winds; relished thoughts
revel like oasis
wounded memories metamorphose
Thursday, Mar. 14, 2019 @ 9:52 a.m.
Of course, my panic alarm triggered in new place where time is caged. I am not ready to breathe life into wordpress since love and energy tanks are exhausted, but that battle took the writer side out of me into the world.
It made me face my fear of silences.
The muted melody that seethes of fear and rejection in court-esque politics.
It reminded that I am not emperor's bird (well, I tried) material.
But the melancholy will linger for a while before some resilience is breathed into me. At times, this emotion overpowered so much that I am drowned. Being how quick to grasp information that I am, it instantly bouts into a static overload, as if a SEO map gone wrong.
And of course, penning it with little words is the cheapest but most vulnerable form of therapy so of course I am still here.
Monday, Mar. 11, 2019 @ 4:46 a.m.
At times I find my self awareness and immense conscience difficult to deal with.
Granted, I know a lot, at times, too much about myself and spend most of my life (trying) to accept/embrace this vulnerable soul I strive so hard to preserve.
But that also means I deal with triggering issues 5 times harder, and have a very difficult time after reflective silences because my brain will decipher Byzantine history in 2 weeks, and I can comeback on interesting capital punishments and laws. Even with this newer interest in stocks and dividends, it is as if I am an old soul.
We all know about how I am going to build towards this freelancer life so I can roll my eyes, drown in coffee and be banker wife 2.0 (had a discussion with the banker, agreed that we signed up for the wrong things where he could be HR and I would be smirking as some independent broker having 5 people signed up for a credit card/accounts with my image of I used to be a finance idiot and now....)
But let's not dwell on that. I am exploring this context of death as more facebook friends have babies (I know, what a cynic).
I still grieve over the deaths I saw.
The suicides that I heard from high school and university reunions. There were untold stories of harassment, depression and complications that we never hear. Yet, all we seem to label people is their status. There is so much untold that I wander and want to know.
The deaths that we know are coming but still cannot get over. Grandmother is always a muse in my stories and this is how it became. I offer another to make a biography for another grandmother because it is a memento mori. They have rich stories. Perhaps, their ideas of cycle of life is different from mine but to relive the moments of war, love, death and life? I will write it all over again.
The non physical deaths we experience. I like to think of creative partner as the ex husband but his departure was needed for me to be where it is. The Beirut memories and conversations among the 4 will always be there and i can never refuse the rooftop party till the end of the world of nihilism and revolutions. But he left. It was because of this I realize I can be a sage and seduce with words and find the banker that see through the vulnerability. It was because of this can I see I have no role in immediate revolutions, but having the keys to 3 civilizations may mean I can ultimately stop something.
Or my own death. The older I get, the more of a sage I become and want to retreat to the oceans where I can dance like a drunk literati. I know my type lives for purpose and so it is fitting when I exit I fulfill that purpose despite the sins and loins. So it is time to achieve that sage
Wednesday, Feb. 06, 2019 @ 4:04 p.m.
When I finished my translation assignment with martial arts novels, I thought I would immediately delve back into writing.
In a series of beautifully timed injuries and snowstorms, I found myself hibernating into a comfy slumber until it is time to write again. Young me would challenge myself, but present me has long accepted it is a transition between inspiration and evolution.
Long ago, I thought I am done with faith shift.
But not so.
I feel for those in Abrahamaic religions who are equally challenged and questioned as our faiths are thrown into an ocean of oblivion, and external pressures leave us to lick our own wounds.
Our desert mothers and fathers have long question, for faith is a cyclical cycle of seasons, where perhaps doubt and sabbaths will lead to a beautiful wild.
Since I become a privileged foreigner in the Islamic world, let me divulge into the Islamic faith shift I encounter.
To me, the crux of Islam is obedience, and in its arabic linguistic roots, it means submission or volunteer submission to God. There was a tale where Mohammed sent shops to Africa asking the Emperors to obey to God, and almost everyone except the Ethiopian Emperor submitted. Perhaps, of fear. Perhaps, of their perceptions of God.
