Category Archives: Story

This is how I learned that “home” is a mental place and not a physical one

Yeah I know I’m not the most successful. Yeah I’ve got people who would likely never speak to me again. Yeah I am resentful of my own mother. Yeah I get to this dark place time to time. I unknowingly isolated myself in highschool sending myself down a dark path. Only times I saw glimpses of light was when I stepped on my skateboard. This plank of 7 ply maple wood sometimes made out of bamboo screwed in with roller skate trucks. I’d marry it if I could. Here’s the catch though.. I can’t.

As you all know our snow shovelling season here in Markham/Toronto can last up to 6 dreadful months. Which almost makes you subconsciously emotional and excited that booty shorts season is finally here. You’d be more than happy to splurge a little more here and there as the season begins to pop. No, I’m not here to talk about our financial habits as we all *should* know our own (touchy touchy).

Ok, now that’s in your mind. Let’s get to it. What I’m talking about is that very first boyfriend/girlfriend. I think I now understand why there’s usually that feeling of one person hoping better for the other. For me personally, I never loved anything more than my dog, Jann. I met Jann when she was a puppy when I was 11-12 years old. She became my best friend and my reason to keep striving for a new day. Some of you might think, “didn’t you have friends from school?” To be quite frank. I changed schools 3 times in between grade 4-5. So I was always the new kid.

I would sit there and talk to Jann for hours after the times my mother would beat my ass. She just listened, looked at me and licked me almost like. “Dude it’s fine just let it out I’m here for you as long as you need me”. Til this day I remember the times I’d be crying in the basement on the couch and Jann would come running just to spend her time right beside me. She would not leave unless someone called for her or I left first. She’d always come back if someone called her away. Jann was truly my first burst of light in my life.

Then came a day where I had to let go of her due to my mother leaving the family and we couldn’t financially support her. We drove her to her new home spent some time there I had no idea what separation felt like. Then boom. 9pm. “Okay time to go boys” said my dad. I thought I was ready. Ready to let go of my best friend. I’m ready. The moment I was about to leave the front door, Jann was already at the door wagging her tail ready to go home. Little did she know this is gonna be her new home. The moment it clicked to me the fact that she was excited to go home and sleep just to see me the next day. Absolutely and utterly destroyed me. I couldn’t breathe, tears completely flooded my eyes, I was choking on my tongue, shaking, dizzy, threw up in my mouth and swallowed it, i thought I was gonna implode and my eyes rolling to the back of my head. All I could even think about is trying to breathe. Once I caught a breath and activated my windshield wipers just to see her fur all over the back seat of the car.

Darkness. That’s the one thing that I kept relating to in my life after that. We moved 3 times from grade 8 – 10. We were in government housing for a bit. I went to a different highschool than my graduating class. Hell of highschool for a broken preteen came into action full fledged. I had no idea what was happening. Who I was about to meet and what was about to happen. I didn’t care. I resented everything from my dad, brother, step mom, new house and new school. I tried so hard to convince my dad to transfer me to Markville Secondary School. He said no. I even said my grades would go up. Yeah, I went there.

More darkness. Every social group I tried to be a part of either 1. Didn’t accept me. 2. I didn’t accept them. My teachers teach me one thing while my dad teaches me something else. When I try to apply what I learned from either it almost felt like it never fits in. I felt like I never fit in anywhere. I remember so clearly trying to go to sleep on a Monday night nice and early cause I had badminton practice in the morning. I broke and started crying while whisper shouting, “I WANNA DIE I WANNA DIE I WANNA DIE” then fades into a devastating sob. I cried and cried and cried for 2 hours. At around 3 am I was hiccuping after crying with little bursts still coming through. 5am rolled around and I said to myself. If at 18 years old I still feel like this I’m gonna do it.

Grade 10.5 – 12 (2010-2012) I started skateboarding with a couple people I actually considered my friend, Samuel and Jason. New light. Here was when I fell in love with something more than myself. Skateboarding. Everytime I learned a new trick Sam would be so hyped and wanted to learn it too or vice versa. Jason would try and when he finally started to get the tricks we been trying I felt so happy and excited. After a couple months we parted ways and I stuck with it. I went to the skatepark behind Markville mall once a week and met a couple people there. The more I went the closer we got and ultimately forming our skate crew. Every single Thursday Friday after school was the days I looked most forward for. When it rained out I got so bummed I didn’t know what to do. So I guess you can say that I found a home. A home that we all just came to week after week. Quick shoutouts to Caleb, Ablah, Vincent, Dean, Josh, Jason, Dainel and a couple other key people who have since blocked or removed me. I’ll get to that in a bit. (I originally posted this on Facebook)

I skipped school to skate. Day after day I’d skip. I failed every course and some teachers would pass me cause I begged them to. I didn’t feel like anywhere was home but the skatepark. Everytime I landed a new trick all the homies would be hyped. Everytime I showed up they skate over to greet me. If that’s not the definition of home I don’t know what is. I never wanted to leave but of course everyone has to “go home”.

Time skip. 2013 Feb I get kicked out from home cause I literally sat around and did nothing. Dad got fed up with me always eating all the food and fighting with him every single time we see each other. I wouldn’t even look him in the eye.

