[roughly translated from Chinese]
“Guys need to be more romantic, more proactive, in order to keep a girl interested in him. He needs to woo her.”
“I’ve noticed that very intelligent people tend to end up divorcing more frequently.”
“When a girl goes and beds with a man, all his male friends know she’s off limits because she belongs to him. But once they part – because easy girls never last long in a relationship – no guy will touch that girl.”
“I was going to introduce you to a nice Taiwanese boy, but then he got leukemia.”
“Never use your real birth date and social security number when registering an account online. I use your father’s birthday on LinkedIn.”
“Be careful what pictures you post on the internet. What if a sex offender sees it? It’s so easy these days to access your real name, location, and date of birth. He’d find you so easily!”
(After being told a funny story about my housemate’s mother asking when I decided I was gay) “Did you tell her you are REALLY straight?”
“Don’t think you’re too old for me to hit you.”
“Hey, I’ve never seen [your brother] cry. Let’s see what it takes to make him cry!”
“If [your brother] goes for his Masters or PhD after college, you’ll be the one person with the lowest degree of education in our family.”
“Oh, California’s sales tax increase will be good for the state. Even the Mexicans will have to pay their fair share.”
(After hearing me talk about how much I like my apartment in San Francisco) “Yeah. It’s just too bad you live in such a densely Hispanic neighborhood.”
“Are there a lot of Russians in San Francisco?”
(After I tell her about the friend who made my necklace) “Oh! Is she Taiwanese?”
“If someone said something bad about me, you wouldn’t stand for that, right? It’s a natural, familial instinct.”
“Guess what my pant size is now. Just guess!”
“Are you really that much skinnier? Everyone at Thanksgiving dinner kept commenting on how skinny you are!”
“How much do you weigh?”
“You could try my diet plan, too!”
“Have you noticed if eating so much Mexican food has made you stinkier?”
“Are either of your housemates fat? You should tell them about my weight loss method. It could really change their life!”
“If I lose another 10 pounds, your father will definitely want me to go back to Taiwan to live with him.”
“Your father made a lot of promises to me. He’s never kept a single one.”
“You’re a lot like your father.”
“There is something very, very wrong with you.”
“There was this show in Taiwan about male children being kidnapped and sold off as cucumbines[sic], being treated like girls and raped repeatedly until they turn into, like, a gay mentality, you know? And one of the actors apparently was gay, and ended up committing suicide.”
“Why are you still freelancing? Don’t you want to do something with your life?”
Sometimes I can’t breathe because there is too much air and my lungs can’t expand to make room for it all.
Sometimes I find the world so painstakingly beautiful…
Sometimes I am so excited my heart and stomach hurt
Sometimes all I want is the taste of chocolate on my tongue
Sometimes I am in love with each person I pass on the street
Sometimes thinking about the summer sun is more beautiful than the real thing
Sometimes I need to touch another person’s skin
Sometimes I can’t stop flexing my hands and looking at them, silently awed by their engineering
Found in a college sketchbook, and there is no date because I never date things properly. Written sometime between the fall of 2008 and spring 2009.
While getting brunch with the Programmer this morning, I talked with him quite a bit about my spending the summer in Seattle. The conversation inevitably turned to the topic of poly management. The Programmer mentioned something that has made me realize what might be holding me back from fully accepting poly in my own life.
He told me that he views his poly group as a family, and that he sees his partners’ partners as akin to his own partners. In this framework, it’s pretty obvious to each member that it’s not a zero-sum game, and everyone wants everyone else to succeed.
Everyone wants everyone else to succeed in a family? The concept was difficult for me to grasp at first. How is that intrinsic to being a member of a family?
Enter in my own familial experience.
Not only did I spend most of my childhood either in school or under minimal supervision at home – and thus I believe never bonding very strongly with my immediate family members – I’ve never really been close to anyone in my family for most of my life. I had no interest in participating in the ‘family time’ my mother continually attempted to implement, and I was often happier going off on my own, whether it was hiking in the woods or working on school projects.
So, then. What does family actually mean to me? I hear the word, and its meaning (aided by indoctrination through popular media) and my personal association are at complete odds. I don’t think of community, closeness, or support network. I think of obligation, filial piety, and tradition.
Usually, it feels like a necessary evil.
I think of growing up being constantly compared, academically and physically, against my cousins and against my parents’ own accomplishments. How can I think of family as anything other than a zero-sum game against that kind of background? I think of my mother’s recent trip to Taiwan for a family reunion, and all of the married nieces and nephews with their children that will remind her so starkly of my lack of pursuit of a family of my own.
Perhaps, if I had a better idea of how to find or build the kind of community I want and create new, positive associations to this word, family, I’d be better equipped to fully accept polyamory.
Whoops! How quickly the time passes. Already it’s May, and I am once again in the throes of travel preparation. In a little less than two weeks, I’ll be heading to Shibaricon, which I attended once before in 2010. This time, however, I’ll be staying with Max.
That marks somewhat of a ‘first’ in our relationship, as we’ve never attended a conference this way. When we attended Shibaricon in 2010, we had separate rooms and pre-arranged playdates, though we certainly saw a lot more of each other than I had expected or, indeed, had hoped. So it’s exciting to have progressed further – though this was made possible, of course, by the fact that none of Max’s other partners are planning to go themselves.
