Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 243

It’s not you; it’s me.

This morning, I thought, I miss easy access to anti-depressants. I miss how much lighter I felt when I was on Wellbutrin.
Things were clearer then. Less anxiety haze. The way slings and shots slid off more often than they hit. How it was easy to see each day as simply another paver towards an end goal rather than another failure.

I want to die. If someone showed up right now and offered me a painless, immediate death, I’d say yes.

I don’t see a way out. I don’t want to work for the sake of living when life itself is misery. I resent being tired and ill all the time and I hate how everyone has some idea of what’s wrong and what I can do better to fix it. I’m going through the motions, but every day I wonder anew at the waste. I feel guilty that I can’t appreciate what blessings I have enough to make something of myself. I feel burdened by the need to be a “productive member of society”, whatever that means, and I feel like I’m being a leech.

They say, “always be closing”. They say, “bring value to the world, and only then will you be valued”.

I give up. Anything I can do, someone else can do better, or a few someones can do adequately. I’m not necessary to anything or anyone.

So what’s the point?

Eventually people will get over it. How many people manage to disappear into life, after all, without fanfare, without notice. It’s just the word that scares people. If it was anything else, a move, a fight, a “tragic” accident, cancer, they’d just melt away under reality.

Recently, I read Tabitha Barrett’s The Third Throne series. It’s yet another one of those Heaven/Hell setups where suicide is regarded as the ultimate sin. Suicides get dragged through the various punishment realms, burned to ashes, flayed with thorns, frozen until they shatter, etc. Why? Because it’s a waste of the potential God gave, a refuting of all of God’s grace.


It feels ableist, so very privileged. So very easy to say that suicides throw away God’s grace, that they haven’t lived up to their potential.

If the world doesn’t want what you have to offer, be better, try harder, but don’t you dare give up.
If you’re not happy, it’s just because you’re not doing enough, you’re not being the “best you that you could possibly be”.

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and stumble through every day just so the people around can feel safe within their beliefs of meritocracy and so they don’t need to be troubled with your messy emotions.

As if there isn’t enough rejection and denial in the world already, there’s also countless promises of more punishment and rejection in the afterlife if one should choose that way out.

The abyss stares back and I have no answer for it.

Maybe eventually I’ll gather up my courage, go traveling, blow all my savings, and then pick a nice place to die. It might very well be a better use of what I have than dragging myself through the slog and burdening everyone else around me. Too bad I’ve been thinking about ways to do it that would traumatize the least people and still have no clue.

Seems a bit immoral to have to make someone clean up after my mess, but I suppose eventually I’ll consider it to be the lesser of two evils.

Mercury Retrograde in Aries
Venus in Aries
Mars in Gemini
Jupiter retrograde in Libra
Saturn retrograde in Saggitarius
Pluto retrograde in Capricorn
Chiron in Pisces
Neptune in Pisces
Uranus in Aries
Moon in Gemini

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 164

The true danger in long distance relationships is underestimating the power of the superficially trivial.

How much easier is it to go out with someone for lunch or dinner than it is to sit down alone at a table and write someone a love letter.
How much easier to defer, to delay, to think that there’s always tomorrow when it comes to talking to someone time zones away.
How much easier is it to simply let life runneth over.

But it’s not just that.

“Everyone carries with them at least one piece to someone else’s puzzle.”
So wrote Lawrence Kushner in his book, *Honey from the Rock.*

In other words, you have in your possession certain clues to your loved ones’ destinies — secrets they haven’t discovered themselves.
Wouldn’t you love to hand over those clues — to make a gift of the puzzle pieces that are most needed by the people you care about?
Search your depths for insights you’ve never communicated. Tell truths you haven’t found a way to express before now. More than you know, you have the power to mobilize your companions’ dreams. – Rob Brezny


“For a relationship to stay alive, love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining.”
- James Hillman


Gertrude Stein defined love as “the skillful audacity required to share an inner life.”

Maybe there’s someone out there who has a vital puzzle piece of mine, and without them there’s a giant hole in my life, but it’s all too easy to let many others fill in the hole with their pieces instead.

In a sense, that’s grace for you. As the Chinese like to say – there’s no need to hang yourself dead from one specific tree.
In another sense, though, there’s the danger.

Easier to chase the low-hanging fruit. Easier to go with the fast endorphin rush, the candy-fluff joy. I can spend my entire life flitting from flower to flower and never come down from the sugar high unless I want to.

