I dreamed that during my visit home, Mama giddily stepped toward me with light feet and a hunched back. Her eyes were wide and twinkling, and her voice was hushed, as if she didn’t want my brother Ron, who was currently in the shower, to hear.

“Don’t get mad, but… Ron showed me every single entry you wrote in your blog. I read everything you’ve written about me.”

Suddenly, even when I believed that I was still in reality, everything turned into a nightmare. For some reason, I knew she was talking about my old blogspot as well as this one. I knew that she was bursting with happiness because she could read beneath all of the convoluted words and emotions the love I have for her that I’ve never been able to tell her beyond, “Love you, Mama.”

But I was so angry. That was my privacy that was obstructed. I trusted Ron to never, ever show her those entries. My writings are my property, my rights, my separation from home, Mama. I blew up. I yelled at her. I cussed out Ron in front of her, even though he wasn’t even in the room. I told her that it was her fault for coercing Ron to reveal my private, separate life to her. I couldn’t control my rage. I kept yelling at her. I finally stormed upstairs to my room and slammed the door shut.

I waited for around an hour. Finally, I heard Ron coming upstairs (even in my dream, I can hear the deeper, louder, slower two-step-skipping pounds of my brother and the lighter but only slightly quicker one-step treads of Mama), and I walked out with the venom stored and prepared to release onto him.

From the upstairs banister where Ron and I stood, I could see Mama standing downstairs looking at the front door. I paid no attention to her, I was still angry at her. I was still humiliated and robbed of my words, my writings. I was about to tell Ron about the misery he had caused me, about how I have to go through all the trouble of privatizing everything online now, about how he had betrayed my trust, when through my peripheral vision I noticed Mama was now walking toward the front door. I didn’t care much for her action because I assumed she was going to get the mail or check the plants. But it was Ron who said, “Wait, Ma! Ma, what are you doing?” as she opened the door.

So I finally looked at her. She stood at the exit. And in my dream, I finally saw past the mask of anger and pride she usually wears, and I saw her sadness. Her face was not furrowed in rage. Her face was slackened, old, sagging. It was her eyes. I drowned in their darkness, waves of suffering and abuse engulfed me. I also saw in her hands a small pile of cloths and books. She was running away, and without words, I knew: she was leaving because my actions showed that I did not love her.

As she turned to leave, I knew that I would never see her again if I didn’t catch her. I sprinted down the stairs. I ran toward the front door. Everything was in slow motion. In that panic and urgency to catch her, a part of me knew that this was the typical scene of a dream: the more you want something to happen, the harder you try to move your limbs rapidly, the less likely your dream will permit you to run faster, to keep from losing your goal, to escape that permanent doom and regret. I didn’t think I could get to her in time. I thought that I had finally lost her forever.

But I caught her. I held her. And she collapsed into me, the sunken weight of a deflated balloon blanketing me. I cried and sobbed and said I was sorry over and over again. I was trying to say anything I could to make her stay. At first I blurted out that I was so angry because I had wanted to read those entries together with her. As I said that out loud, I knew deep down inside that that was a lie, because I never wanted her to read those thoughts. But as the words and pleas for her to stay frothed forth, the truth came tumbling out: “Mama, I didn’t want you to read them because I was too scared to tell you how much I really love you.” We stood weeping and embracing at the door.

Finally, Mama straightened up from my arms. She looked at me and gave me a tear-stained smile, the same smile that everyone says I got mine from. I was free, I was forgiven. Ron came down to both of us and said, “Why don’t we watch your blog entries all together?” Now, this is where my dream becomes more dreamlike. Ron held in his hands a DVD, and for some reason I knew that it was a film that embodied the spirit and essence of all of my written compilations. I said yes, and we all sat together on the couch in the living room, me in the middle. Ron put in the DVD, and rather than watching on a TV screen, we watched the images come alive above us, as if it were one of those futuristic holograms.

It was a long, red dragon and a young girl in traditional Chinese clothing, also in red, with a Chinese sword. It looked as if they were battling, as if they were both trying to defeat one another.

Suddenly, I felt another bit of anger in me that I needed to settle with Ron. I turned to him and said, “Ron, what if Mama got really mad and hurt by me when she read some of the entries I wrote in anger about her?” He seemed to not really know what to say, and then looked back up at the event above us.

It seemed as if the girl and the dragon had overheard the question I posed to Ron, and they had stopped fighting. They looked at each other with a confused expression on their faces, as if to say, “Did those entries (the very ones they are embodying and portraying) really contain hatred and possibly evoke anger?” Their silent gazes were suddenly broken by both of their laughter. The girl giggled behind her hands while the red dragon laughed with its jaws wide open. It was settled: how could they possibly be actually fighting? It was all for play! Underneath all of the apparent violence and suspense was the innocence and love they have for one another. They returned to their “fight,” but it was so apparent now that it truly was like the traditional Chinese practice: it was all for play and for show; not enemies but comrades.

