Rant #1

Sigh.

Idk. Im tired of life.

You know, these glasses of mine. I’ve seen through them so much. My ups and downs, my anger, my pain, my everything. But they were always clean.

Now, I don’t know if im drunk or whatnot, but I see a scratch on them.  Yup, it’s not noticeable, but it’s there alright. Just like the one on my heart. I guess I can ignore it, and not care about it. But I can’t. It’s right there. Bothering me. Itching me.  I try to get rid of it with water, clothing, anything, but it still stays there. Sigh. I give up.

Sometimes, you just gotta let the scratch be a scratch. It’s like a chemical reaction. Once it’s taken place, there’s no going back. Entropy, they say.

But there is one way to solve this. Maybe if I get new glasses that have no scratch and I can throw the old ones away. Wouldn’t it be nice? Maybe then I could be at peace. Only problem is, these glasses won’t let go. They’re glued to my ears, my head, my face. Glued to my fucking existence.

Fuck.

I love that word. Well, it’s a bad word, they say. Well, all the more reason to love it. Who fucking cares if a word is bad or not? Why do I have to be in a fucking system that determines what’s right and what’s wrong, what I should do or what I shouldn’t? Just let me fuck everything over and do it my own way.

Fuck.

Maybe I am drunk right now from reading all those Gothic stories about drunk people killing black cats. I just don’t get the purpose of reading Gothics stories in English class- what kind of life lesson do they teach? Besides that all of us are evil? Please. And then all this stupid analyzing and shit. Really just turns my stomach inside out. It’s like teaching a bird what its wing is constructed of but never letting it fly.

Fuck again.

Now I remember two days ago, I was actually feeling the desire to get high on drugs. I was really stressed out, and my brain was hurting like hell. And all I could do was think about all the stress I was having. And I was stuck in that thinking. And I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be nice if someone gave me some pot and let me get high, then I’d be forced to forget about all this stress? Then I’d be in my own dream land, and for once, have a good time?

Yea, I remembered. I felt like insane, like an animal craving for something. Drugs. Yea, I know it’s bad. But fuck. Stress is like that inner evil you see in Gothic stories, this “spirit of Perverseness,” where this inner evil is something that’s a part of you. And I remember how it really became  a part of me, this deep inside longing.

Oh fuck.

Just realized I’m kinda like Obito in Naruto. How the girl he loves dies when he was young, and then he’s like, omg my world is gone.  So he attempts to take over the world and tries to create a world where everything we want exists as an illusion. But it’s an illusion world. Kinda like drugs, don’t you think. Guess Naruto is deeper than I thought.

Sigh. Girls.

I feel  guilty kinda saying this, but there’s this girl I like. She kinda reminds me of Obito’s girl, Rin. But she’s really cheerful, deep, and thoughtful. I remember one time, we meant to do a high five, but I don’t know how, it became clasped hands. And in that moment, it was like a pause. Wow.

But fuck. All the girls I’ve liked by a law of nature won’t like me back. So I shouldn’t bother.

Apparently, this went from glasses to girls. I must be drunk. I’ll end here,  I guess.

Ebola And The Most Deadliest Enemy

When one thinks of a deadly enemy, one usually thinks of something big, strong, fast, maybe something like a dinosaur or a huge monster. Or one might think of aliens with sophisticated technology invading the Earth. I remembering reading such a thing like this in the science fiction novel War of the Worlds, where Martians with their superior intelligence and technology sweep in to invade the Earth. Humans, with their primitive canons and artillery, proved to be no match for these aliens, and were destroyed quickly city by city. All hope seemed to be lost for humanity, then suddenly the aliens started dying mysteriously and soon, the Martians retreated back to Mars.

What was it that was killing off these superior aliens? Was it that humans had suddenly innovated a superior weapon? No. Rather, the book tells us that “All over the world, their machines began to stop and fall. After all that men could do had failed, the Martians were destroyed and humanity was saved by the littlest things, which God, in His wisdom, had put upon this Earth.” Yes, what eventually stopped these aliens was not any super duper awesome gun, but rather bacteria. 

