December 2016 – Part I

Friday, December 2nd
… Our relationships are fragmented. Friendships aren’t bound to geographical locations anymore. We literally have friends from all over the world, friends whom we see maybe once a year if we are lucky. … We are still able to build on these friendships. Time may chip away at the foundation little by little, but we can renew a coat when we see each other again.
But we are always so busy catching each other up on the major events that have happened. As consequence, I have no one to turn to with the everyday tales – no one to fully share my life with. When I need a warm shelter from an emotional turmoil, I have no immediate number to dial, because first I’d need to renew some intimacy bridges with my friends before I pour out my woe to them.

Tuesday, December 6th
Return to mindfulness, Day Zero. …

Thursday, December 8th
… My body and I have a difficult relationship. At most, I tolerate my body. I have not grown to love it in all of its angles and varieties. I still hate my body in photos. My immediate thought is, no one will want to hug this ugly body.
Bodies are so… messy. So loud, burpy, slick with all sorts of liquids and semi-liquids. Bodies smell, sometimes terribly so. They make all kinds of noises.
But bodies are also wonderfully soft and comforting. Surprisingly agile and adaptive. They are an extension of ourselves, because they are so expressive. They are very intricate and delicately balanced out. The tip of our tongue leans against our palate and teeth to create sounds that have the tremendous power to release us from this agonizing isolation.

Friday, December 9th
… The best thing about the performance was this incredible and instinctive connectedness. As the showtime came nearer, we started to open up more, to rely on each other, to support each other. Audience didn’t really matter, only to the fact that their presence helped to bring us closer. Before, during and immediately after the performance – we were close and connected in ways that differ from the immediate & almost automatic love of family, or the easy and comfortable friendship, or even the quick surge of love between lovers.
Our connection was more instinctive. Intuitive. A smooth flow of bodies and consciousness. There was no judgment, only compassion. No one hid or shied away from the group. It was a big, warm hug, cozier than a sunny wintry morning with a cup of tea and a good book in front of a fireplace, safer than being in my mother’s arms.

Tuesday, December 13th
… Being strong means going through the life being who you are (or who you think you are), trying to not kill your heart but instead trying to feel its every beat. Being strong means allowing your heart to be torn into pieces and putting them back together, and letting that change you. Strength is the humble acknowledgment that we can’t control all of our lives, that unfair things will happen, that by chasing after happiness, we lose the present moment. …

Wednesday, December 14th
What is gender? What does it mean, in this 21st century, to be a woman? A man? By now, these have become personal questions for each of us, since there is no generalizable answer.
I find myself torn between wanting to assume the “traditionally male” behaviors and wanting to keep the integrity of femininity, whatever the fuck that means. Perhaps I should stop labeling/gendering everything I do, and just do whatever strikes my fancy.

Friday, December 16th
… I was afraid to have opinions, because none of them were “fully” informed, and I feared people would criticize me for it. The only thing that has changed is that I have begun to just acknowledge the shortcoming in myself & everyone else, because our opinions are always going to be partial, incomplete, subjective, unfinished.


December 2016 – Part II

Sunday, December 18th
I can already feel it happening. The slipping. The slide into conformity. The strange metamorphosis that takes place inside me at this strange place called airport. …

Tuesday, December 20th
…An oppressive force that kills my creativity and causes me to be (or at least try to be) the Angel of the House. It’s no wonder my sister can’t create anymore. Her time and energy are demanded and allocated already. The scary thing is that this culture? system? makes you want to be the Angel, so you give up your time & energy voluntarily.
… I don’t want to hide who I am, but I am camouflaging already, on auto-pilot. As my grandma went on about finding a husband & etc., I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I have met a person who is making me feel all these tender feelings, and that she’s a girl. …

Wednesday, December 21st (Yule)
… Family is all-consuming – you are a part of the bigger puzzle; each of us has a role to play and burden to share (we all lay out our burdens and divvy up). Opinions to ask for, advices to be sought after, even if you have no intention of heeding them. Even when you are far away, physically, your place is reserved for you. Once you come back, you are expected to slide into your role seamlessly. The only alternative, so I feel, is to alienate yourself from the web so much that you are finally cut off, and the gap you leave behind is filled quickly enough.
There are things that I have to necessarily hide, but these deceptions/half-truths don’t torment me as much anymore. Perhaps because I’ve finally accepted that demanding from my family to accept me unconditionally will create too much of a weight on this fragile web. …

Thursday, December 22nd
… I was thinking about whether ‘angel of the house’ is an appropriate term cross-culture, then I realized that there already is a Korean term for this phenomenon: 착한 여자, or ‘good woman’.’Good woman’ has, in the Western societies, a sexual connotation, but in Korea, ‘착한 여자’ is a woman who neglects herself, denies herself rest and pleasure, and spends all her time and energy on taking care of others’ needs. Critical voices have already commented on the toxicness and impossibility of such an ideal, but the truth (as I see it) is, our [Korean] cultural expectations breed such women. It’s couched in terms such as kindness, discipline, filial obedience, but the result is the same ‘착한 여자’. …

Friday, December 23rd
This is the place where I stopped growing. Each time I come back, no matter how much maturity I have gained in the mean time, I revert back to an 11-yr-old, all irrational irritations & too easily bent under the family pressure (while exerting the same pressure on sb else and so keeping the family “together”).
You are to take up a free-time activity that can be put down at a moment’s notice. Nothing that requires your concentration, for that’s needed somewhere else. Grandma never had the leisure to write any of her thoughts down, so she resorts to speaking. Whenever she lies down to rest, when any of her children/grandchildren are over for a visit, she tells us stories – but more often grievances. There are so many unvoiced stories inside her. …
Sorrow. There is so much sorrow here. Sorrow and guilt. …

