Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Inspires (my future) Daughter

So this is Isa*.
She is the daughter of my cousin, Marilen.
Isa is a devil.
I am now ready for a child.
I want a devil.

*Photos taken, arranged, and created by Marilen Mabugat.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Thing About Smoking

I’ll admit it. I’m an anti-smoking occasional smoker.

From my impudent college days, I put a puffer to my mouth and held the smoke in my cheeks, not inhaling, but so wanting to look cool. I’m orally fixated, my excuse excused me from the Surgeon General’s Warning, and upset! Then I actually started inhaling.

I can do whatever the hell I want. This, I recall, is MY BODY.

Ok, fast forward five years to a less impudent college administrator. I loathe smoking for all the same reasons I did in college. The difference is that I now have the gall to state that I am an uncool, non-caffeinated healthy, avocado eating, 'Laura’s Lean Beef' carnivorous advocate. I am. I also love the taste of a hefty cigar and a sip'o brandy.

Issues 4 and 5 are on the Ohio ballet and I cannot recall the last time (ok, I can – presidential election of 2004) when I was so politically heated. Granted, I’m not twisting my go-go-gadget head around a floral wedding centerpiece to holler at a stranger like I was in 2004, but a rather feisty advocate has emerged in these last few years as I take slow ganders over advertisements and actually read labels, addicts’ stories, and the reality of second-hand smoke.

Besides the proverbial “my contacts dry out and my eyes sting, smelly hair and pillow (the latter is optional if you don’t shower before bed), my clothes need to be dry-cleaned” argument, the only resounding point I come up with is: I WANT CLEAN AIR. I am the kind of person that convinced my Philip Morris employed brother to quit the empire and to come cheer on the good side of humanity. I am the kind of person that, yes, under inebriation, steals a rare puff from my best smoking friend because I engage in occassional bad behavior. Bad behavior? Check. Actively killing myself and my lungs? No.

This is my message to smokers: you can be the lung destroyers of the world – because it is your right to do whatever you want to your insides, just like my college experience attested. But, this November 7th, I refuse to be taken down with you. I refuse to walk into any given restaurant and have no choice but to simply sit in a cloud of smoke, to be inconvenienced to find of a non-smoking establishment (when you're thisclosetokentucky, it's difficult), inhale toxins, and shorten my life. Hey! When I want to kill my lungs, I'll do it on my own time and smoke outside so no one else is affected by my bad behavior.

We drink alcohol. It’s apparently within our right to poison our livers and destroy brain cells. There’s no law that says you can’t get drunk (outside the 21y/o thing), but you can’t get drunk and then recklessly put others at harm. Hence, there are laws regulating what we do afterward. We are not allowed to operate vehicles or other large mass machinery out of concern for everyone’s safety and well-being. Right? We have rights, but there’s laws created to prevent us from potentially hurting another human being.

Is smoking really that different?

Follow me.

There are a lot of smokers, but that shit you blow out is inhaled by me, dining and welcoming service employees- who are mostly women- children, and other passer-byers. That smoke floats over the ineffective barricade and adheres to my nostrils, my lungs. My rage raises as you flick your butt outside car windows, into lawns, and start fires in college residence halls. But that's going beyond Issues 4 and 5.

For Ohioans, Issue 4 is a well known to be backed by Tobacco companies. Issue 5 is backed by the American Cancer Society. For f*ck's sake, you figure it out.

This, I recall, is MY BODY.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Knowing Who You Are, and then Saying It

You know what completely inspires me?

I love when people can succintly say what their passion, job, and reason for living is all one breath. Like: "HI. I"m a black activist and use my photography to explore sexual and queer politics."

Now me.

"HI. I'm a multicultured person and use my heroinandspeed-like thoughts to conquer the world and simultaneously try to make it better, one blog at a time."



"Hello there. I'm a Spanish Filipina devoted to any sort of expression that enables me to feel a part of the world, connected to beauty and intimacy, and love to use my brain for complicated thoughts."


"Hola! I'm a person who changes with each morning, but am committed to exploring love, art, writing, and spiritual fulfillment through everything deemed ordinary."



"Hey, I wish I could tell you all that I am, but can only promise I am much more and better than you can even or ever imagine. I am that rare."

There it is....

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Get Alive

[I'm on the phone.]

So, is meeting on the first of November good for you?

Yes, Lisa, that'll work. Here in Rexler Hall?

Mhm. Yes, that's fine.

I'm sorry I haven't received your messages, I don't know how that happened.

Oh, not a problem. Probably got buried someone in your inbox.

Maybe, but I've tried to keep up with email, that's been the one thing I've been good about since I've been gone.


Well, I just had a baby in May.


But then this summer, I was diagnosed with cancer.

