This series was super fun to be a part of, check out our "Dawl Brawl" below!
Tiny Lister (Deebo) and I attend couple's therapy together in this CRM tool commercial for Sales Mesh Never thought I'd say that sentence. Check it out!
I got to play one of my childhood heroes, Fa Mulan, in this hilarious sketch - check it out! I had a blast on set with this amazing cast and crew, and I hope you have as much fun watching as I did filming! Cheers!
Originally posted on Medium here.
When I was a little girl I was a total bookworm. My parents had strict rules regarding TV consumption for me and my brother. We were only allowed to watch one TV program a day and we didn’t have cable. Every summer my mother made a deal with me that if I didn’t watch TV the whole summer she’d give me $100 at the start of the school year. That’s a lot of money when you’re 8. Instead, I was encouraged to read. My mother was an English major, and taught English in Korea before coming over to the states back in the day, and I seem to have inherited her love of literature.
What did I read? Anything I could get my hands on. My copy of “A Wrinkle In Time” was utterly warped and stained from how many times I reread it, and I’d often get in trouble in school for ignoring the lesson for a hidden copy of the latest Baby-sitters Club book under my desk.
As I entered my pre-teen years I outgrew Kristy and Claudia’s adventures in babysitting and took on the twins of Sweet Valley High. The Sweet Valley High book series was written by Francine Pascal and her team of ghostwriters, spanning over 152 books that centered on a pair of identical twins, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, as they took on the challenges of adolescence and high school. Basically, a junior soap opera chronicle. So how did this teeny-bopper series change my life?
It’s all here in Book #40, On The Edge.
Regina Morrow, a beautiful, wealthy, raven haired close friend of Elizabeth’s, has been dating Bruce Patman for some time now. Bruce is a total d-bag, but Regina’s sweet nature seems to have tamed some of his douchier ways. Regina was deaf, but underwent some crazy surgery in Switzerland to restore her hearing recently. She’s on top of the world, right? WRONG.
Bruce dumps her for some cheerleading floozy and Regina, in her teenage despair, falls in with the wrong crowd. She goes to a party one night with said wrong crowd and they are doing drugs. Regina is a classic good girl, but wants her new friends to think she’s cool, so she tries some cocaine. AND DIES. That’s right. She does coke and dies. Turns out Regina had an undetected heart defect and the cocaine was just too much for her frail heart.
I was devastated. I must have been about 11 or 12 when I read this book, well before any real threat of drug use hit my Midwest suburban crowd, but I knew then and there I would never, ever, do drugs.
This book achieved something no PSA could have at my age. I’d loved this character, Regina. She was everything I wanted to be as a pre-teen. She was beautiful, smart, and kindhearted. Having read each book in the SVH series faithfully, I felt like I knew these girls. They were my friends, they were my enemies, they were me. It made me realize the gravity of drug use and the severe consequences they held. Would I have become a junkie in adult life if it hadn’t been for SVH? Probably not, I was crazy enough without additional stimulants, but the book certainly reaffirmed my position on the subject.
This isn’t a story about my amazing willpower and resistance to peer pressure. It’s a story about how the literature we read and the media we consume as young people shape our truths and expectations about life. It’s why I hate the Twilight books for what messages they send to young women about healthy relationships. [Team Jacob!] It’s why I can’t stand TV shows like Real Housewives of Anywhere, and why I think Miley Cyrus is a bad role model.
With the recent passing of the extremely talented Philip Seymour Hoffman, we are reminded of life’s lack of permanence and predictability. “What a waste”, we say, and can’t possibly imagine what inner demons the late actor must have struggled with amidst such success. If anything, this tragedy should be a reminder of how frail we are as humans, and the consequences of drug use.
No hit is worth the grief storm of an overdose, and we have an obligation as a society to make sure what happened to Regina, what happened to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, never happens to our friends and today’s youth.
Recently, my husband and I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles after having lived in SF for nearly 4 years.
The first question many people asked us is, WHY?
I've found that many people who gravitate toward San Francisco seem to dislike Los Angeles, and there's an SF pride to rival NY pride as far as BEST CITY EVER goes.
I'd only visited San Francisco once as a teenager before we'd moved there from Brooklyn, and my preconceived notions of the city were provided to me only by what I'd seen in the media. I'd heard it was like the New York City of the West Coast, and I LOVE NYC, so I figured I'd like SF just as much.
