Archive for October, 2016

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 66

Further adventures in the land of OkCupid. Because why not?

A message I received:

Ni hao ma Ekatje,

I live in Los Angeles, California, USA. I was inspired to write to you because you seem to be a happy, compassionate and educated woman. I would love to learn more about you. Care to tell me some things that are not in your profile? I invite you to visit my profile. Is there anything more you would like to know about me?

Wo men zai liao ^^

My name is [redacted]. What is your Chinese name?

ps: my Mandarin is very simple. I would like to learn more from you to show you respect.

I found the message baffling, to be honest. Simply, confusing.

My entire profile is in English. I flatter myself that it’s in proper English, with no indications that I would find it difficult to navigate in the language and would be more comfortable using Chinese. Rather, I don’t understand in which ways he thinks learning Mandarin from me would be showing me respect.

Respect for my perceived culture? Respect, again, for my comfort should this go somewhere? Respect for my potential wishes involving possibly future children being brought up with my language? I don’t even know. Genuinely at a loss.

The Pinyin for “ni hao ma” and “wo men zai liao” – why use Pinyin? Chinese is a language of endless homophones, so we’d run into problems even if he had indicated accents, but those are without accent marks. Why not simply copy and paste Chinese from Google into the message box if we wish to communicate in Chinese? Sure, I am pretty sure I know what he’s trying to communicate because I have some grasp of the language, but… in a way it’s like netspeak, except much much worse.

I’m not so much nit-picking at a perceived lack of effort as – if he wants to know my Chinese name, which incidentally is something that I haven’t really used much in the last thirty odd years, then it’s senseless for me to give it to him if he’s going to use Pinyin for it. My name is specific, with particular characters that have meaning. Calling me Chen Yingcheng is just going to make me cranky for all the reasons that I found it irritating when my friends used to insist on calling me Ting. 陳映澄 is my name. Chen Yingcheng isn’t, no matter that it might be the Romanization on my passport. Which I still don’t have, funnily enough.

And yes, I’d give it to him with family name first, because if I’m giving you my “Chinese name”, by golly you might as well use it properly.

For those who want to play devil’s advocate – he could have simply asked me my name rather than specifying my Chinese name. There’s an assumption there that I don’t understand.

This possibly might be nit-picking – I have stuff in my profile. Why not simply talk to me about stuff I’ve put out there that presumably I want people to engage with? Why ask for more things that I haven’t put on the profile before striking up a rapport? It smells a little of entitlement, although I will admit to possibly being cranky over the weirdness with the Chinese.

*sigh*

People I want to talk to don’t want to talk to me. People message me who I don’t particularly want to engage with. All the weirdness happens here because online dating is truly strange.

Day 66, y’all.

慕哲咖啡 / Cafe Philo – a review of sorts

When I walked into Cafe Philo, I hadn’t really had a proper meal all day, it was raining, I was ovulating, I’d just left an event where Caroline Gluck discussed various depressing and frustrating things and I was going to be waiting to attend another event by the same from 7pm to 9pm.

To clarify, yes, I was going to attend both of her book signing/talks on the same day because 1. practicum hours and 2. I did really want to see how things would change since she would have two different interpreters for each event.

So there’s the backstory.

I ordered a smoked chicken apple panini, smoked chicken Caesar salad, milk tea, and waffles with ice cream.

Yes, I know. Anyways.

The smoked chicken salad was good. It had canned corn, lettuce, two slices of hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, and cucumber. If you’re a fellow American and you’re expecting enough smoked chicken to make this a meal, however, don’t. This isn’t the US. The smoked chicken was very much for flavor, not satiation. Also, the Caesar dressing — it wasn’t. I’m not sure what it was, but it more closely resembled the sesame seed butter Japanese salad dressing than something involving mustard, egg, olive oil, lemon juice, and anchovies.

