Monday, November 17, 2008

Fact

Math classrooms are always cold.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'll see you in December

Where should I begin?

For eight years, I've been playing in an ensemble of guzhengs. Every Saturday, my mom would drive me out, fifty miles away, to practice. There are six of us. All the other girls are far younger than me, so, when I left for college, I was the first.

My instrument and my group has been an incredibly integral part of my life. I really cannot fully put into words all the work, the literal sweat and tears, the love, the bonds, the time, the money I put into this. For eight years, we built something up. We (or at least I) passionately spilled everything out on those strings, we cemented our relationships. I'm sure we had hundreds of performances, some much, much better than others. Oh my gosh, it's overwhelming, how much we all put into this group.

So, being the first one to leave, with the others having a couple years before they are ever required to think about moving out, I figured, yes, I will be a bit left behind, and maybe they will go on, grow up without me, but I am always one of them, and I will always be able to come back to tumbling group melodies and harmonies. At least for a few more years.

Oh, I don't know what happened! As soon as I leave, it seems, from what I hear, that everything has fallen apart. Members can no longer make practice, our teacher is absent more (maybe she gave up on us, one said), and some of them say that they no longer like the guzheng, that perhaps they are clinging on to thin air every time they practice.

This breaks my heart. Here I am, trying so, so hard just to find a guzheng so I can practice, looking up Youtube videos of our songs, practically counting down the days until I can see them again, until I can go to practice again, and here I am learning, in a span of three months, that there may not be an ensemble waiting for me when I return home.

How does this happen? What am I supposed to do? I can't force them to love something, but, at the same time, there is no way I'd enjoy playing with a group who aren't even into their music. But I love them; I can never leave them. Is this a case of denial, of not appropriately moving on? At this point I'm not even thinking about having to move on. I love the guzheng, but I'm not sure how I can still continue when I'm playing alone. After all we put into it, does it really vanish so fast.

This is breaking my heart. I'm scared to go home now, I'm scared that when I put on my picks, half of my girls won't even be present, and the other half will be just waiting to go home.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blind Fishing - Falling

And here I was again, on top of the world.

My favorite place to be.

The air up here is so cold, and the wind whips furiously against my back, threatening to push me over and into the sky. I shiver. The cold concrete and metal of the scraper's edge pushes into my thighs while the rest of my legs dangle over the edge. The juxtaposition of my small feet so large against the background of the city tops, the city floors, give me a chilling feeling of nonexistence.

Does anyone ever look up?

It seems a hopeless cause. The sky is dimming, and I can barely see a soul around. Would I be able to, even if there was one? I am so high up. Any person walking around would be no more than a speck to my eyes.

Another gust blows through me, piercing my bones despite the protective layers of outerwear I have on. My numbing hands grip the edge harder. I imagine my knuckles are white underneath the gloves. I should probably move away; doubtless my little body would be strewn about the pipes, ladders, and rafters most horrifically, without ever touching the ground, should I lose my hold.

Somehow, though, I want to let go.

The tip over seems so slight and easy. I feel insignificant enough to be carried by the wind. I've always wanted to fly, to soar over tops of buildings, to jump off cliffs only to come to a breathtakingly sudden halt just before being engulfed by the sea.

My fingers flex while I watch the empty bottom, metal webs waiting to catch me.

A slight shift of weight, that's all it takes.

After all, falling is the same as flying, only maybe with less control.

***

I don't do it. Shivering, I walk through empty, gray streets, where every step presses back firmly against my feet. I want to cry. I always knew it was impossible, of course. Flying is for hollow bones and feathered wings, for the thin film of those petals beating against strong backs. I have not slept for days, and my weary mind must have had delusions of grandeur.

The chill blows straight through me, and I feel my legs giving way.

"Well," I tell myself, breathing out a little cloud of moist air. I guess it's okay now.

It has to be okay, because now I fall.

A short distance of five feet while my knees crumple and where my feet never leave the ground.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm very upset

California Ballot Measure results. November 4, 2008 election, of course.

What. The fuck, California. I thought we were different, tolerant enough. If the State Constitution is anything like the Constitution of the United States of America, then this sort of right-denying, religiously-based amendment doesn't belong in there.

I thought I wasn't going to post anymore about the election, because I'm far from a politico, and I'm not confident enough in my law-knowledge to write about this and not worry if somehow I'm misunderstanding certain histories or nuances. But this one was a no-brainer for me. Early on, I thought it'd never pass, then I was surprised to find out that it was so hotly contested, and now I'm floored that it passed. I guess I need to get to know you better, California.

This is ridiculous.

At least that stupid Prop 10 didn't pass. That's my bit of consolation. And Prop 4. I'm glad that didn't pass either.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

History

That was fast, was my first thought as I came back from dinner and checked up on the election online. I remember 2004, when every minute was tense and confusing, when I sat in front of the television for so long, heart beating as every state's electoral votes were slowly added.

And this year, that's that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday evening

I don't belong to any religion, organized or not. I cannot say that I am an atheist, because I like to, and, to an extent, do believe that there is something beyond the mere chemistry of life, and that we have something equivalent to souls. That when we do good things, it saves up like coins in a piggy bank. That there is something after death. Call me weak, but if I ever truly believed that nothing at all limited our actions, and that we just disappeared completely after our deaths, I might be so shocked and scared that I really wouldn't be able to live at all.

All the same, I cannot say that I really believe in God, or anything like that. Not in the way that I trust any deity completely, or that I worship, or that I follow creeds and scriptures.

Still. It must be nice, I think, to have that everlasting comfort that there is something to help you along your way, to catch you when you fall. It must be very nice to be able to say, with the utmost confidence, that your loved ones are in a better place after their passing from this world. And I'd like to say to them to my friend, as words of comfort, that she will always be there looking over her--but I'd feel like a hypocrite, because I'm not really sure if it's true. I can almost imagine how purposeful your life must be, with a definite goal and set guidelines.

This isn't the sort of thing that keeps me awake at night, but I do give it thought from time to time. Yes, a deep spiritual connection seems very appealing, as does the special connection a religious person feels with other religious persons--and with their object of worship (this sounds disrespectful?), but I'm not sure I want to belong to a religion. I certainly don't want to inadvertently end up suffocating under the weight of centuries of oppressive rules and bigotry that do end up with so many religions (what am I doing, talking about "religions" as if they were tangible objects--like cars--that I can research the specs of and then select?).

Do I want to "find religion"? At the moment, no, I don't think I do. I'd like to take aspects of it. I must admit, there are many doctrines that I disagree with, and could never, ever agree with. And there are so many interpretations--with so many variations that are fundamentally believed as true--how can anyone think this transcends man? Literal readings (here I'm thinking of the Bible) are cumbersome and also clash against what we modern people find "right" and socially acceptable. Isn't this the sort of thing that's supposed to stay constant?

And where does it put me, sitting at the edge, fickly brushing my feet through the surface of the waters, not firm at all in any position, always gingerly respectful of anything even remotely close to religion at the fear of offending... anyone?

And I'm just saying--by itself and not trying to imply anything at all--it really must be nice, to have something to truly believe in from the deepest reaches of your soul. Just for this, I do admire you.