Now, don't get me wrong, SF is definitely the most beautiful city I've ever lived in, from the water lined piers to the redwood forests, the pastel architecture to the lush greens of Golden Gate Park, it's a marvel to behold.
When we first moved to SF, however, I hated it. I had moved there reluctantly from Brooklyn for my husband's work. I was confused about the lack of racial diversity, lackluster fashion, and much to my surprise- lack of a performing arts and music scene. I kept trying to measure SF up to NY, which I've learned you just can't do. The two cities are simply too different to compare.
It took me nearly a year to start to appreciate San Francisco for its uniqueness and different experiences. I was working at a large media agency which lends itself easily to making a lot of friends, and I had a pretty robust social life.
One thing we could never shake was the lack of feeling of HOME.
I didn't feel like I fit in.
Now, I have to put a disclaimer up that this is not an LA>SF post, but is just my personal experience having lived in both cities and developed a preference for one. Obviously, everyone is different and I think both cities have their unique draws for different people.
Having said that, I'll say that SF lacked serious depth for me. I was working in ad:tech, meeting founder after founder with "big minds chasing small ideas", and I felt... unfulfilled. Sure, I was making money and climbing up the career ladder quickly, but at what cost?
Priorities seemed to be centered around making money, the first question you'd get when out at any event was, "What do you do for work?" I fell victim to the mindset as well. I became someone I wasn't, a product of my environment. Having no one in SF that knew me as I was, and in classic new girl fashion, I became who I thought people wanted me to be, and I didn't like her very much.
I missed art, acting, singing, church, and most of all, a community of people that I could connect with on a deeper level.
That's not to say I don't value the friendships I made in SF. I met and connected with some amazing people and great friends whom I miss dearly.
A community is a different thing. Sure, there were opportunities here and there for art and music, a few churches scattered that I bounced around to, but it all felt too temporal and disconnected from the greater personality of SAN FRANCISCO.
My lack of sense of home had much more to do with me than with San Francisco, honestly. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, or I just wasn't meeting the right people, but the fact remains that I was lost. I discovered that I have to be around people like me, who know me, to be home. No salary, swanky apartment, or hot ad startup can give you that.
So, we moved to LA, where I'd lived for a short time when I was 18. LA, where I have an existing community of artisans and musicians to plug into, and friends who've known me since my awkward pre-teen days, and I already have more of a sense of self than I ever had in SF.
So we moved to LA, not for a job or for adventure, but for a home.
My big brother was in town and we sat down to record a cover of Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up"
He's super talented, and helped me learn to play guitar when I first started out, hope you enjoy it!
If you follow me on Facebook, you probably know I post a lot of little stories and quotes from my mom. In many ways she is a pretty typical Asian mother and she comes up with unintentional comedy gold all the time.
That being said, I have immense respect and adoration for the woman who brought me into this world, though as a teen I couldn't stand her tyranny, now I've come to appreciate and treasure my upbringing.
I now listen to my mother's advice rather than rebelling against it. Perhaps one of the greatest pieces of advice she gave to me is about marriage.
Before I met my husband, I was in a tumultuous long-term relationship with a guy, we'll call him Bob. Without saying anything too negative, we'll just say it was not a healthy relationship. We were together for a long time though, and at one point I thought he was THE ONE.
My family didn't like him, but they didn't say anything to me about it. My mom is pretty sneaky like that. First of all, she said, I never would have listened to her. Secondly, she knew in her heart I wouldn't marry him, and wanted me to figure it out for myself. Damn my mother's wisdom.
Her advice to me, setting in stone that he wasn't the one, was this.
She said to me, "Lizz, your father is not an exciting man."
At this point I'm laughing, "What? Mom!"
She continued, "We've been married for a long time and there are no fireworks."
Now I'm thinking, oh dear where is this going...
"But he is a GOOD man. And he has always treated me well and he will always be good to me. When you think about getting married, find a good man who will always treat you well."
I thought about that for a long time. My father is indeed, a good man. In fact, I've never known a better man. He is kind, mild-mannered, and gentle in spirit and heart. He's known in business for being a very honest and good man. It's something I took for granted as a child, that my parents didn't fight and that my dad was so gentle. As I got older and learned more about other families I realized that it was kind of rare.