The panini came with a tiny side salad, which was nice. It also had tomato, cucumber, and cheese in addition to the smoked chicken and apple slices. Pretty darn delicious. I’d totally come back and order this again.

The milk tea was okay. Not particularly awesome, not disappointing. There was a lovely little bit of foam art on top that smelled faintly of honey for some reason. It wasn’t too sweet, which I appreciated.

The waffles were where I hit the wall. First of all, however, let me tell you there’s a lot of waffle involved. They came with a lovely little arrangement of fruit and whipped cream, so apparently Cafe Philo is really dedicated to making sure we get our five a day. Kudos for that, truly.
Two Belgian waffles, so it can be pretty filling on its own. Good thing, as they have savory waffle platters, although just from looking at someone else’s order, I think there’s not enough filling for the amount of waffle given. The waffle should be a vehicle for filling, not the main character. But I digress.
The waffles were crunchy. Palate-scratching crunchy. Tasty, if you like your waffles to resemble cookies, but I like mine to be fluffy with a bit of crunch.
The ice cream, one scoop of vanilla and one of chocolate, didn’t work for me. The vanilla didn’t quite taste like the type of vanilla that I love. Maybe it’s a more Asian type of vanilla, but it didn’t do it for me. The chocolate was actually a turn-off because it was not only not very good chocolate, it was mint chocolate. I want pure, dark, velvety smooth chocolate when I’m adding waffles to the scene, yo!

Overall verdict?
I probably wouldn’t deliberately come here again, but I’d be happy to eat here if ever I had occasion to. Just, maybe skip the desserts.
It was pretty busy on a Saturday evening, but then again, many places in Taipei are. I couldn’t focus enough to do actual work, but it was fine enough for blogging. The waitstaff are very attentive and were complete sweethearts. Also very good at topping up water, which doesn’t always happen.

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 65

Meta-note: the counting of the days. Is this actually meaningful if I’m not aiming for a goal? I don’t know. Maybe you can tell me.

Thene and I were talking about being needed. In friendship. In love.

I said:

I miss being able to curl into someone and give comfort and receive it.
I miss knowing that seeing me will make someone smile.
I miss …well, terrible as it sounds, I miss the feeling of being the center of someone’s life.
I don’t want Mercury or Venus, but it hurts that I don’t even have Pluto. (not having him on so many levels. Poor demoted planet.)
I would like to feel that kind of gravitational force at some point again, a pull strong enough to bring someone across oceans and cultures.
Right now, I feel a bit like a dandelion seed on the wind.
And I’m tethered to you, but perhaps we’re Halley’s comet to each other’s Earth right now.
I’d like to be the sun.

So many of the people in my life are meteor showers, if we’re to flog the dead analogy. Yet I’ve always liked the idea of ever afters.
I don’t believe in possession – but I do believe in gravity. What’s reciprocal. What pulls us together. What, in the end, we sacrifice for.
Ever after only surfaces in the face of opposition. Ever after attempts to understand, to brush back the veil.

And then we spoke of long relationships and the worth of the fabric they weave of our lives.

I don’t judge things by longevity anymore, I don’t think.
I can fall in love in moments. The light that someone brings to my life in the course of a month can burn more brightly than what someone gives me in years of knowing each other.
Longer is not …I used to think that you grow into someone, you learn their nooks and hidden places. But I don’t believe that anymore. Some times we lean away, we hide little divots of shadow, we twist rather than grow.
Ever after is a conscious decision of choosing the other person, every single time, every chance that choice is given. Ever after is love. A long period of being together doesn’t guarantee anything, not even weight, only inertia.

Thene: “I don’t think you can grow into someone because I don’t think people stay static. The things you do know about them are not eternal truths. They are moments.”

And so we are. And part of love, of ever after, is that in every moment, I choose you.
You, specifically, and no one else would do.
I know this, because I find my mind reaching for yours even when I’m happy and enjoying myself.
I want to know what you will say to this, I want to know your reaction to this thing I’ve said, nothing else stands in for it.
I need you to be you, undiluted, uncensored, unabashedly you.
Ever after is realizing that no one can take your place, holding onto that different, and seeing the worth in it.

