Like Pi

As I obsessively search for some trace of a pattern

in the random etches of my life, as I yearn to feel the

comforting touch of some sort of foreshadow, as I

analyze the Freudian nature of my dreams on a scale

of one to lust, as I take note of the number of steps I take,

the number of hours I sleep, and the color of my socks,

as my id asks questions, and as my ego answers, I wait.

In Cautious Anticipation of Decisions Day

To the future me, 5 days from today:

It looks like it is officially Decisions Day, or more appropriately, D-Day. I can hardly imagine the kind of anxiety that must be coursing through your over caffeinated body at this point in time. Did you decide skip 8th and go home with K? Or did you consider karma and decide to stay the extra painful two hours?

Have you been obsessively stalking that one College Confidential forum, and receiving ironic comfort from the nervousness of the other applicants? Have you eaten at all today, or did you decide to skip breakfast, lunch, and dinner all together, in cautious anticipation of throwing up?

In about 5 days from now, my/your life could completely change. In about 5 days, either I/you will be celebrating, or I/you will be stuck in the basement, trying to finish 20+ college applications. In about 5 days, either we will be posting on Facebook a post that will receive 200+ likes, or we will be choosing to stay off of Facebook, and every other social media platform as you wither in sorrow and pain.

To the future me, promise me that come D-Day, you will do your best to get through the day. Promise me that you will pray before and after you find out your results, regardless of what happens. Promise me that if you get in (yay!) you will be thankful. Promise me that if you don’t get in, you’ll let yourself be sad for only a few hours and you’ll be happy for your friends.

Whatever happens, we both know how hard you’ve worked. We both know all the craziness you’ve put up with. So whatever happens, keep loving yourself and look forward to whatever God decides is best for you. After all, he knows best.

Love,

The past you, from 5 days ago.

J| Growing Pains

I still don’t know how to tag someone in a Facebook photo.

I once wrote my darkest secret on paper. I burned it immediately, but I worry that someone will collect its ashes and put it back together. The scenario has played out in my head in a million and one ways and I decided to be flattered that someone would be so obsessed with me. I would also file for a restraining order.

I cringe when I see that I have friended someone two years ago, and they have yet to accept my request.

Sometimes I can hear my teacher’s voice reading out my writing, and he will repeat certain parts; “A million and one ways…” he’ll mutter. “A million and one ways.” He’ll try out, and suddenly my writing doesn’t seem as elegant as I thought it was. He’ll challenge my little jokes, and make me feel bad. It’s not until later I decide that I shouldn’t feel bad for me, I should feel bad for him for not having a sense of humor.

There are a million and one things to do, and I can’t stop stalking this one girl – this one insanely gorgeous girl – and go through her profile pictures from 2010. I don’t want people to see my little acne spots or my yellow teeth, but even more I don’t want them to see that I had air brushed my picture. This insanely gorgeous girl has orange skin, even though she’s Asian, and blurry skin and white teeth and suddenly she doesn’t seem so insane.

I like her picture anyways. I comment anyways.

I’m still not completely sure how to spell the words immediately and definitely and subconscious. You don’t know, that even though I’m Asian, I don’t have a 4.0 or a 2400 or know how to spell the words immediately, definitely, and subconscious.

I like to put on makeup at 11 PM. I like to play with blue and purple eyeshadows and make my eyebrows black like ebony, but then I’ll forget I put it on and get embarrassed in front of my older brother. I’m not completely sure what ebony is, but I think it’s a plant.

I like to curl and my hair at 12 AM and tell myself “Yes! I’m doing this for school!” I’ll sleep with bouncy hair and the next morning I’ll frantically rinse it out in the sink. My bus comes in 5 minutes and my mom is yelling for me to hurry up, but I can’t go to school like this. I’ll curl it one day, just not today.

I wished that he would ask me to prom and he did, but out of the million and one ways he could have prom-posed, he did it over instant messenger. He asked my best friend the next week with cupcakes. I didn’t cry, but I wish I had.

J| Jumpsuits

I wish I looked good in jumpsuits. I wish I chose not to wear them because of how ugly they are, not because of how ugly I look in them. I wish I was the kind of person to leave online reviews; the kind of person who is helpful and has that kind of time in their life. I wish I hadn’t read that one negative review because now I can’t buy this geometric print creme/blue crisscross shift dress. Oh, how I wish.