The thing about Bob, was that he looked nothing like my father to me. I mean as a tall white dude obviously he didn't LOOK like him, but you know what I mean. Never in my entire life has my father raised either a finger or his voice at me. He's never yelled at me. As daddy's little girl, I worshipped my father and he's the man I've stacked every other man up against. To me, this is what a man should look like. Not macho or loud or tough, but gentle, loving, and kind.
Every time Bob would do something obnoxious or controlling, it turned me off. Not only because it was inappropriate, but because to me, that's not what real men did. Real men didn't yell at their girlfriends. Real men didn't tell their girlfriends what to do. They didn't drink so much.
My mother's advice cut deep for me. Though I do believe Bob has a loving heart, I couldn't say honestly that I thought he was a good man who treated me well. And I wasn't about to sign up for that forever.
They say you accept the love you think you deserve. Because my father and my brother are such kind hearted men, I knew I deserved to be loved that way. Wholly and unconditionally, without judgement, and by a good man. I knew that love didn't have to be complicated and painful, and I didn't settle for a relationship that didn't feel right.
I've been married for 20 months to this day. My husband is a good man. He reminds me of my father and brother in a lot of ways. He's kind, mild-mannered, and patient. I can confidently say I've followed my mom's advice and have married a good man who will always treat me well. On the scale of crappy guy to my dad, my husband is the only man I've found to stack up against my father. I don't agree with my mom that the excitement has to ever leave, but I think her point about finding a life companion is right on.
So, I'm giving you my mother's advice. If you don't feel like he is a good man who will always treat you well, he's not the one. And if he's a cutie like my man, consider that a bonus ;)
You might think, living in a large and culturally diverse city, I'd experience less racism and ignorance, but you would be wrong. What I've learned in my 27 years of being Asian, is that people are dumb everywhere.
What I've also come to understand, however, is that that people are often simply curious and want to learn more about Asian-ness, so I've put together a list of do's and do nots for the Asianly challenged.
Many times you may be curious as to someone's ethnic descent. That is perfectly natural and totally OK to ask about. The approach in which you find these answers is key. It is extremely easy to offend someone on this answer quest, and one must be wary of the many perils involved in fact finding here.
Wrong: Where are you from?
If you are curious as to what a person's ethnic origin is, please, for the love of God, do not ask her where she's from. To this question I almost always respond with Michigan, because that is where I am from. Sometimes I'll get a persistent, "No, I mean where are you FROM?" I told you where I'm from. If you're asking me where my parents are from, that's a different story.
Wrong: Are you Chinese?
Though I realize statistically we are all more likely to be Chinese than any other ethnicity, it is considered very impolite to assume that we are. We all think our kind of Asian is the best, so when you make the assumption that we're something other than our actual ethnicity, we get offended.
So don't ask if we're Chinese, please.
Even more wrong: Wait, don't tell me, I know what you are.... Japanese! No? You're Vietnamese!
Just, no. Stop it. Seriously.
But you look so Chinese!
No. I don't. Stop it. I am Korean, and I've seen my face staring back at me for long enough to make an association with my face and Koreans, so please don't tell me I don't look Korean. No one knows how to respond when you say something like that anyway, so don't make it weird.
Wrong: What is your nationality?
I am a natural born American citizen. That is my nationality. If you are asking about my ethnicity, consult a dictionary and try again.
What is your ethnicity?
The correct way to ascertain someone's ethnicity is to ask, "What is your ethnicity?" Pretty simple.
First, let me just get the obvious out of the way. White guys with Asian girls. It's a thing. We know it. Don't ask me to go into specifics on the how or why, let's just admit it's a thing and move on.
Leading with your Asian fetish. Never lead with, "I just loooove Asian girls." It's creepy. If you do have an Asian fetish, whatever, that's your thing, but keep that to yourself. Would you go up to a blonde girl and say oh man I looove blondes. Would you go up to a girl with feet and say I LOOOVE FEEET. No, probably not. Unless you're just awkward.
Contrary to what the media might tell you, Asian women are not all submissive and exotic creatures who are dying to serve you. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with having a preference, and of course I agree that Asian women are beautiful and interesting, but that should not be your ace card. Maybe you can try to find something in common with her first or ask her about her career or something. Let's just try not to fixate on the Asian thing.
You look like
While you're at it, don't tell girls they look like anyone else. Not your Asian roommate from college, or that one girl you know- girls like to be original, and that's stolen from them the moment you turn to your friend to say, "OMG doesn't she remind you soo much of so and so?"
