The Wildest Party

Home alone. What do teens do when they’re home alone? Throw a party? Sure, I’ll throw a party. I gather my two Bulgarian bags, one thirty-seven pounds and the other twenty-six pounds, and rest them on the floor near me. I take my shirt off and take off my necklace. It’s time to get wild.

I warm up by jumping around and doing burpees. My computer is playing AC/DC in the background. I gather a light sweat around my frame. Now it’s time to make it rain. I walk over to my computer and switch the music to Korn. I started doing pushups, focusing my efforts on pushing my shoulders forward, working my scapula to get the full benefits. This stage is equivalent to chatting up the guests and warming everyone up. By my fortieth one, I start yelling out to push myself all the way to fifty. The party animal has entered the house.

I get up and start my rest period. More sweat is pouring off my body. The party animal is surveying the situation. The desire to party hard is strong, the scent is in the air, and the music is right. I begin my next set. This time, it’s an effort to work up to twenty-five. The party animal screams his pleasure, “This is my favorite song!” The party disease has caught on and the rest of the guests tap into their inner animals.

After my set, I grab my light Bulgarian bag and start swinging it around my shoulders, roaring. This is the best party that has been thrown in ages. It reaches its peak as the heavy bag is picked up for military presses. And with each high, must come a low. The party starts kicking back, chilling out. I cool down with another set with burpees, doing as many as I can within the course of a minute and a half. The song ends and so does the party. The guests say their good byes to each other and I leave my room for the shower. Everybody goes to bed and I wash the sweat off my body. “That was a roaring good time,” I say to myself.

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Mistaken Identity

I’ve always felt like I was different. Glances my way never really had a vibe that made me feel safe. Silences had an unprecedented, underlying hostility that I could never understand. I’ve wondered why that was. I have some people that are close to me that don’t have those bad vibrations. I’m glad for those people. But why everyone else? Why couldn’t they have left me alone? I got to find out one day.

One of my close friends, I saw every day during school. I’d be excused during class and I walked up to his office. It was always precise and orderly, with the picture of his family facing towards him next to his computer and all of his files in neat stacks. During all of our sessions, he never told me to do anything except to talk about myself. It was nice. I’d just talk about how I was feeling that day. And then that one day.

During that one day, I felt queasy so I asked to see my friend early and I got to go. Walking out of my history class, the weakness in my stomach grew and started reaching everywhere else. My head started to hurt badly. I walked with a wobble in my legs towards my friend’s office and he had a look of surprise and asked me what was wrong. I sat down and said I felt kind’ve sick. Really, I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt myself slipping, slipping into dark-

“The hell did you say to me?”

“Wh-what?”

“I’m not to be trifled with, how dare you! I absolutely despise you and everyone else! I could really care less about what you think!”

“Calm down, let’s have a seat and talk this over. Is there something bothering you today?”

“Yeah, there is something bothering me today! It’s the fact that your desk is so clean and that picture frame is there and you’re so content right now, so eager to listen to what I have to say! Well I say, fuck that!”

A crash. Papers flew in all sorts of directions.

“We don’t have to resort to any of those actions here. I believe we can work something out.”

“Work something out? Work something out? W-w-work some-some-so-thing… s-s…”

A thump and a silence.

-ness. After I came to, I was surrounded by my family and my friend and a doctor. I was in a hospital bed. The bed was comfortable enough, but the scent of the room was unsettlingly clean. “Seems like you had a rough day yesterday, son,” the doctor said, “Do you remember anything?” I looked around and really studied the place. What in the world could have happened? “No, not at all,” I said. The doctor looked at my parents. Then back to me. A pause. He was gathering strength to drop the bombshell. “It seems like you have dissociative identity disorder, son,” the doctor said. He looked down for a second, shifted his glasses up the bridge of his pointed nose and looked up again. “What it means is that there’s another you in that head of yours, in a way.”

My mom quickly walked out and my dad followed her. “Have you been aware of this problem, son?”

“No, not at all. I’ve always wondered why people have treated me differently. Is this why?”

“It could be the case. Sometimes when people have this disorder they forget and almost become a totally different person. A lot of things about them change. In your case, your other you I guess you could say, is completely hostile towards people. This other you might not have been recognized at first because it might only show up for a few seconds at a time. This time, it showed up for at least twenty seconds.”

“So it’s getting worse? Am I going to get treatment?”

“You will get treatment… as for its effectiveness, it’s hard to say. The human mind can be a cruel place for those who dwell in it.” He stood there and I simply stared at him. He let out a sigh. “I’m really sorry, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about this. I’ll let you rest now. Let me know if you need anything.” He walked out.

