Who I Am

I don’t belong here. I don’t. In this world where everything is black and white, I drift aimlessly along the thin line of gray in between these two colours.

Everyone is born with a soul that first yearns for sports or the arts, then the other. People are naturally good at what they are born with and can also learn how to be good at the second. And usually, people pursue the first yearning and keep the second one as a side. Because of that, they rarely experience moments  of gloom, moments when they question whether they made the right decision or not.

I didn’t do that. My first yearning lied in the arts. It lied with the drama and the music of the theater. I wasn’t an athlete — I was a dreamer, and that marked me as the odd ball out.

Instead of choosing the language of the arts, I chose to be an athlete instead. But that disrupted the balance, and now, I am unable to do either. I don’t excell in either sports or music. I do both well. And because I chose to pursue the second interest, I made myself a hybrid who longs for both music and athletics.

But this is a world where we have to choose whether we’ll be an athlete or a musician. This has become a world of black and white, and it will not let me stay in the gray.

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Be Courageous

Be Courageous.

That’s what we, my high school’s leadership team decided was going to be our theme this year.

Be Courageous.

I never really thought about courage before. Probably the most courageous thing I feel like I do is talk to a teacher who intimidates, or when I forget to do the homework. Or maybe the most courageous thing I did was talking to people I didn’t want to talk to. Or maybe being courageous isn’t always about swallowing up my fears and insecurities. Maybe it’s about integrity.

Swallowing up my fears and insecurities and doing something that was not the girl people thought I was has become relatively simple. But being honest to myself — that’s tough. At an overnight retreat, one of our teachers asked us to define integrity in our own words. I defined integrity as having our words match up with our actions. Strange, but true. We are able to do the right thing when no one’s looking, but what happens when people are looking? Our actions don’t always change for the worse when we’re not around people, they can also change because of the people surrounding us.

Having our words and actions match means that we do what we say we’re going to do. If I decide and declare one day that I’m going to be nice to everyone, then I be nice to everyone, whether or not I like them or I don’t life, my friends like them or they don’t. What I think, and what my friends think doesn’t really matter in the long run. These people, the people that no one lies or takes the time to make friends with, Jesus died for them too. He didn’t just die for the people everyone likes, but for the people others didn’t like as well. Our friends’ opinion shouldn’t matter — we should be able to see everyone in the light that Jesus did: the light of Love.

When our words match our actions and vice versa, we realize that courage isn’t simply about our fears. It’s about being true to ourselves, our friends, and family.

So please.

Be Courageous. 

Confrontation Fears

When I was in seventh grade, I mistakenly thought that one of my friends hated me. In short, I exploded at her one day, and the ensuing fight was anything but clean.

It was messy, horribly messy.

And it wasn’t the kinds of fights where people start yelling at each other and finally somehow make up. We were in middle school, and therefore, the fight had what all middle school fights had: drama. We wouldn’t speak to each other and used other people to be a link between us. Tension rose within our friends as we tried to make our friends take sides. In the end, it was a short devotional given by my science teacher that saved our friendship.

But feelings were hurt in that process of drama, and other people were hurt as well because of that.

If I could change the past, I wish I was much more confrontational, confrontational in that I didn’t use other people to send my hate messages to her. But I wasn’t because I hate confrontation, and I didn’t want to have to face her.

As human beings, we are all innately afraid of confrontations, not because of the confronting in itself, but the answers that we might receive from confronting someone. The answer might be hurtful to us, and that scares us. Therefore, we retreat into our shells as a turtle does, and we use other people to send messages that would likly be understood to the person or opponent. And doing that causes unnecessary drama and hurt that could be avoided if we just swallowed our fears and confronted the person.

I hate confrontations, and I do everything I can to avoid them. Sometimes the situation sorts itself out, other times it doesn’t, but I still refuse to confront the person and just rant about it to other people. Some of the people I talk to then talk to the person I’m upset at, which causes the unnecessary drama, or so I think. But I can’t deny that when I talked my issue through with that person, the situation became better because I was able to understand where that person came from.

Talk to people, confront them. Because in the end, the sun will shine brighter because you did the right thing.

A Short Poem

I found this poem quite by accident. I was flipping through one of my old notebooks (I knew there was a reason that I kept them around), and I saw this poem I’d written a while ago. I didn’t really edit it, so it’s the rough draft, but I’d appreciate feedbacks on it, especially for the title.

Enjoy!

“Untitled”

A little drop of camphor,
A little drop of death.

A life once humming with light–
Gone–
So a butterfly could be on display.

~ Inspired by a scene in Louisa May Alcott’s book, Little Men.

Farewell, My Friends

To Everyone That is Leaving That I Know:

Sometimes it feels like you’ll never get back up from the ground people threw you on. And that’s okay, but that isn’t the complete truth.

Leaving sucks. And it’s scary. You’re all moving to places you never knew before, and it sucks. And it’s scary. I know that, and I understand that.

