daughters

Father blog

 

If I had enough memories to remember

I’d string them together with falsehoods of you.

Each moment, a thread, woven snippets of truth

with transient hems for your light to shine through.

A new image, a father, a friend.

If only by imagination –

I’d create to mend.

 

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Erased

Artwork by Jennis Li Cheng Tien

Do you believe in corporeal love?

I ask as you rhyme and feign

appreciation for those you’ve crossed

in love or pain.

 

Whether built from rebellion or rushed affection

You swear to me blindly

There’s a spark, a connection.

 

But you’ve never found your place

in the barriers, restraints

That torment and harrow

until you’re soon erased.

 

A societal spirit that falls

for false elation in a worn out play

where desire is shunted, loyalty praised.

 

What freedom to float with you

amidst that modern plain

where names are not marred

in a celestial vein.

 

Where love is captured,

breathed in and soared.

Rushed between every crevice

unleashed, enjoyed.

 

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Brim

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How does this heart bend and mould

from a confined chest

into a hand to hold.

 

Does it move by one accord

or with a riotous play that

leaves you scorned?

 

Will it travel back and stray again?

I’ve heard trough time all pain will mend.

 

But can I stop the rampant rush?

The heat, the lush, the mush and guts.

 

I pushed it back, I clinched it tight.

I begged that demon not to fight.

 

But it’s still —

hovering.

Slowing seeping into my skin

rushing out at every brim.

 

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Thirty

I spent this past year celebrating the weird process of life that gradually spins into womanhood. I don’t quite know how, but somewhere between 29 and 30 – I found out who I am and who I want to become. It was a strange feeling to recognize growth (perhaps an even stranger event to explain now), but today feels like something worth celebrating.

A few years ago, I was creating who I was from what others thought I should be. I did this unrecognizably at first: slowly piecing myself together, one criticism at a time, until I realized I was becoming a collage of other people’s standards. I hated the fear and need for approval that brewed in my mind every time I voiced my opinions out loud or even posted a photo onto social media. I was in a weird purgatory. I knew who I was in my core, but I was trapped and shunted by the expectations I allowed others to place on me.

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I went through a rebellious stage: rejecting religion, family and even, as lame as it sounds, pop music. Something in me thought if I made a 180° turn from my current state, the edgier side would somehow reveal a braver, stronger me. In my solo trip to France, I realized the recent rebellion was a different kind of fear and conformity. I was rejecting southern traits and femininity because I didn’t know how to carve my own place amongst them. Out of mere defiance (or maybe survival), I rejected the idea of becoming a mother, rejected the ideals of womanhood, and at times, I even rejected my role as a wife. I wanted so badly to be me, but I didn’t know who that was.

Today, I am thirty.

I no longer list my dreams as a question needing approval. I no longer wait for someone to select me out of a crowd and tell me it’s okay to be me. I know who I am, the good and the bad, and I celebrate the years that shaped me into this new, impenitent woman.

For me, thirty means I can be confident in my decisions, comfortable with who I am, and strong enough to live the life I want. Instead of fighting against the quirks and fears, I can embrace them. I can grow from them.

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Catenary

I have a body 5,129 miles from my home. All seven organs, all 206 bones, and three layers of skin. A mesh of veins and muscles and tendons are all there, too. Ten toes, ten fingers, and breath in its mouth.

I tied two toes with big, red strings before I sent her off sailing into another dream. My body, you know, has seen a lot. But down here, I can feel she is starting to pop.

She’s walked 22.2 miles, traveled Normandie and Paris. She’s eaten a crate of cheese, and a whole fish with carrots.

I let her go on pretending she’s dauntless and brave, but I can see her strings are starting to fade.

So I gave her two toes a few tugs while she was out there – suspended and free – and I asked her nicely to remember me.

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Bonne Année

Three years ago I finally cut the crap and set a real New Year’s resolution:

Do what you’re too afraid to say out loud.

In 2015, I realized I kept tacking on trite goals of weight loss and clean eating habits instead of focusing on what I needed to improve. I get it, a new year gives motivation to restart or erase bad habits, but why did I keep seeing the earth’s move around the sun as a clean slate for my body mass? A new year is a continuation of life’s progress, a building block, a stepping stone to the rest of your life. Why would I tether each step forward with a bitchy list of restrictions?

Here’s a look at my resolutions through the years:

2009: Cut out soda

2010: No more processed foods

2011: Eat red meat once a month

2012: No more white carbs

2013: Throw away the scale, but also cut out carbs, sugar and food in general

2014: SQUATS

2015: Food is not the enemy

I’m not saying weight loss isn’t a valid goal for a new year, but I am questioning why it matters. For me, the years of body-centered resolutions became my own way of putting off what I was too afraid to go after:

I can’t be a writer right now, but I can refuse this ham sandwich and eat kale.

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I read an article years ago that said, “If you want to be a runner, start telling people you are a runner.” Sure, that seems like a simple enough concept now, but at the time – the line came packaged with its own group of white doves and a dramatic omniscient melody. That shit registered in my head. Was this guy saying I could just say what I wanted to do?

Voicing my dream aloud provided some weird power (aka peer pressure, motivation, public humiliation) to actually fight for it, but more than anything – it let me see that the dream was real. That somewhere, behind all the list of things I thought might make me

skinny

pretty

powerful

wanted

There was a real ambition waiting.

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You Get to Stop

I’m nearing the end of my graduate program. Life is hectic, my mind is fuzzy, and my brain seems to work in reverse. I mix up numbers and letters, I put milk in the cabinet instead of the refrigerator, and every three to four months I catch myself crying in public from a song on the radio or a bird in the sky.  Bright lights make my head pound, I can’t handle people walking behind me, and I’ve convinced myself there is a recorder in my apartment transmitting information into instagram ads.

My mom is starting to worry, “Do you have schizophrenia?” She asks earnestly.

“I just need to sleep.”

“Are you on drugs?”

“I just need to sleep.”

I believe I’ve grown immensely as a student; but for some reason, transcribing what is in my head onto paper (or onto a keypad) remains the most difficult task for me. This is bold to say, but my trouble with writing isn’t geared around fear. What people think of my work, or the weird sense of pride I must have to feel it is important enough prose to share, no longer haunts me. Instead, I’ve replaced that fear with a bigger one.

An indefatigable thought that asks: What are you saying?

Continue reading “You Get to Stop”

Eight Years

Year One

Rules:

(1) Don’t touch my face or

(2) Watch me shower or

(3) Slap my ass in public or

(4) Open pickle jars for me or

(5) Wake me up before I’m ready or

(6) Let me oversleep or

(7) Say anything about working out or

(8) Buy me flowers when you know I like plants or

(9) Open doors for me or

(10) Tell me not to cry.

DO YOU UNDERSTAND? 

I don’t like tree bark or pomegranate seeds or when roots cling to plants that are already dead.

DO YOU UNDERSTAND? 

I can’t think about space. DON’T MAKE ME. There are too many little parts in one picture; too many small things swirling together. Dark Matter. Gas. How did you even find me?

I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

I like birds because they are bovine. You are the only one who knows that. They are not feeble or angelic! Eight hollowed bones in each wing and they spend all day nesting. MORONS.

NO ONE ELSE UNDERSTANDS. 

Year Eight (365 days times 8 plus 2 leap years and 3 hours)

Rules:

(1) Never leave me.

DO YOU UNDERSTAND? 

You are my star; my nested bird in chaos.

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