My Father

Written in eighth grade, randomly stumbled upon recently:

“I could’ve been someone,” my dad says. “The next Einstein or Newton, I could have made the next Google.” I believe him, and I tell him this.

He grew up in a small, poor town in China, but nevertheless got into the best university in the whole country at the age of 16. For four years of his high school life, he did nothing else but study, study so that he could get into the best university, so that he could get the best-paying job, so that he could have a good rest of his life. His hard work paid off though- he brought his whole family to America. If he had stayed in China, I wouldn’t even be alive, due to the law which restricts having more than one child.

My dad is the life of parties, the one who always is in the center of the spotlight. He’s the motor of the family, the backbone of his workplace. He comes up with the strangest ideas, like bicycling to work, or digging a hole to make a jacuzzi in the sand. When I have questions in math, I know who I should talk to. He’s always there, as sure as the next tick of a clock, as steady as the beat of a butterfly’s wings.

Sometimes I feel bad, like somehow I know that if he didn’t settle down and have a family, if he hadn’t spent so much time and energy into making the family function, then he could have been someone big.

But then I realize that maybe devoting one’s life to something that seems small, like raising a family and watching children grow up, can sometimes be better than being someone big.

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On Our Limitations

We cannot imagine blistering cold in a desert of heat. We cannot imagine joy when we despair. We are limited to the moment and to our present states, and anyone who believes otherwise is simply delusional.

Our knowledge and understanding of the world is an infinitely small fraction of what there truly is. We think we know more than we do, and we form opinions on topics that we don’t even understand. Most of all, we seek meaning in a world where there is no inherent meaning. The world isn’t happy, sad, good, or bad. The world just is.

Despite, or even because of our limitations and our contradictions, I view humans as fascinating creatures. We are a product of evolution mixed with probability, and all of our basic needs have helped us survive as a species. All of the love, hate, longing, and despair we experience in our daily lives has evolved to keep us alive.

I often wonder — if there is a God, would the God be objective or subjective (or neither)? How could a being ever be completely objective? And how would it even be possible for God to be subjective, as thoughts contain subjectivity, and subjectivism is derived from feelings which are, in turn, derived from evolution? Did / does God evolve? And if God is “perfect,” does that mean he isn’t subjective, since perfection cannot be subjective? (Or can it? What even is perfection, and does it even exist?) Questions upon questions whirl in my head — not one discussed in Church, not one with a concrete answer (but that’s a different rant).

Sometimes I wish I could separate myself from my body and experiences to rid myself of these limitations (but would I still be “me,” without my body and experiences?). I want to take in the whole world at once, to feel everything yet nothing; and know everything, yet not know that I know anything. I want to strip my emotions from my thoughts, and to strip my thoughts from my consciousness — to become a higher conscious, perhaps. I don’t even want emotions or thoughts. I just want to know, to simply be.

I just finished reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, and in many ways, I could see myself in Siddhartha’s younger, less enlightened days. He thought (like I think) that we are all like ants, like children, always seeking but never finding. At the end of the novel, Siddhartha becomes Enlightened because he is at peace. He does this by using love and interconnectivity as a blanket answer to all of his questions. But to me, the book was too simple. Love is just an overrated emotion, not an answer to life’s biggest questions. Maybe I didn’t really understand the book — I’ll probably reread it when I’m less stressed out!

Sorry if this post didn’t make much sense. Honestly, it didn’t make much sense to me either. Also, sorry if it sounds overly pessimistic because that’s not my intention. I intend to interpret the world in a “real” way — not pessimistic or optimistic, but objective. But due to my limitations, I don’t think I can ever begin to understand the world objectively because subjectivity skews everything.

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.” — Sylvia Plath

v.

I saw myself through her eyes one day.

A child, only a child I was,
not quite her flower, yet her roots were strong.
I saw in me her hopes and dreams,
a life she’d have if she were free.

I saw her pride, her strength,
her years of sleepless nights and nightless days.
I felt her safe, tender love and vowed that someday I would be
as good a mom as she.

An Inkling of a Wonder

I wonder if you think of me
and everything that we could be.
Look back on those sweet memories
or lock the doors with thin disguise.

I wonder if you look at her
and start to feel a bit unsure.
See all the rights that we turned wrong,
how it was us all along.

I wonder how we slipped right through,
stepped past the futures we both knew.
How numb I feel to paper hearts,
when we are now so far apart.

I wonder if I’m in your world around
the way you’re in my every morning sound.
Am I in a stranger’s face,
or can you feel me in an empty space?

I wonder who I was to you,
if I were ever more than just another
one
who felt the warmth of your soul.

I wonder, do you wonder too?

Please

rinse and repeat
one down
rinse
hearts are broken, tears are shed,
fingers pointed, problems solved.
words of love, words of comfort,
fade to black as life goes on.
another down
rinse
more hearts broken, more cries of change.
rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.



Please, don’t wait until it’s too late to tell your friends and family you love them.

Everyone is growing old. The world is constantly changing, and what you see now will be different from what you saw before and what you will see later.

Take a closer look at those you love. I mean, truly look at them. Look through their tired eyes and please, please take a moment out of your life to appreciate and remember what you are here for. These little moments when your looking into your grandmother’s laughing face or listening to your father’s atrocious singing fulfill your life. It doesn’t take much effort for little acknowledgements and words of love, but they are actions that perpetuate happiness and belonging. We don’t have much time here on Earth. With a blink of an eye, they’ll be gone, and so will you.

You may have tests to take and papers to write and things to do and places to be. But don’t ever forget to pause and appreciate, if only for a moment.

So don’t wait to look when their gone, when their not around. Don’t wait to look when they have aged, when your eyes were closed but time went on. Look now. Look and see the beauty and soul in everything. Look and see what you’ll miss when your eyes close for the last time.

There is a reason why we fight until our last breath. There is so much to live for. There is so much we don’t know. So many books we haven’t read, so many stories we haven’t heard. The wealth of information is infinite. There is so much love and beauty in this world. And that is what living is for.

“All her knowledge is gone now. Everything she ever learned, or heard, or saw. Her particular way of looking at Hamlet or daises or thinking about love, all her private intricate thoughts, her inconsequential secret musings – they’re gone too. I heard this expression once: Each time someone dies, a library burns. I’m watching it burn right to the ground” – The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson