Acting, Advice, Love

The LA Diaries: Ho Ho Ho! Ghosting, Naked Sushi, and Polyamory. Oh my!

Dear Reader,

Someone special reminded me to write. Let’s rain some truth on this betch ❤

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When someone compliments my blog

GHOSTS OF ROOMMATES PAST

Ever get that skin-crawly, goose-bumpey feeling like you’re not alone? Like in the movies when the white girl comes home all like, “Hello? Is anyone there?”

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Yeah that happened to me last week. After returning home from a glorious day of being covered in sushi(scroll down), I asked Alexa to pay ocean sounds. When music box wifey didn’t answer, I noticed someone had taken her AND rifled through my stuff.

Instinctively, I took out my baseball bat(obvi) and knocked on my roommate’s door. 3 weeks earlier, she’d left all her stuff, took her cat, and skipped out on rent. Just when you thought ghosting only applied to dating.

Back to the baseball bat. I whipped open her door to find the room empty except for the bed…and the two people sleeping in it. Voila ex roomie + her mom. After hugging it out, we proceeded to negotiate a fair and amicable agreement…jk jk. Think less Amal Clooney, more Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail.” I stuttered something about “lack of communication” and “being a decent human being.” Ex-roomie barely responded. Her mom said, “We didn’t ask you to cover our portion. You’re not being nice right now.” Exsqueeeeze me while my brain falls out of my vadge. Oh hellz nah. I asked them to leave and didn’t put the bat down till they left.

Lesson? When life screws you up the a$$(and not in a pleasurable way), all you can do is wait out the storm and ASK for help. Incredible souls will answer. Gratitude for every kindness received. Cheers to all the lovely uber drivers who listened to me vent. 5 stars.

For anyone who’s used to the “what you see is what you get”(East Coasters), LA can prove challenging. You’ve got to dig deep to find the unicorns. Check IDs and intentions from the get-go. Welcome to the city of angels.

P.S. Live alone if you can afford it. Peace of mind is worth every penny.

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WHAT NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT ACTING(the Asian 1%)

You know those feelings most of us keep locked away in the “Inner-Demon-Child-Highly-Flammable” box? Well acting requires you to release them. I’ve played a mom who’s lost her daughter, a war widow, and a schizophrenic homeless woman. No wonder performers feel like jumping out of buildings. (This isn’t a joke about suicide, but rather an observation about how intense acting feels.) We’re taught to separate ourselves from the “character”. Tis a very thin line. While emotional exhaustion isn’t exactly the topic du jour at awards shows, I have immense respect for anyone who survives(and thrives) in the arts.

Highlight? Thanks to Stella Adler, I booked as a naked sushi girl, or Nyotaimori, for a sci fi flick called The Fusion. Four elite members of society dine off my body while peddling the elixir of youth. Before shooting, we were given an anti-Harvey Weinstein pep talk. (SO NECESSARY.) Reassured my coochie would be tastefully hidden by banana leaves, it took some major deep breaths to unsheath. I’m all about close ups but hey now!

As three women dressed yours truly in flowers and raw fish, I imagined myself as Khaleesi, mother of dragons, breaker of maki rolls, all while chatting up cast and crew so we’d feel more comfortable.

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Did I mention Eric Roberts(Julia Robert’s brother) was sitting next to me? He tried to tickle me with chopsticks. He also saw the sound guy and announced “HEY! HE’S ASIAN!” Oh boy. I teased him a bit, “Do you even know what kind of asian he is? Do you even care?” His smirk said it all. During break, I asked him, “Do people treat you different?”

“They all kiss my a$$,” he shrugged before make a whistling trumpet sound and burping repeatedly in my ear. My reaction, “I’ve gotta fart…but I’m holding it.” Correct, that’s what I said to the man who’s had brunch with Putin. (Truth: I was about to poop myself but waited till we finished takes. Where’s my bloody Oscar?!)

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Very cool to meet big name stars but at the end of the day, they’re still people. How you treat your waiter shows the most about you, know-what-I-mean?