Nee How Ma! Konichiwa!
This happens to me ALL THE TIME. I will be walking down the street and some creeper will yell, NEE HOW MA. I know what this means, not because I'm Asian, but because I've freakin' seen Rush Hour and I'm not an idiot.
That being said, there are 2 assumptions being made when you call out a random language to someone. First, that I am of that Asian descent. Second, that I speak the language. Neither of these are true, and now you look racist. I do not assume that every brown skinned person speaks Swahili, and you should never assume an Asian person can speak a specific language.
When people find out I'm Korean, sometimes they'll attempt to say something they've learned in the language, that's fine. Your accent is terrible, but hey- you are trying to establish a commonality, showing that you've made a cultural effort to learn, I can dig that. Also, I'm not sure what these men are expecting as a result. OH THANK GOD THERE'S SOMEONE IN AMERICA WHO SPEAKS MY LANGUAGE.
Any of these listed below are things I've heard that I considered offensive/stupid, so you might want to stay away from these
- Singing that weird Asian jingle
- Any reference to Ching Chong Wong, unless that's an actual person's name, which I doubt
- Any reference to slanted eyes, especially asking me if I can see less because my eyes are smaller than yours
- Don't even think about making those eyes and pulling a Miley Cyrus
- Can you read this? What does it say?
- Yelling SOY SAUCE at me as I walk down the street, unless it falls out of my bag, or you are selling some for a great price
- You're probably really good at math, right?
- Are you North or South Korean?
- Are you twins? No? Sisters?
Hopefully this list has given you some guidance as to how to speak to an Asian girl and not get whacked in the face. By her samurai sword. I'm the first to admit I make a lot of racist jokes, between friends, sarcastically- there's a time and a place for everything. If you're genuinely interested in someone's Asian-ness and want to learn more about it, be polite, and ask questions from a place of honesty and willingness to learn, and you should be alright.
Lastly, Do you know kung-fu?
The answer is yes, all Asian women know kung-fu, so don't be a dick, or we'll kick your butt.
Have more to add? Leave them in the comments!
I've started a new website with my dear friend Katie. http://whatthesnickers.com
Today I wrote a post on What I Wore vs. What I Wish I Wore.
This is what I wore, click through to What The Snickers to see what I wish I wore.
You may or not be aware of the social media debacle going on concerning PyCon, "The largest annual gathering for the community using and developing the open-source Python programming language" I'll break it down:
- Adria Richards, a Developer Evangelist for SendGrid, is at PyCon. She's sitting in front of a couple of employees from a company called Play Haven who make a couple of jokes about big dongles and "forking the repo". Tech puns.
- She takes offense, and posts this to her 10,000 some followers on twitter.
- She sends a few more tweets calling for action to the PyCon administrators, and they escort the guys out of the conference.
- Play Haven fires one of the men and Adria also gets let go by SendGrid after the fierce internet storm and drama.
I don't know any of the parties involved personally, but I am a woman who works in a predominately male industry, and I also happen to work in social media and PR.
So here's my take on why Adria overreacted, abused her sphere of influence, and why this isn't about sexism, but common sense.
The Jokes Ok so here's the thing. "Dongle" is a funny word. If you have never made a dongle joke, I would like to personally congratulate you on your maturity, or perhaps your lack of humor, because it is silly. A coworker of mine once kept accidentally referring to it as a "dangle" to which he was met with bouts of giggles from the rest of us, much to his confusion. It is funny. I would even argue that jokes like this in a tech conference setting are OK- given restraint. I work in advertising, which tends to lean a little more risque, but I've definitely heard speakers and CEOs say worse things than dongle jokes or forking puns. Not saying who, so don't ask ;)
I can also see myself making the exact same jokes, I would probably not have made them loud enough for anyone else to hear, or during a presentation, but I am going to go ahead and say yes, I'd joke about a dongle.
The Reaction Adria reacted swiftly and fiercely. Did she have a right to be offended? Absolutely, we have the right to be offended by anything we want. Was it warranted? Ehhh probably not. They're just silly word plays a 13 year old may think up, but they aren't inherently sexist in meaning.