Time skip. 2014 April I went homeless. Got fired from 3 jobs.

2014 November “officially” met a girl. Also while starting 2 new jobs. (Roots & Ten Ren’s)

I’ve seen her around at church and from the numerous times I’d walk around the mall I’d see her working. Low-key thought she was the most beautiful being on this planet.

Burst of light. We dated 2.5 years (2014-2017).

So why is this significant enough that I am willingly risking her reading this post on my news feed?

Here’s the catch. Now looking back into my life being 23 turning 24 in November. I realize that my whole life has been in darkness and I would say less than 10% of my 24 years has been me resenting something or someone. I discovered my love for something greater than myself which is skateboarding. I’ve always dreamed about having a girlfriend up until that day when it happened. Picture yourself in a pitch black room for 20 years with splurges of light piercing through from time to time. Then at the darkest moment in your solitude. Light fills your closed eyes seeing pink as you try to open your eyes you can barely see. Everything is over exposed. You struggle to see what was happening and when you finally realized what has happened. You lose yourself and your breath and everything along with it. You think, I lived 20 years in darkness for this one moment. I need to enjoy it for as long as this lasts cause it’s not gonna last forever…

Boom. My downfall. “Cause it’s not gonna last forever”. I went into that relationship with a self-fulfilled mindset of that it’s not gonna last forever. I was so preconceived from my history that nothing good lasts that I just enjoy the good rather than reciprocate and try hard to multiply the good. What happened? I became content with everything. I got my sense of home through her. I got my support through her. Experienced sex for the first time with her. I used to tell people I was so good and so experienced with sex yet I was watching porn every day with my dick in my hand. If my dick wasn’t numb I’d be beating it. LMAO

Yeah so I ended up not doing anything with my life cause this is literally the happiest time of my life I guess. I literally didn’t feel the need to want more or need more. To know she exists by my side every day was good enough of a reason for me to settle with whatever I had.

Inevitably, she left. (2017)

Put me in a fuckin swirl. That feeling of solitude slammed me shut. I heard the chains clash against the outer shell of this solitary confinement box or whatever u wanna call it. Heard the padlock snap shut and key tossed away faintly hearing it clank against the floor. Lashed out at my friends (hence a bunch of them I consider brother’s unfriended/blocked me) I became toxic, a cancer cell of a person. I quit my job after 2 weeks cause I was mentally distraught. Knowing full well I’m going homeless in less than a month without the job. I reached out to my best friend Oscar. (October-December 2017) Told him what was happening and what I’ve decided to do. He, having the heart he does helped me out a second time during homelessness and housed my piece of shit ass. First time he grew a full fledged hate for me but he still took it on. Fucking talk about love.

Light. I hear footsteps. Someone’s coming, a violent wrangle of the chains and POP. The sound of the chains hitting the floor followed by bright light. I look up and it’s my best friend. What the fuck. I was ready to die alone. Here he comes and snips open that padlock and says, “this isn’t where you belong. Come out when you’re ready.”

2018 June 28 (Today)

I’ve since started school for video production and design. People who follow me on Instagram or read my long form posts will know. I’ve been in my own head trying to find rhymes and reasons for why I am who I am today. I’m trying to understand why or how I get frustrated/upset/jealous/envious/lustful/depressive. I cut a majority of my connections in terms of friends and family. I moved away from Markham which helped me get my head on straight.

I saw my dad on Father’s day. He said one thing I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.

“You look happy. Been a long time since I’ve seen you this happy. Your face just resonates that you’re happy” (pretty sure he was referring to when we used to play hide and seek as toddlers)

I told him, “Really? Wow I hope so! I’m so damn excited for the next year. If what I envisioned for my next year rolls out like how this year is going for me. I’m gonna have another amazing year”

So yeah. I now know that the basic human need for a home or acceptance is the single thing that pushes them to greatness. I will be the best person I can possibly be to hopefully influence just one other person to really believe and influence another. I’ve discovered what kind of legacy I wanna leave behind. Let’s carry it out.

Being Asian, I hated RAP/HIP-HOP for 20 years

Rap/hip-hop in Cantonese (嘻哈) it’s actually pronounced “HEE-HA”. There is no real term for hip-hop in Chinese so characters that sound like the English words “hip-hop” is used. In Chinese, “he-ha” a.k.a. Hip-Hop is made up from the term “嘻嘻嘻” or “哈哈哈” is known in English aa “hehehe” or “hahaha”. The expression of laughter. Yeah, I was blown away at how similar human-kind really is through something so trivial. Isn’t it crazy how the oldest language in the world found carved into turtle shells thousands of years ago ends up using the same format to display laughter? Here’s a little bit of research I did to show you how long ago the Chinese language was first documented compared to English.