Ever the optimist, let’s face the fact that Asians are largely invisible in Hollywood and represent less than 1% of lead roles. The lack of opportunities given can no longer excuse Hollywood’s history of exclusion and white-washing. Let’s celebrate the success of films like Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther. Let’s keep supporting change so that people of color are allowed to make mediocre movies. Representation matters. Diversity should be the norm, not the exception. Our ticket dollars matter. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see our beautiful world mirrored on-screen? THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ❤

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PITCHFORKS AND POLYAMORY

pol·y·am·o·ry
/ˌpälēˈamərē/
noun
  1. the philosophy or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time.

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In a world of 7.4 billion people, only 1 romantic partner will make you happy. Fact or fiction? As a little girl, I’d say fact. As a grown a$$ woman, I’m skeptical. After all, a woman’s worth is measured by who she marries and her virginity is an unbreakable bond with the gods( pardon my acid reflux). Ladies, we’ve been raised with entirely unrealistic expectations of princesses awaiting their one true prince. Instead of Disney movies, we should’ve been enrolled in free-therapy-whenever-we-want. Throw in sex toy groupons and we golden.

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anyone else think Sleeping Beauty got roofied? ok, just me

Cue relationship goddess Esther Perel and her viral TED Talk, “For anyone who’s ever loved… We may love sushi, but we don’t necessarily want to eat it every day. We have diverse interests, hobbies, friends, careers. Yet, when it comes to romantic partners, we’re supposed to put every egg into one basket? That’s a LOT of pressure. It takes hard work to sustain desire in a long term relationship. How can we fan the flames and be honest with our partners? Remember, cheating is based on secrecy and lying. Open relationships/polyamory are built upon communication. How can we build bonds of honesty and trust, even when they involve other people? Time to read The Ethical Slut.

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Before anyone takes out their pitchforks, note I respect monogamy and see it as a CHOICE. Like any choice in life, what works for you doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. I’m more of a serial monogamist but am open to exploring. Freedom within commitment is possible. Sexuality is a spectrum. CONSENT IS HAWT. Mad love for the LGBTQ community.

(disclaimer: Dating multiple people will lead to a renewed interest in monogamy. Side effects include ghosting, emotional unavailability, and STDs)

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when he doesn’t have a hairy chest/sweater vest underneath

As a crazy woke asian, I started dating asian men in my late 20’s. There were no hot asian guys to lust after in my mostly-white high school. Add on Hollywood’s white man savior complex, sprinkle a few daddy issues, and VOILA! A recipe for stereotyping asian men as weak, effeminate, geeky, unsexy. Change starts here.

(Based on in-depth, albeit small quantity of data, I’m happy to announce that asian men are equipped with…erm…full stockings. Henry Golding, call me)

ALL WE NEED IS LOVE (Less Social Media)

“How long can someone go without love?” my acting teacher asked.

Now replace “love” with “social media”. HA! Ever feel the pressure to keep up and be our best selves, constantly? We measure our success by number of followers or likes. You’ll hear casting directors say “I won’t even look at someone who has less than 5,000 followers.” DAMN, that’s scary. I understand the profit margin and marketing element of social media, but let’s not forget insta-famous is a recent occurrence. Life needs to be LIVED in the present (OMG,  but look at this cute puppy meme!)  Sigh, I have A.D.D.

Point is, it’s great to share, but it’s even more important to self care. Take time offline to recharge our batteries. The world will keep spinning. Ask loved ones AND the universe for what you need. Some of us are sunflowers: we bloom best when watered daily (oodles of tlc + compliments pls).

We all have sh*tty days. Let me be the first to say I wake up some days with crippling anxiety where I can’t breathe. There’s no “quick fix” but daily management. Yoga, yoga, yoga. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. Find your tribe. Take your time. Hollywood’s not going anywhere.

Shout out to all my bad ass ladies(and gents!): we can be independent and love being with a supportive partner. We can be intelligent and sexual. We can be productive members of society AND enjoy recreational weed. Gots to love Cali 😉

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thank u S

Remember: people will judge regardless. Might as well be true to yourself and connect with kindred spirits.

Happy Holidays my sweet darlings! Sending you patience and strength to survive our dysfunctional families!

LOVE IS ALL WE NEED(Santa slide some C notes in my stocking pls)

Ho Ho Ho,

CeCe Chic

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Advice, healing, korea, Love

How To Get Over Someone Without Getting Under Someone

Dear Reader,

When you’re learning to be alone, you should watch Jerry McGuire and Beauty and The Beast. You should source a steady playlist of empowering songs(Beyonce) intermittent with weep-worthy ballads(Adele).