She didn't ask the guys to stop. She didn't talk to them at all about the jokes before she took their photo and blasted it to her thousands of followers on twitter. Which I'm pretty sure in most states you can still sue over having your likeness used for exploitative purposes. Then she gets the guys kicked out of the conference, which I think PyCon made the right call, but still don't think was deserved. So far, kinda just sucks for the guys but no big.
The problem with blasting their photos to twitter, is that it was a vindictive move also known as Public Shaming. It's like when Bieber was being harassed by a troll, and sent his bajillions of twitter followers the kid's phone number. The kid's phone would not stop blowing up, and Bieber kind of looked like a jerk for pulling the move. It's an abuse of power. Someone pisses you off, you handle it face to face, like an adult. You don't rally your troops against the person to make them suffer. Ask my Algebra teacher from 7th grade if public shaming me ever worked. Hint: It didn't.
Public shaming was not on the path to conflict resolution, which should always be the end goal.
So then everyone gets fired. Alright not everyone, just one of the guys and Adria, but whatever. Minor details. Which, I'll argue was not a bad move on either company's part. People get fired for a lot less, and they became public liabilities, and they reacted how most companies would.
When you attend a conference for work you are representing your company, and anything you say or do will be used against you in a court of social media. Not a bad move, but not necessarily the RIGHT move. But these things are always complicated, and maybe the guy was a sucky developer anyway (prob not), but Play Haven prioritized the company reputation over the worth of an individual employee, which is absolutely not uncommon. Remember this Applebee's server?
Adria is getting pretty viciously attacked on social media, which is never cool regardless of circumstance. Bullies are bullies are bullies. Her company made the call to let her go as well as they announced on their Facebook page. That, I think was the right choice. She's supposed to be the Developer Evangelist, which is a fancy title for a communicator. Main skills include: communication. She showed a clear lack of ability in this case to communicate to achieve a mutually beneficial end goal and I would not want her on my team either.
Sexism Here's the tricky stuff. In Adria's defense, she discusses how PyCon had a 20% female attendance, which is HUGE for the developer world. That should have been the takeaway that was celebrated here instead of this silly mess. I was the only female at my company for 8 months before another lady joined ship, and it was really tough. Women are hugely underrepresented in the tech world, we all know this. It sucks. I won't go into details now, but I had a helluva time proving to my genius engineer coworkers that I wasn't just "some girl" and that my softer sciences of communications and marketing were worth anything. I'm still convincing some of them.
BUT. This was not about that. If anything, Adria set female developers back by seeming irrational, which we know all women are. [sarcasm, don't freak out].
And let's face it, engineers and developers aren't exactly known for their effervescent social graces and charisma. They're smart. Analytical. Literal. Love my guys to death, but they're not exactly nearing Barack Obama levels of smooth.
In any situation you need to understand the person you are dealing with before you decide you are offended. Did they mean to offend you? Do they even realize it's offensive? If not, let them know it offended you and chances are they'll feel bad and won't do it again. Escalate only as a last resort. And don't take it to twitter.
At the end of the day, conflicts are a good thing. Character growth and yada yada. But conflicts can only be resolved if there is a positive compromise to be reached or end goal to be attained. If you are doing anything simply for the sake of doing it, you should probably just quit right now. Every tiny action has consequences, and in this world of 140 characters and milliseconds, it would serve everyone better to think on those consequences a little more before taking action.
Also, girls, stop playa hatin'.
More Resources For Your Nosy Self:
Superman, however, has never been a favorite of mine, I think because he's the hardest for me to relate to.
People love Spiderman because he's young, dumb, and makes mistakes- something we can all identify with. Batman doesn't actually have any super powers except his intelligence and resourcefulness. And if money is a super power I guess he has that. But Superman is special because he is an alien, and frankly, that's just not fair.
Man Of Steel looks like it will tackle that exact issue by making Superman much more human.
In an interview for Total Film with the director, Zack Snyder, and the actor playing Superman, Henry Cavill, they discuss Clark's humanity.
"We’ve tried to make a Superman movie where he does stuff and you go, ‘Yeah, if I was Superman, that’s what I’d do. Even though he’s an alien, he’s more relatable, more human."- Zack Snyder
I'm actually looking forward to seeing the movie, and I think the all star cast definitely helps- including: Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Jonathan and Martha Kent, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, and Lawrence Fishburn as editor in chief Perry White.
I know this type of post isn't typical of my blog, but I'm excited for the movie, what about you? Who's your favorite superhero?