Long breath in.

Yes, I know. I've been busy. But, this meeting sounds great and I look forward to it.

Yes, so do I. Thank you.

So, this woman, who had a child and was diagnosed with cancer had the most pleasant voice and cheerful disposition. My navel-gazing resumed. I'm pissed because I can't run well when it's cold out. My moods are swinging like pendulums on crack and the world is a cruel, narrow, and racist place.

But I'm healthy. My lungs breathe on their own, my mind is alert and sharp, and my muscles are long, uninterrupted, and strong. I'm happy. Adonis wrote me an emotional poem that raced to both the beating physical and proverbial heart. My family, as fucking crazy as it is, is alive, argumentative, and passionately devoted to one another.

I am alive, with no threat of tomorrow or violence. The logs in my fireplace neatly burn and my kitchen cutting board is made of solid wood. The pesto sauce I made last night was perfect with the tortellini. Messages on voice-&e-mail, albeit windy, chide me to return love, return to loved ones and be received and known.

I do not have cancer. I am not on an operating table. I do not see spiders in my home. I'm in therapy, but not recovery. There is no power over me except the O*e I worship in my soul. My water is silver clear and my pillow shares two heads, dreaming differently but sharing one vision.

I am alive.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Thought I Knew

My father is a psychiatrist, so you can understand when I say that I have grown up with mental health. Terms like schizoid, pathology, and etiology are as common to me as flour, water, earth.
Still, the stigma and sting of therapy is no stranger. I've been in therapy for more years, off and on, than I can count. And today, Merce posed an unaswerable question about family, so poignant and sensitive, that I was wordless. I said nothing because that's what truth does. It stares you down until you have nothing to say.

The anger, the passion, the sadness, the inevitable disappointments left ungrieved
l i n k e d .

Sometimes, for as much as I know the process is worth it, I wish it didn't hurt so much.

Monday, October 23, 2006

You Can't Make It Better

The last wedding I attended was one of the fanciest ones I've ever seen. Every man had either a dark suit or a tux on, every woman was wearing a black dress. This ostentatious parade could have easily been turned to a celebrity funeral.

I could not believe how many variations of a black dress there were: strapless, spaghetti, off the shoulder short, off the shoulder long, one sleeve sling, deep V front, deep V back, backless, sashes, bows, ripples, wraps with varying pleats and side hip gathers for every kind of material possible, sheer, satin, taffeta, silk, stretchy, translucent. There were different layers and swaying hemlines at the floor, ankle, calf, knee and thigh. And there were stiff hems inching upward, curving the buttuck region. The strapless women tugged at the top of their breasts all night [super attractive, don't think anyone's watching?] and the loose straps were yanked impatiently all night as they fell off a dipping left shoulder blade.

Another detail I noticed about weddings and fancy places in general is women's footwear. Part of the revolution, I hope, is the ability to claim comfort for our feet. Apparently, these guests didn't want that part of freedom's walk, or at least, they will step gingerly on freedom's walk in tight shoes. Being the flat footed, no arched, excessively pronated person I am, I have a hard time reconciling stilettos and high heels that yell CONQUER from across the room. I sport them once in a great while. But then these women try and do limbo in them. [brows furrow]

And then there's the dancing...

Ok, this is going to sound extremely racist, but what IS it with white people and music? For the most part, white folks CANNOT dance for shit. Are they impervious to bass and percussion? Do they not hear the natural beat and instruction of the rhythm? And WHAT IS UP WITH THE INEVITABLE DANCE CIRCLE? That thing where everyone tries to be inclusive and in this effort ends up with offbeat clapping and hooting and hollering? Why running in place? The numb looking feet shifting from left to right intrigue me. Adonis insists this is cross cultural and says that even Filipinos do the dance circle thing. Yes, but we, for the most part, can dance, I counter.

And why, why, why is it considered appropriate to do bad lip-syncing to your dance partner one millimeter from their face before they both collapse into fits of high pitched squeals and laugh like they're on ecstasy? Of course, there is the token flower girl doing round-offs and twirls by herself and the one [really] drunk, hapless guy trying to grind with the bride.

Wedding receptions at the Hilton are weird.

There were almost as many photographers, all women, as there are bridesmaids, reminding me of a feminist paparazi. The acoustics were terrible in this temple of a ballroom; the dance floor was the size of my apartment.

The filet mignon and bearnaise sauce was brilliant. From my assigned table on the balcony, I watched the crowd below while my table guestimated the cost of the wedding. Adonis, as usual, was way off in his underestimation and I made a mental note to argue with him about that later.

I counted four or five dozen white roses on one centerpiece alone, amid several circular tables. Some of the centerpieces were as tall as me. I eagerly flagged one women of color in the room. She wore red, instead of black, and I realized, was busy taking care of Table 28.