It’s not good. It’s not bad. It just is.

There’s always going to be someone who ticks more of my boxes than another. And there’s always going to be two or three or four or five people who could make up the lack of them if I’m lucky enough to find them.

Such is grace. Such is life. Such is the grief that strikes the puzzle piece holder become obsolete.

It’s hard to imagine a life with someone who isn’t there in person.
The day to day tiny joys that trip off the tongue with someone who’s tangibly there and which can seem all too petty when written down. The small pricks of frustration that add up to one long whine when turned into text or cross-time-zone phone call.
Being with someone long-distance requires courage and imagination and fistfuls of spoons. It requires far more skill and audacity than when you’re with a person who’s right there.

The person who cuddles you when you’re sad. The person who breaks bread with you on a regular basis and witnesses your life and allows you to witness theirs. The person who you share a cup of coffee with before work or a drink with after. The person who can pick you up when your car breaks down or when you’re stranded. The person who scratches your itch when you desperately want cock/pussy. The person who can offer a shoulder to weep on when you are at the end of your tether.

It’s not better. It’s not worse. It simply is.

It’s funny, truly.
The romantic in me (I blame Venus in Pisces, really) used to think of a True Love. The person who holds the keys to the kingdom, the sword that defends it, and the armor that shields it.
Wang Baochuan waiting 18 years for her husband to come home from war? Totes romantic. (never mind that she really should have just accepted the idea that he was dead, honestly, especially when he came back after having married a “barbarian” princess while “missing in action”)
I believed that people should always be true to the One. Or the Two. Or the Three+, in later years. But ultimately, I believed in holding out for someone who carries a large chunk of your puzzle in their soul.
I still do. If there’s anything that these two years have taught me, it’s that I want the someone who is capable of building the irrigation system rather than the someones who rain when they want to. (yeah, the analogies are getting strange)
But unlike before, I totally get why people don’t.
Because sometimes you just want to cuddle. Sometimes you just need someone, anyone, to be there and hold your hand and say they’re there for you. And when those someones are pretty cool people in their own right? Yeah.

Need is an interesting word, kind of like literally – you cannot literally use literally for literally everything. There’s plenty of things that we think we need that we probably don’t and many things that we think we do that we don’t prioritize and perhaps far too many things that we take for granted.

Chop wood and carry water – so and so it goes. The true question for tonight is whether the quest for enlightenment through chopping wood and carrying water negates the benefits?

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 153

Listening to Something Wild (Andrew McMahon and Lindsey Stirling) and having all the teary feels. I remember feeling the same way at the beginning of Up, when the girl and the boy were adventuring together.

Gentle reminder that everyone needs that warm, confiding hand, the soft word, the trusted one at your back. Everyone needs someone to look at their treasure map and agree that there is indeed treasure worth searching for where X marks the spot, despite fang and claw and raging storms.

“If you’re lost out where the lights are blinding
Caught and all the stars are hiding
That’s when something wild calls you home, home
If you face the fear that keeps you frozen
Chase the sky into the ocean
That’s when something wild calls you home, home”

It’s near the end of January 2017.
What maps have I drawn?
What hopes have I hung on?

Day 153 of this thought experiment of being attempting self-awareness, of dissecting need and desire, of trying to apply the tenets of minimalism to my emotional home.

What paths have I strayed down and wandered away from?
What tears have fed what roots and what sun has parched which shoots?

All I can hold onto to is the promise that I am indeed stronger than I know.

What wilderness lies within that calls me safe harbor? What beasties do I provide haven and sanctuary to?
What wilderness sings to me, promising more warmth than the concrete jungle ever could? What dragons fly just over the horizon, with wings of dream and eyes of hopes from nightmare?

I’ve been distracted by school and everything that entails and so I haven’t been doing much of anything this new year. Not yet made concrete resolutions. Not yet had a chance to look back at 2016 and my resolutions then to see where I have grown and where I’ve stagnated. Not truly looked at the terrain of my life to see where the holes are, where the dragons roam, where the wolves run, and where monsters live.

Good thing I still have Chinese New Year coming up.

And after that, I have my solar return.

And after that, the sun still shines anew every dawn, a reminder that with every cell division new programming can be done even if it should be hard.

Cast the circle with spirit instead of salt. Call the elements with nothing more than air whistling between sacred flesh. Pray to the gods with no other offering than pure adamantine will. Build an altar with fiery intent and set faith aflame rather than incense and ghost money. Every wisp of breath a prayer, our hopes written for the heavenly immortals to read.

