Thoughts on Weekend

I’ve been meaning to see the film Weekend for a few years now and I just finished watching it. It’s a 2011 British film about two men who meet at a bar on a Friday night and share a profound weekend that stays with them.

The most intriguing aspect of the whole film was its dedication to realism. It almost feels like a documentary. The blueprint for 2013’s Blue Is the Warmest ColourThere is zero romanticized melodrama. No Hollywood shimmer. No love-lorn filters, no soundtrack, or any music to tie it all together. It’s all in the organic performances, the direction, the editing. (I would say the writing, but the actor said most of it ended up being improvised.) It’s as if someone decided to record their entire life with a camera and just happened to capture this one beautiful weekend with a man they had just met. It feels like real life captured on film. Even Blue had low key radiant cinematic vibes.

It raised a lot of questions for me as a gay, hopeless romantic. I identified with both characters’ personality wise. I’m confident, crass, and open in the way Glen was, but I’m also shy, romantic, and I have self doubts like Russell. I keep my private life private mostly because I’ve always been single.

When they first made eye contact with each other at the bar, Glen dropped his gaze and went to the bathroom. Russell followed him there. When I saw that, I thought “That’s me. That’s exactly what I do.” But not quite. It becomes evident that Russell followed Glen to pursue a hook up. I don’t follow men to the bathroom. I don’t follow men in the club hoping to hookup. I follow men because I want to initiate conversation with them and get to know them. When I see someone who catches my eye, I ponder the possibilities of their curiosity for me. I like to follow and see what happens, hoping they see my value. Maybe one of us would be brave enough to start speaking with the other.

Seeing how swiftly their relationship manifested over the course of a single weekend made me wonder if I would ever experience anything similar in my adult life. I know it’s not something I can muster, rather something I would have to experience and stumble into. Like Russell, I want to be in love. I want to be in a relationship. I believe standing up and proclaiming my love for a man is a radical act of love and a “fuck you” to naysayers.

I’m 24 years old, wondering why love is so elusive. I don’t go on dates because I’m not asked on any. In my experience, it never works out when I initiate and ask a guy out. Typically, the guys who make me want to initiate, are the ones I feel are out of my league— guys I feel like I need to prove myself to. It’s a subtle chase and overspending of energy, rather than a balance of mutual interest. When I’m asked out, there’s a comfort in knowing they’re interested enough in me to make the first move and see what else there might be.

I’ve been trying to stay in my own lane, work on myself, and just let it happen when it’s supposed to. But I still struggle with letting go. I’m slowly learning the art of patience, which to me means no more swiping, no more texting, no more making the first move. Move along and let him come to me. Weekend is a stunning film that shows how unexpectedly powerful a connection can be, even for just one weekend. Thank you for the beauty.

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Finding The Bright Side to My Four Hour Commute

Commuting to New York is the bane of my existence, as I imagine it would be for anyone who similarly suffers the mind-numbing isolation of sitting pretty on a train for hours at a time. My twice daily trek between the Jersey Shore & Manhattan is an arduous one; I spend nearly four hours getting to and from New York. When you add it all up, that’s 22.5 hours per week, 90 hours per month, and 1,080 hours per year. As much as I cherish my proximity to the sea, commuting from where I live is not a breeze.

My commute is an earthly hell that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Yet despite the cold resentment it’s brewed in me, it can be a slight meditative experience at times. At times, we pass through layers of leaves which rapidly blur into a woodland menagerie. Walls of green encapsulate us in a vision streaming forth. Trees and vines enshroud the shores that lead to the sea and alluring possibilities of escape. In some moments, phones are put down while curious eyes peer out to the horizon, longing for freedom from the stationary. In the morning, sunlight touches our skin and kisses our eyelids— a teasable return to consciousness. In the evening, dreamlike sunsets tell me I’ll be home soon.

The way we rush past scenery in nature whilst on a train mirrors the way our commute forces us to rush past the scenery in our natural lives. At home with family and friends. But beneath our grievances is a slightly soothing truth: I’m not the only one who sacrifices precious time and money to travel day in, day out. It’s calming to know that I share my commute with others.

Our collective nature to commiserate is in some ways a blessing. When I step onto the train early in the morning and see rough and familiar faces, my aching body exhales a sigh of relief that I’m not alone. It’s more than a gesture of coffee and pastries. Something in the morning air unites our consciousness, allowing sparkles of comfort to proliferate our daily travels.

