Saturday, April 19, 2014

Transitions

At one point, I was eager--frantic, really--to replace every memory and every memento with someone and something else, so that I would forget. But lately, I find that I no longer want to replace. Rather, I want to just add to every past memory and memento, in a stratified manner, with most recent on top but less recent still ever present. It isn't necessarily that I'm not willing to let go--it simply is that I don't want to forget anymore. Yes, stratification will be my (temporarily) solution.

Let's go back to replacements. Fortunately, many things are easily replaceable. And it's amazing that, because of that, you can so quickly achieve satisfaction. But of course alongside that are the abstract matters, feelings, and people that aren't immediately--if at all--replaceable. What then? Is there a difference between replacement and substitution? If the connotation of "substitution" is that of impermanence or instability, then a substitution for an abstract matter, feeling, or person just won't do. But then, who's to say that a replacement will do much more good than a substitution? Perhaps you don't think them dissimilar.

It's also astonishing what opportunities come about when you are most unsuspecting. And when you have multiple opportunities, you have to seriously consider what it is you truly want to do and invest in, and think about the time frame and people surrounding it, then decide what you want to surround yourself with.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Seven Minutes

A friend recently told me that people spend an average of seven minutes prior to falling asleep reflecting on that day and planning for the next. I told him that was a bunch of phooey for me, because I spend every other unoccupied minute of the day thinking about such things--among many others--and once my head hits the pillow, I fall asleep immediately. Hubris. The last two weeks were terrible falling-asleep sessions in that I actually spent well over seven minutes thinking and planning for the next day and the rest of the week. I also had a heavy heart which kept me unfocused during the day. It's amazing how much even the smallest matter that you tell yourself doesn't matter, does matter and pervade your mind for days on end. But the burdened and heavy heart has at last been relieved.

I'm currently reading Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name for my LGBT Issues in Education class, and am very much enjoying it. It almost feels as though I'm reading for pleasure, but with a deadline and an assignment at the end of the week. Ha, so much for pleasure.

On that note, I was glancing at my last few posts and read at the end of one that constantly not writing feels like I'm slowly losing a significant part of myself. And yesterday, I realized how much of myself I have lost over the years. Or maybe it's not so much losing myself as it is changing myself. Sometimes, I miss the drive, ambition, and certainty I had and exercised throughout my K-12 years. Sometimes, I miss the energy I had prior to working and studying simultaneously. But if it's change instead of loss, then maybe all that has simply transformed into something that I don't recognize because I am in deficit mode. Is it just me? I sure hope not.

That will abruptly conclude my brief post for the day. Time to resume Zami, yay!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

There

You're right there, and yet
I'm too stubborn--
Okay, afraid--to initiate 

What if you don't think of me
What I think you think of me
And I think of you what
You don't think of me
Too much thinking, methinks
I ought to just do it, so
I did--and nothing

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The People You Meet

I met someone at The Misfit earlier who asked me what I would do if I were paid $1 million a year to do it. My answer was automatic: write. And throughout the remainder of the conversation, he repeatedly encouraged me to write my poetry and to publish it, because that might be the thing that I one day make a living out of. More importantly, it's the one thing that I know I love to do. Additionally, he reiterated the importance of relationships. In order to establish relationships with people who have the potential to change your life for the better, though, you must first be nice. After about 15 minutes of conversation, he left, turning back to remind me, "Write and publish!"

Fortunate are those who do what they love for a living. Fortunate, too, are those who love what they do for a living. Of course, there lies a difference between the two. Those who do what they love love what they do, and, per something I'm sure you've read or heard before, if you do what you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life. Contrarily, those who love what they do do work, but can find enjoyment in it, even if said enjoyment takes some time to find.
On this note, why does doing something for a living or making a living out of something necessarily imply making money? Can't we simply make a living out of or live off of something we want to do without worrying about money? The contentment and happiness we achieve from doing something we love should be enough motivation to live and keep living, no? Ideally, yes. Realistically, no. Money, and the need for it, ruin so many things for us by leading us to believe that we have to put aside what we really want to do in order to pragmatically "make a living." And eventually, this results in such heavy investment of time into working that we forget our true passions. I wonder, for those who come to love what they do for a living, how much freedom and time they have to tend to what they want to do. But then again, who's to say that their work hasn't become the sole object of their ambitions and goals?