There is magic, and that magic lies within us.

I don’t need to know where the wind goes and how the wind blows. Sometimes the answers to our prayers is indeed no.
I remember wishing upon endless falling stars for him to love me, for our love to blossom and never fade.
Some days I wonder if those stars wept at the waste, the travesty, the bonds turn unwilling.
Other days I think they smile at the folly of youth and the beauty in innocence.

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 100

New moon in Capricorn, conjunct Venus.

100th day. It almost feels like it should be significant, as if I should by rights have some sort of epiphany.
But no.
Not today, anyway.

It’s always fun to do those gut-reaction things because sometimes they end up being truly frightening.

This, for example, from Moon and Quartz:

I seem fated to __________________. I feel like a failure when I __________________. I have to be ___________________________ in order to be deserving of love. Successful people always ______________________. Life is __________________________. It’s best not to ________________________________.

Got filled out as:

I seem fated to _____fail_____. I feel like a failure when I ____breathe________. I have to be ________better________ in order to be deserving of love. Successful people always _______seem happy______. Life is _____hard_____. It’s best not to _____care_____.

Not even sure how to react. This feels strikingly like that time when I did the meditation to go deep within myself, to find the cave and meet my inner self, and got slapped by my inner guide. Right across the face. Hard.

I haven’t really done meditations involving my inner self since then. Which is possibly something I should rectify at some point. But judging from how my subconscious is rolling… maybe not just now.

Part of me wants to re-write that as affirmations. The other part of me stares silently, unable to muster up enthusiasm or joy to do it. Everything seemed particularly difficult today, with negativity spiraling and sticking like tar.

The legal translation for homework that I described as a gangbang. Dropping peanut butter on the fluffy blanket that requires a special trip to the laundromat back home to wash. Waking tired and staying tired all day. Finding it hard to breathe. Having serious thoughts about what I’m doing, doubts about whether or not I can be any good at interpreting, wondering what I’m doing when I have no passion for anything right now, feeling like a leech upon my parents, constantly questioning my lovability.

I don’t know if I should continue my degree.
I don’t know if I shouldn’t just try to find a job, some job, any job, and give up on all my dreams.
I don’t know… I’m going to be honest and say I don’t know if I should even bother to continue breathing.

Sagittarius moon, however, right? The season for faith, for seeking wisdom, for finding freedom. Right?

So let’s try this.

I seem fated to __love and laugh and love again__. I feel like a failure when I ____give in to depression___. I have to be __my most authentic self __ in order to be deserving of love. Successful people always __ control what they can and let go what they can’t control___. Life is ___beautiful and wild____. It’s best not to __dwell on the past. Learn from it and move on___.

Better, I guess, although I’m iffy on it still.

This last week has been difficult, both spiritually, mentally, and physically. But this is where I am and I am once again reminded of Daemon and his fight back to sanity.

(and reminded again to buy and re-read the Dark Jewels Trilogy)

Climb. Rest. See the beauty hidden for your eyes. Climb again, always reaching for the stars.

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 93

Today, I’ve been wondering about the line.

They say to know yourself, to know what you want, and then to manifest what you want into your life.
They also say that true joy is letting go of what you thought you wanted, what you think you wanted, and to let go and let life and let universe.

They say that in order to draw love towards you, you must first be happy within yourself, that you should not be desperate and seeking.
They also say that when you let the universe know that you don’t need love, then the universe will skip by you when giving out the goods.

They say that we can never truly know what makes us happy, that fixation only brings suffering, and that happiness comes from detachment.
They also say that we can never truly own our lives unless we work for it, that good things come only to those who strive towards it.

They say to know what you want in a mate, to know your boundaries and needs, to communicate your desires clearly.
They also say to never go shopping for love with a list, that way lies a clear path to being a grumpy old person with too many pets.

So which one is it?

Of course, the ancients would say: moderation in all things. Walk the central path and all will unfold as it should.

Easy enough to say, isn’t it?

Right now, it’s night and I want to be touched with love. I want my hair brushed. I want to curl up in someone’s lap and be cuddled. I want skin privileges, to run my hands over someone, to explore their body with my own, and to be held close.

I want to lie in the dark and talk of everything and nothing, to hear the slow deep breathing of someone else, and know that there’s an embrace open to turn into.