While our unfortunate server was suffering (and therefore we were suffering) of intense body odor, I counted the guests to keep my mind occupied. He was like a walking sour stick of old balsamic vinaigrette.

All my life, I've naturalized the fact that I am often the Other in any given room. I've also naturalized the fact that no one gives a damn about that and no one cares to find out if I give a damn either. Well, I do.

My parents come from a country that exports millions of women to become domestic workers across the seas and professionals leave for better opportunity. The Philippines has both a brain and care drain and it lives on the precipice of economically imploding. I ruminate this as I unblinkingly stare at the white rose petals scattering around the skyscraper cake. Who am I to dine in velvet and toast a couple I've never met and then politely ask for another linen napkin? Whose pink lips are these, with lavender lidded eyes and bronze rouge? Lancome, with its caucasian consultants, told me to use this combo. Why do I listen?

Bracing myself against the balcony, the powerful rum surges to my brain. My ability to metabolize alcohol is horrendously slow and am quickly drunk. I absent-mindedly text my sister on my cell phone while I eavesdrop on a women talking to my husband. She's telling Adonis how she doubts her white male son will get into Harvard because of the non-white women, women in general, minorities, and "the internationals" that have to be admitted first. Right.

To my left, a woman is thanking two gushing admirers of her necklace, made, of course, by her very own sister. She has another shipment coming in soon, do you want her information? Oh, yes.

And a cool eye drops down my outfit, I sense. I look away from her, losing my confidence, losing my self. This foreign world with made-up faces and privileged parties deemed normative quiets me. I look for the black woman. I don't know why. I hastily scan the crowd and drink in her busy-ness, her round brown eyes and young skin. I want to talk to her, but she's clearing away the burned-out votive candles while the DJ skips around as Cotton Eyed Joe wails from the speakers.

I look down at my placecard. Well, at least they got the hyphenation right. But I can do without the M-R-S stuff. 'Lisa' is just fine.

As I become fixated on the bare and gyrating backs of dancers and the male clusters of sipping drunks, I tune out the part-time shimmying, part-time kissy facing couple next to me. Suddenly, the bride appears. She looks like a beautiful white lacy mermaid and Jarod's the handsome merman with a boasting, muscled chest. I appreciated those muscles in the brief, fierce hug we shared.

Adonis' aunt is there; a kind woman who loves me with a lot of energy. She pulls up a chair and I breathe. An unrecognizable man interrupts and sits in front of her and misdirects her attention. This man has her now. My time is over. His eyes shift to me momentarily before he indulges her with updates. I am ignored.


I try to catch Adonis' eye, signaling my white flag, but he's occupied with his uncle.

A bathroom break is needed.

Grabbing my red wrap, I make my way to the bathroom. The Palm Court is a golden haven for expensive dates and wealthy business folks who need a steak in their bellies before bed. I keep my eyes downward and notice, for the 1000th time, the perpetual catch-22 I exist in: I fear being seen, I fear being invisible.

There are mirrors everywhere and out of my peripheral vision, can scope out my hurried walk, sidestepping slow walkers and loud talkers. The mirrors soar to the top of the ornate ceiling, giving the illusion of even more space in this fairytale room. Everything, all of this, is an illusion.

My feet dangle from the handicapped toilet seat and I have trouble getting back down the throne. Not built for me, I guess. Keeping my eyes downward, I nearly run back to the wedding, feeling irrationally uncomfortable.

Adonis is smiling at my return and asks me to dance. I accept. His frame blocks my vision to see over his shoulder, so I sneak a peak around his elbow and watch us in a mirror that stands next to a framed picture of Jacqui Kennedy Onasis. I observe, "I'm the shortest person over ten years old in this room. And I'm wearing heels."

"No," Adonis disagrees, drawing out the long ooooooo, "there's a woman behind you, dancing with a guy in a yellow tie. I think she's shorter."

I barely listened to his reply, I already felt like anyone in this room could step on me from the top of my head if they really wanted to. My eyes drew upward and thought of Paris Hilton's inheritance.

"Are you alright? You look really emotional," Adonis cares openly.

I give a no-teeth smile and kissed him before I buried my head in his chest and fought a rising sadness.

45 minutes later we head home. Trying to warm my sore cold toes in the flannel red bedsheets, I asked Adonis with my back to him, "Do you ever wish you'd have married someone normal?"

"No. Never. I wanted you. Someone extraordinary."

A silence that drifted five minutes passed.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," he softly implored, trying, though he didn't entirely understand.

A pregnant silence.

"You can't make it better," I finally reminded him and myself.