Given that the only other event I’ve attended in this capacity with Max was at Folsom Fringe during our very first extended encounter in 2009, it’ll be interesting to explore just how much has changed in three years.
The other big news in my life is that I’m planning a three-month-long summer sojourn in Seattle after Shibaricon (hello alliteration!). I’ve been thinking about doing this since the winter, and I finally committed to it last week by finding a room to rent and subletting out my SF room. So yeah, that’s a big deal.
Amidst the preparation for all of that excitement, I’ve also been drawing more and taking more photographs – even submitting some of my work to a few shows and galleries. I got a few images accepted for the SEAF store, and I’m excited to attend this year to see all of the artwork they’ve picked out for the festival.
My biggest personal project is a kinky webcomic that I’ve been planning for – well, it’s lived in my brain since the latter half of my college years. I even drew a few test strips to get a feel for working in that format, but it’s been a long time since I’ve attempted any more. This time, I’ve got more experience and content to draw from (literally!), and I’m pretty excited about making this a reality!
So, bear with me as I more or less abandon this space in favor of a more visual medium. And, if you’d like to be kept abreast of the webcomic’s progress, including where it will appear once I start publishing it, feel free to send me a note! My contact email can be found in the sidebar under the RSS feed icon.
I’ll keep the archives up for now. Who knows, I may become inspired to write more now that I’ve started drawing more as well!
I was 7, perhaps, or 8. Maybe older; time has faded some of the relevant facts, but others stand out the starker in comparison. My mother is sitting at our dining table, and it is late at night. She’s just come home, and others are seated around her: an aunt, and my father.
I’ve only passed through the dining room on my way to my bedroom. My aunt turns to me from where she has been listening to my mother talk of her night, and asks me, in Chinese, “Aren’t you worried? Your mother was just in a car accident!”
I shrug, keep walking. The shrug is more out of shyness and discomfort than anything else. Behind me, I hear my mother tell my aunt, also in Chinese, “See, she doesn’t care! She doesn’t care what happens to me.”
I kept walking, not looking back, and closed my bedroom door behind me.
I’ve never talked to my mother of that night, but it continues to come back to me at random moments, like tonight. You see, what I never told my mother, my aunt, or my father, was that I did not know the Chinese phrase for “car accident.”
I thought that my aunt had told me that my mother had been in heavy traffic. In my mind, that explained why she’d gotten home so late, and so I summarily dismissed the matter from my mind.
There are many things one might draw from this memory. I’ve gone through them all. But, tonight, I just wanted to record it here. A small scrap of a memory, but significant all the same.
It was the beginning of second grade. My mother had signed me up for an after-school program, which I was highly dubious about and expressed little enthusiasm for. I think I cried and stomped my foot a lot the first day I had to go. But the arts and crafts drew me in, and I loved my after-school teachers. I would end up attending that program until I was in my early teens.
This is where I met him – I’ll call him the Writer. He was a strange, quirky boy, with odd habits and beliefs. He had an amazing imagination and read voraciously. We got along quite well.
We saw each other daily after school. He taught me how to play chess, including the four-move checkmate I remember as the Blitzkrieg. I drew pictures and concocted drawing games for us and the other after-school kids to play. He wrote short stories – dark, strange stories that often fell into the category of horror or detective thriller. We pored over video game magazines that he brought in; took turns at beating levels and bosses on my black and white Gameboy. We may or may not have reenacted character moves from Mortal Kombat on the playground.
There was a certain period of time wherein our friendship solidified and strengthened. Sometimes, we would simply walk around the school track, just the two of us, talking about nothing at all. Yet we never saw each other outside of the school grounds, never went over to each other’s houses.
So, as we grew older and outgrew that after-school program, we saw less and less of each other, unless we happened to be in the same class for a certain subject. What had seemed like such a close friendship suddenly became awkward and uncertain. The Writer had his friends, and I had mine. There was no overlap, despite the fact that we were both social outliers.
Had I been better informed and more self-aware at the time, I may have realized earlier that we were both kinky. At least, all my memories of the Writer lead me to believe he was (is?) very, very kinky. Besides his short stories involving naked, writhing women in caves, there was a natural power dynamic underlying our early relationship – except that I was often the one chasing him around the playground, trying to catch him and pin him down.
I would have also realized that our mutual awkwardness were telltale signs of the crushes we had on each other, rather than signs of a faltering connection.
Now, almost a decade later, I can’t help but wonder where life has taken the Writer and whether he has had any kinky relationships. We are still tenuously connected – in that we are friends on a few social networks – and it is exactly these sorts of connections that keep me from deleting my social media accounts altogether. We’ve even corresponded once or twice, tossing around ideas of a creative collaboration with his words and my artwork. Nothing’s come of those brief exchanges yet, but lately he has been on my mind again.
I wonder if I should ping him again – perhaps when I am next back on the East Coast, where he still lives. I wonder if I should even attempt to meet up with him, to see if he is at all the person I remember him to be. I wonder if I would be disappointed by our meeting, or if perhaps I’d see a familiar, mischievous glint in his eye and feel some of that old chemistry again.
Given how busy my life already is these days, it seems foolish to even be thinking of this. But, given that the Writer is my longest-standing crush, it seems sad to leave such a cliffhanger in my past. Either something might still spark between us, and at the very least I’d regain a lost friendship, or we will both have changed and branched off in completely different life directions as to be incompatible, even as friends. But, whatever the case, at least there might be some resolution to this chapter of my life.