Word Vomit Musings: Baby Birds

It’s been a while since I wrote anything. It’s not like there’s nothing to write. Trump, Syria, music, philosophy, life… the list goes on. There’s always something to comment on, some article to put my two cents in, or some opinion that I believe is superior to all others. The internet is full of these words. It’s overflowing with information from people who write better than I do. So what’s the point of writing….?

Who am I to write about politics when all I know are regurgitations of the “truth” from the media who treats us like little chicks incapable of feeding ourselves with research. But what’s worse is when we take the regurgitated information and then vomit it out into the dinner table thinking it’s a steak dinner.

But wait a minute now… Are we actually baby birds in this dinosaur of a world? We are constantly fed information that has been in the throats of behemoths that don’t want us to lift up our wings to even consider leaving the nest.

After all, nests are safe, comfortable and cozy. No fear of falling as long as we don’t look down. All we need to do is wait for the next feed to show up with our daily bait and we’re happy. There’s no reason to leave our ignorant bliss, our Plato’s cave, our satisfying pig pen.

But oh how contradictory is it when we strive, pray, and wish for flight while still craving mother’s vomit.

Oh writing, what a love-hate relationship. I can write all this stuff and sound like I know some secret insight. But how can this be for me to know anything? Me, a prideful speck believing that I’ve pierced the well of knowledge, but only to see that I am only swimming in the vomits of other specks around me…. Yet among the specks, there must be the truth! At least something that mirrors some kind of foundation to build anything off of.

Brilliant minds have tried to find such foundation, but realize that a gentle breeze could topple their fortresses. Descartes, the father of modern philosophy built his fortress on what be thought was the truth, absolute, undeniable truth. This toppled. But others after him tried to rebuild. Some on similar foundations, others on complete opposites. As they built and built, they also fought and fought. Attacking each other’s weak points while trying to fortify their own. Empires rose and fell. Gods among kings destroyed from east to west.

Today, we have all the information at our fingertips. This is our fortress and stronghold, yet we can’t figure out what the heck is going on in this world. There are more books, brilliant bodies, and brain child’s than we could ever count, yet we are no closer to the goals set about by our earliest ancestors to understand life. Chaos ensues regardless of technology, revolutions, or America. There’s a reason why more and more dystopian books and movies are made. We never really question the validity of them. We eat it all up while stroking our beards in contempt, only analyzing, but not preparing. We all know what’s happening to us, yet we’d rather entertain ourselves with the imminent future than face it as is.

 

 

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An Unabashed Life Worth Living

This was originally a post about writer’s block but it turned into something different. Something that changed the way I act, think and feel about life. Something I hope we can all take hold and find liberation from the chains we put on ourselves. 

Oh, the irony of this post. No wait is irony the right word? Ahh, I don’t know… how cliche? Man, this post is lame. Doesn’t cliche have that squiggly ~ on the E? My finger rests on the rectangle backspace for a minute. Nah, this post won’t go public so it will remain in my archive forever so I’ll resist the urge to use the erase button…. Insecurity, fear, and caution, are words that I think are choking the words that I try to type.

New paragraph. I don’t like the first. Is the structure too stupid?  No… it’s fine, I don’t believe in structure. But writing is about expressing myself. But what if no one reads it because it’s not good? Then I’m wasting my time! Ahh, too close to reality. I best put some pictures or pop-culture references to get more views. But I don’t care about pop-culture that much…back to the main point.

The biggest block for my writing is you me. I am a people pleaser. I care greatly about the opinion of others and what they think about what I write. This is an inescapable aspect of writing for the public. You, the reader, I may or may not know; regardless, my aim is that the effort of my words is worth your time. I don’t actually know how to use a semicolon correctly; I just want to look sophisticated in my writing even though it may be grammatically incorrect. 

I realized how being a people pleaser affects not only my writing but my life. In my writing, the backspace button is the most used. Gahh, that sentence could have been more creative. In my life, backspace represents…blarg I can’t finish this analogy of linking backspace to life! Abort! 