If I’m to be honest, I want cock. I miss having access to one. I miss being able to play with it, and watch it do the weird things cocks do.

I miss the feeling of believing I’m wanted for myself, the luxurious beauty of being desired, the security to be found in being tethered.

I miss having someone to do things with, to take long rambles with, to eat and laugh with. I miss being able to reach out and have my hand held.

It’s the balsamic moon in Scorpio tonight. The time of the balsamic moon is a time to let to, to release attachments, to reflect and clarify. Being in Scorpio probably intensifies the need and perhaps the riches gained from turning within.

The question now, as ever, is what to release, what to reflect upon, and what to consider for the turnings ahead. I look to the sky, but I see no stars, only rain.

Deep focus, the work, boundaries, and self-love. Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 90

I’ve been reading about attention residue, the power of deep work and intense focus, and the value of showing up consistently. I’ve also been reading about listening to what my body tells me, burn-out, the treasure to be found in returning to a more natural rhythm for my body’s cycles.

There’s the usual questions of whining versus being aware of limitations, of treating the self well versus laziness, and the sacrifices that we make in one area to fulfill another.

Many of my friends live 12 hours away, 13 now with Daylight Savings Time. My morning is usually the best time to catch up with them to chat because otherwise I’m trying to talk to people at work.
I work best in the mornings right after I get up, if I don’t allow myself to get distracted by other things.
The work that I truly want to get done won’t get finished on time if I don’t get my ass in gear.
I’m depressed. It’s official because my period’s gone wonky again; I’ve gained weight because I’m stress-eating like mad; and I’m tired all the time.
I’m still fighting off sick and coughing up stuff in the mornings with a sore throat if I overdo.
The schoolwork does need to get done. In fact, one could argue that it’s of way higher priority than my work. On the other hand, schoolwork is doable with a fritzed brain, but the work isn’t.
Trying to rebuild a social circle while juggling the work and schoolwork is proving to be difficult. Made more difficult by complications.

New discovery:
I realized today when RTing things about Trump, that I was actually afraid that what I was RTing would come back to bite me in the ass when I return to the US.

Back in undergrad, when I said something college-kid-innocuous about killing myself if I had to eat at the student dining hall one more time, I later got a stressed-out phone call from the international student advisor saying that I’d been accused of being a terrorist threatening to shoot other people.
Other people. Not even myself. Never mind that a gun hadn’t even been mentioned.
That was how a bystander had parsed my words. Because I’m Asian. Because I’m other and therefore I can’t say something even vaguely violent without alarming the white people.
I got very careful about how I spoke in public after that. Be sweet. Don’t make waves. Never let on that you’re dissatisfied because otherwise “we can deport you/kick you out and you can always go to another school/go back to where you came from”.

Back then, however, I wasn’t truly afraid to speak my mind if I had to.

Now though? I am afraid. With every person that Trump picks for key positions in government, I get more and more afraid. I haven’t been this afraid since I lived in China, years and years ago.
Sites would get taken down without notice. The internet would get cut off if you searched for the wrong term. The government could and did make lives miserable if they didn’t like what you were saying. The forum that I belonged to got “audited extensively” a couple of times and it was nerve-wracking waiting for the verdict, waiting to learn if we could still congregate together, if everything that we had wrote and worked for would simply be taken away.
I spent six years terrified that my opinions would land me in trouble. Every time the internet cut off on yet another search I thought completely innocuous, I’d sit and wait, terrified, for the phone call or the knock on the door.
I never expected to feel the same kind of creeping horror, the ice that slides down the the spine, when discussing USian stuff. Things that are our right to comment on and expect answers to as American citizens.
The chill has already started, and so it behooves me to be more careful, more aware of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

So boundaries. Self-care. Self-love. Being true to the self and to the world that demands authenticity now more than ever.

I think what would work best as a start would be to commit to going to sleep at 10pm, or 11pm at the latest. 10pm is preferable because I have 8am classes and because I’ve found that the work is easier in the morning, assuming a decent night’s sleep. (no promises of this, however. the nightmares have gotten exponentially worse since the election)

I’d like to get back to waking up at 6am or earlier, so I can get in a solid hour of writing before I need to go to class or anything else. 5:30am would be best, or maybe even 5am, because that would give me 2 to 2.5 hours.