Our eyes met in the dark room once more before they closed and the complex sadness finally quieted, too.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I am so, so, so SICK of myself.

Do you ever get to a point where you're tired of your own thoughts, your own fears, your own self?
New things, new territory, a shift in...anything - I WELCOME IT IN MY LIFE.

I'm munching on a carmel apple, peanuts all over my chin, thinking about HOW bored I am with my fears, trying to combat the same shit everyday and I realized -- OK, (chomp, chomp) I WANT SOMETHING NEW. It's time to defeat these thoughts or change gears.

I have no idea what I am going to do with my life. I have no idea what really pleas for my attention and now I am sitting my life away, eating carmel apples in the meantime.

*sipping water*

Ok, I almost just choked on a peanut that slid down with the water into the wrong tube.

Unfortunately, I did not have a near death experience to where my life flashed before me with had a realization about what I should do with the next 70 years of my life.



Marcus Fiesel

A little 3 three old boy with developmental problems and placed in foster care was murdered here in Cincinnati about a month and a half ago.

After his own biological mother fenced him in a wall-covered feces room, he was placed with a family who tied him up with his arms behind him, put a blanket around him, and then locked him in a closet for two days while they went to a family reunion.

They returned to find him dead. The foster father, wanting to destroy evidence, burned his body in a rural part of town.

As if these facts weren't enough of a nightmare to keep every souled person up in the middle of the night, these foster parents issued a missing child report. Claiming that the mother collapsed in a park and blacked out and then Marcus wondered off, they played the part of tormented parents, while the city of Cincinnati took to the streets, trying to find him.

All along, they had murdered him and burned his body.

What in the world could possibly be said after something like this? What do you think after something like this? Our inability to see humanity - to treat one another with equality, regardless of ability and all that other stuff we gripe about - is, literally, making me sick. When, when, WHEN WHEN will we organize our world so that we protect the most vulnerable, the elderly, the sick, our children?

*A N G R Y I N T E R N A L S H O U T I N G*

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On My Way to Nowhere!

There are many ways to look at life, I've decided. I have as many options as I do pairs of shoes.

As I considering going back to school, punting out a baby, writing for my life...I have decided that I have no decision to make because I have no F*cking idea what in the world I am supposed to do. It's not an absence of interest. Believe me, there is no lack of enthusiasm. The problem with too much passion is that there is lack of direction, no specificity. That, my friends, is the problem.

Education is in my future. The intersection of race, class, gender is in my future. Writing is in my future. Children is in my future.

That's all I know. For now.

I just had a conversation with one of my old professors who asked me a million questions pertaining to my [lack of] focus toward my career. I felt like a prize idiot with my enormous head swimming with awkward answers. HELP ME, I wanted to shout into the phone. But, I got no help.

I'm in this alone.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


My back hurts.
I think Velma is coming for her monthly escapade with my ovaries.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I am becoming
the flourisher I said I would be
My body,
tempered by early mornings,
yawning, stretching arms and legs
of yoga
and quiet scripting

Words that

and end with . and !,
not ?
flow from my bedrock

Fear, always lingering
awaiting pity parties, drama,
and dilemma

! But

Simplicity, humanity, and
courage stand ready, with
sheathed swords and
an opened-inch glint
at their sides

With an architect's score,
my life, with its scaffolding
and hard hat areas,
continues to be built

I now use heavier woods,
thicker steel,
and vintage purple glass

My life is breathable
It sits open
for love
and curiosity,
waiting for engagement

It sits
perfectly incomplete
at 27

unfinished spaces
that let the wind -
pull the wind -
not around it,
but through it

Mel and Marriage Epiphanies

My sometimes functioning radio actually worked this morning. Instead of my usual curse words that string through my mind when I think of the conniving Boston shitheads who poorly installed my radio, I had pleasant thank yous running out of my lips. I sat low in my seat during my morning commute, ready for some good radio waves.

The usual reactions to radio... A smile scratches the sides of my face when I think of the people who must record the promo commericial... [singing] Jeff and Jen in the morning....CINCINNATI [someone screaming/sings in the background]...Q102!! I want to be the person that yells CINCINNATI in the background, but then laugh sardonically, almost eating the microphone...

Anyway, after an 'DJ APB' is sent out for a stolen inflatable jack-o-lantern in Anderson Township, I unfix my eyes in their upward roll position, and wait until something entertaining came on. I didn't have to wait long. We soon got down to business of discussing real issues concerning modern America and I was not disappointed: Mel Gibson's alcoholism was next on the agenda.

After the locals called in, crying about their bout or relatives' alcoholism, the DJ's question came down to this: Does alcohol bring your true self out or turn you into a completely different person?

