Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ten True Things About Today

1) My co-workers are passing around a smutty book (aka erotic fiction). It was recently handed off to me, and I have learned that a) I don't harbor secret fantasies about young CEOs (or CEOs of any age, really) with expensive tastes and b) there are way too many young women tripping over themselves into traffic or in the path of runaway cars. That said, I'm still reading the book.

2) Graveyards are really the best places for running and thinking. Also listening to music really loudly on your ipod. Today was the Black Keys with a short interlude for Rasputina's "Doomsday Averted."

3) I pissed off a waiter at a Korean restaurant today for redeeming a gift certificate. Normally I might have felt slightly upset/offended by this. Today, not so much. There are bigger things to worry about. Anyway, if a restaurant doesn't want you to redeem gift certificates, maybe they ought to stop offering them for sale. Just a thought.

4) Waterproof mascara is really the way to go. Also, waterproof eyeliner. And what the hell is in mascara anyway, to burn your eyes so much when you're crying? Horrible, evil chemicals.

5) I got a haircut. It was painful, as usual. Not physically painful. Just socially awkward. I had to endure some "robot" comments. My bag, tattoo, and earring appear to attract a lot of attention. Also, I want to know why the guy next to me was allowed to swivel his chair around to stare at me the entire time he was getting his buzz cut or whatever. His stylist just shifted around to accommodate him without a word. Isn't it proper protocol to stare straight at the mirror, not at other customers?

6) I don't know how to move forward with my novel. I have no idea what happens next. I keep writing, and hoping something will come to me, but so far -- nothing.

7) I ate way too many peanut products today. Peanut butter, beyond my normal oatmeal quota. Some salted peanuts too. This is nervous eating, which just makes me even more nervous, so it's got to stop. 

8) I don't have any inkling how my life will be six months from now. Yesterday, I heard a coworker say that Christmas was exactly six months away. It's so weird to think about. My life is morphing so rapidly, day by day, almost hour by hour. It's overwhelming to imagine the future, even six months into the future. I can't even think about August, or the middle of July.

9) I really need to clean this apartment. It is getting critical. 

10) I don't have a number ten.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On Being Asian

So here's the thing. I'm Asian. To be specific, I'm Chinese/Japanese/German/Hawaiian/Dutch/Scotch. I grew up in Hawaii, where 90% of all the people around me were either Asian, Hawaiian, or Samoan. So it was a shock to a system when I moved to a small town in Kentucky and faced racial stereotypes for the first time. 

I had spitballs thrown in my hair. The school librarian asked me how the voting system worked "in my country." I saw a refrigerator saleswoman from Sears all but drape herself over my stepfather, gushing that he must have worked in Hawaii as a missionary, bringing the word of God to those "savage people."

Was it a coincidence that I discovered feminism around this time? I was isolated, bored, and bewildered. My brother and I went from seeing our father twice a week to twice a year. My stepfather was abusive, both verbally (to everyone) and physically (to my mother). I used to spend nights locked in my walk-in closet, praying that the screams I heard didn't mean my mother was dying. Once I witnessed him trying to strangle her to death. It still bothers me that I didn't call the police. Afterwards, her speech was jumbled for a week, and my stepbrothers laughed at her.

Later, we went to the police together, my mother and I. We filed police reports, a restraining order. I helped her get a divorce, to escape. My brother and I rallied around her. We survived.

But before that, I read riot grrl zines, listened to Bikini Kill and Hole. I realized that the world was a cruel, vicious place. I didn't think any man could be trusted. I learned to sleep with a knife under my pillow.

And then I found out about the Asian fetish. This is where guys (typically white men) date Asian women exclusively. They date Asian women because of their Asian-ness. Because of their long black hair, almond eyes, sleek bodies. They assume Asian women are submissive to their men. Except in bed, of course, because that's where Asian women are ANIMALS! 

For years, I fought against this stereotype. All Asian stereotypes, really. No, I'm not good at Math. No, I don't speak any other language except English. My parents aren't immigrants. I can't go back to wherever I came from, because where I'm from is America, goddamnit. And no, I'm not sexy. I'm not remotely sexy. So leave me alone.

I was so concerned about becoming an Asian stereotype that I loped off parts of myself. I didn't wear anything that might be construed as sexy. I didn't smile at strange men. Ever. I tried to disappear into the stratosphere. I almost succeeded.

Now I tell myself: Okay, so you're a woman. And an Asian. And yeah, on the right day you're even kind of sexy. But that isn't all you are. And it doesn't mean you're playing into any Asian fetish stereotypes. So just relax. 

And finally, finally -- I'm allowing myself to be me. 

A few interesting articles I found about the Asian fetish:

1) What is Exotic Beauty? Part II: The Case of the Asian Fetish by Goal Auzeen Saedi.
2) Yellow Fellow: Dating as An Asian Woman by Lauren sMash

In the End

There is nothing more I want than to return to this.

There is nothing that terrifies me more than to return to this.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where I Am Today

In the fading of the constellations, I am growing strong
                                              "Pink Light," Laura Veirs

Saturday, June 9, 2012

In Which I Go To My First Meetup

And don't meet a single person! Sigh. You can read more about this on my veghead blog here. Don't worry about the super-cheerful tone of my writing -- I'm always chirpier in that space.

These days, my life has been tumultuous. It's like I'm a tornado, sweeping through the plains of day-night-day-night. Every time the sun rises, it brings a new challenge. And I have to say to myself: do I rise to face it, or fall back into old ways of not dealing? I felt some amount of solace when I read this Anais Nin quote
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. 
I've always admired Nin. She did what felt right to her, even when it looked bat shit crazy to other people (or sometimes illegal, in the case of the affair with her own father). She regretted some of her decisions later, but she always made a point to live fully, to be present in every situation. 

I have trouble with that. Living fully. Half of my brain is musing about the future, the other half lost in the past. Maybe ten percent processes what's going on in real time. Which is actually a lot better than what it used to be. Still, there's progress to be made. 

So yes to blossoming! To doing what makes me uncomfortable if I believe that it's important, if I can feel the truth of it jangling about in my bones.

Courage. Maybe I should write a note to myself on my arm: For God's sake, don't forget to be brave. In permanent marker. 

Of course, I already have a note of courage on my arm. In the most permanent of markers ever. The mountain in the quote, that's the rest of my life. I got through the metaphorical woods. Now there's a freaking mountain to climb. And I'm not going to let myself sit at the bottom and cry instead. 

I went to Barnes and Noble after the Meetup disaster to console myself. I picked up a copy of the latest VegNews as well as a tattoo magazine. Amelia Nightmare is my new heroine. Why do I heart her? Because she's whismical and sexy, her tattoos have a specific color scheme (and are all beautiful), and she's Asian. I'm planning a whopping big blog post on this in the future: the whole Asian thing. But for now, let's just say: yay for sexy Asian girls! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sometimes I Love You Just a Little, Pittsburgh

For your blue skies and pretty graveyards
For lovely vegetarian coffee shops
For outdoor concerts and just popped kettle corn
For Jamaican tacos and tattooed waitresses and bars filled with starry artificial trees