While I’m working, I’m going to turn off all notifications for everything. Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I’m vaguely concerned about wikipedia and my ability to get completely lost in research. With everything I’m reading about attention residue, there’s two ways the research could go – so long as I remain on topic, then it might not affect the writing adversely, or it’s possible that if I got too interested in something not immediately pertaining to the writing, then it might affect focus. I’ve tried leaving the research until later, and it just doesn’t work for me, so that’s unfortunately not an option.

I theoretically have only two days a week when classes are going to affect my ability to talk to people in the US in my mornings: Monday and Tuesday. I figure that I’ll survive. Boundaries.

I’m going to keep up the social media/news ban. I’ve lapsed a couple of time and I’ve noticed that I haven’t done well after. I guess I could reward myself with terror and horror once I get my work done, but I might refrain since I’m not certain how easy it is to get Bupropion in Taiwan. And speaking of which, apparently Bupropion literally gives many people hives, aka uticaria. What the everloving hell? Suddenly much becomes clear…

I’ve really lapsed on the exercise thing, and I want to get back into doing at least 10k steps a day, resuming the 30 day plank challenge, and the sun salutations. If nothing else, the 10k steps should help with mood stabilizing and hopefully stall the worst of the stress weight gain.

As for in-person socialization – meals still need to be had, but I might need to either cut out the afternoon teas, or insist that we actually do some work while at the coffee shops.

Let’s see how this goes.

Boundaries. Hope. Discipline. Love. *sigh*

Who am I? Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 89

My fellow Americans neighbors, I have a favor to ask you.

Today is November 18, 2016. I want you to write about who you are, what you have experienced, and what you have endured.

Write down what you value; what standards you hold for yourself and for others. Write about your dreams for the future and your hopes for your children. Write about the struggle of your ancestors and how the hardship they overcame shaped the person you are today.

Write your biography, write down your memories. Because if you do not do it now, you may forget.

Write a list of things you would never do. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will do them.

Write a list of things you would never believe. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will either believe them or be forced to say you believe them.

- Sarah Kendzior

Struck out Americans because I believe that this is something that everyone should do. I am in Taiwan currently and people everywhere need to consider this, need to really think about what they stand for, what they think is right and what injustices they will not tolerate just as much as we Americans need to.

Personally, I believe that the other countries of the world should educate themselves on what the hell is going on in the US, understand how it affects the world, and take a stand on it.

I am Aikaterine Chen. My parents brought me to the US when I was two when my father came to the US to get a degree in accounting. I am a first generation immigrant. I am a third culture kid. I am American.

The America I know:
Playgrounds and libraries, places for a child to be a child, to explore, to wonder, and to question and have answers given. Crisp air, towering trees, and blue skies with luxurious white clouds.
Laughing teachers who dress up as big pink bunnies on Halloween, or Lewis Carroll’s Alice. Teachers who bend down to my height and tell me that of course I can do anything I want to do when I grow up.
Firefighters who open doors, climb up trees to fetch kittens, and policemen who take lost children home.
Programmes for the gifted, learning opportunities, the chance to skip grades, to take enrichment courses, sports, arts, all the things.
Shining waves of grain, purple mountain majesties, the land of the free, the brave, of opportunity and dreams.
The setting for all the books that I read growing up. Books that taught me what I know, what I wanted to be, what I dreamt of.
Farmer’s markets, one for every day of the week. Co-ops. People who grow and raise my food. Good people who care.
Artists and Patreon and Kickstarter and all the wonderful people on Twitter who are there, who are willing to see.
Immigration officers who interrogate, who prod, who question our very right to stand on this land, this supposed land of the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, who threaten to take away our green cards, men in uniform who frighten me so much that any man in uniform now sends chills down my spine.
Children who ignore me, who chant “ching-chong-chinaman” and pull their eyes into slanted slits. Children who look at me askance until I hide away into my books.
Men who think that “geisha” is a compliment, that “me love you long time” and “five dolla sucky sucky” is funny, who think that my value lies in being exotic and demure, a shy flower in need of a stern white hand.
Being invisible, not even less than a demographic, never seeing myself in movies, in television, in books, other than as a stereotype. Always the shy girl sidekick of the feisty heroine, the emasculated nerd who never gets the girl, the token minority there as cannon fodder for the monsters.
The bamboo ceiling that my father smacked into. The effacement of my mother because she didn’t speak the language and was a housewife. The endless microaggressions associated with being a “model minority” and “honorary white person”.