Oh, for the love of all things holy - anything you say or do - whatever comes out of you has to come from somewhere. It's not like alcohol is injected with cells that alter your personality.


Last night Adonis and I temporarily descended from our usual throne in Bliss and found ourselves in a disagreement regarding a fundamental issue in sexuality. In the throes of debate I wondered to myself, "What is THIS coming out of him? Did I not know/see/realize this before?" I began to wonder, philosophically, how well can you really know another human being.

With Merce, my paid professional affirmer and challenger (aka therapist), I brought up my frustrations of our disagreement and she asked me a series of questions, not pertaining to any issue, but to the patterns of my beliefs, as any good therapist should do. She asked, "What do you think happens in marriage?"

Well, a barrage of answers came flooding in my head, but then one stood out, knocking all the other answers on their ass. And I realized, again, for the 19th time since June 4, 2005 that marriage, the tie between two individuals is a link, not a welding into sameness. Our lives are fused, but not our actual selves, not our core elements of personhood. And thank goodness for that. ("The cypress and oak grow not in each others' shadows," -The Prophet, on marriage)

Hand on forehead, still grappling with right-ness and *ahem* pride, Merce clicking her pen against her mouth, I blurt, "Seriously, though...how can I be wrong? I'm right on this."

Is that what matters?

This unexpected hardness, absolute righteousness reared its enormous head. I did not see that sucker coming.

Merce sends me on my way, with another appointment in 6 days and I walk forlornly to my car, hating the awkward negativity when you know you're -not wrong, but not exactly right - in the middle of something with no defining left and right. Awkward, awkward.

To know and love another human is to embrace a storm with no measure. The person is not the storm, but the act, the trying of the embrace, is the storm itself. A person's roots that hold their basic and conclusive reasoning may be housed in this beautiful thing called the Unconscious (uCon). Not the subconscious, which is underlying and quiet, but the Unconscious - the comatose, unmoving, appearing dead and lifeless to the world.

The uCon is a reality that we all must accept. It is an essential characteristic of the truth that humans will never be and can never be fully known. I mean, seriously, we internalize, deny, and shove experiences and thoughts away at a rate we cannot keep up with. uCon harbors these ghostly ships of feelings and experiences we don't even realize or let ourselves actualize.

I think that alcohol can call those ships to the sea of behavior and force itself into expressions that are sometimes hurtful and dangerous. I also think that sober fear, rites of passage moments, celebration, death, and starkly inane events all carry potential to conjure things in us we did not know existed - realizing depth of love or hate, unpassed grief, unsorted thoughts, and even core private beliefs.

We're walking mysteries, waiting to implode. Lovely. Fan-FREAKING-tastic.

It's nothing to be frightened of, I realized. I think I just forget that a lot in my quest to know everything and anticipate difference and hurt, (not to avoid it, but to know how to deal with it) this piece of inevitability slips my mind. These ships, we've all got 'em apparently, are beyond our tracing eyes and heart.

The unknown or unconscious, unpredictable elements of others/relationships should not move us away from one another. I suppose this is the part of my life where I learn to understand that the grey of life is not exactly about mixing two things into one, but being strong enough to stand the absense of black and white, right and wrong. I can't see his point. He can't see mine. Perhaps our ships are just too fogged up to be seen.

And maybe love can stand the fog.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Show Your Face

So, upon arriving here, you may notice that my blogger address has changed.

It's not that I am afraid, or receding. I'm just very aware of identity, claiming words as your own, the power of name, association. To continue to write clearly, sufficiently, and maintain the rage - I decided to forego my entire name in a blog address.

Remember, I do work with undergrads who, for varying purposes, would love to know more about my personal view sans professional attire, daily struggles, and other germane human characteristics. Also, the population I deal with is a frustratingly homogenous millenial generation with G*d complexes and listless hands. My thoughts, while I do not mind being circulated on the internet, cannot have such blatant arrows pointing to where little idiots can find and then terrorize me.

Most importantly, I don't write for them or out of fear of them OR out of fear of being identified. I write from openness and with a hopeful attitude that those who do find me, seek me, accident me, or read me, know all they need to know without needing my (whole) name.
Rock on.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stand Stern, Tulip

You're like me, Tulip.

Origin is the Asias of the world,
but can flourish global.
How we've found ourselves here,
You're common red.
Well, I'm brown, but
same family, Tulip.
You need warmth, but
grow in extreme cold.
Winters root you.
Winters root me.
If change happens too quick, splitting peril.
My personality, too.
We suffer when we're overflown.
You flower daughters in the spring
and I hope the same.
Our stems break in abrupt
cold treatments (indifference)
rising, unapologetic heat (ignorance).
Bull-nosing is your disorder,
when you fail to expand.
I don't have a name
when I fail to expand.

