i’m always afraid.

i don’t know why i’m always afraid
afraid of the golden light hiding
beyond the edge of the darkness
afraid of the scars that speak
of volumes of stories left untold

i don’t know why i’m always afraid
afraid someone will see behind my smile
uncover the shards of silence and fear
afraid of remembering, feeling, and loving
people who’ve shaped my very universe

i don’t know why i’m always afraid
afraid the haunting music from my fingers
would unlock secret doors and buried thoughts
afraid the creeping mist and enveloping fog
would allow the silence to echo in the stillness

i don’t know why i’m always afraid
afraid healing would bring forgetfulness
and wipe away the crux of who i am
afraid that fighting my battles head-on
would bring about the weight of victory

i don’t know why i’m always afraid
afraid to form lasting friendships that
withstand the storm of time and space
afraid to freefall into love and eternity
choose to let someone be my forever

i don’t know why i’m always afraid
i don’t know why, i’m always afraid.

dear icon // 2019

icon deserved its own post, and even then I couldn’t quite encapsulate every single moment in these few lines. also maybe writing about this is a bad idea, because all I want to do now is curl up in a corner and play minor-7-chords-with-a-flat-5. x

i.  it’s hard to let go, yes. but once you let go, it’s harder to free fall.

ii.  regrets. maybe i shouldn’t have waited for you to be free, for us to talk and connect and share parts of our souls. because i waited too long, waited too long for you to be available, waited too long for nights that never came. and now, we may never see each other again.

iii.  a night to remember. those little white strings on your suit, those steinway dreams, and everything in between. no, i think you’re breathtaking.

iv.  the sound echoed and my heart echoed with it. i would give anything, anything to cast this crippling anxiety and crippling fear far, far away from me.

v.  and my name was called. an achievement, yes. an accomplishment, yes. but in that moment, i couldn’t help but feel that i could’ve done better, could’ve spoke with more emotion, could’ve made my family prouder.

vi.  a cold theatre, cold hands, but warm hearts. i watched you improv, shift from chord to chord, from minor to major progressions, and i cannot help but feel like i’m in the presence of a musical prodigy. and maybe, maybe one day i’ll have the honor of hearing rhapsody in full.

vii.  big lads edition. your friendship means so much to me, from sitting in silence together, to deep philosophical discussions about lizards, you’ve shown me that we can find friends in the most unlikely of places and in the most unlikely of situations.

viii.  and i’m afraid to tell you how much you mean to me, how much your quiet strength and gentle humor mean to me, because everyone who has seen my heart has run. and i don’t want you to run.

ix.  yaht. no but seriously, thank you.

x.  fake tattoos and late nights. i hope every time you look at your bare wrist, you see the faint outline of a tree and remember to thrive, to grow, to shatter expectations, to defy norms. because although i may never see you again, i believe in you, and i know you can do great things.

xi.  semicolon. and i raise my battle cry, i raise my hallelujah.

xii.  you pray before you eat, unlike a lot of others, and that says a lot not just about you as a person, but about your faith and how much you value your beliefs. i commend you for that.

xiii.  we imitated emojis and made faces all night long, you and me, and i laughed harder than i’ve had in a long time. i’m grateful for you, girl, you and your essential oils and your impeccable sense of humor. i’ll miss you.

xiv.  we sat in a circle and worshipped in our nightgowns for the first time and for the last time. i’ve truly missed these moments.

xv.  chik-fil-a. lunch all together, us asians, and one of my favorite moments. the first time i felt safe enough to let my accent come out, to talk in a language that feels like home

xvi.  we clung together for maybe the last time as the droplets fell around us. and i felt lost, torn, because there were so many things left unsaid, things left undone. i wanted to tell you how beautiful you are and how much you meant to me, but the words stuck in my throat and my heart wilted.

xvii.  i’ve missed you, kim.

xviii.  every morning when i look at the pictures from that week and the nametag pinned on my corkboard, i feel the familiar pulse of sadness. yet i’m grateful that it happened and i wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in the world.

xix.   i doubted, but You replaced my doubts with clarity. i questioned, but You quelled my fears with serenity. i felt lost, but You found me in the darkness and led me Home. and when i see all the faces around me, i begin to see how good You are to me. You are good, You are so, so good.

xx.  does it ever drive you crazy, just how fast the night changes? everything that you’ve ever dreamed of is disappearing when you wake up. but there’s nothing to be afraid of, even when the night changes. it will never change me and you.