Or you can add viruses to the mix. Which in the end proves that in this survival of the fittest between two intelligent species, bacteria and viruses came out to be the most powerful. Although that may be fiction, even right now in the real world are we seeing viruses beating the crap out of supposedly the most dominant species on the planet. Just look at West Africa, with the Ebola virus.

Now here’s how viruses basically work. A virus enters the body. It sorta tricks a cell into letting it into the cell because of matching receptors. Once in the cell, it can either be dormant and not do anything for a while, just letting the cell help reproduce its viral RNA/DNA, or it can use the cell to produce more viruses, then breaks apart the cell so that these new viruses can affect other cells. And then the process starts all over again.  Now here’s how the Ebola virus works- same process, but deadlier results. First, it just seems like a fever. Then, you start getting pain in the neck and the abdomen, you start getting headaches, you start throwing up. The real pain comes when you start bleeding like hell- not just externally, but internally. And then in around a week, you can expect yourself to die.

To make this virus sound even more deadly, there is no cure and the survival rate is low. And in West Africa, more than 1,200 people have died, with the virus having spread to three countries already, and possibly more. Now, what exactly makes this virus deadly?

1) It’s small. We think that bigger is stronger, but when your enemy is as small as a virus, you can’t tell where the hell it is, but it’s still all around you. Because it’s small, studying your enemy (or the virus) is not just difficult, but even dangerous, given you can be the next victim.

2) It’s contagious and spreads fast. Like I said, in around one week, one can easily die of the virus. This Ebola virus spreads much quicker and more efficiently inside a body than any typical virus. Not just inside the body, but outside the body as well. Bodily contact, direct and indirect, are all means for the virus to spread. There have been even cases where nurses and doctors under full protective body suit are still infected.

Ebola Virus

Fortunately, two American doctors who were infected have been successfully treated due to an experimental medicine. This has raised hopes that this might eventually be a cure for Ebola. But stopping this virus will take more than medicine, because

3) Fear. Because Ebola is small and not much is known about it, myths have been surrounding this virus in Africa. People who have been infected and cured have been stigmatized when they return home. Many think that it’s the doctors that introduced the virus, and thus this hinders the ability to effectively carry out treatments. Take for instance last week, where rioters frightened by Ebola rampaged a healthcare facility treating Ebola, forcing many Ebola-infected people to flee to other places, further spreading the virus. This and many other nonsense myths about the virus underscore the fear and superstition underlying this virus, and this is perhaps the number one reason why the virus outbreak has not been stopped and is still spreading. Yes, ironically, humans- not the virus itself- are worsening this Ebola disaster. The only cure for this is increased public education about the disease.

And so I will end here. But to me, reason number three brings up a good point. Perhaps the most deadliest enemy is not any creature, whether that be an alien or a virus. Maybe, the most deadliest enemy is perhaps ourselves.

My 2nd Love Poem Part 2

If you haven’t checked out my last post yet, do so. In that post, I briefly explained the background of the poem in which I was writing it. Today, however, I want to go further in-depth, and then perhaps maybe get into a theoretical aspect of writing poetry.

One thing I want to first note off is that for this poem, unlike any others I have written, is that I actually get quite literal. In my first line, I say “she’s looking at me”, then later on I continue on with “Her head turned/ From the corner of her eyes”, and soon I have another “Her eyes scan over me,”, and I end the poem with a “And I solemnly realize/Even if she does like me and even if I like her back/We will never be together.” All of these are literal descriptions of what I saw from her while I was writing this poem or what I was thinking.

The second big difference is that I did not attempt to put any fancy smancy literary devices like I usually do. For those who have read my past poems before, you might have noticed a ton of symbolism in those poems. I actually made an effort to put those in, because I had a belief that symbolism was the ultimate essential piece of literature and was what made things beautiful. I HAD that belief. As you can see in this poem, I made no attempt. I just wrote what I automatically felt.

So what made me shift from symbolic to more literal? Music. Nowadays, there is the general gist that contemporary music is not deep, that it is dirty, that it is just people singing and rapping out shit. And as a child, I totally agreed with that. I barely saw any symbolism or any of that stuff in say, Ariana Grande’s music. Her songs oftentimes are just a repetition of  the words “I love you” in various forms.

