Why Write

I’ve had a lot of time lately to think long and hard about why I should write. The usual questions like What’s my goal? Who am I writing for? Would it be okay if it’s just for me? How much am I willing to commit to someday getting marginally “better” at writing? What’s it all for anyway? (And I had to fend off the host of existential questions it later spawned.)

While journalling this morning I think I came closer to understanding my motivations. I ended up making a pretty broad statement that can be applied to all self-expression in general. But hope that this awareness will help me better define the shape, scope, and purpose of writing:

🖤 Writing is a political act. That feels more true and genuine than any other I participate in. Every moment I write (or read, depending on the piece) is a moment I’m choosing not to engage with all the inane/toxic dribble that tries to steal my attention. The majority of stimuli that fight dirty to demand my most precious resources (time/money/spirit) 🖤 It is as much a resistance of fake promises as a search for original thought, human connection, and self-expression. Writing for myself is true and unsullied it’s attempting to tap into the source, both primal and evolved. It’s undiluted, has no ulterior motive, free from agenda, free from bodily and societal limitations 🖤 Writing is a conscious act to block out the noise – so loud and copious – demanding me to look up. Almost none of that noise comes from a good place. By writing, I take it upon my powers to shut them out and invite truth into my space. I would never stop writing because it’s all for myself, like meditation 🖤 Writing is a practice of negation just as much as creation. It’s much easier to remove the trash when I focus on filling the space with something else. Where you tend a rose, a thistle will not grow 🖤

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Journalling For Anxiety

Update: My job ended and I’m moving to LA next month. The changes are hitting me hard this week, as I’m wrapping up a familiar life in my favorite city and trying to create a footing somewhere new and intimidating. This is rough patch that I know I’ll get through. These are some thoughts I’ve jotted down during my (ample) spare time.

How did I used to write memoirs? Truth is, it was always a crapshoot. The only routine I’d instated was working in a café. Getting myself to the café was the trigger for the habit. Everything after that was in ..a higher being’s hands. I’m not sure how I can do this. So once again, I’ve gotten myself to the café. The brief rush of caffeine or a pastry ameliorating the pain and hesitation I have of leaving the house at all.

But I have a low threshold for pleasure and these stimulations are enough to still lure me out, after all these years. over seven years of stalled motivation or interest to write anything at all personal. Except for profitable writing like a marketing email or website copy, I basically haven’t written.

English is foreign to me when I have to devise what goes on the page. So many options, and so few ideas in my big empty head. I’m looking out this café window hoping something external will strike me, so I don’t have to go through the labor of looking inward. All I see are lithe young bodies walking around in the nice weather (I’m in a university town).

I think about my own body, enough though it’s the last thing I want to think about…I’ve given up on a body getting me anywhere. In a few weeks I’m moving to the land of youth, at a time my body is on the cusp, at best, of youth and middle age. My body is as good as it’s ever going to get. I’ve always sort of harbored this hope that I’d attain a body I’d want to proudly display—that I’d turn into a ‘swan” as they say on talk shows. But it’s almost with relief that I put those aspirations aside now.

It’s time for my mind to shine, but have I put anything in it all these years other than diet tips and music lyrics? No not that I can recall at the moment. This relinquishing of my reliance on supple skin and thin arms and a determination to start being a person of substance is an experience I’m probably sharing with 30 year old women, especially single women, all over the country.

Still, every day I drink my green juice hoping it will keep my skin soft and clear. Every day I feign offense when someone calls me “Ma’am”, every day I give myself excuses for not writing a book or starting a family or getting a promotion because I still feel 20. All sacrifices of my time and energy that feel like too much work. Too much sacrifice. But what am I sacrificing? This feeling of being totally untethered? Yes, that’s the main thing. No responsibilities, no failure, no attempts.

On some level I want this feeling don’t I. How does this make me any better or enlightened than those who push forth into the tasks, the hard work, the sacrifices, even though they know just as well as I do that they might not mean much? It doesn’t make me better, it makes me worse. Because at the end of they day, they have something to show for it. And I have a list of things I don’t want to do and have crossed off my future.

The thing is to know that life is filled with hard work that makes very little sense, but to keep doing it regardless and push past that so maybe there’s something fun and new that comes out of it. Though I don’t feel depressed, this lack of agency and movement is akin to the depression of being uninterested in things. Asking what it “means” all the time and putting so much weight on that, it’s silly. It’s a product of my parents’ generation and my upbringing, but instead of “why” I need to ask “what” and take the action towards doing.

We find our own callings and whims and follow them through as best we can. Otherwise what are we. Well, in my case, I’m my mother. she doesn’t do anything she doesn’t need to do, and she doesn’t need to do anything. End of story. Nothing gets done. She has zero substance or accomplishments barring giving birth and a few other socially-imposed tasks.

Find something that makes you smile and want to improve, and do it with all your heart. That’s what this journaling has taught me. this begs the question–is writing actually what I want to do? Have I been idolizing the life and title of “writer” so long and beating myself up about not doing it, when I should’ve been pursuing other things?

