The Wonders of Being Selfish

It makes little sense, but grant me my selfishness. Grant me my selfishness, and I will grant you yours. Things we denied for ourselves, we can finally grant to one another. Let me return to you, and you’ll see how wonderful it is to be selfish. I want you to be selfish, you who gives tirelessly to all those around you. I know you. I’ve seen you in myself, and I know how you hurt for others. Learn to be selfish for your sake and I will bolster you upon my shoulders like I use to. We will become pillars for one another. You see I learned something; rather I unlearned something. The values our parents and culture preached, they weren’t right. They tried to instill this idea that you have to be selfless –that there is so much more value in giving, and so they create a contract in the form of a relationship; give to them, give them control, give them input, and all the while they guilt you with their obligations. And you give, give, and give until you are nothing. You who had little to give were never in a position to give. You have no substance to the Self. You must be grateful, but gratitude and servitude are two separate entities. Often they are blurred, and perhaps unconsciously blurred. So be as selfish as you can, you who already know how to give to others. You will quickly find that when you indulge your selfish ways, you become all the more capable of giving to others. It is a paradox.

I think this paradox aligns with the idea of living yourself. When I embraced everything my parents told me were bad in this world and wrong about me, I quickly found myself. I spent so much of my life trying to be an ideal that I thought they wanted me to be. Well, I realized I simply cannot. You can only be you. You can only be your affinities. You can only be your weaknesses (that doesn’t mean don’t be aware of them and work on them). And the strangest thing happened when I fully embraced myself. They finally accepted me. I no longer cared for their criticisms because I knew they were wrong. And then I was able to give them something they didn’t even know they needed.

The strangest part is it always stems from love –this desire to shape someone. But you must be careful and watch whether that love transforms into something else. Has it become a matter of power? What about control? Is it dissatisfaction? Beware of projection, intention, and the all too terrible gaslighting. I am fully aware of this fallacy because I have done this evil to you. For instance, sure I intended to help you but how I did it was completely wrong. And we argued based on my intentions. But it should have been about my actions, my words, your actions and your words. Be careful with your mom –I think this is true for how she interacts with you… Because intentions exist in the individual reality, but we must be more aware of the collective reality. It is not up to others to delve into individual realities and grasp the full magnitude of that. That is the hubris of empathy. What was said? What was done? I burned my hand in recognition of this. I had hurt you, and I never will in that way again.

So all this talk about the Self. It is the Jungian idea that the God is where you are not. If you are selfless, embracing your Self will lead you to individuation. If you are selfish, then you will find yourself in others. It’s this whole, constant struggle of balancing between two polarities, and it’s exhausting to be what you do not want to be. But that’s how the shadows grow, and how it consumes you. For me, it consumed me with fire and I destroyed. Only through fire could I understand and transform. A lot of these things are paradoxical; by understanding yourself, you understand others. When you see how ugly you can be, you accept other people’s ugliness. It isn’t abhorrent because it is in you… Humble oneself to elevate oneself.

Saudade

Has the horizon stolen your breath,
when you crashed upon desert lands
to find nothingness? No, you inhaled
and you knew you were right all along.

Oporto called for me as icy waves
thrashed the ship; conquest and greatness
led me away from you, but our love
will bring me back, this I know.

As you hurled through the heavens,
searching for a new home, you must have
felt the caress of my hand. Here, come here.

Deathly rain fell upon us, the screams of men
the deafening crash, a ship torn asunder
And the waters flooding my lungs.
I reached for you across time, across space
to where, to whom you may be.

You saw my grave upon stones,
across the galaxies, on another home.
And as you shed tears for me,
you knew you were right all along.

I laid by you as me and you as you.
and the universe stretched behind and before us
and somehow I felt it, a disquietude settled
and I knew we will find each other again.

Christmas mix

Best Christmas mix I ever heard – me
The only Christmas songs that matter – me
Better than the radio – also me

I love you and I want to be more supportive

I trace your shape from my memories. When I lose you, I’ll search for you through the dark, the abyss, always. And I won’t stop until I find you smiling back at me. Your presence behind me. Don’t turn back or I’ll disappear. Trust in you. Trust in me. I’m a better man, I won’t make his mistakes. Give me your hand and I’ll lead you away from our tears, my love, my dear, my one. Let me stand before you. There won’t be anyone better because I’m going to keep loving you better. I’ll fight my heaven and hell to return to you. Try to remember I always fought for you. I’m Odysseus, only better. I’ve decided to make my life the life worth living and I can’t imagine it without you.

A Happy Mess of the Mind

Dark cold, light of mind
jettison out the warm nest
I made for me myself and I.
Atop the granite, legs swinging
like a kid, Saturdays –quarter horse
outside the riff raff Dim Sum house
singsong Cantonese, loud chatter
and steamy tea. It’s cold as glaciers.
Breakfast nicotine and sugar
I’m smoked salmon. Alaskan deserts,
frozen lakes beneath my feet
the dead and alive, dead lake
alive fish –time dead, and time alive.
I live this flagrant fantasy
can’t stop traveling, moving, jittery
like I’m heated atoms, popcorn pop pop.
But I’m happy –happy from the coffee,
happy from sunlight, a hungry plant
thirsty for food. Skinny, withered
but I’m good good good.