However, because Islam achieved what Christianity did not manage do - to integrate into governance, when civilizations globalized, it become much harder to "modernize" tradiitional customs that were made centuries ago. It is always my hope that countries would separate governance from Sharia Law since interpretations can easily be played into the authority's advantage - how it pains to see people stoned and whipped for different opinions?
I want to pen this because we get this gift of shifting. There will be hoards of well wishers that tell us we are going through a downward path; there will be leaders who tell us to pray more or participate into multiple support groups. There will be a constant sense of guilt or sin or question whether we made the right choice. (In fact, I have this guilty feeling as I blog about whether I can even speak of other Abrahamic religions, so perhaps years of Evangelical fears still linger)
And all of this to be answered to a backdrop of silence.
I cannot guarantee there is a quick fix or definite ending towards tis shift. There are sojourners who left the faith completely, those who returned back or those who treasure their new existence in this beautiful, wild ground of living in the fringes. What I can say is to take this silence to find soul-nourishing activities that heal you with the trauma.
It was hard grippling that I disobey/sin - but you may find the religious books or even the idea of prayer traumatizing - so take a break. Refrain from viewing websites that reinforce faith shift is a horrible idea because it happens. Sometimes, these groups may gather a group of people who needs help themselves and as my late counselor said, toxicity can breed more toxicity.
I remember how I turn my faith shift into a historical study of Abrahamic faiths and I had a wonderful quest discovering architecture and politics of Byzantine, British and Shi'a and Sunni empires. And the times I converse with friends about histories without any conversion.
There are still a lot to be done in the Islamic world, because there is only one text, and how male-dominated societies can end up not being protective of women (see honour marriages or temporary marriages in the news). But there must be some beautifully wild things going on if they too begin to faith shift. The shift in Christianity is emerging with more progressive churches implmenting LGBTQ/interfaith programs, but would there be a voice for Islamc to speak out and break away from the stronghold of submission?
So I shall sit back and witness this shift and see what it leads. I came out still believing in Christianity but also with a vast knowledge of Christian/Islamic history, however, my trauma and the trauma still exists. In the meantime, I will let my vulnerability flow into its own dance of words as I retreat to the protective cloisters of Byzantine and Qajar empires.
My silent melancholy
Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 @ 8:34 p.m.
I am sure I have spent the last 4 years deliberating interfaith and cultures ever since I started dating Muslim fiance, so bear with it as I vent because after 4 years of hope, frustration and discoveries...
I finally came clean to my mother about my struggle to ever fit into mainstream Christianity.
This is really for myself.
In my 4 years of faith shifting, my faith was questioned at every angle because everything from 2 Corinthians passage to small groups to the internet would tell me that being with Muslim fiance would be an evil, abhorrent, downward spiral sin.
There were times I question Islam, especially when it is always associated with terrorism, but I found there are both extreme Christians and Muslims, some may bomb and ravage a city, and others may drive people to kill themselves.
This struggle started when I decided to quit the Evangelical Church 4 years ago because the pastor delivered a sermon targeting at young people to only date Christians or convert their significant others before marriage.
That hurt me to the core. It was not as if I went outside of my way to date a Muslim guy to rebel against the church, but to see that there was no support to whom you thought could rely on was devastating and disappointing.
I remembered the days when I experimented with the prospect of no God or going into another Abrahamic religion. However, both options did not work for me. I could not shake off the idea that there was no such idea of a caring and just God, yet I disagree that Mohammed is a prophet, or that Jesus is merely a storyteller.
That was part of the reason why I relocated to another country to regain my sanity.
When I turned to the internet to find others' experience, it was even worse. My google searches often resulted in links from various churches bashing my decision, or emphasizing the need for conversion. While there were the rare one or two articles that became my lifeline, the other ones were often nightmare experiences of women who married Muslm men and were psychologically abused.