J| Adult Nightmares

Throwback to the days when we would live recklessly and carelessly, when we would count seconds for hide-and-seek, not hours from nine to five. Throwback to the times when we would brag about how long we could hold our pee, because those were the good ol’ days when our greatest nightmares were nothing but nightmares.

Do you remember what scared you in your sleep as a child? I remember some of my early, terribly traumatizing dreams. Some of them were classic, like being chased by the ghost from the PG-13 horror movie I watched when I was 10. Some of them were laughable, but only once I woke up; I once dreamt that I was trapped in a tower by the witch from Dora the Explorer and woke up, covered in cold sweat. Some of them were legit creepy. I remember in one of my nightmares I had been hypnotized by a magician who was crazy in love with me. He was super ugly. It’s strange to think that the things that scared me as a child as so laughable now that I’m older.

These days when I have nightmares, the memory haunts me for days. My nightmares aren’t about trivial matters anymore. I have nightmares about accidentally joining a cult, or getting mugged in broad, public, daylight, or my grandparents leaving forever, or not getting into college, or Donald Trump becoming president and driving this country into the ground. The scariest thing is, these scenarios are all very plausible. I hope living vicariously through my dreams will be the closest I ever get to these these vicious scenarios.

J| Just Keep Swimming

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”
But alas, I find myself not in the face of a simple fork in the road, but an offering of three, four, five paths – basically a barren field that lacks any of the pre-made footsteps for guidelines from these so called “roads” and extends beyond the horizon into infinity and beyond. Frost had it easy; he could have made his decision by flipping a coin. But in my case, even a 6-sided dice would not suffice. And while I am so blessed to have the option of having options, the burden that surfaces from my infinite list of decisions leaves me in a predicament of endless “what if’s” and possible regrets. It feels like the world is ending.
In a year from now, I will be in a different place. I’m sure I will have new reasons for the world to end and new worries to preoccupy my mind.The burden of tonight will be long gone. Life goes on and I just have to do the best with what I choose.

J| Blogging is Hard

There are over 30 unpublished blogs posts sitting in my draft bin right now. Some are a few sentences long. Others are nothing but titles. Logically, I would go back and refine my drafts before creating new ones. But I don’t know… something about typing the first few words in this empty text box is just so enticing; something about giving birth to a new post fueled by a new idea is just so addicting.

I think I just hate pressing the bright blue “Publish” button when my writing is subpar, or when my writing is too short. I hate it when my writing doesn’t have have a feature image that perfectly matches its contents. I just want this blog to be perfect. But my draft bin is overflowing, and I figure confrontation is the first step. This is an intervention. Please excuse my mechanical errors.


Love,

J

J| Just Write

Just let the words spill out from your brain into your hands

onto your pens and pencils and keyboard, into finger paint

messes and raw letters that spell out angry or happy

or excited or sad or whatever you want to call that feeling that

pulsates with you heartbeat and thaws your brain. Just write

whatever comes to your mind – don’t mind that it could be

written by a first grader, or that it makes zero sense to anyone

other than yourself – and just give your thoughts a fighting chance

to live and to breathe and to inspire and to impact.

Just write, read over, and (re)write some more.

*in honor of allllll the college essays and scholarship essays and homework essays that are waiting to be done

J| BFF? We Need To Talk…

I would consider myself to be a pretty good and reliable friend. I guess that’s why one of my best friends, Amanda (obviously, her actual name isn’t Amanda), felt so comfortable opening up to me about her recent choices. Me and Amanda have been really close friends for 3 years. We clicked at the beginning of high school. We were both two small Asian girls stuck in the same math class, who loved talking about boys and Pretty Little Liars, quite contrary to some of the other girls in our program. And now, like I said earlier, she’s one of my best friends. I’ll edit her English essays at 3 AM and be her #1 supporter when it comes to her capricious crushes. And although I had my doubts at first, she grew on me, and I would say I love her a lot. But loving someone doesn’t mean you have to love everything they do.

I’ve always known that Amanda was kinda… shady. Shady in that she would whisper about her closest friends behind their backs, or change her stories to her convenience. But it didn’t really matter to me, because when it came down to just me and her, she was always 100% truthful. People will always tell you that honesty is the key to a healthy relationship with anyone, and I stand by that statement completely. Because in me and Amanda’s relationship her being so honest with me showed how much she trusted me and how much she respected my opinion. And in turn, I would listen to her problems with an open mind and offer encouragement and advice that I see fit. And vice versa. I’d tell her my secrets and stories and she would respond accordingly. I felt like we had a lot of chemistry. Because when we didn’t feel like talking we didn’t have to, and when we did want to socialize, there was never a pause in our conversation.