I laid there in my bed. It suddenly got less comfortable and the sheets seemed to have a creeping intensity to them, like they wanted to blanket me under the hate of the world. People hated me because my other personality hated them, I realized. I began to forgive all of those glances, all of those hostile silences. It all made sense now.

“I just wish people hated me for me and not some part of me that I didn’t even know about till now,” I told myself. If I didn’t even know of it for this long, how could I possibly consider it as a part of me? Others considered it a part of me though because they could only see the vessel that contained the struggling minds. They could not understand that there was a conflict within. They only thought, “Wow, what a fake asshole.”

I noticed a window that was letting all of this light in. It was too bright, I had to close it off. People could see me, but they couldn’t understand me. They couldn’t understand that there was more to me than they could ever imagine. There was thus no point. I walked up to the window and closed the curtains shut. It was a lot darker. “Good, good luck finding me now,” I teased to no one. Only the air listened.

“Good, I like it like that,” I said. I retreated to my bed and covered myself up. The darkness that the closed curtains and the blankets brought ensured that I would be hidden and protected. No one else will have to know, no one else will have to try to understand, no one, no one no one noone noonenoonenonenoone none.

A History Lesson

Trey Soundz and MacDre are on their ultimate ratchet Great Depression adventure. After the horror of the dust storms, the shame of losing their once-fertile land, the two are now companions in the hobo thug life. They embark on an epic quest towards a new life of balling mansions and oversized stereo sets. First though, they must conquer the uncertain, dusty road towards California by boarding a low-ridin’ freight train filled with some products of the depressed economy.

Upon arriving in California, they must test their original gangsta skills against competing cholo farmers. These tensions magnify into a great race war that eventually leads to the cholos to repatriate to Mexico with honor, instead of getting merked by the combined might of Soundz, Dre, and the white farmers. Soundz and Dre then forge forward as great farmers, but alas, how the mighty fall. Falling into the trap of tenant farming, they get screwed by a rigged deal. Soundz and Dre have no choice; they ragequit on the ratchet system that society puts in place, and as true original gangstas, they continue with the hobo thug life. YOLO.

Reflections Conclusion

Lauren, a.k.a Bestie, is still my heroine throughout my daily life. I also still do well to remember the lessons that I learned from the other girls. Bestie however, comes out as the brightest. Love really does tie a lot of things together and I learned that as along as I love what I do, I can go through life’s hardships fairly easily. With Bestie, I closed the void that filled my heart before.

Even when the going gets tough, hope will exist. All it takes to heal and persevere is a little guidance. You have to heal self-hatred yourself. You have to experience the wounds’ closing yourself. But as for helping hands, there’s always someone. You might have to look closely, you might have to look far off, you might have to look somewhere new. But they’re there. All you have to do is look. They might even be there and want to help, but they’re afraid of letting you down. You just have to dive in though. Seize that moment for yourself, only for yourself. Chelsey taught me that. Maybe someone else can teach it to you too.

 

Reflections Part 7: Love Arc

 Michelle and I drifted onto our own paths from that point on during that summer. On my own accord, I made a new friend though. This one became real special to me. Our first encounter was when my sophomore year was still in swing. I had some spare time after school, so I waited in my workout clothes, studying my AP Biology book before wrestling practice started. This girl walked by and then sat next to me. I was surprised, as this was a total rarity.

Besides, what could’ve compelled her to do this? Fate’s kindness perhaps, if there was such a thing. Eying her Pre-Calc Honors book and her looks, I thought, much to my amusement later on, “This chick’s hot.” My sapiosexuality was further enhanced after I saw the difficulty of her math problems along with another bro, Pauly. This girl was Lauren.

Later in the year, Paul was my partner for a Spanish project. We had to record a movie presentation of us doing a mock job interview in Spanish. Paul enlisted the help of one gal, but she was nowhere to be found. So then Lauren took up the job. It was only then that I saw her strength. She just let so much through. It was refreshing. It was then that we became friends. We hung out once over the same summer as the Daisy-shaming.

We were at Rubio’s, with the scents of Mexican cuisine permeating the air, and I just finished eating. We were wondering what we should do next. Suddenly, we noticed that a couple other friends came in too, Brandon and Ken. We tagged along with them. Lauren’s adventurous side came through. She wanted to go to Codornices park up in Berkeley. All of us were unsure and indecisive, being male adolescents, but Lauren’s energy (and maybe that beauty too, males are always more submissive to it) convinced us to go try it out.

We got to hang onto our receding childhoods by going down a cement slide on a piece of cardboard at a fairly quick speed (it’s a wonder that there have been no lawsuits or big safety schtick from this attraction) and afterwards we walked into the hills to look at some natural beauty. Seeing the water snake through the ground and the trees populating are, I realized that I didn’t venture out a lot in my life. “Maybe I could definitely live a little more,” I thought to myself.