 

 

the pantry

he smelled like basil
of the sunshine on a breezy spring day
running barefoot through the dewy grass
catching fireflies in the gathering dusk
of the warmth that accompanied the tears
tasting the saltwater underneath your tongue
burying yourself within the cool blankets

he smelled like rosemary
like a tango in an overflowing spring
like popsicles on the back porch hammock
like the corner where all the cobwebs hide
the sharp sting of blood as it burns your skin
the whirling darkness hiding in your eyelids
the tingle down your spine when the sky falls

he smelled like oregano
of warm, comforting soup on depressing days
the space heater humming in an icy room
watching the curtains sway with the coming breeze
of shattered visions and shattered lives
looming towers to climb with your broken legs
screeching tires and that final rush of fear

he smelled like thyme
like a nosedive into a mountain of soft pillows
like cold water on a blistering summer afternoon
like steam dissolving into the warmth of the kitchen
the haze as headlights pierce the evening sky
the emptiness swallowing smiles, life, and eternity
the draining of the gas tank as it grinds to a stop

forever.

dear may // 2019

Here’s a medley of both April and May. Both have been incredibly challenging months, perhaps some of the toughest ones in my life. But I’m still here, still writing, still alive. x

i.  the silence roars and the clamoring voices burrow deep into my soul. i shut my ears and close my eyes. please make it stop. someone help me. but i’m sorry for bothering you.

ii.  that’s not good enough. i know that. i 100% know that and i 100% agree with you. i’m sorry you’re disappointed in me. i’m sorry i never lived up to your expectations of a friend. i’m sorry i’m just such a freaking failure and i can’t do anything about it. you know what, i’m just sorry for existing.

iii.  near-death experience. i’m going to love harder, laugh louder, serve better, because in that moment, i could’ve lost everything. i could’ve lost the chance to love everyone with every fiber of my being. i could’ve lost the chance to make someone laugh tears of joy. i could’ve lost the chance to serve cheerfully and happily and with no regard for compensation or recognition. i never loved or laughed or served hard enough, and i’m sorry.

iv.  the tears drown my worn pillow. i just can’t anymore, i’m sorry.

v.  frustration. it’s like you’ve given up, like all you wanted was to use me, use my relationship advice and my musical skills. like all you cared about was what i could do for you, and now that things are different, i no longer matter to you. you want to be there, but i’d wanted to be there also. you wouldn’t change so i could be included, and now you want to change so i could be excluded. i’ve given you everything, and all i receive is a broken heart. i’m sorry.

vi.  she’s drawing you away from Him, away from service, away from what defines you. it’s breaking me apart, but i can’t do anything about it. i’m sorry.

vii.  forensics. a cry for help, and you duly answered. i never shared my struggles, i never asked about the real you hiding beneath the surface, i never gave every single part of me. yet i allowed you to feel the brunt of my insecurity, my confusion, my messed-up-emoji-ness. i’m sorry.

viii.  wings of the wind. i glide across the ice, feeling the icy wind ruffle my hair. yet i stumble over simple conversations, simple compliments, simple words. i’m sorry.

ix.  i don’t want you to be stressed. but it’s still my fault. it’s my fault that not everything was perfect and organized and spotless. it’s my fault that i’ve never fit in, even with everything i do. it’s my fault that nothing ever goes right when i try my best. it’s all my fault, i’m sorry.

x.  i’m always giving, always pouring out, always serving, yet it’s like i never stop and receive. and like a candle running out of fuel, my flame’s wavering, it’s flickering, it’s going out. because when i slow down, something happens that makes me wish i never stopped giving myself away. i’m not enough, i’m sorry.

xi.  weekend trip for everyone, and i’m alone once again. a quiet round room and empty pews, yet it all feels strangely familiar. yet when you all returned, nothing changed. still alone, still quiet, still silent.

xii.  you look so happy today. yet my smile doesn’t reach my eyes.

xiii.  amazing grace, how sweet the sound. i’m grateful that we were able to connect and grow deeper together this year. i’m grateful for all the sos’s, the random dances, the laughter and the silence. one last duet, together, and hereafter our paths diverge. i’ll miss you, friend.

