body as friend (or foe)

my body’s a friend tonight while i’m scarfing down heaps of korean barbecue, determined to get my money’s worth. in the bathroom, i do the math. 12 plates of food would equate to $5 per, which would certainly be worth it. i’ve barely eaten all day, feeling little appetite and suppressed hunger. so the small monster unleashes at the table. i stare seriously at the meat, assessing how quickly each types cooks, sensing the unevenness of the grill. i watch the fire, blues and yellow licking the metal.

my body’s a foe tonight on the verge of explosion. the 12 plates have come. by plate 7, boyfriend is done. he has been done. will you be ordering more? he looks at me with wide desperate eyes. my own have hardened into determination. somewhere the headache i’ve had all afternoon evaporates. in its place is now a racing heart and fueled adrenaline. we soon find out that he is a terrible sidekick. “now! wait, no.” i glare at him. “now!” we turn at the same time to a coast not-clear. i glare at him again. he laughs into his sleeve, and i dump a small plate of disturbingly authentic octopi. i think that octopi do not deserve to be eaten. they’re too intelligent.

when we skid out of the restaurant, hearts beating wild, we compare it to our summer heist of 2017. we’d roadtripped to a restaurant with a view by the mountain, a view by the sea. in lieu of the four hour wait, we slipped through an open chain-link instead. as a child, i flirted with rebellion, hard–rules were only made to be broken. these small tastes of harmless rule-breaking take me back to a time when we ran into locked rooms only because we weren’t allowed. adrenaline was always what makes it memorable.

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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.

100 Books Reading Challenge

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Started a reading challenge project mid-spring of 2017. The goal: read 100 books by summer in a year. I’m inching along, albeit at a slower pace than I’d like. Figured posting the list on my blog would hold me accountable–also, I get to share cool books!

So here’s a list of books I’ve reading; I plan to update every 10 books or so. If you have any book recommendations, I’d love to hear them! 🙂

Note on April 10th, 2019: Oh! I am just about done with this project. It’s taken me two years, and I’m just 7 books away. In looking back, I realize that some stories I have forgotten, while others have burned into my memory. I’ve bolded some of the stories I really loved and remembered.

  1. One! Hundred! Demons!, Lynda Barry
  2. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
  4. Here, Richard McGuire
  5. Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks
  6. Burned, Ellen Hopkins
  7. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling
  8. Walking Dead 1, Robert Kirkman
  9. Walking Dead 2, Robert Kirkman
  10. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelous
  11. Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur
  12. Partner Track, Helen Wan
  13. Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen
  14. Kafka, R. Crumb
  15. Project Jennifer, Jill Rosenblatt
  16. Dignity, Donna Hicks
  17. Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant, Roz Chast
  18. Ginny Moon, Benjamin Ludwig
  19. Autobiography of Barefoot Gen, Nakazawa Keji
  20. Meow Meow, Jose Fonollosa
  21. Beautiful Darkness, Fabien Vehlmann
  22. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  23. The Skin Above My Knees, Marcia Butler
  24. Essential Poems (To Fall in Love With), Daisy Goodwin
  25. Sailing Alone Around the Room, Billy Collins
  26. Future Tense, Paintings by Alex Gross
  27. Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling
  28. Thirst, Poems by Mary Oliver
  29. Global Street Art, Lee Boffkin
  30. Men Without Women, Haruki Murakami
  31. Vintage Cisneros, Sandra Cisneros 
  32. Have You Seen Marie, Sandra Cisneros
  33. Woman Hollering Creek, Sandra Cisneros
  34. The Quiet Eye: A Way of Looking at Pictures, Sylvia Judson
  35. Blue Nights, Joan Didion 
  36. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
  37. This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz
  38. The Embassy of Cambodia, Zadie Smith
  39. Love Mad Poems, Rumi
  40. The Wolves In The Walls, Neil Gaiman
  41. Forms of Distance, Bei Dao
  42. 73 Poems, E.E. Cummings
  43. The Love Bunglers, Jaime Hernandez
  44. Little Book of Little Stories
  45. Shoplifter, Michael Cho
  46. Rick & Morty Comics
  47. Fresh Complaint, Jeffrey Eugenides
  48. Stone Butch Blues, Leslie Feinberg
  49. White Teeth, Zadie Smith
  50. South and West, Joan Didion
  51. Dear Dumb Diary
  52. Stories Julian Tells, Ann Cameron
  53. Stitches, David Small
  54. Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom
  55. Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka
  56. Pretty: Stories, Greg Kearney
  57. Night Watch, Malin Lindroth
  58. Constance and the Great Escape, Pieere Le Gall 
  59. Rapunzel, Paul Zelinsky
  60. Jane and the Fox & Me, Isabelle Aresenault 
  61. I’ve Loved You Since Forever, Hoda Kobb
  62. Corduroy, Don Freeman
  63. Buck, MK Asante
  64. Chemistry, Weike Wang
  65. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
  66. Soviet Daughter, Julia Alekseyeva
  67. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
  68. LIFE 70 Years of Extraordinary Photography
  69. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Timothy Snyder
  70. SHOCK
  71. Beijing: Imperial and Contemporary
  72. Abandoned America, Matthew Christopher
  73. The Polaroid Book
  74. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
  75. Cats, Jane Bown
  76. The Photographs of Carl Mydans
  77. Camanchaca, Diego Zuniga 
  78. Creepy Carrots, Aaron Reynolds
  79. Lies in The Dust : A Tale of Remorse From The Salem Witch Trial
  80. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi
  81. Going Into Town, Roz Chaz
  82. Doodle Diary of A New Mom, Lucy Scott
  83. The Marshmallow Test, Walter Mischel
  84. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L Konigsburg
  85. The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Amy Tan
  86. Interpreter’s Maladies
  87. Rx
  88. Because We Are Bad, Lily Bailey
  89. Frida’s Bed, Slavenka Drakulic
  90. Zenobia
  91. Light Filters In Poems, Caroline Kaufman
  92. Sweet Land Stories, E.L Doctorow
  93. Hap and Hazzy at the End of the World, Diane DeSanders

 

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.