Getting Tattooed at 2AM

The needles raze my skin with venomous bites. He wipes the excess ink with a cool gel. “You’re not a bleeder,” Horishin laughs. “I guess not? Is that bad?” It’s late. Late into the early morning. At this point, I have lost sensation in my arm. The process has become rather painless. The humming needles rake across my flesh in a wake of color. There it is this time. My blood blossoms in fields, across the peony petals: red atop a crown gold. I’m inspired by Horishin, his attention unwavering as he deftly moves from one petal to the other. Perhaps in a fit of hysteria, I laugh. “This is cool. Normally I’d just be doing what I do every night. But tonight I’m hanging out with you, in this spot, getting tattooed.” He smiles beneath his mask. We’re both tired, but it just shows how masterclass this guy was. He was absolutely focused to the point I was thinking shit man that part of my arm hurts but you’re still shading it. I want that for my writing –that obsession, that absolute possession. “Karajishi”, he tells me. “The Fu Dog is the king of animals, and the peony is the king of flowers. They usually go together.” I didn’t ask for the peony, but I’m happy he included it! Two my heroes have peony tattoos: Neistat and Bourdain. We hug after the session; getting tattooed is always a strange bonding ritual. It wasn’t what I expected my tattoo to look like, but I’m learning hardly any of my expectations ever manifest fully as I envisioned them. Life offers better alternatives, I suppose, and there’s a degree of excitement and surprise to that. As I write this, I’m operating on an hour’s sleep. But how wonderful is it that I can stray from the normal, the mundane, and experience something so different, something so painful, beautiful yet earned.

Oh yeah every song that played reminded me of you; it was all the love songs from our parent’s generation. I used to hate them, but I get those feelings now haha. Or maybe I’m just fucking tired. I hope you’re doing all right –the prayers go the same: I hope you become wise enough to protect yourself. I hope you become brave enough to pursue your goals. And I hope you become strong enough to find happiness.

On Writing

Writing is also the words I do not write. Too many words can detract from the feeling. I think it’s like using negative space. There needs to be room to breathe. Yet every word needs to be placed with reason, with design: imagery, plot or character development, rhythm. It’s like the example of the English teacher and the blue curtains. Yeah, the curtains could just be fucking blue, but when you work with a craft long enough, when you appreciate the time and effort invested, you understand what it’s like to write with design, with intention. And you hope they do too. Writing, for me, is extracting from the subconscious and shaping it with conscious meaning. The better the writer, the better the shaping. Then again, the curtains could just be blue.

I think this idea of negative space should translate to my growth too; there needs to be some breathing room. I want to keep growing, keep having these epiphanies, and keep learning just like how I sometimes want to jam a bunch of words into a fucking sentence in an effort to shape a turd into something beautiful and it’s disgusting. It’s like I want to be constantly producing but I got to appreciate the breathing space too.

With my writing, I need to improve on maintaining tension. Palahniuk said it best when he said good writing is when you have to be with the tension; bad writing is when tension is resolved immediately. I think this tendency in my writing is reflective of how I’m still discomforted with confrontation, violence, the lurid, and my abusive childhood. If writing is shaping the subconscious and my understanding of Jung’s writing is the acceptance of the sometimes ugly subconscious, then I have to be brave enough to shape my writing into its truest form… But I suppose those are two separate aspects of writing: truth or beauty.

A quote from Lord of the Rings because I don’t know, I just like it:

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”

 

 

I dreamt about my sister and I getting ready to take a trip. We were going to Portland. I was anxious since I knew I didn’t have enough money for the trip. But something told me it was necessary to go on this trip. My mom really encouraged us to go. At some point in the trip, I was transported into the wilderness. I think I was alone, wandering. There was rain, but then it quickly turned sunny, warm again.

If everything in dreams is the self, then I must think of what my sister represents to me. I think she represents forethought. I’m rather impulsive compared to her. Perhaps going on a trip with her means I have to think ahead more and prepare, maybe reconcile with an aspect of myself I tend to ignore. Ironically that meant spending money in my dream. Maybe I need to use my money more wisely? I don’t know. I’m not licensed to do this shit. I want to buy a Christmas tree for my family this year –nothing pricey, a small plastic one like the one we use to have. I think it can be a nice gift to them.

Today feels rather unproductive. I read, I wrote, and I read some more. But it doesn’t feel like I’m making any progress. Most days feel like this though, and it’s important for me to understand it’s just part of the process. I really enjoy the mornings now. These two hours are really for me to find balance and all.

I wanted to write a poem for you, but I’m going to smoke instead. This song will probably capture my feelings better than anything I write anyways: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwUEJt-o3Yk