And I need someone to need me because I make their lives wonderful rather than being the band-aid that keeps things together until they can plaster something else over the gaping wound.

Also, reason #4532 of why I love Thene: our conversation eventually led me to come to the conclusion that what matters in the end, after 16 months of contemplation of being single, is tentacles and cocks.

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 63

I’ve been struck lately by how ironic it is that I’ve chosen to major in a field that will require decorum of a sort that I’d always been ambivalent about.

Trigger: we had a class on stage presence and as part of the class, we had to observe our classmates and note their postures, facial expressions, body language, and how they were or weren’t emoting/projecting whilst speaking. It was very illuminating how very much you could tell about someone’s confidence/stress levels and subconscious desires if you paid attention.

We also discussed appropriate seated posture for women versus men, because it came up that people have been lambasting President Tsai for the way she sat. It was interesting, most if not all of my classmates thought that the classic “legs together and held at an angle” was for the dinosaurs and that it didn’t matter if a woman sat with her knees open. I’d been brought up differently and I pointed out that Hillary Clinton always sat that way. Of course, HRC is in her sixties, so not the most persuasive argument.

Something I’ve been trying to do recently is to keep a smile on my face at all times. For one thing, there’s that study about how your brain releases endorphins if you smile. For another, there is the proverb about how “even if the hand is raised, one does not strike a smiling person”. Lastly, I do have resting bitch face and it’s probably best to just get into the habit of always smiling rather than be caught unawares.

Teacher’s comment: you did very well, but you didn’t smile until you were on stage; you had a sullen look as you got up from your seat and walked up.

*laughs*

It truly is funny, how right now I’m having to consciously modify a lot of my behaviors and mannerisms according to what my eldest uncle has always requested of me: “smile without showing your teeth, sit without your skirt rustling, keep your back straight even when asleep, talk in a well-modulated voice, and never laugh too exuberantly”.

I used to resent it, because I saw it as rank sexism (which it is), but now that I’m choosing to do something where presentation is as key as knowledge and expertise, I might have to return to those lessons of my childhood.

Full circle, as always. *sighs a little*

Another full circle: I woke up this morning and realized that there is actually very little reason for me to be in any way stressed about what is going on with my graduate program.

I’d been considering the line between letting go, flowing, and giving up. I’ve been despairing a little, uncertain if I’m simply sinking into the quagmire.

The thing is, almost nothing in my life has gone the way I expected it to.

I thought I’d be married with children. I thought I’d be the relaxed eccentric owner of a coffee shop. I thought I’d be a psychologist working with troubled youth. I thought I’d be a journalist, investigating corruption and exposing wartime atrocities. I thought of forever with people who no longer speak to me.

I thought many many things and the only constant in everything is the desire to love, be loved, and to bring a little joy to the world. And to write. I’ve always wanted to write. My words. My voice. My stories.

So why worry about this program? Either I graduate or I don’t. Either I pass the professional exam or I don’t. Either things happen, or they don’t.

I will do my best, as usual, but on the other hand, I don’t even care. The world could end tomorrow and stressing would be all for naught. Or, on a more positive note, I could meet the One (or the Duo or the Trio *sly grin*) tomorrow and get married the next day and decide to give NTU up for a life on a boat set to sail around the world (unlikely, really, the giving NTU up bit, but you get the idea).

I used to think of schooling as a set-destination trip to somewhere. Somewhere better, or somewhere concrete, with a set itinerary and plans.

But really, why?

For all I know, as with all other things in my life, it’s a springboard to something completely unknown rather than a path.

Open my hands and fly, I suppose.

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 62

Cassiel (listening to Haya Band’s Silent Sky and Qinghai Lake 代青塔娜 – 寂靜的天空 – 青海湖)

Solitude is in every sweep of the hand that goes unnoticed, every word that falls unheeded, every gaze that goes unmet.
It is in every closed book, every misunderstanding, every quiet plea for help that is dismissed.

