Bathroom Musings 2

Sitting on the toilet
Thinking about yesterday
In the morning I was sad
lamenting the loss of friendships

My mood quickly swerved for a U-turn
Pressed on the pedal, its time to play ball
Hit the breaks hard, got ready to score
windows rolled down, “yup, that was a good call”

Left the gym with spirits high
thinking yes, we can dominate
hoping the floor would be better next week
no stopping us then, tell that crowd “calmate!”

how fast our perceptions can change
we always live in multiple realities
well, think im finished on the toilet
wipe it up, impurities

Theres no conclusion to this poem
just thoughts while alone in the bathroom
i hope i can see things on lighter notes
as if im about to be on the court soon,
like im about to play ball.

Bathroom musings

Sitting on the toilet
thinking about yesterday
I left a wedding
and left behind some friends

friendships are precious
also breakable like glass
sit on it too hard
shatter right under your ass

people are human
human error is common
my mind wanders near future
house parties, will i still invite them

my memories tell me
its okay to leave friends
when they dont love you the same
and dont bother to change

but i do need friends
i need community
i think im finished on the toilet
wipe it up, impurities

Theres no conclusion to this poem
just thoughts while in the bathroom
but i went to the wedding
believing I should sit on the side of the groom.

Not trying to fit in

I wouldn’t say I’m a rebel, but I do find myself getting stuck in situations when I have no choice but to be myself despite feeling pressure to fit in. Whether at work, with friends, with those closest to you, with family. Because the result of fitting in sometimes leads to losing your identities. By identities I mean: those very facts of who you are and what you are.

I’ve experienced tremendous pain in hiding who I am. That pain was doubled by the fact that I was young and didn’t know how to process it. Tripled by my family not being there for me, not that they would have been helpful if they were there. Quadrupled by extreme isolation. The last one- may be the reason why I still struggle with being alone or being by myself. The very thought of it brings excruciating anxiety.

In Chicago, I find it hard to not feel isolated. I often find myself opportunities to empathize and not be on the receiving end. Most of the time, I brush it off. It is my chameleon-like ability to snake through various circles, feel out of it, but still put in effort to enjoy my time while I’m at it.

Situations don’t faze me anymore, but sometimes they trigger painful memories. These days I am more able to regulate, process, and get rid of negative thoughts that serve no purpose but for a downward spiral.

I chose to be here, and this is what it takes. Finally, after 8 years of pain, I finally know how to BE in Chicago. I’m not saying it’s easy. I just know how to do it now. Pain is pain, but, in psychological terms, I know how to cope with it.

Birthday

When you anticipate something bad happening, you walk yourself into bad situations. Things that are usually good become seemingly bad. Every year, something happens on my birthday. Since I was 18, I learned quickly that this was a pattern. A fight with my best friend. A break up. A typhoon that drowned and killed. Another typhoon. Miscommunication. Drama. Lost lives.

I don’t like telling people when my birthday is. Those who grew up with me always remember, and no matter how far we are apart and what drastically different time zones they always remember to wish me a happy day. 15 years of friendships. And counting.

My birthday scares me. Every year I try to play it cool. I’m afraid to get hurt. And that’s why I don’t like to celebrate it. But like I said, when you anticipate something bad happening, you walk yourself into bad situations. And I’m trying, to reverse this pattern.

1st Gen

Being a 1st generation immigrant has its ups and downs. I’ve learned how to become an adult, quickly. To adapt to another country’s system, different ways of life, a higher level of responsibility in looking after myself, making sure that in addition to survival I must be happy to keep the cycle going. What comes next after you’ve crossed off the list of becoming “American”? That was my family’s agenda for me since I was at a young age. Making sure I learned English, investing in a passport, giving opportunities to learn “Western” cultures and customs. I’m beginning to lose touch with my own. My own people, language, beliefs, customs, traditions. What’s next? Make money? Start a family? I’m not blaming capitalism or globalization; I have my own thoughts on these systems’ negative impacts from the global scale down to interpersonal relationships, but I cannot deny reality.