You should be listened to, really listened to. You don’t need advice or judgment: you just need to be heard. When you’ve let it all out, take time to inquire about others. Derive hope from their bliss, borrow joy from their blessings.

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Sea of Solitude.

You should ask your ex for 30 days of silence: Do not contact me unless I contact you. If you love me, you’ll let me go. It’s good they’re oceans away on nights alone when you return to an empty home. It’s better they started going to the same therapist you had. Take the tiny rainbows.

You should get tested for an STD and be relieved you don’t have one. When your ex says they “only kissed”, you should trust science.

You should make a list of what you want to accomplish this year. Cross out “girlfriend” and replace it with GOALS.

Write them down: silly to serious, ridiculous to realistic, right now to retirement. Mix ’em up with links. Go!

Here and Now

  1. Prepare to apply for a Nat Geo-Fulbright blogging fellow on Elephant Conservation. Must watch wildlife documentaries:  Virunga, The Ivory Game and Tyke.
  2. Buy a beginner’s Canon DSLR camera. Develop photojournalism skills. (Booked Workshop April 9 Woot!)
  3. Learn to surf (Busan Mellow Surf May 5! )
  4. Grow as a teacher (Feel terrible when parents complain you’ve fallen behind with homework. Work your ass off to make it up. Communicate too much homework kills creativity. Feel ecstatic when your bosses decide to lighten the workload)
  5. Repeat “I can handle it” to yourself when the noonsday demon claws against your chest. Louis Hay affirmations. Sleep to this night meditation. Wake up with Jennifer Aniston’s yogi.
  6. Be abstinent for 6 months, exactly ½ the length of your last relationship. Detachment from desire can lead to enlightenment. Sexual liberation is onyx, but true intimacy is gold.
  7. From traveling to picking your nose, learn how to be happy alone.

A Flexible Future

  1. Teach adults in Thailand (need a break from the kiddies)
  2. Volunteer with elephant sanctuaries all over SE Asia
  3. Exploring Master’s Programs: TESOL/Education/Photojournalism. Must be affordable. NYC Teaching Fellows, MIIS, or Europe might be the way to go. Refuse to go into debt. Beware of cash cows.
  4. Teach in The Middle East (Masters required)
  5. Volunteer for Marine Conservation and learn how to dive.
  6. Volunteer at an Ayahuasca retreat center in Ecuador(your friend is the director yaaaaas!)
  7. Visit the Galapagos (your friend teaches there woohoo!)
  8. Invent a vibrator that transforms into a Justin Trudeau body pillow.
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Walk alone. Wonder. Haedong Temple.

Remember: gratitude is the key to happiness.

Dear reader, whomever you are, wherever you are, I am grateful to you. I wish you love. I wish you purpose. I wish you the courage to never stop fighting for good.

To discovering beauty in a cup of tea,

writinginsoysauce

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Advice, Happiness, healing, Loss, Love, Mental Health, therapy

Heaven Would Be A Love Without Betrayal

Dear Reader,

This is the diary of a girl with a shattered heart. I debated sharing this publicly, but I need to release. I’m also asking you and the universe for some much needed kindness and reprieve.

One month ago, the week of my birthday, I discovered Luis was cheating on me online with multiple women. We shared computers and his facebook was open. The bolded-black of blinking, unread messages from girls I knew not. After reading them with growing horror, I had to screenshot them as proof. Agony.

One of the most important questions in therapy is: ‘What do you need?’ The answer: space. We were sharing a home, I was financially supporting him, and I needed him OUT. One week later, he went back in Ecuador.

Last night, after persistent questioning on my end, and continued denial on his, he finally admitted the cheating happened in person. While in Korea, there was a girl in November at a club. Then there was his ex in Korea just last week. At least that’s what he’ll admit to.

Reality stopped making sense. How deep his lies go I’ll never know. The trust is so far gone. I have defriended him. No contact is best.