Stand stern, Tulip,
and give me a name
if I fail you,
if I fail to expand.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Party Like It's 1993-1997

Adonis and I, married now for 16 months, recently went out on a date on Friday. He themed it Highschool. (God help us, I thought.)

Adonis and I met, fell in love, and youknowwherethestorywent, in college. He insightfully observed that we typically don't talk about our pre-18yr. old selves. Sure we do daily blurbs about memories, families, funny stories when we were kids, but there's still a lot about one another we may not know, he proposed. For instance, we found out:

he ran sprints back and forth in his backyard as a kid
to get ready for basketball conditioning

i faked passing out during gym class so i didn't have to finish running a mile

and intimate details like that.

We talked about the things that embarassed us most and the light broke on our heads: highschool wasn't about finding yourself (that would be college), highschool was about finding a way to survive. Neither of us attended violence ridden or gun controlled schools. I went to a private, college-prep-pretentious-people-go-here-becuz-we're-rich kind of highschool. (I was at the bottom of that totem financial pole.).I was, uh, a cheerleader.

The idea of me bopping around in short skirt is enough to make me want to dive head first into my pillow and not resurface until I have muscle atrophy. My current reasons for existence are far more compelling, concrete, and purposeful than flipping around a grassy field for 18000 people in hopes BillyBob will run two more sacred yards for first down. But I didn't know it then. I didn't know a lot of things then and I don't blame myself for subjecting my own body and reputation for something, I now understand, to be limiting, degrading, sexist, and misunderstood.

I loved the physical portion of cheering and the friendships I made then. It was about camraderie, finding mentors of how to survive highschool. However, the physical demand of a competitive squad also spent countless hours and money for gymnastic coaches, dance lessons, and forked the money over ourhighschoolselves. It wasn't all for the boys, but it sure was a lot. Hard-work, flexibility, and fitness were key elements. But then, ultimately, it was pushed down a channel I now can't believe I ever found appealing.

Last week, I ran into a woman whose face I knew thatI knew from the past. I just couldn't place it. A short gasp later, I saw the former varsity captain with whom I cheered. Staring rudely for an inordinate amount of time at the side of her head, I remembered cheerleading like it was yesterday. I loved dancing, yelling, and sports. Now
that I can still see in myself.

As Adonis and I tossed a football back and forth, musing about who we were 9-13 years ago, we came to many conclusions. We all wanted acceptance then, we still do now. We wanted to feel hot and desired, we definitely still do. At that time period of our lives, we tried to maximize our opportunities and gifts for what we were given. The difference now is that we can more clearly see what those opportunities are and for what gifts are made. For me, cheerleading is not that.

However, I do still shake my ass in the shower and holler more loudly than anyone else I know.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I B(e)lo(n)g

This week I realized how blogging is this underground world of free speech, torment, and glory under faceless anonymity.

I had zero exposure prior to this month to the wonderful and horrendous blogs out there.

I am under a thinking spell these days, wondering where my blog belongs in all this. Perhaps it is a symbol that I struggle with: Where does my writing belong? Where do I belong?

My writing is more than the look-what-I-have-for-lunch-today-and-
I'll-show-you-all-my-pics-of-this-morning's-sunrise blog. But it's not quite up to par with I-have-indisputable-theories-about-the-world-and-it's-problems-and
-can-argue-until-I-am-dead blog.

A carnivorous, idealistic mystic. That is who I am today. Where do I belong then?

I think I will start with not apologizing. Yes! No I'm sorry's. None of that tomfoolery.

When I want to write about the asian diaspora, I will. When I want to write that McSteamy from Grey's Anatomy is the freakishly perfect combination of Justin Timberlake and a pirate, I will.

I do belong. My writing does have a place, just as long as I try not to mimic anyone or anything that I am not.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Mom Wanted to Be Amish

Happy Birthday to my mother who birthed me cesarean.

Growing up, my mom wanted to become a nun. Then, when she emigrated to the States, she loved the Amish. She thought the women radiated natural beauty, sans foundation and blush. Thus led to my thinking that Witness was one of the greatest thrillers of the 80s.

After moving to Ohio when I was 8 years old, I had my first glimpse of the Amish. The horse and buggy, simple clothing, and quiet demeanor, I sometimes confused them with Target shopping Menonites. What I always noticed first was their cleanliness, glowing with innocence, happiness, and earnest attempt to be good in this often filthy world. I may not know everything about the Amish, but their simplicity spoke volumes of their culture. I felt this community was something rare and deserving of honor.