Tonight was certainly not the first time I have heard from strangers about the importance of establishing relationships and networking. It was, however, the first time that somebody emphasized the importance of being nice. It makes sense: the stranger you're being nice to might end up being your employer, or vice versa. I am nice to everyone I meet, but I certainly don't pre-contemplate the importance of doing so. In any case, it is nice to be nice and to have people reciprocate it. And I think from there comes mutual respect--and maybe even trust!--that constructs the foundation of any given solid relationship.

The people you meet will be numerous and various, and they will come and go. But if you're lucky, you'll encounter a stranger every once a while who will remind you of the important things in life that you may have lost sight of while working hard to make a living. And if that stranger is lucky, you'll be nice and do the same for him or the next stranger you meet. I think we all need such reminders every now and then from the people we meet.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Reflections

It seems that by far, 2013 has been my slowest year with regards to blogging. But otherwise, it has been my busiest year with regards to the work-school cycle. On top of that, I am fortunate enough to add that this has also been my busiest year with regards to travel. To briefly recap an otherwise exhaustingly extensive life story: I resumed working two jobs in March, went to San Francisco and Portland in June, continued working and commuting between both jobs throughout summer, visited New York in September, started job hunting in November (to no avail thus far, but that's okay), visited Seattle and road-tripped back down to LA two weeks ago, and turned 22 last week. Turning 22 actually has nothing to do with anything, because it feels like I've aged so much in the last few years anyway.

With regards to school, I was doing relatively well until about week 7, when I got tired of keeping up with all the readings for my two education classes and one English class. And I suppose that's how I ended up with lower-than-desired grades in the two former classes that were supposed to be easy A's. On that note, I'm kind of scared to check my English grade. This school year was supposed to be an attempt to raise my grade point average enough to graduate with honors. But I suppose that in the end, there's not much of a difference between graduating with a 3.5 and a 3.69. Nonetheless, I shall try, even if only for the pride aspect of being able to say that I graduated with honors.
My parents have been trying hard to push me to go to graduate school, and I have been telling them that I haven't completely ruled it out--I'm just so tired of and from school that I want to take at least a year off of it to determine whether I really want to go back. Meanwhile, my mother does not cease to remind me of the days that I was determined to earn a Ph.D in English or whatever else, and persistently asks me what happened to my ambition. Obviously, I don't tell her this, but I've been wondering that myself since sophomore year of college.

One of my education classes this quarter was a community internship course, where I "tutored" at University High School in West Los Angeles. While I often saw it as a joke because my co-interns and I did nothing but observe the class, read on our own, or talk amongst ourselves, there were class periods when I felt like I was close to making a difference. On one of my last days at the school, the third period AVID class had a substitute, and the only thing the regular teacher wrote on the agenda was "SAT prep." Really. Just "SAT prep," as vague as one can get. Understandably, the sub did not know what that meant, and as my friend and I tried to explain to him what to do on collegeboard.org (ha, remember the days that we used this site?), he just asked that we take over. So I did, and before I knew it, I was leading the class in SAT prep via the questions of the day. Thankfully, all of those questions just happened to be language arts/ reading comprehension, so I was able to really explain not just what, but also why to the students. In the midst of explaining, with underlying exasperation, the difference between it's and its, one of the students yelled out, "You're so smart! You should be a teacher." Really, everybody should know these basic differences by elementary school, which I had no trouble reminding them of, but I took the statement to heart. That one was of the best days I had at Uni High, because I was able to really teach the kids something.

Speaking of teaching, Project WILD was just amazing this quarter. Although I didn't attend the social events outside of Saturday sites, I felt considerably more involved this quarter than the last two, and therefore enjoyed it that much more, as well. I was able to establish relationships with my students and teach as well as communicate with them. While they received review or new lessons about metaphors and alliteration, I learned about their lives at home and at school, and it was altogether so rewarding. I loved that they enjoyed telling me about not being allowed to eat candy at home, about being scolded to taking a toy from their baby sibling, and the like. One student even basically implied that I'm not cool because my favorite Pokemon is Pikachu, as opposed to all the new Pokemon that fly and do all these other special things. I miss my P. WILD children and can't wait to see them again!

With that said, the most rewarding aspect of the past few months as been education--specifically, being on the giving side of it (while simultaneously still being on the receiving end). I've been rewarded a student's "Ah!" of understanding, a student's somber nod in response to a life lesson, and even a teacher's many thanks for dealing with her difficult class. It's been wonderful. I wish I had time to return to Uni High next quarter, but I'm glad I can at least continue with P. WILD. I think I could really make something out of this teaching experience.