In the midst of shock, confusion, and grief, here’s what I’m processing:

  1. I am worthy of commitment and honesty: core values of any thriving relationship. I have done nothing to deserve his destructive, inexcusable, deeply hurtful behavior. I will rise knowing I loved purely and faithfully. Dear reader, I’m certain of my self-worth. The journey continues.
  2. My pre-therapy self would’ve internalized his misdeeds: ‘Is it me? Am I not enough?’ Fuck no. This 100% comes from his insecurities and need for validation. Days before his departure, he opened up about a serious childhood trauma that happens to 1 in 6 men. I believe him and have told him it’s not his fault. However, this does NOT excuse his actions. Cheating is not OK because you have unresolved issues. I hope he finds a professional to help him heal. Anyone can benefit from therapy.
  3. We share a common background of rejection and abuse yet I thought we were both on the path to love and light. I was wrong. Healing is like climbing a ladder. If you have missing rungs,  you’ll plunge.
  4. The love we shared was real. The joy we felt. The support we gave and received. We wouldn’t have lasted through 3 countries otherwise. Yet everything we built is SHADOWED by his deception. I was not in the relationship I thought I was. The blinders are off.
  5. Friends ask: ‘Were there signs? Did you have this gut feeling?’ I wish. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy? If I could just rationalize it with “Oh, he was a (insert-worst-insult-you-can-think-of) all along so good riddance.” No, that’d be a lie. I will not tell lies.
  6. I am shocked. I am bewildered. How could someone be such a doting partner and an irresponsible jack ass at the same time? How does someone disassociate so much that they hide it from you and themselves? Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are one and the same. It’s not going to make sense anytime soon. This will take time.
  7. All actions have consequences, whether we want to face them or not. I’ve made many mistakes in my past. I’ve cheated and been cheated on. I was involved with a married man once. I learned the hard way about poor decisions. We live. We learn. Or we don’t. Self-destruction is a thorny road: blood on the leaves. THANK YOU to all those who’ve supported me, especially when I’ve faltered.
  8. Since college, I’ve never been single. I’ve always been involved with someone casually or seriously. Time to try something different. For the rest of this year, I am committed to ACTIVELY being single. That means filling my free time with empowering activities: therapy, traveling, elephant research, writing, running, meditation, yoga, volunteering, going vegetarian. More life, less death. Like Whitney’s ballad: I’d rather be alone than unhappy.
  9. These wounds will not heal with a quick and easy band-aid. You know what would help though? Making a Cry Me A River JT revenge sex music video.
  10. What does it feel like to wake up with unfettered space in your mind and heart? I look forward to finding out. Humans of wisdom, do reach out 🙂
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Took this at the Itaewon International Food Festival in Korea. We met in Ecuador. We made a home in Korea. Full Circle. To happier times…

Remember: you only know someone as well as they know themselves. Make self awareness your holy grail.

What do I know about myself? I have a big heart. I won’t give up on a love cuz of heartbreak.

Nevertheless, she persisted. Thanks Elizabeth Warren and Coretta Scott King. Jane Goodall and Lek Chailert. The list goes on.

Waiting out the darkness for eternal light.

writinginsoysauce

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Advice, Current Events, Love, Mental Health

The Virgin Suicides: Fuck You Waldo Winners

When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set. -Lin Yutang

Soundtrack Chivas.

Dear reader,

This post is inspired by my tyrannical boss, Donald Trump’s latest assault on women, and the guy who took my virginity.

10 years ago, I met a boy named Waldo Winners(anagram). Though I’d learned how to play ‘baseball’ in high school, I waited for the home run. Waited for the cracker jacks with the free toy .

Enter Waldo: blonde, swimmer, International Relations major. Hot. Smart.Sweet apartment. Free booze. Friends with all my friends. Hark! The angels sing.

Before anything remotely romantic happened, I asked him if he was single. I’d seen him hanging out with a pretty, dark-haired girl. Let’s call her Paris since she was abroad the majority of this story. “Nah, we’re just friends,” he chuckled.

We kissed. We more than kissed. I wanted to be desirable: no more of the high school Mathlete guys turned down at dances. So I omitted my V card. My first time in 2 words? Awkward. Thrilling. Thanks to the inventor of tampons, there was no Carrie post prom sheets. I did, however, have a post coital panic attack in his bathroom. Indoctrinated to see sex as both sacred and shameful, I’d crossed over to the upside-down like Eleven on Stranger Things.