But I want you to know that there is always a reason for things to happen the way they are. I may not like it; you may hate it, but there is a reason that you must leave and whether it’s a good time or a bad time for you to leave doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. What matters that it was the right time for you to leave.

I know I sound callous. I’m not trying to, and I apologize if I do sound that way. I’ve had my share of goodbyes, sometimes I was the one saying them, sometimes I was the one being left behind. Always, I feared that the inevitable would happen: I would lose touch with them. And most of the time I did. But sometimes I didn’t.

I want you to know that just because you’re leaving, just because I might never see you again nearly every day next year — it doesn’t mean that this is “Goodbye”. This is not “Adieu”. We’re going to meet again, and I don’t know when or where, but I know that sometime in the future, we’ll meet again. And that is why this parting isn’t forever. It’s only “Au revoir”.

~ In-Ae ❤

A Tribute to Gener

Hey guys,

I usually don’t address you readers, but today, after we came home from school, I found that my dog was dead.

His name was Gener, and he was a border collie (He’s technically my family’s, but for the past little while, I felt like he was more my dog than anyone else’s).

But now, he’s dead.

Some part of me blames myself because he’d been so sick recently, and I hadn’t been much of a help because I’ve been so busy with school and exams and people leaving and life.

Could I have done anything to help him? I don’t know. But I do know this:

He was the first thing I noticed,
entering the gate of my new house.
He was standing next to my brother,
his tail wagging so hard
I thought it would fall off,
his tongue lolling out,
his eyes,
bright with the joy only dogs knew of.

He was called Gener
and I loved him.

I remember how he used to enter our home
lie down near the doorway,
just so he could be near us;
just so he could see us

I remember how he used to follow my brother,
and how they would both
burst through the doorway,
and Gener’s tongue would drip drool
all over the floor.
But he didn’t leave to get water.
He stayed there;
he loved us.

I remember that
because I was the one cleaning up his drool–
How I hated that job!
How I hated, even more,
to slip in that puddle of drool.

But now,
I just wish that he was here,
watching me by the doorway
as I type down these words.

I remember how he used to seem so big,
like a horse
(I was really short),
and how I would try to ride him,
only to shaken off immediately.

I remember how he would stick by one person,
and look at them like they were
his whole universe.

Then something changed,
and he stopped.
No longer did he linger by the doorway,
nor did he slobber his way through.
He lost weight.
A stumble found its way to his steps.

He grew old.

Gener,
I don’t know if you ever knew
how much I loved you.
Some part of me wishes
that I’d said that more.
But now it’s too late.

I’m sorry for being busy.
I’m sorry for everything,
for not being there when
you truly needed my help.

Gener, I miss you.
I wish you were here,
right now,
listening to my rants,
but strangely,
amongst my confused emotions,
I know that your time
was now.

General,
Generous,
Generations,
you’ve been all this
and more.
General,
I’ll miss you.
Generous Generosity,
thank you for your heart
and trust.
Generations,
live forever in the hearts
of those to come.

I love you, Gener. I’ll miss you.

Be happy wherever you are.

The End of a Chapter

I sit at my table, my pen poised on top of the paper searching for the words to end the very last blog post of this year.

As my pen forms the curve of “I”, I remember. I remember not finishing my summer work for AP Lang and coming to class with my head down. I remember struggling to fit back into a society where I didn’t belong, or so I felt. I remember hating on myself whenever I caved into pressure.

My time in AP Lang wasn’t merely a time to improve on my writing. It was also a time of healing and letting go. I didn’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to. The past is the past, there is nothing I can do to change it, but I can give my best on the present that is now.

I entered AP Lang because I loved to write. I didn’t expect to learn anything more than improving on my writing.

But I did.

Through this process of writing, I healed. The hurt I gained in the past, from realizing I was a brat to feeling like I’m never going to be good enough slowly eased away, and it’s still easing away.

My thinking changed from I have to be perfect, to It’s fine if I can’t get everything done, and through that change, I no longer felt the need to be perfect at writing and reading. Writing isn’t something that comes out perfect on the first try, it’s a working process that comes through time and practice.

And so, as my pen writes down letters, they form into words and sentences that I wasn’t aware of writing.

I don’t have to be perfect. I never had to be. And that is something I need to live with.

Dear Ms. Magnuson…

Hi Ms. Magnuson,

So I don’t know if you expected this at all or anything, but I want you to know how much you’ve impacted my life.

Of all the things I struggle writing is a letter. I don’t know how to write a good letter, and the words that I always long to say fall flat and stiff, and they don’t capture what I want to say. But as much as I can, I’m going to try to explain how much you’ve helped me throughout these two years:

So I wanted to say thank you,
but the words fall flat —
the glimmer they had —
gone.

I want to say thank you,
but it doesn’t seem enough —
can I truly say all I want to
without breaking down?

You’ve been a mentor and teacher,
a friend, sometime even a parent.
I’ve frustrated you,
made you laugh,
and haven’t finished my work in time
sometimes.