Solitude is when you cannot breathe in the midst of a crowd and your heart whispers softly that no one will notice if you just. let. go.
It is that soft smile when you turn and realize that you stand unmoored in a world of mirages and mist.

Cassiel. Angel of tears and solitude. Guardian of time and master of karma.

The one who listens, who bears you up in the midst of that solitude.
The quiet presence, succor in the midst of an ever spinning world.

Perhaps not the laugh in the darkness, but the gentle hand in the night.
Perhaps not the brilliance of the sun, but a lodestone to the stars.

Dusk feathered wings. Bronze mask of implacable mercy. Fate’s obsidian blade.
When you look back, who is reflected in those eyes of impossible blue?

I’m feeling very untethered today, as if I could simply open my hands and float away.

I had a very minor asthma attack yesterday. I’d taken a nap before class because I wasn’t feeling well and woken late. I had 20 minutes to get to class from bed to door and it usually takes about 20 minutes to walk to the school from my dorm.
I ran most of the way, dashing across a six lane street with three seconds showing on the pedestrian light.
By the time I reached the class building, black spots swam in my vision and I wanted to throw up and pass out, preferably in that order.
I couldn’t breathe smoothly for most of the class, swimming close to the edge of desperation.
Today, I woke up feeling beaten and bruised, probably in reaction to the attack and the aftermath. It took everything within me to pull myself out of bed. I still can’t take in a full breath and my chest aches. I feel warm, enough that I think I am going to have to go buy a thermometer and start recording how I feel and the corresponding temperatures.

There’s still homework to be done. Endless piles of work.

On days like this, I almost feel like it’s a blessing and a relief to be so loosely caught. All those I love – they are safely tethered. My death may devastate some, but I trust that they will be caught and kept secure in the end.

“To die will be an awfully big adventure”, after all.

I’m not feeling suicidal. Maybe depressed, I can’t tell, because it could be simply be lack of sufficient oxygen.
Mostly, I love life, but it can be such effort.
I’ve loved. I’ve seen things that touched and awed. I’ve laughed hard enough to gasp for breath.
I was speaking with Jane the other day, and I remember saying that I wanted to Do as a child was to make the world a better place, to bring happiness.
I might not have succeeded as much as I wanted, may not have borne up those I met the way I wanted to be supported, but I’d give myself a passing grade for effort.
If I open my hands, I think of flying, not falling.

徵 – wanted; levied; requested

Because I’ve been told that the Universe needs specific direction, because of the Law of Attraction, the Secret, and whatnot. So here you go.
As always, the usual tethering terms of service mostly apply. Sauce for gander equals sauce for goose, etc. Mostly, because there’s the physical bits for the lover and the only sort of person I can pick up is a toddler less than 40 pounds.
Anyway Universe – it’s your move.

Writing and critique partner (2, perhaps 3 openings):

- must love my writing
- must be capable of giving con-crit regardless of that love
- must have time and spoons to do said con-crit
- must be equally capable of wielding the whip as warm fuzzy hugs
- must be supportive of this mad-cap journey we call self-publishing
- preferably local but not necessary, although similar time zones are definitely a bonus
- loving me as a person would be a bonus but not necessary

General friend-of-all-trades (3 maybe 4 openings):

- must be local (within easy transportation distance to NTU)
- must be willing to do lunch/dinner/random meals
- must love me
- preferably happy to go exploring this city with me on occasion
- preferably someone happy to walk in circles around the campus with me (it’s a big campus. really. it’s not as boring as it sounds)
- preferably someone huggable/cuddle-able

Lover (your call, Universe, your call):

- must look on me like I’m their personal miracle
- must love me
- must be local (non-negotiable)
- must be willing to do meals and share food
- must be sexually compatible or happy to negotiate the shoals of no-sex loving (cuddling a must and non-negotiable)
- must be compatible in terms of time and space and affection needs
- must be capable of communicating clearly, aware of self’s needs and desires and limits, and able to recognize and verbalize about trigger points
- must be their own person, with own life, and own dreams and hobbies.
- preferably the owner of a sprawlable lap
- preferably capable of picking me up for hugs

Those who have interest in the above positions should leave me a message in the comments or tweet @katjexia.

