Health, motivation, poetry, relationships

Asian in Arizona

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I glance up and see him, pushing his shopping cart

he is sporting overalls and an enormous white beard

I’m sure he drives a white truck with flag (U.S. or Confederate?)

I’ve been accosted by his type before, in Iowa:

Hey Jap! Go back where you came from!

So I am wary

 

He’s speaking                    to me                    right now

They have a sale on bananas! A whole bag for just a dollar!

He points to a small paper brown bag in his cart

Your kids will love ’em!

 

I’m jolted – surprised – dismayed

How does he know I have kids?

And I realize that what is in my cart

are bags of suspicion, dread and cynicism

 

 

art, motivation, Personal Success

Uh “Oh”…

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Dang it.

I love Sandra Oh. She’s cool. She’s ultra. She’s crush-worthy.

I’m trying to cut down my screen time and now THIS!

I’m going to get hooked, I just know it. Damn.

If you’ve ever sold yourself short, you need to read this deeply compelling article on the show and Sandra:

Sandra Oh Assumed She Wasn’t Up For Lead In ‘Killing Eve’ Due To Hollywood Racism (Huffington Post)

If you miss the broadcast, you can watch full episodes here (you don’t even have to log in)!

Personal Success

Grateful for Aging

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Photo by Alex Harvey
She sat across from me at her birthday dinner. She just turned 35. I am almost 49.

“I have laugh lines! I am getting gray hairs that stick straight up on end!”

“Well, it just makes it easier to pluck them out,” I said, trying to cheer her up.

“I am not going to complain about getting old. I LOVE aging!”

I looked at her sideways. This was unexpected. Who loves aging?

She explained, “We’re lucky to get old. Not everyone does. We should celebrate getting older, we’re so fortunate to keep living!”

Indeed.

I’ve decided that even though I live in America, where it is becoming a crime to be gay, trans, Mexican-American, Muslim or old, I hope we will eventually be like Taiwan when it comes to social issues. I’m not gay, but as an Asian-American, I know what discrimination feels like. In Taiwan, gays have equal rights.  The Taiwanese also respect their elders and take care of them. So I’m going to walk around proud in all my Asian and old glory because I know I’m lucky to be alive and kicking.

poetry

Pedal to the Metal

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photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini

We switched places at the gate

for my ultimate test of surrender

her smile and jokes betrayed her cool

take it slowly, speed limit’s 25 here

 

Am I OK?

Yes, you’re perfect

Still?

Yep, doing beautifully

 

As she drove (slowly, oh so slowly) to our cul-de-sac

I remembered my driver’s ed teacher

he was old (probably my age now) and balding

with two student drivers in the car with him

 

Emily T., tall, popular, blonde, took turns with me

She (with the perfect curls) could do no wrong

her mistakes were met with encouragement,

her proficiencies were met with praise

 

but me – with my glasses and foreign mien –

my errors were harshly judged,

and my victories gleaned silence

This injustice – as all maltreatments do – ripened into a gift

 

for his words and demeanor (and all the other abuses I’ve known)

created a wound

which turned into a scar

and thickened my skin

 

everyone knows thin skin bleeds easily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

relationships

Choose Humanity

 

“Just because I am homeless doesn’t mean I haven’t got a heart, or I’m not human still.”

Stephen Jones, Homeless man who helped victims of the Manchester Arena bombing (Ariana Grande’s concert).

Stephen Jones could have run for safety. Instead, he stayed put amid the chaos of the bombing and pulled nails out of the faces of and arms of children.

Choosing humanity over barbarism isn’t always so dramatic.  We can make this choice each day. We can give 100% focus to the person in front of us. We can speak with kindness and patience. We can take care of ourselves (diet, sleep, exercise) so that we are able to give more to our families. We can choose to do better when we know better.

We can begin now.

 

 

 

Health, Personal Success, relationships

5 Magic Words

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It Is What It Is

I used to hate this saying. I often heard it after I complained about something. What kind of retort is that? It just made me angry. “It is what it is.

When I was a kid, my home was toilet papered and egged. They wrote  “chink” on the driveway. “This happens,” my father said as our family cleaned the mess up. The words stung, like alcohol on an open wound. How could he react in such a weak manner?

And yesterday, my daughter cried. A boy she considers to be a good friend made a racist joke about Asian eyes and dental floss. I was inflamed! But she sat – quiet and still and oh-so-wise, in the puddle of ignorance, stupidity and pain this boy caused. She said, “I want to talk to him and explain why it was hateful and hurtful. He will understand and never do it again. I know he’s a good kid.” As her mother, I could only see red. Someone broke my daughter’s heart and made her question this world (once more), just so he could get laughs. 

And I knew. I knew the anger I felt was a false sense of power.Being angry makes you feel energized and ready to mobilize. But anger is fear on steroids.

“It is what it is” is not a rallying cry to be passive. It means,”what you see before you, IS.” 

When I was undergoing surgery for breast cancer, these five words were embodied in the doctor’s confident hands, the nurses’ night time vigil and my family and friends’ constant support. This IS the situation and we’re taking care of it right now.

It’s about accepting that which you cannot change. If you can’t change it, your anger and defiance – your energy – are wasted. You continually generate negativity.

In fact, acceptance is the first step to proactivity. Once you accept reality (that which IS, that which you cannot change), you can use your energy and creativity to begin to make steps to exact change. A couple of wise friends of mine often say, “This, too, shall pass.” Everything is impermanent. Accept each season.

 

Personal Success

Immigrant – Outsider – Newcomer – Foreigner – Alien

 

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You came from a war-torn country

to get a job here
and to start a family
you attended university and held
three jobs
fatigue, stress, discrimination
As the years went by, despite
– the eggs and toilet paper on our house
– the “chinky chinky China” sing-song following me home
– and the ostracization of neighbors and peers
we are so grateful to be American