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Napkin Thought #17: Lightly Salted

So I just figured out what kind of ex I’m gonna be one day, and I apologize in advance to all you unlucky bastards xoxo !!

Possessive, obsessive, semi-bitter and lightly salted. 

To this day I am still trying to figure out how I ended up being the clingy one with the relentless imagination and technical skills to feed my unhealthy stalkerism when I wasn’t even the one who started all this. This needs to stop. I need a new location. Cali schools or New York schools, come throughhhhhh please.

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Napkin Thought #16: Harvey

“In the eye of a hurricane there is quiet.”

In sixteen years my home has never even come close to being touched by floodwaters, but on August 28, 2017 at 1:30 a.m. the castle was breached. Even as we watched the waters inch in, our spirits were high, we were still laughing at the absurdity of the last minute-ness of our preparation, and the reality of losing our home had not yet sunk in.

The supersaturated reservoir our neighborhood was located next to overflowed into our streets, covering my entire world with at least three feet of unabashedly rising water. In the black of night, two boats and a fire truck passed through. We said we were okay.

Sixteen years and no evacuation; we weren’t about to start now.

The next morning, we evacuated.

We phoned 911. Those guys never even showed up.

After about two hours, a group of knights in grimy armor, called by my neighbor, arrived. We waded out of the house with a few backpacks and three days worth of clothes, wearing nothing but T-shirts and shorts. It was cold, it was loud, and we were still cheery– probably just the adrenaline, honestly. The lovely (no seriously, they were very cute haha) knights dropped us off in the middle of a dry street, told us to wait for a truck to come and went back to rescue more stranded souls. Like idiots, we stood there, the four of us and a few other families, as the rain fell a little faster and our shivers came a little quicker. After a false alarm with a circling helicopter, an accidental encounter with a fire ant pile, a ride down Westheimer Parkway on a little motorboat from Dallas, and an unforgettable trip in a highway patrol truck with handsomely uniformed men, we finally arrived at my old elementary school, which was serving as a temporary shelter and pickup spot for safely displaced persons such as I.

Since then, we’ve been staying with some old family friends who live in a much fancier neighborhood with an idyllic nature trail and lake embedded in it, and I’ve pretty gladly accepted the fact that this will be “home” for the next six months.

Despite the constant support from friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers, I can’t help but feel this overwhelming sense of emptiness, loss of direction, and isolation. I don’t even think I can attribute it entirely to the destruction of my home, which is even more confusing. Do not mistake confusion with ungratefulness, God forbid. I am thankful, and I know things could have been much worse, but perhaps it’s just the accumulation of stress, change, and hormones. For one thing, I’m a senior now, which means all my older friends have left me behind, my ensemble of people has reorganized, and my role in the world has slightly altered. College apps are also a real thing, deadlines are a thing, standardized testing is still a thing, studying and learning are still things, and my lack of motivation, lack of a goal, and utter mediocrity loom in front of me as well.

The “why do I even bother?” question is a daily occurrence. The answer? I don’t know.

I honestly just don’t know anymore.

I am alone.

I want a dog.

Yeah. A dog. I need a doggo.

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Napkin Thought #15: Relapse

Goddammit I miss it.

I miss having someone constantly on my mind and knowing I was also on his. I miss the routine “How was your day?” texts and the childish flirting that sometimes made me physically cringe but simultaneously lifted one corner of my mouth into a soft half-smile. I miss the teasing from our friends, the rare times of being alone with him, tucked safely behind the rickety, out of tune piano, watching our hands glide over the ivory keys wishing they could be intertwined instead. I miss the swimmer shoulders, the gym rat arms, the sauntering stride. I miss the screenshots, the stickers, the songs, the awkwardness, the timidity, the compatible incompatibility. I miss having a guarantee. I miss being wanted.

I miss it. And therein lies the problem. I tell myself I miss the experience, the chapter of a story I can’t seem to go back and re-read. But when I really think about it, I can’t decide if I miss it… or if I miss him.

(Written from on top of my bed, with his goddam hoodie as a blanket… This is one soft hoodie, wonder if he wants it back… LOL TOO BAD this thing is comfy af ok bye)

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Napkin Thought #14: [Don’t] Look Back

Everything is always clearer in retrospect. Simpler, easier, more 理所当然. Although they say you should leave the past in the past and look forward to bigger, better, brighter things, I believe that in searching the past is where we will discover our true identities. When we look back, we are able to classify our feelings, label our emotions, and examine the reasons behind our impulsive actions. With the eyes of a quasi-impartial observer, we are enabled to critique, analyze, and organize our experiences the way a historian would with individually cohesive but completely independent primary sources. We have time on our side and distance to keep us calm. With these tools, we slowly begin to untangle the Pollockian chaos that is our life, and start to see beauty in the mess and rhythm in the disorder.

Retrospection is good. Reflection is good. Revelation is good. Regression, however, is not. I am an advocate of turning the head and twisting the torso, but the feet should always be pointed forward.