But even when I feel like
you could never forgive,
you surprise me
and remind me that
love isn’t bought,
that love doesn’t falter
when I’m less than perfect.

Because I’m not.
I’m not perfect,
I’m china doll
and I break.
But you reminded,
and you showed that
broken isn’t unfixable.

Piece by piece,
you’ve helped me remember
that love is love,
and that I’m loved.

Piece by piece,
you picked me up,
and you showed me that
Love will remain
even when I’ve messed everything up.

So thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you for showing me a light
when the road was just too dark,
and no one seemed to hear my cries.
Thank you.
I’ll miss you.
I love you.

~ In-Ae

Love is Love, Right?

One of the main topics of hot debates is an issue of love, of love between men, women, between men and women, and whether people have a choice in who they are. I’m not a expert in this matter, so unlike the norm, I won’t take a stance in this matter, but I do think I will analyse each argument as they come. 😉

Born this way.

~ Aren’t you a tad defensive? Though this is a strong argument, it almost seems like you’re putting blame on your parents instead. Maybe they do have a hand in making you who you are. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you be proud of who you are because when you choose to answer people with the same spite they give you, you show your weaknesses and your insecurity. You were born this way you say. Then be proud of it. It’s completely biological.

It’s a mental illness 

~ Sorry, but have you studied anything relating to psychology? Have you done any research that does agree with what this argument says? According to the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender people are not mentally ill. It’s a genetic trait that is created either by genetic mutations, or a show-up of a gene that had belonged to a relative.

God hates gays

~ “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16. I’m sure God hates gays, right? It’s not like the verse above says that God loved the world because God would never do that. Sorry about the sarcasm, but one of the main arguments Christians have against this topic is that God hates them. This is completely false, if Jesus (who is God) hated gays, then surely he would hate other sinners as well, such as prostitutes, adulterers, murderers, and more. However, Jesus stayed and searched for those very people shunned by society, He went to the very people that were shunned in their culture. Jesus loves them, he loves them all. Everyone, including gays. Also this argument is flawed because it’s assuming that you know everything about God, which you don’t.

I hope that I wasn’t too biased. I really don’t have an opinion about this topic. I don’t have enough information to fully decide whether I’m for or against, but if there is one thing that I know for sure, it’s that God loves you all. Whether you are gay, lesbian bi, or transgender, it doesn’t matter. Because He sees you as His children.

Love you all. 😉

Five Life Lessons (for writing)

I recently read Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I chose to read it because one of my friends had been really enthusiastic about it, but once I started I was easily enthralled by the way Goldberg wove her words together. Writing Down the Bones has helped me realize that writing isn’t about the rules, and there are five main lessons I learned from reading this book.

  1. Just Write. Of all the advice she gave in writing, this was the hardest one for me. When I write, I have an internal editor who always makes sure that a sentence is mostly grammatically correct, that it sounds nice, that it makes sense with the rest of what I’m writing. Goldberg tells us to write and ignore everything else. She tells us to write, because the act of writing is what enables us to continue to write.
  2. Composting. Composting is a technique I’d never heard before. When describing what composting is, Goldberg describes our thoughts and our bodies with soil. She says our bodies are like garbage heaps and our conscience is sifting through the experiences of our life until suddenly a inspiration, a poem, or any piece of writing falls down to our lap. Composting allows us to absorb the experience and create something rich and beautiful. But this takes practice as well.
  3. Baking a Cake. A cake has multiple ingredients that must be mixed together really well until it is one mixture. Goldberg says that writing, like baking a cake, has many components that we are just slowly bringing together. The most important thing she said about baking a cake is that we shouldn’t let our minds wander. When the cake is finally put into the oven, our minds can’t wander around hoping for a different cake than that of the one we made. We have to focus on the cake the whole time until it is completely finished.
  4. Sweet writing. Goldberg mentions a tradition in Judaism of giving a boy a bit of honey after he reads his first word. They did this so that the boy would be able to see learning with sweetness. Goldberg continues on to say that writing is the same thing, which was just something I never really thought of. Writing sweet? How is that even possible? But I realize now that it is possible. People can’t write if writing doesn’t mean something to them. People struggle with writing, because they’re afraid of it, but Goldberg speaks of how writing is a friend, which is why writing is sweet.
  5. Home. This was one thing that sort of resonated within me. Goldberg, in this chapter, mentions that one should never think that one’s life is any less fascinating than anyone else’s. She tells her readers to go home and look around at the normal things that occur everyday. She tells her readers to look at those normal things because even if there are a hundred cows in the place you live, not one cow acts in the particular actions of your cow. Goldberg says to honor and respect where we came from, and if we can’t honor nor respect it, the least we can do is accept it. Be proud of who you are.

These are the five main lessons I learned. Writing Down the Bones is an incredible, which gives advice about writing. I learned and realized so much about writing over this, so if you really want to, read it.