This is it; I’m living the “American Dream”. Except for the “get rich” part. I am not motivated to complete that Dream. Perhaps it’s my own subconscious rebellion against my family’s agenda. A passive-aggressive, indirect way of saying: I did not have a choice in choosing my path, and this is me utilizing whatever power I have to say “sorry to burst your bubble, but…”

In my family’s eyes I have failed. In my own eyes, I feel lost. I live pay check to pay check. I long to live in a house with people who I can call family. When I’m here I feel nostalgic. When I’m at home I feel isolated. I have my complaints about the US; I have complaints about Taiwan. There are things I like here; there are things I adore about home. My priority is to be happy, because being unhappy is unproductive. When unhappy, I also stop working to better other areas of my life.

Transnational. Sometimes living a transnational life is hard. My head splits, my heart sinks, my spirit crushed whenever I have to leave somewhere. I’ve long given up on the idea of home, the idea of settling down. I don’t buy into the idea of marriage, having kids, buying a house, getting pets, saving up for retirement, retire, have grandchildren, and having to look for good place to bury myself. Because where would I do that? My mother traveled far to make it to my graduation, but I had to lie to her. I did not actually graduate that year because I was depressed and trusted my academic adviser who counted up my credits wrong. I didn’t go to my real graduation. Because who would be there? I don’t have family here. My friends don’t understand the impact of “graduation” on me. It was a sign that I have achieved the “American Dream” that my family longed for since I was born. My uncle in California, my brother in California. We don’t even talk. So I didn’t invite them. Is this the cost of becoming American?

All this negativity. I try to always end my writing on a positive note so I can go on another day.

I’ve grown. My separation anxiety is getting a lot better. I don’t like goodbyes; when my mom drops me off at the airport I don’t say goodbye. I don’t look at her. I just walk straight in and turn the corner so I don’t have to see her. And then I cry. Then I try to look normal for the immigration officer. This pattern carries on for others who I know are going to leave my life. But nowadays I try to make an effort in having closure. I’m less sad when it’s time to leave. I’m better at being alone. Every separation is not the end of my world. Every departure is a little more hopeful than devastating. I’m able to form attachments, then let go when I need to. This is growth!

It’s a slow process, but I hope to reach equilibrium. The rest of my life will probably be split between the US and Taiwan. I’m foreseeing changes. I have to, because it keeps me going. Another day at work, another day to be with people I want to spend time with, another day to live not just to survive.

Made up my mind

There were a couple things that severed my relationships with my family. Communication problems, lack of affection, physical distance, cultural differences… the list goes on.

Intimacy is not there. My family is not a safe haven, but there is no question that my home is where my roots lie. I return to “catch up” with my beginnings, and leave to live out what I choose for myself instead of my family’s dreams and expectations of me.

It was hard to make that decision. An immigrant carries a lot of weight on their shoulders. When I first went through the process of making that decision, I felt guilty. I felt like I betrayed my family. I let them down. I became too “American”.

But when I realized the level of fulfillment I can get by mapping out my own destinations and creating my own dreams and expectations, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to turn back. The path I chose led to an ultimate sacrifice: my family. It’s not that I will never see them again. But in order to do the things I’m able to do now and want to do, I had to give up on the romantic and nostalgic idea of ultimately returning home and finding peace and intimacy with people who sacrificed for me and people who don’t say they love me but do.

Is this selfish? Is this wrong? I’ve gone through this process before. And I’m not turning back. Maybe it is. Maybe I’ve become too individualistic. But I will always be that kid running through those rural streets, knowing deep down that I was bigger than my town. I know where I am from, but I’ve decided that I need to go somewhere else. I need to find intimacy elsewhere, and I want that intimacy to take me to places I need to be.

I still am connected to the family. But feelings of attachment are not mutual. I’m creating a better life for myself. I am forever grateful for the sacrifices they made. I am not taking them for granted. I will always remember the things they did for me. How they pushed me to become better, bigger. One of my goals in life is to reach a point of reconciliation. I want to prove my gratitude by showing them the life I’ve created for myself. Hopefully they will be proud of me. If not… I don’t know. I know I will figure something out though. I always have. I made up my mind that I will.