What I have learned from those who came before me:

Honesty, especially to the self, is paramount. Don’t lie about what you are, what you want, what you need, and what you’re doing. Don’t sugar-coat things, don’t tell lies to protect yourself, and don’t manipulate others.
Work to the best of your ability. Give everything your all, and then some.
Sometimes the only way to persevere is to be blind and deaf and dumb and to pretend that obstacles don’t exist. That’s all well and good, but don’t make the mistake of spiritual by-passing and ignoring things for too long.
Grace under fire. Grace when all you love is lost. Grace when there is nothing left.
Love yourself, because no one else will do it for you if you don’t.

Values and standards:
Above all – speak up for what’s right.
Racism is wrong. Discrimination is wrong. Rape is wrong. Classism is wrong. Misogyny is wrong. Bullying is wrong. Capitalism at the expense of people and the environment is wrong. Sexism is wrong. Trampling other people’s feelings and rights to preserve my own is wrong. (the fact that I actually think it’s necessary to list all these out is mind-boggling)
Stand up when someone needs help. Speak up to serve the greater good. Donate what resources you can, when you can. I’m afraid, but there are always going to be others more afraid, others with less privilege than I do.
We’re all in this together. Everyone needs to bail this boat out, to row, to search for that distant shore.
Treat others as you wish to be treated. Be polite. Be graceful. Question. Always question.

My dream is of a world where everyone has access to healthcare, where childcare is affordable, where maternity/paternity leave is a matter of fact, where being of a difference race or religion doesn’t get you singled out for discrimination/abuse, where universal basic income means that everyone can be productive in the ways they love to be productive, and where the environment and the other species that share this planet with us are getting the attention and care they need and deserve. I would like the children of today and the children of the future to grow up in a world that is at peace, where they can be allowed to be children, to be nurtured as our future deserve to be cherished.

I would never hurt someone just because I can, because it brought me relief.
I would never lie about someone else.
I would never throw someone else under the bus to preserve myself.
I would never stand by and say nothing whilst someone is being attacked.
I would never see injustice and not comment on it.
I would never accept that it’s all right to discriminate.
I would never stand for the government taking away the rights of people.

I do not believe that my government has the right to tell me what to do with my body.
I do not believe that my government has the right to tell two people they can’t get married.
I do not believe that my government has the right to let corporations ruin the environment/economy.
I do not believe that my government has the right to enact voter suppression.
I do not believe that my government has the right to influence journalism.
I do not believe that my government has the right to ask any one of any race to “register” themselves for a database.
I do not believe that my government has the right to discriminate.
I do not believe that my government should be using weaponised force on its own citizens when peacefully protesting.
I do not believe that my government should be ignoring the sovereignty of Native Americans upon their land.
I do not believe that my government should be bombing seven countries (at last count).
I do not believe that my government is above the sanction of the United Nations.

I do believe that my government has a duty to the world as a world power. A duty that lies in diplomacy and humanitarian aid and research, not warmongering.

That’s it for now. I’ll probably add more as time goes on. I trust that I will hold strong and not delete anything.

Why is this filed under Of Tigers and Feathers? Because who I am, where I’m going, and who I’m traveling with, are all things to do with Tigers and Feathers. Because standing firm in the face of opposition, of holding true to the self in the face of pain and loneliness and terror (never expected this much terror though) is precisely what I’ve been chronicling.

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 88

緣分。Yuan (second tone) fen (fourth tone). Commonly translated as “fate”, or “destiny”, or sometimes, “karmic affinity”.
It’s a bit more complicated than that, however, if you look at the numerous phrases to do with 緣 – 投緣,得我的緣,有緣無份。有份無緣, etc.

When I say that I have 緣 or 緣分 with someone, I mean that Fate has probably has a hand in our meeting. Why here, why now, why us? Fate. The magnetism of karma. But it also means that there’s an affinity, because there’s plenty of meetings that end up meaning nothing because there’s no pull.
投緣 and 得我的緣 mostly mean the same thing – it’s usually used to describe when there’s a strong draw to someone, when someone manages to click in all the ways. As Anne would say – a kindred spirit.

有緣無份 is where it gets interesting. You might notice that the 份 is not written the same way as it was before, although it’s pronounced the same way. That’s because it’s sort of a play on words. 緣 – Fate, destiny, karmic. 分 – portion, what your lot is, or could mean to measure something out. 份 – is more straightforward. It just means “portion.” So 有緣無份 is literally “has destiny, no portion”.