I don't deny their experiences. Everyone's experiences will be different.
What continues to traumatize me is how exclusive and unsupportive communities can be - to have false friendships that are based on one's success rate of converting their spouses (needless to say, I am no longer friends with my former small group members) or to endure continuous advice to convert; to reject and ostracize members because of our failures or lack of motivation to convert our partners and to haunt us with well intended reminders of what a downward spiral we are heading into.
What a struggle it had been - to be in the faith, and yet to face so much backlash in the community. I finally understood why others who been through similar experiences decided to convert into their partner's religions, give up the relationship or religion altogether.
As my Muslim girlfriend's faith started to unravel, it opened this Pandora's box for me. But I am grateful for those rare friends who chose to stay friends and online communities that remind me that there are also many of us who are silenced into this steep price of interfaith relationships.
But I am hopeful that there will be a change in these toxic communities, and that there will be accepting and progressive communities that will spring up. For the world continues to globalize and there will be more interfaith marriages and friendships, and I vow that I will still do what I could to let my future children choose for themselves.
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018 @ 11:24 p.m.
I have not brushed with words for quite some time, so it is always comforting to start my art in this safe haven for 15+ years.
This year has been full of changes in my artistic and professional lives. I feel blessed and am excited, but naturally, I worry.
Transitioning into a new job with the standard notice is a big deal for me. While I am very well versed in the game of freelancing and teaching/research contracts, I have never transitioned into another position due to relocations. And this job is a transition in itself as I transform from an educator with administrative responsibilities to an administrator for continuing education.
But instead of rushing myself, I know this time, I am going to take my sweet time to process and be thankful for all the friendships and opportunities.
Creative wise, I have fallen in love into the world of translating fictions. I have definitely learned the hard way that I need a sabbath after 4 months of translations coaxed all the words out of me, but it is an art in itself to translate Chinese web novels into English pieces, and I do relish the occasional poetic phrases here and there. This is definitely something I will take in a heartbeat so long it is not 40 chapters per week.
I also took back the reins on managing the facebook group that I founded for Allpoetry members. Managing writers is naturally easy because we can all relate with our creative tendencies, but balancing these words with a firm grip was a process. So glad I have another admin on board to help me approve posts so I can spend more time resting in my creative haven. (I tend to imagine it as a chinese pavilion or an artist studio)
And of course, the other half whose busy lifestyle make my life so colourful and somehow manage to believe I can do everything like this.
Tuesday, Nov. 06, 2018 @ 9:45 p.m.
These days, instead of picking up my writer pen, I pick up the translator pen and recreate Chinese contemporary martial arts novels into an English novel.
After translating over 100 chapters each month, I fell in love with the martial arts, the plot twists, the romances and the history and with the death of Jin Yong, the pioneer of modern Chinese wuxia last week, I hope to continue the legacy.
But since I get paid to write and translate, the allure of rising to be a manager becomes less and less attractive to me.
Not because I have no ambition, but because I already own my freelance business and oversee myself from contract negotiations and crafting words, to payments and the full cycle of my projects. I definitely enjoy seeing sides of employee (day job) and owner (night hustle), and who can resist doing amazing things like voice overs and translation of chinese legacies?
But of course, my hope is to fully retire into this underground gig economy and focus on translating, teaching and writing. This will hopefully give me more time to write my Chinese literature and appreciate Arabic poetry.
After all, if Allpoetry facebook group can organically grow into 2500+ members worldwide, and my translator's pen could start off with $0, everything is possible.
Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018 @ 4:21 p.m.
I knew my destiny and what I had to do.
Even the counselor said I need healing from the trauma of writer life and not counseling.
I try to be light.
But I know who I am with is always my opposite.
Depending on where you believe in Christianity, I am already paired up with the dark side being with a Sunni Muslim.
Or we may say that we are united as followers or descendents of Ishmael and Isaac.