*waits*

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 58

Jack pointed out yesterday that having four bouts of fever, two severe enough to be almost hallucinogenic, in seven months is not precisely normal. I had a twinge for a moment, where Fear whispered in my ear again, and then it passed. Mostly.

The thing is, Fear, I’m not quite afraid of Death. I’ve been flirting with Thanatos for far too long to be scared of him. He is darkness and respite, forgiveness and mercy.
You, however, I do not like and do not want flitting around me.
Always, I’ve been more afraid for those around me than for myself.
So rather, thank you for illuminating the way.

If I were dying. If I had cancer – would I still be doing this?

Do you see magic when you gaze upon me?
If so, then summon me, bind me, keep me at your side.
Tether me softly, my love. Tether me gently, for I am lighter than air.
Weave a net of gossamer, anchored with strands of braided nettle.
Knit a robe of starlight and moonshine.
Weight the jesses with the sound of crystalline bells
Bar the way with your love and perhaps
Perhaps I shall coalesce out of the mist
Take shape and bind my spirit to yours long enough
Just long enough until you release me

There was this beautiful post about autumn and dying and welcoming the cycle of life and…well, I’ve always been fond of the fall. The spring is sometimes too fervent and the summer cloying, but I adore the crispness of autumn and the quiet of winter.

What would I do if I were diagnosed with something dire?
For sure, staying at NTU would be right out.
Staying in Taiwan would be right out immediately after that, no matter if it might be suicidal. If I have to die, I refuse to do it in a place with 90% humidity most of the time, is stultifyingly hot, and has flying cockroaches big enough to send me into hysterics.

I’d move back to the US.
I’d probably continue writing.
I might indeed go back to my idea from before, of renting a small seaside place in Scotland and staying there until the end.
I would try to spend as much time as possible with those who want me to, barring those who would disturb my rest. My crazy relatives might have to be banned from my sickbed because in no level of hell would I want to deal with all their drama if I were actively dying.

Dandelion fluff and twilight dew. The lazy spin of winged samara upon the air.
Wanda said the other day that she was struck by how I was smiling, how I looked when she saw me for the very first time. Thene said that Chris once said he thought I was the happiest person he’d ever seen when we first met.
Those are good and beautiful things to know, because it’s those thoughts I will treasure most going forward.

Perspective. So thank you, Fear, for that.

Look upon me as if upon a miracle and I shall do the same for you.
How has this universe bent itself and twisted so that we could meet?
Can we ever know how many angels deliberated over our fates?
Smile, my love, smile when you look upon me and I shall do the same for you.

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 57

It’s interesting, but no one has precisely asked, “why tigers and feathers” yet.
I almost want to just leave it a question and see what people come up with. Why, indeed, tigers and feathers? Of which tigers do we speak of? Of what feathers do we weave our dreams?

Speaking of emotional labor, today, somewhat out of the blue, my aunt told me that my uncle who drank pesticide kicked up a great fuss about returning back to the ancestral home hours away from everyone else in the family and then proceeded to do so. She also told me not to tell my father lest he worry.

My immediate reaction: Why tell me? Why tell me if I’m not to tell my father immediately? You’re his sister and you’re in contact with him weekly, sometimes daily, and you’re telling me this after I tell you that I’ve had a fever? Why in the world?

Boundaries. It appears that the theme of my life is boundaries.

