i am so proud of my students
one of them, whose top schools is my alma mater, (wow, my heart when i say that) got a full score
another increased his score from the 50th percentile to the 90th percentile
now i have two students who have made that percentile leap
and two full-score students !!!
i’m just so happy for them

a part of me feels like this is a karmic form of paying it forward
or, from a more earthish perspective, making use of what i’ve learned
and doing something with it
like yeah, sure, i started to care about school when i was 14
spent 4 years caring, learning, reading books, semi-paying attention
and achieved this goal or that
and then it got easier in college, and i stopped working so hard….
and then i let things go through one ear and out the other

at times, it felt hollow when it was just me
doing something….
i mean, i don’t know. it was fulfilling, but sometimes i’d also wonder
what’s the point of trying to achieve things and then achieving them?
what’s the point of learning and mastering something to just…do it?
it’s difficult to put into words
but did it really make a difference when i stamped into the ground
with my
tiny, tiny stamps?

the thing about explaining concepts to others and teaching
this idea or that, the things that i was taught
is that it feels meaningful
i think back to all the people who had helped me
who had spent hours teaching me
who had explained this theory or that concept
who walked me through the confusion and frustration
and i think of all of them, who made a difference in my life
and the thought of being one of many people
who could possibly also make a difference in helping these kids
reach their goals, giving tidbits of advice, teaching xyz
is, like, relieving
and the opposite of soul-sucking (cough advertising)

in the moment, it’s also intensely fun
detour: i used to think that logarithms were hard
or at least challenging–i mean, the word itself is very strange
log a rhythm
hey, billy, log a rhythm for me, won’t you?–
but i’ve begun to reframe the logarithm as a mr.potato head
who shares the same body and features as an exponent
(“inverse exponent” they say
what the hell is even that?)
but whose features are simply in different locations
and they (the kids) get it

now that i’m thinking about it
i used to be those kids (the ones i work with)
teaching even littler kids
who would sometimes be really talkative
and cough in my mouth
and make faces of confusion
but at the time, i was teaching for general educational
like, learning math for the sake of learning it
rather than preparing them for something that could
make or break certain life outcomes

this is all a roundabout way of saying
that i’m really proud of how they’ve done
like, really proud
and very emotionally invested, ha ha
and that i’m (personally) happy to be doing what i’m doing
it’s a chapter in this life that ties off well
with one of the earlier ones

did i write that i was accepted to graduate school in psychology?
well, that’s a big personal life thing–
i was.
so this–everything i wrote above–is a for-now thing
the towards-psychology chapter
so i am relishing in this chapter for now


a pointless post

There’s a whole lot of depth and wisdom on here. Meanwhile, I feel like a small grey seal, washed up on shore, dull with boredom.

I know my eyes will ache tomorrow: too much screen time. I know I’ll doze off into blandness. I know I’ll just–oh, what’s the point. I forget where I’m going with this.

We’ll exercise tomorrow. A significant other is like a built-in buddy. Making time for actual friends is much more effortful and time-consuming. And occasionally draining. That’s another sentiment for another day.

What else? It’ll be warm tomorrow. 80s. Unbearably warm. It’ll dip into the weekend. I don’t know what next week will look like. I’m adamant against certain things. Maybe I’ll bring bread. I think I will.

This was a pointless post. A big blip drip into the sea of deep musings. I have no deep musings, not really. It’s more like a humdrum.

Maybe I’ll take a week off my phone. Maybe that is the answer. Maybe I’ll limit screen time to an hour a day. Maybe that’s why I feel mentally sluggish.

a night out | sea of familiar strangers

The past weekend was spent carousing through the city.

Early afternoon, I drop off a piece for display at a local art gallery. Then we visit the museum of art, which houses several stories. We appreciate the art thoroughly, oohing and aahing–I’ve always been one for realism and landscapes. Afterwards, we eat street tacos at the city park, the warm sun on our backs, and skate through another art museum.

By 7 PM, I’m ready to call it quits, go home, curl up in bed. But he wants to watch a comedy show in the grungier alternative district, packed with bars and clubs and stores. I grudgingly oblige. We crawl through the busy street in the car, unable to find parking. People shuffle around in large crowds, partygoers, girls dressed provocatively, guys swaggering. It’s a strange scene. I feel like I’ve seen these people in college, only they’re ten years older. They’re ten years older. It’s strange to see familiar faces with unfamiliar wrinkles, bags, bloodshot eyes. And they tower over me, over us.

Every shop we drift into is like another world. One is girly, filled with sweet smelling soaps. Another is dark, filled with the stuff of 50 Shades. Another is undeniably cool, filled with skateboarders who whiz around on the indoor ramp. One of the skaters, with a forehead scar and glasses, with a close buzzcut and blue polo, looks quintessentially nerdy. He glides on the ramp, effortlessly, smoothly, embodies a skaterly confidence. I imagine a narrative for him. He’s been bullied in elementary school, feels like he doesn’t fit in. He discovers the skateboard at 13, decides that he loves it. He’s committed to it. He falls and stumbles, but it’s his thing. It gives him coolness. 

We leave the shop for a burger joint, where a girl in giant floaty green pants laughs loudly with her date. They’re at the bar. There are red and pink lights and neon signs. It’s crowded. It’s loud. This place is poppin’. We sit down at a small booth. I stare at the couple next to us, eyeing them intensely. Is this their third date? Is this their fifth date? Why do they laugh so hard? Stare deeply into each other’s eyes? Is the other person really that interesting to the other?