So what was Lauren’s uncommon strength? Well, one night I was trying to relax in my room while my dad and step mom were arguing. I was looking on Facebook like any teenager in the digital age and saw a picture of Lauren with her adopted dad. I then realized something. It was the power of love. I then got up into my bed and cried a little while.

See, Lauren was one of those girls who were most likely affected by the population policies of China (it’s unfair to say so for sure, as I was not there and she was too young to remember anything, but it’s most likely so), where the One-Child Policy is in effect. She was abandoned in front of a bakery, presumably because her biological parents were going to be affected negatively by this policy. Lauren was an adopted girl who had a lot of enthusiasm and a real taste for life. I saw a great deal of strength coming from her value of the relationships she had with other people. Not only that, but she was able to thrive on the love of those who didn’t have any blood ties with her.

I found that particularly beautiful. She didn’t allow the fact that she was abandoned in front of a bakery to drag her down in her endeavors. One time we she told me herself that she was an optimistic person who liked to assume that people will always choose the responsible choice. I found this truly ironic: if people always made responsible choices, we wouldn’t even have met. She would either still be in China or she would never have been born. And I wouldn’t be here reflecting about this.

If she was taken out of the equation, my life would already be significantly different. I wouldn’t have learned of her strength and ability to love the things that she does. I could say though, that if I were her, I probably would have been embittered from being abandoned and would never have had faith in humanity in the first place. Because of this fact, along with other qualities, I came to admire her deeply and to this day, I consider her to be my best friend.

Reflections Part 6: Strength Arc

My embarrassment of Daisy made it so that we were awkward with each other for a long time and she withdrew herself in my presence. I thought of her as no less and I appropriately decided to give some needed space. It was at this point during the summer, that I realized that I would become a dramatically different person once the summer was finished. Maybe not as a person that people see on the outside, but as an individual who views himself in a certain light. That light was about to change. A process was occurring where the filtered shroud of self-hatred would finally give away to the pure light of self-love and true acceptance.

Daisy’s shaming lead me to become angry with myself, however. While I was learning to forgive myself, I was ashamed. I perceived it as my first real failure in a friendship. Still angry with this problem, I came to realize that there were other people who had it worse than I. I would realize this after getting to know Michelle a little better.

Michelle’s Korean heritage was obvious sometimes, when she might allow her personality to come through in emotional bursts that people could see as plain crazy. I understood that that’s just who she was. There were other less obvious aspects of her Korean heritage though, which I was able to find out about through unexpected means.

It eluded me that Michelle would reveal to me aspects of her life that seemed like things she would only tell a close friend. It was while I was helping her with an English Honors prerequisite paper that we had to complete during the summer in order to get into the class. It was through this paper that she revealed more of herself to me.

Her loosely organized stream of consciousness was an infant struggling to find its existence, passion trying to become palpable. It had quite a few stumbles, her passion. She had asked me to guide it, to strengthen the shaky foundations of her idea for her paper. “I don’t know what to write,” she told me. She was worried. Absolutely must, must get an A in this class.

“But you have so much to write about,” I insisted.  Having talked with her before that, I simply did not understand how she could experience so much and not know what she could write about. It didn’t make sense, but later on I realized that her light was enveloped in darkness. She had a strong light. It acts like a dying candle though; flickering in, out, in, out. Then whoosh, a slightly stronger wind might come in, carrying the flame out of existence.

I worried for her, as I stayed up late at night with my laptop’s screen illuminating my face as I looked at her Google doc. I worried about her light, about her passion that derived from her pain. I admit, when she wrote of her mother, I winced and held back tears. She said she didn’t like to write about her personal life. I only strongly suggested it because I felt that her life provided a lot of material, a lot of passion, to work from. We didn’t have a huge time frame mind you; we just needed to tame the beast as fast as possible.

Still, this last minute piece of work was beautiful in its own right. The struggle of this summer paper was something to be marveled at. It struggled to find its own form, to find its proper expression. It gave me a reason to worry. I worried, that like the candle’s flame, her passion could be extinguished. Even with all the winds she had encountered and all the flickering that had happened already, all that it would take would be a slightly stronger wind. Whoosh. Gone. All that energy just carried off into a different place.

Though, in a way, her energy already was at a different place: Los Angeles. “Home,” she called it. While I’ll never truly understand why, she belonged there. It was where her heart was. That sense of belonging, the need to belong to something or somewhere though, I could understand. It was all part of her passionate struggle. As I read her essay more, I was surprised at how much light she allowed through.

Her light, I realized later, was covered by a veil. A veil of darkness, supposedly protecting that little flame from flickering. A veil created by her own flesh and blood, her own mother. But the most disturbing part was that she allowed it to be draped over her flame without her knowing. It took me a long time to realize I had done the same thing as well to myself.