Bleh, enough of all that italicizing. It hurts my head to read my own writing and thoughts. My realization is that my caring too much about what people think has prevented me from living a fuller life. There’s a lot of layers to the idea of “caring about what people think”. Kind of like an onion I suppose.

Let me explain. One layer of it is perfectionism; the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection. I’m not a what you would call a traditional perfectionist. The “perfect” I strive for is my own constructed standard that I’ve placed on myself, created from my 26 years of exposure to humans. It’s far from ideal. It’s deeply ingrained in my subconscious. What I write, say, do, express must fit the specific requirements of the box. If it doesn’t, I keep it in my mind to marinate until it fits my idea of perfection.

Underneath this perfection is a fear of being wrong or making a mistake. We I bite my tongue, avoid hitting post on a blog, or shy away from risky situations because we’re I’m afraid of the negative repercussions of it. Underneath this fear that comes from a perfection standard is control.

More specifically, to control what people think of me. Underneath it all, this is the chain that binds my writing and actions. Damn that’s like the 10th time I used “underneath”, people must be annoyed at that more so than these italic thoughts of mine. I want to control what people see me as, rather than them seeing who I really am. When I control people to see me as a different, “perfect”, standardized me that I’ve created, I essentially become controlled by my own creation. There are two words that I can say that reflects this idea so perfectly that almost anyone reading this can understand. Those words are Social Media. Need I say more?

Is it ironic is that I’m posting this blog on my Facebook? I’m not too sure since I don’t really understand the what irony is…

Anyways, this post is getting long. I don’t want you to say “fuck it, this post is too long and there’s no TL;DR section. I’m just not gonna read it”. Hmm I wonder how my readers will react to the F bomb… I clearly give a fuck about that.  So onto my conclusion/application. I was thinking through all of what I just wrote yesterday night before I went to work (I work graveyard shift). I asked myself, “why do I care so much of what people think?” “Why do I set these rules on myself? It’s quite… limiting”. “Do I want to live my life in a box all the time? As I asked myself these questions, the chains that I’ve put on myself were revealed to me. Link by link I removed the chains and a sense of liberation filled my body. In the car ride to work, I sang with the radio; unabashed at the cracks of my voice, the unmanly falsettos, and the utter butchering of the lyrics. It was freedom.

But this freedom comes with a cost. It costs our control, passivity, and fear. It costs us our walls and our all. It requires perseverance through anxiety and criticism. It will take strength and vulnerability. But most importantly, it will take wisdom, for there is a time for everything. Rules aren’t bad, restrictions are needed, and people’s opinions should be taken into consideration. This is not a call to go crazy and do whatever you want. That is the other extreme that needs to be avoided.

As you can see in my post, the struggle is real, but worth fighting for. And fight we must do because the world will tell us otherwise. It will show us things to be frightened of and reasons to hide. It will strike relentlessly when our guard is down and tell us it’s not worth it. But the more we fight, the stronger we get to break away and live.

 

Beautiful Silence of Voices

Beauty born out of grief

tears shed from a somber melody

soft violins with steady progressions

eloquently caressing the tender heart strings

Oh, grief! Oh, human condition reflected so deeply from the wells of music

a heartfelt ache of isolation remedied by steady strings that silence and soothes the soul

An acceptance for loss of words, allows the human heart to be felt rather than explained…

an anxious pause in writing to meditate on things language longs to comprehend and erect a tower of highest pedestals.

One may say Language is an apex of human achievement. But consider when we allow silence to reign for a bit. To let go of in information and words we so quickly spew. These words that cause the downfall of others. Rash, harsh sounding language that knows no bounds. These are the apex of our fall. Lies constructed to hide Truth.

Let’s only open our mouths in awe of life. All of it. Not just life from our own thinking and talking. But life shared with a community of voices longing for the world to be silent for once! So that they can be heard amongst the noise.

Breath in the air from your mouth. Let it dance upon your tongue as you reflect on the life it gives you every day. Now speak from your tongue and give that breath back to others who long for a life-giving “hello”.

Billions of mouths but so little ears. Outnumbered. No wonder there’s no wondering of things beyond our scope.

