Haters Gonna Hate

5008_9c00_420 Sometimes it's hard to remember that the people around you are, in fact, real people. Sometimes it sucks to be a person. You have all these feelings that get hurt sometimes. Ugh- emotions.

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?!

On Love and Sadness

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.

Starbucks and Kindness

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.

Say Goodbye to Chevy Chase

Chevy as a puppy 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.

Me and Chevy at the beach

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.

Fat Chevy

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

Street Sex

So, I posted something on my facebook yesterday that grabbed a lot of attention and became quite the topic within my internet circle of friends.

I recently read a blog entry by UnWinona here where she talks about a situation where a man verbally assaults her on the train for not wanting to speak to him. Granted the man clearly sounds like he has mental health issues and in no way is representative of the male population as a whole, but I have to admit I can relate to her post in a lot of ways.

I get harassed fairly often just walking down the street.

Men will call out "hey baby" sometimes their invitations are more forward "Come home with me!" and sometimes they're downright aggressive "Oh girl- the things I'd do to you...". I've even had my body and my hair grabbed by strangers. More often than not the comments are racial ... "Nee How!" or "Konichiwa!" are some of the better ones I've heard. One man yelled "SOY SAUCE" after me and my all time favorite is when they'll hum the stereotypical Asian tune.

Some people tell me it's just because I'm pretty and I should take it as a compliment, others tell me it's because of how I dress or how I walk. To that I say BULLLSHIEEETTTT.

It's obviously a symptom of a larger sickness in our culture where men and women are taught that objectifying women is appropriate and not enough is done to combat the opinion.

A friend pointed out to me yesterday that as long as douchebags are successful at picking up chicks by being jerks- they'll continue to act that way. Unfortunately- jerks are fairly successful at snagging girls- just google "the pick up artist". I ask myself all the time if this WORKS for these guys- does hollering at women on the street actually work? The answer is that it MUST, even if it's a tiny percentage of the time, or they wouldn't behave that way.. would they?

Either way it's NOT OK.

I think it all comes down to one thing which is RESPECT. Our children are not being taught respect at an early age and they grow up to be assholes. The fact that a man is talking to me is not what I mind- I don't even mind being hit on if it's respectful. Sometimes guys will come up and once I tell them I'm married they'll say "Oh, my bad! He must be a lucky guy, have a great night!" and I am genuinely flattered. But when a guy eye rapes me and tries to grab me, not flattered- just disgusted.

This is one of those subjects that opens up a world of issues like sex in media, violence, capitalism, etc etc- but I'll just stick to this subject for now. I think we as communities need to focus on respecting other people as human beings and how we're setting examples for our kids. So I guess I don't really know where to go from here. This will continue to happen because we live in a fallen world and there are some really shitty people out there.

Bottom line I suppose- is DON'T BE SHITTY. If you see someone being shitty? Punch them in their stupid face. :)

Now here's a picture of my cats.

Optimus and Kitty