It’s a phrase that’s heard a lot when lamenting a failed romantic relationship. 有緣無份. 有緣. We loved each other. We just clicked. They were my soul mate. I couldn’t imagine loving another person more. But. 無份. Real life got in the way. Her parents didn’t like me. My parents thought she was from the wrong side of the tracks. I decided to take a job halfway across the globe. She went to graduate school in another state. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Then there’s 有份無緣. Has portion, no affinity, essentially. I got married to this person, but I couldn’t care less if it was her or someone else. I’m just in this for the money/dowry. I’m just in this because my parents said so. I’m just in this because it’s time and I’m not getting any younger and I need/want kids.

I’ve been rolling these words over in my mind lately. Over and over and you know what? I don’t believe in them, especially not in today’s world.

Maybe I moved halfway across the globe. Okay, so that’s what internet is for. Maybe we can’t afford to see each other more than once a year due to finances. That’s what Skype and packages and email is for. Maybe my parents hate you. Are we really going to give up our happiness because of that? To put it bluntly, they’ll be gone before we are, so sacrificing a potential lifetime of happiness to make them happy for a couple of decades is a bad bet. Maybe your parents hate me. Same as above. So there’s a thirteen hour time difference between us. That’s what email and gchat and letters are for. So…

So whatever reasons there are – it’s 2016. We have technology. We have ways of getting places. We have ways of moving things around. Hopefully, we also have expanded horizons, new ways of seeing things, and a heart that is able to stretch and compromise.

Someone once said something to me about timing, about love, about Fate, about destiny and all that, and I don’t believe in much of that anymore.

I believe in choices. I believe in holding on when it’s important. I believe that the decisions you make about your time, your money, your energy, and your words reveal what your heart truly wants in the end. When I love, I am willing to sacrifice, to tether, to bend and twist to better hold someone’s heart within me. If someone is not willing to do the same – then what is it, what are we doing, other than playing at bonfires and fireworks? Bonfires and fireworks, rather than hearths and kitchen stoves. The former may be spectacularly beautiful, but the latter is what gets me through life.

緣分 – where is yours and where is mine?

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 84

There was a line of girls waiting for the elevator when I got back to the dorms this evening. The elevator doors closed on me as I walked in. The resulting red mark has yet to fade.

No one said anything. Not sorry for not holding the elevator doors. Not a single query of are you okay? Not a single sound.

It seems oddly symbolic, very apropos for everything that’s happened.

Invisible and yet still despised.

The danger of being whisper-thin glass is that when I hold on too tightly, the broken shards shred the softest parts of me.
The burgeoning scream coils in my throat and echoes in my ears, every beat of my heart a silent cry.

Why do I fall in love with unavailable people? What are these experiences meant to teach me? What am I meant to learn from these repetitions?

Being single has been especially hard these last few weeks. I feel like there’s no place to hide, no place to crawl into, and my skin isn’t large enough to contain all the grief and frenzied anxiety. I feel like I’m no one’s priority and I’ve had to remind myself to take a deep breath and remember that being in a relationship doesn’t guarantee that I’m anyone’s priority.

You come into this world alone. In the end, you will leave this world alone. In your travels through the world, perhaps you will meet those of like minds and travel together for a while and perhaps you’ll meet bandits who take you for all you’re worth and then some.

Jack asked me yesterday how I was doing.

I thought it was a bit of a silly question as I’d just unloaded on him all the various ways in which my life was falling apart: my professor calling me out on the carpet in front of the entire class, the sea of red ink that was my mid-term, the comment “knowing this would be useful” on the section I’d left blank because I had no idea how to answer, a person I thought to call friend telling me they had nothing for me in my time of need, that same person essentially calling me fat and no wonder considering how I ate, classmates turning cool because I’m too intense, too weird, too too, still sick, still not breathing well, still stressed, my edits stalling because of the drunken landscape I find myself in, drowning in work, drowning in inadequacy, drowning drowning drowning. So near the edge that I’ve repeatedly thought about turning in a request to take the year off.

Instead of re-capping the endless pity party, I said that Maslow’s very basest level was getting met and nothing else.

But rather than that being another prompt for a pity party, I’m going to treat it as the pyramid base it is.
I’m safe, even if I don’t feel it. There’s no immediate danger.
I’m fed. Well fed. I have fuel to burn.
I’m clothed.
I’ve ways of getting around to the places I need to go.
I’m housed. Very nicely, in fact, so I can hide if I need to.
I technically have the means to do what I wish, to build upon what I have.