Take this sample from Ariana’s “Right There”-

You know what I need (aye)/I know what you like, (aye)/Put it all together baby/We could be alright (hey)/How could this be wrong/When it feels so right/Yeah, I really love you/I really love you (oh)
And I’ll never let you go…

Here, the lyrics are seriously just like literal talking, and I don’t see any artsy kind of stuff. There’s no symbolism I see or any literary devices I see. Yet guess what? I still like the song.

And why is this? Because sometimes people don’t get your symbolism the way you see it. The saying “as big as a rhino” can be perceived differently. I might see it mostly in terms of size, while another guy might see it mostly in terms of roughness, etc. Sometimes, people don’t even catch it or get it at all. But with literal words like “I love you,” people understand what one is talking about.

Another good thing about being literal is that people can relate to it more. Whereas symbolism and literary devices seem to be relegated to poets, authors, and literary artists, being literal is what people do in everyday life. Therefore, people understand it more. When a guy asks a girl out, he usually doesn’t say, ” Will you float with me above the clouds and bathe with me in water?” etc. He will simply say. ” Will you go out with me?”

And then this concept of writing poetry without thinking but just feeling. Just doing so, I feel it captures the emotion more- the way my heart leaped and the way I felt scared when she looked at me. Whereas if I had thought too much about how to incorporate symbols and other stuff, I would have gotten lost in the thought and forget about the initial feeling that propelled me to write the poem. This is perhaps a new concept that I would have to explore more.

But overall, I realize that today’s music is not less deep. Just more relatable.  Yet, I believe the best way is to achieve a balance between this literal-ness and symbolic-ness. In my next post, I will shift away from art and move into something more science-related.

My 2nd Love Poem Part 1

So, I have this sneaking suspicion this girl from a class of mine likes me or is interested in me, and as the summer passes, it’s getting more and more obvious. Even my female friends based on the hints have told me she does. But today, the signs were too obvious, and it made me feel something uneasy. And just like that, I started writing while ignoring my teacher teaching. Below is the poem, and in my next post, I will talk about what I did different in this poem from any other poem I wrote and go more in-depth.

A Girl Who Likes Me

She’s looking at me

Giving me glances, like

Light feet tapping the water,

Prancing along

Footprints embedded on my heart.

The way she looks at me

Her head turned

From the corner of her eyes

I am the prey

She the lioness

I feel violated, breached, trespassed

Me overturned, lying on my shell

Underbelly exposed

Her eyes scan over me.

When our eyes meet, she quickly looks away.

………….

But at the same time,

My heart dances, jitters,

Leaps, yelps,

Smiles, giggles,

With a little skip

Why, she likes me!

But then a roadblock—I stop.

I look up at the cloudy sky,

And I solemnly realize

Even if she does like me and even if I like her back,

We will never be together.

The Loss of Passion, From The Grapes Of Wrath

Before I start, please check out and like my new photography page Titus Wu Photography! One of my upcoming posts will be about my take on the art of photography.

As for now, there’s this passage from the novel The Grapes of Wrath that I want to share.

The houses were left vacant on the land, and the land was vacant because of this. Only the tractor sheds of corrugated iron, silver and gleaming, were alive; and they were alive with metal and gasoline and oil, the disks of the plow shining. The tractors had lights shining, for there is no day and night for a tractor and the disks turn the earth in the darkness and they glitter in the daylight. And when a horse stops work and goes into the barn there is a life and a vitality left, there is a breathing and a warmth, and the feet shift on the straw, and the jaws champ on the hay, and the ears and the eyes are alive. There is a warmth of life in the barn, and the heat and smell of life. But when the motor of a tractor stops, it is as dead as the ore it came from. The heat goes out of it like the living heat that leaves a corpse. Then the corrugated iron doors are closed and the tractor man drives home to town, perhaps twenty miles away, and he need not come back for weeks or months, for the tractor is dead. And this is easy and efficient. So easy that the wonder goes out of land and the working of it, and with the wonder the deep understanding and the relation. For nitrates are not the land, nor phosphates and the length of fiber in the cotton is not the land. Carbon is not man, nor salt nor water nor calcium. He is all these, but he is much more, much more; and the land is so much more than its analysis. That man who is more than his chemistry.. turning his plow point for a stone, dropping his handles to slide over an outcropping, kneeling in the earth to eat his lunch….knows the land that is more than his analysis. But the machine man, driving a dead tractor on land he does not know and love, understands only chemistry….when the corrugated iron doors are shut, he goes home, and his home is not the land.