We look backward, but we move forward.

The past is just a museum: we collect the relics, put them on display, walk through the exhibit, appreciate, glean what we can, and eventually, we must leave. The personal understanding we find in the past should propel us toward the future–the imaginary. It should fuel us for improvement and give us the momentum we need to reach farther and run faster. So look back, and see how far you’ve come. Dream forward, and see where you want to go. Live now, and live boldly.




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Napkin Thought #11: Shoulda Coulda Woulda

As the events of the day ran through my mind, replaying themselves in vignettes of color, touch, and sound, I couldn’t stop confusion and regret from imposing their unwanted presences on my delicate memories. The laughter and conversation, the accidental and intentional brushes of the arm, the thought-revealing eye contact, the tentative hints that seemed both presuming and shy. I didn’t know what to make of them. I didn’t know how much of it was real and how much of it belonged to my imagination. I wasn’t sure if I was even allowed to think about it because over-analysis yields dubious conclusions. There was so much I wanted to do, so much I wanted to say. I couldn’t gauge how well it went, and the unknown was eating me alive. I desperately wanted to believe that I wasn’t the only one on this ride, but there was simply no way for me to ever truly find out without undoing all the hard work I had put in to reach this stage of “friendship” today.

I should have been more honest. With God. With him. With myself.

I could have been happier. So much more could have happened. 

I would have less regrets. Less confusion. Less wasted time. 

Oh well. Shoulda coulda woulda…


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Napkin Thought #10: “Gr1nd1n”

You know, sometimes I wish you would stop being so healthy… Like yes, your biceps are bulging, your abs are chiseled, your legs are sculpted, and your jawline is sharper than my eyeliner, but don’t you get tired of all that running, swimming, lifting, eating well, and general self-care? I know I do. Your consistent healthy lifestyle hinders me from being a lazy bum in peace, and I don’t appreciate being guilted into working out and eating salads. Ignorance is bliss, and I would like to be able to eat this chocolate and lie on my bed whilst scrolling through Instagram without being reminded that “I am what I eat” or seeing that you just spent the past three hours at the gym.

There are times when I like watching “behind-the-scene” footage. For instance, seeing how Hogwarts goes from muggle to magical, watching Legolas and Aragorn practice their sexy fight scenes, and observing as the voice actors of Moana fill 2-D characters with three dimensional life… Unfortunately, witnessing you transform from Dr. Banner into the Hulk is not one of those times.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I think you should stop being so healthy. My thirsty self would be very sad if you did. Just… preserve some mystery please… Now if you would excuse me as I go finish this bag of chips. Thanks.


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Napkin Thought #9: La La Land

“Here’s to the hearts that ache,
Here’s to the mess we make…”

Relatable. That’s what I thought when I first watched the movie. From all the non-date dates to the heart-wrenching ending montage that went exactly where I expected it to go, the film reflected my own experiences in a form more eloquent, more artistic, and more concise than I could ever have done. With a bittersweet taste on my heart, I looked on as this unrealistically realistic portrayal of two friends, who spent together the time allotted to them by fate and turned the pages of their separate lives to find no further mention of the other’s name, effortlessly unfolded.

Strangers. Shared experiences. Camaraderie. Attraction. Spontaneity. Reliance. Argument. Reconciliation. With each of these things, both individuals learned more about themselves, about the world, about love. They saw in the other things that cannot be seen without the stimulus of pheromones. The emotions they experienced were felt so intensely that even after life forced them apart for years,  just a song, a street name, a store sign would bring the other person instantly back into their minds, letting them momentarily indulge in the untouchable memories that have been carefully tucked away into the crevices of their brains.

It’s good to know he feels the same way. It’s good to hear him casually say, “Some things were just not meant to be” and pass it off as a reflection on the film.  It’s good to know that what I couldn’t say to him, La La Land has said for me. I hope we too can enjoy our time together with no pressure on “forever”, go our own ways, pursue our own dreams, and trust that Life will let us meet once more before the credits roll.

With one last locking of the eyes and two melancholy smiles, they come to an understanding. Come to closure.

“It’s love.
Yes, all we’re looking for is love from someone else.
A rush,
A glance,
A touch,
A dance…”

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Napkin Thought #8: Where We Are 

I’ve finally reached equilibrium. No more fierce denial. No more obsessive fantasizing. Just existing and accepting.
I’ve accepted the current reality of our position as students, as maturing teenagers, and as two friends between whom a spark once flickered. It is what it is, and the sooner you acknowledge that, the sooner you can be at peace with yourself.
I’ve let down my defenses and let go of my awkwardness when his or my friends start teasing because both he and I intrinsically know where we stand and how we feel. There is no need to try so hard to convince others of what you already know to be true.
I’ve discovered that people and places come and go and that while we are still on this page of life, we should fully embrace the plot, the imagery, and the characters that are woven into that page and give life to the story. Because once you flip that page, there’s no telling if you will ever experience it again.
Spend time with him while you can.
Don’t think too much.