The Chinese language is the oldest written language in the world with at least six thousand years of history. Chinese character inscriptions have been found in turtle shells dating back to the Shang dynasty (1766-1123 BC)1

vs

Old English is the name given to the earliest recorded stage of the English language, up to approximately 1150AD (when the Middle English period is generally taken to have begun).2

Documentation of Chinese is about 2000 years older than any recorded English yet the Chinese culture has been idolizing English speaking rappers since he-ha became mainstream. The English language, a non-tonal language, which often means it requires less lip/tongue movement allowing quicker and more deliberate oral delivery of words. As to Chinese, it really depends how you use your tongue or lips to deliver what you want to say. Sometimes, if you are lazy even with just one word it could mean something entirely different.

Now let’s get into why I started to not only enjoy but love rap/hip-hop for the past three years. It really started when I watched my friend who’s an aspiring producer create a beat from absolutely nothing. Watching him be mesmerized by his own beat making I was also feeling the vibes. He was looking for a sound and this wonky spring like noise came up. He reacted to it, “Ooo this sounds fun”. Me, being the absolute novice couldn’t see how that fit into what he was doing. After adding some effects and equalizing the sound, he put it into his beat where it would drop into the kick layered with an 808 (Click here for a fun short video just for reference). He then played the 8 bars together and I was blown away how that made me wanna nod my head and smile. This pushed me to research beat making especially that I was a huge EDM head at the time along with a wannabe beatboxer I couldn’t help myself. Soon I found myself listening to songs of the all-time best such as the hometown hero, Drake, Eminem and Migos just to name a few. At first, it was for the beats at how it was all put together so masterfully. I started to notice the little intricate sounds each producer likes to use such as Metroboomin, DJ Khaled, Pharrell Williams and Kanye. As I was listening to these beats and songs these producers/artists have blessed upon this earth I realized something. The voice of the artists is a percussion of its own. With every word emphasis, punchline, pause, breath inhale, ad lib and syllable “spat” into the mic. I was mesmerized and hooked. How these artists come up with the lyrics to a beat complimenting the sounds and coming up with a melody to harmonize with the instrumental completely blew my fuckin mind. I’m not a huge fan of the old-school hip-hop and I’m sorry, I’m learning to love it but it’s hard. It’s like telling me to go watch Scarface or Godfather. YEAH RIGHT. Foreal though, I am learning to love some of the old-school stuff slowly. Right now, I am learning and aspiring to write lyrics over a beat, I gotta look at why the greats were known as the greats. Try out their style to find my own.

One last thought, as some of you might have noticed the banner of my blog is a picture of a skateboarder doing a trick called the “Benihana”. That skateboarder is me! I haven’t been able to skate through the winter along with a recovering ankle injury so writing lyrics have been helping me cope and in a way super therapeutic. I am able to express myself fully in any way I wish which is incredible. I can sing it all sad or rhyme it all hype. I discovered that I still hate tasteless rap purely about “fuckin hoes and getting drug money”. I look up to Post Malone a lot because he just does what he does for what he likes to do. I believe that’s where real happiness lies. Welp, that’s all I got for you today!

You might say to me, “Have a great day!”

I will say to you, “Have a better one.”

Later!

Notes:

  1. Lin, Kathy. “Chinese Language.” Chinese Language – EthnoMed, Ethnomed.org, ethnomed.org/culture/chinese/chinese-language-profile
  2. Durkin, Philip. “Old English-an overview.” Oxford English Dictionary, public.oed.com/aspects-of-english/english-in-time/old-english-an-overview/

The Schizophrenic in Me

Schiz, schizo, crazy or even psychopath are ways to describe someone diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

“Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling.”

Now, in this article I won’t be using the respective mental illness to it’s literal meaning and diagnosis. This is something I pondered upon time and time again, throughout my childhood and into my adolescence. Could I be borderline schiz? Sure, I might not be medically diagnosed with schizophrenia but sometimes my conscience is so vivid that it feels almost out of body. It drives my heart insane at times thinking of something that’s not really there and basically selling myself the idea of something absolutely outrageous. I would have conversations with myself containing more exchanges than with a friend in some occasions. I know some of you may say this is a pathological behaviour and I 100% agree. This leads me to believe if I had a friend like myself we would be able to constantly bounce ideas off each other. Which is what led me to this thought of the schizophrenic in me.

You see, a lot of times I can’t remember some of the thoughts or conversations I had with myself mainly because I haven’t spoken it aloud. It usually is all in my head therefore it isn’t tangible. Which is why I started blogging. To document down all these absurd thoughts I have that my gut feeling is simply, “amazing”. So that I should jot it down for my future self to look back upon.

I always think back about seven years to see where my mind took me in my life. Needless to say, I’m about to embark on the biggest years going into my mid twenties. Unlike when I was sixteen when I had no idea what was about to unfold in the next seven years. Today, I have an idea of where I wanna be in seven years. This has to be a good thing right? Even if it isn’t, it would be absolutely fascinating to look back in seven years at this very blog post and make another blog post telling the today me that I was able to do some things and how the things I’m hoping for right now either happened or didn’t happen.

I’m totally looking forward in attempting to achieve my goals so to be able to say, “Hey look you did it.” or “Hey look you didn’t get anywhere! Now wake up!” I don’t know.

Hey future self,

as of today you’re hoping for a specific career and lover. Let’s see if it happens. All to it bud. Love you.

2018 self

P.S. Today is your first day of College