I don't have an iPhone, which, upon admission I have found my way into may an Android vs. iPhone debate. I'm not going to go into that right now. The thing about iPhone's that I do envy is that cool apps go there first. Like Vine. If you're not familiar with Vine (you should be), it's a video sharing app that Twitter owns that enables users to make quick 6 second videos with quick cut capabilities. It's been called the "instagram for video". In short, it's awesome and I want it. But I don't have an iPhone so I can't have it.
Luckily I have friends with iPhones who shoot vine videos for me anyway.
From a young age we are taught to mask those emotions and pretend like everything is OK. I'm Korean, which means that I didn't grow up expressing my feelings like a lot of other American families I knew. Sweeping generalization, I know, but true in my case.
SOO I learned to hide my feelings behind a chipper and peppy wall and for the most part other people were pretty satisfied with that.
As I entered adulthood I found out that the wall of enthusiasm I had built around me wasn't sufficient enough for a lot of people I met, and in some cases it worked against me! A lot of people I've met have made some interesting assumptions about me. People have assumed that I'm dumb and ditzy, superficial, immature, childish, Beyonce - you name it.
It hurt that people thought all these things about me, but I had to take a step back and think about why.
Had I shown any of these people anything different? No, not really. I was asking for something unrealistic. I was saying- "Why can't you see through this wall that I intentionally have put up to keep people out?".
This is a geeky metaphor but get ready.
When I worked at a preschool we were taught to not use antibacterial soap, because it kills too much bacteria, and some bacteria can actually be good for your immune system.
I feel like the wall of fakeness is that antibacterial soap. It keeps out the bad stuff, but it can also keep out the good stuff. Like meaningful relationships. Boom.
A friend of mine always encourages me to look at other people with "loving kindness" and to try and put myself in their shoes.
When I do that, I don't blame people for judging me, or even disliking me. I'd probably dislike me too if I only had a surface picture. I want to prove them wrong. I want to say hey, I'm a pretty nice girl if you'll give me a chance. And candy.
What I'm trying to say is sometimes, people don't like you and it's not your fault. Or maybe it is, if you're a jerk. But in my case, these walls are coming down. I will do my part and be real. If you get to know me and dislike me I can't really fault you.
But if you don't know me, then shut your face and get out of my way.
Oh did you think this would end in a positive message? OK OK, don't judge a book by its cover. Or the book flap summary. Or at all because some nice bloke put effort into writing it and they liked it. Someone likes it. Just be nice to everyone cuz everyone is fighting a battle of their own, and don't be a crappy person to make them feel bad about it.
Unless they do bad things like kill people. Or kick puppies. Then you can judge them because WHO WOULD KICK A PUPPY?!
One can't help but reflect on the years passed when New Years rolls around. I am no exception, and have definitely been doing a lot of thinking on 2012, and what I want 2013 to mean in my life. At the beginning of 2012 I was still fairly new to the Bay Area. Wanting to meet and experience as much as possible in San Francisco, I decided that anytime someone asked me to do something- as long as it wasn't A. illegal B. morally reprehensible or C. at conflict with another plan, I would say yes. This led me to spend time with and get to know a lot of people I might not have otherwise and I am very happy I did this.
On the other hand, meeting so many people led me to an epiphany about the state of my generation. I realized that the plague of San Francisco, as is with many other large cities, is indifference. Apathy is an ever discreet but ever present evil. Scoffing at a homeless man on the street, cutting someone off in your zipcar, not holding the elevator open as you go up to the 7th floor at Twitter- everyday life is full of chances to be kind not taken.
Ignoring others' needs builds up a lovely immunity against despair, which lets us live everyday oblivious of sadness in the world. It can be good sometimes. It's like that damn ASPCA commercial that comes on with Sarah McLachlan's songs. No one really wants to sit and wallow in sadness. Changing the channel solves that pretty quickly. Unfortunately, there's no remote control on life. :\
Simply waking up everyday, going to work, making money to spend a little at the bar with acquaintances - it's not such a bad life. But the problem, for me, is that I do not consider that to be truly living. It is existence, yes, by definition. But it isn't LIVING.
"We are MORE than conquerors through him who loved us" reads Romans, and I can tell you that I have not felt like much of a conqueror lately.
So this year, instead of saying simply saying "yes" to going out with friends- I have a new goal.