“Are you ok?” he knocked eventually.

“Uh… my contact fell out!” Maybe he thought I was taking a massive dump.

We spent almost every night together. Ordered Thai. Drank his favorite Lipton green tea. Jammed to Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Crammed our friend’s room with newspapers floor to ceiling. Starred on youtube’s nipple muffins, a non pornographic portrayal of pure, sober, idiocy.

When it was just us, Waldo was sweet and doting. While I brushed my teeth, he’d mouth  “Olive you” instead “I love you”.   He generously paid for everything. He came from a family whose forefathers had the privilege of examining Barbara Bush’s vagina. Gyno-gold.

7 months flew.

In groups, our dynamics changed. Just little things at first. A lack of attention.  Don’t be clingy, I thought. A message from an upset girl on his laptop. Don’t snoop. A lucid nightmare he cheated on me with someone we had just met. Just a bad dream. I shook it off. Whenever I got upset or brought up my concerns, he’d laugh it off or make me feel looney. What’s worse, lookin’ jealous or crazy? (Thanks Bey). He was so good to me behind closed doors. I had no official proof of wrongdoing. Fine, he was a flirt, but who was I to change him?

On one of our rare nights apart, Waldo drunkenly attempted to piggy back a mutual friend. He broke his jaw on the pavement.  I spent weeks playing nurse. You know that SATC episode when Big gets heart surgery and opens up to Carrie at last? When you think: YES! She’s FINALLY getting the love she deserves. But as soon as Big feels better, he’s back to emotionally withdrawn. Like a hamster trapped by centripetal force, no matter how hard I worked, I’d wind up in the same place.

Then there was Paris. Her semester abroad ended and she came back to Boston. It wasn’t a big deal when he’d spend time with her, or walk her home after parties: he still came home to me. I respected their friendship. “She’s cool with us, right?” I’d ask. He’d flash that crest white strip smile. “Yeah, of course. But I think she likes me. I don’t want her to feel bad. Can we tone down the PDA?” I only ever saw Paris when we were out. She seemed like a nice girl. Small sacrifice. “Sure!” I nodded eagerly.

One week later, my guy friend sat me down. He’d been in the car with Waldo. He looked grim. “I don’t think they’re just friends.”

As usual, Waldo had a quick defense. “Why do people talk behind my back? They just make things up,” his voice trembled. “This always happens to me.” I didn’t want to believe him but he was on the verge of tears. My anger faded. I patted him on the back: “You can be honest with me.”

His eyes stared into with mine: “Cheating is disgusting.”

Two weeks later, while Waldo was out of town, I got coffee with Paris’ best friend. We ran in the same 20 strong circle, but had never gotten a chance to catch up one-on-one. 5 minutes in, I blurted out: “I’m so glad Paris is cool about me and Waldo…being together and all.”

“What?” she put down her coffee cup.”Since when?”

“Since she left Boston…”

“Impossible.”

“Huh?” I put my coffee cup down.

“He’s been with Paris. Since she left Boston.”

My chest bumped like a dryer with shoes in it.

“I’m calling her now,”she whipped out her 5 pound cell phone.

Me, Paris, her best friend, Waldo’s now ex best friend assembled for the grand inquisition. The four of us painfully unraveled a cunning web of lies. How he’d been in bed with me while in a long distance relationship with her. How he played upon our sympathies to keep us from finding out about each other.  How he knew exactly what to say, when to say it, and never got caught. (God knows how many other women were involved. Pure luck I am STD free. Get tested annually.) The magnitude of his deception was sick and impressive.

During all this chaos, he called me. I let it go to voicemail, then played it for the group. Waldo made silly voices,  chirped about his amazing trip back home in Minnesota. “See you soooooon!”he drawled. Click.

Welcome to the super shitty reality show nobody wants to be on. We made more calls. When the shock subsided, the breadcrumbs connected. Much later, we found out how he had done the same thing to another group at BU. We were not his first.

That night, I wrote him a message on Facebook: “I know what you did. Stay away from me and my friends.” That night, I rode the green line alone. Dear reader, that moment was my lowest to date: my virgin suicides. I wanted to hurt myself just to feel something.

