To nobody in particular–

I broke my ‘no caffeine after 12’ rule. I had two cups of coffee, one decaf, and stopped by the local Indian market for masala chai (or chai masala, whichever it is) I broke my ‘no caffeine after 12 rule’ so that’s why it’s 1 and I’m on my phone, eyes bleary, legs jumpy.

Apparently one of my students cried after seeing how well he did. And admittedly I teared up when I heard how another did. I’m apprehensive about my later students, though. I sometimes feel as though I can sense these things, and I felt like something would be off and lo and behold, failure memes galore. My stomach sank a little. I had woken up to two emails from parents, effusive in gratitude and kindness. I said thank you, so or so is so or so brilliant etc, and I wish her the very best etc.

But ah, we will see. The next few weeks will be interesting. Truthfully, I’m just taking life as it comes.

The chai was okay. It tasted too milky, and then too authentic. And so I sipped it three more times before I liked it. But it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, so I think I’ll finish this box and buy a new brand next time.

A few days ago, I fell in love with a hamster at the pet store. My heart still aches when I think of his soft fur. I desperately want a pet, but dogs smell, cats are sheddy, hamsters live too-short lives, and rabbits are scarce. Sigh. He looked like a mound of snow with a slightly muddied head. I had already cycled through names (snow? Cotton? Rufus?) but ended up not buying him. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I grow attached quite quickly to little creatures.

Audible sigh. I’ve already found most of my graduate school resources and outlined all the chapters in the textbook because my mind gets so numbingly restless. It screams to organize information and consume knowledge.

On another note, irks me when people shit on reading. I can understand how much of a disadvantage it puts kids at when they can’t read efficiently. (As my eighth grade Latin teacher once said, “you know when you call a subject stupid because you don’t get it? Well, the subject’s not stupid. You are.”) Efficient literacy is a hard skill to teach and have. I’d prefer to teach math over reading comprehension any day, because logic I can explain, but written nuance? shit.

I could ramble on about the advantages of effective literacy and this impact on the education gap, but it’s 1:30 and I’m exhausted because I broke my ‘no caffeine after’…well, you get it.

Another midnight letter addresses to nobody in particular. Regards, warmly, have a blessed day. From, me.

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a letter to you

I was accepted to all four graduate psychology programs I applied to! It’s official, I guess. I’ll accept an offer tomorrow.

It’s funny. I never thought I’d go to grad school. It was around my freshman year I stopped caring about grades as well. I figured nobody would see them, anyways.

The thought of reading up on more psych studies and research makes my heart tingley. I remember my first psychology textbook: I found it in the biology room and stole it for a few weeks. “Readers don’t steal and thieves don’t read.” Ah. You thought wrong. I was a four year old klepto whose books were hidden from her.


Words. “YOUR AWESOME” my student emailed me. I suppressed the grammar-lover in me. Grammar is important, despite my not adhering to it on here. I used to be terrible at it. Nowadays, I make every single student remember that the semi-colon’s twin is the period. It has a twin.

Sometimes when I see their notes I have to try hard not to laugh. I explained ellipses the other day, foci–a small bane of my geometric existence. I told him to “THINK STEWIE.” So he drew a Stewie and wrote it down on the paper. Where do Stewie’s eyes go?


I spent the past Monday playing video games with my friend. On Sunday we got lunch. Korean. It’d been a while since I’d seen them. We sat quietly for bouts of time. It felt comfortable.


It’s 1:30 AM and I can’t sleep. Insomnia doesn’t plague me the way that it used to. But it crept up two nights ago. I felt an irritating hunger pang and went to the kitchen to find food. I found a roach in my cup instead; I tried not to scream, but I did.

When I can’t sleep, I write. I write until I’m tired. I write until my brain has emptied itself on page. I write until there are no more thoughts swarming my brain.

happy

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
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-
rithm-
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
purposes
like, learning math for the sake of learning it
rather than preparing them for something that could
make or break certain life outcomes

anyways
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
before
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.

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.

Musings are my Muse

portraitI stayed late at the bookstore today. I finished another book, fifth this year, about Frida Kahlo. (Her husband, Diego, seemed like a faithless oaf. Was a faithless oaf. But his money and fame–I think that carried Frida a lot.) The sun set. I didn’t go home. I stumbled upon a book that reminded me of old friends and their strict parents. After reading a little over a hundred pages, I called it a day.

It felt like when I’d stay at the bookstore late in the city. I’d say late, until nine or ten, maybe eleven, and it’d be cold and dark outside. But there’d still be people. And lights. Lots of lights. Dotted in the sky. And I’d feel so small, eyeing the buses, alone but okay, but alone.

I’ve still been playing Identity V obsessively. Ever since the game came out in June, I’ve played it nearly every day, several times a day. I used to play Hunter more than Survivor, but now I play Survivor all the time. I’d rage too much as a Hunter, since I am temperamental. Last night I raged unnecessarily over World War II, and today I felt irritable. It’s much easier to just not talk to people when you’re irritated with them.

But sometimes I would just resort to ghosting people because I was so irritated. I read a lot about ghosted victims on news sites catering to millennials. As a ghoster, well, sometimes it feels easier to avoid people than to confront them. And sometimes–this sounds terrible–confrontation doesn’t feel worth it, worth the relationship. Maybe we barely knew each other, or maybe I was too angry, or maybe the issues were too deep, or maybe they weren’t deep at all. Maybe we met once, and maybe you thought we’re meant to be, and maybe we meant a lot to each other, but it seemed easier to cut the losses and go. Sometimes it meant too much to say anything. Sometimes it meant too little to say anything.

I’ve dreamt of people who are no longer in my life. Old friends, old best friends. I dreamt of a few last night, some old best friends. Funnily, I saw them as my two first viewers on Snapchat. Subconscious recall, maybe? We ran into each other at Wal-Mart, the three of us. Let’s catch up! But then I left. And then there was that one other best friend whom I could never muster up the energy to really dislike. She wore a magenta dress, and it flowed. She pretended not to notice.

Old friends. It’s been years. When I was younger, I would skip from friend to friend each year. I’ve had one consistent best friend since 2014, and that’s been my longest, stable best friendship. Five years? Yes, five years. She used to call me incessantly at the beginning of our friendship. I would decline them all. Eight missed calls. Eight missed calls! From the girl in my calculus class. I thought she was looney toons, but I’m glad she clung to my avoidance. I remember when I first met her: I saw her from across the room eating a sandwich, and I decided I’d tell her about my journey of getting into Calculus. Later, we ate lunch together, and I said I didn’t like talking while I ate. She said she didn’t either. I wore white flip flops while we talked and walked to the food court.

I feel swaddled by warmth and covers. My train of thought ended there. Abruptly. I’ve just been seeing a steady stream of dreams and memories, weaving themselves together.

I forget how much easier it is to write things out than to say them. I don’t talk as much about these odd musings in real life–they’re intangible, rambly. But on text, they take on a shape. It’s like liquid, ah! taking the form of the container. And you, wordpress, are the container.

I’ve just feel devoid of thought or inspiration, particularly because I have been feeling consistently happy. I was moody for two straight weeks last May, because I was sick and it was cold, but otherwise, I haven’t felt the familiar pangs of inspirational sadness. The gripping abyss of theatrical sadness. I shouldn’t rely on that, though. There are other, if mundane, things to be written about. But ah, the serious topics seem to alienate the Internet. The silly topics as well. I think musings will just be my muse. They have been my muse.