It’s funny, because I am queen of blurring boundaries. I like to melt, to meld, and I am infamous for being completely willing to divulge any and all intimacies within minutes of meeting someone. I like to think that I give trigger warnings and I don’t tend to spill things on people without being asked or if it’s not necessary in some way.

But then again, it could just be more of the same karma. You get what you throw around, and all that.

Something occurs to me.

Ladies and gentlemen, listen up please, I don’t want to be your hero.
No, I am not open. Parts of me are broken.
Do yourself a favor; save yourself. Don’t pick me, find someone else.
Why’d you want to bother? Find yourself another.

- Darren Hayes – Hero

For fuck’s sake, Katje, when someone tells you that they don’t want to be your hero – pay the hell attention.
But then, like I said, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to such things.

患得患失。Lately I’ve been tripping into Fear a lot and I’m tired of it.

Come and hold my hand
I wanna contact the living
Not sure I understand
This role I’ve been given
I sit and talk to God
And he just laughs at my plans
My head speaks a language
I don’t understand

I just wanna feel
Real love feel the home that I live in
Cos I got too much life
Running through my veins
Going to waste
I don’t wanna die
But I ain’t keen on living either

- Feel, Robbie Williams

And this is why tigers and why feathers. To remind myself that I’m not the center of anyone’s universe but my own. To remember that promises can be broken just as easily as made, even with the best of intentions. To internalize the truth of how the only way to fly is to be somehow lighter than air.

Illness is a terrible thing. Not just in of itself, which it is, but because of how quickly it tears down all of my defenses. It’s when there are no more spoons in my pocket and I’m flailing mid-air for more wishes. When I want to limpet onto someone because yet another hurricane is raining wrath down on the land. When I laugh at the futility of waiting and giggle at the notion of lingering and hoping gaining anyone anything ever. When the rains are depressing and the sunlight is debilitating.

But.

Go away, Fear. I don’t want to talk to you today. I don’t actually want to talk to you, ever, but I guess sometimes you can come in handy. Just, again, just not today and not tomorrow either.

I might not get that embrace I need, but there’s hot water in the shower. Maybe I can’t curl up in someone’s lap the way I want to, but I have a pile of blankets and the option to buy more. This fever isn’t going to last forever, and once it’s gone, I’ll be back up to my tricks and kicking ass. My stupid sick brain might have Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For A Hero running on infinite loop, but some quiet ignored corner is singing Tata Young’s Cinderella as loudly as it can to drown out the noise.

I’ve been dispensing advice like crazy lately. Remember to breathe. Don’t sweat things if those around you aren’t. Give yourself a break. Don’t call yourself stupid when you’re just anxious and stressed. Take care of yourself.
The irony that I’m now the one sleeping for 15 hours at a time with a fever probably brought on by doing too much is not lost on me.
However, it just proves my point. As I said to Eden last week, sometimes the only thing to do is to say, “Fuck you very much.”
Not no, because often people don’t understand that no is a complete sentence. No discussion necessary. No explanation required. No qualifications needed.
So just so the message is clear: fuck you, Fear. Fuck you very much.

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 56

The line that runs through my mind: we could’ve flown like pollen.

Rob Brezny suggests screaming curses at the night sky for as long as it takes to purge the pain that no longer matters.

Consider this my attempt to make this pain irrelevant. I had another impromptu breakthrough today. Thanks, Jack. *laughs* And it’s brought to light something that I realized before but hadn’t internalized: sometimes it’s not just important to understand where you’re hurt, how badly you were hurt, but in which ways you were hurt.

I thought I’d forgiven, but I hadn’t realized the true pain, the real betrayal, and so my forgiveness was essentially worthless.