So let us be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry… But let our speech be unrestrained from goodness while keeping a tight reign over its firey evils. For human anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires

Understanding Myself

 

If you know me, you know that I like to think and analyze concepts as well as people. I enjoy learning and understanding philosophies and people’s backgrounds and lifestyles. But one thing that I have the hardest time thinking about, analyzing, and understanding is myself.

This post is for me to figure myself out. For me to explore and organize my thoughts and declutter the piles of information that weigh heavily on my mind and burden my heart. This may be the most difficult thing for me to write so far. This will be like cleaning and organizing a room that’s completely unkept or clearing up a yard that is overgrown with weeds and dead trees (both of which I need to take care of). These are very unpleasant tasks because the work and frustration get compounded the longer I put it off. Weeds grow bigger and multiply and dirty clothes and trash pile up.

Come to think of it, this blog’s intention is exactly that-a decluttering of my thoughts. Yet, why do I feel like the more I write, the more confusing life gets? People have told me that I over-think things, which I agree with. Maybe this is what makes my life so difficult to comprehend. Yet, life is complicated in itself. There are times to think. To think critically about life and its struggles. But maybe it’s time for me to take a step back from all this information and bask in the simple things of life.  Like a simple coffee with a friend, a walk in the park, a good book, or a game of basketball. Hmm, I don’t know.

Here’s where I hit my roadblock. When potential words are held back from this blog by walls constructed by years of worries and wonders; wonders of things to be or not to be. When these words are met with walls, I tend to ramble around the rubble of the walls that I chisel away with a toothpick. Rubble made of broken toothpicks rather than stones.

This intellectual, Asian American, philosophical, passive, false humility that erects such an edifice of self-loathing and anxiety that does not belong as a cover for a temple. Maybe it’s time to take out the garden shears and start cutting away at the overgrown weeds that wrap around the walls. Well, maybe not? Weeds don’t look too bad, at least the way I’ve configured them. Dandelions have a nice yellow hue to it. As a kid, I always enjoyed blowing the seeds and seeing it disperse through the air. I’m sure I’ll enjoy them as an adult…

Such are the thoughts of the foolish and lazy side of me. This analogy holds true to life. How much of my internal “weeds” have sucked the life out of me? Have kept me from producing fruit?  A Google search of “weeds and bible” brought me to Proverbs 24: 30-34. Such wisdom is more precious than rubies

30 I went past the field of a sluggard,
    past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
31 thorns had come up everywhere,
    the ground was covered with weeds,
    and the stone wall was in ruins.
32 I applied my heart to what I observed
    and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

With this, I realize that the complexities that I struggle with in my life are not due life being necessarily complicated, rather it’s due to my laziness in clearing out useless weeds that surround my life. It’s a struggle to produce life-giving words when chained down by thistles. It’s when I break through and slowly cut through the weeds that fragrant beauty of Christ can begin to emanate from the soul through my words and actions.

 

 

Bus Ride Home

I’m writing this while listening to Stan by Eminem on a bus ride home. It’s quite therapeutic to be on a bus where I don’t have to worry about traffic or driving, especially after work. It’s bright, warm, and surprisingly comfortable. There’s a slight drizzle outside. Fits well with the song. Adds to the ambiance. I look up from my phone and see an elderly lady in the front with a colorful striped beanie and a lime green jacket. What’s her story? Where is she going? Does she do this every day? Will I see her tomorrow?

I look around. There’s  a guy with headphones waiting to get off the bus. Another middle age girl walks in and sits behind me. I hear her talking in Spanish through my ear buds.
I wonder if she sees me typing about her… I shift my body to the left, lower my phone, and take my left ear bud out. She’s talking quite rapidly in Spanish with pauses here and there. I’m still worried that she’s reading this. She seems angry…

 

 

 

I leave this blank space so she won’t be able to read what’s above. I put the music back to my left ear. Piano, voices, drums, and pencil scribbles replace the bus noise.