This latest tragedy of 11 young schoolgirls, who were first sifted through a classroom with boys and adults, and shot in the head by a tormented man has shaken me. But what has more moved me is the Amish response. They have requested privacy for funerals and have outreached to the surviving members of the murder's family. Relying on faith, not vengeance, the Amish have reacted with the pain and confusion of their humanity, but have acted with the forgiveness and healing of their divinity. It's beyond remarkable, beyond heartwrenching.

I'm sure that not every soul affected in the Amish community is as pure as the media has pegged. I'm sure that many struggled with unfathomable grief, fear, and outrage, but the bottom line of their lifestyle is that they live their lives for what they are. They do not try to make themselves more sophisticated or advanced. They don't play the stupid games of showing off homes and cars; the latest technology and backseat entertainment has no place in their lives. The essential and natural course of life - family, faith, simplicity, and even unexplained tragedy - are embraced, lived, mourned, and forgiven.

Bush...err- all of us - take a seat and learn.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Love's Way of Coping

Anytime I post about Adonis, I am revisited by two fears. One: By exuberantly exploding over how f*cking amazing he is, I am basically smearing my lovefest into the faces of people who may turn away in disgust and/or loneliness. I don't want to contribute to that. or Two: By blatantly baring my love for this man of a man, inadvertently, I may contribute to heterosexism.

Let's get something straight here.

Adonis, when I fell in love with him, was on his way to the seminary to become a catholic diocesan priest. Can I say from experience - you have MINIMAL to NO control over who you truly fall in love with. Luckily for us all, he looked into my chocolate eyes, ran his hand over my brown skin and thought, "There shall be no fracas! Who am I to resist this feminist sprite?"

And so the rest is herstory.

And so, if you read this and think to your gay self, "Oh, another straighter." Know that some of the closest friends and family in my life are gay and lesbian and I'm about as uncomfortable with that as I am with a hot pot of steaming jasmine rice with fresh garlic adobo. (translation: there is nothing BUT familiarity and love)

And so, if you read this are are ready to throw yourself off a balcony, thinking luv has kept and treated you amiss - get over yourself and enjoy. Life is far too delicious to spend it lamenting something you have no control over. And while we're at it - some advice: STOP TRYING TO CONTROL.

Anyhoo, last night I was in the puddle of sadness and anxiety. One of those nights were you swear nothing is actually wrong, but nothing feels completely right either. I HATE IT. It's this horribly nebulous cloud that leaves me feeling like a blob of indecision and restlessness.
Adonis puts on his astronaut shoes (aka size 13 white sneakers) and whisks me away to downtown, where, for whatever reason, the big skyscrapers, bright lights, and people walking around relax me. One taco (for me) and one m&m mcflurry (for him) later, we head back to our apartment and my anxiety is gone. He ends the night whispering in my ear, "I will always be there for you."

My dreams last night were soft, fluid, and utterly forgettable. No yelling, no nightmares. No kicked off blankets or disappointments known. I woke up, peacefully, wishing the world had a life partner like mine.


You know what's kind of nuts about blogging? It's like you're a celebrity of some sort. People read you, want to know you, think your thoughts are outrageous or kind or ridiculous. Bloggers provide a snippet of their lives, think of the best way of how to tell it, and then broadcast it from Yugoslavia to the Badlands of the Dakota.

Whether my thoughts are read in a highrise or in a cyber cafe, there's a uncontrollable feature of blogging that I must become accustomed: I cannot be responsible for how each word is taken. I can only write my truest thoughts and send them forth, hoping they implant themselves safely in an open noggin and jog around a bit.

If you haven't noticed, or been cued up to speed: I'm not of euro-descent. I'm not "White," or Anglo-saxen, or Caucasian. Like it or not, this is part of my bloggy. It's part of my blog because IT'S PART OF MY LIFE. Everything deemed normative behavior, normative advertising, normative vernacular, normative knowledge stems from white folks. Now, there's knowing that fact is true and then there's KNOWING that fact is true. If you can read that sentence without confusion and nod, read on. If you have to go back and read that sentence again, but get it eventually, read on. If you're reading this part and are hoping you'll eventually catch on, click off and go educate yourself.

I'm moving into a part of my life where race - the uncomfortable, "oh, i don't know enough about history, but i'm still going to make a comment," issue - is central. Gender and race and no longer two separate entities. They've merged. It's Genderace. And when you wake your Genderace beast within, you've got a helluva lot to say.

People must learn that we are not all born equal. We should, but we're not. We cannot create solidarity simply because we titled ourselves, "liberal," and there are degrees of racism, so deeply embedded that even the most progressive thinkers find themselves uttering thin and narrow slivers of oppression in their speech. Listen closely. We are all shaped by racism. But even the deconstructing instructions for race has mostly been written and distributed by white people. But it takes more than dining at Ambar and Bankok Palace, reading up on the elections, and making friends with a black individual to call yourself enlightened.