When I first came upon this passage, my first reaction was something that was stirring inside my heart. The lyrical rhythm of this passage is sort of like the beat of a heart- a beat of something living, something alive. I love how John Steinbeck (the author) repeats the same words over and over again, but in a poetic way, and with the intent of emphasizing the concepts behind those words. His focus on detail and his doing it so beautifully are what makes him such an unique outstanding writer. For example, he talks about how the horse is “breathing”, “[its] feet shift on the straw,” and how its “jaws champ on the hay,” and all of this creates a vivid, living image for me.

But from the content of this passage, we see a dilemma that was being faced in the past and we so face now- modernization of farming versus the old ways of farming. Using technology versus working by hand. As we see in our everyday lives, the benefits technology brings are enormous- we can spread ideas and communicate faster than ever, we are able to access and create many things easier than ever, and we have made our lives much more comfortable because of technology. As stated in this passage, “…this is easy and efficient.”

However, there are drawbacks to these benefits, which Steinbeck laments, how “the wonder goes out of the land….and with the wonder the deep understanding and the relation.” Using the beautiful images of plowing, kneeling into the earth, and farming, Steinbeck is praising and mourning the deep connection between the farmer and his land. This concept I find fascinating, given I have never seen a farm before, but it reminds me of the same passion between a worker and his job, something that is so rare in this industrial world.

And then how Steinbeck breathes life into the land by comparing it to man, how the land is more than just its compositions. Where is this type of passion these days? I see almost none. By passion, I don’t mean having an interest or liking towards a subject, I mean what Steinbeck means- seeing the subject as life. When I write, take photos, listen to music, I see it as breathing, as an organism. But most people now just do their jobs for the money and nothing more, whereas with these farmers, they saw their land as their own family.

But was Steinbeck blaming technology? No. He was blaming the human greed behind all of it, and how technology has furthered that greed. Before the Industrial Revolution, everything was made by hand. Jugs, baskets, etc. and for those craftsmen, it was art. Once technology and the factory settled in, all of that was nearly eliminated. Why? Because technology made things easier, and thus, cheaper. And by wiping out craftsmen, it was also wiping out a way of art, a way of passion. “He goes home, and his home is not the land.”

But for me, it’s something else. My school is a very academically-strong school, but I feel for the wrong reasons. I ask a friend of mine, why did you join that club? He says, for college. Why do you go to college? For a good job. Why a good job? So I can make more money and have a happier life. In the end, it’s that want for money and for a wealthier material lifestyle. But I see that because of this, they don’t see the passion and the life between them and what they learn. They may achieve that materialistic lifestyle, but in the end, they’re giving up on so much more.

Steinbeck mourned the loss of this passion he was seeing. It’s so sad that it still exists today.

World Cup Fever

Football is becoming popular in the U.S. No, not the classic American football where players charge at each other, but football as the rest of the world knows it– soccer. The very same sport that was once regarded by Americans as boring and dull has now became the top-streamed game in the nation, even more than the NBA Finals, the Super Bowl, and the Olympics. Simply put, quoting Don Garber, head of Major League Soccer, “The country has changed. This is a new America.”

Team USA Soccer

Yes, it is indeed much different from the America only a few months back. In a Washington News-ABC poll conducted last June, only 28% identified themselves as soccer fans. This dismal trend, though, has stretched further back, where for most of the 20th century, America was adamant about not accepting soccer into its culture. The fact that an entire 90-minute match could go on without a single goal seemed unfathomable to many Americans. America did not just refuse soccer; America ridiculed it, calling it a slow game lacking drama.