Almost my stop. The elderly lady with the colorful hoodie gets up. Same with a balding guy with a skateboard. Soon I’ll be like them; traveling through the cold dark air. Hopefully back to a home with people to talk to instead of isolated strangers on a bus. One can only hope.

I walk now. I see four to five people in the distance. I remove the guitar solo from my right ear just in case they say something. As they get closer I realize it’s only two people. Two Asians, one holding the other one by the arm, guiding him through the sidewalk. They’re both pretty young… brothers maybe? The one being guided has pajamas on with a bowl-ish haircut, and clear rim glasses. Some things off with the way he walks, but I can’t figure it out.  I smile and say a muffled “hello” as I walk passed them. I think they do the same.

I’m home now. I wonder if people would read this. How dull is a post about a bus ride, especially a bus ride where nothing happens? I guess this depends on the perspective we choose to take.

For me, this bus ride was filled with something enlightening and beautiful that compelled me to write this. This 30-minute ride took me on a journey away from idolizing after fast cars or billboards advertising strip clubs and fast food. It placed me inside an illuminated rectangle box that moved through the darkness of night. Strangers in every corner.  Eye contact never made. Yet something about this environment sparked a curiosity within me for my fellow bus riders that I couldn’t quite figure out until now.

My mom comes in dressed in a contraption of yarn, string and old clothes. It’s a complete mess! She asks me a hundred illogical questions that I half-listen to. I respond with a “yes”, but she continues talking. I lose my temper.

The epiphany is this: We are all lost strangers in this cold dark world searching for someone to hear and record our stories. The bus ride illuminated the souls of these strangers that would have otherwise been hidden in the darkness… My mom comes back in my room, still dressed in an apron of yarn. She reminds me of the two Asians I saw while walking home. One guiding the other by the arm across the artificially bright night. It’s somewhat sad, yet beautiful at the same time.

Oh, how great is this longing and how very few are willing to satisfy it, let alone give notice to it! And how deprived am I that I cannot give the very thing that I write and long for…

But how fortunate are we to have a guide, an example, a teacher, a savior that is driving this bus of life. Life doesn’t end at our stop, it keeps going. Every day, every hour, every place we end up going. It illuminates us with real light that shines not from artificial lamp posts, but from the source Himself. We must take hold of this light because so many people need it.

It’s been two hours since I was on that bus. I’m at home now. This building is illuminated by two lamps. In it, there are three strangers.

 

 

 

Insecurities

Yep, I’m going to write about this.

This feeling of insecurity that so many of us have but rarely talk about. Instead, we project these insecurities onto objects that so many of us have and can’t stop talking about. We all know what they are, and for many of us, it is our most intimate and familiar companion.

I’m writing all this while I contemplate my own insecurities. The words that are edited out or left on here are a reflection of this contemplation. This post is my attempt to understand the edifice of insecurity that I’ve built up to secure the fragile complexities of my own life. This edifice that is meant to be a large imposing stronghold that projects a firm understanding of life, contains a neglected and emaciated spirit.

These metaphors that I use confuse me. It’s difficult to stay consistent with them. But I use them because I realize this is essentially a reflection humanity. The things we wear, post, buy, drive, etc. are mere representations of ourselves that we want to show others.  We objectify ourselves! But this is isn’t something to be always ashamed of. It’s just life. Our objects and creations are a symbol of humanity.

We are essentially weak, fragile, lost and broken creatures, navigating the infinity of this world. The only reason why we’re here today is because of what we create. Our objects, laws, and social structures, give us the confidence to sail vast oceans, stabilize societies, and preserve our lives.

But let us not forget who created what! We made this laptop. We made our phones. We write these stories. We are intelligent creatures with limitless possibilities! So let us have confidence in our ability to create, rather than putting our confidence in our creation that thieves can rob and moth can destroy.

But most importantly, let us not forget who created us! If you believe in a God, then you believe that every fabric of your being, every invention, intelligent thought, and every step we take is given to us. Everything that we create is because of who created us. If this is true, then humility should overflow from our creation. It’s like a renowned architect father giving his son a lego set to build. It would be arrogance for the son elevate his lego creation over his dad’s buildings. It would be the worst kind of pride to elevate the lego creation over the father himself. Rather, the child should be humbled by the gift of life and the ability to create.