Or we unified the Arab and Chinese worlds and that we would have made the Silk Road Trade in Chang'an so smooth. In a different dynasty like Yuan dynasty, I would definitely be in a higher rank because of the significant other.
But you usually see him first.
I am, after all, packed with an ambition and grit of a dragon, yet I fully know I am to heal and to love and to write. You don't want to see me too soon, because that meant something would happen.
Or perhaps, I just want to give you a teaser with writes and make you savour gothchyld here and there in my selfish desires.
Monday, Aug. 13, 2018 @ 10:19 p.m.
I wanted to be strong, to be bold, to change someth
I was raised to a warrior and charm the crowds with a smirk, and tested again and again with projects under projects, but my emotions would not numb and tears still flow at certain fleeting moments.
It was not until years later that I was told I have a much more powerful gift - to heal, to create, to give meaning and perhaps, to change the world.
Let me shred and peel myself in front of you.
Unveil my scars concealed under layers of concealer for decades.
And breathe life as I choke out the toxins like a periodic ritual.
Perhaps, creative souls also liken that we trespass two worlds - the reality that has its own set of practical rules and prejudiced ideas, and the organic, evolving creative realm that envelopes us with love and go tell us to do something.
All the time, my creative side tells me to preserve this emotional beauty with elegant words, but then go be a fiery word warrior that mediates and fight for peace and understanding at the most turbulent shores.
I didn't buy a ticket to the most dangerous places and fight - that would be irrational, and that is another's purpose. But we will get back to that later, because my life also connects to these conflicting forces.
Before I come back to this conflict, I had to acknowledge my raw emotions and the creative realm are my core self, and read encyclopedias upon encylclopedias of dysfunctions of the heart and the mind. Perhaps that was what God had in mind for me. After all, it is not everyday I come out unscathed of a havoc.
To untangle and sense the hidden emotions and struggling life of those who have numbed so long.
To discern and continually pray that those who killed their core selves will one day embrace their murdered selves and cherish their lives.
To be a sounding board for them and tilt them to ideas, but never to force them so. It is their homework, I often assert myself, even if it takes a life time.
However, I made a vow that I will never be a counselor. To absorb so much is too much for me and I do not want to poison myself. It is better to be the initial guiding light and lead them to the rational professionals who can do that.
At my core, I am simply an artist-writer-historian who creates and breathes meaning and this is the formula that I can thrive with.
Now, back to our conflicting forces....
A decade ago, I did try to be bold and have some literary revolution over war at Middle East. My kindred spirits are dear to me and I bury myself into books, attempting to learn their laws and the root of the problem.
But life decided it was time for me to cherish and savour art history to strengthen my craft and leave this for 10 years later, when I met my soulmate and came into a crossover.
In the Bible, we are constantly reminded of the different paths that Isaac and Ishmael. Through Gentiles, I have read the stories of Isaac, but he read and believe in the origins of Ishmael.
I do not know of God's plans ahead, but I do know that this conflict continues today in warfare.
Some of us and some of them have turned into extremists who have gone too deep in the dark unfortunately. But there is still hope.
I never convert to his side, there are some beliefs that I don't believe in, but from historical books, it appears that this long-standing feud started when we kill whoever who disagrees with us, and this dragged onto crusades and quests to purify the world, along with some corruption here and there.
So now, I shed and sit in the position of diplomat - still hoping to be more like God through the Bible, but dissecting Middle East history and politics as if an expert. (Let's not forget the lecture about Wahhabism, it was exhausting)
Kick into my out of the world writer self and you cannot get a more delicate position.
But I guess, this resiliency means I get to change the world after all.
The Battle With Silence
Sunday, Aug. 05, 2018 @ 4:25 p.m.
The 6-hour Mindfulness Retreat last week opened a Pandora's box.
It was not my first time in a Mindfulness Retreat, nor the first time I saw my mind warped and wrecked and wrestled in pieces.