With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, all of this is changing dramatically. Thanks in part to Team USA’s unexpected captivating victory in advancing into the second round, the soccer tournament has garnered up to at least 18.2 million views from the US, the most views ever in American soccer history. As more and more Americans open up to soccer, they are beginning to realize that soccer is anything but lacking drama.

In fact, unlike any other American sport, it is full of passion. In a basketball game, when someone makes a shot, people cheer for a while, then forget about it to focus on what’s happening next, because the game is happening so fast. With soccer, the fact few goals are made per match makes every goal memorable and exciting. Every time a goal is scored, the players are shouting, hugging, and running around crazily, even if their team is still behind. The players and the audience remember how every goal was shot or blocked or saved, whereas nobody remembers a simple layup made by a little-known basketball player.

Emotions also tend to run higher in soccer than in any other sporting event, for as soccer fan and novelist Terry Pratchett once said, “The thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football.” Indeed, soccer is not just a sport to many people in the world; it is an essential part of culture. This truth is to such an extent that for many countries, a loss in an international soccer match is like shaming the whole nation to submission. For instance, current Team USA coach Juergen Klinsmann was once a coach for an Italian soccer team, and whenever the team lost, he couldn’t go out to a store or restaurant without being attacked by fans for weeks. Another example would be when four years ago in the last World Cup, Team Brazil was eliminated via penalty kicks, and numerous Brazilians blamed goalkeeper Julio Cesar. The only reason why Julio Cesar cried tearfully, after Brazil narrowly beat Chile via penalty kicks in this year’s World Cup, was that even after those four years, Brazil was still holding a grudge against Cesar. Nothing like this has been seen in America- even with American football, Americans forget after the game happens. Many other countries, though, still remember the soccer losses, even after four years.

Then there is the point of international competition. While basketball, hockey, and American football are mostly confined to North America, only soccer has the regular meetings between fiercely competitive national teams. It is this that fuels the passion of soccer not just in the game but outside the game as well– with the audiences. There have been reports of two opposing audiences competing with each other throughout the entire match as to which side could chant the loudest. Fans have been seen with crazy make-up, haircuts of the pictures of players, grandiose clothing and the most bizarre things just to show soccer support. Streets in many countries including the US have been crowded to an unimaginable extent just to cheer on the home soccer team. The degree of passion here is unparalleled to that of any other sport. To the many American soccer-skeptics, go try and watch a game of soccer, and you will enjoy the passion and realize that if anything, soccer is perhaps the most dramatic sport.

Many experts agree that soccer has indeed become a very popular game in the US. The question now is, is it here to stay? Already, among ages 12-24, soccer is the nation’s second most popular sport after baseball, according to a poll conducted by ESPN. If this trend continues, as it has been since the introduction of soccer to America, no doubt will soccer not just stay in America, but perhaps even thrive.

What K-Pop Taught Me

K-pop– I listen to it every day, but there was a time when I did not. Not just that, but I absolutely despised it.

My first contact with K-pop came during one of my summer vacations to Taiwan. Unfortunately, my cousin in Taiwan was a K-pop fan, which probably made me cringe at K-pop even more. When he first showed me a K-pop music video, my eyes bled only after the first few seconds, and I told him to shut it off. To me that time, K-pop was just a bunch of weird freaking guys with make-up on, singing some random jargon in Korean along with very weird dance moves.  It was unimaginable for me as to how anyone could love this malarkey. No matter how much my cousin pleaded me to listen to K-pop, I refused. It was just purely disgusting.

Zoom forward to last May, and a bunch of girls are talking about how awesome K-pop is while I’m just sitting there rolling my eyes. Just a few months back I still had the same opinion of K-pop: weird and barbaric. Until one day, while browsing Facebook, I saw a K-pop music video. I accidentally clicked the play button, and the K-pop started blaring out. Whether it was destiny or not, it also happened that my computer wasn’t functioning properly that day, so I could not shut off the music. All I could do was stare and listen helplessly at the music video.

