My Sky

My room is painted blue because it’s the sky. It’s my sky, the window and its blue blinds a reality check. Or is it? When I lie on my bed the walls and the window blocking the sky outside blended together. I used post-it note reminders to make clouds, clumps of green, grey, pink or blue, urging myself to materialize imagination.

So my sky was never just a bright blue, besides the multi-colored clouds I pasted pictures, folded boats, hung medals or other shiny things, all in hopes of replicating a sunset years ago.

It was an explosion of colors, the Creator’s canvas. My eyes couldn’t pick out each shade and I was disappointed since I wanted to name them. But I never will, I never can, for it’s unfair to trap a thing so beautiful to a simple name.

Of Breakfasts and my Mother

My favorite meal of the day had always been the first one. When us humans wake from the daily hours dedicated to a coma most of us resurrect ourselves with a bite to eat.

For me, that bite of resurrection is not too different from the main motivation of the biblical resurrections of love unconditional.

Every morning I wake to the clamor and pots and knives against cutting boards, then my alarm follows. I would slap it off. My nose made guesses and carried by hungry steps my eyes affirmed my guesses: homemade breads baked last night, eggs, potatoes, yams or other dances of proteins and starches and a slip of sugar if I made any pastries. A swirl of colors, a rainbow of promises, each Asian fusion my mother’s experiments with local produces.

Most of the time I carry my plate and drink upstairs to make homework or studying more palatable. But, to tell the truth, it is not the tender omelets or the often under seasoned potatoes or the hand-grounded coffees that powered me through the rest of the day, but each bite that reminded me of my mother’s care and love, so sweet, endlessly empowering.

Shoes

I wear so many shoes since I always stand in others’ shoes. Thinking in their places, trying to see from their angles; sometimes, just sometimes, I feel as though I am intruding on others’ room for thoughts. Am I making assumptions? Am I rushing to understand? But in this time and age, I think I will continue to wear many shoes.

This Election and that Dress

There is a few things this 2016 election has in common with a certain dress.

  1. They are both white and gold (or at least, it seems so to some people)…if you sit Clinton, Kaine, Trump and Pence in a row in that order and focus only on their hair.
  2. They are both controversial
  3. They both got a lot more attention than it truly deserved
  4. And…by the end of the controversies (if there is an end), we’ve all beaten each up until we are all blue and black.

*Hopefully you are not traumatized by my comic…if you are…sorry, I couldn’t resist.*

Drawn to Flame

I find admiration in a moth, whose stupidity in throwing itself into a flame is often mocked and criticized. But, I beg to differ, for I don’t see fire as a symbol for the fiery pits of hell. Besides, I know a moth, and I admire him.

He is always allowing his sparks of imagination to roar into a flame, and despite his fruitless flutters he will dance to the the light, allowing himself to be consumed and burnt though somehow, make a legacy out of the crisps of hardships.

So I thought, if I am drawn to a moth, am I not also drawn to the fiery fires of ambition and dreams by the transitive property?

Winter Solstice

It was the Winter Solstice a couple of days ago. And, being the Taiwanese I am, I celebrated the longest night of the year with food: while it is a great excuse for late night snacking, eating sticky rice balls with red bean soups is actually a tradition. And, being the philosopher I am, I was inspired by the contents in my ceramic bowl: while most would probably discuss the importance of upholding your own identity and despite being different, I was thinking a little beyond the cliché. The small number of the pink rice ball motivated me to eat it last even though I knew clearly that it is merely a pinch of food coloring more than the rest of the rice balls. While it may seem like a representation of individuality, is it overrated if it’s merely a difference by the surface? Yes, it could arguably be an unnecessary details to contemplate for an old-fashioned metaphor. But, in this age when individualism is such a major theme in education and literature, there are so many instances when the people around me or myself even try so hard just to be different from others by being what we are not. Isn’t it obvious that all of us are created differently, and that even if we have similar ideas, it’s most likely with different justifications or reasons or process? Is it a sin to be the white sticky rice balls and be the same as others? It’s not like it’s physically possible to be identical as another person anyway. There are most likely no rice balls that have the same mass and digest the same way, and I would like to be optimistic enough to believe that the same applies to humanity as well.

Complaining about Socrates

“I hate your father.”

“It makes sense.”

“I don’t know, I just feel like, there’s no way that I can possibly communicate with him.”

“It’s because you guys have conflicting personalities: he needs someone to rely on and still wants to be the one in power, while the inner you actually doesn’t really give a damn and just wants to be happy.”

“…What do you mean?”

“It’s…just the way people think based on their experiences. He grew up poor in the stubborn countryside blaming all of his misery upon his poverty, while you grew up in the fluctuating middle class with a worldly knowledge in different walks of life. You have a more practical understanding of the world that he does not and probably never will have since he’s too proud and stubborn to learn.”

“I still don’t think I understand.”

“I don’t know either. I am not the one to judge anyway.”

“How can you understand him?”

“I just like reading people and guessing how they think. I just analyze them and think in their weird mindsets.”

“I guess I do that too, except I am just so sick and tired with pretending that I am fine. He makes me panic. I just don’t know how to deal with him. Is this my fault?”

