“When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys call asking your cup size, say A, hang up. When he says you give him blue balls, say you’re welcome. When a girl with thick black curls who smells like bubble gum stops you in a stairwell to ask if you’re a boy, explain that you keep your hair short so she won’t have anything to grab when you head-butt her. Then head-butt her. When a guidance counselor teases you for handed-down jeans, do not turn red. When you have sex for the second time and there is no condom, do not convince yourself that screwing between layers of underwear will soak up the semen. When your geometry teacher posts a banner reading: “Learn math or go home and learn how to be a Momma,” do not take your first feminist stand by leaving the classroom. When the boy you have a crush on is sent to detention, go home. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boy with the blue mohawk swallows your heart and opens his wrists, hide the knives, bleach the bathtub, pour out the vodka. Every time. When the skinhead girls jump you in the bathroom stall, swing, curse, kick, do not turn red. When a boy you think you love delivers the first black eye, use a screw driver, a beer bottle, your two good hands. When your father locks the door, break the window. When a college professor writes you poetry and whispers about your tight little ass, do not take it as a compliment, do not wait, call the Dean, call his wife. When a boy with good manners and a thirst for Budweiser proposes, say no. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys tell you how good you smell, do not doubt them, do not turn red. When your brother tells you he is gay, pretend you already know. When the girl on the subway curses you because your tee shirt reads: “I fucked your boyfriend,” assure her that it is not true. When your dog pees the rug, kiss her, apologize for being late. When he refuses to stay the night because you lived in Jersey City, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Harlem, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because your air conditioner is broken, leave him. When he refuses to keep a toothbrush at your apartment, leave him. When you find the toothbrush you keep at his apartment hidden in the closet, leave him. Do not regret this. Do not turn red. When your mother hits you, do not strike back.”—“Unsolicited Advice to Adolescent Girls With Crooked Teeth and Pink Hair,” Jeanann Verlee (via floralnymph)
“Really, Congress? You held a Congessional committee on reproductive rights and you did not invite any women? Really? That would be like not inviting any men to a Congressional committee debating the Maxim Top 100.”—AMY POEHLER, Weekend Update
Some children fall in love with yellow-haired dolls. Others, race cars, toy soldiers, or a water colour paint set. I fell in love with the dictionary. Yes, the dictionary. It was silent kind of love, a love one could only share with their mother and no one else. As a young child, I had access to a collection of books; my classroom walls were lined with literary characters, my local library poured out pages, and my parents allowed me to buy new books every month from a scholastic brochure. However, I always stayed true to the dictionary, the one book that relentlessly provided me both challenges and joy. It was from the dictionary that I learned about the roots of a word, the sounds of a word, the purpose of a word. I could open a book of literature and read it to have it tell me a story, but opening a dictionary meant I would have to make up the stories to understand what I was reading.
“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”—Charles Bukowski
My fingers are parched white and my cheeks a blistering scarlet flush. I could blame the cold night’s wind for this or even Southwest delaying my flight but I know that at the core of it all, it is just a case of the Monday Blues.
The Monday Blues consists of a plenitude of first world problems: being delayed for a flight, then finding seconds later that my iPad is unusable for some reasons still unexplained, and then having to sit out in the cold night awaiting a flyaway bus. I feel bitter and miserly, but I know deep down inside that I shouldn’t be so bitter and miserly, because these are just a handful of “first world problems”. I have enough money to leisurely take time off to fly out to town for the weekend, I have had the opportunity to obtain and iPad, and I even have enough means to afford a $10 flyaway bus fare to take me back home from a trip, an amount that some Americans do not even make at their job in a single hour. I even spent $5 on a bag of candy and $4 on a simple bagel during my wait, money many even in this country would hold on to for a more logical expense.
I even have the luxury of creeping the girl next to me out by typing away at a new blue-tooth keyboard with my iPad tucked away beneath my seat. So Monday Blues, thank you for humbling me.
A peach is a fine fruit. It delights all who has had the chance to have a taste with its juiciness and succulent flesh. A delectable fruit with velvet-like skin and a blushing complexion, the peach is often sweet, but never to the point of being saccharine. Prunus persica, a beloved fruit of Eastern origin, induces the feelings of indulgence without being actually indulgent. Many pine for their lovers at the stem of a peach tree, unaware of whether their ardor for one another is for one another or just because of the peach tree’s enchanting spell.
But such sweetness comes with a price. Unlike all of the other fruits, the peach can only ripen and flourish with a lot of nurturing, a lot of care. If unplucked, the peach withers. If the tender plucks, but her hands are too clumsy, too rough, the peach withers. The peach, when slighted in the slightest of ways, bruises deeply into a clouded brown rot.
Methods of memory recall are continually being researched everyday by scientists in hopes of finding new ways to aid the one thing most people struggle with - remembering things. Like most people, I tend to have struggle with remembering. I am usually more forgetful when it comes to remembering spatial memories, such as where I left my keys, where I placed my cellphone, or even finding where I parked my car in the garage lot. However, the things that slip away and escape from my mind and memory the most are names. Full fledged human names.
Thus, in order to help myself with this, I tend to remember the people that I meet through mnemonic devices. Aside from simply associating the name to the face and body it belongs to, I find mnemonics much easier and more memorable - thus every time I give someone a mnemonically derived nickname, I increase the chances of me remembering them.
And since everyone from my real life is coded with pseudo-names in this blog, why not change from exilebysounds to Mnemonically?
We sat beside one another and I surveyed the ornamental french press on the wooden table while he touched his tablet with delicate fingers, inputting numbers and texts and curiosities. That breezy night in the muggiest season of the year, my favorite cafe served me a curveball; I knew then that black rimmed glasses would never be the same.