Monday, December 26th
… It is funny – almost scary, even – how one becomes attuned to the moods of the others in the same microcosmic community. There was something off about Dad tonight, he didn’t plop himself in front of the TV as usual. Whether he knew it or not, he craved human connection, so he sought it from us – his gezin. And perceiving this, it was impossible to leave this island of community to attend to my own things. …

Tuesday, December 27th
Saints are boring. They certainly aren’t humans. To sacrifice oneself – the body, the mind, the soul, the time – for others is very ego-less, but it also lets one off the hook about developing oneself. …

Friday, December 30th
… It’s a curious culture, ours. Or theirs. Or anyone’s. I think there is a certain advantage to living with their primary family, i.e. the family they are born with, until they found a family of their own. There’s less loneliness, for one. A certain psychological stability. But certainly, there are also disadvantages – not using all the years (20s, 30s, 40s even!) to develop their own identity, to experiment, to find out who they are, to grow used to solitariness (even if they never get married & live with their primary family forever, some day their parents are going to die).
… It still feels like my heart’s being torn, that moment of saying goodbye, the instant of physical separation. The moment when the reconstruction begins, the self dissolves, and my head enters the schizophrenic zone again. …

this is a pipe, not water

I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I’ve been posting one post a day for the past four weeks or so. I intend to do this for seven more days (including today) until Yule. I had vaguely planned it to be my creative contribution to the holiday season… because the original plan had been to publish a poem a day.

I had a pile of poems I’d written in October and the first half of November, so those alone gave me almost two weeks’ worth of posts. Then I wrote some more poems in December, until all my scheduled posts were posted and now I usually write an hour away from the deadline. Some days I have a clear idea about what I want to write. Today is definitely not one of those days. Normally I’d rather not write than write just something. I’m writing right now only because of the promise I made to myself and because I’m a competitive person by nature.

However, I’ve got to say that writing regularly has been something like an endurance training so far. At the beginning of the semester, I dreaded writing a free-style academic text in one week. I postponed it because I didn’t feel “ready”. And maybe I wasn’t. But the time eventually came during which I had to produce a text for class for the first time. It was difficult and awkward, and I wasn’t happy with the result. It went much better the second time around – I was more confident and the words came a bit easier. Today I am at my sixth assignment, and I’m not really worried about the writing part anymore. Yes, it’s going to be a bloody, tenacious battle because writing is always like that for me. But I know I can somehow fit the words together to carry my messages across, even if I have to knead and beat them until they stop falling apart.

Sometimes the words flow from me in a smooth rhythm. Other times, I have to break a pipe, and be content with the rusty metallic materials.


Words swimming

Disjointed, broken, sharp, always too sharp

All the wrong things
I wanted to say
All the right things

I study them
My fingers move to produce them
Air hisses from my throat to pronounce them

I write and write and write
Useless and irrelevant
Moving the pieces across to make them new
I can’t write what I mean

They fail me
I coax them, they won’t come
Wrong, they are all wrong

I swing my ax
Hack them to pieces
Stumps of alphabets
Black-and-white fragments

They are not real
We made them up
A construct in our head, mind, soul
Why do we care so much?
How would we live without them?

Speakers of my heart
Painful song of my soul
A mirror, a lake reflection
Distorted, jagged, blown away

I can’t speak
They fail me

wasteland of my mind

Walking barefoot through the wasteland of my mind
A red trail of life carelessly left behind
The sounds that penetrate me
And the movements my body makes
Sensuality fills me up – expands me!
Fear cannot take root
Anxiety cannot take a breath
There is no room for judgment, for hesitation, for consideration
Only me, my desire, my curiosity
I must explore, leap into fire, jump into frigid water, open up my veins
And celebrate

There is nothing here
Nothing but skulls, bones, decaying flesh, crushed stones
There is no limit, no rules
There is no pain, only experience
No danger, only excitement
No future, only now.

Reason is my considerate lover
She leaves me in chains
Because she knows how much I like being tied up
She turns off the lights, locks the door
But she always returns to me
Unlocks the bonds, rains kisses down my arm
A dance of seduction
A perfect merging in the mind
She steps in with me
And carelessly flings the door shut

We have left the reality behind

You crave this, you want me
What I can offer you
That complete abandon
That thrilling jump off the cliff
We are free-born
Nothing can hurt us
At least we’ll die in ecstasy
You are a tamed beast
But you writhe in your invisible chains of convention, promises, structure
Let go, let go, letgo of the people you hold onto
They don’t matter no one matters
Nothing matters but that we feel
Take me, rise over me, make me moan, move with me, fill me with all you have, let go of that
Become a beast once again

Aren’t we all two-faced creatures?
Beasts in suits and dresses and socks
We still connect with the animal in us

It’s a choice for you
Choose to go back
Choose to lock me up
Choose to forget me
You’re just afraid you’ll forget yourself and stay forever with me
I am not the one seducing you
You are attracted
You can’t resist
Running your hands over me, touching the slopes and dips
Placing a kiss, then two, and three, on my lips
Open my mouth with your tongue
You can’t resist me
Touch me, enjoy your feast, let’s merge, become one forever
I am your sensual lover
I am your carefree slave
Oh but baby why is it you sitting in chains?