Though no one speaks, I’ve grown somewhat attached to my company. I wonder what everyone does for a living, how long they’ve been commuting for, and if they ever think about me. When I notice someone is missing in the morning or heading home, I wonder what might have happened. Perhaps they missed their train, or were working late. Or maybe they quit their job or got a new one. Better yet, perhaps they saved enough money or received a promotion that allowed them to move closer to their work.

By the end of the day, it’s painful knowing we share more time with each other riding a train than we do with our loved ones. It’s unfathomable that some people have been doing this for years. But there’s still something delicate about sharing an experience that requires us to relinquish much control of our lives. For as long as I must bare NJ transit, I’m thankful for the people who make the trek just a bit more comfortable.

Featured image by Jörg Schubert.

Pitch Perfect and Off-Pitch Stereotypes

Kerishma.

Hanna Mae Lee in promotional materials for Pitch Perfect. They don’t even pretend to avoid the “Quiet Asian” stereotype! Via PitchPerfectMovie.com.

I don’t walk around looking for things to criticize. I don’t spend my time sniffing out items of pop culture to complicate or deem problematic. Believe it or not, I don’t like being offended. I really don’t. Sometimes I just want to hang out with friends, see a movie, and have a generally good time when outdated, inaccurate, or just plain offensive images are shoved into my face.

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Formation Conversation

It’s 2016. Why does the thought of diversity and the fact that people of color (like me) are fighting to achieve equality and representation, anger so many white people? If you live with a “color blind” perspective, then you will fail to see systemic discrimination and inequality as it stares at you in your own community. Unfortunately, people of color cannot yet afford to exist without consciousness of their color. I have harboured internalized contempt towards my own Filipino, queer identity because of the normalized perceptions of Asian people paraded by mainstream white society. When Kristen Stewart told entertainers of color to “Do something!” she failed to realize that we always are, but aren’t given the same amount of opportunities. Which is why we have resorted to our own means and I hope our success continues to grow. But generally speaking, we still need help. We need white people to realize that not everything plays out equally for everyone else, even from the start.

When discussing privilege, it seems that many white people only view it in a financial sense. But for people of color, it encompasses all boundaries in a socio-political cultural sphere. Even a friend of mine who is half white, half POC failed to acknowledge this. But that’s our reality. We all have internalized a false perception of where we belong in society. I’ve internalized that in a hierarchy of POC, blacks are at the bottom, Asians are at the top, and as long as I have my (still unfair) share, I’m cool with it. *Wrong.* This is still wrong. This is the systemic mental process that needs to go. I try to pull back from these seedlings of thought daily and I’m getting better.

To whomever is reading, please think deeper. Challenge your perceptions. Help us all get better and reach more equal footing in society.
*Final note, read The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.*
Now let’s get in formation.

Today is my birthday

1-25-2016. I’m another year older. Another year clueless. But, I have a more tangible insight as to where my life is going and how I’m getting there. 2015 was not glamorous by any means (besides my trips to the Philippines and to Baltimore with my girls). In fact it was probably one of the worst years of my life, if not the worst. Contrast that to the previous year, 2014, which was undoubtedly the best year of my life. The year of travel, freedom, soulful luxury and wholeness. I felt more sure of my identity than ever before. My end to 2014 and beginning to 2015 were magical. I was able to spend time with some of the people who mean the most to me. For my birthday last year, I got to see some of them in the same room interacting with one another, meeting each other. I love bringing brilliant people together. People I believe in, people who believe in me. After they left I thought about what 2015 would bring; I never felt more unsure in my life. Regardless, I was elated by them caring enough for me to come together and celebrate.

In 2015, I experienced an arduous job searching stupor (still kind of am) which featured very promising interviews and interactions, but outcomes that were only semi-fruitful and not enough. I often felt choked betwixt the layers of reality and fantasy. Doubtful about choosing the necessary evils that would ultimately help me reach my dreams. For the record, I still plan on pursuing an acting career. Where and exactly when I will actively begin my journey is unknown to me (currently leaning towards NYC, who’s with me?). However, I am super close to paying off my student loans and once that happens, I immediately plan on saving enough money to seek the life my soul aches for.