Now, in the season of sizzling tea pots and indoor nuzzles, he is mine and I am his. This is the best present that any festive holiday can give me; the warmest, most wonderful heart to cozy up with mine.
I rinsed out my mug, slung the straps of my briefcase over my shoulder, and walked out to the entrance of the office. Due to some odd reason on my behalf, my attempts at speaking to Rachel, the assistant account exec who awaited my arrival and departure every day, had usually been maladroit and uneasy. Since today was a particularly special day, I prepared myself for another cumbersome conversation.
“Well, I guess today is both of our last days. Good luck at your new job; you must be excited”.
Rachel graciously beamed at me, giving an honest smile that showed hints of both nervousness and yet her eagerness. To my surprise, her smile felt more personal than the ones I received before; this one showed her vunerabilities. Rachel responded with a ‘yes’, that she was excited, and yet a bit afraid about moving up to a bigger firm and possibly failing.
It was then that I realized we’ve been dealing with the same internal struggle, the same what if’s and the same “is this the right thing?”. I’ve been afraid for some time about my own future career paths, what I’ll need to find to continually better myself, what i’ll need to do to prevent stagnation. But like Rachel, I realized, that while I may be in a vulnerable state, I’m also tremendously excited for the future.
My reminiscent mother. My aging father. My kid sister. A man who loves me. The man I love. An old friend. An old roommate. A peculiar and unknown friend. A former mentor. A grueling boss. A grief stricken woman. A callous woman. A compassionate stranger.
I’ve always wondered who would give my eulogy - and when.
Time after time, men fall for the genial because they welcome the world with open arms, then later scorn them for being too open, too lively, too warm. It is inevitable that the genial be accused of wanting to be liked by all.
Except the genial doesn’t really care if they are liked. In fact, the genial is actually just another misanthropic fuck, like the rest of society, who knows first-hand how devastatingly cold the world can be. They simply only want to assure everyone that it doesn’t have to be.
The apartment is a ghost town. Salt and pepper bags filled with our everyday items, like cooking oil and screenplays, line the countertops and hide in dried-out tubs. We seal up the cat food, throw up our mattresses and wait for the morning fumigators.
Man next to me in Kerchkoff Cafe looks and reeks of hoboland yet has been typing away on a laptop for hours.
Then, he asks me in almost indistinguishable English for my opinion on his work - I begin to read a section of a screenplay and to my surprise, it is impeccably written. Wow, life, you’re amazing.
But then I realize, every time in such instances that we are “surprised’, these surprises are only reflective of the prejudice and mentally ingrained notions that if a person looks in appearance like an A, they must be an A, when they can actually be a B.
Can two people become close friends, despite belonging to different class statuses? For instance, an upper-middle class man and a lower class man? An executive class woman and a lower-middle class woman? Can they be everyday friends?
Is it better to put all of your eggs in one basket (one essay worth 70%) or split your chances (two essays worth 30% and 40%) ?
Before I had put up this status, I had already made my decision: All or nothing. I understand the possible consequences of such an investment in my grade, but frankly I’d like to think I’m a creature of faith.
The point of the status was to see who else is one.
“I have often wished that Jefferson had not used that phrase, “the pursuit of happiness”, as the third right—although I understand in the first draft was “life, liberty and the pursuit of property”… Still, I would rather he had written life, liberty and the pursuit of meaningfulness or integrity or truth. I know that happiness has been the real, if covert, goal of your labors here. I know that it informs your choice of companions, the profession you will enter, but I urge you, please don’t settle for happiness. It’s not good enough. Of course, you deserve it. But if that is all you have in mind—happiness—I want to suggest to you that personal success devoid of meaningfulness, free of a steady commitment to social justice, that’s more than a barren life, it is a trivial one.”
Toni Morrison, Rutgers University Commencement 2011
Tuesday: Notice I have a burning and enflamed bug bite the size of my palm…on my ass. Get everyone in my apartment to look at it. Some of them even touch it. Hypothesis includes ‘spider bite’, ‘bee sting’, and ‘return of the bed bugs’.
Wednesday: Try to explain on my second day of my internship that I must seek medical help for my ass. Notice the smaller bite on my back has increased in size and burn as I am sit and wait for my doctor.
Doctor’s prognosis: ”There is no way of telling what it is. Take antibiotics for 10 days and come back in on Friday. If it isn’t better by Friday, we’ll have to take a scalpel to it”.
Thursday: Notice nothing has change, not even my inability to swallow pills.
Friday: Doctor’s prognosis: “Good news, it looks better. Here is some cream to help with the itching. Have a friend help you rub it in”.
Sat-Monday: My numerous attempts to have my friends help me rub cream onto my butt prove futile, but the redness and itchiness on my rear disappears. Port-wine stain on my rear remains.
Monday 5 am: Wake up with my fingers wrapped around both feet. There is a excruciating burn with both, although it is only my middle toe that burns in my right foot. Put on my newly broken glasses and hobble to the bathroom half-asleep. As the lights flicker on, I awake immediately when I realize my left foot is flushed red and swollen, with a constellation of bumps, and that on my right foot, my middle toe is painted in such a deep red, it is almost provocative. There is a cold-warm sensation tingly deep within it. I look like an ogre.
Monday: Call the school nurse line. Spend thirty minutes talking about my contact info, my insurance, my paperwork. At the end of it, she gives me her prognosis. It is “you should see a doctor in the next hour”.
Tuesday: I see the doctor. She tells me it is a very curious infection, but that she has no explanation nor suggestions other than to continue with the cream. Later, she calls me at my apartment to tell me that if it is a bacterial infection, it may begin to spread to the REST OF MY BODY.