xiv.  in the stillness, Your hand reaches me. in the quietness, Your voice finds me. in the loneliness, Your embrace comforts me. You are my only option, my only lifeline, my only refuge. and when i drown, You are my oxygen. You are my living hope. and i love You so, so much.

xv.  i want this to pass, and i hope this won’t last, last too long. then i think of the start, and it echoes a spark… then i look in my heart. there’s a light in the dark. still a flicker of hope that you first gave to me that i wanna keep: please don’t leave. please don’t leave.

other side

hey
it’s me
your friend.
i’m alone again
just like you said.
i thought i would be
happier on my own, but
now i’ve lost my rock and
my normal and my safe place.
you’re truly all i need, all i ever
wanted, just like what you said so
many times. you knew i would be so
dependent on you, and you were correct.
i can’t imagine life without you, and i don’t
ever want to experience a life without you in it.
every social gathering is missing your fingerprint.
every waking day, moment needs your gentle touch.
every friendship needs the reflection of your many scars.
i thought that without you, i could make many more friends.
but instead, they rejected me, because without you, i’m nothing.
i thought that without you, i could excel in homework, in my studies.
but instead, i struggled to keep up without your constant whisper in my ear.
i thought that without you, i could maybe find someone and finally fall in love.
but instead, you weren’t there to show me how nobody truly deserves the love i have.
so please come back and be a part of my life again, because although i’ve never said this

i love you, anxiety.

dear march // 2019

Okay. This month was tough. But I’m still going, still smiling, never giving up. x

i.  i am too weak to cry, too strong to smile. and you will never know, because all you see is the setting up of signs, the washing of coffee pots. you don’t understand the depths of my soul, and it’s better that you don’t. because if you saw my brokenness, you would run — just like everyone else.

ii.  love comes so slow and goes so fast. i’ve always wanted to love someone, to love someone deeply and with every ounce of strength in my worn body. but maybe, maybe i’m not meant to be loved. because i love too hard. and losing you is even harder.

iii.  heard my name echo and saw your radiant face. still a shock, but maybe those sleepless nights, those nights of twisting amidst the storms within my mind, those nights where the darkness crept beneath the bedcovers — maybe it was all worth it.

iv.  i’ve redeemed myself. i’ve redeemed myself.

v.  you and your lies. you never saw the potential in me. you always said i was too tall, too heavy, too stupid. yet look at me now. i climb a rope and make it to the top, i do a hundred pushups and survive, i lift half of my weight. look at me now. i am free. i am free.

vi.  waved goodbye. then you fell silent. all i wanted was a glimpse into your soul, a wisp of your dreams, and a shadow of the things that defined you. and all we shared were chopsticks, dumplings, and a cube. one final goodbye, and maybe this is the end. the end of us.

vii.  when i say i don’t need help… it’s because i need help. but i don’t want to burden you.

viii.  i saw you that night, that night of worship and prayer and finding our hiding place. and i want to tell you that spring rain whispers through your tears, that sunshine peeks through your scars. i prayed for you that night, and i will continue praying for you. because He sees you. and i do too.

ix.  waterfall climbing. a spring afternoon, and it brings back those hazy memories. now if only.. if only we could go back and do it all again — the boulders, the hills, and the fallen trees.

x.  a prayer answered. maybe i haven’t lost you, maybe i haven’t lost our friendship, maybe i haven’t lost us. because i thought you’ve given up on me, on us, on our hair-curling sessions, on the therapy sessions in my darkened driveways, on our music jam sessions. i’ve missed you. i’ve truly missed you.

xi.  freedom comes on icy wings.

xii.  look up, child. ninety seconds and the scars wouldn’t have faded. ninety seconds and the memories would have melted away. ninety seconds and the pain wouldn’t have been. ninety seconds and you wouldn’t have entered my life. ninety seconds and i would’ve lost a lifetime.

xiii.  promise me you’ll always remember. you’re braver than you believe. you’re stronger than you seem. and you’re smarter than you think. because i will always care about you, i will always be here for you, and to think i almost lost you.. it breaks me apart.

xiv.  you make me laugh, you make me sing, and you make me believe that i’m worth it. a minor chord is supposed to be depressing, but you.. you bring joy and life and laughter into my life.