A veil like this one is thick. Small flickers of light run through some weaknesses in the embroidery, but besides that, the light isn’t allowed to be seen. I believe that there are people who can lift up this veil. I call them friends. I wonder now, if that’s what I did. If I helped her lift it up, even if it’s just for an essay. One time, we talked on the phone and we were talking about Martin Luther King Jr., or at least if the Civil Rights Movement never happened.

“We probably wouldn’t even be friends,” she said. It seemed so casual and normal to mention that probability, but I was surprised. I thought about it for a second. There was a small warmth in my heart. A flame. Even if it was just for a second, to have my veil lifted, suddenly, surprisingly. Its unexpected arrival… I welcomed it. The conversation flowed from there and the veil covered me once again, but I wasn’t fooled. I knew that flame was there.

As I finished editing her paper, I felt satisfaction from getting it done. It took me a good few hours, time mostly spent to try to understand her struggle so I could make the proper corrections. Her paper wasn’t structured well enough to grant her an A, but I hoped she’d get something decent for it (when I found out she got a B+, you have no idea how relieved I was).

I thought back to when she described her mom crying. Crying for her daughter. I felt pain for her mom. I felt pain for her. But I was glad that she allowed me to see her light, even if it was just for her grade. I didn’t realize it then, but Michelle’s struggle taught me how to stoke my own little flame. When I got it to burn bright, it was nothing like I’ve ever felt before in my entire life. It burned bright and engulfed my body. The veil was fully lifted. Whoosh. I believe that by learning of this girl’s perseverance, I inherited her own might to maintain everything that I’ve learned so far.

Reflections Part 5: Serenity Arc

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From the second girl, I learned serenity and self-acceptance. For several years, I was like any other human being, especially one of adolescent age: I was torn apart by self-hatred, seeking acceptance from my friends and any other people I thought of as important for giving myself a sense of self-worth. The self-hatred was something that I still did not understand at the time. Why did I feel so worthless? Why did it even begin? My heart was sick and it had a void in it. I wanted to fill it in, but didn’t know where to start. That was before I met Daisy. This girl was nothing short of fascinating.

Dipesh, a friend, was talking too much as always. I do not recall in what context he was saying this or why he would even say it in a classroom, but he remarked upon Daisy’s sadness. I looked over at this girl, and it was as if I did feel sadness from her. A hope was born: maybe she could understand my own sadness. After school ended, I befriended this girl and talked with her on Facebook (surprise, surprise) over the same summer that I thanked Chelsey.

When I talked with her, I felt secure, safe. Her quirkiness gave her a freedom over many girls at our school, who suppress their natures in order to come off as more ideal. Her nature was even more unsuppressed in person, as her body seemed to be animated by an uncontainable energy. The safety that I felt as well as the combo of the sensation that I was able to see a genuine side to her the whole time lead me to develop affections for her.

Affections aside, there was something that particularly impressed me though. She had this one picture on Facebook with her smiling and holding up a “V for victory” sign with her hands. In the description of her picture, she thanked her friends for helping her through her rough year. It read:

I have to say… even though life has been a little too crazy, but my love for choir has never diminished. I will never forget all the good and bad memories I had with this group. 2011-2012 AHS Choir Ensemble, the Variety Show is our last performance together. Thank you all for such an amazing year; thanks for being there for me. For those few special ones, thank you for your support at all times, and help me grow stronger as a person. I will not forget the lessons that I’ve learned these past few months and I’ll try my best to always keep that smile on my face.

Lastly, Patricia. Thank you for harmonizing and practicing Keep Holding On with me over and over. We’ve made it! The message from the song is for you and the other friends who are still here to cheer me up on a bad day and laugh with me on a good day.

05/24/12 has become one of the most important dates in my life that I’ll never forget. Thank you all for being part of it. ♥ 

I realized I had come across something huge. The smile in the picture and her value of her friends were both things I would do well to remember.

One day, I admitted my feelings because she asked me. I guess I was being too much of a pest. I couldn’t really contain myself, but it happened. Afterwards, I went to bed and cried. But these weren’t tears of pain, no. There was no pain, even though I embarrassed her so. Instead, my tears formed a gateway to a place within my heart where love and peace dwell.

It was a real warm place, this expansive meadow where gentle slopes filled the background. At the epicenter, there was a flower: a daisy. Naturally, it was the kind of flower I could think of. I admired daisies for their simplicity, and this one matched well with this environment, where the grass was of a bright monochrome of green and the hills sloped gently, caressed by an easy breeze. It was in this place that I started to remember Chelsey’s embrace. It was in this place that I started to forgive myself and accept myself for who I was.