Sunday, November 30, 2008

Keep me company

Kate came to the bookstore yesterday to pick me up for lunch. She was hungover and looking really shitty, which touched me because despite how shitty she felt, she was a trooper and came to keep me company. 

She came and picked me up on her scooter. We were ridiculous and scooted from Harbord/Spadina to Bloor/Spadina, which is really just a five-minute walk (or a two-minute scooter ride). I wanted to be frivolous and to treat myself, so I made Kate scoot us over. Self-love, right?

We talked relationship problems (hey, what’s new?!), Xanax and the economic crisis over food that neither of us actually wanted to eat. Kate was too hung over to look at food. I just haven’t had an appetite for the past four days.

It was so nice to have an hour where I wasn’t physically alone with my own thoughts. Because that’s what I did all day at front desk – receive books, unfold cardboard boxes and listen to music that made me feel sick to my stomach.

Not wanting to go home to an empty house and to be stuck with my fucked up self, I called Kate to see what she was up to. Thank the lord she hasn’t gotten sick of me and invited me to go to the Drake for a poetry slam.

Finally got home at 7:45 to drop off my shit. Turns out Kate was wrong and there wasn’t actually a poetry slam at the Drake. I walked down to Queen anyway and thought I would just call Kate and Jen when I got to the area. When I got there, I gave Kate a ring to no avail. Twice. Text: once. No response. I found a bench outside the Drake and just sat down. It was a good thing the weather was nice. I was way too physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted to try to look for those two. I just decided to sit on the bench and watch people go by until they called me. I was too tired to even be annoyed. Turns out Kate and Jen were just six storefronts down from the Drake, at Lot 16.

The moment I arrived, Kate told me to order a beer. I was hesitant at first because I only had three triangle pieces of pita with hummus for “dinner” and the whole getting-drunk-on-one-beer thing has been happening much too frequently lately, with my lack of an appetite and all. After 10 minutes, I said “Fuck it” and ordered myself a pint of Amsterdam Blonde. Kate congratulated me. I must be the only person in the “queer communities” I hang out in who gets congratulated for ordering a drink.

Jackie joined us not too long after. Conversations revolved around dogs (all three of them have dogs…or babies…there no difference to this dogless/babyless lezzie), sex, counseling, food and funny family stories. Jackie was classy and awesome. She bought a bag of pistachio nuts from the convenience store and ate it in the bar, covering the table with severed nut shells.

I wish I had the energy to join them at The Beaver, but really, who I was kidding. I was tired and having done inventory of how many hours of sleep I have been getting these days, it was probably a good idea to go home.

And I did.

And I slept.

Six hours.


Because three and a half to four and a half hours just isn’t enough.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My lunches don't look and smell like sandwiches and fudge brownies

Something I wrote during Toronto Asian Arts Freedom School...

The writing prompt was "Write about a food that you love or hate, and why."


Kids are really mean in elementary school. That, or they're really honest. But I'm going to go with "mean" because they hurt my feelings and made me feel ashamed about myself, my family and my culture.

Lunchtime was always an exciting time for me because my mom would always pack the most kickass lunches for me. Having just immigrated to canada for not too long, she would send me off to school with food she knew - fried rice, rice balls filled with pork and pickled radish, dumplings, greasy Cantonese sausages...

It was also a great time because I always got to have a taste of my best friend's lunch. Mirai was Japanese and also brought equally kickass food - sweet fried egg, minced pork over rice...

I always felt a sense of pride, even at such a young age, that I ate food no one else had in their lunch boxes. I felt loved because my mom would wake up early to fix my little sister and I these wonderful lunches to fill our bellies with. Plus, I felt and still do, to a certain degree, a sort of cultural superiority over my classmates' juice boxes, lunchables and chocolate chip cookies. That is, until I started being made fun of.

If you've had Chinese dumplings before, you would know that they give off a strong odor. This smell was comforting to me. It brought me back to my parents, the safety of my home and to Taiwan. This was not, however, how my classmates felt...

"Ewww! What's that smell?? Sick!"

It was my dumplings, the dumplings my mom had laboriously folded with her two hands. Dumplings she boiled in the early morning because overnight dumplings are no good, she would always say.

Making fun of my food meant making fun of my immigrant family. I knew that even at the age of seven or eight. I don't really remember what happened after my classmate made me feel like an outcast. I am pretty sure I didn't say anything in response. I'm guessing that I just ate my dumplings in anger, shame and silence.

So even to this day, I am still traumatized. Don't comment on my food. Don't say anything about what I eat. Leave me and my food alone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Swollen, cried out eyes are unattractive, don't you know?