Thankfully, I went home instead. The dam burst while my mom and I were alone in the kitchen. I started to cry and couldn’t stop. She instinctively guessed what had happened: “jiao cai liang chuan” (1 guy. 2 boats.)  For an old school asian lady, this was a huge breakthrough. A silver lining in the grey beyond.

In the following years, I self-medicated with my favorite drugs: far-too-fast love and promiscuity.  I jumped headfirst into relationships and took no time for myself. I was determined to exorcise his existence out of my head and scrape the touch of his hands off my body.

Shortly after World War III, Waldo had sent me an apology email about being an alcoholic. Delete. I never talked to him again. Until last year.

Before Ecuador, I wrote him a message about forgiveness. It took me a decade to feel ready. He responded: “you didn’t deserve the things I did to you.” Alas, the truth.

I let this experience break me for a long time. How could I have been that naive? How can I trust my partner to stay faithful? Not just with strangers, but with friends?  What if? What if? What if?

Only time, therapy, and decent men have tempered this fear. I couldn’t forgive him for the longest time because I could not forgive myself. We co dependents struggle with guilt (What did I do wrong?) and shame (What’s wrong with me?) in its extremities. What is co dependence? (Link to must read book recommended by my therapist.)

Remember: the signs of a sociopath, alcoholic, abuser, are not always obvious from the get go. You don’t go from kittens and fairies to Rihanna post Chris Brown mug shot. It builds up. Explosion inevitable. Falling debris.

To all the survivors: it’s not your fault. You did NOTHING to deserve it.

To all the beautiful souls who support us by listening, loving, enlightening:  THANK YOU.

To the countless others who still have no idea what consent, sexism, nor feminism means: FUCK YOU.

Fuck you Waldo Winners. I forgive you too.

writinginsoysauce

P.S. Waldo turned 31 this week. I hope you’ve healed enough to stop damaging others.

 

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Advice, korea, Love, Mental Health, Teaching, Womens Health, Writing

I miss you like crazy

Soundtrack: We Move Lightly

Dear reader,

A few days ago I was ready to give up on love. L didn’t get into the Masters program in Korea. His Barack Obama character, fluency in 3 ruling languages, 3.6 GPA, and caramel Gu Jun Pyo good looks, weren’t even worth an interview. He applied to smaller universities to increase his chances, but no dice. Given the sexism I’ve already faced at work(men looooove roomin’ with roaches), let’s address the pink latino in the room: his third world passport. My interview for Korea lasted the amount of time it takes me to eat a snickers bar. But I’m a US citizen with a pulse.

While in NYC, I survived a long distance relationship for 5 years. We both lost loved ones to cancer. We were laughter and light: the only salve to unbearable numbness. Until we weren’t. I changed. I used to want a diamond, now I’m good with a tattoo. I used to want babies, now I prefer passport stamps. I used to drink like a Bostonian, now I don’t need booze to bare all.

First cut is the deepest

The last time L and I held each other was May. If you read the post about my abortion, then you remember my devastation. Our goodbye. I felt his absence most acutely during my first month in Seoul. A meteor shower, in celestial harmony with Quito’s blood red moon, welcomed me to the Han River with 3 of the nicest teachers and their plus 1’s. Not for one instant did they make me feel like a 7th wheel. Instead, we inflated vagina-shaped lawn chairs and cuddled a little black dog named Tux. Feasted on fish tacos. Gawked at bike-size Afghan hounds(the dodo bird of toy breed Korea). Discovered Daiso, the dollar store equivalent where bitch I’m rich. Admired boy piggy-back girl, crutches n all. Matching couple outfits.

I was having a fucking blast, which compounded into resounding sadness upon seeing my super single bed.

L and I couldn’t make any of these memories in the same time-space continuum. Share a coffee. Take a walk. Binge watch LOTR. And let’s talk about sex. Per OTNB memoir: after 3 months of abstinence, you could’ve spit on me and I’d sizzle. Rio Olympian, starved out for the gold. Sure a big mac is a quick fix, but I’d rather wait for the Shake Shack (grand opening in Gangnam July 22!) 

IUD. Not DIY. 