As a result, for the first time in my life, I was forced to listen to K-pop for more than three seconds. I ended up watching the whole music video. Not with disgust, but with awe. Before I knew it, I was contacting other K-pop fans at school—the same people who I once thought crazy—and listening to more K-pop. I had just become the K-pop fan that I didn’t want to become.

I learned, though, that not all K-pop had dancing boys with make-up, and through that, I realized that I had been unfairly stereotyping the genre as a whole just from three seconds of a music video. Even then, I became gradually accepting of the common use of make-up by K-pop males—I realized it was just a different culture, however alien it may be to me. It also wasn’t jargon as I thought it was before. Most importantly, I discovered that K-pop was simply American pop, just in Korean. It was only because of that forced experience of watching an entire K-pop music video that I was made conscious of the unfair prejudice I had for K-pop.

This problem was not confined to just me but applied to many others as well. These days, when I try to introduce K-pop to my friends, I find the tables turned on me. I see them making the same false assumptions I made and applying the same stigma that I applied to K-pop. They do this despite having never even touched K-pop at all. It saddened me that everybody was repeating the same mistakes as I was.

It’s because I grasped the fact that this is not a K-pop problem at all. It is, more generally, the issue of prejudice, a problem that stems all the way back to the Jim Crow Era and exists to this very day now. We constantly judge things even before we delve into them, and as a result, harm is inflicted. There is harm in the aspect of the person prejudiced being emotionally hurt, but even worse is harm done unto ourselves, the one doing the prejudicing. If I had never accepted K-pop, I would right now be losing out on so much beautiful music. Similarly, if society prejudices constantly, it would be closing its doors to so much opportunity. We must all learn to be more open and accepting of new ideas, no matter how bizarre they may seem initially, for it is beneficial to us all.

I Hate My Image

I remember when I was a little kid, I would look in the mirror and observe myself.

And I would notice how on my face there were these two ugly moles, how the way I moved seem so disgusting, how my face seemed like a monster.  How my body was not the perfect body. How I was weak and pathetic. And everyday I see my own reflection or whether I see myself in a video or picture, I would cringe. I was and still am ashamed of how I appear, act, and sound, and I would always want to hide.

But I guess this is how most adolescents are like, right? Insecure. But it wasn’t just a sense of insecurity, it was more of a sense of self-loathing. Why am I like this? Why can’t I be different?

However, this deformation was easy to ignore. Everyday I avoid looking at the mirror or being in photographs and videos unless I had to. Whenever I did Skype calls, I would always make sure my webcam was off. As long as I was not self-conscious, I could live on fine.

But ignoring yourself is a hard thing when society and those around you point it out. During school one day, one of my friends was telling me how most people see me as a nerd who just stays inside the house studying all day. And the more I heard him talk about who and who says what and what about me, the more my self-loathing became actual loathing against others. For a while I began to think this whole world was against me and had a negative view of me. And I would become sad, angry, and downtrodden at the same time.

Even worse, the more I heard how most people viewed me, the more that image became my own self-image. Even though I know that it wasn’t true, in my mind it became true. As Nazi propagandist Grobbels once said, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.”

This anger, though, soon resided away as nobody mentioned it anymore for a while. And I thought to myself, hey that’s how strangers think. At least I have friends who know how I really am.

Until this past week, over Facebook I was talking to one of my friends how in this team there wasn’t really anybody I could really connect to. And she replied: “you just dont know it cuz u keep thinking like tat and stay alone and never go out.”

To hear a stranger thinking that I am a fucking nerd who stays at home alone and studies all day and never goes out is painful enough, but to hear a friend tell me that directly…. hurts twenty times more.

And when she said that, I felt like someone shot a bullet through my heart. I couldn’t even feel anger anymore; the only thing I felt was extreme pain. And I thought that she was my friend.

But no, it gets worse. Just recently today, I was hanging out with one of my closest friends from middle school, who brought one of his golf friends along. And his companion was like, “No offense, but you look like a geek.” I was about to retort back, until I noticed on a glass wall, my own reflection. The monster I had tried to avoid for a long time. And I looked at myself, and what I saw was a geek. And so I just shut up and pretended to ignore.