“No, not really. Remember what you always tell me? ‘A relationship is like a bank account: if you don’t deposit and only withdraw, it will be empty one day.’ There’s just no balance in you guys’ relationship.”

“I just hate it so much when people just complain and complain and don’t do anything about it.”

“I know.”

“How do you manage to be so fake with him all the time?”

“I just do.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“I don’t know. I guess I just don’t have any emotional attachments to him anymore, so then it’s basically like how you would talk very sweetly when you answered phones even though you were just pissed at me and sis seconds before. It’s common courtesy.”

“But that’s too sad, you are still young.”

“Yes, I am young, but I am not exactly a child.”

“…Are you being fake with me all the time as well?”

“No, why do you even doubt that?”

“Well, I am just scared.”

“Well, don’t be, because I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

***********************

“It’s so annoying. I just had this one little item wrong and then they literally force me to resubmit the form days before the sale take place. The advisor is no help either since he never really replied to my emails even when I asked him which forms I had to redo, which means I can’t be sure what to do until Monday now that the weekends is starting…”

“You made a mistake? What mistake?”

“Oh, it’s a typo in small scripts at the bottom indicating the type of meeting the sale was approved in…”

“You need to work on your attention on details.”

“…”

“You always miss those details. You are already 16 and still sloppy about little details. You can’t just rely on logic and large concepts that you invented yourself.”

“I know, but it’s just a word in fi—”

“—when I was working in processing documents and requests, I would have to push those documents back despite how small those mistakes are.”

“…”

“You need to stop complaining. Are you feeling stressed? Why are you stressed?”

“I don’t know, maybe because I have to run a bunch of clubs, take a bunch of classes, make a bunch of friends, and keep a bunch of promises as the Bible say? Life is just a plethora of things to achieve at the same time.”

“…I don’t know what I can say, but what do you mean by ‘make a bunch of friends?’ Why is that hard? If you are not giving up your personality to accommodate your friends, it shouldn’t be hard at all.”

“I don’t know, I don’t know. Talking to people is exhausting.”

“If you find filling out forms and socializing to be exhausting, then maybe you are just not cut out for it. If even these things can stress you, then you should just stop doing them.”

“…”

“Also, how much time do you need to read a small portion of the Bible?”

“Very little.”

“Just say a number.”

“Ten minutes?”

“Ten minutes. You can spend hours planning your English essay and you can’t spare ten minutes for reading the Bible. That’s why I said repeatedly that it’s so important to plan your time wisely. It’s because that you didn’t plan your time wisely that you wasted your entire summer even though you stayed in the U.S. for the entire two months: without distraction you still didn’t study enough. You always complain that you are not good at math and science, even though you don’t see that you don’t spend half as much time on those subjects as you do with your beloved history and English.”

“I spent an entire afternoon to Calculus just three days ago, don’t you remember? I even skipped history homework for that…”

“So, how are you struggling?”

“I don’t know.”

“What can I say? Just lower your standards then. Maybe it’s okay to lower your standards to be more realistic.”

“But, I am placed in this spot with all the responsibilities for a reason. I have to do all these things to the best of my abilities since they are given to me. I can’t just lower my standard.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, I just said…”

“But, maybe you just can’t do it.”

“…”

“I know, you all think that I am not compassionate. I am too strict and not capable of comforting others.”

“No.”

“Why are you tearing up? Are you misunderstood?”

“No, I am not tearing up.”

“Yes, you are.”

“No.”

“…I know for a fact that your life is falling apart again when you started all those complaints. Not just the one about the forms this time. When you meet someone you don’t like, you just can’t take your eyes off him or her and you just chew on them and hurt yourself. I know that your life is starting to lead astray. I know.”

“…”

“Why don’t you ever organize your table? It’s a horrific mess.”

“Okay.”

“Don’t do it now, it just seems that you are trying to pretend that you are being good…What is this credit card doing here?”

“I forgot to put it back to my wallet since I took it out last time we went traveling. I didn’t want to bring such a large sum with me.”

“It’s these details, Mei, it’s always these little details and basic organization. You need to be organized to the basic extent that you can find things when I am not here anymore.”

“I know. I will put it away.”

***********************

“Did you wrap up your hair?”

“Yes.”

“But, how did you do that even though you forgot to take your towel?”

“I got a towel after I got out of the bathroom.”

“Maybe this is a sign that God wants you to see. You are so focused on the wrong things that you are dumb now. You study so much that you are just the same as your sister when she’s in her junior year even though you used to say that what her habits were bad…”

“…Except she does better at school.”

“And your attitude! I never compared you two, and you are always stubbornly pessimistic and always self decimate. I thought I gave you a lot of freedom when you grow up.”

“You did.”

“Then why do you still think like this?”

“I…”

“Your father complains about everything. Every time his forms are rejected by the health organization he just complains and complains…”

“I am sorry that I am upset when I my forms are rejected for the first time ever in my life because of one word in fine print.”

“I know, you are already better for recognizing that you are in the wrong when you filled out the forms. But, you still complained.”

…maybe I am just not cut out for life? There’s nothing wrong with answering a question with a question.