So maybe it’s time that we see edifices that we’ve erected as effigies to be burned down in protest of what we have allowed ourselves to become. Once we’ve burned down the idols that we’ve spent hours polishing and refining, then we can start cleaning, feeding, and showing attention to the creator of the idols, and ultimately the Creator of all things.

Freedom from our creation allows us to freely create our lives.

(I recognize that this might be an abstract and impersonal analysis of insecurities. Depending on the feedback I get, I may post more about this topic, but only if I feel secure about what I write….haha)

The Legend Lives On, After a Fitting Goodbye.

Back to my 89′ Acura Legend. It’s back to normal, back to how it once was after one week. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed out, sad, frustrated, and stressed about the whole situation. No one is immune to the feeling of worldly loss. So with any loss, there is this wrestling with oneself. Negative feelings develop that make us feel like sleeping all day. It makes us run away, hide, and forget. It turns us into sloths to the impending consequences that await the future.

Why is it that when we’re pushed down the slope of life, we find it easier to stiffen ourselves up or curl up in a ball to keep ourselves safe, even though we know it hastens the speed. It’s because we know that trying to slow the roll will result in more cuts, bruises, and failures to grab hold of steady foundations. But when we are able to find this steady hold, we must grab onto it with all our might and not lose faith in it.

The ideas of philosophy, psychology, and Christianity are deeply ingrained in my life. I spend my free time reading and thinking about these things. I know that I need to have an “examined life”,  to “think positively”, and to “pray without ceasing”. The question becomes whether or not I have faith in these things.

Head knowledge is one thing, but putting to action the things that I believe to be true is another. The way that I feel, my moods and my emotions or lack thereof, trumps my reasons and beliefs many times.

This is the “wrestling with oneself” that I eluded to earlier. Whether or not you believe in religion, psychology, philosophy, or even science, faith is an essential aspect of acting on these beliefs. You can have head-knowledge that “positive thinking” is good, or the biological truth that exercising releases endorphins, or that we should “store our treasures in heaven”, but there’s a good chance that we don’t act on these beliefs based on our moods.

When we feel depressed or like shit (excuse my language, but feelings don’t need to be anymore sugar-coated or politically correct), the last thing we want to do is listen to reason or to the things we once believed in. We narrow our view to the subjective or personal feelings, rather than objective truth.

When we see our friends depressed, sad, or dealing with loss, we draw from objective truths that we’ve learned or experienced and give them advice. “Don’t spend all day at home”, we tell them. “Go out and exercise, pray, or go write a blog about it… It’ll make you feel better”. But when we become depressed, sad, or lose something, we lose faith in the things we’ve once passionately preached.

So the question now becomes, what are these firm foundations that we can put our faith in. When I got my Honda Fit, I put a large chunk happiness into this car. I dreamed of ice cold AC, long road trips, taking my mom and dad (separately) to the beach, and taking girls out on dates without being ashamed of my car. Like my car, these dreams were shattered in a matter of seconds. From all this, I realized that when I put my hopes and dreams into material things, I am just setting myself up for a greater fall. So the firm foundation that I need to put my faith in, my stronghold and fortress, is Christ and the verse I’ll hold onto is this.

“19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)”

This by no means is easy for my worldly, materialistic self, but all good things come with a cost. Exercising is not easy for my lazy, junk-food eating self, but strength and endurance can only come as a result of it.

All this to say that our material things are still of value to us. They are necessities that make our lives better. No religious prig can make us think otherwise. The most important thing to have, therefore, is not simply material things, but to have thankfulness always accompanying these things. Thankfulness in all situations allows release from this entitled generation. It is a virtue we all believe in, yet cringe, when we have to practice it because we think we deserve anything and everything.

Thank you for this Legend of a car. It deserves a good wash 🙂

legend

and thank you Honda Fit for keeping us safe and for a week of fun and AC.

fit