I'm going to say "yes" to kindness. I'm going to embrace it in every day life and in every interaction with every person that I can, and I'm going to try and live by that. It's going to be hard, and at times I know I'm going to want to just get wasted and talk poorly behind someone's back, but that is not what life is about, and that's not what my life is going to be about.
To quote a favorite fictional character of mine,
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Dumbledore, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
So this year, I will choose to be kind.
I come from a fairly musical family. If you know me and have spent any considerable amount of time with you know that I sing. A lot. Growing up in a close knit church community, song is an everyday part of life. At dinner my mom even had a "no singing at the dinner table" rule.
I played the violin and piano when I was young like any good korean child, but being a strong willed adolescent with ADHD I quit both of those. (One of my biggest regrets to this day). I got a guitar when I was 14 for Christmas, and since that was 13 years ago you would think I'd be amazing at it. But I'm not. I'm okay, but I never spend enough time on it to really get the hang of it. I can play most of the main chords- and easy songs, but I'm no Jimi Hendrix. Or Danny Kim for that matter. :)
I went to Hawaii a couple months ago and really developed a cultural crush. I loved the easy going nature of the people there, the hula ceremony, the beautiful beaches. Recently we visited a Hawaiian bar in Japantown and there was a Ukulele player who performed. Two girls in the audience happened to be native Hawaiians and knew the hula dances to a couple of the songs he played and jumped up there and danced with him. It was really beautiful. That's when I decided I had to play the ukulele.
My Lanikai concert size ukulele arrived the other day and I am OBSESSED. I obsess easily, I have that sort of addictive personality- but I literally went home from work and played the ukulele for 5 hours straight. My fingers hurt. My cats went unfed and were very angry with me, so I finally snapped out of it and ate some food and fed the cats. And then recorded this.
So I will be honest, it isn't very good. It was my first time playing the uke, though, and I plan on getting a lot better.
So this is the benchmark. Let's see how much better I get next time.
Life is full of loss isn't it? Full of disappointment and sadness and so. much. loss.Recent events have brought up a lot of thoughts surrounding the subject. I've developed a hypothesis about it, however, that I think is pretty solid.
You should be sad.
There it is.
I find that when something happens, when you experience a loss- people are understanding and supportive. But often times there is an unspoken time limit where they expect you to return to normal. The fact is that sometimes you never do. Some losses are so deep that they change you forever- and THAT'S OK.
Everyone grieves in their own way, and some grief is much more subtle than others.
The thing about grief, though, is that it is a very tricky thing. It hits you like a hurricane- tumultuous and blinding, seemingly never ending. And then it quiets down and you try to pick up the pieces after the storm. Things return to a relative degree of normal and you carry on. Then the grief whispers something to you in a quiet moment and you're back where you started. Broken.
But I really feel like people are not meant to be whole at all times. It's sort of what's great about people. We're such emotional beings- designed with such a full range of emotions to experience.
Our happiness is tempered by our sadness, and our pride tempered by our shame- we are meant to feel all of these emotions, and it's silly to try not to.
Bottom line is we are humans. We should be sad. We should be happy. We should allow ourselves to FEEL things more often, and be more understanding when other people do too.
I've experienced loss, we all have. What I took away from it is that is that life is too fleeting to take anything or anyone for granted. The people we meet that walk in and out of our lives shape our own lives- and no interaction should ever be taken lightly.
So yes. Friend. You should be sad. And when the tide of sadness subsides take comfort in your love and in life, because that is what life is really about.
Last week while I waited in a Starbucks in Greenwich Village for a friend I witnessed a sad thing. I sat by the window, people watching, and a woman walked by with her two children.
She was tall, blonde, in her mid to late 30s, pushing a stroller with a little girl in it, and holding the hand of a little boy who looked to be about 5 years old.
The stroller hit a bump in the sidewalk and a baby bottle that was in the cup-holder went flying; the pizza that had been placed atop the stroller fell to the ground, upside down.
The woman sighed, picked up the bottle, and jammed it into the cup holder. She picked up the pizza box as I watched in suspense. It was ruined. She frustratedly shut the box and placed it back on top of the stroller.
She resumed her position to push the stroller but as I watched her face it scrunched up into an expression that I instantly recognized. She was going to cry. She looked absolutely frazzled, exhausted, and completely at her wits end.