Don’t fret: I’m armed with 3 letters: I.U.D. “Expect 3 mild cramps,”the gyno said. She held up a silver tong the size of timbuktu to pull my uterus out so this tiny piece of plastic could go in. Any tattoo artist will tell you I have a high pain tolerance, but this was intense. I had to take deep birth-video breaths and find my happy place: instinctively L’s face. After a minute or 2, she patted me on the back, “Good job! Some patients faint on the table.”

Ladies, this is not to scare you, but to prepare you. Take ibuprofen before you go. I got the hormonal IUD cuz I prefer no periods whereas the copper one may give you worse ones. Like a pair of shoes, try out different kinds of birth control till you find one that works best. Liletta is good for 3 years and I don’t have to do anything.

Given my gamut with womanly health, one burning question remains: why do we call weakness a pussy? Who came up with this flawed concept? Did they ever have a period/abortion/baby/IUD? If you punched a pussy and a penis, who do you think would be standing first? “You’re such a testicle” makes way more sense if you ask me. Or we should just stop using gender-specific body parts as insulting adjectives altogether.

Taiwan Thanksgiving 

Thank universe L’s back up plan to study Chinese in Taiwan went through. I booked my flight for September stat. I made it a priority to see him. So when he completely forgot to research hotels and call my therapist from Ecuador…I flipped a shit. It didn’t matter that he recognized his mistake immediately and apologized. 

I wish I could tell you I rolled like ghandi. Instead I chose the worst of two evils: fight and flight. Stage 1: mad as hell: “What the fuck? Am I the only one trying here?” Stage 2: weeping willow. “You hurt me. You really hurt me.” Stage 3: lost girl. “We should break up.” 

I didn’t sleep that night.  Perhaps, the debris wasn’t all due to L, though the residual pain created a perfect storm. In my anger, I forgot everything that L had shown me. I lost faith in him and myself.

When L faced failure, I expected some semblance of guilt, jealousy or stress to bleed over. He did the exact opposite. He stayed proud. Excited. He never made me feel like I was leaving him behind. His capacity for forgiveness is something I’m still working on. When I go bananas, he’s got just the right box. (That’s for you TEFL)

It’d be too easy to give into old habits. To cut and run, like a bat out of hell. For many of us, it’s far simpler to give love, than to receive.  Carson McCuller writes: “the value and quality of any love is determined solely by the lover himself. It is for this reason that most of us would rather love than be loved.”

The morning before Boston, L surprised me with his college diary. Bold move buddy. I perused 4 years of the mind of someone who shares great visions and horrible nightmares. Few people understand me on this level: how blessed I am to know one. No matter what, we will make our greatest effort to learn from our love. I can’t think of anything more worthwhile.

In 3 weeks, I’m visiting L for Chuseuk( Korean turkey day). 6 days with bae! He may try again for Korea or I may head to Taiwan later on. Then this chinita will apply to NYC Teaching Fellows. Uhhhh, subsidized Masters of Education for only $8K what?! It’s one of the only affordable on campus programs out there. I refuse to go into debt for higher ed. Plus, I’ve gotta get certified pre-UAE.

Master of None

No relationship exists without fears, worries, doubts. No show on TV explains these WTF moments in modern romance better than Aziz: long term relationships are tough. You can’t just expect a big, roaring fire right away, right? You know, you can’t put the big logs in first. You start with the small stuff. Kindling, all right? Then you add that, *then* you put in the big logs and *then* you have a roaring fire. And that’s a good relationship. But be careful, sometimes kindling is hard to find, you know? Good wood. So, don’t take it for granted.

Folks: tend to your fine pine. For me, that means continuing therapy.  Eating cake and patbingsu. Working out. Teaching kids that ‘different’ is good. Finishing the first draft of my self-help book…tentatively titled The Co Dependent Diaries: A Teacher Tells All. 

Remember: distance makes the heart grow stronger.

To me. To you. To L.

writinginsoysauce

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Advice, Ecuador, Love, Teaching, Travel

agradecida: blood, snow, sorrow

Dear mother earth, heavenly father and the ultimate universe,

Last Friday, I walked out of my apartment to blood. A man ran down the street clutching his arm yelling after a taxi. His eyes were glazed, his striped shirt matted to his sweat soaked skin.  Instinct kicked in. My friend called the police while I ran after him into the video rental store. Red raindrops covered the white linoleum floor. In broken Spanish,  I told him to wash the cut, put pressure on it, call his family.  High on adrenaline and worry, we listened to Mauricio’s story. A customer came to rent a DVD. At the counter, he took out a knife and pistol. Video stores don’t keep much cash, so Mauricio did not comply. In the scuffle, he was sliced deep before the robber ran off into a taxi( clearly in on the deal).