Now that paragraph was in past tense. Because recently, I feel like that whole naked truth thing we had going on has been broken. It started a few months ago, when Amanda attended a few parties. I’m not much of a “partier” myself, but I have absolutely no issue with those who are. We all have fun in different ways. Anyways, Amanda would ask me whether I thought she should go, and, like I said, not my cup of tea, but no issue with those who enjoy it. Also, I could really tell that she really, really wanted to go. So I told her just that. “I can tell you really want to go, so you should!” I knew Amanda was smart and reasonable. I knew that she would always be responsible and safe.

Over the next few weeks, things changed. Amanda attended a few more parties, and afterwards she would report back to me, and the two of us would gossip about the juicy happenings she had witnessed. That’s right, we definitely weren’t the “same” anymore, but we still made it work.

Up until a few days ago. Amanda told me about some of her “bad” choices. I put the quotations because she prefaced her story with “I need to tell you something bad.” Bad and good are obviously very subjective adjectives, and I’ll refrain from my opinion on the whole thing. Instead, I’ll use Amanda’s own words.

“What is it?” I typed back.

Amanda is known for being slightly over dramatic. I swear, she uses the phrase “I’M DYING” at least 5 times, every conversation, to convey emotions from laughing to crying. I figured “bad” meant she didn’t behave appropriately in front of a cute boy, or her parents had asked about her grades. It’s never something actually horrible – at least, not on my terms. But even if she did rob a bank or start a violent cat fight (things I consider to be “horrible”) I would still try to be open. I’d try to understand why she would do that, and together, the two of us would figure out a solution. She knows that. She knows that that’s how we roll.

“Don’t judge me, but…”

Amanda always begins her confessions with those words. It annoys me, because that phrase is nothing but a safety net. If no judgement is made, then that’s fine. The conversation can move along. But in case the listener does judge and does find the following remarks to be weird or gross or horrible, the speaker has already acknowledged that it is weird and gross and horrible. And the conversation can continue.

I realize that Amanda needs me to approve of her. I don’t think this is a bad thing. In fact, in a friendship, that’s the way it should be. Because with that support comes a mutual respect. But the approval Amanda seeks, I feel, is a little different. She wants me to support the decisions she considers to be bad, but fun, so that she doesn’t have to feel guilty. She wants me to make the final decision, the hard decision, so that she doesn’t have to. She wants me to back whatever choices she makes so that if a time comes that someone does call her out, whether it be her parents or some friend, she can turn to me, either for support or to blame. I am her safety net.

I have confronted her (ish) about it. I didn’t want to bring up an entire history, so I waited for her to do it again. And sure enough she did.

“I need to tell you something bad.”

“What?”

“Don’t judge me, but…”

She normally sends paragraphs on paragraphs on paragraphs about all the “horrible things” she did and all the “mistakes” that had happened, but today she had conveniently numbered them for me. I scrolled and scrolled, reading line after line, feeling a sense of déjà vu.

I confronted her (ish) about her drinking – it was the common variable among all of her stories. I told her that if she would repeatedly complain and freak out about issues she had created, the obvious solution would be to figure out and stop the root of the problem. But she immediately turned defensive. It was a side of her that I had never been faced with, because we would be on the same side and I would be defending her as well. So I was quite taken aback.

Her defense turned to offense. She attacked me. “I thought you knew I drank. You know I go to parties.”

This was true. I did know, and in fact, she had confessed to me about her behavior with the very same tagline, “don’t judge me” and I had basically condoned it. But that was not the issue. The issue was that aftermatch of the alcohol caused her to whine and complain and freak out about things that could have easily been avoided.

Anyways, while I was thinking about how to respond, Amanda changed the subject. We haven’t revisited that topic since. Senior year is approaching fast, and I’m sure it will fly by. We will all disperse and conquer different areas. Some of us will never speak again. Some of us will be each other’s bridesmaids. Amanda and I only have a year left to decide which option we will choose, and ignoring the giant elephant isn’t helping us at all. I’ll let you know what happens.


Love,

J

Phonto