Is your world so strewn with beauty, so populated with kindred spirits that you can afford to toss me away the way you did?
I had forgiven you for not loving me enough, for not giving me what I needed, for not being who I wanted you to be, for lying to me again and again. I’d forgiven myself for asking that of you, for staying through pain I should have scorned, for being foolish in the face of love and fear. I’d forgiven us for the travesty that was the middle and the cool indifference of the end.
But now that the dust has settled…
The resentment that simmers is the one where I wonder how is it that I wasn’t enough to keep, why you let go of being friends.
Is it so easy for you? Does such synchronicity simply fall into your lap? Do you routinely find people who you can talk to for hours, who hold you without apparent judgment, who invite you to creativity and incite you to full blown laughter?
But, perhaps I wasn’t that for you. And if that’s true, why would you let me believe otherwise? You deserved better. I deserved better.
The castle of ice I held in my hands is nothing but boggy ground underfoot. Painful, when I believed it to be diamond.

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 55

I quoted something to Jack once, almost three years ago, “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.”
It’s a balm that I agree with past-me, that this is important.
But then, as I said, I see being soft as being like water. Fluid, relentless, capable of both molding to fit its circumstances and wearing down the hardest stone.
Although, one wonders how long it would take for water to wear down diamond?

I wonder what the tightness in my chest is telling me. What’s the warning of the nausea that makes it almost impossible to eat? The spinning of my head, the fuzziness, the inability to focus – does it mean something beyond simple fatigue and illness?

Things I am trying to believe in:
It is all right if I fail. I am no more or less worthy if I don’t manage to succeed at what I set out to do.
Even if everyone in the world considers me disposable or replaceable doesn’t make it true.
The past doesn’t predict the future.

I wrote once about life being a river, and we all duckweed floating along on the surface. Sometimes congregating, sometimes separating, but always moving, ever shifting, never able to go back to where we once were.

That was the first time I was called up on the carpet for plagiarism.

Which, I wonder, if I’m digging around old pains and half-remembered thorns, how much I’ve internalized that. All these people in authority questioning if my work was actually mine, telling me in essence that I couldn’t have been capable of producing such writing. And wondering how this internalization has shifted to this wariness in showing others my work, in lack of confidence rather than arrogance.

I told Thene today that to a certain extent I feel like I’ve failed at everything I’ve set my hand to and it’s so very hard not to let that color everything.

I held dandelion fluff in my hands. The wind rose around me and I unfurled my fingers and let them go. Seeds of possibility or the start of a war, I know not. Shall we feast upon the greens come the summertime and twirl tipsily upon dandelion wine, or will the sproutlings be met with poison and sharp implements? Where will I be when the spring wind comes again? Where will you be?

I feel like 2016 is teaching me to let go, but I don’t know how to let go without wanting to release everything.

I am obsidian. Sharp when broken open, reflective, and brittle. Don’t drop me.
Sometimes I close my eyes, and all I see are jagged edges, brilliant and merciless. Every night, I fall, and every morning I wake up bloody. But triumphant, they ask. Perhaps.
All I know is that every time I’m dropped, the more I shatter, and the more likely I am to bloody myself on the next person who holds me because those sharp facets face mostly inward. Mostly, but if you grasp hard enough, I will cut you open as well. Take heed, I want to whisper, and don’t pick me up unless you have the care to.

I was talking with Thene about vulnerabilities and boundaries. The thing is, in this one area, I’ve decided to give up the notion of faking it until I make it. It is, after all, why I changed my name.
In order to be a 君,one has to fight endlessly, to never show vulnerability, and to conquer with extreme prejudice. I don’t want any part of that anymore. Someone else can build the empire and tame the barbarian hordes. Someone who actually enjoys it.
Pretending to be strong has brought me nothing but grief. Mostly because pretending to be strong involved carefully hiding the flinches when someone stomped on my tender places. There was a lot of sucking it up and breathing through the pain of supposedly well-meant advice. There was the exercise in futility of yanking on bootstraps when barefoot.

I said before that we are all duckweed upon the river, but, I live in hope that I will find a pond and be able to become a water lily instead. And the water hyacinth may be beautiful, but it is known to choke the life out of entire ecosystems if one is not careful. Perhaps the key to happiness is becoming a better horticulturist.