And then this same guy kept on making some more comments at me on how I sounded like a fob, how he was surprised I even had a TV because I didn’t seem like that type of person, and all kinds of shit. But what killed me was how my very own friend also echoed his thoughts. But  I kept on thinking, yeah, they’re right, yeah, I’m messed up. And so I suppressed all this feeling and pretended like I was having a good time and I didn’t really care.

But deep down inside, I felt myself dying.

Maybe the lesson I should get is that I’m emotionally messed up. That I overreact too much. And you know, that’s what everybody fucking says. Over and over. You are messed up. One way or another. Emotionally, physically, etc. That I’m a selfish brat who thinks I’m at the top of the world. That I need to get a life. That I’m just a book worm.

All these lies have become truths in my brain, to the extent that my truths has become lies. I don’t even know which is which now. I feel so mixed up.

But one thing I know for sure: it’s very likely that my friends don’t know me. They don’t even understand me. They think wrong things of me, that even I think wrong things of myself. That in the process, not only am I hating the image they are giving me, I in turn unintentionally hate my true self.

“I….was sexually abused. And no one helped me because no one loved me.”

I’m barely coming out of AP Exams and I still have finals coming up. But even then, I want to squeeze in one post. So here it goes.

As some of you may know, I was depressed and was sent to a mental hospital by the police. I wrote about it in one of my previous posts and talked about my experience and feelings going on that time. But the thing is, it was only MY story.

A few days before I left the mental hospital, some of the people there asked me to share their stories once I got out. But I hesitated. For a long time. Maybe because I was still dealing with myself, or maybe because I wasn’t ready. But this burden stayed down there and gnawed at me. So today, I will share one of those stories. And I’ll begin with my roommate and friend, Aidan.

Aidan. I’ve only known him for a couple of days, but even now, thinking about him brings back a sad feeling inside of me. That I will never see him again. I remember when I arrived at the hospital at night, crying, still injured from the shock of being forced to stay at a mental hospital. I remember shuffling to my hospital bed for the first time then curling under the blanket, crying. I remember my mind going through my life, trying to figure out what went wrong. And then I remember, in the middle of my extreme sadness, I heard a big HELLLLLOOOOOO. I looked up to see who it was, and the first thing I thought was, get the fuck out man, can’t u see the state I’m in. To me, he didn’t even seem depressed or anything. He seemed like any regular hyper teenager. So I simply ignored him.

However, after a day or two, we would start talking. Just me and him, in the middle of the night, laying on our beds, staring blank at the ceiling. I found out he liked comic superheroes.  He was in love with this girl back home. He even wrote a love letter and planned to send it to her as soon as he got the chance. He was like any typical adolescent. Except for his past.

He was the younger brother of his family. And like any normal functioning family, he was a constant pest to his older brother. The only  difference was that his older brother was dysfunctional. One day, he recalled to me, when his parents were away from home, he pulled a prank on his older brother. What the prank was, Aidan never told me. But his older brother was furious. Furious to the extent that he pulled out a knife and cut Aidan at the wrists. He told Aidan that if he ever told their parents, he would kill him. Aidan was a little kid back then, so he  was scared and never spoke up. But this was only just the beginning.

The next time their parents were away from home, his brother came to Aidan’s room, dragged him out, and would constantly beat him up. He would get drunk and laugh at his younger brother, and then boast about the power he had over him. Day after day, it was constantly like this, and Aidan kept quiet out of fear. Sometimes, the brother only did little, like a heavy slap in the face. Other times, he would go crazy, such as making him burn his hand up.

But at one point, the abuse went from physical to sexual. Aidan didn’ t tell me much about this, but I knew what kind of sexual abuse he had gone through. And for him, it hurt, doing stuff he never wanted to do.

One day, though, his brother got caught, was sent to jail, and was never heard from again. As for Aidan’s parents, they divorced, only adding to his struggle. He’s never seen his mom since then, “and I miss her very much,” he once whispered to me, with those crying eyes. His dad sent him to a mental hospital soon after, but then he got out and returned home, only to see a new stepmom.