It is the waning moon.
I banish the small evils that prey upon my mind.
I release those who do not love me.
I reverse the wounds I carry into wellsprings of insight.

I banish the petty evils that lurk in my soul.
I release wishes for what I cannot have.
I reverse the negativity placed at my door into mirrors of deepest obsidian.

I banish the sad evils that bedevil my spirit.
I release hopes into the wind to hope some more.
I reverse the burdens on my shoulders into blessings from without.

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 81

I’m going to try a bit of a hibernation because I’m on the verge of throwing a toddler tantrum of I can’t even, I can’t deal, I won’t. If I was whisper-thin glass hosting a legion of arachnids before, consider the glass shattered. Remember the fire analogy? I’m so on fire I’m set to be all crispy death if I don’t find a way to put out the flames.

Someone told me that they’d been avoiding me because they thought I’d be ranty and depressing about the election. Another someone has gone from asking me to hang out, eat, and do work together to being incommunicado. Multiple someones have told me that I have taking this too hard, that I’m being too pessimistic, that I’m being way too serious. (read: being a downer) My parents don’t get it and think I should get over it, that this is just something the US has to work through.

I. Can’t. Even.

I feel as if I’m pinballing through an asteroid belt, freezing, slowly running out of oxygen. Whilst being spilled glass, frantic arachnids, and on fire. You keeping track of everything all right?


I’m going to, for the first time in years, not have Gmail up in a tab all the time. (this should be interesting)

I’ll Tweet when I have something to say, but I’m going to stop reading my timeline. If I have nothing to say, I’ll check my Twitter notifications once a day in my morning.
I’ll hop onto email three times a day, respond to what I have to, and get back off.
I need Facebook for my grad school program, which is one of the more unfortunate things, but I’m going to commit to not reading my timeline there as well.
I’m going back on my news fast because I can’t even begin without screaming at the moment.

I’ve thought about it and wavered and wiffled and waffled because I don’t want to be unavailable if someone needs to contact me. But…
People could get in contact if they needed to, whereas I need to get out of the car skidding over black ice.

I need to stop sitting in front of my laptop, endlessly tabbing back to Gmail.
I need to stop reading through Facebook and Twitter, desperately trying to engage, and falling short of contact.
I need to stop waiting for help and try to put out the flames myself.

I get it. I really do. People back home in the US are terrified and upset and they need each other right now. I’m half-way across the globe and I’m reasonably safe and distant from everything. People are doing everything they can to cope and to help each other and it’s holiday season and they’re busy and and and. And I’m simply not there.

It is what it is. I get it. But I need to stop sitting here and hitting refresh because it’s doing nothing except turning up the heat.

In further attempts at self-care and putting out the fire:

Tonight is the full moon in Taurus.
I did laundry. I tossed it in the dryer because warm fragrant laundry is the best. And because I love myself enough not to make myself hang it all up right now. Laundry, to clean, to make fresh, and to affirm that life will still go on. Life is, in fact, in the smallest details. And because when all other productivity fails – laundry is constructive and easy to do in this age of washing machines.
I bought a jar of cold-pressed coconut oil. I’m going to mix it with some lavender and treat myself to some petting after my shower later. The scent of coconut oil is marvelously soothing and I anticipate it melding well with the lavender. The skin hunger is intense and almost painful, perhaps especially because it draws near to that time of the month. I wonder, though, if the stress might not delay it slightly.
I bowed out of dinner engagements with undecideds and had dinner alone, in the peace of my castle. Boundaries. When the enemies are laying siege to the walls, the only to do is to hustle your people within and bolt up the gates. Diplomatic attempts can wait.
I treated myself to a lovely lunch, had a very nice dinner with leftovers, and nommed all the sweets. Fat and sugar. Oh yes. If I had access to dark chocolate, I would make myself hot cocoa, but I will have papaya milk instead. Fruits. Vegetables. Fats. Sugar. Protein. ALl the things a brain, body, and spirit needs.
I will turn off the lights soon and lie in bed, cocooned in my blankets, and breathe.
Tomorrow, I will sing because Taurus is connected to the throat chakra and because the only way to dance out of the fog is to start singing.
Tomorrow, I will wear red as reminder, as a battle cry, as a warning.
But today, today I will curl within my shell, and hum gently into the welcoming night.