On a different note, my recent trip to Seattle was just splendid, notwithstanding the $100 extra I had to pay to change my flight departure date by 24 hours. The entire week prior to departure, I was anxious about the prospect of 16 degree weather, but when I saw the forecast of a week of 40's, I was relieved. It turns out that 35-40 degrees isn't so bad when you have a sweater and a coat. And boots. Toms just didn't work well for my feet up there. Clothing aside... I love Seattle. It was gloomy for most of the time, but it was a nice getaway from the "winter" heat of SoCal, and it's a much more laid back environment than LA. People don't seem to constantly be in a rush, drivers are extremely calm (and slow), everybody is friendly... I loved Seattle Coffee Works, Pike Place Market, and Chihuly Garden and Glass. What was most amazing was the Seattle Public Library, housing 10 floors of heaven, i.e. books. Turns out I never knew a public library until I stepped foot into this one. Another thing I like about Seattle is that even in traffic, you still go at least 35 mph. Meanwhile, traffic here is essentially a parking lot.
It seems that the more cities I visit, the less I like Los Angeles. There are so many places with so many aspects that trump LA, and yet, LA will always be home. No matter how much I love London, Seattle, Shanghai, or San Diego, I could never make a home outside of Los Angeles.

I have so much more that I've been wanting to write--because this is what happens when I don't write regularly. But it's once again nearly 3 a.m. and I must sleep, as work awaits in the morning. I really hope to do more writing, though, because not writing is like losing a part of myself a little bit at a time.

Happy almost-end-of-December!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Auxiliary

Auxiliary verbs: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been, has, have, had, do, does, did, shall, will, should, would, may, might, must, can, could.
I learned these 23 auxiliary verbs in eighth grade, when Mrs. Heffner pushed us to learn and love grammar. And learn and love grammar I did.

But I never really heeded the word "auxiliary," much less used it or saw it in writing. A few days ago, while thinking about everything that I have been doing for the past two and a half years, especially with regards to work, auxiliary came to mind. Initially, I thought it weird that such a word would occur to me in the middle of that thought process, but upon contemplation, I realized how applicable it is in relation to me. And by me, I mean what I do, because really, what are we but what we do, right? (Not necessarily, but that's a conversation for later.) Anyway, I am auxiliary. My current and past job descriptions can all be summed up with that one not-used-often-enough word. Like the 23 auxiliary verbs, I am an auxiliary mechanism/ person/ worker/ what-have-you in that I am not the main verb itself. This all sounded so simple in my head, but hopefully the example and explanation will be helpful enough to help understand you understand what I am probably very poorly construing.

She must write the final paper in order to pass the class.
She has been writing the final paper in order to pass the class.

In both cases, "she" is the subject, and although the rest of the sentence is the predicate (phrase), "must" and "has been" only serve as auxiliaries to "write" and "writing," respectively, the main verbs. "Must" and "has been" hold no meaning in terms of action--they only accentuate or, slightly similar to adverbs, point to the extent of the action verbs.
Simply said, auxiliary is what I am. Sometimes, I don't mind it so much, because everybody needs an auxiliary, and I'm glad to be a helping hand. Other times, I want so much to be an action verb instead of an auxiliary one, a branch off its superior, holding little to no independent meaning.
But that's not to say that I don't think I have meaning--even though I might not be making sense or meaning to you at the moment. Maybe you see this as my cry or desire for power. And maybe you're right, that that thirst is the root of my auxiliary troubles.
Mostly, though, I am simply tired of being an auxiliary to so many verbs and spending so much time making life easier for other people while frantically running around neglecting my own needs. At the same time, I acknowledge that one will always be an auxiliary until reaching action status. And you have to suck it up until then. I guess that's what I'll do.

And that's just in terms of work and school. Imagine when parenthood comes along. Parenthood, if nothing else, is all about auxiliary, being the support for the action. Granted, parenthood involves more power and agency in that parents can yell at and discipline their children as much as they want (with some reservation, of course). But still, the latter has the ultimate agency to engage in whatever action they please.

On that note, while auxiliary verbs aren't completely functional or meaningful as stand-alone words, often action verbs cannot function without them. Take the above italicized sentences, for example. If you were to omit "must" and "has been," those sentences would not make sense. Similarly, a motor vehicle without auxiliary brakes would not be safe or functional. Suffice it to say, while auxiliary  may not employ or exude as much agency as one might like, it indubitably plays a critical role for the action, earning its grammatically--and otherwise--proclaimed significance in the world.