“I hate her, too.” He tells how everyday she makes him clean the whole house, and how she makes a big deal out of every little spot he forgets to clean.  And when he does get it right, he receives no compliment. “My dad used to support me a bit. Now, he doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t love me. And I thought he did.” And Aidan told me how his stepbrothers never did the work and it was always him. So one day, he  rebelled. Tired of everything. And the next thing he knew, he got sent away again.

“My dad says, oh I don’t want to do this Aidan, but I have to. And my stepmom, well she appears to be sad too. But I bet inside her shes smirking at me.” For Aidan, his parents don’t love him. And in turn, he chooses to not love them back. There was one quote from him that really caught my attention, and it was this: “My house is not my home. To me, it’s simply another place I have to be in.”

So for most of my time spent there, we just laid there and talked. We occasionally would get bored and play around with socks and paper airplanes. But between me and him, we had this new bond, one that I would always remember.

And so I remember right before I left the hospital, we shook hands. And he told me, “Don’t forget to plan that reunion, ey?” And I said I will, even though I knew not of a way to contact him. He has no facebook, no email , no anything. But I promised. And I remember when I looked back as my mom picked me up, I saw a smiling face waving bye at me. A face with so much pain underneath. And I still remember his face. Every detail. I still remember. And I plan to see that face again in the future.

Because my worst fear is that I will never see him again.

What Happened to the Poets?

If you don’t know yet, I’m in love with literature. It’s perhaps the only thing in life so far that I actually have a true passion for. So when I began watching the movie The Dead Poet’s Society just two days ago, I was awed. And I was inspired. For those of you who don’t know what the movie is about, it’s about this new English professor at this prep school in England who tries to teach these kids the beauty of poetry. And the way he teaches is unique and entertaining, but perhaps best described as beautiful. Because the way he speaks, the way he teaches, the way he quotes poems, is like honey dripping out of his mouth. It’s sweet, soft, and moving.

So this professor, named Keats, was back in his high school days part of this organization called The Dead Poet’s Society. Students would meet in this cave and reread poems of big poets like Whitman and Frost or they would present their own problems. And they would just sit there in the cave in a circle letting words flow out of their mouth and playing around with it. Just being artistically beautiful with it.

As I sat there watching this movie, thrills were being sent through my spine. I was like simply wow. Because I wanted to be a part of this. I wanted to be in this school of literature where poets, authors, novelists all come together to present, talk, and discuss about the beauty of literature.

And then my light bulb flashed. What if I could make a club just like this? And so I began a search for someone in my academically driven high school who shared this same passion with me. And the results- I felt like I was the last of a dying breed.

I mean, if you want to go find some math or science people at our school, you will have no problem. Like the majority of the students I know are those kind of people. Or if you wanted to find people who like to present, do speeches, do law, you also won’t have trouble finding them. But when I tried to find someone just one person who liked to write for the fun of it, for the beauty of it, for the sake of the art itself- I found none.

I did find a few people who were interested. And the closest I could find was this friend of mine who likes to write rap lyrics (which is a form of literature by the way). But overall, no success.

And so I asked- WHY. Why do I feel like I’m the only guy out here all alone. And so I thought.

And I realized. It’s because of the sense of economic security. Those people who do math and science and law usually pursue these subjects because they know for a fact a  good-paying job is out there for them in those fields. This is perhaps the only reason why I have still held on to engineering (I do think it’s cool though). But if you pursue literature, not really.

But you see, rather than having this discourage me, I became even more motivated. Because I realized that the majority of people who do pursue literature actually do love it. No one would take big risks such as those taken in the literature field if it weren’t out of love for it. Whereas in the other fields of math and science and others, there’s a big chance there’s gonna be a lot of phonies out there who do it just for the job.

So even if I am alone, I like it. It makes me feel unique. But I don’t want to keep this all to myself. I want to spread it throughout my school. I want to spread this beauty I see in literature. I want to create a school of literature in my high school. This is my goal, and may God help me achieve this before I graduate.

And a quote from that movie:

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”