But when I came out, I had refluxes, anxiety attacks and little critters reminding me of the haunting silence.
As introspective I can be, I have been burned into fearing stillness. Growing up in Hong Kong does not help when everything can be answered in 2 minutes and you have a barrage of apps to toy with in the subways either.
But to leave my inquisitive mind into a stasis when half of me have a booked schedule, and the other half of me have my challenge to be writer-diplomat-historian, that is placing me in a haunted house.
This reverie spins and kills my inspirations into strings of madness, but it is precisely the root I have to face.
My body will one day return to ashes, and I do not need to burn and churn my mind to build Venice when this stillness enables me to savour finer things in life. Not everyone has this gift to be self aware and decipher their issues at the expense of a $20 mindfulness therapy and aspiring mindfulness teacher training. (Yes, this is happening)
To slow down and inhale life
To realize meanings and purposes
and retreat into a sabbath of art
in this blended reality
and return to both worlds in big love adagio
Monday, Apr. 02, 2018 @ 11:20 p.m.
While Canada is a living proof of thriving diversity, at times, I relish over my cross-cultural upbringing and experience.
Recently, one of my poems is selected to be included in Allpoetry's 2018 Anthology "On Earth As It Is in Poetry" under the name "gothchyld" (it will be published in US!). While each write has their own story and each publication is equally special, I was more amazed that as a former EAL/ESL student, I have not only continued to study English in A-Levels and University level, but manage to publish my English poetry in UK and US.
While my parents intentionally taught me English and Cantonese (but of course, with a bit of Chinese accent), my cross-cultural upbringing was completely accidental.
I have seen that cross cultural adults often made choices - to revert to their primary culture (e.g. ethnicity by blood), to convert to their secondary culture (e.g. where/what they were brought up) or to maintain their fluidity of cultures and went on to be even more mixed. How I took the latter high road, I do not know.
Although they were born and bred in Asia, my parents were never local by heart. Perhaps, because they love both Hollywood and Korean movies, and embrace the progressive society that the West have. I remember a childhood traveling to museums in Asia and North America, and reading both Red Mansion and Pride and Prejudice.
Enter British international school that was a melting of nationalities. After catching up with English for 2 years to be on par with my peers (critical thinking was not well integrated in local schools then), the romance of soccer and sophistication of Shakespeare have won over me. My love of Shakespeare definitely spills over to university and beyond and I still occasionally brag how I studied under two renowned Shakespearean scholars (Prof. Jill Levenson and Prof. Holger Syme), where I learned to decipher beyond iambic pentameter and write about Elizabethan medicine.
But art appreciation took over.
And so did my writing partner from Middle East who brought a breath of fresh air.
10+ years, I met with my classmate, who has progressively become 'local' in Hong Kong culture after she met her Hong Kong born and bred fiance. Her Cantonese and knowledge of Hong Kong culture probably beats me now, but I know my dilemma on Hong Kong and China governance would never let me revert to a local.
Or my cousin who has studied the arts and met her Caucasian boyfriend in the creative industries. But I know I can barely finish an American/Canadian TV show, have almost quit alcohol altogether (liver takes too long to breakdown) nor do I like camping so forget that.
Life somehow decide that it will be more fun for me to retain all my cultures and take on a new one. It has continued to groom me to appreciate and understand more of Chinese and British history and literature, along with Canadian art. Then after my writing partner vanished back to the practical world, I met my South Asian fiance with a similar cross cultural upbringing and I end up deciphering Mughal and Ottoman Empires along with Islamic laws (very sporadically) to understand beyond family gossip.
Despite Chinese questioning my interesting life choices (based on 9/10 Chinese friends and cousins), the South Asian fraction has welcomed me with open arms (based on 9/9 South Asian friends). Something must be right.
This may just be glocalization at its best.
But I know I will definitely remind future children that the world is truly their oyster with 4 cultures and languages at their hands.