Her little boy looked at her expectantly as she and I locked eyes. I gave her a sympathetic look and she acknowledged my sympathy with a weary smile. She took her boy's hand and resumed her walk.
My heart went out to her. I can only imagine how hard her day had been.
Every little thing you do, every interaction you have with a stranger can shape how they move along the rest of their days; their lives.
I can only hope that my sympathy helped that woman carry on with her day, but it makes me really think about everyone I meet. How my short temper can add to someone's terrible day, or how my kindness can uplift someone who needs a smile or a reassurance in humanity.
That short interaction reminded me that we're all people, all 7 billion of us, and we all have the power to harm or help each other with indifference or kindness. I vote we choose kindness.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8cWZepX5eA&w=560&h=315]I used to make rap songs into musical theatre songs in college because, well, I was in theatre. I re-did one of them for a good friend. Enjoy!
I met Chevy almost 5 years ago while I attended college in Minnesota. The guy I dated at the time had a dog, Tipper, who was born on a farm in rural southern Minnesota. We visited one day, hoping to get a photo op for Tipper and her momma, and were sadly informed that the mother had passed away. But, they said, she had a litter right before she passed, would you like to see the puppies? And that's how I walked away with Chevy Chase.
I had a really relaxed lifestyle back then, I was in college, had a yard, a big apartment, and plenty of free time. Rat terriers are really smart, and I trained Chevy to do a ton of cool tricks. He was a good little pup. Potty training was a little difficult, but he got the hang of it after awhile.
As I got older and moved around to NYC and San Francisco, having a dog became more and more difficult. It's a HUGE responsibility and don't let anyone tell you owning a dog is easy. It's not. If you have a well behaved dog it is easiER, but say goodbye to your social life if you live in a big city and plan on having a high energy dog.
Owning a dog in San Francisco became very cumbersome for me and my husband. It became more apparent that Chevy was not living the best doggy life he could be. My husband and I both travel for work, and the nature of my work has me going out a lot to networking events after normal work hours. Chevy Chase has separation anxiety, (description here) which basically means he becomes very anxious when not around someone, particularly me. He needs a lot of attention and like most dogs, is happiest with a set routine. Our lives became anything but routine, and Chevy started to become more and more anxious around the house.
Chevy Chase is also a rat terrier. Here's a wikipedia link to those of you unfamiliar with the breed. Basically, he was bred to kill things, rats specifically. Take a dog that was bred to do a job and stick him in a small city condo and you are bound to have problems. Border Collies are notoriously neurotic if not given enough mental or physical stimulation. Chevy was under exercised and over bored most of the time. I'm not an outdoorsy person, and would rarely make the time to take him hiking or to a park. Some days we wouldn't even be able to take him on a good walk.
So the hunt for a new family began. I love Chevy like I'd love another human, and have consistently been amazed at the emotional bond we formed as a dog and a human. That little dog just gets me. He knows when I'm upset, and when I want him to be quiet, and knows when I'm pumped up and want to play. He's a brilliant dog, and has surprised me with his cognitive problem solving ability day over day. Needless to say, the thought of giving him away was difficult. But ultimately necessary.
I posted an adoption ad with Grateful Dogs rescue and the offers came in pretty quickly! Chevy is a well behaved and good natured dog who gets along with cats, so there was a lot of interest. I was determined to find the perfect home for him, so I actually turned several people down.
I found a family recently who lives in Oakland that was a perfect fit. The "dad" is an artist and works from home, having time to spend with Chevy and his new sweet pitbull sister, Paisley. They have a big yard where they grow a lot of their own food and even have a chicken coop! Most importantly they have the time and lifestyle that fits much better with a rat terrier's needs. They were looking for a 4 year old male rat terrier specifically, and the "mom" even went to the same college as my husband. The connections were too many to write off as coincidence, and thus I relinquished my ownership to the canine love of my life.
I'm sad. I miss the little guy. But I know I did the right thing, and I also know from the many picture updates I've received that he is happier than he has ever been. Here he is with his new sister Paisley cuddling up.
The experience of owning a dog has taught me more than I can contain to one post. Chevy taught me patience, discipline, responsibility, and brought me countless hours of entertainment and company. He's going to bring those lessons on to his new family, and have a ton of fun doing it. I'm happy for the 4.5 years I got to spend with the happiest little dog, and I hope that if I get another dog someday he or she is as smart and happy as Chevy Chase. --LA