The color of my skin changes. I'm most fair in November through Februrary. I'm darkest July and August. I have passed Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, Malaysian, Spanish, Filipina, Greek, Jewish, Korean, Thai, Nicaraguan, Salvadorean to name a few. I speak only one language fluently (English), but can understand Tagalog and can hold Spanish conversations. I'm many things.

Why do I write that? Because I'm sick and tired of people thinking that race is this one big deconstructing party where everyone's invited to the White house to hear WOC speak. What needs to be said is not just WOC's experiences, but this: DO your own work. Work out your OWN shit. READ up on yourself, your roots, and how your privilege comes at someone else's expense. Stop thinking Peggy McIntosh's Unpacking White Privilege is the answer to your own biased views. WOC are oppressed more than white women in insidious, invisible ways. There are degrees of violence, susceptibility, and privilege within genderace that you must be awakened to before you can truly call yourself an ally. In this age of relativism and my changing skin color, one thing is true to this day: you cannot, ever, for one day, stop fighting for equality. It's just a moment's slip away.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

To Do List

1. Monday: Tell Mom that I don't agree with her - at all.
2. Tuesday: Be as supportive as possible to R.J. despite her annoying misuse of the English language.
3. Wednesday: Buy more cheap toilet paper.
4. Thursday: Think of a non-political, non-gender objectifying Halloween costume.
5. Friday: Try not to blow up a building when I am met with resistance at yet another work meeting regarding sexual assault policy.
6. Saturday: Get a wedding gift for the Sheps.
7. Sunday: Live my life. My way.
You know what's crazy? We do a thousand things everyday and yet we make lists that are really just a compilation of the least desirous things we need to accomplish. We never write TO DO: go out to eat with fab roomie or Treat myself to extra sexy thoughts about ****. Let me redo a list; and make it one that reflects what I WANT from my life. What I ache for, need, and truly HAVE to do...
1. See Superman Returns at the cheapies and order a buttload of buttered movie popcorn.
2. Eat that expensive organic mango that will rot in 2 days.
3. Make out in the kitchen with Adonis.
4. Complete a full session of yoga, no skippies.
5. Treat myself to a gorgeous haircut before I change my mind.
6. Spend more time writing by hand.
7. Dance.
8. Visit my bro in LA and my loves in NYC.
9. Memorize the lyrics to You Belong to Me.
10. Begin the book I've been putting off: Filipino Americans: Transformation and Identity


Pink. Purple. Blue. Red.

Because living in the grey is what I actively and repeatedly choose, GREY is the color of the month and will be the color font for all October posts. Some say it's Breast Cancer Awarness Month. Others say it's Domestic Violence Awareness month. Some remember that October 18 is Love Your Body Day. My mother reminds me that October is not only her birthday month, but the month of the rosary.

I say, who cares? Seriously, is there ever a time when we shouldn't be hypervigilant of cancer and other health problems plaguing our society, especially women of color who have limited access to healthcare and services? When should we NOT be stealing the blanket that covers the contributing factors of environment, farming, and food issues that contribute to the mystery of
benign and malignant tumors?

What month should we NOT be turning our attention to domestic violence? When will we fully realize that we need not to look further than into the homes of own communities to see women being beaten, raped, and sacrificed at the hands of their domestic partners? When will we include precipitating factors that contribute to the oppression of women - harassment, stalking, emotional and verbal abuse, and daily relationship control?

And then there's LYB Day. I've got a love/hate relationship with this - do we seriously need another day when we are more focused on our bodies? Of course I agree that we need to be more accepting...blah, blah, blah...But let's get real here. It's like the world's going to hell in a handbasket and we're wondering how asses and thighs will be able to fit in the casket. Here's a novel thought: turn your critical eye to media and the psychology of consumerism rather than your belly. Accept, love yourself. AND THEN MOVE ON. Dammit...there's so much more to this world than just yourself.

My mother would say to pray your way into salvation. If we've got so much to be "aware" of in October, I'd say that it's fitting to find a way to cope and think of others. If it's the rosary, rock on. I prefer to pray my own way. In the mornings, I wake up, write for about 15-20 minutes, warm myself into vinyasa yoga, and then face the exploding purple and orange bursts in the sky. I talk to the sunrise about what I hope for the world that day. And because I, and the world, need it, I close my eyes and send a blessing out into the world from my deck.

I pray it reaches my friends in their apartments, flats, and huts, to the women bloggers in Iraq, the street orphans in the Ukraine, and to the surviving family of the 2yr. old little boy who died from eating a smoothie mixed with baby Spinach.

Be aware. Focus on something else beside yourself this month.