I cried before I fell asleep last night.
I cried twice this morning.
I cried riding my bike to work.
I am crying reading a piece in the Doris zine while at front desk.
It's only two o'clock in the afternoon and I have been on the verge of breaking out in tears at any given point.

As difficult as it might be to believe, I cry easily and I cry a lot. I do it so much, yet I've never really stopped and thought to myself, "hey, I'm a crier." Maybe that was one way for me to distance myself from and to deny emotions that already feel too close and too hard.

Some people say crying makes you feel better afterwards. I don't know if I've experienced that these past two weeks. Sure, I've cried and felt better before, but it feels different this time around. I think it's because I spend so much of time crying time alone. When I cry in front of co-workers at the bookstore, I feel a bit better afterwards, probably mainly due to them doling out encouraging, caring and positive words.

But when I cry alone, it feels like absolute shit. I don't know if I feel any better afterwards. I don't think I do. Having to be by myself and hear myself cry seems and feels so awful and pathetic. I have to the be one to brush off my tears. I have to be the one to pick myself off of my bed to go to the bathroom to clean my face. I have to be the one to make sure I fall asleep. Because there is another day around the corner to push myself through.


Let's see how many more times I can cry today.

Go, me!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lists make things seem more manageable

- walked to work yesterday morning. houses on euclid between college and harbord are scary and massive
- must write tiny, short stories about firm pressed tofu and mama and spider hunting with baba
- had a frightening conversation with a customer named Jordan about bed bugs. he says i have them. i say i don't.
- went to the gym before work today in liberty village. felt extremely out of place amongst the fancy, bougie young professionals. worked out on a machine that had a TV screen attached to it. the condos in liberty village make me both envious and disgusted.
- walking to work has allowed me to discover new places in the city, which is always refreshing and exciting
- have come to the conclusion that the twenty-third year of my life, so far, has been the biggest turn point/year. will hopefully look back one day and think, "ahhh yes, when i was glad and proud of myself for dealing with my shit in a brave way."
- five manageable goals for the day: [1] finish and send off important email [2] go to the gym [3] bike to work [4] dinner with julia, morgan, carmen and carmelle [5] phone date
- it's scary when making lists become difficult for someone who lived off of making lists.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Aunties & Uncles

This weekend was one of indulgence. Aside from having just spent a breathtaking (and not in the good way) amount of money on this new MacBook I'm typing on, I had brunch at Aunties & Uncles two days in a row. 

My first trip to Aunties and Uncles was thanks to Bryn. My second visit was me trying to impress Maria with my knowledge of good food in the city, which is something I am always working towards expanding (too bad my savings account is only shrinking, rather than expanding, in size). 

I was overwhelmed by the sea of plaid-clad white boys who also chose to dine at Aunties and Uncles those two days. They were everywhere! Behind me, next to me, at the table in the far corner and my server too! Not only the plaid, but "ironic" moustaches, oversized glasses and combed over side parts! I was in -ister anthropological heaven. Seriously, cover me in honey and throw me to the -isters. Or lesbians, whichever.

I mean, the food and service at Aunties and Uncles are great, but what is this magnetic pull that brings all of these boys to the yard? Is it the Bob Dylan and The Beatles playing overhead? Or do they genuinely like the kitschy retro paraphernalia decorating the place? I would really love to know. Maybe, one day, I will work up the courage to ask one of the (plaid or band t-shirt donning) servers what their secret is. I think I just might. I'm that obsessed with -ister culture.

Oh, also have noticed that all of the plaid boys were dining with other boys. All of the good-looking, hip white boys were there with...other good-looking, hip white boys. I have awful gay-dar (which is rather unfortunate) and couldn't tell whether or not the boys were of the gay kind. I've been boy friend-less for so long that I can no longer tell anything about that species. 

Sexual orientation aside, what I did manage to guess was that they all either:
a. play in bands
b. write for blogs
c. go to hip parties that I wish I was able to attend
d. all of the above

On a completely different note, one of the downsides to a hip brunch destination like this one is the likely chance to bumping into people you may find yourself in awkward situations with. For me, it wasn't that bad. There just so happened to be two girls (at two separate tables) that I recognized, but for the love of god, did not remember where from. Maybe the bookstore? Maybe some queer event? I made eye contact with one of them, which I obviously dealt with by snapping my head back towards my peeps. When will I ever learn that in order to survive in this city, one has to open up to novel ideas like smiling and saying hello.