Moments earlier, I had messaged my friend that I didn’t want to walk to Foch and preferred to get a ride if possible. So I was meant to be there, at that exact moment, to see the blood. It is not the first time nor will it be the last.

In these pivotal moments when a fellow human lost faith in humanity, in the minuscule seconds that followed, precious to shaping future beliefs, I am grateful for good.

1. Blood

I am grateful for blood. If I did not know about blood,  I would not know the complexity of love. I would not know the sound of diamond sharp scissors slicing the air when thrown, rivlets of red escaping skin, metallic smell of fear permeating pores. I remember the shattered child carried out by her grandfather. I remember listening to dad scold mom for her temper. The irony. If I did not know of blood, I would have never found my purpose in healing through Lovingkindness.

2. Snow

I am grateful for snow. I remember the barefooted girl who had never been kissed, running away from home, into the whiteness. Comforted by cold, for the goosebumps were far kinder than the madness of fists, kicks, words inflicted onto 100% my body for a 75% percentile PSAT number. 75, the numbers engraved into my scars, fearing tests of aptitude, even years later. If I did not know of snow, then I wouldn’t understand my students. The paralysis, the amygdala freeze, the somber eyes, the exhaustion you hid from your teachers, because you were really glad to be out of the house, up until the moment when the hard work does nothing against the unrealistic demand of perfection.

So I make sure my students know, that the four walls covered in posters of future civilizations and dream islands, serve as far more than just four walls. With me, they are safe.

3. Sorrow

I am grateful for sorrow. When you have to say goodbye to anyone you love, it’s hard to escape the  nagging feeling you could’ve, should’ve,  would’ve done something different. The questions that keep you up at night: am I the fool? How could I let this happen? You search for pieces of an invisible puzzle.

If I did not know of sorrow, I would not know of acceptance.

The freedom of letting go. The astute talent to just breathe. He broke your heart. She broke your heart. You broke each other. You loved each other once. You may never talk to each other again. Till choice comes to the rescue. The choice to change. To grow. The gift of transformation. You have another turn in this roulette of life. YOU, lucky soul, are still in the game with blood in your veins. So play with integrity.

I am grateful for sorrow. 7 years ago, on Christmas Eve,  I learned of unconditional love. In an utterly private moment, which I had no right or intention to witness, I stumbled upon the spiritual. I watched the gentle hands of a husband washing the greying coiff of his best friend, mother of his children, love of his life, four days before death swept away her suffering. Sorrow taught me unconditional love.

Once you know, you’ll never settle for less. Nunca.

writinginsoysauce

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Advice, Love, Philosophy

8 Philosophies For Your Friday

Dear Friends,

As life’s eternal protégé, cheers to an enlightened weekend:

1. Unconditional love exists. If you’re lucky, you were born knowing. If you’re brave, you shall seek. Be brave.

2. Skin fades. Voice doesn’t. Choose someone who serenades you every moment of every day.

3. It’s OK to fall in love with more than one person, especially if the other person is you.

4. Accept the kind of family you have. Build the kind of family you want.

5. A cry a day keeps the blues away. Grief is like storm clouds: the longer it gathers, the worst it gets.  Six years after losing a friend, I still get the gut-wrenching, abysmal, snot-splotchin’, not-cute-even-a-little-bit cry face. The difference? I allow myself to be sad.

6. Like all things in life, you don’t know till you know. Let your belief system be fluid.

7. “Accident ruled every corner of the universe except the chambers of the human heart.”  Believe in the serendipitous, but own your power of CHOICE.

8. The next time your lips move, skip the small talk. Dive deep into what matters. At first, it will make people uncomfortable. With practice, it will make you strong.

You think you have time for the human experience, but in actuality, it’s fleeting.

The good news?

So is pain.

Gone with the breeze,

writinginsoysauce

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