“We’re such a frouple. A friend couple.” I declare later that night. At the moment, though-

“Stop staring!” he hisses. And I let out a belly rumbling hearty hearty chuckle, realizing how absurd I must look, staring intently at them. Then I stare some more. My questions have gone unanswered. I later conclude that they must be relatively new in the relationship. They pay too much attention to each other to be too comfortable, but they’re clearly interested in the other, and have rapport.

The burgers are delicious but small. They’re filling enough, but not filling. So at the comedy house, he munches on chips and salsa. I like one of the acts–two guys with a lot of chemistry and social rapport. The first act is cringe-y. I assume it’s the comedy club students, who are new and not super funny, and maybe a little awkward. I wonder what brings them to improv. The last group is funny, but a little spread out. Two of the actors seem to have chemistry with each other. I think these stage acts rely a lot on actors who get each other‘s humor, and then banter off that to the crowd. Sheldon and Leonard get along well. But Sheldon and, say, Adam Sandler would not.

“Is this what young professionals do on the weekend? Go out and party? Go clubbing?”

Good question. Is this really what people do at night? They really go out in this city? To party, to club? It’s 9:30 PM, and I’ve been ready to go home for the past two hours. The chocolate beer and comedy have woken me up, but barely. After wandering around, we make our way back to the parking lot. We turn to see the cars passing by–a woman is rushedly patting blush onto her face. For these people, these older versions of college kids, the night is just getting started. They’re a little oldish, but oh, the night is young.

With Eyes Like Butterflies


December  10th, 2013 // 12:50:00 pm

On the car ride home I detected, from the smoky poof of our deep conversation, wispy strands of respect in your eyes.

I really like people who have kind eyes. People with kind eyes are compassionate, and compassionate people have kind eyes. And kind people are beautiful and nice to talk to, and you can see it in their eyes. -trails off into a tune due to wordy redundancy-

But people can have normal eyes. People can have snarky eyes. People can have flat eyes that hover between life and lifelessness. And people can have sly eyes or suspicious eyes or cold, hard and dull eyes.

As my art teacher once cried: “Eyes are the window to the soul. Serendipity!”

I thought it was spelled “Sarahn Dipity” and wheeled around. “Who’s that?”

Sometimes I’ll miss people for their eyes. Whenever I have little moments of peering into people’s eyes, I’ll take a small creepy note of the types of eyes they have: far set, close-set, deep-creased, light-creased, blue or black or green or tan. Search for clues of their soul window decor. Like curtains of kindness or meanness or tiredness, or sadness.

Those with kind eyes are the ones who emanate the wisps of respect. Those with unkind eyes are the ones who pretend nothing ever happened.

Perused through my old Tumblr and found this old post from 2013. I remembered the exact moment I marinated in these thoughts. Again with the winding roads and a heart full of resentment.

But less than three years later, puedo decir con confianza: all hail the force of forgiveness. They will sweep through your heart’s city and burn down houses of bitterness. For the better, ‘course, and I’m glad they did.

Lotus Flower

I did not choose to grow here.

I see myself as a displaced flower, uprooted before she was planted, a seed placed miles and miles away. I am, let’s say, a lotus flower. From a country far away. One day, I sprouted. Maybe under the sunny bright skies of California. Somewhere Western. And all I knew were the soil and skies and trees of a Western world.

And there were Western songs. And Western values. And Western foods that made people balloon and swell and topple over from heart disease. There were color coded hierarchies. And color embracing schools. There were plastered banners of ideals, never obtained, of bars that will never be reached. And there was money. Lots of money. Unevenly divided, but money, still. Oh, and shit-talking. Lots and lots of shit-talking. Because shit-talking was her prized possession baby.

She was theoretically free. She was chained by things that half of her would screech about.

This is Western air I breath. And Western words I write. My mind scrambles to translate to my mother tongue. I feel irritated when quizzed, scrutinized, over my minute vocabulary. I comprehend the way I read–vertically, in chunks, taking in the entire scene.

I did not choose to grow here. But I do so, begrudgingly, albeit mostly contentedly, because with physical comfort comes mental comfort. There is food to eat. And water to drink. And clean carpeted homes. And space, and clear blue skies.

But it is a hollow step-mother, a cutout adopted family, and this is Cinderella, couched in her stepmother’s magnificent home. It is lacking in significant ways. In this tiled gated home, ripe with waste and excess, I have no desire to engorge myself in deep fried meats. I have no desire to shoot a rifle. I have no desire to make silly clownish political statements, or yell, or scream. Where is everybody else? Where is the real food? Where is the real music? The real dancing? The culture, the culture?

And when I return to this home, a home I had never been, I feel the deepest, most explicable sense of home. How do you return home when you’ve never been? This, I realize, is biological. It’s deeper than simply sprouting where you are planted. It goes back seasons, centuries, for an environment to be just right for that particular plant–but I was uprooted, like so many others.

And I never assume that I am like them. Plants in the new environment, I mean. I can feign it–I speak it, and I most likely seem it, but it’s a facade. You can take an alligator out of a swamp, raise it in the desert, but it will always have been from a swamp, no matter what you tell it. You can brainwash it. You can tell her to participate in rituals of the patriotic. You can make her place her hand on this part of her chest, memorize poems about fabric, worship strangers of the dead. But it is all surface level, environmental. External. As internal as socialization can be.

No matter what anyone tells me, no matters what is shushed or socially right, nobody can convince me otherwise. She is a queen, a sleeping dragon. And I am convinced of it. I hope she breaths and flies and wakes soon. I have been planted alongside the fat rich happy little Western boar, who snores and powerfully kicks up mud when angered. There is not much that I can do. Because I did not choose to grow here.