in America, the doors are so darn high? Nobody should be able to see my ankles. God forbid, my undies. It’s not my fault I’m short.
In LA, pedestrians take priority. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a peasant in HK, so I tend to jaywalk and get frustrated when cars don’t let me pass first. They’re always so eager. It’s learned cultural etiquette, crossing the street. I remember the awkward stuttering feet, my hands and their hands waving back and forth when I first arrived in LA. What, me? Should I go first? No, you go. Me? No, you. I wasted everyone’s time. Move out the way, bitch.
When I hopped into a Taxi from the airport, I mentioned that “I’m going home!!!!!!!” The taxi driver did not dignify me with a response. And all of a sudden, I missed Uber. I’m going home! I didn’t vomit on my 15 hour flight! I’m happy and I want to share it with someone. Tell me about your home! Are you far from it? Do you miss it? Or do you know these streets like the back of your hand? Uber is a social experience. I love that- I meet the most interesting people. I may just write under a separate category for it. Apparently Uber is at work in HK. I doubt it’s very popular; most people I’ve spoken to have never heard of it. Taxis are cheap enough and people have better things to do. Such is the mindset of HK people.
MTR tickets are more expensive than I had remembered. Green tea is a whopping $12 HKD?! What has happened since I was gone?! Not impressed. It’s also been really really hot lately. It feels like a thousand mouths breathing on me, a centimetre away from my skin. For this reason, I’ve worn bare-backed shirts. But I quickly realized that I can’t wear them in HK without creepy stares on the MTR. People do not care if you notice that they’re looking. They keep staring. And when you move, their eyes move with you. I hate it.
The skies have been shot through with flashes of light- the way an old fashioned camera snaps in slow motion. The typhoon in Taiwan has left something that “looks like an apocalypse, no joke” said my friend in Taiwan. The world is turning to shit. Post-apocalyptic films always feature people with pre-apocalyptic attitudes that mess things up for everyone. Human nature, errybody. Mad Max knows.