Other things happened last year that I don’t wish to disclose as I don’t wish to reflect on them any further. But I’m praying to God that 2016 is much better. Please God let it be. I now know though, that we’re all on a journey together. I’ve come to realize that I need to constantly work at being who I want to be. It’s not a dream anymore. I’m not a kid in school. It’s become my concrete reality and my youth is gliding on the ice. One of my resolutions for the new year is to say yes to things, invitations, people, I normally would say no to. My world has been too controlled by me thus far. I want to broaden it and my experiences, the depths of my senses and relationships. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.

Studying in Jerusalem taught me the importance of being open to opportunities. When I went to my first ever strip club in Tel Aviv, I initially refused because it wasn’t how I imagined my first experience to unfold. I was with two friends and we had just come from swimming in a gym pool- my hair was dry and unkempt, I was wearing the most basic jeans and a pull over hoodie. This was not how I wanted to feel or look entering a strip club for the first time! But I was convined to stay by one of my friend’s friends. As he introduced himself to me, he looked me right in my eyes and shook my hand, he kept his eyes on me and didn’t let go of my hand. I complained to him how crappy I looked. “You’re hot. You should see how the other guys look,” he replied. My jaw dropped on the inside and all of a sudden I felt ready to go 🙂

I guess this birthday blog post is basically about me using lessons I learned in 2014 and 2015 to guide my 2016. Which actually means I should relinquish some control. This year I want to work harder and stay more focused, but it’s time to let things happen! Let happiness happen. Let simplicity happen. Let love happen. Let friendship happen. Let boredom happen. Let it all happen. But then deal with it. Analyze it. Move on. Start over. 12 months to go. I hope I’ll see you there. xo

Pussy Scream

Throw me in the whore house.
Collecting stds.
He looked at my grapefruits crusting over,
I said honey you don’t want these.

I see men by the hour.
Trying to dazzle me with false power.
One brought me a flower.
I left it wilting in the shower.
We were in the lonely hour,
Reminiscing upon time lost and silent regret.
He said “Baby I’m sorry, you can’t even get wet.”
But oh he was wrong, the tear flow was strong.
My face was soaked with the ghosts
I kept to myself.

He tried to put his cock in my mouth
But I wouldn’t allow it.
So we lit up a smoke and he told some bad jokes.
About a woman named Sally, a prude little queen.
To her suitors she was mean. They only wanted the green.
Their eyes gazed diamonds and her pussy pristine.
She made them fuck off saying “Bitch I am me!”
Sally went home that night to her pretty pink palace.
She fingered her cooch and screamed “Yea I’m da baddest.”

Happiness is real. I know one day I’ll fine it.
When I get out of here, I hope to God I won’t be blinded.
I’ll find a doctor and I won’t suck his dick.
If he pull it out and play with it, I won’t even lick.
I’ll get a new job brewing coffee for the joes.
I won’t even slap my own ass or think I’m a ho.
But you know what I’m ready for?
To treat my stds and make my own pussy scream.

 

Artwork: Hypnotic Circle by Lucas Lasnier (parbo art)- https://www.flickr.com/photos/parboart/

How to Survive Black Thanksgiving as a Non-Black Guest

this made me happy. will a black family please invite me?

Afroculinaria

How to Survive Black Thanksgiving: A Users Manual for Non-Black Guests/In-Laws and Black Folks that Don’t Have No Home Training, I.E. Culture

(HUMOR AND SATIRE TRIGGER WARNING)

1. DO NOT arrive empty handed to Black Thanksgiving. Store bought isn’t great, but if you aren’t sure how Black holiday food works, it’s better than getting the church lady look when you bring candied parsnips over. See rule 2.)

image

2. The answer is ALWAYS sweet potatoes. Neauxp, no pumpkin, parsnips, rutabagas, butternut squash, nah-unh…sweet potatoes aka “yams.” (Not really yams)

3. As with our close cousin “Southern White Thanksgiving,” we don’t call cornbread “stuffing,” stuffing….we call it “dressing.” Calling it “stuffing,” is a dead giveaway you don’t know the quality of what you brought over. Throw that boxed stuff away.

4.  Bruce Almighty (wink wink) didn’t create “yams,” De Lawd did, so buy the ones that don’t come in a can when…

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Breathing room for all my stories.