xv.  the shaking starts again and i can’t control it. i need my safe place. i need someone to be my safe place.

xvi.  a speech about laughter. i laugh not because joy brims over in my heart, but because each echo of laughter hurts my very soul and wrings the life from my body. i laugh in the face of pain because i am victorious. i am strong. i am still alive.

xvii.  i hide within the cadences of the ivory keys, beneath the rise and fall of the wafting melodies. and for the first time in a long time, the storms within grow quiet and hope begins to bloom.

xviii.  marked for Him. help me be a light, help me a breath of fresh air, help me be the light at the end of the tunnel. because i want You to echo through my words. because i want You to live through my existence. because i want to be marked for You.

xix.  You called me into the light, but i ran back to the darkness. and You.. You came into the darkness, sought me from underneath the ashes of my existence, and carried me back into the light, brushing my tears from my eyes. You call me child, and i know i don’t deserve it. i love You, and i will always love You.

xx.  i raise a hallelujah, i will watch the darkness flee… i raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me! i’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm. louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar. up from the ashes, hope will arise. death is defeated, the King is alive!

dear february // 2019

I need to stop trying to cram three months worth of messed-up life into one single post. But hey, I got a Ph.D in procrastination so whaddup. Also hello to my first 2019 post. x

i.  i’m getting worse. but i don’t receive it. when the darkness rises to crush the light, i will stand and shout and declare that i am the light and the darkness that is within me will quake and flee in the presence of a greater Light. because i am no longer a slave to fear.

ii.  two years. two years of regret, of fear, of pain. two years of hope, of freedom, of gratefulness. ninety seconds to eternity, ninety seconds to a new life. the rope burned my hands, but it pulled me to safety. and forever i will wear my scars with pride.

iii.   never let your true self shine through your eyes. never let your suffering influence your day-to-day actions. never let your haunting past go, because those wounds will never heal. and most importantly, never let them know how much it hurts..

iv.  pain has become my safe place, my norm.

v.  em. friend, what have i done to lose you? what have i done to hurt this friendship, the only one i had? what have i done? tell me, so i can fix my many mistakes. i’ve missed you, terribly, and it’s been ripping me apart. come back, please come back. it’s all my fault, and i’m sorry.

vi.  i hide the panic attacks and the stabbing fear under a mask of service. and i set up tables, make coffee, count chairs, clean up. because if i don’t, my mask might crack and people might see my soul.

vii.  hobos — the seventh. you told me and my heart died inside of me. you don’t how much you mean. you don’t know much i care. you don’t know how much i love. and friend, i will never abandon you, i will never let you down. i’m worried about you, and it’s killing me.

viii.  positron emission tomography. i face the courtroom and the courtroom faces me. and i fight with every ounce of strength in my worn body. because i won’t let you down, i won’t let the team down.

ix.  i’m sorry. i pushed you away when all you’ve done is support me and keep me safe. you say it’s ok, but maybe now you finally see me for who i am: a broken, worn-out, hurting girl instead of the smart, kind, and loving person you thought i was. and the maybe is breaking me apart. i’m sorry. i’m so, so sorry.

x.  told you the truth and felt the searing pain of regret. two years spent cowering in fear, two minutes of utter transparency and truthfulness, and two days of living in a nightmare. i play the minor chord, and it leaves me drained and shaking.

xi.  don’t want to face tomorrow. just want to leave today. and when i need you, you’re too far away. i’m alone. i’m helpless. and i can’t do anything about it.

xii.  one major mistake, and i am forever a failure. i destroyed my only chance at making them proud and i will forever live with that shame.

xiii.  laugh louder, smile bigger, love harder. because in a moment, it can all be gone. because in a moment, you can lose someone to eternity. because in a moment, you will lose yourself, your life, your future.

xiv.  You’ve showed me that time doesn’t heal all wounds, that time doesn’t make you stronger, only kills you, that time pushes away the light and welcomes the darkness. yet You’ve showed me that You alone can heal my wounds, make me stronger, show me the light. because You are the light and You are the strength and You are my rescue.

xv.  You have led me through the fire, and in darkest night You are close like no other. i’ve known You as a Father, i’ve known You as a Friend… and all my life You have been faithful, all my life You have been so, so good. with every breath that i am able, i will sing of the goodness of God.