Well, the idea of being a writer still entices me more than almost any other profession, and that counts for something. But my lack of motivation is cause of concern. I’m at a loss. So I’m going to take a bite of my pastry instead. That’s life. You work hard at something. Then something confusing or difficult stalls you, and you take a bite of a blueberry muffin.

I’ve taken many bites of blueberry muffin when I should’ve given more thought into the actual problem at hand. Mistaking my need for meaning and drive with hunger for sugar. There I go again, taking another bite of pastry I’m not hungry for. We don’t eat sugar when we’re hungry, we eat sugar to be more hungry because nothing else sounds appealing at the time and we need to feel something. We need to feel the desire for something simple that can actually be satisfied, as opposed to the gnawing insatiable void I feel when it comes to my questions regarding life, writing, purpose.

Resolutions for 2018

I go over them in more detail than you ever wanted to know in this video.

  1. Spend more quality time with my parents. Even if it’s lower in quantity because I have less free time on the weekends now. I feel our relationship drastically improving and I feel a new love for them like never before.
  2. Do standup at least once a week in a variety of venues. Work towards a solid 30 minute set (ultimately aiming for 60).
  3. Meditate every morning.
  4. Buy most of my food at farmers’ markets.
  5. Make an effort to build relationships with more people at work. Those I don’t work closely with or see often.
  6. Travel to Chicago, Colorado, LA, and either SE Asia or S. America

AGP On YouTube

Long story short, I’ve been addicted to watching a handful of YouTubers (generally Asian vegan vloggers) in the past year and am going to dip my toe in (front of the camera). Bear with me as I get over my phobia of cameras, the internet, people, emoting, etc etc etc

Maybe it will encourage me to continue expressing myself creatively, since I clearly lost steam on this blog. Maybe it’ll help me with comedy writing. Maybe it’ll get me out of the house more. Maybe it will just be a bunch of videos of the same food I eat every day. We’ll find out!

Here’s the new AGP YouTube channel. (First post coming soon)

Asian Girl Problem #143: Mitski Knows

Despite having both a uterus and a propensity towards depression, I’m not a huge fan of the sad girl music genre. Aside from The Blow’s earlier stuff and Frankie Cosmos, I can’t think of any others I love at the moment (I’m sure they’ll all come to me in the middle of the night.)

However, Mitski is one sad Asian beezy I adore even though her songs are hit or miss for me. Her image is perfect. And this article on her explaining the (very simple) premise of her song “Your Best American Girl” is everything I’ve tried to express in many of my posts, but way better because it’s in song form. I really need to learn how to write a song.

You always want what you can’t have, and that all-American thing, from the day I was born, I could never enter that dream. That all-American white culture is something that is inherited instead of attained. So yes, it’s a sad song, but I wanted to make sure it reflected all of the contrasting feelings. You can be heartbroken about a relationship, but also, from it, realize you are you and you’re okay with who you are, or where you came from.

Reflections & Resolutions

new years eve 2017

I had a handful of resolutions for 2016, and most of them were met. Instead of revisiting that list, here are some notable moments:

  • I visited China and for the first time, got to travel around instead of being trapped at my grandparents’ houses. And when I wasn’t allowed to board the plane returning home, because my documents were expired, thus giving me two extra weeks of travel.
  • I got an agency job that I wanted to escape, but did give me the chance to write my first real commercial.
  • I got a dream job as an in-house copywriter writing jokes about food all day, and quit the previous job with a little too much glee.
  • I didn’t worry about guys or dating all year.
  • I started going to therapy.
  • I ate mostly vegan, and started eating a lot more than ever before. I struggle with it every day but the change was overall positive and ongoing.

And now for the new year…

1. Perform 5 minutes of standup comedy. Forever rolling over to the new year. There is no excuse, I simply didn’t try hard enough.

2. Create an ad/campaign that I’m really proud of. Now that I love my job and brand, I’ve got to deliver. I’d love to create 5 strong ads/commercials next year

3. Make progress in therapy and my love life, and experience a healthy relationship. Yep, more dating resolutions because I want to have a child someday, and I’m particular about what genes I mingle with.

4. Fit better into my old clothes. This year, I experimented with veganism. There are so many reasons I love it, aside from the ethical/environmental reasons. It’s cheap, easy to prepare, easy to digest, and better for my sleep. The only downside is that I’ve gained some weight, and I miss feeling light again.

5. Find a great yoga studio. I’ve been going to yoga for 10 years, but the progress is slow because my old studio is too casual. I should be able to do a handstand and the splits by now. After shopping around, I think I’ve already found the right fit–now to keep it consistent.

6. Play music, write stories. I don’t know any victims of the Oakland Ghost Ship fires, but seeing an entire community and their genre disappear reminds me how brief everything is and that creative projects are not about the end goal. I feel most human and positive when I’m making or consuming art. And I haven’t in a long time.

7. Appreciate my parents. I include this every year because it’s hard as fuck and they drive me crazy. Therapy is making me confront how deeply they impact me and the work I’ll have to do to get over the bad habits/beliefs I’ve lived with, and it might mean I will distance myself more. But I should always appreciate.