Boys. Gay boys.
Girls. Gay girls.
All this lezzie knows is that the breakfast pocket at Aunties and Uncles rules my life.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Project Me

I am in the process of trying to save myself...from my current self. This is Project Me. Or Project Self-Love. Which ever.

My mental health is not in a state that I am wanting for myself. In fact, my mental health is a huge wreck right now. I repress all emotions to the point where I don't feel anything except anger, numbness and homesickness. I don't talk about my feelings. I don't talk in general. I think I am emotionally abusive towards my girlfriend. I am generally never happy. I am not motivated to do things I know I enjoy. I feel disconnected from people I respect and like. I am incredibly judgemental and bitter towards people around me. I want other people to be unhappy too. I focus on the "bad" side of people and not the "good." I don't take care of my emotions. I've been burying them so deep inside of me for my entire life that they are erupting now in a way that I don't know how to deal with.

Basically, I have turned into a really fucking scary monster that I no longer recognize myself. And it fucking scares me and completely freezes me up from being able to do anything productive.

And I've decided I need to do something about it.

These are some realistic steps I'm going to implement in my life:
1. making those counseling appointments I've been meaning to do since forever ago
2. re-read all about love by bell hooks
3. writing at least once a day
4. talking to Corrie about the way she takes active steps in becoming the person she wants to be
5. talking to Rose about race and culture and how that totally fucks you up because you feel totally alone in a sea of people who don't understand you
6. actively talking myself through times when I feel angry and hateful
7. going out with friends at least twice a week
8. finish reading that article on anxiety
9. starting a "your turn" notebook with Maria
10. being more brave and meeting new people
11. doing at least one thing that I like once a day

I am starting to do something for myself.

And it's the biggest, most important, scariest thing I have ever had to do.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The things one can do with a US passport...

[上午 09:52:38] Ruth says: i want to have a US passport just so i can be in the amazing race.

My sister is amazing. I am still laughing at what she said, 10 minutes after the fact. First of all, it was brought up randomly, sprinkled in between a conversation about a trans-issues conference. Secondly, who says something like that??? And lastly, there are so many people all over the world who would (literally) die for US citizenship so they don't have to go into the country as "illegals" and whatnot, but here my sister is, reminding us that a US passport can be good for many other timely things, like being able to participate in the Amazing Race.

I love my sister.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ravage Me: Rachel Maddow

Note: "Ravage Me" is a column I've created to help me categorize posts about people I admire and enjoy (and, from time to time, might daydream about having raunchy dirty sex with).


God. Rachel, you make the unsightly American flag look so damn good...mmmhmm!

I just finished spending a full hour watching video clips of and reading articles about Rachel Maddow. I'm at a point where I feel intense, severe desire to transcend science by jumping into my computer screen and asking (maybe forcing, if needed) Rachel to ravage my body.

She was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where she obtained a doctorate in political science. Her activism focused on HIV/AIDS and prison rights. She's probably the most well-known for her daily show, The Rachel Maddow Show.

And...I am such a fangirl.

I realize, for the most part, the general mass still only allows themselves to nod their heads in agreeance with and laugh at the jokes of white dykes. Ha, maybe I will live to the day to see a queer woman of colour in a similar public position as Maddow. I mean, Obama is now the President-elect of the United States, surely we will soon see a queer woman of colour of, at least, Maddow's caliber...right?

I know it's rather offensive to set a well-educated, white lesbian woman as the ideal against which queer women of colour should aspire to. I should probably be severely chastised for creating such a power dynamic, but really, I've got such the hots for her that I'm beyond senseless and anti-oppressive lecturing.

But really, we must all agree that Rachel is wittier, funnier and more articulate than North America's last really famous lesbian, Ellen DeGeneres (okay, there's also Lindsay Lohan, but let's not go there). Plus, let's not forget the fact that North American mass media loves to see gay people as comedians and not often as political commentators and analysts. The woman is sharp with her commentary; it's highly impressive.

Geeze, even her awful excuse of a haircut has somehow made its way to my heart, making it pump extra fast and extra hard upon the sight of the ungodly mane.

I'm sure there's something disgraceful about her, that someone will soon point out to me. I already know that she loves the Olympics and boasted about not being affected by anything she ate and drank while in Mexico in early 2006 (a day after which she fell ill. ha.), like Mexico is this infested, "other" place that she has triumphed over. I'm still unaffected by the rather disappointing "fun facts" about her. So please, do enlighten me as to save me from my own obsession.

But really now, Rachel, why spend all of your energy laying the smackdown on loser conservative talk heads when you can be laying the smackdown on me??? Actually, I'm not even quite sure what I even meant by that, but I think I was trying to go for "word-on-play sexy and witty."