The three of us watched together as the crimson scales of the dragon would rapidly spiral and flow through the air as the young girl in red tumbled acrobatically with her mate. The bright sparks from the girl’s sword reflected on Mama’s joyful and captivated visage. You’d think the dream would end there.

Ron got up and told Mama that he needed something, I can’t quite remember what. Mama, as usual, quickly stood up without another thought in order to fulfill her duty as Mama. As she began walking away with Ron, I had a slight panic in me: what if Mama is still sad and hurt by what I did, what if she leaves and never comes back again? As soon as those thoughts appeared, Mama turned around as if she had heard them. She put her hand on my arm, gave it a tight squeeze, and gave me a smile that let me know that she forgave me, and that she was never going to leave me.

They walked away from the living room into the kitchen, leaving me alone on the couch. I sat on my own, watching my writing come alive. My writing, despite its surface of shame and fear, radiantly boasting in its Chinese heritage. My writing, despite its surface of turmoil and confusion of how to love my mother, revealing that a mother and a daughter cannot claim anything else except the love they have for one another. My writing, in the end, to be recognized, viewed, and enjoyed by the writer.


Thanks, John

There’s an obsession with purity that we all crave. Even the rebels who dress and swear like how counter-culturalists are supposed to dress and swear want that purity, that consistency. They create blogs and fill them with images of naked women with supermodel bodies smoking cigarettes and snorting coke. They religiously reblog quotations of how religion and standards ruin the life of anyone who buys into them. Anything else that consistently upholds their identity–as long as there isn’t a speck of white salt in their black pepper.

What I’m trying to get at is I’ve been reluctant to post anything in this damn blog because I didn’t want it to be tainted with a single entry that would stumble and trip up this vision and hope that I’ve been striving for. Photographs taken with the most basic of make-things-look-pretty DLSR lenses are foolproof and require no risk of words. Incredibly short entries are, in fact, very personal and beautiful for me, but they’re an easier way out from fully textualizing my other buzzing, ongoing, daily thoughts.

The point is, perhaps for this new year, I will try to write in this as often as I can.

In my defense, there is one other legitimate reason for my lack of postings. Last semester, I engaged in the Daily Discipline of Writing in my private Moleskine journal, and it was actually an incredibly successful and fantastic development of my identity as a writer. I did not feel the need to write publicly because I was having my own love affair, between myself and my physical pages.

But here is to taking another step forward in the journey of writing. To writing. To prove to myself that there is no such thing as literally having nothing to write, because here I am, writing out that I have nothing to write. To admitting to myself that there is nothing pure under the sun, and it is in this confession and relinquishing to weakness that I am able to finally move forward. To understanding just a little more that He knows we will have flecks of dirt on our play-clothes, and He is prepared to wipe them off with strong and loving hands.

bell hooks

“All academics write, but not all see themselves as writers. Writing to fulfill professional career expectations is not the same as writing that emerges as the fulfillment of a yearning to work with words when there is no clear benefit or reward, when it is the experience of writing that really matters.”


Jam the thumb
into the barrel
refuse the wine to flow
onto unhollowed ground
join together the brisk knees of grass
to birth the dust tearful

and yesterday will be
buried beneath boots
shhh the foxes hear
midnight claims
its moonlight tiptoes of the BANG!!!
goes the grassy knoll,
sunrise again.


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Well, I Have Lost You by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Well, I have lost you; and I lost you fairly;
In my own way, and with my full consent.
Say what you will, kings in a tumbrel rarely
Went to their deaths more proud than this one went.
Some nights of apprehension and hot weeping
I will confess; but that’s permitted me;
Day dried my eyes; I was not one for keeping
Rubbed in a cage a wing that would be free.
If I had loved you less or played you slyly
I might have held you for a summer more,
But at the cost of words I value highly,
And no such summer as the one before.
Should I outlive this anguish—and men do—
I shall have only good to say of you.

Show me a song sadder than this


brings along stress, burdens, fights, headaches, vows of never going back, impatience, shame, anger, guilt, frustration, exhaustion, regret, clutter, complaints, pressure, pride, pain,

& leaves behind a fridge filled with groceries, a drawer crammed with vitamins, and an empty room filled with love’s lingering warmth.

i have found what you are like

i have found what you are like
the rain
             Who feathers frightened fields
with the superior dust-of-sleep. wields
easily the pale club of the wind
and swirled justly souls of flower strike
the air in utterable coolness
deeds of green thrilling light
                                        with thinned
newfragile yellows
–in the woods
And the coolness of your smile is
stirringofbirds between my arms;but
i should rather than anything
have(almost when hugeness will shut
                      your kiss

e.e. cummings